Friday, September 25, 2009

Segment 8

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It took a long time, and a lot of sneaking, peeking and dodging for the piglets to trace their way to the place where the shopping bags came from and the humans got their food. At the main road they turned right because left led back to Hearts on Noses.

"That can't be the direction the bag-lady came from," Rosie reasoned.

The farther away they went, though, the harder it was to stay hidden. More and more houses crowded up to the road; they had to cross busy intersections, waiting for the traffic to stop then trotting to the other side and dashing for cover. If they hadn't been starving, they would have holed up and waited for nightfall. But their stomachs urged them on. They needed to eat.

Roscoe discovered another thing about being wild: hunger. Animals that lived off the land had to spend just about every moment of every day thinking about food. There was no Janice Gillett wandering the streets of Maple Ridge with buckets full of treats to offer. Wild animals had to scavenge and hunt for their meals.

He turned these thoughts over in his mind. And the more he thought about it, the more worried he became. If we're this hungry, he figured, then just about every wild animal must be hungry too. And if all the wild animals were ravenous, they must be looking just as hard as he and Rosie for something to eat. "What do all those wild animals feed on?" he wanted to know.

"What?" Rosie asked impatiently. She had been keeping an eye on the street, peeking out from behind a hedge.

"What do wild animals eat, Rosie?" Roscoe repeated nervously.

"I don't know. Mushrooms, maybe. Grass if you're built like Mr. Trots or a goat or a cow. Leaves? That's what we have to figure out, Brother. I don't think we're going to be able to do this every time we want a meal. It's too risky."

"I'm not talking about animals like us, Rosie, that feed on plants and such. I'm talking about the coyotes, and cougars, and bears. What do they eat Rosie?"

She looked at him strangely, as if she didn't understand his question. "Don't know," she said. "I'm only interested in what I need right now, and I think it's in this direction." She pointed her snout south and trotted off, annoyed.

Just then a big truck rumbled by, it's trailer painted up like a huge billboard. "Look!" Rosie gasped. Roscoe stared, wide-eyed at a tomato three times as big as him, a lettuce that could feed a whole herd of elephants. Peppers, cucumbers, radishes, carrots...

"Come on!" Rosie cried, trotting off after the truck.

They didn't have to go far. Just a block down the road, it swung into a driveway. The piglets watched from across the street as it lumbered to a stop, turned around and backed up to a huge doorway.

"This is it!" Rosie whooped. "The place where the humans get their food."

To the right of the loading bay, the roadway led into a gigantic parking lot full of cars. People hustled about, some pushing carts stacked with bags and bags of groceries. Others waddled along, plastic bags dangling by their sides. There was no doubt about it, Roscoe agreed. Humans came here to get their food. "But I don't think anyone's going to hand over a bag of goodies to a couple of stray pigs, Sister, do you?"

"Well," Rosie said, determined, "if people won't give us what we need, we'll just have to figure out a way to take it, won't we?"

Roscoe couldn't argue the point. But still, he felt it was wrong what they were planning to do, and that they would get into deep trouble for it. His tummy rumbled loudly, though. Rosie grinned.

"Is that your answer Brother?" she said.

He supposed it was.

Next: Segment 9

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