You’re gonna laugh at me for this, you definitely already knew it – but anyway, I just found out I’m going to die someday. I’ve heard whispers through the years of other people acknowledging that fate for themselves, but I always figured I was immune.
On my walk home, I meet a squirrel who’s sitting in a tree. You know, one of those squirrels who has that really wise air about him and he speaks decent English even though it isn’t his first language. We start chatting about the weather – the sun’s been been out for a week straight, which was doing wonders for our skin, him and me both. Then all of a sudden he brings up the inefficiency of the World Bank, and gets really passionate about it, never sensing my indifference to the goings on over there.
It occurs to me that he must have read this article in the New Yorker that I happened to also read, even with my topical indifference. I call him out for being a bandwagoning World Bank hater, not predicting how much offense he’d be taking with the passing comment.
So then he asks me how I wants to die, if I’m forced to choose one method. In reality I’d like to be smothered in the clouds, but it hit me that his hypothetical was not that at all, but was really a threat to my very existence. I do some quick thinking and say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m fine here and I think I’ll just play it out.”
Little do I know, that is not a valid option. He thinks I can tell at this point that it’s all over, that he’s going to flat out kill me.
His hidden partners squirrel their way down from surrounding trees, and they all surround me, each one clutching a different medieval weapon. He pulls a tiny revolver out of his pouch and points it at me.
I ask him why he’s doing this – it couldn’t have just been the offhanded World Bank comment, this looks premeditated – and he tells me I know why.
I hate when people do that.
A memory appears to remind me where I’d seen him before. Years earlier my mother had had a torrent affair with a squirrel, something I’d discovered while skipping school and returning home to play video games. I told my father about it, and so he burned down the woods near our house, forcing all the squirrels to move neighbourhoods.
“It wasn’t my fault, squirrel!” I plead. “I was young. You can be my substitute dad any day.” As I go in for the hug, he interrupts my attempt at reconciliation.
“Too late, twat.”