Spaghetti for Shoestrings
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As I woke up that morning and rubbed sleep from my eyes.
Light beamed through the window as the sun started to rise.
It was the first day of summer, my favorite day.
School had just ended and I was ready to play.
A bird at my window was singing his song.
I’d been waiting to hear it all winter long.
I sprang from my bed and onto my feet.
I ran to my window facing the street.
Threw open the shutters to feel the warm summer breeze.
Then that bird at my window flew up into a tree.
With the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky,
Today would be perfect to play ball with the guys.
Tommy and Billy would be here at 8:00.
Then I noticed the clock, I’d slept in much too late!
How could this happen? “Oh no!” I exclaimed.
I had to get ready or I’d miss the big game.
I had laid out my ball gear the previous night.
I checked on it quickly and all my gear was in sight.
Ball-cap and jersey, shorts and new socks.
New shoes on the dresser still in the box.
No reason to check them, that’s right where I’d left them.
I’d gone to the mall with my mom just to get them.
The awesome new ZIPS, my very own pair.
With my outfit confirmed I dashed down the stairs.
I needed some breakfast before I got dressed.
I wanted some pancakes and my mom made the best.
I got to the kitchen but to my dismay
The kitchen was empty, no pancakes this day.
“Where is my family?” I thought to myself.
I called out their names, but there was nobody else.
My tummy was rumbling, I needed to eat,
so I opened the fridge for a good breakfast treat.
There was nothing for breakfast, no milk, eggs or ham.
No muffins or bacon, no toast and no jam.
Nothing delicious to start my day right,
just left over spaghetti from the previous night.
“Cold noodles for breakfast?” I thought “There’s no way!”
“I’ll just have a banana and juice for the game.”
I finished my ‘nana and guzzled my juice.
I dashed back upstairs for my clothes and my shoes.
I threw on my shorts, my shirt and my socks.
Grabbed my new shoes and opened the box.
I could tell right away that something was wrong.
The ZIPS were still in there, but the shoestrings were gone!
I knew they had laces, I’d laced them last night.
It took me an hour to get it just right.
I’d laced them up perfect for optimal speed.
A game-time advantage was just what I’d need.
I couldn’t play without shoestrings, I had to think quickly.
So I thought for a moment and that’s when it hit me.
There were plenty of shoes in the closets downstairs.
I’d just swap out the shoestrings from another old pair.
So I went to the closet to grab some old laces,
assuming they’d be in their regular places.
When I looked in the closet I found more bad news.
All the laces were missing from all of the shoes.
It just seemed so crazy, who’d steal all the laces,
without leaving a hint, a note or some traces?
I dashed to my parent’s room but I was foiled again.
Their shoes were all in there with no shoestrings looped in.
I searched the whole house seeking strings I could swap for,
all the closets and rooms on the bottom and top floors.
Nothing around to strap ZIPS to my feet.
And that’s when I heard a voice call from the street.
Tommy and Billy were coming to call.
But I wasn’t quite ready and needed to stall.
I jumped to my window and as they came near,
I called down to them, “hey guys, I’m up here!”
I had to delay as they walked to my door.
”Just go on a head, I have to finish my chores!”
“Okay” yelled up Billy “but pick up the pace!”
“If you’re late we’ll have to start Sam in your place.”
“NO WAY!” I yelled out “I’ll get there in time!”
I’d practiced all year, that position was mine.
I had to get moving, there was no time to waste.
But I needed to get those darn shoestrings replaced.
But shoestrings were missing from all of the shoes,
so I started to wonder what else I could use.
The frustration was mounting as the time kept on ticking.
I was racking my brain but nothing was clicking.
So I sat for a moment and tried to get focused.
Maybe there’s something I just hadn’t noticed.
Once I was calm and my thinking was steady,
that’s when it hit me, “LEFT OVER SPAGHETTI!”
“Spaghetti for shoestrings? I might as well try it.”
So I grabbed a cold noodle, lace-looped it and tied it.
It looked pretty good, I had one more to go.
So I grabbed one more noodle from the leftover bowl.
I looped in the second and tested it out.
I ran down the hall and back and forth in the house.
They seemed to be holding, then I thought for a bit.
If they broke then my ZIPS, well they just wouldn’t fit.
“What if they snap?” So I brought along more.
A big bagful should do, plus the two that I wore.
I ran up the stairs, grabbed the rest of my stuff.
