Raccoon sat in his car seat chair, nodding off to sleep. Even though
he was still relatively new to the "family" he felt right at home
in his new surroundings. Gone was the nomadic life of a raccoon
foraging for food. Now he had people to care about, and to care about
A prick on the bottom of his paw made him wake up and glance down to see Spike, Bucky, and Quillo playing around. They were three porcupine cubs and were as precocious as RJ if they wanted to be. Bucky noticed RJ was awake and signaled the other two to stop playing.
"Tell us a story Uncle RJ!" Bucky chirped excitedly.
"Yeah, a story!" Quillo chimed in.
"Yeah!" Spike added.
"I wanna here a story too!" Hammy chimed in, dropping from seemingly nowhere from one of the nearby trees.
"Okay, okay," RJ smiled at the fact they were calling him uncle. "What to tell?"
Being a nomad gave RJ many tales of his adventures, the most recent he would rather forget of course. But he knew one that just might grab their attention. RJ cleared his throat as the four members of his audience gathered around, listening inventively.
"Well, as you may know I've been on many travels in my life, and one almost cut it short," he smiled even though memories of Vincent still haunted him. "but the best place I've ever been too was New York City!"
Unknown to him, Verne was nearby smiling at the sight of RJ regaling the kids with his story. Over time, he began to like RJ and trust him, even though hey still had their disputes every now and then.
"Unlike the suburbs that surround us, with their quiet streets and high income housing, New York is a gigantic island city with bustling traffic and high income apartments and hotels!"
Hammy and the kids ohhed and ahhed as RJ smiled with the satisfaction of captivating his listeners.
"There's also animals you won't find around here! Like giant alligators in the sewers! And not to mention all the different animals at the zoo they have!" RJ continued.
"Awesome!" Quillo said.
"Can we go to New York, RJ?" Spike asked.
"Please?" Bucky pleaded.
"Yeah RJ! Please?" Hammy begged, his soulful eyes blinking.
Verne watched intently, not liking where this was going at all.
"Well, it's pretty far away, and it's not really that great. I mean…" RJ trailed off as he saw the three kids about to cry. Think, RJ! He thought to himself. This could be your chance to make amends for what you did to them. Take them on a trip to your favorite city and just make sure nothing goes wrong!
"Okay, okay, you guys win! I'll make travel arrangements to go to New York! And trust me, you haven't lived until you had a New York style potato chip!"
The three cubs and Hammy cheered and tackled RJ giving him a group hug. All RJ could do was laugh.
Verne shook his head and got ready to be the downer once again. Then he realized that he didn't always have to be the downer. Maybe going to New York would be fun after all…
A few hours later, everyone was ready to go and eagerly awaiting the word from RJ. After what seemed like an eternity, RJ popped his head through a nearby bush and signaled the others to follow. After walking though the foliage, they were greeted by the sight of a bus terminal and a giant bus sitting in the lot.
"This is what they call a Greyhound!" RJ explained to the others. He kept forgetting that they haven't seen as much as he had. "Unlike the dog, you don't have to clean up after this one!"
"So what do we do?" Heather asked, eager to go and do some big city shopping. Well, as much shopping as a opossum could do anyway.
"We hide in its stomach!" RJ said, opening the luggage compartment. "Spacious, comfortable," RJ reached into the darkness and pulled out a bag of chips, "and in flight snacks!"
The others made noises of amazement as they filed into the bus. It was going to be a long, but well worth it trip.
"What about our home?" Verne suddenly asked.
"Don't worry, I've got it all under control!" RJ said confidently, thinking of their log surrounded with those left over lawn gnomes the Verminator left behind.
"Ready to go to the big city, Puffball?" Stella the skunk asked the big Persian cat.
"Yes my love, and we will have a romantic evening together!"
Everyone grew silent as the bus began to move.