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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Thieves In The Woodpile

My bird feeder came up missing last week
And I didn't know what to think
Maybe bored kids on the prowl
Or some squirrels worked as a team for once

While I was hanging up the new one from the store
I thought I heard some tittering from the woodpile
But after standing and staring at it for a bit
There wasn't anything else of note
So I filled up the feeder with seed
And went on my way

The next morning the feeder was gone again
And this time the hanging pole was as well
Part of the deck railing had gone missing
The back shed was gutted and only a shell

It was a head scratcher for sure
As I'd been home all night long
I hadn't heard anything out of the ordinary
No people prints or tire marks
It was a mystery
And the police thought so too

After a fitful sleep that night
I awoke to an awful smell
As if a skunk were right in the room with me
And upon what do you suppose my opening eyes befell?

A mother skunk and her brood of little ones
Curled up in a pile of dirty clothes
Their path of entry not really a mystery
As one whole wall of my cabin had gone AWOL
Open to the outside like a perfect picture window
But one that let the outside in like a sieve

This time I called the State Police
Who came and filed a dutiful report
But had no thoughts as to what had happened at all
No evidence was left behind
No fingerprints
No person had been around

Right after they left I heard a rustling off where the woodpile used to be
Which wasn't there anymore either
I charged the brush ready to tackle a thief
But no one was there
Just a flickering image of a small animal as it slipped away

Even as the animal disappeared
An idea solidified in my head
I'd catch whomever was stealing everything out from under me

I went and found my rifle
I went and found my chair
An old wool blanket for my lap
And I set down facing the front of the house
There was no way anything would get stolen tonight

The sun slowly set upon my vantage point
As I slowly worked my way through a case of beer
With each sip resolving to do something more evil to the thief if I caught him
Until my eyes slowly crossed and I slumped in the chair
A casualty of my own consumption
Snoring to wake the dead

Until the morning sun tickled my throbbing brow
Causing me to vomit in greeting to the dawn
An empty view greeting my blurry opened eyes

No house
No deck
No shed

Just some churned dirt marked where I had made my home
And me in the last chair I had
A blanket
A gun

This pushed me over the edge I won't lie
So now determined not to lose anything else
I folded the blanket and put it on my shoulder
Slung the gun over the other
And picked up the chair to take with me
Carrying everything I still had on my back
I set out to find the culprits
Heading for where the woodpile used to be
The last place I'd heard anything unusual
Being the only lead I had

Brush blocked my mad search path
As I dragged my wooden chair along with me
Brambles scratched my face
Grabbing at my blanket until I had to tie the end of it to the chair
Leaving it to drag behind me like a two year old with his blankie

Until I heard it again
That same tittering I'd heard behind the woodpile on the first day
But more of it
Like a whole crowd of tittering and chatting

I dropped my chair and blankie
Unslung my rifle
And charged out of the brush into a clearing
Promptly dropping both my jaw and my gun

For there stood my house
And my deck
And my shed
With some woodpile mixed in for good measure
All in a confused pile
As if a builder had dropped acid then tried to build a house

And it was covered in raccoons
They were all tittering to one another
And chatting
Some were hissing
Others seemed to be cussing

None of them payed me any mind

Picking up my chair and blanket
I made my way into the Escher-like structure
Finding the living room
Which also had some of the bathroom and kitchen in it
But most importantly having the television

I perked up the rabbit ears and turned it on
Tuning in a baseball game from Houston
And sat down to watch
Along with a growing crowd of raccoons
Who all slowly gathered around me
All of us staring at the glowing cathode ray tube
Pixalated images moving upon it
Playing out their parts for our enjoyment

I tittered to the raccoon nearest to me
And he chatted back

That masked thief from my woodpile