It was an early spring afternoon at 5PM on a Saturday. Chazz and Kira had closed their coffee shop for the weekend and were enjoying a simple afternoon watching television.
The television soon came to a commercial.
"Parents, do your son or daughter share an interest in dancing? Do they
act more like the opposite sex? Then sign her up for Miss Valtz's dance
classes. For details, call 555-2JIG."
"Chazz, can I ask you something?" asked Kira.
"Yes?" asked Chazz.
"Does Kimi act like a girl?"
"Of course she does. Why would you ask?"
Just then, they heard voices from outside.
"In this corner, the champian of wrestling, Kimi Finster!"
Chazz and Kira were quite surpised.
"That sounds like Chuckie" said Chazz.
Chuckie's voice continued. "And in this corner, the challenger for the title, Lillian DeVille!"
"What is going on out there?" asked Kira. She and Chazz stood and went outside.
When they came outside to the backyard, they saw Kimi and Lil rolling on the lawn, until finally, Kimi pinned Lil to the ground.
"And the winner is...Kimi Finster! Still the champion!" said Chuckie.
The other Rugrats cheered as Kimi performed a victory dance.
"Kids, what are you doing?" asked Chazz.
"Playing" said Chuckie.
"You call playing rough playing?" asked Kira.
"We're not playing rough mom" said Kimi. "We're not hurting each other."
"Kimi, me and your mother think you're acting more like a boy instead of a girl" said Chazz. "I think you should change your ways."
"Let's enroll her in Miss Valtz's ballet lessons" said Kira.
"What a great idea!" said Chazz.
Kimi was shocked. "Ballet?!" she cried. "I can't do ballet! I can't even dance!"
"You'll learn" said Chazz. "The lessons start this Monday at 4p.m."
That night, Chazz and Kira discussed their plans with their friends.
"I think it's a great idea" said Didi. "Kimi should act more like a girl than a boy like she does now."
"I mean, like, since when does a girl enjoying playing sports and wrestling on the lawn?" asked Stu. "When I was younger, girls were the cheerleaders!"
"You can say that again" said Lou. "Why, when I was young, we had fifteen girls who were into sports. But since they couldn't try out for any team, they had to become cheerleaders."
"You know what? Entering Kimi in Ballet school is a good idea" said Howard. "In fact, why don't we enroll Lil as well? She's always into this stuff!"
"That's a great idea!" said Betty.
"How about Angelica as well?" asked Charlotte.
"And look!" said Kira, "this Friday, there's going to be a beauty pageant for young girls. Why don't we enter Kimi?"
"That's a great idea!" said Chazz.
On Monday, Kimi arrived at Ballet school with her parents.
"Velcome!" said a young red headed woman. "I am Miss Valtz! And you must be Kimi!"
"Don't you mean welcome?" asked Kimi.
"She has a different accent" said Kira.
Miss Valtz gave Kimi a pink ballet dress and pink ballet shoes. "You may get dressed in the changing room."
"Oh brother" sighed Kimi as she went to go get changed.
A little later, Kimi came out of the changing room in her ballet clothes.
"This is really embarrasing" she said.
The other girls laughed at her.
Kimi noticed Lil in her ballet clothes.
"Lil? What are you doing here?" she asked.
"What's it look like?" asked Lil. "Mom and dad enrolled me in ballet school. I'm into stuff like this! Oh, and Angelica is in the dressing room getting her ballet clothes on."
"Oh great!" said a frusterated Kimi. "How am I supposed to compete with all these girls? I can't even dance! This is gonna be a disaster!"
Angelica snickered at Kimi as she walked by. Kimis cheeks turned pink with embarrassment.
Soon, Angelica changed into her ballet clothes.
"How do I look?" she asked Lil and Kimi.
"You look great" said Lil.
"Yeah great" said Kimi. "How about me?"
"Like a cheap french performer" said Angelica.
"French?" said a suprised Kimi.
"All right girls" said Miss Valtz, "ve shall start by standing together in a line and perform the basics."
