Saturday: I lazily lounged around the back yard watching Fraidy swim around and around… and around. I kept my eye out, hoping Marcus might come marching through the yard like he owns the place, like he does- no luck.  I hadn’t seen him in two weeks and the last time I saw him he looked terrible. He usually made his appearances on Sundays, but at this point I wasn’t holding my breath.

Sunday evening: I had just gotten back from the grocery store. More excited about making something to eat than putting the groceries away, I left the bags in front of the fridge and began to chop up vegetables. As the onions began to cook I opened both the front and back door for some air. The phone rang. It was my mom.  We started talking while I chopped vegetables. With the phone tucked under my shoulder, I picked up the cutting board and turned around to throw the garlic in the pan when, to my utter surprise and fleeting disbelief, I nearly tripped over a very large, tailless, raccoon.

Neither of us saw the other until we were just too close to not totally freak out. As far as Marcus could tell there was a wide open door leading to a bag full of glistening beet tops, kale and rainbow chard. Makes sense now, but at that moment he scared the shit out of me.  

“AaahaAAhahHhHHahHHAHAHAHAHHHH!” I gasped.

“What is it!?!” my mom asked.

“There’s (gasp) a (gasp)….”

He froze. I froze.

Get ooooooouuuuuut of here, Marcus!” I eventually shouted while backing away.

He looked totally surprised and rejected by my yelling. His head and shoulders slumped down and he gave me this talk-to-the-hand gesture as he turned away to leave. I was caught so off guard that I reacted quite dramatically but the simple fact was, there was a raccoon in my kitchen. I did notice how much better he looked. I hadn’t realized just how big he was until he was standing at my feet… in my kitchen- Big. Raccoon.

“Who the hell is Marcus, honey? Get out of your house! Call the police!” my mom ordered.

I flew out the back door barefoot and explained to my mom that this Marcus guy was just my raccoon. My concern was that I didn’t know for sure if he had found his way out or if he was hiding somewhere in the house, shocked and insulted, trying to gather himself before he had to face the world again. I got off the phone, grabbed my neighbor and a big stick and we scoped the place out together. As far as we could tell, Marcus had left.

As the neighbor and I were discussing what to do about my overly cordial, tailess guy the phone rang. Violet was calling from the airport in Baltimore, about to catch her flight home. She asked what I was up to and I told her that I had just had an unexpected guest stop by but that I kicked him out and that  I felt kind of bad about it.

She said, “Oh no. Who? Why?”

I said, “Because I only made enough pasta for one, really, and I’m assuming Marcus is not allowed inside, yes?”