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Three Brave Bugs
by Christopher Randolph
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


Three Brave Bugs
by a fourth grade class

edited by Christopher Randolph

One dark, dusty, dusk, three brave bugs set forth on a dangerous quest. Their mission was to find new, tasty foods for the upcoming buggyque. There was Midnight, the clever rhinoceros beetle, Doby, the diligent dragonfly, and Sally the spontaneous ladybug. Emperor Ping, a proud praying mantis, gave them a map to aid them on their way.

Being attracted to a cornfield from above, they swooped down to investigate. Dust billowed around them as they landed on the dry earth beneath the tallest green plants the three heroes had ever seen. Spying something golden, Midnight flew up the closest cornstalk to explore the matter further. His intrepid companions were quick to follow.

“What is it?” inquired Doby.

“I don’t know,” replied Sally.

“I believe it’s called corn,” murmured Midnight.

“Do you eat it?” Doby asked.

“Yes, is it food?” Sally wondered.

“Corn is, in fact, supposed to be delicious,” replied Midnight.

“Try some!” exclaimed Doby.

“No. You try it,” Midnight answered.

“I eat insects, and this is some kind of plant,” Doby said.

“Then you try it,” Midnight repeated, turning to Sally.

“Duh…me too,” replied the ladybug.

“OK then. Here I go.” Opening wide, Midnight chomped down on a bright golden kernel of corn. Mini rivers of corn juice flowed down Midnight’s mandibles as she sucked in vain, trying to swallow all of the sweet fluid. “Mmmm. This is delicious!” cried Midnight. “You two really need to try this.”

“Carnivores,” shrugged the ladybug and the dragon fly at the same time.

“Oh yea. I forgot for a second. But seriously, we have to mark this on the map,” continued the rhinoceros beetle.

“It’s gone!” exclaimed Doby.

“What’s gone?’ asked Midnight.

“The map. It’s missing,” answered the normally diligent Doby.

“Oh Doby, it’s right down there,” Sally said pointing straight down toward the ground.

“Down where?” replied Doby. “I don’t see it.”

“Right…” Sally paused. “AAAH!!! A MOUSE!!!”

“That’s no mouse,” Midnight remarked. “That’s a rat!”

“What ever it is. It’s running away with our map!” Doby pointed out.

Sally frantically beat her wings as she took off after the map swiper. “That rat’s not going to catch itself!” She cried out.

Midnight and Doby took off after the brave little ladybug.“Wait up you impetuous beetle!” called Midnight.

Turning around to her companions, Sally lost sight of the rat (who took a sharp turn to the left and vanished). “Aw Tree stumps!” Sally whined. “Now I lost the rat.”

“I think he went this way,” said Doby, veering to the right and taking the lead in completely the wrong direction. He quickly had to pull up, just in time to miss the back of a Russian Blue cat’s head.

“Oh sugar plums!” Sally exclaimed, “A cat!” Sally came to rest on the cat’s right ear. Midnight was not so lucky. He careened off Doby , sending them both smack into the head of the hapless feline.

“What the. . .!?” cried the cat, leaping in the air and spinning at the same time.

“Whoa, kitty, kitty!” said Doby.

“Who said that?” asked the cat, leaping and spinning again.

“It wasn’t me,” said Sally.

“Who said THAT?” said the still spinning cat.

“OK. That was me that time. But, it wasn’t me the first time,’ Sally continued.

The cat sat down saying, “Now my head hurts. . .”

“Thanks,” declared Doby.

“Did you happen to see a rat pass this way?” inquired Midnight of the confused cat.

“A RAT?!” exclaimed the cat, spinning full circle on one foot. “Where?”

“STOP THAT!” yelled Doby clutching the cat in one hand and a handful of fur in the other.

“Sorry,” said the cat. “It’s just that everyone around here has a bone to pick with that rat.”

“So do we,” said Sally. “That rat stole our map that we need to show where to find the good food for the Buggyque.”

“The Buggy what?” asked the cat.

“The Buggyque,” replied Sally. “It’s our annual celebration when bugs from all around come to eat and dance and sing bug songs.”

“Yea,” Doby chimed in. “And we have it every year!”

“That’s what I said you goose,” Sally retorted.

“No,” Doby answered, “You said annual.”

“Annual means every year,” Midnight interjected.

“Oh,” said the dragonfly. “I knew that.”

Grasping his ears in his paws, “Stop it!” gasped the cat. “Any way, it sounds like we all have business with that sneak, so come with me. Let’s go find that rat.”

“That is problematic,” said Midnight.

“What do you mean?” asked the cat.

“We don’t exactly know where the rat went,” Midnight answered.

