By: Daytona Sunset Halloway
After reading the title, you may think me cruel–you wouldn’t be the first, if so. They called me a madman, they came for me, tried to lock me away. But I assure you, I am completely and perfectly sane; I am just cursed with knowledge that no one else has, and I possess an unmatched drive to take action. I intend to use this opportunity to explain myself and dissuade the notion that I am a monster. HAHAHAHAHAHA…oh–my apologies. It’s just utterly hilarious and juvenile to think in such a manner. I am mankind’s savior, the only one with an intellect capable of ensuring its survival. There is an insidious plot afoot, created by those who wish to be the architects of our destruction, but I have foiled it, you see? I struck first, ya see. I have seen through their lies and deceptions, and now you will be able to do the same. My thesis is not as absurd as they would have you believe and neither are my actions. Allow me to take you step by step, through my grand plan. At the end of all this, I’m sure you will agree that the end more than justifies the means.
I’ll just get right into it. Squirrels are not the cute, cuddly creatures that the general populace believes they are. No, they hide beneath those forms, concealing their true evil. They are harbingers of destruction and bringers of chaos. I hypothesize they are actually a race of ancient demons, who have spent their hundreds of years of existence observing us, probing for weaknesses, awaiting for their chance to strike. They will engineer our destruction from the shadows, just as they did the dinosaurs before us. Their motives are undoubtedly sinister, as our species’ best friend, canines, seem to have a profound hatred for them for no discernable reason. The instinct of a dog is perhaps the most trustworthy thing in nature; and what better reason to hate the vile rodents, than them secretly being vile beasts? Canines are naturally hardwired to react to perceived threats. They pretend to fear us, they scurry away if we get too close, they play along by eating the food we gleefully feed them in parks. Crafty, very crafty, I’ll give them that much. They run up to the sanctuary of their trees, where they look down on us, plotting our demise, whether that be through their spreading of disease or some other unforeseen plan. They had an advantage over us, a “head start,” so to speak. Always one step ahead. But I wasn’t going to let that deter me. I just had to come up with an efficient and effective way of disposing of them, preferably in swathes. Then it hit me with the force of a nuclear explosion: their food! Of course! If I could eliminate their food source, even them, with their boundless cunning and evil, would fail to survive. Yes, this was the course of action I needed to take. The only concern now was how. How would I manage to make up that much ground? What could I possibly hope to eliminate that would have enough of a profound effect on their numbers? Of all things, the Ice Age movies are what spurned by plan, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. The animated squirrel in those films goes to comical lengths to obtain one specific acorn, against any and all logic. Of course in reality, I wouldn’t expect the demons to be so stupid. But there was still a lesson to be found there, remove the acorn and the squirrel will follow.
I began at the local level, traveling to parks and forests with the highest concentrations of oak trees. There are over 90 species of oak trees and–of course–all of them produce acorns. There was a very tall task ahead of me, Nay, an impossible one in fact, but my determination did not waver. The fate of the human race was in the balance, so I dedicated my every waking moment and thought to collecting acorns from the forest floors and even off of tree branches. I used everything at my disposal to store them; plastic bags, trash bags, buckets, anything. I made sure to either strike at night, or very early in the morning to avoid being seen and having to explain the cataclysmic totality of my findings and the true noble, if not morally complex reasoning behind my actions. The beasts also began their hunting for nuts decently early in the day, so I had to beat them to the punch, so to speak. Under the cover of darkness, I was a ghost, a specter, a phantom of the night. Soon, the trunk of my car was filled to the brim of containers and bags which were packed to capacity with acorns. Soon, I found that I was quickly running out of space, the trunk would barely manage to close. So, I swallowed my pride and invested in an RV for more space. Of course I felt ridiculous, like some sort of small-town hick or dimwitted tourist, but the additional space was well worth it. But then I ran into another problem–ensuring my work would be permanent. Oak trees constantly produced acorns, so hoarding them would only be a temporary solution. A proverbial band aid for a bullet wound. All they would need to do is wait until more acorns were produced. AHA! The rodents didn’t count on me anticipating that! I was two steps ahead of them! I consolidated their other food sources as well. I poisoned berry bushes, stuffed apples and oranges in buckets, and used fungicides to kill mushrooms. My warpath took me across parks all over the state. It didn’t take long for the local–and soon– national news to take notice of my actions. They labeled me a menace to the ecosystem, a danger to both plant and wildlife. Small-minded fools. They couldn’t see the forest for the trees. HAHAHAHA. Sarcasm only further exemplifies my superior intellect. I thought I was untouchable, not even the police or state troopers could catch me, as I lived my life on the road until I met him.
He called himself “Ranger Rick.”, a forest ranger at one of the many state parks I frequented. We met as I was scouting out the area. I did so under the guise of bird watching as he approached me to ask questions. Of course, I had done the necessary research to sound educated on the topic, but I could tell he was immediately suspicious of me, for he said that the park was not very good for bird watching and recommended another. It was like he could see right through me. I played it off as me wanting to just stay in the area, which prompted him to ask where I was from? I didn’t answer. Would this tree-hugging, glorified mall cop of the forest really be the one to do me in. We kept this routine up for days. I always made sure to stay far away from the RV so as to not give him any ideas as to search it. Ranger Rick was good, so good that he noticed minute details, like that my binoculars were not the sort conventionally used by birdwatchers or how I used pungent cologne, as if to mask the smell of something. Was this it? Had I met my match? If I succumbed to his pressure and left, it would only serve to confirm his suspicions and he would likely contact the authorities. But the longer I stayed, the more I was at risk. I had to get rid of him, and make it look like an accident. I remembered an offhand comment he mentioned to me once. About him being allergic to bees. I knew he liked to get our usual meeting spot before I did, to rattle me, and catch me off guard. So, I did what I had to do. When he arrived, I knocked the overhead beehive over and tackled him to the ground, so he couldn’t escape. The 72 stings I received were more than worth it. Ranger Rick was no more. It was either him or me, and it wasn’t going to be me.
The winter chill was welcome. As I walked through the serene forest, I caught sight of a demon lying there, clearly on its last legs. Its dark, soulless eyes were fixed on me, as if it knew. I hope it did. I hope it knew it was me. That it was me who had engineered what was soon to be the destruction of its entire race. First Montana, then the world. As it lay there dying, I smiled.