3 Timmy and the Fishsticks

Timmy and the Fishsticks

By: Avrie Siedschlag

It was September eighth, my second day at Sunnyvale Middle School. I was bored out of my mind during my first class, ELA. The teacher, Mrs. Harp, was going on and on about poetry, which is the worst genre ever. I was about to fall asleep when my hand shot into the air like a rocketship on its way to outer space.

“Yes Crystal?” Mrs. Harp asked.

“May I use the bathroom?” I sort of yelled.

“Sure,” Mrs. Harp replied.

I jumped out of my seat and raced out the door. Freedom at last! I headed to the bathroom so I wouldn’t get in trouble for being in the halls.

When I arrived, I took my phone out of my pocket to play a game in order to pass the time. I heard a commotion in the halls and decided I should get back to class; after all, we only had fifteen minutes left.

I was about to walk into the classroom when the door snapped shut. I heard a click, which meant the door was locked. I stood there, shocked, then knocked a couple times. No one answered, so I left to try and find the principal’s office. What was going on? Why wouldn’t they let me in the classroom?

As I walked down the halls, I noticed most of the doors were closed. That made my heart lurch, but I kept walking. It was as if school had become a ghost town.

“Huh,” I said to myself. “This is so weird.”

Later, when I was still looking for the office, I noticed nobody was switching classes even though the bell rang. Something was up. I thought about it for a bit. Then it came to me: maybe we were on lockdown. I didn’t know what to do. We’ve never even had a lockdown drill here yet, and now I was all alone in the open halls. I was freaking out, hoping it was just a drill.

My map of the school and all of my books were still in the classroom. I was lost and had no idea where the office was located. During my search, I started turning the knobs on every door I passed. All the doors I tried were locked. I was scared because I didn’t know what the lockdown was for. What if there was a kidnapper in the school?

I sped through numerous hallways, and every time I passed a new set of doors or lockers, I felt closer to the office. However, when I never found it, I started to feel like I was moving in circles.

I approached a door that was all by itself in a corner of the hall. I turned the knob. To my surprise, it actually turned. Suddenly the loudspeaker came on and startled me, so I let go of the doorknob. I heard the principal’s voice as my heart was pounding in my chest.

“There is an alligator in the school! This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill! There is an alligator loose in the school. Please stay in your classrooms and do not open your doors. We are waiting for animal control to arrive. They said it may take awhile, so be patient; we need to keep everyone safe,” the principal announced.

“An alligator?” I said to myself. Then I remembered what happened right before the announcement. The door was unlocked. I slowly started to open it, just in case the alligator was in there. I slipped inside and quickly shut the door behind me.

I glanced around the room. “Phew!” I exclaimed, “No alligator in here.” There was, however, somebody sitting at a desk with headphones on, staring at his Chromebook.

“Hey!” I yelled. He didn’t even flinch. I walked over to him, ripped off his headphones, and slammed them down on the table.

“Hey!” I shouted again.

He looked up, scowling. “What was that for?” he snapped.

“Wait, I know you; you’re Jack, my neighbor, right? Why are you here alone?” I exclaimed in surprise.

“That’s me. Why are you here? Are you in trouble too?” he asked, startled.

“Of course I’m not in trouble! I’m not a troublemaker like you. Apparently, an alligator decided to come to school today, which you would know about if you weren’t messing around. I just happened to be in the bathroom at the perfectly wrong time and got locked out of my classroom,” I explained.

Jack laughed. “For real?”

“Yeah. For real.” I stared at him for a second. He wasn’t looking very good. All the color had drained from his face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” He sounded unsure. “I mean, I only have a huge fear of alligators.” He chuckled nervously.

“Why are you afraid of them?”

“I found one in my garage once when we first moved here. It took hours for animal control to come get it. It snapped at my legs when I stepped into the garage, and I thought I was a goner!”

I noticed Jack had beads of sweat forming on his forehead. “Don’t worry, my dad is an alligator wrangler,” I said proudly.

“Is there even such a thing?” he asked in confusion. “Is your dad here?”

