Turns out, this flying thing was a bit more complicated than Flapjax had imagined.
Flapjax groaned as he threw up again in the bathroom at the back of the plane, where he had conveniently landed after his initial take-off adventure. He had been so excited for his trip, but now all he could think about was getting back home to Libby…that and flat, unmoving ground.
A throat cleared in the doorway. Flapjax turned to see a tall man in a fancy suit looking at him curiously. The man bent over and handed Flapjax a cup of something bubbly. Flapjax took it gratefully and gulped it down. Ginger ale, yum.
“So,” the man began, picking Flapjax up gently, “are you going to tell me what you’re doing back here?” Flapjax shrugged. He wasn’t too sure himself. “Okay,” the man continued, “well I have to go bring snacks to everyone else. Can you be good and sit here by yourself until I get back?” The man pointed to a padded chair at the back of the plane. Flapjax nodded, but he had stopped listening at “snacks.” He snatched a bag of pretzels before settling down into his new seat. The man laughed then walked away down the aisle, pushing a heavy cart filled with sodas and juices and drawers and drawers of snacks.
Flapjax liked this man. He was clearly important. And he hadn’t made fun of Flapjax for being sick, which was nice of him. But as much as he liked the man and wanted to be a good bear for him, Flapjax was Flapjax, and it was only a matter of time before he got too fidgety and needed to find an activity.
He spotted a boy in a seat not too far from him. The boy looked a little older than Libby, and he was wide awake and awfully nervous.
Without a second thought, Flapjax was off to save the day!
The human boy turned and jumped. He would have jumped out of his seat, but he was strapped in with a seatbelt. A bear was staring at him. How had a bear gotten there? Was it a friendly bear? The bear was smiling, and it awfully fluffy and cute, but the boy’s parents had warned him about strangers. The boy glanced at his sleeping parents beside him and decided to find out.
“What are you doing here?” The boy asked Flapjax. Flapjax leapt into the boy’s lap and opened up his arms wide. The boy just stared at him. “I’m not going to hug you, you’re a stranger.” Flapjax’s smile faded to a frown. Stranger? Flapjax was not a stranger! He thought for a second, then he remembered his tag conveniently sewn across his bottom. He turned around so the boy could see it.
“Flapjax? What kind of name is that?” The boy asked with wide eyes. Flapjax just pointed at himself with pride. He liked his name…he was named after his favorite meal, after all.
“Okay, okay, well, I’m Jack.” Flapjax held out his paw and the boy shook it. Flapjax immediately jumped into the boy’s arms, giving him a big bear hug. The boy laughed but hugged him back tightly. He was shaking. He was scared.
Flapjax sat with him until he had stopped shaking and had started to snore. Mission accomplished. He gave the boy one last hug, then jumped off his lap and went to find his next new friend.
Flapjax went from row to row, scoping out the humans who looked frightened. A few of them were children, but he was surprised to find a lot of grownups too. The grownups always looked at him questioningly, but they didn’t put up a fight when he jumped in for a hug. They hugged tighter than the human children, but Flapjax had a lot of padding and he could handle tight hugs.
Sooner or later, the humans would fall asleep, and Flapjax would move on up the aisle to his next human in need. He rather liked being useful.
He had made it all the way to the front of the plane when a door opened, and a pair of big, shiny shoes stopped in his path.
Come back next week to find out how Flapjax’s flying adventure ends!