Commotion in the kitchen. Scuffling of claws. Noah's voice issuing commands sotto voce.
I slowly get out of bed and walk down the darkened hallway toward the kitchen. Noah's hand emerges from the shadows, spread and bright as a cave drawing in the dark.
"NO," he said forcefully, pushing his hand toward my face. "Everything is fine, but you don't need to see this."
I turn and walk back to the bedroom and calmly climb into bed.
Several minutes later, he comes in. "I was praying it was dead." And so he opened the conversation.
"What was it?" I asked casually.
"Bonnie was acting weird in the backyard," he said, "zipping back and forth and not coming when I called."
This would take a while. Whenever he avoids the direct question, I settle in for the duration.
"When she finally came running in, as she passed I could see something dangling from her mouth. I caught her by the hind end, and she dropped it. There was a thump. It was big, and it was heavy."
No point in asking more questions. In time, he'd answer everything.
"All I can say is, now I know how they felt in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, because she brought in a dead squirrel. Full-sized."
After that there was talk of length and weight, but I don't remember the details because I whited out as though someone had punched me in the nose. As I was coming to, I heard something about tinfoil and an unceremonious burial-at-sea into the woods on the other side of the fence.
"But don't worry," he told me. "Squirrels are the cleanest of the rodent family."