The upside of living on a college campus is that students tend to leave food everywhere. Sometimes they’ll even just give you food, if you do something funny for them.
The downside though is that they never give you the food you want. Ask for the hot dog, and you get part of the bun. Just one piece of pepperoni? They’ll give you a glob of cheese. Trying to get some of that divine smelling chicken? Hope you like pickles, cause that’s probably what you’ll get instead!
Personally, I don’t like trying to get food from humans. It’s a lot of effort for very little reward, and I always run the risk of being met with screams when I let them see me. Also, it only works outside (students hate finding a rat in the dorm rooms, found that one out the hard way).
Calliope, however, loves getting humans to give up food, and as I am her best friend, she drags me out with her occasionally, and since today was the first time in months it had been warm enough for students to actually go outside, we left the relative comfort of the dorm room to make the journey to the campus Starbucks.
Calliope bounded up to the patio to beg for scraps, immediately getting a reaction from the humans. I decided to hang back, since Calliope was way better at this sort of thing.
“Awww, what a cute little mouse!”
“Ew! Rebecca, it probably has rabies!”
“Oh, don’t be mean, Kaitlyn. I’ll bet she’s just hungry.” The human was already pulling at whatever food item she had on the table. “Are you hungry, cutie?”
“Yes! Very! Give me your food, human!”
“Just listen to those happy squeaks!” The human cooed again and then tossed down some kind of bread. “There you go! Enjoy!”
Calliope grabbed the bread and returned to the bush I was hiding under. “Check it out, Thalia! It’s got something really yummy smelling on it!”
The bread did smell good, but it was still only bread. “Great work, Calliope!”
“Are you gonna try and get something, Tals?”
“I’m not sure they’d give me anything,” I said.
“So steal it.”
Calliope squeaked and practically jumped ten inches into the air at the unexpected voice, but I’d seen our new companion approaching from around the side of the building.
“Hey Polyhymnia,” I said, giving the raccoon my best smile.
“Polly! You scared me!” Calliope said, recovering from her fright. “And what do you mean steal?”
Polyhymnia grinned, letting her mischievous nature shine through. “Watch and learn, Cali.”
Polyhymnia crept towards the patio, keeping out of sight whenever she could. She was only a few feet away from the humans Calliope had begged from when she pounced, hissing and baring her teeth.
The humans screamed, dropped their food and drinks, and then ran away. “This is why you don’t feed wild animals, Rebecca!”
Polyhymnia dragged her bounty off the patio, and Calliope and I rushed to help her.
“Woah! You got so much food!” Calliope said, investigating a sweet smelling bread.
“Not just food!” Polyhymnia said, nosing at the cups. “This human drink is amazing! And these ones are cold, so no burns!”
“What is it though?” I sniffed at the white drink; it smelled sweet.
“I dunno. But you should try it!” Polyhymnia said, trying to pry the lid off of the cup she’d grabbed. The liquid in her cup was brown. I slipped my head into the opening at the top of my cup, and gave the mysterious drink a taste.
“Ian! Check out that crazy rat!” Kyle pointed towards the edge of the patio, where a rat was going nuts after having gotten into someone’s coffee.
“Dude! We gotta get that on film; we can put it on Tik Tok!” Kyle said, already pulling out his phone. “You go, coffee rat!”