Close encounters of the ‘Robber Raccoon’ kind

Close encounters of the ‘Robber Raccoon’ kind

Last week I was attacked by a raccoon. It wasn’t just any raccoon; it’s the raccoon that lives in my garage. He is malevolent and toothy, ignoring my rantings. And he pushes my cats away from their rightful dish full of food every morning.

“He thinks he’s your baby,” George said. “He just wants you to pet it like you do the cats.”

And to this I launched into a verbal barrage unlike he’s ever seen, down to the very pits of my soul. “This raccoon can be launched into space. He can take a ride on the roof of your car and get off somewhere in Saltillo,” I raged. “This raccoon is a monster.”

When I was little, my favorite book was called “Robber Raccoon.” Robber would rattle the trash cans in the evening as the family was watching TV. The family discovered what the commotion was, and eventually, Robber became their friend. I thrilled to the story, especially the picture of Robber’s eyes looking at them in the dark.

But this raccoon, the ruthless one living in my garage, is not Robber Raccoon. He can go straight back to the woods he sauntered out of. We’ve always had raccoons around, ones that would forage around and the cats would hiss at, but this one thinks he’s something special. The cats don’t seem to mind him, and the other day I found them eating alongside him at the dish. I was enraged because he is ravenous and eats all the food, two-handed fistfuls of food at a time. Cat food costs a lot of money these days.

We’ve tried to catch it with live traps. We’ve done it all. He tiptoes in and eats whatever food we’ve left inside the trap and turns around like Ethan Hunt in “Mission Impossible” and tiptoes back out. That trap has never caught a thing. My brother-in-law offered to come and take care of it, but the timing of catching it and him coming over from 30 minutes away doesn’t ever work. I have been at my wit’s end because I can hear claws scratching and the faint, haunting noise of him hovering nearby every time I go outside.

When I saw him eating the cat food voraciously last week, I went outside and charged at him, yelling at the top of my lungs, and instead of running away, he lunged at me with a loud grunting sound. I’m only brave if he runs away from me, and I screamed and ran inside as he looked at me panting outside the door. That little sucker had backed me into my own house and was holding me hostage.

George was home that morning, and I yelled for him. I had had it. I was done. I shouldn’t be yelling for the guy who had a heart attack last month to come save me, but he charged out the door with my old broom and chased that raccoon all around the garage. Buckets and flower pots were flying, and I could see the bushy tail disappearing around corners as he flew at it with that old broom. Finally, it disappeared into the garage rafters, and all fell silent. The cats, indifferent to the noise, looked on in curiosity.

When the scuffle was over, George stood there without a shirt on and a broken broom. His eyes were as rabid as the raccoon’s had been. The raccoon was nowhere to be seen. That was one week ago, and I haven’t heard or seen him since. The food in the cat dish remains, and not even overnight do the crumbs in it disappear. He seems to have vanished into the ether.

“I think you broke his heart,” George said.

“No, I think you broke him with that broom,” I said.

All seems peaceful in the garage these days — except the other day when I heard shuffling inside the old, wooden beams and crevices of the garage. It sounded like tiny, little steps running around. Could it be the raccoon had babies and left them behind when we scared him off? Or was it the litter of kittens our black cat had and hid away?

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the ghost of the raccoon that has arrived to torment me for all eternity. My broken broom stands at the ready.