Written by Richard Tornello
Produced, Directed with all voices performed by Mark Edgemon
Gloria, the youngest of a family of chipmunks was old enough and finally tasked to go to the market for some selected items for her Mother. Her mother gave her the correct amount of money she would need for the transaction. Gloria was thrilled to now have the responsibility. Up until today all her brothers and sisters did their chores, made the purchases and assigned duties typical of all good chipmunk families. Everybody had a job or jobs to do, even Granpa. “Granpa is a stubborn old coot,” at least that’s what Dad always said. He refused to wear bifocals and his close-in eyesight was less that stellar. However with his regular glasses he had keen 20/10 vision. So he was the family Watcher. A Watcher was the lookout for hawks and other nasty beasts. Gloria thought being a lookout was a way for Granpa to escape all the chatter in the house. The air was full of noise all the time. “Everyone had to fight for airtime,” her Mother would say as she attempted to teach them polite manners. Manners were reinforced by the brush.
“The path is clear of danger. You may go now. Be careful,” Granpa said. He had been in communication with the other Watchers along her assigned route.
“Yes sir, I will. Oh boy this is going to be great!” A huge smile broke out across Gloria’s cute little chipmunk face. So off she went, happily hopping, skipping and pin wheeling around. In what should have been a relatively short trip, Gloria managed in just ten minutes to go no further than the meadow in front of her home.
Gloria was oblivious to the fat gray squirrel sitting on a rock sunning itself. He was munching on something watching her dance.
“Hey you, hey kid!” he hollered out.
Gloria looked up, slightly startled, “Yes?”
“What are you doing? This is not the Bolshoi out here. You should be a bit more careful”
“I’m going to the market for my mother. Thank you for the warning and why do you ask?”
“I was wondering. You seem to be more interested in the plants and flowers than your duties.” The gray squirrel was a bit serious on these points.
Gloria was a bit taken back. “I Am going doing my tasks, and… oh well, this is my first time out alone. It’s just nice to be here.”
“Yes but dangerous too,” the squirrel added. “Maybe I can assist you.”
“That might be nice,” said Gloria. Thinking to herself, what did mom always say about squirrels? She tried to remember. But it was just so nice out. There was nothing much out that she could see to worry her. Her mind was everywhere else.
To the rest of the family, Gloria was not too bright. “She’s one beer short of a six-pack”, her dad would say before her mom bopped him with a hairbrush to shut him up. “NOT NICE”, she would remonstrate. Gloria wondered why anyone would purchase a 5 drink six pack when everybody knew a six-pack was six. “Dad, what’s wrong with you. Why would you buy 5 when you are paying for six?” She asked him that just one or two times before one of her brothers explained the joke to her. When she got it, Gloria gave her dad such a nasty look that it made him feel sorry for her future boyfriends, and sorry he said it. “Sweetie I just assumed…”
“You assume too little on my part.” and stomped, as any chipmunk can stomp, out of the room.
“Ahem, hello little chipmunk,” the squirrel interrupted Gloria’s train of thought.
“Oh sorry, excuse me,” she said. Mom had always told her to be polite. “I was just thinking about something my father would say.”
“That’s ok. The squirrel continued, “So you’re going to the market for your mother and, you never finished your story other than this is your first solo trip.”
“Yes, I am supposed to go to the market. Do you need anything? Maybe I can bring it back for you, or, we could go together.”
“The squirrel was thinking, this one is naïve, dumb or both.
“No little chipmunk. I think I will pass on your invitation. Thank you.”
“My name is Gloria, not little chipmunk, just in case you want to address me by my name.’
Naïve, he thought. “OK. Gloria, and my name is Sam.”
“Hello Sam, how nice to meet you.’
“Hello Gloria, how nice to meet you too.”
They both bowed a polite bow to each other acknowledging each other properly.
“Now I must be going or mother will be angry. You may accompany me or I will see you on my return,” Gloria said straightening herself out and beginning to walk away.
“Maybe I can make the trip shorter. I have an excess of seeds. So instead of that big trip you’re going to make, and all that travel to the market, I could simply sell you My seeds.”
“How nice of you to offer that,” Gloria said with real enthusiasm thinking this was a nice friend. “However I Must do what I’m supposed to do in the manner I was instructed to do it. If you want to make an exchange you may go see my mother and work out a deal with her. I’m sure there will be an equitable exchange.”
The squirrel was a bit take back by this young chipmunk’s vocabulary and forthrightness. He only said, “Are you sure? I could save you lots of time. See these seeds.” A huge amount of something Gloria had never seen before was presented. “I’ll even put them in a pouch for you to carry home.”
“That won’t be necessary,” she stated emphatically and stepped to the side in an effort to move around this gray obstruction as she was beginning to consider him. “Sam, thank you very much. I will see you around.”
Sam was a bit miffed at not being able to convince such a simple and little chipmunk. He figured he would make one more attempt to unload his almost useless goods and make his way. He reached out and grabbed her shoulder. The next thing he knew he was on his face, his paw was twisted in a very painful manner, and a sharp set of teeth were attached his ear.
Gloria whispered in Sam’s ear, “First, I read ‘Jack and The Bean Stalk’, nice try. Second, I have a black belt in Shaolin Boxing. I may seem simple and yes I am tiny. Have nothing to say, so I don’t. Because of that I’m mistaken for simple. To conclude, if you ever touch me again you will loose your ear and your paws will be useless until they heal, leaving you in a precarious position vis a vis the rest of the creatures out here. It’s your choice.”
With a slightly muffled voice, Sam apologized. “I will never do that or anything like that again.” He meant it too. “May I come along with you? I never met a creature like you. Gloria, you have a lot of wisdom.”
Gloria thought for a second or two. “OK but no funny business or you’re hawk meat.”
“All Right.” Hawk meat? How does she know about that? She’s so young he thought.
Gloria could read his eyes and said, “I know a lot more than I let on Sam, trust me.”
Sam nodded and off the two of them went.
The End of Part 1 - Go on to Part 2
Copyright © 2009 Richard Tornello