One of the first really warm days last spring, thing 1 and I were sitting on the porch. Thing 2 came bouncing up full of happiness as usual and bubbled, “That raccoon is really soft, Mommy!” It’s one of the few times in my life that I really couldn’t get words out of my mouth. My brain was working too fast: A real raccoon or a stuffed one? What raccoon would let her pet it? Does it have rabies? Oh god, she’s got rabies! She’s going to need to get shots! What do I dooooo??? Finally, I managed to pull myself together enough to ask if the raccoon was sleeping. “Oh no Mommy,” She burbled, “It’s really really dead!”
It was then that I found myself saying something I never thought I would. “New rule. No petting dead things.” Sadly, it’s not a rule that’s stuck.
I left the raccoon as it was until the kids were at school the next day. It seemed that the raccoon had being trying to get into the quanset shed, and had gotten stuck halfway in. I assumed it had a heart attack when it couldn’t free itself. Although I wasn’t overly disappointed that there’d be one less raccoon vying for my sweet corn, I felt sort of bad that it’d had such a miserable death.
In trying to figure out what to do, I decided to check on the raccoon from inside the shed. Unfortunately, the huge sliding doors would only open a little bit because there was a fluffy raccoon rear end blocking the door track. I managed to squeeze inside and found what looked like a trophy room from Elmer Fudd’s house. There was the front end of the raccoon with his tiny paws raised in fists, and his mouth and eyes wide open. He clearly wasn’t going to come out from this side as the largest parts of him were on the other side of the wall. So I went back outside, and tried again to free him from the back. Well, by “tried” I mean that I nudged him with my foot and he didn’t fall out of the shed. I thought I’d be a tough farm girl and handle it myself, but that lasted until I realized the damn thing was stuck and I was going to have to touch it to get it out.
So I called my brother. After all, it was his equipment stored in the shed and if he wanted to use it, he’d have to remove the raccoon to open the door. Unfortunately, he pointed out that he didn’t need anything from that particular shed until harvest, at least six months away. He thought the smell of used raccoon was probably going to be a problem for me before it was a problem for him.
Grudgingly, I agreed. I offered to pull it out and get rid of it, if he’d come and lift up the roof a little where the darn thing had gotten stuck. He came out with a shovel and we both poked at the raccoon with it for a while before he finally used it to lift the roof. Armed with two sets of rubber gloves, I pulled as he lifted and we got the darn thing out. As I was packing the raccoon up for disposal, my brother noticed the bare wires just inside the hole. That’s when we realized that through Thing 2 petting the raccoon, through me poking at it with my foot, through my brother and I poking at it with the metal shovel, through me grabbing it with my dual rubber glove system, all that time, we were messing with an electrified raccoon.