Dear Chipmunk Family Residing Under the Step and Extended Relations:
You will agree that we have been the most obliging of hosts, having granted you full reign in the development and subsequent expansion of your accommodations underneath our patio step. We did not complain, increase the rent, serve you with an injunction or cause you to cease and desist when you failed to acquire proper permits and added a west wing, which appears to have necessitated a tunnel entrance between two mid-patio pavers. In spite of our identification of these transgressions, you must concur that we have remained generous in granting you predominance on the property, having turned a blind eye to the summer enclave you formed under the Hosta plants in the middle of the backyard, as well as the several tunnels leading to a mountain retreat atop the stone wall at the side garden.
In our efforts to receive the highest, um, chipmunk landlord rating, we have allowed the games of tag up and down the flight leading to the basement window, in addition to your long pauses to sniff the air on the back steps, even though these antics caused the resident indoor cat to moan, howl, chatter and claw at our screens. We have even giggled as you skittered across the patio table on an occasion or two.
In spite of this aforementioned leniency, failure to take the following decree seriously could have severe consequences:
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS LETTER SERVES AS WARNING WITH REGARD TO SPECIFIC BEHAVIOURS CONDUCTED BY THE CHIPMUNK COMMUNITY. LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE TERMS AND DIRECTIONS BELOW MAY RESULT IN LOSS OF HABITAT AND TERMINATION OF YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE MASSACHUSETTS CHIPMUNK WELFARE ACT OF 2010.
To wit: All potted tomato plants located on the patio across from your primary home are hereby off limits. This proclamation holds for four cherry tomato pots currently drooping with green produce, one heirloom Brandywine with fruit that might squash you anyway and, for the yellow plum tomato plant from which, no less than seven almost-ripe specimens have been filched over the last few weeks.
Please note that having nurtured, via regular irrigation, fertilization, proper staking and re-staking of these plants over a two month period, the complainant has a vested interest in the results of this crop. Particular attention has been conferred on the plum variation, in anticipation of teeth-sinking bites into yellow sun-warmed flesh, an experience which has yet to be achieved over the lifetime of the owner. This eager gardener spent the last 60 days anticipating yellow tomato sandwiches (with fresh basil mayo), yellow tomato panzanella and the possibility of a sublime dinner of garlic, roasted yellow tomato, onion and olive oil, tossed with whole wheat pasta.
However, on no less than seven occasions the plaintiff left a ripening sample on the vine for a necessary 24 hours, only to return the next day to discover an act of heinous thievery had been conducted between fruit reviews. As you no doubt recognize, this caused severe emotional distress.
CUTENESS FACTOR NOTWITHSTANDING, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS ACTIVITY MUST CEASE IMMEDIATELY. ACORNS AND HICKORY NUTS (AKA “PIG NUTS”) CONSTITUTE THE ONLY FOOD GROWN ON THIS PROPERTY OFFERED FOR INGESTION BY THE CHIPMUNK SPECIES WITH NO EXCEPTIONS. FURTHERMORE, CONTINUATION OF SUCH EGREGIOUS TOMATO THIEVERY MAY RESULT IN THE FOLLOWING:
The “accidental” opening of the screen to the sliding door, which, you may have witnessed, tends to jam and remain stuck. This action will allow the family feline a romp on the patio, which could be repeated at regular intervals. Should you infer a lack of severity in regards to this punishment, we will offer you a guided tour of the mice cemetery recently established in the back woods.
BEYOND THE PUNISHMENT ABOVE:
With reluctance, I am forced to communicate that failure to abide by the terms of this letter in spite of increased cat security, via continued liberation of tomatoes, specifically those of the yellow variety could result in extreme measures. I am not at liberty to share the specifics of these, other than to suggest that they could involve a five gallon bucket filled to a one-third mark with water, birdseed, and a ramp.