Then back down again with my strings holding tough.
I checked on the time, 10 minutes to spare.
It was almost game time and I still wasn’t there.
I had to get going, I couldn’t wait any longer.
As I dashed out the door I could still hear that songbird.
He was singing away on a branch in a tree,
but all that singing just stopped right when he saw me.
He swooped from the branches down onto the driveway,
between me and my bike just standing in my way.
He stared at my ZIPS, perhaps just admiring,
but in that wee-birdie brain a plan was conspiring.
As I walked towards that birdie, my shoestrings did squirm.
That birdie was hungry and thought my shoestrings were worms!
He flew towards my feet and pecked at my laces.
So I jumped on my bike and was off to the races.
I shot down the driveway and onto the street.
With that bird right behind me, pecking my feet.
He wanted my noodles and was not deterred.
He pecked while I pedaled, this was one crazy bird.
“There’s no time for this” so I picked up the pace.
But that bird stayed behind me thus starting the chase.
I zigged and I zagged, I dodged and I weaved.
Zipping through yards just to gain a slight lead.
With a bird on my tail tracking my noodles,
that’s when we passed my neighbor’s cat Doodles
The infamous Doodles just loved chasing prey.
He’d target the birds in his yard every day.
He’d spring from his spot where he hid out of sight,
and tried to catch birds before they took flight.
Doodles was hiding in his usual place,
when we zoomed by him, he joined in the chase.
With me out in front being chased by the bird,
and my neighbor’s cat Doodles, trailing in third.
The bird didn’t seem too concerned about Doodles.
He wanted my laces; my squirmy lace noodles.
I’d lost precious time from all these distractions.
With the game starting soon, I had to take action.
I knew of a shortcut that could get me there quickly,
but this back-alley short cut could be very risky.
A dog guarded that alley, he was Brutus the Beast.
He had glowing red eyes and razor sharp teeth.
The neighborhood tales all the older kids told,
made taking this alley for the brave and the bold.
Every tale of Brutus, he was angry and mean in.
Every kid knew the stories, but few had actually seen him.
I looked at my watch and with time running out
I considered my options and determined my route.
The shortcut would save me five minutes at least.
I could be late for the game or face Brutus the Beast.
I gathered my nerve and all the courage I had,
and turned my bike down that back-alley path.
Not sure of the danger that I could be facing.
With a bird and a cat right behind me still chasing.
My ZIPS were performing, my noodles held strong.
I’d need them for this so I prayed they’d hold on.
The trees on each side blocked out most of the light,
looming shadows and darkness increasing my plight.
The dust growing thicker, debris scattered around.
I dodged the trashcans and glass that littered the ground.
A lump of fear in my throat and my eyes opened wide,
I just pedaled faster and tried not to cry.
The tales of Brutus had me so very scared.
I started to see things that weren’t really there.
I imagined glowing red eyes wherever I’d look
I began to regret this little shortcut I took.
By now I was flying at a furious speed.
Out running my chasers, increasing my lead.
But they were determined and stayed right in line.
That bird followed closely with the cat right behind.
Then through the shadows I could see a bright light.
“The back alley exit!” The end was in sight.
With the exit in sight things were looking less grim,
then a figure emerged up ahead, it was him.
My heart skipped a beat as I imagined those teeth,
and glowing red eyes upon Brutus the Beast.
He was blocking my path standing right in the way.
He knew I was coming and that’s right where he stayed.
The alley grew narrow, the path became slim.
The only way through to the end was through him.
If I stopped then that bird would destroy my new laces.
Then Doodles would bite him in his feathery places.
Going forward was nuts, and no turning around.
That’s when I noticed something ahead on the ground.
Right next to Brutus there was a plank on a stump.
The height and the angle made a huge makeshift jump.
This jump was enormous, like nothing I’d tried.
It seemed way too long and way too darn high!
There was no turning around, no stopping to pause.
But if I kept going straight it was all teeth and claws.
My last chance was the jump so I mustered my nerve.
I headed towards Brutus and at the last minute I swerved.
As I went by he stayed put, he just let me pass,
he didn’t want me, he wanted Doodles the cat.
There was no stopping now I was going too fast.
It was too late to turn, I was hitting that ramp.
Right behind me a bird and the cat in a row,
adding one more to the chase, now with Brutus in tow.
I wasn’t alone as they all followed me up.
The bird, cat and dog were all going to jump.
