Whose Guess Has A Dream.

Whose Guess Has A Dream.

A Story by texasjane

Searching for a dream.



"Who are you?"  Hooter watched as one adult squirrel and, several little ones crossed the street.  They came into the yard and were looking up at him.


"Guess."  The adult said. Hooter adjusted himself on the branch and tilted his head to get a better look and get an accurate count. He was going to let them know right off he was not one to mess with here.


"No, I do not play games.  Who are you?"


"Guess."  She repeated and motioned for all the children to gather around her.  "Who are you?"  She asked as if she had a right to know.  "Best Guess if you must know."


Hooter flapped his wings and squawked loudly.  He could not believe she insisted on continuing this silly game.


"Oh, stop that Hooter.  You will scare her half to death.  Hi, I am Mrs. Bushtail, I am the mayor of our little community.  Won't you please come in and tell me about you and your family.  Who are you?"


The mother squirrel took a deep breath and said again, "Guess."  Then she looked at Mrs. Bushtail's face and saw she was confused.  "My name is Guess.  These are my children.  My oldest boy is Whose, then I have Some, Right, Wrong, and my name is Best.  There are only four of us now."


Mrs. Bushtail chuckled a little then repeated the names back to her to make sure she got it right.  You are Best Guest."  She pointed to the oldest boy.  "You are Whose Guess."  Then followed around the circle.  You are Some Guess, Right Guess, and Wrong Guess?  Have I got all of the names correct?"


I know it can get confusing but my late husband, Big, was just crazy about names.  He would not let me pick a name.  "What I need to know is if there is room for my family here?"


"Why did you leave your last place?"  Mrs. Bushtail knew that the minute the yard found out about their names they would be the main source of entertainment for all the residence, even Mr. Hooter.  The blue jays were going to have a lot to squawk about for sure.


"A storm came through and destroyed everything.  My husband was blown out of the tree and into the wind along with Last, and One, our youngest babies.  I have not seen them since.  There was not anything for us to do but move on until we could find a new home.  Is there a tree with enough room for us?  Also, does Mr. Hooter eat squirrels?  Some hoot owls do.


"We have an agreement with Mr. Hooter.  He can have all the snakes he wants as long as he leaves everyone else alone when it comes to eating.  I think he hates to hunt anymore so he can play community watchman and we are free of snakes."


"Is there room for us here?  We promise to help with the food gathering and supplies."


"Yes, there is a willow tree in the corner of the yard.  No one lives there.  Your family is welcome to stay there.  We have several rules here. The main one is that we help each other and any big decision we vote on as a group."


"That would be wonderful, Mrs. Bushtail.  Just point me in the correct direction."  Mrs. Bushtail pointed to a huge willow tree standing alone almost in one corner of the yard.  Hooter watched as Best Guess found a branch fork in the tree to safely put their stash of pecans.  Best looked around the yard from up in the willow tree.  The tree was very big and its branches almost covered the entire yard.  The willow tree's branches grew up, then would go limp and continue to grow and actually brush the ground.  Some very long branches looked like long green strings with leaves on them.  They seemed to sway with the breeze.  That was going to be different.  Kind of like living on a ship going up and down then back and forth.  That is why no one lives here.  The constant motion of the tree would make it difficult.


"Whose, do you want to take Some, Right and Wrong with you and gather some pecans while I try to gather leaves to use for pillows and bedding.


"Okay, Ma.  What kind of nuts are here?”


I saw two peanut plants under the far maple trees in the opposite corner from this one.  You will have to look for more elsewhere in the yard.  It does not look like it is time to harvest the peanuts yet.  I do not see any signs of digging around there.  I also see four pecan trees along that fence line.  I see the shells of another nut but cannot figure out which tree it comes from.  There is a maple tree and several pine trees.  They do not produce any nuts, but the maple tree can supply some maple syrup when we need it.”  Best was pleased with what she was seeing so far.


 "Look over there.  There is a beehive.  Whose pointed towards the patch of flowers there are some daisies on the other side of this tree.  I bet I could take those bees some of those daisies or maybe some clover in exchange for some wax and maybe a little honey."


"Son, why would you want wax?  I think we will make out okay with just the maple syrup without troubling the bees for honey."


"But Ma', the wax could be spread on the outer twigs of your nest. It would make it waterproof.  And look over there, I bet that cat would gladly give up some of that heavy fur to put in between the twigs to add some warmth."


"Son, we need food.  This is no time to be playing architect.  You are supposed to be gathering nuts to eat later.  Now, off with you so I can get some work done."


Best went about the business of gathering some leaves for bedding.  It was going to be tricky with this tree swaying with the breeze.  The first thing was to find the right fork of branches.  It would be more stable if she could find the best fork with more than one large branch coming off of it.  She had to laugh at herself.  Whose must get his desire to be an architect from listening to her plan on where to build their nests.


Big was always making fun of her for making such a big deal out of where to store nuts.  Big Guess was a good provider though and he did love the children.  Her maiden name was One.  Best One was a good name.  Best Guess has been a good one too.  It just makes everyone ask her twice.  Back to where to build the nest.  Their last nest held up, but the tornado took the whole tree.  Ripped it right out of the ground and carried it away with Big and the two babies.  Best wiped the tear coming down her cheek.  There was no time for that now.  There was work to be done.


Whose and his three brothers immediately got busy jumping from one pecan to the next.  They seemed to be all over the yard.  He had told Some, Right, and Wrong to work on the backside of the tree while he checked out the front.


He found wonderful twigs that would be perfect for building the nest.  He watched the beehive at the top of a maple tree.  It was spread out over several branches kind of like a spider web.  There were holes formed out of beeswax that went deep into the hive.  He could see how there were chambers inside of it.  How wonderful.  He could build the same thing out of twigs.  Layer in some beeswax to keep the rain out.  He had already spotted a family of bunny rabbits popping in and out of a hole in the opposite corner.  Just under the peanut tree.  The hulls of the peanuts were soft and could be used for bedding.  He could see it all in his mind's eye.  He was so excited.  He just knew if he could build a wonderful nest the other squirrels would also want him to build one for them.  They could exchange food for his labor and he would not have to run all over gathering just enough food to last a day or two. He watched as all the members of this community were busy gathering food and trying to be the first to snatch something.  They barely had time to speak to one another.


He was going to go talk to the bees first.  Whose was gathering daisies.  He had a small bunch in his mouth and was about to start up the maple tree.  When three blue jays came at him and tried to knock him off.


They cackled to each other.  He had dropped his daisies but not lost his balance.  "Why?"  He asked.  He ducked as one tried to knock him off balance again.  Suddenly, one of them dropped some bird poop over his head.  He saw it coming and got out of the way just in time.  He noticed one thing.  When the poop landed the last bit of the daisy stems he was holding got stuck in it.  It dried and the stems stayed in place.  Hay, he thought to himself.  They could help me glue the twigs together.  He then remembered seeing a man at their old place trying to scrape bird poop off his car window.  It held up real good.  Whose sniffed it.  Smelled like sour seeds.  He would check on the little patch tomorrow and see if the smell went away.  He decided he would try and talk to the bees without the daisies.


He was almost to the entrance to the beehive.  The hum of the bees was loud.  He did not want to be stung.  He knew he would need to talk to one of the workers because no one ever talked to the queen.


The blue jays came back and perched on a branch about a foot away from where he was.  "Who are you?"  The biggest one asked.


