Friday, September 18, 2009
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Roscoe hadn't noticed the gnawing in his belly. He'd been too busy running and hiding and keeping his eyes peeled. But now that Rosie mentioned it, he suddenly realized he was hungry too. Really hungry. "What are we going to eat?" he wondered.
Rosie pointed her nose upwind and snuffled. She grunted unhappily. "Nothing in the air," she said. "We're going to have to go scavenging Brother. There's got to be someplace wild pigs get their food. That's the first thing we have to figure out. Right?"
When had he ever agreed to go wild, Roscoe muttered. The simple solution would be to point their plump bodies back toward Hearts on Noses. They'd missed the morning feed, but Janice would be so happy to see them, she'd whip up something special. Mmmm, Roscoe sighed, imagining fresh leaves of lettuce, bunches of carrots, chopped apples, whole cobs of corn.
His delectable vision wilted as the two of them pushed through the underbrush and broke into the open. Suddenly Roscoe was aware of a new fear that had taken hold of him: the fear of humans. The piglets stayed out of sight as much as possible, making their way up ditches, along side roads and through back yards. They'd always been nervous of strangers. What sensible animal wouldn't be? But away from Hearts on Noses that nervousness ballooned into an inescapable terror. They mustn't be seen. And if they were spotted, they must move quickly to avoid capture. Playing with the children in a public park had been a mistake.
Was that what it meant to be wild? Being afraid of everything! It seemed to him there were shadows everywhere now, invisible shadows gliding alongside them, making them shiver like an icy wind.
"Smell that?" Rosie said.
Jolted out of his fearsome reverie, Roscoe sniffed at the sultry air. "Yech!" he cringed. What he smelled was something like rotten eggs, only worse.
"It's coming from over there," Rosie pointed her nose toward the driveway of a nearby bungalow. "Let's go look."
"Look for what?" Roscoe objected.
"That's not food, it's garbage, Rosie!"
"Beggars can't be choosers," she informed him.
They made there way up the drive, alongside the house. Next to a side door in the carport, stood a metal container, it's lid skewed by a bulge of black plastic. "It's coming from there," Rosie said.
"And it can stay there as far as I'm concerned," Roscoe grumped.
Ignoring him, Rosie snuffled round the base of the container. It wobbled when she poked at it with her snout. "Okay," she said. "Lunch is about to be served." Stepping back a couple of paces, she charged, rearing onto her hind legs and shoving the can hard with her front hooves. It toppled with a crash, its lid rolling halfway down the drive. The plastic bag flopped partly out, but remained sealed.
"Come on!" Rosie bossed.
In no time she had torn it open, spilling its contents onto the pavement. Appalled, Roscoe watched as his sister pawed through the trash. What did she expect to find? Janice had garbage cans too. Nothing even close to edible ever went into them. No self-respecting pig would go looking for a meal in there. He was about to say so, when the side door to the house was suddenly yanked open, and a burly human thrust his head into the carport.
"Hey!" he bellowed.
Rosie and Roscoe high tailed it out of the drive, back onto the street.
"Stop!" his shouts pursued them. "Come back!"
But they didn't listen. They charged down the street, cut through a yard a couple of houses down and kept right on running until they couldn't hear his angry cries any longer.
"So what now?" Roscoe panted, when they felt safe enough to stop and rest.
"Don't know," Rosie admitted. "But we've got to eat."
Roscoe's stomach growled in agreement. They moved on, not wanting to remain in one place too long. Creeping behind hedges and fences, they made their way back toward the main road, where they thought there might be more chance of finding food. "Maybe some passing human will throw something edible away," Rosie reasoned. Roscoe couldn't think of a better plan.
They were close enough to hear the sound of passing traffic, when something caught Roscoe's eye, something that made his ears perk up and his mouth water. "Hey look!" he said, pointing toward an elderly woman walking along the opposite side of the street. In each hand she carried something Roscoe recognized immediately: plastic bags. Out of the top of one of them poked a long loaf of bread and what looked like a luscious bunch of spinach.
"Let's follow her!" Rosie said eagerly.
"No!" Roscoe cut his sister off. "We have to go to where she's coming from, not where she's going to."
"She's coming from the place where the humans get their food." he explained. "She must have turned left off the big road. So we have to trace her route back and look for other humans carrying bags. Find out where they get their supplies, and we might be able to get something to eat too."
Rosie stepped back and stared at her brother admiringly. "Roscoe!" she grinned. "You're a genius."
"No I'm not," he flustered. "I'm a hungry pig, that's all."
She laughed, brushing up against him fondly. "You should brag a little bit from time to time, Brother. You're smarter than you look."
The compliment warmed him inside. Rosie was not one to say anything she didn't mean. He didn't have long to enjoy the glow though.
"Come on," she said. "I'm starving."
Next - Segment 8