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Meet a mischievous child who creates his own name and through charisma and an extrovert nature grows into a significant political force as an adult.

Watch as he and a beautiful, deaf, introverted girl come to grips with their differences. At times a symbiotic relationship, at others laced with pitfalls and even tragic consequences.

Above all, Ickee's cry is for all Americans to recognize the path our society is stumbling down and elect a saner government to return us to a fuller life for everyone in an environmentally sensitive world.

...likeable characters, technological discovery, political awareness. The plot is straightforward, easy to follow, a quick and enjoyable read.   Robert Stout

your political perspective is dead on and extremely well written.  Bob B.

Ickee Mushta

I Have A Story For You …

Said the scruffy-bearded man of indiscriminate age as he scratched a mass of unruly hair that tumbled over his ears. A crumpled shirt tucked in to worn jeans held up by a frayed belt was complemented by bare feet in a pair of sandals that had seen many miles.

Billed as "Ewan Johnson, Fabeled Storyteller", his appearance moments earlier as the featured speaker had shocked the jabbering students into silence. Many wondered what this relic could teach them.

“Often movements spring from humble origins.”

“Like from eating a wrinkly prune?” asked a student sitting near the front.

“Not that kind of movement, smart ass. I’m talking about the kind of movement started by a boy born in a barn because the town was booked solid.”

“That kind comes only every couple of millenniums.”

“More often than you might think. Let me tell you of a recent one.”

With a voice that resonated throughout the auditorium, compelling attention, he embarked on his tale …


CHAPTER ONE

It began with a six year old boy as he stared dejectedly into a bowl of rolled oats on a kitchen table. He clutched a spoon with its handle end firmly anchored on the table.

“Eat your mush,” his father commanded.

“Icky mush,” the boy mumbled.

He dipped his spoon through the milk and scraped the sugar he had dumped on towards him. Then peeled back the thin skin he knew covered the porridge. He hated that skin.

“Icky mush,” he mumbled again.

His father’s stern eye upon him, he scooped a minimum of porridge under the sugar and milk to reluctantly deposit in his mouth.

“Children are starving in India. You should give thanks you have food to eat.”

“Icky mush…ta,” he now mumbled. “Icky mush…ta.”

His mother chimed in. “Get busy with that Johnny. No bacon and eggs until it’s finished.”

He gave in and began eating his least favorite food, periodically chanting to himself, “Icky mush ta, icky mushta.”

It was Johnny McEwan’s first day of school. His mother walked him to the bus stop and handed him his colorful little lunchbox before he climbed onboard. It was a bigger mile-stone for her than him. He only knew that the bus had steps too high for his legs and it carried him off to a new experience. Eventually he was herded into the first grade classroom. The teacher thought introductions should come first.

“My name is Miss Cross. Tell me yours.” She pointed to the first student who replied meekly, “Mary Bryson.” Around the room her finger traveled until it arrived at Johnny.

“Ickee Mushta.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Ickee Mushta.”

She shuffled through her papers, “How do you spell your name?”

“I c k e e…M u s h t a.”

“I don’t have your name on my list. We better do a roll call. Raise your hand when I call your name, children.”

She began down the list. When she got to Johnny McEwan, no hand went up. She repeated the name, then moved on. At the end, she accused him.

“You must be Johnny McEwan.”

“That’s my other name.”

“Well that’s the one we use here.”

With instinct born of experience, she knew Johnny would be her curse for the year. He did not let her down. Each exercise to be handed in bore the name Ickee Mushta at the top. To make matters worse, classmates preferred to call him Ickee. At times it seemed appropriate, like when he brought a dead frog to show-and-tell. Dead for days, it oozed green slime and reeked. Some girls screamed. Most of the class held their noses. Many retched.

Miss Cross shouted, “Take that thing back outside. NOW!”

Ickee carried it across the room dripping a lasting stench on the floor. The class had to move to another room for the remainder of the day. Ickee returned to the empty room and sat alone until lunchtime. The Principal found him after Miss Cross reported him missing. He held his nose, grabbed Ickee’s arm and dragged him into the hall and down to his office. Some of the vile fluid that remained on his clothes brought the odor with him.

The Principal’s secretary did not appreciate the pungent smell in her reception area. She left for an elongated stay in the bathroom. The Principal had to find Johnny’s home phone number on his own. He muttered “Shit” as he rifled through her files.

