by Paul Olsen
© copyright 2004 Paul Olsen

Meerkat was zooming here, zooming there, and zooming, ZOOMING! everywhere! He was also crashing into things a lot, as well!
"SoMuchToDo!" he said, as he scarfed some nuts, pulled down his goggles, and went ZOOM! SWISH! ZOWIE! This was Meerkat's week. He was in his element, organizing the big fair they were all going to put on.
Of course, he would get tuckered out and fall asleep somewhere because of all his zooming, and swishing, and zowieing. Pussyraptor would find him and plonk him in her baby buggy and put his little bonnet on, proudly wheeling him around with her as she dispensed her berries to everyone working on the fair.
This drove Meerkat nuts when he woke up to find himself in Pussyraptor's baby buggy with that silly bonnet on his head. But there was nothing he could do about it, try as he might. He kept asking Pussyraptor that if she HAD to wheel him around, could she at least use her wheelbarrow that Poyyo made for her?

Pussyraptor couldn't quite understand what Meerkat was trying to tell her; and anyway, if he was saying what she thought he was saying, why would she use an uncomfortable wheelbarrow that was all dirty from her gardening, when she could use her clean and comfy baby buggy? Meerkat didn't make any sense, so she just ignored him.
Poor Meerkat.
Poyyo and Fingers were very busy constructing the booths....Poyyo built them, and Fingers painted them, making them really beautiful. Then Sarah Dactyl and Deeta would fix all the bunting and tie pretty ribbons on all the booths to make them sparkle, finishing them off perfectly.
When Fingers finished all his painting, he began to blow up the balloons that Deeta would need to decorate all the booths. Donk watched every move he made.
The cider ducks were making apple cider as fast as they could, to keep everyone refreshed while they worked on the fair. The cider ducks would be in charge of the apple-dunking booth.....and the duck races, of course!
Pussyraptor made sure everyone had their fair-berries to keep them happy! Everyone was busy-busy-busy! Pussyraptor had never been to a fair before, and didn't even know what a fair was.....but everyone was so excited about it, and having so much fun designing and making the booths, that Pussyraptor got excited, too, and couldn't wait for Fair Day!
Meerkat had a lot on his plate: not only was he in charge of organizing the whole shebang, but he was also in charge of telling everybody in the forest about it so they would all come. And who put Meerkat in charge of everything? Why, Meerkat, of course!
ZOOM! SWISH! ZOWIE! There wasn't a better organizer in the whole forest. Maybe in the whole world!
The evening before the fair, Deeta checked to make sure they had everything they needed. Let's see, Pussyraptor's Thumping booth was almost complete....Poyyo was just putting the finishing touches on 'his' house; Deeta laughed, that booth was going to be fun! They just tested the Fings Well booth, and it worked a only needed a bit more water to top it up. Poyyo and Fingers really did a good job on that one, she thought. Meerkat's Pop-A-Berry-In-My-Mouth booth was finished, with Pussyraptor supplying Meerkat 5 full baskets of her best fair berries. Poyyo's Pound-A-Nail-In-The-Log booth was all done, and Poyyo made sure he had plenty of big, six-penny nails on hand. Sarah Dactyl's booth was really clever; she had set out a tea party place-setting for four, and you had to throw a lump of sugar into a teacup---and make it stay in---to win a prize. Even Donk had his own booth, of which he was very proud: it was the Pop-A-Balloon booth!
Deeta held her hand to her mouth and gasped. "I've almost forgotten about MY booth!" she said aloud. She ran over to her booth to make sure everything was just right, and then met up with everyone, who were all so excited. They decided to make one last tour around the fair to admire their handywork and make sure everything was hunky-dory.
After they made sure all was well for the big day, Deeta said, "Who's for a little party at my house?"
Everyone said, "Yay!!" and they all trouped over to Deeta's.
On their way over, Fingers and Meerkat got into an argument over whose booth was better. Meerkat gushed, "MyPopABerryInMyMouthBoothWillBeTheBestBoothAtTheFair!"
