Have you ever seen a six-foot-tall former competitive swimmer levitate? I have. In fact, I did just this past weekend, and there was a squirrel involved. And anime, but only tangentially.
The Princess attended Kumoricon with a friend, and I had a lovely brunch with said friend’s mum at Willem’s on Main. (Thumb’s up for the food, a so-so handwavey motion for the tables.) Coming home, pleasantly full and pretty mellow despite the fact that my baby was roaming a convention–sixteen and on the buddy system with regular cellphone check-ins, but still a mother worries–I pulled into the garage and cut the engine, hit the parking brake, and hit the button to lower the door.
A couple seconds later, unplugging my phone from the charger and grabbing my purse, I noticed it was entirely too light in the garage. What the…
I hit the button again. A third time. Nada.
Okay, fine. First step was to check to see if something had triggered the motion detector at the bottom of the tracks. Sometimes a spiderweb falls, or a piece of paper blows in. I was hoping it was that simple–where do you find garage door repair on Labour Day weekend? I didn’t want to find out, and I still don’t.
Nothing appeared to be…wait. Just wait.
See that dark little square in the middle? Something twitched in there, and I’m sure my eyes widened. I bent, cautiously, and peered at the space between the garage doors.
And I realised, holy fuck, it’s a goddamn squirrel.
A little baby squirrel. He cowered in there, twitching, and we stared at each other for a few minutes. I’m pretty sure there were tumbleweeds. He had a playful glint in his eye, and it occurred to me that he was probably scared to death.
“Okay,” I told him, softly. “I’m getting reinforcements.”
Because if I have learned one thing in life, it is not to underestimate arboreal rodentia.
Upstairs, Tarzan was cleaning the kitchen. I walked in, probably frowning, and uttered the fateful words. “Hi. There’s a squirrel. Come with me.”
He’s been around a couple months, so he (mostly) knows better than to ask questions when I announce anything in that definite tone. Downstairs he trooped after me, into the garage, and peered at the hole the same way I did. “Jesus Christ. Do you think there’s a nest in here?”
I laughed–that kind of nervous laughter that means change the subject, I don’t even want to think about it. “Probably not. Miss B would have sniffed it out before now. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Can you bring me the broom?”
“Hallucin–” He blinked, visibly stopped himself. “And the kids, too. They’ll want to see this.”
I was going to tell him that might not be a good idea, given my history with squirrels, but he was already gone. I checked to make sure I was still wearing shoes–regular readers will know why–and began hunting for something to coax/scrape the little fellow out of that shallow square and possibly out into the driveway, where no doubt his Wild TreeRat Instincts would take him off into the blue yonder.
I should have known it wouldn’t be that simple.
I now break to inform you of an ancient bit of wisdom. To wit, baby squirrels are pretty goddamn agile. I will further inform you of the entire problem with this little furball.
He liked it here. He didn’t want to leave.
“I AM BEAUREGARDE!” he squeak-rumbled, a surprisingly deep voice for one so young. “I HAVE FOUND YOU! STOP POKING ME!”
“Shut up,” I whispered back, fiercely. “I have dogs. Cats. Cavies. There’s no vacancy, we’re fucking full up.”
Tarzan arrived with the broom, the Little Prince, and Tarzan’s daughter P. Soleil (short for Purple Sunshine, yes, this is her nom de Lili’s blog) and I grabbed the broom with unseemly haste.
“Be caref–” Tarzan almost swallowed the words as the little thing darted for me, but my broom-fu was strong. Beauregarde, occupied in clinging to the bristles, uttered a pathetic little moan and tried to shimmy up the damn thing. I swore, Tarzan yelled “JESUS!” and I got our uninvited guest out into the driveway. He darted behind the rubbish bins, and I heard tiny sobs.
I hardened my heart, and sighed. “That’s that, then–”
Oh no, that was not that. That was not that at all.
“EXCELSIOR!” Beauregarde squeaked, and scooted back into the garage. I was too late to catch him with the broom, and we were right back where we started. Tarzan laughed, the kids giggled, and I felt my blood pressure rise.
“That’s it,” I announced. “Fetch me the gloves.”
There was a general scurrying, and a little while later I had the leather gloves last used when Tarzan cleaned the gutters. (Ironic side note: he found peanut shells clogging one of them. “Looks like someone’s been feeding the squirrels!” he yelled down cheerfully from the roof, and looked a little taken aback when I swore like a sailor. He still is amazed at my vocabulary.)
“I should probably do this–” he began, but I snatched the gloves from his hot little hands.
“Stand over there.” I pointed, and he ambled obediently, visibly deciding that it was better not to question a woman with fire in her gaze and a squirrel to deal with.
He contented himself with a, “Please don’t be a badass,” delivered in the weary tones of a man who has seen me ride into battle once or twice by now.
“Too late,” I returned grimly.
“Where do they give you rabies shots nowadays?”
“What a marvelous thought, thanks.”
“EXCELSIOR!” Beauregarde screamed again, but I nabbed him. Long practice, and all that–they used to call me to rescue baby possums out of drainage holes, long ago and far away when I lived in falling-down townhouses. (That’s, say it with me, another blog post.) He nestled in my palms, somewhat contentedly, no thrashing or shivering as if he was terrified.
In fact, he looked sort of…well, pleased. Nevertheless, I got him to one of the pine trees and situated myself to release the beast. I craned to look over my shoulder. “Close the garage door!”
Tarzan, ever the gentleman, didn’t think so. “And leave you out here alone?”
“DON’T BE A HERO, TARZAN!”
“Yes ma’am.” The door rumbled down, I made sure Beauregarde was sticking to the tree and backed away carefully. He eyed me, now rumble-purring. I was hoping it wasn’t him powering up for a combo attack.
“YOU KNOW THIS IS FATE,” he informed me. “IT’S MEANT TO BE.”
“Don’t push me, nutlips,” I whispered back, and fled. The Little Prince had unlocked the front door, and I slammed it with perhaps unjustifiable force and a little bit of pride. After all, I’d ended a run-in with a squirrel without screaming, losing my shoes, falling down, getting pelted with pinecones, or having to use The Shovel.
Pride goeth, they say, before a fall.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Next: A Bike, A Squirrel, A Levitating Man