Midnight Marauder

Overnight I was robbed!

I was rudely awakened by a crash that came from my bathroom. Then I hear what sounds like thrashing around or maybe even splashing. (You’ve heard about varmints that swim through sewer lines to surface in people’s toilets?) Or is it rain? Maybe just wind knocking the pecan tree around on my roof? No, it sounds like it’s coming from inside! Sometimes the shower head will decide to start dripping, but that wouldn’t account for the crash, which sounded like something falling on the floor.

My first reaction is fear, then distaste at the thought of what I might find when I investigate (and how am I going to deal with it?), then resignation that I’m going to have to deal with it. But what does one wear to confront a sewer rat? (I sleep in only underwear.) So I get up, put on slippers (because I didn’t know the answer to the last question), and go in the bathroom. I turn on only the heat lamp, which puts out a dim red glow. (Didn’t want to startle the creature into charging me.) But I don’t see anything. Still I hear noises. I get up the nerve to pull back the shower curtain. Nothing there. So much for the surfacing sewer sloth theory (thankfully).  

I’m squinting through the skylight. I see Orion, but I’m pretty sure he’s not the culprit. Some of the leaves on the tree are shaking. But if it was caused by wind, they’d all be shaking. Hm. I begin to realize the noises I’d been hearing sound like gravel pelting the skylight. Not loud enough or hard enough to be falling pecans. To hell with it. I turn on the real bathroom light. It makes no difference. Still can’t see anything, still hear the pelting noises. 

Then it dawns on me. There is at least one flippin’ squirrel somewhere up there chowing down on my pecans! Tap, tap, tap… tap, tap. The sound of bits of shell dropping onto the skylight. Indignation! How dare he, she, they?! And while I slept unaware!

How does one scare away a marauding, thieving squirrel in the middle of the night? I grab my exercise dowel (broom stick) and bang it on the underside of the skylight. I can hear the squirrel laughing with its mouth full.

I know it’s useless, so I go back to bed. It’s still pitch black outside. But there’s no sleeping. Tap, tap… tap, tap! My big, beautiful pecans are being stolen and consumed right under (above?) my nose, and the thief with bad table manners is tossing crumbs at me!

I resolve to get out the ladders at first light of day to try to salvage what I can.  Fortunately, it wasn’t as mid-night as I thought, because when the 6:30 alarm went off, it seemed like I’d only been awake about an hour. I get up for real, but it’s still so dark. I eat breakfast while plotting strategy. 

I get dressed and go into the backyard. Don’t see any squirrels. Don’t see pecans or pieces on the ground. But then, I can’t see much of anything! Haul out the painter’s ladder anyway. Start snatching the clinging pecans out of pods that have opened since the last time I checked. My gosh! There are still so many! Above the skylight, I can see a bunch that I’d not seen before, but I don’t see evidence of the theft or the thief.

I get out the extension ladder. I continue pulling off pecans until I fill a deep-dish pie pan and then decide I need to stop to get ready for work. By now it’s light enough that I can see the off-white flesh of bits of my beautiful pecans on the ground.  Not too much though, for all that racket…

I leave the ladders in the backyard to resume my quest in the evening. I pray that the thief enjoyed his breakfast and has found another place to sleep it off. Perhaps I can afford to share nature’s bounty, for it is nature who has blessed me with big, beautiful pecans!

Note: I wrote this on October 12, 2007. With the drought of 2011, this pecan story would be pure fabrication if I wrote it now. Otherwise, it is completely factual. 😉

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