(Disclaimer: I hereby do not, in any way, shape, or form, own anything except for the new characters. All other characters, trademarks, names, brands, franchises, and locations are registered trademarks and copyright of their respective owners. I don't even own Disney. I understand that any form of copyright infringement is strictly prohibited.)
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Chapter 3: Welcome To Oakey Oaks
"Hey William, whatcha listening to?" I asked William. We were still on the Boeing 747 airplane.
"Lil Wayne," he replied. "This song is so disgusting."
A businessman stood up and made his way to the lavatory. He pulled the sliding door open and a woman was in there. There was a loud shriek which made William squawk with laughter.
"I can't believe you invaded my privacy!" the woman snapped.
"I didn't even know you were in there," the businessman said. "I walked in because the sign on the door had a 'Vacant' sign. You could've locked the door to switch the sign to 'Occupied.' My apologies, madam."
"I forgive you," the woman said as she went out of the lavatory to let the businessman in. "I apologize as well," she added.
"William, give it three more days and a giant acorn would knock you out big time," Kasey warned William, who was repeatedly poking her on the cheek.
I asked Rachel how she would predict Oakey Oaks would feel like. "Well, I know it has a welcoming feel to it," she told me, "but it's a definite possibility that it slightly changed."
"Hey Bax-star," Jenna said. I turned towards her. "Yes?"
"I'm drawing all of us in Oakey Oaks with our new friends with us," she said happily. She was using all seven elements of design: space, shape, line, form, texture, color, and value. When she was finished, she gave it to me to keep it as memorabilia. In the picture, a poodle girl put her arm around me. I did the rock n' roll sign. William was looking up and saying, "I don't think the sky's actually falling." Collin was collecting acorns. Tanner was doing the peace sign. Many others were all standing with us.
"That picture is EPIC!" Tanner exclaimed. "Jenna, you're one of the best artists I've seen in the past year."
"Why, thanks!" Jenna replied. "I've been drawing for a few years and I've studied it at..."
There was a sudden beep and the seatbelt sign was activated again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing in the Oakey Oaks-Fremont area in just a few minutes," the speaker said. "We ask that you fasten your seat belts as we are beginning our descent."
The plane descended through the clouds, and we saw nothing but total whiteness out the window. As soon as we saw the land below us, we had just entered the computer-animated (CGI) world. Lush farmland, fields, and oak trees flourished, and the lakes and streams were as blue as the sky. We put away our electronics, sat back down, and fastened our seatbelts. A well-paved road stretched across the field with a single car driving along it. I heard the "whiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrr" of the wheels being activated.
"Flight attendants, prepare for landing," the speaker said again. I saw a few more streets and houses as we got closer to the ground. The runway was only a few feet below our plane. We felt the wheels making contact with the ground as the aircraft decelerated. Applause ensued. It took three minutes for the plane to get to the terminal.
"This is your captain," the speaker said. "We have landed at Acorn-Fremont International Airport. There's a cool temperature outside at 61℉ and it's partly cloudy. Thank you for flying KLM. We hope you will enjoy your stay in the vicinity."
"As Michael Jackson said, this is it," I said excitingly to everyone.
The plane came to a complete stop at Concourse B, and the seatbelt sign was switched off.
We were excitingly chatting about this experience as we made our way down the steps to the main deck to exit the plane.
"Enjoy your stay, sir," the flight attendant at the door said.
"Thanks," I replied.
The airport had a very clean fragrance inside. I walked through the jetway while thinking about all the anthropomorphic animals we would meet. We had remained humans in the animal world. When we got into the next room with the gates, I found that the animal people were not only looking triumphant but also wearing shoes. We walked through the rest of the concourse, past the security section, went down an escalator, and boarded a subterranean train to baggage claim. We went up a huge escalator to the main baggage claim area. Most of us waited at the oval-shaped conveyor belt to retrieve our heavy luggage. We were told by McLean that we could take any transportation. In case we were driving, we were given sheets with precise directions. But how was my group going to get around?
"Guess what we're doing," Tanner told me. "What's the plan?" I questioned.
