Coming this Spring . . .

 

He had just started away when another mouse, dressed casually with unkempt fur, squeaked in alarm, "LOOK OUT!  THE BOOKSHELF IS FALLING!"

 

They went on vacation for one whole year . . .

 

"Either we do this or we don't," Chip said.  "I know in my heart we'll all make it back all right."

 

And now it's time for their leader to tell his tale . . .

 

"Well," he began, "I said I'd go first, so here goes…."

 

He made it back safe and sound . . .

 

The chipmunk made a mad leap for a passing bicycle, catching himself on the rear axle support.  Chip swallowed down a surge of mortal terror, staring helplessly as a trailing piece of his rope swung crazily, narrowly missing getting caught in the spokes of the spinning wheel.  If it did, the fedora-clad Ranger would never see home again.

 

Didn't he . . . ?

 

Chip had awoken in midair, suddenly hitting the soft dirt and grass of the highway shoulder.  He had no time to do anything but lie deathly still as the twin rear axles of the trailer thundered past on either side of him.

 

Even as he realized from the clatter that the large rat had thrown his stick at him, the small rodent swung, leaving a canoe-shaped dent in Chip's fedora: WHOP!  He could never recall if there were further hits after that one.

 

"Were they gonna torture ya?" Dale wondered, making a motion of poking someone with an imaginary object.

 

 

This April, the great chipmunk detective will discover a mystery...

 

"Are you sure you gave me the right book?" Chip asked. "This looks like somebody's journal or diary."

"Yes, that's the last anybody's ever heard of from him."

 

A mystery that may be beyond his talents and abilities...

 

He adjusted his hat, then snuck out of the building.  He had a book to peruse and more libraries to check.  He needed to get back to his stuff.  He needed to get out of town.  He needed . . .  Help, Chip thought humbly.  I need some help.

 

 

A mystery some don't want solved...

 

"He never should have gone there," the notch-eared mouse sobbed.  "And I . . . I never should have came back."

 

... no matter what the price...

 

The small rat glared at Chip with murder in his eyes and said, "Theese vill be our final meetink, cheepmonk," low and evenly.

 

It is time for a Tale of Fate and Fortune...

 

"The guardians!  They're here tonight, they shouldn't be!"

 

A Tale of Risk and Reward...

 

"Fine, I'll make it fifty!" Chip snarled.

 

A Tale of Tragedy and Triumph...

 

"I mean, even after all that, he risked his life to save you, right?"

 

The Tale of Chip Maplewood.

 

"Where were ya?" Dale asked excitedly.

"Nowhere ol' Monterey Jack 'asn't been," Monty said proudly.

[record needle scratching, audio stops]

"Uh, roight," Monty said as his face fell.  "Ain't been there, yet, pally."

 

Storytime begins April 17th, 2003.

 

The One-Year Vacation: Mirrors of Zen -- Part I: The Tale of Chip

Maplewood

 

By: Rennod

 

Original "One-Year Vacation" concept by Steve "Strider" Stone