Friday, May 24, 2013


It started with a loud transformer pop on Wednesday. The lights flickered, dimmed—went dark. I held my breath. I had emails to check, cable news to yell about.  Then the lights bounced back on. I exhaled and thought about and then rejected the idea of doing laundry in one of my energy sucking major appliances.

Later that same day, granddaughter (age 9) reported her discovery of a dead carcass at the base of the power pole—type and style, squirrel.

No correlation between the first popping incident and the corpse discovery occurred to anyone on our emergency response team. Okay, I am the emergency response team. I didn’t get it. Transformer. Squirrel. Big Boom. Light should have gone on, in a manner of speaking, but no.

At four, in the very dark morning of Thursday, the Zern family power grid was brought down, and I mean all the way down . . . by a single assassin squirrel.

The machine that conditioned our air ground to a halt. The fans that stirred our conditioned air around spun ever more slowly. The lights that blink and wink and twink in the night were gone. Darkness swallowed more of the blackness. I thought I heard a squirrel howl.

I fumbled for a candle, a torch, a hurricane lantern. My son-in-law threw himself behind the wheel of their crappy Jeep, searching the neighborhood for signs of electric. The babies grumbled for fresh water, cool air, clean diapers, warm milk, and sweet nightlights.

Darkness, like smog, settled over our lives. We waited for the morning’s light.

As we waited for the power company to fix us, we looked at the French fried body of the terror squirrel.

Someone observed, “Geez, who needs an EMP attack, a couple million well trained suicide squirrels and America’s back in the stone-age.

I repeated this bit of clever repartee to the power pole guy. He neither laughed nor smiled. He calmly stepped over the body of dead squirrel and said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

And he did.

The moral of the story is that although I store water in plastic milk jugs for just such emergencies, the thought of pouring that water into a clean baby bottle and feeding it to an actual baby made me itch. On Friday, I ordered a month’s worth of sterile canned water, good for fifty years or the zombie squirrel apocalypse, whichever comes first.

Linda (Testing, Testing) Zern


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