Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Chapter 2: Squirrel Commandos

After providing Panthro some food, I returned to my thinking chair for some more great thinking. Somehow, the little red squirrel had managed to find its way onto the feeder. There was some point after I had installed the feeder that I was annoyed at the squirrels that would climb and eat all the food. I spent the next 3 months fighting what I thought were evil creatures of destruction and consumption.

First I tried greasing the pole. That worked for all of two minutes. One of squirrels made the attempt twice and then spent another minute looking around to find that they could easily climb one of the many nearby trees to jump on it.

Next I tried feeding them seeds that had been soaked in hot sauce. The hot sauce that melts the paint off your car and makes you hallucinate. Somewhere I had heard that squirrels have taste buds and that birds didn't so that is how it worked. So I did this for a month and it was working well. Unfortunately, it was getting to be a pain to soak all the seed first before I put it out. On top of it, by soaking the seeds some actually started to rot or sprout before I could get them for the birds.

Not it was at this time that I got to experience the joy of Blue Jays. This has got to be one of the most annoying birds to attract. First it chased all other birds away before it starts its horrific shrieking it thinks is a song. Not to mention it would knock all the seeds that it did not like to ground, making a terrible mess.

So enter the next phase of my war with the squirrels' ally, the Blue Jay. I start doing research as to combat methods against the SAF (Squirrel Air Force). Most pointed out that if you get one bird, you can get all birds and that being selective hasn't really worked. But it did point out that I can modify the bird feeder to select birds based on their weight. I quickly discarded that idea. How can I say that all large birds are out.

It was at this point I decided I was fighting another Vietnam. On one hand, it was a costly battle to decide who could partake in the worldly gifts that I was offering. On the other hand I could just put it out there and let the animals decide who gets to eat from the pile. As it worked out, I lost. I had the SAF landing when the carrier deck was squirrel free. I had the larger heavy tank squirrels taking the food when they wanted to. I also had the light infantry red squirrels that would clean up the ground mess from the Blue Jays and moving up when it was free. There wouldn't be a single chickadee in sight.

I finish my cup of cider and lean back in my chair. My eyes just won't stay open. The next thing I know, I am standing at the entrance to long cave. Out pouring from the cave is the smell of rancid flesh. Suddenly I hear a horrific shriek come from the cave.

It's the cave of a Blue Jragon. The Blue Jragon is one of the most feared beasts in the land of Thera. They have a huge wing span with colors of blue, silver, white and black and three times as high as a man. Many a valiant warrior has fallen to its sharp, deadly beak or it razor like talons.

I run back to Chip and grab the lance from his back and run back to the entrance. I knew it was foolhardy to attack the Jragon in its cave. Although come to think of it, attacking any wild beast in its home is an act of sheer stupidity. What kind of idiot would do that?

“Come forth foul spawn of Grotagth. I would have your beak as a trophy to Princess Dee. You suck.”

What terrible insults I hurled at the foul beast as it shriek again and came hauling butt out of its cave. I leap to the side to avoided his pointed charge. Bringing up my Jragon-hide shield, I start to circle round the Jragon. I need to lure the monster into making another charge so that I can strike it as it passes. I start to beat my lance against the shield, moving quickly forward then back as I continued to circle.

Instead of leaping forward, the animal jumped up and soared into the air. Crap. Now I am in trouble. I had once seen a warrior get skewered while he hid behind his shield and the Jragon made its pass. This was evidently not as stupid an animal as I had thought, but I must rid it from the Princess' country side.

The Jragon made its first pass and I leap neatly out of its way, swinging my lance around. As I roll back to my feet, I notice that I have made a scratch against the side of this fearsome monster. Suddenly I have an idea, but it is going to take some time to setup.

The Blue Jragon starts circling again in the air looking for the opportune time to strike. Rather than wear myself out, I stay centered focusing my attention on the Jragon, prepared to throw myself away from its deadly strike. The creature makes a feint and I start to crouch, but it rolls over and returns to circling.

