Finding Spring: Part Two

Spring Part 20001_processed (3)

by Mary Grace

“Where should we start?” Sadie Lynn asked Sam, wanting to give the little rat a chance to lead and make decisions. “Hmmm…” Sam pondered very carefully, “Where’s a lot of spring…” “Well, I would think somewhere with lots of plants,” Sadie Lynn said, not giving her an answer but simply helping her find one herself, “Flowers blooming is often considered the first sign that spring has really begun.” “Plants…um, gardens…but we can’t go in someone’s garden, Justin and Jenner got in big trouble for that not long ago…uh…woods and forests, we could visit the squirrels…” “That’s a ways off,” Sadie Lynn gently pointed out. “Um…plants…public place…close…” Suddenly it hit Sam like a ton of rat treats, “The park! Sadie Lynn, let’s go to the park!” She actually jumped up and down on her disproportionately huge pink feet with excitement at having reached a solution.

“An excellent idea,” Sadie Lynn praised her, “We’ll go right now! How about we walk, so we can see some other spring sights on the way?”

They began to trot down the sidewalk together, eyes peeled for anything that could be considered a sign of spring, and talking animatedly about the same. It didn’t take long until they spotted one.

“Look, Sadie Lynn!” Sam scurried up to some buttercups that were growing between the cracks in the sidewalk, “You said flowers were a sign of spring! Well, look!”

“I see,” said Sadie Lynn, then added, as she noticed Sam about to pluck them, “By the way, Sam do you know what those are?”

“Yellow?” Sam paused to answer before putting a petal in her mouth. “Buttercups. I know rats are omnivores and like to try anything, but don’t even take a nibble on those, okay?” “But…if they’re called buttercups…” “Trust me, it’s not butter,” said Sadie Lynn with firm authority, “ What it is is poison to cats, dogs, cows, and horses. I know a rat’s stomach can handle a lot of things other animals can’t, but let’s not put it to the test with you, alright? Daffodils too; those are also yellow, and also dangerous for pets.” Sam dropped the petal in answer, and then wrote down the word ‘yellow’ on her notepad, “Well, at least we got a color for the new Tabby. And hey, you know what else is yellow and springy? The sun! I can’t believe we didn’t notice that first!” “It is very easy to take for granted,” said Sadie Lynn, “Which, really, we shouldn’t after such a gloomy winter!” “You know what I wouldn’t take for granted right now?” Sam said, “A big glass of lemonade!”

They had been walking for a little while and Sadie Lynn didn’t want her little friend to overheat, so they went in search for a place that might sell them some cold drinks. They soon found a little vendor’s stand, and purchased a bottle each. “It’s yellow too!” Sam noted, “Well, we’re definitely using that in the Spring Mix, that’s for sure!” “Must be nice to have citrus,” a glum voice said nearby. A glum voice, and a familiar one—it was Justin and Jenner, the rat brothers. They were crouched over a fruit salad that they had also purchased from the vendor, and seemed to tossing parts of it away.

“What do you mean?” Sadie Lynn asked.

Justin held up a tangerine section from the salad, “Male rats can’t have citrus. It gives us cancer. So no oranges, or orange juice, or tangerines, or clementine…or lemonade.”

“We told that jerk to take these out!” said Jenner, throwing section after section over his shoulder, “He’s trying to kill us!”

“How does…how does it give you cancer?” Sadie Lynn puzzled, “And why just boy rats?”

“We have a stupid protein in our stupid kidneys that girl rats don’t because it’s stupid and then some stupid chemical in citrus bonds with it inside us and it builds up and we get stupid sick!” Jenner kicked the plastic bowl and sent the fruit salad flying, scattering its contents all over the sidewalk. Justin scurried after the fallen fruit, trying to gather it back up while also cramming pieces in to his face at the same time.

“Well, I’m sorry hear that,” said Sadie Lynn, though the boys clearly weren’t listening to her. As she and Sam continued on their way, she said, “You know, those fruits were very colorful…”

“Yeah!” agreed Sam, “Especially those orange tangerines! Let’s add that to the list! They might not be able to eat it, but at least they can wear it once we’ve made those spring Tabbies!”

“Why Sam,” said Sadie Lynn, “At this rate, I think you’ll have the whole Tabby recipe ready before we even get to the park!”