In my neighborhood, summer doesn't officially begin until we hold our Critter Games. Every June, when Mr. and Mrs. Redding prep their yard for little Toby's birthday party, the Coalition of Fur, Fangs, and Feathers sends out a call. Whatever day the humans gather for cake and presents, is when the competition begins.
The competition is fairly simple. The birds place numbered leaves at points in the yard and each critter has to collect as many as they can before the time is up or the humans call in Animal Control. All contestants gather in the corner of the yard, under the cover of the Redding's hedge. We are given the order of which obstacles we need to pass through as well as warnings for what traps the Reddings have placed. (The humans caught on to our fun after the third year and put up sticky traps and hidden cages to keep us from 'wrecking' Toby's party.) It made the festival more challenging so we kept on holding it in their yard anyway. (Let's have a moment of silence for Flicker the chipmunk, he was caught two years ago and taken away to be 'released' into the woods.)
The winner is whichever creature makes it through all of the stations without being caught and with the most leaves. The glorious prize is sole access to the contents of the Redding's trash for the rest of the summer. The other players also pay a penalty of serving the winner in whatever capacity they choose for one week.
Last year, the course began on the edge of the Redding's pond. We had to cross the water, the cats HATE this and yowl the entire time, then head around the garage and over the grill which was fired up with delicious smelling food. Ms. Furbottom snagged a sausage on her way past and we all had to applaud her ability to run while eating. Then the tables had to be traversed, extra points given the more things we knocked over. Following that, we had to round back to go through the garage. The humans were inside playing some games of their own and protested loudly to our interference. (Like they have a monopoly on fun!) It was in here where Jangles the Jive loving frog lost his lead when a dart caught his foot. He wiggled himself free before the humans could grab him but had no hope of making up his time after dangling for a minute.
The players ran on from there, fighting to be the first to get the leaves from the clothesline, the birdbath, and the pinata. There was a bounce house we could venture into that had four leaves. I was only able to grab one before my claws punctured the weird plastic and the kids inside began screaming when the funky castle began to deflate. (We discovered that tall humans know a lot of vile words!)
On the final run across the table where the pretty birthday cake was on display was where Rawr the monkey pulled ahead. He leaped in the air and somersaulted into the frosting, smashing the cake and sealing his victory! To the screams and cries of the humans, we quickly took our after photos and scampered the hell out of the yard. Rawr sang his glee to us the entire time and even stopped to wiggle his butt at Mr. Redding (which taught us more creative swears)!
This year's Critter Games are coming. The Reddings have been setting up tables and chairs in their yard and the birds are collecting leaves. It's time for the fun to begin again.
I can nearly taste the trash. This year, I'm going to win!
art and flair courtesy of @PegasusPhysics