"I am Whose Guess.  You are you?"  Whose settled back waiting for the laughter over his name to begin.


"Whose Guess?  Are you trying to play a game?  What is your name?  The big guy was genuinely interested now.  He tilted his head back and forth to get a better look at this squirrel.


"My first name is Whose.  My last name is Guess.  My mother and my three brothers are new here.  I am an architect."


"Oh, Streak, come here.  I want you to hear this.  Do you see a squirrel?  I see a squirrel.  But he says he is an architect.  I never knew what an architect was or what one looked like before now. Go and get Stretch and let's see what this is all about."


The other two blue jays eventually joined their friend.  Once again the conversation was repeated.  The birds were cawing and cawing.  One of the bees started to fly over them when one of them pinched it in mid-air, killed it, and let it drop.


"Why did you do that?"  Whose was so surprised.  It was so cruel.


"Because we can.  We run this yard.  We don't like bees.  They are loud and obnoxious.  They do not contribute one thing to the community.  Even Mrs. Bushtail's plans to get rid of them have failed.  So we kill them when we get the chance.


"But you are wrong.  If I can prove to you that the bees are a very vital part of this community, will you listen to me?"  Whose took the pecans he had stuffed into his jaws.  He held one in each hand.  "Either that or I hit you and knock you out of this tree, right now."


The birds were amazed at this squirrel's bravery.  He was too big for them to try and do anything but knock him out.  He had a good hold onto the trunk with his back feet and was flickering his tail so fast it was sure to hit one of them.  "Okay, Whose.  You prove what you say."


"You guys go away. I will deal with the bees alone.  I do not need your help."  He turned and scampered as close to the entrance as he could get.  He started making a  humming noise.  A group of bees gathered over his head.  He pointed to the blue jays.  He pointed to himself and made a waving motion towards the birds.  They flew higher and away.  The bees were thrilled.  This little creature had stood up to the mortal enemy and won.  They hovered over his head as he motioned towards the beehive.  He got some beeswax in his hands.  He rolled it into a ball.  He stuck it in his cheek.  He did another one.  They got the idea.  They started creating little balls of beeswax for him.  He clapped his hands.  He realized once he was there that the daisies would not have mattered.  They made their honey from the maple syrup that dripped out of the holes created by the woodpecker.  It looked like these two neighbors had learned to help each other.  Whose thought again.  Bees and a woodpecker making enough building material for him to build wonderful squirrel nests.  He was very excited.


He thanked the bees with the wave of his hands.  He scampered to the ground.  His arms were full of twigs by the time he made it to the willow tree.  The blue jays had stopped by to see his mother.


"Your son has been making promises.  You, better not go building any nests until you find out what he promised."  Best was beside herself.  Some, Right and Wrong had all come back with their cheeks full of pecans.  The blue jays had knocked them out of the nest twice.  She spotted Whose coming up the trunk of the tree.


"Son, what have you been doing?"  She looked and his arms were full of twigs.  "Please tell me you have gathered some food for us too."


"No, I have something better.  I see you have met my new friends.  I can't really remember their names."  He dropped his pile of twigs on the fork where several branches met.  "You picked a good spot."  He gave his mom a hug.  "Hey guys, with the blue feathers, come here.  I want to show you something."


The blue jays landed on a branch just above the pile of twigs.  Whose quickly started taking the twigs and overlapping them as he crafted a lattice-type work.  He then turned to the blue jays.  "Would you guys give me some of your poop please?"  The blue jays did as he requested and deposited some poop for him a little higher than the pile but lower than the branch where they were perched.  They all looked at each other and then back at Whose.


"Oh, son.  Please, this has gone far enough.  We are supposed to work every day to find food.  Then we rest in our nests until the next day.  Squirrels do not go after dreams."  She shook her head.  What was she going to do with this boy?


Whose used a leaf to scrape up the poop and brushed it into the twigs.  Then to everyone's surprise.  Guess open his jaws and pulled out balls of beeswax.  He pushed it on the outer side of the large cacoon-type nest he had built with the twigs.  There was a large lower chamber and a higher smaller chamber.  The willow tree provided the string type tying to the branches.  More bird poop made it secure.  All was covered with an outside layer of beeswax.


"I will be right back."  Whose scampered down the trunk.  He quickly introduced himself to the family of bunnies.  He returned to the willow with his arms full of fur.  He went inside the nest and continued to fill in all the little holes made by the latticed twigs with the fur.


It was beginning to get dusk.  The basic nest had been finished in one afternoon.  The blue jays were so surprised that the beeswax could waterproof a squirrel's nest.  It made them think about their own nests... maybe Whose could design something for them.


During the night the wind picked up a bit.  There was some commotion in the yard below.  Mrs. Bushtail knocked on the outside of the amazing squirrel's nest she had been hearing about.  She wanted to look at it inside.


Best welcomed the mayor of the community into their wonderful little home.  "Oh, My.  This is wonderful.  We have gotten word that a huge storm is coming this way.  Do you think Whose could work with the other families and build more of these here in this willow tree?  It will not break in the wind.  This would be perfect for all of us."


Best was proud of her son.  "My son is an architect.  Everyone else sees a squirrel."  She gave Mrs. Bushtail a hug.  "I am sure he would be glad to help.  It is his dream after all.  Thank you Mrs. Bushtail.  It looks like we have found a place where we belong.


The days that followed were exciting.  All members were working together to get all the nests created and built.  The families had all been moved into their new homes.  Some of the squirrels had found tufts of dog fur and cat fur around the yard to add to the supply of fur needed inside.  The bees were delighted to help when they too discovered that the blue jays were supplying the poop.


The entire community survived the big storm that took out two of the other trees.  Everyone was safe and warm.  Not one drop of water seeped through.  Guess was the true hero.  He believed in his dream.  Now the community had time to gather food, yes.  But now, they also had time to play with their families.  It was not all work.  It was not everyone for themselves.  No one was scratching to get to the top.  They were there.  It took a dream and everyone working together to make it work.


Whose also knew that his brother Right Guess had dreamed about being a diplomat.  I think he could do that here.  Some wanted to be a father and lots of children.  He spelled his name Sum and not Some.  Wrong, wanted to be the family negotiator.  Wrong was the tradesman.  He loved to barter.  Mom, well, maybe she would find love again.  One thing for certain this whole community would thrive and have many adventures together.  This was a place where everyone's dreams could come true.


Whose scampered up to a very high branch in the tree. He spotted Hooter looking over the community.  He looked over at Whose and nodded his head.  Whose nodded back.  "Dreams come true when you believe in yourself."  He said to himself.  His dad had taught him that.  Even squirrels have dreams.  Hopes and dreams only need a little faith to make miracles happen.


Chapter Two:

Guess, Right and Wrong Takes Charge


"Hooter has been hurt."  Mrs. Bushtail yelled from the tree branch where Hooter was always perched.  Best Guess and her two boys Right and Wrong instantly scampered up the tree to see what they could do to help.


"Look,” Mrs. Bushtail pointed down.  There on a lower branch, Hooter laid where he fell with a stick coming out of his wing.  "We have to get him down, and inside the little door at the back of the clinic.  "I think he is too big for us to handle."


"Will someone please help me down.  I cannot fly and I do not want to fall."  Hooter screeched in pain.


