Once upon a time there was a dingbat teenage girl named Stefanie. You can probably guess where this is headed, so brace yourselves accordingly. I was driving home after skipping first period of school with a poorly forged excuse note. The windows were rolled down in the white hatchback Honda (shout out to the 90’s!) because air conditioning was a luxury meant only for parents, probably. The back window was covered in tacky glitter bumper stickers (also, shout out to the 90’s!) so that I could make sure to proudly display how much of a “DIVA” I was and to pledge my support for “Hip Huggers and Doc Martins 4 president.”
A pair of blinged out fuzzy pink dice hung from my rear-view mirror that matched my velour seat and steering wheel cover. That car basically looked like a Claire’s boutique threw up in it.
AND I LOVED IT.
The backseat of the car was covered in extraneous clothes, fast food wrappers, and empty Fanta cans and there is a 50/50 chance my homework was in there also somewhere. This car was basically made to party. And by party that means driving between theater and choir practice and back. It definitely was not equipped for long trips or outdoor adventures. Or a dating life, either, apparently… zero in on my singleness.
I digress. So I was driving to my house behind a beast of a truck, which really in my hometown describes pretty much every single truck. I notice that a squirrel darts from one side of the road to the other in front of Mr. Gravedigger monster beast truck and it’s um… it’s not looking good for the squirrel. It’s not even really like the truck could see him coming, and even if he did and tried to swerve to miss him I’m 80 percent sure the truck would have toppled over off balance like a toy Chuck Tumbling Truck. So I guess it was more like a steamroller effect that was horrifyingly taking place with the squirrel and the tires in front of me. I swear, time sort of went into slow motion.
I gripped the pink velour steering wheel and starred in horror at the spot where the squirrel laid keeping watch for signs of life.
I pulled over to the side of the road and parked for a second assessing my options. I could have continued on my way home like a regular old hooligan, but maybe a small part of me wanted to be redeemed for my truant ways so I decided to save the poor tiny guy from further mutilation at the hands of other terrible Virginia drivers. I grabbed a random t-shirt and probably french-fry grease-stained paper sack from my trash collection in the backseat and slowly walked towards the unfortunate creature. Had this been a different time or day this street is pretty busy, but since most everyone in my hood was on the up and up (read: NOT SKIPPING SCHOOL) it was cool.
Little dude was pretty gnarly, like full-on steam rolled and then picked over by a pack of tiny hyenas with pitchforks. It was heinous, and it honestly took me a full five minutes or so to tell which part was his head and where his tail ended but I eventually figured it out. Though consider the source. I used the paper sack to gently pry the squirrel off the pavement and the t-shirt to sort of nest him safely. His little body wasn’t that heavy and I didn’t detect any movement as I was picking him up. I turned around and headed toward a wooded spot near the road between two houses. I was going to lay him near a patch of small white wildflowers I saw. I figured he would look sort of angelic there in his final resting place before woodland creature heaven. It was a melancholic thought.
I felt sad for the squirrel. He was probably pretty cute. It sucked to have been unsuspectedly going out about the day, just trying to get a nut, and then BAM you get killed by some redneck’s damn truck. The squirrel was all
alo……… the SQUIRREL WAS ALIVE. (T-shirt nest suddenly erupts in movement). I swear to God, I watched that squirrel reanimate like one of those damn Walking Dead zombies. THAT ZOMBIE SQUIRREL COULD HAVE WANTED TO EAT MY FACE OFF FOR ALL I FREAKING KNEW.
I don’t know exactly what happened after that.
I think it might have looked at me.
I’m sure I probably screamed, though there was no one to hear me.
I did drop the squirrel and makeshift nest on the concrete and ran my chubby ass back to my car. I watched as the zombie monster redneck-vendicating squirrel ran off past the wildflower patch and probably starting plotting his zombie takeover of the world.
So, I learned a few things from this experience.
1. Don’t skip school.
2. Don’t save squirrels.
3. Really, seriously, don’t skip school. I got a C in that class.