“Well, he works on an alligator farm, and no, he is not here. He trains them and handles them. I have seen him do it a million times before, and I help him when I can,” I explained.

“Really? I still don’t see how that is going to help us.”

“I can try and wrangle the pesky gator. Then we don’t have to sit here for hours just waiting. It is not a job for one person; you have to help me.” I smiled. I’d never wrangled an alligator before, but it couldn’t be that hard, right?

“You’re crazy! No way are you getting me to help you wrangle an alligator! The males can get up to fifteen feet. Their teeth are extremely sharp; it’s not smart to go near them. No, I will not do that!” Jack yelled.

“Please!” I urged. “You know, the kids at school would think you were the coolest if you were the one who caught it. I’ll give you all the credit. Besides, since when do you care about being smart?”

“Ugh, fine.” He groaned, but he was also smirking. He would never pass up the chance to be the cool kid.

“Yay!” I jumped around in excitement. “But first, we have to gather some supplies.”

“Like what?”

“I’m not sure. Let’s look around.” I left the room with Jack on my heels. I turned the corner and found the janitor’s closet. I opened it. “A broom,” I announced. “Some rope might be useful too. Now we have to go to the cafeteria to find some food. What is on the menu for lunch today?”

“Fish sticks,” Jack answered.

“That will work nicely.” I shot down the hall, then stopped in my tracks. “Wait, where is it? I can’t seem to find my way around here. You should lead the way.”

Jack showed me the right direction, and we headed towards our destination. It turns out that Jack was very good at navigating the school. We made it to the cafeteria in no time.

“Grab some food carts so I can pile the fish sticks on them,” I demanded. Jack grabbed two carts, and I started loading them with boxes. When I glanced over at Jack, I had to do a double take. He looked insane. He was fixing some lab goggles that covered his eyes and putting on some rubber gloves. Goggles. What in the world did he need those for? I thought.

“What are you wearing?” I snickered. He shrugged, and I started loading the carts again. Jack wandered off and found some cookies. Soon he was lounging at a table, munching away. After I finished, I told Jack to push the carts while I carried the rest of our supplies.

“Let’s check the library,” I suggested. He led the way. When we got there, I told Jack to stay outside. His hands were shaking, and the armpits of his shirt were soaked. I eased into the library with the broom pointed outward, just in case I met the alligator. The first step was scary. I was shaking, and my light, blonde hair was in my face. I took a few more steps. Everything was quiet. After checking behind all the shelves carefully, I concluded that the alligator wasn’t there. I walked back into the hall.

“Thank goodness, you didn’t die,” Jack muttered.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I scolded, rolling my eyes. “We should check the gym next. It’s right over there.” I pointed across the hall. Jack nodded. I strolled into the gym. Jack was trembling and looking frantically around. I noticed something long and dark green under the bleachers.

“The alligator,” I whispered. Jack shuddered and slowly crept toward the bleachers, peering behind them. Suddenly he screamed, which echoed throughout the entire gym, and he raced behind the mats. “Are you okay?” I asked empathetically.

“He’s going to eat me!” Jack shouted. “He’s huge, about thirteen feet in length.”

“You’re so dramatic!” I snapped. “How about you help me and go get some book carts from the library?”

“No!” he shouted. “I don’t want to die!”

“Please!” I begged. “There are no alligators in the library; I already checked, so you will be safe.” I started to throw fish sticks into the middle of the gym. The alligator came out very slowly, inch by inch.

Jack raced from the mats and into the hall at top speed. A few minutes later, he came back with two book carts.

“I need more!” I shouted. Jack rushed back. He found two more and stood in the hall right outside the door. When he saw the gator he almost fainted, and had to compose himself.

“Why do you need these?” he questioned.

“To trap the gator,” I stated.

“But what if it bites us?” He fiddled with his fingers nervously.

“I’m going to take care of that. Jack, can you please hand me your belt?”

“No way!” he frowned. “What do you need my belt for? You have the rope you got from the janitor’s closet.”

