The Curmudgeon eased the rifle up and over the log. He didn’t know if bears got rabies or what but whatever that bear was doing was unnatural. Also, he couldn’t figure out what was going on with the skunk at the bear’s feet. Was the skunk diseased as well? Was there a single disease that would affect both a skunk and a bear?
Bart the bear was still stomping back and forth and by now he was infuriated to his very core; “Bear lives matter! Bear lives matter! Bear lives matter!”
At his feet Sammy, who had a hair trigger on a good day, had turned his own dial to eleven. He was on the verge of exploding. It’s a little-known fact that skunks can increase their spray’s strength and capacity through practice and focus. In terms of spewing liquid revulsion, Sammy was already the best in the business. Having spent hours screaming about the injustice of all things and especially how dogs are racist he had built up an unprecedented charge of spray. If you looked at him closely, he was bulging at the sides. His fur was puffed out. The pressure within his bowels was far greater than he had ever created before. He was proud of himself and anxious to use his newfound powers.
“Racist dogs steal our food! Stink them up!” It wasn’t much of a chant but Sammy didn’t care. The upcoming raid on the apple tree would be amazing! He wished Bart would hurry up. He’d have to spray that dog soon or he’d burst!
Mr. Curmudgeon was conflicted. Should he shoot the skunk? Should he shoot the bear?
On the one hand bears are large and can be dangerous. Just that morning one had surprised his wife in the backyard. That was a vote in the pro-shoot bear category. On the other hand, bears are just woodland creatures and this morning’s bear had sensibly run away when the dog barked. Plus, bears make tasty eating. Best to encourage any sort of edible wildlife that hangs around.
Yet this bear obviously had some sort of brain disease so it was probably not safe to eat. Proper bear behavior would be to wander around eating berries and whatnot. Stomping back and forth roaring at the sky just didn’t make sense. Even so Mr. Curmudgeon held back. He liked bears in general. He’d never had much problem with bears, even while camping. He wished his Google search had given information on whether this bear was contagious and should be eliminated from the population. Maybe it was just a stupid bear? Maybe it stepped on a hornet’s nest? It was hard to tell.
Skunks, on the other hand, are nature’s terrorists. You couldn’t coexist with them because if they got in your sheds and wood piles their stink would ruin everything. He thought about the family of skunks that had moved under his barn. He tried to discourage them with loud radios and laboriously sealing all entrances. It did no good. In the end he had to shoot all of them and even now the barn still had a bit of a funk when the weather was damp.
He didn’t like the “war of the skunks” when it had happened and he was still bothered by it in retrospect. For one thing, the mother skunk had pushed the little kittens out one at a time over a period of several nights. What kind of mother does that?!? Also baby skunks look just like kittens. So cute! Nobody wants to shoot a kitten! He had a terrible fear he’d have to answer for killing anything that cute when (if?) he arrived at the pearly gates.
But skunks never quit causing trouble. Just a few days ago he had to chase a skunk away from the cat food. It’d taken some clever shooting to get the thing off the lawn without killing it. He didn’t want to shoot a skunk on the lawn. That would stink up everything. Maybe this was the same skunk that nailed the neighbor’s dachshund? That poor thing had been sprayed so badly it hadn’t been let in the house for months.
Yep, that was the right decision; kill the skunk first and see what the bear does. He drew a bead on the skunk and adjusted his breathing. The skunk looked messed up anyway. It was bloated or something. It looked kind of almost spherical.
He let out half a breath and eased off the safety…