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The Writers Page: Cecil, The Cranky Centipede

Cecil, The Cranky Centipede
By Eunice R. Moore

          In a deep, dark forest beneath a large, damp rock lived a family of brown centipedes. There was Mother Centipede, Father Centipede, and six little centipedes. Their names were: Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, Larry, and Cecil.
          Cecil didn't like his name. He thought his parents didn't love him because they gave him a name that didn't rhyme with the others. So he grew up being cranky. He was always grumbling and complaining.
           "Why didn't you give me a name that rhymes with Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, and Larry?" he asked his mother many times.
           Then one day he said, "I have thought of a name myself that rhymes with Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, and Larry. It is Berrie. Why didn't you name me Berrie?"
           "Well," his mother answered, scratching her head with one of her many legs. "If I had named you Berrie, you would have been something to eat. A berrie grows on a bush, and birds eat them. Would you like to grow on a bush and let a bird eat you?"
           "Oh, no!" Cecil shuddered. "I remember a big, gray bird swooping down out of a tree and snatching up my cousin, Bernard. I would not want to be eaten by a bird!" So he tried to think of another name.
           "I know!" he said excitedly. "Fairie. Mother, why didn't you name me Fairie?"
          "Well," his mother said. "A fairie is not real. It's a pretend something. You have never SEEN a fairie, have you?"
          "No," Cecil said, frowning. "I guess I would not want to be called Fairie, either. If I were a pretend centipede, no one would know I exist. How could anyone see me if I were not real? Where would I BE if I were not real?"
          So Cecil thought some more. "Why didn't you name me Dearie," smiled Cecil, sheepishly. "That's a nice name that rhymes with Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, and Larry."
          "Well," laughed his mother. "You KNOW. that is what your Father calls me. You and I can't have the same name. How would you know when to answer when Father called? Every time he said 'Dearie', you would have to stop what you were doing and come to see if he were calling me or you. Would you like that?"
          "No," Cecil grumbled. "There must be SOME name for me that rhymes with Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, and Larry.1.1 So he thought some more.
          "I know!" he shouted. "Weary! That's it! Just call me Weary!"
          "Do you know what weary means?" his mother asked.
          "No," Cecil answered. "What does it mean?"
          "It means tired, impatient, unhappy. You are already cranky enough! With a name like that you would be even more cranky! No, I certainly would not give you a name like "Weary," his mother said, shaking her head.
          "I am running out of names that rhyme with Carrie, Terrie, Harry, Gary, and Larry. I guess I will just have to be satisfied with Cecil," he said as he shrugged his shoulders.
          "Well," his mother snickered. "We could put a ribbon in your hair and call you Mary-"
          "No, thank you," Cecil replied. "I am NOT a girl! Ugh! I guess I will just keep my own name. At least it is better than SOME names. Cecil is a fine boy's name. Yes, I will keep it."
          And so he did. When he stopped worrying about his name, he stopped being cranky, and in no time at all, he was as happy as his two sisters, Carrie and Terrie, and his three brothers, Harry, Gary, and Larry.