Chipmunk Anxiety

by Kathy Coogan

We’ve been invaded by a herd of chipmunks. The brazen little boogers have undercut our porch, uprooted plants around our patio and dug tunnels under our driveway. They have become so bold that they stand on their hind legs and bleat raspberries at me when I walk out to get the newspaper. Okay, maybe not raspberries but they stand there until I get very, very close then dart into one of their tunnel entrances.

These creatures are not interested in peaceful coexistence. They taunt and cavort, teasing Lucy, our sheepdog who is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. From inside, she sees them appear on the patio, usually in threes, and runs from window to screen door to window trying to get to them. She is not a barker but she whines pitifully. I translate: “Lemme at ’em, lemme at ‘em.”

When I let her bolt out the backdoor, of course they have disappeared into their bunkers. Lucy, miserably, sticks her nose into the openings, sniffing, sniffing and then cocks her head as if to listen. I imagine a chorus of Alvins giggling at her from the safety of their underground condos while participating in chipmunk orgies of mass reproduction. Human and doggy tranquilizers are considered.

I google “kill chipmunks”, not caring if PETA is eavesdropping on my searches. There are dozens of chat rooms where other ticked off humans gather for mutual support. It seems that chipmunks are notorious invaders, their cuteness a myth invented by Disney. Alvin, my patootie! Horror stories of attic nests and chewed electrical wiring give rise to interesting methods of eradication.

Most folks reach a level of frustration way past humane capture and release in hav-a-heart traps. Electrocution, drowning, poisoning and cats are mentioned with casual acceptance. I hesitate to act for two reasons: wanting to keep Lucy safe from my revenge against the monsters and disgust at having to handle and dispose of their tiny corpses. My reluctance and squeamishness give the pesky enemy ample time to add to their supplies and bring in reinforcements.

The fact that winter is coming is no solace, the nasty devils are simply making themselves comfortable, maybe in my attic, certainly in the nooks and crannies they have created under my patio and driveway. I dream about miniature highways that go deep under our house’s foundation, weakening the structure until it falls with a whoomp into the chipmunk’s den, smushing them to suicidal smithereens.

That at least might get rid of them. I wonder if it is covered by my Homeowner’s Policy. As I place the call to my insurance man, I stand at the window and watch the fat brown chipmunk chieftain who, I am certain, is monitoring my call.

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