I wasn’t always Bushytail Gonzales. My real name is Joe. I do my best to forget about that, it’s so lame. But once upon a time when I was a very frisky young raccoon, full of hormones and ideals, I ran into this tease of a raccooness. She was hot and classy and she drove the males around her crazy. The stripes on her tail were the sharpest I’ve ever seen and her bandida mask was subtle yet incredibly dramatic.

One day, after having eaten too many shells and feeling a touch euphoric, I began to chase her up a tree. Yeah, us racoon are not really known for our tree-climbing abilities but we are actually quite good at it. Back then, I did pride myself in being the fastest climber around. So I closed in on her easily for a few meters and thought I had it made. But that trunk was quite smooth and I began having trouble holding on, and then slowly fell behind. She reached the top and dashed across a branch into another tree while I was barely climbing past the half-way mark. I couldn’t believe it. When I got to the top, the foxy raccoon was nowhere to be seen and I was panting like a hamster on a wheel. So I granted myself a break and leaned against a large sturdy branch at the very top.

I hadn’t paid attention. It turns out the tree was a BC Hydro electricity pole and the branch was a transformer. The arc that flew right through me could have lighted an entire neighbourhood. There was a huge spark and I screamed as the current was flowing from my head to the tip of my tail in a flash of heat. Witnesses say I actually jumped off the pole and landed on my legs 30 feet below, smoking like a forest fire, but I have no recollection whatsoever. They all agree that I let out one long yelp while falling, something like "Ay-ay-ay-ay-ayyy-ay-ayyyyye!" When they got to me, my tail was four times its normal volume and the hair was standing up straight like that of a pissed off cat. To this day, it still does. My scream sounded Hispanic, so I was nicknamed Bushytail Gonzales. It stuck to me. I was hoping this would win me the favours of my foxy lady. She never looked back. Female raccoons are cruel.

But this many years later, I kinda like the name. It’s romantic and catchy. Quite a few females are attracted by it, and even though they are usually swans, ducks, squirels, frogs, turtles, chikadees or fleas, it’s flattering and I feel all fluffed up. Well, I’m permanently fluffed up, I meant my ego does. The female raccoons, surprisingly, have stayed far away. Go figure. So I’ve started singing, too. It’s the ultimate trick and they won’t resist me much longer.

As I have mentionned before and to my everlasting surprise, a while back on a moonless night, I heard the plaintive cry of a young Mexican girl raccoon:  "Laa-la-laaaaaaaaaa, la lalala la lala laaaaaaaa, la lalala la lala-laaaaaaaaa, laa laa laa laa laa lalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…"

At first, I looked up in fear. I thought she was up on a pole and I was going to have to chase her up there. My tail sizzled a bit in memory of its past accident. I mean, these human-made fake trees are a nuisance, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. Not only do they pose a serious electrical threat to an honest raccoon’s reputation and courting efforts, they also seem to be dangerous for other inferior species. Take the squirrels, for instance. The poor bastards are frail and thin. If I got a bushy tail as a reward for my climb, big and strong as I am, they would just fry on the spot and there’s nothing worse than the smell of a burning squirrel.

Even the humans seem to have trouble with those pole trees. I saw one the other day, hanging from the top branch, looking pretty clueless as always. Others were trying to get to him with a strange little basket on a mechanical arm hoisted from a truck. I think I’ve figured out that "BC Hydro" means Bail the Clown with Hydrolics. I’m getting good at this. Of course, I’m talking about the lower species of humans, here. They live in concrete boxes like a bunch of chickens and seem to be about as smart as your average dog. Incidently, they are often seen walking one another around the park I live in, these dogs and humans.

Granted, a few humans are slightly more evolved and appear to understand the essence of living in the wild. They migrate away from the boxes and into the park, leaving everything behind but drinking supplies. They must be the dominant ones, alpha males and wisest among the wise. These haven’t shed their human habits completely, though, and still prefer to sleep on an uncomfortable bench rather than on a soft grassy field. Duh. At times, I see them lost in some deep train of thoughts as if trying to break free of their human condition. Other times they speak their teachings about life out loud for all to hear, even if no one’s around. I think they could be trained and domesticated.

Any way, the song seemed to be coming from a bush just around a bend in the path so I jumped through it with all my lust. Man, I almost inked myself right there. Where I had expected to find a sexy raccoon my size, I bumped into a tall human singing while he ran. Disgusting. I yelped, jumped back and ran into the bushes with my tail between my legs, which kinda hurts because it’s so bushy. Next time, I’ll smell the air first. Female raccoons never smell like sweat and Gillette.