The experience below was written by Leo Chaloux, Chief of the Mosquito Volunteer Fire Department located within Swansboro Country, across the canyon north of Placerville, California.  It was originally published in the October, 2005 issue of Mosquito Byte, our community newsletter.


Chief 's Corner
by Chief Leo Chaloux

Chief Leo Chaloux with wife Chris and cat Tumbles

Chief Leo with wife Chris and cat Tumbles by kitchen window where a bear stopped by for his take-out meal

I've got something I would like to share with you. First off as you read this I know you are going to think I am a complete idiot that just enjoys making stuff up. Well in a way I do enjoy making stuff up but in this case I really didn't have to. To get on with it.

The other night about 2:30 in the morning I heard my cat making all kinds of noise. You know the sound they make when they are getting ready to fight, that hissing noise mixed with spitting and stuttering. Kind of makes them think they are really bad and can take on any beastie on the planet. Now, before I continue on I have to tell you a little about this cat I have. His name is Tumbles, he is about 12 years old, kind of fat, genetically lazy but his true nature is that of a complete moron. You see Tumbles is not a really intelligent animal, in fact he is down right stupid. He is definitely the dumbest rock in the box and at times I think he is proud of it. He wouldn't even qualify for Special Education if there was a school for cats. Another thing about Tumbles is that even though he weighs about 23 pounds he is not much of a fighter, in fact you cannot call him a Tom Cat because he has had a couple of parts removed. He doesn't meow very often and when he does you think it is coming from a three-day-old kitten. I am sure he is from San Francisco.

Well anyway here it is 2:30 in the morning and I hear this cat hissing and sputtering and the sound of things banging around in the kitchen. In waking up and hearing all this going on I thought that maybe this poor excuse of a cat was really doing what cats are suppose to do by going after a house mouse. Then I heard some more banging around and I started to get up. This really got me, cause all this noise was coming from the kitchen and there at the foot of the bed was Tumbles. He was all hunched up, with his hair puffed straight out and all this hissing coming out of him. He was acting real tough but doing it from the foot of the bed while this noise was still going on in the kitchen. Now, I am worried as I laid back down in the bed and thought, "now something is in the kitchen making noise and it isn't a house mouse and the cat is hiding here in the bedroom and my wife is sound asleep snoring up a storm. I wanted to kick the cat in the butt and tell him to get in the kitchen and tear up whatever it was out there, but that cat had dug in and had all his claws sunk into a blanket. He was acting bad as long as he didn't have to go out and deal with the problem.

As I started to get out of the bed I was thinking that a stinking Raccoon had gotten into the house somehow and how was I going to get it out. A Raccoon can be one tough little animal so I looked around the bedroom for something to whack it on the head with. While I was tearing the bedroom up looking for something to beat on a Raccoon my wife just laid their snoring away and the cat was still all puffed up hissing. Not able to find anything worthwhile or deadly enough I crept into the kitchen expecting to see a Raccoon ready to do battle with me. As I got into the kitchen I noticed the screen next to the window by our kitchen sink was knocked out and lying in the sink. Some flower vases and other girlie type things that were on the counter top were also knocked over into the sink. Then as I focused in I saw this head sticking in the window. It was a bear. The thing had his head all the way in looking at me as though he was waiting to see if his take out was finished. We both stood there looking at each other for a few moments with him wondering if he should back out or look meaner and me wondering which direction to start running. Realizing there were not too many options available for me I decided to yell. When I did start yelling I called him a bad bear with many other nasty words tossed in for good measure. Suddenly he pulled back and backed off the porch and into the driveway. He wasn't going very fast, just kind of skipping along with an attitude he was doing me a favor by backing off.

Chief Leo Chaloux outside his kitchen windowI waited a few moments and then went out onto the porch to see where this guy had gone. He was out by our garbage can picking it up, squeezing it, biting it and kind of bouncing it around. All the while looking at me with this half grin on his face. While he was taking out his aggression on the garbage can he was showing how big and bad he was and kind of just daring me to come over and make him stop. Not me, my mammy raised no fool. I thought I would just go ahead and sacrifice the garbage can and let him have his way.

Now, with the bear tearing up the outside I decided to back into the house and get back to sleep. I made sure the door was locked and all windows were closed, the fresh air just wasn't that important at this point. In going back into the bedroom there was Chris, she hadn't even missed one snore and the cat was sound asleep on the bed. I lay there thinking that I could be smeared all over the kitchen floor and no one, not even my stupid cat would know it. Then I looked at the cat once again and realized he is not quite as stupid as he puts on.

All things in life should provide us with living experiences and teach us something. This one did and what it taught me is that never assume there is a Raccoon in the kitchen, 'cause a bear might be at the window.

Epilogue from the November, 2005 Mosquito Byte

I have been asked two questions about the article I wrote last month. First one, did a bear really stick his head in my kitchen window? Yep, he sure did and it scared me to death. The second question, did my wife sleep through all my screaming and yelling? Yep, she sure did.

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