The great cage catastrophe. The sun melted all the ice that Sunday afternoon on Monday, it was cold and windy. March comes in like a lion, dot had said, and she sure was right. I shivered in my cage, despite the heavy blanket that Seth put over it before he and his mom took me out to the car. Being chilly is one thing. But a lion can be big trouble, was troubled blowing its way to our groomed 26. The answer is yes, yes, yes. I just didn't know it yet. It was a, it was warm and cozy back in the classroom. I tried to tell AG about my weekend at sus house. But misses Brisbane had to me during the spelling test. I was so busy watching Seth, but I didn't concentrate as hard as I should have. Seth did a lot less fidgeting than usually usual. And I noticed when he started jiggling in his seat. He glanced over at me for a second and settled down. Good job. I created my test and was shocked to see that I only got 79%. Saya, as usual, got a 100%. I'm not sure what grade suck up, but he was smiling. Whatever grade art God, it must have not been good because a he wasn't smiling and B, the teacher asked him to stay in during recess. Everybody knew what that meant. Then, we had a surprise visit from principal morale. He's the most important person at longfellow school in a personal friend of mine ever since I spent a weekend at his house. Mister Morales always wears a special tie. Today his tie hit a colorful little houses all over it. I hope you don't mind me driving in on Humphrey, though. He said, I've heard so much about it. I had to see it for myself. He strolled past the tables, admiring the houses, and the street signs, and ended up near my cage. I can't think of a better name than the one you picked. Thanks, thanks, thanks, I squeaked, as usual, it came out squeak, squeak, squeak. And everybody laughed. You're just in time for the next phase of our town building, said misses Bisping. Today, we're all going to get jobs. I heard gas and murmurs around the room in my mind was whirling. Misses Bisping already had a job being our teacher. I had a job being the classroom pet to help students learn about other species. As miss max said, when she first brought me to room 26, you can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species, and it was true. Now I share the job with ogg, but I sometimes wondered whether there was anything new for my Friends to learn now that I had been in class for a while. My mind was spinning, a bit too fast and I missed some of what misses Bisping was saying. Something about people in a community contributing by doing specific jobs, she already started writing names of jobs on the chalkboard as students call them out. Teacher, police officer, firefighter, that's what I want to do, Garth said, aiming in imaginary fire hose at AJ and making loud, squirting sounds. Garth, misses Bisping used her morning voice and kept on writing. Doctor nurse dentist, who needs a dentist joke, Kirk, folding his lips over his teeth, so he looked completely toothless. Gayle giggled, but misses bisbee ignored them both in kept going, shoe keeper, farmer, builder, you left out one job, said misses mister Morales, school principal. And I better get back to my job before misses Bisping gives me a new one. Everyone laughed as he left in the list making continued. When things quieted down, the teacher made her own suggestions. I think we're forgetting a few other important jobs in a town. People to keep the electricity going and run grocery stores and gas stations, car washes, said SAP, car lot, added AJ, you can't wash your car until your body line. There with such a loud buzz in the room, misses bisbee had to say shh, that class, and quiet down. Before everyone calmed down, listen carefully, please, she said, the jobs will rotate on a weekly basis. So whatever your job is, the first week you'll have a different job next week. If you don't get the job you want, the first time, you'll have another chance at it. You'll be greeted at a point system. You'll get ten points for doing a good job. I will add extra points for doing an especially good job and subtract points if you don't do a good job, understand. Heads nodded yes around the room. And a few hands shot up. This is biz being called on Mandy. If we like our jobs, why can't we keep them, Mandy asked in her whiny voice? Because I think you'll learn more by switching around. Misses bids being turned and began filling in the names next to the jobs listed. Pencil patrol, Heidi hopper. Paper monitor H H Thomas, door monitor, Kurt Shen. Chalkboard eraser, Gail, morgenstern, energy monitor, arch Patel, line monitor, seia, nursery, plant, technician, Richie, rinaldi, table inspector, Mandy Payne, animal keeper, Miranda golden, teacher assistant south Stevenson, homework monitor, tabitha Clark. Name after name, job after job each one sounding more interesting than the next, imagine erasing the chalk but at the end of the day or being misses bis Bain's actual assistant. I was especially thrilled that gold and Miranda was going to be in charge of AG and me because she takes such good care of us, but not everybody was happy. He hands were raised, thought, being the door monitor sounded boring. Heidi wanted to know what a pencil patrol person did. When she heard she had to make sure the students had sharp pencils when they needed them. She didn't complain. Mandy, on the other hand, did complain when she found out the table monitor was supposed to make sure everybody's workspace was neat. I don't want to clean up somebody else's miss. Misses Bisping explained that she didn't have to clean up the mess. She just had to give a student a Britain notice stating that their workspace needs straightening. If someone's table didn't get straightened, she was to report that student to misses Bisping. It's an important job the teacher explained Mandy seems satisfied. Any more questions? Misses blues bane asked? Art slowly raised his hand. What's the energy monitor job? At recess, lunch and at the end of the day, or at the end of school, you make sure the lights are turned off to save electricity. When everyone comes back, you turn the lights on. That