The Raccoon Wars
For the Original Fiction Ficathon.
COPYRIGHT: According to the United States Copyright Office, a copyright is secured automatically when the work is created. I will have the ability (and certainly the desire) to take legal action against anyone who infringes upon the ownership of my work. I am in law school and have friends in high places. When I catch you (and I most definitely will), you will be sorry.
© 2006 McQuinn (FictionPress User ID: 474896)
DISCLAIMER: Chapter titles are actually song titles of The (awesome) Rolling Stones.
WARNING: The actions and/or views of the following characters are far different from those of the author. (I love animals. No really, I do.) Please do not attempt to mimic any of the actions taken by the following characters. If you do, you are the negligent party (not to mention stupid) and I will not be held responsible for any harm/injury brought to yourself or others. Thanks, and enjoy the story!
SPECIAL THANKS: To all my reviewers, for wonderful feedback and constructive criticism. To Etenebris for kicking my ass. And to Stocie, of course. Chapter One
"What the hell do you think you're doing out here?"
Lesson Learned: When you're fighting a secret war of blood, broken ash trays and cyanide, it's best for you to not get caught with your hands shoved down your neighbors' garbage, searching, searching, searching to see if your enemy has tampered with it.
"Who are you?" he asked.
Lesson Learned: Never, and I mean never, give away your identity when you've been caught doing something disgusting, illegal…yet extremely—beyond description—pleasurable.
"Hey, listen, Annabelle—if you need something to eat, you don't have to go do that…I'll just go inside and get some—"
"No, no—you don't understand. I'm not—"
"No need to explain. I'll just go in and rummage through my cabinets and find some cat food for you. And I'll put it in this little painted kitten bowl—it'll say 'Annabelle' across the side of it in pink—and then after you finish licking and lapping, you'll get the fuck off my private property."
I blinked. My eyes were round.
"Do you understand?" he said.
I glared into his fierce eyes. A slight chill inched up my vertebrae until I quivered and boldly stared back. After my hands gradually withdrew from the confines of the warm, damp refuse—where I had confirmed that the enemy, indeed, had bitten into its plastic bag—I sauntered passed him. I followed his eyes. And then in the sultriest voice I could muster up, I whispered:
I hissed twice. I showed my claws. And then I revealed my middle finger.
He grinned. "You better put that away before I clip your claws and call Animal Control, or…in simple terms—the cops."
I shoved my hands in my army jacket's pockets and turned away from him, fuming.
He was the latest addition to our dreary suburban neighborhood. He supposedly had a "record" and a few trust funds, two traits that could easily be wrapped into one package to make the perfect, obligatorily corrupt and therefore affluent teenager. All I knew was that he was a jackass—a jackass that ruined my mission for the night, a mission that could have potentially wiped out half a dozen of the enemy, a mission that included three baby bottles' worth of Clorox mixed with two-percent milk.
I strolled across the street to my house and planted my feet firmly on the first few rungs of the trellis that led up to my bedroom. I glanced back across the road where the streetlight had illuminated his dark auburn hair. He gazed at me from the sidewalk, probably speculating about what I had intended to do with his bag of trash. Before he had the chance to draw closer to my house to question my negligent actions, I was already up my trellis, through my bedroom window, and asleep for the night.
I dreamt about a dead raccoon found sucking on a baby bottle filled with Clorox and two-percent milk.
Today at approximately two-thirty in the afternoon, Martina Menounos poked her pointy nose into my marble notebook.
Lesson Learned: Bathroom breaks can be dangerous. I, unfortunately, learned this the hard way.
To the rest of the school, "Annabelle Jones" was merely a girl named Annabelle Jones, no label included. Martina Menounos was my annoying, brunette, and robust friend. She was a very nosy girl who should have minded her own business. And she was tactless, too.
"What are the Raccoon Wars?" Martina, Marty for short, inquired nonchalantly as I returned to my seat.
I did what any normal teenager would do. I gave Marty a sharp, surprised look. I gazed at the old and worn marble notebook for a good second before I placed it into my leather messenger bag. "None of your goddamned business," I whispered.
"Whoa, sorry I asked."
You should be, you meddlesome bitch.
At least that's what I would've liked to have said. But, no. No. I had to keep up with appearances. I had to look plain. Simple. Normal. Just like everyone else.
Because, at night—when the pretty heads of my classmates dented the contours of fluffy pillows, and when the seduction of sleep was powerful enough to force eyelids closed—I, Annabelle Jones, was fighting a war. A war of brutality. Rabies. Possible arsenic, if I could get my hands on some.
And no one could ever know.
"No, but really. What are the Raccoon Wars?" Marty whined. "You better tell me or I'll be mad at you."
I shrugged. "Fine. Be mad. Go wild."
"We're supposed to talk about everything. I'm your best friend!"
