I originally published this July 5, 2010.
Manny (that’s what we’re calling him) and I attended the same church for several years and one Sunday between Sunday School and preaching service, he asked me about replacing a door in an oven. Now that was a bit of an unusual request and he could tell I thought as much once he saw the look on my face. Before I could ask why he needed to replace ONLY the door, he added, “All I really need is the glass.”
Apparently, Manny had engaged in some sort of mayhem and when I pointed this out, he turned beet red and spilled the beans.
The previous Friday night, in the wee hours of the morning sometime after dark o’clock, Manny’s new lovely wife Vicky (not her Christian name either) shook him from a sound sleep with news of an intruder of some stripe currently invading their home. Wide awake now, Manny lay still listening and, from the kitchen of the double-wide, came the sound of someone knocking over items.
Manny is not an especially brave man and he’s not an especially big man, but his wife was looking at him with big doe eyes that begged him for protection and, it WAS his house so, after a bit of deliberation, Manny reached under the bed where he kept his Ruger Single-Six .22 pistol. He cringed a bit when he remembered it only had the Long Rifle cylinder installed instead of the much more powerful .22 Magnum cylinder. He felt a bit cold as he realized he was going to be facing down a crazed and hardened, albeit toothless meth-head with little more than a pop gun. Still, he WAS the man of the house and this was one of those times he could shine in his new wife’s eyes.
He eased down the hall with his 6 D-cell Maglite in one had and his Ruger cocked and ready in his other. He could feel sweat sliding down his back and puddling atop the waistband of the ridiculous silk boxers Vicky had given him on their honeymoon. Entering the great room, he cursed the open floor plan he had insisted on buying, and dropping to his stomach, did a reasonable imitation of a commando crawl around the perimeter of the room until he reached the entrance to the kitchen. Then, adrenaline coursing through his veins; his heart pounding in his ears and throat, he leapt to his feet and brought the pistol up and switched the Maglite on, aiming both at the spot it sounded like the noise was coming from. At the same time, he bellowed out in his best NYPD Blues voice, “Freeze, you scumbag!!” He later told me “scumbag” hadn’t been his exact word, but he was relating this story in front of two deacons when he told it to me. Anyway, the tremendous beam of the Maglite struck the intruder squarely in the face and lit up two alien green glowing eyes.
It was a possum. A really, really big possum. It had apparently entered through Max’s doggie door, knocked over the trash can, and now was sitting on the kitchen table eating potato chips and leftover crusts from Little Caesar’s pizza.
Folks, at this time I need to bring two things to your attention. One, contrary to everything you’ve ever been told about North America’s only marsupial, “playing dead” is NOT the possum’s first line of defense. Her first line of defense is to suck in poop-tons of air to puff her body up nearly twice its normal size before letting out an unearthly sound of hissing while simultaneously baring some pretty impressive teeth. Two, she often waits to put on her defiant show of force, preferring to see what YOU are going to do first. Well, Manny’s first reaction was panic. He didn’t grow up in the country and pretty much thought possums were born dead in the middle of the road. Still, it WAS his house so he took a step forward and gave a strangled squeak intended as an intimidating war cry designed to send the toothsome creature scurrying back out the doggie door.
Apparently, the possum felt this was a threatening posture and so she did the suck-in-the-air deal with the open mouthed hiss, and she added a little twist of her own — she leapt off the table in Manny’s general direction. Fearing for his life at the onslaught of this ravenous possum, Manny swung the Ruger up to shoot but in his panicked state, his fire discipline left something to be desired, so his shot flew low . . . into the oven door glass which responded as glass in oven doors usually does when shot and exploded into millions of pea-sized balls of tempered glass.
The possum, being no great fool, took the moment to ease on out the doggie door and disappear into the gloom, leaving Manny, silk boxers now wet on the back AND the front, to sweep up the glass of the shattered oven door while figuring a way to explain the preceding proceedings to Vicky.
Take care, y’all.
Love you and remember to keep those feet clean. 🙂