Sammy scampered down the tree trunk and waited a moment at the bottom. His shiny black eyes quickly scanned his surroundings. His whiskers twitched as he sniffed the breeze. He hopped down onto the grassy area behind the park bench. He twitched nervously before he hopped over to pick up a discarded peanut shell. He was disappointed to find it empty, but he quickly moved on in search of more.
He hopped closer to the bench where two humans sat, talking.
“… not sure what we will do,” one of them said, “David is waiting to hear from the HR guy at the bus company about how much his insurance will cover. If they will help us pay, it would be a God-send.”
“Would you get an aide then, or will you have to look for a nursing home?” the other human asked.
“We’d like to hire an aide first,” the first human said, “Keeping Dad at home as long as we can is what we would prefer, of course. This was the first time he’s wandered off like that. I don’t think it will be the last time, though, so we have to do something. I can’t keep him cooped up inside all the time.”
“Where is he now?” second human asked.
“David is watching him,” first human said.
Sammy edged around the side of the park bench, constantly watching and sniffing for a treat or two, as he went. He found a few bird seeds in the grass and nibbled at those before he cautiously came around the front of the bench.
The humans ignored him until he sat up on his haunches to peer hopefully up at them. He clasped his front paws together in front of his chest.
“Oh, look at that little squirrel!” second human said, “Isn’t he cute?”
“He’s begging for a handout,” first human smiled. She fished around in her jacket pocket and tossed a couple of peanuts towards him. “Dad feeds them all the time. He’s got me doing it now, too.”
Sammy was so excited that he pounced eagerly on the first peanut. He darted back towards the tree trunk and climbed up onto the first branch to sit and crack open his treasure. He used his paws to turn the peanut so he could crack open the shell with his teeth. He nibbled happily at the delicious peanut inside the shell.
“They hang out here around the bench all the time,” first human said.
“They probably miss your Dad,” second human said.
“He misses them, too,” first human sighed. “Sometimes I wish I was a squirrel and all I had to worry about was where my next peanut was coming from.”
The second human chuckled.
“I know,” she said, putting her arm around the first human to hug her. “You’re doing all you can, Chloe. Just take it one day at a time. I’m here if you need anything. You can call me anytime.”
“Thanks, Holly,” first human said.
Sammy clambered back down the tree trunk and darted over to grab up the second peanut before one of the birds or another squirrel found it. This one was a good one, and the shell wasn’t even cracked. Yes, this one was a keeper. Now where was he going to bury it? Over by the rose bushes seemed a great place so he set off over there to cache the peanut for later enjoyment.
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