"Oh, no it won't, weasel-chops!" said Fingers. "Everybody knows my Fings Well booth will be the best one!"
Meerkat jumped on Fingers' back, and started tickling him. "OhNoItWon't!MINEWill BeTheBest!"
"Boys!" shouted Deeta, "Stop it!" Fingers and Meerkat froze, then tucked their tails between their legs, put their heads down, and slunk off to Deeta's, duly chastised.
Everybody was so excited, talking and quacking at once, while they tucked into their cake, apple cider, and berries. This was going to be the best fair ever!
The morning of the fair, everyone was at their booths bright and early, anticipating all the fun they were going to have. The animals from the forest started drifting in, looking at all the booths and playing all the games, and.....all of a sudden, they had a fair!
There was so much going on, and everybody was having such a good time!
Pussyraptor's Thumping booth was a big hit in more ways than one. Pussyraptor had set up a bunch of empty bottles she had collected, all close together on a table. Behind the table was a tree with a simple replica of Poyyo's tree house built in it. Only this was a TRICK Poyyo's tree house. Here's what happened: if you managed to toss a curtain ring around the neck of a bottle, Pussyraptor would get so excited that she would THUMP! Her thumping would shake the tree, and Poyyo's house would come crashing down, CRASH! Poyyo's trick tree house was held together with hidden ropes and hinges, so all Pussyraptor had to do was pull another rope, and it would pull Poyyo's tree house back together and hoist it back up the tree, ready for the next thump! It worked fine, but the trouble was, when Pussyraptor thumped in excitement, not only did Poyyo's house fall down, but all her bottles fell over, too!
Everybody had to have a go at dunking for apples at the cider ducks' booth. Every time someone managed to snare an apple, the cider ducks would all quack quackingly, and dance around the lucky dunker!
Deeta's booth was a tough one....a real game of skill. Deeta had a small table just behind the booth with a single bowling pin standing on it that Fingers had carved for her. Hanging on a string centered just above the bowling pin, and level with the dimple of the bowling pin was Pussyraptor's red ball. The object of the game was to hold the ball and swing it PAST the bowling pin, just missing it, but to knock it over when the ball swung back.
Poyyo's booth was also a game of skill. Poyyo placed a log, split down its length, with the flat side down, on the front counter of the booth. Poyyo would hand you a nail and his hammer, and all you had to do was hammer the nail ALL THE WAY INTO THE LOG with one blow. Poyyo, being a carpenter, could do it, and he would demonstrate how to hold the hammer, and how to swing it to drive the big nail all the way down with one strike. Then he would give you the hammer and let you try. Try as anyone might, no one could it!
Meerkat's booth was very silly. Meerkat simply stood well behind the counter of his booth with his head in the air and his mouth open while fairgoers would try to throw a berry into his mouth. If you got a berry in Meerkat's mouth, you won!
Sarah Dactyl's booth was trickier than it looked. It wasn't too difficult to toss a sugar cube into a teacup on the table she had set up behind the counter of the booth....but it was almost impossible to make one stay in it! Most of the sugar cubes bounced right back out. It was a very popular booth, because it seemed like you could win fairly easily.
FAIR-ly easily! Wahaa!
But, the most popular booth of all was the Fings Well booth. Poyyo and Fingers borrowed one of the cider ducks' largest cider barrels and filled it with water. They painted it all up to look like the well in Deeta's front garden. Fingers sat on a little chair perched right above the barrel, and you had to throw Meerkat's snorgleball at a small target. If you hit the target, the chair would tip over, and Fingers would fall in the well, SPLASH!
Well. You can imagine how popular THAT booth was!
Donk's Pop-A-Balloon-Booth was also very silly. Behind the counter of the booth was a wall with lots of balloons stuck to it. Donk stood on a tall tree stump next to the balloons.....but instead of popping the balloons yourself, you had to throw a curtain ring around Donk's beak! If you managed to ring his beak, then Donk would pop a balloon, POP!
So, there was lots of thumping and dunking and swinging and pounding and tossing and throwing and splashing and quacking and popping and bopping! What a crazy day!
