You’ve Been Skunked!


It happened at midnight. I was about to go to sleep when suddenly, the good sweet country air was replaced by the sour cloying scent of skunk.

It is difficult to describe how strong the smell was, but it was bad. The chemicals began to burn my throat.

Jenny’s bedroom door slammed, and I met her in the hall. She was clutching a pillow and blanket. “Is the skunk smell bad in your room too?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I thought maybe it was worse in my room because the window was open, so I’m going to try sleeping downstairs.”

“It’s really bad in my room too,” I said.

“It’s really bad right here where I’m standing,” said Jenny. She ventured downstairs and found that the living room also reeked.

I lay in bed for a long time, unable to sleep. I put on perfume. I prayed God would help  me sleep despite the smell. I tried imagining that I LIKED the smell of skunks. Eventually I drifted off, but all night long I kept waking up and smelling it.

I’ve rarely been so happy to leave for school at 7:15 am. “Clean, fresh air!” I exclaimed as we pulled out of the driveway. “Were you kept awake by the skunk smell last night?” I asked Ben.

“So a skunk did spray,” said Ben. “I wasn’t sure if that actually happened or if I dreamed it.”

“Man, I still smell it on me,” I said, sniffing my sweater.

“Really?” Ben asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “I have a pretty sensitive sense of smell.”

“I hear that pregnant women have extra sensitive senses of smell,” said Ben.

“…..but….I’m not pregnant….”

“I mean, if you ever are pregnant it will probably be really bad for you.”


I was sort of paranoid that everyone at school could smell the skunk on me. I kept getting whiffs, especially when I opened my backpack.

Mom sent me a text: “I think the skunk sprayed into the intake vent of the furnace.”

That made sense. I told Ben this theory when we were driving home.

“That would explain why it wasn’t as bad in our room. We had our vents closed,” he said.

Then he added, “when I got to my first class, the guy behind me said, “phew! Why does it smell like skunk in here?”

We laughed.

When we got home, I walked in the back door while Ben went to get the paper. A wall of smell greeted me, and I dashed back outside.

“What do we do?” I asked Ben. I was seriously considering calling up my Aunt Bonnie and asking if I could go take a nap at her house.

“Is it really that bad?” Ben asked.

“Yes,” I said. “It didn’t seem so bad this morning because we’d gotten used to it during the night.”

He went in, and agreed with me that it was really, really bad. We went around opening all the available windows and doors. Ben went up to the attic to get fans. Incidentally the attic ladder was having issues, and one of the spring/hinge combos broke completely off.

Just another joyous event to add to our day.

Ben managed to balance on the wobbly ladder and find a fan. I turned on the bathroom fans and the fan above the stove, and febreezed the house. Then I went outside to eat my lunch in the fresh air.

Julie the cat climbed onto my lap, and I congenially petted her. But the smell. The skunk smell. It was here, again. I sniffed the cat. Phew!

I tried to get her to relinquish her seat on my lap, and she clawed me.

Poor thing.

Mom and Jenny returned from picking strawberries. “Wow it stinks! Did the skunk spray again?” they asked as they walked in the door.

“No, it just didn’t seem so bad this morning when you were used to it,” I said. “I think I know what happened. I think the cat was protecting her kittens…”

“I know what happened,” said Jenny, interrupting me. “The skunk sprayed all over that section of the porch…”

“Even reaching the intake vent of the furnace,” Mom added.

“and the cat reeked,” Jenny finished.

“Yeah, I smelled her,” I said.

“I’ve already washed her in peroxide three times,” said Mom.

“She keeps following us around, meowing, wanting us to get the smell off of her,” Jenny added.

Someone stopped at the store to get extra peroxide, and I mixed it with baking soda and dish soap and began scrubbing the yellow stains that spattered the vinyl siding of the porch.

Slowly but surely the smell receded. It’s at manageable levels now, no longer burning my throat. But if you hang around me this week and I smell like skunk, please forgive me.

Moral: If you have a problem with skunks eating your catfood, and with cats attacking said skunks, it may be best to keep the food well away from any intake vents.

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