I’d been following a skunk in the woods out back, crawling cautiously on my hands and knees for hours, stopping to root, dig. I told myself if I did exactly what the skunk did, then he wouldn’t even know I was there, or just think I was one of his kind. I wore black jeans and a black and white t-shirt to approximate his colors. And when he scooted away, picking up his gait like someone who just soiled themselves, I did as well. I was getting closer by the hour, and by sunset I expected to be close enough to hold him. When he licked his belly, I licked mine. When he peed, so did I. I could see his hole up ahead, evidenced by the mound of sand. “Don’t even think about it.” he said. “You just spoke to me,” I said. “I learned how to speak English in skunk school. English is one of the first languages we learn,” he said. “Well, it’s kind of hard to argue with you on that one since you’re speaking it right now,” I said. “Let me guess, you want to come down into my burrow and learn to live with us,” he said. “Something tells me I’m not the first,” I said. The skunk sat back on a rock and lit a corn cob pipe. “And you won’t be the last,” he said. “So, can I?” I said. “Yes, but you may never return to the land of men,” he said. “You can’t keep me down there,” I said. “I’ll dig another way out or I’ll create a device that allows me to see down into your world and examine you while I remain up here with the bipedal.” “Create a skunkoscope?” he said. “You bet your musk glands,” I said. “That’s what the last one said,” he said. “Where is the last one now?” I said. “He married a skunk wife and is expecting some skunk kids and is working at Skunk University in Skunktown,” he said. “You have a university?” I said. “Oh, we have everything you do, only more,” he said. “That’s unbelievable,” I said. “Wait, zoologists here are encouraged to carefully see from the eyes of the animals they work with without projecting their own humanness onto them, and here you are telling me this. We were so wrong about anthropomorphism.” “If you’d only known,” he said. “You humans think everything you see is yours and nobody else’s.” “That’s true, we are greedy dictators and property mongers,” I said. “You probably think I’m yours,” he said. “I did think you were my skunk,” I said. He went on his front legs and sprayed me in the face. “And you’re skunk just did that,” he said. “Touché,” I said. The skunk handed me a small napkin so I could wipe my face. “Sorry about that, I had to check,” he said. “Check what?” I said. “Check to see if you would try to kill your property for refusing your dominion,” he said. “So, I passed the test,” I said. “With flying colors,” he said. “Will I even fit down there?” I said. “Oh, you’ll fit. You all fit,” he said.