15

Show and Tell Surprise – Conclusion

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Where we are: Ms. Beaver’s elementary school class is going to have its first Show and Tell. Mike Moose has told his friends that he has a great idea about what he’s bringing, but he really doesn’t have any ideas. You can read Part 1 here.

Mike got home without any ideas coming to mind.

Mom: Hi, sweetie. How was school?

Mike (gloomily): It was terrible. We couldn’t go outside today, and everyone was really bored. Then Ms. Beaver said that we would have Show and Tell tomorrow to make it better.

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Mom: That’s not so bad. At least you’ll have a better day tomorrow.

Mike: Not really. I want to take something awesome. But I don’t have anything awesome.

Mom: What do you think is awesome?

Mike: I don’t know. Just something that no one else has.

Mike’s mom thought for a few minutes. Then she made a suggestion that Mike really liked. He was excited the next day when he went to school and could hardly wait for Show and Tell. Finally, it was time.

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Ms. Beaver: It’s time for Show and Tell. Who would like to go first?

Everyone raised their hand. Ms. Beaver decided that the only fair way would be to go around the room. The children each showed their item. There were favorite books, pictures of gardens, favorite toys, and a few other things. Finally, it was Mike’s turn.

Mike: I had a lot of trouble deciding what to bring today. Finally, my mom made a really good suggestion. I’d like to introduce you to my grandmother, Joanie Moose.

The children started to giggle. Why would he bring in his grandmother? Was she supposed to be the great idea?

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Joanie: Hello, children. I bet you’re wondering what’s so special about me, aren’t you?

Egbert Bear: No offense intended. We were just wondering why Mike would bring in his grandmother.

Joanie: Mike thought that you might enjoy a story that I have to tell about when I was a young moose.

The children quieted down and listened.

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Joanie: When I was a young moose, I met one of Santa’s reindeer. He wasn’t one of the famous ones. Julius was one of the backups in case someone got sick on Christmas Eve. We went out a few times and had really liked each other.

Finally, he asked me to come home with him and meet Santa and the other reindeer. You can imagine how excited I was. Santa was really nice, just like you hear in the stories. And the reindeer were all kind. It was a wonderful trip.

At the end, Julius asked me to stay with him at the North Pole. I thought about it, but decided that I wanted to be at home with my family. So, I came back down here to Northland. I met Mike’s grandfather and had a wonderful family. But once in a while I think about my visit to the North Pole.

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The children were enthralled. She had met Santa! They asked her a lot of questions until Ms. Beaver said it was time to get back to work, and Joanie went home. After school, the children were still talking about it.

Egbert: Okay, I was wrong. You did have the best Show and Tell.

Joey Hare: Yeah. That was amazing. Maybe sometime we could come over to your house and talk to her some more.

Mike: Maybe. She would probably like that.

The children were still talking about Joanie for several days after that.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

25

Show and Tell Surprise

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It had been a long winter at Northland Elementary School. There was a ban on recess until the worst of the snow storms had passed. Being inside was making everyone stir-crazy.

Ms. Beaver: That’s it for math today. Does anyone have any questions?

Pete Seal: Can we go outside after lunch?

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Ms. Beaver: You know we can’t Peter. The school says we can’t go out until the weather gets better.

Annie Fox: What does the weather have to do with anything? We’re northern animals. We live in the snow.

Ms. Beaver: It’s not really the snow. It’s that Brian Brown-Bear ran away during the first heavy snow of the season and no one knew he was gone until everyone got back inside. By the time they found him, he was asleep in his home den.

Jeffrey Otter: So what? Because he went home, no one can go out?

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Ms. Beaver: They’re afraid that someone might get lost or taken by a bad human, and we wouldn’t know in time to do anything.

The children groaned.

Billy Beaver: It’s only February! That means it’s forever until we can go out.

Ms. Beaver: Don’t be dramatic, Billy. It’s only during heavy snowfalls or storms that we can’t go outside.

