unny was sitting on the bed one morning, laying lazily in the sun, when Mugsy, the big brown stuffed dog, climbed up next to him.
"Bunny," began Mugsy, "how would you like to help me out?"
Bunny, who always tried to assist his fellow toys, replied, "Sure, Mugsy, what do you want me to do?"
"I have a special job for you. Not everyone can do this. It requires someone who is very sensitive and gentle."
"That's me!" answered Bunny. "Gentle and Sensitive are my middle names. Bunny Gentle Sensitive Rabbit. That's what everybody calls me."
Mugsy nodded, then went on, "Yes, I know you are gentle and sensitive, Bunny. However, this job is also going to require something you might not be so good at-"
"Like what?" interrupted Bunny, "I'm good at everything!"
"Sometimes," continued Mugsy, "you can get to be a little over-excited-"
"Who gets over-excited?" demanded Bunny, "CERTAINLY NOT ME!"
"You're doing it," noted Mugsy.
"DOING WHAT?" replied Bunny, his voice rising in pitch with each sentence.
"Getting over-excited about being over-excited," replied Mugsy.
Bunny caught himself and calmed down. "I guess you're right," he remarked, "I did get a little over-excited. But I promise it won't happen again. Not on this job."
"Good," replied Mugsy, "Come on, I'll show you what needs to be done."
They went to the end of the bed and Mugsy pointed a paw towards the desk. Standing there, side by side, were two white, fuzzy, stuffed animals with four feet and ears that pointed off to each side. "Do you know what those are?" asked Mugsy.
Bunny thought for a second and, still a bit unsure, replied, "Poodles?"
"No, Bunny, they're not dogs at all. They're sheep."
"Oh," said Bunny, "I've heard of those."
"The children brought these home today. They just arrived."
Bunny took a close look at the sheep. They stood side-by-side, not moving.
"As you might know, Bunny," continued Mugsy, "sheep are very timid animals. They scare easily. We need somebody who can be very gentle and sensitive to the sheep to show them around the house and get them used to the place. Introduce them to each of the animals one by one. I'm sure crowds staring at them would make them very nervous."
"I can do that!" exclaimed Bunny.
"You will also be responsible for their safety, too," added the big brown dog, "you need to warn them about Shark, and keep them away from him."
"Well, go ahead and start then, Bunny," finished Mugsy, "it's up to you. Remember, though, sheep are very timid. Try not to get excited and scare them. Okay?"
Bunny nodded and strode off to talk to the sheep.
"Hi, my name is Bunny," said Bunny, in his softest tone, as he stood before the sheep. "Welcome to your new home."
The sheep were small, fuzzy animals. Even on Bunny, who was one of the smaller stuffed animals himself, they only came up to his waist.
"What are your names?" Bunny asked.
There was the most fleeting of glances between the sheep and then one replied, "My name is Whitey," he said, "and this is my brother, Whitey."
A frown passed over Bunny's face. "You're both named Whitey?"
Both sheep nodded in reply.
Bunny scratched his head and turned back toward Mugsy to relay this surprising fact, but the brown dog was gone. As Bunny turned, though, he could have sworn he heard a snickering sound, but when he turned back to the sheep they stood there watching him in perfect silence.
"Well, that seems confusing to me, but I guess we'll find a way to get along. Come on, I'm supposed to show you the house and help you meet all your new friends," said Bunny.
"The first place we'll visit, since it's so close, is the closet here." Bunny and the sheep were standing on the floor in front of the big closet, looking up. "All the toys are on the second shelf up there. Now you have to be careful, especially when you are walking up there. Sometimes the kids don't put them up too well and you can knock something heavy off onto somebody down here..."
Bunny turned around. To his amazement, the sheep were gone. Then he heard a creaking noise overhead. Bunny looked up just in time to have a plastic toy hammer land on his head.
"Ouch! Who did that?" Bunny yelped.
From the shelf two white faces appeared. "Sorry about that," said one sheep. "My brother Whitey knocked it over."
"No! My brother Whitey knocked it over!" said the other sheep.
"Never mind, just try to be more careful, okay?" said Bunny, "and don't wander off by yourselves. You don't know the house or the other animals yet."
The sheep disappeared from the shelf, but Bunny was almost sure he heard just the slightest wisp of laughter as they climbed down.
"Okay," said Bunny, when the sheep were with him again, "Now I'm going to show you the rest of the bedroom. This way."
Bunny took a few steps, then noticed he was walking alone. Whirling around he realized that the sheep had disappeared again. Now he was getting annoyed.
"Timid! Humph!" said Bunny as he searched for Whitey and his brother Whitey. "Those sheep are getting on my nerves."
Suddenly Bunny heard a roar. Out from under the bed shot a sleek, silver, toy car with a bat insignia on the hood. Bunny jumped out of the way just in time to avoid being run over.
"Heh! Watch it!" Bunny yelled.
The car spun around and Bunny could see the driver from behind the darkly-tinted windshield. It was one of the sheep!
Suddenly there was another roar and a jeep raced out from under the other end of the bed. There was no windshield on this toy and Bunny could see the driver easily. It was the other sheep!
"We're just two wild and crazy sheep," yelled the jeep driver as he zipped past Bunny.
