by Paul Olsen
© copyright 2004 Paul Olsen

Deeta rang the "Hey, Everybody!" triangle that hung on her porch, DINGA-DINGA-DINGA-DINGA-DINGA-DINGA-DINGA!
And sure enough, everyone came running to find out what was going on. Well, almost everyone. Pussyraptor came bop-toddling along, as she always did....except when she pshoom-ed. Deeta only rang the "Hey Everybody!" triangle on very special occasions, so this must be something very special!
As always, Meerkat was the first one there, screeching to a halt and throwing dust all over Deeta as he did so, making her cough. He said, "What'sUp?Huh?Huh?Huh?"
Deeta dusted herself off and looked askance at Meerkat while she waited 'til everybody gathered round, and then she held up a beautiful card and said, "Look what the Mail Duck brought us this morning! An invitation from Sarah Dactyl to one of her famous tea parties!!"
Everyone jumped up and down and said, "Yay!"
Well, everyone but Pussyraptor. She just stood there, with Donk on her horn-thingies, looking very Donk-like, and cocked her head and said "Huh?"
Deeta looked at Pussyraptor and said, "Tea Party, Pussyraptor!"
Pussyraptor scrunched up her eyebrows and thought real hard. "Tee-Par-Tee?...huh?"
Deeta smiled and said, "Party, Pussyraptor! We've all been invited to a party!"
Pussyraptor clapped her hands and said, "YAY!.....Loons????"
"Well, I don't think there will be balloons at this party, Pussyraptor, but I'm sure Sarah Dactyl won't mind if you bring some balloons, seeing as you like them so much," said Deeta. "It IS a party, after all!"
Pussyraptor clapped her hands again and said "Loons! Yay!" and everybody joined in again. Well, everybody but Fingers. He knew he was going to get stuck with blowing up Pussyraptor's balloons, and it always made him dizzy, cause Pussyraptor liked LOTS of balloons of all different colors. The red ones were always the hardest to blow up.
Donk liked balloons, too....but for a different reason.
"Now, everybody," said Deeta, sitting down on her porch steps, "Sarah Dactyl goes to a lot of trouble to put on her very special parties, so we should go to some trouble too, to look as nice as we possibly can, AND be on our best behavior, OK?"
They all nodded. Pussyraptor nodded too, though she didn't quite understand what Deeta was saying. When Pussyraptor nodded, Donk got a real good ride and had to hang on tight with his feet, causing Pussyraptor to go, "Ow-eee, Donks!"
"This gives us all a chance to wear our very finest things," said Deeta. "If any of you need help with your outfits, just come and see me and I'll sort you out, OK?"
"OK!" they all chorused....except for Pussyraptor, who said, "Yo-kays!!"
Everybody went away all excited, making plans for the big party. Deeta had some very special polka-dot ribbons she was saving for Pussyraptor....this would be the ideal occasion for her to wear them. They would go with her balloons perfectly!
Meanwhile, Sarah Dactyl was putting the finishing touches on her preparations for the tea party. When she was finished, she sat on the setee in her lounge, calmly taking in the surroundings. Everything was, as usual, in spiffing order. She smiled as she looked at the vases of freshly-cut flowers, the immaculately laid-out table, the crisp linen tablecloth, the silver centerpiece (her pride and joy), and all the napkins carefully folded and ironed into fans and placed on each seat. The silverware was all polished and gleaming, and the teacups and saucers were sparkledy and squeaky clean. Little bowls of expensive sweets and treats were dotted around the table. There was a rose in each water glass, and a little present at each place setting.
Yes, Sarah Dactyl thought, everything is just PERfect! She was very pleased with herself, as she always was, for being so thorough and meticulous..... and so correct. No one could give a magnificent party like Sarah!
Sarah wandered around the table and checked everything one more time and then floated off to her boudoir to get ready. She opened her hand-carved armoir and surveyed her collection of filmy, pastel silk scarves. With a discerning eye, she carefully selected JUST the right one and draped it over her shoulders. Very chic.
It was almost time. Sarah Dactyl would put on a party no one would ever forget!
