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The Snakeman - Part Two

The fire department arrived quickly with sirens blowing and bells clanging. They were ready for action! But once they saw the snake, nobody wanted to get off the truck.

Firemen are brave. They're not afraid of smoke. They're not afraid of fire. But they sure didn't like the looks of this s-s-s-s-snake.

This snake was circling the schoolchildren. It flaunted a gaping mouth of razor sharp teeth. It raised up, ready to strike, and hissed everyone into s-s-silent, s-s-scared, s-s-submission.

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The school was in s-s-s-serious trouble. Was there anyone who could help?

Finally little Annie Sue broke the silence. With knees shaking, and teeth chattering, she whispered, "How about BJ? You know, 'The Snakeman', maybe he can help!"

The kids looked at each other and nodded, "Yeah!", they said. "How about BJ, 'The Snakeman'? He knows everything about snakes!" Where is he?

Miss Beetlebottom was just beginning to regain consciousness. Hearing the question she pushed herself up on one elbow and muttered, "He's in the classroom," then "PLONK!", she fainted again.

Quickly a brave firefighter leaped off the truck and ran towards the school, finding BJ at his desk.

The firefighter said to BJ, "Son, I don't know why, but everyone seems to think you can help. Come with me! There's a Cobra outside!"

BJ raised an inquisitive eyebrow "Did you say COBRA?", he asked, with a funny sort of a smile.

"Why y-y-yes!" stuttered the firefighter.

"I'l take care of it", said BJ.

BJ left the room, muscles pumped, eyes focused, and fists clenched.

He strode confidently into the schoolyard, growling, ready for a fight.

The the children went crazy, and began chanting:

"BJ! BJ! BJ! BJ! BJ!"

BJ marched confidently across the schoolyard, and then he stopped, facing the deadly snake head on.

Their eyes locked. Swiftly the snake raised it's head and inhaled, spreading its majestic hood, and then . . .circling . . . it took aim! . . .

Everyone gasped!

With a single, lightning movement, BJ lunged for the snake. Choosing his spot with pinpoint accuracy, he grabbed it around the neck.

The snake writhed and twisted for only a moment, then promptly fell over on its back, with its tongue sticking out.

Triumphantly BJ held the snake's limp body in the air.

"Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!", everyone cheered. "BJ is our hero! He saved us from the deadly Cobra!".

The principal emerged from under his desk and shook BJ's hand.

The firefighters gave BJ a medal.

The kids gave BJ a humongous hug. Even Miss Beetlebottom woke up and waved her hanky, as if to say, "Very good BJ."

From that day on, things were different!

In math class, Miss Beetlebottom asked BJ, "If two snakes follow three snakes into a hole, how many snakes are together?"

"FIVE!", shouted BJ, and the whole class clapped.

In story writing, Miss Beetlebottom asked the class to write about . . . not butterflies . . . but SNAKES!. BJ rattled off a five page story.

. . . The class loved it!

When it came to Projects, Speeches, and Art, everything was "Snakes! Snakes! Snakes!"

But the very best was Show and Tell. Especially when it was BJ's turn. BJ brought in LIVE SNAKES!

Everyone thought the live snakes were AWESOME!.

Everybody except Miss Beetlebottom, that is, who promptly went, (you guessed it) KERPLUNK!

THE END


P.S.-- The schoolyard snake was not a cobra but a harmless hognose snake. Sometimes called the "puff adder," this habitual eater of toads will inflate its body, hiss loudly, lunge about ferociously and spread a surprising cobra-like hood. Despite this impressive appearance, it almost never bites. If this incredible bluff fails to drive off an offender, the hognose snake will writhe about, vomit, (oh, yuck!), roll over on its back and let its tongue loll out. The hognose snake is an incredible actor. It puts on the appearance of being a thoroughly dead snake. If turned upright, the snake will immediately roll on its back again.

When the danger is past, however, the hognose will cautiously raise its head, roll over, and, none the worse for wear, (but perhaps grumbling a bit), it will be off about its business.

In short, the hognose snake, while it LOOKS like a dangerous Cobra, really wouldn't hurt a fly.

(Naturally, that's something only a snake expert like BJ would know.)
But let's don't tell anyone! We'll keep it our little secret, shall we?

Bedtime-Story
BEST ACTOR AWARD

Harry the Hognose Snake
(Above: Harry, being dramatic)


The Snakeman! by John Rickey - Copyright 1997 - All Rights Reserved

About the Illustrator:

Matt Manceau lives in Jeddo, Michigan. The link at left will give you his background. Write to Matt at manceau@advnet.net

About the Author:

John Rickey is a second grade teacher from Pontypool, Ontario, Canada who uses the web to stimulate artistic and literary creativity amongst his young students. Using stories like his own tale, The Snakeman for inspiration, kids are taught to write stories and ANIMATE! pictures they have drawn themselves. Here are John's own comments: "I work in the beautiful remote community of Omemee in Ontario's Kawartha Lakes Region. It is an area of sparkling clean lakes and rolling hills. Working as a team, I have talented artistic students work out the animation frames on Paintbrush then another student turns the .bmp files into .gif files using Paintshop. Finally another student uses .gif construction to finish the animation and I complete the .html work. Each team teaches the next team to work the software. I have the students in my class for two years through grade one and two. Starting in September of grade two, I know each students weaknesses and strengths."

John's computer/kid ratio is 20:1. At the time this story was written the class was using a 486-66 and Netscape. "Mad Dog Mulligan" was the name of one of the stories animated by a second grader. Bedtime-Story says: Great idea John!.

You may contact John Rickey at: kingskid@netrover.com


Hognose snake information Courtesy of University of Massachusetts.
Hognose sketch: Nancy Haver.


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