Animal Party Basketball


Mrs. Hamster’s class goes outside for recess. Frogs and rabbits play hopscotch. Foxes and wolves play tag. Monkeys swing on monkey bars….

Cutie Mouse dribbles a basketball down the court. Suzy Cat plays defense. It’s a one on one game. They play for fun and don’t keep score. Cutie Mouse takes a jump shot. It hits off the rim. Suzy Cat catches the rebound with her tail. She goes up for a layup. Cutie Mouse blocks it with one of her giant ears. The ball bounces out of bounds. They both chase after it.

Talons stop the rolling basketball.

“Hello girls,” Scary Crow says.

Suzy Cat gasps. “Oh, no, it’s Scary Crow.”

Scary Crow clenches his talons. The basketball pops. The other critters that were having recess scream in fear.

Cutie Mouse, who has a black belt in karate, starts doing stretches.

“I don’t want any trouble,” she says.

“I’m not trouble,” Scary Crow says. “Trouble is my cousin—Trouble Goose.” He laughs—“Mwhahahaha”—and he spreads his wings and flies. He circles the girls before swooping down on his prey, catching Suzy Cat with his talons. “Mwhahahaha”—he laughs more.

“Help,” Suzy Cat says.

Scary Crow flies away, but Cutie Mouse chases after him.

Using the windows and ledges, Cutie Mouse hurries up to the roof of her school like a ninja. When she gets on the roof, she takes off her huge bow. She throws her bow in front of her and then bounces off of it, jumping so high she can reach Scary Crow.

Suzy Cat stretches her tail down as far as she can, and Cutie Mouse catches it. The extra weight jostles Scary Crow’s flight.

“What’s going on?” Scary Crow looks down and sees Cutie Mouse climbing up Suzy Cat’s tail. “Oh, no, you don’t.” Flapping his wings, he makes risky moves, trying to shake Cutie Mouse off. But it doesn’t work. He flies higher and higher.

Suzy Cat, scared of heights, closes her eyes. Cutie Mouse climbs onto her back. She takes hold of one of Scary Crow’s legs and says, “You won’t be eating either of us today, you big bully.”

“Sounds good to me.” Scary Crow caws before releasing Suzy Cat.

Suzy Cat grips Cutie Mouse’s leg with her tail. The two girls pull at Scary Crow, bringing him down with them.

“Then it looks like you’re going to my lair.” The trees of Dogwood Forrest are not far away. One of the tree’s, Scary Crow’s lair, has black and red leaves.

“No, we’re not going to your evil home,” Cutie Mouse says. She lets go.

Scary Crow caws and laughs. “Mwhahahaha.” He continues heading home, deciding he won.

The wind rushes by Suzy Cat and Cutie Mouse as they fall. Cutie Mouse hugs Suzy Cat, and by straightening her giant ears, she catches the wind. Like two parachutes, her ears glide them to safety.

The two girls land on the awning of a veggie store in Critter City. They walk back to school while munching carrots and celery.

Their class is heading in from recess. When they get back in their classroom, with its stump desks and hay barrel chairs, Mrs. Hamster asks them who won their basketball game.

“We tied,” Cutie Mouse says.


On My Teenage Essay Trauma

So I’m starting WR600: Teaching College Composition—learning about the writing practices of Emerson, primarily the the short essay genre, but other things too. Which gets me thinking about my old essay writing. Which was quite a traumatizing experience in high school for the exact reasons explained in Writers and Readers: Creating Meaningful Essays and Supportive Writing Communities. Back then, my essays were all about making a point, and that point tended to be something expected by the teacher, some preordained right answer, a matter of whether or not you actually read what you were supposed to read.

My high school history teacher, this short sixty-year-old woman who seemed to have a crush on me, taught our class an essay-writing rule that I’ve obeyed, to this day, like a marching order: A THESIS MUST BEGIN WITH THE WORD ALTHOUGH. As in, “Although the American Revolution seemed to be an uprising of the common man, the men in charge of state politics were the bourgeoisie of their time.” That way, you’d move through the paper from point to counterpoint, destroying the opposing side like a slow but steady war.

In college essays changed only in that I was writing either philosophy or English papers, many of which were a rehashing of what I’d already learned. I’d explain Plato’s position on Love and whether or not it could stand the pressure test of whatever rebuttals I could come up with; or I’d critically analyze Poe’s short story with the critical essays I’d been found in databases. Every essay, without fail, I use that although thesis. And it worked; grade-wise, at least. Despite it’s prescriptive model, it really did set up a well-rounded paper, where the counter to whatever I was arguing served a role that strengthened my overall conclusion. Like it says in Writers and Readers, even a structured essay model can be quite liberating. Although I still write thesis statements like I did in high school, there’s a lot of freedom in what kind of thesis I want to write; granted, in this class they’ll be propositions, so I wonder how those will be different.