TJ Mouse and the Rat Pack Gang – Chapter 2 of 3

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A collaborative story written with Mrs. Lee’s 2008 2nd grade class at University Park Elementary in Fairbanks, AK.

Chapter 2:  The Friends

Gunnar looked at the phone with a frown.  Elliot asked him what was wrong. 

“What did he say?” Elliot asked.

“I think he said, “I’m sick”,” he said.  “But he told me that the Rat Pack is back.  And that spells trouble for our favorite snacking stadium.  We better hurry on over to the stadium quick so that we can save our future share of leftover popcorn and pretzels.”

“The Rat Pack?” Elliot moaned.  “Oh, those guys scare me.  The last time I saw Big Tom, he hit my toenail with a shovel.  It hurt!”

Gunnar sighed.  “Elliot, when are you going to learn that an elephants should not be afraid?”

“But I’m always afraid,” Elliot protested.

“I know,” Gunnar said patiently.  “But sometimes you just have to forget your fear to do what’s right.  Are you coming with me to stand before the Rat Pack?”

“Well, if I don’t go with you, I’ll have to stand on this street corner alone.  So I guess I’m coming.” Elliot said.

“Then let’s go!  And we’ll pick up Hedgie and Oreo if we don’t see them heading to the stadium already.”

Gunnar and Elliot ran down the street, a seven-foot gorilla and a one-ton elephant moving fast in the dark.  They soon passed the pet store and heard a familiar voice yell, “Cowabunga!”

And they looked up and saw Hedgie standing on the edge of a second story window in his daredevil costume with his stunt helmet strapped tightly to his chin. 

“Cowabunga again!” he yelled.  He leapt from the window and did two somersaults before landing on his feet on Elliot’s back. 

“Let’s go eat popcorn!” he cried. 

Gunnar and Elliot applauded.

“Well done, Hedgie,” Gunnar said. 

Elliot gushed, “Ooh, Hedgie, I would be soooo scared to jump from that high.”

Hedgie bowed dramatically. 

“Yes, well, it’s nothing to a naturally talented, coordinated Hedgehog like me.  Everyone knows that hedgehogs like to curl up into a ball and roll.  I just add a little excitement to it.” 

Gunnar smiled.  “Well Hedgie, maybe you can use some of that talent in our battle against the Rat Pack.  They’re back, and they’re at the stadium.”

“What?”  Hedgie said.  “I thought they all got sent off to the work farm.  I’ll help in any way I can.  We need to save our leftover popcorn and pretzels.”  He jumped up and down enthusiastically on Elliot’s back.  “Let’s go!”

The trio started off again and trotted down the road.  They turned the corner and passed by the bookstore where Oreo lived. 

“Helloooo,” meowed a slow voice from the dark bookstore doorway.  “Going for some popcorn and pretzels after the big game?”  Oreo slinked into the light.  “I was just doing some reading and found out that Americans eat 1,000 pounds of popcorn a year.”

“Well, that figure’s in jeopardy right now,” Hedgie cried excitedly, doing flips on Elliot’s back.  “We’ve got to hurry and get to the stadium because the Rat Pack is back.  Hurry, hurry, let’s go!” 

Hedgie did two back flips and then a forward roll.  And then he jumped into a handspring and vaulted onto the sidewalk besides Gunnar.  He ran over and tugged on Oreo’s left ear.  Oreo hissed shrilly and batted Hedgie away like a ball.  Hedgie rolled, giggled, then grabbed Elliot’s trunk, swung up to one tusk, vaulted to the other and then scampered up to the top of Elliot’s head.

“Show-off,” Oreo sniffed.  She crouched low then jumped onto Gunnar’s broad shoulders and curled her tail around his neck. 

“Let’s go,” she said decisively. 

And the four friends ran together towards the stadium.

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