• Rebecca King

Olivia's Cheetah Story

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

The orange and black cheetah was pacing the iron bars of his cage. “What’s so interesting about a grape eating shark, anyway?” he wondered aloud.

“I’m a gorilla that eats shark. That’s interesting,” said the kind-of-furry gorilla from the cage across the aisle.

“No,” said the Cheetah, stopping to shake his head in annoyance. “That’s not even the same conversation.”

“Haven’t you had shark fin soup?” the gorilla asked. And then she purred.

The Cheetah was startled to hear a gorilla purr. He looked up and saw her licking the back of her hands.

He stopped her with his very loud roar. “Are you making fun of me?” he asked

“No,” said the gorilla, looking startled. “I was practicing a new act. The circus is changing. Did you hear they’re cutting the cat show?”

“I am the cat show you nitwit,” growled the cheetah.

“Thought I’d give a nod to it in my own act. Play on the nostalgia and all that.”

“I was chosen from an entire pride of cats to represent our kind. No gorilla is going to make a mockery of that,” said the cheetah, mostly to himself. “And they aren’t cutting anything. They are extending the new shark show. Temporarily. We’re just tightening the cat show. Leaving them wanting more.”

“Wait, so there’s really a shark here?” the gorilla asked.

“You can’t eat it,” the cheetah answered, settling himself into a pout on the floor. “As much as I wish you would.”


The cheetah’s jaw dropped at the sight of the gorilla reaching through her bars to unlatch her own cage. She reached her enormous arm across the aisle to unlatch the cheetah’s too.

“I really like shark fin soup,” she said, “but I’ll share.”

And she was gone, swinging from cage to cage, searching for the grape eating shark.

If he hadn’t been interrupted right then, the cheetah might have followed, but a small voice called out from the cage behind him.

“Could you get me some leaves while you’re out?” He turned around to see the small, soft giraffe looking up at him with her big dewy eyes.

“The freshest I can find,” he promised. And he would. Just like he always had. He still felt terrible about startling her when she was young. She had never grown to her full height because of it.

“And, cheetah?” she asked.


“Could you please not eat my friend? The shark? The one that’s tiny like me?”

“He’s slimy though isn’t he?”

“Yeah, slimy smooth. He makes these little splashing sounds,” she said. “He’s the only one here besides you that doesn’t make me feel small.”

Suddenly the cheetah didn’t feel so big himself. He thought of the prey hunting gorilla and the defenseless tiny shark and the kind of cat that is worthy of representing an entire pride.

The cheetah darted out of his cage, following gorilla fur like breadcrumbs. “No one will hurt your shark if I can help it,” he called back to his little friend.

The gorilla had been quick, but not quick enough. The cheetah caught up to her just in time to see the handlers catch her with their nets and begin the long work of dragging her back to her cage.

The cheetah couldn’t slow himself down and he couldn’t go crashing into them. Instead, he veered off the path and accidentally ran into one of the side tents.

A sea lion was performing. He was balancing on a beach ball. He had a barrel of bobbing apples on his nose. The cheetah startled him and he fell off the ball, into the barrel and went rolling out of the tent making roaring scratching sounds as he went.

The cheetah tried to skid to a stop but the sea lion’s soggy wet tail slapped into him and he went rolling through the crowd, landing upside down in the cotton candy machine.

He had created such a commotion, the crowd from the sea lion show came running to see the big cat. The handlers approached him with their nets but stopped when they saw that people in line to see the grape eating shark were giving up their seats to view the cotton candy eating cheetah. The cheetah licked the sweet sticky stuff from the back of his paws and purred with delight.

Story inspired by the following characters...

Cheetah created by Olivia from Mrs. Reye’s Class: pattern of orange and black, smells like cotton candy, very loud roar

Gorilla created by Chris from Mrs. Jost’s Class: kind of fury, purrs, hunts for prey

Blue Shark created by Lauren from Mrs. Zcavek’s Class: slimy smooth, splashing sounds, tiny

Giraffe created by Katelynn from Mrs. Zcavek’s Class: small, soft, stomping

Sea Lion created by Parker from Mrs. Zcavek’s Class: soggy, roar scratch sounds, wet

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