“Not shit,” Ickee said. “Just rotted guts.”

The Principal almost threw up. Nausea overwhelmed him.

“Go stand outside the front door,” he commanded.

At last, number in hand, he dialled the McEwan’s. Johnny’s mother answered.

“Mrs. McEwan. Your little Johnny brought a dead frog into class this morning. The smell was so bad we had to evacuate the room. Unfortunately, he has the odor on his clothes as well. I have him standing outside and want you to come get him.”

She apologized and promised to have her husband pick him up as soon as possible. That turned out to be over an hour. Ickee stood in the school yard all through the lunch period. Students who happened to get near veered away when accosted by the stench. Those who knew him now thought he lived up to his name admirably.

When his father got a whiff of Ickee, he made him ride home in the back of his pickup. His mother had him disrobe outside and with nose pinched dumped the offensive garments in the washer along with a shot of soap. She slammed the lid down, pressed Start and escaped from the room.

“Johnny, what made you do such a thing?”

“Miss Cross said we should bring the most unusual thing we could find to show-and-tell.”

His mother struggled to keep a straight face, “You certainly managed to do that.”


CHAPTER TWO

Ickee’s name was cemented in all of the students’ minds. Even Miss Cross sometimes called him Ickee by mistake and embarrassed, had to correct herself. She had to admit Ickee was a curious blend of brilliant pupil and devil incarnate. She marvelled at his ability to grasp concepts, remember facts, learn methods and provide thoughtful answers. She agonized over when his next escapade would materialize. He thought he did nothing wrong, simply felt he contributed to enjoyment of life—his, classmates, often even Miss Cross’s. She didn’t always see it that way.

Seated right in front of Ickee, Della Groenstein irritated him no end. She was a prissy little know-it-all who jumped up and down waving her hand whenever Miss Cross asked a question. It grated on Ickee, not because he wanted to answer any of them, just because she needed to be the center of their known universe.

He noticed Miss Cross tried to ignore Della in hopes someone else in the class would speak up. One day her bouncing up and down, hands waving, irritated Ickee to the point where he burst out with, “Miss Cross, Princess Della wants to answer it.”

Everyone but Della and Ickee laughed. Miss Cross lacked the control to keep from joining in. Princess Della—the teachers in the Staff Room will love this. When Della realized they were laughing at her, her lips quivered, she was on the verge of tears. Miss Cross had to paste on a straight face and come to her rescue. Answering the question correctly salved Della’s wounded ego.

The next day she was back to her old tricks. When Ickee could stand it no longer, he brought a package of gum stolen from his father to school. Each time she jumped up and down, he secretly put a stick of gum in his mouth. He chewed vigorously whenever Miss Cross wasn’t looking.

In his mind, Della was on trial. If she forced him to chew the whole package, he would wreak his vengeance on her. It happened in less than thirty minutes, leaving him to struggle with a massive glob in his mouth. Saliva and hard work rendered it into a soft, slimy pancake shape.

As usual, Miss Cross ignored Della as long as possible to give other students a chance. That made it easy to slip the gooey blob onto her seat the next time she was airborne. In her excitement she failed to notice the different feel. For five minutes, no question was asked. Then it came. Della jumped up but her little skirt didn’t follow, revealing her panties. She looked down and screamed, then sat back down and pulled her skirt up to its rightful position. The scream attracted Miss Cross’s attention.

“What’s the matter, Della?”

“There’s something sticky on my chair.”

“Let me see.”

She came over and gently pried the skirt free. Half the gummy pancake was enmeshed in the fabric, the rest remained on the chair. Della scrunched up her face at the sight.

“Ooh, that’s icky!”

An unfortunate choice of words, Ickee thought as he stared at the chair with a manufactured expression of concern on his face.

“Ickee…Johnny, did you put it there?” Miss Cross demanded.

His innocent eyes looked up at her, “How could I, she’s been sitting on it all during class?”

Unconvinced, she thought, the little bugger did it. Guess he wants her to stay seated as much as I do. At least, it will quiet the little princess down for a while.

“Don’t sit down, Della.”

She retrieved a paper towel from her desk and scrunched up the gooey mess on the chair. Yet, when Della sat down again her skirt soon stuck to the chair once more. She could feel the sticky mass tangled in her skirt pressing through her panties to stick both to her body. It made her skin crawl. She squirmed which only made matters worse.

