HAUNTED TAILS by Gage Thomas



The events described in the following story are all true.

So back in February I was riding in a car with someone and I saw something that others might see as horrifying. I was riding shotgun in the car since I can’t drive yet (I’m a senior and I can’t drive, yes, I am aware how dumb that is) and I saw a squirrel scuttle across the street.

Now, seeing a squirrel running across the street isn’t unheard of, but this particular scene took a dark turn. There was a car in front of us and I saw that the squirrel was about to make a grave mistake.

I don’t know what went through my mind that caused me to do this, but as I saw the squirrel running in front of the back tire of the car in front of us, I decided to point it out to the driver of the car I was in (whose name I will not disclose).

“Oh look, look, look!” I said.

And at that moment, she looked at what I was pointing to and saw the poor squirrel get obliterated by the back tire of an SUV. Imagine a grapefruit or a watermelon covered in fur getting smashed by a sledgehammer. It was graphic to say the least.

I can handle particularly graphic things, they don’t bother me, but I was still shocked. I wasn’t even sure if what I saw actually happened. The driver of my car was absolutely mortified. She was really shaken up and actually in tears for a few minutes after that.

I can only imagine the look on the SUV drivers face when they find out that their back tire was painted red and that bump in the road, most certainly wasn’t a pothole. This event led to a couple of hours of deep thinking and reflection.

I began to think and I realized something. Squirrels have a tendency to meet their demise whenever they are in close proximity to me. I’d like to think that I’ve seen more squirrels die than the average person.

I find dead squirrels on the side of the road far too often. You would think I was some sort of homicide detective solving the dark, graphic deaths of squirrels. One of these days I expect to see a chalk outline of some poor squirrel. I should carry around a pair of sunglasses to pull a Horatio Caine and make some sort of CSI: Miami one-liner.

“Looks like this situation has…”

*puts on sunglasses*

gone nuts.”



I can make jokes about this all day, but the mystery still remains.

I’ve seen squirrels die in too many ways and I don’t know why. There really is no explanation to this, but it has begun to muddle my mind and caused me to have many sessions of deep reflection over what I have done with to cause these squirrels to die. Ever since I’ve had this realization, it has bothered me ever since. Allow me to enlighten you with several instances of unnecessary death.

I once saw a squirrel up in a really tall tree and the branch he was on just snapped. Soon after that, he met the pavement.

Another time I saw a squirrel try to jump from the roof of a two-story house to tree and it just straight up missed. Sidewalk.

Then there are just the ones that get hit by automobiles. Seen that all too often.

Maybe I’m just the worst superhero ever and my power is to subconsciously lead squirrels to their imminent dooms.

Another incident that sticks in my mind, actually the oldest I can remember, of a squirrel meeting its end all to soon which was partially my fault. Actually, it was completely my fault. A few months after my family and I moved into the house we currently reside in, my grandpa brought over his truck so we could move a bunch of timber of small to medium sizes from the back of his truck to the side of our house. I don’t know why we put it there, I don’t know why it is still there, but it’s there. Anyway, while we were moving the wood to the back, a squirrel came by and decided to stand by the pile we had made. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when I went to put a particularly large piece on top, I didn’t set it quite right.

So let me pause right here for a second, just try to imagine what is going to happen next. I didn’t set a log of wood right on top of the pile and there is a squirrel near the lower end of the pile.

As if in slow motion, the log rolled down the pile and the squirrel was directly in the path that it was heading.

You could literally insert any onomatopoeia here that represents a sound of hitting and it would work.

I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I will say that I had to dispose the evidence very discreetly, meaning, no one else knows this happened besides those of you reading this.

You can call me a squirrel murderer if you want. I don’t want to be called squirrel murderer though. It wasn’t on purpose and I acknowledge the fact that the whole situation could have been dealt with far better. I do feel terrible about the it. I didn’t want the squirrel to die at all, I don’t want any squirrels to die. It sucks, I don’t think anyone else has ever had this problem. I don’t want squirrels to die wherever I go, it makes me feel like a pile of dung.

I think it was this particular squirrel death that instigated this whole chain of squirrel deaths. Maybe the ghost of this squirrel is trying to haunt me and causes squirrels to die around me to serve as a constant reminder of my mistake. If he is trying to disturb me, it isn’t working, it has just given me something to write about.

This sounds like the premise of a really bad sitcom. The tagline: “Searching to redeem himself for a death he was responsible for years before, a detective tries to solve the deaths of squirrels all around him. Things are about to get nuts.”

My dog actually chases squirrels away from me, maybe he is the unsung hero of squirrels knowing what will happen if they come too close. Someone needs to save them.

On a more serious note, I genuinely feel bad for these squirrels, thinking back on these terrible occurrences is bizarre. I’m sure some of the connections that I made here might have become exaggerated and twisted in my mind at some point. This could be just my mind dealing with the most recent one. All I know is that I remember these instances and while I can make it funny, I wish that that unnecessary death wouldn’t happen, it is pointless and does nothing for anyone.

Here’s a warning to all of you. If you like small mammals, keep them away from me. If you put any small mammals under my care, you have made a bad decision.

– Words by Gage Thomas

– Images by Camper Ruybal

– Audio by Mr. Strong