The other day, I was just finishing breakfast when I heard something crash to the floor in the bedroom. I didn’t think much of it at first, supposing that the curtain blowing in the wind had swept something from a counter.
But,when it was repeated again, I found a gray squirrel sitting on top of an armoire. Somehow, it had freed the screen on the window enough to slip through.
I wasn’t very surprised, even though the bedroom window is on the equivalent of the third story. I’d seen squirrels scrambling vertically on the building’s stucco, and heard them at the screen more than once.
However, like most people, I don’t take appreciate disturbances to my morning routine. Nor did I want the little B& E artist getting into the rest of the townhouse, where it would be more difficult to catch and might upset our parrots. All this went through my mind in a second or two, and I quietly stepped into the bedroom and closed the door.
Just then, I remembered hearing that squirrels often carry rabies, and I wondered if I had done a smart thing. Visions of the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail flashed through my head, and I wondered if I’d be found with my throat torn out and the little gray monster chittering a song of triumph on my chest.
If there were any hunters in my immediate line of descent, I decided, they were a long way back. Probably, I was more a gathering type.
Moving slowly and steadily, I drew the curtain and took the screen from the window. I decided I was going to give the intruder every chance to exit on his own. The alternative would be to try and catch him in a bucket.
Again, my imagination sprang into action, imagining me trying to find something to cover the bucket with and racing to get to the door before the squirrel chewed through the bucket.
What happened instead was that the squirrel was panicked by my motions. It leaped down on to the headboard and across to the other armoire.
I decided that the screen would keep me a good ways from the squirrel and waved it in the squirrel’s general direction.
It responded by leaping down on to the bed – closer to me, then to the floor.
I waved the screen, and it leapt back to the bed. I was envisioning spending hours trying to deal with the squirrel, but this time it caught site of the open window and made a leap for it – apparently forgetting that it was high up.
For a moment, I swear, it hung in mid-air, its feet scrambling for purchase as though it was in a cartoon, then plummeted.
Horrified, I rushed to the window, expecting to see a dead or badly wounded squirrel below, but there was nothing to be seen, then or a few minutes later after I had replaced the screen and gone out for my morning run.
In retrospect, considering my imagination and lack of heroism, I think I’ll tackle a few more squirrels before contemplating a career wrestling crocodiles.
Better yet, I think I’ll practice with something smaller, like field mice or lady bugs – but, first I’m going to dig out my old Society for Creative Anachronism armor from the bottom of the closet.