How I Came To Be Chasing A Porcupine In My Underwear At Midnight

Grammar snobs might have a beef with my post title.  I’m not sure if it literally implies that the porcupine was wearing my underwear.   Just to clarify – that would be another story worth telling, but it’s not what happened here.  Let me explain.

Last week on Wednesday morning, we woke up to find our two trash barrels that we have in our barn had been ravaged by an unknown assailant.  They were tipped over, the trash bags inside were pulled out and ripped open, and trash was scattered all over the place.   Interestingly, the Unknown Assailant shunned both a) raw chicken scraps and b) corn cobs – which somewhat confused me, as I expected him to like either meat or veggies.   He did, however, appear to have devoured the remnants of cooked chicken on the bone.   Moving on:  I cleaned up the mess and took all of the stuff to the dump, leaving 2 empty barrels.     On Thursday morning, the Hungry Trash Marauder had checked our wares again – knocking over the barrels, but finding nothing, as they were empty.   I expected to find a defiant angry pile of crap next to the barrels, but perhaps I’m anthropomorphizing a bit too much here (I mean, if i were hunting for trash-food and came up empty like that, I’d be pissed).

At this point in the story I have to take another detour:  we have 2 weeping willow trees in our yard, and one of them has been shedding branches like precious metals charalatans spread nonsense – which is to say: prolifically.   “Shedding” isn’t really the right word, though, as the branches were being ripped from the tree.    The willow isn’t a little tree like my pears which were dismembered previously – so the “deer/bucks rubbing against the tree” explanation certainly doesn’t fly.   What’s odd is that some of these branches were broken off near the ends.   A neighbor informed us that porcupines will do this: crawl out to the end and rip off the branches from there.   Strangely, again, most of these branches weren’t eaten: they were left to accumulate under the tree.

Back to Saturday night.   362 nights out of the year I sleep in a t-shirt and boxer shorts.   Saturday was one of those few days before we put the window unit air conditioner in where I go with just the boxers because it’s  TFHTS.  Too fuckin’ hot too sleep.   It was 95 degrees during the day, and even with 70 degree nights, our bedroom was 85 degrees.   That’s not counting the three little balls of heat we have in bed with us in the form of The Dogs.   So this was a “just boxer shorts” night.   Yep – that’s right – no t-shirt.  Simmer down.   Continuing:

After watching the Bruins beat the Penguins 3-0 in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom, which faces right across the driveway into the barn, where the trash barrels are situated.   I heard a sound which I thought sounded a lot like a porcupine toppling a trash barrel.   I pressed my face against the window, but I couldn’t see anything as I looked out into the blackness.   I ran downstairs, unlocked the door (don’t want to get locked outside in my undies at midnight), grabbed a flashlight, slipped on some flip flops and busted out into the driveway, ninja style (only if a ninja was a hairy, pale white guy wearing nothing but flip flops and boxer shorts.

Now, my flashlight can light up the night.   I approached the barn and noticed that the barrels hadn’t yet been toppled.  I quickly turned and scanned the yard, encountering a pair of glistening green eyes about 40 yards away.   The eyes turned and ambled toward the woods, as my beam lit up a shape that was distinctly porcupine-esque.  It could have been a beaver, I guess, or a badger, but porcupine makes the most sense given the history.

So the probably-porcupine is now 50 yards away at the edge of the thin woods, and he stops and turns to face me.  I took a few quick steps toward him, then paused to regroup and strategize.    I’m standing there, Sparta-style, pondering my next move.  Do I grab a rake and charge him?   Try to blind him with the flashlight?  Fire up the chainsaw?   Sanity got the better of me and I settled for an intimidating snarl, and returned to the house.

Impressively, I manged to avoid locking myself out, avoid getting eaten by mosquitoes, avoid tripping as I was ninja-ing around in my flip flops, and avoid incurring the ire of a porcupine who likely would have gotten the better of me at the moment.

porcupine saga to be continued… (hopefully not, actually)



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