: I’m a murderer :

crime scene

Me. I killed a squirrel.

Oh, not with my bare hands or anything, but with my big, dumb car. Okay, technically, it was animal control, not the car, but let’s not split hairs. I’m the one wracked with guilt and shame and a deep, abiding sorrow I can’t shake. Serves me right, too. I’m a cold-blooded assassin.

You see, fall is the busy season for squirrels. Duh, right? Between hiding their nuts and looting the bird feeders, their days are packed. Winter’s coming, so there’s no time to waste. They dash here and there, hither and yon, they zig and they zag from sunup to sundown. That’s what squirrels do. It’s their job and they take it seriously. Have you ever seen one stroll or saunter or dawdle? No, you have not. They have one speed: scamper.

And that’s exactly what this guy was doing that fateful morning. He was scampering. Sure, at first he was cavorting and larking, but then he saw my car. He froze, then panicked. Into the road he darted, changed his mind and made a headlong dash for the curb. He’d be alive today if only he’d stayed there, but he made one last, desperate charge for the road.

I swerved and stabbed the brakes, but to no avail. The furry little dude was badly injured; he couldn’t get up. I wanted to call an ambulance. I wanted to fix him. I wanted him to pop back up and scurry home. With a woeful and heavy heart I called animal control. They came and whisked him away. I watched the truck until it disappeared in the distance.

At lunch, I called to check on him, hoping against hope he survived. He hadn’t.

The woman on the phone was as kind as she could be, but the news hit me like a punch. I couldn’t breathe for the sadness. I should send flowers, I thought; take a casserole to the family, set up a roadside memorial. I should go to confession or turn myself in to authorities, something. Anything.

In the end, I just sat down and cried.

The thing is, I attribute human characteristics to stuff. To me, everything has a personality, it has thoughts and feelings and speaks English. Whether it’s an animal, a bug, a car, a toy, it’s as real as I am. That’s not good. Or healthy. Hell, I get all weepy when my car’s towed. Hoisted in the air like that, only two wheels touching the ground, it looks helpless and pitiful — isn’t that nuts? That’s nuts.

I’m supposed to feel that way about humans. But, curiously, I don’t. Them I objectify. Besides, humans are supposed to have brains; they can take care of themselves. They don’t need me to protect them, to fight their battles. Unless they’re really old or really young, then I’m there.

Everyone else is on their own.

squirrel

Forgive me, buddy :’ (

copyright © the whirly girl

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16 Responses to “: I’m a murderer :”

  1. FurthermoreAndSoForth

    Aw I know just how you feel, Lisa. I remember the day I drove away from my childhood home — leaving my sobbing parents behind — to move across the country. On my way to meet the moving van at my apartment, I ran over a duck. Never before and never since has a duck crossed the road in front of me. Only that one, lone duck and I killed it. I don’t know whether I felt more guilt for abandoning my parents that day, or for murdering that duck.

    Like

    • publikworks

      It’s the worst, Jo. The worst.

      I thought I hit a cat one night and went straight into the wailing and sobbing and calling animal control. Turned out to be a plastic grocery bag.

      I had the cataracts removed shortly thereafter.

      Like

  2. O. Leonard

    Okay, I’m not sure whether to chuckle. or feel really sorry for you, or turn you in to authorities for murdering a squirrel….but then you already did that. I’m amazed that you latter called to see if he made it. I do, do the same thing, putting human emotions and feelings on animals, but squirrels, for example, can do a lot of damage. Not saying it’s okay that you accidentally took one out, but he’s the one that made the bad decision, Don’t think you should beat yourself up about it. I think you should get a T-shirt made with “I’m a Squirrel Murderer” and wear it like a scarlet letter.

    Like

    • publikworks

      Thanks for the reprieve, Len, but I should’ve waited to see if he was finished darting. I know better. The t-shirt idea is great, it could be my penance.

      Like

  3. ivytobin

    Oh that feeling. Not a good one :( Remembering the panic I felt as I tried to maneuver my car around the poor thing. Yes, I can relate to this. Thanks.

    Like

  4. mommydoesyoga

    Oh dear. It’s never easy when something like this happens, is it? The fact that you didn’t mean to and feel terribly about it speaks volumes about who you are as a person :)

    Like

    • publikworks

      Oh, lord, I hope I’m through with that kind of thing. I haven’t recovered from the last one. Great to have you in the neighborhood.

      Like

  5. halfbakedlog

    I love this story. I enjoy looking at my squirrel neighbors and hate to see them harmed. True, their only speed is scamper after their apparent intake of a highly caffeinated beverage.

    Like

    • publikworks

      This guy, I’m convinced, had been to Starbucks for a triple espresso with hazelnut. A venti.

      Thanks for commisserating, half.

      Like

    • publikworks

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, at least something good came out of this sad and upsetting morning. It wasn’t just random mayhem, after all. Thank you :o)

      Like

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