Story by Arthur Jay
Illustration by Tim McGee
About the Story - This story was inspired by the bird feeder outside my window and the squirrels that love to hang from it. The other day, I asked myself, what would Earth look like if squirrels were the dominant species instead of humans? Now we know.
About the Artist - Tim McGee is a California based Designer and Illustrator. His work can be found at behance.net/TMcGee.
On the planet of Pluton Six, a race of semi-intelligent squirrels had become the dominant species. Richard and Nancy were too such squirrels, a furry brown pair of woodland lovebirds, busy in their preparations for a long cold winter.
Nancy was inside folding and stacking leaves on the shelves Richard had carved with his teeth into the inside walls of the tree they called home. When she finished folding, she set about picking up empty shells from the floor – Richard was such a messy eater – and tossing them out the opening of their sanctuary to the branch outside and the ground below. When that was done, she went to the dug out pantry and began segregating the sunflowers seeds from the acorns. She was deep in thought; worrying about an army of black ants she had seen higher in the tree the other day, when suddenly she felt a presence behind her. A voice yelled out, “Hey!” and Nancy turned around startled.
“Jimmy!” she yelled. It was her son. She wrapped her sharp paws around his fuzzy brown body and gave him a big hug. Her puffy tail wagged merrily back and forth. “How are you?” Nancy asked.
“Not bad,” replied Jimmy. He hadn’t been by the nest for a few days. He had been busy as well, getting ready for the coming winter. “I’ve been pretty busy these last few days. The chestnuts were falling, and I was burying them in my secret place under the rose bushes. It took me about three days. I must have buried a hundred nuts.” Jimmy smiled smartly. “Let me know if you need any.”
“Oh, Jimmy,” Nancy cooed. She was so proud of her son. He was so handsome and caring. “Do you always worry about your mother?”
“No. But I do what I can.” He smiled. His whiskered cheeks were big and round. His tiny little ears were pert and sharp. His eyes were clear and black. He shuffled around his mom and settled into a nook his father had carved near the pantry. The coziest spot in the hole. He leaned back and exposed his soft white belly.
“Jimmy,” his mom chastised. “A little modesty! I’m still your mother after all!”
“Sorry mom.” Jimmy adjusted himself and crossed his legs as his dad appeared in silhouette against the big round entranceway.
“Jimbo!” he yelled. “Where have you been?” Richard asked with delight.
“Oh, you know. Collecting nuts. Burying seeds. The usual.”
“Me too!” his dad replied as he crawled inside. “I’ve been moving chestnuts all day. I’m exhausted.”
Jimmy looked at his father, concerned. “Oh yea? I’ve been doing the same. I hit the jackpot over by the pond. They were falling like raindrops. I must have collected more than a hundred.”
Richard was proud of his son, but he loved nothing more than to show him he was still number one. “You wouldn’t believe where I found them,” said Richard. “Some bozo tried hiding them under the rose bushes. As if I wouldn’t look there! I took every last one and buried them over in the pine forest by the big rock.”
Jimmy looked at his dad with disbelief. “Seriously? By the rose bushes? The red rose bushes? Is that where you found them?”
“Yup! Why?” Dad asked.
“You’re the bozo! Those were mine! I hid those there!”
“No,” Dad replied. “Seriously?”
Before Jimmy could answer, a shadow came over the entranceway to their nest. Big Henry, Nancy’s brother, poked his whiskered face in through the opening. He looked to be happy about something. He slid his jumbo, red body through the opening to the nest. He belched as he tumbled over his tail and fell into place between Jimmy, Nancy and Richard. He looked up at them.
“You ding-dongs won’t believe what I found!” He exclaimed.
Jimmy looked at him suspiciously. There was something about Big Henry that always annoyed him. He asked, “Yea, something good?”
Big Henry replied boastfully. “Yea. I found a trove of chestnuts buried in the pine forest, over by the big rock.” He burped again and then let out a small fart. “I must have eaten every last one.”