Rodents would make excellent kung-fu movie stars. It’s true, because they’ve already got all the moves. Not so great on offense, but that’s what CGI is for. Defensively, they come out of their mommas as little Jackie Chans.
Did you know that mice can literally dodge bullets? It’s true, I’m not making that up. I’ve seen it myself: A perfect, easy shot on a stationary mouse, the hole goes exactly where the mouse was, but in the instant between the trigger squeeze and the impact the mouse levitates out of the way and beats feet. There’s even a theory for how that happens; the wave front from the muzzle blast, or further away the wave front from the supersonic bullet, is strong enough to be detectable by the mouse’s very sensitive vibration-sensing apparatus. The mouse doesn’t bother to analyze why it should suddenly move, it’s just hard-wired to move. And it does, and the bullet gets there too late and way off target.
I don’t know that squirrels can do that, but I do know that sometimes – like now – I get plagued by a purely humiliating squirrel. This particular one is more interested in the chickens’ feeder than in my pantry, which is good, but it’s making a perceptible dent in my chicken feed supply. Yesterday afternoon I saw it through the bathroom window, snuck around the cabin .22 in hand, but arrived only in time to see it disappear around the small shed. I followed it to where a rational squirrel would have run, did in fact see a squirrel cross the gully behind the cabin and did in fact shoot that squirrel, then looked around to see the culprit squirrel – which I had passed – heading right back to the chicken yard.
I have taken numerous point-blank shots at this squirrel and hit nothing but air. I either become a very bad shot in its presence or it can feel the bullet coming like a mouse. I followed this one back, keeping away from the chicken yard but angling myself to have a shot at the feeders, when the damned thing got it into its head that maybe it wanted to go under the cabin. The sandbags have slumped there, I haven’t finished the new skirting…it paused, almost as if taunting me…
Do you see a problem with taking that shot? Yeah, I really did not want to put a hole in that propane bottle, and if hypothesis #1* proves true there’s going to be a hole in that propane bottle because of course that’s where the bullet will miss. Uncle Murphy is always with me, his rod and his staff they torment me.
But ohhhh, I was pissed at that squirrel. And I have other propane bottles**. So yeah, I stupidly took the stupid shot. And yeah, I missed the squirrel. But I didn’t miss the shot – the bullet went right where I aimed, and I have a hole in a sandbag to prove it.
The squirrel literally disappeared before my eyes. I don’t know if it went forward, or back, or into another space/time continuum, or where it went. I was looking right at it – shooting right at it – and it simply disappeared.
So I set the live trap again. I knew this was futile. The squirrel has that trap’s number, setting the trap for this squirrel is tantamount to helpfully feeding the squirrel. But I did it anyway.
But I’m gonna get that squirrel. It’s long since a matter of principle.
*”Joel magically becomes a very bad pistol shot in the presence of this particular squirrel.”
**No, propane bottles only explode when shot by movie action heroes. Schwarzenegger can do it. Mark Wahlberg can do it. But you can’t. It’s like that with airliner windows, too.