The girls lined up in a line.
"Repeat after me" said Miss Valtz. "Turn, flex, shape, and bounce, then repeat."
Each of the girls did what Miss Valtz did. While Lil and Angelica performed well, Kimi couldn't seem to do it right.
"I can't get it right" she said.
"It just takes practise" said Lil.
"Vonderful!" said Miss Valtz. "Ok,ve vill continue with pliés. Vatch vhat I do, zen try to do it yourself." Mrs. Valtz walked to the barre and performed a plié. The dancers tried to copy Mrs. Valtz.
"Very good, Alice! Tuck your stomach in, Laura! Go a little lower, Tascha!"
she cried. Then she came to Kimi. Kimi was squatting
more than she was Plié-ing.
"No, no, no, dear, vatch me!" Mrs. Valtz told her. Kimi tried, but she still couldnt get it right.
Miss Valtz said, "now we'll twirl in the air!"
Angelica was first.
"Vonderful!" said Miss Valtz.
Other girls came up and performed a perfect twirl. Lil was up next and performed it perfectly.
Finally, it was Kimi's turn. Unfortunately, she got off to a bad start and fell. The girls laughed.
"Try again" said Miss Valtz.
"This time, Kimi got off to a good start. But she didn't land right and fell again. And again the girls laughed.
"Now ve vill vork on jetés!" Mrs. Valtz informed them. Mrs. Valtz walked to the center of the room and showed the students a jeté.
"Now you try," she ordered. Angelica walked to the center of the room and did a beautiful leap. Kimi stayed at the back of the line, hoping class would end before it was her turn. But it didnt. Kimi walked to the center of the room, and tried to do a jeté, but it turned out lop-sided and short.
For the rest of the afternoon, Kimi struggled with the exercises while the other girls were praised.
Finally, at the end of the afternoon, the girls undressed and dressed back into their regular clothes. As she headed for the door, Miss Valtz said to her, "you must practise harder. I vant you to train at home."
"Yes Miss Valtz" sighed Kimi.
When she opened the door to her house, she met her parents. Mrs. Valtz talked with Kimi and her parents.
"How's our little dancer?" asked Chazz.
"Terrible" said Kimi. "The first lesson was a disaster! I'm not going back there!"
"It was only your first day" said Kira. "You'll do better tomorrow."
"Kimi needs special lessons. I am arranging for a private tutor to teach her," Mrs. Valtz told Kira and Chazz.
"How much will we have to pay the tutor?" Kira asked.
"You vill continue to pay lessons, I vill pay ze tutor," Mrs. Valtz replied.
"Ok," said Chazz.
A little later, Kimi turned on some music and tried to use what she had learned, but still, she couldn't get any of the moves right.
Then she got an idea. She picked up the phone and called Susie.
A little later, Susie came with a small radio with a tape she used during ballet practise.
"Are you ready for your first lesson from me?" she asked.
"I sure am" said Kimi.
Susie turned on the radio. Her tape with ballet lessons began to play.
"Just do what I do" she said. She began to dance. Kimi started to do it too, but as always she couldn't get it right.
"Keep trying" said Susie, "you'll get it right, eventually."
Hours later, the lessons were over. Kimi was still falling, but not as much. In fact, she seemed to have improved.
"Well at least you're doing better" said Susie. "I'll be back tomorrow for another lesson."
"Thanks" said Kimi.
The next day, Mrs. Valtz lead Kimi to a different room, where she was surprised to find a tall, muscular man!
"Kimi," sad Mrs. Valtz, "this is Mr. Mann, your tutor."
"But you cant be my teacher!" Kimi cried.
"Would you care to tell me why not?" Mr. Mann asked.
"You---youre a man! Men dont do ballet! And neither do I! Ballet is for sissies!"
"I am sorry you feel that way about ballet," said Mr. Mann, "I love ballet! Many men find that ballet is too girlie for them, but many men also do ballet. Perhaps I can make you feel differently about ballet. Mrs. Valtz, you may go on with teaching your class. I will stay here with Kimi." Mrs. Valtz left, closing the door behind her.
