Last week I was tucked in bed at one end of the house. Gary was going out back to check the wildlife camera to see what's been moving the bricks.
Every morning last week Gary had to re-arrange the bricks around the peanut feeder box, because every night something scattered them. He suspected the squirrels were doing it. In the past he fed them tree nuts, and they'd eat their fill and bury the rest. The tree nut supply dried up and he had to switch to peanuts. The squirrels would bury the tree nuts, but evidently peanuts aren't dirt-worthy. He suspected the squirrels were enraged by the switch to a lower grade of manna and were hurling the bricks around in a rage. So he was headed out to get the photographic evidence.
I heard Gary open the back door. Then I heard both these sounds simultaneously:
a) An ice storm.
b) Gary screaming.
I did not leap up to rescue Gary, because as you all know he screams at moths and harsh light and junebugs. I was more interested in why we were having an ice storm in October. I didn't get a chance to ponder that, because I heard:
"ELLEN! COME IN HERE NOW!."
I hopped out of bed. He was still by the door. "SKUNK," he screamed.
"I JUST SAW A SKUNK ON THE PATIO."
"Oh you did not."
"I WAS EYE TO EYE WITH A SKUNK! IT HISSED AT ME!"
Huh, I thought. So, a hissing skunk sounds like an ice storm. Good to know.
Still, I had doubts. I asked, "How do you know it was a skunk?" Because really, Gary could see any dark-furred mammal and gin it up to The King Of All Skunks before the neurons even finished transmitting the image to his brain.
"IT WAS A SKUNK THE SIZE OF A SMALL BEAR!"
"Did it have the white stripe down the middle of its back? Did you see the stripe?"
His annoyance made him calmer, at first. "It had a STRIPE ON ITS SIDE. I KNOW what I SAW. Why are you interrogating me? Didn't you hear it?"
"No; I know something hissed at you, but if the stripe's on its side maybe it was a beaver or an oposs -"
'IT WAS A SKUNK WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU IF WAS TWO FEET FROM ME I COULD HAVE STEPPED ON IT."
I was still skeptical, because hey, everyone knows skunks have stripes on their backs, not on their sides.
It turns Pepe LaPew is not anatomically correct.
Wikipedia backed Gary up. Skunks have side stripes.
"Hah!" Gary said, "I bet that skunk's on the photos. I bet that skunk's the one tearing up the bricks."
The photos tell the tale.
"Fools! Squirrels don't bury peanuts. Now there are nuts left over every day. All these nuts belong to me!"
(Two raccoons go into a bar and share some peanuts.)
"Cheese it! Something smells ..."
"It's a skunk! I'm out of here."
"Are you sure you're a skunk? Skunks have stripes on their backs, not their sides."
(Evidently both raccoons and skunks know to step back when the doe shows.)
(Two deer go into a bar and share some peanuts.)
Damnit! The deer ate ALL the nuts! Don't they know how to share?
(And finally, wholesale destruction by enraged raccoons.)
~~ FIN ~~
I looked at the photos and said to Gary, "That skunk was the size of a small bear?"