Most of us go through life without any significant cares. Sure, from time to time we might get sick, or get served with suit papers or go through a bankruptcy or something, but for the most part life is pretty serene for those of us in the good ol’ U S of A. But for the rare few, life can take on the characteristics of a John LeCarre spy novel, and I must confess to my friends here that this is the turn my life has taken.
I have finally seen it all clearly: they are trying to kill me. They are actually trying to kill me. “Who is trying to kill you?” I can hear you all asking. The squirrels. The squirrels are trying to kill me.
I know, it sounds crazy, right? Why would the friendly little squirrels want to kill me? How could something with a cutely bushy tail be so outright malevolent? It’s the nuts. It has to be the nuts.
I moved into the idyllic life of a midwestern suburbanite quite a number of years ago. Yes, I have had the occasional disagreement with a neighbor and am carrying on a low-intensity campaign against some moles who have determined to turn my lawn into a subterranean McDonald’s Play Place, but these are normal happenings. And right from the beginning the squirrels and I have had an understanding. I have provided them with all of the free walnuts they can eat and they leave me alone. What could be simpler?
Things took an ugly turn about two years ago when I went to squirt washer fluid onto the rear window of my car. I could hear the little motor whirring, but no liquid came out. I began to trace the problem and soon discovered that something had chewed the little rubber hose in two. I did not think much of it at the time, because those sorts of things can happen when you occasionally park a car outdoors in a wooded area. It could happen to anyone, right? I fixed the little rubber tube and the washer now squirts all the bluish fluid I need for a safe and clean back window.
But something has happened that makes me look back on the washer incident with some new suspicion after I recently got my car back from a dealer service. I had not though much about the little red air bag light glowing on the dash panel. I asked them to check it when I was in for some other service, and their call-back shook me. “We found a wire that had been chewed by some critter. It’s gonna be about $350.” I did not gripe about the cost. Well, OK, I did gripe, but it didn’t help. “It’s an air bag wire so we can’t just splice it, we have to replace that part of the harness.” That’s not the part that bothered me. The chilling part was that the squirrels managed to disable the air bags in my car. It was clearly by the Grace of God that I got in for a repair before they chewed through one of the brake lines and sent me careening to my death. Or maybe the plan was to jump out from under the seat and onto my lap, causing me to scream like a girl and run into a tree? (They are probably hoping it will be another walnut tree so as to shake some food down to ground level).
I thought back to the washer tube. Did the rodent accidently chew the wrong tube? Was he aiming from the one that sprays the windshield? A lack of washer fluid in our sloppy midwestern winters could be dangerous. Or was he just trying to send a message? Perhaps it was necessary preparation to steal all of the insulation from the firewall behind the engine to get to the right wire? I wondered what they wanted with it – silly me, I just thought that maybe they were cold and needed some insulation for their nest. Now I am not so sure.
What could I have done? Was there some extra ration of walnuts I should have been paying as protection? If so, I missed the memo. Or are they just on a mission to drive the human settlers back southward towards the old city limits so as to reclaim the area that our forebears staked out and developed during the Eisenhower Administration? At this point, it no longer matters. The photo up top was taken last week as one of them was surveilling the window of my home office. Gotcha Dude – I was in another room and surveilled you instead!
In any spy novel worth reading, any time the protagonist realizes that there is a contract out on him, he simply does not pack his bags and run away. Instead, he now knows that there is a plot afoot and he plans his response. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that. I know, but I have been taking care to not let the squirrels know that I know.
A nephew has a large antlered deer’s head hanging on his bedroom wall. Perhaps I should ask to borrow it. It might be very effective if that squirrel wakes up one morning with that gigantic deer’s head staring at him. He has probably never watched The Godfather, but I don’t suppose it is necessary to have seen the bloody horse head in the bed scene to get the right message from a dead deer head in your nest.
Or maybe I should just go right to the part involving a nasty reprisal. Between the two cars, I have 8 fairly large tires under my control and there is a big, long road that they have to cross some time. I trust you can keep this between us, but I am going to bide my time and wait for the day when one of them lets down his guard. Get them before they get you – isn’t that more wisdom from The Godfather? We also have some foxes and coyotes around here, so maybe it is time to start feeding them. Sure, someone else’s cat (or two) may be collateral damage, but everyone in this life knows that unintended harm sometimes cannot be helped.
If nothing else is clear, this one thing is: It is now apparent that it is either going to be the squirrels or me who comes out of this alive. I’ll let you in on something – it IS going to be me. Or at least I hope it is.