sounds easier than being a table monitor, me and he argued. Don't worry, the teacher replied. You'll all switch jobs at the end of the week, okay? We'll start this afternoon. When it was time for recess, my Friends put on their coats and rushed outside. Pay attention, art, state, stayed behind as misses Bisping had requested. Once my classmates had cleared out, she went over and sent down next to him in her hand, was art spelling test art about this F my heart pounded art got an F F as in failure at as in flunking at as in family being really mad if you bring home one of those on your report card, art. I know me up can be a problem for you, but you've always done better with your spelling. What happened? Art stare down at the table and shrugged his shoulders. I goofed up. Did you study? I forgot. Forgot to study, you've been forgetting a lot lately. What's on your mind? Art shrugged his shoulders again. I don't know. I just think about stuff I like. Misses Bisping exam in the elaborate house that art had built. The one that with the train tracks going through it, stuff like building this house. Yeah, I like building things. And you're good at it. Look, I know you can do better than this. If I let you retake the test tomorrow, will you study for it tonight? Otherwise, I'll have to let your parents know about this F are perked up. I'll study tonight. I promise. This is Bisping pushback or chair and stood up. Don't disappoint me art. Tonight, what are you going to do? Study. He sounded convincing to me. Good, the teacher's side with the smile. Now why don't you get your coat and go out to recess? Art didn't waste any time. Grabbing his coat and dashing out of the room. After you left, misses Bisping stopped smiling. I hope you do study it. She said softly. After school, I stared at the job list, I'd written down. Good thing I had, too, since Gail was such an excellent chalkboard eraser, miss Bisping had to stop her before she erased the list of jobs. On the other hand, art had not exactly been a great energy monitor. He liked the lights on at the end of the day. I wish he'd pay more attention, usually I would have been glad the lights were on so I could study my notebook, but I had something else on my mind. I turned to my neighbor, ah, can you hear me? I heard the famous splashing of water. At least I knew he was listening. I've been thinking about this job thing, I squeaked, the splashing got louder, my small hamster voice couldn't be heard over the noise, so I opened my cage just lock that doesn't lock. It looks like it's locked when a human closes my door, but I can easily open it from the inside. No one knows about it except odd. Thank goodness. I couldn't have helped my friends and had so many adventures without that good old luck. I scampered over to odds house. Our friends have helping kinds of jobs taking care of us, even if we can't erase the chalkboard to turn off the lights, there must be something useful we can do. I'll jump up alarmingly high. Misses Bisping didn't even think of us. So we're going to have to find jobs of our own real jobs like turning off the lights. I'll jump up, even higher. Good. You want a job too? Is that what you're seeing? My froggy friend was quick, quite free a dick, which was certainly unusual for him. I didn't realize that he was actually trying to warn me until Aldo hurried into the room, pulling his cart. What are the lights doing on a waste of energy he grumbled? My heart was thumping so loudly. Aldo could probably hear it. I couldn't let anyone discover the secret about my walk. I madly dashed back to my cage and almost made it too. But it's hard to stay how to all go. Hey buddy, hold on there. His big hand reached down and picked me up. What are you doing out of your cage? This classroom could be a dangerous place for a small little fellow like you, somebody could have squashed you or something. He gently placed me back in my cage and closed the door, checking to see that the lock was firmly locked. It seems okay. He said, but just to be safe, I'll give you some extra protection. He searched around till he found a large paper clip which he straightened out, then he bended around the door of my cage. I squeaked. I was really locked in now, all those stroke just mustache softly. Somebody must have left your door open. I wonder who took care of you today. He thought for a minute then took out a piece of paper and sat down to write a note to misses Bisping. I better tell her whoever's supposed to take care of you didn't do it very good job. I swallowed hard. Golda Miranda had the job of animal keeper and no one took better care pets than she did, even if she personally owned a scary dog named club. No, no, no. Ice squeaked, trying to make, although understand that he was making a big mistake, not Miranda. For once, all but didn't get it. I know pale. I must have been pretty scary being out of the cage like that. Misses Bisping will take care of it. He folded the note and put it on her desk. My stomach was bumpy and jumpy. The way it feels when I have to ride the school bus with somebody, although finish cleaning and ate his dinner, but I was so upset, I wasn't even interested in the care he offered me. I'll go got up and pushed his cart toward the door. Lights up, guy, God save that energy. After he left, the room was dark again. I squeaked to ag, thanks for trying to warn me, augie. Next time, I'll pay more attention. But fine, he replied, I've got to get over to misses Bisping's desk and throw that note away, I told him. He twanged in agreement. I went right to work on unbending the paper clip. I used my paws, my teeth, ouch, and even my tiny pencil. I wiggled it. I jiggled it, pushed it, and pulled it. But by the time the sun came up, I was still locked in. I failed golden Miranda. A person who had never do anything to harm me the same does not apply to her dog, however. No wonder miss misses Bisping didn't give me a real job as a classroom, hamster. I deserve it F for forgetting to pay attention to everything I was supposed to do. Employment picture bright for Humphrey belt. Students start a variety of jobs today. The Humphrey Bill Harold.