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Squirrels in the Vicinity

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Squirrels in the VicinityLike them or not, you can’t deny there’s an element of fun to squirrels. Twitchy, chattering and clambering, the bushy-tailed rodents have lent their name to several ideas, such as hoarding (to squirrel away) or strange (as in squirrely behavior). Dogs can’t deny them and some people eat them.

This week, writers went nuts with stories about squirrels. Humor is prevalent. Yet it’s also amazing when something fun can actually lead to a profound revelation or deeper understanding about human behavior. Thus the results of writers chasing squirrels on the page.

The following is based on the May 18, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a squirrel.

***

Snack Time by Anthony Amore

Along with the leaves, innumerable acorns have been raked to the corner of the yard where other dead and dying things rest and compost. Several chipmunks dart beneath the leaves thrashing about uncovering the acorns only to be usurped by a couple gray squirrels. Seemingly the five work as a group, a unit, plucking acorns from the pile bringing them elsewhere. Their excitement akin to my finding ten dollars in my backpack, or a $100 pair of running shoes for $45 online. Gifts riding winds of fortune until a darting fox takes one of their number, a fortune of his own.

###

Thorn and Rose by Pat Cummings

Rose tsked in irritation as the squirrel-tail flirted against her window.

He skittered along the eave over her window, with the “lipperty-lip” footsteps that identified his kind—vision wasn’t sharp anymore, but nothing was wrong with her hearing. Rose tsked again, and that thorn-in-her-side squirrel chittered back. His fluffy tail metronomed as he gathered himself to launch across to the adjacent oak.

Rose spotted the target of his squirrel-talk: a female. Frisking squirrels in spring promised a new generation of Thorns to wake her.

Sighing, Rose curled her tail over her pink nose, and sank back into her morning catnap.

###

Don’t Feed the Squirrels (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

Jane and the squirrel are both frozen, warily eying each other. She doesn’t dare move, doesn’t want to startle it.

She remembers wanting to feed yard squirrels as a child. “They carry plague,” her mother had fretted. “Don’t get near them.”

Her father had laughed and asked her mother why she didn’t make squirrel pie like his mother had. Mom had snorted. “Where would you go shooting in the Denver metro area?”

Happier times. Safer times.

Jane breaks a piece from her doughnut and slowly holds it out, drops it. The squirrel’s bright gaze drops and it hops forward.

###

Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw by Geoff Le Pard

Penny let Peter off his lead. The dog sniffed then became still. Seconds later he was sprinting after a squirrel. Penny watched, heart in mouth, as the dog caught and shook its prey while Penny ran, desperate to stop the horror show. By the time she arrived it was limp in the dog’s jaws.

Later as she recounted the story to her mother she asked, ‘Why?’
‘Instinct.’

‘But it’s not like he needs the food.’

Mary thought back to the moment she heard of her father’s affair. Maybe we are destined to be let down by those we love.

###

One More? by Norah Colvin

They knew when she left – airplane tickets in one hand, luggage in the other – that it meant only one thing.

“Time to plan,” announced Kanga, the original and self-proclaimed leader.

“It’s too crowded!” moaned Little Koala.

All stuffed in the box inhibited thought.

“Right. Everybody out,” said Rabbit, taking over.

Squirrel, last in, was first out, twirling her tail.

Soon everyone was out, exchanging opinions. Inevitably disagreements erupted. Ever patient Kanga quietened them.

“We always make room. We will adjust. We will welcome the newcomer. Once we all were different. We still are. But we learn to get along.”

###

Like Clockwork by Paula Moyer

“I’m getting the hang of it,” Jean thought. The new puppy, Stella, was now 10 weeks old. Stella took to the leash easily enough – some pulling, but Labs were known to pull, right?

The week before, it was hot on their walks. Jean noticed the squirrels that Stella didn’t, and the yellow pup came home thirsty and sleepy. It was working out well.

Today, though – chill in the air, turning leaves. Stella’s nose twitched.

Back home. Squirrel in the driveway. Stella’s DNA called “Charge!”

Jean landed face forward.

Ripped pants, scraped knee – Jean could now testify to Stella’s instincts.

###

Sedentary by Kerry E.B. Black

The squirrel took a peanut from Melinda’s hand and scurried to hide it. Its gray tail twitched like a tic, all uncontrollable jerking and nervous energy.

