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So Mom and I are sitting around drinking wine and finishing up a movie on Pay Per View - Cinderella Man, which is kinda safe, kinda so-so, and a hundred percent Ron Howard. It's late Friday night by now - really Saturday morning, around 1 am. Our giant black lab Chuck is snoozing by the fire, and the two weenie dogs (Rascal and Daisy) are curled up in a little weenie ball on the sofa. Bailey the asthmatic, developmentally disabled pug is contentedly snoring alongside the weenie ball. Percy Peanut, the pampered obese chihuahua, is sleeping on Mom's lap. All is quiet in the peaceable kingdom.

Mom's spending all her days (and most of her nights) up at Elizabeth's house taking care of baby Lucy while Bit teaches school, so she really enjoys her Friday nights these days. You know, she has a few glasses of wine, watches a movie, looks forward to sleeping in on Saturday morning. Dad's in Arizona on a golfing trip, so it was just us girls getting our drunk on and kicking back on a sleepy Friday evening.

So Mom's all relaxed and I'm happily tipsy and the movie is winding down when we look out the window right by the front door, and what do we see but a fat baby skunk. Now, we're country folk. We're pretty jaded about wildlife in general and skunks in particular. All summer we had a giant honkin' daddy skunk come visit almost every night to scarf down the day's leftover cat food, so you'd think we'd be immune to skunky charms. But this is a baby skunk, which of course ups the cute factor by at least a gazillion percent, give or take a metric fuckton. Plus, we're kind of drunk. We oooh and ahhh over this new baby skunk. So stripey! Such a cute little teeny head!

Well, the cat food's pretty much tapped out, so the industrious little booger actually *opens* the small aluminum trash can we use for Chuck's food. With its teeny little paws! So adorable! Mom and I swoon. A *smart* baby skunk! The dog food can is just outside the front sliding glass door, and the skunk's only about a foot and a half away from the door. He's got his cute little stripey ass and tail sticking straight up in the air - I mean, this guy is in heaven. He's found the mother lode of midnight snacks.

Then yours truly gets the brilliant idea to grab the digital camera and snap a few pictures! I try to take the first one through the glass, but the flash reflects terribly. So I carefully and quietly sliiiide the glass door open. Skunkiepoo is so intent on his dog food buffet that he doesn't even flinch when the flash pops.

So I snap a few pics and close the door, very impressed by my mad National Geographic nature photographer skillz. But it isn't quite enough - I decide that I want a few more pictures - this time with the zoom lens.

So I ease the door open again. Skunkers is still snacking. Just as I'm snapping my last picture, our rotund 9-year-old chihuahua Percy gets wind of this odd creature and perks up. In one not-so-fluid motion she scrambles off of Mom's lap, runs between my legs, and tears after the Cutest Skunk In The Known World.

I'm petrified. I can't close the door too quickly for fear of spooking the skunk, but icy horror snakes up my spine as I realize that Percy's already done a fine job of that. My nice warm wine buzz evaporates as I survey the situation. The baby skunk startles but - thank God - no spray. So I scream at Percy to get her fat ass back inside. But if you've ever known a chihuahua, you know they are the most stubborn beasties this side of the paparazzi.

Percy completely ignores me and races after the skunk as fast as her stumpy little legs and dime-sized paws can carry her. Mom's stunned. I'm not sure what surprises her more - the skunk being spooked or the realization that our fat, sendentary chihuahua can actually move so fast.

And then it hits me: the stench. The overwhelming, nauseating, impossible-to-get-out-of-the-carpet reek of pure skunk oil. Yep, Percy Peanut's taken a full load of skunk musk smack dab on her puny snout.

So she yelps and comes flying back inside. The skunk miasma spreads. Percy's sneezing and reeking. The weenies are all stirred up, and they're barking at this foul-smelling chihuahua. Chuck and Bailey lift their heads at the commotion but are too lazy to move. They glance over at us and immediately resume their snoring contest. I try to grab Percy but she runs up the stairs into the kitchen and hides under the table, spreading eau de skunk everywhere. I yell at Mom to get Percy and run to the computer. I know from other weenie-dog skunking incidents that the old tomato juice thing doesn't work for shit, so I google up "skunk off dog".

The first hit says that a chemical weapons engineer came up with a foolproof de-skunking recipe. It calls for an entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 2/3 a cup of baking soda, and a tablespoon of dish soap. I run to the bathroom, hoping beyond hope that we have a bottle of peroxide lurking in the medicine cabinet. We do!

