by miniStories: Brian Beatty
August 27, 2008
Read "Squirrels," a twisty, wry little tale by Brian Beatty and one of the winning miniStories shorts from summer 2008.
The squirrels around here report to yours truly. John, Paul, George and Ringo donít climb a tree or dig up a nut without my say-so.
Yeah, I named them after the Beatles. So what? They donít know the difference. And if they could figure it out, theyíve got it so good these days, I bet they couldn't care less what I call them.
Before I came along, these idiots wasted beautiful summer days fighting territorial battles that had gone unsettled for who knows how long.
South Minneapolis has never been kind to squirrels. Chasing invaders out of their trees and keeping hidden stores of food hidden is exhausting work that leaves neighborhood squirrels too tired and nervous to really relax.
This exhausting battle fatigue gets to them eventually. Many develop twitches. Others run directly into rush hour traffic to put an end to their unbearable misery.
My little fab foursome had a much better idea. They approached me about protection. They just wanted some peace for a change ó that was all. They would do whatever I asked.
They looked so hopeless, I agreed to help.
What I did was teach them to defend themselves.
I taught by example, which I think spooked them. But after I ate the third or fourth squirrel that thought it was going to be the boss of me in my own yard, Ringo convinced his three terrified pals that maybe there was something to my methods.
Bully squirrels had
quit coming around.
Though the four of them never eat other squirrels, theyíre fine with me chowing down as often as I want. Because thereís no denying that their lives are easier now.
I also showed my squirrels some other tricks I knew. Fetching has nothing to do with self-defense, but itís so cute how theyíll push my water bowl to wherever Iím resting in the shade. Watching them pretend to shake hands is another fun one, even if it serves no practical purpose. Itís not like my squirrels will ever attend a business meeting.
They arenít even allowed inside my house.
My people have been adamant about that. They hate it when I drag things in ó dead or alive.
When Iím let outside this afternoon, Iím going to try housebreaking my squirrels. Then maybe theyíll be allowed indoors with me. And maybe theyíll learn to appreciate how much more difficult it is to be a dog like me than it is to be some dumb squirrels.
Seriously. Not even George believes me. I guess thatís what I get for not devouring them when I had the chance. Now that theyíre domesticated, I just canít seem to do it.
About the author: Brian Beatty
moved to Minneapolis in 1999 because he assumed that Prince was throwing a party. He still hasnít received his invitation. Squirrels
is dedicated to Brianís dog (and muse) Hurley.