“Okay, Martha, you ready for an evening full of fun and raccoon trapping?” Max was sixty-eight, newly retired, and bored out of his mind with all the free time he’d had on his hands. He admitted to himself he was probably driving Martha crazy, with all the new projects he’d started and then left unfinished. He just wasn’t ready for retirement, and Martha wasn’t ready for him to be retired, hanging around the house all day long, banging away at something and then leaving it for another project.
“Sure, Max.” Martha sighed.
They were both curled up on the couch, lights off and video camera running. A couple of raccoons had been hanging around their house for a few nights, and they’d even noticed their cats’ food was disappearing each night. Max was sure the raccoons were coming into the house through the cat door, and decided to try his hand at raccoon trapping himself.
Martha had suggested just getting a lock for the cat door, but Max didn’t want the hassle. He knew if they got a locking cat door, they’d just end up having to get up throughout the night to let a cat in or out, and he was enjoying his long nights of sleep, after years of waking too early to an alarm clock.
Martha propped her feet up on the coffee table. Max’s excitement hadn’t quite infected her yet. As far as she was concerned, raccoon trapping was just another of Max’s projects.
But, before too long, the cat door swung open a little, and a human-like hand, a raccoon paw, came reaching through the opening. “Shh, shhh, it’s happening!” Max exclaimed, even though Martha hadn’t made a sound.
Max had set up a raccoon trap with the cat food inside of it. Martha wasn’t so sure that was the best way to go about it, but she’d learned years ago that it was easier just to let Max pursue his own things, and let him come to his own conclusions.
The raccoon paw came through the cat door again, groping around. Max wondered if it was looking for any sign of a cat, but had no idea why the raccoon didn’t just come through the door all the way yet. He refocused the video camera and waited to see what would happen next.
What happened next is not what either Max or Martha expected. That raccoon felt around until its paw landed on the small rug in front of the door. It grabbed up the rug, tugged it back out of the opening in the cat door, and ran off into the night with its prize.
Both Max and Martha were stunned. Why would the raccoon want the rug, they wondered. Martha’s eyes drifted over to the cat food, and she sighed. Was this effort at raccoon trapping just another failed project, soon to be abandoned, or would Max want to try it again tomorrow night. She wasn’t sure which she wanted more, but she looked at Max reviewing the video on the camera and realized it didn’t matter. He was happy.