I think I’m being haunted. By a possum. And it’s really pissed off.
|Looks angry, doesn't he?|
Let me begin by saying I am not a natural animal person. I scored that trait from my father, who, through years of family dogs, has avoided using their names, instead titling each canine with descriptors like ‘New Dog’ and ‘Little Dog’. Until recently it had taken an outrageously cool or unusual animal – like a cat called Mouse, a Schnauzer that urinated in everyone's bedroom but mine, or a Staffy that only ever ran away to local brothels – to garner my affection. But lately I’ve developed what can only be described as some sort of… dog cluckiness. It’s appalling, and it’s begun to spread out through animal genres – I found myself admiring a ferret the other day.
Despite my varying degrees of interest in animals, I’ve always been particularly careful of them on the roads. That stems from a formative incident almost a decade old…
(Cue time warp transition, over-saturated tones, Black Eyed Peas singing ‘Where Is the Love’, and me standing in a University dorm looking exactly the same because, much to Mother Painefull’s chagrin, my wardrobe really hasn’t changed much.)*
I was but a fresh-faced youth in my first year of university, blessed with the twin inadequacies of being 17 and unlicensed. While the first left me banned from Uni Bar, the second curse was what had me begging lifts off dorm mates when it came time to visit the Parents Painefull in The Dor. I scored that very first lift from a fellow student, a country lass. Now I thought this would be an easy fit – after all I went to boarding school with several such lass’s, and thus, unwillingly, speak fluent Garth Brooks. I was not to know this one young woman happened to be Deliverance on Wheels. Not even her reinforced, bull bar toting ute made me doubt my travelling companion. Only when she sped up on the road 30 minutes later and collected an innocent magpie, before declaring “It’s kill, or be killed!” did I realise I may have been out of my depth. That was the first animal road fatality I had ever witnessed. Needless to say, I spent the next 3 years of my life valiantly avoiding this person.
(Back to present day. Yes mum, I’m wearing the same pair of jeans.)
So the other week, on a dark, traffic-filled night, when I accidentally clipped a possum stranded in the middle of the road before leaving it to its oncoming green-light-cued fated, I was reminded I was a truly terrible person. The dry retching I did on the side of the road 3 blocks later did nothing to assuage my guilt.
Then, over the weekend a strange sound began emanating through the street. At first I thought it was a woman screaming (Fun Fact: It’s not), then I thought it was a bird. Now, I realise, it’s clearly the possum… haunting me. While I speak Garth Brooks, and some Whale, I don’t speak Possum, so I’m not entirely sure what it’s saying. Admittedly this could be cabin fever talking, or a brain tumor, or in fact a bird, but really, isn’t a creepy, vengeance-fuelled ghost possum a much more likely answer?
Not since my duel to the death with a spider on the staircase have I been so concerned about animal retribution. Worse still, this grudge might have gone interspecies. The white rabbit that roams free in the yard down the street has been giving me a much more glaring, beady-eyed look of late when I stop to admire him**.
|Now they're all looking at me... and they know where I live|
I can only hope this is simply the beginning of some Dickens-style scenario, in which case The Ghost of Possums Past should be done soon (probably to make way for The Ghost of Unemployment Present).
* = Anyone a Cold Case fan? You’re not, are you mum. Cold Case is a show filled with flashbacks and era bound music. They solve cases… that have gone cold. They have a name for those cases that are cold… but is escapes me at the moment.
** = That might also be due to another incident, in which I pulled up in my car beside said yard and screamed “The rabbit’s there” at my traveling companion, only to realise he had his passenger window down and I had essentially screamed at house itself… which happened to be open for inspection… thus I screamed at two innocent families… who stared at me while I reacted instinctively by both ducking and looking around as if seeking out the source of such strange yelling. Both of those tactics are hard to pull off when you’re sitting in a car in the middle of a quiet street.