The two vehicles spun around Bunny in a tight circle. Bunny, turning his head to watch them, quickly became dizzy and flopped on the ground in a faint.
"Bunny! Bunny, wake up!" Bunny opened his eyes to see Mugsy staring down at him. He was laying on his back in the middle of the bedroom floor. With a little help from Mugsy, he stood up.
"Are you all right Bunny? You must have fainted," said Mugsy.
"Yes, I think I'm okay," replied Bunny, not quite remembering what had happened just before he fell down.
Mugsy continued, "It's a good thing the sheep ran right over and told me that you had fainted-"
"Those SHEEP!" yelled Bunny, remembering about the car. "Those sheep are responsible for this! They tried to run me down, and then they got me dizzy..."
Bunny then realized that the sheep were standing next to Mugsy. They stood there very quietly and meekly not saying a word.
"Tried to run you down?" said Mugsy. "With what?" The big brown dog looked about at the empty floor. "There's nothing around here."
"Perhaps he hit his head falling down," said Whitey.
"That would explain his delusions," noted the other Whitey.
"It was no delusion!" said Bunny, his whiskers twitching. "They tried to run me down!"
Mugsy cocked his head to one side and said, "Come on, Bunny. They 're only sheep..."
"But they had a car and a jeep and-"
"All right, Bunny," said Mugsy, "I can see this isn't going to work out. I'll have to get someone else to look after the sheep. Maybe Bear-"
Bunny noticed one of the sheep nudging the other and they both smiled. Bunny decided he was not going to let the sheep scare him off the job.
"Okay, Mugsy, I'll look after them. You don't have to get Bear to do it."
After Mugsy left, Bunny turned to the sheep and said, "Okay, you two, you'd better behave yourselves and listen to me or you are going to get in a lot of trouble. Now come. I'll introduce you to the rest of the toys."
Bunny turned his back to lead them over to the bed, but didn't hear the clicking of their feet behind him. When he turned around Whitey and his brother Whitey had disappeared. "Now where could they have gone!?!" groaned Bunny.
Just then there was a big crash in the next room. Bunny raced over to find a box of plastic construction blocks spilled all over the floor. Standing on the bed were Whitey and Whitey. Bunny realized they had pushed the box of blocks on the floor.
"What are you two doing!" said Bunny. "Get down here and clean this up before one of the children gets in trouble."
"We don't have to do what you say!" announced one of the Whiteys. "We're two wild and crazy sheep!"
The sheep ran out the door, leaving Bunny to clean up the mess.
Bunny was grumbling to himself as he picked up the blocks and he almost didn't here the "Baa-ing" coming from downstairs. "Now what kind of trouble are they getting into!" he groaned.
He would have ignored the sound completely except for the noise that came next: A deep, clear voice the bellowed, "Lunch time!"
"Oh no!" cried Bunny, "I never got a chance to warn them about Shark!"
Bunny ran downstairs. From the kitchen he had a good view of the family room three steps further down. In the middle of the room was a pole on a cross-shaped base. The pole stuck up in the air perhaps a foot and a half above the family room floor. Bunny recognized it as part of one of the children's t-Ball set.
Hanging tightly to the top of the pole by their little forefeet were the sheep. Circling below on the family room floor,was the shark.
The shark was a bit of a bully and loved to try and eat some of the smaller stuffed animals in the house. He must have seen Whitey and Whitey crossing the family room floor and gone after them.
As Bunny watched, Shark made a leap up toward the top of the pole. His jaws snapped shut just short of one of the sheep's tails. Then he started rocking the base of the pole, trying to knock it over. Bunny realized he wouldn't have much time to save the sheep. He had to come up with a plan.
"Help," cried the sheep. "Somebody help us."
Bunny spotted a toy missile gun sitting in the living room. He grabbed it and brought it to the kitchen steps. Then he raced to one of the cabinets and found a length of string. After tying the string to one of the missiles, Bunny wedged the gun next to a step so it pointed across the family room toward the sofa. Then, with a mighty rabbit jump, he leapt up into the air and came down on the missile gun's trigger.
The missile sailed across the room carrying one end of the string. It became snugly lodged between the sofa cushions. Bunny then pulled the string tight so it ran right past the top of the pole where the sheep were hanging.
"Grab the string," yelled Bunny. "Hurry!"
The sheep grabbed the string just as the shark managed to send the pole crashing over. Bunny then made another mighty rabbit jump to the kitchen counter. This made the string tilt on a downward angle and the sheep slid along it until they came to rest safely on the sofa. On the floor below the shark gashed his teeth in disappointment.
"I'm sorry, Bunny," said Whitey. "I should have listened to you. I shouldn't have given you such a hard time."
"Me too," admitted the other Whitey.
"Well, everyone makes mistakes," said Bunny, glad that the sheep were no longer acting wild and crazy.
"That was sooo scary," said one of the sheep. "I thought that we were going to end up in that shark's stomach for sure."
"Oh, he wouldn't have really eaten you," said Bunny. "He just likes to pretend. His teeth are really just made out of cloth. Still, I don't think you would enjoy being gummed by him."
"Well, thanks again for saving us," said the sheep together.
Bunny smiled, glad that he now had two more friends.
Copyright Lee Krystek, 1997. All Rights Reservered.