It was a bright and sunny June Minnesota morning. The kind where the air is heavy and filled with the hum of mosquitoes, biting nats and deer flies. Thor had just decided sit down in his nice insect-free, air-conditioned home to play some Minecraft video gaming. As he prepared some snacks, he filled his glass with water from the facet in front of the kitchen window.
Looking out the kitchen’s window into his backyard, more commonly known as–the jungle, Thor sensed that something was wrong, very wrong indeed. A cold ghostly shiver of dread passed through him just like when Grandpa Walter asks him to pull his finger.
Getting out his binoculars, Thor scanned the jungle to look for irregularities. Rex, Thor’s trusty dog, was tied up by his dog house, lying in a muddy puddle and licking his butt…inspection passed. The chickens were eating corn on the cob in the chicken coop…inspection passed. Then, he saw it! The huge canopy of great leaves that had been once been a magnificent rhubarb patch was no more. Yes, the rhubarb patch was definitely missing!
In a flash, Thor raced to his room to get the supplies he needed to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the rhubarb patch. He gathered together his umbrella, Super Soaker squirt gun, Nerf gun, an extra pair of socks, clothes pins, jump rope, paper and a pencil. On his way through the kitchen he stopped to fill a zip lock baggie with flour and grab jars of molasses and sauerkraut. Then, he marched towards the big gate that was the entry into the jungle.
The jungle was eerily quiet as Thor entered. As he began to cross the wilds of the broad green grassy plain that surrounds the rhubarb patch he found his first clue. The small blue door on the hollow tree that was the gateway to the leprechaun kingdom was open and a note left for him. Yes, the wily little men had left him a message and it was written in leprechaun code using green ink.
The message read, “23, 15, 18,11,; 15, 6; 20,8,5; 13,9,4,14,9,7,8,20; 4,9,14,15,19,1,21,18.”
Thor took the message over to his tree fort and climbed inside. There he could concentrate on deciphering their message. He had learned the key to the secret code from Milo the Leprechaun the year before so he got out his pencil and paper and went to work. First he wrote out the whole alphabet and above each letter he wrote out a number in order. The letter “A” was number one and the other letters were numbered in order with the last letter of the alphabet”Z” always being the number 26. Then he began translating the leprechaun’s note…23 was a w, 15 was an o and so on.
As he sat in his tree fort working hard trying to learn what the secret leprechaun message said, he was hit on the top of the head by a big wet slimy loogie of squirrel spit. It was Morton the Squirrel, Thor’s arch enemy, spitting on him from the top of the tree. Thor got out his umbrella and opened it. As the spit rained down upon the umbrella, Thor loaded his Super Soaker with the molasses. Just as Morton peeked around the edge of the umbrella to get a better shot at Thor, Thor raised the Super Soaker squirt gun and covered that squirrel with sweet sticky molasses.
Immobilized by the molasses, Morton was quickly caught by Thor who marched over to the clothes line and used a couple of clothes pins to hang that nasty sticky squirrel up by his ears.
Nothing makes a better backyard bug catcher than a molasses covered squirrel. Just to make sure that Morton was kept busy fighting off bugs instead of him, Thor soaked both of his extra socks in molasses and hung one on either side Morton. Soon all of the flies and mosquitoes in the jungle were getting stuck to Morton and the socks–leaving Thor alone!
Having solved the annoying squirrel and bug problem, Thor returned to his fort and went back to work decoding the secret message. Soon he had the clue worked out. It said, “Work of the midnight dinosaur.”
Thor left his tree fort, set the jar of sauerkraut on the picnic table and untied Rex. Then, he headed over to inspect the area of the jungle, where the rhubarb patch used to be, looking for evidence of the midnight dinosaur. He found the proof he was seeking. Huge foot prints that looked like flooded puddles, a large pile of black dinosaur poop that was over a foot tall and the twisted mangled remains of rhubarb leaves was clearly evidence of a marauding dinosaur rhubarb attack.
Just as he finished evaluating the evidence, he heard a loud crunching noise coming from the lawn mower shed. Quietly, he filled his Nerf gun with flour and checked to see if he still had molasses in his Super Soaker. With a loaded toy gun in each hand and his jump rope slung over his shoulder, he slowly inched his way closer to the door of the lawn mower shed.
He quietly, so very quietly, turned the door handle, then quickly flung the door wide open. There he was! Completely filling up the shed was a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur just sitting there enjoying eating delicious rhubarb by the bunches.
