by Mary Grace Mauney

“I was on my yacht, designer sunglasses on my face, fancy drink in my hand,” began Annie. “When out of nowhere, the skies began to darken, and the wind began to blow. Not a little breeze, but big gusts that became bigger gales, whipping the lake up into a massive maelstrom! It must have been a tropical hurricane, I’m sure!”

“When was the last time Georgia had a tropical hurricane?” Louey looked to his companions for an answer, trying to figure out when this must have happened in order to calculate how long ago Annie had become a castaway.

“That storm Sam and I got caught in was pretty bad, we had to stay inside the diner until it blew over,” said MiMee, “That was a few days ago.”

“Well, it couldn’t have been the storm I got caught in because I’ve been here much longer than that! And I said it was a hurricane, not just pretty bad! A hurricane!” Annie’s whiskers twitched in irritation at the interruption. “If I may go on?”

Louey apologized, and Annie continued, making grand gestures as she spoke, or at least as grand as she could with her tiny arms, which were stubby to the point of being nearly nonexistent.

“The boat was tossed and turned by the angry sea, I mean lake! Being the small and delicate creature that I am, I was blown overboard like a helpless leaf in the wind! I tried to swim but was weighed down by my wet fur, and I passed into unconsciousness as the waves overtook me.”

She paused for dramatic effect, then finished, “When I came to, I was on this island! And I have been ever since! So I hope you understand why I am very hungry!”

“I’m sorry,” MiMee said mournfully, for she felt so bad for the poor starved creature she thought her heart would break. “There’s nothing in our picnic basket I think a herbivore could eat! It’s all bacon-flavored biscuits and pupcake patties and kibble balls…would you at least like some fresh water?”

“I can only drink filtered,” sniffed Annie, “We chinchillas are very delicate, and can’t stomach the chemical filth in tap water.”

Louey looked unimpressed by this, as if he found it outrageous or ungrateful. Sadie Lynn gave him a slight nudge to remind him that other creatures could not help their dietary needs, so he didn’t say anything, though he didn’t change his expression either.

“Well, can we at least offer you a place to sleep?” said Sadie Lynn. “You can bunk in the boat with us, and when we set out in the morning to look for land, please come along!”

Annie readily agreed to both invitations, and proved, for all her prissiness and persnicketiness, to be quite the cuddly bunkmate.