This short story is based on the squirrels outside of my house and they aren’t just your average squirrels. While I don’t truly know what goes on inside of their little minds I like to imagine it. (I’m a huge fan of people talking for animals.) The actions depicted in this story are all true. I wanted to include pictures of them both for the story, but the pictures I have of Chipper are older and I haven’t seen Baby in a few days. Hopefully I’ll have some for the continuation.
Initially I intended on this being funnier, but I realized that it’s really only funny from my point of view. For them, life’s not exactly easy in reality so it’s doubtful what I find funny about their interactions with other squirrels is even close to funny to them.
“Baby, get out of the road!” Chipper shouted. “Don’t you know those cars will kill you?”
Baby scurried towards Chipper, unaware of what cars were or what it meant to be killed. He asked, “What’s that mean?”
Chipper replied, “It means your life ends. Humans ride around in them and if one runs over you, that’s it for you, you’re dead.” Chipper watched Baby’s head move back and forth rapidly following each car that passed. “Just stay out of the road, okay?”
“Okay.” Chipper could tell Baby didn’t truly understand the levity of cars and the damage they caused. He hoped over time he’d get it and wouldn’t get himself killed in the meantime.
Baby didn’t have parents and typically when another squirrel entered Chipper’s territory a fight ensued, but he felt too bad for the lone squirrel and decided to allow him to be his apprentice. Baby was difficult to teach though, too innocent and naive still to grasp the dangers of their world.
“Now Baby,” he said, “The human that lives here will be home soon so we need to get ready. I want you to do exactly as I do.”
Baby mimicked Chippers stance beside him and waited. His foot tapped anxiously. Chipper said, “Relax Baby, you’re so hyper.”
Baby frowned to himself. He didn’t want to let Chipper down. He was grateful that Chipper was willing to take him under his wing, but he was just a kid. He had all of this energy and didn’t know how to tame it.
Across the street two pudgy, obviously well fed squirrels peered at them. Chipper knew their kind. They were “tough guys,” the kind of squirrels that lurked around corners when they knew food was coming and bullied other squirrels for that food, almost always winning because of their size advantage. Chipper worried that now that he’d taken on being a mentor, it’d be more difficult to protect his yard and Baby at the same time, but he himself wasn’t scared of “tough guys.” He peered back at them, as a warning. His eyes bled, “Not Welcome.”
The “tough guys” weren’t fazed and Chipper could tell that today he’d have to defend their meal, possibly even duke it out with one of those fat suckers. He hoped not both though. Just then, a car pulled into the spot in front of them. The owner of the yard Chipper claimed as his territory. Chipper wanted to keep the “tough guys” in sight, but now the car blocked his view.
“Straighten up,” he told Baby. And the two of them sat up on their backsides in the walkway that lead to the houses door.
The human smiled at them both as she passed them and said, “I’ll be back out in a minute with some food guys,” and she entered the house. Baby followed after her and waited on the patio. Chipper didn’t move. He eyed his surroundings knowing that at any moment those “tough guys” would appear out of no where to take their dinner.
When he heard the door open back up behind him he glanced around again once more before retreating towards it. The human crouched down on the ground with her hand extended towards Baby holding a peanut. Baby backed away from her though, scared of her enormous height even in her squatted position.
Chipper said, “Go ahead Baby, take it from her hand. I do it all the time. This one’s nice, I promise. But hurry before anyone else shows up.”
Baby timidly reached out his little paws to grab the peanut and then backed away again to eat it as quickly as he could. The human reached out towards Chipper with the second peanut. She made a ticking sound with her mouth to grab his attention. Chipper took the peanut and also ate it quickly; keeping his back to her and his eyes on every angle they could be bombarded from.
The human sat down in one of the chairs on the patio and waited for them to finish their first peanuts. The humans in this house always give them at least five each which is far more than they truly need, but Chipper likes to save them up in case food becomes scarce. It’s hard to carry five peanuts though, so he often times eats them all right away. Today he intended on doing just that because he didn’t trust the lurkers. Something told him as soon as the human left they’d suddenly show up.
