SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK
An excerpt from That's Why Vampires Suck by
by Mars Cronin
“How long did you say this flood thing would last?” the chipmunk asked.
“How long did you say this flood thing would last?” the chipmunk asked.
“Forty days and forty nights,” the squirrel said. “Or until, and I quote, ‘All the ungrateful fornicators and blasphemers are soggier than toast dipped in hot chocolate.’ At least according to Noah.”
“What’s toast? And who’s Noah?”
“That’s the name of the guy who’s trying to talk all the animals into going on this cruise of his.”
“How does he know a flood’s coming? After all, you’re a squirrel. You can tell things by how many nuts are on the ground. I never heard you say anything about a flood.”
“That’s just for winters, sweetie. You’re a chipmunk so you wouldn’t know, but the nut thing only tells me how cold the winter will be. I don’t know floods from Farina. But to answer your question, Noah said God told him.”
“God who? And don’t call me sweetie. Someone might hear you. If my parents knew I was dating a squirrel they’d go nuts. Talk about your long, cold winter. They’d ground me like a ground squirrel, tee hee.”
Oh, that sense of humor. That cute laugh,” the squirrel said. “That’s the first thing about you that caught my eye. Or ears actually. But what do you mean ‘God who’? He only goes by the one name, like Madonna, Cher and Lady Gaga. Of course he has lots of nicknames. Maybe you know him by one of those? The Creator? The Actualizer? The Mighty Quinn?"
“Oh you mean The Great Yahootie,” the chipmunk smiled. “Now I know who you’re talking about.”
"Oh, that smile,” the squirrel crooned. “I just love that smile of yours. When you curl up those pouty lips and expose your needle-sharp incisors like that, my world brightens like it’s raining nuts. Not to mention the tingle I get in my nether regions.” But the squirrel grew somber. “I didn’t know you were a Yahootian.”
“Does it matter?” The chipmunk purred, flipping its bushy tail in the forest breeze.
“Not when you flaunt that sexy tail of yours like a flag on the SS Come Hither it doesn’t. Whew. Is it hot out here, or is it you?”
“Stop it. I’m starting to blush. Stay focused. Does it really matter that my family is Yahootian?”
“Not to me. But it’s one more reason to sign on for this Noah cruise. My family might get over the chipmunk thing; we’re both rodents after all. But the Yahooty thing would be a deal breaker for them.”
“Oh, I get it. They’re Mouselims aren’t they?”
“Fundamentalist Mouselims at that. They’re so strict they wouldn’t eat bacon if it was smothered in acorns and drowning in walnut sauce.”
“I don’t know. But I here it’s delicious. Anyway, I’m thinking we go on this free cruise, enjoy the forty days, and forty nights, hubba, hubba and start a new life of our own on distant shores. You in?”
“But what about this, ‘...male and female of every kind of animal.’ Thing that Noah keeps harping about? I know love is blind, kiddo, but you have to see a problem here. How will we get on that boat? I’m a--“
“Don’t worry, Babe. I got it covered. I’m a squirrel. We bury nuts for the winter. We plan. It’s what we do.”
So off they went to find Noah. The squirrel and the chipmunk; two star-crossed lovers just trying to make a go of it in their meshuga world. Two days later they were standing at the edge of the woods staring down a sloping field at the frenzied activity below.
“Wow,” said the chipmunk. “That’s some boat. It’s huge. Why it’s big enough to hold two of every-thing. But where’s the water? A boat that size and no water? Sounds fishy to me.”
“It’s all about faith, sweetie. It makes sense if you don’t think about it.”
“You sure this will work, this plan of yours? I have to admit I’m having some doubts here. I mean, if The Great Yahooty told Noah to do this, maybe it won’t be that easy to pull the tail over Noah’s eyes, is what I’m saying.”
“Don’t you worry that pretty little head of yours. It’s not like there’s a bouncer with a guest list. Just do as we practiced and we’ll be fine. Smooth sailing,” the squirrel assured the chipmunk.
“Speaking of which, where are the sails on that thing?”
“I told you this won’t work if you don’t have faith. None of it makes any sense if you don’t have faith. Don’t question things like that in front of Noah. Just go with the flow.”
They scurried through the field and soon found themselves at the end of a line queued up to get onto the ark.
“Hey, watch your step there,” the squirrel yelled to the pair in front of them. “You almost crushed us.”
The squirrel and the chipmunk looked up, way way up, and saw a pointy head at the top of a long long neck staring down at them.