"So Kimi, I know you dont like ballet," Mr. Mann said, "What do you like?"
"Sports, school, my friends, Teen Rage, Emica, my big brother Chuckie, recess, 'Recess'," Kimi told him.
Mr. Mann said, "Why did you say 'Recess' twice?"
"Haven't you heard of the 'Recess' TV show?", said Kimi.
"Oh yeah," said Mr. Mann. "But you like sports, eh? Do you do wrestling?"
"You bet! Im the undefeated wrestling champion!"
"All right then, would you like to wrestle me?" Kimi was shocked! What did wrestling have to do with ballet? She wondered if she should accept the challenge. Mr. Mann was very muscular!
"No way! That wouldnt be fair! Youre older and way stronger than me!" Kimi finally refused.
"Yes, and ballet has helped me become strong!" Mr. Mann replied, "Doing ballet can help you in wrestling. And ballet is a sport. Now what do you say we try a plié? Just pretend youre a frog or a toad."
Later that day Kimis parents picked her up. On the way home, Kimis parents asked her how her day was and what shed learned that day.
"I had a great day!" Kimi exclaimed, "Mr. Mann, my teacher taught me first, second, third, fourth and fifth position, and pliés! I cant wait till tomorrow!"
"Im glad youre finally enjoying your ballet lessons," Kira sighed.
"Im glad that youre finally learning something," Chazz agreed.
The next day Kimi worked with Mr. Mann some more. And she worked with Mr. Mann for quite some time. Then, Mrs. Valtz announced try-outs for the ballet, Swan Lake.
Mr. Mann told Kimi that she would now work with Mrs. Valtzs normal class. Kimi was sad that Mr. Mann wouldnt be being her teacher anymore.
The next day, at ballet lessons, Kimi noticed that she was improving. So did Miss Valtz and the other girls.
"You're doing good so far Kimi" she said. "Keep going!"
That night, Susie gave Kimi another lesson. Kimi improved her skills some more.
Over the weekend, she practiced her ballet at home. She and Angelica and Lil even got together and organized a dance to perform for their parents.
On Sunday afternoon, Kimis parents went shopping, and that was the scheduled date for the District Wrestling Tournament. In the tournament, Kimi, the undefeated champion of wrestling for Jim Jr. Junior High, would wrestle the champions from other schools in her district.
The tournament was held at Ronald Reagan Middle, home of their wrestling Champion, Derek Harrison. Kimi sat with the other wrestling Champions and her friends took their seats in the bleachers.
"This is commentator Johnny James saying welcome to the Fifth Annual City School District Junior High wrestling Tournament, where young wrestlers from ages 12 to 15 compete. Wrestlers participating in tonight's match include Jim Jr. Junior High, Charles M. Schulz Jr. High, Ronald Reagan Middle, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. High, and Dale Earnhardt Technical School. The winner of tonight's match will take home a trophy and various odd prizes, and go against the state champion. The defending district champion is 15-year-old Derek Harrison, Reagan Middles Champion for three years straight! Next year, he plans to go on to join the Calvin N. Hobbes High School wrestling team, 'The Rasslin' Tigers'. Now on with the match! Reagan's Harrison vs. Schulz's Anna Hanna "
Kimi was the last one up. By then, a boy named Jimmy Boyd, representing Davis Jr. Jr., had beaten Harrison, and Kimi was wrestling him. After a while, Kimi pinned Jimmy, and won the District Tournament. She hurried to make it home before her parents did. She succeeded. When she reached her house, she ran inside to practice her ballet.
Now Kimi was starting to do even better at her ballet lessons. By the end of the fourth day, she outshone everyone at the lessons. She could execute perfect twirls, leaps, jetes, and every other move.
"Vonderful!" said Miss Valtz. "You girls have completed your education! Tonight, you shall show everyone vhat you're made of!"
"Huh?" asked Kimi.
