Tuesdays are for spinning, I extend the definition of “spinning” to anything involved with spinning. This means that it was totally fair that my contribution to Tuesday was washing some more of the fleece that I’m using for Joe’s gansey. (In as much as the gansey is moving slowly, it is on my mind, lurking around.) I put the fleece outside in the sunshine to dry.
The next morning went out to collect it. I opened the garden door, moved toward the chair and my heart fell as shock spread through me in a manner that was the exact opposite of a warm glow.
Now, the world still isn’t quite what we want of it and that means that ordinary people still outnumber us spinners and therefore show little or no interest in acquiring fleece, so it was unlikely that my culprit was human. (I also ruled out malicious human intent. Most humans also wouldn’t steal fleece just to be mean, since they don’t know how much we care about it.) As far as I know, my neighbourhood isn’t filthy with broke spinners so desparate that they have been reduced to midnight fleece theft, and all of this meant, as I stood there in the glaring light of summer mid-day, ruling out suspects…
He was back. The wool stealing squirrel was back.
Rat Bastard. (I feel entirely comfortable calling him a bastard. I am confident that since he is a squirrel that his mother was a squirrel, and squirrels are always born out of wedlock.) I thought he was dead when the pilferage and wool-filching had stopped two summers ago, and I guess I got lazy. Turns out he was just either working another ‘hood, one of his furbearing offspring have inherited his heinous fiber fetish, or we have once again run into the generally loose set of ethics possessed by squirrels… but one way or another I was looking at an empty fleece chair. Good fleece. Gone.
Now, I try not to focus on revenge (the criminal does, after all…have a brain smaller than a walnut and there’s only so much you can expect of that.) so I thought over retrieval. I did a lot of squirrel research during the first crime wave and while I was writing about it, and so I know a thing or two. For example, I know that it is very likely that he took it up a tree. A nearby tree. I assume he is (as all mammals are) interested in carrying things in his teeth the minimum distance possible, and examine the two nearest trees.
Bastard again. I can’t see any fleece at all. Now I am mad. I say a rude thing or two to a squirrel I see in one of the trees. It is a squirrel without a fleece or a nest, as far as I can see, but you can bet they darned well know each other, and he can give the fleece stealer a (insert expletive of your choice here)ing message from me. Furious, I turn to go back in the house and lo’…what do I see in the alley by my house?
At first I am sure it is a dead…something, and then it hits me. I run over.
Half my fleece. Lying in the dirt all tangled up with squirrel spit on it.
That little arsing thief – I can’t believe he’s back, I just can’t believe it. I’m standing there, looking at my chewed up corriedale, offended to the core that the stupid little tree-jockey didn’t even see fit to use all he took from me, instead tossing half of it away like nobody loved it, when it hits me. This is how the summer is going to be. He’s going to try to steal all my fleece and yarn, and I’m going to try to defend it.
I tried hard then, very hard. I tried to have some respect for this little mammal with the walnut sized brain. I tried to understand that he’s just a stupid squirrel incapable of higher thinking and that I’m the mature and considerate one here, and I gave myself a nice talking to about the circle of life and warm squirrel babies born into nests made of my stash and I tried to understand… but really? All I could think at then end of it, as I looked at my trashed fleece, stolen, stripped and left for dead in the dust was…