"I'm reevaluating your status as we speak."
She hissed. "Ouch. Harsh."
I needed to be harsh. See, if word got out that I was fighting the Raccoon Wars...
Lesson Learned: Leaving things to the imagination does, in fact, make things more interesting.
I never used to be this violent, you know. Everything was just dandy until last April. I was bike riding back from school when four raccoons scrambled from the sewer and began to chase after me for not one block, not two blocks…but for nearly half a mile, right until I rode up to my front door.
Now they know where I live. Now they terrorize me—they climb up my trellis and do a weird raccoon-y ethnic dance on the roof. They swim in my in-ground pool and snack on my mother's pepper garden. And if it was war they wanted, I decided nearly five months ago, it was war they were going to get.
I bet you all think I'm crazy. You're probably scowling or hooting in amusement. Well, you don't know what it feels like to be constantly tormented. You don't know what it feels like to be reminded that, at any minute, a pack of the most filthy, dangerous creatures can jump you while you're walking down the street and bite you. You could get rabies. You could die a horrible, hideous dea—
"No need to panic, everybody. Brendon Spyro is finally here, and I'm prepared to save this school from any form of impending destruction, which includes boredom, anti-social behavior, lack of the customary Friday night open house, and disuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Now, pay attention because I'll ask this only once—where can I find the nearest fire alarm?"
"Mr. Spyro!" our teacher cried, almost certainly sounding horrified because someone had enough gall to burst through the door and disturb the class in such a way.
"Oh god, no," I said after I looked up to see who had caused the uproar. I cradled my head with my hands, keeping my eyes low.
Through my fingers, I saw his head turn slightly towards me. His blue eyes searched mine out and held them, making sure that I saw his sardonic, frustrating grin. Then he swiveled his head from side to side very effeminately, batting his eyelashes. He giggled almost spastically, and gave me a little wave.
I squirmed in my seat and started to think of multiple ways I could pull off a successful attempt at suicide in a classroom. A pencil through the eye? Two pieces of chalk shoved up into my nostrils? Asphyxiation by thrusting board erasers into my face? A nasty paper cut along the wrist?
"Do you know that guy?" Marty whispered after tapping on my shoulder to get my attention.
I folded a piece of paper in half and brought it under the desk, quickly slashing it against the edge of my arm four times. Not one cut; it didn't work. "Unfortunately," I worded tightly, keeping my head low. "He's my new neighbor."
"Mr. Spyro!" our teacher repeated to bring his attention towards herself and away from his fixation with me.
He looked at what I assumed to be his student class schedule. "Mrs. Morrison! Advanced Placement English Literature. Wow," he said, studying her face, "lack of fornication really does speed up the whole deterioration process, doesn't it?"
"Out!" Mrs. Morrison shouted in shock. Sporting a deep red blush, she pointed to the door.
"Why, thank you. It'll be my pleasure." With a slight bow towards the class and the blow of a kiss to me, he was out the door, probably on his way to start ruining someone else's life.
"Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear." Mrs. Morrison whimpered, fanning herself with her hand. "This is going to be a long year."
I grimaced, and under my breath I whispered, "You're telling me."
Meanwhile, surrounding me were a bunch of floating, "That dude's awesome!" and "He's so hot!" comments. I raised my head and found everyone suddenly staring at me.
"I've never seen the guy in my life," I lied.
Don't you hate all the teenage drama?
I was meticulously arranging the night's mission of reattempting last night's failure when I heard the chime of the doorbell. I hastily stood and made my way over to the stairwell, glaring at the individual that smugly leaned against the threshold of the front door. With his dark hair combed neatly and parted on the side, his slacks tailored just right, and his threadbare sweater clinging to and showing off his well-sculpted chest, he looked like he was ready for some serious wining and dining.
Guess who it was…
"Why, Mr. and Mrs. Jones! It's so nice to finally make your acquaintances." With one hand, he gestured a sweeping bow and lifted with a bright yet awkward smile. "My name is Brendon Spyro. My parents and I moved across the street just a few days ago."
"Yes, yes of course. It's very nice to meet you, Brendon," Mom practically squealed as she shook his hand.
Don't touch him, Mom. You don't know what kind of crap is on his hand.
"My parents are so busy with setting the house straight that they couldn't make it to meet you personally tonight, but they promised to make a visit in a few days, if that's all right with you?"
"Very all right. Your family is welcome over any time," my father affirmed.
"Thank you, thank you. Ah, I completely forgot," he admitted, his hand smacking against his head. "My mother has been christening our new home with the smell of freshly baked bread. She asked me to swing by and give this to you. We hope you enjoy it." With the smile of a gentleman, he passed the loaf to my mother, who happily took it into her arms as if it were a newborn baby.
The bread was probably poisoned. And "christening?" Who the hell speaks like that?
