“It just felt like…I don’t know man…like maybe if I could find the perfect nut, one that was held by children in the 60’s – maybe as they watched Neil Armstrong step on the moon live, on one of those cool-ass monochrome TVs, while their pops smoked cigarettes and lounged on a dope corduroy couch – like somehow if I could find one of those nuts, down in the basement of some bookstore that was about to go out of business, that maybe then I wouldn’t feel like a discarded but still versatile Altoids tin. Y’know?”
Nervous and agitated, Randall the squirrel is also totally unprepared for the arrival of cold weather to his Winnipeg neighbourhood. Chain smoking a Civil War pipe he appraises the scudding snow clouds as they roll across the suddenly grey city, and openly ponders asking a better off buddy if he could crash on his spare branch for a few months.
“I’d chip in for nuts, and am a pretty good roommate, especially if you’re into drone music. I have 8000 records no one else has ever heard of that I carry in a dumpster on the side of my unicycle. It makes balancing a bitch, especially on top of the fences, but man do I get some looks from the ladies. C’est la vie bro. Chez la via. Have you gotta light? Mine’s ornamental.”
In an interesting evolutionary twist that has confounded zoologists, mammalogists, and mixologists, Randall – and his small sub-tribe of likeminded hipster squirrels – appear to be impervious to the biological imperatives supposedly written in bold on the instincts of all creatures; as best outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Dr. Gabbie Chippendale, of the Institute For Studying Squirrels Don’t Ask Why, explains what she has observed after thousands of hours of staring out of the backyard window, wishing she’d become a knife sharpener like her father, and his father before him.
“Instead of starting with the basics of life, such as sustenance, security, and safety,” Dr. Chippendale says in carefully measured tones that almost cover her excessive boredom, “Randall and his ‘hombres’ seem capable of ignoring what should be major existential concerns in favour of pursuing odd, arcane, and at times down-right asinine ideals. Rather than collect nuts and look for places to live, they spend a great deal of time unicycling, roasting coffee beans grown in soil hand-delivered from Panama, talking about how cool whales are, holding seemingly opposing views for reasons they aren’t entirely able to articulate, and reconciling themselves to the painful dichotomy of the permanence of tattoos, and yet fleeting impermanence of existence itself.”
“What she said brah,” Randall adds, sighing and nodding solemnly as he waxes his whiskers. “It’s just life y’know? Gets a brother down. Gets. A Brother. Down. Let’s be brothers, we’ll get tattoos it’ll be rad. Got any nuts?”