One Man's Alaska

The squirrel made me do it

July 18, 2007

It's 6 p.m., Tuesday evening. There's a knock at the front window. It's the squirrel. I open the front door. "What's up squirrel?"

"Another beautiful day" he says, pausing and looking at the clear sky. "You got any more of those white corn tortillas?"

"Yeah, sure, just a minute." I step back inside to get him a tortilla, and he comes to the doorway and looks inside. "Hey, nice place. You got heat in here?"

I hand him the tortilla. "Yeah, a Monitor 2200. A free-standing kerosene heater, over there" I say, pointing to the unit in the living room.

"Gosh, I love heat in the winter" he says, looking up at me and blinking his big squirrel eyes. I don't respond to that one.

"Man, I love tortillas" he says, changing the subject and taking a bite. "And all the tourists say I look really cute eating them, holding them in my little hands. One more thing" he says in between bites.

"Yeah, what's that?" I ask, figuring he wants a drink to go with the tortilla.

"You got the pepper spray for the bears today like I told you, right?"

"Yeah, I picked up a can at WalMart. Shoots up to 35 feet."

"Okay then, it's settled. You've got to go to Denali. Tomorrow. You won't be sorry."


"Yeah, it's big. All the animals are talking about it."

"That sounds good, but ..."

Before I can say anything else he interrupts "And don't forget Bub's Subs for lunch. They're outta this world." Then he lifts his nose in the air and sniffs a little. "Listen, I gotta run," he says, "the cat's coming."

He bounces from the deck to the rail and onto the tree, and then he's gone. As I turn to go back in the cabin I hear in the distance "Don't forget to leave some Cheerios out in the morning ..."

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