“The rope is too short and might not be strong enough. I need the leather belt. NOW!” He quickly unbuckled his belt and tossed it to me as he remained in the doorway. He wasn’t about to take any risks with the alligator out in the open. I approached the alligator and leaped onto its back. Before it could throw me off, I wrapped the belt over its mouth a couple times and buckled it quickly. Then I jumped off before it started to thrash around. “Jack, get those book carts over here!” He just stood there, frozen in fear. I started putting more fish sticks in front of the gator. “Keep focusing on the fish, Timmy. Good gator.”

“Timmy?” Jack chuckled, “Interesting.”

“Get moving!” I shouted.

“Okay! Okay!” He started to push the carts around Timmy quickly. Soon, Timmy couldn’t move. He was trapped in the book cage. We ran around, locking the wheels of the carts quickly so the alligator couldn’t push his way out. When we were done, Jack fell to the floor, panting and shaking.

“How did you do that?” he asked when he caught his breath.

“I know how to be safe around gators; my dad taught me that trick in case I ever ended up in a bad situation.”

“Well, it looked terrifying,” he remarked.

“Gosh. That was harder than I thought,” I snickered. “But we got it done before animal control…”

Suddenly, Mr. Wickleson, the principal, and the animal control man walked into the gym.

“Oh no,” I breathed. “I might be in big trouble for the first time ever.”

“What are you kids doing in here? We are on lockdown because a dangerous alligator is on the loose in the school,” Mr. Wickleson scowled.

“We’re sincerely sorry, sir. We got locked out of our classrooms,” I explained.

“You should’ve been hiding somewhere!” He looked furious. “You should’ve found an empty classroom and locked the door, not an open gym!”

I shrugged. “Well..”

“What are you doing with all these fish sticks?” Mr. Wickleson yelled.

“Actually,” I started.

“Are you trying to pull some kind of prank?” He turned red in the face from anger.

“We got Timmy all wrangled up.” Jack nervously pointed to the book carts.


“The gator,” I beamed.

“What? You wrangled the gator?” he shouted, shocked.

“It was all her!” Jack pointed.

“Me? No, you helped too. We worked as a team.” I went on to tell the entire story from my point of view. After that, Mr. Wickleson asked for Jack’s point of view, which was basically the same story.

“You could’ve been seriously injured, possibly killed,” Mr. Wickleson explained.

“Yeah. Gators can be very dangerous,” the animal control guy added.

“Don’t ever do anything like this again. We have protocols for a reason, and they need to be followed for the safety of everyone,” the principal declared. “That being said, I am very proud of you guys, and I’m thankful that you are both safe. Now move out of the way so we can get this alligator out of here and continue on with our school day.”

The animal control man sedated Timmy and was about to take him away when I whipped out my phone. I called my dad and asked him if he wanted another gator. He asked why, and I explained to him what happened.

“Excuse me, sir, do you mind talking to my dad for a second?” I handed the animal control guy my phone so he could talk to my dad.

Finally, the guy said, “Of course!” and hung up the phone. “I’ve got to take this guy to a gator farm down the road. Hopefully he likes the farm more than he enjoys school.” Timmy was loaded onto the truck and left for the farm.

“Sorry about the fish sticks,” I smiled. “I’m not sure what we are going to do for lunch now since we used most of them.”

Mr. Wickleson smiled back and said, “It’s okay. I guess I can just go buy McDonald’s for everyone. The students and staff will enjoy it after a day like today.”

After that odd day, the principal thought it would be appropriate to change our school mascot. He conducted a vote, and the results were unanimous. We became the Sunnyvale Gators, and our mascot was Timmy the Gator, obviously not the real Timmy.


Anoka County Library Write On! 2023 Short Story Contest Winners Copyright © 2023 by Avrie Siedschlag; Ella Howard; Greta Graham; Renad Taher; Rachel Mueller; Daniel Gbati; Julia McBride; Audrey High; Lucia Floan; Rhett LeBeau; Anna Moline; Hannah Jemming; Valomi Lewis; Fen Hendren; Kathryn Downs; Megan Nguyen; Lizzie Elsenpeter; Sophia Accord; and Sophia Acord. All Rights Reserved.

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