I want to go to the top of a really tall building, take a leak, finish, zip up, and then have my pee hit the ground. I want my entire pee to be airborne. Man I love beer.
The Ozette Raccoon Incident, pt. 4
Before we ever saw the raccoons, we had been well aware of their presence, thanks to all the loose, nasty raccon shit strewn across the boardwalk. Knowing what I know now about the raccoon personality, I realize that they were deliberately using it as their personal toilet. Hell, to be honest I would have done the same thing. Then again, I have a mean streak.
But nobody actually spotted a raccoon until after the rain let up and we took advantage of the opportunity to visit the beach. As usual, I was slowest in getting ready, and was sitting alone on the tarp floor lacing up my boots when a stealthy rustle caught my attention. I looked up, and saw a raccoon creeping toward the shelter, trying to look as cute and innocent as possible. It froze, and I expected it to scurry away in fright as our eyes met, but insted it resumed its progress toward the shelter.
This was a new one by me - having grown up in the woods, I had had many encounters with animals of all sizes; as a rule, they turn tail as soon as they encounter a human. "What a brazen little fellow!" I thought, amused by this charming bit of harmless clowning. Then I realized he was going after our food.
"What a brazen little fellow!" I thought, amused by this charming bit of harmless clowning. Then I realized he was going after our food.
"Hey!" I barked, and took a step toward the raccoon. This had the desired effect, and he darted back into the salal...for about 30 seconds. This time he moved with a stronger sense of purpose, and when I repeated my maneuver he didn't even flinch, just kept steadily advancing on the shelter. I began to feel a touch nervous. Clearly, stronger measures were called for, and this time instead of just feinting, I shouted and ran directly at the little beast. Again, he turned tail and disappeared back into the salal.
"Well, that's that," I thought, and resumed knotting my bootlaces. I was eager to get out to the beach, where I could hear the unmistakable sounds of Fun I Was Missing Out On. Just as I finished, however, I heard another rustle. Looking up, I saw the same raccoon â€“ now joined by a second, at the other edge of the clearing. Shit! Reinforcements!
It was obvious that if I left the shelter, disaster would ensue â€“ the store of Buddig ravaged, piles of raccoon scat on our sleeping bags, soggy, foul-smelling pillows. I realized the security of camp was in my hands. I charged the first raccoon, shouting, then shifted direction toward the second once the first turned tail.
Again, they re-emerged almost immediately. Now a third joined them, and I could tell I was being sized up. This time, when I charged, the first one hunched up, bared its teeth, and hissed menacingly at me before retreating. What most people don't realize about raccoons is that in reality they are miniature, foul-tempered bears. They look cute as all get out when they want to, but a hostile, bile-spitting raccoon is nothing to be trifled with.
I was growing increasingly jittery at the thought of these aggressive little beasts. What if one circled around behind me while I chased another off? What kind of weapons did I have at my disposal? I was hit with the realization that a Swiss Army knife was essentially useless in trying to menace a raccoon, and managed to find a downed tree limb to use as a crude bludegoning tool.
Cursing and waving my club, I paced a yard in front of the shelter as the gang of raccoons advanced. For the moment, they weren't bold enough to rush me en masse, but as it grew darker I knew that was coming soon. I kept them at bay with an occasional rush, but noticed that whenever I did so the furthest would try to sneak in behind me. My head fairly sang with paranoia, and they sensed it â€“ all 4 of them, for another had joined the pack.
Probably only 10 minutes passed before someone finally came back to see why I hadn't made it out to the beach, but it felt like forever. Predictably, upon hearing another person approach the raccoons melted back into the underbrush, undoubtedly taunting me as I unsuccessfully attempted to convey the gravity of the situation and received only jeering dismissal in return. But later that night, nobody was laughing at me.to be continued
The Ozette Raccoon Incident, pt. 3
Although the fury of the storm had abated, its lingering presence kept us nailed in place within the falsely comforting confines of the shelter. Though only trapped inside by the weather for only a few hours, dementia and hostility set in with alarming rapidity. A Buddig-fueled psychosis settled on our embattled group of campers, and behavior that started out as merely erratic and unpleasant quickly spiraled out of control.
I can remember being first shocked and dismayed as I realized that Cabin Fever had descended upon us with such lightning speed. Then (as is the Way of the Fever), all perspective departed me and I became not only convinced that I was the only one thinking clearly, but angry at the others. Still, I was hardly the worst offender.
That honor fell to Justin, who served as the prime example of The Guy You Aren't Going to Tell Next Time You're Planning to Go Camping. To explain why, I first have to take a detour down Wetwipe road. The one bit of sanity - and sanitation - in our possession was a cylinder of wetwipes that someone, undoubtedly KillJoy, thoughtfully brought along. (It didn't do much to balance out her buzz-killing presence, but I'll give credit where it is due.) No matter how foul and grumpy you felt, the cool, faintly antiseptic freshness of a pristine wetwipe did wonders for your mood. You'd swear it was removing not only grime and Buddig grease from your face, but your sins as well. For a few moments, at least.
Of course, even a pleasure as transcendent as the wetwipe eventually turned against us.
Every few mintues, it seemed, someone would request a wetwipe â€“ they were about the only thing you could get Buddig slime off your hands and cheeks with. Unfortunately, what began as a polite request: "Could I have a wetwipe, please?" soon degenerated to "Gimme a wetwipe," and finallly just "Wetwipe." Justin, who was annoying even under the best of circumstances, instantly latched on to the opportunity that had presented itself.
"Wetwipe. Wetwipe. Wetwipe. Wetwipe. Wetwipe. Wetwipe," he repeated, over and over, with the sparkling eyes and facile grin that he usually reserved for when he knew his picture was being taken. "Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe!" For the first minute or two, we just ignored him, but in the dank and gloomy confines of the storm shelter, this amazing display of patience was bound to crack.
"Shut the FUCK UP!" shouted someone, it doesn't matter who.
"Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe!" He redoubled his efforts.
After 5 consecutive minutes of "Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe!" it was clear that violence was called for. "Fucking! shut! up!" I screamed, and started hitting him as hard as I could in the arm. Later, I wished I had just cut to the chase and punched him in the nose, but I wasn't thinking clearly either. Remarkably, this didn't seem to slow him down a bit. He simply absorbed the punches by tipping over sideways, still repeating "Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe! Wetwipe!" as he rolled over. Even KillJoy crossing her arms and giving him The Look, which usually instantly curbed whatever juvenile behavior he was engaged in, had no effect.
Finally, order was restored by threatening to cut him out of the Buddig loop. But the damage was done, and a simmering air of hostility permeated the camp. It was clear now that it was everyone for themselves. Packs were retreived and jealously guarded. Food, booze and dope were jealously hoarded. Suspicion and paranoia reigned.
It was just the opening the raccoons were waiting for.to be continued