A lot of people are asking me, so I’ll tell you: I didn’t end up going to the squirrels last night, even though Artie said I was supposed to because they can freeze to death outside in a trap. I just knew there wouldn’t be any, I could feel it in my gut, and besides, I was planning on meeting the pest control man at nine a.m., so I figured I’d chance it. I did spend the entire evening reading about squirrels, though, which I ought not to have done because I ended up having this really disturbing dream about a wildlife control man named David, who incidentally is a real guy. He has this extremely informative website called aaanimalcontrol.com and it has a lot of pictures of him with squirrels in his breast pocket, squirrels stacked in Havahart traps, and other fascinating pieces of information designed for people who have a lot of emotional problems because of squirrels. He is on the young side and is in my opinion kind of cute, especially in some of the photos where he has a beard, which makes him look rugged and mountainous. I dreamed that we were dating and in bed together and about to get intimate (I can’t believe I am telling like two- hundred people about this) and he had his arms around me, but the whole time we were under the blankets all I could think about was how deep down I am really a homosexual and that I am just using him for his knowledge of squirrel bait recipes and excluding repeater traps. I just reread that sentence and realize it sounds kind of funny but I woke up feeling really guilty and nauseated and gross. Plus, aren’t dreams supposed to be symbolic? Where the hell is the cryptic message there? What’s to figure out with that one?
I have a tiny problem with profanity. It escalated a bit when I said fuck that in front of this mother at Raymie’s pre-school, not realizing that her four-year-old was sitting right next to her, looking at me with huge, terrified eyes. The only reason I say this is because she asked me how things were going with the squirrels and I said you know, I’ve been writing about it on Facebook recently, and she cut me off saying, “Oh, I don’t do Facebook.” I’m so tired of talking to people who think they are better than me because they don’t use Facebook. These people go on and on superciliously about how we need to meet real people in real time, not just in a virtual space and Facebook is the repository for all the world’s ills and Facebook is responsible for my harelip. It’s why I have a wooden eye. Whatever. Facebook is fun. I understand there are all kinds of privacy issues and someday the government will be watching me polish my jeans through the tiny holes of my shower drain but for now leave me alone. I want to comment on your beautiful new baby. Let me see Uncle Ricky’s new house and cute doggie.
I’m off topic, but only because I want to explain that I’ve been trying really hard not to say bad words, in part because I overheard Ray saying ‘fuckin’ when he was trying to put on his shirt the other day, but also because it does offend some people. So when I drove over the bridge this morning I was thinking about how I am going to cope with whatever quote the pest control company man gives me without saying anything too vulgar (like my grandmother, may she rest, who used to say up your ass to anyone who told her not to eat Fiddle Faddle). By the time I got to the rental property I had decided that I would just use similar words like the guy in Johnny Dangerous, or whatever that movie was called. Remember? He’s a foreigner that can’t pronounce bad words so he ends up shouting, “You fargen bastages. Or, you icehole. I’m guessing the movie is horribly offensive, but I remember thinking it was hilarious (I was probably fifteen).
He was waiting for me at the house in a crisp uniform, and he smiled very warmly at Lucy, who was sitting in her car seat buried under a layer of blueberry muffin crumbs and still working hard. Mr. Pest Control Professional Man walked around the house and in the attic and then he also took out this thing that looked like a unicycle without a seat, which he rolled around the property. I asked him a lot of questions trying to juice him for information but several times he said, “I can’t tell you that. That’s our business.” He was there for like thirty minutes and the rest is boring except for this small piece, which I will provide for you in scripted form so as to save space, time, aggravation, dementia.
Mr. Pest Control Professional Man: So let me just add up these figures here and I’ll give you the estimate.
Me: Okay, I won’t bother you. I’ll just stand over here by the baby. MPCPM: (adding up numbers on his iphone)
Me: Do you think squirrels would chew down into the house? How long does it take for a squirrel to decompose? Does it really smell as bad as they say? What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a tree falls in the forest, can anybody hear me scream?
MPCPM: Hold on, I’ll be right with you.
Me: Is it true that squirrels can’t see well in the dark?
MPCPM: No, that’s a lie. Who told you that?
Me: Why are there so many lies in this business? How long will it take you to catch them?
MPCPM: About five days. Then we seal up the whole perimeter of your house.
Me: But what about all the weeks? What about ‘that’s trappin’”?
(I did not say that last part)
MPCPM: Okay, here’s the estimate (hands me a huge folder with several hundred pages in it). After taxes it comes in at just a hair over six- thousand.
MPCPM: Now, I know it sounds like a lot, but we are professionals and we do it right, we don’t do some half-assed job like the other companies, we have real pros come in here, sometimes they catch squirrels with their bare hands, we’re real professionals, and we’re going to re-side your whole house, and have I mentioned that we are real working professionals?
I told him I just wanted to look at the squirrel hole on the fascia at the top of the house for a second. I walked away from him and whispered fargen bastiges fargen bastiges really fast like twenty times. Iceholes. I was also thinking that I probably looked crazy, like Margot Kidder when they found her in someone’s yard tasting the shrubbery and muttering mother. Or maybe that was Anne Heche.
I went back up to him and took Lucy out of the car to calm myself. He was like cootchie cootchie what a cute baby. Don’t touch her I said. Look, this really comes as quite a shock. Would you mind if I got another estimate? Sure, of course not. Maybe I’ll try Craig Thomas, says me. They’ll do it, he says. But let me tell you something. We just fired a guy because he never did anything right, and where do you think he went to work? Craig Thomas, that’s where. Listen, it only costs fifty dollars to take the pest management test, and it’s an open book test, and it’s a really easy test to pass (note: Artie told me it was extremely difficult). Any Joe Blow can work out of his garage, bla bla bla…
I put Lucy back in the car and went to Gander Mountain to see a man about a gun.
Thanks for reading. I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow. Oh, and I just reread what I wrote and aside from the fact that I think I sound like a lunatic, I want you all to know that this whole thing is really starting to get to me. You cannot imagine how much laundry I haven’t done because I’m busy with squirrel people. I’ve been wearing these uncomfortable pants and this really tight underwear for like a week now. My friend Lisa Green, who doesn’t “do” Facebook, said she knew a guy who could clean out the squirrels in a few hours for a pot of coffee. She said he did her birds. She said she would give me the number but she didn’t. Or hasn’t yet. If any of you know Lisa Green personally, please tell her to tell her man to call me. What kind of icehole would pay those fargen bastiges six-thousand dollars?