This is Part 2 of the sprawling, epic adventure of Coyote Fugly, in which Our Hero wages war against a coyote ravaging his neighborhood. You can experience the thrill of Part 1 here.
. . .
Those who live in Arizona will attest to the commonality of suburban coyotes. These bloodthirsty mange-bags live in desert mountains adjacent to housing developments and often venture onto residential streets looking for unsuspecting stray dogs and cats to harvest loudly and painfully. In fact, the day we moved in, one of our neighbors who’d seen our dog warned us that she’d heard a neighborhood cat being mauled by a coyote just the night before.
And as I looked my canine adversary in the ass, I remembered this fact.
. . .
It was a desert-dirt tan, ears pricked straight up, tail flopping as it bounded down the sidewalk.
As soon as I saw this predatory perp, I sighed in relief. We were not in any uber-immediate danger–it was about a half-block away, headed in the opposite direction, hopping over landscape rocks and weaving around garbage cans. (He must hate Trash Day, too.)
Still understandably flustered, I turned back to the Woman Who Cried Wolf and awkwardly replied, “Thank you, citizen!”
Although I wasn’t staring Vile E. Coyote in the face, I still decided this was a still a pretty good cue that it was time to get the frick back home. Yanking my dog’s leash, I sped up, leaving the now-stopped apparent vigilante coyote hunter at the curb. Looking both ways, I turned to jaywalk to the other side of the street. No cars. Awesome.
But then there was a car. Headed straight for us.
My dog froze, again tangling the leash in the stroller, immobilizing it.
Luckily, the speed limit was 25 mph, so the driver spotted The Idiot With Too Many Little Beings in plenty of time to stop and eye us impatiently. Frantically freeing the dog-tether, I shot as polite a wave as I could muster. “Sorry! There’s a coyote and we had to cross so we wouldn’t die!” I later realized this must have sounded insane because crossing meant walking in front of an oncoming vehicle.
. . .
Once on the other side of the street, I formulated a self-defense plan.
Whenever I walk the Twins, I carry a weapon. No, not a firearm. I’m way too clumsy to be trusted with that–I draw blood tripping over the corner of my bed’s boxspring about every three days, so if I were to “pack heat” I’d surely literally shoot myself it the foot. And no, I’m not talking about the aforementioned pick-axe I claimed to have brought. That was just a terrible Gold Rush reference for comedic value. No, I’m talking about a pocket-sized container of pepper spray.
I may be emasculating myself here, as this defense mechanism is more commonly found in a woman’s purse than the pocket of a gladiator such as myself, but it’s light and practical, and, in the event of some sick psycho attacking or trying to kidnap my kids, would allow me to still keep a hand on the stroller instead of having to go off-road and abandon the stroller as I crack skulls with my battering-ram fists. I may be a ninja, but this is just a safer bet than going straight to decapitation mode, especially if there’s multiple henchmen, one of whom could take off with the stroller while the other six distract me.
Anyway, my tactic was–if attacked by Don Quixote–to sear his wild eyeballs with this weaponized condiment, kick him a few times with my cross-trainers set to stun, and take off running, as the jogging stroller is naturally built for high-velocity excursions.
Bring it, you howling bastard. I’ll spice up your life.
Eyes wide, I conducted a constant 360-degree survey as I speed-walked the last few blocks. I figured sprinting might draw wild canine attention to us, so I opted for a slow-and-steady-but-not-really-that-slow-wins-the-race pace.
As I approached our street, I heard the unmistakable high-pitched yips of a coyote, answered with a flourish by the neighborhood dog choir. My dog harmonized with an impressive trill.
I sped to a jog.
Scrambling up our driveway, I hit the garage door remote, but it didn’t respond.
And then I remembered. Of course it won’t. It only works two out of five times.
I envisioned my tombstone: “Mauled to death by domestic coyote because he was too lazy to change his garage door opener batteries.”
I jammed my thumb repeatedly on the non-responsive button.
My son laughed at me.
“Yip yip, hooray!”
Oh no, I gasped. The coyote’s in a celebratory mood!
Just then, the garage door coasted up. I scurried everyone inside and closed the door behind me.
Relieved, I inspected my crew, who, in contrast, were in a phenomenal mood. Apparently, they’d enjoyed the sudden burst of speed, especially my dog, who undoubtedly was flashing back to our daily pre-Twinfant jogs. Six elated eyes sparkled at my unexpected allusion to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as if to say, “Again! Again!”
Then, I noticed my daughter was missing The Monkey Whose Cheeks Light Up and Who Plays a Song When You Push His Tummy. “Where’s your monkey, baby girl?” Apparently I’d missed his burial at sea in all the excitement.
I unbuckled her and raised her out of the stroller. For a fraction of a moment, I considered going back to look for it. No, there be coyotes in them thar cul-de-sacs. “It’s okay. We’ll get another one.”
I imagine that somewhere, in a cave or den or condominium or wherever coyotes live, a coyote pup is now pushing a plush monkey’s tummy, triggering a soothing rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
And then ripping it to shreds.
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If not, a coyote may be unleashed into your neighborhood once I capture it. It also may not. How lucky do you feel?