As soon as the critter was sure the lights were off for good, he scrambled to his tiny li'l feet, ate all of Spooky's food, licked the bowl clean, and scampered off into that good night, probably shaking his prehensile tail at us while making a note of just where the suckers who leave out tasty treats live.
Now, possums are just downright weird animals. Living fossils, actually. They're marsupials with kinda-prehensile tails (they can't really hang from them all that well, but can sort of do it). Gentle omnivores, they "play possum" in a last-ditch effort to escape threats, after first trying hissing and retreat. Although all mammals can catch rabies, possums have a marked resistance to the disease. They've got more teeth than any other mammal and a nigh-immunity to pit viper poison - they chow down on copperheads. Oh, and they've got opposable thumbs on their back feet!
Then it occurred to me - what we have here is a redneck mongoose. A Rikki-Bobby-Tikki-Tavi, if you will. No one's idea of a pet, but they've survived nevertheless. People will spend a bucketload of money on Persian kitten or a collie who's been overbred to the point of inherent bad temper and health problems, but those same people will threaten a gentle possum with the business end of a broom when the critter just wants a taste of Gravy Train.
So I'm glad we let him alone and honestly, I'm glad he got a free meal out of the encounter.It's bound to be hard to be a possum in a pedigreed world and I think all of us have days when we can relate more to the possum than the pedigree. And I hope that when I'm next having a hard time fitting in (which I shall now call a "possum day") someone doesn't whack me with a Swifter.