Friday, May 2, 2008

Home Invasion, Part III

If you haven't read them already, catch up on Part I here and Part II here.

The squirrel and I kept a wary eye on each other as I got a few things done around the house. Meanwhile, Mr. Peevie kept his word: he did not leave the bedroom, but stayed behind his hardback fortress.

When the doorbell rang, I looked at the squirrel. "It's time to part company," I told it. "You can make this easy, or you can make it hard. Your choice." He just looked back at me, and rolled his squirrelly eyes.

I expected, when I opened the door, to see a buff, burly animal handler dude, wearing thick work gloves, Wrangler® jeans, a flannel shirt flapping open over an untucked Coors® t-shirt, and heavy work boots. I expected he'd have equipment--maybe some tranquilizer darts, a wire cage, or an electric prod.

Well. I opened the door to see a tiny girl--I suppose technically she was a woman, but she looked to be about 12 years old--wearing shorts and t-shirt and carrying a butterfly net. She wasn't even wearing gloves. I felt skeptical that this small, young, ill-equipped human would be able to take care of my squirrel infestation.

"Hi!" she said brightly. "I'm Cindee, from animal control. You called about a squirrel problem?"

"Yeah, come on in," I said. "Um, don't you need some equipment to do this job? Or at least a pair of gloves?"

"Nah," she said confidently. "Gloves just get in the way. The worst that could happen is that I could get bitten." Yes. That did seem to be a possibility, but she was blithely unconcerned.

"So where's this little critter?" she said, and then "Oh! There he goes!" The squirrel had taken one look at the fierce-looking Cindee, leapt halfway across the room from the top of the picture window curtains, and darted into the kitchen. Fortunately, I had closed off the door to the basement, so the kitchen was a cul-de-sac, and the squirrel was trapped.

"You stand here," Cindee said, pointing to a spot in the dining room, just outside the kitchen doorway and fully in the path of danger. She headed toward the kitchen with her ridiculous butterfly net.

"Uh, what?" I said. "Why?"

"In case he tries to run past me," she said, pausing in the doorway.

"Well, what am I supposed to do if he does?" I asked. "Scream and wave my arms? Because I hate to be a girl about it, but it's probably going to freak me out a tiny bit if he comes darting toward me."

"No, just stand there," Cindee said. "He probably won't run toward you."

The squirrel was hiding behind the microwave oven. She reached behind WITH HER BARE HAND--had she never heard of rabies?--and the squirrel promptly made a liar out of her and ran straight toward me. I screamed and waved my arms and dove out of the way. The squirrel hopped through the dining room, and zoomed right back up to his former safe perch on top of the curtains.

Cindee chased him, waving her butterfly net--but he saw her coming, and easily darted past her, and past me again--like, what was I supposed to do, exactly?--and back behind the microwave. Back and forth they went, like a Laurel and Hardy sketch--kitchen to dining room to curtains, oh, my!--only the squirrel started running straight into the picture window, thinking it was The Great Outdoors.

Kitchen to dining room to--bam!--picture window, and up the curtains; then down again, curtains to dining room to kitchen. The squirrel started leaving tiny bloody paw-prints on the arms of the couch, and smears of squirrel blood on the windows, carpet and counter-tops.

At one point, Mr. Peevie, hearing the commotion, ventured out of his literary citadel, and came halfway down the stairs. He took one look at us chasing the squirrel through the house, and went straight back upstairs. I heard him move the boxes back in front of the door.

Finally, Cindee managed to trap the squirrel under the butterfly net. She dragged it over to the front door and tossed him out; and he scampered away as quickly as his head injuries would allow.

Boy, the stories that squirrel must have told around the dinner table that night!

I wrote Cindee's company a check for $150, and said that I sincerely hoped I'd never have to see her again.

"Yeah, you might want to get a chimney cap to keep animals from getting in again," Cindee advised. Who knew that such a thing even existed. And why aren't they standard house equipment? They ought to have a class for first-time homeowners who are ignorant about, well, almost everything.

I called upstairs to let Mr. Peevie know that the coast was clear. He came downstairs and surveyed the carnage.

"Huh," he said. "I'm glad that's over."

"Yeah," I agreed. "And thanks for all your help."

"I did help," he said without a trace of defensiveness. "I stayed out of the way. It was for the best."

Considering how useful I proved to be in Operation Bloody Squirrel, I suspected he was right.


Boy George said...

Great telling of this story, E.

With the title "Home Invasion" though, I was wondering if maybe the story was going to be about a particular celebration...

E. Peevie said...

Thanks for the affirmation.

And the other home invasion--are you referring to the surprise house warming, prior to which you and the other invaders had to actually do some house cleaning?


corduroy said...

This is a great story for the kids. I can imagine they love to hear it.

This reminds me when I was a kid, a little sparrow got caught in our house. For about 15 minutes everyone was freaking out as it tried to find out how to leave and as we tried to show it how.

E. Peevie said...

Yes, they do. Partly because the in-person telling involves much arm-waving, jumping around, and hollering.

ladychgo said...

I tell ya, you have GOT to be one of the best story tellers that I know. When does your book come out?

E. Peevie said...

Aw, shucks.