"Ve're going to be performing in front of a live audience tonight!" said Miss Valtz.
Kimi was starting to get nervous.
That night, the grownups crowded the auditorium at the school and waited for the show to begin.
When the curtains finally rose, every girl was on stage in a line, side by side. They first performed the basics, turning, flexing, shaping, and bouncing to a piano classic by Mozart. Then they performed twirls, leaps, and jetes.
Everyone in the audience applauded.
"And now!" said Miss Valtz, "my finest student will perform a solo! Here is Kimi Finster!"
Chazz pulled out his camera which was loaded with film while Kira turned on her video recorder.
Kimi came onto the stage dressed in a green ballet dress, blue ballet shoes,
and pink pixie wings.
"Swan Lake" began to play as Kimi began to dance. For the next few
she amazed the audience with her twirls, leaps, jetes, and every move in the
By the time she finished, everyone was still applauding and cheering.
A little later, Lil, Angelica, and Kimi were met by their parents and the other grownups.
"You were great!" said Stu.
"Especially you Kimi!" said Drew. "That was quite a show!"
"Gee, thanks" said Kimi.
"You'll absolutely blow the competition away at the pageant!" said Kira.
"Pageant?" asked Kimi. "What pageant?"
"We enrolled you in the `Little Miss California' pageant" said Kira.
"You what?!" cried Kimi.
"It's tomorrow evening outside of town" said Kira.
"Make us proud Kimi" said Chazz.
"Oh brother" sighed Kimi. "First ballet, and now this!"
Later that night, Kimi lay in bed. She couldn't sleep. Tomorrow evening, she would be entering the pageant. Even though she didn't want to enter, her parents said she didn't have a choice. After all, they had entered her on Sunday.
She had a dream where she was at the pageant. The audience members laughed at her. She even heard one girl say, "look at that girl! She looks more like a boy!"
Kimi awoke. She was really nervous. Tomorrow was going to be the biggest day of her life.
Of course, it was already tomorrow. It was 9:30. There was no school today.
"Kimi, wake up!" call Kira from downstairs.
"Yeah, yeah" said Kimi. She climbed out of bed, dressed, and went downstairs.
She noticed that everyone was waiting for her.
"Don't tell you're dressed like that" said Didi.
"Why not?" asked Kimi.
"Because it's not pageant material, that's why" said Stu.
"You know, you're starting to sound like my grandparents on my dad's side" said Kimi.
"Pardon?" asked Anita.
"What are you doing here?" asked Kimi.
"Your mother invited us" said Pierre. "Right Kerima?"
"Right" said Kira. "And it's just Kira. Now let's all have some breakfast."
Kimi frowned. "I'm not very hungry" she said. Then she walked out of the kitchen.
"What was that about?" asked Chazz.
"She's just nervous about the pageant" said Kira.
A little later, Kimi was walking down the street. A young couple noticed her as she walked past them.
"Hello little boy" said the man.
Kimi stopped in her tracks and whirled around. "I'M A GIRL!!!" she said. Then she walked away.
"Great!" she said, "now I'm starting to be called a boy!"
Kimi walked past several other people who called her a boy. She gave them the same reponse.
Then she heard a voice. "Hi Kimi." Kimi turned. Standing near a tree was Ken Oakura, her boyfriend and the boy she was destined to marry.
"Oh, hi Ken" she said.
"Great performance last night" said Ken.
"Yeah, great" said Kimi.
Kimi spent much of the day hanging out with Ken. Finally, she bid him goodbye and walked home.
"I'll see you at the pageant tonight!" he said.
"Yeah" said Kimi. "If I'm even qualified."
Kimi walked home and entered the living room.
Pierre and Anita were waiting for her in the living room.
"What are you two doing here?" she asked.
Pierre and Anita pulled out from behind their backs, some fancy clothes.
"Here we go again!" Kimi said to herself.
Finally, Kimi was ready for the pageant. She was wearing a fancy blue dress with purple ribbons, crystal shoes, and a yellow ribbon in her hair which was now in a ponytail.
