Jul 23, 2005

HR, 21

"Wait a minute!" Harlequin shouted after Hubert, who'd begun to slink off towards the street. "You can't just leave like that, in the middle of a story. Not when I have so many questions. Not when I may need your help."

Hubert stopped at that last word. He turned about and faced Harlequin again.

"Help with what? The General's a mean dog, and he won't take kindly to anyone he sees as a threat to his authority. He's certainly not going to be happy with a man sleeping on his property. And chances are, if Attila's not dead, he'll be coming back ready to eat you. I think the best way I can help you is by getting you away from this field."

Harlequin stomped his hindpaw stubbornly.

"But this is such a nice place. There's food in abundance, a nice hole to live in that beautiful treasure trove in the tree. There's even a man here, and he talks to me. I don't want to leave, just because of a few bullies. If we stick together, there's no reason we can't work something out with Attila and the General."

Hubert looked at him seriously and wagged a paw at him.

"Easy to say. Things don't work that way, though, little chipmunk. When an animal is bigger and meaner than anyone else, he gets his way. If you stand in one's way, he'll eat you before he even looks at you. And what's to make you think you can get help from other creatures. The crows would hunt you if you were a little smaller. That homeless man will run away at the first sign of danger."

"Aren't there any others?"

"Yes, lots, but none that would be able to resist the force of the General. Fieldmice, a little squirrel family on the far side by the bee's nest, an opposum and that one-legged pigeon. Not the kind of army to phase the General."

Harlequin took on a pensive look, stroking his whiskers and nibbling on some of the noodles he'd stored in his cheek pouch.

"Do you think you could take me to meet them?"

Hubert was surprised. He fumbled for an answer.

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