I’m approaching burnout quickly. Going straight from Harmony into Afterwar was perhaps not my best choice, but I don’t want to slow down, either. Part of me thinks that if I just work hard enough, I can stave off disaster of any stripe. Also, if I’m writing instead of filing stuff or cleaning my office, I can eventually be barricaded behind piles of papers and books, and end up mummified.
I’m not saying it’s rational, I’m just saying it’s a coping mechanism, and not a very good one at that. Certainly it vexes Odd Trundles, whose turning radius is such that he can’t schnorgle my feet without knocking something over. He is, I have to admit, the only reason my office gets cleaned at all.
The espresso machine is making funny groaning noises, but on the bright side, the Princess brought home some Pop Tarts. As far as I am concerned, there is only one kind of Pop Tart that counts, and that’s the brown sugar cinnamon kind. She’s partial to the frosted fudge, which sends me into paroxysms of ugh, to which she gleefully remarks that it means they are hers, all hers. The Little Prince is neutral on the subject of Pop Tarts, but he is gaga for shrimp chips, which neither the Princess or I would touch if you paid us.
This convinces me the secret to domestic harmony is different tastes in junk food. That, and uniting against a common enemy. Like, say, squirrels.
The tree rats have grown exceeding fat during this warm autumn and uncharacteristically mild November. As in, so rotund I’ve seen a few dragging their bellies as they hop across the road. Beauregard has returned, but he seems to have forgotten his chivalry in favor of reeling from one nut cache to the next. He’s become that most hideous of beings, an arboreal frat boy.
…I should explain, right?
So the Princess and I were at the table, sharing a lunch before she had to leave for work. (The Prince was at school, begrudgingly–his fondest wish now is to graduate and get a job like his sister, who can BUY HER OWN POKEMON GAMES.) As is the habit with lunches, we each had something to occupy us while eating, enjoying the time together in silence. I think I had a book on Reconstruction, and she had a walkthrough of a particular dungeon playing softly on her phone. I caught a flicker of motion in my peripheral vision just before the Princess glanced up and said, in the mildest of tones, “Squirrel.”
My head snapped to the side, my heart giving a terrified leap rivaled only by the time I almost got hit with a pool cue during a barfight (but that’s, say it with me, another blog post) and I saw Beauregard, almost as round as Napoleon!Squirl but considerably taller, hopping around on the table. “Jesus Christ don’t do that!” I snapped, shoving my chair back while the Princess laughed.
She has no mercy, this daughter of mine. If I hadn’t been conscious when she was born, I STILL wouldn’t doubt she is completely, genetically, absolutely the product of my womb.
“I’m wearing shoes,” she informed me, as I peered under the table to verify we were both shod. Now, there was a closed patio door between us and the erstwhile Knight of the Nut Table, but it pays to be certain.
Go ahead, laugh. You’ll sing a different tune if the filthy little nut-munchers ever take a liking to your yard, I’ll tell you that.
Anyway. Beauregard did a complete circuit of the table, which rocked under his squirrely weight. The two flowerpots I haven’t cleaned out yet stand sentinel there too, and he stood on tiptoe to look in the smaller one. I know someone–I suspect Josephine!Squirl–buried an unshelled peanut there. That may or may not be why I haven’t moved it yet.
Look, I’ve got a kind heart, okay? Well, mostly.
Anyway, Beauregard circled the much larger flowerpot. It’s a sizable one, and I haven’t emptied it because it’s heavy ceramic and I thought well, there might be a cache in there too, how would I feel if someone moved my to-be-read pile? Although that’s not really a fair comparison, it’s the closest I could get, not being in the habit of burying comestibles in my backyard, even in the rose garden. (There’s no room between the roadkill corpses among the roses, anyway.)
“Mom…” The Princess looked puzzled. “Is that normal?”
“It’s a squirrel. Nothing about it is normal.” But I knew what she meant. Beauregard was…well, kind of dancing. You know, like when you’re are the airport and your bladder is full but there’s a line in the loo and you’re going to miss your flight but you don’t care because when Mother Nature calls, you can’t put that bitch on hold for too long?
Yeah. Like that.
So Beauregard, who once was a lithe and doughty knight, hefted himself up onto the rim of the flowerpot. He hopped down into the pot itself, and…
“OH HELL NO,” I yelled, startling Miss B, who was under the table hoping to catch a bit of dropped human lunch. “OH, HELL NOOOOOOO.”
“Mom…” The Princess stared. “Did he…just…”
“DID HE JUST PISS IN MY FLOWERPOT?” I rocketed to my feet, hitting my hip on the table and almost spilling my coffee and her orange juice. “OH HELL NO HE DID!”
Beauregard, so fat he can barely climb a tree, defecated in my flowerpot.
The Princess began to laugh, helplessly, and I almost ran into the patio door before realizing discretion was probably the better part of valor and opening said door was, as Vizzini might have said, a Classic Blunder. It took a good five minutes of cursing before I recollected myself, during which Miss B began dancing on the rug before the door, hoping that this meant a ramble outside. (I believe the term “nutsucking son of a flying donkey” may have had a starring role.) The Princess was damn near purple with merriment, and Sir Frat Boy Beauregard twitched his tail, wallowed over the edge of the flowerpot, and minced off up the fir right next to the deck.
Yes, friends and neighbors, he came down out of the treetops to shit in my flowerpot. Now I’m going to have to wear gloves and a hazmat mask to empty that fucker out.
It’s gonna be a long winter.