Over the Hedge Beginnings: Hammy

Disclaimer: I do not own Over the Hedge in any way; DreamWorks owns the movie and the comic strip characters are the property of Michael Fry and T Lewis. All original characters belong to me.

Hello again fellow readers and Over the Hedge fans! Come May 19, 2016, Over the Hedge (the movie) will turn 10 years old. Because I had such a great time revising the OTH Soulmates Trilogy, and want to commemorate the anniversary of my (and apparently many other peoples') favorite animated movie of all time, I have updated and revised this story as well. As with the Soulmates Trilogy, only additional dialogue, "scenes," descriptions, have been made and typos corrected. Don't expect any new plot elements to emerge. And not every chapter will have new things added.

Chapter 1: A Genius Among Commoners

On a clear and sunny day deep within the woods in the state of Iowa, a family of five American red squirrels—a mother, father, two sons and one daughter—sleep peacefully in a hole in a tree. The father feels the heat and brightness of the morning sun touch his face, making him wake up and recoil his head due to the brightness in his eyes.

Father squirrel thinking: "I knew I should have slept closer to the food table…Oh well, another day another acorn…"

He yawns and looks down at his mate sleeping snuggly against his chest. He gently shakes her while whispering her name into her ears.

Father squirrel: "Halle? Halle…? Wake up darling."

Halle yawns and looks up at her mate with a grin.

Halle: "Morning, Barry. Sleep well?"

Note: The pun of the names is referencing exactly who you think. The reason: even I don't know why, but I also realized while revising other stories that I use the name Sally a little too much.

Barry: "Like a bear during hibernation, honey. Let's get the kids up."

Halle: "So soon? Don't you think they need a little while longer to rest?"

Barry: "We can't. As my grandfather Terry would always say: 'the early squirrel gets the nuts and acorns'."

Halle (rolls her eyes): "You just want to outdo the neighbors again, don't cha?"

Barry (sighs and grins sheepishly): "Well…that too. But not as much as I'd like to outdo the Taylors. Taylor is such a hotshot, loud-mouthed, braggart if he beats everyone else to the punch; he and his family of 'perfect Pervis's.' It's about time someone teaches them a lesson that just because they get the good nuts and acorns first doesn't give them the right to talk down to everyone else."

Halle: "Men and your dominance games…Alright, let's give it a try."

The two get up and walk over to the other side of the "room" where their three children were fast asleep. There was Tammie, their five year old daughter and the youngest, and then the twins: 10 year old Sammy, the oldest by 4 four minutes.

And then there was the second oldest…

Barry: "Hammy…? Wake up, son. It's time to show the neighborhood what we're made of."

Hammy groans as he reluctantly opens his green eyes.

Note: Sammy was Hammy's duplicate in the Over the Hedge comic strip who became trapped in a mirror.

Hammy (in a cultured and genius-level voice): "But father, the average Tamiasciurus hudsonicus, or American red squirrel, needs approximately nine hours of sleep in order to rejuvenate the motor and nervous systems so that peak performance in their daily routine of foraging for sustenance is achieved at the maximum level of—"

Barry: "Hammy, you should really know that you can be too smart for your own good…"

Hammy: "Beg your pardon, father, but intellect is something to be prized by all creatures great and small. The more intelligent creatures are, the better their chances of survival in the wild. The statistics of an average Tamiasciurus hudsonicus surviving in its natural habitat, even without the presence of predators, are exactly 345 to four hundred and forty thousand and seven hundred sixty fi—OW!"

Hammy's lecture is interrupted by his older brother Sammy poking him in the eye.

Sammy: "Ah shut your mouth, egg-head!"

Hammy: "Sammy! How many times must I inform you that the ocular organs, or as commonly called, the eyes, are the utmost pertinent part of any Tamiasciurus hudsonicus! If you must find the uncontrollable urge to poke me in the ocular organs at least do it in the sclera and not the iris or pupil!"

Sammy: "Alright, so would like it if I poked you here instead!"

Sammy hits Hammy right in the nose, drawing Barry's attention.

Barry: "Cut that out, Samuel. Your twin brother needs that. All of us do."

Sammy: "Awww, I don't like it when you call me by my trouble-name…"

Tammie: "Then stop getting in trouble, big brother!"

Hammy: "You see, Samuel, even your little sister knows what is best for you. If she, a young girl whose cognitive abilities have yet to become fully developed, understands it, then you, an older and more cognitively advanced Tamiasciurus hudsonicus should heed her words of wisdom."

Sammy: "Better hearing a five-year old talk than listening to your long and boring speeches with your long, fancy words that no one can understand. She's straight to the point and simple."

Hammy (smirks): "There is a notably vast difference between simple and simple-minded, and you brother, are the latter."

Sammy: "Arrgggh! You!—"

Sammy raises a balled-up fist but quickly glances to see his father's expression that reads: You do that, and you're in big, BIG trouble young man. This causes the young squirrel to relent.

