Tarzan’s a funny one. Does dishes, cleans gutters, takes the rubbish out. After so long with the ex, who couldn’t be bothered, and afterwards just doing it myself, it’s been a bit of a change. A welcome one, but my default is still to do things on my own, which drives Tarzan to distraction.
This is how Beauregarde’s Repeat happened.
After we had (we thought) solved the problem of the Squirrel Who Would Not Leave, Tarzan went back to finishing the kitchen and then dragging the kids’ bikes out into the backyard to do some much-needed maintenance. I sallied forth after a bit to see if I could help, or rather, to nervously hover in case he got tired of doing it and I would be called upon to finish the damn job–another leftover reflex from my ex’s tenure. (Tarzan finds it funny: “Didn’t he ever do anything?” Me: “I won’t speak ill of the, erm, divorced.”) He had the Little Prince’s bicycle upside down, and was occupied in checking the chain and the gears, getting everything oiled.
“I think that part’s okay,” he said, straightening, and eyed the bicycle, planning his next attack. I was about to reply, but I caught a flash of something behind him.
The back door to the garage was open behind me, it was a lovely summer day, the kitchen was clean and the bicycles were getting dealt with, but all I felt was a definite sinking sensation. I pointed, and calmly said, “Oh dear.”
Now, Tarzan’s only been around a couple months, so he hasn’t quite grokked that the calmer and quieter I get, the more dire the situation is likely to be. So he continued looking at the bicycle, a worried line between his eyebrows. “Next I gotta pump that up, and check the–what?”
He turned, only mildly interested in what I was pointing at, since I was very deliberately quiet.
I didn’t want to startle Tarzan, you see. Maybe I should have.
Because a split second later, I saw a man levitate.
Have you ever seen a cat leap, hang in the air for a second like Baryshnikov, then sort of stutter sideways through space and land several feet away? Now, imagine six feet of former competitive swimmer and avid golfer doing that.
“EXCELSIOR!” Beauregarde screamed, leaping from the pine tree near the compost bin.
I’m just surprised the bicycle didn’t get tangled with Tarzan, who let out a “JESUS CHRIST!” while still airborne.
Now, in order for Beauregarde to have flanked us, he had to come around the side of the house, squeeze under the gate or through the fence, cross quite a bit of open ground, and lay in wait up that pine tree.
“I was trying not to surprise you,” I said, while Beauregarde scurried for Tarzan.
“IT DIDN’T WORK!” Tarzan shot back, nervously backing away from a baby squirrel half the size of his foot.
“WE GO TOGETHER LIKE RAMA LAMA LAMA KA DINGA DA DINGA DA!”
“Is he singing Grease?” It was all I could say.
“MMMM, TREELEGS!” Beauregarde leapt onto Tarzan’s shoes. Tarzan, a native of Arizona, wears flipflops all summer. (He called them “thongs” until I almost choked giggling like a twelve-year-old.) Fortunately, that day he was wearing a pair of Keens, offering slightly more protection from baby squirrel molestation.
“JESUS CHRIST!” Tarzan repeated. (He really does sound like Graham Chapman’s hapless King Arthur.) His instinctive kick shook Beauregarde free, the baby squirrel landed with great aplomb, light as a feather (maybe someone should tell Zoltar he is no longer The One) and darted for my own feet.
“MY PRINCESS! I SHALL SAVE THEE! EXCELSIOR!”
I was still wearing shoes, thank God, and have had much more practice evading arboreal rodentia than poor Tarzan. I darted aside, and Tarzan bolted for the door to the garage. I thought I would be covering his (very wise) retreat, it having been established long ago that I am the badass in this relationship, but I had underestimated the fire and fury of a Tarzan whose Jane is menaced by a flying (albeit chivalrous) treerat.
I had also underestimated Tarzan’s ability to respond intelligently under pressure, because he was simply pulling the damn door shut so Beauregarde couldn’t weasel his way back inside. As soon as the door slammed, he cast around, and I realised he was looking for a weapon.
I really like this guy.
Anyway, I evaded another Beauregarde’s Dash, and he squeaked something like “ROXANE, DO NOT FLEE! FAIR MAIDEN, I SHALL RIDE INTO BATTLE WITH YOUR–”
“Good Christ,” I said, “I think he thinks I’m his mother.”
Tarzan’s gaze had lighted on the bicycle pump. “What? Just be calm, okay? I’ll–”
“Fend him off with a pump? I’ve got a better idea. You just stay out of his reach.”
“What?” Tarzan didn’t think much of this idea, but his protest came too late. I slipped past him, hoping his bare legs (guy wears shorts all summer, Arizona must be a helluva place) would distract my furry swain, and bolted for the stairs up to the deck.
I had, you see, a plan involving some HEEEEERDING.
To Be Continued…