By now Mom's managed to collar the squirming bundle of fatass chihuahua and toss her in the utility room sink (after, of course, Percy's run all around the house and wound up cowering on the dog blanket, which is on the sofa). Mom desperately starts to run warm water all over the dog while I mix up the de-skunking potion. You're supposed to sponge the stuff all over the dog and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing it off. So I grab a sponge and begin to swab the mixture all over squirmy shrieking snarling Percy.

Ever tried to mess with a chihuahua's snout? They don't like it much. I found out that they like having dish soap around their eyes even less. But we hang onto Miss Fat Squirmy Princess Dog long enough to let the peroxide mixture seep into and neutralize the skunk oil.

All I can say is thank god for chemical weapons engineers. Damned if this magic elixer doesn't completely get rid of any trace of skunk smell. So now we have a (bedraggled and indignant) chihuahua that smells like baking soda, which is about 500% better than skunk musk, let me tell you.

But we also have an entire house that is suffused with skunkiness. Also, one of our cats got caught in the skunk's crossfire and has managed to skulk into Mom's room to lounge on her bed. It takes us several minutes to figure out why skunk smell is wafting from her bedroom, but when we do we quickly hustle Opie the cat out the back door and Febreeze the shit out of everything in sight.

So we spend the next half hour laughing hysterically and gathering up all the throw rugs, the dog blanket, Mom's cat-skunked comforter, and all the towels we'd used on Percy. We toss the skunky wad in the washing machine, then we Febreeze everything in the entire house. We're crying by now, we're laughing so hard. I mean, you gotta laugh.

It's about forty degrees outside and pouring down rain, but we have every window in the house wide open. The skunk smell has almost completely dissipated by now - we *think* - it's hard to tell because our noses are completely used to skunk musk by now.

Mom and Percy and I have just come down off of our collective adrenaline rush and are heading to bed, where we'll probably sleep until noon.

Dad gets home from his trip tomorrow afternoon. He's called every day since he left to get the day's report. Until now it's been All Quiet on the (Very Far) Western Front.

We have a good story to tell him.

Just another quiet night in the country.

White Day haiku
Underneath the sheets
Now would be my shower time
But for her perfume
Slipping through the dark, the chill getting at every exposed surface. A diligent effort to grind itself to the bone. Not exactly March weather. The fact that we are doing 90 with all the windows rolled down doesnt help. A slight fog in the distance only helps concrete the dream-like quality of the vision. After all when was the last time a dream interspersed with reality putting to rubbish a non-existent line. My hand hangs limply out the window slipstreaming to the rush of air. Up - down - up - down goes the motion on and on. Me oblivious to it all.

I let my thoughts wander.

2130 was what the clock on the dashboard read when we passed the last human civilization. 2148 is what it reads now. Unless I am mistaken they dont quite have a tendency to lie so this I will accept without subjecting to the usual round of questioning. Leaving no room for doubt.... but the mind refuses to acquiesce. After all a spark is more than sufficient when there is already lying nascent the fuel.. Searching / waiting / hoping for its liberator, its life, its true essence, its finality.

The thoughts are indeed a jumble.

They had a generator going which explained the profusion of light. Some sort of celebration. Apparently the place doesnt have a sizable vote-bank which explains the lack of basic amenities. Big Brother just cant be bothered enough. The age old tale doesnt fail to dissapoint - you scratch my back, I scratch yours. Only trouble is my nails fail to make a mark. Lots of people out on the streets in their best clothes. One of the few times each year that they get to see each other in their best finery under the glare of an artificial light. Does it help beautify or does the white light only help cloud the vision imagined ? Somehow the artificial light only helps cloud an already blurred vision. Or so me thinks.

Now just plain cynical

But then what of being cynical for the person who is so all the time. It is no more an attribute, a phase but rather a base instinct which is now part of the package as a whole.Clutching at lost threads I endeavour on. Sitting in the car I realize my mind is in knots. A plain refusal to think straight, cruising the bylanes to avoid the gridlock on the freeway.

Round and round,
A quick glance at the ground,
Havent quite spun enough..

All I want to do is let go. Of what ? -- I am not quite sure. That doesnt stop me from wanting to let go every waking moment. 2153 and the lights of the town are upon me. Five minutes or so and I will be home. But alas that is the last place I want to be right now. An irresistible urge to go on, god knows where, keep the pedal to the metal. Trouble is, I am not the one driving. So sit silently I must letting the wheel-man take me where he will. I know the final destination but yet fantasise about alternate routes leading nowhere. A path not taken..

I seem to be getting nowhere,
More importantly, I do not know WHERE do I want to go.

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