While Sarah was preparing for the party, Deeta was rushing around trying to get everyone ready. Fingers was going nuts trying to tie his tie, so Meerkat offered to help. "Here,Fingers,LetMeHelpYouWithThat! I'mGreatAtTyingTies!" and Meerkat grabbed the tie and went ZOINK! strangling Fingers, and turning him purple because the tie was so tight.
Fingers reached out and put his hands around Meerkat's throat and croaked, "Are you trying to KILL me!!?? Well FINALLY I've got you in my clutches, you scrawny nincompoop, and I'm gonna strangle YOU!" and he shook poor Meerkat silly, as Meerkat gasped and coughed and went "Arrrgghhhh!!!!!"
"Boys!" shouted Deeta. "Stop that silliness! Look at you both, you look a mess! Shame on you."
Fingers released Meerkat, who collapsed in a heap on the floor, gasping for air.
Pussyraptor leaned over to Meerkat and offered him a berry. "Ber-ry, Meer-kas?"
"Caaaggghhh!" went Meerkat, still struggling to breathe. Pussyraptor popped a berry in his open mouth, almost choking him. "There-theres!" Pussyraptor said proudly, and patted him on the head.
Poyyo helped Fingers get his tie sorted out, and Deeta rescued Meerkat and tidied HIM up, for once. When Deeta straightened out Meerkat, she said, "Pussyraptor, look what I've got for YOU!" and she held up the big polka-dot ribbons. Pussyraptor clapped her hands and blinked happily, *blink-blink*
Deeta tied the ribbons on Pussyraptor's horn-thingies and then told her to look in the mirror. Pussyraptor bop-toddled over to the mirror and held her hand to her mouth and said, "Ohhh! Dee-ta! Sank yoos!!" *blink-blink*
"You're very welcome, Pussyraptor. You look VERY pretty! Well, you'll be the prettiest one there!" and Pussyraptor blushed, *blink-blink*
"Right, what else do we have to do?" said Deeta. "Oh! I know! Fingers, have you blown up Pussyraptor's balloons yet?"
Fingers groaned....his throat was still sore.
"What did you say, Fingers?" asked Deeta.
"Uhh...I said 'no,' but I'll get on it right away," said Fingers.
Pussyraptor looked over to Fingers and said sweetly, "Sank yoos, Fings!"
Fingers smiled....Pussyraptor was so sweet, he loved blowing up her balloons, really, even if he did have a sore throat. He would take care of Meerkat later.
Poyyo looked around. Everyone was ready to go. Fingers had blown up Pussyraptor's balloons, and she proudly held a big bunch of them, which Donk was watching like a hawk. Or like a Donk.
"Right! Is everyone ready? Have we got everything?" asked Poyyo. Deeta had on her best party dress and was just brushing her hair. "I'm all ready," she said.
"OK," said Poyyo, "let's go!" And off they went to Sarah's, all looking very smart and all looking forward to the fun they were going to have at the tea party.

When they arrived, Pussyraptor went up to Sarah's door and leaned over so Donk could go "DONK-DONK-DONK!"
Sarah was draped across her loveseat, awaiting her guests, when a loud DONK-DONK-DONK! on her door made her jump. "That MUST be them!" she thought, and got up greet them. She swept open the door dramatically and said, "Welcome, friends, to my humble home! Thank you all for coming."
Deeta smiled and said, "Thank you for inviting us, Sarah. Everybody is really excited about your tea party!"
"Well, come in then! Come in," said Sarah, as she stood aside to let them in.
Meerkat made a dash for the door, but Fingers grabbed his tail and said, "Oh, no you don't, you fast-talking stick insect!" and held him in place as he walked through door regally, treading on Meerkat's foot.
"Oww!" said Meerkat.
"Boys! Shhh!" admonished Deeta, as she smiled at Sarah. "They squabble a lot. You know what boys are like!" She stepped inside.
"I'm afraid I do," said Sarah, disapprovingly.
"WouldYouLikeANut,Sarah?" asked Meerkat.
Sarah simply looked down her nose at him.
"IGuessThat'sNo,Huh?" said Meerkat.
Sarah sniffed, and turned away.
