Is this yours?

So this morning I was in the front yard with Dorothy Barker and this guy walked past my house and yelled, “HEY. IS THIS YOURS?” as he pointed at a dead squirrel in the road that had been run over by a car and I was like, “NO. THAT’S…um…THAT’S NOBODY’S, DUDE” and he looked at me like he was trying to decide if I was telling the truth and then nodded and said, “OH, OKAY. JUST CHECKING.” And I honestly don’t know if he thought I was littering dead squirrels or if he wanted the body and was asking if I had dibs but it has been haunting me all damn day.

I don’t have an ending to this story but it’s too weird not to share.

In entirely different news, I did a really lovely (virtual) talk at Richland Library in South Carolina and if you’re bored you can watch it because I did a small reading from Broken that might distract you.

PS. If you ordered one of the limited edition Nowhere hoodies or shirts they’ll be shipping out at the end of the month. Whoop! (If you want one I think they’re still available for a few more hours.)

71 thoughts on “Is this yours?

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Might be a follower of yours, making sure you weren’t calling dibs to get it transformed into a taxidermy surfer dude or something.

  2. He was probably thinking “Well, if SHE doesn’t have dibs on it…”

    I am arranging a holiday swap through Nowhere Bookstore for all the friends that want to join in it. So far, we have nine. And it’s going to be AWESOME! I just want you to write “Knock knock…” on the box in purple Sharpie.

  3. I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the virtual meeting with the Richland Library. I cried and laughed. And then cried harder and then laughed harder. I know how hard it was for you to do that, but I am so happy you did. You are an amazing beautiful human!

  4. I think he was attempting to use it as an icebreaker, but hadn’t really thought it through, and didn’t know where to go after his introductory question. I may or may not have done something similar…

  5. Reminds me of the David Brenner story, he said he was on the subway and happened to be sitting on a newspaper, and a guy asked him if he was reading it.

  6. Great interview, dear lady. I can’t imagine how Victor still has the energy to say “no” to you anymore. He should just give up on that.

  7. I sort of wish someone told me a story that he asked this woman if the squirrel was hers, and she said it’s nobody’s and he was wondering if she was kidding. But that story would make me concerned about that guy.

  8. I mean he’d hate to be arrested for stealing your road kill. It would be pretty low man on the totem pole in the lock up. Like what did you do? I killed 13 people. What did you do? I scooped up a dead squirrel that wasn’t mine.

  9. I mean, it seems entirely plausible to me that the dead squirrel could be yours. I mean, have you met you?

  10. Years ago we lived next to an elderly couple. She was very friendly and very deaf. He was the kind of guy who got in a disagreement with the city water department so he told them to shut off his service and reopened the (60 years closed) well in their back yard. So, not exactly a laugh riot.

    One day, I spotted an animal carcass on the edge of their driveway. I went to the door, loudly and with gestures asked her to go get him and waited.

    After some time he stood in the doorway glaring down at me.

    Me: There’s a dead owl in your driveway.

    Him: Are you sure?

    Me: blinks in what the hell

    Me: Am I sure it’s an owl? Yes, I had picture books as a child. Am I sure it’s dead? Well it has not moved in at least 15 minutes and face down on pavement is not a usual pose for owls. Am I sure it’s on your property? After almost a decade I know to an inch where the property line is, so yes, I am sure. There is an owl, which is dead, on your property.

    Him: mutters in grumpy

    Me: Okay! I can call Fish and Game for you if you’d prefer! Always happy to help!

    Him: I’ll take care of it.

    Door slams. I shrug and go about my day. I have NO idea what he did about it and it was never mentioned again.

    Maybe Squirrel Guy is related to my neighbor?

  11. Did he think it was a cat? Or does he just know you have a house full of dead animals in charming clothes and poses?

  12. My take on the weird story was that he thought it was a cat. Maybe he hit it himself with his care and was visiting the scene of the crime, scoping it out to see if you recognized him as the hit-and-run-er. Good move on saying no. Who knows what he would have done otherwise. You can’t be too careful these days!

  13. Your stuffed squirrels and critters really leave a lasting affect on those who know you. How nice of that guy to make sure squashed squirrel wasn’t yours. You are adorable!

  14. My grandmother was taken to the hospital with covid this morning and this is the first thing today that made me laugh. Thank you.

  15. It could just be he is aware of your love of taxidermy and the whole dibs question makes Sonce.

  16. Jenny, this is just what I needed tonight! I was in the middle of an anxiety and depressive episode when your email came through. Also, as a Strangling and a bookseller, I screenshot your email announcing the Dark Archive book so I could send it to my manager so we could try to get more in for a staff rec!

