Just outside a crummy little back room in Saint Andrew's School, before even Harry McKay became the principal, was where Nicole the Shaggy Dog first got her name and reputation. It started out an innocent, though extremely boring, well, since the students were in danger of being bored to death, I guess not so innocent, but back to the point, fifth grade Halloween party. The students were considering the usual line of the usual choices with the usual results. There was: a) making the best of it--nah, too submissive; b) falling asleep--nah, after you woke up there was absolutely NO WAY to fall asleep again); c) chatting--nah, dropping themselves to everybody else's level? How uncool; d) letting the boys start WW 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc.--nah, too messy; and e) trying to make the boring fun by goofing off--oh, what the heck.
So the murderous students all mobbed the lonely Dunking for Apples center, where the mother in charge had been wondering why nobody wanted to dunk for apples. The fifth graders picked disgusting, moldy, rotten apples and shoved their way into line.
And so it came to pass that clueless Betty Sue placed her apple in the water, submerged her head violently, and came up half-drowned WITHOUT the apple (again, not so innocent). Then she plucked up her soggy apple and waltzed off, munching it happily, the I-D-I-O-T.
One after another the students all tried and failed to grab their apple with their pearly-whites, and failed, until IT HAPPENED!
Human hyena Bob Smith dropped his apple in the water, dunked his head in, came up for air, went under, came up and went under for a THIRD time! Then after many anxious seconds of waiting...HE CAME UP WITH THE APPLE!
When the Saint Andrew's press finally managed to interview the hero, he said, "I followed that wily apple all the way to the bottom!"-what a show off-"Then I grabbed it with my teeth and hung on for dear life!"-what did I tell you? "Our hero!" gushed a popular presswriter (who's name is censored to avoid popularity decrease). Yadda, yadda, yadda. But back to our story... "Our hero" was still in the middle of his interview when Nicole La Fetra's turn appeared. She was determined to get her apple. She would break that SuperBob's record!
And so it was when she quietly placed her apple in the water and ducked in the H2O, submerging half her body--her mother later admonished Nicole on getting her clothes soaked. Following the apple half-way to the bottom, she made a desperate grab with her teeth before running out of air. The world went black... because she'd closed her eyes on her return trip to the surface.
Nicole shook herself, splattering water EVERYWHERE--mothers, sit down before you have a heart attack--and hence her name and the title of this story, "Nicole the Shaggy Dog".
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Those were the good old days. Yep. An... What did you say? Oh, yes, I suppose I should, shouldn't I. But where were we? Ah, yes, Nicole was about to risk her life for a puny apple. On, well, you couldn't ever call me (DUN DUN DUN) sane. What, child? Of course. I am Nicole the Shaggy Dog. But listen to the story...
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I prepared myself for my second dive in the bucket. If I didn't get it this time, I wouldn't have a record. So I plotted how to get that apple. I aimed, I measured, I...
"Get on with it!" yelled all the kids.
And so Nicole dove under, following that apple all the way to the bottom! She valiantly struggled to grasp the apple with her teeth until she could stand it no longer. She had to have air! But the apple was so close to her teeth, she couldn't fail now! She twisted this way and that, trying to grip the apple.
Up on land, the kids were all wondering what Nicole was doing. All they could see was her wiggling bottom, sticking straight up in the air, and at times her feet would come off the ground, so that the class had to duck. Finally, Nicole came up WITH THE APPLE! The crowds (well, okay, not QUITE a crowd) went wild!
Written 1999, Nicole La Fetra
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