Categories
NaNoWriMo 2021 Uncategorized

No. Twenty.

Carrying half of a doughnut a distance of a mile and change is a lot harder than one might think. Especially if one is carrying that half-doughnut in one’s mouth. And that the one carrying the doughnut is an 18-ounce squirrel, leaping from tree to tree.

Despite the challenge of traversing such a distance, the northern squirrel did its very best in keeping the doughnut clasped in its jaws, pausing every now and again to adjust and catch its breath before carrying on with its journey. It managed to resist the temptation to just eat the doughnut itself. The taste of oil and sugar made it even harder to stay focused on making it back to its neighborhood and Cody’s home before the sun set and the sprinklers came on in Cody’s yard. A soggy doughnut would impress no one, especially one with as discerning of tastes as a cat.

Especially as sophisticated a cat as Cody, thought the squirrel. He’s so fancy, the squirrel went on, placing Cody on a higher pedestal than he likely deserved. Like most cats, Cody was one to lick his own butt quite regularly. Sophistication seldom entered the picture.

Finally, the squirrel reached the smaller, yet familiar trees of Eulekatze Farm, and it picked its way quickly, deftly to Cody’s back yard. With its heart pounding and a half doughnut hanging out of its mouth, the squirrel anxiously scanned the yard from a nearby tree. But Cody was nowhere to be found outside. At last, a familiar looking orange lump on a windowsill caught his attention. The squirrel hopped down, twitching its tail as it waited for the cat to notice it. But it didn’t; Cody was fast asleep, soaking up the late afternoon sun as though he were solar powered and in need of recharging. The squirrel was confused, it’s inflated sense of self deflating quickly at such seeming dejection.

Something awakened Cody from his slumber and through his hazy eyes he made out the squirrel in its crestfallen state. It had something resembling a very large nut in front of it.

Goodness, that is one ginormous nut. Why, then, does the squirrel look so sad with such a tremendous trophy? Like most everyone else on the planet, Cody did not understand squirrel behavior. He was surprised to find he actually cared. He yawned and stretched himself out to try and distract himself. The motion caught the squirrel’s attention.

Cat is not dead! the squirrel said to itself. It twitched its tail again in excitement.

“Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp?” the squirrel inquired of the cat.

Cody yawned in response.

“Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp!” the squirrel repeated, though this time it was not a question. It grabbed the half-doughnut and scampered into the back yard.

There goes nap time, Cody muttered to himself as he hopped down from the windowsill.

He made his way to the back door by way of the room containing oh, so many books. It was in this room his person spent the most amount of time, opening one or another and turning page after page. He was aware the process was called reading but was uncertain what it meant to do so, other than that his person’s lap made a great napping place when they were enveloped in a book, but his reason for going in was not to nap. On the contrary, he needed to extract his person to get let outside.

“Meow,” Cody informed his person.

“Hmm?” said his person, as though emerging from a trance. Books seemed simple but powerful things.

“Meow,” Cody said again.

“What? It’s not feeding time. Did you want to come in my lap?”

“Meow,” said Cody for the last time, and sauntered out of the room back towards the back door.

“Meow,” cried Cody. He looked longingly at the back door before shifting his gaze back towards the book room.

What is taking so long? Cody thought to himself. The person never—

“Sorry there, Cody,” said his person finally emerging into view. He seemed to be moving more slowly than he had in days gone by, but Cody couldn’t let himself get distracted by that now. He approached cautiously, tail curled as he rubbed himself up against his person’s legs. The human reached down and scratched Cody’s chin and tweaked one of his ears. “Aw, that’s a good kitty.”

Cody allowed himself a moment to purr at the person’s feet before returning to the door and sitting by it, expectantly.

After a moment to model a puzzled expression, the human unlocked the door and swung it up for Cody. Cody looked up and outside before venturing across the threshold onto the cool concrete and the grass beyond. He heard the door close behind him but not lock. The human appeared to be moving back towards the book room.

A moment later, there was a small thud as a hunk of something landed beside him. It was the large nut-looking thing he saw with the squirrel out the window as he roused from his nap. Cody pawed at it to see if it moved.

“Chirp-chirp!” exclaimed the squirrel in its usual, hyper-exuberant manner.

“I’m sorry, it’s a what?” said Cody, still pawing at the hunk of doughnut. “And why would I want it?”

“Chirp-chirp!” repeated the squirrel. Who would not want a doughnut? it thought to itself. Squirrel wants a doughnut. Squirrel wants this doughnut, but it is for cat. So cat will help us.

Cody pawed at the doughnut a few more times then began licking his long forepaws. He could taste the oil and sugar residue mixed with the squirrel’s own saliva. It was not appetizing.

“Look, squirrel, these nut things aren’t really my thing. Would you like it?”

The squirrel stared in shocked silence.

“Chirp?”

“Yeah, sure,” said Cody. “I don’t eat soft, chewy things like that. Knock yourself ou—”

Before Cody could finish his sentiment, half of the half-doughnut had disappeared in the squirrel’s mouth, moving in a rapid, chisel-like motion. The remaining portion was held in the squirrel’s forepaws. It stopped chewing and dropped what was left of the doughnut in mild embarrassment.

“Chirp-chirp-chirp!” exclaimed the squirrel, attempting to explain why it had brought the rejected gift to the cat.

“Help squirrel? Do you mean help you? What would you need help with? I mean, you traveled who knows how far to get that disgusting—”

“Chirp!” The squirrel had an angry look to itself that made Cody wary.

“OK, sure, perspective is everything, and from the perspective of a cat that is very finicky about what he does and does not eat, that doughnut—any kind of nut, really—just doesn’t do anything for a cat. At least for me.”

“Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp!’ retorted the squirrel. It seemed to be laughing at Cody. Cody was not amused.

“What do you mean that doughnuts aren’t nuts? It has n-u-t right there at the—”

“Chirp-chirp-chirp!” responded the squirrel. For sure, it was laughing at Cody’s culinary ignorance.

“Laughing at someone is not the best way to get them to help you, you know,” Cody bluntly informed the squirrel.

“Chirp,” said the squirrel in an almost apologetic tone.

“What is it you want me to do? And why me?” Cody tried hard to hide his concern by coming across as condescending. The squirrel was oblivious to this, the sugar from the doughnut still rushing through its system.

“Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp!” blurted out the squirrel.

“What’s an owl?” inquired Cody.

“Chirp-chirp!” began the squirrel before continuing on. “Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp—”

The endless string of squirrel chirps was cut short by Cody raising his paw. Instinctively, the squirrel hopped back in fear for its life.

“Chirp-chirp-chirp!” said the squirrel in genuine excitement.

“No, I was not going to hurt you, I just wanted you to stop talking,” Cody said. Then, more to himself, “Feathers, claws, flying death. This does not sound like a very good time. But, again, why me?”

“Chirp-chirp-chirp,” said the squirrel as matter-of-factly as it could.

“Champion? I told you, I’m just a house cat. I’m no champion. I’m not special.”

“Chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp,” said the squirrel, the slightest hint of reverence in its little voice.

“I’m glad you think—”

But Cody was unable to finish his sentiment as a garbled bird call and flutter of feathers swooped down in the space between the cat and the squirrel, a space previously only occupied by doughnut fragments but now containing the flapping of wings and bird.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s