Believe me, after
last night, when I see that line from The Night Before Christmas that goes
something like, "When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I
sprang from my bed to see what was the matter!" I will see it in a whole new
Last night was
one of those really great nights for sleeping! I had all my
windows open and was snuggled down under the covers all cozy and warm
getting some great shuteye, when a terrible nightmare woke me up from a
sound sleep a little after 5:00 AM. Whatever it was I had
been dreaming about, the terrible screeching and screaming woke me
up and left me shaking. I was wide awake for sure now, and
then hark!! I heard it again...that terrible screeching and
screaming…and this time I definitely was not dreaming.
Knowing that if I
got out of bed to see what it was, it would probably stop, I lay there a
few minutes - listening almost in fear - because it was so loud and such a
horrible sound! Finally, I just had to know what was going
on just outside my window (yes, I know they say curiosity killed the
cat, but since the cat was obviously getting killed outside my bedroom
window anyway, I figured what the heck!). I got up, careful not to
step on or stumble over my three dogs, pulled back the drapes, and
peered out the window. I saw nothing but the street light
outside; the screaming was still going on, however! I slid
the window screen back and stuck my head out the window.
Still I saw nothing, yet there was no pause now in the eerie screams that
were surely coming from someone being murdered!
Is that a branch of the Maple tree in my yard moving up and
down? Yep! Sure is...there goes another leaf falling on the
asphalt where the tree extends over the street! But I can't
see anything! Nothing! Now who could be beating
his wife in a tree without at least one of them falling out?
Do I run get the binoculars? Do I run outside without a
weapon? Do I go call the police? Do I try to
intervene? Do I just run outdoors and try to see what it is
in spite of the fact that I have nothing on but my shorty
"gown" covering my shapeless bod? I think
not! Shucks! If I dare even look up, you could
probably see my fat white hind cheeks and maybe more and surely there
will be others peering out their windows with all the screaming going on
and probably a crowd gathering in the street soon!? My white
hinny would really give them something to stare at, huh! Besides, it
will probably be all over by the time I could find them and get them out
of my tree anyway and by that time I would have missed the last of it…er…by
that time I probably won’t need the police!
Yeah! That’s what I’ll do…that way, I’ll have all
the "identifying information" for the police if I have to call
them and I can be back in the house before the whole neighborhood starts
vying for a front row seat!
quiet! Wonder if it's over! What's
that? Is that a cat coming down the tree and walking across
my yard? Not quite light enough yet to get a good
look...looks gray...neighbor's cats are yellow! Looks bushy…got
a big tail, that’s for sure...must be part Persian...wonder who that
one belongs to...must be a new one to the neighborhood, or a
"traveling salesman"......doesn't matter...it will probably
camp here along with the two that belong to the next door neighbor and
the three across the street and before long there’ll be lots of little
cats. Figures! Deadbeats, all of ‘em (the cats—not the
This is crazy...I
know it wasn't a cat I heard...I've heard the neighborhood cats
"serenading" enough times to know what they sound like, even
at their "horniest" or in their most "territorial"
fights! Wonder what happened to the other half of this
fight? I've got to try to get a better look! So
out my bedroom door I tiptoe.
The kid's (he’s
32—years that is) bedroom door is open--he usually sleeps with it
closed. He sleeps with his windows open, too, but he sleeps
like a rock so he probably hasn't heard it. I'd love to wake
him up and maybe he could go with me to see what it is.
(Heck! He would probably KNOW what it is, but by the time I wake him up
it would all be over and then he would think I was totally out of my
gourd in the first place; he'll be PO'd because I woke him up
and I'll have to listen to him moan and groan and complain until he
completely wakes up; then I'll have to listen to him tease the
s*** out of me about it so I've got to check this out on my
own!) Surely there’s already a crowd in front of the house
checking out those screams by now, too! Is that a reflection
of flashing lights from a police car already? From the sound
of those screams, this must be a real bad situation!
OH NO! The
front door is wide open!! Is someone in the
house? Did someone kidnap the kid and that was my own kid
being kidnapped that I was hearing as they dragged him kicking and
screaming out of the house? Worse yet, did someone try to
steal the kid's computer and the kid caught them?
Horrors! Perish the thought! There go those
flashing lights again! Oh! Now I see the
flashing lights up close…they’re not flashing lights at all, but the
screensaver on my own PC reflecting off the glass in the storm
door. Whew! Scared me for a minute…get back
down in my chest, ye heart or mine! What was that damn
OH MY GOODNESS!!! There's a big red eye staring in at me through the
storm door....those demons in the movies on TV always have red
eyes! I’ve seen them bunches of times when I
peeped! (What's that warm stuff running down my leg?
...can't be s***--did that last night!) Whew! ...not a demon
at the door after all...it's the end of the kid's cigarette ...he's on
the porch smoking! I think I'm saved! He's up
and already checking it out! Those screams were probably
from the guy(s) he caught trying to break in and hurt his Mumsie! …or
worse, trying to steal his gaming PC!
kid? You thought you were dreaming, too? Wonder
where the crowd is? Is everyone in this neighborhood deaf
but us? I don't see the first soul peeping out a window or a
door yet! Heck fire! Probably too
scared! That's just great! Someone is getting
murdered on the street and screaming their bloody head off and nobody
sees it, but let a strange car sit silently in my driveway overnight and
the whole street is buzzing about it by morning!
All is quiet now! Not a sound except the birds
singing! Birds? How can birds sing when someone
has just been murdered! It’s morbid! Shhhhhh….nothing…..still
not another sound except the night time! Wait!
We don't hear anything now, but…is the end of just one of those
branches in the Maple tree moving. Impossible!
