So anyway, until lately, everything in my nocturnal life was untroubled.
But the bad stuff began when I heard a loud splashing and thrashing in the canal behind my tiny abode.
As I listened so hard that my ears almost fell off my head, I told my chicken self that an aquatic monster probably wouldn’t leave the water long enough to tear through the screen and get me. I also secretly hoped that the Loch Ness monster wasn’t a fan of cellulite.
Another night I heard something heavy scurry through the leaves and plop loudly into the canal. Immediately, my imagination kicked into high gear. Would a huge alligator slither out of the water to nap under my car? Maybe a freakishly huge lizard was out there, resting under the porch steps after his little midnight dip in the canal.
To make matters worse, islands have no streetlights. It is so dark outside that I can’t even see the water, which is only a few feet away.
And so, even if I was brave enough to step out there and take a look around (which I promise will absolutely never happen), I would not see the deadly creature until it already had its razor-sharp teeth around one of my appendages. At that point I’d be paralyzed by fear and only capable of peeing my pajamas. So why risk it? Who needs the stress?
By the way, any time I see an animal chasing and mauling another one on TV, the channel is immediately changed.
This evening was the worst experience so far.
I lost my brain over the combination of new sounds in the dark ... hissing, growling and screaming. Yep, got a tad bit hysterical when I heard what sounded like a torture chamber. But finally, I mustered enough courage to shine a huge flashlight into the backyard. And that’s when I spotted big fat raccoons climbing around in the palm trees. Since I couldn’t decide whether I was listening to domestic problems between the coons or murders being committed, I googled the topic.
Guess what? Coons do occasionally munch on squirrels, which totally freaks me out. But apparently, this is also their mating season.
Here’s the thing ... I am one of the biggest cowards in America. I am not the Davy Crockett type, not by a long shot. I don’t want to see monsters of any kind. Ever. I hate any kind of killing. I don’t want to deal with anything dead. And I’m not very excited that raccoons have apparently chosen my backyard as their seedy motel, either.
And so, every evening before the weird stuff starts, I have resorted to wearing a pair of ear muffs, left over from Indiana winters.
Laugh if you must, but I am not a fan of the raccoon love fests. And I certainly don’t want to accidentally hear a homicide out there, either.
Yep, the stress is getting to me. I am just not the “Wild Kingdom” type of chick.
A former Southsider and an award-winning journalist and humor writer, Sherri Coner resides in southwest Florida. To learn about her books for women and to join her on Facebook, visit www.sherriconer.com. She also speaks to women’s groups.