Driving 20 mph down a tree-lined, residential street this afternoon, I spied a curious sight.
A critter ran across the road into a yard. I am no stranger to critters. I live in the country, by cracky! I've been raised amongst the varmints. I've sunk my teeth into plenty of rabbits and squirrels and quail. I know quail. I've sold original pencil drawings of quail. This, my friends, was no quail.
My mind told me it was no rabbit or squirrel, either. It was that gray-white mottled fur common to both rabbits and squirrels. It did not hop, nor did it dart in a twitchy, stop-and-start manner. It sort of bounded in a straight line across a yard to a tree. Which it made no attempt to scale. Or to run around and play peek-a-boo. It sat on all fours, not on its haunches. Now here's the weird part: it had neither a bushy tail nor long ears.
This critter was either a rabbit with no ears, or a squirrel with no tail. It was the PAT of the animal world. You remember Pat. The ambiguous SNL character who did not carry money in a purse or wallet, but in a sports sack. Who chose not to watch the Giants/Forty-Niners game or Murphy Brown, but instead rented the movie Tootsie. Who had a significant other named Chris. I am afraid to see the significant other of this creepy yard critter. It might have a bushy tail and long ears.
My scientific background points me in the direction of a squirrel with no tail. Because it's easier to get a tail lopped off by accident than to lose both ears.