Friday, November 2, 2018

Good Game

The chubby gray squirrel squats beneath a fat, gnarled tree golden with fall leaves, and busily chomps away at an acorn, blissfully unaware of the black dog about thirty yards away from him. The dog moves slowly, deliberately, unblinking in his total concentration, never taking his eyes off of the squirrel, gently lifting each paw with care on each step, cautious to avoid startling his prey.

The crowd grows, watching anxiously while the squirrel, tired of nibbling, runs around the back of the tree, which causes the dog to abandon his strategy and dash around the tree, startling the squirrel into sudden realization of his eminent danger and sending him straight up the trunk to a high branch where he is at last safe from the snapping jaws of death.

The crowd laughs in relief, like we’d been holding our breath, as the dog runs back to his people, no longer a killing machine, but just a floppy black dog playing in the park, while the squirrel sits in the crook of a branch and screams tiny, enraged screams at its retreating back.

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