It is late. The house is quiet. Even the little creaks and moans of the house are quiet tonight. The wind is not rattling the windows…even gently. Dog is downstairs asleep in her porter. Husband is downstairs asleep in bed. I’m typing on the computer lost in my thoughts when I think I hear a sound I’ve heard before. It’s a crinkling noise. I glance over to the small trash can sitting nearby that is lined with a plastic bag. I stop typing and hold my breath. Did I hear something? Is it my imagination? I stare at the wastepaper basket. Is there something crawling in the trash bag? I don’t want to look. Perhaps a mouse scrounging around in the empty popcorn bag? Or something more sinister? I don’t see anything moving. I go back to my typing. I take small shallow quiet breaths so I can hear. Ahh…nothing. I must have imagined a sound. Then I hear that crinkling noise again. UGH! I hesitantly look over. I still don’t see anything moving though I don’t look real close. I give it a small nudge with my foot but I keep my distance.
Flashback to a few years ago when my husband and I were taking a mini vacation in the Keys. We had a long day and were peacefully sleeping. I awaken and make my way in the dark to the bathroom. I shut my eyes as I switch on the bright light. I open my eyelids gradually so they adjust. As I wash my hands I hear a rustling crinkling noise…I think. No I don’t hear anything. I turn the faucet down so the water will flow slowly and quietly. I continue to wash my hands but I’m on alert. Yes, there is that rustling crinkling noise again. Where is it coming from? What is it? I turn my head. My eyes fall on the wastepaper basket that seems to be be the source of the noise. What could be making that noise? There is something in there. I tiptoe towards the basket and lean over. I see a tied-up store plastic bag. I can see something…a elongated black something that has a snake like shape. Snakes…no I don’t do snakes. WHAT IS THAT? It is really moving around! I race out of the bathroom. Forget about letting my husband have his rest. I shake him and holler, “THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE BATHROOM TRASH CAN!” He groggily tells me that he had been up earlier. He had turned on the light and saw a SCORPION on the floor. He put it in a plastic bag and tied the top. “You caught a scorpion in a bag and put it in the trash AND you didn’t tell me?” “You were asleep.” “SO WHAT! I NEED TO KNOW IF THERE IS A SCORPION IN A BATHROOM I’M USING.” Weren’t you freaked out?” I’m also beginning to wonder how did he get the scorpion into a bag?
Needless to say hotel management was delivered a live scorpion in a bag the next morning…early morning.
As children my brother and I were always warned not to put our shoes on in the morning without checking for the stinging creatures. We always checked our shoes and shook them out good. Not once was one ever found.
I loved this book for so many reasons. I have recently used it as a mentor text in a creating images unit. You’ll have to build background knowledge about the depression, life in the 30s and Key West. Turtle, a spunky young girl is sent to live with family in Key West while her single mom keeps house in New Jersey. She is told upon arriving in Key West that she needs to check her shoes for scorpions in the morning. : )
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Newbery Honor Book