by ♫~ Kenword~♫
What better place to visit on a spring break. Tula Point welcomes all the nice visitors!
Spring Break At The Zoo
In her first dream of the night, Tula Point heard a snap, three crackles and the sound of thunder. She opened her eyes just enough to see blue lights blink from several florescent green faces. In the shadows, between wakefulness and sleep, she heard the muffled scream of a Cheetah. For some reason she reached out her paws to find the source of the images and sounds, then fell back to sleep.
The second dream occurred just as she smelled Jocelyn's perfume and the sweet nectar of roasted sesame seed butter on cinnamon toast. Half awake, Jocelyn's friend Werner, who was a mechanical genius, was yelling and jumping up and down declaring that, “It works. It works.” There were bursts of sunshine in her dream, a slight breeze, and Jocelyn's gentle voice saying, “Tula, wake up dear. Werner wants to show us something.” Confused but curious, Tula realized the second dream was not a dream at all but a summons by her zoo P-pill to join their celebration.
Trying hard not to doze into another dream, and with cinnamon toast in her paws, she slowly followed the zoo keeper and her best friend, Jocelyn Peters, to the golf cart. Tula, a porcupine, who assisted Jocelyn and Werner with their duties with the zoo animals, understood what she called P-pill language very well. And she knew that often Jocelyn understood porcupine language. Together the two of them with Werner's occasional help, kept things peaceful and in order. Enough so that un-zoo P-pill from the world around would come and visit the quaint Emeraldton City zoo.
From Tula Point's lofty perch on the back of the electric cart, she waved to the animals who were beginning breakfast while she nibbled on hers. The elephants, lions, bears and Giraffe all said their hellos, with hearty helpings of zoo-food in their mouths. It was fun to watch, but not pretty. The only one not eating, was her friend Chong Cheetah Chang. He paced along the fence of his home, first leaning on his cane to keep his balance, and then smacking the ground several times with its well worn tip. Chong, the producer of zoo shows, staring zoo animals for the members of the zoo community. After a hard day of being watched by P-pill, the zoo community found the laughing and singing together to be a good way to shake off the odd feelings that P-pill could leave behind.
“Its happening at Monkey Island,” Werner said, “my clean-o-bot is finally working. I'm not exactly sure how though, because I have the remote control here and it has not worked to turn it on. But it is working. Its vacuuming the paths on the island.”
At the corner of Oleander Way and Fir Street the zoo became a lush park with patches of forest on each side of the street and flower gardens blooming with vibrant colorful blossoms of red, blue, purple, yellow and orange. The shrill howling of dozens of monkeys could be heard echoing up the narrow street. “The monkey's seem upset,” said Jocelyn. Her brown eyes narrowed as she stared at Werner.
“They don't like the Clean-O-Bot,” he said. The sounds from the island drowned out the hum of the golf cart as it came closer to the monkey habitat. “The one thing I don't I don't understand is how my machine is working without this?” Werner handed Jocelyn a plastic black stick that looked like a remote control device.
“What is it?”
“Its the control box for the Clean-O-Bot. Its the only way you can turn it off and on or make it do different things like vacuum or wipe up spills.” Werner pointed to a bright orange button on the stick. “I tried turning it off, but the button didn't work. I changed the batteries and it still didn't work.”
Jocelyn smiled at Werner. “So your Clean-O-Bot has a mind of its own? You've invented a cyber- machine you can't control? Don't take this the wrong way genius, but have you ever invented anything that actually worked?”
“It works,” Werner said, his eyes and the corners of his mouth drooping. “It mostly works.”
At the draw bridge to monkey island, the roar of the Clean-O-Bot's motor blended in with the screeching and howling of the unhappy monkeys. Werner removed several buckets of monkey food from the cart and motioned for Tula and Jocelyn to follow him. Jocelyn grabbed several bunches of bananas. “We better have these ready just in case,” she said with a nervous laugh. Tula glanced up the street towards home and saw old Chong Cheetah Chang limping towards them. He muttered to himself and every other step banged his walking stick against the pavement.
Jocelyn helped Werner crank down the draw bridge. He ran out on the bridge with two buckets of food just as it touched the island side of the moat. Big Mama Tripoli, the meanest and largest monkey on the island, greeted him by slapping both buckets from his hands. She protruded her bottom lip with a sucking sound and scampered onto the bridge. “No way Mama!” Werner said, but it was too late. With her four children running along behind her, they were across the bridge into the park before Jocelyn could throw one banana. “Crank up the bridge! Crank up the bridge.” Werner shouted. Jocelyn reverse cranked the bridge, but not in time to prevent six more monkeys and the Clean-O-Bot from climbing on board. Werner flailed the air with his arms as her ran after the monkeys and machine. But it was no use he was left stranded on the island.
Tula Point, wide awake now, scurried to the bridge, to block the gateway into the park. Her quills jutted out away from her body, threatened to jab anything that tried to get by, but the monkeys were nearly flying as they approached her and skipped high over the spiky porcupine. The Clean-O-Bot too, had extra speed, as the bridge came up into its closed position. There was no way a two hundred pound motorized machine would be stopped by a forty-four pound pointed quill ball. “Tula! No!” Jocelyn screamed.