Wrong and Right scampered down the trunk of the tree to the lower branch.  "You think we should call Whose in on this one?  He is pretty good at figuring things out.  I mean look at the nesting he has helped the entire community build."  Right was watching Wrong's face.  Wrong shook his head.


"No, this time our big brother is not going to be able to come to the rescue.  Remember, he is going with the blue jays to invite more birds to the community.  Mrs. Bushtail sent him yesterday.  He is not back yet."  Wrong suddenly covered his head as something fell on him. "What was that?"  He looked up.


"Right and Wrong, please tell us if he is okay."  Best Guess was so proud of her two boys.  Right Guess and Wrong Guess had been real troupers in the building of the nest Whose, her oldest, designed.  "How is he?"


"Ma, he is just hurting.  I think Right has a good idea about using some twigs and leaf stems from the willow.  We can latch him to it and then several of the other squirrels can help lower him to the ground.  But, Ma, where are we taking him?"


Best looked at Mrs. Bushtail.  "Where are we taking him.  I also want to know something.  How did this happen?"  Best flicked her tail as she waited for Mrs. Bushtail to reply.


"I will explain all that as we get him down."  She pointed off in the distance.  "You see those two children walking through the meadow over there."  Best followed her finger and saw the two boys walking with a long-curved stick with a string that held the two ends in a curved shape.  They had a long tube thing on their back.  It has several of those sticks coming out of it.  She shook her head.


"They just come out here and shoot at animals with those sticks?"  She looked over the community.  "What are we going to do without Hooter to stand guard for snakes?"  She watched as her two boys showed the other squirrels how to lash the twigs together to make a twig-bed.  They then told the other squirrels where to place themselves around Hooter's body. 


"On three we all lift at the same time."  Wrong had everyone in place.  Right was at the opposite corner.  Wrong could watch both groups on either side of him to make sure they lifted at the same time.  Right would do the same.  "One, two, three; lift."


"Now, those on my sides you move your feet this way."  Right did a sidestep to show them.  "But wait till Wrong has his men ready."


"I am not a man.  I am a girl.  It is not all guys who help. We girls are pretty important too."  Wrong flickered his tail as he looked at the beautiful little squirrel in the middle of his helpers along one side.  He smiled.  Maybe things are looking up for me after all.  "Pardon me sweetie, but this is not the time to be political.  You don't have to tell me about girl power.  My mother is Best Guess."  She nodded her head and flicked her tail.  "Okay, all of my helpers when Right gives the signal you will need to move your feet to the side, like this.  He demonstrated.  "Right, we are ready now."


"Now."  Right shouted.  Everyone moved in the direction designated by their respective leader.  Hooter was placed firmly on the twig bed.  "Now."  They lifted the bed and it moved into position.  "Great.  We are getting there."  Wrong flickered his tail and stopped and squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again.  He had tripped and the stick coming out of Hooter had poked him in the eye.


"You, okay, Wrong?"  Right waited to see if his brother was hurt.  He got an okay sign from him.  We are all going to slowly place this bed and Hooter onto those longleaf ropes we made.  You see them?"  Everything was going great.  The squirrels successfully got Hooter lowered to the ground.


Mrs. Bushtail proceeded to let them know the kind of danger the community was in right now.  Those two human children seem to come to this area every year about this time and start killing some of our citizens.  We lost some wonderful singing Robins last year when one of them shot them with a funny-looking gun.  Mrs. Wish, or at least that is what I call her, is an animal doctor.  That is how we met.  Those kids threw rocks and hit me a few years ago.  Mrs. Wish came running out of the door right there.  She scooped me up and took me inside.  She made me all better.  While I was healing, she and I kind of developed a way of communicating.  One chirp for no and two chips for yes.  That and some hand and finger signs help us talk to each other.  She put that little door in the big door so I could let her know when someone out her was in trouble."  Mrs. Bushtail started towards the little door.


"Why did you not just go in and let her know about Hooter?  Why put my boys through all this?"  Best was trying to understand Mrs. Bushtail's idea of what to do first.


"She is working on another patient right now.  I checked there first.  I let her know we would be bringing the patient to her."  Mrs. Bushtail turned to continue on the path to the little door.  The entire squad moved with great speed as they followed her and carried Hooter through the door.


All the squirrels in the squad along with Mrs. Bushtail, Wrong Guess, and Right Guess came out the little door.  The entire community was waiting to hear about Hooter.


"He is hurt bad.  He can be mended but he broke his wing a little when he fell.  We will all have to help him."  The whole community was sad to hear about Hooter.  They were all worried, although none said it out loud.  Now, who would protect them from the snakes?  Those children had no idea that their day of fun may have sealed the fate of everyone in this little community.  It had been a long time, but Mrs. Bushtail put her hands together, like Mrs. Wish, and closed her eyes and said, "Bring your love to heal those who need it most."  That is the only prayer she had heard.  Mrs. Wish said it every time she worked on an injured animal.  Whoever Mrs. Wish was talking to must hear it when you lower your head, close your eyes, and put your hands together.


She looked over the community and the entire population, every single one was doing exactly that.  They even repeated the little prayer, word for word.


"I know it will work.  When I got hurt, Mrs. Wish said the same thing to help me."  The pretty little girl squirrel popped up with a smile to try and cheer up everyone.  "You gotta have hope."  Wrong once again looked at this odd-looking girl.  She was a squirrel, but she looked different from the rest of them.  She did not have arms like the rest of them.  She had skin that stretched from her right foot to her right hand.  The same on the other side.  She had red fur instead of brown too.  He became very curious.  He had some investigating to do.


Hours past.  The community was all up in the trees watching.  Hooter's job was simple for him.  He was a hoot owl.  What were they going to do if they spotted a snake?  Snakes can move fast, and they would kill anyone in this little community in a matter of a few days.  All, except the bees.  The bees!  Wrong and Right suddenly knew exactly what to do.  They let out the alarm sound.  They both cupped their hands around their mouths and yelled together.


"We have an answer to help us with the snakes.  We need to talk with the bees.  They can sting the snakes.  That will keep them away."


"But, Whose is not here.  He is the only one who can understand the bees and the bees understand his hand signs."  Mrs. Bushtail was right.  "Look," Best Guess and her two boys saw him at the same time.  "Whose, you are back."


"That is obvious.  Hay, where is Hooter?  I have someone he might want to meet.  She will be here in a few minutes."  Whose looked around and saw the longleaf ropes hanging from Hooter's tree perch.  "What has happened here?"


"You have to talk to the bees.  We need someone to keep the snakes away.  The bees can sting them."


"That won't work.  After a bee stings something, the stinger comes out.  The result is usually the death of the bee.  They fly home and usually die within twenty-four hours after losing their stinger."  Whose waved his hands, jumped up and down, and started laughing very loudly.  "Here comes our answer now."


Everyone looked up and the biggest owl they had ever seen landed on a branch above where Hooter always perched.  Then just as quickly the trees filled up with Robins, blue jays, and several families of sparrows.  The blue jays and I were successful in inviting some new citizens to our little community.


"Who, who."  She had big eyes and the same tufts of feathers on either side of her head.  She looked over the area and nodded to Whose Guest, her host.  "I will be with you in just a second Whose or should I call you Mr. Guest?"  She flew spread her huge wings out and flew straight to the ground just behind one of the fallen trees from the last storm.  She returned to the same perch within a few minutes with the remainder of the snake she had killed.


