The Legendary Locker Skunk

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

Several readers asked about my skunk-at-school story. Well, here goes . . .

Our school made a rule that no student could enter the building before 7:45 a.m. I felt bad for my teacher. I’d been getting there around 7:30 a.m. so we’d have time to chat. We played this game where I talked, and she pretended not to listen. What fun! But the new policy ruined that.

The principal said a teacher had anonymously recommended the rule. I guess not every teacher loves hanging out with students as much as mine does.

While I waited on the playground one morning, an awful smell hit me. I looked around for Clint’s jacket. If you’ve read my book, then you know all about Clint’s leather jacket that smells like a sweaty sock dipped in rotten tuna and then placed over a heating vent. But I didn’t see Clint. I followed the smell to the slide and saw Justin and Richie, who are not known to be nice.

“Hey, guys,” I said. “You know, they make really good deodorant nowadays.”

They ignored me, and Richie threw a rock under the slide at a harmless kitten. I jumped into action. In one motion, I reached under the slide, grabbed the kitten and put it into my backpack.

“Are you crazy?!” Richie said. “You just picked up a—”

You’re crazy!” I interrupted. “Leave this kitten alone!”

I dashed into the school before it hit me.

Why would a cat smell so bad?

I opened the backpack and saw a baby skunk smiling up at me—or so I thought. It suddenly sprayed my shirt with a stinking mist. That’s when I heard the principal’s heels clicking down the hall.

“Bob, you aren’t supposed to be in here for another five minutes. You’re the reason we made the . . . I mean, you know the rule!”

“I’m just putting something in my locker!” I said, knowing I couldn’t take the skunk back outside where Justin and Richie waited. So I stuck the backpack in my locker, just as the skunk let off another blast.

“Whoa!” my principal walked up. “Do you have Clint’s jacket in there?”

“No, that’s . . . uh . . . a service project I’m working on.”

“Really? Well, go outside!” She held her nose and hurried away.

I walked out into the fresh air but hadn’t gone 2 feet before a rock whizzed by.

“Hey! I don’t have the skunk!” I yelled.

“Smells like you do!” Richie laughed.

During first period, I asked to be excused. My teacher immediately nodded. She must have been tired of trying to teach while holding her nose. I rushed to my locker, grabbed the backpack and released the skunk outside.

By this time, the skunk must have realized I was its friend, because it didn’t spray me. Or maybe it was just out of spray.

My locker and I had some major scrubbing ahead of us, but I felt satisfied that I’d been able to save one of God’s creatures!

Halfway down the hall, our janitor, Mr. Gribble, stopped me.

“What’s that smell in your locker?” He wrinkled his nose.

“It’s my homework,” I joked. “Math really stinks.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2009 by Bob Smiley. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.