"That is so sweet of her! Please send her my thanks and regards from all of us."
"I will. And, Mr. Jones, if it's okay with you, my father gave me the privilege of inviting you to play some golf with us this weekend at the club. If you're interested, that is."
"Golf? At the country club? I think I can manage to clear up a few things on my schedule."
Why was he sucking up to my parents? Was he flattering them to get to me?
"That's great," he said, nodding. His head slowly turned upwards towards the top of the stairwell, and before I could make my great escape through the window across the hall, his voice crept up towards me. "Hello, Annabelle."
He said it like he was James Stewart in one of those old movies where the girl hates the guy and the guy is secretly and most ardently in love with the girl. Bile rose to the back of my throat.
"So you two know each other?" Mom asked, looking back and forth between us.
"Yes, we met last night, actually. And also under the funniest of circumstances. Do you believe that Annabelle was—"
I practically jumped the whole stair case. I was going to wring the bastard's neck.
"Honey! What's wrong?" Both my mother and father looked at me with wide eyes.
I started scratching furiously at my head. "There's a fly around me!"
Brendon Spyro was laughing silently behind them.
"There's nothing near you, baby doll," my father said.
"Are you sure?" I pouted and continued to scratch my head.
Brendon Spyro snorted. "Anyway, on with the story…"
My parents turned back to him, waiting.
And then I did something I never, in my life, thought I would do: My face turned into that of a puppy dog, and I held my hands together and begged. "Please," I mouthed. "Please."
Brendon's eye twitched in response. Then he looked troubled. "Is that gas I smell?"
My eyebrow rose from its normal height.
"Gas?" my parents questioned in unison.
"You better go check the stove and garage, just to be safe," my neighbor said.
"Yes, I guess we should. Dear? I'll check the stove and you check the garage?" At my father's nod, they both excused themselves and headed towards opposite directions deep within the confines of our house.
Once they were out of hearing range, I turned to him with the most feral look. "How dare you come in here and—"
"Wait, wait. How dare I? How dare…I? You were the one who traipsed over to our property and started searching through our garbage. Garbage," he shouted. "That's complete garbage, Annabelle. Mrs. Morrison is hard-working, dedicated, and an all-around great teacher," he said loud enough for both my parents to hear.
I quickly slapped him a few times in the chest, which was hard as a rock. "Shut up, shut up!"
"No, I don't think Mr. Laurelton is hot! How can you even ask me that?" he nearly shouted at the top of his lungs. He grinned as if he had me wrapped around his pinky.
"Stop it!" I hissed.
"Woo, that was fun. Now what's going to happen when your parents come back?" he asked.
I blinked. "You're not going to tell them that I was searching through your garbage last night."
"Oh? I'm not? Well, then. What are you going to do for me in return?"
"What?" I asked, confused.
"I do something for you. You do something for me. That's how it generally goes between friends," he explained.
"I'm not your friend, you freaking assho—"
"Mr. and Mrs. Jones, you really have to hear the story of how Annabelle and I met!" he shouted.
"Okay, okay," I worded. "I'll do anything."
"Will you have wild, passionate sex with me?"
"No!" I said.
"I was hoping you would say that."
"Excuse me?" I asked, shocked.
"Okay, then. You sneak out of your house tonight and meet me outside."
"Don't test me, Annabelle. I'm not a merciful human being."
He said it in such a cold voice that goose bumps ran up and down my arms. I cleared my throat. "Why do you want me to meet you outside?"
"You're going to give me a tour of this boring, run-down town."
"No, I don't want to get into that kind of trouble," I told him, shaking my head.
"It's either that type of trouble or the type of trouble you're going to get into when I accidentally tell your parents that you were out of the house at three o'clock in the morning, searching through our trash…"
He grinned cockily.
"Well, you won't believe this, kids. The stove top was off, and everything checked out in the garage. But someone managed to leave the barbeque gas on," Mom told us as she returned to the front door.
"I must have forgotten to shut it," my father brushed off.
"See? I know gas when I smell it. Ah, where was I? Oh yes. About Annabelle and me meeting—our garbage bags seemed to have had a few holes in it last night and the trash went everywhere. Annabelle was kind enough to help me collect all of it—filthy job, I know, but she didn't seem to mind. In fact, I think she enjoyed herself…"
I gave him a look.
He winked at me.
My parents turned towards me. "That's so nice of you, dear."
"Meet me at one," Brendon mouthed. After I quickly nodded my head in acquiescence, Brendon said his goodnights and wished all of our dreams would come true.
"I don't know what Trudy Miller was talking about when she said that that boy had a police record," my mother said to my father after the door was closed. "He's a very charming young man. Frankly, I think all the boys at your school can learn a lesson or two from Brendon Spyro."
Oh, Mother. Mother dearest. Think again…