Round 1: A couple of weeks ago, I'm walking out to the balcony outside my room to flick on the light for my girlfriend who was headed over. As the light goes on, I notice something moving out of the corner of my eye, and there's this humongous raccoon, about 5 feet away, sitting on the ledge just staring at me. I just about jump out of my shoes, but this does not seem to bother the raccoon, who continues to sit there, staring at me like I'm an idiot. Determined to shoe him away (and also slight miffed that he's punked me so badly, I pick up my exercise ball, raise it high above my head, and start yelling. Just then my girlfriend walks up, sees this, and has one more piece of evidence that I am insane. I hurl the exercise ball at the raccoon, but at the last minute envision it flying off the balcony and into my evil neighbor's yard, so I alter my trajectory, and miss low. The raccoon calmly scampers into a nearby tree and disappears.
Raccoon 1, Paul 0
Round 2: A few nights later, I'm lying in bed around two in the morning and I hear a bunch of scratching outside my window, in the bushes. The raccoon. I look out the window but can't see him in the dark, so it takes me a couple tries to get these pictures of him.
But he's not leaving. Apparently, he's just going to shuffle around out there all night, making noise and pissing me off. So I start looking for something to throw.
Baseball? No, too valuable, I don't want to lose that.
Extra SAT practice tests? No, I'd never hit him.
Wadded up garbage? Nah, wouldn't hurt him.
Handful of pennies? Bingo.
I have this huge glass of pennies I keep on my desk I've been saving for… well, I guess saving for this. I grab a big handful, lean out the window, blind the raccoon with another camera flash, and huck the pennies at him as hard as I can. Oh, Mr. Raccoon does not like this. Not one bit. A lot of the pennies miss him, but a bunch of him pelt him all over, like buckshot, and the raccoon freaks out and falls off the fence into my evil neighbor's yard.
Raccoon 1, Paul 1.
Round 3: It's been a week or two since I've seen the raccoon - he's probably a little cautious after last time with the pennies. But as I sit writing at my desk, I hear something coming from Sam's room, next door. Scratching sounds. Chewing sounds. Inhuman sounds. Nobody else is home. Not knowing what it could be at first, I take my baseball bat with me and go to investigate (hey, might be a burglar with a knife). But it's no burglar. It's Mr. Raccoon. Sitting right in the middle of Sam's room, eating a sleeve of Saltines Sam left out because… well, frankly I have no idea why Sam would leave Saltines out in his room. Anyway, the raccoon is sitting there, chowing down. I didn't get a chance to take a picture, so here's a (badly) photoshopped one:
I enter with my bat, the raccoon just sort of looks up at me like "What? Leave me alone, I'm eating." Damn this raccoon has balls. So I start stomping and yelling to scare the raccoon off. I briefly consider using the bat, but I'm not a monster; throwing pennies at a raccoon is one thing, but bludgeoning one to death with a baseball bat in the middle of Sam's carpet is another. I move toward the raccoon, and with a look like "Really? This is happening?" he slowly moves toward the door, out on the balcony, and with one last look at me like "This isn't over," he's down the tree and out of sight. I inspect the sleeve of Saltines - he got through like half of them, certainly a good meal for a raccoon.
Raccoon 2, Paul 2, Sam's Saltines 0
I get the feeling that, indeed, this isn't over.