Posted In: Bloggy-blog-blogging
7:15AM: I wake up, thirsty. The water bottle by my bed is empty; I go to the kitchen for a refill.
7:16AM: Half asleep, I shuffle zombie-like into the dining room. I stop. The curtains look…off. There’s a small, dark shape above one end of the curtains. I didn’t know what the shape was, but knew enough about the fiancée’s OCD tendencies to know she’d never intentionally make such an asymmetricality.
I approach the curtains.
The dark shape sits motionless. Motionless, that is, save for its rodent-like snout and black, beady, soulless eyes–the former twitching with that rodent twitch; the latter a Nietzschean black abyss staring back at me, unblinking.
It’s some kind of rodent, that I can tell. It’s too big to be a mouse, but too small to be a rat. It has a grayish coat and doesn’t appear to be a bat.
“Honey…can you come here for a second?” She meets me in the living room, twenty feet from the curtains. Twenty feet from it. I point. ”We got a situation in here.”
“What is it?” she asks. I admit my ignorance, but feel much braver with her around. I explain why it’s not a mouse, rat, or bat, when suddenly: it moves. The creature, formerly sitting perched atop the curtain rods, descends quickly in back of the half-drawn blinds.
“Oh, it’s a chinchilla!” the fiancée declares upon seeing the creature’s puffy tail in a flash of movement. ”It’s somebody’s pet that got loose.” I dread having to capture the chinchilla and track down its owner. Fortunately, the creature continues scampering around and it becomes evident it is not, in fact, a chinchilla. Is it, in fact, a squirrel.
The dining room has a set of three consecutive windows that were each left slightly open overnight. Aside from allowing cold air in, the ajar windows apparently granted the squirrel’s ingress. Overnight, the squirrel somehow made it in through the third-story windows (the nearest outside tree being approximately 50 feet away) and spent the night running backwards and forwards along the curtain rod, until the curtain had been sufficiently mussed, hanging limply in one big clump of fabric. The squirrel, however, didn’t venture down during the night; the bowl of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups set out for Halloween trick-or-treaters was untouched. Either the squirrel wasn’t hungry, or it had no taste. In any event, flashing forward to approximately 7:19AM, the squirrel was now frantically trying to escape. It ran under each of the open windows in turn, climbing up and down screens and trying to find the crack or hole or portal or extra-dimensional wormhole from whence it came.
No dice, squirrel.
Eventually, it stopped at the far window, nearest the balcony door.
“Honey, quick–open the door! I’ll try to herd it outside!” I shouted. In my mind, a sitcom scenario played: like a Benny Hill sketch, the fiancée and I would run around in circles, chasing the squirrel around the apartment at 2x speed, while Yakety Sax plays in the background.
I position the fiancée to block the squirrel’s path to Yakety Sax in the living room while I, broom in hand, bravely try to poke at the squirrel and force it outside. The squirrel resists, and the fiancée notices something: are those…wings?
It’s a god damned flying squirrel. True story: we do some googling of flying squirrels after the whole ordeal is over with (spoiler: we survive) and discover that flying squirrels are endangered. Sonofabitch. And flying squirrels are also prey species for the Spotted Owl, another goddamned endangered species, and the one most likely to next invade our apartment.
Soon, I imagine, we’ll wake up some morning only to find a herd of gazelles grazing on the basil plants on the window sills.
ANYWAY, back to the present, I’m finally able to convince the squirrel that his best and only option is outside, and the squirrel runs, jumps, and frickin’ sails through the air across the balcony. Said balcony being a shared one with the neighbor, whose door is closed, I’m suddenly struck with dread as I realize the squirrel will come running right.back.to.my.apartment. as soon as he’s confronted with a dead end.
“Shut the door!!1!” I scream. I realize the squirrel isn’t the only mammal in the apartment that can fly, as I too sail across the room and dive at the door, seemingly in action-movie-cliché slow motion.
Victory. Door closed. Squirrel exiled. Manliness reaffirmed. Oh yeah. Case.Closed.
…Until tomorrow when the Spotted Owls, gazelles, and whatever other fauna decides to hang out in my dining room.
...Or Is It??