Many of you know that I am an avid motorcyclist and have been riding
both personally and as a cop for more years than my children have been
But have I ever told you the story of The Squirrel of Death?
I never dreamed slowly cruising on my motorcycle through a residential
neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous!
Little did I suspect.
I was on Brice Street - a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns
and slow traffic. As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile
shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of
It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road
when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but
there was no time to brake or avoid it -- it was that close.
I hate to run over animals, and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but
a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for
Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels, I discovered, can take care of
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet.
He was standing on his hind legs and facing my oncoming Valkyrie with
steadfast resolve in his beady little eyes.
His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and
leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or
maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking,
heathen scum!" The leap was nothing short of spectacular...
He shot straight up, flew over my windshield, and impacted me squarely
in the chest. Instantly, he set upon me. If I did not know better, I
would have sworn he brought 20 of his little buddies along for the
Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of
activity. As I was dressed only in a light T-shirt, summer riding
gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry
little tornado was doing some damage!
Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a
quiet residential street, and in the fight of his life with a
squirrel. And losing...
I grabbed for him with my left hand. After a few misses, I finally
managed to snag his tail. With all my strength, I flung the evil
rodent off to the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb
as I recoiled from the throw.
That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It
really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the
pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have
No one would have been the wiser. But this was no ordinary squirrel
This was not even an ordinary angry squirrel.
This was an EVIL MUTANT ATTACK SQUIRREL OF DEATH!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands and,
with the force of the throw, swung around and with a resounding thump
and an amazing impact, he landed
squarely on my BACK and resumed his rather antisocial and extremely
distracting activities. He also managed to take my left glove with
him! The situation was not improved.
Not improved at all.
His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him. I was
startled, to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw,
only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my
jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand
and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie
can only have one result.
TORQUE. This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very
good at it. The engine roared and the front wheel left the pavement.
The squirrel screamed in anger.
The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy.
I screamed in .. well . I just plain screamed.
Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a slightly squirrel-torn t-shirt, wearing only one leather
glove, and roaring at maybe 50 mph and rapidly accelerating down a
quiet residential street on one wheel, with a demonic squirrel of
death on his back.
The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder. With the
sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the
handlebars and try
to get control of the bike.
This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really
did not want to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car.
Also, I had not yet figured out
how to release the throttle.. my brain was just simply overloaded. I
did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little effect against
the massive power of the big cruiser.
About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient
attention to this very serious battle (maybe he was an evil mutant
NAZI attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got
INSIDE my full-face helmet with me.
As the faceplate closed part way, he began hissing in my face. I am
quite sure my screaming changed intensity.
It had little effect on the squirrel, however. The RPMs on the Dragon
maxed out (since I was not bothering with shifting at the moment), so
her front end started to drop.
Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a very raggedly torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove,
roaring at probably 80 mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy
squirrel's tail sticking out of the mostly closed full-face helmet.
By now, the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper hand ... I managed to grab his tail again,
pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I
could. This time it worked ... sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of ...so to
Picture a new scene.
You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled off on a quiet
residential street and parked with your windows down to do some
Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
jeans, a torn T-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing only one
leather glove, moving at probably
80 mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by, and with
all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your
I heard screams. They weren't mine...
I managed to get the big motorcycle under control and dropped the
front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to
a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign of a busy cross
I would have returned to 'fess up (and to get my glove back).
I really would have.
Except for two things.
First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned
about me at the moment. When I looked back, the doors on both sides of
the patrol car were flung wide open. The cop from the passenger side
was on his back, doing a crab walk into somebody's front yard, quickly
moving away from the car. The cop who had been in the driver's seat
was standing in the street, aiming a riot shotgun at his own police
car. So, the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to "let
the professionals handle it" anyway.
That was one thing.
Well, I could clearly see shredded and flying pieces of foam and
upholstery from the back seat. But I could also swear I saw the
squirrel in the back window, shaking his
little fist at me.
That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol car. A
somewhat shredded patrol car... but it was all his.
I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made a gentle right
turn off of Brice Street, and sedately left the neighborhood. I
decided it was best to just buy myself
a new pair of gloves.
And a whole lot of Band-Aids