In November, shortly after we moved into our apartment, my son told me he heard mice running across his bedroom floor at night. I told him he must have been dreaming. But soon after, I, too, began hearing scratching sounds and scampering behind the walls in my writing alcove. My skin crawled as my eyeballs rolled around the sloping ceiling and down the walls, following their scratching sounds and fearfully watching for breakthrough openings in the walls.
My fear was soon replaced by anger. These pesky rodents were invading my personal space and ruining my concentration. I couldn’t think; I couldn’t write. I had to show them who was boss, so I started banging on the walls when I heard them running around, hoping this would scare them away. One night, I heard them laughing at me. Yes, of course I know what a squirrel laugh sounds like. It was a high pitched weeeee-weeeee!
“They’re trying to get into the apartment through the walls,” I told my husband.
“Squirrels won’t come into the house. They’re afraid of us,” he said.
Then, one day, we had the kitchen window open while I was cooking, and a squirrel jumped on the screen. Digging his claws in for support, he hung there, upside down, sniffing the steamy aromas, then scurried up and down the screen looking for an opening.
“The squirrel was trying to get in!” I screamed, as I slammed the window shut.
“Squirrels won’t come into the apartment,” my husband repeated. “They’re afraid of us.”
The squirrels in this neighborhood aren’t afraid of us; they’re fearless. When I walk outside, they’re hanging out on the wraparound porch, munching on acorns, flicking their bushy tails and watching me. If I stamp my foot, they barely flinch.
The other day I had to walk around one of them who was blocking my path and refused to get up off his fat little ass.
While walking to my car one morning, I felt a pair of beady little eyes on me, turned around, and saw a lousy squirrel sitting on the porch steps, watching my back.
“HA!” I yelled and took a few running steps toward him, but he just kept staring me down. I remembered my squirrel nightmare, scooted back to the car and locked myself in. Then I tried to run him over.
I used to think squirrels were cute until we moved into this apartment. Now, I see them as my mother aptly calls them: rats with bushy tails. I think about buying a BB gun for protection against a possible home invasion – from squirrels.
There is one in particular who sprawls himself out on the peak of the first floor roof on sunny days. I look out of my second floor living room window and see him perched up there with his two hind legs straddling the peak, his nose lifted up, sniffing the air, like a lion surveying his domain.
I bang on the window whenever I see him relaxing up there, hoping he’ll be spooked and fall to his death. At first, he would jump and frantically run from one edge of the roof to the other. I had a few good laughs over that.
Now when I bang on the window, he barely looks at me. He must be thinking, it’s that lunatic woman, again – the one who bangs on the walls at night.
I know he’s the same squirrel who retaliates by throwing himself – full force – at the living room window when I’m taking my afternoon nap. He must get a real kick hearing me scream myself out of a deep sleep.
Battle lines have been drawn between me and the rats with bushy tails. Who will win this battle for territorial domination? I can’t say. I only hope we’re out of here before the warm weather comes and we’re forced to open the windows. Not that I’m afraid of a little squirrel. Not much.