Sunday, June 24, 2012

A peanut catcher’s daughter: The autobiography of Charlene Squirrel

Edited by Hobo Hudson

The rays of the mid-morning sun hit my eyes. Sleeping on my velvet-lined nest atop silk sheets and covered by a down-filled comforter, I woke up, and my thoughts drifted to the long road I have traveled to reach my current position of the world’s pre-eminent squirrel entertainer.

Born a daughter of a poor but proud peanut catcher one cold winter’s morning, I spent the early months of my life with my siblings in a cramped nest hidden in an oak tree while my father did his best to find food for us. I can vividly remember my father struggling awake before the break of dawn. Slipping from under our one tattered blanket, he staggered to the nearest water puddle to wash the sleep from his eyes and bathe and groom his chest. Then, he would scurry back to our nest with his teeth chattering and dive into our midst so that our body heat could warm him. My siblings and I would crawl over him and huddle together to cover every inch of his body. It always made us shiver, and we had to force ourselves not to recoil from his icy fur.

I asked my father one morning why he had chosen a life of hardship. He replied that it was the only way he knew to earn a living but hoped his sons and daughters would grow up to a better life.

Each day, at the first lightening of the sky, my father would leave our nest, taking our blanket with him and tell us to snuggle close to stay warm until he could return with breakfast. After time without end, he would return, always with a load of peanuts inside our folded up blanket. After shaking the peanuts into our nest, he would tenderly drape the blanket over us again so that we would stay warm while we ate our breakfast.

When I had grown enough to become sure-footed and began to scamper about the limb of our old oak tree, I begged my father to let me go to work with him and learn his trade. One morning, he finally agreed. Although I eschewed the icy morning bath, I was ready to take on my first job when my father gently nudged me and told me it was time to leave for work.

After helping me down the oak tree, my father whispered into my ear not to make any noise and to tiptoe because we had to cross a small strip of grass owned by a big dog named LadyBug who would give any critters she spotted on her property a chase for their lives. I followed my father’s lead, and after we had safely crossed the enemy line, he showed me how to climb the wooden fence in front of us. When we reached the top, we crouched down, and my father, draping the blanket over the two of us, explained that we now had to wait for the peanuts.

As the sky lightened, I heard a screen door open and peeked from under the blanket. I saw a small black dog appear on the sundeck of a house next to the fence we were sitting on. The dog, jumping up and down, barked to his giant slave who was following on his heels to hurry with the peanuts. My father quickly grabbed our blanket, dropped with it to the ground and laid it out flat. At the same time, he rushed me to leap down from the fence and told me to take a seat on the blanket and to stay out from underfoot while he would go to catch the peanuts.

Hopping a couple steps away from our blanket, my father sat up on his haunches and exposed his brilliant white chest as a target, and the dog’s slave threw a peanut at him. Unfortunately, it fell a few feet short. My father started looking for it but soon gave up and instead sat up on his haunches again. The dog’s slave threw another peanut, almost hitting my father in the chest. This time, my father grabbed the peanut, sprinted with it to our blanket and deposited the peanut on it, quickly folding a corner of the blanket over it to hide it. Then, he scurried back and returned with the first peanut. I asked my father why he couldn’t find the first peanut earlier when it was so easy for him to see it later. My father smiled and said by pretending he couldn’t find the first peanut, he enticed the dog’s slave, who wasn’t very bright, to throw another even bigger peanut to him.

If you’d like to learn more about my meteoric rise to the pinnacle of entertaining, you can buy my book for only 9.95 peanuts. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hoisted by my own petard

By Hobo Hudson

Today began like any other day. I woke up at the sound of Mom slipping out of bed to do her daily exercise program, and I immediately began the ordeal of trying to awaken Dad. As usual, barking and slapping his face with my paw had no effect, and I had to bite him on his big toe and start to drag him out of bed.

When I finally got him on his feet and staggering off to the kitchen to start the coffee, I settled back for a short snooze until I could smell the coffee aroma and hear Dad open the refrigerator. It was my cue to dash out of the bedroom and into the kitchen for my morning treats.

I counted all of them before I gobbled them down, and after barking a few instructions to Dad, I returned to bed for my post breakfast snooze. The moment I fell asleep and a nice juicy steak floated into my dreams, Dad’s hollering woke me up.

“Hobo, you’d better get out and check the farm. You’re not going to like it.”

Dad’s stern voice made me jump out of bed. When I trotted outside to the sundeck, I was flabbergasted. Charlene was sitting at the end of my farm supervising her gang of squirrels as they busily dug up every one of my young plants.

“Charlene,” I barked as I rushed to her side. “What the heck are you doing?”

She turned to me and said, “Good morning, Hobo. The thought hit me last night that we may have missed a few of the peanuts that you wanted dug up, so I’m having my crew re-dig the entire field to make sure we got all of them. By the way, TOM, I sure enjoy reading your farming stories on the Internet, especially the one in which you describe how you found help digging up your garden.”

“But Charlene,” I stammered. “You don’t have a computer, so how did you find out about my stories?”

“Oh, I just go down to the library and use the free computers,” she said, smiling at me.

Rats. I guess I’ll have to be more careful about what I bark from now on. You just never know who will be reading what you post on the internet.

Doggy humor: I’m being waterboarded

By Hobo Hudson

Yesterday started innocently enough when I went out back to make my morning rounds and inspect my farm. I found everything in order and decided to check my latest batch of dead-fish perfume. After giving it a careful sniff, I thought it was just about right and put a tiny drop behind my right ear so that I could check that it didn’t evaporate too quickly.

As I entered the back door, Mom caught a whiff of it and started gagging. “Hobo,” she cried, “what have you gotten into?”

She left me standing on the back porch and scurried inside. Watching her through the sliding glass windows, I saw her picking up the phone and briefly talking on it. Soon after she had put down the phone, I heard a car in the driveway and saw a man entering the house through the front door. He was wearing a mask on his face to resemble Dad.

The man came onto the porch and took a sniff at me and declared that whatever body mist I was wearing fit the classification of a weapon of mass destruction. He snapped a heavy leash to my collar, led me out the back door and through the side gate and into a room I’ve never seen before. It just had bare concrete block walls and plain concrete flooring with one tiny window inset into the door.

After donning a gas mask, the man put me into a large tub of water and began demanding to know where I had the weapon stored. I naturally wouldn’t reveal the location of the perfume because I had left my secret recipe on the laboratory bench. When I didn’t answer, he grabbed my head and dunked me under water. Then, he asked me again. When I still refused to answer, he poured some awful smelling stuff all over my body and rubbed it in until it began foaming and emitting a smell, a smell like roses…yuck!

He continued dunking me under water a few more times and then yanked me out of the tub while wrapping a straitjacket around me. After he finally released me from it, he pointed something looking like a gun at me and blasted me with hot air until I thought my skin would cook and my fur would fall out.

A few minutes later, he left me all alone in the dark cell, threatening that he would be returning later and might repeat the treatment if I will not bark the information he wants. I don’t know how long I can hold out but desperately need help. 

I’m smuggling this note out through a small crack in the door hoping that a friendly squirrel may find it and deliver it to one of my friends. Please help me before my jailor comes back. I’m sure I’ve fallen into the hands of Homeland Security and they have spirited me to Guantanamo. Please contact my attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, and have her file a writ of canine corpus in federal court. I’m a U.S. dog, and they don’t have the authority to do this to me.


About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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