If you were looking for some finals week levity, this is not the place to find it.
This is a tale of unadulterated rodent-based terror.
It happened not too long ago, and it happened at the Dinky. While walking by some trees, I heard this ungodly, grating squeal– it was a large and terrible sound, but I could tell it was coming from something small. Call it intuition.*(You sort of had to be listening to notice it, but once you did, it was impossible to ignore– sort of like how the stars can be hard to spot at night, but once you find them, they’re stamped indelibly in your vision and you won’t lose them again.) It came in slow, violent bursts, like an asthmatic, chain-smoking zombie taking breaths. It was a strange squeal.
I looked around, didn’t see any malfunctioning machinery or exotic birds, so I kept walking. Until I saw it splayed out on a tree trunk ahead. It was a squirrel, totally still, paws wide, fur taut, tail erect– like it was ready to pounce. I thought squirrels were terrifying enough in their normal excitable chirping states, and then I saw this one dead still with death in its eyes. As I drew closer, I realized that its entire frozen body was pulsing with each squeal. This was some kind of furry war cry. Needless to say, I walked quickly.
In retrospect, I think it must have been rabid. I have never known a squirrel to produce such a noise, and I hope to never see/hear it again.
*At this point, I don’t think I can just call it intuition anymore. I think it’s Squirrel Sense. Like Spidey’s, but far more species specific and without the cool squiggles and flashing colors. And it may be what gets me through these four years alive.