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Inside Looking Out: Do squirrels go to heaven?

I killed a squirrel with my car last week. Its death was unavoidable. A truck was coming the other way, so I couldn’t swerve to miss it and if it wasn’t me, then I believe the truck would have done the dirty deed.

I must confess that I have been responsible for the deaths of two other squirrels as well.

A few years back, I was driving home from a writer’s retreat in Vermont when two squirrels danced across the road some distance ahead of me, but one decided to go back the other way.

I swerved my car, but too late. I could see in my rear view mirror the other squirrel had come back to stand near his dead buddy.

The other demise of a gray rodent was more its fault than mine and this act of mayhem did not involve a vehicle. Late one night five years ago, I was watching TV from my couch when I saw something run across the living room floor.

At first, I thought my eyes were playing a trick on me, but then I saw it again; this time it ran into the kitchen. I got off the couch and there I stood face to face with Rocky the Squirrel without his bestie friend, Bullwinkle. He ran right past me into my bedroom with me in quick pursuit.

I was thinking that I couldn’t go to bed without getting it out of the house. I saw him dart into the closet. I opened the front door in hopes I could shoo him out into the cold January night. It bolted from the closet into the bathroom, and I slammed the door shut.

I put my ear to the door and I heard him scurrying about until suddenly I could hear the sound of sloshing water.

I called my lady friend.

“I have a squirrel in my toilet bowl and I don’t know what to do about it.”

“You have a squirrel in your toilet bowl?” she asked.

“Yes,” I replied. “Don’t ask me how this all happened. I have to get it out of the bowl quickly somehow.”

“Take your fishing net and scoop it out,” she said.

“And then what? A wet squirrel caught inside a fishing net isn’t going to be very happy.”

“Somehow, keep it in there and then dump it outside.”

I hung up the phone and in shorts and a T-shirt and slippers, I ran out into the frigid air to my car, jumping through an inch of snow that had fallen that day. I grabbed the net from my trunk and headed back in. I put my ear to the door and heard nothing. It could not have gotten out of the bathroom for sure. My mind imagined the critter in the bathtub, or in the sink or just waiting behind the door ready to pounce past me as soon as I opened it.

With fishing net in one hand and a broom in the other, I opened the door and surveyed the room. No squirrel did I see. Then I thought about the only other thing that could have happened.

There it was, floating inside the toilet bowl, drowned in a frantic clawing minute of disaster and despair. As I scooped it out, I realized something that night about squirrels. Maybe they can swim. They just can’t swim in toilet bowls.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a squirrel, sometimes more than one, flitting about in my backyard. I understand that they have very few predators to help diminish the population, so road kill and natural death are their main paths to fatality.

They survive in every kind of weather. They are of no use to hunters. Mother squirrels have two to four babies twice a year, Do the math. Their population is growing in epidemic numbers.

I can envision a world swarming with squirrels destroying bird feeders, chewing their way into attics of houses and then dropping down into living rooms and holding families as hostages until they open their pantries so the critters can eat what’s left of the food supply. Perhaps I’ve just given Stephen King another idea for a new horror story!

This predicament has led me to another thought. Do squirrels go to heaven? I’ve been told that heaven is a pretty big place, but it might get really crowded with trillions of squirrels running around.

I was recently awakened from a nightmare. I had died and as I entered the kingdom, I was greeted by three snarling squirrels. The one I killed on Lake Harmony Road glared at me with one eye and half a smashed face. The one I drove over in Vermont was crying blood to remind me that I took its life away from its buddy that day. Then behind these two stood Rocky the Rodent, still soaking wet from its death by drowning and spitting water from its mouth.

Altogether they began to march toward me. I retreated in absolute fear for my life, which I had forgotten I didn’t have any more. I stopped just before they came upon me.

“I thought this was heaven,” I said. “Peace. Love. Harmony and all that good stuff.”

“You missed the turn,” said Rocky the Rodent, gurgling its words.

“What turn?” I asked. “There’s a turn to get to heaven?”

“You missed the turn with the arrow pointing up. You followed the arrow pointing down.”

I shrieked in terror, but no one and nothing could hear me. The attack was over quickly. The next thing I knew I was a permanent bird feeder pole with the three squirrels eating seeds off the top of my head!

Email Rich Strack at richiesadie11@gmail.com.