Barry: "Now if the two of you are finished, it's time to get to work. Because we are…"

All three squirrel kids (energetically): "Foragers! Bum ba-dum, ba-ba-ba bum!"

Note: Farmers Insurance anyone? LOL.

Halle: "So I take it that we're ready-Freddy?"

Barry: "Yep. Let's do this!"

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Outside the tree, the squirrel family climbs down and heads over to the spot Barry knows has the best acorns. However, he looks and discovers that, to his horror, Taylor and his family are already there.

Taylor (a common American gray squirrel with an obnoxious voice that sounds like he's sneering at people whenever he speaks): "Hiya neighbors! Thought we'd start extra early today. And wouldn't cha know it: we're finding some of the ripest nuts I've seen since…why, since yesterday!"

Mikey (Taylor's teenage son who inherited his father's voice): "Team work, right mom?"

Alexandria (Taylor's mate): "You betcha, son. Taylor?"

Taylor: "Put'a there family!"

The three squirrels put their right paws in formation like a sports team and chant: "One two three, Taylor Family!"

Hammy: "Now that is what I call truly impressive foresight. Taylor made a 51,983,636 to 1 shot that we would be getting up earlier than normal in an attempt to defeat his family at our daily, morning foraging and was correct. He also was able to correctly predict when it was most likely that we would rise from sleep, and thus when he should get his own family up to get a head start…Pure brilliance I dare say!"

Taylor: "Why thank you Hammy, dear boy, we are very smart…The smartest squirrels in the neighborhood."

Hammy: "If I may, Taylor, elaborate on my original statement. What I meant to say is that while you and your family are quite intelligent, the intelligence level of Sciurus carolinensis, or the gray squirrel as your species is commonly called, is slightly less than that of Tamiasciurus hudsonicus by 1.72998167297 intelligence quotient marks."

Mikey (defensive): "You sayin' we're dumber than your species?!"

Hammy: "My intentions are not to be taken as confrontational towards you, Michael. I am merely stating the scientific facts that I have observed over the course of my life thus far, and had confirmed while eavesdropping on human scientists on the television from the house on the far side of the area we live."

Barry: "Halle, take Sammy and Tammie to our usual spot, Hammy and I will take care of this little mishap."

Halle obeys, leaving Hammy and Barry to deal with the Taylors. Although he wants to calm things down, Barry can't help but feel so proud of his son for telling it to the Taylors…

Barry (thinking): "This is when your words and lectures are actually good." (aloud) "Hammy, please apologize to the Taylors."

Hammy (knowing things will only become worse if he objects, sighs): "I apologize, Michael, Taylor, and Alexandria."

Michael: "Apology accepted, Hammy. And it's Mikey; Michael is my formal name."

Alexandria: "Just make sure to know when to keep that mouth of yours shut. It could get you into big trouble one day…"

Barry: "I'll raise my own son, Alex."

Taylor (whispering to his family once Barry is five steps away): "And he'll be sooooo disappointed to live with a pathetic 'father' like Barry that he'll wish he had been shocked by an electrical power line while trying to cross over it."

Taylor's family snickers which makes Barry skeptical of what they were muttering, but then he remembers that daylight is burning, and that if his family can't outdo Taylor's in food quality, they can at least triumph over them in quantity. So he ignores his urge to question what the gray squirrels were saying and proceeds to direct his son toward their usual foraging spot.

Suddenly Hammy tugs on his dad's fur and asks, "Father, why did I have to apologize to Taylor, Michael, and Alexandria when, scientifically, there was nothing to apologize about?"

Barry: "Because I wanted those babies to have their bottles…We're gonna prove your little, uh, 'scientific theory' to them in our actions, not our words."

Hammy: "Again, father, it is no theory where I deduced my conclusion of the intelligence levels of Sciurus carolinensis."

Barry (cheerfully rubs his paw in Hammy's head and chuckles): "Oh Hammy, you're going to learn one day son that actions speak louder than words or statistics. Because there is one thing fancy words and numbers can't do."

Hammy: "What could that possibly be, father? Because there is a 1 out of 2 chance that any verbal statement can be proven to be—"

Barry: "What number's and words can't do is build character and personality. And we've got a lot of building to do for you, son. So let's get to it!"

Hammy: "With all due respect father, 'building character and personalities' are actually two things, not one. You just conflicted yourself…"

Noticing that his dad is no longer paying attention, Hammy lets it slide, but deep down he knows he really does need to work on improving both character and personality. Because a boy genius among average-intelligent individuals really stands out here.

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Thought I would take a break on my other OTH fics and start a new one, starring many people's favorite character! I'll also go ahead and say that I won't do a "Beginnings" fic for all the OTH characters as I originally intended, since I have already explained a lot of details of the characters' pasts in my other fics.

I know you were all surprised to find out that Hammy was the genius the chapter was referring to.

I also know that you wondering something else: What happened to make him so hyper and fast? That will be revealed in the next chapter ;)

See ya then!