The Fall season gently eased its way past the summer afternoon heat to usher in the cool autumn midday breeze. Beautiful green leaves faded into molted brown,yellow, and orange. They snapped from their life support and dizzied down to rest on the earth, to snap and crackle under the feet of whoever stepped upon them. A small set of paws eased calmly over the snapping leaves at a steady lope. Leaving the lonely freeway roadside that dominated the land scape and heading into the densely packed trees that lined it. Steady but alert, it did not take long for the raccoon to find the desired path through the woods and into the human residential area where the trees began to greatly thin out.

Forrest ended and up kept lawns began. Hedges sprung up from the ground like unnatural flora fortress walls, their vibrant green still showing off even in this time where plants usually die. The raccoon crept silently over the threshold of natural forrest into the neatly clipped, well manicured, perfectly paved streets of El Rancho Camelot Estates. The suburbia was in its lazy days. There was activity out in the open but not enough to concern the raccoon. With no bad smells in the air to disturb any beast, the raccoon settled down in the interior of a thick yet well manicured lawn bush to wait till darkness came.

"Thats very nice, Hammy well- why don't you try taking more time remembering your surroundings. That way you won't forget where you hide your nuts as much." A bedraggled looking red squirrel thumped his footpaw on the ground impatiently, he twitched habitually and his eyes darted every which way.

"But its AUTUMN already! If I can't find my nuts soon I'll starve by winter!" Hammy the squirrel did a little dance which accented his hyper active voice. Oh how urgently he needed to find his beloved nuts! Verne sighed, this was about the fifth time today out of the hundreds of times in the past that Hammy had barreled over him with complaints about his lost nuts. It was a shame since he was the best gatherer of any natural food avaliable but he always forgot where he put it. "Take your time, Hammy. Look more thourougly and you are bound to find those nuts sooner or later! We still have time." Verne paused. "Approximately one hundred and five days I believe." Verne had lost the intense edge of worry in his voice that he had those many months ago. The woodland band was well on schedule with their food stores, no worry of starvation this winter! Verne gave Hammy a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "I'm sure you'll find your nuts by winter. And as soon as I finish checking the log I'll come help you, okay?" This seemed to calm Hammy's overstrung nerves a bit. With a smile of renewed confidence the squirrel zipped off like a little red blaze before Verne even knew it. Stella came out of the logs large entrance.

"Was that Hammy I heard? At it again, huh?" Verne nodded and answered. "But he'll be okay."

But Hammy was back in his state of frantic worry soon after he left Verne at the log. He had hidden over a hundred nuts during the spring and summer months, but now it were if no nuts exsited to be found! There wasn't too much ground to cover in the small triangular space of woodland left after the sudden large scale construction of El Rancho, the nuts could not be far! Hammy lept deftly and took to the trees. Scampering hither and thither amoungst the branches looking to see if he hid nuts in any of the knotholes. Hammy's eyes darted everywhere yet it seemed he lacked the sense to look before he lept. In one swift and nearly reflexed move, Hammy flew off of one branch and landed onto another...but he also flew straight into the former keeper of the branch. They both teetered precariously over the edge.

"Wh-whoa! Hammy!" Were the only words that had time to escape RJ's mouth before he plummeted from the high branches to the ground. The red squirrel's natural ability to balance on just about anything saved him from the drop. He flinched and looked down pitifully at the fallen raccoon who in turn looked up and stared ice cicles at him. "Whoops! Sorry, RJ!" Hammy temporarily put searching for nuts out of his mind and scampered down to help his fallen friend. RJ stood up and pulled away any debri that caught onto his fur during the fall. Then he looked Hammy square in the face. "What was that about?" Hammy held his hands behind his back, shruged his shoulders and tried to look timid. "I was...looking for my nuts?"

RJ grimaced, still checking himself for any signs of injury but he seemed to have survived it with only a dull ache. "If your still looking for those same nuts then I don't know what to say... you've been at it for weeks." Hammy pouted. "But I HAVE to find my nuts! I always put them in a place that I can remember but now it seems I can't remember so I can't find my nuts but I need them, I need them right now or I'll starve! Winter will come and I'll have no-"


Hammy stopped his ranting just long enough to listen to RJ. "Listen, I've already done my share of the food gathering so if it'll calm you down I'll help you find your nuts."

Hammy was elated. "Really?"

"Yes. Because no tree branch will be safe to sleep on until you do." Hammy reclimed the tree that RJ had fell from and gazed over whatever he could see. His eyes rested to the land beyond the hedge. RJ watched him from down below. "I wouldn't be surprised if you hid your nuts out there, buddy." At that moment Hammy's face contorted in a strange and slightly disturbing manner. Then he lept up in the air letting out a giant "WHOOP!" Then he ran back down to tackle RJ back to the ground. "Ack! Hammy what the heck is wrong with you?" Hammy was estatic. "Out there! Over the Hedge! My nuts! " RJ roughly pushed the hyperactive beast off him. "What?"

"I hid all my nuts...over the hedge! I remember now!"

"...And...why would you hide your nuts out there when you live in here?" RJ pointed down to signify the small piece of green that stuck out like a sore thumb in the midst of surburbia. But Hammy did not answer instead he just ran fast, through the trees, past the log, past the pond and through the hedge. RJ followed but was already berating himself. Looking up at the setting sun, RJ wondered why in the world did he ever volunteer to go find over a hundred useless nuts.