I knew the squirrel was out there in the blinding heat. The dogs were mostly oblivious, since DINNER eclipses most if not all of their brainspace whenever it rolls around. I did not relish the thought of taking them outside, but I relished the thought of their eventual bowel-emptying on carpet even less. Besides, I reasoned, it was too damn hot for the squirrel to make mischief.
A little voice in the back of my head did pipe up to tell me those little fuckers could cause mischief on the surface of the sun, for Christ’s sake, and who did I think I was kidding? So I checked and rechecked my footwear, said a small prayer to whatever gods protect one from arboreal rodents, and thought long and hard about going outside armed. The Sekrit Weapon was downstairs, but I am never more than arm’s length away from anything that can be used to wallop an intruder. I fretted over whether to grab a broom, a bokken, a shinai, one of the katanas…well, there were shovels out in the shed, maybe…you get the idea.
Miss B pushed at the back of my knees, insistently, and Odd Trundles did not understand why I wasn’t opening the door so he could prance outside and Do His Business. He began making a noise somewhere between a whine and a groan, his very own I-gotta-go cry. So I cautiously opened the door, stepped out into heat that smelled (and felt) like the inside of a feverish hobo’s mouth, and followed the dogs as they scrambled for the stairs. I tried to look everywhere at once, and though I had just about talked myself out of the need to be armed I still grabbed the (empty) watering can from the table. A fuzzy idea of splashing a squirrel to dissuade it drifted through my head and away, because that was when the noise started.
Kowalski!Squirl: STELLA! HEEEEEEY STELLA!
Miss B: WHAT THE–
Odd Trundles: NEWFRIEND? NEWFRIEND?
I can only surmise the damn squirrel was heat-crazed. Because it darted down from the tree near the deck, yelling for Stella, and boomed across the yard, straight for B and Odd, who had begun snuffling just downhill of the shade-garden boxes. Miss B froze, perplexed for a few split seconds. While she is perfectly comfortable attempting to herd a whole battalion of tree-rats, having one attempt to herd her is Not Quite The Thing, as we used to say. Especially since she had been looking forward to a nice leisurely evacuation of her lower intestine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and first comes the dinner, then comes the clearing of space for said dinner to digest, world without end, amen. So, Miss B stood, head cocked, looking down the barrel of a one-squirrel banzai charge.
Odd, for once, was quicker on the uptake. Or maybe he just wasn’t troubled by any thoughts of role reversal or manners. All he knew was that there was a NEW FRIEND coming to greet him, and the pressure in his abdomen could be ignored for a bit while he attended to this marvelous, wonderful development.
I love that dog, but he does not make good decisions.
Miss B: *still staring, mildly perplexed*
Odd Trundles: NEWFRIEND! *snortwhistle* NEWFRIEND NEWFRIEND! *snortwhistleshart*
Yes, friends and neighbors, Odd was so excited his wriggle turned into a scamper directly for the NEWFRIEND, a scamper that squeezed his peristalsis into overdrive, a scamper that had a brown streak at one end. It exploded forth, impelled by Odd’s sheer glee.
The problem, alas, was that Miss B was right behind him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a leap quite like the one she performed to avoid the, erm, blowback. Straight up, her limbs splaying, almost catlike in its fluid authority. Unfortunately, her landing was a bit less than graceful, and she yelped.
Miss B: YIIIIIPE!
Odd Trundles: NEWFRIEND! *shartwhistlesnortbark*
And what, you may ask, was I doing during this? Simple: I was on the deck, staring, with my mouth slightly agape, an empty, green, plastic watering can dangling from my hand. I hadn’t even made it to the stairs.
This takes much longer to tell than the event needed to transpire. So, just to set the scene: there was an airborne squirrel, airborne poo, and an airborne Australian shepherd all at once. I was inhaling, about to yell something stupid (like “OH MY GOD *Odd Trundles’s full name* YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING…”) when time sped up with a snap. Miss B staggered sideways. Kowalski!Squirl hung in the air over Odd’s back for slightly longer, but when he touched down, well, that was when the real fun began.
TO BE CONTINUED…