We have an ornery prairie dog with a vendetta living in one of our window wells. The day my sister and nephew arrived, they were out on the patio and happened to peer over the edge and down, and there, hangin' by his ittybitty little sharp claws from the screen, which he'd managed to rip/chew a hole in, was Mr. P.O.'d Prairie Dog. Or as Bean calls him, Mr. Prayer Dog. ('Cause when Daddy sees what that varmint has done to the screen, he ain't got a prayer. Or he better say his prayers. Y'all take your pick.)
I was upstairs feedin' the boy at the time, so I missed the initial excitement, but came downstairs to stoney silence and wondered aloud to Mr. Peabody, "Where'd everbody go?" (Mr. Peabody just stared at me with those big ol' stupified newborn eyes and issued forth a loud, rumbling burp. Apparently he dinna know where ever'body went, but they were not lodged anywhere along his digestive track, in case I was wondering.)
Moments later, I heard three sets of feet trippy trapping up the basement stairs, and the whole motley crew appeared, wearing eyes as wide as Mr. Peabody's along with mischievous, curious smiles. My sister was not aware of my history with prairie dogs, you see, so she had no idea the panic she was about to stir up in my soul.
"What were y'all doin' down there?" I queried.
"Lookin' at the prairie dog who is wreaking chewed-up havoc in your basement."
"AAAAAAAAAAAGH!!! THE PRAIRIE DOG IS IN MY BASEMENT? OHMYGRANNY! WHAT HAS IT CHEWED UP? WAIT, I DON'T WANNA KNOW. OR DO I?"
"Oh, he's not IN your basement, he's in the window well, and he's chewed up the screen, and now he's just hanging there, looking in. We saw his WHOLE BODY from down there."
Just hanging there, lookin' in. Waitin'.
See, he's furious at me. This is the same prairie dog that spent the summer last year sittin' out in the back yard glarin' in the windows at me with beady little hate-filled eyes and shouting, "Eeeeee chicka chicka chicka!!!" which I believe means "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die," in prairie dog-ese, on accounta I'd hired some guys that spring to pour a patio that just happened to cover up not one but BOTH holes into his family's deluxe apartment under the back stoop.
Never mind that I took my then two-and-a-half year old kid out on that same patio every afternoon for three months with a bowl full of her own special homemade trail mix (aka Purina Prairie Dog Chow) which consisted of White Cheddar Cheez-Its, raisins, and roasted whole cashews. Which she often entirely fore-went eatin' and instead would scatter, plant, bury and/or hide in small, prairie-dog single-serving-sized piles all over the back yard. That prairie dog ate high on the hog last summer, folks. He may have been grievin' the loss of his family, but he had the prairie dog equivalent of several hams, ginormous tubs of homemade potato and macaroni salad, a fresh coconut cake, a pan of blondies, a blueberry Jello mold and a couple gallons of sweet tea to comfort him as he mourned.
A spread like that shoulda inclined him a little more toward forgiveness, dontcha think? But no. He bore that grudge and expressed it adamantly all summer long, with his evil stares and his chicka chicka chickas. The subsequent long winter months of hibernation only served to deepen his loathing and hatred because here he is again, this time closer to my house and now actually makin' as if to find a way INSIDE.
And I am more than a tad bit frightened by his freakish prairie dog tenacity, I am not afraid to admit to y'all.
A prairie dog with a 15-month grudge, I imagine, is a force with which to be reckoned. I can only hope Al gets him before HE gets me.
Chicka chicka chicka!