Suzy Ermine: I’m bored.

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Ms. Beaver: I have an idea. Do you know what show-and-tell is?

The children shook their heads that they did not.

Ms. Beaver: Everybody brings in something special from home and tells the rest of the class about it.

Billy: What kind of stuff?

Ms. Beaver: It can be anything, really. Your favorite toy. Something from a hobby. Something that someone has given to you.

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Billy: Is there stuff we can’t bring?

Ms. Beaver: Anything that might offend or scare the rest of the class. And nothing dangerous.

Pete: No trophy kills, right?

Ms. Beaver: Definitely not.

Annie: When should we bring our things in?

Ms. Beaver: Why don’t we do it tomorrow? It’s still supposed to be storming and it will give us a nice break.

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The children were excited about the idea and talked about their ideas during lunch and after school. On the way home, three of the boys were bragging about who would bring in the best thing to show.

Egbert Bear: I think I’m going to show my collection of eagle feathers.

Joey Hare: Bert! She said no prey.

Egbert: They’re not prey. I pick them up off the ground.

Joey: Oh. I think I’ll bring in the empty nest I found. That’s a lot better than a bunch of feathers.

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Egbert: Is not! You probably don’t even know what kind of nest it is!

Joey: Is too!

Egbert: Is not! What about you, Mike?

Michael Moose had no idea what he was going to bring. He didn’t have anything as good as feathers or a nest. But he didn’t want to tell the guys that.

Mike: It’s a secret. But it’s tons better than either one of those.

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Next week: Will Mike find something special by the next day to show his class?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

7

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 4

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has been working to stop humans from using their names as insults. They have had no luck with submitting a petition or trying to meet with the members of the Human Council. Gregg Bear and Ivan Tiger decide that it is time to consult with a lawyer. (Links to the previous sections are found at the right)

Gregg and Ivan are waiting in the offices of Sharkfin and Sharkfin to meet with the attorney. A well-groomed Siamese cat approached them.

Siamese: Hello, I’m Greta. I’ve been assigned your case.

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Gregg and Ivan looked at each other. Was this some kind of joke? This cat was not going to intimidate a bunch of humans. What was she going to do? Purr loud?

Ivan: Meaning no disrespect….

Greta: You want to know why I’m not a shark, right?

Gregg: Actually, yes. We’ve been trying to get a bunch of humans to listen to us and we wanted someone to get their attention.

Greta: Actually, that’s why they sent me. If you two aren’t going to intimidate them, we certainly won’t.

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Ivan: What do we do?

Greta: First, you have to know what is going to get their attention. What can you do that they can’t ignore? When do you interact with the humans?

Ivan: We see them at the stores and at work. But that’s just the regular humans.

Greta: OK. But they’re all just regular humans.

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Ivan: Some of them are more important. They own things and tell other people what to do.

Gregg: We want to get their attention.

Greta: Then you need to make them understand that their insults are having an impact on their business. You need to tell people to stop using their products until the humans stop insulting you.

Gregg and Ivan left, confused. They had wanted to hire someone to sue the humans. This cat wanted them to educate the humans. They called another ARC meeting.

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Gregg: We met with a lawyer. She said that we need to get the humans to see that we’re important to their business before they’ll listen to us.

Cecile Ferret: I guess that makes sense. They’ve thought they’re better and smarter than us forever.

Joe Iguana: They take us for granted.

Ivan: That’s what the lawyer said.

Ralph: OK. What do we do?

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The animals talked about which businesses they might be able to influence. They decided that they would only do one at first to see if anything happened. The first business they targeted was Adderson’s Shoe Supplies. They posted this message outside shoe stores:

“Please buy a brand other than Adderson’s. Their advertising calls tired, stinky feet “dogs”. We want them to find a different way to sell their product. Thank you. ARC

The signs didn’t work. People still bought the shoes.

Gregg: I don’t think this is a very good idea.