Everyone clapped.  The rest of the day was spent introducing all the citizens to Big Girl.  What a name for a big, beautiful female hoot owl.  The word came that Hooter was recovering made everyone happy.  The community was safe again.  Best was proud once again of her three boys.  Right and Wrong worked together to make a big job easier for everyone.  It looks like Wrong may have a little romance in store for him.  Even Some had become a master at making leaf ropes.  She shook her head.  Then she closes her eyes, folded her hands, and bowed her head.  "Bring your love to heal those who need it most."  She knew the prayer worked and had decided she would start and end each day with it from this day forward.  She did not even know who the prayer was to, she just knew that there was something more powerful than any of them overseeing the world.  What was it that that little red squirrel called it?  That is right.  She called it hope.


Best thought back to the time she had told her older son, Whose, that he was just a squirrel.  Squirrels don't dream.  Squirrels fight to survive, to outdo the other guy, like everybody else.  Her boys had proven Whose had a good dream.  It looks like the whole community has dreams now.  Imagine Right and Wrong working together.  She glanced over at Some.  He was teaching two other squirrels how to make the leaf ropes he had made to lower Hooter to the ground.  Even Some Guess has dreams now.  All it took was some hope.


Chapter Three

Some Guess, Jealousy


"Whose, what have you got on your head?  And, why are you wearing it?"  Some had seen his brother do a lot of things that squirrels do not do.  He had found it was easier to ask rather than to just speculate.


"It is a crown.  The mayor, Mrs. Bushtail, and her husband presented it to me at the last community council meeting.  They said I was the crown prince of the community for designing all these wonderful nests.  They said I saved many lives."  Whose strutted down the tree branch to let his brother, Some, get a better look.


Some watched his brother and visualized peacock feathers where his bushy squirrel tail flickered as he walked towards him.  Some could not help himself, he stretched out his foot just as his brother passed him.  "Oops!  Whose has fallen down and broken his crown.  Oh my!"


Whose had landed on a pile of leaves the kids had used to learn to jump from branch to branch.  The leaf pile softened the fall if the leap was too short.  This is an important thing for any squirrel to know.  I mean, would you want to constantly go up a tree if it meant falling out of it, just to get to another branch.  The jumping lessons had been completed for the day, but the leaves had helped Whose.  Whose was rubbing his backside as he started looking for his crown.  He finally found it.  It was broken.  It had been made out of twigs twisted together into a circle.  He wondered if he should fix it or just put it away as a memento.  It had been a gesture of thanks anyway.


Some had scampered down to make sure his brother was not injured.  "Oh, I am so sorry, Whose.  Before you put it back on your head, you better rethink your motives."


Some scampered off, leaving Whose to think about what he had said.  He heard his brother mumble, "Motives.  My motives.  Some guess, you are just jealous."


Some had promised Ginger a swing and he was going to keep his promise.  Some had become very good at making the leaf ropes.  Ginger Bushtail was a beauty.  The fact that she was the mayor's daughter did not matter.  Wrong was still chasing that little red number who helped them get Hooter into the vet's animal door that day.  Hooter, poor guy.  He really suffered a bad injury in his wing.  He likes Big Girl.  I think the biggest thing around here is wondering if she will be able to stop looking at all of us like we are dinner.  She is so big.  She is good at getting snakes.  She shares her catch with Hooter.  He is enjoying her attention.  The guy who used to scare everyone around here is now saying, "Yes, Dear." Every fifteen minutes, you can hear him make hoot noises.  We all know it translates into, "Yes, Dear."


I am the only one, Some thought to himself, who does not have anyone.  I got Ma, but that doesn't count.  I want to make my own nest and let Ma and Wrong have the family one.  I realize I am the youngest, but I dream of being on my own.  I am tired of being the baby again.  Ever since Pa and the two little ones were lost in that storm, I became the baby... again!  Some kept working on his rope swing hoping to impress Ginger.  It was almost ready.  He quickly gathered some twigs and weaved them together with the lattice pattern Whose had taught them.  Some thought about Whose again falling and breaking his new crown.  "That was a funny sight."  He said to himself.


"Hi, Ginger.  I almost have a surprise for you.  I gotta adjust a couple of things."


"You are so good at making the leaf ropes.  I brought you a couple of peanuts."  She popped two peanuts out of her jaws and gave Some, one of them.  She started eating hers as she watched Some attach two leaf ropes to either side of a lattice square.


"Wait here a second.  I will be right back."  He grabbed the rope, lattice square, and all and scampered up the tree trunk where they were sitting.  He hopped over to the lowest branch.  He then used more leaf rope and tied the other two ropes to the trunk.  He then let it drop.  "What do you think?"  He saw the surprised look on her face.  Eager to hear her praises he ran down the trunk as fast as he could.


"Get on it.  Sit on the lattice square and I will push you."  She looked at him.  She was shaking a little.  She had never been on or even seen a swing.  She sat down.  "Now, hold onto the ropes."  He waited until she had held the ropes tight.  Then he pulled back on the swing and let it go.  Ginger went flying in the air.  She screamed as she flew backward back to him.  He grabbed the swing.  "What do you think?"


"I think that is the scariest thing I have ever done.  Are you trying to kill me?  Wait till I tell my parents about this.  This is dangerous."  She scampered off leaving him with his mouth open.


He sat there for a long time trying to figure out what had just happened.  He got on the swing and pushed himself back and forth a little.  Suddenly, the rope snapped, and he fell.  "She was right.  This is dangerous."  Failure was something he was used to.  Would he ever do anything worthwhile?  His brother Whose was everyone's hero because of his designs for the nests.  But who built the nest?  I was the one that made the ropes and helped pull up the twigs so the building could go faster.  I was the one who made the ropes to help Hooter when he was hurt.  Did anyone ever say, "Great job, Some?"


Best had watched the whole thing and was sure her son needed some encouragement right about now.  "Son, I am so sorry about your new thing ... What did you call it?  Ah, Swing?  I am sorry it did not work.  The purpose of making it was to give Ginger a gift or was it to get a pat on the back?  Did you really want to make her happy or to get praise?"


"Whose always gets praises from everyone.  Even the birds give him praise.  Wrong has a whole crew he manages building the designs that Whose creates.  Wrong does not get any praise, only Whose."


He kicked the leaves on the ground and looked up at his Ma.  "When is it going to be my turn?"  A tear ran down his cheek.


"You are really so jealous of your brother you cannot see that his designs saved this community.  He did it to make everyone's life better, not just his own.  He did not do it to get a pat on the back.  He did it because it was the right thing to do.  Even I was against it at first.  I thought he was dreaming.  Well, he was... but it was a dream that involved making other members of the community safer."


"Yeah, but."


"No, but.  You are wasting time feeling sorry for yourself instead of looking at your 'swing' and figuring out what went wrong.  Fix it.  Even Whose adjusted his designs when it was needed."  She wiped Some's face and fluffed up his tail.  "You have work to do.  Go do it."


He looked at his swing and started checking out why it had broken. He worked all afternoon.  Then he spotted a small round object that had been left by the doctor's grandchildren.  It had come off of one of the toys.  It looked like a, what had he called it, a donut.  That is right.  He picked it up.  It does not look like any kind of a nut to me.  He tasted it.  "Yuke.  No one can eat that."  He poked his head through the hole.  Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do.


