There’s Rhinoceros Eating My Tea!

Johnny was on his way home from his school.
He’d be glad to get in even though lessons were cool.
They’d learned about animals in far away lands,
in the ocean, and desserts and leafy woodlands.

Now Johnny’s mind turned to the question of tea.
His mum’s daily menu he couldn’t guarantee,
but he hoped it would either be sausage and chips,
or perhaps something barbequed, accompanied by dips.

As he opened the gate, and walked up the front path,
he found himself wishing it was time for his bath.
He was tired, after cricket and so many lessons,
Geography, English and dull music sessions.

As he opened the back door, and stepped forward an inch,
he dropped his school bag, gave his arm a sharp pinch.
He must be dreaming, this couldn’t be right,
In front of his eyes was an incredible sight.

For there, at the table, wedged in his dad’s chair,
with his mouth full of cake and seemingly unaware
that he was dropping iced gooey bits all over the floor,
was a rhino, the size of his dad’s garage door!

Johnny couldn’t believe what he saw and he gasped;
‘Oh Mum! there’s a rhino’, and quickly he grasped
the door handle and fled to the back garden shed.
The rhino had filled him with terror and dread.

He waited and listened. No noises could be heard.
This surely, he thought, is just so absurd.
He peered round the shed door, hoping to see
his mum or his dad trying to find him for tea!

After several more minutes, he decided to move,
He’d look through the window and hope it would prove,
that there was no rhinoceros, eating his tea,
spilling orange juice and sponge cake and burping with glee.

He crept back to the house, but because he was small
He couldn’t reach up, and he wished he was tall.
Finding a flowerpot he climbed on the top,
hoping the pot would not break so he’d drop.

But he needn’t have worried because the rhino was busy.
He’d been in the fridge and had drunk something fizzy.
Johnny could see fizz coming out of his nose,
A long steady stream right down to his toes!

Johnny shook his head, desperately trying to clear
the thought that this couldn’t be happening here.
A rhinoceros doesn’t drink fizzy pop or fruit juice,
Surely that would be thought of as rhino abuse?

The kitchen was dark, and it was difficult to see,
but that didn’t matter; he could hear the TV.
Then he heard crashing, followed by a loud bang.
The table had fallen with a clattering clang.

‘Oh no’ Johnny thought, ‘our house will be wrecked.
This rhinoceros must be stopped’, and he checked
that the back door was open and he could get in,
hopefully undetected amidst all the din.
The rhino was dancing, attempting the tango,
while chomping his way through a rather large mango.
He was far too preoccupied, to notice the boy
who had slipped by so quietly, his fun to destroy.
Johnny raced up the stairs to his parents’ bedroom,
which smelled of fresh bedding and his mother’s perfume.
He located the telephone, next to the bed,
but the emergency number went clean out of his head.

‘Oh come on’, he thought. ‘What is the right number?’
And with that he fell into a deep restful slumber.
A short while later he heard his mum call;
‘ Come on Johnny, teas ready, and then it’s football’.

He opened his eyes and was stunned to realise,
he was on his mums bed, he could tell by the size!
How did he get here? This wasn’t his bed.
Befuddled the memories rushed into his head.

There had been a rhinoceros eating his tea;
And dancing to music, but how can that be?
He remembered he had come here to pick up the ‘phone.
He remembered the smell of perfume and cologne.

His mum popped her head round the edge of the door.
‘Are you awake love, I’ve been hearing you snore.
You must have been very tired to sleep before tea.
What with lessons and then cricket, such a busy little bee!’

Johnny was not sure that his dream was a dream.
He remembered the rhino’s face covered in cream. 
If it was just a dream, how come he was here,
sleeping in mums room? It was all so unclear.

He decided he wouldn’t tell what he had seen.
He wasn’t sure anyway if there really had been
a rhino, or whether he just dreamed it up.
A rhinoceros? In England? In leafy Sidcup?

So he put all his memories to the back of his head,
until one day his father looked at him and said;
‘ Let’s go to the zoo, say hello to some creatures.
Then tomorrow at school you can tell all your teachers’.

So they spent the whole day, exploring the cages.
Johnny loved the meercats and watched them for ages.
Then they saw lions, bears and strange birds,
and wilder beast rambling around in their herds.

Then suddenly, out of the corner of his eye,
Johnny saw something and he let out a cry!
There was a rhino, lying flat in the mud.
Johnny’s old memories returned in a flood.

He stared at the beast who rolled over and over,
enjoying his mud bath, as if it was clover.
Then as he watched, the beast turned to look at him,
and Johnny was sure that he gave him a grin.

Rhinos don’t grin, Johnny tried to think straight.
Rhinos don’t drink orange, or learn how to skate;
They don’t eat sponge cake, mangos or cream;
Well maybe, perhaps, as a part of a dream.

But as he was about to turn round and move on,
The rhino stood up and faced him head on.
Looking at Johnny and appearing to think,
the rhino gave Johnny a whopping great wink.
So, was it a dream, or was it for real?
Johnny doesn’t know what to think or to feel.
But he has wondered many times, how a rhino was able,
to squeeze through the door and sit down at the table!


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