Gnaw! Crrrrrrrunch! Half- asleep, I struggled to identify the sound. Who’s grinding his teeth? I blinked at a 2011 morning. Gr-raw… gr-raw… The sound came from outside. Is the neighbor sawing that big tree next to our house?

I leaped out of bed, ran to the window and spread my Venetian blinds. A quick movement caught my eye. Something dodged just out of sight where the wood fence met the house brick. A critter. “Hey!” I yelled.

The loud chewing stopped. Shiny black squirrel eyes peered at me. It flicked its brownish gray tail.

“SHOO! Get out!” I yelled and slammed the metal blinds against the window. Darn squirrel! Must be gnawing on the fence!

At my clattering, the animal turned tail and retreated across the fence top. That ended the sound that day, but next morning I again heard the squirrel alarm, Gr-raw, gr-raw!

Rats! That animal is back! I jumped from bed and rattled the blinds.

However, this time, the fluffy-tailed creature did not run. It only backed up enough to turn its bright eyes on me. It’s a stand-off! I hit the blinds against the window several times. Before he scampered away, the little rebel raised his tail and showed me his bulging furry male butt. What a put-down. His fence-chewing has got to stop!

I complained to my husband. JK nodded at my concern and offered, “I’ll spray that part of the fence with something he doesn’t like.”

Several mornings of peace followed. But after a rain washed away the bad taste, I again awoke to, Grind… gnaw! Stumbling to the window, I slammed the blinds.

The furry fellow apparently thought this was a game. He backed up on the fence and turned his black eyes on me. It’s chess. He thinks he has me in check!

When I didn’t do anything else, he brazenly began gnawing! Beast! He’s ignoring me. Unable to think what else to do, I slammed the blinds and yelled. In response, he stopped sharpening his teeth and reappeared, his eyes gleeful at having the upper hand.

I resumed my noise attack. In response he turned, raised his fluffy tail and mooned me!

Bah! “JK!” I yelled for my husband. The squirrel was nowhere in sight by the time my husband ambled in. Hand on my hips I spat, “That animal’s eating our fence again!”

“OK Honey,” my husband said mildly, “I’ll take care of it.”

I studied my partner, the pacifist. “What are you going to do?”

“I’ll set a mouse trap.”

On the top of the fence? JK’s solution made no sense. I didn’t inquire. I’d heard his unusual solutions and cures before. This morning, I wasn’t in the mood to listen to another. I just blinked and said, “OK.”

The next morning, I was dreaming about TV’s blond rascal of a crime solver, “The Mentalist” when I heard, SNAP! Oh-oh! Did JK’s mousetrap catch that squirrel? Visions of the injured critter sporting a mouse-trap on one foot brought me to the window feeling upset and concerned.

I needn’t have worried. My adversary stood unharmed but seemingly frozen in place atop the fence a ways from the house. HA! Something you didn’t expect. I smiled, triumphant. Alas! I had claimed victory too soon. SNAP! became my new morning alarm. Every day, JK went to the front yard, picked up the fallen trap, and reset it. He’d put it back on the top horizontal fence support.


I’ve heard something good comes from every seemingly bad situation. The squirrel-chewing-on-my-fence frustration had an unexpected happy turn.

One day, after going out to reset the trap, JK called to me from the front door. “Frances! Come here!”

I heard excitement in JK’s voice and hurried to the door. Did he find that squirrel dead? Maybe a chewed-off paw?

“You’ll never guess what I found in the yard!”

I stepped out and joined him on the porch, glancing around. No small dead body.

“Look!” JK lifted his hand. I stared dumbly at the shiny object. Not a severed squirrel foot…

“It’s the gold earring you lost!”

I gasped. My missing earring! The jewelry had been a gift. Ten years before, I had put them on and never worn others. Then one night six weeks ago, I reached to take them off before bed and found only one. Now here it was. Awesome!

After that day JK kept setting the trap, but I was no longer mad at the squirrel. Had the creature not been chewing, and my husband not set the mouse trap… had the trap not tripped and fallen into our yard full of bark nuggets… Surely I would never have seen my treasured earring again.

The ways of The Universe can be indirect and mysterious.

Frances Fritzie

Frances Fritzie, Editor adds, “The drawing below was made by a member of my Grand Rapids, Michigan writers’ group the night I read for them and asked for comments. He drew a more careful squirrel for me to use in this issue. Thanks, Dan!”








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