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Barry and the Squirrels
My name is Barry Moore.
I used to be a famous inventor.
I used to be a millionaire.
Now I am homeless…
And have a major sciurophobia (fear of squirrels).
It all started with the Universal Translator. That was back when I lived in my mansion and I spent my time contributing to the advancement of human technology. The Translator was an accidental invention. I was just tinkering around with the various mechanical devices in my basement. I often devise new exciting inventions with the junk in my basement on my days off. I also watch television on my days off. I really wish I spent that day watching cartoons. It would have saved me a lot of trouble.
The Universal Translator was developed with a record player from the 1920’s. It was a relatively simple invention and it was easy to use as well. Just allow speech to flow into the bell and the English translation of whatever language heard comes out the speakers.
I was very excited to try it out and decided to take a walk in the park. I was hoping to chance upon a foreign conversation and I did. But not the conversation I was expecting.
It started to rain just as I entered the park so everyone cleared out before I had a chance to test my invention. I turned to leave but I heard a tiny voice on the speaker. I held it up to my ear but the signal wasn’t strong enough to make out what was said. I looked around again, but the park was still empty. Disappointed, I thought I had invented another dud. I turned to leave again.
“Finally, the last human is about to go.”
My heart stopped. The voice clearly came from the Translator but who said that? There was no one in the area. Then I noticed the bell was pointing at two squirrels on a nearby park bench. Their beady eyes were studying me with an intensity that caused my hair to stand on end.
“Now, why did he stop? Hurry up, human! The National Squirrel Convention can’t start until you leave,” the other squirrel said with an unnatural high squeaky voice.
“Why is he staring at us like that? Humans are so strange,” the first squirrel said with an equally squeaky voice.
“There is something odd about that human. He is acting like he knows something. Something he shouldn’t know.” The squirrel leaped off the bench and began to hop towards me. There was something in his eyes that caused me to quickly flee out of the park.
That was my first encounter with the linguistic squirrels. It was a horrifying and creepy experience and it only went downhill from there. Whenever someone says that squirrels are kind, innocent, safe creatures, don’t believe them. Squirrels are pure evil.
Take for example, a few days after my first encounter, when the evil furry creatures tried to kill me. A few days before their assassination attempt, I noticed an unnatural amount of squirrels following me around. On the street, I could see their beady eyes watching from tree branches and neighbors’ fences. At my house and at work, there was always at least one squirrel in my window, usually more. Sometimes as many as ten or twelve.
And the squirrels were smart! When I tried to use my Translator to show others their ability with language, the squirrels stayed quiet. They acted cute and innocent as they collected nuts and chased each other around. My friends and colleagues began to think I was crazy which was all part of the squirrels’ plan.
The attempt on my life was cleverly planned as well. I am allergic to nuts, a very bad weakness to have when fighting squirrels. Anyway, I almost died over my breakfast. I had brought a new brand of cereal and was about to lift the spoon to my mouth when I noticed the deadly toxin. Floating in the milk was a small piece of walnut.
I dropped the spoon and it clattered on the ground. I turned and looked at the eighteen squirrels staring at me through the window. They were perched perfectly still with their faces pressed against the glass. When I dropped the spoon, they looked disappointed.
Of course, I called the police but they just thought I was nuts. I must have bought the cereal without realizing there were nuts in it, they said. But I always triple check my food so I knew it had to be the squirrels. My friends said I need some time away from work and my family offered to take me on a vacation (probably to a mental hospital).No one believed me.
Realizing I was on my own in this war against the squirrels, I put my other inventive projects on hold and focused on the squirrels. I invented a spork that could detect any type of poison the furry creatures might throw at me. I focus especially on nut based poisons.
I showed my invention to my boss but he wasn’t impressed. He said I should be working on a multimillion dollar hovercraft, not a spork. I said I couldn’t work on anything if I was killed by evil tree-climbing rodents.
The next day the squirrels executed their second failed assassination attempt. I stepped out my front door and a tree branch missed my head by inches. I distinctly saw tiny chew marks on the base of the branch before I ran back into my house and closed all my curtains. I refused to go back to work until my boss took proper squirrel precautions, which he outright refused.
So instead of working, I spent my time inventing the Leaf Remover. The device looked similar to an umbrella. All I had to do was hook the handle around the base of the trunk of a tree and then push a button. The Leaf Remover would send a current through the tree to cause all the leaves to rain down.
With my new device, all of my trees (and some of the neighbors’) became bare and ugly. But the squirrels lost a good chunk of their cover. I also invented the Squirrel Trap which resembled a mouse trap but had a sticky back. They stuck to all my windowsills to prevent the squirrels from peeking in. I also planted them in the tree branches and buried them like mines in the yard.
So that was how I spent my days. I stayed in the safety on my home, with binoculars at the windows to peer at the most vile of villains, roosting on my neighbor’s fence. I kept the Translator close to me and listened to their evil squirrelly conversation. Most of it was “Guard duty is so BORING! I wish the human would just do something!” but I also learned a lot of squirrel jokes, “How many squirrels does it take to change a light bulb? Actually, none because squirrels only change bulbs that are NUT broken.”
It was inevitable that I would lose my job. Shortly after I became unemployed, I lost my house as well. Some people thought I would be devastated, but I was only disappointed that I had lost my only fortress against the rodents. Perhaps it was for the best though. Now that I am homeless, it is easy for me to change location and evade any attacks that come my way.
I guess I am telling you this so you understand. Next time you see a homeless person with a record player, an umbrella, mousetraps and various other supplies, think of me. Think of my story and realize that every person has a tale explaining the circumstances of his life. Mine was one filled with evil squirrels and crazy inventions.