It’s one of those beautiful nights in the Hamptons. Black velvet sky studded with stars. Still warm enough to leave the top down on the car as you and your fabulous companion motor home from an incredible dinner, night out with friends or the ever-popular fundraiser involving potent designer cocktails and cute little goody bags. Life is perfect.
And then, you realize—you are not alone. None of us is. Something huge and furry has just scampered across the road. And it wasn’t alone.
Yes, there is an abundance of wildlife in the Hamptons, and I’m not talking about what goes on at the Stephen Talkhouse at 2 a.m. Of course, you love nature. That’s why you’re here—the beach, the fresh air, the sweet sounds of birdsong waking you in the morning. But there is another side to nature in the Hamptons…a dark, creepy side. [expand]
After watching a seemingly endless parade of raccoons, rats, possums, fox and deer go bounding past, it seems pretty clear—nature is on a mission to either freak you out or mess up your car.
Of course, we all know about the deer. They’re cute, they’re adorable and they have a nasty habit of leaping out of nowhere directly into the path of your headlights. If you don’t slam on your brakes, it’s going to be bad for you, the deer and your car. But, at least the deer aren’t out to get you, unlike some of our other Hamptons fauna.
I got the following text from a friend.
“They got my Silkies right out of my backyard.” At first I thought she had said selkie, which is a mythical creature somewhat like a mermaid. It sort of made sense, although it seemed hard to believe that you could keep them in your backyard.
So, I called her, just to get a little more information. It turned out that Silkies are a breed of chicken. “It was the raccoons,” my friend said, darkly. “They’re getting out of control. Who knows what they’ll do next?” She went on and on about the raccoons, telling story after story of raccoons eating their way through plastic garbage cans, wooden fences, and other assorted atrocities.
Now I’m really upset, and not just over the murder of a bunch of innocent chickens. Weird mental pictures are forming in my brain. As a person who grew up in the city, I have always found raccoons very scary. Yeah, I know people think they’re kind of cute, with their monkey-like paws and that adorable little bandit mask. They also look like freakish aliens when they scurry across the road at night, their eyes glowing like they’ve been possessed by demons. Sure, today they were content with taking out a couple of ornamental chickens. What if they started to escalate?
Could a bunch of raccoons take down a grown man? Or dog? A small dog, sure. A small dog would be no match for a demonically possessed raccoon. The average raccoon in my neighborhood could easily turn a Shih Tzu into Shih Tzu tartar. But a grown man? It would take a lot of raccoons to overpower and drag off a full-grown man. They’d have to be organized, too. There would have to be a raccoon leader, someone the rest of the raccoons respected and trusted with their lives. With good leadership, the raccoons could take over the Hamptons, systematically slaughtering anyone who stood in their way. Who was going to stop them? The wild turkeys? Ha! Everyone knows they’re stupid and gullible. They wouldn’t stand a chance against an army of fierce, food-washing raccoons.
By now, I just wanted to get off the phone so I could start gathering up canned goods and bottled water, and barricade myself in the basement with the children. The raccoons are coming! The raccoons are coming!
“What should we do?” I asked my friend. “How can we stop them?”
“Well,” my friend said, philosophically, “I guess I’ll just build a better coop and order some more chickens on line.”
I promised myself to return to an urban setting ASAP, where all I’d have to worry about were rats and roaches. But then, I went to the beach and forgot all about the raccoons. Because I was way too busy worrying about the jellyfish.
P.S. Raccoons have never been known for their organizational skills. And they’ve never attacked as a group. So, no need to worry. But you weren’t worried anyway, were you? [/expand]