This story is about the time that my cousin and I decided that we were going to hunt and kill a skunk. When I was about 14 years old, my neighborhood had a terrible problem with skunks roaming around at night and stinking everything up.
My mother exacerbated the problem by throwing donuts into the neighbor’s yard at night. This intentional treachery was meant to keep the neighbors trapped inside their home so their cigarette smoke wouldn’t waft into our windows as we were slumbering. She would frequently chuckle secretively to herself while purchasing Sweetwaters’ baked goods, which I’m sure made the cashiers doubt her sanity (as they should).
While the donut scheme did manage to contain the neighbors within their domicile successfully, it also brought the skunks onto our patio with increased frequency. They would waddle under the fence with great amounts of bravado, their fluffy tails waving like banners as they squabbled over the donuts.
After a particularly skunk-filled weekend, my cousin and I decided that we were going to kill the skunks.
Now, when I visit my cousin and his fiancée these days, it’s not uncommon for me to stumble over a pile of handguns on the stairs or find myself gazing at an accumulation of Glocks next to the fish tank while I’m munching on my breakfast cereal. Almost a decade ago, his propensity for firearms was already quickly developing.
Obviously we decided that my cousin would be the one to kill the skunk as he was the owner of the pellet gun, and I had no experience with a weapon whatsoever. After twilight, we took a Big Gulp cup into the back yard, set it upon the hill, and my cousin commenced with target practice. Having decided that he was sufficiently skilled in slaughtering Seven Eleven stemware, we began the search for the skunks.
A small herd of neighborhood children was running amok at the playground as we passed through the pine trees quietly. The frantic scream of the rusty merry-go-round was matched in volume by the raucous cry of the teenagers and their younger accomplices. As my cousin nonchalantly slung his gun over his shoulder, I shook my head in distaste for the parents who would let their children run around in the middle of the night fully unsupervised. The irony was lost on me.
I inquired among the troublemakers seeking knowledge of the skunks’ whereabouts. I sifted through their slang and almost indecipherable stream-of-consciousness speech, determining that a skunk had been sighted within the last hour or so.
At that very moment, a young girl screamed and pointed to the south. A small black and white animal was waddling across the dew-kissed grass parallel to the playground. My cousin immediately lined up the shot and fired. The skunk’s tail twitched as the bullet grazed its tip. All at once, a whirlwind of children sought to flee from the park. The skunk disappeared in the uproar as we were jostled aside in the departing kids’ haste.
We returned home momentarily to regroup and plan out our next move. My stepdad eyed my cousin’s pellet gun with a suspicious look.
“What are you kids up to?” He inquired with a grim look; the only adult all night that had bothered asking armed children why they were armed.
After informing him of our plans, he declared that we must eat anything that we killed. We promptly decided to call an end to our skunk hunt.