Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Squirrels

Excerpt taken from my field journal:
December 30th, Day 100. 27 degrees Fahrenheit.

Personal commentary:
Midwestern squirrels, who – I've decided – are all named Buddy and Loretta, are a completely different breed than their wussy and malnourished, chain smoking city cousins. If you've visited NYC or SFO then you know the type: skinny, kinda nervous, fucked up tail… to me they always look a little like they just got their asses handed to them by a gang of mutant pigeons or something…


At any rate, the ones here in the North-Eastern corner of Chicago, look very much like they've spent some time in the gym doing Pilate's or perhaps; spinning. Every morning at approximately sun-up, they congregate atop the dumpster in the alley behind my apartment complex, drinking coffee, joking and talking smack about the neighbors as they peruse electrical schematics of the city…

To be sure, they've unionized.

Sometimes, as I'm hiding in the bushes, I see them running wire up to the power lines or coaxial cable along the ground to certain trees or even siphoning gas from nearby SUVs.

As much as I'd like to, I dare not approach them.

Last week, (Day 96) soon after I got settled into my usual observation point, I watched – rather stupefied, as a local kid, wrapped comically in a red and grey argyle scarf, burst out of seemingly nowhere and – armed to the teeth with tightly packed snowballs – proceeded to launch an obviously well planned (if not completely unprovoked) ground-to-air-strike against the squirrel community during one of their morning meetings when, sadly, they are at their most vulnerable.

With grim fascination, I looked on in horror as Buddy – who had just opened his thermos for what was to be his first cup of coffee for the day -- took two slushballs to the chest and one to the head. Loretta, with no regard for her own safety, ran to him, crushing his limp body to her snow-splattered bosom, screaming; "Squeak squeaker squeak squeak!" again and again; "Squeak squeaker squeak squeak!!" as a barrage of snow and ice exploded around her.

The rest of the squirrels – unsure of what had just happened – ran for cover as the local kid who, by the way, never once appeared to break stride, ducked down another alley where he immediately vanished behind what was later determined to be a disemboweled, late model Chevy.

Now, days later, just as Loretta finishes scattering Buddy's ashes at the foot of the dumpster, a large, balding squirrel – Buddy – approaches and is handing her a neatly folded, red and grey argyle scarf.

As I say; Fascinating.

Perhaps justice was served and perhaps it wasn't. I do not judge, only observe. For me, day 96 shall forever be the day I witnessed my first run-by snowballing and while I hope it's my last, I can see now that this is the beginning of something much, much larger...


Okie said...

Man! This is terrific. Original and great fun.

And it reminds me that I need to write, more often, for fun, rather than just for "work".


Lizzie said...

i agree with Okie. Fantastic! Creative, original, funny. Keep it up!

Lizzie said...

I agree with Okie. This is fantastic!
Creative, original, funny. I love it!

Sideshow said...

Alright, contact has now been established. Nice to "meet" you and thanks for the compliments on the blog. I'd be happy to peek around your blog as well. Looking forward to future posts and communication. Cheers!

Mrs.scribblerJones said...

HA!Squeak squeaker squeaker! That is all I can muster ater that. Beautiful!

Anya said...

utterly amusing story. The humour saved the horror of it. By the way, I have a scar from a squirrel bite... so bad-ass I am