— Rabindranath Tagore
Indian Playwright & Essayist
Inspiring poet Robert Burns understood life when he surmised, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
But my plans had nothing to do with mice.
You last read about this masked leviathan of the wild a couple of months ago. If you missed it, here’s a fast rewind. An uninvited guest to my backyard who preys upon unsuspecting bird feeders by robbing them of their tiny seeds, this ring-tailed predator adds insult to injury by snaring the tubular feeding stations from their hooks and grinds them to rubble with razor teeth and marauding dark fingers.
True to his disguise, this furry fellow is a bandit.
A rather big bandit.
The night I witnessed his silhouette dancing across the lawn, I thought it to be the shadow of a pterodactyl sweeping across the face of the moonlit sky. But then I stole a glimpse of his ringed tail. This was no pterodactyl. As I am told, those winged dinosaurs flew without ringed tails.
This was a raccoon.
A massive raccoon.
A nocturnal monster — one whose scary folklore is best told behind locked doors. Yet, this was not lore. This was real — a dreaded beast of which legends are born.
My plight quickly reached the ears of the pest control professional who services our home quarterly.
“Are you sure it’s a coon?” he quizzed, still donning his white uniform in the middle of a workday and brandishing the weaponry of his trade — a canister filled with chemicals and a spray gun.
“Not just any coon,” I corrected. “This is Kong. Coon Kong. He has no equal.”
“I can trap him,” the bounty hunter offered. “I won’t charge you a dime. I do a lot of huntin’ with my dogs so that coon can help train ’em.”
I felt remorse.
“But I don’t want him hurt,” I frowned. “I just want him gone. He pays no attention to my ‘No Trespassing’ signs.”
“Coons can’t read,” Dog told me.
“Oh,” I nodded. “Then do what you’ve got to do. But remember. He’s big. Gargantuan. He eats trees and uses the limbs for toothpicks.”
“I’ll take care of your problem.”
Dog returned late in the day and set his wildlife trap. He baited it with a Honey Bun ... didn’t catch the brand.
“You’re gonna need a bigger cage,” I warned. “Ever see that shark movie?”
“No worries.” Dog was sure of himself and this could be Dog’s undoing.
That night I peered out the back door watching in silence for the darkness to spring to life.
It did. I flinched without knowing. My barrier from the night-walking beast was a locked glass door. I was safe.
But he was out there. Kong stalked this midnight.
I couldn’t see him.
Nor could I smell him.
But he was there.
As sure as the Boogeyman haunts the sleep of tiny souls, Coon Kong breached the dark shadows.
Spotted the cage.
Picked up the scent of the pastry.
And stepped cautiously toward his unknowing fate.
The surrounding night lay still.
“That raccoon’s never gonna come around with you standing there gawking through the door all night!” came the shriek from behind.
Removing my fingers from the ceiling tile, I dropped to the floor and back into my house slippers.
Regaining my composure with an embarrassed grin, I told my wife, “Shhhhh! Kong’s out there!”
(Editor’s Note: “Coon Kong Chronicles” will conclude next week).