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The Good Old Tree Pt. 2
One day, back in the summer of 1987, the animals of the forest were having their annual “Welcome to the World!” block party. Back then, whenever an animal was born, the forest would throw a celebration for the little kid, but as they were animals, babies kept being born every minute, which led to the forest’s name being changed from Woody Pineland to BigBash Wood.
“Jeez! They must’ve wasted a lot of money!” Phillip joked.
Nick and Sally glared at him
“Continue” he muttered
Misery was pretty rare, so it wasn’t much of a problem to anyone. There was that crazy new music, called hip-hop, which everyone danced and sang to, the tastiest (and I admit, yuckiest) woodland food that animals whipped up and brought to the party, and always, the usual 80s pop, rock, and polka to sing and dance along with.
Cynthia and Dave Squirrelson would slow dance to Lyon Adams while Michael Catson moonwalked and meowed out his love to screaming girls.
The Squirrelsons’ little son, Lawrence would do what most seven-year-olds would do: scarf down the snacks that were set out for everyone and snarl at any party animal that was hungry from all that dancing.
“Come have a cream puff…I dare you!”
It was a great party, and for fourteen-year-old Nick Squirrelson, it was beginning of a new era.
“Wait,” Phyllis interrupted “why are you saying all of this in the third person?”
The family stared questionably upon Nick. “It—it just—it just sounds better okay?”
“Don’t you get smart with me young lady! Let’s just carry on with the story.”
“Oh so you get mad when I interrupt but not her?” Phillip whined
“Phillip!” Sally snapped
“This is not worth waiting three hours to play in the snow!” he muttered again.
Nick was a geeky little fellow who could pass algebra with a B+, get a high score of 13,000 on a championship game of Catari pong, and was one of the very few rodents with an appendix.
“Um, Nick dear, you never told us you had an appendix.” Sally pointed out
“A what?” Phillip asked
“Not important” said Nick
But the little squirrel was coming to a point where he was dumping his childhood hatred of girls and vegetables for a new phase that began when he started high school. And high school meant only one important thing to Nick: girls. And popularity.
It was a phase where he’d go to the mall and try to score him a nice, cute gal. A phase where the sale of zit cream skyrocketed and the giant braces that practically locked his jaws shut were considered uncool. A phase where—
“Okay, okay, we get it Nick! Just get to the point!” Sally snapped
“Timmy, do you realize that I’m almost fifteen? I can’t be walking around single forever; it’s almost the nineties for goodness sake! I heard that once the nineties come, everyone’s gonna have a soul mate—everyone except me, that is!” he said to his best and pretty much only friend, Timothy Rutabaga.
The twins, fuzzles, and Sally snickered.
Nick ignored them.
Timothy Rutabaga was a laid-back, sensible brown rabbit. He knew that his best friend always had a problem every now and then, and that he was the one that Nick usually turned to.
“Well duh!” muttered Phyllis
“Look Nick,” he replied “you’ve got plenty of time to worry about relationships; this is a party, live a little!”
His eyes were pulled in to a cute blonde bunny, bopping and skipping by the jukebox to Prince’s Nutmeg Girl. “Heh, I’d like to be her wife!” he muttered. (As much as Timmy was a great advice giver, he was a severe hypocrite.)
“Jukebox?” Honey asked “Wait, I thought this was the eighties!”
“Are you older than we thought dad?” Phyllis asked
Nick reddened “Well, the thing was, with so many celebrations going on, we were… usually kinda broke for the next one planned.”
“I knew it!” Phillip shouted
“Hooray! You were right! What do you want, a trophy?” Nick asked sarcastically
“I wasn’t too serious on this, but yes.”
Unfortunately, Timmy was getting terribly thirsty, and so he forced himself away from the girl bunny to hop over to the food table for a drink.
What was unfortunate was that he was to drink a cup of that awful tasting carrot berry punch that his mother had always brought to those parties.
(And seriously, it tasted terrible! But his mom obviously didn’t know that. She told him it was amazingly healthy and she paid him $50 to drink at least two cups of the stuff--)
“DAD!!” the kids squeaked
And that’s when he spotted Sally Nutkin, the pretty young squirrel whom Nick had a huge crush on.