Melinda waited its return, sack of peanuts in her lap. Mud had caught her chair’s wheels, so observing passed time.
The squirrel returned for another snack, stretching it miniscule paw to touch the worn padding on the chair’s arm. As it claimed its prize, its claw caught on the stuffing which trailed behind like engine smoke.

“If only I could harness your energy!” she thought as she pushed on the mired wheels without moving.

###

Red Squirrel Missing by Sherri Matthews

‘Home of the Red Squirrel’ the sign read.

A short boat ride to the little island and at last, Mum could show her children what a red squirrel, not grey, looked like.

Signs with photographs of red squirrels pointed the way to the entrance as the children ran on ahead.

“Keep your eyes peeled,” called Mum, her eyes darting expectantly from tree to tree.

“Look, peacocks!” The children laughed as they spent the next hour chasing them.

“How was it?” asked Dad later.

“Should have called it ‘Home of the Peacock,” Mum sniffed. “Not a red squirrel in sight…”

###

Mischievous Counter-Measures by Roger Shipp

“Ha…chitter…chitter…ah.” A rhythmic, guttural chuckle arose from his innards. “You won’t stop me that easily.”

The robust squirrel flicked his tail and gazed at the new structure. “Upping his game once more.”

At first, seeds were fair game. “Dinner was served” in a beautifully-embossed emerald bowl.

Then, the swinging S-hook which lowered the mouthwatering delectables into a floating globe.

Ineffective. All one had to do was gently align and spring-down to the seed-filled sphere.

Today, a double-hooded monstrosity had arisen from the ground. Lunch was centered in the luscious tulip gardens.

He smirked. “Maybe it’s time for a change?”

###

Tree Service by Larry LaForge

“It’s not his real name.” Ed was pretty sure.

“Let’s hope not,” Edna replied. “I mean, what Mom would . .”

“Well, it fits,” Ed interrupted. “He kinda looks the part.”

Edna smiled sheepishly, trying hard to get the image out of her head.

Ed finally broke the silence. “You have to admit, it’s appropriate for his work, though.”

“Yeah,” Edna agreed. “Not everyone can climb to the top of those southern red oaks and maneuver around.”

They needed the work done, but still weren’t sure about this odd fellow as they stared at his business card:

SQUIRREL WATSON
TREE SURGEON

###

Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

I was six beers deep, the seventh between my legs when that squirrel came along. I jerked the wheel left, but my nutty little friend went left too, so I corrected and went right. Right into the creek.

Cut my head good, but found the beer on the floorboard–foamy–I drank what I could ’til the cops came. Still went to jail.

DUI’s are expensive. I should have hit the sucker if I wasn’t such an animal lover. The judge gave me weekends in county. Fines. Recommended I get sober. I still maintain that the squirrel was drunk.

###

Attitude by Ann Edall-Robson

Oh man, here comes more of them. Take your noisy kids and ugly dog and get lost! They just won’t leave us alone.

Don’t they know it’s that time of year when we need to be on the ground doing our thing for the coming winter? We need to stockpile food in that old tree trunk and under that log.

Hey, those pine cones are mine! I didn’t pile them up for you to spread them out and take the best ones.

Quit pointing at me. I am not cutesy wootsy. Scolding you? You bet I am. GO AWAY!

###

Training Squirrels by Susan Zutautus

“For God’s sake Norm what are you doing with those peanuts?”

“I’m training the squirrels to follow the path of the peanuts. Eventually they’ll come right into the house.”

“I don’t want those dirty things in my house!”

“Oh don’t be silly Diane they’re not dirty, they’re cute.”

A week later, Norm and Diane were sitting in the family room having a coffee. Diane didn’t notice that the screen was ajar. Then she saw it, a squirrel was crossing the threshold. She let out the loudest scream.

“Norm I told you no varmints in the house!”

Norm just giggled.

###

The Squirrel and the Compact Disc by Ruchira Khanna

“Sheesh” she took it again lamented Karly as she saw the branch that once had a cherry growing.

“I told you…let’s pluck it.” she reminded in an aggravated tone.

“But what’s the use of an immature fruit. No one would have been able to eat it at home” Mom commented.

“Well, the squirrel did,” Karly said while wiping her tears and removing those CDs from the branches that were hanging like an ornament.

“These were of no use. The Squirrels did not get scared of their reflection. I rather use them to record my melancholy stories.”

###

Critters by Bill Engleson

Dobbs hunkered down into a snug corner of the stable.

