My Pal AL

story & illustration © 2002 Bruce Van Patter

T
he squirrel above Mac chattered angrily at him.
Mac hit the headphones he was wearing. They hissed noise into his ears. He hit them again.

"STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR TOYS!" shouted the squirrel. "I'M TALKIN' HERE!"

Good, thought Mac, AL's working again. AL was his invention. The letters stood for Animal Listener. With it, Mac could understand Nutso and all the other squirrels.

"What's got you so upset this time?" asked Mac. He couldn't help smiling. Nutso always acted like he was set on speed-dial.

"Upset? Upset?" Nutso spoke fast and choppy, as if he was biting his words. "I have a right to be upset! She came here again!"

The smile died on Mac's lips. "Oh no," he groaned. "Someone get nabbed?"

"Yup! Yup! This time it was Binks."

Mac had met Binks. He was a big, gray squirrel, with a scrawny tail. Not much of a talker, but had great jokes. Now he was gone, just like the others. That made seven squirrels gone from the woods behind his house. And still, he had no idea of who was taking them, and why.

It was up to him to stop her. But how?

Just then, a new sound filled his headphones. It sounded like a woman laughing. Excited, but a little afraid, he turned the dial to hear the words.


It's Your Story - Not having the ending is driving me NUTS! Can you decide...

Who is taking these squirrels and why? How will Mac stop her? Who's making the new sound? What dangers could Mac and Nutso face? Can you write an ending in which Mac and Nutso do some crazy thing to rescue the other squirrels? And... how squirrely do think things will get?

Have fun -- finish the story -- and be creative! And email me your ending!

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