Up with T on a Sunday, the daddy-figure snoozing as though his life depended on it, which it probably does, or at least in ways mine doesnt depend on snoozing, not anymorerocking T in my arms, I glanced out the front window and saw two squirrels going at it on top of a telephone pole way across the unfortunate and ugly blank space between our condo and theirs. And then, as I watched, the squirrels locked, forming a perfect circle of squirreland fell.
This is not something I wanted to see, nor was it something I could look away from and carry on with giving T the left boob, say, or attempt the trick of making a pot of coffee with one hand. I watched, horrified, the squirrel-circle free fall from the top of the pole downdowndown to-weeds. If Id looked out the window a second earlier, or later, Id have missed it. But no. I gaped the gape of shock and dread. Not a weed shimmied. The whole world was Sunday-still. Even, for once, my son was still. So was I, for about two seconds.
I had my husband up, dressed and the three of us out the door in about seven minutes. Because of T, we took the long way around the ugly blank space vs. crawling through gaps in hideous chain link. Here was my thinking: one of the squirrels was hurt or dead, one lucky squirrel survived, cuhsioned by landing on top of the other one. My husband stopped laughing and feeling carefree and became a believer when I pointed out the squirrel on the ground. He said, quietly: oh my god. I said: it cant move. And this was truethe squirrel was alive, lifting up its head, eyes bright, but couldnt seem to wrench to all fours, much less scamper. I covered Ts eyes.
Back home, I called the NoHo Animal Rescuewhich, as it turned out, was a user-friendly name for The Pound. An hour after my initial phone call for rescue, I redialed the troops. There you are, they told me. Weve been trying to call you! Where is the squirrel, again?
Shortly after this phone call I had my husband hightail it across the ugly space to chase away a stalking cat. On his way back, he met up with Animal Rescuea woman in her late thirties carrying a cardboard box. From the window, endlessly rocking T, I watched Rescue and my husband make their way to the squirrel. Ah, I thought. Thats that. I confess: although I knew better, a part of me really believed that NoHo Animal Rescue was just that, the squirrel would be saved, my work done. I turned from the window, took T into the bedroom and lay down, completely wiped out.
The gun shot had me back to the window so fast Ts lips were still in the shape they make when wrapped around the spigot.
There, in the center of the ugly space of desolation, stood Rescue and my husband, his hands on his hips, her hands wrapped around a gun pointed into the spaces crater, where, I presumed, the squirrel had been deposited. The gape returned as I watched her raise the gun and shoot again. Then Rescue tramped down into the crater and disappeared as my husband made waving motions at her with his arms and shouted things I was too destroyed to decipher. I took my gape and my boy into the bedroom and waited.
Just let me explain, dont, dont say anything! Shh! Dont! Let me talk, let ME talk, for the love of god, please!
He was pretty frantic. So I bit back most of my nasty slang and, drawing upon lessons of patience Ive tried to apply to my life since last November 12th (vs. fighting patience with screamed gibberish while assuming the fetal position), I listened to my husband.
The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband: She shot it!
Me: I heard.
The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband: She f****** shot it!
The tale of the squirrel as told by my husband as he paces the bedroom: The NoHo Animal Rescue would have euthanized the squirrel, babe. It was worse than when you saw itgoing all stiff, alive, but rigor mortis-like. But RescueI think shes German, babetold me she wanted to shoot the squirrel because cats and dogs come first and squirrels wait and this squirrel could have waited hours before its turn to be euthanized, babe, hours and hours of pain or a painful deathso I told her okay, shoot it and she put the squirrel in the crater and climbed out and took aim. But she missed. I saw the bullet hit dirt several inches away from the squirrel. She asked me: Vy eez it still alive? And I said: because you missed it! And she said: But vy eez it still movink? And I said: because you missed it! And so she shot again and this time, babe, she hit it and I have to say, babe, she wasnt happy about doing the job, she was shaking and upset, which is why I think she missed it in the first place. Anyway, as I was leaving some lady came out of her condo and asked me what happened. So I told her and she said to thank you for calling Rescue.
Ive always heard squirrels arent very smart. They’re prone to heart attacks when they get too excited and plus they have diseases, I guess. But theyre cute and Im sad and responsible for so much. Soooooooooo f****** much. So, youre very welcome, but.