What would life be without a few surprises? Pretty boring, that’s what.

Take for instance, the startled expression of horror appearing on the editor’s face as he scans the latest submission from his local humour columnist.

“Oh migawd he’s gone and used the ‘t’ word,” blurts the exasperated copy cop.

“I can’t print this. What am I going to use to fill in this big hole this close to deadline?” he snarls at the rest of his driven staff.

“He really used the ‘t’ word? Well we definitely can’t print that,” snorts the sports editor as he hastily tucks away his copy of the swim wear edition.

“I’ve got just the thing, a filler on the evils of lap dancing,” offers the intrepid assistant editor.

“And let’s take in the ‘peelers’ over at the Drizzle Bar as soon as we get this baby put to bed. Maybe we’ll be surprised,” he adds, to the enthusiastic approval of his co-workers.

Out in the country we have a few surprises ourselves. The abundant wildlife is surprising and generally pleasantly so. This year seems to have provided a bumper crop of bears and coyotes around the homestead, but since the outhouse has been retired, there have been no midnight surprises as one no longer heads down that path.

But we did have a little surprise the other night at the instigation of our infamous dog, Chopper. Chopper has a definite appetite for walking on the wild side, particularly when the moon is bright. This involves him not only chasing the coyotes, but pretending he is one. i.e. howling under my neighbour’s bedroom window.

I successfully curbed this habit by chaining him up every night, but this solution wasn’t quite as bright as I figured. You see, since Chopper couldn’t come out and play, the whole damn Coyote family decided to come visit him and they are in fine voice, particularly the enthusiastic young pups just learning how to really howl.

After being brought out of a deep sleep, four nights running, I vowed I would seek my revenge and put a stop to this foolishness. I carefully planned my campaign. I removed the screen from the window of the spare bedroom and in contravention of the Safe Storage Section of the Firearms Act I stood the rifle behind the door with a full clip of shells right at hand.

I was prepared.

It must have been the antihistamines that made me so groggy the other night, but it took a concerted effort by the coyotes to finally bring me awake.

Without hesitation I streaked through the house for the guest room, grabbed the rifle, rammed home the full clip, bounded onto the bed, threw open the window, stuck the rifle out over the sill and, “Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!” just like a scene out of Rambo, emptied the clip into the middle of the pack.

Talk about a surprise as the smell of burnt cordite wafted through the guest room and empty shell casings rattled to the floor.

That coyote pack scattered in every which direction- unharmed of course.

The yard light emitted a few more sparks and then completely died- the only casualty.

The dog whimpered from under the step – terrified of gunfire and thunder storms.

My good wife, the Pearl of the Orient, used to my eccentric antics, strolled into the guest room, and flipped on the lights.

From the smirk on her face, I must have been quite a sight. Standing there on the bed, buck naked, hair askew, gripping the rifle. She suggested I come back to bed.

Then I looked down at the bed and into the two faces of our weekend guests. They were staring right back and they were surprised.

I wonder if this will bode well for my plans to operate our home as a ‘bed & breakfast.’ “Very quiet, no surprises.”