The things I do at work…


I said my boss was forgiving. How forgiving? I raised three baby squirrels in a cardboard box under my desk…until their eyes opened, anyhow.

I followed a horrible shrieking in the wall at home one night and found them curled in a squirming, hairy fist in the crawlspace under my bathtub. All I could see under there was heaving fur, and I was pretty sure when I touched whateveritwas, it was going to spring out, alien-style, and attach itself to my face. But it just squeaked.

I tried to fob them off on a professional varmint rescuer, but all the locals were chock full of squirrels that year. So I bought an eyedropper and some Esbilac (puppy milk — is there anything the internet doesn’t know?) and got busy.

When they’re little, they have to eat every four hours. Then you have to rub their genitals with a warm, wet cloth to stimulate them to do their business. After which they also piss and shit.

Their mom does this with her tongue, but my rat nurturing operates within definite boundaries.

Baby squirrels are not cute. They look like big-headed rats. With black claws. They don’t get the fluffy tails until they’re quite big. I think these three were male, but I never really figured out their equipment. It seemed six of one, half dozen of the other to me. They were all the same brand, anyway.

One day, in the dark cave that is my computer room, I had just finished feeding the boys and I was holding one up at eye level in the light from the hall and swabbing earnestly at his bottom with a wet paper towel. My eyes focused over his head, and there in the doorway stood a home office field engineering middle manager.

So I said, “Bob?”

And he said, “just wanted to tell you I’m probably not available for the meeting on Thursday.” And then he walked away.

Next time I saw him I said, “Bob, were you totally not going to mention the rat?” He shrugged.

Bob is a huge dipwad. But I’d like to think it’s me; I’d like to think I’m the sort of team member and company asset, you see me scrubbing hairy rat asses at my desk, you just walk on by.

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