The Clemstead

A place heavy with history and screaming for new thoughts.

TOMW: Flash Fiction Friday- The Longer I Stared

The longer I stared the lines between him and I blurred. Was it male? Of course it was. This wasn’t spring or summer where the little ones were running around and Mom needed to keep an eye on things.

Winter had already started throwing its weight around by coating the deck in snow and ice. I didn’t have to break the deadlock in order to see that because he was even darker up against the splotches of white.

My mind blanked and wandered back to my previous thoughts that seemed to be even more strange and personal. ‘Do I really look like a female?’ How was I supposed to know? Yet on some strange level, it mattered.

I stepped back and it stepped forward… did I really care what the sex of it was? No…not really. Then why as the longer I stared the more concerned I became about being correct about this intruder this thing that walked into my path? Better yet, why did it look like it was going to charge me?

Turning my head to the right I kept my peripheral sight on the brown fuzzy lump on the deck. It advanced. My head turned and locked eyes again and it stopped its actions reminding me of the childhood game of “Red Light, Green Light”. A thought popped into my head ‘What is red and green?’ “What?” I cried putting my hands to my ears as if I could tune out the noise generating from the inside of my head.

The staring continued and became even more intense. ‘Just relax, move your paw and I’ll do the rest.’ “I don’t have a paw.” I protested out loud. It rose to its back haunches and wiggled its left foot. I mirrored the response and wiggled my right. ‘That’s the one…now just move it back a bit.’ I kept contact as the squirrel slowly came up to the crack in the deck in front of my toe. ‘Now… I’m going to reach down here’ Indicating the crack with a jerk of its head. ‘I trust you not to do anything stupid like kick me. We both know that your leg is nothing more than a scrawny sapling to me.’ I nodded my head.


He placed his paws into the crack and worked up a grungy old Cheese Doodle. I looked at the creature’s eyes one more time as he stuffed it into his mouth. ‘Thanks, these are so hard to find anymore. Hopefully a new crop will come up when the air is warmer.’ It scampered back to the other side of the deck and up a tree where it sat eating its prize as its paws and face became smeared full of orange doodle dust.

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I come from German (Mennonite/Brethren) stock with bits of Norse, Celtic, Native American, and some mysterious unknown combination from an adopted grandparent. Not an uncommon blend for most of us who settled early in Pennsylvania. This type of diverse heritage left me ripe for the genealogical bug. I make a pilgrimage once a month and attempt to trace all the branches of my family tree. Unearthing facts that were never documented previously always brings excitement.

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