HE MET HIS MATCH
His girlfriend gave him a large bag of sunflower seeds. Feeding birds, he thought she thought, would make him mellower, more a cuddles type of guy.
He couldn’t toss them, though he was sure they would attract mice. The bag sat in the corner behind the credenza for six months. One day he came across a bird feeder in the basement that must have belonged to his mother. It was a little house on a wire you filled from the top, with glass sides and a tiny shelf for a perch. He filled it two-thirds full of seeds. He didn’t expect success. Birds that were small enough to land on the narrow perch probably weren’t the kind of birds that ate big sunflower seeds.
No birds came calling yet one day the feeder was almost empty. Soon he saw the agent of this mysterious dispersal. Two agents. One flew from a branch and clutched the lip of the feeder, shaking down a rain of seeds. The other merrily feasted below.
“Scram! Scat,,” he yelled, darting out the door. The squirrels trapezed through the neighbor’s loquat. Five minutes later, seated in front of his computer, he saw movement in the reflection of his screen. They were back. The scene repeated.
He doubled the wire and replenished the feeder, and hung it further from any possible squirrel foothold. By evening the feeder was upside down in the barberry bush.
His girlfriend told him to chill out.
The feeder was dancing like a palm in a hurricane the next afternoon when he came through the garden gate. It took a while until he noticed, plastered to the glass sides of the feeder, the little devil. At least, for a moment before launching its escape, it looked terrified. As if had met its match. Seeds were scattered everywhere amid his girlfriend’s hyacinths.
Ten minutes later he ruined the bucolic picnic of two rodents in the hyacinths with a blast of water. He ruined the hyacinths, too. Returning to his house he saw something suspicious at his doorstop, the partially digested remains of sunflower seeds.
They knew when he spied through the slats of the blind, their brown eyes all awareness. He knew he was wasting his life but he wouldn’t stop until victorious.