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Critters, Varmints and other Irritants

Critters, Varmints and other Irritants

A Story by T. L. O'Neal

When the wonders of spring get to be to much. True story.


Critters, Varmints and other Irritants

Written by T. L. O’Neal


     You know I really like spring. It’s when the earth awakes from it’s winter nap and let’s out a big yawn and says, “It’s time to get busy again.” There’s always so much going on that it’s hard to take it all in sometimes. You have the flowers blooming, the birds laying their eggs and raising their young and everything else going on… but this year spring was a little bit different.


     I always loved to watch the birds in the morning with my coffee while they would come in and eat at the feeders. I have them hanging up under the awning in the living room window. It’s always rather relaxing to watch them as they eat and to listen to them sing; it’s very therapeutic. I had feeders at my house and Mama always had them at hers too. Before Mama passed in the hospital, she asked me to feed her birds and look after her cat, which I’ve always done ever since. Now that I’m living in her house I watch them there as they come in during the day to eat and to play in the birdbath too.


   There’s also a squirrel that comes around and eats off the ground and I always enjoyed watching him too… until this year. This year he brought his girlfriend; I guess that’s who she is. I’m not really sure on what her affiliation is to him because I never did ask what it was. Anyway, he brought this scraggly looking squirrel with him and all my serenity of watching “my” birds was gone just like that. She might have been scraggly but she was pretty damn smart… for a squirrel that is and for some people too I guess.


     That damn squirrel found a way to get up under the awning and hang from her hind legs while eating out of those feeders. That wasn’t the only thing hanging either; her tits were hanging to her knees. Great I thought, now I can’t get rid of her with her having babies to feed and my tranquility was gone too. It was gone as fast as if a vanload of in-laws moving in and that’s pretty doggone fast. Damn squirrel! She didn’t just eat either, oh no, that tree-rat had to scare all of my birds off, not to mention tear-up the feeders too.


    Nothing ever seemed to run her off, not banging on the window or even Rusty the cat. Judi hissed and put out her claws at that squirrel through the window like a cat would and that got it moving…for a little while. Why Rusty didn’t do that is beyond me, I guess he didn’t think about it or just didn’t care that much. Miss Callie the other cat wasn’t of much use either; she sat on the front porch and just watched them play and tear up my feeders. I guess watching squirrels is just a spectator sport to cats. Anyway, My nerves were starting to go bad with all of this; hell my eye even started to twitch. Damn squirrel! We tried to feed them popcorn, bread and other things instead of birdfeed, but all of that was to no avail. She just wanted birdseed for some reason or other and just kept coming to the bird feeders. Damn, damn squirrel!


   As if that wasn’t enough, the other day Judi found a five-foot long chicken snake under the feeders. For those of you who don’t know what a chicken snake is, it’s a regional name for a black rat snake. I guess they got that name because they’re notorious for eating chicken eggs and bird eggs, but I never have seen one eat a rat though. Anyways, she called me outside and I tried to catch it and that damn thing struck at me several times and then went up under the house through a vent. About thirty minutes later she called me again and said there was one in the bedroom window. It was starting to look like we had a snake epidemic on our hands. She went to open it up and there was one stuck up in the top of the window. He must have been there all night because when she let down the window the night before, the window was sticking. It must have wedged him in there then; that’s what it looked like anyways.


     I managed to catch him by holding him behind his head, and hauled his butt off to the next county. It was a bit difficult driving a four speed holding that snake out of the window. Plus he was wrapped around my arm as tight as he could go too; I guess he had to… I was going 65 miles an hour. I dumped him in a ditch at the county line and said see you later and good riddance to that blame snake. Well, I went back home and about two hours later she found another one in the window; the same window mind you. I thought she was joking around, but she wasn’t. This one was in between the screen and the glass at the bottom, so the only way to get him out was to open the window from the inside. I wasn’t sure what was about that one window but it sure did seem to be a snake magnet for some reason or other. Anyhow, this one was going to be a little bit harder to remove I thought, so I got this brilliant idea to use some starting fluid, which is just ether in a spray can.


  Those that remember biology class know that ether is what you use to knockout critters before you experiment on them. Anyway, I shot that ether through the screen doing the best I could to knockout that poor snake. Well, with it being a screen, the majority of it came back out onto me. I could tell it was working pretty good… on me that is, and I guess it was on him too. All you could smell was ether; it was in a pure fog. He started to slow down a bit and when he tried to climb up, he just managed to wave back and forth a little like an unenthusiastic kid waving a flag at a parade.


