Last Friday night, I was writing in bed. My husband was beside me watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory, or as I like to say, he was visiting with his “people.” The kids were numbing their brains on the computer, and the dogs were running around, tugging on a sock and play fighting. I wasn’t paying much attention because I was deep into writing a post for this blog.
I had had four Crystal Lights (I am big into the cheery pomegranate one now), and so my teeming bladder kept poking at my concentration. In pain and almost unable to walk, I hit SAVE and headed to the water closet (that’s European for bathroom). When I got out of bed, I saw something on the floor. I thought it was a stuffed animal the dogs were torturing. I didn’t have on my glasses so I moved closer to see it. That’s when my brain registered. “Girl, that ain’t no stuffed animal. You got yourself there a genuine opossum playing dead right there on your bedroom floor.”
I screamed my very girly scream and jumped on the bed. My husband, annoyed that I interrupted his time with his “people,” said, “What? Why are you screaming?” I hadn’t seen a opossum for years, and I was a wee bit shocked so I didn’t answer right away, primarily because my heart was racing like hyperventilating ballerina at her first recital. I just kept pointing, which annoyed Mike more because he had to move from his comfort zone of TV watching. Finally, I said, “There’s a opossum in our bedroom.”
“Where?” he said, laughing at what he thought were grossly overdone hysterics.
“THERE!” I said.
Mike finally sat up, and looked at the poor seemingly dead creature. At first he too was shocked, but then he started laughing, not at the dead critter on the floor of our—let me remind you—BEDROOM, but at my reaction and me. “I guess one of the dogs brought it in,” said Mike.
“Don’t cats do that sort of thing? Isn’t that why we don’t have cats?” I asked. My voice was moving higher and higher like that ghost chaser in the original movie Poltergeist. With another laugh (he’s not big on words), Mike just got up and left the room. He left me ALONE with that creepy marsupial. (Really, there is a reason Disney hasn’t made a movie featuring a opossum.) I could see its beady black eyes, and its ghostly white face. It had a gray furry body and a hairless tail. As I was contemplating the hideousness of his tiny little claws, the damn thing moved. It moved its jaw. It wiggled its legs. “No, no, no, no, no. You stay right where you are?” I said.
“M-I-I-I-I-I-K-E, where are you? It’s alive. It’s ALIVE. (It was reminiscent of a Hollywood horror flick.) Why did you leave me alone with this thing?” By now, I had crawled to the middle of my bed and was wielding my son’s Nerf sword, which just happened to be at the foot of my bed. Don’t ask.
Still laughing, Mike walked in with a bucket and dustpan (cue the Western rescue scene music). “That’s what you’re gonna use?” I ask.
“Did you want me to get my Uzi?” he replied. (Okay, now that made me laugh.) He scooped the pissed off marsupial into the bucket, but this thing had no intention of going peacefully. So, our unwanted visitor started chewing on the bucket and fighting to stay out. Eventually, my big brave hero (intoned with a Southern accent), wrangled the baby beast into the bucket, where he unceremoniously dumped it outside. “Should I kill it?” Mike asked.
“Um, YES,” I said without hesitation. So, Mike retrieved his big bad BB gun, donned a flashlight that wraps around one’s head, and sauntered out the door. (I could swear he was more bow-legged with his gun in his hand.) After 5 long minutes, my hero came in only to report that the opossum had run off.
“A vanishing varmint?” I ask.
“Yes, ma’am, a vanishing varmint,” he said sullenly. Then he added for the sheer pleasure of seeing my panicked face, “Yep, and he could come back any time.” (Cue the film noir danger music.)
It’s been days, and no sign of our vanishing varmint, but that does not mean I don’t sleep with one eye open all the time.