Everything else is "dead" still—not another limb, not a
twig, not a leaf--nothing else is moving. There’s no wind…not
even a breeze! (I can assure you of this—hence all my open windows in
my bedroom!) How can this be? Why?
Horrors! Maybe whoever it was isn't gone yet!
The kid says,
"Yep! That tree branch is definitely moving." I
head for the binoculars—the kid heads into the yard.
Eagle-eye JW (that's what I call myself) doesn't see a thing with the binoculars except
leaves. The kid on the other hand, obviously having
telescopic vision since birth, believes he sees a tail hanging down off
a branch! A tail? Really! I suppose
whoever it was left to go home and forgot to take his tail,
right? "Is it naked?" I ask.
"Go bring me
a flashlight!" the kid says! So off I run to find a
flashlight so we can look at some ugly, bloody tail!
flashlight! Got the binoculars ready!
"Whatever it was," the kid says, "is still there...or
half of it is anyway." Uck! Half of it????
I’m just getting adjusted to the idea of a bloody tail in my Maple
tree, now I’m getting a picture of this bloody dead carcass rotting in
my front yard and my neighbors complaining about the stink and me having
to climb the darned tree to bag it piece by bloody piece!
Uh oh...here it comes... I knew it! (Gotcha!
Thought I was gonna’ throw up, didn’t you!)
The "here it
comes" I was referring to were the dreaded words from the kid…the
"Look, Mom!" They sort of slid off the kid’s
tongue like when your kid says, "Oh boy! Night of the
Living Dead is coming on TV tonight! I gotta’ see
that! It’s great!" and then boasts,
"I've seen it 47 times already!" Well, it was
'that kind' of 'Look, Mom.' "It's still moving,"
he just had to tell me that, right? I mean—like I really
needed to know!
Woe is me...I
wanted to look in the tree when I ran in the house to get the
binoculars--now I just want to run in the house and really throw
up! I'm thinking ‘what are we going to do with this thing
- bloody, torn up, still alive thing - that’s hanging in my
tree? How are we going to put it out of its
misery? How long before it dies on its own? (How long
before it starts to smell?) Do I call animal control now or
after it dies? Will I need to call a vet to pronounce it
dead when it’s dead? Should I call the SPCA?
Will any of them come? Is the end that bites, the part that's
bare butte is getting cold out there, my feet are getting wet, and the kid
is still standing there with the flashlight saying, "Look,
Mom...look at it!" As for me, my eyes are squinched
closed tight! But he insists I look so here goes
nothing....maybe he won’t be able to tell my eyes are still closed if
I just pretend to look!
Can't find the
bloody thing with the binoculars..."Keep the light still,
kid"...oh, that's not the kid moving the light...that's my hands
shaking the binoculars!
Didjuseethat? Did it move? I swear it
moved! Is the wind blowing? Did you shake the
tree? It did it again! Did you see it that
time? Oh, my Goodness! It's the head...the
head's still in the tree! The eyes are looking right at me!
...and look! is that its tail hanging 'off' the other side of the tree
branch? Must be…doesn’t have eyes on that
end! Uck! No! Wait! I
see it! The tail is hanging 'between' the tree branches! ...and it's
moving again...and not a speck of wind is blowing.
It's...it's...it's still alive...whatever it is may have been scared to
death, but if that’s the case, it hasn't finished dying! I
only see a few scratches—no blood dripping or guts hanging out or
anything like that…it looks like....it's...it's....it's a baby raccoon
and he's sooooo cute! Well, I'll be damned! If that just
ain't the cutest little thing up thar' in that thar' tree!
Would ‘ja jus look at that!!
So now the kid
croons, "It's okay, boy (how in the world does he know it's a
boy?--the tail is covering what the branch ain't, if you know what I
mean), you can come on down now." ...and I wouldn't have
believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but the darned thing
started down! These two idiots stood right there on the
front porch watching ‘him’ and talking about ‘him’ while ‘he’
ambled right on down that tree trunk just like the kid told him to do,
took one look at the kid as if to say, "Hey! Thanks,
bud!" then trotted off across the yard and disappeared into
By now I'm
wondering why in the world would a baby raccoon be making all that
noise. I was about to tell the kid, "He must have
gotten all those scratches from getting hung up in the tree and trying
to get down," when the kid says, "Mom, are you sure what you
saw leaving the yard this morning was a cat?" to which I
responded, "I'm not positive it was a cat, no...I just
figured it was...it did have a thicker tail, but not as thick as a
Persian cat and it looked gray, but come to think of it, its body was a
little thicker than most cats. Why?"
"Well, I was
just wondering why a cat would tree a raccoon...could it have been
another raccoon?" the kid asked?
So I said,
"I'll bet that's what it was--another raccoon! You know
I was gonna’ say that!" Yeah, right! sure I was!
Okay, by now
you're probably sitting there laughing your silly head off at me, but
what can I say! How was I supposed to know two raccoons were
going to climb a tree and get into a screaming match in a residential
neighborhood in my front yard over territorial rights (or garbage
rights?)! Hell! If they’re gonna’ argue
about it again, they can have all the damn garbage I’ve
got! Just stop the screamin’ matches in my
tree!. I'm a country girl raised in the city...that means
the only thing country about me is my heart and my wish list--WISH I
lived in the country!. I’m not used to this kind of thing!
I've hardly ever seen a raccoon unless it was in the zoo or dead on the
side of the road and that doesn’t leave you with much of a picture,
and I doubt they make much sound when they fight a tire wheel for
been thinking.... maybe I'll wait a little while longer before I put
that deposit on that cute little house in the country!
Copyright © Joyce Williams
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