When you read earlier stories about Sir WHIP, did you notice that Kid Joey's sister, Rosie was not really surprised about seeing a dragon in her yard? Well, that's because she had already met him and was used to seeing him by the time Kid Joey was trying to deal with his flaming snot. And that meeting came about on the day that…
Kid Joey woke up with a plan, and on his way to the bathroom he tipped his head into Rosie's bedroom.
"I need your help with something, will you?" Kid Joey said to his sister.
"Depends…" she responded, sitting on her bed, brushing her hair.
"It's nothing bad. I need to share a secret with you, and use something of yours."
"Wait. I gotta go pee. And let Kato out."
"He's already out. He woke me up about half an hour ago."
"Cool. I'll be back.
"Meet you in your room," Rosie said, on her way to let Kato back in, figuring he'd had time to 'water' all the bushes in the yard by then.
Back in Joey's room, brother and sister sat on the edge of the bed, Kato between them, on his back, all four paws in the air getting the belly rub of a lifetime. (Of course, as far as he's concerned, every belly rub is the belly rub of a lifetime.) That's why he always woke Rosie up well before the get-ready-for-school-routine began - whether he had to pee really bad or not. He could just not get through his furry little day without morning hugs and pets.
And since today was Saturday they would last extra-long.
Or so Kato thought.
Today Kid Joey had a plan to accomplish, for it was Moving Day.
"You want to use what?" Rosie was quietly suspicious. "You know it was Nana Rose's Mommy's."
"I know, and I promise I'll be careful, but this is really important. I have a friend who needs a home."
You didn't bring another frog in the house, did you?"
"No. Mom was pretty mad the last time. Besides, frogs don't use furniture."
Rosie shot Joey a sideways glance, trying to figure out what the heck he was up to.
"You have to promise to keep this secret, Rosie. Promise."
Normally, Rosie would have kidded around and tormented Joey with the giving of such a promise, because that's what sisters are supposed to do (It's in the handbook.), but he looked so intent on his mission, whatever it could be, that she didn't have the heart to tease him. Besides…she wanted to know his big secret!
"C'mon," Joey said, leading the way out of his room and through the house, out the back door into the yard.
"Where are we going?" Rosie asked, as Kid Joey headed for the gate, Kato by his side.
Rosie loved Kato. He seemed to sense that she needed a friend at night; darkness made her a little nervous, even with Gary Gargoyle watching over her, and Joey zonked out immediately, slept like a rock all the way through until morning. Kato also sensed that Joey needed his friendship during the day on his numerous adventures. So he divided his time between brother and sister: Rosie nights, Joey days. Of course, those times often overlapped, like now, which made the pooch twice as happy.
Kato made it up Mrs. Levy's five front steps onto her porch in two leaps, with Kid Joey and Rosie in close pursuit. He scratched on the door before Kid Joey even had a chance to ring the bell.
Kid Joey loved Mrs. Levy's bell. It was an old-fashioned chime; very cool.
But not as cool as her houseguest who lived in her basement, beneath the stairs.
"Well hello there, children; how's your Saturday going so far?" Mrs. Levy said in her usual cheerful voice.
"Great, Mrs. Levy. What are you doing today? Any canning?"
Mrs. Levy smiled a knowing smile as she opened the door for the kids and their waggley-tailed sidekick. (Who slurped her hand on his way inside, by way of doggy greeting.)
"You didn't by any chance leave something behind in the cellar on your last visit, did you, Joseph?"
He saw her wink and knew the jig was up. She'd figured out his motive, but not whether or not Rosie knew as well.
Rosie didn't know - yet. But she was about to.
"Yes, I think I might have," Kid Joey said, sort of lying but not really, because he had left something - someone - behind in the basement the last time he visited.
"It's okay, Joey. You go right ahead and let Rosie help you look for it." Mrs. Levy said, winking. Kid Joey winked back, grateful that he didn't have to keep such a big secret from his sister, and also that he didn't have to fib to Mrs. Levy about it. She had just made life much easier for the boy with big quests ahead of him.
Rosie looked around the cellar with its wall-to-wall shelving packed with hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruits, relishes, mustards, pickles, jellies, and even honey (Rosie would have to ask her about that, she loved honey almost as much as Winnie-the-Pooh.), and wondered what Joey could possibly have to show her down here. Had he learned to can? But they had already helped Mom make pickles many times; that was no big secret. He led her over to an under-the-steps cabinet. Okay, she thought, so there's a cool cabinet underneath the steps. Still. Where's the big secret, she thought.
"Okay, Rosie, you can't tell anybody else about this, okay?"
"Okay, okay, already! What's the big secret?"
Kid Joey opened up the cabinet door, and at first all Rosie saw was darkness and the edge of a couple of shelves.
Then she frowned and squinted and she could make out furniture sitting on those shelves.
