birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Berkeley Squirrels

My grandmother had a love affair with the squirrel family that lived off her porch. At first it was just one or two, but she was so enchanted by them that she started to feed them. Soon, she was buying special kibble and leaving it out and the whole squirrel family came around regularly.

They got bolder over time. She knew not to open the screen door or think about touching them. But she’d sit at the big marble table in the breakfast room and watch them nibbling. Their little cheeks puffing out, chomping energetically, though with delicacy.

Her cat, John David, grew jealous of attentions his mistress gave to the rodent family. How dare they demand her attention? Her affection? He could hear how she spoke to them - the cooing dulcet tones usually reserved for human infants. Good God, she couldn’t even pet them — and here he was, such a fine, fat fellow with his chocolate colored fur and always ready for a snuggle. And yet the old lady was fascinated with the vermin.

John David was a scaredy cat of course. A pampered baby who save for the inaugural road trip to her home, had never been outside. He stared at the squirrel family. . .

White Ribbon

Something in the Room