The Midnight VisitorThat night, with the moonlight shining brightly into her cage, Myrna was restless and couldn’t arrange her coils comfortably. Finally giving up on sleep, Myrna lay watching the sky. One bright star stood apart from the rest, drawing Myrna’s eyes to it. Before she knew it, Myrna was wishing on the star.
“Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may
I wish I might
Have the wish
I wish tonight”
Closing her eyes tightly, Myrna wished as hard as she could. Even though Myrna knew that wishes couldn’t come true, it made her feel a little better. Thoroughly exhausted, Myrna soon drifted off to sleep, dreaming of her wish come true.
The next morning, when Myrna woke up, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and…she was still a big snake stuck in a small cage. Myrna was exasperated, and when her keeper came to feed her and clean the cage, she watched him guardedly from the back corner. Envying the keeper’s freedom, Myrna was curled up and moping in the corner when she realized that this could be her chance. But she had waited too long, and now it was too late—the cage door shut before Myrna could reach it.
Although she had failed this time, Myrna wanted to be ready for the next opportunity. She planned all day, but was unable to think of any method of escape that would be sure to work. Far into the night, Myrna laid awake thinking and planning. Near midnight, she dozed. She awoke suddenly to find a pair of dark, mischievous eyes staring at her through the glass.
For a few moments, Myrna was too startled to move. She was not sure what sort of creature this was; it certainly wasn’t one of the zoo animals. He had a bushy tail and the cutest little nose, and there was a curious white stripe down the middle of his back, breaking up his otherwise coal- black fur. When he saw Myrna staring at him, he quickly scampered away to hide in a nearby clump of bushes. After a few seconds had passed, his little head peeked around the bush to see if Myrna was still watching. The same hide-and-seek game went on between them until the skunk seemed to come to a realization.
He apparently realized that Myrna was stuck in her cage and could not get out or do anything to him. With this thought in mind, he sauntered right up to the glass and confidently returned Myrna’s stare.
“Well, snake, I bet you think I look like a good midnight snack, but you’re stuck in that cage and I am out here, so you’ll just have to stay hungry.” He said, proud of himself.
Myrna had no idea what to say to this boastful little creature, and this seemed to perplex him.
“Hmmm, maybe you don’t speak English, snake.” He wondered aloud. Thinking for a minute, he finally said:
Myrna simply flicked her tongue at him. At this, he jumped back, but then he remembered that he was safe and moved back to the glass.
“Can snakes even talk?” he asked with curiosity “Or do they only eat small rodents and slither away?”
“Well, I wasn’t planning on eating you, but now that you mention it…” she trailed off, sticking her tongue out again. Seeing his involuntary shiver, she laughed.
“Just kidding!” Myrna said. “I don’t even know what you are, and I always like to know what I’m eating, even if it’s only a midnight snack.”
“I’m a skunk.” He said importantly. “But you wouldn’t want to eat me because I would spray you and then you’d be all smelly!” he told her gleefully.
“Well, I suppose I wouldn’t want to eat you,” Myrna said. “but I can’t really smell anything anyway because I am a snake.” She paused. “Do skunks have names, or should I just call you skunk?” she asked.
“No, my name is Erwin.” the little black creature answered indignantly. “I bet you don’t even have a name, snake.” He stated impudently.
“Well, of course I have a name!” Myrna said, offended at this remark. “My name is Myrna.” After a little silence, Myrna realized something. “Why aren’t you in bed, Erwin?” she asked him. “I would think that a little fellow like you would be fast asleep this late at night.”
Erwin seemed to puff out his chest with importance upon hearing this. He then replied, “All the skunks are awake now; we’re nocturnal, so we usually stay awake in the night and sleep during the day.” He explained.
“Then, why are you the only skunk here?” Myrna questioned him.
“Fact is,” he began sadly, “my mother and father both died when I was young, and no one else took me in.” he sighed. “I just have to get along by myself.”
“You must be very brave.” Myrna said enviously. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get along on my own, stuck in this cage, and all.” She said, sighing wistfully.
“You must be terribly lonely.” Erwin said sympathetically. “At least there are other snakes in the zoo.” He said, trying to cheer her up.
“Yes,” Myrna agreed, “but I never get to see them. You can go almost anywhere you wish and meet anyone you want to, but I am stuck here in this cage with only myself for company day after day after day.” Myrna complained.
While Myrna complained, Erwin was busy exploring around her cage. As he walked around to the other side of the cage, a motion-sensor light turned on suddenly, startling the little skunk. He dashed for cover in the bushes, waiting for the light to turn off. Dawn was speedily approaching, and while he waited for the light to go out, he fell asleep beneath the bush. Myrna tried calling to him to tell him that no one was there, but he couldn’t hear her. Eventually, she, too, gave up and went to sleep.