Friday, September 19, 2008

Evil Squirrel of Doom

This is a story that I read several years ago. I laughed my butt off when reading it. Then I tried to read it out loud to Jenn, but kept crying because I was laughing so hard. Somehow, I lost the story. However, Jenn found it again a while back. So, I share it with anyone silly enough to read my blog.

The Squirrel of Doom

I never dreamed slowly cruising through
a residential neighborhood could be
so incredibly dangerous! Studies have
shown that motorcycling requires more
decisions per second, and more sheer
data processing than nearly any other
common activity or sport. The reactions
and accurate decision making abilities
needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter
pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor
situational awareness are pretty much the same for
both groups too.

Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting
to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight
training, my instructors called this being
"behind the power curve". It is a mark of experience
that when this begins to happen, the rider recognizes
the situation, and more importantly, does something
about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop
can set things right again as it gives the brain a
chance to catch up.

Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential
when riding a least if you want to remain
among the living. In short, the brain needs to keep up
with the machine.

I had been banging around the roads of east Texas
and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in
very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways.
Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in
these conditions daily, but suddenly I was nearly
run down by a car that decided it needed my lane
more than I did. This is not normally a big deal
either, as it happens around here often, but
usually I can accurately predict which drivers
are not paying attention and avoid them before we
are even close. This one I missed seeing until
it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive
action I nearly broadsided another car that I was
not even aware was there! Two bad decisions
and insufficient situational awareness...all
within seconds. I was behind the power curve.
Time to get off the freeway. I hit the next exit,
and as I was in an area I knew pretty well,
headed through a few big residential neighborhoods
as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly
empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face
helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow
riding through the quiet surface streets would
give me time to relax, think, and regain that "edge"
so frequently required when riding. Little did
I suspect.

As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry
missile shot out from under it and tumbled
to a stop immediately in front of me. It was
a squirrel, and must have been trying
to run across the road when it encountered
the car. I really was not going very fast,
but there was no time to brake or avoid
it-it was that close.

I hate to run over animals.and I really
hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel
should pose no danger to me. I barely had
time to brace for the impact.

Animal lovers, never fear.
Squirrels can take care of themselves!

Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped
to his feet. He was standing on his hind
legs and facing the oncoming Valkyrie with
steadfast resolve in his little beady eyes.
His mouth opened, and at the last possible second,
he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the
scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or maybe,
"Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" as the
leap was spectacular and he flew
over the windshield and impacted me squarely
in the chest.

Instantly he set upon me.
If I did not know better I would
have sworn he brought twenty
of his little buddies along
for the attack. Snarling,
hissing, and tearing at my clothes,
he was a frenzy of activity.
As I was dressed only in a light
t-shirt, summer riding gloves,
and jeans this was a bit of a
cause for concern. This furry
little tornado was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge
black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a t-shirt, and leather
gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a
quiet residential street...and in
the fight of his life with a
squirrel. And losing.

I grabbed for him with my left
hand and managed to snag his tail.
With all my strength I flung the
evil rodent off the left of the
bike, almost running into the
right curb as I recoiled from the throw.

That should have done it. The matter
should have ended right there.
It really should have. The squirrel
could have sailed into one of the
pristinely kept yards and gone on
about his business, and I could
have headed home. No one would
have been the wiser. But this was no
ordinary squirrel. This was not
even an ordinary mad squirrel. This
was an evil attack squirrel of death!

Somehow he caught my gloved finger
with one of his little hands, and
with the force of the throw swung
around and with a resounding thump
and an amazing impact he landed
square on my back and resumed his
rather anti-social and extremely
distracting activities. He also
managed to take my left glove with him!