"Ma was right. I am guilty of doing exactly what I accused Whose of doing. I was more interested in having someone brag on me than in building something that was safe."  He made a new rope out of the two ropes he had used before.  This time he added a third rope.  He crisscrossed them together like the twigs had been done.  Except these laced together formed a long, strong, rope.  The term Whose had called it was braiding the twigs.  He said to himself, now they had a braided rope.  It was stronger and safer.  He attached it to the black donut he had found then scampered up the tree.  He poked his head through the hole and then pushed himself off the branch.  He went straight down, and the black thing held him tight as he started swinging through the air.  I gotta show this to Whose.

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It was not long before the whole community was admiring Some's new invention.  With the stronger rope design, they would be able to carry more twigs up to the building sites.  With the new swing design, the squirrels could learn to practice hopping from one branch to the other without fear of hitting the ground.  The new rope could be used for so many things.  Even small versions could be used to stretch across two twigs.  It would create a hammock to sleep upon.  This was great!!


"Please, to all of you who gave me the crown this morning, I thank you.  I think the crown should be passed to my brother, Some.  His new invention will save lives and make life easier for all of us.  Well done, Brother.  Let's give a hand to Some Guess.  Our new hero."


Everyone clapped as Whose placed the mended crown upon Some's head.  Whose whispered.  "Your little trick on me this morning was well deserved.  It put things in perspective for me.  "Some and Whose shook hands and smiled.  The Guess brothers were now brothers in friendship and respect.


"Motivation has a lot to do with why someone does something. Son, I am very proud of you.  When your motivation turned away from yourself and toward what it would do for others... you made it work."


Ginger Bushtail waved at Some.  She blew him a kiss letting him know all was forgiven.  At last.  Some Guess had discovered the thrill of doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do.


Chapter Four

Right Guess Plus Three




The sun was coming up.  Wrong Guess and Ginger were just sitting and watching their world wake up.  The soft reds, yellows, and oranges from the sunrise had spread a soft glow across the yard.


"It is amazing how much has changed since your family arrived.  All the squirrels living in this giant willow tree.  The birds have nests in the other trees, but they are more secure now.  We are all safer now.  The beehive and twig designs your brother, Whose seemed crazy at first."


Wrong looked at this beauty he called his mate.  He was so glad his mother, Best Guess had found this place.  He could listen to Ginger all day.


 "After that last big storm, everyone wanted a home like the one you lived in with your mother.  I guess all she has is Right now.  Whose has married and lives over on branch four.  Some had a crush on me for a while, but you are the one who won my heart.  It is just as well.  He really was the lover boy for a while around here.  Mother used to say that none of the girls were safe.  I am sure glad he finally found a mate, although I think she is a little young.  They are funny together."


Ginger grinned as she continued.


"After he started making those strong ropes, he could pull himself up to anyone's home.  I love that last contraption he made though.  It sure cut down on the traffic going up and down the tree.  Just think the vet throughout that big bowl with wires coming out of the sides.  None of us knows what she was going to do with it, but Some tied his ropes onto it and made a lift.  Ten squirrels at a time can go up the tree now.  I think that is why Some and Fluffy live on the top level of the tree.  They like coming down in the lift."

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"Right controls it and stops on all eight levels of the branches.  It was scary at first, like most of Some's inventions."  Wrong scratched his chin and watched as the colors disappeared into a blue sky.  "I remember."


Ginger, laughed. "When he showed me his first swing, it scared me to death."  She looked up at her husband and thought about how lucky she was.  "What are you thinking about.  You look very serious."


"I was thinking about Right.  He is so shy.  He barely speaks to anyone.  Wrong has him doing whatever task that is needed but he never says, "No, I don't want to."  He just does it.  He has very few friends.  He is grown now."


"He is a late bloomer.  That is what my daddy used to call my brother before he died.  After that hawk got him, Daddy was sorry he had encouraged him to venture out of the yard.  Hooter took care of the hawk.  That was quite a battle."


"It is amazing how much you can miss someone when they are gone.  My pah and I used to argue all the time.  He was always on me about something.  The night the tornado ripped the tree out of the ground was the last time I ever saw him.  Mah was devastated.  She held onto the four of us as we fell out of the tree.  We landed on something soft, I am not sure what it was.  We looked up and the tree; trunk, roots, and all flew over our heads and into that big tube of wind."


"Tell me about your Pah."  She nuzzled her husband's cheek.  She knew the memories hurt.  She had the same feeling when her brother got killed.  My Pah had been a pet squirrel for a doctor who delivered human babies.  He always said the big thing or one of the most important things was to give the child a name others would remember.  I think that is why we all have odd names."


"That makes sense.  I understand."  Ginger turned at the sound of a motor coming close.


A truck was pulling up to the vet's office.  The entire yard watched as the back door of the truck was rolled up.  Several cages were stacked together.  Speculations made the hum across the yard as all the citizens of the community watched the cages being carried into the vet's office.


"Wrong, do you think whatever it is will stay?  It looks like more than one of them too."  Ginger strained her eyes trying to see across the edge of the yard.


"It is probably just some patients for the doctor.  I would not worry."  Wrong took Ginger by the hand and lead her to the nest they had built at the fork in the branches.  "We can watch from here."


"Do you ever miss Carrot?  I mean you chased her for a long time.  She was an odd squirrel.  I don't think grey squirrels and red squirrels get along too well.  I think I even heard the doc say once that, red squirrels kill grey squirrels."  Ginger waited for her husband to reassure her about his feelings for Carrot.


"I do not miss her a bit.  She argued about everything.  It did not make any difference what it was.  If I said good morning, she would say I should have said, good afternoon or something else altogether.  She drove me crazy.  She was cute but after a while, I just got tired of arguing.  I am glad she left to find another home.   I overheard the doctor talking about her one day.  She said that the diet grey squirrels eat can make a red squirrel sick.  It has something to do with our poop.  Anyway, it had nothing to do with her being a red squirrel, it had to do with what was best for her and what is best for us.  I am glad she left to find another home.   I think the doctor helped her on that one.  I think she took her where there were more red squirrels."


"That makes sense to me.  The doctor seems to know when we have, what did she call it, an incompatible.  We could have gotten along with her, but she just would not have it."  Ginger's gaze was once again drawn to the activity in the yard.


Mrs. Bushtail and her husband had gone into the animal's entrance to the doctor's house.  Their curiosity about the new arrivals seemed to warrant at least a look.


"You are so cute.  I think we will call you Sally."  The doctor picked her up.  "You are a Sally."  Doctor Wish gave Sally a few strokes on her snout and stroked her long ears.  "I have another one of you in the other cage.  Maybe you will fall in love and raise a family here.  We have lots of insects for you to eat in the yard.  I know the community will be happy to have you here."


Doctor Wish turned her attention to the other two cages.  Three grey squirrels.  Rescues from a storm so she was told.  "Who might you be?  You are a big boy."  She scooped him up and stroked his back.  He twitched his tail and kept trying to look at the other cage.  There were two younger squirrels there.  Finally, Big wiggled out of the doctor's grasp.  He tried to put his hands through the open wires on the front of the cage.  The two younger squirrels came running up to him.  They all nuzzled through the door.  "I get it, you are family."  She instantly opened the cage door and Big ran in to hold his children once more.  "You too will enjoy our little community.  I am not sure if you will like living in a tree that looks like a giant beehive."  The doctor laughed.