  17. Thanks for posting your virtual library talk. I signed up to attend but didn’t add it to my calendar so I got the start time wrong: EST to CT. I love your how you said that’s nobody’s dude, sounds like something that I might say

  18. Either he was worried it was your pet, or he was wondering if he could have it, or he was just making conversation. Either way there is a squirrel that needs a burial or an embalming.
    My family used to have a pet cemetery in our backyard. If it was a pet like a cat or a bunny or a dog we would have our vet cremate it, or if it was small like a bird or squirrel that we found dead then we would use a shoebox or Kleenex box then we would hold a funeral and bury the remains under some stones so the other dogs or cats wouldn’t dig it up. My siblings and the neighborhood kids and I would say a few words, and if it was a pet there would be tears, and then we would know we gave an appropriate send off to animal heaven.
    All of God’s creatures great and small….

  19. He’s definitely read your books and let’s face it it’s not a crazy question considering your history with random road kill taxidermy. Plus it was nice of him to ask I’m case you accidentally lost it or dropped it

  20. This reminds me of the people who periodically show up on our local Nextdoor, asking if anyone has recently lost a turkey. (There’s a flock that hangs around our neighborhood.)

  21. Hahahahahaha I so needed alittle weirdness tonight.. made me feel alittle bit better after a very long fucked up day.
    Ohh how I thank you…..Im just so much more comfortable knowing someone else obsesses over freakish random shit too…♡♤♡

  22. I’m the proprietess of a cafe on our deck for squirrels. They keep me sane and laughing every day. Some run up to me when they see me and some I’ve watched grow up since last spring. Sometimes I can tell whose who in which family. I started the cafe in honor of our wonderful dog who passed at the beginning of the madness that became 2020. Dude, there’s no such thing as a squirrel that’s nobody’s.

  23. You must have missed one of the unwritten rules of your neighbourhood – adopt a squirrel. I’m not sure how you tag the squirrel to make sure no one else adopts the same one, though. You might have to just claim one and see if anyone gets angry.

  24. Thank you for the reminder! I MUST have a hoodie because I only have one dresser drawer crammed with hoodies and more hanging in my closet. You can never have too many hoodies.

  25. That not be as weird as you think. My mother tells a story about HER mother, who grew up in THE depression and didn’t like to waste anything. Supposedly my grandmother hit a squirrel with her car and killed it, but didn’t completely flatten it, and she couldn’t bear to leave a perfectly good, fresh, squirrel just laying there so she stopped the car, got out, and picked it up. I know there WAS squirrel (were squirrels?) in her freezer when she finally moved all the way out of her house, and that people do eat squirrels, so maybe it’s a true story??? And maybe that’s why the guy was asking about the dead squirrel in front of your house?
    More likely he’s a fan, and was just making sure none of your treasures had escaped. 😉💗

  26. julie42a–I also grew up with relatives who were poor as poor could get (for at least the last 400 years, if is to be believed anyway) and shot/ate anything that didn’t run away fast enough.

    I’ve had squirrel–it’s kind of gross and super greasy, but still edible. The kind of thing that you go, “Why the fuck am I eating this? This is so gross.” but you keep eating it because you don’t want to offend your host/hostess.

  27. We name all our neighborhood outdoor wildlife and some at our local state park where we walk. For 2 years, we’ve had an albino deer in the park getting great news coverage. Chances are 1 in 30,000. So my partner was on the phone for work with a woman from Virginia. Turns out she grew up in Michigan, near where we live. Randomly she asks, “have you seen the albino deer?” Without missing a beat, partner says, “Well of course, that’s Giselle!” Sudden silence on other end…….we are still laughing!

  28. I don’t know, Jenny. That squirrel was somebody’s son or daughter… somebody’s friend!

  29. My 92 year old father grew up on a farm in Washington, D.C. (as if that doesn’t sound made up in and of itself!). He had a pet squirrel named Tommy that he raised by hand. During the Depression they shot & ate squirrels – well, you know where this is heading! During dinner his brothers, being brothers, asked him if it was good & then broke the news that it was Tommy. He has the beginnings of dementia but this memory, well of course(!), is still clear as a bell! It puts the crisis of running out of Ben & Jerry’s right into perspective 😂

  30. Richland Library is my local library and I was so happy to watch your interview. It was fantastic and I loved every minute.

  31. Your squirrel story reminds me of one my mom had. She was on her way to work and hit a deer. She had called the sheriff to report it and because the car was damaged and the deer was maimed. While waiting someone pulled up and asked “You going to take that?” She was a nurse and dressed in all white, and driving a small hatchback.

  32. I agree with everyone saying the guy knew who you are and thought maybe you might have wanted it.

    Also, that anecdote is just begging to be made into a six-word story. “Missing: Pet squirrel, answers to ‘Pancake’.”

