What is that huge yellow fiery thing in the sky? It’s November, for heaven’s sake, we’re not supposed to see it! It burns! Augh!
…yeah, the sunlight’s making me a little silly today. It’s warm and the wind is up, whistling and calling my name as well as pawing through the windchimes. I did managed to get the lawn mowed, and was bombarded by pinecones. I think it was just the wind pulling them off the trees. I’m fairly sure it’s not Squirrel!Neo.
He’s got other problems.
So I promised I’d write what happened after the Battle of the Pine Boughs. To do that I’m going to have to take you back a week or so, to a gray rainy morning, dawn just coming up–I was on the treadmill early, and not happy about that. By the time I’d gone a couple miles it was light gray instead of pitch black outside, and the little woodland creatures were beginning to show up. Chief among them was Squirrel!Neo, and he had his eye on a lovely little lady bluejay–
Wait. I should tell you about Juliet!Jay. She’s a sweet little thing, and both Romeo!Jay and Mercutio!Jay appear to dance attendance on her. She’s not a hussy, she rarely shows up with both guys. When she does, they seem to want to outdo each other. Mercutio, of course, makes a godawful racket, screeching and “showing” her the bird feeder at least twenty times per visit. Romeo just sidles up and gives her longing looks while they’re both pecking at the bread I’ve scattered. I can’t tell who she likes better, although when she does show up with just one of them, it’s Romeo. At least, I think it’s not Mercutio, because he’s not screaming his tiny little head off.
Anyway, okay. So there’s Squirrel!Neo, and he’s acting kind of strange. Well, stranger than usual. He’s hopping once or twice, digging a bit, then looking coyly over his shoulder. After a while, I see a flash in the blueberry bushes–they’re turning lovely colors this year, really–and I realize Juliet is perched there, watching him intently. He keeps giving these sneaky little looks, and after a little while, she flies down to investigate.
Now came one of the strangest interspecies dances I’ve ever seen. Neo would dig a little, glance back at her, and hop away. Juliet would hop shyly up to the location, peck a little bit, and cock her head as if to say, nothing here, what’s wrong with you?
Each time, Neo stood a little bit closer to her. Then he led her to one of his favourite nut-burying hummocks, and dug. Hopped away, but not nearly as far as before. Juliet sidled, pecked a bit, and came up with something she apparently found very tasty and agreeable. She pecked for a little while, tilting her head back between bites to make everything slide down easy. Neo sidled closer and closer, and I was about to yell or something to warn her, because, well. Who knew what the fuzzy little bastard had planned? I popped my earbuds out and got ready to make a sudden noise, the pounding of my feet on the treadmill all but forgotten as I watched him get closer and closer. I didn’t even realize I was sweating, I was so absorbed.
I swear I saw one of Squirrel!Neo’s tiny little paws reaching out, as if he wanted to touch. Just the edge of her wing, maybe, some of her pretty plumage.
I think Juliet would’ve let him, too. But just then, Mercutio showed up, a ball of blue feathered outrage. Since I had my earbuds pulled out, I heard him clear as day in the dawn hush.
“HEY! HEY YOU, FUZZBUCKET! WHAT’RE YOU DOING WITH MAH GIRL, HUH? FETCH ME MY RAPIER, IMMA SPANK SOME SQUIRREL ASS!”
Juliet took wing, Squirrel!Neo scampered up into the plum tree, and Mercutio chased him from there into the juniper hedge, screaming Elizabethan bird-insults. (I swear I heard “mealymouth peasant” and “crude cockerel” in there somewhere.) Then Mercutio spent about ten minutes roaming my backyard, yelling at everything, even perching on the birdfeeder and chewing me out. Maybe I was supposed to be Juliet’s duenna or something, I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bluejay that angry.
He was pretty incoherent, and Julie had vanished. I didn’t see her for a couple days after that, despite keeping my eyes peeled on the treadmill every single morning.
A couple days later, I found a body in the yard.