"What did you say?  A beehive?  Yes, a beehive.  You know how some squirrels will kill a tree by peeling off the bark at the base.  The tree gets weak and falls.  Well, the squirrels in this community do not do that.  They somehow got some of the bee's wax, mixed it with twigs and other stuff, and built nests.  They all live in the big willow out back."  Doctor Wish pulled back the drapes and showed her college from the rescue center what she was talking about.


"That is amazing.  Oh, I see two hoot owls?  Don't they eat squirrels and even smaller birds?"  The puzzled look on his face made Doctor Wish laugh out loud.


"Yes, I had one old hoot owl that somehow made himself part of the community because he likes to eat snakes."  Snakes used to be a big problem around here.  When he got shot a few months ago, it damaged his wing.  Then, as if an answer to a prayer, this female hoot owl showed up.  They are a pair.  She gets the snakes and shares them with him.  He just hoots... when he wants something."  They both laughed.


"You said you wanted to add some fencing.  Where?  Why?"  He looked at the pretty doctor and wondered if she was available.  I guy can only dream.


"We are open to every creature out there.  I do not mind helping other animals, but most of my community would be called...


"Rodents?  Edible?  Dinner?"  He laughed and realized it was not so funny after all.


"I thought if I put some fencing around the main yard so that the squirrels and others who live here would be safe it would be a good thing.  I looked at some of the latticework the squirrels did to make their nests.  Look I have a piece of it over here."  She handed him a square of the lattice piece.  "Another thing, I want you to see.  Look very close to the far branch of the willow tree.  What do you see?"  She almost held her breath waiting for her new friend to discover what she did.


"Is that a hanging pot planter?  It is tied to a long green rope and goes up to the top."  He watched for a minute.  "Wow.  Those squirrels made an elevator for the tree?"  His eyes were huge.  "You have to take pictures.  I have never seen anything like this.  Squirrels, first of all, using tools.  Squirrels doing anything but eating is amazing."  He continued to watch.


"Now you understand why I am trying to get sanctuary status for this place.  I do not want a lot of people out here to look.  It would disturb the natural balance of things.  What I need is for the boys who live in the place just North of here.  They come by at least twice a year and find some way to either shoot one of my babies or put an arrow into them.  That is how my hoot owl got hurt."


Doctor Wish brushed the hair from her face.  "I have to get the status as a reserve so that they will leave us alone or face some stiff fines and maybe some jail time if they do cause problems."


Doctor Bone snapped his fingers and his eyes got big.  "That is why you got.  He cleared his throat.  "Sally, right?"


"Right.  She is an endangered species.  I think I can also find some laws that govern the killing of certain birds.  Look outside again.  See, I have two woodpeckers working on that maple tree.  I have two hoot owls and I want to protect them all.  I know it is not much, but it is a start."  Doctor Wish clapped her hands.


"What do they call you?"  His curiosity had run its limit.  Doctor Wish seemed too formal now.


"I am Wish Wish.  My father stuttered.  When they filled out the birth certificate it came out Wish Wish.  So, I have been Wish ever since.  She laughed and waited to see if she would be accepted or if he would make fun.


"I love that.  Just think.  If we got married your name would be Wish Bone."  They both laughed.


The thought about getting married had just been planted in her mind.  "Maybe, she said under her breath.  Sure, am glad my name is not "Funny".  Can you imagine being called Funny Bone?  She made herself laugh.  Maybe someday she can tell him what is so funny.  "What is your first name?"  She looked at this adorable, funny man and started thinking romance.


"My name is George Edward Bone.  Nothing fancy, but it works for me."  Wish smiled and looked into George's eyes.  She moved a little closer.  The back of her mind was telling her that her children could carry on after their patents and protect this place.


The thumping noise interrupted the budding romance of the doctors.  "Okay, little man.  We will get you out of those cages."  I am going to release Sally in the morning.  I want the big guy here and the two little ones to get introduced into the community first.


"Big, Big, is that you?"  Best was running towards the cage the doctor had left open in the yard.  Best started crying.  Big was alive and looked so good.  Then Last and One came scampering out, clinging to their father.  "My babies!! Shouted Best.  My family is together again.  "Oh my, what a glorious day this is."  The entire community watched as Big and Best ran towards each other.  One and Last followed close behind.  A huge family hug started as they met.  Then it got bigger as Whose, Some, Wrong, and Right joined them.  The entire family made their way up to the nest where Best lived with Right.  It was big enough for all of them.  After all the other three boys had moved out already.  No one disturbed them the rest of the night.  Everyone knew the Guess family had a lot to tell each other.  They could meet the three new members another day.


Once again Wrong and Ginger sat on the branch watching the sunrise.  The glow spread all over the yard.  The conversation was stopped when the bustle of humans was heard below.


The doctor brought out two more cages.  Out hopped the oddest creature they had ever seen.  The other cage had another one.  What were they?  Who were they?  One thing is for sure...  It was going to be hard not to laugh when we start asking questions.


Mr. and Mrs. Bushtail came over to the new guests.  The doctor was standing there watching.  Mrs. Bushtail chatted and mimicked the smacking sound it made looked closer at the little creature.  "What are you?"


"I am a Sally."  Sally was cautious but wondered what was in store for her.  She did not know the other one.  I wonder if he is a Sally too. She asked herself.  Surely not.  But he was a boy.


Mrs. Bushtail laughed.  There is no such thing as a Sally.  Is Sally your name?"


"I am a Sally.  The doctor said so."  Sally, put her hands to her lips.  She was hungry.  She looked around to see if she could see anything to eat. "Ah!  Dinner."  Sally jumped at least six feet over to the fallen log in the yard.  She instantly started eating the ants, beetles, and insects that had taken over the inside of the log.  The other creature joined her.


"Wrong looked at this little creature.  I never saw anything with such large, long ears.  Those huge back legs and the front legs are so tiny.  But look how they use those tiny hands to eat those insects.  It is amazing to watch them."


" see that jump?"  Asked Right.  "I never saw anything jump like that."  Right continued to stare at the two creatures as they enjoyed their dinner.


"Do you think they are deformed?  I mean, could they be a mistake?"  Whose looked at his dad.


"I road with these guys all the way here from the rescue.  They are related to the mouse.  They are called long-eared jerboa.  That is what the rescuers called them.  They have mouse-like bodies, rabbity ears, and a snout like a pig.  But the big thing is the back legs.  It looks like a miniature kangaroo.  They are in a class all their own.  There are not many left in the world.  One more thing, you can see, they love insects."


We can use an insect eater here.  The birds keep the worms and beetles under control, but the ants have taken over the ground.  I think some of them have made it up the tree even."  Big Guess squeezed his mate's hand.  He could tell she was proud.  He was sure glad he listened while the rescuers were loading them up.


Sally finished her snack and hopped over to where a crowd had gathered.  It seemed the Robins were going to sing.  "I hope they can sing on key.  I hate it when a bird shouts instead of sings.  I heard a duck honk once."  Everyone was looking at her.


"I may look funny on the outside, but my inside is finally full She patted her chin and hopped over the entire crowd gathered under a far tree.


"Shush, please shush." The crowd said at the same time.  She waited as the Robins started to sing.  It was beautiful.


"Oh, wow."  That was so mellow she thought.  "Please forgive me I had no idea you had a performing bird."


