One fateful night a young man named Thomas befriends a magical creature at a bar in Downtown Los Angeles: a silver statue of a squirrel. The statue gains life when surrounded by weed smoke. While the statue cannot speak, Thomas can hear the thoughts of the Silver Squirrel. These are the stories of their adventures…
Silver Squirrel: Quarantine
The quarantine caught both Thomas and Squirrel by surprise. Thomas now worked from home. He worked for a marketing firm in Downtown Los Angeles and used to walk to work, but now the offices were closed. Squirrel sat on the apartment window ledge, as Thomas worked, and looked out on the city while he smoked his favorite hybrid: Biscotti.
Squirrel had never seen Downtown Los Angeles so quiet. It was eery. Squirrel found himself confused nearly every day. His world had changed overnight. He missed the sounds of the city. Traffic. Cars honking. People shouting. Sirens day and night. It had all become normal to him. Now all was silent, and he didn’t understand why.
Thomas was taking a break from work, and he and Squirrel were lounging on the couch.
What’s happening? asked Squirrel. I can sense danger. Your heart beats faster…you’re nervous. Something’s wrong.
“It’s a pandemic,” said Thomas. “It’s a new virus, kinda like the flu, but they don’t know anything about it. Well, that’s not true. I guess it’s more contagious. And the hospitals can be overrun pretty easily if it goes around.”
Is that why we can’t go outside?
Thomas nodded and looked at his watch. “Hell, I’ve got no more meetings for the day,” he said, “Can you grab the pack of pre-rolls?”
Squirrel smiled up at Thomas, his metal cheeks plumping. I thought you’d never join me, said Squirrel.
Thomas laughed. “I’ve still got work, you know. Just because I work from home now doesn’t mean I can just hang out all the time.”
Squirrel scurried over to Thomas’s desk and retrieved the pack of pre-rolls near the computer. They both lit a joint and puffed in silence for a while. Thomas looked down at Squirrel and smiled. He always thought the image of Squirrel smoking a joint was funny. He held the joint with his front paws just like a real squirrel when eating a berry.
I wish I could go outside, said Squirrel.
“Well, come to think of it, you probably could,” said Thomas.
Won’t I catch the virus? asked Squirrel.
“I doubt it,” said Thomas. “You’re made of metal. I don’t think you can even get sick. You’ve never gotten sick before come to think of it.”
Maybe that’s my superpower! said Squirrel. You know, like Batman.
“Batman doesn’t have superpowers. He’s just rich,” said Thomas and laughed.
Squirrel stretched out with the joint still in his mouth. I’m going out to explore, he said. He always got a bit more fired up when he had freshly smoked.
“Whoa, hold your horses, partner. You may be immune but I might not be. You could bring that virus straight back here,” said Thomas. “They didn’t say how long it stays on metal surfaces…but maybe…”
What? said Squirrel and swished his metal tail.
“I do have hand sanitizer…,” Thomas dug in his pocket and pulled out a small bottle of hand sanitizer. “You know how you polish yourself so you won’t tarnish?” said Thomas.
“Well, now you polish with hand sanitizer. Every time you go out and come back,” said Thomas. “C’mon, let’s try it.”
Squirrel crawled closer and lowered his head. Thomas squeezed some sanitizer on Squirrel’s little metallic head. Squirrel rubbed the sanitizer all over his face and behind his ears.
“That doesn’t sting?” asked Thomas.
No. But it smells terrible. And such a strong smell too. Squirrel now spread some on his tail and belly.
“If it doesn’t sting maybe you do have some sort of superpowers.” Thomas took the last hit off his joint. “You know, we really need to do some more experiments on you during this quarantine.”
Experiments? asked Squirrel.
“Yeah. You know, to figure out makes make you tick, other than smoking weed. You know, learn more about you…”
I guess, but I won’t like it if it always smells like this, said Squirrel.
Thomas laughed. “That, my friend, is the smell of quarantine.”