"We're gonna be renting a car," he said with a smile.
"Yeah? No way!" I laughed.
On our way to the car rental section, we passed McLean's group and David's group on their way to a bus and a leopard holding a sign that read "The Group Of Avram Rago" in bold letters (obviously, Avram's group was taking a cab). Dollar Rent-A-Car was the best choice as it had ATM-like machines with a variety of car manufacturers and models to choose from. I pushed "Start" and Tanner began to observe. When the "Select Car Make" screen popped up, they didn't have real-world manufacturers like Honda, Dodge, Ford, or BMW. Instead, these were new manufacturers that only existed in this world we were in now. The following were available: Conduit, Breton, Fassett, Tungsten, Saxony, Mavis, Autobahn, PCM, Asgard, Kimbap, and Langton. We found a perfect ride for our group of five: a Breton Chinounette, a compact four-door sports sedan with the rear handles on the windows. "We're getting a periwinkle one," I said.
"Word up, man." Tanner seemed really pumped up.
The machine emitted a ticket as soon as I made the purchase. Both of us took it up to the counter, where a male brown bear looked at it closely.
"OK, what do we got? A light blue 1998 Breton Chinounette, grey interior, manual transmission, for two and a half weeks? Alrighty." He scanned the ticket under a red line in the reader. It beeped, and the bear gave the ticket and the car keys back to us. "Your car is waiting in the garage in the parking spot labeled F381," he said. "Have a good one."
"You too," I responded.
William, Jenna, and Tyler ran up to us and gazed at our ticket. "What type of of car is that?" Tyler inquired. "It's gotta be French."
Tanner was wowed by that statement. "How'd you know it was a French car?"
"I have a French aunt, and she helped me with the language."
"You know, they only have these cars in this new world," Tanner stated.
Two minutes later, we took the stairs down to the subterranean rental car garage. "OK guys, it says we gotta look for section F," William informed us. Luckily, section F was nearby. When we got there, I saw F373, F375, F377, and F379 on the right. Tanner pushed the unlock button on the car remote, and the flashing turn indicators on the headlights seemed to belong to the light blue Breton in F381. The other three were shocked.
"That car is the BOMB!"
The car was in excellent condition, with the paint job reflecting the light. It was Tanner's turn to drive, so I got in the front passenger seat. Jenna, Tyler, and William got in the back.
"The door handles look so artsy!" Tyler exclaimed.
"This is one of the BADDEST cars I've ever seen in my life!" Jenna said.
"You all ready to go to the acorn capital of the world?" Tanner asked us all after he got in the driver's seat.
"I am PUMPED!" Tyler hooted. We all buckled up our seat belts.
"Word up! Alright." Tanner inserted the key into the ignition (which was in an awkward location), pushed the clutch down, started the car, put the stickshift into reverse, backed out slowly while revving, put it in first gear, and accelerated.
After many twists and turns, we went up the spiral ramp to the surface. We drove along the airport road towards the Interstate. Whenever we turned onto a street or the stoplight turned green, Tanner drove faster than usual since this car had a manual gearbox. Good thing he didn't stall the engine. I plugged my iPod into the car's auxillary cord and selected "Mercy In You" by Depeche Mode. The stereo system was stellar, with the powerful, vibrating bass. I looked out the window and found out that there were not only the crazy-looking old cars but also newer, more realistic cars. We took the Interstate eastwards to the large city of Fremont, then we took another Interstate northwards through downtown Fremont to the suburban town of Oakey Oaks, home of the best acorns in the universe. We took exit 147 to Grey Crest Road and turned right. We went past some neatly designed homes, crossed a set of railroad tracks, and drove across a covered bridge spanning a creek. Our first stop was the main town square. We took more streets and eventually found something familiar: The red town hall, many shops and restaurants, and the Oaks movie theater. We parked in a spot close by, got out, and closed up the car.
"I want everyone to gather under the old oak tree!" McLean said.
And waiting there was a large group of middle and high school students who were citizens of Oakey Oaks. They greeted us with happiness.
"Okay, these are your new friends who'll be your roommates at the youth hostel," McLean stated. "We'll introduce ourselves, First Pres. I'm McLean Murphy."