Fingers looked around the room in awe, eyeing all the wonderful, shiny things in Sarah's house. Deeta shot him a look that told him to be on his best behavior.
Poyyo came in next and doffed his hat. "Hello, Sarah," he said.
"Hello, Poyyo.....so glad you could come!" said Sarah, airily.
"I've really been looking forward to seeing the inside of your house, Sarah....maybe I'll get some ideas for my tree house!" said Poyyo.
"Hmmmm, maybe you will," drawled Sarah. She didn't approve of tree houses.
Pussyraptor bop-toddled up to the door and smiled and blinked, *blink-blink*
Sarah looked at Pussyraptor's balloons and said, "Oh....balloons. How very, uh......nice."
Pussyraptor smiled, not realizing that Sarah wasn't happy about Pussyraptor bringing balloons, and said, "Sank yoos, Sar-rah!" As a gift from the entire Troupe, Pussyraptor presented Sarah Dactyl with a basket filled to the brim of her best tea berries and said, "Ber-ries, Sar-rah?"
Sarah had the wind knocked right out of her sails. Pussyraptor was so sweet and charming. Sarah smiled graciously and said, "Why, thank you, Pussyraptor! How very thoughtful of you! I've heard so much about your wonderful berries! These will go PERfectly with my scones!"
Pussyraptor blushed and blinked, *blink-blink* Behind Deeta, she wondered what a scone was while Fingers' eyes began to rove. "You must tell me your secret for growing your berries so successfully," said Sarah.
"Huh?" said Pussyraptor, not understanding Sarah. "Ber-ry?"
"Oh, come in, Pussyraptor, come in," said Sarah.
Pussyraptor stepped over the threshold as Deeta shouted, "Duck, Pussyraptor!" Donk went DOINK! straight into the doorjamb.
Pussyraptor stopped and said, "Duck-ees? GWACK?" she liked ducks and looked around for them, "Gwack-gwack-gwack?"
'No, not ducks, Pussyraptor, DUCK!" said Deeta.
Pussyraptor looked at Deeta like she was nuts. "Duck-ees? GWACK! Duck-ees! GWACK-GWACK!" She couldn't see any ducks. What was Deeta going on about?
Deeta laughed and said, "Forget the ducks, let's rescue Donk!"
"Donk-see?" said Pussyraptor, and looked cross-eyed up at her horn-thingies. "GWACK! Donk-see!" and she stepped back through the door to pull Donk out of the doorjamb, "GWWAAAAAAACCKKK! THOINKK!"
They both fell down the steps, KALUMPETY-BOOM! and everybody tried not to laugh.
This is a great start to the party, thought Poyyo.
Deeta ran down the steps and helped Pussyraptor and Donk disentangle themselves, and then she whispered in Pussyraptor's ear not to forget to duck again. Pussyraptor said, "Huh? Gwack???" and Deeta started giggling. She helped Pussyraptor up the steps and through the door.
Sarah was a little ruffled, but she composed herself. "Would everyone like to sit down?" she asked, guiding everyone to their seats.
The chairs were finely carved, and very dainty. Pussyraptor went to sit down and the chair gave way under her weight, CRASH!
"GWAAACKK!" gwacked Pussyraptor as she fell over, BOOM!
Donk fluttered away just in time and landed on Sarah Dactyl's head.
Pussyraptor took the tablecloth with her as she fell backwards, and all the cups and saucers and bowls of candy and glasses with roses in them and EVERYTHING landed in Pussyraptor's lap, SKABLANGLE-KABLONKLE-KATINK!
Deeta froze.
Sarah was in shock.
Donk was on Sarah.
Poyyo was giggling.
Fingers held his head in his hands and groaned.
Meerkat jumped up, and dashed around the table, ZOOM! SWISH! ZOWIE! And before anyone could say "Snurgleblurfer!" Meerkat had tidied everything up and found a bench for Pussyraptor from the garden. He sat down, breathing heavily, and said, "GreatParty,Sarah!"
Sarah didn't know what to say, so she asked Poyyo if he took sugar in his tea.
"Yes, please," said Poyyo. He had something of a sweet beak.
