Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock
Editor: Sarah Rendo
Cover: Rob Mitchell
The Elmwood cemetery caught the animal buddy world by storm when Margarine the deer befriended a stray dog named Rusty. Rusty and Margarine, with every frolic among the headstones and every cuddle among the tombs, sent inspirational shockwaves across the mammal community. But the transcendent friendship was cut short when a local hunter named Omalley Squeezums shot and killed Margarine in the heart of the cemetery.
Omalley Squeezums was quickly brought to justice and promptly paid the ten dollar fine, but the damage had been done––the dreams of a trans-species Camelot were lost forever. However, even as the nation mourned the death of Margarine, the cemetery’s humble plastic-flower duster, Donnie Turtle, made a curious discovery. Turtle found a notebook whose cover read “Private Deer Diary! Don't touch! Or read! Ever! (Unless You Are Rusty).”
Turtle rifled through the pages and instantly recognized Margarine’s distinct hoofwriting, but the tone of the first entry struck him like a frozen bundle of raisin-sized turdlings dropped from a rooftop on a cold winter’s morn:
Rusty stinks! He stinks like poop!! Just kidding he's my best friend and a truer friend than any squirrel could be. Squirrels, dirty rotten squirrels! If I could I would cut down all their trees and drown them in the river. Good thing we bought poison capsules. In a week or so we will begin to wipe this graveyard clean. No more squirrels defecating on the benches of remembrance. All the squirrels will be dead in a week and we will finally have some peace and quiet before our big animal buddies calendar shoot.
Later that day Donnie Turtle found Rusty licking his buttcheeks in the shadow of an ornamental fox statue. Although Turtle knew that Rusty enjoyed licking his butt he asked if Margarine had always hated squirrels.
Rusty yelled, “Margarine was a saint in life and a martyr in death!”
The old bloodhound popped up from his pose and lunged at Donnie Turtle with one of his giant paws clawing out his eyeball like a grape from a shallow bowl. Rusty yelled, “Squirrels are a menace! And squirrel sympathizers who support their activities will be eradicated presently.”
Rusty stood over Donnie and prepared to strike again when a shot rang out in the cemetery. Rusty’s tail went stiff and the old bloodhound keeled over like a slab of red concrete. Footsteps quickly approached from the east. Donnie Turtle feared his breaths were numbered and when the shooter leaned over him he prepared to die.
But the shooter quickly handed him the eyeball Rusty had scraped out his face.
“Are you looking for this?” the shooter asked.
“Yes,” Turtle said.
“You probably want to hand me over to the graveyard sheriff for shooting a beloved member of the animal buddy community,” the shooter said.
Donnie Turtle slid his eyeball into his socket until it clicked. His vision was immediately restored. Omalley Squeezums stood before him.
“Actually Omalley,” Turtle said, “how's about you help me get rid of this dog body.”
And it was on that historic day Donnie Turtle and Omalley Squeezums burned Rusty’s carcass at the limestone quarry and implicitly pledged to protect all the squirrels in the cemetery.