“Frida, it’s leafing time again.”
“I know, Gracie. Time for the hu-man invasion.”
“Thank goodness we’ve got our masks at the ready.”
“So…Ivan told me you humans are working on new medicines, in case you all get sick. A science breakthrough. Good news. Of course, you do know the same science that came up with this treatment came up with the vaccine.
And as we raccoons told Ben Franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not that he gave us credit, of course.”
“Gracie, did you hear about that gang of rogue otters up in Alaska?”
“I did, Frida. Chasing after people and their yappy pets. Can’t hardly blame them. It’s been a rough summer, everyone is testy.”
“Boris says otters are the least of the two-legs’ worries.”
“Yup. Hospitals are in crisis all over the state. You get hurt up there and you’re on your own.”
“I guess Sarah Palin finally got her death panels.”
“Too soon, Gracie. Too soon.”
“Oh, huu-mans. Such a sad, sad week. Ivan just told me you’ve hit Spanish Flu numbers with COVID deaths. And yet so much of this loss has been avoidable. Masks, distance, vaccines… Easy. Yet you chose fictions and cultish politics over facts and science. Over care for your young and your elders. Over your own sense of self-preservation. And you call us ‘dumb animals.'”
“Ivan, Ivan, slow down. Listen, we have to settle this story-telling thing soon.”
“You think so, Otto?”
“Yah-huh. I mean, everyone’s had their shot.”
“I should hope so!”
“Ha-ha. The thing is, I’ve heard impatient rumbles on the river. Our sincerity is coming into question.”
“Humbug. An otter is nothing if not sincere.
You know what I’ve heard, Otto? I hear your nephew’s been listening to the foxes again. And that he’s got a bet going with the beavers.
Raccoons are odds on favorites.
Bets are not kosher, him being family.”
“Well, yeah, of course not. Look, I just want to stop his pestering so I can eat in peace, you know?”
“Guys, guys. I’m getting really worried. Rumbles in the forest about our lot being shoo-ins for the Otters’ COVID hand-off.”
“Oh, come now. We’re cute,
creative, and have impeccable hand hygiene.
“You say that now, but is it enough?”
“You really have to work on your inner critic, Harold.”
“You know, Boris, with all the news blowing in from the outside world, I think it’s best if we just hunker down and stay put.”
“You mean have a celebration here, Ivan? Just us and the beavers?”
“Sure. Us, the beavers…we can even invite Clyde and his raccoon buddies.”
“Ok, but only if they all have their shots. And bring some of their shrooms.”
“Ooo, guys, yeah. Boris-Ivan-Otto! Yeah. Flat-tail is sooo right: Hawks, eagles, perfect. Flyin’ high. Oooo, love to be that high, wouldn’t you? I mean, imagine the view, eh? And they can just swoop down and—Wheee!”
“Oh dear, Boris. I think Clyde’s been hitting the mushrooms again?”