I tend to work by an open window in as many seasons as I possibly can, closing it, reluctantly, only in the coldest days of winter, or the stickiest ones of summer. Having had quite a few of those sticky days this particular summer, sitting by my wide open window has been absolute bliss since Autumn unpacked her cool and colourful cases outside. The October breezes, bracing in the early morning - gently warm in the afternoon - blow in continuously, playing tunes on the windchimes and ruffling Edward’s fur as he dozes on his tartan bed in the corner. The cerulean blue glass birdfeeder is open for business all day, with feathered friends of every avian persuasion stopping in to say hello. It has been delightful.
Until last week.
When HE arrived.
A grey squirrel.
Small, ordinary, and pure evil.
Gluing his paws to a tree limb just after sunrise, he has remained planted right outside my open window every day for over a week, determined, it seems, to drive me completely, utterly, irreversibly, mad. No bigger than a bedroom slipper, but with a sound that explodes from his furry grey body eerily reminiscent of the high pitched shriek of Hitchcock’s violins in the infamous shower scene of Psycho. And he emits this nerve-rattling sound every ten seconds of every minute of every hour of the blessed day.
Now squirrels are not a rarity in my little corner of the world. In fact, our back garden is fairly wiggly with them, especially this time of the year. Edward has attempted to persuade me of their demonic proclivity for the longest time of course, but I suppose, being raised as I was with such charming characters as Squirrel Nutkin and Rocky, I have been slow to convince.
But this has been too much. This Poeian squirrel of Halloween week, with his tell-tale heart of a shriek that slices through my innocent window like a knife blade, over and over and over, hacking away every coherent thought, carving my placid mood into little angry shards that spill over my desk and chew up every creative impulse until I throw down my pencils and head for the door.... this squirrel, this nemesis, this monster... must go.
And over in the corner, snuggled deep into a fat red tartan bed, Edward smiles a wry smile.
“I told her so”.