posted on Mar, 18 2006 @ 12:26 AM
(my first posting in the short stories forum... This isn't really a Story... it is, however, Short)
I’m not sure anybody ever knows when to begin. I was born. *laughs* Honestly, there was something before that, wasn’t there? Okay, so They were
born, and them before them, and so on ad infinitum, and now we are in Genesis, with so and so begat so and so…
So I always start in the middle. *shrugs* It’s as good a place as any, right?
This particular middle was just that, the middle of Everything.
I was in the middle of my life.
I was in the middle of nowhere Alaska.
It was the middle of the year.
I was in the middle of doing nothing…
All of which is going nowhere fast, but if you say ‘middle’ enough times, it starts to sound all rubbery in your mouth… it actually feels kind
I was living in Elf Woods, which sounds a lot more romantic than it was. Elf Woods was just another strip of swampy ground, with a thick stand of old
growth Dogwoods, waist high skunk cabbage and shoulder high ferns. Elf Woods was between Fredric’s Point boardwalk and Sandy Beach.
Sandy Beach also sounds a lot more romantic than it was. One hundred years of folks taking a couple of shovels full of sand back to their garden had
pretty much turned Sandy Beach into Jagged Pointy Sharp Little Rocks Beach With Liberal Amounts Of Broken Glass Thrown In For Good Measure.
The thing Elf Woods had going for it was that it was far enough off the beaten trail that no human would ever ‘accidentally’ stumble across you
while camped out in the woods, yet close enough to said trail that you could still drag your sorry butt out of your soggy tent and trudge the five
miles into town, and, more importantly, to the fish factory where we all worked.
However, at this time of year, the fish weren’t fornicating yet, which meant the fish weren’t schooling together and running upstream yet, which
meant the fishermen weren’t catching any fish yet, which meant, yep, you guessed it, No Work Scheduled at the fish factory.
Which is why I was in the middle of Elf Woods, during the middle of year, and was in the middle of doing nothing. Actually, I wasn’t really doing
Nothing, what I was doing was enjoying the first heavy rays of pre Solstice sunshine and hanging out with a squirrel.
I knew I’d finally get around to it. You all thought I was going to dwell on the middle, or pontificate upon the heady aroma of skunk cabbage or
something, but it was the squirrel I wanted to talk about.
When you live in a tent in the middle of the woods, have read every book you brought with you twice, haven’t even Seen another human being in over a
month, and your entire life revolves around the breeding habits of fish, you tend to do… strange things…. for entertainment.
That was me, see. Crazy guy in the woods. Bored out of my freekin’ skull. So I started talking to a squirrel… *shrugs* Perhaps not the most
normal of behavioral patterns in the here and now, but in the there and then, well, it seemed pretty normal at the time.
At first she wasn’t too keen on being my friend, but a few days of bread crumbs and patience, and that was that; we were the best of friends. She
didn’t talk much, but she was a Great listener. I made a rather interesting discovery with her: City squirrels are used to junk food, they eat a
lot of sugar. It’s a part of their natural diet. Not so with country squirrels. Especially ones way out in the sticks like this. They Never get
junk food. As a result they have no tolerance for it.
On evening my little squirrelfriend walked into my camp (which was now Her camp) shrugged off the breadcrumbs I offered her and instead stole an Oreo
cookie from my private stash. Five minutes latter and my little squirrelfriend was just that, Squirrelly! She was doing back flips, climbing trees,
flying through the air, singing bawdy songs… TOTALLY amped up on sugar.
We stayed up most of the night, chit chatting, howling at the moon, eating Oreos…. it was nice.
The next morning was the middle morning. Both of us are having a quiet wake up. Both of us are fuzzy mouthed and blurry eyed. She seemed quite
content to have bread and raisins for breakfast, I was nursing my third cup of coffee wondering when the caffeine would kick in. I was sunning myself
on a log. She was just kicking around on the ground at my feet, nibbling on some bread crust.
Then it happened.
A blood curdling hair raising terror inducing metal wrenching Messerschmitt versus Spitfire death from above never ending SCREECH stopped my heart,
immediately followed by an Explosion of leaves and branches directly overhead.
Before the leaves could even reach the ground there was a physical Whump! right in front of me, with four more Whumps! in rapid succession.
Stunned, I peered through my fuzzy eyeballs and found myself staring at five yearling eagles (American Bald Eagles, full grown, but hadn’t got their
distinctive white heads yet, they were still brown all over, hence, ‘yearlings’).
The noise was incredible. Screeching, squawking, thrashing about… And then it dawned on me… they were eating my squirrelfriend. Five eagles had
just dropped out of the trees and were now fighting over the last fluffy remains of my sqirrelfriend, not three feet away from me…
My squirrelfriend was not that large. In a blink of an eye it was all over. I was in a state of fuzzy shock, so ya, I blinked two or three times
because the next thing I knew five eagles were no longer making any noise or fighting over anything. Five eagles had suddenly noticed that another
living creature was in the area (me) and they were looking, silently, at me, cocking their heads from side to side in that way that birds do when they
are trying to judge the distance between themselves and their target.
That was enough for me. I did what any red blooded Alaskan He Man would do if faced with a similar situation: I crapped my pants, threw my coffee
cup in some unknown direction (I never found it again) dove head first into my tent, fouled the zipper trying to ‘slam’ it closed, and started
singing (screaming would be more accurate) “Fly Like An Eagle” by Steve Miller at the top of my lungs *shrugs*
I never heard them leave.
Twenty years later and I Still keep an eye on the sky....