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User:Eirik/Care and Feeding

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Care and Feeding

Author: Eirik

Kyle rolled his eyes. "Oh Barry! Come on! They won't bite you."

Barry looked at his brother askance. "Are you so sure of that? These are wild animals after all."

Kyle leaned back in his lounge chair and smiled. "These are hardly wild anymore. Toni and I have been feeding them for years now."

Barry gave in and reached the bit of dog food down to the raccoon sniffing a few feet away. Hesitantly, it walked up and took the bit of food, retreating to the edge of the lights on the backyard deck to eat.

Toni giggled. "See?" She sipped at her wine. "They're the perfect pets, really. We get to feed and look at them, but we don't have to take them to the vet, register them or even feed them all the time. Only when we want to."

Carla, Barry's wife, bundled up a little more from the cold. The backyard BBQ at Kyle and Toni's had been nice until the sun went down, but the temperature was a bit too cold for her. Unfortunately, the Kyle and Toni had insisted on showing off their 'pets'. "Shouldn't we go inside?" she asked.

Kyle shook his head. "Oh no! You have to see these guys. This is just a couple of them. On a nice night like this," he gestured to the forest lit by a bright full moon, "we get upwards of twenty or thirty at the backyard feeding station. If we're out here, a bunch will eat right from out hands."

"How can you afford to feed that many?" asked Barry.

Toni giggled again. She'd had perhaps a little too much to drink. "It's easy, we just buy cheap dog food. They eat most of it, and the birds clean up anything that's left."

Carla shivered, but smiled. "We have a couple raccoons out near out place. Maybe we'll start doing that, too. They seem so sweet..."

As she said it, they watched the raccoon that Barry had fed turning the large piece of the dog food over and over in his hand as if getting ready to eat it. Suddenly, he stopped and slowly raised it up to his eye level, examining it critically. The two couple exchanged amused glances. None of them had ever seen a raccoon do that before, but they were all different. Then they heard it.

"All right! That does it!" yelled the raccoon as he threw the piece of food away. He looked at the other raccoons near him who had all stopped eating and had joined the humans in looking at him in shock. "If none of you are going to tell them, then I guess I will!"

Now the raccoon had taken a very human-like pose, standing nearly straight on his haunches and putting his paws to his hips. "I'm sick and tired of this crap! Night after night, you come out here with that damn white and blue bag and pour it onto the ground, and we're all supposed to be so grateful." He sneered at Barry. "You cheap slimeball. You think that raccoon's are stupid just because we got a little fur and a tail? Huh? You think that we worship you 'noble humans'?" He spit onto the deck. "Ptooey!"

As he spoke, he started getting taller and taller. His fur slowly retracted. He was already a full three feet tall. "You know, the only reason that we stick around is that we like this area, even if the property values have dropped since you humans moved in!"

He huffed and started pacing, growing as he moved. "We eat that generic crap because you filled in the pond we *used* to eat at for a shopping center. A shopping center!! You know that there's a Starbucks where my old log used to be? Talk about insult to injury!"

The two couples were growing paler and paler, and it had nothing to do with the chill in the air. The raccoon was now a full five feet high and was beginning to look more human every second as he ranted. But despite their terror, or perhaps because of it, none of them could move.

Th raccoon continued. "Well, this stops here and now, because I'm giving you people a shopping list." He began counting off on his fingers as they pinked up. "We want seafood, cookies, candy, nuts, fruit and stuff like that."

Toni looked nearly ready to pass out, even if she hadn't been drinking. "But-- But---"

He glared at her as his muzzle shrank. "But what? Too expensive or not good for us? Look lady, we don't care. You have any idea how fast a forest of raccoons can disassemble a house?" He paused a moment. "Well, neither do I. But I'm sure that I can get fifty or sixty of my closest friends to give it a try." Now completely human, the former raccoon leaned against the resin outdoor table and gritted his teeth. "Got it?"

It was too much for them to take. The four of them started running for the sliding glass door. The raccoon shouted after them, "And I've got a message from the birds! They want you to refill that cheap birdfeeder of yours more often!!" By the time that he finished the sentence, he heard a pair of car engines roar to life and peel out of the driveway.

The once raccoon and now man sat proudly in the chair occupied moments before by Kyle. He grabbed a handful of cocktail peanuts and popped them in his mouth before looking down at the shocked faces of his raccoon compatriots.

He smiled and rolled his eyes. "Oh come on! I didn't say anything that you all wouldn't have said. Besides, it was fun to scare the yuppies for once, wasn't it?" He smiled wider. "Besides, I can only do this one night a month anyway. Why not actually get some benefit from it?"

Jumping from the plastic chair, he walked to the slider and bowed, holding a hand out. "Let's say we see what they've been hiding in the pantry from us?"

The furred critters on the deck looked at each other a moment and then chattered in amusement. Their change of heart was clear as they bounded though the glass door.

The raccoon-turned-man sauntered back over to the table and sat down, finishing off the left over food from the humans BBQ dinner. He wouldn't have that much time as a human. It lasted only a short time around the full moon. It had happened every month since he was bitten by that human a couple years ago.

He head a "tsk-tsk" sound from below. Looking down, he found his brother shaking his head in mock reprimand. He smiled and grabbed an oatmeal cookie off the serving tray and handed it to him. "And to think," he grinned, "you kept telling me this was a curse."