Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mice, coyotes and rednecks

I've been doing my best to keep the mice in the house under control. For a while there, they'd gotten mighty bold and were driving me crazy. They'd managed to get into kitchen cabinets that used to be off-limits, tearing into previously safe foodstuffs and leaving a mess that then attracted ants. I plugged up the new mouse holes but they just gnawed more of them.

I emptied all the cupboards and gave everything a good cleaning. All vulnerable foodstuffs either went into the freezer, fridge or plastic containers. For the first day or two, the mice merely gnawed on the plastic containers, leaving tiny blue plastic shavings which at least didn't attract ants.

Eventually, their numbers dwindled. I would go days at a time without a sign of a mouse in the house. Oh, I knew they were still there - but at least there were fewer of them. I can deal with a small population.

But the few that stayed behind are crafty, stubborn little fuckers - an emerging strain of supermice. Since regular food is now out of reach, they have gone to great lengths to find other things to eat.

About a two weeks ago, one managed to reach one of the higher bookshelves. It climbed a stack of books and stole all the corn kernel teeth from my Hunter S. Thompson Day of the Dead skull. It's nothing I can't fix but it still pissed me off.

A few days passed and then I discovered a mouse had climbed on top of a dresser and devoured the corner of one of my sugar skulls. This was damage I could not fix but it didn't really ruin the piece. In fact, I kinda liked how it looked with half of the lower jaw missing.

I can't help but wonder: Why am I compelled to make skully art out of food products?

I moved the sugar skulls to the fireplace mantle for safekeeping. Well, that didn't work. Some sly mouse figured out how to get up there. This time, it knocked the damaged skull right onto the floor where it shattered into more than a dozen pieces.

At first I thought simple gravity might be responsible. Perhaps it just tipped over due to the missing corner. But closer inspection revealed fresh teeth marks on the back of a second sugar skull and tiny turds near the base.

But I have a much larger wildlife worry now. Two days ago I saw a coyote in my yard. I was inside around 6pm when Della started barking. She rarely ever barks during the day. I poked my head out the backdoor and saw a large animal about 80 feet from the house. At first I thought it was a small deer but, when it turned to run, I saw a long tail.

"A fox," I thought. "A really big fox that wants to eat the chickens in my front yard." I grabbed my rifle and headed for the front porch (which should now be called the poop deck since the chickens figured out how to get up there). The animal was standing in the tall grass (I really need to mow more often), just looking at me. I took a shot and missed. It ran across the back field. I managed to squeeze off two more bad shots before it disappeared in the brush.

Later that night, I was looking up a little information on foxes and came to the realization that what I'd seen was actually a coyote. I knew coyotes were in the region, I've often heard them at night but this is the first time I've ever seen one. And while I always enjoy spotting new wildlife, I'm quite unhappy about seeing a big, hungry coyote so damned close to my house (and chickens).

I'm still flippin' out about this Sarah Palin thing. She's all over my TV, radio and computer. She's gonna be on Face The Nation this weekend. Tom Brokaw's talking about her. My beloved McLaughlin Group won't shut up about her. Michael Carey and Eric Croft are being interviewed on NPR and CNN is talking about Hollis French and Wev Shea. As an Alaskan-in-exile, this is some seriously weird shit.

It really makes me miss working at the recording studio in Anchorage. Election season was always my favorite time of year because my office was a nonstop parade of politicos recording TV and radio ads - from lowly school board candidates to that indicted troll, Senator Ted Stevens.

Hell, it really makes me miss Hunter S. Thompson. I would give my left tit to hear his take on this circus sideshow.

Politics is one of the most interesting things in the world to me but I have no one here in the boonies to talk to about it. I'm scared to talk politics with these people. The subject does come up from time to time but I'm never the one to bring it up.

I was happy when B.J. Boomhauer volunteered the info that he's voting for Obama. That was a surprise, considering he's such a redneck good ol' boy. He told me that the Republicans had fucked shit up so bad that there's no way he'd vote for one this year.

But before I had a chance to feel all warm and fuzzy about a Boomhauer Brother voting for a black man, I met a straight-out-of-Deliverance motherfucker that made B.J. Boomhauer look like Bobby Seale.

I'd only met this guy once - over a year ago. He recently stopped by to say hi when he saw me working outside. I don't even know how the presidential election came up in the conversation. Lord knows I wasn't the one to bring it up. But, seemingly out of nowhere, he said "If Obama gets in the White House, he's gonna tear up the rose garden and put in a watermelon patch."

Ummm...yeah... It's 2008 and this asshole's making watermelon jokes. I wanted to tell him the joke would be funnier if he said "arugula patch" but figured that he wouldn't get it. Instead, I lamely offered "He certainly can't be any worse than what we've had for the last eight years."

"Bullshit!" Mr. Redneck exclaimed. "Someone's gonna shoot that nigger." The conversation went downhill from there.

Mr. Redneck went on to explain to me how, in the wake of Obama's assassination, the country would descend into anarchy and chaos. All hell would break loose and it would only be a matter of days before people in the nearby cities of Birmingham, Montgomery and Atlanta ran out of food and supplies. Hungry, desperate people would descend on rural areas - like the one we live in - and good, God-fearing folk like ourselves would have to defend our property with our God-given guns.

He also said something about how black people should be grateful that we brought them over as slaves from the barbaric hellhole that is Africa and civilized them, giving them a chance for a better life. I couldn't even respond to this because I had trouble hearing him over the voice in my head, screaming "DID HE REALLY JUST SAY THAT? THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY HE JUST SAID THAT! NO WAY IS ANY OF THIS REAL!"

Ummm...yeah...It's 2008 and this asshole gets to vote.

I really wanted to ask him if he was going to vote for McCain and how he felt about voting for a ticket with a vagina on it. Instead, I quickly changed the subject. What the hell do you say to someone like that anyway?

Well, I guess I could've started with "Get the hell off my property." I apologize for being a gutless wuss.

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