Thursday, May 14, 2015


THE SQUIRREL, CLAD IN stolen doll clothing, regarded Elsa from the top of the fence with suspicion.

Ordinarily--not that anything in Elsa's dozen years had been particularly ordinary--she would have considered a wild squirrel wearing a tidy little jacket a jaw-dropping event in and of itself, indeed. And when the squirrel chattered away in English (such as it was), that would have particularly increased Elsa's incredulity, were it not for the preparation her father gave her upon her arrival that summer.

"You know how I told you about Area 51," Elsa's father had said, "and Dreamland projects?"

"Of course," Elsa replied. And true it was, for her father had been careful to educate his daughter regarding the basics since Day One.

"Well there was an accident around here not long ago. Some say a truck spilled with a bunch of strange, alien stuff inside. Other stories point to a breach in a secret underground facility. Whatever the case, a lot of weird things happen with the animals now."

"Like what?"

"Like the government has been working with aliens on ways to get animals to talk for years. They were working on a pill that people could give their pets, and gradually get them to actually speak a few words. But things got out of control."

Elsa returned the squirrel's stare.

"What do you require, sir?" she said, suddenly breaking the silence.

The squirrel chittered, then rose to his full height and said, "Hear me, humie! You have walnuts, and pecans!"

This was true. And almonds, too. Elsa had left a handful of nuts on a log soon after showing up at the house...


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