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The Mouse On A Kite

The Mouse On A Kite
by

Oscar Elizondo

Joey was a farm boy and he tried to avoid school as much as he could. His parents would wake him up early to do his chores, and then excuse him to continue on his way to school. Many times the thirteen year old would work so hard to try forgetting that he had to get his education. The one room school house was three and one half miles away. The young lad had counted his steps all the way from home to school many times before. It was a way to distract himself from having to attend the room with all the reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography books. Joey was not a very bright boy and schooling was far from his favorite pastime.
“Skinny legs,” as his classmates would call him had a passion for the wind. On Sundays after church when he had some time for himself he would built kites. He had learned the trait from his grandfather whom had passed away when he was ten years old. While he was alive they would built the kites and head on to the hills together on horseback. Once there, they would check for the direction of the wind. They were very careful on how high to climb those hills because breathing the air from such a certain altitude was harmful to the eighty-three year old mans lungs.
One school day Mrs. Monroe assigned the school children a lesson that required building a project and giving a demonstration to the rest of the classmates, including the invited guest. Parents and distinguished guest from the surrounding community were invited to the school event. Every student worked very hard at their project because with it came a final grade, and there was going to be a surprise for the winner. Joey was the only laid back student that had no interest in the project, the grade, or the prize. He had no idea what he was going to present and was thinking of skipping out of school on that day.
The teacher had sent home some notes with her students about the coming event, but somehow Joey had forgotten his. The day came when he had finally overstuffed his desk, and thats how she found out that none of her notes had ever gone home with Joey. The teacher decided to hand deliver the announcement herself because the next day was to be the time for the students to shine and show off their talents.
Mrs Monroe decided to take all of the things that Joey had never taken home and placed them in an old suitcase to avoid them from blowing away in the wind . The teacher then loaded it on the back of the horse drawn buggy and took some extra time to write a letter addressed to Joey’s parents and she placed it on top of the other undelivered memos.
It seemed like it was a long ride to her students house for a dressed up lady on a dusty day. The wind was blowing so hard out in the open country that it made her glad that she had placed all of the notes in a secured container. The dirt roads were rough with all of the potholes as Mrs. Monroe would often stopped to catch her breath.
The dusty air would fill her nostrils and it would make her sneeze very often. One of her loud sneezes caught the attention of Joey whom was out on the fields putting up a scarecrow to keep the black birds from attacking the corn fields. He knew something wasn’t right because the teacher never made house calls.
The young boy quickly jumped up on his horse and raced home to see what the commotion was going to be about. He sensed that he most certainly had some explaining to do of some kind. Thats when he remembered the project, but it was too late. His teacher had already seen him and was waving at him to follow her to his house. Joey swallowed so hard that he felt like he had just eaten a bullfrog.
He had no words to say as he smiled politely at her hoping that every act of kindness would help his ordeal. Joey hurried to stay close and behind the black horse driven buggy. Mrs. Monroe then motioned to him to come around next to her so that they were parallel to each other. He allowed the teacher to speak on and on since his mind was preoccupied with explanations and excuses for his parents.
Joey knew that his mother and father would courteously allow her to speak first once the formality of introductions were made. They would listen to Mrs. Monroe’s detailed information first ,and if he was lucky enough, they might let him say a few words in his rebuttal to the crisis. It was not likely that he could make some sense of the situation any better.
The five minute ride for him was a nightmare because he had no idea how he was going to get out of the mess he had created for himself. Once they arrived at the front door of his house his parents greeted the teacher. They welcomed her in and offered her a refreshment of hot coffee and ordered Joey to take care of the horse and buggy. Before she entered the door she turned to Joey and said, Joey, on your way back, please pull out the suitcase I have on the back of the buggy. Open it up and bring the first envelope you see on top.
“Yes, mam,” replied Joey. He took care of bringing the horse and buggy inside the barn and opened the suitcase. He saw the envelope entitled, “To Joey’s Parents’,” and he braced himself for some harsh words from all three of them. He walked slowly towards the house as his head leaned so far forward that his father shouted at him to be careful with his steps. He knew better of the advice and knotted his head as he corrected his posture.
Time had finally caught up to him, and he was almost glad that it had. There were no good excuses and he wished for a solution. Lying to his parents was not the answer and he knew that only a miracle could save him. Joey lifted his head up and made sure his chin was in the right position. His parents had taught him to face issues straight forward without compromising the truth.
There were roughly about thirty more steps left before reaching the front door. The wind blew very hard and it forced the flap of the envelope that had not been tightly sealed to open up and expose its content. It gave the desperate boy an idea and the thought of being honest and to the point, somehow eluded him.
He let the wind purposely get in the envelope as he position it in just the right way as the sheet of paper with the dreaded news flew out. He ran inside the house and shouted, “Teacher, the note in the letter flew out and I tried to get it but I couldn’t!”
