“Cracker?” I take the Ritz cracker Ricky offers as I stare out the two foot by two-foot tunnel filled with bright light making the cool shade we are sitting in even more appealing.
“Cheese?” he offers a can of spray cheese. I squirt a droplet of the orange goo onto my cracker and hand the cheese back to Ricky. Sally pokes her smelly face into our door and sees my cracker. She kneels in front of me by putting her head on the ground with her front paws on each side of her nose and stares directly at my cracker. I hold the cracker an inch away from her and she snatches it with a quick bite then with a single crunch she swallows it and resumes her beggar’s pose.
“No more for you,” she understands me immediately and backs out of the tunnel returning to her romp on The Hill.
“Cracker?” Ricky offers another cracker. As soon as I have the cracker in hand he hands over the spray cheese. We both lean against the back wall of our cave still thrilled we own our own real estate.
“The pollywogs have four legs now,” Ricky informs me.
“Still have tails?” I ask. He shakes his head in the affirmative. And then a sheet of dirt covers the entrance to our cave. There was very little noise when the cave-in occurred. In complete darkness we smell dust. My bare feet can feel the bottom edge of the new dirt filling our once cozy cave.
“I think I’m holding my hand in front of my face,” Ricky says, like nothing happened.
“Are you?” I ask as mater-of-factly as I can.
“Can’t see it if I am,” he answers. We both break out in nervous laughter.
As the laughter dies Ricky asks, “What do you suggest?”
“Follow the pile of loose dirt up to where it reaches the top of the cave.” In the dark I assume Ricky is doing this, I can hear him moving about.
“See if you can push your hand through the dirt at that point.”
“Pushing,” he informs me. “Hey I can wiggle my fingers. It’s only about six inches thick up here.”
“Good, we can deal with that,” I state.
“Something is licking my fingers!”
“Make the dig here signal with your fingers!” As soon as he does we can hear Sally’s paws pushing dirt away from the edge of the cave-in. In just a minute light fills the cave from a small hole that paws keep pawing at.
“Could I have a cracker please?” I ask Ricky as soon as there is enough light to find the box of crackers.
Ricky hands me a cracker, “Would you like cheese with that?” he asks while holding the can upside down near my cracker.
“Yes, please, I think that would be grand,” he squirts a good-sized droplet onto my cracker. I hold onto the cracker, keeping it away from the little bits of dirt coming into the ever-growing hole at the top of our cave. Another minute passes before Sally pushes her brownish white hairy head into the cave. She sees the cracker. I put the cracker within an inch of her smelly mouth. She snaps it up and with one crunch gulps it down. She looks at me and at the box of crackers. “Dig,” she does. We help as much as we can but Sally has the job well in hand, or I guess, in paw. As soon as the hole is large enough for the two of us to crawl out we do. With the crackers and cheese carefully placed to one side we jump on what we once considered solid dirt on top of our cave. In just a few jumps the roof collapses and we no longer have a second home.
“When they lose their tails they are going to jump away,” I inform Ricky.
“That’s the plan,” Ricky says as we walk down the main path down The Hill shaking dirt out of our clothes and eating crackers – making sure Sally gets her share.