The Squirrel

A few years back I accidentally killed a squirrel. My son Q was three and had this little kiddie pool on the back deck with about six inches of water in it. We went in for lunch, two little squirrels got into the pool and apparently weren’t strong swimmers, I fished them out. One survived one didn’t.

So technically I didn’t murder a squirrel so much as I saved another squirrel but the one I saved has been seeking revenge ever since.

Now these aren’t your normal squirrels like you see dodging cars and making giant leaf nests, these are little bitty squirrels, tufted eared red squirrels and they’re no bigger than a minute. They’re about the size of a fat chipmunk.

At first his attack was subtle. I’d be on the deck watching the Tigers game and he’d toss little pine cones at me; I’d move, he’d move, he’d just follow me around and drop sticks on me. Finally I got smart and moved a hammock far away from the overhanging trees so, naturally, he ate the hammock. Not the whole hammock, just the strings that held it up.  Ya know how a hammock has about twenty ropes that fan out and meet at a metal ring?  He ate those, straight across, both sides, with surgical precision. This was no accident.

He then ate the cable wire so I couldn’t watch TV outdoors, he ate a giant hole in my grill cover large enough for the top of the grill to stick out like a monk's haircut. Ya know how Wile E. Coyote would cut a perfectly round hole in the floor with a saw?  It was like that.

Then one day I noticed my car was running a little (a lot) rough, I looked under the hood and he had completely chewed through four of my six spark plug wires.

After that it was game on. I started setting traps.

He responded to the traps by eating through the wires on all the exterior lights I had up in the trees lining my deck.

But I found his weakness; peanut butter. He couldn’t resist the siren call of Jif.

I have caught this squirrel a dozen times at least and each time I catch him I let him go MILES away, I release him into nice wooded areas with ponds and streams and each time he makes his way back, I picture him clinging to a car’s undercarriage like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear.

I’ve dropped him off as far away as Whitehall (I live in Grand Haven) and each and every time he’s returned.

But now he’s gone too far. He’s chewed a little hole in the side of my house and set up shop in the space between my kitchen ceiling and the bedroom floor above. I got a new trap which isn’t a live trap, it’s like a metal tube with a rat trap inside, it’s so menacing that it scares me to even set it. I guarantee this thing could break my arm like a chicken bone.

So sorry, buddy, you’re one peanut butter apple away from certain death. It’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed our mental jousting, but it’s time for you to go to that big oak tree in the sky. I’ve given you plenty of chances and you’ve laughed in my face. Well, I’ll be the one laughing now. I’ve never purposely killed any mammal in my life but this time, this time, I can do it in a ... snap.

Printed by permission of the author.
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