Squirrel Frolic Leads to Downed Satellite

Out to Lunch, 1998

Not too long ago, I bought a beeper at a roadside fruit stand. Little out to lunchdid I know what wort of technological mess I had gotten myself into.

The other day I came home from work to find several squirrels frolicking in my front yard. The connection between beepers bought at a produce market and gaily romping squirrels may not be readily apparent, but bear with me, and after reading the entire article you might still be unclear.

If there’s one thing a squirrel is not permitted to do on my property, it’s frolic. They are keenly aware of my No Frolicking Squirrel rule, and when they saw me coming, promptly climbed the side of my house and started chewing on the eaves. In an ex parte ruling based upon my executive fiat power, I immediately decided that eave-chewing is the same as frolicking, and took appropriate action to enforce the rules.

Some may consider this arbitrary judicial activism. Although the law is king, in the Faircloth Compound, I am the law. And no eave-chewing squirrel given to unsupervised and unauthorized frolic is above the law.

The condemned squirrels got a technical reprieve when the sights on my high-powered rifle malfunctioned. The only things I managed to kill that day were my air conditioner and a sub-station power transformer.

I was somewhat concerned, however, when a shot ricocheted off the hard shell of an interloping armadillo and careened straight into the sky, but I thought no more about it once I remembered that Jeopardy! was on.

Halfway through Double Jeopardy I received the following message on my roadside fruit stand beeper:

Igor, Boris wants meeting at Kremlin. Bring Spice Girls record. Victor.

I was a little puzzled, to say the least. I thought surely that Boris Yeltsin would be a Sinatra fan.

Later, during a nutritious meal of sliced pickles and Cheesy Poofs, I received another disturbing message on the aforementioned roadside fruit stand beeper:

Al, the Prime Minister needs more classified military technology. India and Pakistan have the Bomb, and Lithuania has one mean water balloon launcher. Tell Bill to deliver the goods, or we revoke his lifetime supply of kung pao chicken. Call us: 555-NUKE.

It was at this point that I realized I was receiving pages that were not my own. As I usually do when faced with serious technological crises, I turned on X-Files reruns and helped myself to another helping of Cheesy Poofs.

But to my dismay all normal programming had been pre-empted by coverage of that day’s big news: a communication satellite had broken down and was falling out of orbit toward the earth.

I immediately realized that I had pulled a hat trick with my sharpshooting: air condition, power transformer, and, thanks to a crusty varmint, a major satellite.

The satellite’s owner attempted emergency repairs, but it turns out that the AAA, on a technicality, only supplies Emergency Satellite Assistance to a maximum of 10-mile orbits, and the Space Shuttle was busy putting out fires at the MIR Space Station.

Communications, therefore, would be disrupted for quite some time.

I kept my roadside fruit stand beeper on just to see what I would get.

CIA, bullet found in satellite. Tests reveal high-powered rifle slug covered with armadillo blood. Suspect likely in rural Alabama. FBI.”

Er, gotta go…

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