After the ocean scare, Flapjax and Libby decided they were done with the beach for the day. So, after a quick trip to the hot dog stand for lunch, Flapjax and family made their way to the arcade.
Have you ever been to a beach arcade? They are the GREATEST. Hundreds of games and prizes, right on the boardwalk! Giant stuffed bears hung from the rafters…the ultimate goal for a girl and her furry best friend. All they needed were a few (thousand) tickets, and they could win one of those big bears.
They had $5 of Libby’s hard-earned chores money (Flapjax totally helped earn that) and one whole hour before they would be hauled off home for the day. Could they do it?
Libby liked the Jurassic Park game the most, so she beelined to the prime seat in the Libby-sized plastic Jeep. Flapjax stayed away from the racing games — they made him so dizzy! — and eyed the machine that would be his way to glory: the skee-ball machine.
There was a row of skee-ball machines. Flapjax took his place in the lineup of human children, eyeing those on either side of him. They looked down at him and laughed…how could this little bear play skee-ball?
Flapjax inserted his quarter into the machine and waited as it groaned and spat out a line of mini bowling balls his way. Then, with a deep, calming breath, Flapjax lifted a ball out of its place and hurled it down the runway towards the bullseye.
Thirty points. Good, but not great. He would have to do a lot better than that if he wanted to win Libby her dream prize!
He picked up another ball and rolled it down, eyeing the 100-point goals in each corner. He held his breath until his ball hit the back wall with a thud. Ten points. Blast.
Flapjax heard snickering coming from behind him. He turned to find a crowd of humans huddled around him, watching him play skee-ball. They were all laughing at him!
He picked up another ball and aimed carefully before rolling it down once again. He held his breath as it popped up and bounced around before settling into the hole. Forty points! He was getting better.
Once more down the runway, and a 50-point score! Tickets printed from the side of the machine as Flapjax added to his tally.
He had only a few more chances left. Flapjax concentrated as hard as he could. He closed his eyes and pictured the ball going down the ramp and leaping up into the 100-point hole.
He could do this. He knew he could!
Flapjax took a deep breath and threw the ball down the runway once more. He closed his eyes and waited. Suddenly the crowd around him burst into cheers for the tiny bear who had just won the ultimate skee-ball goal: the 100-point hole.
And then he did it again.
Tickets streamed out of the machine as the crowd roared with praise for Flapjax. He grinned, enjoying the praise but really only wanting to show Libby his ticket treasure. He piled the tickets into his arms and ran to the Jurassic Jeep, jumping into the passenger’s seat just in time to avoid the T-Rex as Libby steered away with a calm poise…until she saw all the tickets.
When she saw the tickets, she leapt up and squealed with glee. He’d done it! Flapjax had really done it! They must have enough now for the grand arcade prize…
Together, they ran to the counter to tally up their winnings, peering through the glass windows at all sorts of stickers and candies and erasers while they waited.
“240 tickets,” the human boy behind the counter announced to a heartbroken Libby and Flapjax. Only 240? How could that be? Flapjax had done the impossible!
“Okay. So what can we get with 240 tickets?” Libby asked, pouting just a bit…
Well, it wasn’t a giant stuffed bear, but Flapjax couldn’t complain. He looked down at his paw, clasped tightly in Libby’s hand in the back seat of their parents’ car, with twin star tattoos printed on both of them (okay, they were just the temporary kind, but a bear could pretend).
He smiled contentedly before falling fast asleep to dream of skee-ball glory.