Sunday 23 Oct 2016

Squirrel Blitzkrieg
AJ Robinson

There are some very smart squirrels in our neighborhood. Just the other day, they mounted a true blitzkrieg on our dog Juliet. Their plan was so subtle and insidious; I never saw it coming, until it was too late.

They set things in motion right from the moment we stepped out the front door. Step one, one of their minions sat at the foot of the tree off to the right. Juliet, of course, saw him, and bolted for him. He easily scampered up the tree and out of reach. As Juliet jumped and bounced beneath him, the next team moved into position: three squirrels, one on each of the three tall palm trees clustered further off to the right.

Juliet took off, the line in her reel leash zipping out. I had to really hustle to keep up or at least keep close enough that she didn’t come to the end of the line and get yanked back. She dashed from one palm to the other. All the while, the squirrels ran in circles near the top of their respective tree. It was actually quite amusing to see. It was sort of like a synchronized gymnastic routine. After a moment of tormenting her, they dashed up into the palm fronds, and then phase three began. Two squirrels raced across the parking lot off to our left and further down the road – once more drawing us further in the direction they wanted us to go. Juliet caught sight of them, just as they reached a parked car. Again, she gave chase. She made it to the rear of the car just as they emerged from the front and ran to a large oak. It took Juliet a moment to realize they weren’t under the car, and by then the next diversion had begun. It was up in the far tree, the one near the pool. The longest branch shook, and a squirrel dropped to the pavement near the dog park. At first, I thought the poor creature had accidentally fallen.

Oh, I was so wrong.

Juliet charged after the little fellow and he ran through the chain-link fence that surrounded the park. He was very tiny, and thus was able to get through the fence with ease. Juliet raced to the gate, looked back at me, with great anxiety, and I ran up, panting to help her. In we went through the first door, then the second, and I let her off the leash.

That was when they pounced.

This reminded me of a line from an episode of the classic “Star Trek” series. In “The Omega Glory,” Captain Tracey talks about the final attack of the Yangs and how, “They came and they came and they came.” Well, that’s how this final scene played out, because, suddenly, they surrounded us. The little squirrel easily slipped back out through the fence. Then, all around the dog park, just outside the fence and hence beyond Juliet’s reach, the squirrels launched their final blitz attack. Yeah, they came and they came and… well, you get the picture. On the left, came two running off to the right; then came three, all from the right running in a circle and darting off to the left. A tree branch on our right shook, and two more dropped to the ground. They squeaked and squealed, and then ran up the next tree. On and on this went, and poor Juliet seemed to try to run four different directions at the same time!

Behind us came a squeak. We both spun around, and there was one squirrel standing right at the fence. I figured he was the leader, and he seemed quite pleased with how the maneuver had played out. He squeaked again, which sounded a lot like mocking laughter, and then raced off. Juliet charged the fence, and almost slammed into it! He casually sauntered off, and Juliet bark at him, in frustrated rage.

Yeah, our squirrels are too smart for their own good. They best be careful, they’ve angered “The Beast,” and woe to any squirrel that crosses her path.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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