Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In Which You Are Spared the Bloody Ending (This Time)

Yesterday, Jurgen Nation asked for creepy stories, so I'm giving up mine here. But I'm warning you, it only starts out creepy, then just gets ridiculous.

I woke up one morning a few years ago in the house we were renting and went downstairs to make my breakfast. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed the clock on the fireplace mantel in there had fallen down, was dented and lying face down on the floor. "Huh," I thought. "That's weird." It was pretty secure up there, so while I was at a loss as to how it fell, I didn't think a whole lot of it as I put it back in place.

Then I went to the office and hopped on the computer. The giant clock on the wall in there had fallen down, too. "OK. This is getting kind of weird." I wasn't too sad about that clock falling, by the way, because the Mr. had gotten it from a friend who was moving and cleaning house, and it was ugly as hell. It was my own personal leg lamp. I told the Mr. about the clocks, and he thought it was odd, too.

That night, I had to work. After dark that evening, the Mr. called me and said, "Guess what? Now, don't freak out." Which, of course, in my mind means, commence freak out right now!
"What?"
"The clock in the guest room was knocked over, too."
I whimpered and went pale. "What is going on?"
"I have no idea!"
"Do you think that maybe...we have a clock-hating ghost?"
"Maybe! It's just so weird! Nabby has been barking at nothing all day, too."
"Oh my God! I can't take this. I'm calling a priest."
I'm not even religious, but it was the only thing I could think to do. I mean, what would you do? Years of scary movies have taught me: Have a ghost? Call a priest and get an exorcism. Perhaps I overreact sometimes. I mean, a clock-hating ghost? What the hell is that? Nevertheless, I started looking through the phone book and wrote down the names of some nearby churches to call in the morning.

A few hours later, he called again.
"It's not a ghost."
"How do you know? What is it?"
"It's a squirrel."
"How did a squirrel get into the house?!"
"I don't know. Nabby started barking, then I saw it in the hallway and she went nuts."

So, yes, before the rat, there was the squirrel. I don't know why all the animals just love us so. But call off the exorcism, I guess. I was kind of disappointed, because I wanted to see what they do, and if it would even work.

The following day, I called Animal Control. They wouldn't come out. I'm not sure what animals they control, exactly, but they want no part of household critters. What if a python comes up through our toilet someday? I mean, are we just screwed? That's a thought that will keep you up at night.

I then got on the phone with our landlords and asked if they could send someone out to take care of it. Apparently I had a lapse and forgot who I was dealing with. These were our landlords. The same people who allowed a mold problem persist in our house for months, despite repeated, near-daily phone calls in which I ranted and raved and threatened and mentioned that the Mr. and I were coughing a lot and having trouble catching our breath. I finally had to call the city and report them, which made them spring into action. So, you can see how they'd be even less inclined to deal with a squrriel.

The receptionist had a couple helpful suggestions, though. "Why don't you set out a trail of crackers topped with peanut butter leading to the door? Then the squirrel will just take them, and go back outside to his friends."

What is this, a Disney cartoon? But I admit, I tried it. I had to. It will come as no shock to you that it didn't work at all, and I'm surprised we didn't just invite more squirrels with our lavish spread and the wide-open door. God, even I love the peanut butter and crackers.

She suggested we run out and buy a humane trap. Oh, sure, that's all well and good. But isn't this one of the perks of having landlords: You Don't Have To Deal With It? It's one of the only things I miss about renting. Roof caved in? You Don't Have To Deal With It. Pipe explodes and floods the first story of your house? You Don't Have To Deal With It. It's the sweetest deal in the world.

But again, not if you had our landlords. If you replaced "You" for "We," they had the same motto we did. I hated those people, and the story about getting our security deposit back is a story for another day, but let's just say using all that legal language? SO MUCH FUN.

So, we got the humane trap. We hooked it up with the same spread we used in the hallway. Sometime that night, the squirrel found the food, settled in for a feast and BAM! He was trapped. We found him the next morning, and it's really hard to believe something so cute can be so rabies-ridden and cause so much ruckus. It's almost as cruel as the concept of koala bears.

We argued for a minute over who was going to take the trap outside and set the squirrel free. The Mr. will lose that one every time. As he opened the door, the squirrel left a little Wile E. Coyote trail of dust as he sped back to his tree.

And then we had to go back inside and clean up where the damn thing pooped and peed on the stairs. At least ghosts don't crap, right?