Squirrel From the Jaws of Victory

Bio_Hazard_Virus_Matrix_by_Robbert_van_der_Steeg Tossing and turning, sweat-drenched, all last night. As a result, I am zombie-shambling.

Today my girl C has her very last chemo! I am not on deck as helper for this one, which is good because the last thing a whole clutch of chemo and other infusion patients needs is me breathing a cold all over them. I am going to drop off a care package for her, though. I’m wondering if I should wear a facemask. That will cause no end of hilarity, I’m sure.

Speaking of hilarity…

Yesterday, late morning, I took the dogs out into the sunshine. I headed for the compost bin, meaning to check on it and also on the roses in the south yard. I didn’t get that far, however, because as I rounded the corner near the far rhododendron, I heard a familiar chittering yell.


He stood at the bottom of a Douglas fir, quivering with glee, and might have been brandishing a twig-sword…and Miss B neatly snuck around the tree from the back and nabbed him, with a dart of her long nose.

“Oh Jesus Christ PUT THAT DOWN!” I yelled.

“MRPLE GRRR ARGH!” Beauregard screamed.

“NEW FRIEND?” Odd Trundles, thankfully, had been at the far end of the yard, peeing on a hosta I just put in the other day, probably to teach it its place in the garden hierarchy or something. He began barking and hurrying his unwieldy self across the yard in triple-time, throwing up chunks of damp sod, to see what the ruckus was.

“WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON OVER THERE?” Norbert demanded from the garden, on the other side of the compost heap. I ignored him, dashing at Miss B, who stood stock-still for a moment, unable to believe she had actually, really, no-foolin, honestly caught the little bastard. She danced away from my attempt to grab her ruff, and I stopped short.

“Put it DOWN!” I commanded. Visions of another dead squirrel, rabies (even though squirrels don’t often carry it) and all sorts of shenanigans danced through my head.

“Mrrrph?” Miss B meant to ask a question, but she had her mouth full. Beauregarde began using some very unchivalrous language indeed…

…and Odd Trundles, having acquired a good bit of momentum, plowed into Miss B from the side.

Beauregard, knocked loose, sailed in a majestic arc and landed near the Goddamn Ineradicable Zombie Rhubarb (it KEEPS COMING BACK) with a thud much bigger than a half-grown squirrel knight errant should have produced. (Maybe it was the tinfoil armor.) Odd, much of his kinetic force transferred to the hapless Miss B, glanced off her side and ran into the fir tree. Miss B got her legs under her and darted for the rhubarb corner, as Beauregard staggered.

Me? I just stood there, my hands to my mouth and (I’m sure) my eyes the size of dinner plates. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to check if I was wearing shoes. (I was. Thank God.)

Beauregard shook the ringing in his tiny head off in time to see a tongue-lolling Aussie bearing down on him. He girt his loins, raised his fists (I don’t know where the twig went) and yelled “CHAAAAAAARGE!”

He darted under B, who had to dig her claws in before she ran straight into the corner of the fence, tearing up a good deal of the rhubarb’s tiny questing tendrils in the process. (Don’t worry. Nothing can kill that rhubarb. Believe me, I’ve tried.) Beauregard scurried across damp, packed-down bark dust, just as Odd Trundles, staggering and shaking his massive head, realized he was in the way.

“NEW FRIEND?” Trundles managed to bark, in a dazed mumble, before Sir Beauregarde the Aviation Wonder leapt over him, catching fir bark in all four claws.

Trundles attempted to intercept, but sadly, getting so much dense bulldog mass off the ground is a large proposition, and he thudded back to earth. Meanwhile, Miss B, having shaken herself loose of rhubarb tentacles and the corner, teleported across the intervening space and hurled herself straight at the fir tree, no doubt meaning to snatch a certain furry knight-errant from the jaws of victory.

Beauregarde felt it was time for a speech. “FAIR MAIDEN–ACK!”

Said speech was cut short by the impending arrival of the Aussie Artillery, and he scrambled further up the trunk. Miss B missed him by a hairsbreadth, hit the tree, and landed with an oof

…right on Odd Trundles.

Poor Odd.

Anyway, Beauregarde started ranting about the Nut Table and his honor, and how he would fight them in honest battle, knaves and villains though they were. Miss B danced with impatience, barking, once she’d gotten herself untangled from poor Odd, who staggered towards me. I finally had the presence of mind to do something, but what?

Odd reached me, turned around, and sat on my (thankfully shod) feet, apparently deciding that was the safest place in the yard. Miss B, balked, kept barking until I yelled at her to be quiet for God’s sake he’s gone, he’s not coming back, at which point she was so excited and worked up she had to do a few laps of the yard, tearing up even more sod and bark dust in her excitement.


Beauregarde finished his declaiming and scrambled up the tree, chittering something about varlets and knaves. It took two or three tries for me to get my feet from under Trundles’s capacious ass, and started coaxing him towards the house, figuring Miss B would run herself out and Beauregarde knew better than to come down at this point.

Then, the Flying Aussie Bullet of Death knocked over Norbert, who began to use language he usually reserves for fat robins eating buckwheat seed before it can sprout.


Nevertheless, yesterday shall count as the victorious day Dame B satisfied her life’s yearning to catch a goddamn squirrel, if only for a few moments. It shall further be known as a day of victory because I had my shoes on through the whole goddamn event.

Odd, however, still plonks himself down on my feet as soon as I stop moving.

I can’t blame him.