Friday, June 08, 2007


Picture it: Denver, Colorado on a fantastically gorgeous late spring/early summer day. The sky is the clear deep blue of sapphires; a few puffy clouds drift above the mountains in the distance. It is the perfect temperature outside and there's just enough of a breeze to keep things from getting too warm when you're in the sun. It's a Friday, the end of a long week, and instead of going to the gym you decide to stop by the used bookstore for some mindless drivel. You cross the street to the park by the capitol where groups of tourists and passers-by mill around looking at historical stuff, and you plop yourself down in the grass under your shade hat and sunglasses to bask in the unbelievably wonderful afternoon. Screw the gym; it's too nice out to spend an hour hamstering today.

You pull the pbj and orange out of your purse and crack open the murder mystery you bought for fifty cents. The noise of the nearby traffic and the kids working off nervous energy fades away as Kay Scarpetta examines a dead body in a landfill. After your first bite of sandwich, you start to feel uneasy, as if someone (or someTHING) is watching you.

And then you see it. Black beady eyes only a foot away are staring at you and your sandwich. A bushy plume twitches up and down, small paws wiggle in anticipation while gesturing as if to say, "Look at my balls! Look at my balls!" You stomp your foot and the creature backs off a few inches, crooking its rodent head to the side and trying its routine again. Another set of beady eyes joins it, and another, and you realize that you are the only person eating in the grass and therefore a target for the bushy tailed rats that live everywhere in an urban environment these days. At home, they're simply annoying, destroying the bird feeder you got for Christmas and providing a show for your pathetically prey-lacking indoor-only cats, but here? In the park? These squirrels are used to being FED, son, and if you aren't going to give them food they're going to creep you out until you do. Your heart goes a little faster, though intellectually you know you could stand up and stomp the crap out of any one of the nasty suckers. But those pupil-less beady eyes. The knowing looks. The sharp-clawed paws, all gesturing at genetalia, all expecting something from you. There are many of them and only one of you. Perhaps they will become small children of the corn, and there will be no escape.

You shout and stomp again, shout and stomp. Eventually they scamper off a ways, only to come back a minute later when you've finally calmed down enough to take another bite and go back to your trashy book. Because they won't give up. They'll never give up. They've been raised from birth to know that humans = food, and unfortunately most humans they've encountered DO feed them, or else they don't pay close enough attention to their bags of cheetos or whatever, and the squirrels can just run in and take what they want. You know they will; you've seen them do it on college campuses and in other city parks, the brazen hussies of the rodent world. And because their tails have hair, people think they're cute and feed them. But not you. You eat every bite of your sandwich, wrap the orange peel in the sandwich bag, and toss the remains of your lunch in the garbage can. The verminous plague-carriers will get no food from you.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I love squirrels! Ha.