Chapter 4 timing: 15 minutes
Post 1: Flapjax and the Fancypants
“Land, ho!” Captain Libby shouted as waves crashed onto the deck of their glorious ship, the Fancypants. Flapjax peeked through his eyepatch up at Libby, waving.
“Hard to port!” Libby shouted, and First Mate Flapjax manned the helm. The ship moved to the right.
“Flapjax!!” Libby shrieked. “Port is left. LEFT.” Flapjax scowled up at her, confused. She pointed in the actual direction of ‘port’ and Flapjax grumbled under his breath as he moved the wheel in the opposite direction. How was he supposed to know that ‘port’ meant ‘left’ in pirate? Geez.
The long sail caught a gust of wind, and the Fancypants took off, whooshing across the open sea with grace.
Arrrrrrrrgh, but she was a beaut, wasn’t she? Flapjax stood tall at the helm, smiling in his glory as he navigated through the waves.
All of a sudden, a loud BOOM echoed across the open seas. A cannonball crashed in the water, just missing their ship by a measly few inches! The crew of the Fancypants (in other words, Flapjax and Libby) flung themselves to the deck in terror.
“We’re being attacked! To your battle stations!” Captain Libby yelled as another cannonball shot through the air, narrowly missing the mast and tearing a big hole through the waving Fancypants banner – a proud coat of arms made up of a series of marching red bears on a pair of white, ruffled pantaloons.
Flapjax scrambled to the row of cannons lined up along the PORT side of the Fancypants and began lighting the wicks, waiting impatiently with paws tight over his ears in anticipation of the impending booms. (Of course, what he really wanted to do was run as fast as he could to the poop deck, but he had to hold his ground and fight like the brave bear Captain Libby needed him to be.)
The cannon went off, but their nemesis (and Libby’s unfortunate younger cousin), pirate captain Tommy Bananas, skillfully maneuvered his ship, the Dragon Breath, out of range.
Flapjax growled with rage and began the task of re-loading the cannons.
Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever picked up a cannonball, but they are quite heavy. Flapjax was pretty strong for a tiny stuffed bear, but why would you try to pick up a 10-pound ball of iron when you could simply roll it across the deck? And why would you go back and forth between the cannons and the box of cannonballs when you could just empty the cannonballs and let them roll right across the deck to the cannons? Easy-peasy, right?
Wrong. Very, very wrong, as Flapjax soon found out.
The moment he managed to tip the box of cannonballs out onto the deck by heaving his back against the box and pushing off the side of the ship with his feet, he realized his mistake. As the box emptied and Flapjax fell to the floor, the cannonballs rolled together to the side of the ship, and the Fancypants began to tilt in that direction. It tilted slowly at first, and then before Flapjax knew what was happening, the whole ship had capsized, and he was flying through the air towards the murky ocean water.
Flapjax hit the water with a smack, belly-flopping in a failed attempt at flying away. He paddled his arms and legs with all his might, pushed his way to the surface, and let in a huge gulp of air (along with a little too much salty sea water). He coughed and spat, flailing about blindly. He caught a glimpse of Libby – she had managed to swim to an island not too far away.
Flapjax could not swim. He hated the water so much, he had refused to learn. Baths are bad enough for stuffed bears…why would he voluntarily have one? But at that moment, he was really wishing he had listened to Libby and taken the swimming lessons with her.
Flapjax flapped his arms and paddled his feet until he was breathless and so tired he wanted to give up.
Suddenly, he felt himself being lifted out of the water. Mermaids?!
Nope, not mermaids. It was much, much worse than mermaids.
Captain Tommy Bananas stood holding a dripping, breathless Flapjax by one extremely soggy leg, a sly smile on his rough, bearded face.
Flapjax whimpered. He heard Libby shouting angrily from far off on her island.
“You give him back, Tommy! I mean it!!” she shouted, frantic with fear for her best friend and first mate.
Tommy Bananas just cackled with glee…
Post 2: Bear-napped
Flapjax awoke with a start. His paws were tied behind him, and he could not see a single thing. He was a prisoner of Captain Tommy Bananas, the notorious pirate (and Libby’s despicable cousin).
He tried desperately to untie the knots around his paws. He bent and pulled in all directions, but his efforts were futile! He was never going to escape, not on his own.
He silently screamed for Libby, hoping she could sense his positioning – like when they were playing hide-and-seek and she always knew where he was. (Libby would tell you that was because Flapjax always forgot to hide his tail, but Flapjax was pretty sure she was telepathic.)
