The Raccoons Confront an Image Problem
Besides crime, the second-biggest concern for some Philadelphians, according to one City Council member, are raccoons, the furry thugs … that rummage through your trash and put entire neighborhoods on edge.
—Philadelphia Daily News
“The raccoons essentially clear the streets at night. They walk down the cats, the kids all run when they see the raccoons coming. … People shouldn’t have to be concerned about walking out their front door and being approached by a raccoon.”
—Councilman Darrell Clarke, as quoted on Newsworks.org
EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE RACCOON-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER
STRIPEY: Settle down, everyone. [Banging gavel with unbelievable dexterity.] Everyone knows why we’re here. We’ve seen the headlines. Christ, it was on TV. We have a major image problem.
SNARLS: [tearfully, blowing nose into an old Wawa sandwich bag] I can’t believe this is happening. After the video of the baby raccoon in the bathtub went viral, I just hoped …
TWINKIE: [polishing nails] That our troubles were over? Honey, I could’ve told you: People never change. They might think a baby washing his hands is cute, but when it comes to sharing their garbage? It’s the same as it ever was.
MANNY: [unwrapping a hard candy and popping it in his mouth] Listen, this is obviously a crisis, and in a crisis we need a professional. I have some friends over at the PR firm Badger, Muskrat and Beaver in Bala. They do great work.
STRIPEY: Where have I heard of them before?
NIMBLES: [Brushing crumbs off his whiskers and onto his belly] They got famous because of the Rittenhouse squirrels: once a nuisance, now a charm. BMB did for those squirrels what Ratatouille did for the rats.
STRIPEY: We don’t need BMB. We just change our behavior for a while, lay low. We stop approaching the humans. They don’t like being approached. And we go easy on the trashcans, on their pets.
SNARLS: [sniffling] Fine, but I don’t rummage; I have a system. And I—unlike many of you—have never killed a cat.
TWINKIE: Oh, here we go again, Mr. High and Mighty. Listen, those felines know the deal. They’re gonna insist to their humans that they live outside—oh, poor me, meow meow—well, there are risks that go with that lifestyle.
MANNY: But what about Snowball? She didn’t want to be an outside cat, but her human gave her a whole song and dance about “allergies.”
STRIPEY: Hey, maybe we do a promo video with Manny and Snowball cuddling—the humans love that. Get it up on Cute Overload under “Interspecies Snorgling.”
NIMBLES: What about the travel problem? The Clarke human also mentioned our walking in packs down the street.
TWINKIE: Hold on, now. He didn’t say packs, he said family. That was the only thing he got right. Ranger and I take the children for a stroll in the evenings, yes. My mother was Spanish, and my family enjoys the tradition of the paseo.
NIMBLES: I thought your mother was from Vermont.
TWINKIE: Via Spain, yes.
STRIPEY: Sorry, Twinks, the evening stroll with the kids is out until we get this sorted. Also, Snarls, I got wind you stole a kid’s bag of Doritos?
SNARLS: He was done with them!
STRIPEY: Way I heard it, he just got up from the stoop for half a second and next thing he knows his chips are gone.
MANNY: Eh, what a crybaby these kids are. That’s all right, Snarls. You were hungry and you ate. Where’s the crime in that?
TWINKIE: I’ll tell you this: I will not be turned out of my blighted attic.
NIMBLES: Maybe we’re all overreacting. Don’t the human bills just “die in committee”?
STRIPEY: Yeah, and they’re electing all new humans, so who knows what’s going to happen next. Let’s table this till next time and check out the Dumpster in the back. All in favor, paws up. Looks like we got a majority.