It wasn’t like last time when there was a gun, a hunting party, and an illuminated kill zone. This time, I got ambushed.
It all started with a mesquite fire. Well, more accurately, it was a mesquite log, a few charcoal briquettes, two spent fire starters, and a bunch of burnt paper. The mesquite wood didn’t want to be on fire. It was like trying to burn a rock — the mesquite had no interest in my bonfire dreams.
Anyway, the fire thing was a tough sell, but I was doing my best with my lack of kindling, skill, etc. The mesquite just smoked and smoked and smoked. And the smoke was blowing around, wafting through the brush to my left. Waft … waft … waft … gentle smoke waves through the agave, mesquite, and other desert plants. Waft … waft … what?
Something is over there. I look left, nothing. Must have been the smoke. I look back at my pathetic fire. There it is again. I look left. It’s a skunk, ravenous with blood-lust coming right for me … at a nice, leisurely amble, its white stripe rising and falling like the waves of smoke from my fire. It was heading for the picnic table, probably so it could perch upon it and pounce on me like a professional wrestler diving off the ropes.
I needed to do something … but as Lisa put it later, if I got sprayed, I would die … from sleeping outside in the cold.
So I grabbed what I could — some gravel — and threw it at the skunk like Nolan Ryan pitching a nice lob at his girlfriend’s window in grade school. I didn’t want to spook it and make it spray; I just wanted to turn it around. And it worked. It retreated and hid in the brush until we were ready to go to bed later and it jumped right back on the table and we had to go through the entire battle royale all over again.