Shelby Meets his BFF

mouse

SHELBY GOES CAMPING

(How did you meet your BFF? This is most of the story from ‘The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends’.  What’s missing here is the bit that tells us how the whole F. Squirrel family saw a campfire in the meadow, complete with singing and marshmallow roasting, during the ritual evening food hunt. Shelby went to bed filled with curiosity. Here’s how his morning unfolded…..)

Shelby awoke early after another hunt through the forest just before sunrise. He crept out of the nest in his well-practised way, without disturbing Mother and Darby, and in no time at all was sitting upright on the edge of the meadow, his nose and ears twitching as he took in the scene.

A lot of boys and a few big people were busily going in all directions. There were tents, piles of wood, picnic tables, all in what seemed like utter chaos. Shelby was quite mesmerized by it all. He didn’t know what to make of it.

“Hey!” a voice squeaked from just below him. He looked down and saw a tiny creature with a very long skinny tail, little round ears, a pointed nose, long whiskers and piercing eyes. “Who are you? Even better, what are you?” it squeaked again.

“Oh! Oh!” mumbled Shelby, trying to organize his thoughts. “I – I – (hic!) I’m a squirrel. My name’s Shelby F. Squirrel. Pleased to meet you! (hic!)” He was trying to remember to be polite.

“Well, hello then, Shelby F. Meet Marvin F. Mouse! Glad to know you, I’m sure. We have the same middle initial! Are you a Field Squirrel? I bet you are, I bet you are!!”

Oh, here we go again, thought Shelby. Nobody has ever seen a flying squirrel!

But he explained patiently to Marvin about his own F. Marvin’s face changed from OH! to WOWIE!! as he listened.

“What a team we could make, Shelby! You want me to show you what this bunch of stuff in the meadow is all about?”

First they went into a tent with rumpled-up sleeping bags and clothing strewn all around. Marvin explained that this was a Scout camp and they were here every June on the second weekend. They scurried out of the sleeping tent just as two half-dressed boys popped through the flap, too busy chatting to notice the little animals.

“This is the most important place to know about!” squeaked Marvin. “It’s the cook tent, and we can find lots of good things to eat. Just don’t knock anything over or there will be trouble for sure!” he warned.

They crept into the tent through the flap that acted as a door. “Follow me!” said Marvin. And he climbed up onto a shelf with boxes and packages piled high on it. He chewed with rapid tiny bites into one of the bags and soon light brown flakes were spreading on the shelf.

“I love this taste! It’s called oats,” said Marvin, sounding even more squeaky as he nibbled furiously. “They cook it and eat it in the morning.” Shelby agreed that it tasted wonderful and dug right in.

Neither of them noticed that the bag was starting to lean over, and suddenly it toppled, teetered a moment, then plunged headlong over the edge of the shelf!

C-RRRR-ASH!!!! The ruined bag of oats landed on a pile of huge cooking pots and knocked everything every which way! Just as Marvin had predicted, the sound of running feet was heard immediately and shouting voices came nearer in a flash.

The two new friends streaked for the door, veering sharply around the edge of the flap exactly as the first person dashed inside.

“Shelby, help me get away!” screamed Marvin. “They’ll step on me! Oh, HELLLP!” With that he leaped onto Shelby’s back and hung on for dear life.

Shelby’s feet barely touched the ground, while he headed for the first tree at the edge of the meadow. Without looking back, he scrabbled up the trunk, his claws slipping badly because of his passenger, who was tiny but was extra weight nonetheless.

Huffing and puffing and hiccupping to beat the band, Shelby paused for a few seconds on the first limb. Then, steeling himself to be strong, he quickly climbed to a higher branch and with a whisper to Marvin, “Hang on TIGHT!” he leaped into space.

“Hey, hey, we’re flying!” yelled Marvin in Shelby’s ear. “I think I’ll change what my middle initial stands for from now on! Marvin FLYING Mouse; what do think of that?”

And Shelby thought it was just fine with him! No doubt he and Marvin F. were going to be fast friends for a long, long time.