A little later, Kimi and her family and friends left for the pageant outside of town. Kimi joined the other contestants.
The clearing in which the pageant was being held was in the forest. The setting sun turned the sky dark orange. Soon stars would fill the sky. A full moon was predicted for tonight.
The stage was set with red curtains. Multiple chairs, enough to seat about sixty people were set up on the grass. Among the people in the audience were Ken, Kimi's family and friends, the other grownups, and a host of others. Several reporters had their camera crews with them.
Beside Kimi, the other girls in the pageant were Bethany, Jody, Amanda, and Stacy.
Bethany had short brown hair with ribbons and a green dress. Jody had red hair, a red dress, and red ribbons(suprise, suprise). Amanda had an orange dress, blonde hair, and pink ribbons. And Stacy had bleached blonde hair, a silver dress, and diamond earrings. All the girls were the same age as Kimi.
As Kimi joined the other girls, they all shared their greetings.
"Hello Kimi. I'm Amanda."
"And I'm Bethany."
"I'm from Poland" said Amanda.
"I'm from Germany" said Bethany.
"I'm from Italy" said Stacy.
"I'm from Canada" said Jody.
"We all just moved here" said Amanda.
"I'm from France" said Kimi, "but I'm actually japanese."
"Is that so" said Jody.
"We're all from rich families" said Stacy.
"Me too" said Kimi, "although I'd rather not be."
"Hey, why say something like that?" asked Amanda. "Money is the most important thing in the world!"
"Well not to me" said Kimi. "In fact, the only reason why I was entered in this pageant is because my parents think I should act more like a girl than a boy."
The other girls laughed.
"Man" thought Kimi, "I don't stand a chance against any of these girls. Yet these girls only care about their own personal gain and popularity!"
The host of the pageant called each girl to the stand. People began to take their picture.
Next, each girl was to make a speech in the microphone about what she would do for world peace.
After Amanda, Jody, Stacy, and Bethany made their speech, it was Kimi's turn.
"If I could achieve World Peace, I would...I would..."
"Oh what's the use?! I can't do this!" she said. And she walked off the stage.
A little later, Kimi's friends met her backstage.
"Kimi, what was that all about?" asked Tommy.
"You're quite yourself" said Chuckie.
"I just can't do this" said Kimi. "I'm not pageant material. I'm...a boy in a girl's body. I'm out of here."
Kimi stood and walked down off the back of the stage.
"Where are you going?" asked Dil.
"To a place where it doesn't matter who I am" said Kimi. "I'm running away and I'm never coming back!"
And she ran into the forest. Nobody even seemed to notice her.
A little later, the judges were about to make their decision on who would be the winner.
Meanwhile, in the forest, Kimi was sitting on a log near a lake. She was putting her old clothes back on. She left her pageant clothes on the ground.
"This is it" she said. "The first night of the rest of my life."
In the distance, she heard howling wolves and hooting owls.
"Hey, it won't be so bad. After all, Robin lived here for twenty years. I can live here for the rest of my life."
She drank some water from the lake.
"After all, I'm nothing but a boy in a girl's body!" she said loudly.
She heard an echo.
There was another echo.
Yet another echo.
"I'm warning you!"
Even another echo.
"All right, that's it!"
Just then, a figure appeared before her. She saw it in her reflection on the lake. It was a young man. He looked quite familiar.
"Dad?!" she cried. "What are you doing here?!"
"I'm here to help you Kimi" he said. "I'm not really a real person, just a spirit. After all, I am up in heaven. It's a nice place."
"Why are you here?"
"Kimi, what you're doing is wrong. You can run from your problems Kimi, but you can't run from yourself. Who cares what anyone thinks, just be yourself."
The spirit of Kimi's father disappeared.
"i know what I gotta do," said Kimi.
Kimi and Ken returned to the theater when, just in time, the announcer annoounced Kimi's turn.
The announcer said, "And now, doing her routine, Kimi Finster."
