Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
- TITLE: A Rodent With Wings
By Scott Sheets
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"Mom, can I have a gerbil– Pleeeeease!" young Scotty pleaded with his preoccupied mother as they perused the pet store aisle. Scotty’s mother was calculating the price of dog food to determine whether she got a better deal at the grocery store last week. Having concluded that she saved a whopping seventy-three cents, she triumphantly turned her attention to her persistent child.
"Well, Scotty, we did say you could pick out a pet here. But are you sure you want a gerbil?" Scotty’s mother had not yet fully embraced the new age of rodent pets and hoped her exuberant son would opt for something else. "What about a fish?" she earnestly suggested.
Scotty aptly rebutted his mother's suggestion with one of debating’s most effective and widely used techniques–the whine.
"Mom, you said I could choose any pet I wanted, and I want a gerbil."
"OK Scotty, you're right. I did say that. But you do know they take an awful lot of work don't you?"
"Yes, yes, yes. I know, I know. I'll take care of him." Now for those of you without children allow me to translate that last line– "Sure mom, I'll look once in a while to see if he's still alive."
Having purchased the new family pet, Scotty and his mother headed for home. Little did Charlie know the adventure ahead of him. Scotty rushed into his room, and with the help of his mother, prepared Charlie’s new home. Scotty and his mom then exited to finish unloading the car.
The acrylic cage consisted of wood shavings for bedding, a side-attaching water bottle, and a rodent wheel that would squeak in the middle of the night when gerbils finally decide to play. Charlie examined his new environment with wide eyes, switching whiskers, and an active sniffer. His gerbil nose detected a variety of new aromas as well as some familiar ones from the pet store. "What is that familiar scent coming my way?" Charlie mused to himself. At that moment the family cat entered the room and promptly leaped atop the dresser where Charlie's cage rested. The inquisitive feline batted at the gerbil dwelling with its de-clawed paws, but fortunately the secured cover prohibited entrance to the nocturnal interloper. After a few minutes of unsuccessful advancements the feisty feline departed a bit disappointed at his failure. Charlie went back to digging about his new home and preparing a sleeping quarter for himself.
Meanwhile, Scotty bounded back into the room and started rummaging through his toy box anxiously searching for a specific toy. "I know it's in here somewhere," he muttered to himself. One toy after another came hurtling over his shoulder: a stuffed bear, a toy car, a Spiderman action figure...then suddenly a scream of discovery echoed through the hallway of the three bedroom rambler. "That's it," jubilant Scotty declared as he pulled out a well-used Fisher Price airplane. It was the perfect size for gerbil air travel.
Scotty lifted Charlie out the cage, and then carefully placed him in the plane and shut the door behind him. Charlie seemed excited at first not even realizing he had a ticket. However, excitement turned to terror at lift off and the realization there were no seatbelts. Scotty's mother watched as he ran by lifting the plane up and down, upside down, side to side, and every possible way his imagination could take him. She thought it was quite odd that Scotty was playing with a toy he hadn't played with for years. Then as the plane made another pass closer to her, she noticed a little noise, some whiskers, and two bulging eyes poking out the oval window and pleading for a stewardess to bring some airsickness bags.
Charlie survived his turbulent flight and lived a long life in gerbil years. Some attributed Charlie's longevity to the old addage that proclaims, "Whatever doesn't kill you, will only make you stronger!"
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