Skunk Capture


The truth was, Hank had run several plans through his mind and had settled on one.  As they entered the shed from outside, Hank instructed, “Take that box.” He was pointing to one of the cardboard boxes used to collect kindling wood. Art responded and turned the box quickly upside down spilling out a few sticks of wood.  They made their way through the ambling sheds that were attached to the New England styled house.  Soon they were both standing outside the shed door ready to capture the intruder.

Hank said in a low voice, “You take the broom and use it to help steer him into the box and try to keep him from getting under anything.  He seems to keep backing up trying to get out of the jar so you steer him gently into the box.”  “OK”, said Art in a near whisper.

Hank opened the door slowly, cautiously stepping in far enough to allow Art to follow him. Art closed the door tightly behind him hearing the click of the latch. The shed was dimly lit by the one window, so they could not see anything at first. Hank gestured with his hand for Art to stay put as he made his way across the shed to the light switch. Finding it he turned it on and both began searching for the skunk. There were a so many hiding places, there were boxes and baskets and stacks of newspapers, jars and bottles waiting to be washed in the deep sink. There was mother’s wringer washer and two set tubs, an ironing board and the old soap kettle now filled with miscellaneous junk.
Art was first to see the skunk.  He could see the skunk had backed himself in a corner made by two bundles of old newspapers stacked under a low shelf and against one wall.  Art said in a whisper, “He is over there”, pointing as he spoke, “by the papers.” Hank crept around to where he could see the skunk.  Hank said, “He looks like he is a little stupefied from lack of air.” To Art he said, “Give him a little poke, see if you can get him out of there.”  Art stepped forward and tried to get the broom behind the skunk. As the broom touched the skunk he exploded into action and at full speed.  He backed right up the stack of papers until for just an instant he was standing on his head in the canning jar then over he came still in reverse and at full speed. The suddenness of his movements startled Art and he jumped backwards.  His foot kicked the blue enameled canner and sent the lid to the floor with a crash and rattle.  The skunk turned as Hank made a lunge for him and missed. The skunk still in reverse, and flopping his helmeted head from side to side, careened into a collection of empty milk bottles like a bowling ball hitting a strike.

The “hunters” scrambled to get into position for the capture. At that moment from door that connect to the house Art’s mother called, “Are you alright?” Before Hank could answer, Phyllis said, “They are killing it, they’re killing it!” Hank replied calmly, “We are fine and so is the skunk.” While Hank was speaking he was distracted from the skunk, who obligingly backed right into the open end of the box. Hank stood the box up and folded the top shut. Hank then said loudly, “We’ve got him.” His face revealed his satisfaction in those words.  Art asked, “Dad, how do we get him out of the jar?


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