For almost two years now, I've had something living in my attic that I cannot catch, poison, or even see. I have long thought that this varmint was a squirrel. The only problem with that theory was that the critter liked to move his attic furniture in the middle of the night, and squirrels don't usually do that.
Last night, I believe that I finally came face to face with my nemesis. It was no squirrel, oh no, not a squirrel at all. Squirrels are cute, sort of, and they make a good spaghetti. This thing is useful for nothing.
You have to understand the build up to this encounter. I have tried everything to get rid of this pest who keeps me up at night. We've tried traps, rat poison, boarding up the awning on the house, and we've even called the pest control to no avail. It's been like a bad Disney movie where the guy keeps being outwitted by some dumb animal.
So last night I open the back door to bring my dog's food into the house, and much to my fright, the nefarious creature is less than 6 inches from my foot eating my dog's food. It was an opossum, possibly the ugliest creature that God ever made. And, I kid you not, the thing hissed at me. It hissed! I just about died of a heart attack.
Fortunately, my girlie squeal was interpreted by the creature as a sign of hostility, so it retreated under my grill and stared at me. My first thought was to run into the house and grab my shotgun, but I figured that the gun going off at 11:00pm in my neighborhood might scare a few folks. Plus, the clever animal had curled himself around the gas tank of the grill, and I figured if the shotgun didn't wake the neighbors, then the exploding tank rattling the windows would surely do the trick.
So I did the only thing that I knew to do. I went and got my garden hoe. I didn't know exactly what I'd do with it, but I decided that if the beast went on the attack that this would be my best option. So there I was, hoe in hand, staring down my nemesis. I was only momentarily distracted by noticing that my wife was watching through the window. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I needed to act manly.
I stared at this opossum for a good three minutes, and for a moment, I pitied him. Yes, he had woken me up almost every night for a year and a half, and he had pilfered food from my beloved dog's bowl for who knows how long, and he had generally embarrassed me in front of my wife countless times already. ("Honey, what's that noise?" Me, "What noise?" Her, "That one, in the attic!" Me, "It's that creature waking us up again at 2am." Her, "Are you going to get rid of it or what!") He looked so helpless laying under that grill staring at me with those beady black eyes. So I did the only thing a man could do in that situation. I smashed him in the face with the hoe as hard as I could.
I couldn't really get a good swing at him, and that's what really irks me. It was really more of a jab than a swing, and I think the blow was partially absorbed by the gas tank instead of fully on his skull like I had planned. Regardless, he streaked out from under the grill and headed for my shop, which I can only surmise is the point of entry to the house. (The two are connected.)
But I wasn't going to give up that easily. I went on a savage rampage, swinging and striking at the scurrying, hissing beast like a maniac. I hit a tricycle, a Red Flyer Wagon, a box of sidewalk chalk, and one folding metal chair. I managed to graze him once more before he vanished behind the building, but I suspect I did little damage to him.
Though I managed to drive the enemy from the field, I do not know if I would call this encounter a total victory. I know that somewhere nearby, and sullen opossum is licking his wounds and planning his revenge. But last night, he didn't scurry in the attic for the first time in a year, and if he comes back, I'll have my hoe handy.
I am a pastor serving in my hometown of Albertville, Alabama. The greatest evidence of God's grace in my life are my wife, son, and daughter. One look at me and then my wife will tell you that her "yes" was a modern day miracle. Otherwise, I am almost completely mundane.