Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Land of the Flowered Bed

Hairy the Hedgehog was not quite sure what to think of the enormously fat bee that sat before him. He was used to his plump friend, Cookies the Owl, but he had never quite seen a bee this fat before.

"He's gigantic!" he whispered to Cookies. "He's so fat, he might implode on himself any minute!"

"The poor insect looks as though he is worse for wear," Cookies whispered back. "He looks like he needs a good washing and tumbling about in the drier."

"Excuse me!" Pumble the bee whined in a high voice. "I can hear what you're saying, and it's quite rude! I'm not fat, I'm pleasantly plump! And my fluffy exterior may be a bit worn because I've been cradled in a girl's arms for the past year and a half. Do you have anyone that snuggles to sleep with you? Well, do you?"

Cookies and Hairy looked down, ashamed. "No," they muttered reluctantly.

"Well then!" Pumble's voice shrilled. "I believe you ought to keep your mouth shut then!"

The seals, also frequenters of the Flowered Bed, barked and clapped their paws together, in the way seals do.

"Oh, get a life," Cookies snapped. Cookies always turned cranky when he felt humiliated. He was quite an arrogant owl, and loved to stare down his black pointy beak at the rest of the animals. "Why don't you balance a pink ball on your nose? Geez!"

The seals looked at each other in glee and dove into the pillows to look for a pink ball. They barked and called excitedly to each other as they swam between the covers.

Cookies rolled his eyes and sulked, burying his face in his wing.

"You need a nap!" Pumble the Bee pointed a sticky arm at him, munching on his favorite treat of honey and crackers. "You're a cranky owl! And you're not exactly tiny yourself. "

"And you're a fat bee!" Cookies snapped back. "I don't see me telling you to get some exercise. Though I'm sure it would take a forklift to lift you off the ground. I don't believe your tiny wings could support a ton of weight. A literal ton of weight."

Before Pumble could retort, Hairy, who had been watching Pumble with fascination, asked him, "Should you be eating on the covers? Shouldn't you eat in the kitchen?"

"They'll never know," Pumble dismissed with a wave of his arm. "I eat here all the time. They never find the crumbs, because the seals usually sweep them under the bed for me with their tails. And she never vacuums under the bed."

Hairy remembered the vacuum and shuddered in fear. "I dislike the vacuum," he said quietly, shivering to himself.

"You're scared of puppy dogs and sunshine," Cookies snapped.

"And you only like grey days and self-righteous mice!" Pumble shot back.

"That's true," Cookies said thoughtfully. "For some reason, there are no mice around these parts. How distressing. I once had a wonderful friend, a mouse, did I tell you about him?"

"Oh no, not this story again," Hairy said, burying his fuzzy face in his hands.

"He was such a clever mouse, schooled of Harvard of all places. Then, unfortunately, he ran into the school cat, such a dreadful cat, a cat hated by all, whether insect, fowl or foe--"

"The mouse DIED!" Hairy exploded. "We've all heard this a dozen times, there's no need to depress us all again."

Suddenly, the seals emerged from the pillows barking excitedly and pointing at the door. The animals froze as they heard the garage open.

"They're home!" Pumble shoved the rest of the crackers into his mouth in a hurry, honey dripping down his chin. The seals used their tails to brush the crumbs onto the floor and under the bed. Then, all the animals carefully arranged themselves into their order. As the key turned in the lock, Pumble licked the rest of the honey from his lips and chin and wiped it on his arm. The door opened, and the animals froze.

The woman walked into the room and changed into her lounge clothes, laying her dressy pants on the bed for hanging up. She looked at the animals and smiled. "Hello babies!" she greeted them. "How are you?" She picked up Pumble, who had tilted over a bit and looked at her hand. "Pumble, you're a bit sticky!" she exclaimed. "Ben must have drooled on you last night!"

"Crud," Pumble thought to himself as she carried him off to the kitchen to clean him up. Behind her, the other animals smiled.