Cheesy Wedges - Phil

“I’m sooo hungry!”

I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and try to ignore him. It’s not easy, especially when he starts wafting his tail in front of my face, trying to get my attention. My nose tickles. I stifle a sneeze and open my eyes.

“Were you asleep Rufus?” he asks, persistently. “Didn’t you hear me? I said I’m hungreeee…”

“I heard you,” I say. “Have a nut.”

“Don’t want a nut,” he sulks. “I want a… what does the box say, Rufus? They smell so good,”

Greg can’t read. Not many squirrels can. I squint through the open window.

“Cheesy Wedges,” I read, slowly. They do smell good. Better than mouldy old nuts that have been buried in a hole all winter.

“Yeah!” drools Greg. “I want a Cheesy Wedges!”

He eyes up the window.

“I reckon I can make it, Rufus. You want one?”

And with that he’s gone, or at least he would be if I hadn’t grabbed hold of his tail. He jerks backwards before he reaches the end of the branch.

“Ow!” he yelps. I raise my paws in a shrug. My ears are pricked. His should be too.

“Wait…” I say, counting three… two… one… “And there he is!”

And there he is, prowling his way around the box of piping hot Cheesy Wedges. Sir Whiskalot, snooty-nosed human’s pet and sworn enemy of squirrels garden-wide. I hate that cat.

“Ah, damn it,” sighs Greg, dejected. “Guess that’s it, then. You want a nut?”

But no. I do not want a nut. I want a Cheesy Wedges. The humans had them brought to the house especially, along with those other boxes that are on the table, too far away to read. Cheesy Wedges is obviously some kind of delicacy, one that has so far been denied to us poor, downtrodden squirrels. Well, no more! Tonight’s the night we say ‘enough’! Tonight’s the night we rise up and take what is owed. What do we want? Cheesy Wedges! When do we want it? As soon as I figure out a plan!

I explain this to Greg.

“Oh good,” he says, excitedly. “What’s the plan?”

I tell him that I haven’t figured it out yet.

“Well, you’d better be quick,” he says. “The humans will be back soon and then they’ll eat all the Cheesy Wedges.”

I explain that I am aware of this and that he should let me think. He gives me fifteen seconds.

“Why don’t we try the usual plan?” he asks.

“The one that never works?” I reply. “The one that has, on several occasions, nearly resulted in one or both of us getting eaten?”

“Yup,” says Greg. “That one. It might work this time.”

It won’t, but I don’t have any other ideas so I tell him it’s worth a shot and shoo him into position. He slides down the tree and takes up his usual hiding place behind the plant pot. The stick he used last time is still propped up against the wall and he picks it up, waving it at me as a signal that he’s ready.

I take a deep breath, swallow the rising tide of terror that is creeping up from the pit of my stomach (unless it’s a bad nut?) and start to inch my way slowly along the branch.

I get about half way before I see Sir Whiskalot pause his pacing, stiffen, and start to slowly turn his head. He’s spotted me, but this is all part of the plan. I continue moving along the branch, towards the windows, as he turns and walks very slowly, very deliberately, in my direction. I can see the fur on the back of his neck stand on end – PING PING PING PING… you get the picture.. His eyes narrow, I can see a small cloud form on the window pane from his breath as he snarls in my direction. I carry on towards him, safe in the knowledge that, although the window is open enough for the smell of the Cheesy Wedges to waft out and for me to squeeze in, that it’s actually only a tiny crack and poor old, pampered, let’s-face-it-basically-fat Sir Whiskalot is trapped on the other side, powerless to get to me. This part of the plan is all about getting him riled up, winding him and winding him until he’s wound up so tight that the slightest little thing will make him explode with rage.

And we’re nearly there. I put a paw on the window sill, then the other, and bring my nose up against the glass, pressing it against the window. Sir Whiskalot’s back arches, and it’s then, with timing more perfect than he’s ever managed before, that Greg rattles the cat flap with his stick.

The cat’s head whips around and, like a shot, he darts though the cat flap and out into the garden, chasing after… well, nothing. Because the moment he’s gone, Greg slips out from behind the plant pot and saunters in the same way that the stupid cat left.

“Better be quick,” I say, as I slip through the window and we meet up on the counter. We have no idea how longer we have before our enemy realises he’s on a wild squirrel chase. This has never worked before.

“Stupid cat,” says Greg, flipping up the lid of the cardboard box.

There they are. Hot, steaming, oozing Cheesy Wedges. We both pick one up, breathing in the delicious aroma, savouring the moment before we savour the…

“Bleurgh…!” spits Greg.

I look up. He’s already bitten into his. I nibble at mine, with less enthusiasm that I might have done a moment earlier. He’s right. It isn’t nice. After all that.

I drop the Cheesy Wedges, look back to Greg and shrug.

“Nut?” I ask.

“Nut,” he agrees.