Thursday, December 12, 2013

Talk of Raccoons and Squirrels

Last week, I got caught in the midst of a game on Facebook. I guess you could call it a form of tag. I responded to a friend's post and got a message back from her saying that the post was part of a game. Since I responded, I was supposed to choose from a list of posts she sent me and then send the list to any friends who responded to my post.

I chose to post that a raccoon had gotten into my bedroom. I had a few expressions of concern from friends and a few who told me they knew something was up. During the back and forth, however, I was reminded of the time when I was home alone as a kid and a squirrel got into our basement.

Sometimes there was a gap between the time I got home from school and my Mom got home from work. This was well before the term "latchkey kid" was coined. I was old enough to avoid burning the house down, and I had neighbors on which to call if I needed help. Well, one day I did.

The newspaper usually got delivered shortly after I got home, and I would read it. Sports section first, of course. I would sit in my Dad's recliner, which was near a vent for the furnace.

I was reading and thought I heard a noise. It was one of those noises that disappears when you try to listen for it and returns when you have decided that you didn't really hear anything. A few minutes later, I heard a clang and it sounded like something had fallen in the basement.

I headed out the side door to go get our neighbor, Charlie. Once, I was outside, I stopped. Charlie, who was in his 80's, was a wonderful man; but he also liked to tease people. I thought if I went and got him and there was a simple explanation for the noise, he might tease me about it in the future.

A basement window was nearby. I squatted down to look in and came face-to-face with a squirrel sitting on the window ledge. We looked each other right in the eyes. I don't know what the squirrel did at that moment, but I ran and got Charlie. He took one of the windows off; and, within minutes, the squirrel ran out.

We figured that the squirrel had been running around the perimeter of the basement, trying to find a way out. The first noises I heard were screws and nails falling from my Dad's work bench. A metal serving tray made the clang that sent me into action.

Later that year, I had to write a composition in school. The story of the squirrel fit the assignment perfectly.

Have you written a story that was prompted by a noise? What about one triggered by being home alone?

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