I promise this will be my final raccoon column - maybe ever.
Well, perhaps not ... but I promise it will be my final raccoon column this week, anyway.
So, my fears became reality a few weeks ago when the raccoon living under my back porch decided the house was a much more cozy place to be.
If you recall, the raccoon living under my back porch has been doing so for some time. I have even grown a small affinity for the little masked bandit whom I nicknamed, simply, Toaster Strudel.
He is so named because upon our first meeting on the very same aforementioned back porch he was wearing an empty Toaster Strudel box on his head like the mask of a pro-wrestling costume.
I can just hear the ring announcer now as the little woodland creatures gathered around ... "And, in this corner, weighing 28 pounds and covered in wiry, grease-covered hair ..."
Then again, ol' Toaster was probably more driven by that final lick of that oh-so-tasty sweet white frosting than a desire to take on Hulk Hogan the Hedgehog.
But hey, it definitely spices the story up.
Okay, back to the stinky animal crawling into my house because it was more cozy than the cold ground under my back porch.
"I gotta do something about that stinky animal living in our house," I told my girlfriend Kathi as I rummaged through the basement clutter in search of my Have-A-Heart trap.
"What an appropriate name," I thought as I swung the trap's outer doors to their upright and locked position and plopped it down on the back porch next to the trash bags torn open by tiny pro-wrestler paws.
"Because I do Have-A-Heart."
After what I assume was Toaster's first experience with a long car ride, I placed the trap on the ground and approached it with the careful hesitation given any pro-wrestler confined to a two-by-six steel cage.
"There you go Toaster, be free ... " I said, as the "Born Free" theme song played in my head and a tear stung my cold cheek.
Toaster sauntered slowly from the cage, climbed the nearest pine tree and looked down. Then, he growled at me as if to say "thanks for nothing."
So, I grabbed my 12-gauge from its hiding spot under the back seat, pulled it to my shoulder and filled the filthy little dog-eared varmint full of lead.
"Ha, ha ... ha,ha,ha ... ha," I cackled as the stench of gun powder hung heavy in the air.
Okay, not really. Toaster is my chum and maybe, just maybe, he may return the favor someday.
Not the part about locking me in a little cage, but the free rent, "Born Free" part.
Now to deal with that hedgehog ...
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. His column appears weekly ... very weakly.