And then, there he was, in a sweater and slippers (hand-crocheted ones, surely from Mrs. Levy, Rosie noticed), walking over to the edge of the middle shelf, stepping around an ottoman, leaving behind a teeny little TV and a couple of pieces of popcorn on the coffee table in front of a teeny sofa. A dragon.
Rosie's jaw dropped in surprise. In a billion years, Rosie would never have guessed this secret. In a zillion years. She looked over at her little brother, and for the first time ever, thought he was really cool.
Kid Joey turned slightly so he could see Sir WHIP and Rosie's faces at the same time and said, "Rosie, this is Sir Winston Howard Ignatius Pendragon, whose friends call him WHIP; Sir WHIP, this is my sister, Rosie."
"Well done, Kid Joey! Very nice introduction!" Sir WHIP commended Joey on his manners, then turned to Rosie. "It is lovely to meet you, Rosie. I'm enchanted by your beauty."
"Uh, well, thank you," Rosie said, blushing. She didn't really know what to say as she'd never met a dragon before. "It's very nice to meet you too, Sir WHIP." She turned to Joey. "Now I see why you need the…"
"Shh!" Kid Joey said. "I have to talk to him about it first."
Rosie nodded, and let her brother get on with it.
Kid Joey held out his hand and Sir WHIP stepped upon it, for a lift up so that he could be face-to-face with his recently made friend. "Sir WHIP," the boy began, "Do you like it here at Mrs. Levy's? It seems like it's a pretty dark place."
Smoke puffed out Sir WHIP's nostrils when he snorted a laugh. "Quit beating around the bush, boy! What are you getting at?"
"Well, Rosie has a house…it's a doll house, but she doesn't use it for dolls anymore…she's going into Fourth Grade after all…" Joey could see his lengthy explanation was starting to bore Sir WHIP. "Anyway, it would just hold all your furniture, and it's brighter than a basement…"
"But basements, my friend, are excellent places for hiding secrets, don't you agree?" Sir WHIP reminded Kid Joey.
Kid Joey nodded. He had to admit, the dragon had a point.
Rosie said, "But, Sir WHIP, don't you need sunlight and fresh air?"
"I get plenty of that when I go on adventures, young lady. When I'm resting, the dark basement is perfect!"
"Oh," Kid Joey said, his head hung in disappointment. "Okay." He sat his friend in the shadows of his cabinet home and started to close up the door.
"That's it?" the dragon said.
Kid Joey stopped before the door was closed and said, "What?"
"That's the best you've got? You came down here all excited and full of steam with a great big plan and one sentence from me and you just melt? How are you ever going to complete a quest if you can't even stand your ground with me? Now try this again. Come on!" Sir WHIP said, a little impatience in his voice. He wanted to get on with quests and adventures, not stand here dilly-dallying about his living quarters! Really!
Rosie nodded at her brother, encouraging him to say what was on his mind, without using any words at all.
Kid Joey took a breath and tried again. "Sir WHIP, we have a terrific house for you to move your stuff - your sofa and TV and stuff - into and live. I really like you, and, well, would you like to come live with us?"
"I would be delighted to travel to your abode and make my home there," Sir WHIP accepted. "Now, that wasn't so very difficult, was it?"
Kid Joey smiled, as did Rosie, and under Sir WHIP's direction, they found a box on a nearby shelf and began carefully loading the dragon's possessions into it. Even though Sir WHIP had a houseful of furniture, its tiny size made it possible for him to be packed into the single box. Just as they got it filled, Kid Joey stopped, and thought for a moment.
"Wait. What about Mrs. Levy? She might not like this idea very much. I'm sure she will miss you, Sir WHIP." The boy said softly, not wanting to hurt Mrs. Levy's feelings. She was very nice to him, and Kato as well.
The dragon snorted another smoky chuckle, and nodded toward a box sitting on the closest shelf near the steps. "See that box? Mrs. Levy packed me a care-package of pickles and strawberry preserves, my favorites. She knows we have adventures to go on and quests to fulfill, and said that we should visit her often."
With that, Kid Joey closed up the box full of furniture, picked it up and turned towards the stairs. "Well let's go then!" he said in an excited voice. Rosie smiled and grabbed the care package for her new-found dragon friend and with Sir WHIP leading the way, leaping up each step, the trio made their way to Mrs. Levy's kitchen.
Mrs. Levy sat at the table which was set with mugs of milk, chocolate cupcakes (one of Sir WHIP's very favorites), and a vase of Snapdragons (in Sir WHIP's honor).
"I thought perhaps a Bon Voyage party was in order," Mrs. Levy said, welcoming her friends to her table. Kid Joey and Rosie were very impressed, and took seats after placing their boxes on the floor near the back door.
Mrs. Levy had all kinds of questions about Sir WHIP's new home, and how soon Kid Joey would be taking on his first quest. Little did any of them know it would be the next afternoon in Joey's back yard when Sir WHIP would try to give his new-found friend Kato a ride on his back.
Everyone munched happily on cupcakes and milk and discussed exciting plans for the future.
Just as friends always should.
TD - 10/21/2015