The loud banging of the shed door slamming open, startled the dinosaur, who immediately leaped to his feet and tried to knock Thor down with a swing of his huge mighty tail. Thor jumped over the tail swoosh and unloaded his molasses filled Super Soaker in the face of the giant reptile.
That just made the dinosaur mad, so he began to chase Thor around the jungle. He could run faster than Thor, so Thor jumped on the back of Rex his faithful dog and away they raced. Round and round the jungle Thor and Rex ran with a mad Tyrannosaurus in hot pursuit.
The dinosaur cornered Rex and Thor in the back of the jungle up against the great wall and menacingly advanced towards them. Bending low and snarling to scare Thor with his large yellow teeth, that could have really used a good flossing, the dinosaur kept trying to grab Rex and Thor with the sharp claws on the ends of his short arms.
Soon, Thor and Rex were trapped in a corner of the great wall with a Tyrannosaurus roaring them in the face. In dire and immediate peril, Thor calmly aimed his Nerf gun and fired the white baking flour onto that sticky molasses covered reptile’s face.
The flour and molasses goo on the dinosaur’s face temporarily glued the jaws of the giant beast shut. Seeing his chance Thor grabbed the jump rope and tied the arms and legs of that mean old lizard behind its back rendering the rhubarb stealer totally helpless.
Then, Thor went and got the jar of sauerkraut off of the picnic table and pulled up a lawn chair next to the dinosaur. Soon a great swarm of flies and mosquitoes started to crawl all over great flour-covered, sticky face of the beast. As the drone of the insects became louder and the mosquitoes, deer flies and nats began their biting attack, Thor asked the rhubarb thief if he’d had enough and had learned his lesson to never again take what did not belong to him.
The dinosaur sneered and said, “No little pip squeak like you and a few bugs are going to get me to leave this yard and stay away from all that tasty rhubarb. Now untie me and I will promise not to eat you or your dog!”
“You will not eat me, my dog or any more of our rhubarb. You will get out of my yard and never come back,” said Thor. Then he held the jar of sauerkraut in front of the dinosaur’s face and said, “Do you know what this is? This is the world’s most powerful potion for stinky farts and dog farts are the worst. If you don’t get out of my yard and stay out of it forever I will feed this sauerkraut to Rex and have him dog fart in your face until you surrender!”
Then he opened the jar and held it under the dinosaur’s nose as Rex licked his chops eager to eat the sauerkraut. The dinosaur’s eyes started to water just from the terrible odor of that sour rotten cabbage. He knew there and then that he would never want to mess with sauerkraut dog farts. “Ok, ok, I’m going, just don’t feed that dog the sauerkraut!” cried the dinosaur.
Thor put the open jar of sauerkraut down and untied the dinosaur’s feet. The humbled reptile, with his arms still tied, was then led by jump rope over to the gate of the great wall. Thor told him to never come back again to his jungle, and then untied the dinosaur’s arms and watched as that old rhubarb eating lizard lumbered out of sight never to return.
After the dinosaur left, Thor went and got Morton off of the clothes line and gave him a good scrub in the bird bath until all the molasses and bugs were out of his fur. Ol’ Betts, Morton’s mom, came and put him over her shoulder and hauled him home up the apple tree for another time out for spitting on others.
After cleaning up Morton, Thor used the garden hose to wash up the rhubarb leaves and stalks that the dinosaur had not eaten. He hung all of the rhubarb up to dry on the clothesline using the clothes pins.
It was about this time that Thor’s dad got home from work. He asked Thor what he had been doing all day and Thor’s answer was the same as always, “nothing much.”
His dad couldn’t help but wonder why the rhubarb patch was gone, and the dirt in the wheel barrow had been dumped out into a big pile, there were water filled puddles leading to the lawn mower shed, white baking flour had seemingly exploded all over the backyard fence, two sticky socks that smelled like molasses covered with bugs and lots of rhubarb was hanging from the clothesline, there was an open empty jar of sauerkraut on the picnic table and Rex was drinking lots water from the bird bath.
Together Thor and his dad picked the rhubarb off of the clothesline to carry it into Thor’s mom so she could make her very tasty rhubarb crunch dessert–one of Thor’s favorite treats. Just as they were leaving the backyard together Thor told his dad, “We probably want Rex to stay outside for a while.”