“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.