The squirrel was laughing at me.
I was never more sure of anything in my life.
I hissed at it.
Then, I went back to my raking. filling up seven more bags of leaves.
I looked back up into the tree.
Strange, It was still there?
Only now? there were two more with it. watching me. I stared back at them. they exchanged sideways glances.
These three were up to something. No two ways about it.
“You Imposter.” I heard a voice say, “You fool no one.”
It sounded like Peter Lorre. high-pitched and nasally.
Then the other two started in on me.
“He’s holding the rake all wrong! Will ya look at this guy?”
“He’s not taking into account the wind? it’s out of the west.”
“No No it’s out of the north!”
“Hey man? get it together. rake away from the wind, geez c’mon!”
“If he’d check the weather he’d see the wind is going to pick up.”
Peter Lorre and his squirrely pals were judging me. criticizing my technique. my way of doing things.
I rubbed my eyes.
“If he waited two days? he wouldn’t have to rake em? they’re all gonna blow away!”
One of them put a finger in its mouth to dampen it, then held it aloft to test the wind.
“High pressure system is heading our way. winds definitely gonna change.” it said.
I dropped the rake and ran into the house.
That night, as I slept.
A voice, “Imposter.”
I was raking in the yard again,
I looked into the trees, they were filled with squirrels.
Every branch. Every limb was full of them. And every one of them was looking at me.
“Do yourself a favor and move back to the city, you’re out of your element.”
It was that prick Peter Lorre. I guess he was the lord high squirrel?
One of them threw a bus ticket at me. told me to “Beat it.”
An eerie silence fell.
A large herd of squirrels stared at me from the branches above.
I went into our garage, found the can of gas for the lawnmower and poured it at the base of the tree. then I lit it.
“How do you like that PETER?!? WHERE’S YOUR MOSES NOW!?!”
Flames raced up the trees trunk.
My wife came flying out of the house, grabbing our garden hose spraying the tree with water.
In the distance, sirens approached.
“Can you believe that Honey? Did you see them? Did you hear what Peter said to me? Look? they gave me this bus ticket.”
She looked at our charred tree, before turning to contemplate the love of her life.
“What is wrong with you? What Bus Ticket?”
“I Didn’t Do Anything? They Started it!”
A fire truck pulled up in front of our house. followed by the police. I was ticketed, and told in no uncertain terms not to set anymore fires.
I walked back into the house. and stared at the fireplace. confused.
The following morning, I got dressed and went out into our front yard to scan the trees.
Where’d they all go?
It began to rain. winds were gusting through the branches. I stood there an hour or so watching and listening. Until I heard the rumble of thunder. I had some chores to do before the game started.
Work, work, work.
That afternoon, I fell asleep on the couch.
I was in Hawaii. relaxing in a lounge chair at the pool. A squirrel approached me and asked me “If I’d like something to drink?” I said no thank you. Would it be possible to get something to eat? The squirrel shook his head and said, “No.” Then he hit me with his little drink tray and ran off.
Had a difficult time sleeping that night. keeping one eye on the tree outside our bedroom window. first I heard scratching. then murmuring? like an angry crowd had gathered.
It kept growing louder and louder.
I pulled the covers up to my chin and waited.
The next day at work things got a little sketchy. I had some sort of a confrontation with a parking meter.
At lunch, my co-workers saw me yelling at my sandwich in the break room. All they would say is, he seemed incredibly distraught.
They called my wife to come get me.
To be clear, if I may?
Just because she signed the papers to put me away. doesn’t mean she doesn’t care. it’s only temporary arrangement. ok?
She needed to do something I suppose?
Everyday for the past two weeks.
I would come home from work and run through the sprinkler in my suit.
Sure, I got a few strange looks. But what the hell?
Down the street, we have a guy who cuts his lawn at dawn in his pajamas while drinking a glass of wine.
Everybody’s dealing with something. you know?
Pressures either at work, issues with your kids, your spouse, maybe it’s a combination of things?
If that’s your only problem? Be Thankful. The stuff on the surface can be handled. You can work through it.
But, if you start to see things? Or hear voices? things that aren’t there? Well? You have my sympathy and my understanding Pal.
I really want to go home. I’m tired of all these restrictions.
I wasn’t talking to the squirrel. He was talking to me.
What was I suppose to do? Ignore it?
I should’ve, I could’ve, unfortunately? I didn’t, I just couldn’t.
I’m sharing a room with this guy who thinks he’s….Magilla Gorilla. Keeps calling me Ogee or Mr. Peebles.
I guess I shouldn’t complain, he’s respectful, picks up his stuff, stays on his side of the room. What more can you ask of a roommate? his goofy voice can wear on you. All this “Gee Mr. Peebles” nonsense. My Name is not Mr. Peebles. I don’t own a pet store with a Gorilla for sale.
Let it go man!
“Won’t you buy him? take him home and try him? gorilla for sale.”
C’mon? take him home and try him? That’ll never work.
I want to go home and run through the sprinkler.
My wife told me on her last visit that my friends and co-workers have been calling to inquire how I’m doing?
I’m feeling better. The dreams have subsided. I am sleeping better.
Although? I can’t be sure that they won’t come back?
I saw a squirrel outside yesterday.
Didn’t talk to me. Didn’t even look my way. Which is fine by me.
Doctor tells me I should make a full recovery. I just need some rest.
Things are a lot easier here, I have lots of friends. a nice bed to sleep in, three square meals a day.
I get visitors from time to time holding clipboards.
Everyone is always asking me how I am?
We get to talk about our problems every day. The people who work here are really friendly.
And the patients are mostly cool. Mostly.
Except for this guy named Larry who keeps asking everyone, “is it safe?”
“How the fuck should I know Larry?”
Tomorrow for grins. I might tell Larry it’s not safe, while staring at his forehead. just to see what happens.
I think I’m calmer? calmer than most people in here. I have lots of room to run and play.
As long as I promise to take my medicine and stay off the electric fence.
I can have jello for desert. And….Not the kind they put fruit in. I like my jello clean, and neat. Preferably Lime or Cherry. don’t even try to pass off that stuff you can’t see through. You know the kind I’m talking about? That pink or white shit. You never know what surprises they’re hiding in there? I like to see through my food when possible. Otherwise, I just keep picking at it until I’m sure there are no surprises. I won’t drink anything out of a can. Has to be a bottle or jug I can see through.
I use to love fast food. not anymore. Few years ago some cement head was putting severed fingers in the chili at Wendy’s after he purchased it? Then Blaming Wendy’s for it? and suing them? Wendy’s? The Guy hired a lawyer to sue Wendy’s? for, are you ready for this? mental anguish. Messed up the whole fast food thing for me. Can’t go near it anymore. Bums me out. Because I love chili.
I also love a good fish taco. extra fish. Grande Fishy Taco por favor. With a glass of water. from a bottle, no ice.
Sometimes, I hear voices.