Writer’s Notebook Exercise

Date written: September 25

Target audience: Teens and young-middle aged adults 

Possible place of publication: Used in a lighthearted older children’s story (for pre-teens)

You know those days when everything just seems to revolt against you, and you want to go hide somewhere and avoid everyone? Today is one of those days. Everything seems to be happening very weirdly, and I’m the only one that sees it. The animals have decided it’s finally their time to take over the world. Not that they have announced it or anything, but, I just know. It’s always the little stuff you have to watch out for.

My first hint was this morning, during the outdoor zoo drive-through my family went on. We are on vacation and my little sister wanted to see some animals. So we got in the car and slowly inched through a thickly forested area with animals roaming more or less freely. You’re even allowed to feed some. When we neared the llama enclosure, my dad rolled my window down, and said, “Why don’t you say hi, Joshua?” So I tentatively stuck my hand out, kind of scared to touch the robust animal that was sauntering up to our car. Apparently it wasn’t scared of me at all because it stuck its head into the window and burped right in my face. Everyone else ignored my yelps and shrieks and just sat there laughing while this llama attempted to chew on my hair. They finally rolled the window back up when I nearly sat on my sister trying to get away from the rude animal.

I cowered in the back seat until my parents finally gave up and decided it was time for lunch. We went down to the lake by our hotel and set up a picnic blanket. I had just barely shaken off this morning’s trauma when a squad of ducks waddled into a circle around me and started pecking on my shoes. I immediately knew what was coming, and I leapt off the ground, screaming.

“What’s going on?” Mother asked me, but I didn’t wait around to explain. I knew that the ducks were after me, and I had to act fast. I tripped and fell on a tree root on my first step, so the pain emanating from my ankle slowed me down considerably. When I hobbled into our hotel, just two minutes away, the ducks were right at my heels. The porter ogled them, befuddled, and stammered-yelled something at me, but I was already furiously jabbing the elevator close-doors button. The doors shut right in the ducks’ beaks, barely missing them. Thankfully I made it to our room alive, but only then I realized that my parents have the keys. So I’m crouching in front of our door, sneaking glances left and right, wondering if even the germs on the wall are participating in the “let’s mock Joshua” game. I’ve always known this would come eventually, right from the day that our cat Mitsi started hiding my socks all over the house. For years I fooled myself thinking it was just a kitten’s sock hide-and-seek. But the animal kingdom’s air of nonchalance and innocence is just a cute facade. I have no idea why they choose to pick on me – maybe I was dropped onto an animal as a baby, and that plus my series of unfortunate experiences with pets and tamagotchis has fuelled their resentment over the years. I really don’t have a clue. But one thing is for sure. Today is the day that the llamas begun to rebel against me.

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