Like the feeling that accompanies eating the last extra fry found at the bottom of a McDonald’s to-go bag, students were grief-stricken as they remembered Jeremy, the beloved and most personable squirrel on campus.
Jeremy’s carcass was found flattened like a well-tenderized flank steak at the intersection of Midwestern Parkway and Taft Boulevard. MSU police are at their wits-end, as the only clue to Jeremy’s demise are the tire marks posthumously impressed into Jeremy’s torso.
“We are investigating the tire tracks impressed into the victims chest cavity, and we’ve determined the tread to belong to a Honda Accord, and we are classifying this as a hit-and-run,” Wichita Falls Detective Samuel Riggs said. “We don’t know why anybody would do this to a helpless, loving fluff ball like Jeremy. You can expect the city to be pursuing the most severe penalty for this senseless crime.”
The hit-and-run has left students at MSU shaken. Classes were cancelled on Feb. 29 in remembrance of the university’s unofficial mascot. A candlelight vigil was held on Feb. 30, as approximately 1,200 students stood in a circle where Jeremy met his untimely demise, subsequently blocking traffic at the intersection. Amassed the symphony of car horns and multiple sirens, students sang “Amazing Grace” and Sarah McLachlan’s “In The Arms of an Angel,” seemingly unmoved by the mile-long rows of cars inching forward like hyenas ready to kill.
The sudden death of Jeremy has rattled the hearts of many, literally, as students had just taken their first exams the week prior. Vinson Health Center reported a 65 percent spike in high blood pressure in students the week of exams, and a 22 percent increase in high blood pressure in the hours following the news of Jeremy’s death.
“I don’t understand. It was just a squirrel,” Dr. Wilson Bradley, chief urologist on campus, said. “There is no logical correlation between the death of a squirrel and a spike in blood pressure in an alarming amount of the students on campus.”
While some individuals appear unaffected by the passing of Jeremy, others are trying to face the tragedy set upon the campus by remembering his life
“I gave Jeremy a slice of cheese from my Lunchables every day,” Katie Eubank, social work junior, said, tears falling down her face as she tried to complete her next sentence. “I just don’t understand. He was so young. He was just starting his life. Who will I give my cheese and crackers to now?”
To some, Jeremy was their anchor in the storm of life.
“He knew me better than anyone. I poured out my soul to him and he never asked anything in return,” Jessica Mowrer, social work junior, said, cradling a lock of hair Jeremy had given to her the summer of 2016. “Now who am I supposed to vent to? Myself? Who’s going to encourage me not to drop out school every week? A bird? Life will never be the same without Jeremy.”
Mowrer plans on framing the lock of hair and selling it on the Wichita Falls Trading Post to continue paying for her college.
Jeremy held a place in the hearts of many students, but held an even greater place in the hearts of those who loved him and knew him personally.
Jeffrey Nutsbaine, Jeremy’s husband of 179 days, knelt on his knees the entirety of the vigil in the spot where Jeremy had become a hairy pancake. Nutsbaine swears revenge on the soul who took his Jeremy from him.
“Squeak squeaker squeak squeak squeaken squék,” Nutsbaine said, wiping the small waterfalls from his eyes with his tail. “Squieks squéken sqúeks squeaker squeak.”
Born to Hugo and Rolinda Squirrel, Jeremy was the oldest of 224 brothers and sisters. Jeremy attended the University of Dodging Vehicles When Crossing the Road, with a bachelor’s degree of Playing Dead and a master’s degree in Finding the Acorn He Buried Last Week. He is survived by his husband, Jeffrey Nutsbaine, and his 34 children from his previous marriage. There will be an empty-casket memorial on March 4 at the Wichita Falls Animal Services Center at noon. Attendees will be given an acorn and free tattoos of Honda Accord tire tread in memory of Jeremy Nutsbaine.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, announced that it will be presenting MSU with a 22-foot statue of Jeremy. The statue is going to be unveiled directly following Jeremy’s funeral, and replace the Sunwatcher statue located between Clark Student Center and Prothro-Yeager College. MSU encourages students to skip class to pay homage to the memory of Jeremy.
Caleb Martin is a mass communication sophomore.