This is not a squirrel. Yeah, I know he looks like one, but don’t be fooled by those innocent looking eyes. This is a cold-blooded Cherry Bandit caught red-handed in the act of stealing cherries from my cherry tree. I don’t know what it is with this critter, but he seems to know exactly, and I mean exactly, when the cherries are ripe, and he won’t be satisfied until he’s taken every last one. I mean if he were a real squirrel and not a Cherry Bandit wouldn’t he be eating acorns or something appropriately squirrel-like???
How does such a little guy effectuate such amazing feats of destruction? Well, his standard M.O. is to sneak onto my tree from my neighbor’s yard. Basically he drops from my neighbor’s tree, stealthily scales the fence, and then hops onto my tree like some kind of pint-sized ninja. Once at his target, he quickly scurries up the trunk and then pops one of my cherries into his furry mouth. However, if I catch him mid theft, he scampers back and jumps the fence before I can even get to the tree. This guy is so quick that I think he could outrun even a roach. So I think it’s time I finally confessed. There are moments confronting the Cherry Bandit when I actually feel like I am Bill Murray in Caddy Shack —a grown woman being taunted and outwitted by a freaking gerbil.
But on Monday, I hatched a devious little plan. I found a hose and asked my 10-year-old niece to pull up a chair. Instead of playing Angry Birds online, she had fun sitting in the chair lying in wait for the Cherry Bandit. And he showed up right on schedule. It would appear that all those countless hours she’s spent gaming have paid off big time. (Note to Parents—you finally have a real justification for buying your kid that Playstation or Xbox. S/he can become a professional Cherry Bandit bounty hunter :D) Nothing escapes my niece’s amazing blue eyes and she immediately caught sight of my nemesis darting over the fence, took aim, and then—BAM!—fired. Whoo hoo! One blast caught him in his tail. And being the arrogant little Cherry Bandit that he is, he just stood there on the fence daring her to do it again. So she did! It only took three more blasts before he figured it out that he had finally met his match. He hopped off the fence and just sat there ogling those juicy cherries from my neighbor’s tree. When I looked at him, I swear I caught him smiling, as if to say, “I can wait here all day.” But little did he know that like him, my niece had nothing better to do than to sit in that chair with that hose. He came back 4 more times and each time he felt the wrath of a 10-year-old-girl with way too much first-person shooter video game experience entrusted with the noble task of cherry protection.
So thanks to Luxe Langmade, I finally won a battle in the war against that tiniest and most odious of scourges, a.k.a., the Cherry Bandit. Haven’t seen the Cherry Bandit since Monday. I’m not holding my breath, but it may give those cherries just enough time to finish ripening so I can harvest them.
You know what that means, right? Cherry pie time!