I used to think raccoons were cute. You know, those adorable, fuzzy scavengers with the masks and striped tails that go on animated adventures with Native American Disney princesses who sing. Well…
My boyfriend and I went to Laughlin and were hanging out by the riverwalk on a mild autumn evening at the northernmost edge of town near the boat launch and fishing area. It’s a peaceful, beautiful little area despite the strong fish odor. Well, as I was waiting for him to lock the truck so we could descend the stairs from the parking area to the actual riverwalk, I spotted a pair of cute little raccoons.
“Oh look,” I exclaimed excitedly and pointed. “Raccoons.”
As they scurried away, while we were descending the steps, he told me about the scads of raccoons which he encountered whilst living in Lake Tahoe. “You know,” he began, “raccoons are evil little fuckers. They aren’t afraid of anything and will chase after you if they feel threatened.” Then he pointed ahead of us at the, oh, four others in the area.
Well, if you’ve read anything I’ve written, you know that I scare easily, and my mind immediately wanders through my own personal compendium of worst-case scenarios I store in my brain.
Let the trepidation begin.
As we continued our walk, one of the little fellas started walking our way. Well, running our way. Needless to say I booked up the grassy knoll waiting for my impending demise with brave boyfriend following closely behind.
The raccoon then disappeared down the short embankment and into the foliage by the water. “He was just trying to get to the water and wanted to make sure we weren’t too close.” Um, yeah, okay.
We then continued on our slightly-less-than-merry way until he spotted a few more raccoons ahead of us: on the grass, on the sidewalk, and one on a trashcan. I scurried up the concrete slope of the boat launch to the safety of a nearby casino parking lot, all the while glancing behind me to ensure he didn’t get attacked. Not that I would run down there to assist because, you know, big strong man can defend against a few pesky vermin. Further, I didn’t have my gun with me, and didn’t want to get close enough to pepper spray the little monsters.
About an hour later, after walking along the safe confines of the concrete walkway behind the various hotels, we decided to return to the vehicle. He, of course, was headed toward the stairs down to the deep underbelly of the raccoons’ lair while I, in true coward form, begged to walk through the parking lot (opting that getting run over by a Hummer would be a far better option than facing the mob of evil raccoons.)
Actually, what is a group of raccoons called? I did not know as I have never seen a Jeopardy! question addressing the topic. I mean, I know a pod of whales, a colony of bats, a gaggle of geese, and my favorite, a murder of crows.
After consulting with Wikipedia, however, I learned that the correct term is a gaze of raccoons. A gaze? Seriously? Obviously the person in charge of naming hordes of animals has never encountered a herd, well, a gaze, of territorial evil raccoons. A stare would be more appropriate. A long, protracted, evil, I’m-going-to-bite-your-Achilles-and-give-you-rabies-you-motherfucker stare of raccoons is more like it.
But I digress.
Anyway, we sat atop the concrete steps near his truck, lying on our backs watching the clouds morph into various odd shapes while illuminated by the almost-full moon when, after a bit, I saw him turn his head ever so slightly to look past me. “What are you looking at?” I asked.
“That raccoon on the grass beside you,” he replied. Haha, very funny.
Needless to say I jumped up and ran for the truck while my dear, loving, protective boyfriend laughed his skinny ass off.
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” ~ James Herriot