“We need to think like a rat, think like a rat, think like a rat,” Doby broke in. “I’m not getting anything,” he frowned.

“Ya think?” asked Sally.

“So, the rat stole something from you?” asked the cat

“Yes,” said Sally. “He stole our map.”

“The rat stole your map?” asked the cat.

“Yes,” Sally said.

“And you want this cat to get the map back from the rat?” continued the cat.

“That would be grand.” She replied.

“Yep,” said Doby. Midnight nodded his head.

“He always takes his loot to his hole. Let’s head there first,” suggested the cat.

“Is it far, dear?” asked Sally.

“The name’s Whiskers; not dear,” replied the cat. “And no, Sneakers’ hole is just a couple rows away from here.”

“Lets go then!” cried Doby grabbing four hairs with his front claws and giving Whiskers a kick in the head with his back legs. “Yee haw kitty kitty!”

It wasn’t long before the wily Whiskers with the company of bugs in tow arrived at the home of Sneakers, the map stealer. With out any hesitation at all, Doby flew to the tree bark door knocked three times. “Pizza!” he called.

“What do you think you are doing?” whispered Midnight.

“Shhhh,” Doby answered. “Trust me.”
A few seconds later, the door cracked open and a long brown snout stuck out.

“I didn’t order any pizza,” snarled Sneakers.

“Sniff, sniff,” he sniffed. “But I do smell cheese. Gouda?”

“Swiss,” answered Doby. “Want some?”

“Hmmm. Maybe,” pondered Sneakers. “Who are you, and what’s the catch?”

“They want their map back,” answered Whiskers the cat.

“Neesh noosh! You mean my map,” Sneakers sneered.

“I beg to differ, Sport,” said Midnight. “The map in question indubitably belongs to us.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sneakers replied.

“We’re talking about the map you found on the ground around the corner,” said Doby. “Duh.”

“Finders keepers; losers wheepers,” answered the rat.

“Listen up Buster,” snarled Whiskers. “You better give them back their map, or else!”

“Or else, what?” Sneakers snickered.

“I don’t know what. But you’re not gonna like it, that’s for sure,” warned Whiskers.

“Ooooo. My toes are all a twitter with fear,” sneered Sneakers. “Gimme one reason I should be afraid of a tiresome cat like you?”

Whiskers squinted and grinned a vicious grin as, one by one, his claws sprang from his outstretched front, right paw. “How about four reasons?” he whispered.

A momentary look of fear passed across Sneakers’ face. “I’d rather have the cheese,” he managed to say.

“For the map?” asked Doby excited that his plan was working.

“If I must,” answered the rat. “I suppose so.”

“It’s settled then,” exclaimed Sally. “Doby get the cheese out of your backpack. Mr. Rat, when you hand us the map, my friend Doby will give you the Swiss.”

“I’ll be back in a second,” sneered Sneakers as he disappeared down his dark tunnel. He quickly reappeared with a small paper tube in one hand.

“The cheese please,” he said.

“No, Deary,” Sally replied. “First the map, then the cheese.”

“Yea,” said Doby.

“Let me, at least, see the Swiss,” asked the rat.

“Sneakers…,” snarled Whiskers.

“Ok. Ok.” Sneakers whined. “Here’s your dumb map!” And with that, he threw the map on the ground at the cat’s feet.

“Thank you, Ratty,” Sally said as she picked up the map. “Doby, you may now produce the cheese.”

“Here,” Doby said as he tossed it to Sneakers who caught it in one hand and immediately slammed his door with a BANG!

Looking up at the sky, Midnight proclaimed, “It’s getting late and we don’t want to be tardy.”

“Oh tree stumps!” exclaimed Sally. “Whiskers, would you be a dear and give us a lift?”

“It would be my pleasure,” answered the cat. So, the three brave bugs climbed aboard their feline friend who took them home in a very short amount of time where they went straight to Emperor Ping and presented the map to him.

“My loyal Midnight, Sally, and Doby, we are so extremely grateful for you efforts in this important endeavor,” exclaimed the emperor. “We do have one question, however.”

“You have but to ask, my liege,” Midnight replied.

“Whatever prompted you to befriend this feline?”

“That’s easy,” interjected Doby. “A rat stole the map, so the cat helped get the map back from the rat.”

“I see…,” frowned Emperor Ping.

And the Buggyque, by the way, was the best ever that year.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anne Linington 16 Jan 2009
I can see this would work well illustrated. ongratulations to you and your forth-graders. How old does that make them?
Seema Bagai  15 Jan 2009
Great story. It looks as if the students put a lot of effort in to writing it.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz 15 Jan 2009
Very good story. Fourth graders can be creative, can't they?


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