Suddenly, Flapjax heard heavy, booted steps approaching. A door on the other side of the dark room opened and the sneering face of Tommy Bananas appeared in front of Flapjax.
Flapjax gulped loudly. He had lost his pirate-y eyepatch in the water when his ship, the Fancypants, had capsized (an event maybe – okay, probably – of his doing, but that was beside the point right now). As he stared up at Tommy who sported his characteristic banana bandanna on his head and a long sword at his waist, Flapjax felt significantly less brave than he had at the start of this adventure. How could he fight another pirate without any pirate gear? He felt like a fraud.
Tommy Bananas laughed maniacally at him.
“Pirate Flapjax…” Tommy Bananas said, circling Flapjax slowly, his hand on his sword as if daring Flapjax to make him use it.
Flapjax pictured the sword slashing across his tummy, pillowy stuffing pouring out until there was nothing left of him but a flat lump of fur, and he felt tears prickle in his eyes. He didn’t want to die! He had so many more adventures with Libby planned. Plus, he was pretty sure being sliced up would hurt.
“It has been a long, hard battle, but I have beaten you,” the evil pirate captain spat gleefully at Flapjax. “Captain Libby is stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere, and you are my prisoner.”
Flapjax stuck out his tongue in reply.
Tommy Bananas just looked at him with amusement. “Nice comeback. You are just as smart as I thought you would be.” The sarcasm dripped like water.
Flapjax growled. He WAS smart. And he would show Tommy Bananas just how smart he was. He just had to devise a plan…
“Flapjax,” Tommy continued simply. “You have two options. Option one, you can join my crew.”
Flapjax frowned and turned his back on Tommy Bananas.
“Or, you can walk the plank.”
Flapjax tried to remain calm, but he was panicking inside. Joining Libby’s nemesis, Tommy Bananas, was out of the question. He would never ever betray his best friend like that! But walking the plank meant sure death (plus, he really, REALLY did not want to get wet again…it takes a very long time for a soaked stuffed bear to dry off).
Tommy Bananas stared down at a cowering Flapjax. “You have five seconds to make a decision, Flapjax! Five…four…”
Flapjax became frantic…he didn’t know what to do!
“…three…two…” Tommy Bananas continued, reaching down and untying Flapjax’s paws. He loomed over Flapjax.
“ONE,” Tommy Bananas finished with a snarl. “Well, Flapjax? Which is it?”
Flapjax searched around the dark, damp, smelly room for an escape, but the daunting figure of Tommy Bananas stood between Flapjax and the only exit. He tried to make a run of it, but Tommy was so much taller than him and way too fast, and before Flapjax could get to the door, he was being pulled back by his tail.
Flapjax was trapped.
“You’re out of time, Flapjax! Decide your fate!” Tommy Bananas yelled, unsheathing his sword and pointing it at a shivering Flapjax.
Flapjax then did the only thing he could think of. He ran at Tommy Bananas…and jumped into his enemy’s uncomfortable arms.
Post 3: The Great Escape
The evil sea captain, Tommy Bananas (Libby’s cousin and enemy pirate), flashed Flapjax a menacing grin. Flapjax did not grin back — he might have been forced to join the ranks of Tommy’s notorious pirate crew, but he did NOT have to like it. And once he had the chance, he would escape.
Unfortunately for Flapjax, Tommy Bananas had other plans in mind.
Tommy let out a low, wicked laugh as he tied Flapjax’s paws down to a wooden table lined with colorful markers.
“Yesssssss,” Tommy Bananas sneered, rubbing his hands together with excitement. He uncapped the red marker and poised it above his fluffy canvas. “I have plans for you, Flapjax…”
The pirate laughed and laughed as he began to draw.
Libby paced the little island she was now stranded on. How dare Bananas. How dare he kidnap her best friend. If he hurt Flapjax, Libby would never speak to him ever, ever again. She wracked her brain to come up with a rescue plan, but her mind kept wandering back to poor Flapjax.
What if Tommy did hurt him? What would she do without Flapjax?
She paced some more, and then she started to cry.
Flapjax glanced down. His fur was matted and sticky with ink. Tommy Bananas had branded him with some kind of swirly emblem, colored in with a dozen blue, red, green, and yellow squiggles.
Flapjax was steamed. Tommy knew he hated baths! And that was IF the markers were washable, which Flapjax didn’t know because he hadn’t yet learned to read. Curses…why couldn’t school have started sooner?
