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Mon., Dec. 31, 2012, 8 a.m.

New Year’s Eve in The Slice (1998)

Here's an outline for the first half of a children's story.

Your challenge is to come up with the second half. Good luck.

 

A dwindling band of squirrels in the Palouse believe their small cluster of trees is the only island in an endless, rolling ocean.

Then, one day, a vegetarian hawk tells the furry rodents the truth. "There are other trees beyond the horizon," he informs them.

So an intrepid young squirrel named Thornton sets out to find others of his kind. (A wise old squirrel sends him off with advice Thornton doesn't immediately understand -- Bushy tail, true heart.")

At that moment, several miles away, a fetching yet willful young squirrel named Steptoe is wondering if she'll ever meet a boy squirrel who isn't afraid of his own shadow.

But everything in the Palouse is about to change. A streetwise gang of Spokane squirrels intent on expanding their territory start hopping into the back of pickups and heading south on highway 195.

The urban toughs capture Thornton and detain him. They don't buy his story that he's lost and far from home.

But Steptoe manages to free him while the guards are on a cigarette break. And as the two of them scamper to safety, Thornton notices that Steptoe's tail is especially bushy.

She sees him looking at her. So she stops and stares at him. In that instant, she realizes there's something special in Thornton's big eyes. "We don't have time for this," she snaps.

And off they scurry toward a lone tree, unaware that a hungry owl is watching them...




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