The Dignity of Squirrels

Back to the 500 Club for this lighthearted holiday story. Nothing dark or sinister. No horror. No magic–well, not much. No villains, ghosts, monsters or demons lurking in the shadows. Just something nice, even silly, for your Thanksgiving Day reading pleasure.

Here’s the prompt:

Write a scene from the POV of the friend of [a] character…who has just discovered he or she has a super power. Is the friend excited? Jealous? Does the character with the super power know the friend knows? This one could get complicated…and fun. Only one rule: don’t make it cliché.

More NaNoWriMo updates to follow next week. I’m still on track to finish all 50K words on time.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

the dignity of squirrels

Anne rolled her eyes at Barrett. “That’s not a superpower.”

“What would you call it then?”

“A mildly creative lie.”

“Mildly creative?” Barrett said. “I’m hurt.”

“You lose points for originality,” she said with a shrug. “But it is a lie, and it isn’t a superpower.”

“I can prove it,” Barrett said. He smiled like he’d just thrown his first curve ball.

Anne was many things, but generously gullible was not one of them. She stared down Barrett’s bleeding enthusiasm with a pragmatic, well-practiced indifference. “Of course you can, Barrett. Of course you can.”

“I’m not kidding,” he defended. “Seriously, I can prove it. Here, here–call Dixie.”

“Not gonna work,” she replied. “Next you’ll try to convince me that ‘gullible’ isn’t in the dictionary.”

“What? You think I taught her a new trick? That dog can’t even shake.”


“Fine, come outside.”

Anne followed Barrett out into the yard. He stood in the mid-afternoon sun squinting into nearby trees and bushes. After two minutes of searching, he found what he was looking for. Slowly, he made his way to the large maple tree on the north edge of the yard. He was talking as he walked.

Anne stayed back by the house. His dedication to this practical joke is impressive, she thought. Normally, he would have giving up by now. But as she watched, he advanced on the tree, his hands out to his sides with his palms exposed and his voice quiet as a whisper. She strained but could not hear what he said.

Shortly, a small squirrel appeared through the leaves of a low-hanging branch. He chittered excitedly at Barrett who continued to move forward, talking all the while. The squirrel cocked his head to the side, considering his human visitor.

More chittering.

A longer response from Barrett.

A final chitter.

Barrett nodded.

The squirrel hopped from his perch into Barrett’s waiting hand and then jumped to his shoulder, his tail fanning out around him as he settled in by Barrett’s right ear.

Back by the house, Anne’s mouth dropped open. A trained squirrel? she asked herself. Is that possible? No, no, no. But how then?

Barrett strode toward his friend with the arrogant swagger of someone about to feed another crow. The squirrel watched Anne, his tiny forepaws crossed before his chest. He sniffed in her direction with a look of contempt. Was he…judging her?

“I think you offended him,” Barrett said. “I mean, first you don’t speak his language and then you call his new friend a liar.”

“I don’t understand,” Anne said. “How did you…? What’s going on? Did you have food in your pocket or something?”

Barrett whispered something to the squirrel who hmph-ed at Anne and flicked his tail. “I told you,” Barrett said, “I can talk to animals.”

Anne was speechless.

The squirrel chittered excitedly. “Oh, and translate for them,” Barrett continued. “Though I think I’ll censor some of his language. You have no idea how crude squirrels can be…”