No shelf life for rodents here

My finger tips throbbed as if I’d just plunged them into a bucket of ice, kept them there long enough to start hyper-ventilating, and then pulled them out and hit each one with a hammer.
That’s what I get for taking the gloves off on a frigid day.
And if it hadn’t been for my heat-of-the-moment temper that ignited my insides when I found my winter boot insoles shredded as ingredients for a squirrel’s nest, I think my ice-cold fingers would have broken off and fallen to the garage floor.
I stood frozen and watched as the beady-eyed varmint poked its head out of the wicker basket it was stuffing my boot fur into and gave me a “What the?” stare after I’d thrown a small empty milk carton at the basket because I was too chicken to get any closer.
I’d come face-to-face with a rogue squirrel before. The last time I’d met up with such a rodent in the confines of my garage, it had sprung from the shelving unit on to the top of my car and I suddenly was aware that I was blocking the escape route.
His beady and wild eyes met mine and in a move straight out of the “Matrix” movies, my upper body leaned back as the squirrel flew by me and out the open door.
I wasn’t going to have a repeat of that epic battle, but the squirrel of the moment had to go.
I started to reason with the little bugger in a language I thought it could understand. I said in no uncertain terms that if it understood English, it would be wise to heed my warning to be gone by the time I got back from work.
“The laws of physics and chemistry are not negotiable,” I said. “Neither is having a dog inside my new car or a squirrel living in my garage.”
And with that, I backed the car out. And as I lowered the garage door, I caught a glimpse of grey running across the shelving unit and back into the wicker basket with what looked vaguely familiar as blue flannel from my sleeping bag.
I fumed about the squirrel all day while at work; about ways to sneak up on it, traps I could set for it, and how I could repatriate the fur ball to the other side of the creek with my slingshot.
My dad made me that slingshot out of wood and rubber when I was 12 years old. It still has Olympic potential.
It took everything I had not to race home at the end of my work day; my obsession to thwart the garage intruder foremost in my mind. But, of course, I live on a lousily-maintained road just outside of town that is not fit for an ambulance patient, let alone a brand new car (it’s always a turtle’s pace drive).
I parked the car in the yard, walked over to the garage and lifted the door, turned on the lights, stopped, watched, and listened. The wicker basket was vibrating with activity. The scratching and ruffling noise was ceaseless.
I suddenly missed my canine capers very much and especially “Dot, who could clean the clock of any varmint I set her upon.
I had so many better things to do than have a face-off with the squirrel and in that moment, I would have traded dealing with it for cleaning up copious amounts of cat barf and big, hairy spiders.
I walked towards the wicker basket and yelled in my big pants voice at the squirrel, expecting it to leap out and land on my face. Instead, it bolted down the shelf and darted up the wall to the garage ceiling, where it scuttled along upside down above my head—like the spider walk scene from “The Exorcist.”
Before I knew it, the squirrel was making a run for it out the open door with me in chase. But by the time I turned the corner outside, all I could see was its grey carcass making a mad dash for it down the driveway with a black cat in hot pursuit.
“Millie” you rock.

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