a stinky little story


Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a little girl.  Yes, I know, hard to imagine, right?  Just play along….

I was perhaps 11 or 12 years old.  My sister would have been 7 or 8 at this time, but that doesn’t matter because in this story, she was at Mamaw’s house anyhow.

So back to me.  This was back in the day of the stereo.  If you were born after 1990, you have no clue what this is.  Go google it.  But anyhow, I had a stereo and I usually kept the radio playing at night.  Not loud, but softly because it helped me sleep.  I had my own room with these heavy thermal drapes on the two windows, which would help block out the street lamp that was just outside one of them.  We didn’t live on a street, we lived in the woods actually, so we just called it a night light, but it was one of those huge bulbs up on a pole that came on at dusk and went off at dawn.  That window was right behind my stereo and at night, I would draw the curtains almost closed so that only a thin shaft of light could come into the room and I wasn’t in total darkness.

This is important, trust me.

During this time, my mother had a ceramic shop in the basement.  You might not know what this is either if you are a post-1990 model person.  You can google that too if you want, but as you might have guessed, it was a shop where people could buy and paint ceramic chachkies.  It was all the craze in the 80’s.  Often Mom would spend hours upon hours down there because she not only sold the ceramics, paints and brushes, she also poured and dried her own pieces.  She was big-time into it.

She also had this thing…she couldn’t bear for someone’s eyes to be poorly painted.  Not their personal, real eyes, but the eyes on the various and abundant so-called life-like pieces of ceramic she sold.  We had Indians and cartoon people, Smurfs and all sorts of animals… rabbits, tigers, bears, beagles… you name it.  A lot of times people would just ask Mom to paint the eyes for them.  The type of people who usually did this were those who were too lazy or afraid to try doing it themselves, and granted, Mom liked doing it. But I suspect there were a few who knew that after everyone had gone home, Mom would go around and “fix” eyes on all the pieces left behind.  I think they either figured why bother if she was gonna re-do them anyhow, or they wanted to humor her.  I honestly don’t know.  It makes me laugh now to think about it, but I wonder how many were insulted by her doing that or perhaps so shocked at how well they had done on those eyes after they looked so awful last week.  Bahaha!

So anyway, that’s where Mom was on the night in question.  Dad had long ago stopped trying to get her to go to bed before the early a.m. and he had to work, ya know, so he’d just go on to bed without her.

Sometime before she finally came up to bed, I heard him out in the front yard making a horrific noise.  My dad is not like normal people.  SERiously!  There are SO many ways that could apply, but in this instance what I mean is that when most people get an upset stomach, they would go to the bathroom and do their get-sick thing.  But my dad?  Nope.  He goes out in the front yard.  Why?  I have no clue.  Maybe he didn’t want Mom to hear him?  Maybe he didn’t want me to hear him?  Possibly, but if that were the case, he probably should have shut the front door behind him then only the light-sleeping neighbors may have been awakened, but as it was, he left the front door open while he was ralphing all over the great, big, unsuspecting world.

So, in a bit, he must have come in, locked the front door back (because we are BIG door-lockers in my family—you don’t want any criminals getting in, do ya?) and went back to bed…and that’s where we were that fated night.  Like I said, my sister was at Mamaw’s so she missed the whole debacle, but me?  I was RIGHT THERE in the middle of the whole thing.

Actually, the “whole thing” came to me.

I think it must have been around 3 a.m. when an odd sound woke me up.  Like I said, I slept with my radio playing but unless the station went out or they played one of those god-awful “test of the emergency broadcast system” things, it never woke me up so I listened.  It was a kind of scratching sound and I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from.

I sat up and looked around the dimly lit room as best I could and shortly, I saw something move in the floor near the edge of my bed.

Oh yeah.  This sleepy head was ALL wide-and-awake now, you betcha!  I looked and looked, but had lost sight of whatever it was.

So remember that window by the night light and that shaft of light that fell into my room?  Well, about that time, “whatever it was” walked through that shaft and right under my bed…and I saw, quite clearly what was in my room.

IT WAS A SKUNK!!!!   AND IT HAD JUST GONE UNDER MY BED, PEOPLE!!!!!

I am SO not kidding!!  There was a real, live skunk wandering around in my room!  By this time, i had started hollering at mom down the hall. Not screaming or anything, just calling out to her.  That part of the house was layed out like this::  (be kind now, I’m no draftsman, obviously!)

So Mom and Dad’s room was basically at the end of the hallway from mine.  I knew there was no way that Dad would ever wake up, so I didn’t even try him.  Finally Mom came plodding down the hallway.  I knew she hadn’t been in bed long, but also knew she’d come because, love her heart, she always did…with my diabetes and my sister’s epilepsy, she never knew what might be wrong if one of us called out, so I hated to wake her.  But I knew we HAD to do something to get Mr. Skunk OUT of my room!!  At that time, yes, I had no concept or concern for the rest of the house, I just wanted that thing out of my room!

