I like to feed the squirrels in my neighborhood. I don’t buy proper feed or raw nuts, I just buy a jar of Planters when I’m at the store. Sometimes, I’ll buy peanuts in the shell or a cheaper bag of mixed nuts, but usually, I throw them salted, processed, nuts. I’m sure I’ve killed half the population with heart disease caused by the unnatural influx of salt in their diet.

They love me though and I love them. They have lots of cute mannerisms. My favorite is when they stand and beg. When I see them do this, I often give them the accent of a poor English lad.

Pardon me guv’nor, have you got any pocket money?

They also have vicious fights, which I totally respect. Though I try to break up fights by providing more nuts to ease resource conflicts, I have been known to sit back and enjoy the show.

My absolute favorite squirrel behavior is the Joyous Gallop. This is when a squirrel is foraging in the lawn across the street, sees me, and quickly realizes that nuts are on the way. It’s similar in spirit to the zoomies performed by dogs because it’s pure happiness. The squirrel enters into a full gallop toward my driveway. With the front legs landing together and the back legs doing the same, it’s like a little furry wheel. It makes me happy.

A few days ago, I was making my way to the drive with a jar of peanuts. A squirrel from across the street saw me and entered the wheel of happiness. He had reached a few feet from the street when a fox, a fucking asshole fox, came from the left. The squirrel saw him at the last second, and his little squirrel face went from “Oh boy!” to “Oh, shit!” in a flash.

This fox was clearly a veteran. It pinned the squirrel down, bit it in the neck, and proceeded to whip the squirrel violently from side to side. Thankfully, it was over in seconds. Either the teeth had killed him or the neck was broken. Probably both. The fox looked around shamefully with the corpse in its mouth before trotting off behind a house to feast in solitude.

I was horrified because of my involvement. Let me add some context. Last year, there was a stray cat I fed. It was a fat little thing that probably ate at every house on the block. After I fed the cat some tuna, I saw some birds land on a nearby bush. The birds also eat nuts. By feeding them, I’ve enjoyed the company of cardinals, bluejays, hummingbirds, chickadees, and a whole bunch of others who decided to live near a food source. (Yes, I’m eighty fucking years old and I enjoy the birds. Leave me alone!)

I went into the house to fetch some nuts to throw for my feathered friends. The cat slowly and stealthily made its way to the bush, jumped up, and snagged a little birdie. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a bird’s death rattle, but it might be the worst one to hear. And cats don’t kill right away because they’re sadistic. If you are little and sadistic (like cats) you’re cute. Big and sadistic, you’re horrible. That cat had no need for food. I’d just fed it tuna. It killed that bird just to hear that sound. (Note: cats are bad, but we all know that otters rape baby seals for fun. And otters might just be the cutest animal. Have you seen them holding hands and falling asleep? Adorbs.) Anyway, that thing screamed for about twenty seconds before the asshole cat actually showed some mercy and ripped open its face.

That is life. You cannot do good without doing evil at the same time. The birds were there because I feed them. They’re probably slower because of all the salt. That squirrel was distracted by me when the fox attacked. Plus he was super fat because I feed him all the salt. And I’ve contributed to global warming. That squirrel should have been hibernating, but he’s out looking for food. A fat, slow, squirrel who cannot hibernate. It’s all my fault.

The fox has to eat I suppose. And the cat has to torture. That’s the way of the world.

This is my long-winded way of telling you I am working hard. A bit behind, but I’m happy with what I’m doing. I have a draft of the short story. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. The novel is taking shape. I think this is going to be a good locked room trick.

Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you updated. Hope 2023 is going well for you.


5 thoughts on “January”

  1. I too live in a very woodsy area, with plenty of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, groundhogs as well as the occasional deer and fox (and fisher cat). Luckily, however, I have yet to witness anything horrific although I am not so naive to think that all of these constituencies live peacefully together. And, I once did own several cats who did roam outside (they were rescue cats and really needed to be outdoors). So, yes, I know the cruelty of cats and their little gifts of mice and squirrels and birds that got deposited on my doorstep.

    Oddly enough, my takeaway from your post was your comment “Yes, I’m eighty fucking years old and I enjoy the birds. Leave me alone!” Whoa, wait, really? No, I don’t think so — else you have aged well! I will assume that this is a throwaway comment to indicate that you think wildlife watching is more socially “suitable” for an individual of later years!


    1. And I enjoy nature very much too. And, I am not eighty either! It’s about taking the bad with the good and I still wouldn’t opt to live in a city environment…


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