I should have known something was wrong when I saw the little umbrella floating in the toilet. It was one of those tiny umbrellas that comes with a tropical rum-based drink. The umbrella was from a trip years ago. It had been sitting artistically in an empty bottle of Polygamy Porter. Polygamy Porter is an excellent beer brewed in Utah ... to the chagrin of the Mormon church. The label sports Rubenesque classy semi-naked ladies above the slogan “Why just have one?” I discovered Polygamy Porter in Utah while on a fact finding trip to Vegas and surrounding cultural attractions. The souvenir beer bottle roosted atop the medicine cabinet in our bathroom gallery of outsider art.
   {mosimage}The tiny umbrella was undisturbed for years in the bottle high above daily life. Frankly I had forgotten it was there. But now the umbrella was floating in the toilet bowl. It did not occur to me to wonder how it had gotten from its lofty perch to a lowly floating position in the toilet. I fished it out, put the umbrella in the bath tub to dry, and promptly forgot about it. The story had only begun.
When bedtime finally rolled around, I retired upstairs to prepare for a long winter’s nap. The soft glow of the TV cast comforting flickering shadows of idle time consumption across the dark room. All was right with the world. When suddenly from the dresser there arose such a clatter that I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a stick of Right Guard that had somehow jumped off the dresser onto the floor. At this point I dimly began to suspect poltergeist infestation. Something might be amiss but I was too sleepy to bother to figure it out.
   Our semi-toothless auxiliary miniature dachshund Nikko sleeps in the bedroom with us since our prime dachshund, the venerable Elvis, crossed over the great divide this summer to be with his doggy ancestors, Otto and Wrinkles. Nikko is afraid of everything. The loss of Elvis has intensified his polyphobias. After a while I heard Nikko actually getting out of his chair and skittering across the dark floor. This behavior is very unusual, as Nikko is afraid of being eaten by the monster he believes lives under our bed. His level of anxiety was such that it finally occurred to me that we might not be alone. I rose and turned on the light. There was a tiny squirrel sitting on the top of the fire screen. Rocky the flying squirrel couldn’t have been more than 4 inches long, including his tail. I don’t think Rocky was any happier to see me than I was to see him. Nikko stared at him but did not bark out any warning.
   I stood there wondering how to get Rocky back to the wild. Suddenly he made a lunge for the bedroom door and escaped into the gloom. Problem temporarily solved. Like Scarlett O’Hara I thought, “tomorrow is another day” and we’ll deal with the squirrel then. Unfortunately it was not to be. Apparently, Rocky got lonely in the night and crawled back under the door into our room. Nikko began his restless squirrel patrol a few hours later and woke me up. This cannot be happening. The squirrel should be hiding elsewhere. Not back in here again. I finally opened my eyes. There sitting on the end of our bed was Rocky in all his rodent splendor. What was he doing there? Was he looking for Carolina basketball team’s missing defense? Was he the squirrel version of Bernie Maddoff on the lam from a major Ponzi scheme after cheating other squirrels out of their winter nuts? Was he a homicidal squirrel raised by the Manson family? When I got up, he jumped down and disappeared again. I got a broom fully intending to play squirrel hockey to get him out of the house. Rocky was too smart to reappear while the light was on. It was 4 a.m. I was too tired to stay up to wait for him and didn’t really want to spend the night wondering if he would crawl in between the sheets with us.
   Admitting defeat, 300 pounds of humans were vanquished by 3 ounces of squirrel. We retreated  downstairs to sleep on the couch leaving Rocky in full charge of our bedroom. I think he watched the Animal Planet channel the rest of the night.

Contact Pitt Dickey at editor@upandcomingweekly.com

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