Of all the hundreds of people who have visited my treehouse, only one has been a problem. His name is Vinny and he is a thug. He is also a squirrel, a red squirrel to be precise, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, and he is a heavy smoker.
Vinny showed up early in the first year of treehouse construction. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye one day while I was leveling one of the main trusses. He was sitting on the flat top of a 4×4 wall post. He leered at me while puffing madly on a Marlborough, then flipped me off and ran away leaving a tiny pile of steaming poop. Our relationship has been tense ever since: Vinny believes the treehouse is his to live in (and destroy) as he sees fit; after all, I did encrouch on his turf. I see him as a malevolent tennant who I cannot evict.
Here is the description of Vinny in the book Treehouse Chronicles:
Vinny: Thug squirrel. Distributor of turds, stealer of insulation, scolder of visitors, chewer of fine woodwork. Even with his many faults, I grew to love him; he’s like a favorite uncle who visits too often, leaves the refrigerator door open, burns holes in the couch with his cigars, but tells great stories.
I only put in that last nice bit because Vinny scares me. His family is from Sicily and he has connections to the Rodent Mafia.