The most amazing part, however, was after I put him in the hole. There was still blood on the spare tire, and a small, white spider came to investigate a clot. He touched various parts of the glob with his two long front legs to figure out what it was, and suddenly, after 4 seconds, he sprinted in the other direction. I mean sprinted as fast as a spider can go. By the time I realized what had happened he was gone.
When I first spotted him in the road, I prayed he wasn’t still alive. I pulled up next to him and opened my driver’s door to be sure. I don’t know what I’d have done if he were alive. Looking back on it, I hope I would have done nothing. Without a gun, there is no sure way to put something out of its misery without adding more violence and horror. Dying pain is bad enough without added violence and horror. I once heard a story from a guy who tried to put a wounded owl out of its misery by driving over it. It took him three or four tries. Don’t do that. It was hard on his kids, and harder on the owl. I was glad I wasn’t in a similar situation. I was with a small, cat-size raccoon. Obvious eye mask. Hit really hard. I don’t know how anyone can see such a site and not remove the animal from the intersection.
I pulled my car over on a side street and walked around to open the trunk of my Karmann Ghia. It’s rare I’m without various tools and car parts.“Hurumph.” A box of old brake shoes and a spare tire is a large contrast to a full trunk. Items in hand, I walked into the light of the intersection. My eyes were fixed on the young raccoon. I figured it was up to the other 1AM motorists to see me walk and crouch in the road. After I scooped him onto the spare tire I straitened and began to walk back to the car. I was aware of two cars that had stopped to let me clear the road, but while walking back I noticed one was a police car with its rear flashers on. A nod from me and observation by the newly-spirited raccoon. What a sight from above… The intersection was so well lit; No slow observational driver would have hit anything there. White streetlights, black pavement, red flashers, red tail lights, red green and yellow lights, red, running Ghia. Exhaust.
I pictured how it would be to be shut in the trunk. I thought how bad it would be to forget about him in there. I thought of how the sound of the road would be muffled. I thought about the thrill of twenty-five miles per hour. I thought of the horror right in front of me in my trunk. I thought about burying him in the yard next to the week-old grave of two baby birds. I didn’t think he would like the confines of a fenced in yard. The riverbank would be a lot better.
It’s not nature’s way to bury the dead. A human would be horrified if a well-intentioned animal placed a dead person in the sun to be eaten by flies, worms, birds and maggots. I didn’t want to offend the raccoon with a similar foe pa, so I tried to convince myself not to bury him.
I gave the little racoon a light grave—shallow enough for a fox to dig up. For some reason I wanted to take a minute to observe all the blood he left on my chrome spare tire. I guess it was because I was amazed at the amount! Poor thing must have just been hit. He had bled at death’s speed. I set the tire in some street lamp light on the wall separating nature and neighborhood, and looked closely at the clotting blood. Then along came a spider...