Meerkat's jaw was beginning to get sore from being kept open for such long periods of time, so he took a break and sauntered over to Fings Well. He had to wait in line, because so many people were waiting to try their hands (and paws) at dunking Fingers in the well.
When it was Meerkat's turn, he smiled at Fingers and said, "TimeForABath,Fings!" and threw the ball as hard as he could. WHAM!......KALUNK......Meerkat hit the target, first throw, and Fingers was tipped into the drink, SPLASH!!
"WAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAA!!!" laughed Meerkat, and everybody laughed and cheered as Fingers pulled himself out of the well, looking liked a drowned rat. "PrettyGood,Huh?" said Meerkat, cheekily.
"I'll show you pretty good, weasel-features!" said Fingers, and with that he jumped over the booth and tore after Meerkat, much to the delight of the crowd, ZOOM! SWISH! ZOWIE!!
Meanwhile, Pussyraptor was enjoying herself, watching everyone try to get a curtain ring around one of her bottles. One of the cider ducks managed it, and Pussyraptor was so pleased for him, that she clapped her hands......and then remembered that she was supposed to thump! She thumped a big THUMP! and Poyyo's house came down, CRASH!! and everybody laughed, and then all of Pussyraptor's bottles fell over, PLINKLE-TONKLE-TUNKLE!
Deeta came over to ask Pussyraptor if she could take a break and sit on the dunking seat at Fings Well, because Fingers had disappeared, and there were lots of fairgoers waiting.
Pussyraptor looked at Deeta and said, "Huh?"
Deeta laughed, took Pussyraptor's hand, and said, "Come with me," and off they went, with everyone following, bop, toddle-toddle, bop. This was going to be something to see!
By the time they got to Fings Well, a huge crowd had gathered. Pussyraptor was very flattered that everyone wanted to see her at Fings she carefully climbed on the tipping chair and balanced herself, straightening her ribbons, and then smiled at everybody. "Red-dee!" she said, gleefully.
So many tried to hit the target, but everybody missed! Surely someone could dunk Pussyraptor? Sarah Dactyl soared over and landed and said, "I'll give it a one's at my booth anyway, everybody is over here!"
"C'mon, Sarah, you can do it!" everybody shouted. Could Sarah do it?
She took the snorgleball and hefted it in her hands, getting the feel of it. She looked at Pussyraptor, who went *blink-blink.*
Sarah wound up.....and threw the snorgleball with all her might.
"Try again!" they all shouted.
Sarah took the snorgleball again, and wound up again, and threw it again with all her might....................WHAM!....KALUNK!!!!
"GWAAAAAACKK!!!!!!" gwacked Pussyraptor, as she fell into the well, SPLAAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!!
Pussyraptor was so big that ALL the water splashed out of the well and got EVERYBODY soaked!
They were all laughing....Pussyraptor was wet, Sarah was wet, Poyyo was wet....everybody and everything was dripping!
Meanwhile, Meerkat had lost Fingers and was back at his booth, mouth open, waiting for someone to pop a berry into it. Fingers snuck up to Meerkat's booth and lobbed a berry smack dab into his mouth. He now had his range and started firing berries at Meerkat, who was swallowing as fast as he could, starting to choke. Then Fingers picked up a whole basket of berries and lobbed them into air, almost drowning Meerkat!
Meerkat coughed and spluttered and looked to see who the culprit was, but Fingers had disappeared, and Meerkat was left with berry juice dribbling down his chin.
Fingers wandered over to Deeta's booth. "C'mon, Fings!" said Deeta, "Try a game of skill! Here, take the ball and swing it past the bowling pin like this, see? Then knock it over on the way back, PLONK! like that, see? It's, try it," and Deeta handed Fingers the ball.
Fings held the ball precisely and gave it a gentle push. It just missed the bowling pin on the way in---exactly as Deeta had done.....and it just missed the bowling pin on the way back! Exactly NOT as Deeta had done.
"You didn't do it right, Fings," said Deeta gleefully, having a dig at Fings.
