M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, August 04, 2003  

Four-Footed Freaks

Something is happening to our animals.

I’m not just talking about the cats. It’s odd enough to see Strat sprawled on his back in a chair with his feet pointing in every direction, as if someone had just snapped his neck and dropped him there from a great height. It’s disconcerting enough to be awakened at two in the morning by Orca, screaming as loud as she can around a mouthful of socks (which is suprisingly loud). But now it’s spreading.

Trash and I were in our kitchen the other night, watching a squirrel freak out in our front yard.

He was out there dashing around in an area with about a one-foot radius. There’s nothing special about this area; it’s just a flat, grassy spot that looks just like the rest of the front yard. But this squirrel was acting like something was scrambling its neurons from six inches below the turf. It was kind of entertaining, but then the squirrel started digging.

Not to get all Carl Spackler about it, but our front yard isn’t really in good enough shape to get away with having squirrel-holes in it. Even so, I wouldn’t have minded if the squirrel had just been burying something. But it wasn’t. It would dig down a little bit, stick its head in the hole, and flail its body around for no apparent reason. Like it was pretending to be dragged underground headfirst or something. After three holes, I went outside to suggest the squirrel practice its mime routine elsewhere.

When I opened the front door, the squirrel darted across the sidewalk and about five feet up the nearest tree, where it peeked at me suspiciously around the narrow trunk. It was like he was just waiting for me to go away so he could get back to what he was doing.

I stepped closer to the tree and the squirrel climbed higher and stayed out of view.

“I saw what you’re doing out here,” I told it. “Knock it off, okay? You’re making a mess.” Then I went back inside.

This was not my original plan. The original plan was to let Strat out the front door and see what happened. Trash vetoed that, though. I don’t know why. It’s not like Strat would have caught it.

Back in the kitchen, I watched out the window as the squirrel came down from the tree and picked up where he had left off. His head disappeared beneath the grass, and the rest of him spasmed as if he’d just bitten into a low-voltage cable.

“Did you fertilize the lawn with crack?” I asked Trash.

“I was just about to ask you that,” she said.

We have a perfectly amiable relationship with the neighborhood squirrels, despite their insistence on practicing high-altitude precision acorn-bombing of our back yard. There’s even an albino squirrel that’s lived in the area for years, a sure sign that the humans get along pretty well with the rodents. But if the local fauna has succumbed to the influence of evil alien mind control rays, we may have to reassess that. Right now, I’m just going to keep an eye out for juggling birds and rapping mosquitoes.

Today’s best search phrase: “projectile fungus from mulch.” You know, I’m all for projectile fungus, but if you’re looking for a way to get it from mulch you’re just wasting your time.

posted by M. Giant 3:32 PM 0 comments


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