Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
TITLE: A Possum Tale
By lynn gipson
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“Oh, Rusty! The music! The lights! The food! You must come along with us this year.” Barney crowed.
Rusty knew he wasn’t invited because he was ugly, and the family was ashamed of him. That had to be it. However, he had a plan. Barney promised to sneak him in the car, somehow, and hide him until it was too late to turn back. The family would have to take him once they discovered his presence, half way to New Orleans.
The next morning, as Frank Mendelson packed the car, Barney helped Rusty into a paper bag with plenty of air holes chewed in the sides for ventilation. You see, Rusty was a pet possum the family had rescued and raised from a baby, and Barney was the family dog, a beautiful German Shepherd. Rusty surmised Barney got to go everywhere with Dad, Mom, and their two children, Betty and Tommy, because Barney was a right handsome fellow, and of course, Rusty looked like the possum that he was.
This year would be different, though, because Barney took the large paper sack that was to be Rusty’s traveling home for the next few hours, and when the others weren’t looking, snuck it in the back of the station wagon. He held it open for Rusty to climb in and hid him behind two suitcases. Barney was a real smart dog, and pulled it off well.
Finally, the entire Mendelson family was on their merry way to New Orleans! Rusty was so excited to be going, he didn’t even mind his cramped quarters. He imagined all kinds of sights to see, and food in the back of those fancy restaurants he could scrummage through. Just the thought of it all made his stomach rumble, and he regretted the beans he had eaten out of the garbage that morning.
Rusty managed to stay hidden for most of the trip, until, that is, he broke wind. The smell brought curiosity from Betty and Tommy, who were sitting the closest to Rusty, and they began complaining of the odor coming from the rear of the station wagon.
Frank stopped the car at a roadside park, got out, and went to investigate. Upon finding the smell coming from a paper sack behind the suitcases, he opened it, and to his amazement, found Rusty huddling inside. He grimaced and let Rusty, who scampered fast and ran into some trees to finish his business, out of the smelly bag.
Frank laughed and said, “Well, I don’t know how he got in here, but it’s too late to turn back now! We’ll never make our hotel reservations on time.”
When they got to New Orleans, Frank Mendelson snuck Rusty into the hotel room, because surely scary looking possums were not allowed in such a fine establishment. Barney, being the handsome fellow that he was, walked right through the lobby.
Barney used his teeth to unlatch and open the door one night, and he and Rusty slipped out of the hotel to tour the restaurant alleys. They dined well from the garbage cans. Rusty had never tasted jambalaya before, but it was to die for. He also got a glimpse of the night life there. Hundreds of people acting a little crazy, and horses running up and down the street! It was all a little more excitement than Rusty could handle. He did like the lively music, though, and after all the jambalaya he had eaten, found himself singing the Blues.
On the way home, Rusty got to sit in the backseat with Betty and Tommy and be cuddled, and that was the best feeling of all, because he didn’t feel so ugly. As soon as they arrived, he scurried across the field to tell his friend, Stinky, about his adventurous trip to Cajun country. Randy was a black and white skunk, who turned pea green with envy.
“Maybe, next year, we can find a way for you to go!” Rusty slyly smiled.
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