“Sorry,” the giraffe said. “Didn’t see you there.” He squinted at the two furry creatures and said, “Ah, do you two get the concept here? I mean you’re a squirrel, and you’re a chipmunk. That’s not--“
“Ixnay, ixnay,” the squirrel cut him off. “Keep it on the downlow. We have a plan.”
“OK, if you say so. But when Noah sees--“
“So what’s the holdup?” the squirrel said trying to steer the giraffe’s one-track mind in a different direction.
The giraffe craned his neck, checked out the action at the head of the line and said, “It’s the lions. It’s always the lions. I swear, they cause more problems than a pack of hyenas vacationing at the water hole. More trouble than they’re worth, if you ask me. What with the sneaking through the tall grass and trying to eat our kids and all. We tried to talk Noah into leaving them behind. A lot of us did. The gazelles, the antelope, the rhinos even. Although I don’t know what their problem is; that sword on their noses can be a real thorn in a lion’s paw, if you know what I mean. But Noah was adamant, ‘Two of everything,’ he said. ‘A male and a female of its kind,’ he said, as if he’d received his marching orders from Alakabash Himself. The best we could do was to secure a room at the far end of the ark from those scheming carnivores who probably worship The Amazing Kreskin. Not that I’m a antikreskinite. But you understand. So it was that or get left behind ourselves.”
The longwinded, longnecked talker took a long breath as he looked towards the front again. “OK. They’re finally on board. The line should start moving again. As long as those stupid cheetahs don’t gum up the works. I swear, they can--“
The squirrel slapped himself awake and turned his attention towards the rear hoping the pair who’d just arrived back there weren’t afflicted with terminal motormouth like the giraffe. When he saw who was behind them, he nearly freaked.”
“Excuse me,” one of the wolverines said, “Is this the line for the ark? Noah’s ark?”
The quaking squirrel clamped his hand over the chipmunk’s mouth and whispered, “Just stay calm, sweetie. No panic attacks like the time you almost got eaten by the marmot.” He slowly turned the chipmunk’s head around and fought to hold his struggling companion from running off like a frightened squirrel. “It’s OK,” he continued calmly. “I got this.”
The squirrel returned his attention to the wolverine as the chipmunk fought like a deranged rabbit to get free. “Why yes,” he said. “This is the line for the ark. Noah’s ark. The ark that Noah built. It’s quite the ark isn’t it? Why it’s--“
“You seem a bit nervous, if you don’t mind my saying so. And your partner there looks like a church-goer trying to get home before the game starts. Understandable, of course. But not to worry. We had to sign a no-eating-other-animals contract if we wanted in on this. And given the alternative, well who wouldn’t have signed the damn thing?”
“So what will you eat?” the squirrel squeaked.
“That’s what I said,” the wolverine responded. He nudged his mate. “See honey? I’m not the only one. He faced the squirrel again. “I asked Noah that very question. ‘Details,’ he said. ‘Details. Don’t sweat the small stuff,’ he said. I guess it all comes down to a question of belief; you either believe Ursa Major is pissed off at the humans to the point of drowning them all, or you don’t. I believe he’s pissed alright, what with the, ‘...wickedness and evil thoughts’ and all. But why do we have to be included? What did we do that we have to become collateral damage? We have friends and family we had to tell we were going to Mexico for some sun. Doesn’t seem fair, is what I’m saying. So anyway, the eating thing,; we decided in for a chipmunk, in for a squirrel, no halfway measures if we’re going to do this. Just kidding. You two can relax. But as an aside? If you kids don’t pull off this little charade? Let’s just say there’s a pair of hungry wolverines who got your back.”
“Charade? What charade?’ the squirrel tremeloed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. No charade going on here, no siree, Bob. Just a pair of squipmunks doing what they can to preserve the species. Answering Mother Nature’s call. Just like The Ultimate Kos ordered. Nothing underhanded going on. We’re--“
“OK, OK. Alright already,” the wolverine said. “It better work, is all I’m saying, because my stomach is starting to growl.”
“Let’s keep this line moving,” Noah said loud and clear as he passed pair after pair into the ark. “There’s a storm a brewin’ and we ain’t got all day..” He checked the giraffes off his list and looked down at the two furry rodents, one of whom was brushing his boots with its tail, and said, “Uh, I don’t think you two quite understand what we’re doing here. And what are you doing to my boots?”
