Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD (08/03/17)
TITLE: Black and White
By Raymond Bouchoc
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From his desk, he picked up his phone. Texting his wife, he said, “Honey. You’re not going to believe this, but we have a skunk in our back yard!” He sent the message and stepped over to the window.
Bryson banged on the window. The skunk turned and looked. He banged again, and it scurried away, descending into a small hole under Bryson’s shed.
Angie, Bryson’s wife, came down, and they both stared out the window at the hole. Every now and then a tiny nose poked out of it. With a flashlight, he and Angie continued watching after dark. Before long, two noses poked out of the hole.
“It looks like we have two skunks under the shed, a mommy and a daddy!” said Angie.
“That’s not funny,” said Bryson.
“They’re so cute, though. You have to admit.”
Soon, a skunk came out and waddled away. A smaller skunk followed, and its coat shone black and white, like the moon light.
After a few minutes, two more skunks appeared, and then two more after them, for a total of six skunks. The last four were smaller.
“Aww. A whole family!” said Angie
“How will we ever get them out?” Bryson asked.
The next day, Angie researched about skunks. She told Bryson that if they trapped one, they would have to take it at least 10 miles away. The other option was to block their access to the shed, and the skunks would leave.
That afternoon, Bryson constructed a one-way door made of plexiglass. He connected it to a small, wooden frame and secured it over the skunk hole. That night, Bryson and Angie watched, while the skunks put on a show. Angie felt like eating popcorn while observing them.
The first skunk pushed the plexiglass, but it slammed closed every time, spooking it. It took forty-five minutes for the skunk to finally push it open and get out. The other skunks tried to follow, but the door was just too tight. None of the others made it out that night.
“I guess I will have to try again tomorrow,” Bryson said.
The next evening the skunks tried again. The door was easier to open, but didn’t close tight enough. Eventually, the skunks made it out but were able to push their way back in.
The next night, Bryson tried again. This time he took the plexiglass off completely and let all the skunks come and go freely. At about 10:30 pm, they counted six skunks were out and about. Bryson carefully went outside and closed off the hole completely.
The next morning, Bryson investigated. The skunks couldn’t get in at their hole, but they dug a new hole at the corner of the shed. Bryson’s shoulders drooped like a piece of baloney held between two fingers.
All day, Bryson thought, and finally came up with yet another plan. “If this doesn’t work, I will just have to trap them one at a time,” Bryson said.
He dug a trench around the shed and laid a wire mesh. The mesh went from 3 inches under the ground to three inches above the base of the shed. It was a lot of work, but he managed to finish by night time.
He and Angie watched as the skunks came and went. They moved back and forth from the hole like the pendulum of a clock. At about 10:30, they were all out and wandering the neighborhood. Bryson sealed the door.
The next morning, Bryson saw a couple of spots where the skunks attempted to dig back in, but the mesh kept them out.
That night, Bryson and Angie watched as a couple of the skunks came in the yard and wandered around the shed. They tried briefly to dig underneath, but could not make it. Soon, they left.
After a few days, the skunks were gone. Bryson and Angie enjoyed the show during the week, and hoped their little black and white friends found a good home elsewhere.
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