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Joe: I don’t know why we chose shoes. We don’t wear shoes. We should have done food. Food is always good.

Cecile: Did you hear? We made the news!

“Tonight’s local take is the boycott ARC is trying to start against Adderson’s Shoes for slander. It seems the animals are finally tired of being insulted. Good luck!”

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Ivan: Great. We’ll need it.

Cecile: It gets better. Look at this:

Animal call for end to insults spreads. Several areas have picked up on the ARC animals’ quest to end animal name insults. Protest is gaining momentum.

Three months later: Due to grass-roots pressure from their customers, humans included, the Human Council began the process to identify and eliminate institutional animal insults.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

17

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 3

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) tried to take a petition to a human council meeting, but were barred from entering. ARC wanted the humans to stop using animal names as insults. A guard took the petition and said that he would give it to council.

Two weeks went by before the animals received a letter from W. Charles Smith, President of the Council on Human/Animal Relations:

Dear Animals

We have received your petition listing your concerns about us using your names as insults. We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. I have assigned a committee to look into the matter.

Sincerely

W.C. Smith

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Julie Giraffe: Those rotten rutabagas! They’re just trying to get rid of us.

Roni Baboon: You’re right, Julie. They’re not going to do anything.

Chester Rabbit: I’m afraid you’re right. We’ll have to try something else.

Ralph Badger: Let’s dig under their building and let it collapse.

Benny Buffalo: No, let’s stampede them.

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Simon Skunk: No, we should sabotage their air filtration.

Chester: Calm down, everyone. That’s not going to make anyone happy. We need to work together.

Chrissy Calico: I don’t know what we can do. They don’t respect us at all. Remember what he called us? “Cute.” Humans don’t pay attention to “cute”.

Gregg Bear: OK, let me talk to them. They won’t think I’m cute and cuddly. I’m over 500 pounds of muscle and fur.

Ivan Tiger: I’ll go too. I can growl loud enough to scare any human.

Ralph: I guess that will work. But be polite. Otherwise, they’ll call you animals.

Chrissy: They are animals.

Ralph: I know. But humans use it as an insult.

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Gregg and Ivan walked over to the Council Hall and went in the front door. The receptionist looked up and asked if she could help them.

Ivan: Yes, thank you. We would like to see Mr. Smith, please.

Receptionist: Do you have an appointment?

Ivan: No, we don’t. Please tell him we’re from ARC.

Receptionist (knowing there would be trouble if she let a bear and a tiger into the building): Mr. Smith doesn’t see anyone without an appointment.

Ivan: Please tell him that we won’t take up much of his time.

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Receptionist (beginning to get nervous): I’m sorry, but you’ll have to make an appointment.

Ivan: Please just ask.

Receptionist: All right. Let me check.

She called someone and said that there was a bear and a tiger to see Charles. No, they weren’t threatening. They were very polite. She listened, then hung up the phone.

Receptionist: Someone will be out shortly.

Ivan: Thank you.

Ivan and Gregg moved to the side of the lobby and waited. Before long, two security guards arrived.

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Security Guard: What seems to be the problem?

Ivan: There isn’t a problem. We just want to see Mr. Smith.

Security Guard: Didn’t the lady tell you you’d need an appointment?

Ivan: Yes, she did. We just need a minute of his time.

Guard: He won’t see you. You need to leave.

Ivan: Why won’t he see us?

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The guard didn’t want to tell them that Mr. Smith was afraid of large animals.

Guard: He can see whoever he wants.

Gregg: That’s ridiculous. Just let us past. We’ll find him ourselves.

Guard (nervously): You need to go now.

Ivan was getting irritated. He let out a low growl. Gregg took a step toward the guard.

Gregg: Now see here…

Guard: Leave this minute or I’ll call the police.

Gregg: Let us past you.

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The guard picked up the phone.

Guard: Yes, we need you at the Council Hall. There’s a bear and a tiger here. We need you to get them out of here. They’re meaner than grizzlies.

