by Bryan Terry


Danforth Daniel Dunmire was one of the most respected CEOs in the Midwest. He had come from nowhere, arriving in Bradley Creek, Ohio with a MBA and Masters from Harvard University and little else. In three months he had gotten a large enough loan to start Dunmire's Gourmet Peanuts, which now sold peanuts, roasted, raw, salted, unsalted, shelled, unshelled, honey-roasted, barbeque, candy-coated peanuts to amusement parks, stadiums and schools all across the nation, and even abroad (such as Alton Towers in England and Bagatelle in France).

Now, this Captain of Industry and Number 86 on Fortune Magazine's List of "100 Richest People in America" (Dunmire's Gourmet Peanuts was Number 50 on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For") was on the warpath.

"MISS CARRUTHERS!" A chair scraped in his office and heavy footsteps approached the frosted glass door, which was flung open with such force that Miss Carruthers, on the phone at her desk with a reporter from Newsweek who wanted to interview Mr. Dunmire, was afraid that the glass would shatter.


And then it happened. The event that changed the lives Miss Amanda Carruthers and Mr. Danforth Daniel Dunmire.

Dunmire's Italian loafer caught on the new runner that had been laid down that morning and spilled him onto the marble floor in front of Miss Carruthers's desk.

Miss Carruthers gaped and hung up on the Newsweek reporter mid-sentence, for at the foot of her desk, where there should have been a bruised and very irate Danforth Dunmire, was now a pile of squirrels and chipmunks that were tumbling out of a wrinkled and empty Danforth Dunmire. Squirrels. And chipmunks. There must be at least a hundred of them, she thought.

Before she could react, the biggest squirrel, easily the size of a small dog jumped up onto her desk and sat in the middle of an open file. He was roan colored and had an immense bushy tail.

His ears were tall and sharp, topped by a little tuft of white. His black eyes watched her intently.

"Miss Carruthers," he said. "There's to be no word of this to anyone! Do you understand me?

This never happened, and you never saw this. Am I clear!"

Her mouth opened and closed like a landed fish as she tried to think of something to say.

"DO YOU UNDERSTAND!" the squirrel shouted in Danforth Daniel Dunmire's voice.


She managed a strangled "yes" before fainting.

The squirrel swore with a capacity beyond what one would expect of a woodland rodent, and turned to the jumbled pile of his comrades.

"Alright boys and girls," it said, folding is forelegs across its furry chest. "Let's get this mess back together before someone else sees us. We need to figure out what to do with her, and we'll be needing a new assistant." It swore again. "I hate interviews."

It jumped off Miss Carruthers's desk and started tugging on the latex skin of Danforth Daniel Dunmire, owner and CEO of Dunmire's Gourmet Peanuts. "Let's GO people! Mr. Dunmire won't put himself on!"

The squirrels and chipmunks scrambled over the pile of Dunmire and soon Mr. Dunmire was once again standing over the prostate form of Miss Carruthers.

He reached onto her desk and dialing 900 picked up the phone.

"Diane? Listen, Miss Carruthers fainted up here. Call the site doc, will you? She might need some medical assistance. I'm not sure. Also, would you call Larry Dolan at the Cleveland Indians for me, and connect it through to my office. Thanks doll, you're a peach."

He hung up, and turned back to his office, straightening his tie. "Alright folks," he said to no one in particular. "Those nuts won't cache themselves. Let's get back to business," and shut the frosted glass door that read in gold flake




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Bryan Terry lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Alisa, dog Dama, and two guinea pigs, Cous Cous and Brie.