Temperatures are finally starting to go up and it’s starting to look like spring, which means my eternal nemeses will once more poke their little heads out. The war we wage has dwindled over the years but it will never truly end.
I speak of course of squirrels. Nature’s jerks.
Perhaps you are quirking a brow in confusion. Perhaps you even find the little rascals cute and endearing. That is what they want you to think.
Squirrels are fluffier, cuter, versions of rats. Sure they have bushy tails and are highly amusing as they try to climb Vaseline coated poles- but don’t let them fool you. They are crafty, intelligent and organized. They also have a keen sense of justice.
It started in high school. A male friend and I used to walk half an hour to school every day and part of that walk took us through an alley with large beech trees fanned over it, and lined with wooden fences . We walked it regularly with nothing amiss. Until the day my friend, being a teenaged male, decided to throw fallen chestnuts at the squirrels that lined the fences and danced among the trees.
They did not take kindly to the abuse. They did not take kindly to it at all.
For the next few days we had to dodge chestnuts falling from the tree branches at a higher than usual frequency. Coincidence you might say, and I might have agreed with you- except one day there was line of squirrels on the fence. They appeared to be waiting for us. A strange quietness fell over the alley-way as dozens of squirrels gathered.
They threw nuts at us.
It was wilful. Purposeful. They sat on the fences as we walked (at times ran) by, chattering at us in what I can only assume was colourful language and jeers, hurling nuts at us day after day.
Then the stalking began. My friends laughed at me when I pointed out trees and bushes full of squirrels, congregating in higher numbers than usual. Of course there were squirrels. We were outside…where squirrels live.
I shuddered under dozens of beady, evil, eyes following me throughout the city.
Then one day, in grade 10 Geography class, I was regaling my circle of friends with the latest run in with what I appropriately dubbed The Squirrel Mafia. How, wherever I went there were at least a handful of squirrels sitting and watching me. They laughed at my paranoia. It was that moment my friend glanced at the bush outside the classroom window. Shocked, he tugged on my sleeve and pointed out the window.
People, I swear to you this is true and unexaggerated.
There sitting in the bush staring into the classroom were no less than five black squirrels. Tails twitching. Watching. Waiting.
No one laughed at me after that.
The stalking continued for some time. It persisted even after I changed the route to get to school and left my male friend behind to deal with the consequences of the squirrel’s ire. Eventually I moved cities and the stalking lessened. Yet, to this day I can’t cross a squirrel without meeting its beady little eyes and know within my soul that if it could, it would drag a finger across its fluffy little throat.