Gregg: I AM a grizzly.

Guard: I mean they’re madder than wet hens.

Gregg and Ivan looked at each other in disgust and stalked out the door.

Ivan: I guess we’ll have to get a lawyer.

He took out his phone and entered the number.

Voice: Sharkfin and Sharkfin, Attorneys-at-Law. How may I help you?

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8

The Animal Rights Coalition

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Chester Rabbit called the quarterly meeting of the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) to order.

Chester: Welcome everyone. We need to finish one item from our last meeting before we can move on to today’s agenda. We have to finish our discussion about how to address the human use of animal names as insults. The first thing we need to do is reopen the topic.

The animals started to talk among themselves. This item was very important to all of them and they were eager to get back to work.

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Buddy Squirrel: I move to reopen the topic.

Ralph Badger: I second the motion.

Chester: All right. How many in favor?

Paws and hands went up around the room.

Chester: How many opposed?

Dead silence.

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Chester: The motion passed. Ballou, please turn on the recorder.

Ballou Bear, whose mother was a huge movie fan, flipped the switch. It was so much easier to get started now that they could record rather than manually write down the notes. The simians had insisted on the purchase. They were tired of always being the ones to write.

Chester: The best way to start is to identify exactly what we mean by insults. Remember the rules: no talking over others, no arguing with someone’s ideas, and no intimidation. One idea per animal. If you choose to present multiple ideas, wait until after the others have had their turn.

The animals quickly lined up to speak:

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“catty/catfight” – Why is it that when two women say nasty things to each other it’s being catty? We’re not mean. But even worse, if they end up actually hitting each other, it’s a catfight? Everyone knows that most of us don’t fight, and if we do, it’s most likely the males.

“eat like a pig/act like a pig” – Where did we get the reputation that we’re sloppy and eat too much? We’re actually clean animals; we use the mud to cool off. And we don’t eat that much compared to what we weight. We’re this big because of the way we’re made, not because we eat too much.

“dog-faced/dog” – Why are we the standard for ugly? We’re just like every other species. Some of us are good looking, some not so much. But to classify all of us as ugly is just mean.

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“eat like a bird” – They say it like it’s some kind of eating disorder. We eat like we do because we have beaks. We can’t pick up a lot of food at one time. We eat all through the day; we need energy for flying.

“ugly duckling” – This insult is just rude. Why would you call someone’s child ugly? We know it’s because the baby swan didn’t look like the baby ducks, but that doesn’t mean it was really ugly.

“batty/bats in the belfry” – What makes us the standard for crazy? We fly at night, but so do owls, and they’re supposed to be wise. As far as hanging out in a belfry, it’s a good place to sleep. It’s high, it’s isolated, and the humans can’t get at us.

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“a leopard can’t change his spots” – Of course we can’t. That would be like asking them to change their skin. Why does that get connected to people who can’t change their bad habits? Our fur is not something that should be changed.

“big as a cow” – we agree with the pigs. Just because we’re made a certain way doesn’t entitle humans to use it to insult other humans. Maybe they should be more like us and just accept each other.

“badger someone” – We’re persistent and thorough. How did that get translated into a person who becomes offensive trying to make a point? It seems like they don’t even understand how any of us really are.

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The other animals all nodded in agreement.

Chester: I think that’s a good start. Now we need a few animals to draft our petition to the humans. Is anyone interested?

A bear, two gorillas, and a beaver all agreed to work on something.

Chester: Does anyone want to schedule an extra meeting for next month to decide what our next steps will be?

Douglas Gorilla: So moved.

Ballou: Second.

The motion passed.

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Next week: Do the animals think the petition is ready to go to the humans?

10

Felines and Friends Academy Elections – Part 4

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Where we are: Bella Bear is running for student government President at Cats & Friends Academy. She would be the first non-cat to hold elective office at the school.

