This afternoon about three, I finally bestirred myself sufficiently to take care of some of the weekend chores. I started a load of wash — sheets and towels and such — and hied myself to the curb to fetch the Sunday paper, typically sixty pages of things that can be passed off as news and a hundred sixty pages of things that can't. I even waved at a passing bicyclist, although this was more "Please notice that I am in this lane" than mere "Hello".
It was then that I saw it: a squirrel, prone, just up over the curb to the west of the driveway. The critter wasn't moving, and at first I thought it was dead; the facial expression, or lack thereof, was consistent with having expired. But I saw no actual damage, and my understanding of geometry and vector motion notwithstanding, I couldn't calculate how a car moving at 25 mph could have hit it and knocked it into that particular position without leaving some indication of its presence. I suppose I could have turned the squirrel over and inspected its underside, but this seemed a bit much to undertake at the time, especially if it's really dead, and if it's not dead, I don't want to be the guy who annoys a sleeping squirrel; the little bastards are capable of small but meaningful vengeance.
When I got back inside the house, I duly called up a page of Squirrel Sleeping Positions, and a lot of them were similarly configured, as though they were about to be skinned and barbecued. Well, um, no. Were I going to skin a squirrel, it would on its back. (Number of squirrel-skinnings in which I have participated: almost 1. I was young then, and I was skittish.)
Which brought me to Option C: the squirrel had gone to sleep in that position, and it was never going to wake up. And I felt terribly bad for some reason. I dragged a D. H. Lawrence verse out of the memory banks:
I never saw a wild thing
"Its mother knows," I said, and then wished I hadn't, because it was Mother's Day, and my own mother has been gone for nearly forty years now, and maybe that was a good thing because otherwise by now she'd have had to bury three of her children, and — but I cut it off there, because I was coming perilously close to feeling sorry for myself.
But having discontinued that thought, I was forced to replace it with another, and the next thought in line turned out to be "What do I do next?" If it's a sleepy little squirrel, then the answer is obvious: I do nothing, and matters will take care of themselves. If, however, it's an ex-squirrel, the curtain rung down and a position assumed in the Choir Invisible, things become a trifle more complicated. The city's Animal Control division, if called, might be persuaded to remove the corpse:
To report a dead animal in the roadway, call (405) 297-3100 for removal services.
Then again, the squirrel is not in the roadway: it's up just beyond the curb, on an actual patch of grass, and I am generally disinclined to taking a shovel to the poor creature just for the sake of conforming to a city ordinance. It just doesn't seem, well, respectful.
This is normally the point where the homunculus with the devilish horns appears over my left shoulder and mocks me: "It's a farking squirrel! To anyone else on the block this would be a simple matter of pest control." Yeah, well, I'm not anyone else on the block.
So the options, as I see them, are as follows:
Actually, that latter is not precisely true, because I'll be wondering what sort of dreadful fate might await my remains once this mortal coil is shuffled off to Buffalo or wherever.
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Copyright © 2016 by Charles G. Hill