Invisible Animal Crackers

8:05 minutes

—Chapter 5—

“Invisible Animal Crackers”

“TWO zoo tickets, please,” Jelly Belly said politely. “I see only you,” the kind lady in the white ticket booth replied. “Will a friend join you later?” Jelly Belly smiled. His favorite smile. The silly smile. The kind of smile where his mouth corners and eyebrows go up together, while his lips stayed down tight.

“My friend, Jeepers, is right here. He’s invisible,” Jelly Belly assured, nodding at Jeepers. Jeepers made his own silly smile, but of course, only Jelly Belly could see it.

“Yes. I see now. So, here is a ticket for you and an invisible one for your friend, Jeepers.”

Jeepers thought the invisible ticket very clever. He held his breath to keep from laughing. Jelly Belly gave him a glaring stare. Jeepers stifled an invisible giggle.

“Here’s, uh, my money,” stammered Jelly Belly, placing a large coin on the smooth counter with a pop. Jelly Belly hoped it was enough. He wasn’t sure how much the coin was worth. It was so big. Surely it was worth a real ticket, and an invisible one, too.

“That is enough for your ticket. Now, for your friend, do you have any invisible money?”

“Of course,” Jelly Belly sighed with relief. He reached deep into the pocket of his overalls. Way down at his fingertips, he felt an invisible coin.

“Here!” he said with fervor. He silently placed the invisible coin next to the real one.

“Very good. You may go in,” said the nice lady. Jelly Belly skipped with invisible Jeepers to the tall iron gate. At the tall gate, stood a big man who took Jelly Belly’s ticket and punched a hole in it. The red hole fluttered to the ground.

“Excuse me,” said the big man to Jelly Belly. “You dropped your invisible ticket.” He bent down gingerly picking up the red hole and handed it gracefully to Jelly Belly. Jelly Belly was amazed. Sure enough. In one paw, the red ticket. It’s punched out hole was invisible. And, in the other paw, the invisible ticket. All Jelly Belly could see was the red hole.

“Thanks!” declared the surprised Jelly Belly.

“You’re welcome!” said the big man with a wink. “Enjoy our wonderful zoo!” And, he cordially tipped his hat.

What a wonderful zoo it was! To Jelly Belly it seemed as big as the whole earth. He ran very fast from pen to pen and cage to cage. Fortunately, Jeepers was invisible. He took shortcuts: through the cages. This saved him considerable time and energy. Jelly Belly implored Jeepers to watch out. Perhaps there were invisible animals, too.

Jelly Belly and Jeepers were having a magnificent time. There were gorillas, elephants, giraffes, birds, and then … Jelly Belly spotted the most amazing sight … the Polar Bears. He pressed his face right against the bars of the cage.

“Look, Jeepers! White bears! Wouldn’t it be fun to talk to them?” Jelly Belly exclaimed.

And then it happened. Jeepers made “the” suggestion. If Jelly Belly turned his lumpy head sideways … why it would fit right through the bars. Right through! Unfortunately, his plump body did not. And now, he couldn’t get his head back out. He was stuck. Very stuck.

“Jeepers, go find help,” gulped the flustered Jelly Belly. But, Jeepers decided to stay with Jelly Belly. He would remain to comfort Jelly Belly in his dilemma. Besides, that’s what invisible friends are for, good suggestions and support afterward.

Soon a crowd gathered around the embarrassed Jelly Belly.

Many wondered if the polar bears would sniff or lick Jelly Belly … or maybe even eat him. The crowd gasped as an enormous bear sauntered over to Jelly Belly. And then, the polar bear spoke to Jelly Belly. To the crowd and even Jeepers, it sounded like growlings and grumblings. Jelly Belly understood the secret bear language because even though he was small, he was a teddy bear. And bears stick together.

“How did you get your head stuck, funny little bear?” grunted the giant white bear.

“Well … You see, sir … um … my invisible friend, Jeepers, well, he suggested it.”

“Would you like help getting out?”

“Yes, sir. If, it’s not too painful,” said Jelly Belly grimacing.

“You appear very soft. I am very strong. Hold very still,” replied the growly bear.

The great white bear reared back with his bulging arm and a quick swat … POP! Jelly Belly sailed off into some tall trees.

The crowd let out a cheer and applauded. After several bows. The enormous bear strolled back toward his ice cave.

A passing giraffe sauntered by and Jelly Belly slid safely down his neck to the ground. Jeepers was very concerned and ran to Jelly Belly, helping him up. Jelly Belly checked if all his stitches were tight and that he hadn’t lost any stuffing. Everything seemed in place. He waved at the Polar Bear.

“I’m okay. Thanks!” yelled Jelly Belly.

“Come on,” he whispered to Jeepers “I’ll buy you some animal crackers at the corner store. Some invisible ones, too.”

And, off they skipped to safer grounds where their tummies were the king of the beasts.