When the bough breaks...

Maribeth's brake light had not been working for quite some time. So on the way home the other night I decided to stop at Advance Auto Parts and pick up a replacement bulb. And naturally my spontaneity got the best of me at 8:30 at night and I decided to change her bulb.

So I gathered all I needed to do the job. One replacement bulb? check. One flashlight? check. One mysterious rustling in the trees? check. Wait. One what? Yes. A mysterious rustling in the trees. hmm...I have a flashlight why not take a look? Well, I like to think that my fear of el Chupacabra would be one good reason not to look...but that's another blog entry.

One flashlight sweep of the trees showed nothing abnormal and no red glowing chupacabra eyes, so back to work I went. Out with the old bulb...in with the...in with..with...drat. It didn't fit. I guess I shouldn't have put my stock in the guy behind the counter at the autoparts store. Oh well. Time to clean up. I start putting things back and all of a sudden I hear the mysterious rustling again...then I hear a hard thwump!

I pointed my flashlight in the direction of the noise and lo and behold...I see a little furry brown lump lying on the ground. Moving closer I notice that it's a squirrel. It either had to be knocked out cold or else its little neck snapped when it hit the ground. Either way, it's not moving. I creep next to it and poke it with the flashlight. "Eee Eee Eeeeee". It got on all fours and started screaming. It looks like that's all it had in it because a second later it was lying on the ground again, exhausted.

I go inside and yell up to Maribeth, "Come outside. Quick! In front of the garage." I grabbed a box and a towel and head back outside. Maribeth comes out with Declan and there we all stood; staring at a squirrel. As I retold my story about the rustling in the trees and the thud, I scooped him up in the towel. We took turns petting the little guy and placed him in the box.

Initially, we placed the box outside. Then, in all my wondrous softiness, I decided that it was too cold for the lil fella outside and brought him into the laundry room. I pushed the cats away and into the kitchen and closed the door. I picked up the lil guy (in the towel) and held him for a little. I had never seen a squirrel this close before. They are actually really pretty. They have little ears like a hamster, a thin tail with lots of fluff, their coats are really soft and their teeth are huuge! At that point I decided to put him down. I crushed a walnut, put it in there with him and went upstairs.

I started watching a movie and naturally, my childish curiosity kicked in and I went downstairs to have another look. I went into the laundry room and turned on the light. As soon as the light came on, the little guy freaked out and started to thrash inside the box. Having only my pajamas on and no slippers, I decided it best to go upstairs and put some real clothes on. Maribeth was already sleeping, so of course I woke her up and told her about how well he was doing. I convinced her to come downstairs and together we crept into the laundry room. we picked up the box, and set it outside on it's side so that it could get out if it so desired. And once again we climbed up the stairs. Maribeth under the covers and me on the covers watching the movie again.

When it was over I decided to check on him one last time. I grabbed the flashlight and down I went. I peeked in the box and there he was. All curled up in the towel. But this time, he wasn't breathing. No movement at all. With a sigh, I set the box upright and gently pulled the towel out of the box. He slid off and onto the bottom, motionless. I picked up the box and walked across the yard. I gave him one last rub on the nose and said, "If you're actually a really sound sleeper, then I'm sorry for this." And with that, I tossed him onto the woodpile, turned and went back inside.

Alas, it was a valiant effort. I guess last night was its night to go. It could have ended lying there on the cold wet earth, but it didn't. It ended wrapped in a towel, in a warm place, and with a few walnuts to munch on.

Goodbye little friend.


DAD said...

I hope Declan didn't have nightmares about flying squirrels. Next time you bring him over Pappy will show him reruns of Rocky and Bullwinkle, that'll get him squared away.

Mom said...

AWWWWW! Wrapped in swaddling clothes...lying on a woodpile. Sniff! He was a Swarr for a little while. Sniff!
Good job, ZeeWee!!!

co-worker kim said...

Hmmm, I think it must have been the sight of you in your pajamas that caused his demise.
I'd also like to add that you are VERY lucky to have a wife as nice as Maribeth, because the normal woman, if awakened from sleep to go look at a RODENT, would chuck YOU in the woodpile (and without any kind words)!

coworker kim

Mandy said...

Um, this story reeks of the night we found a dead little bunny in my roommate Kait's room...poor thing was so startled from not being able to get outside, it went into little bunny cardiac arrest and died right there, legs out straight. Zach, I think you must have killed the squirrel the first time you went back into the laundry room. Cruel, you.