Maybelle Goes to School

 

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For my sister Brenda, Maybelle's long and loyal friend —K. S.

 

 

1

The Tower of Taste

Maybelle the Cockroach was obeying all The Rules:
When it's light, stay out of sight; if you're spied, better hide; never meet with human feet
. She hadn't had an adventure in some time. That suited her fine. She wasn't fond of adventures.

She was fond of cake.

One evening, Maybelle watched from her home under the refrigerator while Myrtle Peabody baked and frosted her famous Ten-Layer Tower of Taste. Mrs. Peabody was quite sure there were ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO BUGS at Number 10 Grand Street. She left the cake uncovered on the kitchen counter.

Maybelle thought Mrs. Peabody's cake was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She intended to have a bite. Or two.

“Don't worry,” she said to her friend Henry the Flea. Henry lived and dined on Ramona, the Peabodys' cat. “It's dark. No one will see me and call the Bug Man. And I won't be squashed, either; the Peabodys' feet will be in bed.”

“Keep your eyes open, kiddo,” Henry said. “It's easy to fall asleep when you eat too much. You could wake up on that cake and find yourself in Trouble.” Henry would know. He once went to sleep on a poodle after a tasty meal. He almost got a flea dip.

“I won't fall asleep,” Maybelle said. “There's a different fruit jam between every layer of that cake. I'm going to sample them all and be home before morning.”

Henry looked at the Tower of Taste. “What's the special occasion, I wonder?”

Maybelle should have wondered, too. When a cake rises to ten layers, Something is up.

 

2

The Light Dawns

After everyone was asleep, Maybelle scuttled out into the dark kitchen and up onto the counter.

Mrs. Peabody's cake rose high in the air. Maybelle began at the bottom and tasted her way up. She sampled pink icing and sugar flowers.

And she did exactly what Henry had warned her not to do: she ate too much and fell asleep. By morning she snored softly in the blueberry jam between the fourth and fifth layers of the Tower of Taste.

Meanwhile, as the sun came up, the Peabodys began bustling around the house.

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