Minature Mercennaries

The conflict started after our loyal Labrador, Tucker, retired from his post guarding our castle and went to dog heaven. The very next day, I heard scratching at the front door. Two bulging eyes and a twitching gray tail were hanging by tiny claws on the wooden sash of the front door.  The creature was brazenly inventorying our living room through the glass. At my approach, the cheeky squirrel bounded away with maniacal chattering trailing behind.

       Who initiated hostilities? I will testify on a pile of varmint extermination manuals that it wasn’t me. For my part, I could have enjoyed watching the little tree rats scamper across my yard. But let’s enumerate the interlopers’ atrocities: who got in whose attic making a mess of whose insulation? Who ate through whose irrigation pipes, twice? Who chewed through whose Christmas lights in a brash act of bushy-tailed blasphemy?  

       Warming to a fight, I tried non-lethal deterrents. First, I applied various repellant oils to my lawn which promised to send the vermin to my neighbor’s yard. Instead, the aroma seemed to attract more gray legions. Next, I bought a squirrel trap. No help: no bait, seed, or nut would lure the miniature mercenaries into that cage.   

       I was forced to escalate the fight after an attack which let me know this was mortal combat. It was an ordinary work day as I pulled out on Highway 280 and headed downtown. I was negotiating through the normal rush hour road rage when my eye happened to catch my gas gauge; didn’t I fill up yesterday? It was down a quarter of a tank. By The Summit, I was missing a half tank. In Homewood, the low fuel light came on and I stopped to refill. I drove straight to a garage, and then got a ride to work.  

       About an hour later, the mechanic called, “Mister, you should go buy a lottery ticket ‘cause today is your lucky day. Something gnawed a hole in your fuel injector line. Gas is everywhere. You coulda caught fire!”  

       This was war and I was unarmed. I consulted Amazon and bought a scope-equipped pellet gun.

       The hunt began. I figured out the best ammunition, and how to hide till they were in range. Without going into gory details, let’s just say the score began to even up.

       It had occurred to me that the fuel line attack could be due to one particular squirrel with an affinity for plastic and warm engines. This seemed confirmed on the day I opened the hood of my wife’s car and there, spread-eagled on the battery, was a charred gray body with a bushy tail. There were tiny teeth marks on the red plastic cap of the positive terminal. All it took was a nose on the positive post, a tail twitch to the metal hood, and zap, fried squirrel.  

       The battle goes on, but the damage has subsided, perhaps due to my marksmanship, or perhaps to the rogue’s electrocution. There is a moral here for squirrels: don’t poke your nose where it doesn’t belong, and get a grip on yourself if you twitch when excited. Hmm, that could also apply to two-legged rogues.  

Unpublished.