The situation was not improved.
Not improved at all. His attacks were
continuing, and now I could not
reach him. I was startled to say the
least. The combination of the
force of the throw, only having one
hand (the throttle hand) on the
handlebars, and my jerking back
unfortunately put a healthy
twist through my right hand and into the
throttle. A healthy twist on
the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have
one result. Torque. This is what
the Valkyrie is made for, and she is
very, very good at it. The engine
roared as the front wheel left the
pavement. The squirrel screamed in
anger. The Valkyrie screamed in
ecstasy. I screamed in.well.
I just plain screamed.

Now picture a large man on a
huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed
in jeans, a slightly squirrel
torn t-shirt, and only one leather
glove roaring at maybe 70mph and
rapidly accelerating down a quiet
residential street.on one wheel
and with a demonic squirrel on his
back. The man and the squirrel
are both screaming bloody murder.

With the sudden acceleration I was
forced to put my other hand back
on the handlebars and try to get
control of the bike. This was
leaving the mutant squirrel to his
own devices, but I really did not
want to crash into somebody's tree,
house, or parked car. Also, I had
not yet figured out how to release
the brain was just
simply overloaded. I did manage to
mash the back brake, but it had
little affect against the massive
power of the big cruiser.

About this time the squirrel decided
that I was not paying sufficient
attention to this very serious battle
(maybe he is a Scottish attack
squirrel of death), and he came
around my neck and got IN my full-
face helmet with me. As the faceplate
closed partway and he began
hissing in my face I am quite
sure my screaming changed tone and
intensity. It seemed to have
little affect on the squirrel however.
The rpm's on The Dragon maxed
out (I was not concerned about shifting
at the moment) and her front end started to drop.

Now picture the large man on the
huge black and chrome cruiser,
dressed in jeans, a very ragged
torn t-shirt, and wearing one leather
glove, roaring at probably 80mph,
still on one wheel, with a large
puffy squirrel's tail sticking out
his mostly closed full-face
helmet. By now the screams are
probably getting a little hoarse.

Finally I got the upper hand.I managed to
grab his tail again, pulled
him out of my helmet, and slung
him to the left as hard as I could.
This time it worked.sort-of.
pectacularly sort-of, so to speak.

Picture the scene. You are a cop.
You and your partner have pulled
off on a quiet residential street
and parked with your windows down
to do some paperwork.

Suddenly a large man on a huge black
and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in
the breeze, and wearing one leather
glove, moving at probably 80mph on
one wheel, and screaming bloody
murder roars by and with all his
strength throws a live squirrel
grenade directly into your police car.

I heard screams. They weren't mine...

I managed to get the big motorcycle
under directional control and
dropped the front wheel to the
ground. I then used maximum braking
and skidded to a stop in a cloud
of tire smoke at the stop sign at a
busy cross street.

I would have returned to fess up
(and to get my glove back). I really
would have. Really. But for two things.
First, the cops did not seem
interested or the slightest bit concerned
about me at the moment. One
of them was on his back in the front
yard of the house they had been
parked in front of and was rapidly
crabbing backwards away from the
patrol car. The other was standing in the
street and was training a
riot shotgun on the police cruiser.

So the cops were not interested in me.
They often insist to "let the
professionals handle it" anyway.
That was one thing. The other? Well,
I swear I could see the squirrel,
standing in the back window of the
patrol car among shredded and flying
pieces of foam and upholstery,
and shaking his little fist at me.
I think he was shooting me the
finger. That is one dangerous squirrel.

And now he has a patrol car.

I took a deep breath, turned on my
turn-signal, made an easy right
turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.
As for my easy and slow
drive home? Screw it. Faced with a
choice of 80mph cars and
inattentive drivers, or the evil,
demonic, attack squirrel of
death...I'll take my chances with the
freeway. Every time. And I'll
buy myself a new pair of gloves.

Ok, it took me FOREVER to edit this so that it could be read on the blog.
I hope you enjoy it. In a couple of minutes,
I'm gonna try to read it to Jenn.
We'll see if I can do it without crying this time!

1 comment:

Maiden said...

I love love love this story. I read it back when you did and laughed so hard I cried too. I think we need to make a letterbox out of this story.