Poor squirrel decision

By Beth MacDonald

My neighbor across the street is a pleasant woman, friendly, funny, the likeable sort you’d want to have as a neighbor. Her husband went away on a business trip, so she was going to take the kids to go see family for a few days. She asked me to grab her mail and packages while she was gone. My husband parked his truck in her driveway to make it look like someone was home. The day she got back, I didn’t expect to look out my kitchen window and see her storming, angrily, toward my house. I went outside to greet her, but before I could say anything, she screamed, “Something trashed my house!”

“Let me get my shoes.” Maybe some of those slip-on footies the Terminix man wears when he comes in the house. And, of course, my phone. For posterity.

It was a “squirrelapocalypse.” I stood there with my mouth open, taking in the destruction. Every single windowsill on the first floor was chewed up — not just a little, almost clean though. The teeth marks stretched edge-to-edge like it was eating corn on the cob. There were bloody paw prints and droppings from the terrified creature everywhere, windows, the sofa, the blinds. Table lamps were turned over, smashed on the floor. I felt like a detective in CSI-Woodland Creature Edition. This squirrel knew how to party.

We looked all over for the dear departed, but came up empty so we began to clean up. She ordered a pizza. I went home and a few minutes later got a videotext message with the words, “What the bleep do I do now?” In the video, a squirrel was trapped in her fireplace, caged by the screen.

Naturally, I sent my husband over. 

Mason was only too happy to help. His friend Win, who was over for dinner, eagerly begged to go, too. Hemingway didn’t fancy a bullfight this much. The two men took a large Tupperware storage container from the basement and proceeded across the street like giddy children. I hollered after them to take video. This reeked of viral potential. The pizza delivery lady met them in the driveway.

“There’s a squirrel in there,” they warned her.

“They love peanut butter,” she said. “Make it a sandwich.”

Mason and Win cocked their heads and thanked her. They knew good advice when they heard it.

As they prepared to enter the house, the pizza lady drove off screaming out her car window, “CRUNCHY, SQUIRRELS LOVE CRUNCHY!”

Armed with this knowledge, they entered my neighbor’s house. They put a peanut butter sandwich in the Tupperware bin and tried to lure the squirrel into it. The rodent took the bait, literally, and scooted back up the chimney.

Plan B.

Mason came back to our house to grab a wire dog crate and a Duraflame log. I didn’t want to know the new plan.

Back at ground zero, the men set a fire, and placed the crate so they would catch the fleeing rodent, no doubt coughing and wheezing. Smoking the culprit out worked too well. Rather than depriving it of air, they filled it with adrenaline. The squirrel shot into the crate, with the sandwich, out the back of the crate, and into the kitchen presumably on a quest for a crunchier variety of peanut butter.

Screams could be heard for miles.

My neighbor started tossing her kids out of the house like luggage, except for the one clapping. That one wanted to stay.

“Fine! You can get rabies. I’m saving the others.” She no longer cared. With three  children saved, she was in good shape. She could spare one.

The guys were now trying to trap the terrified squirrel raging through the kitchen. Now would be a good time to describe a small, well-appointed kitchen, with two men, both bodybuilders, one standing 6-feet-2-inches and one 6-feet-6-inches, knocking everything over, doing a great deal more damage than the squirrel, who stood 10 inches tall, tail not included, and never lifted anything heavier than a crunchy peanut butter sandwich.

Finally, the two managed to get the squirrel into the Tupperware container and close the lid. The plan was to bring it outside. My neighbor wanted it exiled.

They took it down the street to the yard of another neighbor, who appeared to have picked the wrong time to go to the grocery store. As soon as the lid opened the squirrel, shot out like it was in a potato cannon.

“He’s your problem now!” Win shouted to no one on the other side of the fence.

“Did you take video?” I asked.

“No. Even if we did it would look like the Blair Witch Project but with a squirrel.”

It would have killed at the Sundance.  PS

Beth MacDonald is a Southern Pines suburban misadventurer who likes to make words up. She loves to travel with her family and read everything she can.

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