The election was only a few days away. Each of the candidates had a particular area of interest. The platforms were:

Ellie Calico: Improve Academic Competitiveness

Bella Bear: More Activities for Non-Cat Students

Terry Tabby: More Sports

Geri Ginger: Clean Up the Environment

Marvin Manx: More Community Involvement

Walt Weasel: Weasel Power

Bella and Daphne were discussing any last-minute changes they might need to make.

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Bella: What do you think of the competition?

Daphne: The cats all have good ideas. I really think that the environment is on everyone’s mind.

Bella: So you think Geri is the one to beat?

Daphne: Not necessarily. She has a reputation for being a snob. A lot of the girls don’t like her. Of course, the guys don’t seem to mind.

Bella: She’s gorgeous.

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Daphne: Moving on. Terry probably has the idea that would be easiest for us to pull into your platform. More sports could be read as sports for more types of animals.

Bella: That’s true. As long as it doesn’t look like we’re stealing.

Daphne: You’re right. Our folks should just mention it in passing when they’re out talking to the animals.

Bella: Who’s next?

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Daphne: Ellie. She’s the one who wants us to compete in those “bowls” against other schools on TV.

Bella: I guess we’d be better known.

Daphne: She thinks that if a school is really good, the colleges will notice. Then it might be easier for Academy grads to get in.

Bella: I wonder if she’s right.

Daphne: I don’t know. But it wouldn’t hurt for some animals to study more.

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Bella: So that leaves Marvin.

Daphne: He has a great idea. Setting up programs to get the animals working with the elderly and people in need doesn’t really have a bad side.

Bella: Besides, it really looks good on a college application.

Daphne: Definitely.

Bella: I nearly forgot, what about Walt?

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Daphne: His slogan is, “Cats are weird. Is that what you want?”

Bella: That explains “Leash the Cats” on his posters.

Daphne: I really don’t see him as much of a threat.

Bella: I certainly hope not. That would be awful for all of us. What do you think of my chances?

Daphne: Assuming there aren’t to many haters out there, and that Phoebe and Phyllis have been giving us good advice, I think you’ll give the cats a good run.

Bella: I hope so.

The bears decided that Bella should stay with her message. There wasn’t anything obvious to change.

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On the way home, Bella ran into Walt Weasel.

Bella: Hello, Walt.

Walt: Ready for the big day?

Bella: I guess so. Why did you have to run against me?

Walt: You know everyone doesn’t agree with your hearts-and-flowers view of the world, don’t you?

Bella: I suppose.

Walt: Did you know that orange cat is trying to stir up anti-bear attitudes?

Bella: I didn’t know.

Walt: I’m just trying to fight fire with fire.

Bella: Thanks, I guess.

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Bella walked home in a gloomy mood. There were so many cats. What if Geri got most of them to vote against Bella. There was no way she was going to win without a lot of cats voting for her.

Election Day arrived. The students voted during lunch so the results could be announced before the end of the day. Bella felt like the day lasted forever. She was too nervous to concentrate on anything. Finally, during the last class of the day, the results were announced:

Bella Bear: 29%

Ellie Calico: 24%

Geri Ginger: 5%

Marvin Manx: 31%

Terry Tabby: 10%

Walt Weasel: 1%

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Bella was in a fog, and didn’t understand the numbers. The non-cats in the room erupted into cheers and ran up to hug her and congratulate her. Bella was confused.

Daphne: What’s wrong, Bella?

Bella: What just happened?

Daphne: You just beat out three cats and a weasel to finish second in the race!

Bella: Oh my cats! I’m Vice President.

Daphne: Yes! We have a voice in what happens thanks to you.

Ellie, Terry, and Walt came up to congratulate here. Geri sat in a corner and sulked. Marvin went up to the microphone.

Marvin: Thank you all for voting for me. I am honored that I will be serving with the first non-cat in the history of Academy politics. Bella, would you please come up and join me?

