Post 1: Flapjax’s First Day of School
One morning early in September, Flapjax and Libby stood in line with many other human and stuffed animal children to wait for their first day of Kindergarten to begin.
Flapjax was not nervous at all, but Libby was…he could tell. She had not slept at all the night before and had crushed Flapjax several times while tossing and turning in bed. (He was lucky he was made of cotton padding and fur.) And now she was squishing him in her arms as they waited in line. Flapjax wanted to be free to explore and meet all of the other children, but he was fiercely loyal to Libby and would never leave her side.
Eventually, a lady with curly black hair and a big smile on her face came to the door.
“Hello, everyone! My name is Mrs. B, and this is my classroom. We’re going to have so much fun this year. Come on inside, and we’ll get to know each other,” Mrs. B held the door open and one-by-one the children went in – some running in excitement, others shuffling nervously, looking back for an escape.
Flapjax jumped out of Libby’s arms and was trying with all his might to pull her quickly into the classroom. He wanted to get the best seat, the one closest to the snacks he spied in a clear bin near a big desk in the back. But Libby was pulling against him, trying to go back Mom and Dad. She did not know this grown-up with the curly hair, and she looked kind of scary!
Just as Flapjax was about to give up and go back with Libby to their parents, Mrs. B approached. Libby looked up at her fearfully. Flapjax jumped back into Libby’s arms to protect her.
Mrs. B. knelt down beside them and smiled. “Hi there,” she said to them. “What’s your name?” she asked Flapjax.
“Th-this is Flapjax,” Libby said shyly, clutching Flapjax tightly to her chest.
“Hi Flapjax. You look like a very smart bear,” she said, smiling at him. Libby couldn’t help but smile back, knowing Flapjax would be quite proud of that compliment. “And what about you?” the woman now asked Libby.
“Well, Libby, I have the perfect seat for you, right near me. Would you like to come sit and get to know your new classmates?” Mrs. B. held out her hand, and Libby grabbed onto it, tucking Flapjax safely under her other arm.
But to Flapjax’s disappointment, Mrs. B. led them to the front of the room, on the opposite side as the snacks. Libby sat down next to Mrs. B. and the other students in a circle, still squeezing Flapjax as tightly as she could. He tried to wriggle out of her arms, but she only squeezed tighter.
They all went around the circle, each saying their name and telling everyone else what they had done that summer. When it was Libby’s turn, she told everyone about Flapjax getting lost in a bakery on vacation. Eventually, Libby’s grip on him relaxed, and Flapjax slid out of her arms. She didn’t even notice Flapjax had left, she was too busy with her new friends.
Flapjax made his way to the back of the classroom and scoped out the scene. He spied a row of backpacks hanging up along one of the walls. Out of one backpack poked something orange and furry.
Flapjax looked to see if anyone was watching, then when he was sure he was safe, he crept slowly to the bag, looking back over his shoulder for trouble every few steps. Finally he made it to the wall, but even on his tippy-toes, he couldn’t reach the backpacks. He looked around for something to use and saw a crate not too far away, filled with board games.
Flapjax dragged the crate over to the bag he had spotted, jumped up, and grabbed the zipper. It came open quickly, surprising Flapjax, who fell to a heap on the floor, along with the contents of the bag.
Flapjax grunted as he tried to push something heavy off of him.
“Hey, stop shoving me, ouch!” a voice cried out from on top of him.
Flapjax gasped. Whatever it was, it was alive…
Post 2: Flapjax Learns a Lesson
Flapjax quickly jumped to his feet and ran behind the crate. The furry object in front of him got to its feet, shaking itself off, then glared at him. Flapjax shrank back further behind the crate.
“Why are you trying to hide from me? YOU pulled ME out of the backpack! I was napping, thank you very much,” it said, coming closer. There was nothing more Flapjax could do, so he came sheepishly out from behind the crate.
“Well, aren’t you going to apologize? Who are you anyway?” the creature peered at Flapjax from behind black eyes and orange fur. Little tufts of white covered the lower half of its face and the tip of its long, bushy tail, which grazed Flapjax as the creature circled slowly around him. Flapjax tried to push the tail away, but the creature just whipped it back in his face.
“I asked you who you were. It’s rude not to respond,” it said, stopping momentarily to wait for Flapjax to reply.
Flapjax didn’t know what to do. He shrugged his shoulders in frustration.
“Speak!” the creature growled.
“I can’t!” Flapjax screeched and quickly covered his mouth with his paws in amazement.
The orange furry thing looked at Flapjax in surprise.
“Have you never spoken before?” it asked, all anger gone, replaced instead with curiosity.
Flapjax shook his head, mystified. His new companion just waited.
“No,” Flapjax finally found more words. “I did not know that I could.”
“What’s your name?” the orange fluff sat back on its haunches, head tilted to the side.
“Flapjax. Who are you? What are you??” Flapjax’s surprise was quickly being replaced with curiosity of his own.
“I’m Cuppie, short for Buttercup. I’m a fox, obviously,” she rolled her eyes, and Flapjax blushed in embarrassment. He’d never seen a fox before, let alone talked to one!
“I don’t understand,” she continued, pacing again on all fours. “How did you not know you could talk? Don’t you talk to your friends?”
Flapjax just looked at her, confused.
“No,” he said. “Libby is my friend, but I’ve never been able to talk to her. I’ve tried, but nothing comes out.”
“Is Libby your human?”
