The body lay on the parking pad under the big oak tree, a couple of feet from a pile of recently delivered mulch. Dearly Beloved discovered it when he went outside after lunch. It hadn’t been there an hour before when I’d come home from the farmer’s market and he’d come out to unload the car for me.
There were no signs of a struggle … no marks on the body. Foul play, or was it simply dead? Doornail dead.
The coroner estimates the time of death to have been at least 48 hours before discovery. Decomposition was imminent.
Where had it been during those 48 hours? Without a nest directly overhead, it couldn’t have been shoved from the domicile. Could the damnsquirrel residents in the nest on an eastward-pointing branch sling a body 20 feet?
Scout, the wonder dog, is not a suspect. She likes ’em live and she wants ’em running. Was there literally a heart-stopping chase? Did it lie on a branch clutching its little chest until The Grim Reaper turned out the lights? Then what? It lay in state until a stiff breeze blew it away?
Like many gardeners, I assumed that squirrels lived forever, except for the depressed ones which choose suicide by vehicle.
There is the possibility of an alcohol-induced coma. The slugs and snails have claimed dibs on the strawberries this year, so for a time I put beer out in saucers among the plants. Each morning I’d discover empty saucers. No slugs, no beer. I tired of playing bartender to the wildlife and cut off the supply.
Looking back, I think the squirrels have been acting weirder than usual. For one thing, they have initiated a protest on the squirrel-proof bird feeder. If they can’t have the seeds, neither can the birds, apparently. They hang out there. It’s become such a regular thing that the wonder dog doesn’t even notice them sometimes.
DB handled burial arrangements. No eulogy, unless the sanitation department workers say a few words when they make that dump at the landfill.
I wonder if the little bastards are holding a wake out there.
I’ll fill the beer saucers one more time.