  33. Purraps he had a poor eye sight and thought it was an actual, alive pet! Or maybe he thought you wanted to turn it into a new taxidermied friend!

  34. I thought he knew you and your collection of taxidermy. Also, I can’t wait for my Nowhere Bookshop T-Shirt!

  35. He was definitely trying to inquire about existing dibs. When it happens again, see what happens when you offer him a spatula to scrape it up and a plastic bag to take it home.

  36. Love the hoodies and shirts, but would you consider adding a tote bag or something non-size related?

  37. He’s a wildlife rehabber who collects precious, fresh roadkill for his critter clients. I was one for 18 years (a rehabber, not roadkill), so I know where he’s coming from: you find a thing of great value lying in front of a neighbors’ house, it’s only courteous to ask, right?

  38. I might have been tempted to claim the corpse, but knowing me the way I do, I probably wouldn’t have said it out loud which means both the guy AND I would be staring at each other, blinking while our brains went into a total meltdown and it all turned into a ‘Who Blinks First’ competition that no one would win until someone rescued one or both of us. That’s usually The Viking’s job.

  39. I’m thinking he thought it was one of those pre-flattened squirrel dog toys you can get at the pet store. But that’s a boring story.

  40. I just read this to my SO and he said “Well if we lived on the same street as the Bloggess I think it would be a reasonable thing to ask.”

  41. So, I have created a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ ending:

    1. Was he alone or was he in the company of this super sketch Russian woman named Natasha; and if so were they inquiring the whereabouts of a moose *and known associate of said squirrel?


    2. Maybe he’s super ADHD, not unlike myself who is known for her “OH, squirrel!” episodes mid-stride or mid-sentence, completely forgetting what the fuck she’s doing and who the hell she’s talking to.

    The choice is all yours. Enjoy!

    ~Ambereve ✌🏻🌸💕🌍☮️

  42. In my head, this dude was a fan of yours, and he actually brought the dead squirrel and staged the whole thing, probably walking by several times before running into you, all in the hopes that you’d dibs it and get it taxidermied so he’d have a cool story to tell. “I gave her that dead squirrel!”

  43. Seriously, maybe he knows you from your first book with the dressed-up squirrel on the cover…..Let’s pretend this never happened…..remember ? The one where you
    love your job in HR? (you did make it sound fun….)

  44. I assume this is a reader who worries one of your taxidermies escaped. And now I’m a reader worried he doesn’t know how taxidermy works.

  45. Well, if he knows you it sounds like a fairly valid question. Although a better query would have been “Do you want this?”

  46. I super love the sign language interpreter in your video! I keep watching the part (at around 28:30) about the tampon flying out of the sleeve — it cracks me up each time.

  47. Maybe he heard you had a collection of taxidermy and thought maybe you wanted a new piece for your collection…

  48. Dude. So I was just looking at the awesome shirts. Thank you for saving us all from the dilemma of deciding if the ladies cut tshirt is too small and we should just buy the mens. Or is that just me?

  49. This story makes me want to go out and ask random people if road kill is theirs. Just to see the reaction.

  50. I’m imagining the look on your face when he asked you. LOL 😂😆 Thanks for sharing, I needed a good laugh.

  51. I actually laughed out loud. I’m still cracking up. He probably either thought it was a cat/dog or knew you and assumed you’d want dibs on it to stuff.

  52. So excited to be able to support your shop with a t shirt purchase. My first 2020 Xmas present to myself!

  53. Loved the event and hearing you. One time I was working at a card/party store and they were telling us to ask people who bought cards whether they wanted to buy confetti to put in the card. So I scanned the barcode on the back and did the “would you like confetti with that” line. It was a sympathy card. The person was thankfully not close to the person who died and wasn’t totally freaked out at me, but YIKES.

  54. I was able to participate in the Richland Library event and love watching and listening to you. You always put a smile in my heart. I can’t wait to get my copy of “Broken.”

  55. Maybe he knew about your love of taxidermied animals? Or maybe he was just in a weird mood.

    I’m gonna share a creepy story that came to mind when I read your post. Enjoy (or not, it’s up to you).

    Some years ago I lived in a small town in eastern NC. I was renting half a duplex and the driveway for my side was bordered by a wall of concrete blocks, the kind with two big holes in it. One morning on my way to work, I noticed the back half of a squirrel sticking out of one of the blocks. I approached carefully, expecting the squirrel to scramble away when it heard me coming. It didn’t move. Further investigation revealed that the squirrel was in fact dead. It was frozen stiff in a jumping position. TO THIS DAY I have no clue whether the thing died while climbing through the wall, or was placed there as part of some root work against me. There were a few witch doctors in the community and my job was the sort that could tend to make unpleasant people angry.

    Maybe I don’t want to know how that squirrel ended up there.

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