Your average Porter Dining Hall squirrel wakes up early on weekdays. She knows the poor souls with 8 a.m. classes are about to spill and splash and drop and scatter their breakfast remains across the patio floor in a sleep-deprived daze. 

She hopes they have waffles today. 

Hungry babies await her at home, squealing for the delicious remains of students’ breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Today, she will hunt.

The average Porter Dining Hall squirrel cares not for rules or regulations. A true anti-establishment queen, she shimmies through the Porter patio bars. Refusing to scan a student ID or wait in line, she still expects a meal. She twitches her nose. Chorizo sausage patties mixed with the scent of… sewage? She will eat well today.  

Your average Porter Dining Hall squirrel is not a circus animal. You don’t train her; she trains you. She stands on her hind legs to assert her dominance until you cower and fork over the syrup soaked scraps of your half-eaten waffle crust.

Trial and error has prepared her for your refusal, but she knows not to back down. All she has to do is give your ankle a rub and you’ll fold like a paper napkin over the cookie stashed in your tote bag. 

Stifling a scream, you’ll do anything to dissuade her harassment of your exposed skin. You will cower before her menacing figure, which looks larger than life in the mid-morning light. You fearfully recall how your friend got a rabies shot after a squirrel bite encounter, and you fling your crumbs across the concrete. She always gets what she wants. 

Back home in her stump, she’ll feed her babies bits of hamburger bun and balsamic vinaigrette-varnished lettuce leaves. At night, she prays to the gods of the harvest for another bountiful feast the coming day. She sleeps soundly, just like your great-aunt after your family’s Thanksgiving dinner.