It was a homeless cat feeding day
I was driving down towards the
mostly heartless city early,
less chance of getting yelled at
or ticketed that way
I passed a skunk by the side
of the road. I figured he was
already frolicking at the Rainbow
Bridge, and I had to get to the cats
so I kept driving. After putting food
out at five locations, on my way back
I saw the skunk again and pulled over
just in case he was still with us here
on this mostly heartless Earth.
His head was upright. No blood and
he seemed intact. I cursed our maker
for doing this to the skunk and for
doing this to me again. I decided that
he needed help more than I needed to
maintain my present smell, so I pulled
work gloves and a paper shopping bag
from the back seat. I put him (or her)
in the bag. A cop pulled over and
asked me if I needed help. Then I cursed
the worthless inhuman trash that
hit the skunk and all of those that drove by.
The officer smiled and called me by name
though I never gave him my name.
He suggested I call a local wildlife center.
He even gave me the number. I explained
the skunk’s plight to the lady there, and I offered
to pay. She had to ask someone else if they
could be of help, and then she came back on
and gave me another number. Long story short,
I called number after number: wildlife rehabbers,
animal emergency clinics, etc. One voice after another
told me to call this other number. One voice told me
that it would be illegal for me to try and keep the skunk
in my county. I told him that I live in my
own country and that his county could go________.
Finally, I left a voice message to a lady
who I was assured would help. I put the
skunk in the trunk and drove to the pet store.
They didn’t have any skunk food, and after I
watched a few online videos and learned that
I should syringe feed him some honey and other
stuff, no one at the pet store would help. The
ugly young lady manager there explained that
skunks are considered “nuisance animals.”
As I fed him in the carrier in my back seat,
a bee attacked, and I cursed God once again.
The skunk ate a little honey I bought at the
supermarket and some chicken broth too.
It seemed that a back leg or both were broken
Those front legs were swinging those long claws at me
but I couldn’t blame him. I hid the carrier with him in it
under my porch. The skunk rehabber messaged back and
told me to put a blanket over him and to swirl an egg in some water.
She also said that she was going to a family function and that
she would call me back in a few hours at which time I
could head over to her place with the skunk.
I looked at the comments at her rehabbing location.
One stated that she never called the commenter back.
I didn’t have any eggs. I collapsed on the mini mattress
in my room because I was exhausted and it was getting late.
A few hours went by with no call back, so I got in the car
and headed out to her locale with the skunk. He was
starting to shake. I fed him again. His face reminded me of
the face of a dearly departed cat who passed only days before.
We drove and drove. After nearly two hours we arrived at a
A car with windows rolled down sat in the drive. I knocked
on the screen door. The wooden door behind it was open.
A dog with a healed hole in his forehead ran along the fence
bordering the driveway. I went back to the car. Under the
garbage bag and shirt I put over him, the skunk
was shaking worse than before. I tried calling and texting
the skunk rebber lady.
Finally, I found her Facebook page and left an emergency
message. I pulled the carrier out of the car and tried feeding
the skunk again. Then the lady appeared from out of her front door.
I had envisioned her as a sweet old Aunt Bee, but she was an
ordinary-looking middle-aged lady with a crazed look on her
face. I realized that I’d been moving very slowly, so
I explained to her in my meekest voice that I wasn’t drunk
(I wasn’t), just very tired
because I’d been up since 5:00 am.
She started in on me. “THAT’S my life EVERY DAY.
I TOLD YOU THAT I WOULD CALL!” I explained
that because it was such a long drive and the skunk
was shaking, I thought I should get a head start
driving. She continued to harangue me. Then she
explained that she’d been at a family function to
celebrate the memory of her dearly departed son
who had died one year ago that day. I expressed
my regrets, but she hadn’t mentioned that on the
phone, and the skunk was shaking. And there was
literally no one else. There on her lawn, in front of
the shaking skunk in the carrier, as I stared into her grief
and anger crazed face, as she continued to dress me down
and inform me that she had already cared for 129 forlorn
skunks this year alone while she help down her job,
I realized that she was a Saint driven nearly mad because
most people were heartless and wouldn’t help skunks, so
the burdens all fell upon her. I remembered my dearly departed
cat and continued to wonder if I could have done things differently
and saved him.
I realized that I did not feel the presence of God
I started shaking and crying aloud, and no manly efforts
on my part could stop my tears. I blubbered that I was sorry
but that there was no one else. She softened when I told her
about my cat and handed me a form to fill out. There was a
blank for donation. I asked her how much. She said, “Whatever
you want” then “Don’t worry about that.” I gave her 5 twenties and
said through my tears that she deserved much more. And of
course she did. She said that was generous of me and picked
up the skunk in her blanket just like he was a baby. I thanked God
for the lady.
She said she would call me. I said that I would adopt the skunk if
he makes it. She said she would call. She never called.