“What’s wrong with your face?”

A couch made me its bitch last Thursday.

My boyfriend inherited an old couch from his workplace. To make space for it, he moved a bunch of shit around, including a big stack of boxes that had sat gathering dust and cockroaches like a cardboard Detroit. I offered to take the ones he didn’t want out to the neighborhood dumpster, to which he readily assented.

I was 50 feet from the dumpster, arms loaded, when I noticed the interloper: a raccoon, in broad daylight, ears-deep in a cluster of scattered refuse. Sensing my approach, it turned and glowered at me. I put the boxes down and stared back at it. My inner Disney princess began to compose a song. That bitch is going to get us killed one day.

All right, I thought. I can handle this punkass procynid. You rabid? Come at me, bro. Come. At me. I’ll shut your ass down with a cavalcade of cardboard.

I turned to pick up the stack of boxes.

PAIN. PAIN IN THE ELBOW. WHY PAIN. ELBOW WHY. ELBOW YOU ARE A SOURCE OF CONFUSION AND DISCORD.

I looked at my elbow, fully expecting to see the stinger of a fire ant buried in my joint. A flash of yellow told me I had the wrong Hymenopteran: a vicious asshole of a yellow jacket decided she’d had enough of me doing LITERALLY NOTHING AT ALL I WAS JUST FUCKING STANDING THERE SO WHAT IS YOUR DEAL and she was going to punish me by busting her buttnutt into my flesh.

I hollered and jumped back, furiously swatting at the air.

About this time, Brian was emerging from his car, which he had just moved a spot over to accommodate his neighbors. The yellow jacket appeared to have vanished for the moment, and the raccoon had given away the last of his fucks and resumed his Templetonesque slopping. I waved Brian over.

“Hey,” I said as he approached, “two things. One—”

“There’s a raccoon?” Astute, this one.

“Yes, there’s a raccoon. And two, I just got stung by a YELLOW JACKET HOLY FUCK IT’S BACK.”

I jumped back a distance that might earn me medals in the right Olympic event. Bronze, maybe. Not gold. Silver, ambitiously.

“What did you do?” Oh, right, because you have to do something to earn the ire of these flying sacks of hate.

“Nothing!” I wailed. As the little menace was temporarily preoccupied with assaulting an innocent No Parking sign, I decided to grab the boxes and make a run for it. I made it five steps before a streak of yellow slashed across my peripheral vision. My fully loaded arms jerked upwards to put space between me and my attacker, which is how the razor-sharp edge of a wayward box flap sliced squarely across my beautiful beautiful nose. I divested myself of my cargo with a balletic flail. I heard the titter of a raccoon laughing through mouthfuls of garbage.

In his dismay, Brian’s almond-shaped eyes had achieved extra-Caucasian roundness. “IT’S STILL OVER YOU. RUN.” I ran. Behind me, Brian seized the stack of boxes and sprinted for the dumpster, which the raccoon—having better sense than all of us—had now abandoned. Probably to call the police.

As I fled, I passed Brian’s new neighbor, a bemused older gentleman named Jim. Jim’s expression told me that he was passing no judgment, which was itself judgment of the most humiliating kind. I paused to give this succinct explanation:

“I was taking boxes to the dumpster and I just wanted to look at the raccoon and then a yellow jacket stung me.”

“Of course,” Jim said, sage. “Those yellow jackets, they’re pests.”

I opened my mouth to explain to Jim that yellow jackets aren’t pests, they’re terrorists, but at that moment Brian pelted up and told me to keep moving. We did not stop until we were safely in his living room, the front door closed and locked.

My fingers came away from my nose warm and red. I was incredulous. A box. Bitten by a motherfucking BOX.


From Instagram: “The story involves a cardboard box, a raccoon, and a yellow jacket. I mean I CUT A HO.” No favorites. No comments. Everyone probably thought the setup was a bit of a stretch.

Later, as we sat on the stupid couch waiting for the stupid slipcover to stupid dry, I stopped dabbing at my oozing facewound long enough to peer at Brian.

“You know,” I said, “people are going to think you hit me.”

“Yes,” he replied, not looking up from his laptop, “but the thing about that is that I didn’t.”

“No, you didn’t. But when they ask, all I’ll have is this ridiculous story about boxes and a raccoon and a yellow jacket.”

That’s when he started to laugh.

I’m going to pee on that couch.

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