Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm a killer.

Question: What's less agile than a lumbering 6000 pound SUV? Answer: The squirrel I ran over with it this morning.

I was going to stop, but what could I really do? Surely his injuries would be more severe than my small-mammal CPR training could remedy, right? As I barreled toward the little fella at scale speed of 430 miles per hour, I had that telepathic conversation with him I think most people have when they're about to remove one of a small animal's 3 dimensions: "Go. Wait. Go, left, no - right. STOP!" bump bump "Crap!"

While I slow I wonder if my neighbors witnessed the hit and run. What will they think if I continue my journey while one of God's creatures writhes motionless in pain and his tail remains the only sign of jittery life? Do I turn around and euthanize him with a pair of Good Years to put him out of the agonizing misery? I decide my neighbors would brand me a heathen if I whipped a 180 and charged at a mortally wounded and freshly crippled squirrel.

I convince myself he's just dazed and that he'll get up. It's my conscience distracting me while I turn the corner and the carnage disappears from my rear-view mirror. They say that after your first, killing gets easier. I fix my eyes forward so as not to test the theory.

Had he stayed in one spot, he'd have gotten a thorough - albeit brief - look at the underside of my Expedition, been able to wipe his brow in a feeling of relief, saunter up yonder tree and live to play chicken another day. Instead, Mr. Squirrel, plump from what must have been a festive holiday season, made an effort to juke out a full-size SUV that maneuvers like a full size SUV. As the morning was a little foggy, the road a little slick and my mentally helpful morning coffee still 10 minutes into the future, his was not the healthy decision.

I feel really bad. I half expect a pack of squirrels to create a roadside shrine for their fallen comrade, complete with squirrel scribblings on a makeshift cross in an effort to designate London Road a official Squirrel X-ing.

I'm hoping on hope that my travels home will be death-free. I'd drive home with my hand planted firmly on the horn if I knew it would do any good. Keep your fingers crossed.

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