This is trivial, but we all need a break from grimness.
A couple of nights ago I had just gone to bed when I heard an odd noise. It was a kind of repetitive high-pitched whining. (When I described it thus to a friend, he said, “But you don’t have a girlfriend right now.” Rim shot.) It sounded like a slightly guttural squeaky toy; “eeee-urngh, eeee-urngh, eeee-urngh.” It was just loud enough to be annoying.
I sighed the sigh of the sleep-interrupted, donned boots and a coat, grabbed a flashlight, and went out on the front porch. A quick scan around the driveway revealed a porcupine standing just behind my car. It eyed me with that cold, irritated look that porcupines have, spread its quills, and ambled off into the woods.
The sound continued. It seemed to be coming from my car, so I shined my light underneath. Lo, there was another porcupine. My car being a low-slung compact, the porcupine was wedged in flatter than I had ever seen an animal, at least a live animal. It seemed to be distressed. Whether it went under there to escape the other porcupine, or whether the path under my car was simply the shortest line between two points, I can’t say.
I went back in the house and grabbed my semi-proverbial five-foot pole. I gently prodded the porcupine to see if it would move. It emitted the sound of an outraged squeaky toy and stayed put. The animal was stuck, either physically or emotionally. The whining continued uninterrupted. I would not be able to sleep with this animal under my car. Aside from the sound, I was worried that it might find some residual salt on my tires and have a snack, as porcupines sometimes do.
I noted that it was facing the rear of my car, quills pointed forward. I went and grabbed my car keys, started the car, and half-inched it forward a few feet, listening intently for the sound of porcupine anguish. By the time I got out and looked around, the porcupine had run off.
I neglected to record the sound, but this link will give you an idea of what I was listening to. Imagine the last few seconds of the recording repeated endlessly. Having listened, you will be one of the elite who can identify the sound of a porcupine in distress. You’re welcome.
(YouTube being what it is, here is a domesticated porcupine being cute.)