Chapter 14 - A Jolly Good Ending
The grass was getting soggy and the children and adults were getting muddy when the sprinklers finally stopped. It was not clear who closed the lever and left everyone dripping and giggling in the late afternoon sun. Perhaps it was one of the bus drivers who had arrived at the gate and shivered at the thought of all that wet muddiness climbing onto his clean bus. Whoever it was, they had drawn the day to an end; a day that began with some monkey business in the air conditioning and ended in a sprinkling of happiness. And it was sometime before the tears ran out in the water tank and the gardeners who looked after the trees, shrubs, flower boarders and grassed areas of the sea lions compound, where able to do their work without laughing and dancing about; though a strange thing did happen. Although they stopped their dancing and laughing when the tears final ran out, the good mood never seemed to leave. Once touched by the tears the happiness inside stayed with them.
This happiness certainly stayed with Miss Sharp, who appeared to remember what it was to be a child. Something that she demonstrated on the bus back to school, when she stood up at the front, opened her note book and read through the names of the children she had marked down for detention the following day. Clearing her voice she read. "Robert Jones, Emily Jackson, Martin Gould, Amir Kahn, and Billy Smith," caused those children to look up a little perplexed and then to giggle as Miss Sharp continued to read her list; The next group of names making no sense to either Miss Sharp or the children at all. "Oo Oo, Aa, Ee." Miss Sharp said. Sounding something like a monkey, whist unable to stop grinning like a Cheshire cat, such were the effects the sprinklers. And when she took hold of the pages and tore them out of the book holding them up for all to see, before scrunching them into a ball and declaring. "Detention is cancelled!" the children cheered loudly, and if she could have been heard back at the zoo the monkeys would have too. Though it was probably a good thing that they didn't; the mere thought of Miss Sharp returning to the zoo was enough to ensure they didn't get involve in anymore monkey business where crocodiles were be involved. Though Gulp did have a new plan, a plan that involved obtaining some boa tears, as that seemed to be much more fun.
It was at this time that Vicky looked in her bag for a packet of sweets to share. To her surprise she came across Lilly. Her first thought was. "How on earth did Lilly get in her bag," she clearly remembered tucking her up in bed that morning. Her next thought was to try to push Lilly to the bottom of her bag before the strangely acting Miss Sharp noticed. Vicky's alarm was not missed by the eagle eyed teacher who walked up the isle towards her. "Vicky" she said as she stood next Vicky's row of seats whilst dropping her smile and frowning most disapprovingly. "Is that a teddy bear?" Vicky gulped and nodded. "And how did it manage to get into your bag?" Vicky shrugged and said the only thing she could think of. "She's a secret agent miss." She had said that before, but now Vicky was beginning to believe it. Miss Sharp frowned her deepest frown. "Name" She said turning a fresh page in her note book. Vicky said "Vicky Miss Sharp," as if Miss Sharp didn't know. Miss Sharp tutted, "Not you, her!" and pointed at Lilly. "Lilly" Vicky replied quickly though a little confused. Miss Sharp scribbled in her book and then pulled out the page and handed it to Vicky, then broke out into a huge mischievous grin. On the paper she had written, 'Lilly and Vicky are cordially invited to a Teddy Bears Picnic at the School Playing Field at 1pm tomorrow afternoon.' Lilly stared at the invite in amazement as Miss Sharp moved on to the next child, greeting them with "Teddy bears name please."
As for the zoo, well, after the keepers rescued Harry from Rex's guarding, they found him a new home, with the skunks. Which, whilst it doesn't sound very nice, being somewhat smelly at times, was actually perfect. The skunks, mainly due to their smelliness were very popular with sleeve to nose boys, which gave Harry the attention he craved. Rex having remembered his years with the circus dogs found renewed delight in fetching sticks from his water hole that the children would throw for him only to return them to be thrown again. Wagging his tail so enthusiastically you might think he would wag it right off. Roderick, well he continued being the scariest bear you would see anywhere. Of course the whole zoo knew in fact he was just a big soft teddy bear under the stomping, snarling and growling, but the spectacle of a ferocious bear brought the crowds in to the zoo. Then there was the star of the show; Shakira the crying boa. She packed the house with her acting, and whoever saw her could not help feeling somehow strangely happy inside when she had finished her weeping.
So if you are ever at the zoo and you hear a giggle or two accompanied by a tear and a grin you can bet your bottom dollar it has something to do with a monkey named Glup and her friends who still sneak out when the zoo is closed to collect the right kind of tears to give to Harry, so he can add a few drops into the air conditioning ready for the next morning. Whilst you are there, take a deep breath and ask yourself, "Can I smell monkey business in the air?" If you can I can assure you, a giggle or two will ensue.
Then there is Lilly, who returned to being just an ordinary, common all garden, teddy bear. Well at least for now; though with a teddy bear picnic planned for tomorrow, it wouldn't be long before she would be given her next mission.