Our dogs Suki and Sammy were barking up a storm in the back yard a little while ago at 1 a.m. and wouldn’t come in when I called, so that could mean just one thing: possum. I went out and looked, and sure enough they had one “cornered” on the fence.
I say “cornered” because it was five feet in the air where they couldn’t reach it and it could have escaped in either direction on the fence or jumped into a tree on the other side, so it had plenty of avenues of escape, but it was frozen in fear. Cornered, as it were. So I shooed the dogs back inside and came out with a camera.
I’ve been telling Zoe a serial bedtime story for the past week or so, making it up as I go along and throwing little bits of our lives into the story and ending each night with a cliffhanger. One of the characters is a possum named Eloise. In tonight’s episode, Eloise is currently at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport being interrogated by Homeland Security agents on suspicion of trespassing, impeding in the operation of a jet, and maybe terrorism. So clearly she’s not here, but that’s not important right now — Zoe’s going to love it when I show her a picture of Eloise in our own back yard.
It hadn’t moved an inch in the time it took me to get the dogs back inside, block the dog door, go pee (I really had to go), find the camera, and come back outside. So it was out there in the dark, all alone, free to make its escape for at least five minutes. And it was still there. So it was really scared. But there it was, so I shot a few pictures of it. And it hardly moved while I was taking the pictures, so I took it a step further: I stretched out and grabbed the tip of its tail. No reaction.
It felt like a carrot, sort of. Or maybe a rope. Or a ropey carrot. Whatever, it felt like a possum tail, and if you don’t know what that feels like then I guess you haven’t lived as exciting a life as I have. For I am He Man, Puller of Possum Tails.
After that I figured I had scared it enough, so I went back inside and left it alone.
Ten minutes later Sammy was back out there again, barking her head off again. The possum was still there. Maybe it’s just stupid.