I don't like critters. Sorry my vegetarian friends. But I don't. So sue me.
That's why I chose to live in a city environment. Too many snakes and frogs and lizards in Florida for my liking. And in college, too many random gators. Yes, I know, ha, ha...I went to University of Florida, what could I expect. But seriously, the campus was crawling with the real ones. Anyone else remember the baby gator living in the pond by the student union? And I never understood why anyone went on romantic walks around Lake Alice....how romantic would it be if you stepped on an alligator? No thank you.
I realized once I got to the city that it has its own share of wildlife. Namely, the dreaded mice. When I first got here, I stayed in the NYU dorms where they had so many of them, you literally had to step over them. Then there was that mouse I accidentally toasted in our apartment over on 14th Street. After that, I thought it was a good idea to get a cat. It was. Didn't see any mice for about a dozen years.
But mice are nothing compared to raccoons, as it turns out.
So we have a lovely roofdeck that's perfect for watching the sunset on summer evenings. One night, A. went upstairs with a popsicle, my husband and my sister's boyfriend. She came running downstairs, claiming to see a raccoon. Ha, ha, I said.
Really, she insisted. My sister's boyfriend snapped a picture to prove it. We figured it was just lost. Visiting. Wouldn't happen again.
The next day my husband went upstairs to check on the roof deck. Our raccoon friend had apparently invited a few friends over. They were taking a sunbath. These tough Brooklyn raccoons saw my husband and basically gave him the finger.
Our neighbor went upstairs to check out the situation and snapped a photo of one of the raccoons in our chimney. You know. Making itself right at home.
A: I think raccoons are cute. I'm glad we have a new pet.
ME: This is not a pet. This is a dangerous animal.
A: No, it's not. SHE POINTS TO A PAGE IN HER SNOW WHITE BOOK. Look. This raccoon helped Snow White.
ME: Snow White's an idiot. She took a poisoned apple from a witch. Please don't try to pet the raccoon.
A: I KNOW THAT!
This is followed by an eye roll. Awesome. Love those eyerolls.
It was time to call in the big guns. A trapper. Of course, this is NYC and everyone is trying to make a buck. All the trappers know that the city folk cannot possibly handle something like this themselves. Heck, we can't even carry our own groceries...how can we be expected to catch a wild beast? You'd be surprised the numbers I was quoted. Our fellow coop neighbor found the cheapest guy in town. Mike the Trapper. He placed and baited the traps. And lo and behold, the first night out, he caught something.
He came the next day to pick up the raccoon. I wasn't sure what to expect. A big strapping guy in a plaid shirt, perhaps? He would most certainly have a beard. Don't all trappers have beards?
Instead, a little old guy came huffing and puffing up our steps.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: You need an elevator.
ME: Yes. I know.
I was a bit worried Mike the Trapper was going to collapse.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: You're pretty. You Italian?
ME: No. Sorry.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: Too bad. You're almost pretty enough to be Italian.
Now what is the proper response to this?
ME: Let's go get the raccoon.
We went upstairs. The metal trap was moving around on the roofdeck. Inside, a 20 pound beast was thrashing around, teeth bared. Mike the Trapper looked terrified.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: Oh sh*t.
He picked up the trap by the handle.
ME: Um...you're not going to open that thing are you?
The raccoon growled.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: Well, I guess I shouldn't release it.
ME: Definitely not.
The raccoon was now trying to pick the lock open with its teeth.
ME: Maybe you should bring it downstairs.
Mike picked it up. The raccoon continued to hiss and spit and basically act like Linda Blair. This guy wasn't going down without a fight.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: I think it might be rabid.
ME: Okay, then. Let's get it out of here.
MIKE THE TRAPPER: Lots of raccoons around here. And bats.
At this point, we are near our apartment. A. poked her head out.
A: I want to see the raccoon.
A: Can we visit it at the park sometime?
MIKE THE TRAPPER: I'll be back tomorrow with more traps. Are you sure you aren't Italian?
Still not Italian. Still hate critters.