|.....The grey squirrel gripped the rough bark
of the old oak tree as it made it's way around the massive trunk. She would
stop now and then to look down into the brushy, deep canyon below where
a wandering stream cut through appearing like a shiny snake. The strong
odor from thickets of pepperwood trees assaulted her tiny whiskered nose
as she sniffed the crisp late afternoon air. The loud racket made by a
raucous stellar jay bird was heard above the roar of the stream. Squirrel
jumped over to the smooth surface of a treehouse and took the salty barbecue
chip she found there in her fragile hands, turning it over and around as
she nibbled at it. Sometimes she'd find other equally tasty morsels. For
weeks now, since the strange structure had shown up nearly overnight, Squirrel
had been visiting the site daily. She would wait until the creatures who
brought the treats would leave. On this day, only one had appeared, then
quickly left. They were a lot like the larger creature she often had seen
coming up the steep canyon soon after sunset, only noisier. Lifting her
head suddenly, she listened ... the creatures were returning! In a flash
of silver fur, she was gone sailing through the treetops.
.....Did you see it!? did ya!?" The chubby, darkhaired
boy stood in the sunlit clearing squinting up into the huge oak. Beside
him, bending over to pluck a starthistle thorn out of his bare leg, was
a much taller, fairhaired boy. Both boys were wearing red baseball caps
and dressed the same; Baggy T-shirts, knee length shorts and hiking boots.
....."What did you see this time Riley, Bigfoot!?"
....."Don't be a cretenoid Curt! It was a badger
as sure as I am standing here. It was right up there in our treehouse!"
Riley waved his stubby arms in the air excitedly as he spoke.
.....Curt's sharp, blue eyes got a wicked look
in them as he grabbed Riley's cap and quickly rapped him alongside the
head with it. As stubby little hands reached for it, it was just as quickly
returned. " I hate it when you do that!" Riley whined.
.....Smugly, Curt said, Badger's do not, I repeat,
do not come out in the daytime. they sleep during the day and come out
to eat at night! Just like ...Bigfoot!
....."Cripes Curt! Would you cut out that bigfoot
stuff. You and Codie keep talking like that and one of these days he's
gonna show up around here! I saw a movie once ... " Riley was interrupted
by a shout from behind them.
.....High in a nearby digger pine tree, Squirrel
watched as the third boy walked out of the thicket and into the clearing
to stand beside the other two boys. This boy was different in that he carried
something on his back.
.....Codie was the oldest of the three boys by
two months, exactly eleven years old. While Curt was the wiser of the three,
Codie was a born leader, the captain of their little "Red Cap" brigade.
Quite the prankster. He tied his long red hair in a neat ponytail, pulled
straight back, away from a high forehead. His skin was so white, save for
rust colored freckles, that it looked like alabaster. His rust colored
eyes were like those of a cats, and appeared twice the size behind his
thick glasses. Codie was about to play a humdinger of a prank on his two
comrades. He'd had it planned for weeks, and everything was now in place.
"Okay Redcaps! Let's secure the area. Curt! You take the left trail and
Riley, the right." This was something they did each time they came to the
treehouse. They would meet at the old oak's massive trunk.
.....Riley walked carefully along the trail near
the canyon's edge. Where it narrowed, he had to duck under a manzanita
bush. Something furry brushed against his face. It was a smelly patch of
coarse, orange colored fur. Upon looking around the area he could see other
similar patches of fur caught on the branches. Riley searched the dusty
trail ahead and found a great big toe print there. Riley felt the blood
drain from his head. At that moment his stomach lurched!
.....Squirrel had been watching from above. Curt
had also found fur high up on a branch. He put it up to his nose. It smelled
curiosly like dog fur. Looking around, he noticed more, and also some huge,
fake looking footprints in the thick, red dust at his feet. It didn't take
him long to figure out that Codie was up to his tricks again. The fur was
obviosly from Codie's black canandian lab, Timber. Curt chuckled quietly
to himself and continued on to the tree trunk. He'd play along with it.
It would be worth it just to watch Riley blow a gasket.
.....Codie sat indian fashion high up in the treehouse.
From his blue backpack he pulled out a large bag of unshelled peanuts,
and a tape recorder. As he shelled a nut and popped it in his mouth, he
turned on the tape recorded. the tape began wind and suddenly the air was
filled with the roar of Jurassic Park's T-Rex. Codie rolled backwards,
made a tight fist and while punching at the air yelled, "Yes!"
.....As the roar filled the air, Riley let out
his own blood- curdling howl, which nearly equaled that of T-Rex. He then
took off as fast as his stocky legs would go. They felt like they were
made of rubber and he stumbled and nearly fell several times as branches
tore at his t-shirt. It didn't take him long to reach the oak tree's base.
....."Nice touch!" said Curt as he began to run,
making a good show of waving arms wildly in the air.
.....High up in the digger pine, Squirrel's fluffy,
grey tail twitched in alarm as she thumped her foot wildly on a limb. She
watched with her black beady eyes as the two boys noisily climbed up the
ladder onto the treehouse where their comrade sat waiting...smugly.
.....Out of breath and wild eyed, Riley began
to blurt out, " Bigfoot! Bigfoot! Down there! Fur and footprints. Did ya
hear it!?" Riley's round head darted back and forth from one boy to the
other. Something wasn't right.
.....Codie then burst out laughing while Curt,
too, joined in. Riley stopped mumbling and just stared, mouth open wide.
"I been whomped," was all he could say.
.....The shadows grew longer as light faded up
in the treehouse where the Redcaps sat munching their peanuts. They chattered
like a bunch of squirrels.
....."That was a great touch! Putting old Timber's
fur in the brush like you did," Curt said to Codie. Then he added, "You
didn't really fool me for a minute."
....."Yeah," added Riley between mouthfuls of
shelled peanuts, "you didn't fool me either with all that stinky, orange-
colored fur! Cripes, what did you do to it to make it stink so awful!?"
.....Codie suddenly looked strickened. "Wait a
minute. You mean Timber's black fur!?
...."No, I saw orange colored fur!" Riley repeated.
.....Squirrel stopped her munching and listened
as a mighty howl ripped through the canyon walls. Fuzzy, gray lips curled
into an unmistakably sly smile as the rust-colored figure lumbered along
in the canyon's depths.
I hope you enjoyed reading this story.
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