I carefully surveyed the attic in the flashlight’s glare. The squirrel had, indeed, left the building. Good . . . but how was he getting in?
Standing in front of the house, I could see that a small piece of the aluminum on the overhang of the bathroom roof had pulled loose. A few minutes later, with the help of a ladder and my son holding it steady, I could see how the squirrel had managed it. The aluminum was springy. Somehow Mr. Bushytail had discovered he could pull it down a little, slide in, and the aluminum would return nearly all the way to its original position.
Our unwanted furry guest was clearly planning to make a winter of it. Already there was sizable stash of edibles to see him through. I could imagine him chatting up the lady squirrels: “Why don’t you come over, babe . . . I got a heated condo over the Elliott’s bathroom. On Tuesday nights, we can listen to the latest episode of Bones.”
I tacked the aluminum back into place, called the guy who could repair the underlying wood that had rotted, and prayed that my lick-and-a-promise patch job would hold until a “real” repair could be done the following week.
There were no noises in the attic that night, but the following day when I stepped out the front door, headed to the mailbox, I heard a noise overhead. There was Mr. Bushytail, trying to “pick the lock’ on his pad. Clearly he hadn’t taken the hint.
I would have to take sterner measures. So I kept the P1 close at hand while attending to my writing chores.
Finally, I caught him part way up the spruce tree by our bird feeder. I flipped on the red dot. The distance was about seven yards. I gripped the pistol tightly with my right hand, pulling it back into the web between my thumb and forefinger. I wrapped the fingers of my left hand over the middle, ring, and little fingers of my trigger hand. (Unlike some folks, who allow springer pistols to freely recoil, I clamp mine in a Ninja Death Grip.)
I extended both arms, so that my arms and chest formed a triangle. I centered the red dot over center mass, eased the first stage out of the trigger, and squeezed a bit more. The P1 bucked in my hands, and the squirrel dropped like a stone. I suspect he was on his way to that Big Oak Forest in the Sky even before he hit the ground.
And since then there have been no more noises in the attic.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott