When last we left our heroic vigilanty, he was stalking an intruder in order to do great harm to
him, her, it.
Letâ€™s resume our story from whence we left itâ€¦
â€œDid you close the fireplace Flue?â€ she asked.
â€œWhat? What on earth does that have to do with the price of coffee mugs in Bangkok? This is serious! Iâ€™m checking as we speak to see if theyâ€™ve stolen any valuables!â€
â€œBefore you do that consider two things,â€ she continued (did I detect a hint of smugness this time?). â€œFirst, we donâ€™t have anything worth stealing, and second, you still havenâ€™t checked the flue.â€
Shock. It had to be. It would be very important to be understanding at this moment. She was in shock from this traumatic event and needed me to be strong. â€œOk, honey, you just remain calm and Iâ€™ll go check that flue—see ya in a bit.â€I and with zero intention of checking the flue, predeeded to take inventory of all the stolen goods. I grabbed aÂ pen and paper and started with my wallet.Â
Hadnâ€™t I had twenty?
I was sure Iâ€™d had twenty. A cold chill started to work itâ€™s way across the surface of my skin. Get a hold of yourself, man. You need to be strong for the little woman. Think! Why would a thief steal eight dollars and leave twelve? I laughed to myself. Then, as if for added support and comfort it dawned on me that my wallet had been with me, in my back pocket all day. Silly me. At least I hadnâ€™t shared these early investigative theories with any one (until now, but Iâ€™m not expecting anyone to actually read this blog so it shouldnâ€™t be a problem).
I moved on to the next room, past the dinning room where all the silverware sat in drawers undisturbed, through my studyÂ–where no one in their right mind would venture anyway (due to the mess that made it resemble much more a landfill than a home library) but, which looked normal to my trained eyes, one more time through the family room and…
Hmm. Gotta admit, Michelleâ€™s theory had at least enough merit to warrant an exploratory glance into why the fireplace screen seemed to be knocked off balance and teetering precariously on the edge of the brick base. I straightened the screen back up and checked the flue. Ok, ok, so it was open. Big deal. It wasnâ€™t like a family of Sasquach could have gotten in that way—
Then I heard it, a stirring in the corner.
Someone was in the house with me. In the same room in fact. Maybe hiding behind one of the other chairs, or even the couch. I couldnâ€™t be sure exactly where the massive intruder was, but one thing I was very, very sure of now—I was not alone. I had to act casual. Maybe he hadnâ€™t seen my reaction. I whistled—Yeah, thatâ€™s more natural—and made my way, slowly, from the room.
Then, it came again, louder this time. From the other side of the family room, behind the giant entertainment center.
I sauntered * over to take a peak at the kidâ€™s toy chest on the other side of the same wall, lifting the lid of the toy-box and pretending to look inside in order to complete the ruse. All of the sudden, the intruder leapt at me from the shadows. Nothing could have prepared me for the show of fangs and ferocious look the predator bore (except, perhaps, to attach the proper scientific name to the beast, carnivorous squirelissis or, the common North American, squirrel). At the same exact moment as the attack, my wife, Michelle entered through the garage into the kitchen.
Stay back! I shouted. It could have rabbis!
She raised one eyebrow. ‘What could have rabbis? Is it a bird? A chipmunk?’
I brushed her juvenile theories aside with a spastic wave of my hand. ‘Keep the kids in the kitchen with you, I need to be properly prepared to deal with the beast.’ I bounded up the stairs and into the bedroom only to return 5 minutes later dressed similar to the guys on the bomb squad whose job it is to disarm lethal explosives. My wife put a hand to her mouth the moment she saw me in what I first mistook as alarm and concern for the danger Iâ€™d selflessly placed myself in. Later she cleared up that particular misunderstanding by informing me that she could not, offhand, recall another time in her life when holding in an avalanche of hysterical laughter had been so great a challenge.
‘Rob, itâ€™s a squirrel. The kids and I saw him peak his furry little head out a couple of times. Why donâ€™t you just open the door to the deck and sort of herd him out?’
I looked at the woman as if seeing her for the first time. I didnâ€™t bother explaining to her that rabid animals could not be reasoned with. There was no time for that. If Old Yeller had to be dealt with so harshly (and I still have trouble accepting that that was the only way) then why should it be any different here?
So, with gloves thicker than gortex ski mittens, I crouched down, reached out toward the frothing, writhing, quite possibly demonic beast and, and, wellâ€¦ threw an afghan over him!
Before you judge, know this, I couldnâ€™t be sure that he wouldnâ€™t sink his fangs so deeply into the gloves as to still inject his lethal venom.
Gotâ€™em! With the creature thrashing wildly beneath the thin veil of the afghan I moved toward the back door planning to throw the beast out the exit, over the deck and (hopefully) to his death below. One problem, the door was shut. In fact the door was lockedÂ¾the kind of lock where a key is required. Get the key! I shouted to Michelle. I canâ€™t hold him much longer! She ran for the door instead of the drawer with the key. Apparently the shock still held sway over her. Hadnâ€™t she heard a word Iâ€™d said? The urgency in my voice?
The Key! The Key! I shouted again. I felt like the little guy on
Instead of answering me, Michelle tapped my shoulder and pointed out to the deck. There, the squirrel stood on his hind legs—taunting me before turning and scampering off to his native habitat.
I can laugh as I think back on that crazy day, but you know, I wish Iâ€™d handled things a little bit more stud-like. I canâ€™t help but wonder how I would have fared back in the days of William Wallace, where it was common to fight on into the night even after your head had been separated from your shoulders–the many heads that had suffered the same fate, lying strewn about the battlefield most likely traded insults on into the night. And I canâ€™t see Braveheart suiting up for battle with a squirrel. Thankfully, that isnâ€™t the norm for me (probably because I now close the fireplace flue), but it did get me thinking.
For a few moments that day I was the perfect picture of the modern Christian male.* Thatâ€™s about the greatest monster they ever face, perhaps the most serious threat they encounter in a given decade, and the most typical reaction from men who spend almost all of their time with a computer or in business meetings and one token hour in church (a month) dressed in their Sunday best.
More about this later . . .
* Yes, sauntered. It was critical to exude an air of complete confidence. Sauntering, in such cases, is the perfect choice.
* read, wimpus maximus