Surviving Loco in Guatemala
By Luke Armstrong

After the first attack I rushed to find first aid. The clock was ticking. The longer I left the wounds un-washed the greater the risk of even larger problems. The attack was so aggressively unanticipated that it never occurred to me that a second, far more brutal attack was mere minutes away.


"You're drunk." Marcos' sleepy German accent answered from his darkened room as I knocked impatiently on his door.

"That's true," I said, knowing it was well past an acceptable hour to be knocking on anyone's door, "But that's not why I'm knocking. I need your help to unlock the kitchen. I need first aid, man!"

I knew that next to Marcos was the Dutch girl he had been hooking up with and that the last thing either of them wanted to do was dress and face the world at this late hour. But this was important. This was really, really important. Blood was trickling down my leg and my joint was tightening. Soon the stiffening would limit my mobility.

Finally Marcos emerged from his den. "What's up man?" he asked affably despite the late hour. I pointed to my knee and he responded with a customary, "Dude! Holy shit!"

We traveled quickly down the bungalow's stairs towards the kitchen. Marcos was a few steps ahead of me as he entered the safety of the kitchen as I walked through the open-air dining room. A thatch roof was set above me upon low-laying rafters. Marcos was trekking across Central America and had been gleefully grounded for a month in La Casa de la Iguana in Livingston, Guatemala where he bartended to pay his room and board.

Livingston Guatemala

Located on Guatemala's carefree Caribbean coast, Livingston provides a pleasant departure from Guatemala's Pacific coastline—unlike most Guatemalan beaches the waves here tend not to drown you. The area is gang controlled and is a transit port for USA-bound cocaine. Because these days the gangs are relatively established entities, a tenuous stability remains in place. But the flow of drugs makes Livingston a place you would not want to bring Grandma to—it's a place where lynchings are far more common than the court-delivered justice.

As Marcos entered the kitchen, I explained to him how I had been washing my face, getting ready for bed, when the demon-beast had appeared out of nowhere and sunk his incisors into my leg. At first I thought it was a dog, but then the unmistakable mask and satanic eyes revealed my easily recognizable assailant.

Reign of Raccoon Terror: the Sequel
As I concluded telling Marcos the tale of the first attack, the satanic raccoon materialized again. From underneath a table he resumed mauling me. I let out a war cry that people later described as me "screaming like a girl" and ran in circles in an attempt to shake the coon.

But the coon had already tasted blood ad was not about to let me off as easy as he had after the first attack. He continued to hold and bite. When I shook him off for an instant, I jumped up on a table to remove myself from the reaches of the little bastard.

Some readers may scoff at this part and think, "raccoons can't fly." But with Marcos as my witness, when I jumped up onto the table, the Raccoon raised his front paws in a oh-you-did-not-just-jump-up-on-that-table type way, and flew to the table to continue to wreak havoc upon my gashed legs. At this point I picked up a chair and began to beat the raccoon and when I missed, my leg, with it. Time hit the fast forward button and my mind returned to its primordial way of fight-or-flight thinking.

Guatemala raccoon

When the chair I was wielding landed a good hit on the fiend's masked face, he finally let go and I grabbed a rafter and raised myself up into the thatch roof.

At this point Lenny, the Dutch girl who had been bedding down with Marcos, appeared in the doorway. I held out my hand to her and shouted, pleading with her to come up to the safety of the rafters. Behind her came Ashley, a half Canadian half Welsh girl. I pleaded with both to escape doom and come to the rafters. As neither had seen the raccoon just own me, both took my urgent yelling and beckoning to the rafters to mean that I must be tripping out on something.

In a desperate voice Marcos from the kitchen window confirmed that if they did not take to the rafters something very bad was about to happen to them. Confused, but getting uneasy at our pleas, they climbed up to the rafters and in adrenaline-rushed speech I informed them of the exciting goings-on of the coon-filled night.

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