(The following story is entirely true. Except for the parts that are not. But the rest is. Well... most of it. Except the parts we changed. But it really happened. Sort of. Really! :-) - No one at Mobile Ed will accept responsibility for the writing of this ridiculous piece.)
Late afternoon shadows crept across the vast expanse of parked vehicles sitting outside the fabled State Fairgrounds in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Great Lakes Pet Expo, the show of shows for Pet Rescue groups was underway! Inside, crowds milled about happily unaware of the nefarious criminal activity about to transpire in their very midst.
So we begin this tale of terrible and terrifying crime. Read on, if you dare!
Merry multitudes of parents and children strolled from booth to booth enjoying the company of perky, playful puppies and velutinous felines.
Amongst the myriad rescue organizations devoted to cuddly cats and devoted dogs, and squirreled away in a corner, sat a booth devoted to the less lovable species. The ancient and esteemed Herpetological Society of Chicago was dedicated to the study and protection of reptiles in all of their scaly, slithering forms. But the corner booth was far from deserted. Far from it! Rather crowds surrounded the booth, drawn by the animal energy emanating from within. An energy produced by the awesome and amazing occupant. Volunteering in the booth that fine day was a long time member of high rank, and a past president. Dick Buchholz was his name. Tall and distinguished, his greying beard betrayed the many years of arduous travel down the highways and byways of America bringing great love and a vast knowledge of the animal kingdom to school children in many states. A veteran of many thousands of hours spent performing natural science school assembly programs, the distinguished but feisty veteran loved sharing his world of slithering, slippery serpents, snakes, lizards and tortoises with whoever and whomever would listen. And listen they did. Enchanted children swept up in his tantalizing tales and happy housewives bewitched by his professorial magnetism, and good natured humor, stood cheek by jowl with helpless husbands and dads, unable to contain their own fascination with the fabulous fables and facts spilling forth from this fountain of animalistic magic.
Now, before I continue in my tale, dear reader, it should be most assuredly and clearly understood that Dick loved nothing better than to share his love of “critters” with children. And, in return, they loved to see and touch and learn about the various snakes and lizards that continuously slithered about, issuing forth mysteriously from pockets, draped about his shoulders and wrapped around his arms and legs. And in his wondrous, childlike, trusting simplicity, Dick would readily bestow upon his eager admirers the ultimate gift. The chance to hold a lizard themselves, or to feel a serpent slithering around their own shoulders. Many were rewarded in this wondrous manner. And smiles and glee were everywhere. But, disaster lurked mere inches away.
The plot began to thicken.
One small child, filled with awe, his eyes sparkling with delight, gasped in joy as a small snake was laid upon his skinny shoulders. A momentary disturbance from behind caused the reptile man to turn away for but the briefest of moments, and when he turned back, oh horrors, the boy and snake were gone!
Aha! The games afoot!
A quick and anguished search of the surrounding throng produced no success. Swiftly our Svengali of herpetology turned to the authorities. The long arm of the law was rapidly summoned. And, rapidly, they went to work.
In quick time the boy was luckily located but, alas, without said snake!
The fearless and resolute leader of the local constabulary interrogated the frightened lad mercilessly, his glinting eyes drilling deep tunnels into the boys desperate soul.
Swiftly, it was learned the boy had come to the event in the company of his father. Witnesses finally were found who confirmed as much and more!
The feckless father had last been seen skulking swiftly from the building, without, we might add, his dear and now apparently innocent babe of a boy. Zounds, what a cad!
For, it was had on good authority, despite his abandoned son, the putrid pater apparently had indeed been seen in possession of a certain solitary snake!
Led by their ruthless commandant, the dedicated detectives rushed forth relentlessly into the now darkening parking lot, followed by our gallant, grieving school assembly performer.
With effortless efficiency, our conscientious constables quickly corralled the culprit!
Pressed to confess, the dastardly dad uttered, utterly without erudition:
“Snake, I don't got no snake.”
Gadzooks! Had he no shame? (or wit?)
A hushed conversation commenced between the officers of the law and the allegedly offensive offender. Menacing tones on one side coupled with furtive glances on the other became the order of the day. A queazy expression of dawning cognizance crept quietly across the nefarious nincompoop's pathetic personage as he was swiftly informed that security cameras were in good supply and a quick review was sure to produce proof positive of this most malicious and malevolent misdeed.
More hushed whispers followed, now accompanied by a certain smell of unmistakable fear.
Then, with a nonchalant air, the leader of law enforcers broke away from the apprehended asp assailant and sauntered back to our silent school show performer waiting anxiously, concerned for the plight of his missing slippery serpent.
The constable casually approached our dear performer and asked the value of the snake.
“No more than $40” came the reply, “but that isn't the point.”
“The snake came from a rescue and we grow attached to our brood”, said the tall reptile man.
The officer sucked slowly on a salty toothpick.
“So”, he asked, “what would be your response should the missing adder mysteriously reappear?”
“Well”, surmised the astonished serpent dude, “that would, of course make a world of difference! My only interest is the safe return of my dear snake.”
And at that very instant, from within the confines of said officers deep side pocket, a slender serpent slid silently out and around the copious waistline of the law enforcement officer.
"Well, what have we here?" asked the exemplary officer."It seems the mystery is solved and all is well!" he announced, with a wink at our school show star.
And so it was that snake and owner were reconciled. The dastardly thief was reunited with his embarrassed scion, and both stole off silently into the night. And all things came to happy resolve.
Good triumphed over evil, and the righteous were rewarded. All was once more right in this most perfect of all perfect worlds!
Of course, dear reader, Dick himself can regale you with this story in much greater detail than can your poor narrator. But to enjoy his famous rendition of this awesome and scurrilous tale I am afraid you may need to schedule an appearance at your school by the gallant reptile man himself. Never fear, though, as dates are available (and, I might add, at a very reasonable price!), and the accompanying school assembly program is beloved by all and sure to make you the hero of you educational establishment! Don't delay! Call today!