Oooo Oooo That Smell!

Let’s just put it this way: I’ll be going to the store for some tomato juice later. That’s right, Susan and I got ambushed by a skunk this morning with me getting the worst of the juicing. We were nailed barely a quarter mile into our second consecutive four-mile morning walk. Trust me on this it could’ve been a lot worse, which I’ll explain below.

Here’s how it went down. Susan and I hit the streets around 5:20 a.m. this morning. We headed north to Sunset then over to Parkman then down to Silver Lake Boulevard. Walking up the west side of the street with Susan to my right we past several properties until to my left was a short retaining wall, atop which were crudely installed some plywood boarding to keep the property’s sloping hillside from migrating.

At about the midway point across the front of that lot from out of nowhere all of a sudden a surprising spritz of something swept over my face from the left side. It hit my cheek, my nose, went in my eyes and on my lips. The succession of my rapidfire thoughts that followed were “I don’t hear any sprinklers” followed by “that’s not a sprinkler that’s rain” followed by “rain doesn’t feel oily like that!” followed by “rain doesn’t burn like that!!” followed by “rain doesn’t smell like that either!!!”

Right about that last thought was when I heard something scrambling across the dirt and weeds about arm’s length from me and at elbow height and so it was at this point that I decided it was high time to alert Susan — who was still assessing the spray that got past me and struck her — to the situation. I believe I said “Skunk! Holy shit!! We’ve been skunked!” And I said it loudly. Then I ran into the street totally like a girly man. Like a shameless stinky gesticulating little girly man.

A few seconds later I managed to regain most of my composure and return to Susan’s side where I pointed out to her our rapidly retreating black-and-white attacker with tail up but only at half-staff heading south away from us. This was followed by a few moments of Susan and I wiping and smelling ourselves to determine the extent of the damage.

Potential denial-phase aside, there just wasn’t all that much in the way of stank. Definitely present was that familiar bouquet of burned rubber with notes of rancid onions, but it was surprisingly subdued. And while never actually having come into direct contact with the projectile anal secretions of a skunk before, I do remember when our dog Shadow did back many years ago. She got hit badly and despite countless baths I swear I could smell remnants on her even after a year later. Plus I’ve certainly had to endure the noxious clouds let loosed on many an occasion by the nocturnal emissions of the skunks around our house… sometimes it’s bad enough to wake us up.

Thus is why I say it could’ve been a helluva lot worse. Given the skunk’s three-foot distance and strategic high-ground position, if Pepe (or Penelope) Le Pew had wanted to unload upon us it most certainly could have brought the rain, baby.

At best we suffered an abbreviated warning stream shot across the bow. Or maybe that’s giving the skunk too much credit and it wasn’t a warning at all. Maybe we just benefited from encountering a skunk that had sprayed recently and hadn’t yet had a chance to replinish its depleted supply of stank. Perhaps we surprised it out of its sleep and it decided to go to guns right away. Whatever the reasons and background all I know is that I’m having a much easier time dealing with the smell than I am with the fact that I had skunk ass juice in my eyes and on my lips.

But anyway, given that after the conclusion of a preliminary olfactory investigation we weren’t terrifically odious Susan and I opted to continue the march, paying particularly close attention to dog walkers and joggers who’d pass us and enter our wakes to see if they’d let out a deep sniff and a “phew!” None did. At least none that we could audibly discern.

Upon arriving home, whoo boy did the dogs take immediate note of the additional aroma and all the compromised clothing promptly went into the washing machine for the first of repeated cycles in they hope they can be salvaged. I’ve washed my face several times, too. With hydrogen peroxide. Like Lady Macbeth trying to get the blood off her hands, baby.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."