Thomas had spent hours sitting in the library, “studying” for the upcoming taxidermy finals. Although it was approaching midnight, 19-year old Thomas had only accomplished unthreading his scarf. Distracted once again, Thomas gazed at what appeared to be a family of squirrels on the window sill. Thomas nudged the man to his right.
“You see that little family of squirrels?” Thomas chuckled. “Look at that tiny mouse that made its way into the family.”
Suddenly, Thomas rose out of his chair. Sneaking along the side of the wall like a cat inching towards its prey, Thomas shot his hand out, snatching what he thought was a mouse away from its adopted squirrel family.
“HA! I bet the shop would love this guy!” Thomas exclaimed as heads turned in his direction.
The man raised an eyebrow. “Son, that’s an eastern gray squirrel not a mouse,” the man said as Thomas wrote “mouse with big tail” on a piece of paper.
The following morning, Thomas decided to bring the newly acquired “mouse with big tail” to his little section in the corner of the taxidermy shop. He set the squirrel down, and then quickly got up to help an incoming couple.
Otto the eastern gray squirrel tried to shake his leg. It wouldn’t budge. As he looked down, he realized the taxidermist had glued Otto onto an index card. As Thomas’ voice grew louder, Otto returned to his statue-like state.
“Oh, we’re just on a little stay in the new world,” a wealthy woman said in a heavy English accent. The woman in a lavish blue gown stood next to her husband. “Just wanted an American souvenir, maybe a deer head?”
“Unfortunately ma’am, we don’t sell game heads, but I can offer you one of my own creations,” Thomas replied, as he stepped to the right, revealing Otto.
The couple peered down at Otto. Unable to hold still any longer, Otto’s arm twitched, but the oblivious couple did not seem to notice.
“What do you say, Robert,” the lady said.
“Anything you’d like,” her husband replied.
“Alright, dear,” the lady said. “How much?”
“That would be $3.26, ma’am,” Thomas replied.
“Thanks very much, sir,” thanked the husband. “Now dear, wouldn’t want to miss our steamship.”
Packed in the suitcase, Otto was unsure where he was. And after a sea sickening, paralyzed ride, he saw the light of day once again and found himself in a large house in Great Britain. But this time, the glue on his feet seemed to be weakening.
“How about we put our little friend next to the door,” the lady giggled. “That way, he can greet all our guests!”
But unbeknownst to the couple, Otto would never greet any guests. That night, Otto pulled and pulled at his foot. Frustrated, Otto took a deep breath, swung his arms back, and leapt off the edge, making a loud crack. The couple awoke. But it didn’t matter, because Otto was already out the door.
Story and Illustration by Lucas from Los Angeles, CA