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I should have known they would be coming for me. Everyone knows you don’t cross the Mob. The same goes for our furry, ring-tailed forest friends. In early-August, shortly after moving to Washington, I hit a raccoon with my car. I should’ve spent the last two months looking over my shoulder; perhaps changing my identity or fleeing the country.

On Sunday, they tracked me down. It was inevitable. My girlfriend and I were out for a drive. It was nighttime, too late to see anything out the windows, but we were getting claustrophobic in her apartment. So, we drove down to Point Defiance, a park and nature area that occupies the northern tip of the city of Tacoma. We headed along Five Mile Drive, a twisting, turning road that snaked through the park.

You could smell the danger in the air (although that may have been the odor of the factories upwind).

We pulled into a harmless looking viewpoint. The lights of Vashon Island glittered on the waters of the Puget Sound, distracting us from the menace that lurked in the shadows all around us.

I parked the car. We opened our doors to go have a better look. Stephanie jumped back into her seat with a yelp and slammed the door. I got back in, too, not knowing what we were freaking out about. A gang of raccoons (yes, they come in gangs) was lying in wait for her. There were four or five of them, barely a foot away from the car, standing up on their hind legs. I could’ve sworn one of them was wearing a leather jacket and smoking a raccoon-sized cigarette.

Cautiously, we drove away into the night. The threat to our lives from those pint-sized hooligans was clear.

As I lay awake in bed that night, listening for tiny paws coming to assassinate me, I wondered what had become of the raccoon I had accidentally injured. Had he survived? Was he able to drag himself home and tell his family the gruesome story of my hit-and-run? Did they swear to avenge his name?

Two months ago, I inadvertently killed a raccoon in broad daylight. If the rodent triads have their way, I will pay for my carelessness…

— 30 —

Prior to his untimely demise at the claws of vengeful raccoons, Jonny Eberle was a writer and photographer in Tacoma, WA. You can follow his life story on Twitter. Let him be a lesson to humans everywhere.

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