Weird Deer

A New Privacy

Dear Leni (Squirrels)

May 17th, 2007 · No Comments

On Tuesday, when I got back from New York, I saw that a few of the buildings behind my apartment were gone.

I knew they were on their way out, since a three-man demolition crew had begun work the week before I left–I had watched from my window as they nudged the buildings with a backhoe until the structures collapsed, clearing the way for new condos–but it was still a shock to find the neighborhood looking so bare.

Not that it was tragic to see it go. The house and its back lot had become a graffiti-encrusted blight since its occupants left last summer, and I regularly saw people huddling on milk crates, exchanging whatever they had to exchange, then taking turns on a crack pipe back there.

Many unbelievably un-sexy sex acts were performed.

But, despite these pretty severe complications, I had grown partial to the area because of the cats. Every day I saw at least three or four of gray and brown feral cats chasing each other through the brambles, climbing up the fences, or sleeping on the mattress someone had abandoned.

Though, it’s true, each spring I had near mental breakdowns listening to the season’s new crop of kittens mewling in the Seattle springtime drenchings, I still felt attached to the flea-infested little fellas.

Since the demolition started, one of our many neighborhood crazies–more attached than I was, apparently–had been wandering the site after hours, cooing, “Here Snowball, Snowball, Snowball! Here Snowball, Snowball, Snowball!” in a heartbreakingly disturbed voice.

The Tuesday before I left, I watched out the window as the backhoe caved in the roof, and a cloud of white, asbestos-rich dust bloomed up around the hole. I tried not to imagine anything grisly in the wreckage–too much imagination can leave you trawling debris, calling out for Snowball–but eventually I had to go hide out in the bedroom, where I found this:

I tapped on the glass, queried the little guy, and even brought in our cat to instill some instinctual fear, but he didn’t budge. I couldn’t tell if he was hurt or sick, or just depressed about the new condos.

I didn’t want to open the window to let him in to the apartment, for what I assume are obvious reasons. Do you remember when we thought there was a squirrel in your car? The look on your face was one of sheer terror.

“Travis, I think there’s a squirrel.”

We can both agree the only thing worse than a squirrel in a hatchback would be a squirrel in the bedroom.

Eventually, I left for the post office, unable to take the squirrel’s stare, and when I came home about an hour later, I had hoped he would have moved on.

But there he was.


I knew that opening the window could cause him to bolt into the apartment—either to scramble into my hair, down my shirt, up my pant leg, or into the jaws of the by now very excited cat—but he might, I thought, need some kind of help, so I decided to attempt a little contact. It had been hours since he first showed up, and he hadn’t moved.

I jerked up the rickety window and, in that very anxious squirrel way, he looked down at my hands, then up at me. Seeing his panicked black eyes, I thought perhaps I had just made a horrible error. But then, instead of causing the minor domestic catastrophe I had steeled myself for, he just did what squirrels do. He jumped onto the branch of a nearby tree and made his way back into the rainy brambles. He didn’t even look back.

Just thought you might want to know.


Tags: Condos · correspondence · Leni · Snowball · Squirrels

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