Thursday, September 17, 2015

Zilla and Truffles at School

Snicker. The blog is named after him.

                 by Valerie L. Egar

     When summer ended, Zilla hung up her chef's hat, closed Pirate Cafe and got ready for school. Summer had been exciting. At the beginning, she and Truffles, her parrot, tried the pirate's life. Then, because of Truffles' restaurant experience, they settled down and opened a cupcake cafe.

     Zilla sold millions of cupcakes while Truffles entertained customers saying, "Yo ho ho, landlubber," and "Walk the plank, matey." Even though the cafe was successful, they still yearned for the open sea and the thrill of buried treasure.

     It isn't easy for anyone with a pirate's heart to settle down to school books and rules. Because Zilla had captained a pirate's ship and ran a cafe, she was used to making rules and not very good at following anyone else's. Truffles never waited his turn to speak, but said whatever he wanted when he felt like saying it. 

     The first few weeks of school were hard. Though the teacher, Ms. Bracey, made generous allowances for pirates, she made it clear that Truffles could not refer to anyone, especially the principal, as a "scurvy dog." She advised Truffles that only polite language was used in school.

     Ms. Bracey separated Zilla and Truffles during math lessons when she saw Truffles whispering answers in Zilla's ear. He had memorized the multiplication tables easily and Zilla still struggled with them.

     Over and over, Ms. Bracey reminded Zilla and Truffles to raise a hand, or a wing, and wait to be called on before talking in class. Over and over, she reminded Zilla that even pirates follow directions.

     Soon it was time for Ms. Bracey to select someone from the class to be a hall monitor. When students went to the cafeteria for lunch, the monitor made sure no one pushed or ran. 

     Zilla liked the bright red hat monitors wore and hoped Ms. Bracey would chose her. She'd practiced saying, "Walk, don't run" in the mirror so many times, even Truffles could say it.

     When the time came, Ms. Bracey chose Ellis, a quiet boy who followed all the rules. Zilla didn't think anyone would even hear him say, "Walk, don't run." Zilla was disappointed.

     One day, Ellis was absent and Ms. Bracey needed someone to fill in for him. Zilla raised her hand and didn't shout. Truffles sat quietly on her shoulder. Ms. Bracey noticed how much they had improved and decided they could take Ellis' place for the day.

     At lunchtime, Zilla stood at the end of the hall with Truffles on her shoulder. As classes were dismissed, the halls filled with students on their way to the cafeteria. "Walk, don't run," said Zilla in a loud, clear voice.

     "Walk, landlubbers," screeched Truffles.
     All of a sudden, the fire alarm sounded. Ding! Ding! Ding! The halls were crowded and some of the smaller children looked frightened. 

     Zilla didn't know whether it was a drill or a real fire, but she knew exactly what to do. 

     "Walk to the nearest door and leave the building," she said calmly. Truffles left her shoulder and flew back and forth over the children. "Walk," he said. "Don't run, landlubbers."

     Zilla pointed the way to the nearest exit. As the alarm continued to clang, she said over and over, "Walk, don't run." Truffles helped by flying back and forth, showing the way to the door.

     Zilla didn't leave the hallway until the last child was out of the building. When she left, Ms. Bracey was right behind her. They saw a fireman with a stopwatch. 

     "That's the best drill this school has ever had," he said. "It was the fastest and the safest."

     Ms. Bracey said, "We can thank Zilla and Truffles for that. They knew exactly what to do."

     At the next school assembly, the Fire Chief presented Zilla and Truffles an award for leadership. 

     "Pirates know how to get things done," said Zilla and with that, Ms. Bracey had to agree.

Published September 13, 2015 in The Sunday Journal Tribune. Copyright 2015 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author.

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