I miss Public Works.
If something goes wrong at a military command, all you have to do is call Public Works and before you know it an expert shows up and fixes the problem. Those guys were so good that they often came and went and I didn’t even have to interrupt my Spider Solitaire game to talk to them.
That was then.
Now, I’m on my own. Like Gary Cooper in “High Noon“, I have to face my troubles alone.
When a light switch in my garage began tripping its fuse, I knew I had to look into it. I traced the short to some outside lights that extended through the soffit. No problem – I figured there would be a loose wire up there.
I found bare wire. A whole bunch of bare wire where insulation had been chewed off. That’s right – chewed off. Every section I pulled off revealed more chewed wire.
As I stared in disbelief at the destruction, a mangy squirrel popped his head out, having emerged from inside the soffit. He was clearly irritated. And why shouldn’t he be? I had just disrupted the most awesome squirrel condo this side of the Mississippi, and he didn’t appreciate it one bit.
Remember the scene from “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” when Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach face each other in the cemetery in a classic western stare-down? It was kind of like that with me and the squirrel.
At stake was nothing less than dominance of my house, and only one could win. He knew it. I knew it. I think I even saw his eyes narrow a little.
Then he disappeared inside my roof.
No four-legged varmint was going to beat me at this game, amigo. I boarded everything up, then plugged up the hole he had been using, installing a medieval-looking “exclusion” device. Once he got out, he would never get back in.
I had won. Two-legged creatures 1, four-legged rodents 0.
Then I called the insurance company to have someone come out and fix the whole thing – wires, soffit, roof and all. That would be the end of it.
This morning I thought I heard the exclusion device trip, so I walked over to the site of the battle. And there, staring at me from inside the roof, was the squirrel. He had chewed a hole large enough to stick his little pea-head out, but small enough that I couldn’t touch him. If squirrels laugh, he was laughing. His beady little eyes glistened with defiance.
Then the insurance company called. They don’t cover damage from squirrels.
Rodent 1, Human 0.
As I type this, I hear his furry little feet running on (or in) the roof. He seems more active today, maybe because he has to tell (and embellish, no doubt – squirrels are notorious liars) his tale to all his rodent friends.
But the good Lord put man on top of the animal heap, and I have no intention of relinquishing that position to a rat with a fuzzy tail. If there has to be a showdown, so be it. He may have more legs than me, but I have more tools. He may be able to hide in tiny little spaces, but I have a caulk gun and I ain’t afraid to use it.
This is just like the spaghetti westerns of old, the classic showdown at the cemetery, where I’m the good guy and he’s the bad guy.
And he’s ugly too.