My name is Zip the squirrel. I am currently residing in one of the trees by Old Main on Westminster’s campus. I live a pretty normal life, for a squirrel, that is. My diet consists of plants, seeds, nuts, and sometimes fruits. I get exercise in by teasing dogs, by my tree, and being chased by them. I tend to mock them by hanging upside down in a tree causing them to yell furiously at me. Life is pretty nice here, but lately I feel bored with the same routine. The food is the same, and being chased by dogs is not as much as a thrill. I want a bit more adventure in my life. My friend Mint invited me to his tree, so I decide today is the day I am going to visit him. I make sure to eat a big breakfast, just in case. He told me that he lives by Apple Castle, but I am not sure where that is. I never traveled outside of Westminster’s campus. I try to sneak into the library to find a map, but everyone keeps shooing me away. Maybe there is a map somewhere around town. I walk along Old Main until I get to Maple Street and make a right turn, scurrying past a church. As I continue to walk, I smell something delicious. A door swings opened and a woman with a small boy and girl comes out.
“Mom, can I please have a slice of pizza now?” asks the boy.
“Not yet, you’ll have to wait until we get home.”
“Awe!” the boy whines.
I approach the woman, “Um excuse me, can you help me?”
“What a cute squirrel!” the little girl exclaims.
“Why thank you,” I tell the girl, before looking back towards the woman, “Could you tell me how to get to Apple Castle?”
I wait for a response, but she walks to her car as if I had not said anything, followed by the children. Maybe she didn’t hear me. A guy walks out of the store, and I slip through the door. “Good morning, how are you?” I hear someone ask.
Just as I am about to respond I hear, “I am well. How about yourself?” I see to men talking to each other, but there is a counter between them. I am too small to reach the top of the counter. I notice the tables and calculate the distance between the counter and the table. If I get a good start, I will be able to reach the counter. I jump onto one of the chairs, then onto the table. I begin to scurry across the table and leap into the air. I glide slightly, and just make it onto the counter. The two people look down at me in shock.
“I had a lot of practice,” I state, “Now that I have your attention, could you help me?”
“Easy little guy, I am not going to hurt you,” the man behind the counter says.
I am confused, “Sir, I know that, I’ll be out of here soon. I just—”
Before I could finish, the man holds a box towards me. I climb into it. He then begins to walk towards the door. He puts the box on the ground. I climb out. I turn towards him but he starts to walk towards the door. “Sir wait, I—”. The door slams behind him. Now frustrated, I run past Mugsies and Rite Aid. I continue to run down South Market street. Just as I get onto the street to cross over to the Fractured Grape, a huge truck comes straight for me. I duck, while between the wheels, and the car passes over me, leaving me unharmed. I stay there, terrified as cars continue to pass over me, but eventually the cars stop. I look around before continuing to cross with my little heart still pounding. “That was close!” I exclaim, “Definitely have to be more careful than that!” I run past the Tavern, and turn onto Landon Avenue, being careful for cars this time. I am right next to the Police Station when I spot an older dog. “Excuse me sir, could you tell me how to get to Apple Castle?”
“Chipper, Apple Castle is a long way from here by foot.”
“The name is Zip, and how far away is it?”
“Well Chip, with those tiny legs, it would probably be a two or three hour walk if not more.”
“Could you give me directions from Westminster?”
“Sure little guy,” the dog chuckles. He runs me through which roads to take.
“Thank you sir,” I happily declare.
“Anytime Chipper!” the dog shouts back to me.
“Zip!” I holler back as I run back the way I came.
Unfortunately, it is now a little late to make my journey to Mint’s tree, so I decide to explore town for the rest of the day. I learn a little more about the town as I talk to some other animals, and see how kind the people are to each other. By the time I arrive at Westminster, I am exhausted. I am greeted by my neighbor who is out gathering food.
“Staying out of trouble?”
I give a mischievous smile. “Barely,” I smile.
“I heard you went into town today.”
“I did, but unfortunately I didn’t end up going where I wanted to go today.”
“Why don’t you come over for supper and we can talk about it then.”
I tell him about my day, and my first experience crossing a busy road. We talk almost all night about the town and how nice it is to live here.
“Maybe next week, you can come visit Mint with me,” I suggest to my neighbor.
“Sure!” he says, “Depending on the weather.”
“Of course, of course,” I laugh, “Thank you for the meal.”
I wave goodbye and head back to my tree. As I lay in bed, I begin think of the adventure I had today. “I can’t wait until next week,” I mutter as I quickly drift off to sleep.
To be continued…