“Humans can’t understand us. My grandpa says that once upon a time, we could all talk to each other, but that over the years, humans simply forgot how. It’s been hundreds of years since,” Cuppie said with authority.
Flapjax grew sad. “I don’t have any family, other than Libby and Mom and Dad,” he said, tears filling his eyes.
“Your human doesn’t have any brothers or sisters?” Cuppie asked. Flapjax shook his head. “Well that’s why you didn’t know you could talk then! You haven’t been around any of us. Wow, it’s like you’ve been on another planet!”
“Have not!” Flapjax pouted. He was quickly growing annoyed with this “fox” creature.
“It’s okay,” Cuppie laughed and grabbed Flapjaxs paw, pulling him towards the next backpack. “We just have a lot of teaching to do!” And with that, she jumped up and yanked on the zipper…
Post 3: Flapjax’s New Friends
“Watch out for the teacher!” Cuppie whispered cautiously as she tore the zipper down on a bright green backback.
Flapjax stood guard, nervous that they would be caught but excited to see what Cuppie was up to. All of a sudden, a big thump followed by a “hrrrumph” sounded behind him. Flapjax looked back but couldn’t find Cuppie. Where had she gone? All he could see was a giant lump of brown fur and what looked like some pretty sharp spikey things. Antlers, that’s what they were called…
A moment later, a muffled shout came from under the brown fur. The fur lifted its enormous head, looking dazed, then started sliding involuntarily.
“Get…off…of…me…!” Cuppie growled as she shoved at the big animal, finally freeing herself.
“Ohh, uhhh, sorry Cuppie, I didn’t see you under there,” the new creature apologized, still looking startled. “Wha-what’s going on?”
Cuppie shook herself off and glared at the furry brown mountain for a second before deciding to let him off the hook.
“This is Flapjax. He’s new. I figured you guys would want to come out and play…help me teach this baby about our world.”
“I’m not a baby,” Flapjax stated, scowling.
“Yes, you are, but that’s okay,” Cuppie said with a sly smile.
“Hi Flapjax, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Milo.”
“Hi, Milo,” Flapjax said, staring at his new friend, bewildered. “What are you?!”
Milo let out a loud guffaw and Flapjax and Cuppie both looked over their shoulders at the class in session on the other side of the room, hoping they hadn’t been heard.
“Shhhhhhh, silly. Do you want to get us in trouble?” Cuppie scolded Milo.
“Sorry Cuppie, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t know what a moose was!” Milo laughed again, but quieter this time.
“Like I said, he’s new. He still has a lot to learn,” Cuppie agreed.
“I know what a moose is! I’ve just never seen one. I’ve always wanted to…” Flapjax said shyly.
“Well, get used to it. Milo goes everywhere with his human, Nanny,” Cuppie stated, pointing to a tiny black-haired girl with pigtails.
“We’re from Canada!” Milo said proudly.
“Wow, I’ve never been to Canada,” Flapjax said, in awe of his new friend.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful place,” Milo continued. “Mountains and forests and lakes you can walk on when it gets really cold out. I miss it.” Milo’s face started to crumple.
“Save the tears, Mi, you’ll be back for Christmas, as usual. That’s not too far away,” Cuppie said, moving on to another backpack in the row.
“Oh, yeah!” Milo said, cheering up. “I love Christmas!”
Flapjax and Milo gathered around Cuppie as she jumped up, trying to grab the zipper on a blue and yellow backpack.
“Hang on, hang on, Cuppie. I’ve got this,” Milo pushed her gently out of the way and easily grabbed the zipper with his big teeth. Flapjax and Cuppie stood behind him, ready for whatever fell out of the bag.
“Hurry up, I can tell I’m missing out on something fun,” a muffled voice came from inside the bag.
“Just a sec, Bev! Milo’s getting you out,” Cuppie sang out.
A moment later, a small rabbit was sitting lightly on Milo’s back. Flapjax knew a rabbit when he saw one, at least…
“Hellllllo!” it said, sweetly. “I’m Beverly, but everyone calls me Bev. It’s much easier.”
Flapjax waved up at her, “Flapjax!” he said, excited to have another new friend.
“Bev is a rabbit, Flapjax,” Milo said, helpfully.
“I know that!” Flapjax replied, slightly offended.
“Oh, sorry, sorry, Flapjax. But how do you know a rabbit when you see one, but not a moose?”
Flapjax arched a fluffy eyebrow at Milo. “We have rabbits in our backyard…I’ve never seen a moose in New Jersey before!”
“Flapjax,” Cuppie began to explain to Bev, foxily, “is new. It is up to us to teach him everything he needs to know about being an animal.”
Bev jumped up and down on Milo’s back. “Oh yay! This is going to be so fun, guys!”
“Uhm, Bev…oooof…would you mind doing that on the ground?” Milo asked politely.
Bev jumped off Milo and landed gracefully in front of Flapjax, sniffing with her little pink nose.
“Hey!” Flapjax said, rather offended.
“Relax, she can’t help it,” Cuppie explained.
“Allergies…” Bev said, shrugging, and sniffed again.
“Okay, people,” Cuppie said, and then paused as three sets of eyes looked at her questioningly. She sighed, “You know what I mean. Off to the books!”
She pointed towards the bookshelves at the back of the room, lined with hundreds of books in all sizes. Flapjax gasped. He loved books and had never seen that many in his life! Today was going to be a great day.