I have never outlined a book before; the most I do, about a third of the way into a particularly challenging project, is put some highlights in brackets further down the document to ignore when I get to those particular events. But apparently, there’s a portal fantasy with a love triangle in my head that wanted an outline, so I spent yesterday afternoon switching between housework and getting the skeleton of a brand-new trilogy out of my skull.
As procrastination and a “day off” goes, it wasn’t too bad.
Anyway, I was telling you about squirrels and Crisco.
When last we spoke, Preggers McGee (who, if she is not gestating, puts on a grand appearance of it) had shown Batgirl just how the getting of birdseed was done. Batgirl nosed at the falling seeds, casting nasty glances up the bird feeder pole, and Olsen Twins probably thought he’d gone to squirrel heaven, where manna in the form of No-Waste Birdseed falls from the sky.
I stared, mouth slightly open, and the Princess exhaled in wonder. The Prince flinched when Preggers’s hind claws slipped. “I don’t like this,” he said, darkly…
…right before said hind claws gave out, and Preggers hung from the heretofore-unplundered bird feeder, her back legs scrabbling for purchase. If you can imagine a furry, rage-spitting piñata made of arboreal rodent and scattering shrapnel far and wide, well, you’ve pretty much got the idea.
“Oh, shit–” the Princess and I chorused, and Preggers McGee fell.
The Little Prince winced again, this time in sympathy. But Preggers didn’t splat on the decking.
Oh, no. Instead, this gravid squirrel curved in midair, as if to perform Batgirl’s signature cat-in-a-cartoon trick, and landed, with a thump that shook the entire deck…
…right upon Batgirl.
“Oh, no!” I gasped.
“HOLY SHIT,” the Princess weighed in at the same moment.
“BE CAREFUL!” the Little Prince yelled.
“…be careful?” the Princess enquired, a half-beat afterward.
Then the squirrels exploded.
Wigs came off. Heels went flying. Hair was pulled. Olsen Twins, seeking safety in distance, scurried away with a full mouth, squeezed through the deck railing, and ran up a handy fir trunk. Squeak-screams of “BITCH THAT’S MAH POLE” and “YOU ASSHOLE” echoed through the backyard. My fork clattered into my bowl, because both my hands clapped over my mouth. The Princess half-rose, watching with her eyebrows fully lifted.
“STOP IT,” the Little Prince yelled, thinking he could restore order through sheer volume or just excited, I guess. “MOM! THEY’RE FIGHTING!”
“I know, honey,” I managed to say, muffled by my hands. Had I more time, I might have warned him not to underestimate the hormones in even a pregnant squirrel, but there wasn’t a moment to make such an observation.
Because Preggers, slightly slower because of the extra burden in her swollen belly, was simply not having any of this bullshit. Not only had she landed on a convenient pillow, but she was motivated, which all added up to one thing.
She whupped Batgirl’s fuzzy ass.
Batgirl made for the same fir trunk Olsen Twins had scampered up, but Preggers wasn’t finished. She got hold of Batgirl’s tail and climbed the the other squirrel’s back like a rodeo rider crossed with Spiderman and lit with napalm. Birdseed flew, spattering the French door, and we all flinched in unison.
Batgirl finally escaped, and Preggers strutted around the bird feeder pole, chittering some version of “THAT’S RIGHT, MOTHERFUCKERS, I GOT A FAMILY TO FEED, DON’T FUCK WITH ME!”
“And she’s pregnant,” the Princess breathed, sinking back into her chair. “Wow.”
“I felt like that a few times, carrying you two.” I finally dropped my hands. The deck was a mess, coated with wasted birdseed, because the squirrels like the bigger bits and the birds don’t want to be on the deck floor cleaning that up with the Mad Tortie staring through said French door at them.1 That’s just a step too far for their little prey-wired nervous systems. “Jesus Christ, what a mess.”
“You know, you could probably move the pole…” the Little Prince said, nervously.
“That would mean they win,” I said, darkly. “I’ve got another idea.” We watched Preggers complete her victory laps and stuff herself with enough birdseed for herself and her passengers, then she scampered off into the dusk.
And I, once my pasta was finished, headed for the kitchen cabinets.
TO BE CONTINUED…