The Ballad of Canary Shed

Morning. I am absorbing my coffee at the dining table and thinking about the day’s work–another fifty pages of revisions is my short-term goal. I swear to all the gods I intended a hundred a day, but this book is…crunchy. And complex.

ANYWAY, all of a sudden, there is a noise.

Not your average noise, no. Not even a regular morning noise, like Odd Trundles’s back end terrifying him with a sudden trumpet blast, Miss B chewing on one of her paws while she looks blankly at me and wonders when the hell we’re getting out the door, car doors slamming as neighbors set out for work, or (when the wind is from the east) a train whistle or (when the wind is from the west) chimes and playground noise from the local elementary school.

No, this was more like…a gong. And claws.

Me: What the fuck?
Odd Trundles: *startled out of a sound sleep* HUHWHUH? DANGER! ALERT! *snortwhistle* BORK BORK BORK!
Me: *cannot hear anything*

I made it to my feet, temporarily deafened but still possessing enough mental horsepower to triangulate the sound. Peering out the door to the deck, I can’t see anything amiss, so I made a terrible decision.

That’s right. I opened the door.

In my defense, I was only partially caffeinated and Miss B was producing a lot of noise. Odd, still ensconced on my bed, began to get a little worked up. He is used to following Miss B’s lead, and of course, if she’s barking he has to, but he was All Alone and I did not immediately come into the room to soothe him. Plus, I think he’d gotten turtled on his side or back, sprawled amid my pillows.

Miss B was out the door like a shot, and I belatedly realized that was not my smartest move. I checked to make sure I had footwear and shuffled out onto the deck, cradling my coffee protectively. Miss B scrabbled down the stairs and set off for the far back corner of the yard. I couldn’t see much, because the fir was in the way. I weighed the advisability of just going back inside and waiting for Miss B to…

Oh, hell no, I couldn’t. I just could. not. She’s a lovely dog, my companion and buddy, but she does not make good choices.

I still couldn’t see from the landing, but I began to get a sinking sensation, because the claws-on-metal sound had returned, and the only thing in that quarter was…

…the shed.

Our shed.

I peered around the fir, and my worst fear was realized.

It was Canary!Squirl, and she was atop the sheet metal roof. Perhaps she’d fallen from the overhanging cedars, or just wanted to explore. In any case, now she was there, and stood with squirrel-arms akimbo, and two things occurred to me at once.

First, Miss B was going to flatten the lavender, and already Emphysema Joe was cussing.

And second, I could see how Canary!Squirl had dropped onto the shed, but I could not, for the life of me, see how she could possibly get down.