This is a small town, and there are skunks about. Sometimes out for walkies at night, I hear coyotes yodeling in the distance. This is just part of living in the provinces, and not something I generally give a lot of consideration. Coyotes don't make it this far into town, and the 3 times I've seen a skunk within 5 blocks of my home, I've quickly reversed my steps and avoided enjoying the discord of its race.
One night this week, I was cooking and needed to run out to the market for an ingredient. I stepped out the front door, the cool evening air redolent of skunk, but still a little faint, as though it weren't terribly close. I shrugged, but looked around carefully before making my way to my car. Got in. Drove off. Came back, and was careful to sweep my headlamps wide as I turned in, looking for evidence of a skunk. No sign. *whew* I stepped out of my car and immediately my heart sank-- my oh, shit! is back. There was the very strong scent of very fresh skunk and very close by. I hoped with every fiber of my being to make it into the house without a stinky-squirty event. Yes, I moved with great purpose and economy of action and made it through the door, my heart hammering madly. I don't smoke, but I think if there'd been a nicotine patch handy, I would have slapped it on.
Speaking of skunks, this brings to mind my favorite of Ambrose Bierce's fables featuring one of these musky beasts:
A Needless Labour
AFTER waiting many a weary day to revenge himself upon a Lion for some unconsidered manifestation of contempt, a Skunk finally saw him coming, and posting himself in the path ahead uttered the inaudible discord of his race. Observing that the Lion gave no attention to the matter, the Skunk, keeping carefully out of reach, said:
'Sir, I beg leave to point out that I have set afoot an implacable odour.'
'My dear fellow,' the Lion replied, 'you have taken a needless trouble; I already knew that you are not a rose.'