Lionel Rathbone’s Incredible Growing Nose Hairs

Lionel Rathbone’s Incredible Growing Nose Hairs

 by Jeremy Evans

 

The sidewalks of Mapleton were crowded with morning commuters. Lionel Rathbone, an impatient rat, wished the old lady mole that waddled in front of him would giddy-up so he wouldn’t be late for work. He wore his navy blue leisure suit, his mint green shirt, and his red tie. The item he most adored, the center piece, the very crown of his outfit, was of course his fine orange toupee. It was a dignified hairpiece, a fine and noble thing, and it gave him a sense of power as he strode along.

A yellow canary, who was flitting gaily above the rooftops, spotted Rathbone’s fine toupee. At once the bird tucked its wings and shot like a dive-bomber straight for it, and snatched the hairpiece right off of the rat’s head.

Rathbone clapped his claws frantically to his bald scalp and watched, horrified, as the yellow bird flittered to a nearby cherry tree and poked it into the lining of its nest.

Mister Rathbone was absurdly annoyed. It set the tone for his entire day. He stopped by the wig store to order a new toupee. Then, thinking perhaps to stimulate a few hairs to sprout from his bald noggin, he purchased a bottle of hair-growth tonic from an enterprising young chipmunk at a stand on the corner, before stumping off to work.

Sitting at his desk in the Mapleton Creamery, he unstopped the cork on the bottle with his pocketknife and

took a sniff. Hmm, he thought. Smells a little like blackberries. But there was another ingredient he couldn’t quite place. Was it horsetail? Honeysuckle? As he held the bottle close to his nostrils and took another sniff, an explosion rumbled through the creamery with a mighty BLABOOM!

He was so startled that he snorted the hair tonic right up his nose! Then the bottle slipped out of his claws and spilled all of the purple liquid onto the floor. He stormed from his office to see what was the matter.

An enormous vat of cream had exploded, covering the entire creamery with a generous blanket of whipped cream!

“Spunkmeyer!” He yelled at the top of his lungs. “In my office NOW!”

A young chipmunk, who was covered from head to toe with whipped cream, shuffled into the office. As he stared meekly at the floor, Hezekiah Spunkmeyer noticed the tiny brown jar at his feet.

“You nincompoop,” yelled the angry rat. “You destroyed an entire vat of whipped cream! What do you have to say for yourself?”

“But sir—,“ stammered Spunkmeyer. “It wasn’t my fault. The pressure gauge was stuck. I called the engineer and—“

Mister Rathbone felt his temper rising like steam in a teakettle. “I don’t care!” He hollered. “You’re fired!”

The chipmunk sniffled and wiped away a tear as he

shuffled out of the office.

Later, when Mister Rathbone was sitting at his desk adding up sales figures, there came a prickling sensation at his nose. He twitched his whiskers and tried to keep working, but the prickle was persistent. He rubbed his nose, and that’s when he felt long stiff hairs stroke against his fingers!

He sprang to the mirror.

Mister Rathbone could not have looked any more alarmed if someone had stepped on his tail. His nose hairs! They were growing! Right before his very eyes! Like stiff little rootlets, his nose hairs grew longer and longer until they reached almost to the floor.

The hair tonic—he had snorted it up his nose during the explosion.

Mister Rathbone hollered, “Jenkins! Get in here!”

A portly mouse timidly poked his head in the door.

His boss frantically explained what had happened.

Jenkins grabbed a pair of scissors from his desk and carefully snipped away the hairs. But before he could put the scissors away, the runaway hairs sprouted out again. Merciful Heavens, how they grew! In thick snarly trusses, they lowered right down to the floor.

“Quick, Jenkins! Trim them again!”

But even though Jenkins snipped away the nose hairs a second time, it was but a few moments until they had grown back again.

“It’s no use trimming them. We’ve got to burn them off!”

Jenkins found a lighter and lit the nose hairs like wicks. As the flames went up and up, they frizzled and sizzled like sparklers on the fourth of July.

“YOWWWCH!” Cried Mister Rathbone when the flames had reached his nose and snuffed out. They both watched with bated breath to see if the fire had done the trick. But in no time, the hairs were back and bushier than ever.

“This isn’t working. We can’t snip them out. And we can’t burn them out. So we’ve got to pluck them out!”

The mouse tied his boss’s nose hairs to the doorknob, and then Mister Rathbone took a couple of steps back. “When I give you the signal, you will slam the door as hard as you can and the nose hairs will come popping out all at once.”

The mouse nodded tensely and made ready to slam the door.

“On my mark!” Cried Mister Rathbone, raising his hand in the air. “NOW!” And Jenkins slammed the door.

“YOOOOOOWWWWCH!!!” Bellowed the rat, who found himself sprawled on the floor. His nose hairs were very much intact, too, and were stretched as tight as guitar strings, still attached to the doorknob. It was no use.

Later that night, Mister Rathbone sat by the fire feeling very hopeless when his thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.

The grumpy rat shuffled over and looked through the peephole to see who it was. He spied Hezekiah Spunkmeyer…and who was that little chipmunk next to him? Aha! It was that little scoundrel who had sold him the hair tonic that morning. He unlatched the door and opened it just enough for one eye to peek through the crack.

“Go away Spunkmeyer!” he yelled.

“But Mister Rathbone, Sir,” called Spunkmeyer. “You bought some hair tonic from my little brother—I saw it on the floor of your office today. And we’re here to give your money back.”

“Go on,” prodded Hezekiah to a younger chipmunk beside him. “Mom told you not to sell that stuff. Now you give his money back.”

Without a word, the younger chipmunk pulled a $7 dollar bill from a little cashbox and handed it reluctantly through the crack to Mister Rathbone.

“And the antidote,” prodded Hezekiah. Then he added parenthetically to Mister Rathbone, “There’ve been strange reactions to the tonic all over town today.”

His little brother let out a tremendous sigh as he hauled out a little white bottle from his pocket and handed it through the gap in the door.

Lionel Rathbone grabbed the bottle without saying thank you and he watched the two chipmunks trail away down his porch steps. But then a little voice began to nag inside him. And it reminded him how unfair he had been to fire young Spunkmeyer. And after all, said the voice, he was kind enough to bring you the antidote. Don’t you owe him a little something in return?

Much to his surprise, gruff old Mister Rathbone found himself calling out, “Spunkmeyer! I want to see you back at work bright and early tomorrow morning, got it?”

And both the old rat and the young chipmunk felt a peaceful sort of twinkle in their hearts for having done what was right.

 

THE END

 

Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. — Ephesians 4:32 NCV

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