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Long Distance Runaround

     (For 'Yes' fans. Can you find all of the song titles? There are over 100!)

     Hello. My name is Sandy and I'm a small polar bear. Since everyone else around here appears to be too busy, I thought that I might entertain you with one of my many wondrous stories. Yes, I come from a long line of story tellers dating back beyond the turn of the century. You've never heard of my family? Well, yours is no disgrace. We never sought to be over-publicised,

     To enjoy my story, you will have to open your mind to picture the world I live in. I've seen all good people who dare to accept our parallel existence clap their hands in joy and - no, don't leave I'll get on with the story. Tempus fugit and all that.

     Yesterday, I was eating an orange-pineapple ice cream cone, languishing on the hillside, basking in the heart of the sunrise, when Mr Smudge approached me looking rather befuddled. I asked him if there was anything I could help him with. He explained to me that he had beeen playing on a roundabout with Bonnie Bunny, but then she disappeared quite suddenly.

     "The rounabout by the big hill?" I asked Mr. Smudge.

     "No. We were down by the hedge, close to the river."

     "Do you think she might have fallen in the river? Did you do a thorough search?

     "I went all along the western edge calling her."


     "I noticed some interesting footprints. Bonnie had left her glasses behind so I looked into the lens for magnification. It was only then that I realised they were bear tracks and I must be the one who made them. I sat down on the grass and called out, 'I am waiting', hoping she would hear me and come back. I would have waitied forever just to hear her voice again. It would have been music to my ears. But I got hungry. I set out homeward for a snack and then came to find you since you're such a wise bear."

     "That was most sensible of you. And you and I shall be going for the one who will give us his assistance and time... and a word of caution: Don't let on that you're worried about Bonnie. We don't want to upset her cousin, Bucky. Onward!"

     As Mr Smudge and I approached the Bunny house, we could hear the mumbling of the nine voices of the occupants. Only when we were just outside of the door could we pick out the soft as a dove voice of Doris, Bucky's mother.

     "Bucky dearest, take the water from the fountain and wash up now. You have carrot juice on your face. I don't want you going out looking messy."

     Bucky replied, "I know, mum: 'Without soap, you cannot start the day', right?

     "That's right, dear. I'm glad we agree."

     I knocked gently on the door and called out, "Bucky, it's Sandy and Mr. Smudge."


     Hearing the call, Bucky answered from the balcony above. "Hooray! My friends are here and I'm in the mood for a day of fun."

      Rather than go through the house, Bucky came down using the ladder which had been attached to the side of the house by the balcony.


      "That's new", I observed, pointing at the ladder.


      Bucky smiled and nodded. Our dear father put it there so us older bunnies could get out in the evening and not awaken the sleeping babies. I love it: I get up, I get down, I get up, I get down, I get up, I get down...."

     "Yes, Bucky." I interupted. "I can see that." When Bucky had descended, I put my paw on his shoulder, "I have something to tell you and I'm sorry that... that is.... I hate to be the messenger of...."

     At this moment, Smudge indelicately blurted out, "Bonnie is gone! Gone forever, never to meet us face to face again. But my dear friend will live in my endless, sweet dreams of her."

     Bucky, to our surprise, started to laugh. "Silly ol' Smudge. Bonnie is fine. I saw her about an hour ago when she came to the house to borrow some things from our shed. She played with you yesterday. Today she's been playing with Connie Kitty."


     "Are you sure?" I asked, barely hiding my surprise.


     "Of course I am." said Bucky. "Connie came to see me just after noon to ask if I wanted to go to the cinema with her. She said that she had left Smudge sleeping in her cat cave after getting dizzy on the roundabout. I see poor Smudge got everything mixed up again. Oh well; It can happen."

      Being an important bear in the area, I pulled myself together quickly to put on the 'air of knowing' that was expected of me. "Yes, I thought that would be the solution, but I couldn't just leave it and assume all was well." I gestured towards Mr Smudge. "When the owner of a lonely heart comes to me in distress, I do every little thing I can to help."

     At that moment, two small, white figures appeared, approaching the Bunny house.

     "Hi Bucky!" Bonnie Bunny called out. "I was wondering if I could use the spare room and stay with you tonight. Can I?"


     Bucky hopped about happily. "I'm sure mother won't mind. Leave it with me; I'll ask her when we have lunch."


     Smudge had run forward to meet Bonnie. He bent down to hug her. "If only you knew how happy I am to be in the presence of my best bunny girl friend again."

     "Release... release me! squeaked Bonnie. You're smothering me, Smudge."

    The reunion was touching. Now that everything was sorted out, I said, "I'll be on my way now."

     But Connie called to me, "Don't go. Not yet."

     "Why ever not," I queried.