   While all this was going on, Judi came out to see how it was going… with a lit cigarette too. If you didn’t already know, ether is highly flammable and combustible too. I told her to get away from there with it or we wouldn’t have to worry about the snake in the window, because there wouldn’t be a snake or even a window left. After that, the snake and I were doped up really good and so was Judi, so I went into the house to try to get him out through the window. I did put some gloves on in case he tried to bite me though. But under his condition I didn’t believe he was going to and under mine, I didn’t think I would much of cared. About that time, here comes Judi with another cigarette again. All you can smell at this point is ether throughout the whole house, so I asked her to put that one out too; otherwise we wouldn’t even have a house. After that round I opened the window and picked up the snake without a bit of a problem. The poor thing was wasted and probably would have a hangover from hell in the morning. I wasn’t feeling any pain either I might add.


Then Judi said,” Wow, that’s a big one.” She was talking about the snake by the way.


Which I replied, “That’s what she said.” It was the ether talking of course, so for a little while every time she said something after that, I would say, “That’s what she said.”


Hey, at the time it seemed funny… to me anyways. Ether makes everything seem funny, hell it was probably a hoot to the snake too. It’s a running joke at the house now; it sure makes me feel good when she says that though.


     So it was off to the next county over again, but this time the snake wasn’t wrapped around my arm. This time its mouth was gagged open with its tongue hanging out and its body fluttering in the wind like a sheet. I could relate to the poor thing and having “Jethro Tull” cranked up on the truck’s stereo probably just added to the snake’s experience… it sure did mine. When I got to the county line I threw him where I tossed the other one; this time it just laid on his back and that was the way I left him. He’ll have a powerful headache in the morning I thought and I probably should of given him a BC powder before dumping him out. That would have been the nice thing to do I suspect. When I got back to the house the room was still fogged up with the ether, so we had to put a fan in the window to pull it all out of the house. After that I needed a BC too, that s**t does give you one hell of a headache.


   About a week later something wasn’t right with one of the flowerbeds. Judi’s thing is the flowerbeds; I guess you can say they’re her hobby. I plant them and then leave them to their own devices for the most part but she really loves them. Anyway, last year I planted some caladiums and they hadn’t come up this year yet; the hostas were up and everything else for that matter. So she went digging around under the mulch to see what was wrong with them and wouldn’t you just know it, hundreds and hundreds of slugs everywhere. They were in a pure work, in groups the size of baseballs too. I hate slugs; they’re like the poor relations of snails with a sinus problem, that’s how I look at them anyhow. Gee, they were some nasty critters and the caladiums were gone; those slugs had eaten every last one of them. You just can’t have a damn thing I thought. Mama, always said, “If you want to have anything nice, don’t have kids or animals.”  She was right too, that’s why she waited till we were all grown before she bought any new furniture.


   Well we went to work getting rid of those slugs, putting all the mulch in a wheelbarrow and then digging up the slugs with our hands. I salted them down and the mulch too for good measure as we went along, and I did get some satisfaction as I saw those slugs dry up to nothing from all that salt. “Take that you b******s!” I thought. But you know, slug slime is almost impossible to wash off of your hands; it’s worse than glue. We got them all cleaned out hopefully, and Judi planted the new caladiums that I bought so maybe that will be it for the slugs.


     It wasn’t long after that when one evening Judi was out watering the flowerbeds. She does it every evening, especially since we have been in a drought. Anyways, she was out there watering away when one of the lilies starting jumping up and down. I’m sure it was happy to get some water but not happy enough to do that. She grabbed it and it pulled it right up and it was cut off about eight inches below the ground. Well, she called me out there and I said it was probably a mole; it was just too dry and those critters were so deep in the ground that a trap just wouldn’t work. So Judi tried to flood him out; she pumped water in that hole for the longest time but it never did backup. She didn’t get that mole either, because everyday another lily fell victim to that pest. When that mole started in on some of the flowers that my Mama planted, the situation got serious. So I started to dig for that mole and I was going to dig up the whole flowerbed to get him if I had to. It didn’t matter if I had to dig to China either; I was going to get that sucker. I was on a mission to get that mole but Judi stopped me, she couldn’t bear for me to ruin the whole flowerbed. But to think about it in a positive way; we did have a lot of cut flowers for the house but this was just getting to be a bit too much for the both of us. Those flowers mean everything to her and now she’s getting stressed out along with me. Judi thought that Miss Callie caught and killed that pesky mole but it turned out to be just a shrew. The hunt is still on I guess but after all of this we needed to relax a bit.


   So we would like to sit out on the front porch in the evenings in our shorts, especially when it’s been hot and after the sun has gone down to relax a little. We would listen to the frogs and crickets and whatever other creatures that were stirring out at night. We really enjoyed watching for the fireflies but what we couldn’t stand were those pesky mosquitoes. So we got some of those citronella candles to help with that, and help they did… attract more mosquitoes that is. They smelled nice and the warm glow of them made the porch feel cozy but the light just seemed to attract those little pests even more. We could of got a zapper I suppose but it does kind of defeat the purpose of wanting to listen to the crickets and frogs, when all you can hear is “ZAP! ZAP!” and smell bugs frying. Of course that smell might work better as a deterrent than citronella to ward off the little bloodsuckers. So we sat there listening to nature, slapping the bloodsucking part of nature, scratching the effects of nature and not having too much relaxing fun at all.


