the corn plant and the chipmunk

by Chloe S., 12

I looked up, and there it was, the tempting golden piece of stuck dry plant, more specifically one of the leaves of the corn plant that decorated the front porch. The slender golden leaf was jammed, caught when the glass door closed, in between door and doorway. It peeked down, observing me, watching me, teasing me. I felt shivers of exhilaration run throughout my fluffy pale cream and silver fur as I observed it. Then I came to some conclusions.

The leaf was a rogue one, for it reached out from the pale plant, branching off and curving away from the other leaves, the ones who minded their own business. The other leaves didn’t tempt me, they didn’t taunt me, they just politely looked at the scenery, the rolling green of tiny plants, the broad houses, tall color-changing trees, and misty droplets sprinkling from the churning gray skies. This one leaf however, unlike its kin, seemed like it couldn’t resist taunting me with the urge to leap up and feel it crinkle satisfyingly under my paws.

Maybe I was being a little dramatic, acting like those temptations were the leaf’s fault. I did want to play after all, and if I could have gotten outside, I would have wished more than anything to invite those other respectful corn leaves to play with me, probably even putting the blame on them.

All of a sudden I couldn’t take it any longer, so, with an almost subconscious movement, I rushed up with an upward pounce, my claws extended from my soft paws, and snagged on the golden leaf. Soon the wonderful crinkle was lost as I plummeted down, my paws mechanically returning to a position of which I would land elegantly. But the action was done⁠—the crisp golden plant had been dragged down just a whisker-length above my face, close enough to bat at and maybe even chew.

I began to bat at it over and over again, for one can only recreate the feeling of satisfaction that lasts a moment, so that was what I did, over and over again. Finally, I felt the need for something new and more stimulating so I went to bite it. It was crinkly and fun and⁠—


A small piece briskly snapped off and in a second I had a piece of the leaf in my mouth. Only moments later I heard heavy human footsteps, ones that wouldn’t approve of my mischief. I instinctively scampered off, my paws sliding from the slippery wood onto the carpet. It was too late though, because suddenly hands grasped around me, scooped me up, and fished the little piece out of my mouth. By the time I was back on the floor and ready to play with the plant again, the golden leaf was nudged outside alongside with my broken plant-bit. I gave an inward meow of defeat as I padded back to the door, but I knew someday soon one leaf or another would peek out again, looking for trouble.

It was only a few days later when I got my next bit of corn-related entertainment. When I sniffed the air that day, I suddenly smelled something colder, crisper, and fresher drift and settle throughout the house. I realized with excitement this could only mean the large, heavy, and brown front door was open, revealing the glass door with its screen letting in fresh air. My eyes immediately searched for entertainment, a flying bird, a twirling leaf, or even better, a wonderful golden corn leaf inviting me to play.

Before looking at the corner where the corn leaves got stuck at I took a deep sniff, and there was the scent, brittle and crisp in smell, delicate and hard to grasp, yet at the same time smelling earthborne and musty like old, dry plants should. However, when I went to look at my plant friend, nothing peeked through the glass down at me. I gave a sharp meow of confusion before realizing it must have been the air drifting in from the screen door which made me think the corn leaf would be waiting for me. I sat there for a few moments wondering what I could do or watch to entertain myself before it came to me in the form of a sharp rustle from outside.

My ears swiveled with a reflex so sharp it could have been mistaken that my ears had moved before the rustle had even come into existence, but that was not the case. My eyes followed, and I could feel my eyes quivering in their sockets, trying to identify the intruder. Suddenly there was a second rustle, and this time I was prepared. In much less than a second my eyes and ears snapped to attention in unison, focusing on a short furred tiny body scampering in the dull autumn shadows of the corn. That was the intruder! The intruder causing a disruption with MY playmate plant! But then again, who was I kidding? I wasn’t angry, I loved the thrill⁠—the excitement of the situation.

Then, a quick movement broke my thoughts. The tiny striped rodent suddenly stuck its tiny velvety head out of the mess of leaves it was climbing in. Its beady black eyes were full of pride of its success mixed with the constant paranoia of a rodent. Its round cheeks moved quickly as it munched greedily on corn. I gave a loud meow of longing, wanting to chase it away for fun, when suddenly the little creature turned its head and suspicious scheming eyes towards me. Realizing a potential predator was so close to it, the creature leapt down with a rustle and scampered off.

I sat down with satisfaction. I had scared it away! However, secretly, I wished I could have actually chased it, and at that I realized I missed the fun I had just had. Finally I decided that even if I had gotten to chase it, and whether I had caught it or it had gotten away, I would still miss the chase. But as that thought ended, I got a feeling it would be back, and I would get to play some more.

Wall Township, New Jersey