As we came to the top the jump seemed so high.
We launched off the end and flew through the sky.
Out the end of the alley and into the light.
I could see the park now, the ball field was in sight.
Then I made a mistake, I took a look down.
I was terrified to be that high off the ground.
I braced for the landing and shut both my eyes.
Then SMASH! As I landed my noodles untied.
It dislodged my chain and bent all my spokes,
Flattened my tires and my brakes, well they broke.
I was out of control heading downhill in the park.
I could see my friends at the game getting ready to start.
With my chasers behind me people stared as we passed.
A bird and a cat with a dog trailing last.
As we rumbled on down this small hillside slope,
we were heading right for these three girls jumping rope.
I was yelling “WATCH OUT!” but couldn’t turn to avoid.
The girls were singing and jumping making way too much noise.
They just couldn’t hear me no matter how loud I yelled.
The poor girl in the middle was about to get nailed.
I came up with a last second plan so I’d miss her.
Then I noticed this girl looked just like my sister.
Sure enough it was her, my little sis Sue.
I had to protect her, that’s what big brothers do.
With my plan in my head and my sister in trouble,
I had no time to spare, had to act on the double.
My plan was to wait and then jump off my bike.
I would jump off to the left and push the bike to the right.
That way I would miss her when my bike and I split.
We’d fly by on the sides so Sue wouldn’t get hit.
I hoped that the animals would follow my lead,
then instead of my sister they’d crash into me.
I was going so fast, my heart it was thumping,
I’ll admit I was scared at the thought of just jumping.
Then I thought of my sister and had to be brave.
After all it was family I was trying to save.
Their jump rope moved swiftly, like a blur as it spun.
Before I had thought they were using just one.
But as I approached I had a much clearer view,
it wasn’t just one rope, her team was jumping with two.
“Double-dutch jump rope?” Sue might have mentioned.
But she talked all the time and I never paid much attention.
My jump point was nearing as I came within range,
I noticed the ropes and they looked a bit strange.
There seemed to be lumps on the ropes that they used.
These lumpy jump ropes had me somewhat confused.
But that didn’t matter, I had to clear out my mind.
I had to focus on jumping right when it was time.
I leaped from my bike seat, through the air I took flight,
and with one fluid motion pushed my bike to the right
I thought that my laces would hold on at first,
but I pushed off too hard and my noodles just burst.
Spaghetti went flying all over the place.
A few flew at Sue and stuck right on her face.
I flew through the center as the ropes twirled around.
One caught my leg and I flipped upside down.
I could see the spaghetti on Sue’s hair and clothes.
There was one piece that stuck on the end of her nose.
That bird saw that noodle and still wanted a worm,
so he stopped chasing me and flew right at her.
The cat followed the bird wherever it flew,
so the dog chased the cat and followed them too.
Part of my plan had worked just as I’d hoped.
I missed hitting Sue but got caught in the rope.
I wanted the animals to follow and miss her,
but it was obvious now they were going to hit her.
“WATCH OUT LITTLE SIS!” I yelled out to Sue.
But I was helpless, there wasn’t a thing I could do.
Floating through air, a rope binding me tight.
With the other end tangled all up with my bike.
Sue heard me yell and turned back around.
They all hit her at once with a BANG! BOOM! KA-POW!
It knocked her straight backward and she started rolling,
getting caught in the rope that her friends were still holding.
It tangled the dog, the cat and the bird.
They were all tied together, all wrapped around her.
At the same time we all crashed down to the earth,
and got tangled together and rolled through the dirt.
As we rolled down the hill Susie let out a scream.
All the folks at the park looked over to see.
Then Tommy and Billy and the rest of the crew,
All came running over because they heard the scream too.
As we tumbled together I felt something pop.
“THE BAG OF EXTRA NOODLES I BROUGHT!”
Noodles flew from my pouch and went everywhere.
“MY EXTRA SHOE LACES!” I yelled in despair.
I imagine our group was a sight to be seen,
a mass of children, and jump ropes and Italian cuisine.
Some feathers, some fur, some dirt, grass and sticks,
with a bird, cat and dog thrown into the mix.
We rolled to a stop at the base of the hill.
I was dizzy and frantic, not sure how to feel.
The bird, cat and dog were all tangled and dazed.
Which was good because I needed a break from the chase.
I checked myself out and seemed to be fine,
but I needed to check on that sister of mine.
I asked “Sue, you okay? Is anything hurt?”
