Thursday, May 31, 2012

99 Words On Our Chipmunk

Several years back our local newspaper had a feature called “99 Words” wherein readers were asked to submit stories of that length for possible publication. There is nothing magical, as far as I know, about the number – but like, the 17 syllables of haiku poetry, it presents an interesting constraint within which to work.

 99 Words On Our Chipmunk 

The chipmunk is crossing our paved walkway when he sees me sitting in my green lawn chair. He stops, looking confusedly at the world that has abruptly changed.

Then he continues on his familiar path – up the damaged and decomposing Flowering Crab, down the chain to the encaged squirrel-proof-but-clearly-not-chipmunk-proof bird feeder. He stands on the bottom perch and fills his cheeks – then reversing his route, stops briefly to peripherally reconfirm my presence – unaware I’ve just received an arborist’s estimate to fell the center of his universe.

The feeder will move to a wrought iron pole. The chipmunk will adapt.

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