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John Boston: American booty, stay away from me

How Beige Was My Valley

Posted: December 18, 2008 8:51 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2008 4:30 a.m.
 

When Rodents Attack. Sounds like a Discovery Channel end-o'-the-world special. Actually, it's the latest chapter in the ongoing Santa Clarita saga of Yuppies vs. Rodents.

The homeowners association at American Beauty Classic off Soledad has declared war against the Mormotini. No. That's not a band of itty-bitty Mormons, nor is it that Canyon Country trailer trash family in the wife-beater T-shirts and tube tops who frequently are the marquee attraction of "Cops."

Mormotini is that burrowing pesky tribe consisting of prairie dogs, marmots and - hock, spit, ptooey - ground squirrels.

The HOA of ABC has been inundated by the screeching little nut stealers.

It seems that after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, American Beauty stopped watering the foliage near the Santa Clara River. Plants died. The hills dried up, and squirrels took over, burrowing hundreds of tunnels.

To a squirrel, a dry hillside is the attractive-nuisance equivalent of building a 400-foot-tall white wall in Compton - you're going to attract graffiti pests with baggy pants.

We had a species war like this, only on a much grander scale, in the 1930s. A political fervor swept California, and the bureaucrats, in their infinite wisdom, offered a $50 bounty P.D.C. (Per Dead Coyote).

For many during the Depression, $50 was more than a month's salary. Soon, the predator population nosedived. Nature's math took over.

The Santa Clarita Valley was then filled with vegetable gardens, orchards and oak trees. By knocking out the main small-game predator, Señor Coyote, the squirrel population multiplied like germs.

Squirrels did what squirrels do. They dug holes. Huge shade trees collapsed at Newhall Elementary. Newhall International Airport closed for a day to fill burrows on the runway.

Poison sales skyrocketed. We actually had a case of the Black Plague.

Fast-forward 80 years. To quell its rodent problem, American Booty doesn't want to use coyotes.

I think the HOA laced a miniature poodle, albeit an annoying miniature poodle, with cyanide in 1979 and there are still hard feelings.

In a brazen act of Not Shopping Locally, the HOA has contacted Gragoe Pest Services in Thousand Oaks, whose company motto is the rather catchy: "If It Wasn't For Us, This Place Would Be Called 247 Oaks."

You see, Gragoe will probably use the Atomic Bomb of Pesticides, diphacinone. It's a compound deadly to squirrels, Bijon frisses, velociraptors and gnomes, those little foraging midgets who wander Canyon Country's imitation paseos late at night, searching for cheeseburger wrappers and small children to eat.

Worse, the diphacinone could seep into the neighboring Santa Clara River and be washed downstream, creating a race of drooling mutants in Fillmore and Santa Paula with an inability to play high school football.

Never mind. I have just received a note stating that has already happened.

Dear Mr. Santa Clarita Valley,
I don't think this is funny at all. As a resident of American Booty, er, Beauty, I know the horror of living next door to squirrels. The other night, as part of a contested community service-in-lieu-of-jail time misunderstanding, I was walking Bob Kellar's three-legged dog when we were attacked by squirrels.
Well. Not so much attacked. The squirrels just circled around us, pirouetting and snapping their fingers, singing songs from "West Side Story."
Fortunately, Col. Artie Thompson from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station happened to drive up. The squirrels sang a few bars from "Officer Krupke," then dove into their dratted holes.
Dianne van Damme van Hook van Halen
President & Empress for Life, COC

Dear Mr. Santa Clarita
Valley,
Cripes, I hate yuppies. Can't you see the beauty in a squirrel learning not only to modern dance, but memorize all the lyrics from one of America's greatest musicals? Give the little nut-eaters a break, lady.
Best wishes for your continued success.
James Jimbo Mathus,
lead singer & guitar, Squirrel Nut Zippers, from a trailer in Canyon Country

Dear Mr. Santa Clarita
Valley,
Now looka-here. As soon as I am inaugurated, I will continue my vision and campaign promise of "Change," which looks suspiciously like "Not Change, only with a Brother in the White House."
As commander-in-chief, my first duty will be to disarm the American Beauty Homeowners Association, along with the rest of America's military. Also please tell your 86-year-old father to stop playing the Age Card and stop calling me "Bob O-Boom-Boom" or I'll order air strikes on his bony behind cuz I know he's doing it on purpose.
Still glowing,
Barack O.

Thank you, concerned Signal subscribers.

Clearly, we need a solution. We can't have American Beauty Classics tumble into a fissure and cascade toward China, although think of the tourist trade of people driving up to see the hole.

If the federal government were involved, it'd probably suggest hiring Boris Badinov. You know. Rocket J. Squirrel's nemesis?

Some junior congressman would probably clear his throat and raise a sheepish hand, pointing out that: 1) Rocky & Bullwinkle is a cartoon; and 2) Despite being a cartoon, never have Boris and Natasha succeeded in even wounding Rocky.

Congress being Congress, they'd stare at the frosh politician for a long moment, bang a gavel and yell: "What the heck!

It probably won't work anyway. Give the inept former KGB operative $14 billion to wipe out all the squirrels in Canyon Country and the South Pole, too, while we're at it."

Clearly, the solution must be a local one. I see animal activist Laurene Weste elbowing her way through the protesters, shouting: "Let me through! I'm a paleoclimatologist!"

City attorney Carl Newton whispers in her ear and Weste shouts again: "Excuse me! I misspoke. I meant to say, ‘I'm a Santa Clarita City councilwoman' and one heck of a councilwoman, too!"

As TV cameras capture the historic event, Weste whips off her overcoat to reveal her life-sized acorn costume.

Acting as live bait, legs splayed, the plucky politician positions herself over a squirrel hole.

Armed only with a giant inflatable plastic squeaky hammer, she begins the Herculean task of ridding American Booty of its flea-infested menace, one whack at a time.

John Boston has earned 117 alleged and major national, regional and California awards for writing excellence. Until we stop him, his work appears Fridays and Sundays in The Mighty Signal.

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