Dispatches From the Deep Woods: Savage Motherfuckers

Posted by Leah on 8/16/2020 2:45:30 PM

I push open the door with my shoulder, hot coffee spilling down my arm. In my hands, phone, notebook, pen, granola bar. At least the coffee isn’t burning hot. I step down the stairs to the patio and turn towards my destination, the patio table. But as I start to take the first step towards the table after turning, I notice a chipmunk with something rather large in his tiny, human-like paw.  I freeze, staring at him, him staring at me. A standoff has begun. I strain my eyes in the dappled, early morning sun to make out what it is in the little guy’s hand. He takes a nibble of his prize as if to taunt me, and then the thing starts to squirm.

It takes every ounce of strength to hold still in that moment, to keep the showdown going in order to determine what on earth this chipmunk is doing. He has the sly look of a child who’s been caught stealing a cookie before dinner, yet doesn’t much care that he’s been caught at all. I try getting my husband’s attention, but he can’t hear my loud whispers over the fan in the window. Getting someone’s attention while also being quiet can be a tricky thing. As I slap at the window my eyes never leave those of the chipmunk. He continues to nibble at the creature in his hand, and I see it writhe in pain with each new bite. Is this chipmunk actually smiling at me?

My husband finally comes to the window, wondering what my quiet commotion is about. I try to explain what I’ve seen, what’s still happening, but as I do my eyes never leave the chipmunk. The chipmunk, it seems, has decided this story is for me alone, for when he sees my husband in the window, he shoves the thick, dripping, juicy, green caterpillar in his cheek. I can see it squirming in there, and briefly feel a wave of terror wash over me as I think of what being eaten alive must feel like. I’m in such shock I’ve stopped talking, I only stare. My husband gives up trying to see what I’ve seen, and has gone back to whatever it was he was doing before I interrupted him.

The chipmunk gives one last deviant smile and wink before darting into the brush. The active horror scenario of the past few moments gone as quickly as it had appeared, yet the knowledge that chipmunks are savage motherfuckers will last a lifetime.

I’m happy to move on with, and continue greeting another day in the deep woods.