Monday, September 28, 2009
(Click for Audio)
They snuck between the parked cars, making their way as close as they could to the supermarket entrance. "How are we going to get in there without being seen?" Roscoe wanted to know.
"We could walk on our hind legs and pretend to be humans," Rosie suggested.
"Seriously?" Roscoe persisted.
"Only one way I can think of, Brother," Rosie said matter-of-factly. "The lightening strike."
"What does that mean?" he said, not liking the sound of it.
"It means that on the count of three, we charge through those doors, grab whatever we can to eat, then charge back out again and make our getaway. We'll be out'ta here before they know what hit 'em... One!"
"But Rosie, this is crazy!"
"Rosie, we're going to get caught!"
Rosie trotted out of hiding, making a beeline for the supermarket entrance. Roscoe groaned, hesitated half a second, then galloped after her. It didn't matter that her plan was desperate, he couldn't let his sister plunge into danger all alone.
They had reached the sidewalk, grunting with the effort, their hooves clicking on the hard pavement, before they were spotted. "Oh my God!" a woman shrieked. "Pigs!"
Suddenly all eyes were on them. Rosie and Roscoe didn't stop, but they could feel a sort of electrical charge building as dozens of human eyes focused on them. For a few seconds the startled shoppers froze, but then a wave of sounds followed them into the store: laughter, shouts, more shrieks.
"This isn't good!" Roscoe panted.
"In, out, fast!" Rosie commanded.
As soon as they reached the main aisle, though, the piglets skidded to a stop, Roscoe almost bowling Rosie over. "Wow!" they gasped. Stretched out before them were mounds of apples, heaps of bananas, potatoes, corn, beans, broccoli... more food than they had ever seen in their lives. Neither of them knew where to begin.
Then it dawned on Roscoe just how silly their plan really was. Here they were, in the middle of cornucopia, but they had no way of carrying any of the groceries, and they certainly couldn't hang around the bins munching. Already the clatter of human footsteps was approaching. "What are we going to do?" he cried.
"Get moving! Grab what you can!" she ordered, dashing over to a basket of tomatoes and snarfing down as much as she could, then darting a little farther up the aisle, where she found a tasty display of baby potatoes. Roscoe wolfed down some apricots and a couple of kiwis before he had to flee the posse of humans on their tail.
The mob seemed to Roscoe like a living, thinking beast. "Go around that way!" someone shouted. "Block that aisle!" another voice commanded. Everywhere they turned, humans appeared to steer them in the opposite direction. The swarm closed in, cutting them off, narrowing their options.
"Run!" Rosie squealed.
They clattered toward the end of the main aisle, sliding around the corner in a panic. They were greeted by a couple of clerks in aprons, one waving his arms frantically, the other armed with a broom. They had no choice but to flee down the next aisle.
"Keep going!" Rosie squealed. "Run for your life, Brother!"
He knew exactly what she was thinking: if the mob blocked off the other end of this narrow aisle, the piglets would be trapped. Their pursuers would close in from both sides armed with mops and brooms. There would be no escape. Roscoe propelled himself forward, urging every ounce of speed out of his churning legs. But when they were two-thirds of the way down the aisle a human appeared to block the way. Then another. And another.
"Don't stop!" Rosie screamed. "Charge!"
She was right. He knew she was right. Roscoe surged forward, shoulder to shoulder with his sister. He squealed fiercely, plunging headlong into the gathering blockade. Some of the humans stumbled backward, frightened by the piglets wild momentum. Others stood their ground. Hands grabbed at Roscoe. He wriggled and squirmed and kicked, fighting for his freedom. Rosie fought hard too, bulling her way through the gauntlet of shouting humans. Dizzy and disoriented the piglets stumbled out the other side.
"Come on Rosie!" Roscoe yelled, righting himself and dashing toward the store entrance.
Sunlight! Roscoe had never been so joyed to see the blue sky overhead and feel the cool air on his skin. They fled the way they had come, out of the parking lot and into hiding behind the houses across the street. They didn't stop for a long time, making their way through back yards and alleys as far as they could from the shopping centre and its crowd of humans.
"That was close," Rosie said sheepishly.
Roscoe agreed, but kept his snout shut. There was no point rubbing it in: Rosie had almost got them caught with her crazy scheme. In fact, the whole adventure had been her idea and Roscoe had to wonder how it was going to end. They'd been too excited for the last couple of hours to think of the shadow that had followed them across the brook. But Roscoe knew it was still out there, and that even if they had eluded it for a little while, it would find them...
The piglets froze, shivering as if their veins were suddenly pumped full of ice water.
"Woof!" the summons came again.
Roscoe wanted to run, but couldn't. His feet were rooted to the lawn they'd been cutting across. He twisted his head round, scanning the hedge behind them. There, in the very spot they'd just pushed through, he could make out a pair of dark brown eyes and the black nose of a very large animal. For a second his heart constricted. It was the shadow. It had caught up to them at last.
Next: Segment 10