Now was the time to act. I fling my shield away from me. The Jragon tucks it's wings close into its body and starts its decent. I jam my lance butt first into the ground with all my strength and dive to the side. As I slam into the dirt, I hear a horrific shriek as the Jragon tries to pull up but is to late, slamming breast first into the lance.

As I slowly stand up and brush the dust from my armor, I see the last light of malevolence die it the Blue Jragon's eye. Somewhere down deep, it saddens me that I have killed something so amazing, but I had a duty to do. Does everyone think that the warrior takes death lightly of any beast or man? Life is not something taken lightly but sometimes it is kill or be killed, and sometimes it is responsibility that is placed on your shoulders which puts you in harm's way.

I make my way over to the Jragon, with my axe out to remove it's beak. This Jragon horn will decorate the Princess' palace. I bring my axe crashing down . . .

RRRRIIIINNNNNGGGGGG

The axe vibrates so badly that I drop it to the ground.

RRRRIIIINNNNNGGGGGG

Something's not right. What is going on?

RRRRIIIINNNNNGGGGGG

Oh crap, it is the phone. I leap up off the chair and race to kitchen to get it before it goes to the machine.

RRRRIIIIN

“Hello.”

“Hey Pete, why are you breathing so hard?”

“Oh hey Jack. I was just taking a little nap and barely made it to the phone before the answering machine got it. So what's up?”

“I was thinking about bowling a game or two and was wondering if you wanted to?”

“Sure. Can't really do anything outside and it should be fun.”

“So I am not really interrupting anything.”

“I can always nap some other time. Say can you pick me up? My car is in the shop again till Monday afternoon.”

“Sure, no problem. I'll see you in a few.”

I hang up the phone. This should be fun. Jack was one of the guys from my home town that I used to hang out with in high school. We both went our separate ways when we went to college. I went to an in-state college and he went away. After college, by some miracle, we not only made it into the same town as we ended up working for the same company. And it isn't even our home town. Just kind of surreal, how life can be.

I walk over to my “sport closet”, or my jacket closet near the door. I start rummaging through the bottom of the closet. A tennis racket, a baseball mitt. A can of racket balls. And then when I finally reach the bottom of the pile, is my glorious bowling ball. Well, maybe not so glorious. More scratched and gouged. There was a time that I could bowl a 225 with this ball. But now I am lucky to get a 150.

I pull the bag out of the closet and start unpacking to make sure everything is there. Well for starters the towel in there is completely filthy. So I grab it and chuck it in the bedroom. I head over to the linen closet. Hopefully there is a rag I can bring with. Luckily I find one and bring it back to my bowling bag. Everything else looks to be in order, so I set the bag near my front door and plop down on the couch in my front room.

As I sit waiting, I hope that he didn't have to get his bag ready too after he called. Surely he had it ready before calling me. Jack is one of the those perpetually late people. He is really nice, but just doesn't know what it means to be on time or early. The problem is now that I didn't set a time for him to be over, so I can't add in the normal 15 minutes extra to estimate. For all I know, he could be sitting on his toilet which can be a half and hour endeavor if he has had mexican recently. All his friends know to fear the power of the enchiladas.

Deciding that it might be a while, I run upstairs to get my book. I can only hope that I can squeeze in a chapter before he arrives. I honestly think that it won't be a problem. I find myself back on the couch with a book in hand ready for any delay that Jack throws my way. I am at a part in the book where, the hero and heroine are being chased by a boulder that is rolling down a hill. All I can picture is a giant bowling ball follow this poor two.

As I turn the page for the seventeenth time, since sitting down, I hear a car honk letting me know that my ride is here for my evening of fun and adventure. As they say the limo awaits. Althought it would be more accurate to say, the rusty pile of junk that will probably need to be pushed at some point this evening awaits.

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