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  • Sissy came around the side of the house and spotted Garryd. She ducked into the bushes and spied on him. She couldn't understand how her nearly best friend had suddenly turned mean. She watched him slip into her garage, after looking around to make sure no one was looking.

    He didn't see her climb up into one of the pines between their houses for a better view. Then, she dropped down out of the tree and duck into the space between the yew and the edge of garage for a closer look. She was glad Papa hadn't trimmed the yew as he kept saying he needed to, or Garryd might have seen her.

    Garryd carefully lifted the top of the metal Charles Potato Chip can where Sissy stored Taffy's food. He took a crumpled Ziploc sandwich bag from his pocket and put a small handful of the cat food in the can and zipped the bag. After stuffing the bag in his pocket, he carefully replaced the lid and then stood listening.

    Sissy breathed shallowly and tried to calm the beating heat that thumped loudly in her ears. She scrunched deeper into the yew, moving ever so slowly.

    Garryd emerged from the garage, and looked around. Then he headed for the multifloral rose, fell to his knees and disappeared.

    Sissy knew that inside the multifloral rose was a prickly tunnel; she had showed it Garryd after he moved in next door. It was her tunnel. Well, it was on his land, but she had discovered it and cleared out most of the prickly dead branches. She'd thought of it as hers--then theirs. Not his.

    He might stay in the tunnel or he might emerge at the other end.

    She could think of no reason why he'd want cat food in the tunnel, unless he had an injured cat in there, and if so, why hadn't he taken more food? She decided he's be coming out the other end, and she ran as fast as she could to the orchard and from there, ducked between the rows of corn.

    When she saw Garryd heading for the dirt cliff, she knew he was going to Frog Haven, but why was he going without her. Without even telling her. They were partners. It was in the contract. Why was he acting so strange?

    Garryd climbed through the fence and went sailing off the cliff. A spray of dirt shot up over the edge of the cliff. He had landed hard and fast, Sissy could tell. He headed straight across the field; Sissy ran to Dzabel's small pond and took her secret trail through the woods.

    When she got to the cabin, she saw Garryd bend over, then squat. She couldn't see enough through the bushes where she hid, so she inched forward. Oddly, she thought she head Garryd crying. He was crying, softly, she could hardly hear, crying and talking. Why was he crying? Who was he talking to? Sissy couldn't see anyone.

    She edged forward a little more, trying to see around a clump of chokecherry—and stepped on a twig.

    Garryd swung around and lifted his face from the fur of an animal. A cat? No, it was a skunk. He was holding a skunk in his arms.

    * *
    1)I wrote this on my little Psion hand-held computer on the way over to the retreat house tonight. It's brand new.
    2)This "story" is a "section" or subchapter of a back-burner book I have not been working on, only thinking about.
    3)I did not label it chapter 1 or part i because I think it may occur NOT at the very beginning of the book, if I ever write this book--it's planned as a sequel to my Ms, Frog Haven. It's tentatively called, Will the Real Garryd Knudson Please Stand Up.
    4)The image is smudge-painted from a photo on photoshop. Preparing the image got me thinking about the book. The book is YA, well, if it WAS a book, it would be, hopefully, young adult. I don't know if I will do any more with it right now, or just slide it back on the back burner again. BUT I just wanted to mention, both parts (manipulated image and words) are brand new, not "dredged up out of a forgotten manuscript."
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