I’m walking home one Sunday morning,
enjoying the feel of Saturday’s clothes.
It’s spring, so –
and pollen getting ready to crawl up into people’s noses.
I see a black squirrel dart onto the sidewalk
about ten metres ahead of me.
Now, I assume it’s going to keep running
towards some friendly piece of vegetation.
That’s what squirrels are supposed to do
when WE come around.
We have an agreement.
It’s the same agreement we have with the pigeons
and with all the other small woodland creatures
who are trying to make it in the big city.
They’re welcome here,
but WE get the right of way.
So I’m expecting this uppity rodent
to acknowledge my presence
and scamper away.
But it stops
and stares straight at me.
Sizing me up.
I can’t flinch –
there’s too much at stake.
My ancestors worked really hard
to get to the top of the food chain.
And I’ve already embarrased them enough.
I’ve lost the battle with the raccoons.
They run the neighbourhood on garbage night.
Big fuckers with potbellies and seventeen kids.
So I absolutely cannot give up the sidewalk
to this overly ambitious little rodent.
now five metres.
This is troubling.
A few thousand years ago,
I’d have had a way out.
Throw a stone at the thing
and then roast it for breakfast.
on a weekend,
in the suburbs,
that’s not really an option.
I have to be polite to the squirrel.
Or some sweet old lady
will give me a dirty look.
Just then, its little ear twitches.
It looks over its shoulder,
and then back at me,
and then over its shoulder.
AND THEN IT RUNS AWAY!
A car comes roaring by.
Thank God for cars.
Maybe the squirrel thought the big, bloated minivan
was a different kind of creature.
A bigger, badder creature.
I don’t know what just happened.
But I probably shouldn’t tell anyone about it.
p.s. This isn’t about squirrels.