With autumn’s first chill, let me introduce one of the CrazyStable’s more disreputable tenants: Bagel. He has a brother (or perhape a wife) called Smeagol. I don’t suppose it’s the same two squirrels who have tormented us for 19 years, but I regard them as one malign entity, an Ur-squirrel, lacking even in the few redeeming features of squirrelhood itself.
Industrious little fellows in all those children’s books they are. Bagel and Smeagol are squatters, looters, junk food junkies, and would-be murderers. They are a laughable excuse for wildlife. And, like their psychopath cartoon brother Foamy, they laugh at us. (Link to Foamy’s web site for some warped fun, but be warned: Foamy’s wrathful language resembles mine when dealing with Bagel and Smeagol.)
A partial list of Bagel’s squirrelly crimes and misdemeanors:
- Hanging upside down from a hole in the ceiling on our stairway landing, so as to encounter me at eye level as I descended our center hall stairs.
- Circling the living room like a rocket, destroying all my snow globes, and inducing our most reckless cat to follow him out a second-floor window. (Cat was reeled in by the last third of its tail.)
- Setting up leisurely housekeeping between our joists. Rolling something nutlike up and down above the kitchen ceiling bocce-style to taunt us during dinner (riddly-riddly-riddly-CLUNK.) We beat on the soffit with sticks and bells; he ignores us, but we feel better.
- Engaging in noisy turf battles with other squatters interested in the cozy confines of joist-land.
- Eating all my little Japanese eggplants—one bite each, then toss.
- Digging up my seedlings and pitching them around.
- Fornicating brazenly on our porch roof. (We have never observed a single baby, for which I’m very grateful.)
- Dropping an apple core on my head from a tree branch.
But Bagel’s hallmark offence is the idiotic storing of scrounged carbohydrates on the exterior of the house, typically in the corner of a windowsill. Here we see a classic example: a gobbed-on bagel deposited on the porch chair. The “ground” into which these “nuts” are delusionally “buried” has lately extended to the windshield of our car, which on a recent morning sported a half-eaten granola bar, in its wrapper, stowed beneath the driver’s-side wiper blade. To complete the tableau, the tree rat had left a nice little pile of turds glued to the car roof. If anyone else has experienced this sort of urban squirrel dysfunction, please comment below.
Darling Daughter, by the way, thinks these creatures are precious, clever, and in all ways delightful, and takes their side in everything. She would be horrified by this account of early American life by Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1735-1813), a gentleman farmer from a time when men were men and squirrels were flail-ties. Pass the exhilarating cup, and let the mirth and jollity begin!: