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My new neighbor, Chucky

The past three years there's been a Woodchuck living at my property. He has four homes/holes, far as I can tell, to my one, all within running-scared distance of my house. I call him Chucky.

I know, not very imaginative. Whatever. People name their black cats Blackie, their white cats Snowball, and their Siamese cats Chin. Secure people, comfortable enough with themselves that they don't have to give their pets cool or unusual names. I like that. So does my pet Octopus, Eight.

Chucky had done a tiny bit of nibbling on my abode. He chewed small bits from a rubber bushing at the front door, and a few bits from a bottom trim board long-side my barn. I didn't much care, the damage was small and chew occurrences were few, spread over three years. There seemed no reason to get rid of Chucky, and anyway, I couldn't kill him if you paid me. He's cute. And he ripples when he runs.

One early evening I saw Chucky rippling across the lawn and over to one of the holes he's poked into the bank that slants high up and away from my driveway. Chucky entered the hole, then abruptly turned to peer his familiar friendly face out, his nose and whiskers wriggling a notion of trust.

"Hey Ace, can you stand how cute I look peaking my snout from this hole? By the way, you're crib is sick. Thanks for letting me crash here," he seemed to communicate, while I stood alone in the middle of the driveway, looking up at Chucky, thoroughly entertained, and wishing my cat were there with me to complete the set that is the family who live on the hill.

No way I'm killing ole ripple runnin' Chucky, I thought ... then. This is now.

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