   When all of a sudden I felt something in my underwear and no it wasn’t Judi’s hand, although that would of made the evening better. It was a large beetle bug, nestled right down there in the old bush. Now, I have no idea on how he got in there through a pair of boxer briefs but he must have had a map because I have a hard enough time getting in them myself. But that was it for me; romantic, relaxing or not, I wasn’t going to sit there and be a meal or a training ground for every damn bug out there. I guess in this case a bug in the hand is defiantly worth more than one in the bush, and a hell of a lot more comfortable too.


   As it stands now, if I feed the birds that damn squirrel still comes back. But this time she brought her babies too, so now we have five damn squirrels to deal with. Not to mention another adult one too, must be an aunt or uncle squirrel or something, it’s just a regular family affair. We also haven’t caught the mole and it’s still destroying the flowerbed, one flower at a time. The mosquitoes and the heat are just getting worse and the pollen is killing my sinuses, so I’m stuck inside even more now. You know what, I hate spring and I’m just waiting for winter to get here again for life can get back to normal for a change.     



© 2010 T. L. O'Neal

My Review

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Featured Review

As always you have a way of telling a story that is humorous and such fun to read. This is no exception. great fun to read. The way you tend to turn it into a war with nature and always end up
losing in the end. Funny Stuff.

Posted 11 Years Ago

24 of 24 people found this review constructive.


Another LMAO write! Hilarious fun to read. - Mimi

Posted 11 Years Ago

17 of 17 people found this review constructive.

That damn squirrel found a way to get up under the awning ----lawning
that damn squirrel. loved this one T, like an old fashioned sitcom. great story and hilarious situations. love how you change from loving spring to hating it.
very nice.

Posted 11 Years Ago

18 of 18 people found this review constructive.

What the hell, has nature gone nuts in your neck of the woods first the pigs now the squirrels, where the heck do you live? I have a cat just like rusty we had a mouse problem back in the winter cause we live next to a big park, and that damned cat just let the mice have the house just sat there watching them run back and forth.....This was a great story and I have told you before you have a knack for grabbing the reader and I love your work, keep it up....Sorry about the delay in reviewing......

Posted 11 Years Ago

19 of 19 people found this review constructive.

I thought only my father called them tree rats. Remember when we were young and the street lights going on signaled it's time to go indoors? Now, mosqitoe bites do that for me. First bite, I'm indoors. A nice story of the happy and trifling critters of spring. Well done.

Posted 11 Years Ago

19 of 19 people found this review constructive.

LOL, This was really funny! You always have a new story to entertain. So many people have commented on what I wanted to say... You made me laugh.


Posted 11 Years Ago

18 of 19 people found this review constructive.

LOL! Terry, sounds like you need a big game hunter to come over to deal with those darn varmints. (That or pest control) I've missed reading your fine stories so I'm glad I was able to pluck up the strength to come on in to the Cafe to see what's good.

You haven't failed to cheer me up ever since I started reading your material, and this is another gem from your sacred vaults.

Thanks for reminding me how to laugh again.

Posted 11 Years Ago

20 of 20 people found this review constructive.

Sheesh is nothing sacred? Where do bugs get off going where no bug should go? Found myself suddenly 'nekked' more than once due to something with more legs than me getting too close to my stuff....sigh.
Between that and the ether/snake saga I agree with one of your other reviewers - I was almost incontinent after reading this. It is truly funny. You have a such a great sense of humor and it translates well on the page.

Posted 11 Years Ago

20 of 20 people found this review constructive.

Hey TL,
Ive copied and pasted this on to word so I can do a paragraph by paragraph review. I do love spring too for the same reasons. My most magical spring was at university. We went on a hike over Blair Witch Hill towards a church that has lost its village. About halfway we saw a ewe give birth to a tiny lamb. We were about to find the farmstead when the farmer leapt over the fence on the far side and ran over to the sheep� the guy knew it was coming, probably before the sheep did.

Anyhow, I digress as always. The first para lets us know that things are going to be odd and you might not like it.

Para 2: Good scene setting. We can imagine the scene. It would be better if you could name a couple of the species of birds. The para does have some nice family background and gives an impression of a man who keeps his word.

Para 3: This is a very cute para and again sets some scenery but also progresses into the new spring with change number 1. I get the feeling from this poem that the new Squirrel is going to be a troublemaker and reminds me of a Carla Helene piece�I think it was one of hers.

