posted by dave on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at 7:39 PM in category general

I was standing outside my building today having a smoke and watching this squirrel spaz out.

We have trees all over the place, and the front of the building has ivy growing maybe 50 feet up it. The squirrels will climb the trees, and jump from tree to tree, and jump from the trees to the building.

I don't know what they're up to, but it's entertaining to watch.

Today I figured that this one particular squirrel must have gotten into one of the bottling lines or something because it was obviously under the influence of something. I've never seen a squirrel, never known for their sedentary ways, move so quickly and frantically.

This thing would climb one tree, then jump to the ivy on the side of the building. It would then immediately climb up a little higher and jump to another tree, then climb down to the ground. Then it would climb the first tree again and the pattern would repeat.

One of these circuits took about 10 seconds. I watched about 20 of them.

I'm not really sure what happened. I took my eyes off the squirrel for a second, and I heard it scream.

Did you know that squirrels can scream? Well they can, if they're pissed enough. Or scared enough.

Maybe it misjudged the distance to the tree. Maybe it misjudged how tired it was getting from all the spazzing out it was doing. Maybe a sudden breeze moved the branch. I don't know. What I do know is that the squirrel screamed, and then it fell about 40 feet onto the sidewalk.

The squirrel bounced. I was sickened.

The sound was exactly like you'd hear if you took two pool balls and struck them together. It was the sound of many small bones breaking at the same time. It was the sound of a skull shattering. It was the sound of something dying.

I'd say that I'm pretty normal when it comes to liking animals. If they're cute then I like them. If they have eight legs or beady eyes, well then not so much. So possums and spiders are out, but squirrels are definitely in the like column.

I took a second or two to work up my nerve, then walked to see if the squirrel was alive. I was sure that it would be dead. Hoping that it'd be dead actually. Because if it was alive and hurt as badly as that sickening sound and that horrific bounce indicated, if it was hurt that badly, then I was going to step on it. I was going to kill it and put out of its misery.

I could see the squirrel laying on the sidewalk when I started walking toward it. It hadn't moved. How could it have moved? It was dead. But I had to make sure, and I walked around some bushes that hid the squirrel from my view for a second. I remember wondering how much blood I'd get on my work shoes if I had to step on it and kill it. I wondered if I'd really be able to go through with it.

When I rounded the bushes, the squirrel was gone.

There had been no noise, no rustling of the shrubbery. There had been nothing. It was there one second and then gone the next.

I've heard that some animals, in the last seconds of their life, will often summon every last bit of energy and strength they have and just run. Run to hide, somewhere safe. Run to heal, somewhere warm. Run to die, somewhere private.

I don't know where this squirrel went to die. All I know is that, wherever it went, it went there fast.

It was a spaz right up to the very end.

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