Baby took a lot longer to get into the peanut shell than Chipper, but he ate the peanut itself just as quickly as him. Baby was starving before he met Chipper and eats everything with haste as if it will be his last meal. Feeling braver around the human now, Baby hopped up on the chair beside her for his second peanut. Chipper, of course, was still on guard.
After they’d each finished two peanuts the human scattered a handful of peanuts in the grass near the tree Chipper and Baby lived in and went back inside the house. Chipper wished she wouldn’t do that. It just put their food closer to the “tough guys.”
By the time Chipper and Baby reached the tree the “tough guys” were moving in on them. Chipper ordered, “Baby, get up high. Take as many nuts with you as you can.” But Baby’s so small, carrying more than two at a time was impossible and Chipper knew that they’d likely lose the rest if he had to fight off both of the intruders.
Baby, suddenly scared because of the change of tone in Chipper, tried to gather three peanuts and dart up the tree. He dropped one on the way up which fell, briefly startling Chipper.
Chipper moved towards the “tough guys” defensively, his stance strong and serious. He nearly growled, “There’s nothing here for you! Get Lost!”
The fatter of the two “tough guys” laughed and said to the other fat squirrel, “Awe look, Chipper thinks he’s tough.”
Chipper wondered how he knew his name, considering prior to the humans at this house he never had one. They had named him and Baby. He figured, the fatties had been watching them for some time now and must have overheard the humans.
Baby shook in fear, wishing he was big enough to help Chipper. His panic knocked another peanut to the ground. Now they only had one to share if they lost the rest to their uninvited guests.
Chipper stood his ground, his tail fanning out like a peacock to give him a larger appearance. His attempts at intimidating the “tough guys” were useless. They continued onward forcing him to finally make a move.
It all happened fast, so fast that Baby’s head spun. Chipper lunged at the least fat squirrel first, thinking it wiser to take out the faster of the two fatties. But, to Chipper’s surprise, the other squirrel didn’t make his way for the nuts. Instead he ganged up on Chipper with his fat friend.
The three of them scuffled about, rolling around in a quarrel. They circled the base of the tree, stumbling over the peanuts, in an all out brawl. Baby cringed from the treetop every time Chipper squealed, worrying that he’d once again be alone if they took Chipper down for good. Somehow, suddenly, he understood death.
And then the door opened and a male human stepped out onto the patio. The three of them froze momentarily, like statues in fighting poses. Chipper saw this as his big break and before the other two were willing to move in front of the human he once again launched himself at one of them, biting his teeth into him so hard the squirrel actually retreated to the edge of the street to recover.
But the largest of the two squirrels remained, now enraged that Chipper had beaten them down to one. The large squirrel thrust himself into Chipper’s back, throwing him against the trunk of the tree. Chipper tried to shake the blur out of his eyes, but the fat squirrel was on top of him now, pulling him away from the tree with his claws digging into him.
Finally the human called out at the two of them, “Hey!” And he pitched a peanut at the fat squirrel pegging it in the butt. It startled and stung the fat squirrel so much that he leapt into the air, all four paws off the ground. Before he’d even fully landed he was in motion towards his friend. First retreating to the edge of the street, and then finally both of them crossing it back to the side they’d come from.
The human walked towards Chipper to make sure their meal had not been stolen and watched while Baby and Chipper took turns racing their peanuts up the tree. On the last trips worth of peanuts Chipper lingered on the ground with his mouth and paws full facing the human, wishing he was capable of saying thank you. Knowing that had he not arrived, him and Baby would have gone without food for the night, and knowing that he was lucky to maintain territory in such awesome humans’ yard. But since there was no way to show his gratitude he made his way up the tree and the human turned back towards the house.
Baby said, “I thought they would win. I was so scared, but I guess you were right about those humans. They are nice.” Chipper just nodded in agreement.
He glared at his enemies, who waited across the street. They might be brave enough to enter his yard, but there was no way they’d attempt climbing his tree. For the night they were safe, but he knew that they’d be back tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that until they finally got what they wanted – Chipper and Baby’s gold mine of peanuts. And they were sure to tell other squirrels about this land and Chipper’s humans too. He knew that eventually there would be even more to ward off and he just hoped Baby would be capable of helping by then or that at least his humans would come to the rescue again.