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TRAPPER

One of my friends told me a guy had sold two mink to "Tiny" Prince for $20.00 apiece, and that started the wheels in my head turning. "Tiny" was a big, bad smelling man who made his living dealing in fur bearing animals. I went to the local hardware store and invested in three traps for $1.00. I didn't mind spending the money because I knew the trap line I was starting was going to pay me some big bucks. I didn't share this plan with any of my friends because greed had taken over my whole brain.

I waited until after school, made some lame excuse to my buddies about where I was going, grabbed my traps and headed for the creek behind our house where I knew I had seen a mink. Well, maybe it was a muskrat, but they were worth money too. I carefully placed two traps close to the water and one in a hole further up the bank. I felt good about the locations and headed home knowing I might not sleep well that night.

The following evening it was time to "run the trap line," as the professionals say, and the excitement was building. I had my 22-caliber rifle to harvest any critters that had wandered into my trap. The traps close to the water produced nothing  but when I got next to the hole in the high bank I realized there was something in the hole. I leveled my gun and saw the black and white fur of the skunk. Before I could get my wits about me the skunk shot first! That rascal sprayed me good and then it was gone down the hole. I was left with a few black and white hairs in my trap. Damn! I thought Tiny might have given me 50 cents for the thing.

I headed home where my Grandma Minnie met me before I could get in the door. "Good Lord Morrie, what have you tangled with now?" I said, "I almost caught a skunk." She said, "Yes, and instead it caught you." Then she said, "Get out of those clothes and leave them in the yard!" There I was, standing naked in the yard, hoping the neighbors would not see me. Grandma Minnie got me in the bathtub and scrubbed me down with tomato juice, all the time saying things like, "Smart people do dumb things but dumb people do really dumb things." And, "There is a reason Tiny Prince always smells like skunk." I thought I had been humiliated enough and decided I was out of the trapping business for good.