Groundhog's Day

They call me Phil. Every year for some strange reason, one day they gather outside the door of my burrow and wait. Everything smells like them. There are lights. They can’t be quiet. It’s unnatural.

Some years I toy with them, sneak out for a snack the night before, sleep in, stick my head out and back in without really leaving. Some years I just want to get it over with and run out so they will just leave.

They always insist on picking me up, too. As if waking up to an audience with burrow hair and really having to use the forest floor isn’t embarrassing enough.

I should relieve myself on them.

What’s the point, really? My mother told me it was an honor to cavort with them, for the good reputation of the species. As long as I tolerate the coddling, they won’t hunt and eat us. I think she’s crazy. Every instinct tells me to hide.

I think I smell them. Yes, definitely. Now what to do? Stay or go and fulfill this false duty?

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