This afternoon my mom called to check in. The fact that she called isn’t unusual, and the conversation itself was pretty boring. Then she says, “Oh hold on sweetie, just a second.” Then I hear coming through the phone, “Oh, yeah, no, its, like, impaled. There’s blood everywhere, but I don’t know how bad it actually is. I’m on my way over there to check right now.”

Wait. What?

Fortunately, no one was murdered. A raccoon fell through the ceiling and landed at just the wrong angle to end up impaled on a shelving unit, as raccoons are wont to do. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first, or even second time that this has happened.

My mom owns a building in the historic district of a small town in Texas. When I was growing up we lived on the second floor and a Mexican food restaurant lived in the downstairs industrial space. This was great, because it meant we got the first breakfast tacos of the morning whenever we wanted them. This was not great, because those very same breakfast tacos were a scent-magnet for all sorts of nasties and vermin. Usually they just nosed around outside. Every couple of months or so we had an exterminator come out.

Then one morning, we received a frantic call from the restaurant owner that there was a critter in the dining area. Anita, the lady that owned the restaurant, wasn't very fluent in English, and kept talking about a "rodent." My mom, thinking it was a mouse, armed herself with a trap and a phone call to the exterminator and headed downstairs. My brother and I followed behind, eager to watch the carnage.

We arrived downstairs and Anita pointed us to a dimly-lit corner of the dining room. We were greeted by matted fur, beady eyes, whiskers...and motherfucking fangs. We'd been betrayed by the language barrier. The "mouse" wasn’t a mouse at all—it was a giant-ass possum, and it was on a table hissing at us. The possum and the table were both covered in the dusty remains of a plaster ceiling tile; from what we were able to gather from Anita, the thing had fallen through while she and her employees were setting up for the breakfast rush.


We wasted no time barricading ourselves in the kitchen, where we stayed (my mother, brother, myself, and the three restaurant employees) until the exterminator came and rescued us from the red-eyed menace.

I live an oppossum hate life.