Short Stories for Short People #3: Peanut the Sixth

The crash caught my attention. Nothing too crazy. Just the clatter of plastic and branches. I was surprised. I picked this location because it was out of the way. Lonely. Desolate. Far away from anyone or anything. Just my view of the stark grey of the sky, broken apart by an occasional shiver of the bare bony limbs of this tree as they sway in the wind.

Safe.

It’s how I’ve lasted out here for so long.

Squirrels actually have quite the lifespan, as I can attest to. There were five other gents under the moniker “Peanut the Squirrel” before me. They all failed because they were low to the ground. Ground dwellers that fraternized with those humans. Raiding bird feeders and scourging the ground for their precious namesake.

This is why I’m up here. And now so is this plastic thing.

Suspicious.

I’ll have to see what it does.

It does nothing.

It hangs. Occasionally moving in the breeze. Plastic blades caught. This isn’t going anywhere.

The humans have been trying to knock it down. Throwing things up here. I’ve been hiding out, watching the different things fly by: A ball. A milk jug. Different ball. Frisbee. The Frisbee almost got stuck. That would have been fun.

I thought they might try to climb up here, but their ladder doesn’t get close to the height I’m at. Which is exactly why I’m up here.

Hrm. I could interfere.

No. Too risky. I like my spot. And here I’ll stay.

It’s raining. It’s still here.

Yup.

The little one keeps coming out here. He comes and stands right under it. And he looks up. Gazing up at it. Hoping for a woosh. Hoping he’ll reach up and it will fall into his arms.

He’s sad. Maybe…

No.

They got a puppy.

I’ve never been so sure of myself in my life.

But he’s so sad.

Maybe I’m not so sure.

You know, I could have stayed in there. I could have stayed curled up in my little space with my little view of the sky. It was a fine life. But the sky is always the same. And the tree with its branches. And the boy with his sad face.

I knew what I had to do.

I ran out to the thing, and I shoved. I shoved and shoved. The boy looked up. He cried out and clapped his hands and stretched his arms out.

The thing crashed into the ground. He is just a boy.

But he laughed and scooped it up and ran inside. I went to run back in but I took a moment. Looked around. Breathed in the air. Listened to the world. So many trees. So many chances.

They rewarded me. Tossed a bag of peanuts up here and caught it in a crook of a branch. Of course. I had to stash them in my hole in the tree.

I suppose the only constant is change.

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