An Open Letter

Dear Prairie Dogs:

Dudes. You are idiots.

It’s astonishing that you have survived natural selection. You’ve not only survived, but you are disturbingly fecund. You are like a brown tide flooding the sages. Good on you for evolving such a successful reproductive strategy. Keep it up! Your niche appears to be digging megafauna-crippling holes. Fucktillions of them. I’m sure the holes provide all kinds of ecological benefits such as… um…

Unfortunately, many of you are in grave danger because I am your personal selective pressure. I must seem like a god among you, appearing silently at the edge of your myopic vision, bringing the sun on my back. I am no god. I’m just a girl on a bike with the power to kill.

When I come toward you, rising from the saddle, sprinting, hunched low over the hoods, rise up! But do not approach me. Place your feces-streaked haunches on the dirt. Slacken your jaws and dangle your adorable little hand-paws. Stare in awe. Remain calm. Do not approach.

If it should come to pass that my shadow falls upon you, resist the temptation to get a closer look at the shiny drivetrain. Remain still. Do not approach. However, If your instinct drives you to flee do so! But flee away from me. Not toward. Run in the opposite direction. Increase the distance between us.

For, verily, if you fling your winter bulk under my tires, I will smite you. Sorrowfully, unpleasantly, I will spill your blood into the earth. I know you have witnessed the deaths of your consanguines. Other gods have passed here before me. Red tire tracks and raptors bear testimony of these terrible events.

I will not spill my own blood to save you. When you run at me it makes me flinch, which puts me in danger. Speed requires unflinching focus. I can slow down, but I will not be able to stop in time. Swerving around you is too dangerous. If impact is unavoidable, I will do my best to kill rather than maim. This is all I can offer a fool.

As vision leaves your eyes and your heartbeat fades, your fecundity will cease.* Your mammalian attachment instinct will disappear. Your kin will panic. Coyote and Hawk will thank me. And I, carrier of spiders out of the house, will be angry and upset.

You will orphan your young. You will no longer eat, and shit, and dig holes, and fuck. Can you even imagine yourself not digging holes? Me neither. Stay the hell away from me.

Best of luck,



*Which might actually be a net benefit to the survival of your species if removing you removes the suicide-by-bike reflex.