"I'm Baxter Smith."
"I'm Tanner White."
"I'm William Allen II."
"I'm Collin Jones."
"I'm Jenna Engert."
"I'm Kasey Ward."
"I'm Paul Anderson."
"I'm Avram Rago, and this is my brother, Hinton."
"I'm Matt Murphy and I'm McLean's husband."
"I'm David Dunkel."
"I'm Ricky Cagno."
"I'm Drew Cappello."
"I'm Stephen Griggs."
"I'm Rachel Yoshida."
"I'm Paige Muller, and this is my twin sister, Lauren."
"I'm Catherine Weaver."
"I'm Tyler Jaenicke and I play football."
"I'm Brittany Rudolph."
"I'm John Howard."
"And I'm Watson Ransom."
McLean then asked the Oakey Oaks crew to introduce themselves.
"I'm Simon Prescott," a male dog said. He was wearing a sky blue T-shirt with a bone on it.
"I'm Carlos Martinez," a male leopard said. He sported a teal ringer tee.
"I'm Corky Dawson," a male Dalmatian said.
"I'm Kylie Hornish," a female rabbit said.
"I'm Diane Cotton," a female poodle said. She was wearing a mint green T-shirt, black shorts with red stripes, and red Converse high-tops.
Wait a minute. Did she just say Diane Cotton? I thought. How did she become a poodle?
"I'm Larry Irving," a male brown bear said.
"I'm Clarissa O'Donaghue," a female white poodle in a red T-shirt said.
"I'm Jeff Swindon," a male raccoon said.
"I'm Nick Kowalski," another male bear said.
"I'm Sally Armstrong," a female cat said.
"I'm Todd Bundy," a male red fox said.
"I'm Quentin Johnson," a male goose said.
"I'm Toshi Matsumoto," a male black cat said.
"Wait! Wait!" Everyone turned around. It was the infamous Chicken Little, running as fast as his tiny Adidas tennis shoes could carry him.
"And last but not least, Chicken Little," Rachel muttered.
"I just found out the sky's not falling until the very distant future! And those alien invasions won't wreck the town again."
"I guess he's not a crazy little chicken after all," I said.
"Roommate choosin' time!" McLean said in a singsong voice.
According to McLean, John and Watson got Carlos, Rachel got Toshi, David and Stephen got Jeff, Ricky got Todd, Collin got Nick, Paige and Lauren got Kylie, Tyler got Corky, Avram and Hinton got Simon, Drew got Quentin, Jenna and Brittany got Sally, Catherine got Larry, Paul got Clarissa, William got Chicken Little, and Tanner and I got Diane. For five minutes, we got to talk with them about ourselves. "Baxter!" someone said. I felt a furry hand touch my shoulder. I quickly turned around. It was Diane! "I'm ecstatic that you're here!" she rejoiced.
"Long time no see!" I replied. We then hugged each other really tight.
"Awwwwww," the others chorused.
We talked and talked and then McLean announced that it was time for us to rest for a while at the hostel. My group got back in the car and went to the youth hostel. It had an internet cafe, a game room, an indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a sauna, an exercise room, a dining room, and a gift shop. The receptionist gave Diane the keycard to our room and Tanner and I followed her upstairs to room 152. She swiped the card in the slot and a green light flashed to indicate that the door had been unlocked. We stepped into our spacious suite, complete with a bedroom with two queen-sized beds, a Samsung flat-screen HDTV, and a bedside table with a phone; a kitchen with a fridge, an oven, a dishwasher, and a rotary dial microwave; a living room with a comfortable sofa, an ottoman, a desk, and another TV; and a bathroom with a modern sink, a toilet with a unique flush lever, and a modern bathtub with a shower head. The water system was in great condition, and the A/C was blowing.
"Who's ready for lunch at Johnny Rockets?" Diane asked.
"You know, that's one of the best restaurants EVER," Tanner said. "Let's do this!"
We took Diane's car, a silver 2001 Asgard Juggernaut, and we had a delicious lunch at the restaurant. We were so glad we went on this trip.