With a sigh, Richie dropped onto the grass to bask in the sun. This hadn't seemed to be his week. Nothing had gone right for him. There wasn't any one thing to pinpoint why everything was so rotten, just that it was. Everything from how his hair looked to the amount in his paycheck just seemed to suck. And all this sucking was rubbing on his last nerve. So, he decided to play hookie. He called Mac to say that he wouldn't be in that day, slept in, made a few sandwiches and decided to spend the day reveling in his self pity in the sunshine, taking advantage of the rare nice weather.
He laid in the sun listening to the cars drive by. Luckily, school was in today so there wouldn't been any kids running around for a while yet. The sounds of the city always seemed to relax him. He usually got more tense when Mac took him out to the cabin to relax with nature. Nature meant bug bites, sore muscles, food that smelt like wood, cold nights, and no indoor plumbing.
An older couple strolled by, holding hands, and smiling at nothing. A woman was not far behind them pushing a stroller. He fumbled with his bag trying to get a sandwich out without having to look at what he was doing.
Little did he know, the rustling sparked the interest of a near by lurker.
As he ate, Richie seemed oblivious to the pair sneaking up on him in curiosity. But eventually, the odd feeling of being watched settled in on the young immortal and he looked up… to find four black eyes staring at him.
Slowly he sat up. His spectators didn't move. He smiled and ripped off a small piece of his crust and held it out. "C'mere, little guy," he encouraged.
He had never been so close to a wild animal before. Sure, they were just squirrels, but this was something new and it intrigued him. One crept a bit closer and Richie rewarded it by tossing the crust his way. The animal took up the offering and gobbled it up. Richie smiled and ripped of a piece, tossing it to the other, who followed his brother's lead.
"This is so cool." He began ripping apart his sandwich and tried to see how close he could coax them to him. As he was feeding his new pets (whom he had named Harry and Mervin), he heard a rustling behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and was startled to see a third furry creature sniffing at his bag. He jumped, startling the squirrels.
"Here ya go," he offered Clifford, the new addition to his little squirrelly posy, a scrap of ham. Then he turned to make amends with Harry and Mervin, who accepted his cheese apology. When he turned around to feed Clifford again, two more squirrels had shown up to join the soup line.
Richie wasn't quite sure how he felt having so many animals surrounding him. He started to shift so that none of the five were at his back when he noticed a few more coming at him.
"Okay, guys. I don't think I want to play anymore." Just then he felt one crawling on his foot, propping itself on its hind legs, supporting his weight on the human's knee. "Awwww man. Get off!" he hissed. "Shoo!"
He heard his bag rustling and looked over to find a suspicious bushy tail sticking out. He cocked his head, trying to decide if the situation was funny, awkward or a little to Hitchcock for his tastes. Slowly the squirrel backed out, dragging the ziplock baggie holding his other sandwich in his teeth. A few others joined him in his squirrelly quest, then began to fight over who got the treasure.
Richie felt a tug at his hand and looked down to see a few squirrels nibbling at what was left of his first sandwich.
"Geeze!" he dropped flicked his wrist sending the lunch flying and a small herd of bushy tails chased after it. Taking advantage of the distraction, he grabbed at his bag.
"God!" he dropped it as a stowaway scrambled out of it. "God! Just keep the thing!" He dropped the bag and quickly took his leave. On his way out of the park, he noticed a sign he had never noticed before.
"DO NOT FEED THE SQUIRRELS"
He scoffed at the posting and headed down the street. A granola bar wrapped blew across the concrete behind him, perfectly mimicking the sound of a small creature running down the sidewalk… and sending the immortal running.