Para 4: Your 4th para reminds me of an old TV advert. Possibly for Hamlet cigars but im not sure. Basically the squirrel runs through an obstacle course to get to the nuts. Sounds like Scraggly had been watching. I had to say kudos for being kind to mothers and I loved the in-laws comment. Very true.

Para 5: Is it time you got new guard cats? Of my two cats Jack would try to make friends with it while Charlie would try to kill it but would get weighed down by his big arse� incidentally Charlie has fought off dogs from the garden� he rocks! While Jack can sit in a tree full of birds like some kind of zen Buddhist.

Para 6: This para made me think that the feeder is some kind of beast magnet. It is the one-ring of bird feeders and all want it. Wow. This made me laugh though because of the Snake wedging in the window. Did the same once with a centipede which promptly fell on my head in the morning�before meeting the bottom of my slipper. I does sound like some Hollywood movie were the critters invade.

Para 7: One Window. 2 Snakes. A horror coming to you soon. Brilliant ideas usually end up in disasters.

Para 8: Told you. Haha. So you nearly knocked yourself out but got the critter. So far a good tale.

Para 9: In the end it all turns to drugs. I like the almost comedy scene panic of Judi having a lit cigarette. Your lack of caring is a really funny line. Love that dry wit. Does Judi not care?

Para 10: Seems your hopes of a compliment were dashed. That�s unlucky but you got the snake. Btw, do you dislike the next county? Giving it all your snakes.

Para 11: Good choice of music and I like the description of the passed out snake. Reminds me of a plastic toy snake. Dare I risk ridicule to ask what a BC is? Feeling ignorant now. While this para shows some kindness and the sense of aftermath you cant help but think that more is coming.

Para 12: Did you anger God or do you have a neighbour called Moses? Just curious because that slug thing was disgusting and sounds like a plague. Loved the wisecrack about your mother and the furniture. Time for some salt?

Para 13: Yep, theres the salt. You know you get all these plagues but you do seem to enjoy dealing with the critters. Taking pleasure in drugged up snakes, salting slugs�

Para 14: My family water their plants every night too and it takes a long time. Sometimes I water the cats. Jack still wont grow. You produced some great images for this one. The idea of a mole attacking lilies.. They do stain awfully. And you digging a massive hole to get after them.

Para 15: I�m beginning to think a comment for each paragraph was a bit much. My fingers ache. Mosquitoes are my bane. In Japan they leave big red welts after feeding. If I don�t have the zapper on I�ll get a dozen bites a night�usually on my nose and forehead. I like how the candles completely backfired. My zapper just emits a poisonous gas for Mozzies. No problem for humans. All I have to do is change the tablet each day. No noise. You could get a coil too and light it whenever you are outside. Smells a bit like incense.

Para 16: Now the horror starts. Reminds me of when my brother�s chinchilla went exploring� up my trouser leg. Sounds like a true nightmare mate. But, you never said that you removed it�

Para 17: Seems like you are stuck in a catch 21 situation. Winter will kill it all off but there�s no beauty there. Must be something you can do. My father laid concrete down under the flowerbeds to stop weeds. It worked. Make adjustments to the feeder� have a challenge with the squirrel. Buy a mosquito coil from a travel shop and if that doesn�t work you can drink a beer. Apparently mozzies don�t like alcohol in the blood.

Great piece. This was like a disaster-comedy but with more laughs. Well written and witty as always. Another chapter in the life of T.L. O�neal.

Posted 11 Years Ago

21 of 21 people found this review constructive.

So many bugs, insects snakes and creepies!!!
Great story full of always, love your stories!!

and no it wasn�t Judi�s hand. It was a large beetle bug, nestled right in the old bush. Now, I have no idea on how he got in there through a pair of boxer briefs. He must have had a map because I have a hard enough time getting in them myself.

I would not have been as calm as you!!
I don't know how Judi stands it!
London seems to have very few yukky things like this..........but there
again we have all the smoke and pollution I guess............can't decide which is worse!!
I think you should really get these published...........very entertaining!!

Posted 11 Years Ago

21 of 21 people found this review constructive.

You have a captivating way of writing that pulls the reader in and makes it easier for him/her to read...Very funny story, T.! Ugh--just the mention of slugs gave me goosebumps *yuck* Hate the slimy things...Loved this because it was wonderfully entertaining and filled with hilarious action right to the end :) Thanks for sharing :)


Posted 11 Years Ago

21 of 21 people found this review constructive.

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49 Reviews
Added on February 18, 2008
Last Updated on October 24, 2010


T. L. O'Neal
T. L. O'Neal

In the sticks, NC

I started writing as a way to work out my feelings and found that I enjoyed it very much. I enjoy humor and feel that you can find it in most things, even though it may be hard to find at the moment. .. more..


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