So ... a few weeks ago, Stewie the cornsnake went missing from his classroom aquarium.
I was sitting at my desk at the end of a class period, when two boys who were over by his cage, said, " Hey, Mr.FC, where is Stewie?"
"He's in his log, look in the opening." I responded.
"Nope, he's not there either."
"We really think he's not here."
I left my desk where I was busy inputting redundant data so no child would be left behind, and walked over to the cage.
He was gone ... and the duct taped lid was loose.
I had to think quick.
"I was just kidding, I took him home for the weekend."
If word got out that a snake was loose in the building, even a sweetie like Stewie, there would be panic in the halls ... and that would just be the teachers and custodial staff.
My fib satisfied the boys and the bell rang about then.
The next day, other kids noticed his absence, so I came clean.
"Kids, either Stewie escaped or someone stole him."
Everytime I feed him there's a few snakeophiles in the crowd that covet him and tell me if I ever need a home for him ... I still had a hard time believing any of my kids would steal Stewie though.
I knew in my heart it was my fault most likely. I was probably careless about resealing the lid when I fed him last. Being an arboreal snake, leaving the tank would be no big deal.
I tried to think like a cornsnake ...
If I dropped to the floor from the aquarium stand, it would be natural to flow along the wall and under the store room door into the huge cluttered walk in science closet.
Or I could go the other way and slide under the gap in the classroom door and wind up out in the hallway.
I checked all over the room, looked in the hallway restrooms, told my trusted teachers to keep an eye out for him, and dug through the walk in storage room clutter.
He had been missing for a weekend and a few more days one day when I was gathering up my stuff for soccer practice.
For some reason, he had popped into my mind and I was feeling down about all the bad things that could have happened to him.
I opened the storeroom to retrieve a giant mesh bag of soccer balls and ...
...THERE HE WAS!!
He was stretched out in my classroom toolbox as if he owned the place.
I swooped him up joyfully and ... no I did not kiss him, but I came damn close.
I took his picture and texted it to Junior at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.
Then, I placed him gently back into his aquarium and SECURELY taped down the lid with fresh duct tape.
Today, we fed Stewie a mouse in first period, and one of my brightest girls said, "Oh, Mr. FC, did we ever tell you about the celebration at the FFA convention?"
"We were in a big meeting, when word of Stewie's return started going around by text and the whole meeting erupted into cheers! Everyone was so glad to hear the news."