flying squirrel pandemonium
Tuesday, October 7 2003
I was at the pizza place next to the Radio Shack in the Uptown Plaza today and I noticed they had an extremely faded American Flag sticker still stuck to their window. This gave me an idea for a decal or bumpersticker:
Since that first flying squirrel killed by Edna back in the summer, flying squirrels have constituted an unexpectedly large fraction of her victims. To date, I'm aware of five or six. This is admittedly lower than the uncountable number of shrews and field mice she has killed, but a flying squirrel is a significantly larger, and more importantly, rarer animal (they are considered either threatened or endangered, depending on the web page you visit). I would think they could inflict a nasty bite when defending themselves.
Today Edna brought yet another dead flying squirrel into the house. We were upstairs at the time, and she was so proud of herself that she called for us to come and look. As usual, we were horrified. There it was, a crumpled flying squirrel on the floor. Edna was already distracted by the neighbor cat, whom she'd just seen skulking near the sliding doors to the south deck.
I poked at the corpse with my foot, marveling at the huge eyes, the flap of skin between its front and rear legs, and the oddly flattened tail. Then I noticed it was still breathing. I told Gretchen to get a dustpan so I could get it outside without it biting me, but I was too late. It had sprung to life and was sailing across the kitchen floor. Pandemonium immediately broke out, as Edna, Eleanor, Sally, and even elderly Mavis tried to thwart the effort Gretchen and I were making to get the little guy out the door without further injuries. The flying squirrel wasn't being helpful, choosing to climb up the legs of tables and freeze instead of running out of an open door. Finally he climbed up the leg of a chair and I managed to get him out to the east deck.
Having seen a flying squirrel in action on the ground, I think I know why Edna has such success in catching them. The flap of skin between their legs keeps them from running quickly, and they're forced to rely instead on climbing and freezing. A chipmunk on the floor of the living room (it has happened) moves much faster than any human eye can follow, but we never lost track of the flying squirrel. This was the first time I'd ever seen one alive.
This evening we watched Arnold Schwarzenegger win the total California recall on an unusual live Jon Stewart broadcast from Comedy Central. Gretchen was dismayed by the results, but it didn't bother me much. I thought of it as yet another manifestation of the chaos of our interesting times. Schwarzenegger did an excellent job playing a robot from the future (and my brother, a huge fan, has most of his best movies on videotape), but there's no script for how to deal with the pickle he is in now.
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