Post timing: 4 minutes
(Did you read the first two posts in this story? If not, we recommend starting with Flapjax the Olympian.)
Flapjax glided gracefully across the ice of the fishpond. He leapt and spun, and while he was on paws instead of skates, he was pretty sure he was just as good as any Olympian.
As the sky grew darker and the air colder, Flapjax realized he needed to abandon his practice and head back inside.
Before leaving the ice for good, Flapjax rounded the pond one last time before sliding to center rink to complete one final, glorious spin. And that’s when he heard it – a cracking sound coming from beneath him. He gulped and tried to softly slide to the edge of the pond. Unfortunately, a stuffed bear soaked in snow is heavier than he appears, and after just a few careful steps, the ice shifted under his feet. Before he knew what was happening, Flapjax was falling through the ice into the dark, frigid water.
He was under the water in seconds. Luckily the pond was shallow, and when he hit the bottom, Flapjax pushed his hind legs off from the slimy pond floor and flew back up to the surface, panicking. He performed this move a few more times, arms flailing as he surfaced, trying to grasp something – anything – to pull himself out of the water. But there was nothing around him but ice…
Flapjax never gave Libby enough credit. Did he really think that she wouldn’t realize he had snuck away? All he had done lately was sit in front of the TV, staring at the Olympians. And Flapjax was never one to ignore the smell of treats, even at his grumpiest.
So when Flapjax failed to return to snack and snuggle, Libby knew he was up to something no good. She searched the house for him, but he was nowhere to be found. And that was when she noticed the back door had been left slightly open.
Libby started to cry – Flapjax had run away! It was snowy out, and freezing cold! He couldn’t survive out there, not when he had been a house bear for so long! Even Flapjax’s snacking habits couldn’t have given him enough insulation in this weather, and he certainly wasn’t fierce enough to fight off the wild animals lurking out there…
Libby begged Dad to go search for him, and together they bundled up, putting on layers of snow pants and jackets and water-proof boots before heading out into the cold winter night.
Flapjax was ready to give up. He would just stay in the pond all winter, living with the fish he now saw huddled at the bottom to stay warm. (Fish were smart!) His fur would get pretty gross with all the pond slime, but that’s what baths were for. He shuddered at the thought. Baths were the worst.
But then he thought of Libby — she would be so worried. So he tried one final time to escape the cold, murky water of the fishpond.
Flapjax pushed with all his might off the bottom of the pond, leaping up, up, up through the surface of the water and into the air. And he kept going. He was flying!
Nope, not flying. Those were hands under his armpits.
It was Dad. And he did NOT look pleased. He held Flapjax’s dripping fur far away from him as he passed the soggy bear down to a teary, red-faced Libby. But Libby ignored the yucky green-brown pond muck that coated Flapjax’s typically white fur and squeezed him so hard all of the water he had soaked up in the pond ran out all over her.
But Libby didn’t care. She had Flapjax back.
Mom, on the other hand, did care. She cared very much. She took one look at Flapjax, picked him up with two fingers, holding him as far away as possible, and plunged him into a waiting bubble bath in the kitchen sink.
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