Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: What's That Smell?
By Marie Fink
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The strong odor that wafted through the trailer was just one of the many strange discomforts of first time country living in a very old, nearly condemned mobile home. Military families learn to live in a variety of circumstances, but the problems usually didn’t have much to do with squirrels chewing through wires causing the vehicle to be towed, twice in two months. Neither did they require shoveling snow from a thirty foot unpaved pathway to drive anywhere. And even though all of the literature stated that if there was a sulphur odor coming from the propane furnace to ‘get out’, whenever this gutsy lady tried to let folks know about it, she was laughed at and told it wasn’t a problem. She had many sleepless moments over this issue and was extra careful to snooze with cracked windows even though it got very cold at night.
Clad in green camo, the youngster gave his mom pause as she watched him come running outside for the task at hand. He was growing up and going through lots of changes, all while his dad, his buddy, was away. Moving into the trailer was an unusual turn of events for this daring family. They had never lived in the middle of nowhere without a neighborhood filled with people, connected yards, and lots of other kids. Dad was gone for a year and they had an opportunity to live closer to the grandparents while he was away. It wasn’t the ideal situation, but it would do for cheap rent, free storage, and mostly: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
As the mom’s head cleared from the short daydream, she realized aloud, “We have to remove the metal ‘skirting’ first to make an opening for you to get in.” He slipped through the hole in an instant and became calm and still. Looking around slowly, he didn’t really want to encounter the sites he could possibly find. He thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll see a snake passing through? I better not be scared if a little field mouse or even a cat comes scampering by.” The flash light flickered and cast shadows across the dank expanse under the portable house. “What was that?” he asked himself as his heart raced faster. He focused the light upon the large dark spot.
He could barely squeak out, “Eek! A dead, a dead, a d-e-a-d RACCOON?!” “Uh, Mom? he spoke a little louder.”
“Yes, son, did you say something?” she quivered back.
“Uhmm, there are a couple of mice skeletons and a… You’re not gonna believe this. I think the smell is coming from a raccoon! He must have crawled in here to die?!”
“Don’t touch it! Move away from it, now!” With the flashlight and a mouse carcass in tow, the brave boy backed out quickly. A few cobwebs to dust off his hat, and twenty dollars richer, he solved the mystery of the horrible odor coming from under the trailer. His mom headed toward the phone to call animal control to help rid them of the poor decaying creature. When she hung up she was sure this escapade wasn’t the last in their temporary countryside home.
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