I've been to Pittsburg, to Kalamazoo (Sour Kangaroo and the Wickershams)

"Cleveland," the Sour Kangaroo snaps, crumpling the ratty circus brochure up disgustedly and throwing it to the ground. "They went to Cleveland."

"See, I tell you, he's nutso," the Wickersham with the hat says. His name is Truman – not that the Kangaroo has ever bothered to find out any of the Wickershams' names – and the heat is making him crabby. "What kinda a travel itinerary is Santa Fé to Cleveland?"

They're clustered, all seven of them – the Sour Kangaroo and the Young Kangaroo and the five Wickershams – around a faded poster stuck in the window of a dinky little gas station in the extreme outskirts of New Mexico's capital, and the truckers who stop by occasionally are giving them very odd looks. Pairs of kangaroos and cinquets of leather-jacket-wearing monkeys are not things one sees every day at a truck stop. So far nobody's come over and bugged them, but it's really only a matter of time.

"Maybe he doesn't get to decide where they go?" the Young Kangaroo suggests. She's sitting on the ice machine way above the cracked sidewalk, sipping at a slushie which is slowly turning a large area around her mouth blue. The others barely even give her a glance.

"Shaddup, kiddie," Washington, the leader of the gang, says, scratching at the date on the poster two weeks previously – with a grimy fingernail.

"Yeah," his second-in-command, Johnson, agrees. "How do you even know how a circus works? You ain't never even been to one, have ya?"

"Yeah," the other two members of the gang, Carter and Dave, agree.

"Nah," the Young Kangaroo agrees. "Mom, can I get another slushie after this one?"

"No, honey," the Sour Kangaroo tells her distractedly. She's digging through her pouch for the tattered world map which they've toted from Nool to New York to Nebraska to Nepal and back again, and having trouble finding it among all the candy wrappers and cup lids which have accumulated in there since the Young Kangaroo discovered junk food. "You've had enough sugar for the day."

"Come on, kiddo." Truman grabs the Young Kangaroo under the arms and lifts her down off the ice machine. "I'll buy you something, you just gotta give me half. Anything to get outta this sun for five minutes."

"Hey! You– I told her no, didn't you hear me?" the Sour Kangaroo screeches, her head snapping up from the middle of the partially unfolded map. "And you shouldn't be eating that artificial dreck either!"

Truman shrugs. "Deal widdit, Sour. You're the one who dragged us all the way out here. Hey, guys, hold the cycles for us, will you? C'mon, Roo." He holds the door open for her, and they step into the blessed air conditioning of the convenience store. The Jungle of Nool was never this sweltering.

The Young Kangaroo spots the potato chips and makes a beeline toward them, already in bargaining mode. "Can we get Ruffles?"

The Wickersham grins. "Sure, why not." He hoists the kangaroo onto his shoulders so she can reach the top shelf – he himself is not a very tall monkey.

"Hey, Roo," the monkey asks the Young Kangaroo as she teeters to reach the bag of chips, "you know your mom is a total nutso, right? Complete control freak. I mean, seriously, the elephant is gone. Kaput. No longer on the agenda list. We were just having a little fun, but her? She's gotta learn to let go, dude. She just can't stand to think somebody beat her. So here we are chasin' the elephant who's chasin' the clover all over America. She ever do stuff like that with you?"

"Well, yeah–" The Young Kangaroo squeaks as she nearly overbalances. Truman grabs her legs in a moment of panic and, when they've regained their equilibrium, lowers to the floor. "I mean, she brought me along with you guys too."

Truman eyes her, about three feet off the linoleum floor and hugging a bag of Rrridged Rrruffles nearly as big as herself, the picture of contentment. "Doesn't look to me like you mind that much."

"Why would I?" the Young Kangaroo says, beginning the long, awkward walk toward the checkout counter with the bag banging against her legs at every step. "I always wanted to see outside the jungle. And eat potato chips."


A/N: I feel like I can't really write the Wickershams... oh well.

I think the Young Kangaroo is adorable (when she's played by a little girl instead of a puppet, that is). She reminds me of my own sister a bit. O.o

Also, I know that originally the Wickershams are written for three parts, but I just feel like they work better as a gang than a trio. So yeah.