I Know, The Suspense Has Been Killing You...
All right, time for the squirrel story.
So... it's H-day + 1. Ike has passed through, leaving a swath of destruction on the Gulf Coast, and was busily plowing through the Midwest.
Following the storm and having been awake most of the previous night, El Capitan is dozing the morning away on the settee
in the den. He really ought not to be on the settee, given his girth and the advanced age and largely ornamental nature of the furniture, but it happens to sit directly in front of the French doors leading out to the back patio, and any hint of a cooling breeze that happens by will intersect with the person or persons occupying that spot.
He rests fitfully, ear cocked for any ominous creaks or groans that might emanate from the Victorian-era settee and signify an impending collapse. El Capitan realizes that he really ought to string up his hammock on the front porch, but there's no A/C, the portable generator which would bring some relief still rests under a huge pile o' crap in the garage, and even the effort of mentally debating the issue is exhausting.
With no real option available other than resorting to physical labor, he dozes on...
Sometime that morning, a sound brings him back to the lowest levels of consciousness. For reasons lost to antiquity, a large concrete block has been placed outside the door, directly in the path of egress. Since the French doors are rarely opened when the A/C is flowing, the impediment to exiting is not a huge deal.
Today, though, the concrete block is serving as a pedestal and al fresco dining area for a large squirrel
, who's busily chewing on one of the pecans pilfered from the backyard pecan tree. The squirrel pauses every so often to chatter away at his pecan-thieving co-conspirators, and it's this sound that rouses El Capitan from his fitful snooze.
El Cap is somewhat amazed to see the squirrel in such good spirits. It appears to be in good health, and in spite of the recent deluge, has perfectly dry fur. El Capitan ruminates on this unlikely condition, and realizes that this is probably one of the rat-bastard fuzz-tailed c@cksuckers that have tunneled in through the soffits and are residing in the attic directly over his bedroom, where their tunneling through the layers of blown insulation is clearly audible in the wee hours of the morning.
Looking around for a handy ferret or mongoose to sic upon the squirrel, El Cap finds none, and so settles for an empty can of Tecate
beer, which when hurled towards the offending rodent bounces off the concrete block with a raucous CLANG!
The offended squirrel departs, and El Capitan goes back to sleep. All is well...
Some time later, El Cap is dragged back out of his doze by the sound of little claws scrabbling over the aluminum doorjamb. Opening sleep-deprived eyelids, El Capitan expects to see a cat exiting the house, but instead spies a small bedraggled squirrel that has had the temerity to walk right into the house!
Unlike the pecan thief, this squirrel has clearly ridden out the storm. Its fur is damp, & the tail has got a serious case of bedhead, er... bedtail.
Well, this ain't no home for disadvantaged Rodentia! El Cap hauls himself to an upright position, and waves his damp face-wipin' towel at the intruder.
"Shoo! Shoo! Go back outside, ya varmint!" he yells.
The squirrel pays him no mind, and dashes under the TV stand.
El Capitan groans and curses Fate. Now he is obligated to perform physical action in the muggy, sticky, not-havin'-any-A/C climate.
Using his mad locker room skillz perfected way back in Junior High, El Cap winds up his towel into a rattail, and commmences to make loud popping sounds with the towel in the squirrel's general direction. With each pop, the squirrel scrambles to a new and unexplored piece of furniture, completely ignoring the wide-open door.
Realizing the sonic dispersal method isn't working too well, El Capitan retreats to the bathroom to get the Secret Weapon. To catch a squirrel, you need a Gopher!
is a reaching/grabbing tool hawked on TV by that really annoying bearded guy. It was received it as a gift several years back, and is used mainly for picking up the hairballs barfed out by the cats.
Since the squirrel is carrying who knows what type of macro- & microscopic vermin, plus has an impressive set of dentition, the suction cup-tipped grabber seems just the thing for rousting out & seizing the the wayward rodent.
The squirrel disagrees and makes a break for it, dashing into the dining room and a whole new selection of furniture to hide beneath.
Several times El Cap thought about the box of .22 ratshot cartridges in the gun closet, but the thought of scraping up splattered squirrel in the traumatic heat made that an option of last resort.
By this time, the aroma of frightened squirrel should have permeated the household and attracted the attention of the two resident felines. These cats should immediately converge on the squirrel, and open up a cat-food sized can of whoop-ass on the rodent.
You'd think so, anyway...
One of the cats hid in my bedroom throughout the fracas, and the other perched on a dining room chair and watched in amazement as the squirrel was pursued by the freely perspiring & cursing Giver Of Tasty Cat Food & Ear Skritchies. At no point did either cat lend a paw to help out.
The cats and the Gopher proving completely unsuitable for grasping ahold of an intruding squirrel, a garbage can lid was pressed into use as a percussion instrument, a large fan, and a blocking device to herd the squirrel towards the front door.
At one point, the squirrel dashed behind the piano, but a quickly pounded out combination of a barely-remembered Van Halen keyboard solo caused the squirrel to flee in terror into the front parlor. Yeah, it was from the Sammy Hagar era
. Most sane creatures would have run in sheer terror...
Eventually, the squirrel took the wrong turn, zigged when it should have zagged, and was gently herded out the front door, departing for parts unknown.
All of this ruckus could have been avoided if only there were still screen doors. Alas, in this modern centrally-cooled era, screen doors in suburbia have gone the way of the station wagon and the lawn flamingo!
The next time a hurricane comes along, I'm going to have a special set of screen doors made up for the front & back porch. A Squirrel Excluder Device, if you will...