     "We have so much to tell you! You know, when I woke up this morning I said to myself, 'It will be a good day', and it's been wonderful, purred Connie. "Bonnie called me this morning to say there would be some changes to our plans. She said 'I'm running some errands for my mother and I asked, 'Where will you be?"

     Bonnie took over the narrative. "I told her I would be down by the waterfront. When Connie arrived I told her that I had seen something big in the water so I suggested we do some fishing."


    Connie nodded and added, "I told Bonnie that I had never fished before but she told me there was no experience needed. We came over to Bucky's shed and she got us each a pole, then we went down and sat on the old walls by the pier."


     "On clear days like this," Bonnie pointed out, "we prefer kite flying and we were getting bored with the fishing. But finally, there was a big tug on Connie's pole and our hearts started beating madly!  I told Connie to hold on..."


     "And I said, 'I am holding on", Connie added.


       Bonnie said, "I went to help her and before long we had caught a Merlin. Can you imagine how thrilled we were?"

     I shook my head, "You mean a marlin, Bonnie."

     "No, a Merlin. Merlin Harold Land, from America. And although American was a new language for Connie and me, we managed to understand him with a bit of sign language thrown in. He was a fortune seller who had lost the keys to his Ascension in the water and he fell in while trying to get them out with a bent clothes hanger.

     "An Ascension?" I queried.

     "Yes, his white car. A Tesla. Anyway, can you imagine how pleased he was to be alive; to be rescued from the dangerous waters? I complimented him for his spirit of survival. Imagine: All that time in the water with his foot caught in weeds and not enough breath left to call for help."


     Connie picked up the story. "He wanted to reward us for our sweetness, so he let us in on a venture and gave us 5% for nothing. Isn't that wonderful? There's no way we can lose and we can split the profit."


     My goodness," said Mr. Smudge, "If I had seen that in some kind of movie - silent, talking, animated or... or a Cecil Bear DeMille epic - I would have said, 'Does it really happen'? It's like folks say: 'The more we live, the more we eat'."

     "Speaking of movies," said Bucky. "Let me tell you about the film Bonnie and I saw at the cinema yesterday afternoon."

     "Oh, I want to help, Bucky," shouted Bonnie. "If you could lift me up, we could sit on the bench together and our friends could gather round."

     Bucky helped Bonnie to get on the bench and, when their friends were in position, they took turns telling what they remembered of the movie.

     Bucky started. "The movie was called 'State of Play' and it was a romantic, western, science fiction, mystery'.


     "It starts with an old dog giving his beautiful daughter advice since she's about to go out into the world."

     "He tells her that relationships are all about give and take and she must always believe that love will find a way. And if all else fails, remember that whiskey is a sound chaser to have after your pint of lager."

     "She goes out to have a howl at the man in the moon before going to bed and sees something very bright in the sky. It's an approaching UFO! She runs through the light beam which seems to be acting like a search light. She's trying to get back into her home where she will feel safe."

      "Then lightening seems to strike the ground in front of her, and in that flash, a handsome horse appears."     

     "He tells her that he's a Starship Trooper and that she knows him from future times, but she had been in an accident which put her very survival at risk. Her memory was lost and in her new state of mind, she wandered away, believing she was the daughter of a sheepdog. Her father was really the Mare of the City of Love on the planet of Perpetual Change and she was not a dog, but a shetland pony."

     "He takes her to a nearby cafe and tells her that he always dreamed that somehow, someday he would find her again. Since he lost track of her, life had been like some strange dreamtime."


     "Oh, I love this bit", Bonnie chirped. "A musical group takes the stage and he says to her, 'Listen; do you hear that madrigal? They're playing our song'. Then he grasps her hand and says, 'We can fly from here and you can live a horses life again. The miracle of life should not be wasted chasing sheep and urinating on fence posts'. 

     Bucky took over. "There's a great close-up of her eyes as she looks into the grate beyond their table where a fire is burning softly. Then her sheepdog father comes through the door and steps up to their table, looking at the Trooper suspiciously before turning to his daughter. He says, 'Leave well alone, girl. Come home with your daddy' It's time..."

     "'Is time all you think about?' she asks rather sharply."

     "Then he says, 'If you'll let me finish, it's time for dinner and I have a bowl of beef waiting for you."

     "Suddenly realising what it means to be a horse and not a dog, she feels sick and stands up proud and tells him, 'I'm a vegetarian'."

     It was at this point that I managed to slip away without being noticed. I couldn't take much more. The ridiculous plot had me feeling rather queasy; fragile. The things that make it to the cinema these days - tcha!

     Well, I hope that my story entertained you. I could tell you so many more tales from the woods. No two days are the same around here; there's always something happening. Just come back and see me; I enjoy having visitors.

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