by Jenny Eddy
Jimmy and Grandma stood on the footpath and waved as his mum drove away.
‘What do you want to do today, Jimmy?’
‘Can we go on an adventure?'
Grandma tapped on her chin, thinking. ‘How about a tiger hunt?’
‘Wow, a tiger! Where could we find one?’
‘I think there might be one hiding in my backyard.’
‘But, Grandma, don’t you know that tigers have sharp teeth and big claws.’
‘That’s right, Jimmy, we’ll have to be very brave.’
With a little effort, Grandma crouched down on her knees, pulled apart the long grass and peered around. Jimmy stood on tippy toes and looked over her shoulder.
‘Can you see any tigers?’ He whispered.
‘Coast is clear,’ she replied looking into her homemade binoculars. The ones they had made earlier from two old toilet rolls taped together with sticky tape. They hung around her neck on a piece of string. She pointed. ‘Look, near the tree ferns.’
Jimmy looked through his own binoculars. ‘I can’t see anything.’
‘Come on, let’s investigate.’ Grandma held out a hand and Jimmy helped her up. ‘Be careful where you walk. Remember, we’re looking for tiger tracks.’
When they got to the tree ferns, Grandma jumped up and down, as much as grandma’s can, and clapped her hands. ‘Look, paw prints!’
Jimmy looked closely. Yes, they were paw prints. But that was all they found.
‘Where shall we look now?’ asked Grandma.
‘Let’s go this way.’ He pointed towards the sand pit.
‘Oh dear, no tiger here either,’ Grandma said making funny sniffing sounds. ‘But I can smell them.’
Jimmy sniffed too. But all he could smell was compost and Grandma’s old sneakers and neither of them smelt very good.
Grandma stopped still and her eyes popped wide. ‘Did you hear that?’
‘What… what?’ Jimmy listened hard.
‘That noise, was it a growl?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Jimmy in a small voice.
‘It came from over there near the pergola,’ Grandma put her finger to her lips. ‘Let’s go quietly.’
In single file, with Grandma leading, they edged along the side of the house. With Grandma standing tall and Jimmy hugging her waist they peeped around the corner.
‘Paws,’ whispered Grandma. ‘Real tiger paws.’
‘I see them too and tiger stripes as well. Grandma, we have really found a tiger! ’
‘Let’s sneak up from behind and we’ll jump on top and hold him down.’
‘What if he bites us?’ he said as they crawled closer and closer along the deck. Jimmy was sure the tiger would turn his head and see them. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jimmy froze as he and the tiger came face to face. The tiger opened his mouth wide and his long pink tongue slipped out and slobbered a big wet lick down Jimmy’s cheek. Only the tiger wasn’t a tiger at all, it was Grandma’s old Labrador dog, Piper, but someone, probably Grandma, had dressed him in a tiger onesie.
Jenny Eddy became a first time Nana to grandson, Sully last year and is planning lots of backyard adventures with him in the future.
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