The room exploded in applause as Bella moved toward the front of the room.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

14

Felines and Friends Academy Elections – Part 3

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Where we are: Bella Bear has decided to run for student government to represent the various types of non-feline animals at the academy. She has been promised the support of many of those animals. To read the first two parts, click on the links to the right.

Several days passed. As promised, the other animals volunteered to do anything they could. The night before her first rally, Bella was nervous.

Bella: I don’t know why I said I’d do this. I’m never going to win. All I’m doing is wasting everyone’s time.

Daphne: You don’t have to win.

Bella: I know, I know. Just running is an important first step for us.

Daphne: No. I mnean you don’t have to get the most votes to win.

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Bella: What do you mean?

Daphne: What office did you register to run for?

Bella: I don’t remember. That’s kind of embarrassing. I am going to look like an idiot tomorrow.

Daphne: No, you won’t. You didn’t need to sign up, except to run for a leadership spot. The animal who gets the most votes is President, the runner-up is Vice-President, and third place becomes Treasurer.

Bella: How could I have missed that?

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Daphne: You were pretty upset about the cats running everything. You weren’t really focusing on much else.

Bella: Has it always been this way?

Daphne: As far as I know. You campaign for President, but as long as you’re in the top three, you’re elected to an office.

Bella: That’s why those cats were always in a herd. That makes sense.

Daphne: I told you the were nice kitties.

Bella: I better get going on my speech.

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When Bella was waiting to go on the stage, she was surprised to see that there were a lot of animals waiting to hear what she had to say. There were even a few cats.

Becky Squirrel: Look. The cats sent spies to see what you’re saying.

Bella: Oh, no! That’s awful.

Daphne: No, it isn’t. If they didn’t think you were a threat, they would ignore you. Besides, some of them may just want to hear what you have to say.

Ollie Otter: I agree. I always go to all the speeches just to hear what they are saying. Maybe they don’t really care if they vote for a cat.

Bella: Well, it’s too late to back out, so let’s do this.

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As she walked onto the stage, Bella heard the cheering and clapping. She hadn’t realized how many animals were ready for a change.

Bella: Thank you all for coming. I’m honored that so many of you wanted to hear me speak.

From the back: It’s about time someone showed those cats the we can’t be pushed around anymore. We’re gonna fight back. Watch out kitties, it’s our turn to roar.

The other animals began cheering the speaker. Bella was appalled. She didn’t want to fight the cats. She wanted to work with them.

Bella: No. That’s not the message at all. The cats haven’t hurt us. We just want them to understand what we want, too. We want to have a say in what activities and classes are offered. We want to be a team.

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The crowd quieted down as Bella talked about her plans and what she hoped to do, starting with afterschool and lunchtime clubs and programs more oriented toward some of the other animals. The audience listened quietly and cheered at the end.

Bella was thrilled. They seemed to really appreciate what she was saying. When she left the stage, she was surrounded by supporters. She noticed a couple of cats standing to the side and went over.

Bella: Hi, I’m Bella Bear. I’m so glad you could make it to my rally.

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Phoebe: We were just wondering if you meant what you said to those mockingbirds.

Bella: Sorry? We don’t have birds at the academy.

Phoebe: I meant the weasels who wanted to fight with us cats. Did you really mean what you said about wanted to work together? Or is that just a cover for the election?

Bella: Not at all. I don’t want to be excluded anymore, but the cats are a huge part of this school. After talking with some of you, I understand that we need to participate to get our ideas heard. I’m trying to be that voice.

Phyllis: We were hoping you’d say that. Quite a few cats are in favor non-cats having a bigger say in things. But we want to make sure it’s someone who won’t make things worse by turning the school into pro-cat and anti-cat enemies.

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Bella: Oh, yes! I completely agree.

Phyllis: Then we’d like to work with you on the best way to reach the cats.

Phoebe: And your team can work it into your message. What do you think?

Bella: I love the idea! Let me introduce you to my best friend, Daphne. She’s the one who keeps all of us on track.

Next week: Will Bella cooperative strategy work?

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.