Tula responded quickly. Curling into the shape of a beach ball, she rolled from the path of the Clean-O-Bot just in time to see the chrome cylinder with red hose-like arms brush its way past her. She also saw into a slot between the machine's motor and canister. Three glittery emerald colored faces and six blue light bulb eyes looked her way. The faces lit up like green neon tubes and lights in the blue light bulb eyes blinked off-and-on. And even above the roar of the motor Tula could hear laughter.
Up Fir Street, towards Oleander Way, past Chong Cheetah Chang, Mama Tripoli led her gang of chattering monkeys in a full sprint. Chong shook his head and crossed behind the gang of monkeys to a road side kiosk that housed an automated teller machine for the Bank of Emeraldton. It looked like a grass hut except for the actual machine which looked like a giant metalic coconut. For some reason Chong smacked the side of the coconut ATM with his cane. Tula and Jocelyn had a moment to celebrate Tula's safety, when the Zoo Keeper Golf Cart suddenly sprang to life and nearly ran over Jocelyn's foot.
With no driver, the cart scooted up Fir Street towards the angry Cheetah banging on the sides of the Bank of Emeraldton's ATM. Tula and Jocelyn both gasped as they saw the cart head towards Chong, but then were completely horrified when they saw a driver-less Gardener's Golf cart zip around the corner of Oleander and Fir. The green cart, with shovels and rakes bouncing in the back, also headed straight towards Chong.
“Look out Chong!” Tula and Jocelyn both screamed. Jocelyn covered her eyes with her hands and screamed. Tula screamed and covered her eyes with her paws. All of a sudden there was complete silence but for the clack of a cane being rapped on the side of metal. The Clean-O-Bot's motor had shut off and seemed to lean towards the ATM and Chong. The two carts were parked inches away from Chong's twitching tail. Chong's growl surged from deep in her throat and it scalded the air with a thunderous roar, which to Jocelyn, sounded like the high pitched scream of a jungle cat.
What Tula heard Chong growl was: “Get out of our machines you green faced, blue eyed, alien varmints!”
With great relief, Jocelyn and Tula ran to the Bank of Emeraldton's ATM kiosk.
“What in the world is going on Chong?” Jocelyn asked, looking to Tula to actually receive an answer.
Voices from inside all of the machines seemed to switch on and the air was filled with “beeps”, “bops” and “squortles” as a strange communication went up from out of the golf carts, Clean-O-Bot and ATM. The ATM's lights flashed and the gears and motors inside the bank machine whirred. Paper from the receipt slot of the ATM began to stream out in three inch slips of paper. Chong handed each note to Jocelyn whose eyes were filled with tears and whose mouth quivered with fear and astonishment.
Tula was too excited to be emotional. Her curiosity was making her lose control. “What does it say, Jocelyn? What does it say?”
Jocelyn wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her shirt and sniffed several times to control her urge to cry. She began to read as more pieces of paper streamed from the ATM.
“Good Morning Dear Aliens – Jocelyn, Tula, and Chong, ,” Jocelyn said in her best school teacher voice. “We are students on spring break from our school far away from here. We have been studying Emeraldton for seventy cycles of your planet around your sun. We are forty students, from what you P-pill might call high school, and we are here to have fun. [see next note.]”
Tula, Chong and Jocelyn looked around them at the still machines that hid the strange beings from another planet. Chong held in his paws the last of the notes and handed the batch to Jocelyn.
She continued to read the ATM notes.
“You are very pretty today Jocelyn. We are sorry we gave you a fright! [see next note]”
“Chong, you precious Cheetah. You are looking dapper and regal. Thank you for not hurting us with your stick! [see next note]”
“We love you Tula. Now you know that we are not just a dream. We are so glad to see you! [see next note]”
“Everyone. We love your zoo machines. They are simple. Not at all like the ones we have back home. But they make lots of noise and go very, very fast. Cool! [see next note]”
“Our home is Notdlareme, a small green planet on the back side of what your P-pill call the Milky Way galaxy. Every high school class studies Emeraldton because your city is just the funnest in the whole universe. [see next note]”
The Notdlareme's sputtered out all kinds of “beeps” and “squawks” but seemed to be happy.
“Our transportation will be here in a moment. Tell Werner that his Clean-O-Bot will never work in a million cycles of your planet around your sun. Ha!Ha! [see next note]”
“It was fun. Love you forever. Farewell!”
With the last word of the last note, there was a “snap” and “crackle” sound, a gust of wind with the sound of rolling thunder in its voice and then all was still. The Notdlareme creatures were gone.
Chong, Tula, and Jocelyn climbed into the Zoo Keeper's Golf cart and sat for a moment wondering about the events of the last hour.
“Well, they seemed very very nice,” Tula said at last.
Chong let out a muffled growl and turned towards Tula and with a grin planted between his gray whiskers, patted his spiky friend on her head. “Perhaps. Perhaps,” he said.
“Perhaps,” Jocelyn said, “But they will not be here to gather up Mama Tripoli and her children or hear Werner complain for the next month about the “alien menace.”
“True,” said Tula, “But they seemed very very nice.”