She replied “I’m okay, but covered in noodles and dirt.”
We were tied pretty tightly and couldn’t quite move.
I noticed the laces were gone from my shoes.
It was over, there’s no way I’d play in the game.
Without laces, my ZIP’s would not work the same.
But I couldn’t give up, I’d come way too far.
This was no time to quit, I’d worked way too hard.
Hope always prevails so I still had to try.
Then Tommy and Billy appeared at my side.
“What took you so long to get here?” asked Billy.
Then Tommy said, “What happened? You all look a bit silly.”
“We’re ready to start so hurry it up!”
“I’d love to” I said “but I can’t, see I’m stuck.”
“I got tangled in jump ropes my sister’s team used.”
Billy said, “Those jump ropes look more like laces for shoes…”
Sure enough these ropes that had us tied in a ball
Were definitely not jump ropes at all!
“THE MISSING SHOESTRINGS! It was Sue and her friends.”
They had tied them together to make ropes, end to end.
“WHY DID YOU TAKE THEM?” To Sue I yelled out.
“You stole all the laces from all the shoes in the house!”
Sue said “double-dutch always requires two ropes…”
“…and last week at practice, both of ours broke.”
“We had practice today and I wasn’t sure what to do…”
“So I made us some ropes out of laces from shoes.”
“You heard me ask mom for permission last night…”
“Were you paying attention when she said it’s alright?”
She was probably right so I couldn’t be mad.
I had strings for my ZIPS now so I was actually glad.
Tommy and Billy and the rest of the guys,
all pitched in a hand to get us untied.
I unknotted two shoe strings from Sue’s improvised ropes.
They fit my ZIPS perfect just as I’d hoped.
With the mystery solved of the great shoe string theft,
one problem was solved but I still had three left.
My animal friends were still in a haze,
but were all waking up from their previous daze.
They were still tangled up in the rope from the crash.
I needed a plan and I needed it fast.
With my newly laced ZIPS I dashed all around.
Gathering noodles that fell to the ground.
A sprint to the fountain for a quick noodle rinse,
then back to that group of new animal friends.
Just as I arrived they were all coming-to,
so I sprang into action before they could wriggle or move.
With a handful of noodles, I took care not to choke,
I stuffed handfuls of noodles down each of their throats.
I could read their expressions, they weren’t sure at first.
Then they gobbled them up, my plan seemed to work.
I kept feeding them noodles while we got them untied.
With plenty of noodles, they all got along fine.
In fact they seemed happy, content one and all.
With that problem solved we could finally PLAY BALL!
We walked to the ball field, this new friendly bunch.
With my sister, new friends and some noodles to munch.
We started the game, and we all had a blast.
With my awesome new ZIPS I could run really fast.
My sis and her friends cheered us on from the stands.
Plus the bird, cat and dog were some awesome new fans.
We played ball on that field all the day long,
with our fans eating noodles and cheering us on.
Except for that bird who was stuffed full of noodles.
He couldn’t quite move and just sat next to Doodles.
Turns out that Doodles loved birds in the end.
He wasn’t a bully, he just wanted a friend.
He’d chase birds in his yard when he wanted to play,
but each time he was sad, because they’d just fly away.
It turns out that Brutus was far from a beast.
He wasn’t angry or mean, not in the least.
He too was real friendly, just misunderstood.
He’d chase neighborhood kids anytime that he could.
He’d chase them and bark and they’d all run away.
But his barking was dog-speak for “please stay and play.”
The dust in the alley made his eyes a bit red,
and he sure had some teeth in his big doggie head.
He was judged for his looks, not what’s in his heart.
We too often forget that’s the very best part.
Brutus was gentle and playful and loved eating noodles.
He just sat there and hugged his new favorite pal Doodles.
As for that mischievous sister of mine,
despite her ordeal she was doing just fine.
She untangled the jump ropes with the rest of her crew,
and made new ones this time, a bit shorter by two.
They continued their practice while the animals watched,
with double-dutch jump ropes made of laces and knots.
As for the journey I took and the lessons that day,
I learned birds are persistent when a worm is at stake.
I learned Doodles was friendly and just wanted a buddy,
and that Brutus the Beast was just a kindhearted puppy.
I learned to never give up, no matter how bad things get,
and that I’d never see failure if I just never quit!
My adventure that day taught me so many new things,
most of all that spaghetti makes awful shoestrings.
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