Squirrel Wars

Those of you on my Twitter feed may (or may not) have been amused by my Ninja!Squirrel reportage. Basically, this all started one morning while on the treadmill, sweating out a five-mile run, I saw a death-defying Terminator ninja squirrel.

I’m not kidding. The little rodent leapt (or was otherwise propelled) off a two-story roof, tumbled through tree branches, hit my back fence, somersaulted in midair, hit the ground, bounced (TWICE! Bounced TWICE, I tell you!) and lay there for a moment.

I was thinking it was a dead squirrel when the little fur-bearing Terminator hopped up on its back legs and glared at me. Of course, I was also (breathlessly) laughing at the time. While running, I might add. Developed a hell of a side stitch, too.

Ninja!Squirrel glared at me, I repeat, as if I had been the author of his downfall. His beady little eyes, I tell you, were alight with what I can only call hellfire.

Since that moment I have paid closer attention to the squirrels in my back yard. Of course, I can’t bloody tell if Ninja!Squirrel is among the ones who gleefully frolic while I run on the treadmill, providing me with distraction and Twitter-food. Those fuzzy little things all look the same to me. Seriously, I can’t distinguish one squirrel from another.

But things…have grown odd.

Yesterday, as I ran, I began to notice something strange. There appeared to be two groups of bushy-tailed Rodentia in my back yard, and they were at what appeared to be war or an extended squirrel dance number. There were leaps, chases, aerial maneuvers, and out-and-out clawings and bitings. The longer I ran, the more interested I became in trying to figure out just what the holy hell was happening–and this was while three bluejays and a crow were playing “chicken” over some scattered bread, while two of my cats watched from the sunroom window and made throaty little ohpleaseohPLEASE warbles at me.

Of course, my fancy got the better of me. I began to think up a squirrel Romeo and Juliet.

Two clan Rodentias, both alike in infamy,
in my fair backyard, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
where rodent blood makes rodent claws unclean…

I cast one of the jays as Mercutio, and the crow, of course, as the Prince. I was trying to figure out if one of the cats could conceivably be Tybalt or if that was Just Too Much and I would have to have Tybalt be, say, a weasel? Or something? When my run ended and I hopped off the treadmill for my chin-ups and the rest of my day.

Now comes the creepy part.

Same time this morning, I climbed on the treadmill. About ten minutes in I noticed a growing sense of unease that had nothing to do with how fast I was running or how unhappy my breakfast was with being shaken so. After fifteen I was perplexed, and after twenty I began to be actively unsettled.

There were robins in the back yard, and little birds I call chickadees since they’re striped. The jays were back, shrieking at everything that offended them. A trio from the local crow murder investigated hopefully for some bread, and several of the neighbors’ cats wound through on their appointed rounds, all studiously ignoring each other. So far, so good.

But no squirrels. Not a single blasted furry little tree-rat to be found. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I wonder if SquirRomeo killed his lady love’s cousin last night. Or if Ninja!Squirrel has succeeded in enforcing his grip over the clans and is planning an assault on my garage. Or if they are hidden, as only ninjas can hide–I mean, duh, that’s why they’re ninjas–and the pirate squirrels haven’t hit the port yet.

I wonder, it would seem, entirely too much. And yet, I am anticipating tomorrow’s morning run with breathless excitement.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

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