Thursday, July 10, 2008

When I Scammed My Neighborhood

I start a zoo!

I gather the other 7- and 8-year-olds in the neighborhood and discuss my plan. We're going to capture all kinds of animals and house them in my garage. And when I say that "we're" going to capture animals, I mean they are going to. As if I would touch a frog, ha!

We first head to the creek, where I stand back from the water's edge and helpfully point out the frogs for my friends. We collect them in one of my mother's kitchen pots. SORRY MOM. But good news - apparently ingesting pasta laced with frog germs doesn't kill you!

Next we turn over rocks to find roly-poly bugs and dig up anthills to make an ant farm in an old Sea Monkey container. The crowning achievement were the two honeybees I trapped inside a jar. They only survived about 30 minutes in there, but everyone was amazed that I caught them. Perhaps because it was the first time I'd ever willingly encountered an insect.

We set up the garage, using my father's metal shelves as displays. Ant farm here, bees there. Caterpillars in this jar and a centipede in that one. My yellow plastic pool was home to the frogs, many of which escaped under the workbench or into open bags of mulch. Again, SORRY MOM. Glad you weren't done in by that heart attack you had when a frog jumped out of the mulch at you 3 years later.

I decide to CHARGE ADMISSION, that's just how great this zoo is. I set the price at five cents, and the neighborhood children line up eagerly, ooing and ahhing over tiny creatures they encounter on their own literally every day.

"Next week," I announce authoritatively to the assembled crowd, "We'll be having a Teddy Bear's picnic. It will cost ten cents."

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