I don’t know if you know this, but possums are neighborhood predators.
There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who think they’re really great animals. Apparently they have some special body temperature range that makes them immune to rabies and they carry their babies around in a pouch. A friend of mine actually found a dead possum on the side of the road once, inspected it, and found four little babies still alive. She raised them, and I learned something very important: they start out cute enough.
That was not my friend’s possumlet, by the way, but they looked sort of like this. Like mice with big noses and speckled ears. She had a fleece toy that she had the little ones cling to and it was all very heartwarming. Aww, look at that. She’s got a little bow on her head and everything. Then they grow up. And they turn into THIS.
This was the sort of possum I saw at our family’s farm when I was a wee’un. They scuttle. They scamper. Then when you catch them at whatever they were up to, they turn around and hiss at you with a mouthful of nine hundred razor-sharp teeth that look like they have rabies in every micron of enamel. And they are never up to anything good.
When I lived in Chicago there was a massive possum in our neighborhood. I am not joking, this thing was the size of a Shih Tzu. I got my first glimpse of it when I was walking home and thought I saw one of the community cats chilling under a car. I squatted down to say hello and a horrible thing lumbered out at me with its mouth open. Naturally, I ran screaming like a little girl. Sometimes I would see it hanging out on the porch with that cat. I’m not sure if they were really friends or if that cat was just scared to death of the possum and doing the whole smile-and-nod thing until it left.
Once I was walking home, minding my own business in the fall, when I heard a rustle in the leaves. There were piles of leaves all around and I shrugged, thinking nothing of it. I had a hookup to get to, and I was thinking about my panties. Until I nearly wet them when I saw something leap out of the leaves like a huge, furry dolphin. I screamed and started running. I couldn’t see it, but I could hear that possum running under the leaves like one of the creatures from Tremors.
Movie madness only got worse when I saw the damn thing darting along between trees. I swear to god it was invisible, and I was on the set of Predator. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that thing had dreads when it popped out the last time, but I never had to see it. I ran into the house and shut all the doors and windows until I was certain it wasn’t looking into my apartment.
For days after that, I went the opposite way around the buildings on my way home. I carried a small stick to beat it away if necessary. I started going in my back door until a massive spider showed up and made a web that blocked my access to the back door. I am pretty sure this wasn’t a coincidence.
Direct quote from a friend in regards to this whole sordid affair: “Why do you live in Terrorville?”