Kimi performed her plies and jetes with utter perfection and seriousness. At the end, she got a standing ovation from the audience.
"That was most impressive young lady" said the host of the pageant. "But why aren't you in your dress."
"Well sir, it's a long story" said Kimi. "I was entered in this pageant because my parents thought I should act more like a girl instead of a boy. But hey, I gotta be me, don't I?"
"Oh my" said Kira. "We never thought about that."
"And furthermore" said Kimi, "if I dressed up real fancy for the pageant, I'd have to be someone I'm not. The real me likes hanging out with my friends and playing sports. The real me is even trained in martial arts. That girl you saw on stage, that wasn't the real me. This is the real me!"
"I understand you perfectly clear" said the host. "Why don't you come back on stage for the final decision?"
A few minutes later, the judges came to their decision.
"We have decided that this year's winner is Kimi Finster, because she is something that none of the other contestants are:herself!"
Everyone cheered and applauded as the host placed a golden crown on Kimi.
Kimi walked up to the front of the stage.
Then to everyone's suprise, she jumped up. "Hi-ya!" she said as she kicked in the air. She landed on the stage again.
"What did you think I was going to do? Cry?"
A little later, Kimi came down to meet her family and friends.
"That was fantastic!" said Chazz. "You won!"
"We've been wrong Kimi" said Kira. "From now on, just be yourself."
"Besides" said Ken, "rough and tough girls are my favorite."
"You must think your future wife to be quite a catch, even if she is a boy in a girl's body" said Kimi.
"Oh, by the way" said Ken. The next thing Kimi knew, Ken touched her. "Tag! You're it!" He and the other Rugrats ran off, laughing.
"Here I come ready or not!" she said. She took off her crown and gave it to Kira. "Hold this, will you mom?" she asked, "I've got some friends to catch in a game of tag!"
Kimi ran after her friends to catch them in a friendly game of tag. Even Jody, Amanda, Bethany, and Stacy, who were now new friends of Kimi had joined the game.
"Can't catch us Kimi!" laughed Ken.
Kimi smiled as she ran chased them. "When I catch them, I'll catch them!"
But while Kimi has proved herself as a ballet dancer who just wanted to be herself, there's one more milestone to conquer -- the state wrestling championship.
The next day was the state championship wrestling for youths aged 12 to 15. Kids all over the state, representing different schools had come to attend. Several kids from the local district championship had come as well. Everyone at Jim Junior was cheering on Kimi, their champion. Kimi's coach turned out to be Mr. Mann, her ballet teacher. Kimi was happy to see him again.
Hours later, after the final fight, Kimi was crowned champion of the state.
Everyone was cheering with a frenzy.
A little later, Kimi met her friends.
"Kimi you were awesome!" said Chuckie.
"You're the greatest Kimi!" said Tommy.
"What are you going to do now?" asked Phil.
"Well" said Kimi, "for now I've got some schoolwork to return to and some friends to catch up with."
"Thanks Kimi" said Lil. "Even a champion like you knows how to be a true friend."
A little later, Kimi met Mr. Mann.
"See what ballet can do for you?" asked Mr. Mann. "It has made you strong."
"Thanks coach" said Kimi. "Now I got to get home before my parents do."
She turned and walked away, but stopped.
"Hey coach" she said.
"Yes Kimi?" asked Mr. Mann.
"I've really enjoyed ballet."
"Glad to know that."
"Can you still teach me?"
Mr. Mann smiled. "I was hoping you'd ask. Even though I am a master of ballet, I am still training hard. And you can too."
"Thanks Mr. Mann! You're the best teacher I ever had!"
"You're welcome. I'll see you tomorrow night for another lesson."
"Thanks!" said Kimi. She turned and left. "See you tomorrow!"
And so, Kimi had fulfilled her goals. Even though she was now the state wrestling champion, she was also a master of ballet, but she would still be learning. And someday in the future, when she is older, perhaps a child her own age would ask her to teach him or her ballet.
Kimi smiled as she thought about her future. With her new skills, she would accomplish great things.
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