He was half panicky, half furious, and what he needed to be was clever. He had to escape before Tommy Bananas came back to finish the job.
Boots thumped their way down the deck, and Flapjax knew he was too late. Tommy Bananas jumped down into the little room that functioned as Flapjax’s jail and strode towards the chair Flapjax was still tied to. He uncapped a purple marker and continued his masterpiece on Flapjax.
And then, just when Flapjax was ready to give up all hope of escaping, Tommy Bananas yawned. Flapjax perked up suddenly as a brilliant idea came to mind.
Flapjax started humming, softly, innocently. Tommy yawned again. Flapjax grinned and continued the hummed version of his very favorite song, ‘Blackbird’, trying in the process to look as cute and innocent and cuddly as possible.
Tommy Bananas dropped the marker and grabbed Flapjax, yanking him out of his bindings. Flapjax was so excited to be free, he barely felt the rope burns on his paws.
Tommy curled up in a pile of pillows, folding Flapjax into his arms. His grip was tight, but as Tommy began to snore, his arms loosened, and eventually Flapjax was able to slowly, carefully, escape his captor’s snuggle.
Flapjax tip-toed across the room and up the stairs to the deck of Tommy’s pirate ship, the Dragon Breath. He still had no idea how he was going to get away from the ship – they were surrounded by water, after all! But he had to, he just had to. This was his chance!
He was running softly around the deck, searching for ideas, when he heard a soft, hissed, “Flapjax!”
He paused and heard it again, and he sprinted in the direction of the voice.
He heard her voice, but he could not see her. It sounded like she was calling from the water. How strange…
Flapjax glanced around then lowered himself to the deck and peeked over the side of the ship. It was Libby! She had come to rescue him! He had never doubted her. (Okay, he had maybe doubted her for a few minutes, but that’s just between us.)
Libby was floating on a small raft several feet below, but Flapjax didn’t like his odds — there was a lot of water in between him and the raft.
“Flapjax, you’ll have to jump and swim out here. Quick before Tommy finds us!”
“Oh no, you will not!” Tommy Bananas growled and lunged for Flapjax. Tommy was still groggy from his nap though, and Flapjax jumped away quickly. Flapjax ran back across the deck, searching for something–anything–to help his escape. Tommy Bananas was gaining on him. He had no time left!
Suddenly, Libby shouted from her position in the water, “Flapjax! Plank!”
Flapjax’s eyes grew wide as he realized her plan. He ran across the ship with all his might. Then, using up every last ounce of courage he had left, he continued quickly down the plank.
At the end of the plank, Flapjax leapt into the air, launching himself as high and as far as he could go. Tommy Bananas made one last attempt to grab him, and he even almost got his tail, but Flapjax landed safe and sound in Libby’s arms.
She hugged him quickly and then began paddling away as fast as her little legs could take them.
But Tommy Bananas had given up. The pirate captain frowned at the pair who had outmaneuvered him. He looked around the empty deck of the Dragon Breath and rubbed his sleepy eyes. Captain Libby had won this round, but there would always be more pirate adventures…
When they were safely back to civilization, Libby and Flapjax settled in for hot mugs of cider and their favorite sugar cookies – the ones covered in frosting and rainbow sprinkles. They were both exhausted from their day at sea, but they smiled fiercely at each other as they toasted their victory.
“Oh!” Libby shouted and jumped up from her seat. “I almost forgot!”
She ran away and came back a short time later with her hands behind her back.
“Guess what else I rescued today,” she said with a twinkle in her eyes. Flapjax stared back, curiously holding out his paws. Libby place a wet, black eyepatch into them and winked. “Not that you need this. You were a pretty great pirate even without your costume!”
Flapjax quickly put the eyepatch back on, ignoring the cold, clamminess of the fabric against his face, and he snarled. Libby laughed.
“Oh, and Mom says your bath is ready. You better hope your tattoos aren’t permanent!”
Flapjax sighed, but he didn’t fight her. Ink was sticky, and he missed his nice, soft, fur. Maybe a bath wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world today.
In case any of you were wondering, Tommy Bananas did not escape that easily. Once his mom found out about his evil doing, she made sure he would not be sailing the Dragon Breath again for a long, long time…
And he had to apologize to Libby and Flapjax. Ugh. But they were cool and even let him share their cookies. Tommy decided they weren’t that bad after all and maybe even would make good allies. There were, after all, a lot of pirates to battle on the open seas, and they wouldn’t all share their treats with the enemy.