When Mom got close to my room, I said, “Mom, don’t come in here, just reach in and turn on the light.”  I remember being fairly calm and I have no clue why or how I was, but I just knew that I HAD to keep her from walking into the room.  I’m not sure why I didn’t just turn on the lamp by my bed other than I was probably afraid to reach beyond it at this point.

To this, Mom said, “What?” and I know full well she was thinking Crap, her sugar’s probably low again!   But I said it again, as calmly and non-low-blood-sugary as I could, “Mom!!  DO NOT come in here, just reach in and flip on the light.”  And to my surprise, she did it.  By that time, my dad was awake and standing in the doorway too in all his glory (that’d be his underwear)… he was mumbling something as I told Mom, “There’s a skunk in here.  Under my bed.”  I am cracking up as I write this thinking what in the world must have been going through their heads when I said that.

Possibly something along the lines of, “Good lord!  Other parents have kids who get scared of monsters in their closets, but no, our kid has to have skunks under her bed.  Maybe her sugar is really, really low…”  *laughing so hard now*  I just can’t imagine what, if anything in that sleep state, went through their minds.

Thankfully…sorta… before they had time to question my sanity, Mr. Skunk came crawling out from under my bed and aimlessly wandered into my closet.  See?  I TOLD YOU there was a skunk in here!

Mom and Dad’s mouths kinda dropped open and Dad swears they didn’t do this, but I remember him looking at Mom, scratching his head all the while and they both turned and walked away, mumbling to each other.   They just left me sitting there in the middle of the bed.  So, I did the only thing I knew… I jumped off the end of my bed what felt like a full 15 feet out into the hallway and ran down to where they were by the front door.

Apparently, they had hatched a plan by this time because Dad seemed to be determined and awake now.  I don’t know why it sticks out in my mind so much…my dad always slept in his “draws”…his tighty-whiteys, but for some reason, I have vivid images of him moving around, dealing with this ridiculous situation in his ridiculous Undieman “costume” and I can NOT remember this whole incident without seeing him that way.  Most often I would be like but that’s what I remember and so it cracks me up!! Every. Single. Time!

It wasn’t exactly like this, but just so you’re with me on the crack-up scale::

this is sorta Undieman, but not my dad, for certain!

In my recollections, I call this Undieman VS Mr. Skunk: The Epic Battle.  Yes.  I do.

So I stood there with Mom in the foyer, Undieman went back toward my room, turning on the hall lights and reaching in to turn off the light in my room.

In just a few seconds, we heard BOOM, BOOM, BOOM as Undieman came running down the hallway toward his and Mom’s bedroom and SLAM! as he slapped the door shut and right on his heels was Mr. Skunk and we soon heard the sound of his claws scratching on the bedroom door as he tried furiously to get to Daddy!

Mom and I were stunned.  I know, this is one of those ROFLMBO moments.  Trust me, I am with you, but at that time, we were just floored.  In a few more seconds the digging stopped and we watched, mouths hanging open as Mr. Skunk plodded back towards my bedroom as if he’d just tossed a cat out of the house.

About that time, we heard Dad yelling to open the front door.  We seldom ever used that door.  This was your typical 1980’s style house with a front door back in the “L” of the house in a little nook that was dark and never used except for an occasional nocturnal, environmental puking session and my wedding.  (but that’s another story!)  But their master bathroom window opened up right adjacent to the door, so Undieman could give us instructions from his prison-slash-bathroom, which was pretty convenient after all.  He said he was going to try opening the door again, so we waited….

We could hear the click and rattle of the door knob and apparently so could Mr. Skunk because he came flying toward Undieman again when SLAM! Undieman smacked the door shut again and again, there was a minute of furious digging and then…silence as Mr. Skunk strolled back to my his room again.

U-man was back at the window telling us to make some noise so we might lure him toward the front door.  In a flash, (seriously, I don’t know where she got that thing so fast) Mom now had a heavy runner, you know, one of those long hallway rugs, holding it longways in front of her like a shield.  I was supposed to be behind her, but I stayed slightly beside her so I could see what was going on.  We eased down the hallway a bit and started talking, I guess.  I honestly don’t remember the noises we made… but as we did that, we backed up to our previous position by the open front door.

Soon, here came Mr. Skunk, slowly mosying his way towards us…none of us saying a word.  He stopped right in front of me and Mom and looked up at us as if to say, “How y’all doin’?” and turned to head out the door.

I have no idea what possessed my mother at this point.  Some fierce she-bear thing or just a sleep-deprived adrenaline-fueled break with reality but she hollered “GIT OUTTA MY HOUSE!” and snapped that rug at Mr. Skunk’s behind.

I am TOTALLY not kidding you.

My dad almost passed out.  I can see him peeking out that bathroom window with a look of horror on his face as he said, “Are you crazy, woman??!!”   You know he meant business because Daddy never called Mom “woman” like that.

Mr. Skunk, on the prowl for another outdoor ralpher.

And so, that is how this saga ends.  Mr. Skunk went on his way.  He lived to terrorize some other unsuspecting soul, I suppose.  Undieman hung up his invisible cape and never battled Mr. Skunk again.

Although, there was that time a bat got in his room….

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