Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Land of the Flowered Bed Goes on Safari, part 2

The next morning, all the animals waited by the doorway. Their backpacks were stuffed with snacks and all the important necessities: water, sunscreen, toys for the seals, books for Cookies, a map for Hairy and cookies for Pumble. They were ready.

They crept down the hallway and to the kitchen. The Babies were asleep, their tummies rising and falling as they dreamed. The animals climbed on the Flying Pigs' back and floated over the gate. A pig bent for Pumble and he stuck his nose in the air.

"I'm going to fly over the fence myself!" he hissed.

"Ha!" Cookies snorted. He pointed to Pumble's stomach and cackled. "If you get in the air, you'll look like a yellow and black Hindenburg."

"Bite me." Pumble flapped his tiny wings as hard as he could. Wheezing and grunting, he barely made it over the baby gate. The second he cleared the top, he panted and fell to the ground, crashing into the Babies' food and water. He looked up in horror. The Babies' eyes flew open.

"Run!" Hairy cried, spurring his Flying Pig onto the screen door. He reached out his hand, ready to flick the switch that opened the door. Pumble rushed across the kitchen floor, sliding all over the slick vinyl tile.

"Drop your backpack!" Hairy shouted, flicking the switch and pulling the door open. The seals and Hairy floated past.

"Are you kidding!" Pumble shouted as he waddled towards the door. "I've got fresh crumpets in here!" His skinny legs pumped across the floor as the Babies sniffed at his heels. Bear reached out and bit onto one of his wings.

"Ouch!" Pumble shrieked, jumping into the air. He shed the backpack and fled through the door. Hairy slammed it shut just as the Babies reached the doorway. They pressed their tiny faces against the window and howled. Pumble plopped down on the patio, panting.

"All those the foul breathing beasts..." he whimpered. The seals slid off the Flying Pigs and patted his head. One seal offered a seaweed muffin from his backpack.

"You don't need them anyway," Cookies pointed out, eyeing Pumble's large stomach.

"And you didn't need fifteen million books," Pumble snarled.

"If we're done resting, perhaps we should continue our safari," Hairy suggested, interrupting before another argument could start. Grumbling, Pumble got to his feet. The animals hopped off the patio and into the grassy plains of the Pond. The Flying Pigs thrust their noses into the grass, sniffing with pleasure.

"If you don't mind, we'll stay here in the shade. That's where the grass is tastiest," the leader of the Flying Pigs said.

"That sounds great," Hairy said, ignoring Pumble's forlorn expression. "We'll meet you back here in a few hours."

"What did you do that for?" Pumble hissed as they wondered away. "I was going to ride them when I got tired!"

"That's not the point of a safari, now is it?" Hairy said. He pointed to the distance. "Let's see what's by that tree."

Clutching their backpacks, they pushed through the brush. Pumble followed along, grumbling about his lost snacks. The sun began to beat down on their shoulders and heads. Hairy could feel sweat running down his fur. The seals panted, their fair skin bright pink. Cookies had to hold onto Hairy's back with one wing and cover his eyes with another.

"I can't see a thing in this bright light," Cookies griped.

"My wings are dripping with sweat," Pumble whined.

The seals whimpered and hid in Hairy's shadow. Their skin had turned bright red and their flippers were pink and peeling.

"As soon as we can make it to the tree, we can rest," Hairy promised. "Then we'll go straight back to the Flying Pigs and we'll go home."

The animals trudged through the grass for what seemed like several more hours. Fleas bounced up from the ground and nibbled on Hairy's arms and back. Cookies became completely blind in the sunlight. The seals' whimpering turned into wails. And Pumble was still upset over his lost crumpets.

"Maybe we're lost," Cookies said, leaning against one of the seals. The seals nodded.

"We're not lost!" Pumble shouted. "We're really lost! We'll probaly die out here on this stupid safari. We'll never find the tree or any water! We're doomed to die here while those creatures eat my crumpets!"

"Get over your crumpets!" Cookies snapped.

"Open your eyes!" Pumble taunted.

Cookies eyes flew open and he beamed. "The tree!" he shouted. "It's right there!"

Crying out with joy, they rushed over to the tree. A thick cluster of green leaves with tiny purple flowers surrounded the tree. Pumble fell to his knees.

"Is there no water?" he cried to the sky. "No cookies? No pie? I'm doomed to die without the tiniest bit of sugar?"

"Did you say pie?"

The animals looked up. A tiny snail was peering at him from the green leaves.

"Pie?" Pumble repeated hopefully.

Hairy rolled his eyes. "Kind creature, we set out on a safari and got a bit lost from home. We would appreciate any food or water you could give us."

"Why didn't you say so?" the snail squeaked. "Come on in!"

A bit befuddled, the animals stumbled into the brush and grasp. Creatures of all shapes and sizes were everywhere! There were tiny elephants and minuscule pink horses romping through the mulch. Bumblebees and ladybugs dined on pollen nectar and dragonflies played a violin quartet. There were birds nestled in the leaves and lions with beards of straw prancing the ground.

"It is a safari!" Hairy cried. "Look at all the exotic creatures!"

"Look at all the FOOD!" Pumble bellowed, rushing to a table with his hands outstretched.

"This is culture," Cookies mumbled to himself. "In fact, it's a hidden society. I shall study it and make millions off my discovery! I'll be the most respected anthropologist there is!"

The seals squealed and took off running to a small pond several toads had created. Tiny deer ran by, waving white tails as they passed.

"So, what do you think?" the snail asked Hairy.

"I think it's a wonderful safari," Hairy said, beaming.