There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn must die
They’ve plowed, they’ve sown, they’ve harrowed him in
Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn vow
John Barleycorn was dead

Each morning and evening, Milo and I have a ritual. I reach down to his water dish — the one in my office — and fish out Squirrelee, wring him out, and lay him gently on the side of the plastic plate beneath the water dish. Milo, if nearby (and he usually is), focuses intently on this ritual. We then trot off to the sink where his dish is refilled, and we return to place his water dish in its usual spot. I then usually sit down and attend to whatever I had been working on, but behind me, inevitably, within minutes I hear Sploop! Sometimes Squirrelee doesn’t get off that easily. Sometimes, instead of a simple immersion, Squirrelee gets a very vicious round of dunking like a medieval witch, with water splashing in all directions.  That’s what the plastic plate beneath is for.

Squirrelee is a fabric toy, about four inches long and colored like a red squirrel. He has a pouch where cat nip can be inserted, but Milo is on some kind of natural high and doesn’t need cat nip. Milo, it should be noted, is well-named with a very mild, sweet personality. When we first brought him home he hid in the basement for months before emerging to live with us big human clods. I have never seen him hiss or bare his teeth in anger. And yet, we have this daily ritual, and it began as soon as I brought Squirrelee home. I’m not sure what Squirrelee did to deserve his fate.

All I know is Squirrelee must die.