The hay was thick, clean and dry.

He let himself sink down deep.

The Banker’s bitter whiskey rumbled in his empty gut.

Sharp images of the hunger and hardscrabble days
of his Virginia boyhood drifted back, sweet summer memories, the rich smell of his mother’s critter stew, Brunswick stew she’d called it, crammed full of tomatoes, potatoes, scrawny squirrels and old chicken meat, bubbling away on the fire.

It had been a harsh, dirt-poor farm life,
broken up too few times when his belly was full.

Then, he slept.

###

The Squirrel by Irene Waters

“Mummy I want to feed the squirrel too?”

“In a minute Sebastian. It’s Louisa’s turn.”

“Mummy look at how he’s curled his tail up.”

“That’s how he got his name. It comes from two Greek words meaning shadow tail.”

“Look Mummy. He does have a shadow. Look. But Daddy doesn’t have a tail.”

“What do you mean Sebastian? Why would Daddy have a tail?”

“Cause I heard you tell Mr Donnelly…”

“Uncle Fred, Sebastian.”

“But he’s not our uncle. Okay. I heard you tell Uncle Fred that Daddy had squirrelled away and that was why we’re poor and Daddy’s gone.”

###

Texas is the Reason by Elliott Lyngreen

..my peeled jukes frustrate faces with no-looks, so they mutate. elbow tap his jumpers -with no whistle-out where little shoves, hips, hands, words too “awe he off” slide loose my cousin “ew no legs” as phew phases faked “broke- he broke” as he pulled up smooth–“he a drizzle”–“naw he comen with d-flood bro” –carmelized in the sun dappled flickers, chewed rrrips-crunched….ahhh we were meant for so so much more than a 4 on 2.. “Primo we killed those dudes”–and in my gray sunken mood, “wasn’t me; that was all you.”-“not true, could not have without you.”

###

Lion’s Teeth and Acorns by Anne Goodwin

Perched on a high branch, I watched the humans kneeling on the lawn. They might have been paying homage but for the daggers they thrust into the soil. Extracting those sunny flowers we call lion’s teeth, with their long tapering roots. I knew humans ate plants, but these were set aside to wither away.

I flicked my tail, astonished, as they tugged at tiny saplings, shiny nuts entangled in their roots. Sadness overcame me, a vision of paws ploughing through snow. My babes would have survived if I’d remembered where I’d buried our winter stores.

###

Without Squirrels by Charli Mills

“Remember when that squirrel nested in the walls?” Cobb blew smoke from his pipe.

Mary smiled, sitting on the bench next to him. “What a racket that fool critter made.”

“I’ll build you a bigger house than this dirt-floored cabin, I promise you, Mary.”

She nodded. “It’ll do for now. I just don’t want it near her.”

“It’s just business, Mary.”

Mary snorted. “Business? You think gossips spread tales of Sarah keeping your accounts?”

“Don’t give a damn what wagtails say, wife and neither should you.”

“Build me that house, Cobb and no squirrels of any kind near it.”

###


6 Comments

  1. Norah says:

    I’ve only just finished reading the submissions on the prompt page, but it’s good to see them all compiled here for easy reading. A wonderful collection, of which I’m certain a squirrel would be proud. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Cummings says:

    Charli, did Thorn and Rose not make it into the compilation for some reason?

    On Wed, May 25, 2016 at 11:25 PM, Carrot Ranch Communications wrote:

    > Charli Mills posted: “Like them or not, you can’t deny there’s an element > of fun to squirrels. Twitchy, chattering and clambering, the bushy-tailed > rodents have lent their name to several ideas, such as hoarding (to > squirrel away) or strange (as in squirrely behavior). Dogs ca” >

    Like

    • Charli Mills says:

      Argh! I overlooked a beloved stash of 99 words! My brain has been twitchy lately and it was not an intentional omission. All accounted for now. Thanks for speaking up, Pat!

      Like

  3. noelleg44 says:

    Our squirrels amuse the heck out of me. I identify them by their tails. I told some in answer to another squirrel post (Geoffle?) that my husband once snow-blowed (blew?) a frozen squirrel. We had to have the dang thing repaired.

    Like

  4. […] I have done my usual posts on word press. Friday Fictioneers and the 99 word flash fiction from Carrot Ranch being among my favourite posts of the week. I have been more successful in getting around and […]

    Like

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