Yesterday I was driving my truck down a two-lane highway in southern California when a squirrel ran out on the road in front of me. I did my best to avoid him/her, but maybe I should’ve zigged when I zagged and I hit them directly. I don’t remember if I cursed, but I definitely gasped. I was very upset. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that I had hit an animal bigger than an insect while driving. I pulled over and jogged back to check their condition.
The body was laying on the pavement with some bloody internal matter protruding from a wound on the left shoulder. I picked the body up by the tail and jogged back to my vehicle where I set it down on the ground. There was no movement. The eyes were wide open but empty of life. The body was warm but nothing stirred: no beating heart, no breathing lungs. Definitely dead. Must have been instantaneous, or virtually so, which relieved me slightly. Following an unpreconceived urge, I dug out a paper grocery bag, carefully set the squirrel inside it, folded the top of the bag closed, and stowed it in the back of my truck.