Right scampered over to Sally.  He put his finger on his lips.  "Shush."  Then he stroked her long ears.  He was in awe of her face too.


Right turned to the other jerboa sitting next to her.  I guess his name will come in time.  I wonder.  He then whispered, "Jerboa."  The little boy turned to him and said in a rather funny squeak.  "Yeah."


Right gasp.  "What is your name?"


"You just said it, are you a half twit?"  Jerboa turned back to the birds singing.  He was enjoying it and this silly squirrel calls him by name and asked what his name is.  Now, is that weird or what?  He thought to himself.  Sally is not so bad.  She has wonderful eyes.  She is good at spotting good food too.


"I am not a half twit.  I am a squirrel."  Right felt very good about correcting this creature.  I guess he has never seen a squirrel.  That is okay.  Right shook his head.  He had never seen a Jerboa either.


"Hoot, Hoot."  Big Girl and Hooter let out a cry.  Sally and Jerboa disappeared instantly.


"Sally, hide in here." Jerboa pulled up a broken piece of bark.  Hoot owls eat us.  We are not safe here."


Right noticed the two mice-type creatures run for cover. He followed them.  He peaked under the piece of bark.  "You do not have to be afraid.  That is just Hooter and Big Girl.  They keep the snakes in check."


Sally gasp.  "Snakes?"


"Please, do not worry.  They are good owls.  They even protect us against hawks and other birds that could hurt us.  They are the community watchers."


"What is going on under here?  Right, you left so quickly.  I thought you did not like the music."  Flicker gave him her very best smile.  She too was shy.  She had been in love with Right for a long time.  This was the first time he was not working or surrounded by other squirrels.


"We are having a party,” Sally replied.  She snapped her tiny little hands and wiggled her long tail.  Jerboa is providing the shelter and I am providing the laughs."


Flicker laughed.  Sally was funny.  She decided she liked her.  "You really can't judge what someone looks like on the outside."  It is what is on the inside that counts.  "Well, Sally had bugs inside of her."  Flicker made herself laugh.  "Seriously, she is sweet and funny.  I like her."  She and Jerboa would both be welcome to the community.  "Do you need help getting a home ready?  Flicker watched as the two mice looked down the long log.


"I think this end of the log will be best.  We have eaten everything that lived here before we got here.  What do you think Sally?"


"I think it is great.  Now, tell me about the giant beehive in that tree.  Are there bees in there?"  Sally was looking up at the willow tree.


"That is our home."  Right, glanced at Flicker, and then looked away almost as fast.  She was so pretty.  My brother Whose designed it and we built it.  It is covered in beeswax to keep the rain out."  Right got real still as Flicker came up beside him.  She looked at him and he looked at her.


"Hey, you two married or something?"  Sally hated the idea of watching someone else's romance.  Then she thought about Jerboa.  I think we have a winner.  She giggled to herself.  Yes, this community would work out just fine.  She knew one thing for sure.  She was going to get some of that beeswax for the inside walls of their new home.  Maybe these squirrels could help them raise one end of the log off the ground just a bit so it would not get flooded when it rained.  Next thing for sure.  She was going to teach these squirrels how to laugh.


The music stopped.  Right and Flicker, now holding hands came out from under the bark with Sally and Jerboa behind them.  Mrs. Bushtail introduced them to the rest of the community.


Whose was sitting and looking out over the community.  His father joined him.  "Son, you were right about following your dream.  This tree is a monument to what you can achieve when you believe in yourself.  Good job, son."  He patted him on the back.


"I could not have done it without everyone's cooperation.  If we had not all worked together, we would either be dead or scattered.  The last storm could have wiped us all out.  This tree does not break in the storms.  It bends."  Whose shook his head.


"Those little creatures you came home with are something.  Everyone thought there was something wrong with them.  Deformed was one explanation.  They will be vital members here.  They eat the insects that were taking over after the tree trunks started rotting."


Best joined her husband and son as they watched the sun setting in the distance.  "We are home.  Our dreams and beyond have come true.  Every tiny detail has been taken care of.  Even down to those two new mice."


"Honey, they are called Jerboa."  Big laughed.  They do look funny.  They have those long ears, the snout like a pig, and those hind legs like a kangaroo.  Who would have thought they eat insects?"


"There is a place for every one of us.  When we work together, there is a place for all of us."  They all let out a sigh.  There was nothing left to say.


Chapter 5: Monster Slayer

"George, do you mind if we spend our honeymoon here instead of going somewhere else?"

"That is fine with me.  Besides I have a surprise for you, my love."  He looked at his new bride.  He had to pinch himself.  How could he be so lucky?  Wish was beautiful inside and out.  Two vets running a sanctuary.  He hoped the newest arrival would help elevate the status of the sanctuary to keep it safe from developers.  If they could get the property declared a natural habitat it would work.  They had worked so hard to add just enough so that the ecosystem worked balanced and harmonious.

"You have a surprise?"  She glanced at her husband.  "What kind of surprise?"  She grinned and rested her head on his shoulder.  "You have made me very happy.  Are we ready for your surprise?"

"I'll give you a hint.  I know your father planted all those black walnut trees beyond the immediate yard.  You have all those red maple trees. The creatures that make up this little community each play a vital role in taking care of it and surviving without killing each other.  You have orange trees, melon vines, peanut plants, apple trees, and pear trees.  You do not harvest, except when you want to make some sort of jam."

He was almost too excited.  He could not wait to tell her.  "What if I found a perfect new member of the community that would need those things?  They are on the endangered species listing and we can supply the only habitat in which they might reproduce.  It has never been done because they will not mate in captivity.  They might be able to do it here.  What do you say?"

He watched her face.  She was having to really think this one through.  "Have you worked with these creatures before?  If they need medical attention, can we provide it?"

"Yes, to both questions.  Tell me now if you think we could add two fruit bats to the community?  They are big, granted.  But they are wonderful to watch.  We could learn so much.  Please, Wish.  My little Wish Bone."  He put his arms around her waist so she could not get away without answering his question.  What a name.  Wish?  She was a wish come true for sure.  He never thought that having a last name like Bone would work out so perfectly for them.  She was his little Wish Bone for sure. 

"A fruit bat?  What about rabies?  I know very little about them, but they do eat fruit and we have an ample supply of a food source for them.  The trees have multiplied over the years simply because I just let nature run things out there."  She took a deep breath and sighed. 

 "Okay, my love... fruit bats it is."

He was so excited.  George lifted Wish up and twirled her around before letting her land once again in his arms.  "They will be here this afternoon.  "How did you do this?  I thought it was not legal to import fruit bats, aka, the flying fox to the US?"

"I did not import them.  They have been in a zoo in California.  The scientist working on the project wanted to see if they would reproduce in a natural environment.  Like here, at your sanctuary."

"That is wonderful.  There are so many things I have read and heard about bats it is hard to not be frightened of them.  Is it true they poop out of their mouth?"

"No, they cannot digest the pulp in the fruit they eat.  They eat the fruit, squeeze all the juices out and then spit out the pulp."

George laughed as Wish proceeded to drill him about their new additions.

"Do they roost in trees, houses, what?  Do we need to do something special?" 

"Wish, I have brought several books for you to read about them.  Also, one of the zoo managers is coming along with them to make sure the habitat is sufficient for them."

Wish settled down on the sofa with the books at her side.  George went out into the yard to see what could be done to get ready for the new citizens of the community.


