There isn't much about The Squirrel Machine that doesn't seem like everything you've just read is one giant dream, or hallucination. Many scenes contain nothing that could feasibly be referred to as "the literal", relying only on symbolism to tell the the story, or perhaps not even that. It's possible Rickheit's intention was to craft a story with no intrinsic meaning, leaving different interpretations up to the reader; the author daring his audience to take part in the creative process.
This isn't to say the story doesn't contain "facts". On the contrary, its foundation is somewhat straightforward: the tale of two brothers who are societal outcasts due to their odd behavior and freakish inventions, The Squirrel Machine follows its protagonists Edmund and William Torpor as they grow older, becoming slightly more eccentric as the story progresses.
However, it's what isn't said that seems most interesting.For example, we're shown the blueprints to the Squirrel Machine, the titular invention, only in passing, and we're never quite given an impression of what it might do. Even as Edmund is about to explain his discovery to William he cuts himself short as he sees his brother's bruised and scraped face, implied to be a result of a run-in with local crazy person the Pig Lady. The machine is never again mentioned by either character on panel for the rest of the book.
The Pig Lady herself is a remarkably surreal entity, part homeless loon and part female shaman. Her speech is little more than a series of gibberish words and grunts, her actions nothing short of hypnagogic. She's seen eating the boils off of sick animals, and scooping the brains out of a crushed human head. Still, she serves as sort of a vessel of change throughout the book for each of the boys, first supplying the means with which to create their "pig organ" (an organ with pig heads rather than pipes to produce sound), then acting as the trigger for their eventual sexual and spiritual awakenings. Their attempt at creating a second organ, this time with a cow rather than her trademark pigs, is met with disaster.
Of course, if none of this makes sense it may be due to one man's misguided attempt at applying meaning to that which has none. Still, meaning or not, Rickheit's work feels far too personal to ignore. His artwork is crisp and detailed, and he can turn a scene on its head with just a few panels. Even if you're unsure of what he's saying Rickheit demands your attention as he says it.