3:45, September 3, 2015
Back in Long Island, squirrels do not mean much to me. When I arrived in Geneseo in the late summer of 2013, I was not immediately captivated by these creatures, as I figured they were like every other squirrel I had ever encountered. No more than a couple weeks into my freshman year, my interest had already been piqued by a furry little guy standing much too close for comfort. Never before had I seen a squirrel come so close to my feet and not scurry off. I was perplexed by the little creature.
As I was walking home from Sociology 245, in my junior year mind you, my eye was caught by a tiny ball of puff making his way across the field hockey field. I immediately stopped and watched as the squirrel made his way from one end to the other. It must have felt like an impossible task for such a small creature. The squirrel stopped several times to catch his breath and look around for potential friends to join him on his quest. I would have loved to have been on all fours, running around the field with my buddy, but that would have looked quite questionable.
I have spoken with many of my friends and professors on campus, asking them their opinion on these wild squirrels and sharing our experiences. As a junior, most of my friends find it quite amusing how much attention I pay to these Geneseo squirrels. This year, I was outside the library enjoying an already odd conversation with a townie, who I have come in contact with before, and he began to just spew information about his conspiracy theory dealing with Geneseo squirrels. This crazy guy might have been messing with me because of my obvious interest in the squirrels up here, but the thought he provided was remarkable nonetheless. “In this town, the population of squirrels is larger than the student population.” Already questionable information, right? Well it gets weird. This guy claims that he has witnessed a “gang” of squirrels “planning or plotting” to destroy parts of the town. I began to laugh. He looked at me as though we were about to go into battle. Quickly, I realized this guy clearly has some form of PTSD from an encounter with a squirrel. The squirrels up here are quite friendly and interesting. Some squirrels you meet downstate are full of rabies and waiting to pounce on the first poor soul in sight. I have managed to escape all my close calls with squirrels downstate, but it seemed as though this old guy was not as lucky.
Doing research on squirrels and how to stay safe, I came across a very disturbing article in the Genesee Sun. This article claims that some lone squirrel “accidentally” took out the power in Geneseo. I immediately was suspicious of foul play because of that crazy old guy. As I have dug deeper into the situation from the summer of 2014, it seems as though the squirrels have covered their tracks quite well. I have not been able to speak with the townie on what our next move should be, but I am quite certain that he will be battle-ready.
On a normal walk to class this semester, a squirrel was following me. At every turn I made, I would assume he had scurried off; but there he would be, sitting, staring, waiting for me to call him out on what he was doing. When I sat down in class, Elliot made fun of my story, saying, “You just haven’t been sleeping enough bro, you’re seeing things for sure.” I silently accepted his statement, knowing I had no real case for my claim. When I got home that day, Elliot and my housemates confronted me on my dilemma with the squirrel. My four best friends told me that I have told many stories along the same lines as the one I had told Elliot most recently. I quickly disregarded them, assuming they were trying to make me seem crazy. That night I couldn’t believe my eyes! A squirrel just perched on my windowsill, eating his nuts. I knew if I woke anyone in my house, the squirrel would run away and add to my level of craziness in the eyes of my friends.
5:00 P.M. Saturday. I have been in a staring battle with the same squirrel that has been following me and he looks like he has the same shade of brown as the little guy that was having a midnight snack at my window the other night. I have been more and more concerned that another squirrel attack on power or some other necessary facet of life is not far off. There has been no sign of the townie in weeks; maybe he got spooked by the same squirrel and took off for a place with less squirrel power. I am nervous to step on their territory and disturb their hiding places for nuts. Just the other day, a squirrel ran up a tree and was daring me to chase him; I didn’t have good enough grip on my shoes that day, so I kept falling down.
People keep asking when I’m going to shave. How could I think about my physical appearance at this stage of the attacks? This past week three squirrels stole my paper I had to hand in for English and caused me to fail the assignment. When I explained myself to my professor, she gave me a puzzled look and asked if I had been sleeping recently. Sleep? Shave? Why do these people not understand what is going on? I have lost hope in my friends, but I still think the town can be saved. I just began writing for the Lamron and I suggested the topic of this week’s issue be centered around how to properly defend yourself from squirrel brutality. The panel of editors laughed in my face and asked for my real idea. I seem to be all alone on my quest to defeat squirrels and force them to relinquish their control of the town of Geneseo. All I could think about was the townie; he had to come back, if not for me, at least for the pride gained in saving a town from tyranny.
I am now hiding here in the Union. The squirrels were in my bedroom and always in my backpack when I had to get ready for school. I have given up on my studies and have entered survival mode. It has been a couple days since anyone but the cleaners have come in here and I have begun thinking the town has headed my words and shut down activities until further notice. I am uninformed on how many attacks have taken place since I entered hiding, but my guess would be at least 50 casualties and 5 deaths. I saw a lot of good men and women losing the fight out there. I was lucky to escape with my life but I fear as though I may be trapped here forever.
One night I awoke to the townie rummaging through Fusion trying to acquire fluids. He did not have the same ragged look to him; he was wearing all white and had luscious blonde hair rolling down his back. There was a sort of glow to him that I had not noticed in our earlier encounters. I asked where he had been and why he left me alone but he looked at me as if I was out of my mind. Great; now I even look crazy to this nutcase. The townie did not appear like he was ready to join me; in fact, he looked like he had an agenda of his own already. After pleading with the townie and begging him to help me, he vanished. The townie who once opened my eyes to the world of evil around me has abandoned me in my true time of need.
I awoke to the sound of a very familiar voice: “Connor! Connor! Where the hell have you been?!” I could not see yet, as the light in the Union was blinding me.
I answered, “I have been surviving here for months, waiting for the right time to rejoin humanity.”
“Dude, we have been waiting to leave for 3 hours…”
I look to my right and see the Union bulletin read, “December 20th — Enjoy the break, students.” I don’t know what to make of this sign. I can’t tell if the person who woke me up knows how long it’s been since the bulletin was updated. Elliot is standing over me waiting for me to do something, but it can’t be safe out there. I won’t go back out there; it’s not time yet. Next thing I know, I am being dragged across campus screaming for my life as tiny squirrels are gnawing at my ankles and throwing nuts at me. Elliot won’t slow down and appears unaffected by the squirrels. He keeps telling me to shut up and that it will all be over soon.
Thank God it’s over. I haven’t been visited by a human in years. I am stuck in this room without free use of my limbs and all I eat is pills. The squirrels stop by every now and again but usually only before bed. The room I am in is extremely cushiony and allows me to sleep anywhere I want. I just wish someone here could tell me if Geneseo survived and where the townie is.
Connor Quinn is a Junior Communications major at SUNY Geneseo. Quinn hopes to make a career out of journalism and has been inspired by the creative writing course he took in college.