They all ran to the door just in time to see that the note was indeed up and away with the force of the wind. There was no way to retrieve it. Joey took a deep breath as though he thought that it would help matters and hoping that the teacher might forget what was written on the letter. Then he thought for a moment and sighed because he knew his teacher was very smart and there was no way she would forget about what was written on the letter.
Soon they were all seated at the dinner table as the teacher sipped her coffee very slowly. It seemed like she was purposely doing it to antagonize him. His stomach churned every time she wiped the drops of coffee from her lips with the white napkin. When she was finished she looked at Joey straight into eyes and said, “I came to make an announcement about a project tomorrow.” Mrs. Monroe then turned her attention towards the awaiting parents.
“I am sorry that I didn’t sent this invitation with Joey much earlier, but somehow I over looked it. Not that it makes it any easier without that invitation out there in the county side by know. Maybe someone will find it and return it to you Mr. And Mrs. Robertson.” The teacher ended her statement with a strong verbal authority as the startled parents tried to make sense of the heavily emphasized statement.
Mrs. Monroe had been very careful with her choice of words because she had an idea just what might happen to her student. Instead, she was very apologetic and continued to deliver her message about having them show up the next day to see Joey and his project. Before she left she turned to Joey and whispered, “Joey, don’t forget that the project is a secret, so don’t reveal it to your parents. I want to see the surprise on their faces when they see what you have created. And with that she left the house with that peaceful and graceful look in her face as when she had entered their home.
That night Joey couldn’t sleep knowing that his parents would soon find out all of things that were going on in school. Most of all, the embarrassment that he would bring onto them when it would be his turn to present his project. He watched the oil lamps in the house as they lost their brilliance and he finally fell asleep.
Bright and early the next morning, Joey was up and ready to hitch the horse drawn wagon. However, his parents called him in to eat breakfast and to have a talk with him before loading up on the covered wagon and heading for the school grounds. They told him that he looked nervous and not to worry about his project going wrong. They said that as long as he made an attempt, it was going to be just find with them. They already knew that he was not much for schooling and all.
Off they went as the boy sat on the back of the wagon as he let his legs hang down as they made their way down the trail that led to the school. Soon they were at the school grounds and everybody had made a big wide circle with the wagons and the show was just about to begin. They were to present according to their time of arrival, and since they were the last ones, Joey had time to watch the others as he envision the disappointment setting in.
Finally, it was his turn and he got off the wagon to go tell the teacher that there was no project coming from him. However, his father called him back and said, “Joey, you forgot the kite in the back of the wagon, silly. Now hurry and show them your talent.” He was stunned, but ideas quickly presented themselves in his mind. After all, he had been making kites way back since his grandfather knew he was old enough to fly the kites.
He remembered right then about the Sunday before when he had gone out to fly his new kite and had forgotten to unload it. Without hesitation he pulled the kite out and went to the center of the school grounds. He could hear the people laughing, but he was determined to put on a show. He checked the wind direction, and turned to his parents for support.
They winked at him as they held their breath because they could see the mouse on one side of the kite. Joey did not suspect anything because he was too busy calculating the flight of his kite with the wind behind him. He was completely engulfed in his success for the project and making his parents very proud.
He ran and pulled the kite by the string until it rose up into the air. He kept letting the string out and it was then that he saw a tiny mouse holding on for dear life. He knew there were mice in the barn and this one was up for one heck of a ride. It was too late to stop and let the tiny creature off. He was concerned about the mouse, but he also noticed that it had a very good grip of the kite with all four paws.
The audience was already cheering him on as the kite made turns and the flying mouse held his place atop the kite. When it was time to bring it down he was careful not to let the mouse get hurt. The creature was so frightened that it could not run away. Joey picked up his new best friend and placed him in the pocket of his shirt to await his freedom back at the barn.
Joey never missed a day of school since that event. He became very fond of his teacher and went on to graduate from high school at the early age of seventeen. The story goes that he even went on to college and got himself a very good education. The teacher did get to see Joey graduate and she presented him with a gift on that marvelous and proud day. It was wrapped up pretty fancy and it didn’t weigh very much.
When he peaked to see what was inside of the box he noticed that all the graduating college students were seated in front of a large audience. It was made up of parents, relatives, friends, professors and other invitees. He smiled and looked towards a special chair that was next to his own parents. His elementary teacher, Mrs. Monroe was sitting there with tears on her eyes. He couldn’t help from smiling so much because inside the box was the note that had flown out of the envelope. It was a blank sheet of paper.

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A young farm boy has no interest in school and when a science project is due he considers skidding out. See what happens when a mouse becomes the attraction.

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