"I know I didn't!" said Fings. He could already see that this game was going to drive him nuts. He tried again.....and missed again!
"No, you do it like this....see?" and Deeta swung the ball past the pin and knocked it over AGAIN on the way back, frustrating Fingers even more.
Fingers tried several more times, and missed several more times and stomped off, muttering that Deeta's booth was stupid and drove him crazy! Deeta laughed at Fingers' annoyance. "C'mon, everybody, try your hand at this game of skill!" shouted Deeta, as more fairgoers stepped up to have a go.
Fingers wandered over to Poyyo's booth.
"Hi, Fings!" said Poyyo. "You're good with your hands, Fings, you should be able to do this," and Poyyo held a nail and showed Fingers how to hammer all the way into the log with one blow. He then handed the hammer to Fingers.
Fingers hit the nail squarely on the head, but it only went in half way. He tried it again.....but again, it only went in half way. He growled, and plonked the hammer down on the counter and gave Poyyo a very annoyed look. "Who designs these stupid games, anyway?" he demanded.
Poyyo laughed, and could see Fingers was having a pretty frustrating day at the fair. "Fingers....I'll let you in on a little secret: no one's been able to pound the nail all the way in with one don't feel bad, OK?"
Just then, Meerkat strolled up to Poyyo's booth and said, "Hi,Fings! Hi,Poyyo!"
Fingers said, "You've got berry juice all over your face, ferret-nose. I guess your booth is pretty successful, huh? WAAHAAA!"
Meerkat shot Fingers a look while Poyyo said to him, "Here, Meerkat, why don't you try your hand at this? Here's what you do....." and Poyyo gave Meerkat a demonstration, then handed him the hammer and put in a new nail for him to hit.
Meerkat took the hammer and banged the nail all the way in, first go. "LikeThat?" he said, and cocked a triumphant look at Fingers. He reached in his rucksack and took out a nut. "WantANut?" he asked.
Fingers reached for Meerkat's throat, but Meerkat was too fast for him and took off, ZOOM! Poyyo was howling with laughter as Fingers stomped off again, in disgust.
Fingers came back to Fings Well, thoroughly fed up, and Pussyraptor took a wander around the fair, wander-toddle. Everything was so exciting, and everyone was having so much fun! She could hear Poyyo calling everyone over to his booth, and she could hear sugar cubes bouncing in and out of teacups, and then she heard BANG!
Pussyraptor clapped her hands and hurried over to Donk's Pop-A-Balloon booth, hurry-toddle. Donk was looking very suave in his leather jacket with his name on the back, and all his silver studs sparkling in the sun. She was so proud that he had his very own Pop-A-Balloon booth.
"Hi-lo, Donk-see!"
Donk donked the tree stump in reply, and struck a pose for Pussyraptor to try to ring his beak. Pussyraptor picked up a ring and sailed it towards Donk, but missed. "Hmf!" she hmfed. She tried again, and missed again, and hmfed again. In fact, she kept trying, and kept missing, and kept hmfing! Finally, Donk popped a balloon, BANG! for her anyway, and Pussyraptor clapped her hands and said, "Sank yoos, Donk-see!" Donk smiled and popped another balloon just for fun, BANG!
"Quack-quack-quack-quack-quack-quack-quack-QUAAACK!" quacked the cider ducks, as they marched around the fair, announcing that the duck races were about to start!
"GWAACK!" gwacked Pussyraptor, and bop-toddled after them, gwack-gwack-gwack. This was going to be exciting!
Meerkat was in charge of the duck races, and laid out a racecourse, with the help of the ducks, using two long lengths of string that zig-zagged across part of the clearing. At one end was the starting gate, made by Poyyo, and at the other end was the finish line.
Eight ducks would race along the course, each with a different color Pussyraptor ribbon around its neck to identify it for those who couldn't read, and a nametag dangling from the ribbon for those who could.
