Woman v. mephitis mephitis

By Kerry Hoffman

There are a lot of things that can bring a smile to a farmers face.

Looking at that first sprout of corn can brighten a day. Running the combine through that corn the following fall also makes for a great day.

Actually, the smells of living in the country can also bring a smile to ones face.

The smell of cow manure when Steve and I were driving along the southern shore of Hawaii made both of us smile, grin and take deep breathes.

It so reminded us of home.

On the other hand, when we smell skunk, it causes us to cry and get frustrated.

Such was the case Wednesday afternoon. After awaking from my power nap, I spied a mephitis mephitis, which is the scientific name of a skunk and translates into “stench,” snacking on grubs or something a miniscule 30 feet from my house.

Being that I was home alone, I knew I had to annihilate the little bugger on my own. Because I was wrapped in a napkin-sized bath towel, I quickly ran to my room to retrieve some appropriate clothing for skunk hunting.

I mean, nobody hunts skunks in a towel, even if the plan is to shoot him from the front-porch doorway. I knew that if I went outside to fire off the shots, I may not have time to get out of the overwhelming odor.

I quickly dug through my wash basket in search of a proper shirt and pants for my big adventure.

I tossed aside an Oxford University sweatshirt; too nice.

I threw a plain long-sleeve blue T-shirt, a scarf, (which I deemed totally inappropriate for half-nude skunk hunting.) and a heavy brown fleece.

Aha, I found it – a regular, pretty-pink T-shirt emblazoned with the Pink Panther, a pair of gray and pink underwear and my favorite pair of Carhartt jeans. (It’s always good to match.)

Perfect! I felt like the sister of Buck McNeely. Where’s my big gun?

I prepared my weapon. Russell received a .22 caliber rifle from my father for Christmas.

It was perfect.

Once the gun was locked and loaded, I very, very quietly opened the front door so as to not disturb that striped mephitis mephitis.

Thankfully, Russell’s rifle .22 has a scope on it, or I would have most likely missed the vermin. I was shooting at the widest part of the skunk his butt but that didn’t ensure a proper hit with my aiming.

I knew I had to peg that stink bomb off in one shot or there would be smell to pay. At this point I was unaware if a skunk will release scent upon death.

First shot off a hit! But he stood on all fours and wobbled like Foster Brooks in a drunken skit.

Second shot off a hit. The little bugger had the guts to raise his tail directly at my house.

Third shot came off a bit faster.

A skunk pointing its tail at anything is a threat to be taken more seriously than a severe weather warning.

Third shot was the final blow to his derriere. He flopped to the ground. I stood in the doorway for a millisecond before that smell reached my nostrils and I slammed the door shut.

The worst part of it is thisLilly got herself back into the house after she threatened another skunk the following morning. Now my whole house smells like skunk and I have to figure out how to fix it.

Mephitis mephitis, you make me want to cry.

Not because I am sad, but because my house smells so bad that my eyes are burning!

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

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