Flowers Arguing The boy moved in close, scooting along the giant dead log that served as their bench. His jeans and flannel rubbed against the sleeping bag she was wrapped in.

“What are you doing?” her words came out through chattering teeth. She met his gaze for a second and smiled.

“I just wanted to get a little closer to you,” he leaned into her, resting his weight against her. “I wanted to see if I could help you get warm.”

“Maybe,” she met his gaze again but this time did not look away. They held onto the moment, watching each other, and both smiled. She let out a laugh, loud at first; it echoed off the trees, bouncing back at them from the dark woods. She put her hand over her mouth until the laugh died away.

“Maybe I can warm you up?” he asked, “You’re not sure if I am capable?”

“Oh I know you’re capable,” her voice was louder now, she no longer shivered.

“Should I throw some more wood on the fire?”

She looked at the orange flames, leaping occasionally, seated on a sturdy bed of branches, stacked against each other, a pyramid of deep red heat.

“I think the fire is plenty big, we don’t want to burn down the forest,” she said, “But there’s plenty of room in this sleeping bag, I think we could both get warmer if you joined me.”

She unzipped the bag from within, opened it, holding her arms wide to show the ample room, and then reaching toward him to envelop him, to wrap him up beside her. They managed to both fit, snug. She pulled the zipper back up, and they found themselves nestled tight, nose to nose, awkwardly close even for she and him.

“When do you think they’ll be back?” she whispered.

“It could be a while, they want to try to get some beer. It could take a bit to find someone to buy for them, or a place that will sell to them. We could be alone for a while.”

“Oh no!” she mocked concern, “All Alone! Do you think we’ll be alright?”

“I think we might,” he played along, “Don’t worry your pretty little head, I’ll fight a bear if I have to.”

She giggled, leaned in and kissed him. They were immediately intertwined, arms reaching and curled, wrapping around one another. They tangled, hungry and urgent.

Their hands danced inside the sleeping bag. They pushed against each other, trying to get as close as possible, trying to get as much of their own being in contact with the other’s body.

In the passion, in the shifting weight of their bodies squirming together, they lost balance. They slipped off the log, hitting the ground with a thump.

Eyes opened but lips did not detach. She giggled directly into his mouth, and they resumed their embrace, their starving, indulgent kisses. They dove at each other, frantic and sloppy, wet. Mouths wide, tongues dancing, each wanting to consume the other.

They rustled and rolled, adjusting to their horizontal position, but never disengaging. They jerked and struggled into comfort. He laid on top of her, his hand pushed into her hair, keeping her head from the ground, out of the dirt.

She pulled her head away, panting. “Oh! You are hot.”

“No. No, you’re the hot one,” he leaned in to kiss again.

In a moment, she pulled away once more. “No, I mean you’re on fire!” she spoke in a new, firm tone.

“No you are the one–” he managed to say before she hit him hard on the back, slapping at him as fast as she could manage. He opened his eyes; he felt the heat on his back, and realized they had rolled too close to the fire.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter


exhibit A: Squirrel Revolt  
exhibit B: Squirrel Attack  
Labrador Dali – Squirrels

This has just come to my attention, and the situation is dire. Forgive me if I fore-go pleasantries and formality, but this matter is too pressing to concern ourselves with decorum.

There are two videos on your right, on the surface they appear to be harmless television ads for a TV provider. I am not in the habit of showing commercials here especially if they aren’t advertising me or paying me for the space.

But there is much more going on here than is immediately apparent. It may be wrapped as a sales pitch, but the project was no doubt commissioned by the Squirrels. A thinly veiled facade for the actual transmission, a rodent-centric call to arms, as well as training guide for young marmots, vitriolic anti-human propaganda.

The first video, for the sake of folks who can’t work the videos and those allergic to advertising, is called Squirrels Revolt, and shows a group of the rodents, forced to work in sweat-shop conditions by their human captors, a common theme in anti-human squirrel art. One brave squirrel worker stands up and calls on his squirrel brothers to revolt.

The second video is similar, featuring a squad of guerrilla squirrels attacking a human civilian in the park. I will spare the gory details, as much as they might turn your stomach and turn your hair gray, I cannot bare to imagine them enough to commit the vile actions to paper.

The words are hard to read, and the video is tough to watch, but be assured the most violent and disturbing aspects of these incidents have been cut out by the Marmot Overlords. They are always careful of the image they project; they keep a tight leash on the information they release.

Those of you following my work for any length of time know how outspoken I am about the Invasion of Squirrels, and the evil plots they develop, and some they have hatched over the years.

In 2007 I wrote the song ‘Squirrels’ as an attempt to warn the world about the coming war. We were able, finally, to record the track for inclusion on the Labrador Dali ‘Possum House’ CD. I thought I could spread my message far and wide, warning people of the impending violence, the Rodent’s Revolt.

I was shocked, livid and terrified when I first received the acetates. My twenty minute masterpiece, the anthem of humanity, the cautionary tale of danger approaching; it was hacked down to three minutes. Nine verses, the ones explicitly warning about the evil of Marmots and the destruction they planned, had all been cut. The remaining lyrics told a disjointed tale of quantum wave-particle duality and the sun blowing up.

I stormed over to Hermetic Medical Records’ underground bunker, lurking through the sterile hallways looking for our A&R guy. The faint greenish-yellow light barely limping out of the bulbs and out of the fixtures, it had little strength to shine at the cold hallways around me. The strange echo of my footsteps bounced back louder than the original sound. It was all intentional, all installed to make any big-headed musicians uneasy and possibly nauseous.

I couldn’t find our representative but I managed to find the label’s CEO. I happened by his open door, and saw him inside sitting at his desk.

I walked in without knocking, sat down without asking; I threw my test-press disc on his desk.

He knew my issue, he wasted no time. He apologized, said regretted trimming the song, but he had no choice; it was just too damn long.

I didn’t stick around argue or let him say anymore. I wanted out of the building, my whole being shivered, an icy fear. I wanted to run far and fast, away from the situation.

He was lying. The song’s length wasn’t the issue, I knew this in my heart. The real problem was the message, the warning I tried to give humanity about the coming danger.

The CEO made excuses; but I knew calling him on it, or getting him to admit it, would be useless. It was too late, he was already on the take. The Marmots had gotten to him, either coercing him with wealth or threatening him with violence. Either way, it didn’t matter, he was now in their employ. There was nothing I could do but save myself; get out of this building as quick as I could before they got me too.

I was certain the CEO wasn’t the only one, the whole company was likely infected, possibly the whole industry, maybe even all media.

The squirrels won this battle; I could see it plain as day. I saw it sitting on CEO’s desk, something new. It had never been there before; not in all the years I had been with Hermetic Medical Records, all the time I had spent in this building, this office. I knew exactly what it meant; they were in control, this was how they marked their territory.

Somehow it seemed menacing, it sparked fear in mt soul, I thought it was mocking me somehow. It was a dish, only a dish that had never been there before, atop the sparse desktop before; a half-filled, glass bowl of mixed nuts.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter