Britannia Beach Follies

Image of stacked firewood Jean Brasseur, a long time acquaintance, has once again forwarded an entertaining story which, I believe, deserves a wider audience. It seems only fitting that I also take this opportunity to pimp his other passion: photography. A large collection of his photographic work may be viewed online at the Perthos Gallery. What follows is an account of recent events he affectionately refers to as Britannia Beach Follies:

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There was a rapid knock on my door at 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning. "Jean, come quick!" Ingrid whispered urgently. I opened the door and she beckoned me into her bedroom. What the hell? Well, it was Thursday after all, I thought. The last thing I wanted to do was to go into my landlady's bedroom. Heck, her husband Samir was snoring loudly next door. "Come, come ... Look!" she said, pointing out the window. I tentatively entered the room and looked out. Oh my Dog! On the back deck lay a seriously drunk raccoon. As they say in Lanark County, it was "drunker than a fart".

"Really, Ingrid," said I. "It has been pigging out on the grapes fermenting on the vines." The back deck was covered with a trellis that was completely covered with grape vines, with a heavy crop of grapes. A raccoon family consisting of Mom and three kids fed there regularly. They usually passed directly below my window. This raccoon lay belly down with its paws stretched out and one leg dangling through the railing. That was the same position I had found my alcoholic neighbour, Naveen, on the tenant kitchen floor one morning last February. Right there, I named the raccoon L'il Naveen. Ingrid laughed.

L'il Naveen tried to get up but managed only three legs before keeling over on its side. It sighed loudly and closed its eyes. I ran back to get my camera and I began to take pictures. L'il Naveen sort of sat up and leaned back against the railing. It had an itchy ear so it scratched vigorously with its back leg. However, there was about 4 inches between the paw and the ear. I laughed at the puzzled look on its face as the itch didn't go away. Maybe it was the wrong ear. L'il Naveen tried with the other paw. It only succeeded in whapping its snout several times. Oh, bother.

It looked down blearily between its legs. What the heck is that? It grasped clumsily at the object before realizing it was its tail. It tried to groom it, failed, got tired, leaned over and fell back to the deck. Fuck it. L'il Naveen burped and fell asleep. We left it snoring on the back deck. Ingrid planned to trap it. I went out to check my email but came back before the skies opened. It rained heavily and a thunderstorm blew through. Samir came home from work all excited. He had a raccoon story! He had gone to work as usual - doing tile work at the Bayshore Mall expansion project. He is a mosaic master and had the contract for the Victoria's Secret store. He realized early that he had forgotten to bring a specialized tool. He got his friend, Abdullah, to drive him home to get it. Once home, he found that he had forgotten his house key as well. He rang the bell but everyone had gone out. What to do? Samir asked Abdullah to follow him to the back of the house. He had an idea. They climbed onto the lower deck. The plan was to have Abdullah give Samir a boost while he climbed to the upper deck. He would then jimmy open the sliding door to the bedroom. The friend interlaced his hands and gave Samir the boost up. Samir grabbed the railing of the upper deck and hauled himself up. He came face to face with L'il Naveen, who had just woken up. Samir had appeared in the only route of escape for L'il Naveen.

Panic seized the raccoon. He ran at Samir and jumped. Samir ducked and yelled, wobbling on Abdullah's hands. Abdullah shouted, "What? What?" L'il Naveen cleared Samir and landed on the slippery vines of the trellis, still wet from the heavy rain. L'il Naveen lost his grip and fell straight down onto Abdullah below who was still trying to hold up Samir. He gripped tightly onto Abdullah's chest. He had sharp claws. Abdullah stared into L'il Naveen's eyes and toothy mouth. L'il Naveen screamed and voided both bladder and bowel. Abdullah screamed and voided both bladder and bowel. L'il Naveen lept over the rail and tumbled into the garden. Abdullah ran, tripped on a mat, and tumbled down into the garden. Samir was left dangling, hanging from the upper deck, laughing. He managed to scramble to the deck and enter the house.

He calmed Abdullah and got him cleaned up. He wasn't hurt. Abdullah needed a new shirt and a new pair of underwear. They went back to work where the story spread rapidly. Workers would drift by and sniff loudly next to Abdullah. They were rewarded with a string of loud, angry Egyptian curses. Samir now needs a new ride as Abdullah refuses to return to the house of the raccoon-from-hell. He's convinced it was a Djinn.

We all laughed at Samir's story. Ingrid began baiting the live trap. Night fell and I heard rustling in the grape vines covering the trellis below my window. I had a visitor. I informed Ingrid and Samir. We gathered to watch the trap. There was a loud THUNK. We were too late. L'il Naveen was already in the trap. Booze was his downfall. If you happen to be going to Carp and see a raccoon weaving down main street, that will be L'il Naveen. Seems he fits right in there.

Submitted by Jean Brasseur, 20 September 2013