YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Zan Thompson

The Night a Big Stink Was Raised

September 27, 1987|ZAN THOMPSON

There must have been at least two of them and they must have had periscopes. How else can it be explained that my dog Peaches and I smelled like an entire colony of skunks?

We were asleep, but I woke up at 3 in the morning, with tears streaming down my face and a smell in the bedroom like an explosion in a sulfuric-acid factory. It came in the window in palpable waves, a strong chemical smell. Peaches had tears running down her face and was making a noise like a frightened mouse, somewhere between a whimper and a gasp.

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter although I knew perfectly well and there wasn't much to do about it. I ran into the living room with Peaches behind me. Unfortunately, she was so deep in depression she did not want to be alone and insisted on sitting in the chair with me. First I read for an hour, a Lewis Grizzard book. He's a columnist with the Atlanta Constitution and Journal and is just the right writer to read during a skunk attack. I mean no disrespect. Rather, I mean he is such a funny writer he can almost make you forget your troubles.

After an hour, I realized that things were getting worse instead of better. My eyes were almost swollen shut and so were my companion's. What must have happened is that the skunk brigade sprayed directly into the air beneath my open bedroom window which is at the head of my bed. Or else Peaches went outside and managed to be sprayed independently. But that didn't follow because the odor in the bedroom was so bad.

We went to the kitchen and I pulled out a can of tomato juice, some mixed vegetable juice and some Bloody Mary mix, opened them all and poured them in the turkey roaster. Then I took Peaches and went into the shower in my bathroom. I sponged us both from head to toe with the juice. Then I turned on the shower.

So much for that old dog owner's tale. We still smelled awful, only now we had a top note, as the perfume people say, of tomato juice. I considered spritzing us with vodka so at least we'd smell as if we were having a party but I decided all that would accomplish would be that then we would smell as if we had been sprayed by a skunk with drinking problems.

At 4, I was so sleepy, I reached up in the linen closet and pulled out a blanket and a pillow and curled up on the couch with my furry friend. It was a long couple of hours. At dawn, I decided that our blanket smelled worse than we did, so we got up and I put the blanket and the pillowcase in the washing machine. Sleep was obviously over for the night. The washing machine sounded like a cement mixer and we smelled about the same as when we started this Walpurgis Night.

As early as I could, about 8, I called Beverly at the Silver Poodle and asked if I might bring Peaches in. She said yes and I was careful not to tell her the problem. When we got there, Beverly and her staff recoiled; Beverly told me to come back in an hour.

I did and Peaches had lost about 85% of her aroma but not all. Beverly said, "I gave her a vinegar bath. Now she's a pickled peach."

Well yuk, yuk. Peaches now smells like a Bloody Mary which has received a good belt of Russian dressing. It is now two days later and things aren't much better.

My sister Patsy missed all the fun. She is in South Carolina visiting her daughter Mandy. Mandy's children have a guinea pig which lives in an aquarium. Patsy says his name is Snufflenophilus because he has a wheezy squeak which seems to come from a post-nasal drip.

Oh, well, I was in Houston when Patsy had to climb on the roof to hose it down lest a spark ignite it. I don't know who's having the worst time. But the thought of the wheezing guinea pig makes Peaches' aroma a little more bearable. Oh, not that much.

Los Angeles Times Articles