Neo & Miss B

Got the end of a kidnap attempt, a messy bloody death, a visit to Wilde the Sorcerer, and the tracing of a shipment of Prussian capacitors to write. This morning was interval training and a multiple-mile walk with Miss B. I think I tired her out. The only drawback is that I can’t nap like she does.

But I have a story to tell you first. Yes, Miss B met Neo the other day. As luck would have it, this was the first Squirrel-and-B interaction I had the pleasure of witnessing, and it just had to be the Terminator ninja death squirrel.

Picture this, a cloudy day, Miss B snoot-deep in backyard grass, Yours Truly leaning against the sunroom wall watching, yawning and holding an afternoon cuppa. It’s a tranquil scene.

From the clouds of blossoms on the plum tree, Neo sallied forth, crooked tail held high. Nobody had informed him of the Glorious Advent.

“Oh, Christ on a cracker NO–” I began. The last thing I wanted was my dog kicked in the head. That would get things off on the wrong foot. Plus, Tuxedo Kitty was never the same after his head trauma. I started forward, tea sloshing, Miss B turned to see what I was looking at…

..and froze, ears perked so far they almost started from her head, one paw lifted, barely even breathing.

How Neo missed an exponentially-bigger animal covered in russet fur staring at him as her haunches slowly sank in preparation, I’ll never know. He sauntered away from the tree, chittering a little as he encountered a small pile of grass clippings. Maybe he thought it was a fine place to bury a spring nut or two. Maybe he was so used to the calm in the back yard he literally didn’t notice. Maybe he was simply overconfident.

The preparation only took a few seconds, but it was long stretched-out nightmare time for me. You know those dreams where you’re running, but everything’s made of lead and you just can’t move fast enough? Yeah. Like that.

Still deadly silent, Miss B bolted.

“Watch out!” I yelled, hot tea slopping in my cup. “HE KICKS PEOPLE IN THE HEAD!”

Now, I was prepared for a short sharp flurry and a howling Miss B. She’s up on her rabies shots, though–it had been less than a week since her last jab.

I fully admit I underestimated my dog.

“HEEEEERD IT!” she bellowed in midstride, and was across the yard in an eyeblink.

“WHAT TH–EEEEEEEEE!” Neo started Making That Sound again. He bolted for the plum tree, but Miss B cut him off.

I watched my new mini Aussie herd the Terminator death ninja squirrel across my hard, harrying and nipping, turning on a dime, anticipating, and generally treating him like a flock of sheep. Now, squirrels are generally very nimble little critters, and Neo doubly so. But Miss B had her nose down, and she cut him off every. Single. Time. Grass flew. Neo stopped making That Noise. I suppose he thought he was running for his life and needed the oxygen. Back and forth they went–Miss B got him turned around near the fence, he feinted, she took the bait, he reversed–but so did she, with sweet natural grace, nipping at his crooked tail for good measure.

I stood there, mouth ajar, tea pouring out of my dangling cup. It was actually the boiling-hot tea splashing through my pants that restored me to some kind of sanity. “B—-!” I used her full name and my You Are My Child voice. She skidded to a stop, head up, eying me.

Neo darted for the shelter of the plum tree. Miss B quivered with anticipation. “No,” I said, “let the fuzzy little bastard rest. You’ve had your fun.”

She chuffed and trotted back to me, head high, her hindquarters wriggling with delight. “I HERDED IT! IT WAS A QUICK LITTLE BASTARD TOO! DID YOU SEE ME HERD IT? IS THAT MY NEW JOB?”

“Just be careful,” I told her, snorting for breath through the laughter. “That’s no ordinary squirrel. Plus he’s probably going to bring backup.”

Blossom-laden branches shook violently. Squirrel!Neo was invisible, but I could certainly hear him. “WHAT THE…WHAT WAS THAT? WHAT IS THAT? THE MONKEY’S TALKING TO IT! THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE YARD! FIRE! FLOOD! ANARCHY! IT NEARLY GOT ME!”

That did me in. I leaned against the house and fair wheezed with laughter. My stomach hurt and I had to blow my nose by the time I was done. Miss B, of course, kept one eye on me and one eye on the plum tree, waiting for Round Two.

This is gonna be good.

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