Sarah went round the table serving everyone, and Deeta thought they were doing very nicely, except maybe for Meerkat, who asked for TEN sugars in his tea.
Pussyraptor sat quietly, not sure what to do with herself. She watched Deeta for clues. Sarah put out Pussyraptor's tea-berries, and Pussyraptor knew what to do with those, but she wasn't sure about the tea and the other things on the trays. And what was wrong with the sandwiches? She had seen Poyyo eat sandwiches before, but they were big, sloppy ones with salami and cheese and schnockenblockens hanging out of them. These sandwiches were itsy-bitsy! Did Sarah know her sandwiches had shrunk?
Meerkat wasn't concerned about shrunken sandwiches, he had a whole plate of scones in front of him, and he gobbled them up, GULP-GULP-GULP! Yum! He ate his food like a vacuum cleaner, SLUUUURRPPP!! Very noisy.
Meerkat looked up, a scone half hanging out of his mouth, and realized everyone was watching him. He smiled weakly and slurched the last bit of scone into his mouth and gulped, trying to think of something suave to say. For once, Meerkat was at a loss for words. "NiceScones," he said, hopefully.
Sarah looked down her nose and said, "Thank you for telling us, Meerkat. Now everyone else will know how good they WERE."
Pussyraptor was still staring at the sandwiches, her horn-thingies twirling in thought. Donk was beginning to get dizzy and tightened his grip, which startled Pussyraptor. "Ow-eee! Donks!" She twitched her horn-thingies and Donk flew off and plopped right in a bowl of orange marmalade, SPLOOOSH!
"Woops!" said Pussyraptor, giggling.
Poyyo laughed and reached over to pull Donk out of the marmalade, but Fingers, being the fastidious raccoon that he was, snatched Donk and began to wash him in the finger bowl---it seemed appropriate---just like he washed all his food. Donk squawked in protest, and when Fingers let him go, Donk flew back to Pussyraptor's horn-thingies and dried himself off with her ribbons, frowning at Fingers.
Sarah raised an eyebrow, tut-tutted, and adjusted her scarf. Oh my. I certainly have my work cut out for me here, she thought. Etiquette lessons will start tomorrow!
Donk was eyeing Pussyraptor's balloons. They were right next to him. He turned and donked the nearest one, BANG!!
Everybody jumped.
Pussyrator dropped her cup of tea and it splashed all over her, "GWAACKK!" she gwacked. Tea was HOT!
Fingers was in the process of slipping the shiny sugar spoon into his pocket when he jumped and the spoon went flying.....SPLURK! right into the bowl of berries for all to see.
Meerkat had just taken a gulp of tea when the balloon popped. He jumped, and the tea went down the wrong way and he started coughing uncontrollably. Deeta was pounding him on the back.
Poyyo was talking to Sarah and yelled, "WAHAAA!" scaring Sarah, and her glasses slid off her nose, PLOP! right into her teacup.
Pussyraptor was using the napkin to dry herself and everyone looked at everyone else and was very quiet.
Sarah retrieved her glasses with as much dignity as she could muster, took a deep breath, and said, "Well, shall we open our presents?"
Meerkat and Fingers reached for the same one and began fighting over it. Fingers grabbed Meerkat's tail and gave it a good yank while Meerkat put Fingers in a headlock. "Give me THAT!" said Fingers, choking.
"It'sMINE!" said Meerkat, and they fell on the floor, squabbling.
"Boys!" commanded Deeta.
They both stood up, looking sheepish. "There's a present for each one of you," said Deeta.
"ButIWantThisOne!" said Meerkat.
"So do I!" said Fingers.
"Stop being silly, you don't even know what's in them. Here, Meerkat, you take this one, and Fingers, you take this one. There, it's settled," said Deeta.
Sarah took a deep breath, this party wasn't going at all the way she planned it. "Uh....Deeta, why don't you open your present first?" she said.
Deeta opened her present and held up a pretty clasp for her hair. "Oh, thank you, Sarah!" she said.
"You're quite welcome, my dear," oozed Sarah. "Poyyo?"