The birds were in true form today.  Two families of nightingales.  Twenty-five canary pairs.  There were only three families of thrushes.  The Robins were countless.  The symphony they did every morning mesmerized everyone.  Getting the Woodland gardening design and enough understory completed the wonderful, but natural bird sanctuary.  George was amazed at how it had all come together.  "Wish, come here.  I want you to listen to the morning songs."

Wish joined her husband in the garden.  They both closed their eyes and just listened to the birds singing.  The little sounds of squirrels cherupping at each other just added to the little sounds of nature.

Mrs. Bushtail watched as the two humans sat on the bench and listened to the morning songs.  It had become a ritual for the community.  As if they could stop all the birds trying to outsing each other.  The nightingale’s song was so sweet.  The trees were full of nests.  The fruit trees even had a few nests in them.

Whose Guess had designed a wonderful home for Sally and Jerboa.  They had turned into the community clowns.  Sally was so funny.  Always happy unless Jerboa got too grumpy.

"Best, what do you think they are going to do next?"

"Well, Mrs. Bushtail, I am not sure.  This place was a lot quieter before they married.  I like him though.  Go get Whose.  I think we need to keep an eye on those two today.  Something is going to happen.  Mark my words."  Best had her hands on her hips as she watched the two, holding their hands and listening to the birds.  She said to herself... Something is up.  That I am certain about.  I think I will go bet Big.  He spent enough time at that rescue place.  He just might be able to help us figure out what happens when it happens.  I best stop talking to myself, I am really getting confused.

The sound of the truck with the rolling back door filled the air and cut the bird symphony short.  There was silence in the yard, except for the sound of the door rolling up.  Cages were inside.  Everyone scattered to their own homes to watch from a distance.  Whatever it was, caution was the best policy.

Three cages were carried into the vet clinic.  Not even Mrs. Bushtail went into the little door at the back.  She and Best pushed Big to go peek inside.  Big was the perfect one for the job.  He understood some of their words and knew a lot about the animals at the rescue.

Big was only inside for a few minutes.  He came rushing out.  Waving his hands and chirping to himself.  His eyes were big.  Whose came up to his father, "What is it?  Who is it?  Is it bad?"

"Bats!"  He said it again.  "Bats!"

The whole squirrel community repeated what he said.  Even the family of mountain squirrels knew about bats.  "Are they big?"

"Those are the biggest bats I have ever seen."  Big tried to stretch out his arms to describe the wingspan of these creatures.  "They hang upside down on tree branches."

"Are they going to eat all the insects?"  Sally was concerned that she and Jerboa would have competition for food.  Jerboa shook his head yes as if he too wanted to know the answer.

"These bats are different.  They eat fruit.  Like on those trees out there across from the black walnut trees."  Big was afraid to tell them what he feared the most.  Bats usually have rabies.  Wait till they see them spit out their food.  It looks like they are pooping out of their mouth.  He had seen these exact bats at the rescue center.  What did he call himself?  There was one guy that seems to boss the others.  What did he call himself?  Big thought for a minute.  "UpDown."  That is what his name is.  His name is UpDown.  It fits too. You should see them hang upside down under the branch of a tree."  Big shook his head.  Personality-wise, the whole community was in for a rude awakening.

"What do we need to know, Big."  Hooter and Big Girl were not sure what to do about bats.

"Well, this guy is smart.  He likes to pull pranks on others.  Mostly his own buddies but he will do almost anything for a laugh."

"That does not sound bad."  Sally loved to laugh.

The back door of the clinic opened.  Three cages were carried out to the grove of fruit trees.  The two doctors opened the cages after securing them up in trees.  Separate trees for each cage.

You could hear the gasp of the entire community when UpDown popped out.

"A bat.  What do we need a bat for?"  Right and Wrong were sitting with Some and their mates.  They looked at these strange-looking, buggy-eyed creatures.  "What do you do with a bat."  Some asked.

"You play baseball.  Are you an idiot?  UpDown looked at the squirrel who had not known what to do with a bat.

"I am a squirrel."  Some answered.

"What is your name?"  UpDown had ushered his mate out and they were both hanging upside down looking at the squirrels below.

"I am Mrs. Bushtail.  I am the mayor here.  Let me introduce you to one of our more prominent families here.  This is Some Guess."  She then proceeded to continue introducing the Guess family.  UpDown was laughing louder with each name.

"I would say I have come to the right place.  My name is UpDown.  I could make fun of all the Guess names but mine is no better."

The whole community watched as UpDown proceeded to bite into a peach.  Then to their horror, he spits it out.  "You poop out of your mouth?  Yuke!" Said, Whose.  He could not imagine how horrible that must be for anyone.

"Son," Big replied, "He is sucking all the juice out and spitting out the pulp."  Big looked at the guy he had watched so intently at the rescue.

He had watched him wrap himself up with those big wings and hang upside down in the rain.  He was smart and had been to several rescue places before coming here.

"I know you."  UpDown took a closer look at Big.  "You are that squirrel.  You had two babies with you.  Last and... Oh, what was it?  Yes, it was One.  Last Guess and One Guess.  How are the kids?"

"These are my children."  He waved his arm over his family.  "This is my wife, Best."  He was very proud.

"Well, I am so glad to be here.  I know it will be a good place with you running the show.  Everyone thinks I am a monster.  But you know better."  UpDown proceeded to smack and eat.  He was very pleased with the new environment.

"Let's let the UpDowns get settled in for the day.  We can get acquainted with them another day."  Big rolled his arms to let everyone know it was time to go back to their homes.

"Big.  You have slain the monster.  I guess when I came everyone thought I was deformed.  You helped them understand me.  UpDown looks like a monster.  Like the rest of us with funny names and appearances.  You have shown us how to slay the worst of the monsters.  The ones in our minds.  Thank you, Big."  Sally and Jerboa joined hands and slowly made their way back home.

Suddenly, the symphony started again.  The UpDowns looked at each other.  This was going to be a wonderful place to raise a family.

George had been taking pictures as the community had welcomed the newcomers.  He knew the pictures would guarantee the reclassification of the property.  He and Wish were going to have to come up with a name for this sanctuary and reserve.

Maybe the animals would be able to name it.  Who knows?  It is just a Guess, after all.

Whose joined his family in the willow tree.  "It looks like our little paradise just got a little funnier."  Ginger said.

"Every dream needs a good giggle occasionally.  We have all come a long way.  We have worked hard to make this our home.  We have learned to work together.  We have learned that it is what is inside someone that counts.  It makes no difference what they look like."  Big looked at his family.  He could not be more pleased.  Dreams and miracles do happen, but you must be willing to accept others and treat them as you want to be treated.

One thing everyone had learned is that making fun of someone’s name or the way they look is no way to win friends and influence squirrels.

Big had decided he would name this place...He shrugged his shoulders; it did not matter what he called it.  Everyone here called it home.

© 2022 texasjane

Author's Note

I had some problems trying to upload the images that go with the story. Hopefully, you can enjoy the story without them.

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Added on January 27, 2022
Last Updated on January 27, 2022
Tags: children



Hawkins, TX

I a retired Texas widow. I live alone with two dogs. I love to look for the humor in almost everything. I like to pass along a giggle when I can. Wisdom is also fun to pass along. I like to pro.. more..

My Hamlet My Hamlet

A Story by texasjane