I love gardens, a riot of flowers, or red ripe tomatoes. There is nothing like the scent of a crimson rose or the taste of a sugar-snap pea right off the vine. Sadly, squirrels and chipmunks feel the same way. I’ve caught chipmunks standing on their hind legs and carefully harvesting my Chinese pea pods, and I’ve seen a lush tomato ripped off by a squirrel. Not to mention cherries and raspberries going to the birds.
You’d think our dog Jezebel would be guarding the garden. But no, she’s lying on the air conditioning vent. Besides she’s not that concerned about squirrels and chipmunks. Only cats and weird fur-ball dogs that look like cats get her dander up.
I’d pretty much given up hope of ever getting even with the little creatures, though I have tried mousetraps, netting, and flooding out the chipmunk’s lair—until the water ended up in my basement. (A friend who grew up on a farm suggested running a hose from the car exhaust into the chipmunk’s hole—good thing I tried the water first, or our house would have been carbon monoxided.)
But this summer as serendipity would have it, I got even. And I didn’t even plan it. I wish I’d seen it happen. But we’ll imagine it together.
Bob the squirrel surveys the yard from the chestnut tree, keeping a lookout for Jez. (He doesn’t know that it’s too hot/too wet/too sunny for her outside.) All he knows is that Jez is nowhere to be seen, so he leaps to our deck and skitters to the tomato plant. Much to his disappointment, all the tomatoes are gone. He ate them already. He checks out the basil plant—leaves won’t satisfy his belly. Bob spies another plant. It’s one he’s never tried before—it’s the bush of the knowledge of jalapeno peppers. Bob’s not sure why he’s never tried these before. After all, they are pleasing to the eye and look like they’d increase his knowledge of valuable food sources. Bob plucks one. He examines it closely. Interesting smell, no bitter or poisonous odor. Bob takes a bite. Not bad, he thinks. Then, the oils penetrate his taste buds. His neural connections scream, “Pain!” As Bob runs away, he tosses the jalapeno where I will later find it with one squirrel sized bite gone. I will pick up the pepper and laugh heartily. “Bwahaha!”
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. I think…it’s best served with jalapenos.