by Artie Knapp (USA)
the author has an excellent story site: Knapptime Stories
illustration by Kevin Scott Collier

“Alex, your brother ate everything on his plate. Why don’t you be a good boy too and eat your dinner?”

“But I’m not hungry,” said Alex.

“Okay, I guess you won’t be hungry for sweets then,” said Alex’s Mom.

Alex’s Mom walked over to the countertop and brought over the most mouth-watering, tasty looking dessert you ever did see.

“Okay, who wants a piece of chocolate cake?”

Before anyone else at the table could utter a single word, Alex blurted out, “Me, me, me, me, me!”

“Alex, you just said you’re not hungry,” said Alex’s Mom. “How could you possibly want a piece of cake?”

“I just got hungry all of a sudden,” said Alex.

“Good, I bet you’re ready to eat your peas and carrots then!”

“I’m not hungry for them. I’ll just have a piece of cake please,” said Alex.

“Alex, it doesn’t work that way. To get a piece of cake you’ll have to eat your dinner first.”

“But I don’t want to!”

“Well, I guess you’ll just have to call it a night,” said Alex’s Dad. “You’re excused from the table Alex. Brush your teeth and get to bed young man.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Alex.

As Alex stood up from the table, his brother pretended to be flying an airplane. After a bite of chocolate cake made a safe landing in his brother’s mouth, Alex ran out of the room as fast as he could. Being sent to bed without having dessert was tough enough, but being teased by his brother is what really took the cake.

After he brushed his teeth and climbed into bed, Alex found it hard to fall asleep that night. His stomach roared like an angry lion and he felt dizzy.

“I am so hungry,” Alex said aloud.

Alex felt weak. The room was spinning!

As he made his way to the kitchen, Alex could hardly wait to sneak a nice big piece of chocolate cake. He knew that would make him feel better. But when Alex opened the refrigerator door he was shocked to see a crocodile swimming in a jar of pickles. The crocodile looked mean and appeared ready to attack. Alex slammed the refrigerator door and cried out, “Help me; please help me.”

Alex’s cry for help woke everyone in his family up. His parents and brother rushed to see what was wrong.

“What’s going on Alex?” asked Alex’s Dad. “Why are you up at this time of night?”

Alex hid behind the kitchen table as he pointed to the refrigerator and said, “Daddy, there’s a crocodile in our pickle jar.”

“There’s a what?” asked Alex’s Mom.

“I saw it! It’s in there,” said Alex. “There’s a crocodile in our pickle jar.”

As Alex’s Mom and brother joined him behind the kitchen table, Alex’s Dad opened the refrigerator door. He grabbed the jar of pickles.

“Please get it out of here,” cried Alex.

Alex’s Dad reached into the pickle jar and took a huge bite out of the crocodile.

“Wow,” said Alex’s Dad. “This isn’t sweet. When did we get dill pickles?”

“What’s going on?” asked Alex. “Where’s the crocodile? I saw it move. It showed me its teeth.”

After Alex was reassured everything was okay, his parents reminded him of how important food was for energy. Alex’s empty stomach was why he had felt dizzy and weak; and when you feel that way your eyes can play tricks on you. So you see, there never was a crocodile in the pickle jar that night! The next evening when Alex’s Mom told everyone there was plenty of leftover chocolate cake for dessert, Alex was the only one who didn’t want any. He was too stuffed. Three helpings of broccoli will do that.

THE END

“There’s a Crocodile in Our Pickle Jar Copyright © 2007 by Artie Knapp
All Rights Reserved

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