Sunday, March 22, 2015

3/23/15—Bringing a Mystery to a Close

The Pig, forced to serve as so much
fluff for a mysterious, demanding master.
Today's post brings a long-standing mystery here at the Daily Draw to a close. But unlike many of my  (now) weekly blog posts, there will be no moral to this story. No deep lesson to learn here. It's just a story, like all the many others that play out on the streets of this big, blue marble known as Earth. 

It begins, as most stories do, with a stuffed pig, complete with reindeer antlers. This pig was a favorite point of contention in back yard battles between Magick and Mystic, two of my dogs. Until Mystic came along, we had a strict "no stuffed toys in the backyard" rule. I'm not at all what you'd call a fastidious person, but when it comes to the thought of bug-infested stuffed toys laying wet on the ground, then possibly making their way back inside, I draw the line.

But Mystic is a force mightier than me when it comes to this. So when The Pig, The Squirrel, Blub Blub and The Racoon (not a part of this story at all) made it into the back yard, I relented. I didn't even notice them disappearing, one-by-one from their fresh-air lair until...the pig situation. 

Anyway, for a couple of weeks I had noticed something sticking out of the side of my house. Figuring it would just fix itself, I ignored it. This is a strategy I frequently work with around this home. But after a few weeks, I could ignore it no more. So I went around the side of the house to investigate and what I saw shocked me—The Pig, antlers and all, was no longer in the back yard. It was in the front yard in the roof vent of my home!

How did it get there? Who put it there? These questions would burn within me and my online friend's circle for 2.5 years, bringing new developments on a regular basis, before it would finally get solved. 

So I noticed the pig for the first time in fall. Clearly someone had built a comfy nest in my roof vent, but who? The Pig, though missing stuffing and squeakers throughout its body, was too large for a single bird to carry, but a visual inspection of the vent indicated that the space wasn't very deep for a nest and the slats were probably too close together for a squirrel. 

The Pig, cast asunder when it was
no longer useful. 
The first new development came in winter. The Pig was spit out of the roof vent, left on the dead
branches beneath to languish as if its life held no meaning. Along with the pig was the rest of the nest. Clearly someone had been evicted in the middle of the night and all their furnishings left on the curb. 

Then, the following spring, I noticed the pig had moved! It was no longer in the branches as it had been. It was now down on the ground and moved a couple of feet. Someone was trying to rebuild from the eviction! They never got the pig back into the vent, but that didn't deter them. Months later, Blub Blub, a slobber-soaked, fully-stuffed fish appeared beneath the roof vent, too. 

Now to illustrate the degree of difficulty, the perpetrator would have to remove the animal from my back yard, climb a tree/jump a fence, then make its way 20-some feet into the air. While a branch did reach up that way, was it strong enough to hold a squirrel with a toy in its mouth? It didn't appear so. And since the dropped toys were always found just beneath the vent, I concluded it must be birds working in a gang. I mean, a squirrel could drop a toy could get caught in the branches of the tree, etc. But the toys were always found in the same spot. 

Blub Blub, an innocent victim of a land animal.
And about the time Blub-Blub was vent-napped, I noticed a clamor coming from the side of my house. So I went out to investigate and found, sure enough, a large gang of birds, wearing what appeared to be black hoodies. When they saw me, they immediately started to act casual—and guilty! At the time, there had been a rash of car break-ins in the neighborhood and the thought that whatever was stealing spare change from car consoles might also be fingering my babies' toys—chilling!

So this is where the story left off for nearly a year. But before the snows came this year, I saw The Squirrel—the toy my dog had used to torment the squirrels that tormented them in the back yard—was now laying prostrate, still stuffed, beneath my roof vent. I left him there, because that's what I do. I had tried to return Blub-Blub back to the reintegrate him to his old life. But oddly, we have not seen Blub Blub since. At least if I leave them by the roof vent, I know where they are. 

With this development, the mystery was soon solved!
Anyway, flash forward a year. I'm returning home from an errand the other day and, as I'm getting out of my car, I glance up at the roof vent and see the culprit enter the vent! After all this time, I had an answer! And I also had a good laugh. 

So the answer's a squirrel! And just when I doubted that a squirrel could squeeze himself through the vent slats, I had one in the back yard demonstrate their special talent. They can flatten themselves out like a pancake, like their bones are made of rubber or something. No kidding. They can do it effortlessly and on the fly, too. Some squirrel dude (possibly the culprit) did on the top of our fence as a demonstration before my very eyes. 

I did not have a camera for any of this, so you'll just have to trust me. But my big laugh came when I imagined what it must have looked like for the real squirrel to be carrying a stuffed squirrel up a tree to stuff into a vent for his added comfort! So maybe you can carry that vision with you throughout this week and you can smile, too.