about a squirrel

‘Tell me about the squirrel.’
‘It would never have happened if Sheila were still alive.’
‘Was she good with squirrels?’
‘She was good with everything. I’m lost without her. Lost and lonely.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that.’
‘It’s not your fault.’
‘So go on, then. What’s all this about a squirrel?’
‘I’d just got back from the shops. I opened the front door and came into the hallway, put the bag down, leant the stick in the corner, turned round to close the door when I heard this little skittery noise from the bedroom. Hello I said. Who’s there? Because I thought it might be a burglar. Which, in a way, it was. So I nudged forward a little bit, and there was the skittery noise again, and something falling over, like a glass. So I said Right! I’m calling the police – although the phone was in the kitchen, and anyway, to be honest with you, I had a feeling it was too small to be a burglar. More likely a cat or something. But you say stupid things when you’re on your own, don’t you? Sheila wouldn’t have had none of that. She’d have marched right in there and sorted it out, burglar or otherwise. She was always the same, right from when we met. She weren’t afraid of nothing, except maybe at the end, and that was different. That was more than anyone could’ve coped with. Anyway, there I was, standing in the hallway, wondering what to do, picking my stick up again and holding it out in front of me, when suddenly – wham! Out flies this squirrel. And I know I’ve probably remembered it all wrong, because it happened so quick, but I swear, this squirrel, he ran up the wall, across the ceiling, back down the other side, through my legs and out the front door. And I spun round on the spot to whack him one, and fell over, and I must’ve caught my head on the hall table, because next thing I know I’m sitting on the carpet covered in blood, and my daughter Carol’s standing over me, and shes’s saying Oh my God, Dad. What happened to you? And I told her about the squirrel, and she told the paramedics, and now everyone thinks I’m this crazy old fool who got mugged by a squirrel. But I tell you what, they’re not like they used to be. I remember when a squirrel would tiptoe up to you and maybe take a nut or two out your hand. Now they’re just as likely to steal your car and burn your house down. But things change, I suppose. Life goes on. I just wish I was coping better.’