Meerkat had been practicing to speak slowly, so everyone in the crowd could understand him. "OK, everybody! It's almost race time!" shouted Meerkat, as he strolled up and down the racecourse, commanding everyone's attention. "Look at these fine thoroughbreds before you! Step right up, folks, and pick your duck! The race is about to begin!!" Meerkat whipped the crowd's enthusiasm to fever pitch as he extolled the virtues of each duck. "Now, lookee here.....this wonderful specimen---the blue duck, Blitzen---has won many races in the past, and her trainer assures me she is in tip-top condition! Who will bet on Blitzen, the blue duck??" Meerkat took bets on Blitzen, saying, "Thank you sir....thank you ma'am," as he strolled about, enjoying being the center of attention.
"How about Dasher, the red duck? Do I have any takers for Dasher, the red duck?? Dasher has won his last two races!" A bunch of fairgoers bet on Dasher.....and so on, until Meerkat had taken bets on all the ducks.
The ducks were in their starting pen, anxious to get racing. "Just to make it interesting, my friends, I shall sprinkle some of Pussyraptor's special duck-racing berries all along the give the ducks an incentive, and also provide a little distraction for them!" Meerkat then walked up and down the course, sprinkling Pussyraptor's duck-racing berries all along it.
Deeta was smiling. Meerkat really was doing a great job winding everyone up, including the ducks, making the duck race a real big event.
"Now, has everybody placed a bet?" asked Meerkat, as he wandered through the crowd. "This is your last chance before the race!" A few more fairgoers placed bets on their favorite ducks. "OK, I think that's it! Is everybody ready??"
There was a murmur of "Yes!"
"I'm sorry," said Meerkat, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!"
"YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!" They all shouted.
"That's better!" smiled Meerkat. He walked over to the starting gate. The ducks were jumping around, raring to go. The crowd was cheering. "Let the race begin!!" shouted Meerkat, as he lifted the starting gate with a flourish.
The ducks tore out of the starting gate, waddling this way and that, pecking the berries that Meerkat had sprinkled on the ground, and fighting over them, QUACK-QUACK-QUACK!! as they slowly made their way along the course, with the crowd cheering them on. "C'mon, DONDER!" someone shouted. "C'mon, COMET!!" shouted another. The ducks were quacking and squabbling over the berries, and the crowd were getting more and more excited as the ducks got closer to the finish line.
The ducks were closing up near the finish line and Meerkat shouted, "Who will it be? Will it be Prancer, the green duck......or Dancer, the purple duck???" The crowd was going crazy, urging their particular duck forward.
Meerkat had cleverly sprinkled most of Pussyraptor's duck-racing berries right at the finish line, to cause chaos just at the last moment. "Quack-quack-quack!" squabble-squabble, went the ducks, as they all fought over the last berries on the ground at the finish line.
Who was going to win? It was anybody's race!
Was it going to be Dancer, the purple duck? Maybe Cupid, the yellow duck? Or Vixen the orange duck---no, the red duck---or the pink duck????
"Prancer, the green duck wins it!!!" shouted Meerkat, as Prancer stepped over the finish line first (well, actually, she was pushed by Dasher, the red duck).
The crowd really enjoyed the duck race, and then Meerkat announced that over at the dunking booth, the cider ducks were handing out cider to one and all to celebrate the success of the very first duck race!
Poyyo came up to Meerkat and said, "Meerkat, you did a fantastic job! I really enjoyed the duck race, and you made it a success!"
"ThankYou,Poyyo," said Meerkat....."ItWASFun,Wasn'tIt?"
"Let's go have some must be thirsty!" said Poyyo to Meerkat.
"IAm,ABit," said Meerkat, and off they went.
The cider ducks were very organized, and just able to keep up with everyone's thirst for their marvelous drink. There was lots of quacking going on, and everyone was telling stories of their adventures at the various booths. Everybody thought the highlight of the day was when Pussyraptor fell in Fings Well.
What a wonderful time they all had! It was agreed by all that they would have to have a fair every year. It was so much fun to make their own entertainment.

Pussyraptor © copyright 2004 Paul Olsen & Andrea Smith