As I was standing by my kitchen window a stripe of white flashed under the oleander bush. This was 6 am. I’m not that alert usually. But the movement caught my eye. I made inventory of the animals that normally visit my backyard. Squirrels. Raccoons. Bees. Ravens. Cats. But no white cat. Or my neighbor’s dog.
“We have a skunk in the garden,” I said.
“How do you know?” Alf said.
“I just do.”
I waited. Out from the undergrowth there emerged a black nose sniffing in all directions, followed by a black head with two black beady eyes, and then the whole body. Its coat was thick and lush. God had taken a felt marker and drawn two brilliant white stripes down its back that merged at the tail. It’s nose kept moving. It scampered closer to the window. It wasn’t afraid of my standing there. Then in a blink it drew its tail up and fanned it out and sprayed the corner of my flower bed.
“What a odious creature,” I said.
“Why be so critical?” Alf said.
“He sprayed my touch-me-nots.”
“There’s a message in that somewhere,” Alf said.
“Fetch me the broom,” I said.
Alf went out to the garage, came back in with the broom, and handed it to me.
I went outside with broom at the ready and looked for the animal.
Gone. It had vanished.
I was going to sweep him up and dump him on the compost pile where he could gorge his little black heart out.
Calvin says, “No way. That skunk would have sprayed you first and you would’ve ended up in a bath of tomato juice.”