Poyyo opened his present and held up a shiny screwdriver. "Just what I needed, Sarah! Thank you!" He admired his new screwdriver and couldn't wait to use it. He now had a saw, a hammer, AND a new screwdriver! He was thinking of all the wonderful things he could build with them.
Fingers opened his present and pulled out a bag of colored marbles. "Wow! These are GREAT, Sarah! Thank you! I love marbles!"
Meerkat tore open his present and pulled out a pair of goggles. "DOUBLE-WOW!!!" he wowed, and put them on. "HowDoILook???"
"FANTRABULOUS!" laughed Deeta.....everyone loved Meerkat's new goggles, and he really camped it up, lowering his head and scanning his eyes around the table, looking very silly, causing everyone to crease up with laughter.
"Sarah! those goggles are PERFECT for Meerkat!" enthused Poyyo, and everyone agreed.
"ThankYou,Sarah!!!!!" said a very pleased Meerkat.
"You're very welcome, Meerkat. When I saw them, I knew they were for you," said Sarah, happy she scored a bullseye.
Sarah smiled and looked at Pussyraptor. "Pussyraptor?"
"Huh?" said Pussyraptor.
"Present?" said Sarah, pointing at Pussyraptor's present.
Pussyraptor clapped her hands and carefully undid the ribbon and handed it up to Donk for safekeeping, and then slowly took off the pretty wrapping paper and opened her present. Inside was a silver compact mirror on a chain that Pussyraptor could wear around her neck so she could see how pretty she looked in her ribbons whenever she wanted to.
"Oohhhhh!" she said, as she held her hands to her mouth. Pussyraptor smiled and blushed and blinked, *blink-blink* and said, "Sank yoos, Sar-rah!" *blink-blink*
Sarah got up and undid the chain and put the compact around Pussyraptor's neck. "There," she said, "You're very welcome, Pussyraptor." She popped open the compact and held the mirror up so Pussyraptor could see herself. "See how pretty you look?" said Sarah.
"GWACK!" gwacked Pussyraptor, looking at her ribbons, and smiling.
Sarah turned to everyone and said, "I'm so glad you all liked your presents....I had so much fun picking them out, trying to decide what everybody would like! It's MUCH more fun giving presents than receiving them."
"NoItIsn't," said Meerkat.
Fingers grabbed him and pushed his head in the marmalade. "Yes it is, you weasel!" he said.
Deeta looked crossly at Fingers, and he let go of Meerkat and started playing with his marbles on the table.
Everybody jumped. Donk had donked another balloon.
Sarah said, "Oh! I almost forgot! Donk, there's a present for you as well!"
Donk donked all the rest of Pussyraptor's balloons, BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!!!! and jumped up and down on Pussyraptor's horn-thingies in his excitement. Donk had never been given a present before.
Sarah beckoned Donk over to her and she put his present in front of him. Donk undid the ribbons expertly with his beak, and then the paper....he didn't know what the present was, so Sarah held it up and said to Donk, "Here's a studded, black leather jacket for you with the sleeves cut out for your wings!" Sarah then turned it around, and on the back was emblazoned "DONK." Very spiffy.
Donk's eyes lit up as Sarah put the little jacket on him. He looked very fierce and very handsome, and everybody clapped their hands and said, "Wow!"
Fingers couldn't stop looking at it, with all the sparkling studs. "Donk, you look fanTAStic!" he said. Everyone agreed.
Donk was very proud and very happy. He flew back atop Pussyraptor's horn-thingies and posed for one and all, pleased as punch. He liked presents.
Deeta said, "Sarah, thank you so much for inviting us to your wonderful party and for being such a gracious host. We will never forget your kind hospitality."
Sarah Dactyl smiled and blushed and said, "Thank you, Deeta. You know, I didn't know what to expect, and the party certainly didn't go the way I planned, but I've had a lovely time in your company, and I've learned that if everything always went the way we wanted it to, or planned for it to go, life would be very dull. You are all welcome in my house any time. I've really enjoyed having you all here."
Poyyo stood up and lifted his glass. "A toast to our host! Hip-hip, hooray!" and they all toasted Sarah, who realized she had made some wonderful new friends.


Pussyraptor © copyright 2004 Paul Olsen & Andrea Smith