Art Varmint

"Miz Nancy," my serious seven-year-old student says in a slightly nervous whisper, "did you know there is something big, black, and furry under the paint shelf, AND IT'S MOVING?" Holy Orwellian moly! Please don't let it be a rat!!! Of course, it's not a rat, but what if it is a tarantula?

The student and I trade knowing looks. We've got to sneak up on the big, black, furry thing without alarming the rest of the class. My hot glue gun is of no use at this range, so I slide it back into my holster. We have to rely on our own grit and determination, as the telegraph wires have been cut. Armed with just a broom, I shut one eye tight, and get down on one knee. Geez, Louise! That furry moving thing is one big scary dusty blue feather blown about by the air conditioner. What a relief. I sweep it into the dustpan. The student breathes a sigh of relief. We wordlessly agree not to notify the press corps.

"Varmint" seems to be a variant of "vermin", not to be confused with "victuals" or "vittles". In my classroom it's not a good idea to eat anything that's been on the rug!

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