The story below is mostly true. It may have been slightly embellished for dramatic effect, but the basic story really did take place. Honest.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” – William Shakespeare
I seriously doubt The Bard of Avon had my son in mind when he typed those powerful words many centuries ago, but there could not possibly exist a sentence that more accurately describes the “heroism” my son displayed today. My mouth was agape as my children wove this compelling tale this afternoon, and I will attempt to use my feeble wordsmithing skills to do this legend the justice it deserves.
It was a typical Tuesday at A. Crawford Mosley High School. The warning bell would soon sound, and 1,800 eager students would descend upon their classrooms, in much the same way a gaggle of ants would descend upon a lollipop that had been dropped by a careless toddler. My son, the hero, approached the front doors, not aware of the adventure that would soon greet him and his fellow Dolphins.
My daughter walked into the vestibule first, and felt something scamper across her foot, brushing the bottom part of her leg in the process. Was it a loose shoelace? Perhaps a strap from her backpack? Nope. She looked down just in time to see the foul creature that had just introduced itself. It was a rat. And not just any rat. This was a rat so gargantuan, it made all other rats look like really small rats. This was a rat that a really tiny human could ride if he had the right kind of rat saddle. Her words failed her, and all she could manage to produce from her throat was a yelp/scream not unlike the sound a chihuahua might make if it got its tail caught in a sliding glass door. She and her friend quickly and ungracefully sought refuge in the sanctuary of the front office, slamming the door behind them in the process. This left my son, Andrew, alone in the vestibule with Ratniss Everdeen.
There are times in a person’s life when they are faced with a dangerous situation, and they experience the phenomenon known as “fight or flight”. Some people run from the danger…some run toward it. Andrew glanced at the office door, and briefly considered fleeing inside, but something held him back. Like Neo at the end of The Matrix, he screwed his courage to the sticking place, and decided to stand his ground. Two would enter this steel (and impact resistant glass) gladiator arena, but only one would escape. This was his school, and if he didn’t defend it, who would?
In a flash, Andrew looked and saw that one of the doors from the vestibule into the interior of the school had been left open by another student. Andrew surmised that if Ratniss could get through that door, he would wreak all sorts of havoc. He had to be stopped, no matter the cost. The same thought must have entered Ratniss’s little rat mind because he charged toward the door, ready to wreak. Andrew moved quickly (well, quickly for him anyway), and since his human legs are much longer than a rat’s (albeit only slightly less furry) he was able to close the door and thwart the rat’s attempt.
Knowing he had lost the first round, Ratniss looked up at Andrew with a mixture of respect and quiet fury. Andrew merely stood his ground, locking his human eyes with the beady rat eyes glaring at him from the floor. They both stood, waiting for the next round to commence. By this time, several other students had approached the front door to the school, eager to embark on that day’s learning adventure. Andrew barked orders at them, eschewing pleasantries, in a valiant effort to keep them safe. One of them ignored Andrew’s warnings and opened the door. Andrew saw an opportunity to end this battle and decided to drive Ratniss from the vestibule and out the front door. He stomped his size-12 feet in a way that any rat would find terrifying, and watched as Ratniss fled through the door, and out of the school once and for all. The rat’s path across the front yard of the school was easily identified by a series of shrieks and fleeing students.
Andrew walked outside and just stood there, breathing in the smell of sweet victory. Proud of the fact that he had saved the school from rat cooties. Ratniss scurried across the street, but right before he disappeared into the hole from whence he came, he turned around to exchange one last look with his nemesis. He nodded his head slightly and sent Andrew a slight smirk as if to say, “Well done, partner. Perhaps we’ll meet again some day.” Andrew simply replied with a steely stare that told Ratniss that any future visits would be met with the same response.
Andrew emerged from this harrowing situation a hero, winning the adulation of all that dwell in the hallowed halls of Mosley High School in the process, and proving himself worthy of being called “The Verminator: Defender of Mosley High School.”
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