The Strange Story of Selena

Selena was a raccoon aficionado. She collected raccoons the way some people collect cigars. And like people who collect cigars, she periodically smoked some of the raccoons she collected, though not like people smoke cigars. She kept most of her raccoons in cages, which was the only way she could keep them from wreaking havoc on her house, a truly spectacular mansion in the hills outside of Oakland, California.

Selena began keeping the raccoons in cages after one especially boisterous mother raccoon and her kits shredded an original Monet painting she hung in the kitchen. The painting had collected quite a lot of grease during its several years hanging near the stove where Selena cooked bacon. One day, after the maid had cleaned the kitchen so it was spotless, the mother raccoon and her kits entered the kitchen to find no food of any kind and no scraps left over from Selena’s cooking, a rarity. So they climbed the counter and licked the grease off the painting. And then they shredded it as they looked for more, assuming I suppose that there must have been more grease behind the canvas.

But I have digressed from my intended story about Selena smoking raccoons. When one of her many, many raccoons behaved in a way she found particularly annoying, Selena set the beast’s cage in a heavy-duty sealed rubberized bag connected to the cold smoker she kept behind the garage. Then, she’d start pumping smoke into the bag. In a matter of minutes, the raccoon either suffocated or otherwise succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Gladys, who had been Selena’s neighbor for going on twenty years is the one who turned her in. Peering from her second story window, she spied Selena removing the animal’s corpse from the cage she had just removed from the rubberized bag. Selena put the animal in a plastic trash bag which she then set inside a metal garbage container that she hauled to the street in front of her house. Gladys watched this in horror, she told the animal control authorities when she called them. Animal control officers, back up by four Alameda County sheriff’s deputies, came calling shortly thereafter. A search of the property, probably conducted illegally, revealed twenty-four raccoons in fourteen cages. Selena was arrested and taken to the Santa Rita jail in Dublin. The raccoons were taken to the East County Animal Shelter, less than a mile away.

The morning after her arrest, Selena overpowered a deputy and took his gun and his car keys.  She drove to the East County Animal Shelter, which was not yet open for business (it opens at 11:30; Selena arrived around 8:45 ). She broke into the shelter building and found her caged raccoons. She took  the fourteen cages outside, where she carjacked a Penske box truck that was heading toward a nearby homeless shelter to deliver mattresses.

Four days later, Selena arrived at her destination. She managed to raise the door of your garage. She released all twenty-four raccoons from the cages into your garage. She put the cages back in the box truck and drove away, leaving a little surprise for you when you open the door between your kitchen and the garage. Those raccoons are hungry. And they know where you live. And Selena is long gone. Why did she leave those raccoons in your garage? Only Selena can answer that question, and she’s on her way back to California, where she intends to pay Gladys a visit. Did I mention she still has the deputy’s gun?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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