#2. A Tale of Two Species

When the first campus-wide war started, only one or two observant souls had an inkling of what was going on. The rest of the students never even noticed. Their loss, as their mundane lives could no doubt have used some diversion from the classes and tests they were always whining about.

It all started over a dispute regarding ownership of an acorn. Before readers scoff, they should remember that a great many wars have started over less significant things. Indeed, some of the most brutal wars were fought over intangible things, like religion. In this respect, all creatures agree that humans are somewhat foolish in their choice of reasons for fighting. In any case, this war started over an acorn. It would have started sooner or later over something just as commonplace, so the acorn was as good an excuse as any. By the end of the first day, a young inexperienced chipmunk lay dead.

In the debacle against squirrels, chipmunks have two distinct advantages: speed and intelligence. Even so, the squirrels on Wellesley Campus had a few hidden trump cards. They all had a compulsive habit of gnawing on the paint chips of Pendleton. These were lead paint chips, mind you, which was like crack for squirrels, as it made them unnaturally daring and jittery. Squirrels know instinctively that in groups, no matter how intelligent the foe is, he’s a dead rodent. It was this unfair strategy that allowed them to corner and subsequently kill that young chipmunk, who was darting out for what he thought would be quick scavenge in the bushes near Severance Green. That fatal mistake nearly exposed the Chipmunk-Squirrel war, as the squirrel assigned to dispose of the body, a dumb brute nicknamed Bushy, waited until nearly dawn to do so, and several students walking back from a late night in the mini focus saw the strange sight. Needless to say, both sides employed highly efficient teams to dispose of corpses after that.

The war lasted for maybe a week at most, which was monumental in rodent history. The longest war before had only been three days. It was bitter victory for the chipmunks, who proved that brain could triumph over brawn. The resulting truce limited squirrels from gathering in large numbers in every place except the hill adjacent to Jewett near the path leading to the library. Chipmunks had a carte blanche around campus, and all squirrels were forced to yield to them a reasonable percentage of all acorns gathered. Chipmunks being neither vindictive nor greedy, the terms they insisted on were reasonable enough to ensure peace for quite a few generations. In the mean time, both species, admittedly lead by chipmunks, embarked on a campaign to put humans in their place. Rodents being rodents, they still felt the need to terrorize mutual enemies. Chipmunks, for all their brains, didn’t possess the demonic thuggish look that came so naturally to squirrels. In this strategic location, both parties were suffienctly pleased with the results. Squirrels had enough acorns there to survive and they managed to derive some sick pleasure from staring in a truly maniacal way en masse at passerbys.


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