“I just noticed some dirt on them, oh Wise One,” the squirrel kissassed. “Such a great one as yourself should have nice shiny boots. And that’s what we squipmunks do. We polish and shine things. Why just the other day I was--“
“Squipmunks?” Noah said, perusing his checklist. “I don’t see nothing here about no squipmunks. Are you sure?”
“Why of course, Your Greatness. You aren’t suggesting that we--“
“I’m not suggesting anything,” Noah said. “And stop with the bootlicking and the funny names. Just plain old Noah will do. Now, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you two were trying to pull a fast one on The Omniscient One. Can’t be done, you know. And what about me? How gullible do you think I am?”
“What,” the squirrel said. “Like on a scale of one-to-ten? Well let’s be honest. I mean, you built this great big boat in the middle of nowhere, and now you’re--“
“Ark! It’s an ark. Not a boat. And if you’re implying--“
“No, sir,” the chipmunk chipped in. “What he’s trying to say is that we’re new. Maybe you don’t have the latest update to your list. Is that release 2.0?”
Noah turned to the first page of the list. He seemed confused. “No. It say 1.0. You mean there’s an update? But that would mean Darwin was --“
“Oh yes,” the chipmunk assured him. “Check to see if you have the platypus on there. That’s another late addition.”
“What the heck is a platypus?” Noah said as he flipped pages. “You’re right. No goddamn platypus either. I don’t get it. This list came from the top, the highest authority. And he was so specific, what with the so many cubits by so many cubits, and the gopher wood. You think it’s easy finding that much gopher wood? Let me tell you something, it’s--“
“What’s a cubit?” the squirrel asked with a nervous eye on the wolverines who were putting on their bibs. He needed to keep Noah distracted enough to forget the list and just let them pass.
“You don’t want to know,” answered Noah. “I had the same question when this thing was dropped into my lap like a giftwrapped turd. ‘What’s a cubit, Lord?’ I said. Turns out it’s half the distance to the goal line. I tried to tell the All-knowing One that football hadn’t been invented yet. ‘Still another reason to drown them all like rats,’ he said. ‘And don’t forget the rats.’ Like I have to worry about them. Keeping all but two off is the problem there, if you know what I’m saying. Anyway, I didn’t want to upset him further, I got my family to think about after all, so I guesstimated. Turns out a cubit is whatever I say it is.” Noah waved his arm proudly at the ark. “And look at her. She’s a beauty. Have you ever seen such a fine looking ark?”
“Never,” the squirrel agreed. “It’s a beauty. I especially like the Doric columns on the crew’s living quarters. Nice touch.”
“Not bad for a rush job,” Noah said. “Now about this list --“
“Where are you going to put the dinosaurs?” the chipmunk ad-libbed before Noah could reject them and they became wolverine snacks.
“The what?” Noah said frantically turning pages. “Dino...dino...I got do-dos...dogs... then it jumps to dung beetles. No dinosaurs.”
“Check under thunder lizards,” the squirrel suggested.
“Oh,” Noah said. “You mean the big freaky things with the scales, the armor plating and the teeth so big you could floss them with rope.” He bent down and whispered to the squirrel and chipmunk. “If I let you two on board, can you keep a secret?”
When they agreed, he continued. “Turns out I was wrong about the cubit thing. The ark? It was supposed to be much bigger. Like there’s that much gopher wood anyways. So I had to make some tough choices. And those thunder lizards with their puny brains? Always stepping on things? Who needs them traipsing around in my nice new ark like bulls in a China shop? Not me, I can tell you. So I cut them. After the flood they’ll be nothing but a pile of bones, big, big bones. But we can’t let the boss know. Deal?” Once more he watched the squirrel and chipmunk eagerly agree to his offer. He winked, stood tall for all to hear and announced, “You may pass, squipmunks. And when the waters recede, go forth into the world, be fruitful and multiply.”
The two mismatched but hopelessly in love rodents entered the ark hand in hand, giggling excitedly while the wolverines complained heatedly behind them.
“We did it. We did it,” the chipmunk squeaked. “But what was that with the fruitful and the multiplying?”
“Heh, heh,” the squirrel said as he found a nice private corner to claim as their own. “You’ll soon find out. We’re going to get it on like there’s no tomorrow. And I ride bareback, if you know what I mean.”
“That’s fine with me, but you do know that I’m a dude, don’t you?”
“Say what again?”
And that’s why there are no more squipmunks.