Friday, March 25, 2011

Fact or Fiction Friday: what the squirrel?

Some Fridays I practice writing my non-fiction in an interesting way or my fiction realistically. Can you tell whether this is fact or fiction?


The sound came down the hall. I set the dish towel on the counter and poked my head into the hallway, listening.

Again: tap-t-t-tap.

What on earth could it be? I was alone in the apartment, no dog, no cat, no pet of any kind. But it sounded like small nails on the hardwood floor.

I stepped into the hallway to investigate, passing the eating area on my way to the living room.

Tap-t-t-tap. Swish.

I paused. It was definitely coming from the living room. Had a bird gotten in? They stopped on the balcony to visit the feeder I'd put out there. And there was that hole in the lower corner of the door frame, where someone must have kicked it too hard.

I peered around the corner into the living room, expecting to see a sparrow or maybe a starling sitting on the floor. Instead, I saw a fat body covered with gray fur: a squirrel. How on earth had it gotten up to the third floor? There wasn't a tree anywhere near the building.

"Chuck-chuck-chu-chuck." It gave an alarm call and twitched its tail, watching me as warily as I watched it. Maybe it would go out on its own. We stared at each other for several minutes. Maybe not.

Stepping into the living room, I held my arms wide, hoping to corral it back through the hole in the door. Panicked, it turned away from me, headed for the door and swerved at the last second, racing around the perimeter of the room, past me, and down the hallway.

I chased after it, staying close to the right side of the hallway, forcing the squirrel to the left. It took the nearest exit into the eating area, where it leaped onto a chair, then up onto the table, scattering the newspaper across the room.

I stood in the doorway. It was trapped in the room, but how would I get it out? I had to get it back to the balcony door in the living room. Using a chair, I blocked off the rest of the hallway (definitely did not need a squirrel in my bedroom). Then
I eased my way into the dining room.

The squirrel twitched its tail, turning slowly to keep an eye on me as I circled the table. When I was on the far side, I moved quickly, shooing it off the table and back into the hallway. For a moment, it hesitated, and I thought it might leap over my barricade. But the other direction was clearer, and the squirrel took off with me close behind.

It paused in front of the door. Somehow I had to get it out, but based on what had happened last time, I knew it wouldn't go through the hole. I wasn't up for another chase around the apartment. From the looks of it, neither was the squirrel.

How to open the door from a distance?


Yeah, I'm working on it.


The chair! I grabbed a chair from the eating area and carried it at a snail's pace into the living room. The squirrel tensed, and I fully expected it to either race between my legs or to jump up onto the chair legs I was holding over its head. Holding my breath, I nudged the screen door open by its wooden frame.

Nothing happened. The squirrel just stood there, as if completely mesmerized by the chair floating over it.

I shifted my foot, and it jumped. Onto the screen, where it hung for a moment before it jumped again--over the balcony railing and three stories straight down.

I dropped the chair and ran outside, wondering if it would survive. It bounced once, shook itself, and raced off to the nearest tree.

I took the bird feeder in. It wasn't worth the trouble.

What do you think? Fact or fiction?


  1. I agree, I think it's true. The trouble we go to to get wild animals out safe and sound. I had a rather comical experience once trying to free a bee from my car!

  2. I agree with the others who commented, but I would call it creative non-fiction.

  3. I honestly can't tell. But judging by the other commenters, if it's realistic fiction you've done a great job convincing everyone!

  4. I think it is true. Squirrels are very resourceful and seemingly as agile as cats.
    Check this out:


  5. This is fact because I've had the same thing happen to me, except in my case the squirrel did run between my legs - I didn't think it would come anywhere near me!!! I was laughing the whole time though. Poor bewildered squirrel.