Sally blushed “Oh Nick, there’s really no need to exaggerate!”
“Actually there is, Mom.” Phyllis told her
She recalled the time in which Sally chased Nick around the neighborhood with a cleaver, seeing as he had not referred to her as “beautiful” in an anniversary card.
“Do you want to get grounded young lady?”
“When are we gonna get to the tree part?”
“Your last name’s Nutkin?”
“Isn’t there a book called that?”
“Hey Nick” Timmy said in a singsong voice, “look over there!”
Nick turned to the table. A little squirrel, aged thirteen, stood by the punch bowl, while a scruffy black-haired youngster lounging in a bowl cheese balls flirted with her. Nick’s right ear twitched with anger
“You know, you’re kinda cute, so I think I’ll let you pass.” Said Lawrence. He clambered over to a tray of chocolate strawberries to look more impressing to the girl.
“Thanks” Sally replied with a chuckle
Sally turned green, and then darted upstairs.
She ladled some sparkling apple juice into her cup. Nick sighed as he eyed her affectionately.
Her curly brown hair was tied up in a ponytail, and was ornamented with a big purple bow. (Like most 80s hairdos) A matching ruffled blouse and a white pleated skirt completed her cutesy look.
Sally’s velvety gray fur was unlike other squirrels. It had sort of a rosy tint to it; which would gleam so brightly in the sunlight, making her look as if her fur were made of silky cotton candy.
“So that’s why Precious looks pink on a bright sunny day” said Phyllis.
And her bright green eyes were the loveliest Nick had ever seen. It had reminded him of freshly clipped grass or a 25-karat emerald, (which, with the reluctant help from your Uncle Lawrence, I gave to your mother as the engagement ring)
“Good lord!” shrieked Honey and Phyllis
And whenever Sally Nutkin smiled, Nick felt so delightful that he could stand up to the school bullies that tortured him daily. (And end up with just spit on his sweater)
They were neighbors, and when young Sally would come out to skip rope or play a game of hopscotch with her friends, Nick would quickly scurry indoors, afraid of making a blunder in front of her.
Nick knew Sally was not yet in high school, but he had watched enough dramas and sitcoms to know that girls these days prefer older, mature men.
“You know, this is kinda reminding me of that TV show where the dude was telling his kids the story about him and their mom” Phillip whispered to Puff.
“Talk to the author” Phyllis whispered
He would then watch her from his window, imagining the fun the two of them could have together. She was just such a spectacular, sweet, young woman.
“SWEET?!” the kids and fuzzles shouted in unison
She had pearly white teeth that— “Hey buddy? Are you done with your little mental love poetry? Cause if you really think she’s that cute, then you should go talk to her.”
“Y-yeah, talk to her.” Nick shakily replied
He didn’t budge.
“I’m going! By the way, how’d you know what I was thinking about?” Nick asked
“That was beautiful stuff man, but not important. Now come on, go!” Timmy demanded
Nick still didn’t move.
“I gotta do everything myself huh!” Timmy muttered
“Wait, is Timothy Rutabaga Richard Rutabaga’s dad?” asked Philip.
“What did I just say, Phillip?”
“You have got to be kidding me!”
“That’s not what he said, Phillip!” Puff giggled
Timmy clasped his paws onto a tense Nick’s shoulders and vigorously pushed him over to his love interest. “No-no-no-no-no Timmy! What am I gonna say to her?” Nick yelped, sticking out his legs to resist Timmy’s shoving.
“Figure it out dude, cause, you’re on your own for this one!”
He shoved the anxious squirrel up to the snack table, and then hopped over to the young bunny dame he had been keeping his eye on.
Nick stood by a cheesecake, but the bowl of cider Sally chatted with Lawrence by wasn’t too far from him.
“Okay, here’s your chance.” Nick said to himself “You’ve been holding back five years to do this buddy, but today’s the day you become a man!”
He sighed and slowly started walking.