Dual at Dawn

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

What’s going on at Pimco? At a place well known for bonds, there appears to be a broken bond between our native sons, Bill and Mohamed. Could they really be breaking up?  It’s too squirrelly to consider. Speaking of squirrelly things, I’ve never seen squirrels in Laguna. That’s good because squirrels don’t like me.  I’m not sure why that is.  My realization of their disdain happened over a long period of time.  Nuts?  No thank you.  I’m typing right now with two thoughts in my head, one serious and one not.

(…Sigh…breaking up is hard to do. I’ve gone through it. Maybe counseling could help Bill and Mohamed.  Nah, we guys aren’t built for counseling. Can’t sit still long enough to get some.  I blame the male Heebie-jeebie gene.  Ask Gene, if you can find him sitting still.

The first run in with squirrels happened in Chicago during the summer of 1984.  For those readers unfamiliar with Chicago summers, it’s important to know that a Chicago summer is a one-day event.  Once each year, the clouds part, the temperature reaches 70 degrees for longer than 15 minutes, the humidity has left for Cuba North or Florida where it rightfully belongs and the mosquitos have departed for a Phlebotomist convention in Georgia or Cuba More North.  It’s a wonderful day, but difficult to book.

The kids were little during the summer day of 1984. George Orwell’s book had come true.  The kids had exerted mind control over me and had successfully thrown the parent guidebook out with the library card.  I wasn’t allowed a thought of my own or a moment alone.  When finally the Chicago summer day magically appeared, so did the squirrels in the attic.  These were party squirrels on summer break.  They were whooping it up all night long.  But we did get the flickering lights for the last round as they ate through the electrical wiring.  It was the last call indeed. Tomorrow was their day of reckoning.

(…Sigh…Bill and Mohamed have been so good to Laguna and its charitable organizations, our heart goes out to them both.  Its nuts…)

The exterminator suggested to set live traps in the attic.  “Live traps?” was my bug-eyed response.  “Isn’t there a more permanent solution?”  “Not allowed in the Village of Oak Park,” he answered.  “Well okay then. What do you do with them when you catch them?” I inquired.  “I’ll release the critters in North Oak Park.”  Geez, I always wanted to live in north Oak Park, I thought.  It was much nicer than my South Oak Park digs.  “You know, allow me to save you some trouble.  Never mind putting the live traps in the attic.  I’ll just climb in myself and you can drive me north.  I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell the kids where you released me.”

It was one terrific summer in 1984.  For hours the kids couldn’t find me. My exterminator and I bonded over our mutual distaste for these ratfinks with tails.  “Even Walt Disney didn’t want anything to do with them. He had ducks, mice, even a Tasmanian devil, but no squirrels at Disneyland.” preached the exterminator.  I had to admit that choosing a Tasmanian devil over squirrels did put an exclamation mark on the topic.

The next day or autumn, I was back to the usual routine.  My kids were busy telling me what I was going to do for them.  And there in the street about 10 paces apart were two squirrels on their backs.  There was no visible trauma from a traffic mishap.  It appeared that the squirrels had quarreled over a nut that was equal distance from their final resting places.  The only conclusion to draw was it was a dual at dawn

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz


(…Sigh…a dual is no way to go Bill and Mohamed.  That’s nuts.  Better to say bond farewell to one another.  I wish you both the best and many future win-wins to be followed by the obligatory trips to Disneyland where I promise you both there are no nutty squirrels.) 


Mark is a transplant from Chicago to Laguna.  His deceased border collie, Pokey, is his ghostwriter.



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