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Playing Possum

“Jesus H. Christ! What the hell is that?” I yelled. It was five thirty in the morning, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee. I was not at my best. I was not in high alert mode. I wasn’t even close.

Our dog, Bear, had a possum in her mouth. Or what I ascertained from the fur and long tail. And size. For those of you who do not live in possum country, let me educate you. They are the size of a cat, not a cute kitten, a full grown cat, with a long hairless tail, a prodigious snout and pointy teeth—lots of them. And IT was in our dining room.
“WTF!” ( you all know what I really said, but this is a family blog)I screamed and backed out of the kitchen and right into Layce.

“What?” Layce said. She wasn’t wearing her glasses, hadn’t had her first cup of coffee and wasn’t in high alert mode either.

“Bear has a possum!” I pointed as I retreated further into the living room.

Layce squinted into the dining room. “Bear, drop it, right now.”

Bear wagged her tail, dropped the possum and sauntered into the living room–her pride self-evident.

“That’s a good Bear. You just stay right here next to me while Alpha,” I pointed at Layce “Gets rid of that THING you brought home,” I said, patting her head.

Layce poured herself a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing???” I said.

“We’ve got a good fifteen minutes,” she said.

“For what?”

“Before it wakes up,” Layce said. She sipped her coffee.

“What do you mean, it’s not dead?” I eased toward the coffeemaker. Layce poured me a cup.

“It’s ‘playing possum,’” she said. “They faint so their predator backs off. Bear thinks she killed it.”

“Oh.” I crept toward the dining room. It did look dead.

Layce put her coffee cup down and started for the back door.

“Where are you going?”

“To the garage to get a shovel or did you want Bear’s friend to stay for breakfast?”

“No, I don’t. Hurry back,” I said.

I kept an eye on the possum. I checked the clock. We still had ten minutes.

Layce came back in without a shovel. “I need a flashlight.”


“Because I can’t see to find the shovel.”

I ran to the office to get my ever accessible LED flashlight. I’d purchased three having discovered during a power outage that we didn’t have a working flashlight anywhere in the house. I gave her the flashlight. I checked the clock. We had eight minutes.

Layce returned with the shovel.

“OH, MY GOD!” I screamed at the possum rose up and scurried toward the kitchen. I ran and hurdled over the love seat.

“Get Emma,” Layce said. She headed the possum off with the shovel.

“Emma! Wake up! Hurry!” I said, frantically knocking on her door.

Emma opened her door, blinked twice and said, “What?”

“There’s a possum in the dining room,” I said, and leapt back up on the loveseat.

She ran to the dining room where Layce was playing hockey with the possum and a shovel.

Emma ran straight at the possum, planted her feet, made moose antlers on her head and hissed.

The possum stared at her. Emma hissed again. Layce came in from the side with the shovel. The possum was trapped. It turned tail and ran out the open back door. We watched it run into the dark of night.

“It was kind of cute,” Layce said. “It had a very nice pelt.”

“We could’ve kept it and named it Fitz Herbert,” Emma said.

“Or Sylvia if it was girl,” Layce said.

I collapsed on the loveseat.

“Good hissing, by the way,” Layce said.

“Thank you,” Emma said with a little curtsy.

“Oh my God, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this Oklahoma living,” I said.

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