Pirate, thief, burglar. VARMINT.
I've got an uninvited guest in the barn.
He's got whiskers and a striped tail like our cats, but he is not a cat. He has little hand- paws.
He's a sneak.
Where is he? When I turn off the radio, to listen to the sound of the horses chewing, I can hear something else, and I'm not the only one. We can all hear him sniffing.
We know if we wait long enough he'll be coming back.
If I hold still long enough, he'll think I'm just another inanimate object in the barn aisle, and he'll sneak his way towards the cat food bowls, where Larry and Moe wait to tell him off.
You think you know what racoons look like, but to see one for real, this close up, is a surprise. It's not a cat. It's not like a dog. It's not what you expect. The ears are rounder, the eyes are small black marbles close together in the wide pointy face. They are cute, but somehow, wild and kind of horrifying in an indescribable way. (You should click on the picture to see this face.)
You don't realize what those tiny shiny black eyes are like until you get this close, and you'll only get this close by waiting quietly, then standing so still, only your thumb moves to touch the button on the igadget to take the picture. The only sound you can make is breathing. I was this close to an animal who'd prefer not to deal with my kind. This is not a cute pet... it could be rabid, it could be defensively dangerous.
And they're just a nuisance. They steal anything they can get their little hand-paws on. And they crap. They crap dog-sized turds anywhere they want, usually where we don't want it. They take stuff apart. They can take garbage can lids off, they can reach into containers; nothing is safe from a determined racoon.
I wish I didn't kind of admire them.
I mean, look at the little scamp. "What's in here?" Curious, and clever.
Indecisive too, and I can sure relate to that.
And I'm sorry, but he's so cute here. Without the glint of those close set eyes, he's an endearing ball of coarse fur. Little bastard. How is it that the ultimate criminal of the animal world has a mask on his face?
Persistent, too, which is usually admirable... damn you, pirate critter.
Most critters would literally high-tail it after tipping over the pail, but with his stealthy nature, he slinks away dragging his jail-striped tail behind him.
Persistence, or just curiosity? He can't stay away. He's got to come back. It's what he does. He's got to go get that illegal prize, whatever that prize is: cat kibble, garbage, it doesn't matter.
I'm not sure how I feel about this.