stuffed-animal-friends

Ch. 11, 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…

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“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.

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Flapjax-speaks

Ch. 11, 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.

Flapjax-speaks

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!

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“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?”

Flapjax nodded.

“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…


 

Libby-Flapjax-and-teacher

Ch. 11, 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.

“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.

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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…

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Ch. 9, Post 3: The Rescue

While Flapjax lay inside his apron pocket dreaming of Libby, Libby was wide-awake all night worrying about him.

The day before, Libby, Mom, and Dad frantically searched all over hoping to find him. They realized they must have left Flapjax somewhere during their trip, so they returned to all of the places they had visited, thinking maybe Flapjax had slipped from Libby’s hands or had possibly been bear-napped!

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They drove to a flea market they had visited, walked up and down the rows of used trinkets and old books, piles of worn clothes and antique furniture.

No Flapjax.

Thinking maybe he had been accidentally thrown out with the trash at the end of the day, they dug and dug through the scraps, but still no Flapjax.

They went back to the river where they had splashed around under the sun, but there was no Flapjax to be found. Libby prayed he hadn’t been caught in the current and swept downstream!

Then Libby remembered something: the bakery, delicious chocolate all over the place, Flapjax pouting in the corner.

They quickly drove down the mountain, passing the many farms and the cows grazing in pastures, but Libby was so worried about Flapjax that she didn’t even notice them. She was afraid that she would never see her best friend again.

When they parked in front of the bakery, Libby and the grownups eagerly looked out the window. Libby sighed and leaned back, tears streaming down her face. There was a “closed” sign in the dark window of the bakery door.

closed-sign

Continue reading “Ch. 9, Post 3: The Rescue”

flapjax-bike

Ch. 9, Post 1: Summer Vacation

In the middle of one hot, sticky summer, when Libby and Flapjax were starting to run out of new backyard adventures, their parents decided they would all go on a trip far away in the mountains.

They spent a whole day driving past forests and farms where they saw all kinds of animals: cows and horses in fields and ducks floating in little ponds.

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Then they came to the mountains, where there were signs telling them to watch out for moose crossing the street. Libby and Flapjax searched the woods, hoping for a glimpse of a moose family.

After many long hours of sight-seeing, playing car games, and singing along to the radio, they arrived at last at a little house in the woods.

For days, Libby and Flapjax explored the forest. They visited the animals they met on the neighboring farms and went on bike rides through the countryside. Libby’s bike had a nice basket attached on the handlebars, so Flapjax had a front-row seat!

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There was even a river to swim in, cold from the mountaintops with slippery smooth rocks on the bottom.

Flapjax had never learned how to swim; he disliked the feeling of wet fur. His monthly baths were bad enough. So he chose to watch from the bank of the river as Libby showed off her paddling skills.

Watching Libby happily splash in the river and noticing how wonderfully refreshing the water looked on such a hot summer day made Flapjax almost change his mind about swimming. He took a few cautious steps toward the river’s edge, slowly moving along the sand until he reached the rocks peeping out on the water. One step, two steps…ewwww! Slimy rocks! Gross. Flapjax ran back to his towel on the sand. Watching would do just fine.

Continue reading “Ch. 9, Post 1: Summer Vacation”

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Ch. 8, Post 3: Flapjax and the Great Arcade

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.

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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.

Continue reading “Ch. 8, Post 3: Flapjax and the Great Arcade”

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Ch. 8, Post 2: Flapjax and the Queen

Flapjax was having the GREATEST DAY EVER.

Not only was he at his favorite place (the beach), but he had made friends with the queen of the beach. He glanced over at his new human friend as she regally reigned from her position on the lifeguard stand, and he smiled. This was much better than being stuck in a pile of sand!

The lifeguard blew her whistle with authority and motioned for swimmers to come closer. They kept trying to go out past the jetty, which was not allowed, not in her kingdom. Flapjax stood beside her on the lifeguard stand and helped her direct them. He was pretty good at assistant ruler, and he couldn’t wait for Libby to see him in his new job.

All of a sudden, the lifeguard queen jumped down from her throne and started sprinting across the sand, calling for her fellow lifeguards to join her. Someone was in trouble in the water.

Flapjax-bear-lifeguard-stand-beach

Continue reading “Ch. 8, Post 2: Flapjax and the Queen”