Della had no choice but to remain seated for the rest of the day. Both teacher and class appreciated the respite from her antics. Ickee’s vengeance was complete. When Barbara Cross related the latest Ickee escapade to her fellow teachers in the Staff Room that afternoon, they all laughed.

“He gives you this angelic little look that makes it impossible to be angry. In fact, it takes willpower not to laugh.”

She had mixed feelings about passing him on to the grade two teacher at the end of the school year and tried to convey that to Liz Bancroft, who would inherit him.

“He’s lovable and often comes out with something that makes the whole class laugh. On balance, he contributes much more than he distracts.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it,” she responded.


CHAPTER THREE

Two weeks into the new school year, Ickee introduced Mrs. Bancroft to his impish nature. It began when he found a foot and a half long garter snake in his back yard. He kept it in a box for a day while he hatched his plan. Not content to simply let it loose in the classroom, he confiscated a small rattle that belonged to his baby sister. Hanging the snake by just in front of its tail, he taped the rattle on. The snake thrashed at this indignity but could do nothing about it suspended in mid-air.

Ickee let the snake loose in his bedroom for a trial run. Sure enough, as it slithered across the room its tail wiggled and the rattle rattled. Satisfied, he captured it again. Next morning he sacrificed half his lunch to make room for the snake in his lunchbox. Half way through the morning, he eased it out when no one was watching, then paid strict attention to the teacher.

In a few minutes, he heard the first rattle. So did one of the girls. She glanced down, screamed and jumped up on her desk.

“Rattle-snake! Rattle-snake!” she yelled, pointing at the frightened reptile.

Within seconds everyone was up on their desk, including Mrs. Bancroft. She was mortified by her reaction when she finally saw the snake with the rattle taped to its tail.

“Quiet down, children. It’s just a garter snake. One of you boys catch it. Ickee, you’re closest.” Somehow that didn’t surprise her.

Ickee ran after it, finally cornered it and grabbed it behind the head. He approached Mrs. Bancroft. She backed away.

“What should I do with it?”

“Pull that tape off, then take it outside and let it go.”

The snake was thrashing so hard, he couldn’t unravel the tape. He wanted to play dumb.

“How do I get the tape off?”

“Eddy, you grab the tail and unwind the tape.”

“I don’t want to touch it.”

“George, you do it.”

George wanted to show his bravery yet even he made some tentative stabs before he managed to grip the tail. It was a struggle to remove the tape. While he was concentrating on the lower end of the snake, Ickee gradually leaned toward him and let the snake’s head brush his cheek. George yelled and jumped back.

“Ickee, hold that damn snake away from George’s face!”

Did I say damn? There were a few snickers as classmates watched intently. Once George had a grip on the snake again, he tugged off the tape. The rattle fell to the floor. Students laughed.

“Do you want me to let it go now, Mrs. Bancroft?”

“Yes.”

He bent towards the floor.

“No! Outside!”

Everyone was back in their seats when he returned.

“Who brought that snake to school?” Silence.

“Did anyone see who released it?” Silence.

“Ickee—Johnny, who do you think brought it to school?”

“I wonder if one of the older kids played a prank on us.”

She stared at the innocent little face looking back at her. I know you did it. Another story for the Staff Room.

“Alright class, let’s get on with the lesson.”

That story was almost as entertaining as the one she related a month later.

“I asked the class for someone to make up a sentence using the word ‘beautiful’. Mary said, ‘My doll has a beautiful dress’. So I asked for a sentence that contained the word ‘beautiful’ twice. Princess Della said, “I saw a beautiful bird sitting on a beautiful flowery bush’. Like a fool I pressed for three. They all sat there. Finally, Ickee raised his hand. I didn’t want to ask him but no one else had an answer. I had no choice. Here’s what he said. ‘My older sister announced last week at the dinner table that she is pregnant. My father said, Beautiful…beautiful…just fucking beautiful!’”.

A roar of laughter emanated from the Staff Room that could be heard halfway across the school.

“How did you handle that?”

“I had to act annoyed to keep from laughing. Told him, ‘Ickee, never use that F-word. It’s not polite. If necessary, people refer to it as an F-bomb.’ Then the little bugger came back with, ‘So I should have said beautiful, beautiful, just F-bombing beautiful?’”

That brought another roar. Liz shook her head in mock despair.