Our yard, set in a nice suburban Kansas neighborhood, contains a potpourri of wildlife, practically a wildlife habitat. Rabbits bounce, procreate, and my wife instructs our dog to eat them when they gnaw away at her garden. Snakes slither through the grass, pop out of bushes like a cobra out of a basket (I shriek like a child but let's not dwell on that). Bats flap at night, strange unidentifiable birds make weird, inexplicable electronic noises in the mornings. My favorite critter is the grand-daddy of all possums, who I used to see slowly lumbering home every morning at seven A.M., after a night of wild partying (a kindred soul), and sleeping it off underneath our deck. Haven't seen him in a while. Hope he's okay. Fist bump, possum.
But it's the squirrels. The freaky, scary, damn squirrels.
Couple summers ago, I walked out to my car parked in the street. A huge Oak tree-biggest in the 'hood-hovers over our house, practically shading the whole neighborhood. I had a hand on the car door when a loud explosion woke me up more than a barrel full of coffee. A squirrel magically materialized on the car-roof, stretched his neck up to the sky, checking out his bearings. He shook his head, I kid you not, clearing the cobwebs from his addled squirrel-brain after he plummeted from the tree onto my car's roof. We locked eyes. His cold, dark murderous black orbs glared at me. I swear he furrowed his brow. It was an instant frozen in time and twice as scary. Then he ran off, seemingly no worse for the wear. Long fall, too. But...that look. I know he blamed me. J'accuse!
Isolated incident? I think not. The other morning my wife left for work. Plunk! An acorn hit her head. She looked up. A squirrel glowered at her, challenging her. There was no doubt in her mind (and she's a scientist, for God's sake) he tossed it at her.
Not that I'm a specieist, but (and whenever someone prefaces a sentence like that, it means they usually are what they claim they're not) these dang squirrels are taking over. An animal coup d'état is on the horizon, Planet Of The Apes style.
I'm reminded of the mercifully short-lived "Man vs. Nature" horror films of the '70's. They usually starred people like Leslie Nielson (before his "funny stage") and Joan Collins (in her "washed up stage") as evil capitalists who want to destroy nature in the name of the almighty buck. Then the animals inevitably revolt. Anyone remember these films? No? Am I the only one? One particular film that haunted me in my childhood was Frogs starring Ray Milland. Of course it totally sucks in hindsight (I mean, frogs? Really? How harmful can they be?).But now...I don't know. Seems pretty omniscient.
Squirrels. Be careful, gang. I'm just sayin'.