When Grandmas Attack
It was Friday morning, and our class was listening as our principal, Mr. Evans, gave the morning announcements. The principal was complaining that too many kids were coming to school late every day. In the past week, he said, so many kids had been late that he was now forced to make a new school rule. Starting Monday morning, anyone who was late for school in the morning without a very good excuse would receive an automatic suspension and a week of detentions when they returned. We knew our principal really meant business because during lunch, he once again announced the new rule: Automatic suspension followed by a week of detentions if anyone was late on Monday morning. Then, at the end of the day, Mr. Evans came back on the PA system to remind us one final time, in case anyone had forgotten, that if any students were late without a very good reason, they would be automatically suspended from school and receive an additional week of detentions. No one wanted to be late on Monday morning.
Oddly enough, although he's always trying to think up ways to get out of school, Gordon is practically never late for school. Just to be on the safe side, however, we decided that we would meet five minutes earlier than usual to walk to school on Monday morning.
* * *
I walked to Gordon's house on Monday morning, and I was happy to see Gordon standing outside his house with his backpack ready for school. His mother was just backing her car out of the driveway on her way to work when she stopped and rolled down the window.
"Gordon, I almost forgot," she called. Grandma's sleeping downstairs and I don't want to leave her alone in the house all day. Who knows what she might get into. Run inside and put her out in the backyard for the day, will you?"
"Sure, mom," said Gordon, setting down his backpack as his mother drove away.
"Your mom wants you to leave your poor old grandmother outside all day?" I asked in disbelief.
Gordon laughed. "No, no. It's my aunt's cat!" he explained. "The cat's name is Grandma. My aunt's on vacation and we're cat-sitting for her."|
"Oh," I said, relieved that they weren't going to leave an old lady in the back yard all day. "Hurry up, though. We can't be late for school."
"Then come inside and help me put Grandma out," agreed Gordon.
We headed downstairs and found the old cat sleeping peacefully in her basket, purring softly. Gordon approached the cat with outstretched arms, and in a friendly voice said, "Good Grandma. You're going to spend the day outside."
Now Grandma may have been old and half deaf, but as soon as she heard the word 'outside' she bolted from her basket and ran to the other end of the basement with the speed of a young wildcat. She disappeared under a pile of boxes that was stored under the basement steps.
"Quick! Do something, Gordon! We've got to hurry!" I said, worried that we'd be late.
Gordon and I quickly moved boxes of old clothes and baby toys out of the way until we finally saw the cat's tail sticking out between two small crates.
"Okay," Gordon whispered. "You lift the top crate and I'll grab Grandma before she can run and hide again."
Run and hide turned out to be a game Grandma knew well. The second I touched the top crate, the cat darted out between Gordon's legs and ducked behind the furnace. Fortunately, run and find was a game that Gordon and I knew well. We raced to the furnace and found that Grandma had crawled into a small air vent.
"Ha! She' trapped now," said Gordon happily, dropping to his knees and shoving his hand into the vent to pull the cat out. "Ahhhhhh!" he screamed, pulling his hand quickly out of the vent. He held his arm up and I saw five deep red scratches running down his forearm.
"You just don't know how to deal with cats," I chuckled. "Let me show you how a pro does it." Instead of sticking my arm into the vent and scaring the cat, I bent down with my face close to the vent and called out in a friendly, soothing voice, "Here, Grandma, Grandma, Grandma. Here, Grandma, Grandm-ahhhhhh!!"
Without warning, the cat launched herself out of the vent and latched onto my face, her belly pressed against my mouth and nose and her claws digging into my scalp. Gordon instantly burst into laughter. I staggered around the basement, blinded by the cat's stomach, trying to shake Grandma off of my head. Finally tiring of the game, Grandma released her death grip on my head. She tore off and disappeared up the stairs. Gordon and I followed the cat upstairs, searching each room and then closing the door behind us. Finally we came to the last room, Gordon's parents' bedroom. Sure enough, we saw the tip of Grandma's tail sticking out from under the bed, swishing angrily back and forth. As Gordon approached the bed, the cat hissed loudly. Gordon carefully lifted up the bedspread, and the cat opened her mouth into 'bite' position. Her claws were out in 'scratch' position. Clearly, she was ready for battle.|
"Go and open the back door," said Gordon, backing away from the bed. "I'll get her out from under the bed and chase her toward the door. When she runs outside, you slam it shut behind her.
"Okay," I said, ready to try anything. I glanced at the alarm clock on the night table. "Holy cow! Look at the time. You'd better get that cat out quickly or we're going to be late for school!"
I ran downstairs and opened the back door, ready to slam it shut as soon as the cat ran through it. From upstairs I could hear lots of banging and hissing, and then a streak of white fur flew down the stairs and straight outside. I slammed the door shut with a satisfying bang.
Gordon and I wasted no time in grabbing our backpacks and desperately racing up the street to school. We ran into the deserted playground and straight to the door. When I tried to yank it open, the door was locked! We were late!!
"Two minutes after nine!" said an angry voice behind us. We spun around to face our principal, who was looking at his watch. "Well, boys. What's your excuse? And it had better be good!"
"It is," gasped Gordon. "When I tried to put Grandma outside for the day, she ran behind the furnace and scratched my arms." Gordon held his arm for our wide-eyed principal to see.
""Next," Gordon continued, "Grandma ran upstairs and hid under my parents' bed, so I poked her out with a broom and chased her outside." And then it happened. Our principal fainted.
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