Sunday, January 31, 2016



Kid joey scanned the horizon with the binoculars out of his pack, Kato curled up around his leg that was starting to go all tingly and numb because his sidekick blue tick hound mutt was still not used to flying ala fire-breathing dragon, and would just as soon have his paws firmly planted upon the ground below.
"Hey look, Sir WHIP! Down there on the edge of that patch of forest! There's a castle! And I think…yes…I see…IT'S A DRAGON!" Kid Joey pointed excitedly, happy to have spotted the huge beasty so quickly. Sir WHIP nodded, and swooped down into the forest so he could land, let his friends off his back, and shrink down.
He knew it might just be his great, great, great, great, great grandfather Pendragon, but then again, it might be a mean dragon. Sir WHIP and Kid Joey and Kato would have to be careful. Grandma Crystal had been pretty sure about her directions when she poofed them into the crystal ball and sent them back in time, but time travel is never a sure thing. One can be off by a few minutes or a century. You just can never be absolutely sure.
But no matter, because even if they ran into trouble, they only had to defend themselves for a couple of hours before Grandma Crystal was scheduled to suck them back into the crystal ball and into the future – well, their present – the future for Camelot.
Camelot was a wonderful city built by King Arthur where it was peaceful and prosperous. The Knights of the Round Table lived there, along with Queen Guinevere, Arthur's wife.
It was also where Sir WHIP's ancestor, Pendragon lived, with his friend, the sorcerer Merlin.
"This is going to be so cool!" Kid Joey said, smiling, as Sir WHIP held bushes and branches back with his great long neck (he'd only shrunken down halfway. Bigness was an advantage when leading the way through a thick forest).
"Stop, Kid Joey. Let's watch the dragon for a little while before we go and introduce ourselves. We should make sure we are in the right place and the right time."
Kid Joey nodded. "You have a point. Can you lift me up to that branch over there? I should be able to see better from there."
"Sure," Sir WHIP said, ducking his head toward the ground to let Kid Joey climb aboard. Kato sat at the base of the tree, having had enough of heights for awhile. Kid Joey laughed. "Okay, Kato. You take yourself a little nap. I'll have a look from up on the branch."

The dragon stomped along, snorting grumpily as his leathery dragon wings flapped against his scaly shoulders. He spun around as fast as his ungainly dragon feet would allow and paced back over his dusty footprints in the opposite direction. He was wearing a rut in the path, what with his claws and all.
Above him, as delicate and graceful as Grando was bulky and lumbering, fluttered Ashlyn, miniature fairy-in-training.
"I don't really see what your problem is," her voice tinkled like an itty bitty bell in her brother's ear. "So you're not a cute little human anymore. Look at all the power you have. Nobody can tell you what to do, what time to go to bed, to do your homework, brush your teeth. Bet you can even whiz anywhere you want to! Who's gonna stop you?" Ashlyn gloated before her brother's large, steaming snout.
"Look at me! I can't even do a crescent kick anymore!" Grando lamented. "Who would do this to me?"
"Whoever it is, you can turn them into an itty bitty pile of ashes in no time! Can I watch?"
"Well fine! Then I'm not your friend anymore!" Ashlyn spouted, flipped herself around and swooped up and away…
And smacked herself right into a tree. THUNK!
Grando (and Kid Joey and Sir WHIP, though Kato was snoring by then) watched her slide down the side of the tree, thinking it must've hurt. He looked at his own scaly hide. Probably wouldn't have hurt him so much.
"Oh pooh! I can't believe you didn't warn me about that tree!" Ashlyn said.
"You flew off in such a snit I didn't have time!"
"Oh drat it all! They're gone again!" Ashlyn looked over her should and saw nothing but air where her little sparkly wings should have been.
"My wings, you big fire snorter! They've vanished! Now I have to walk!"
"You look like you could use a lift," Grando baited.
"Yeah. Can you give me a heave up to your shoulder?"
"Would if you were still my friend," Grando said as he took a little hop and skip then leapt into the air, pumping his wings for all he was worth.
"Creep," Ashlyn muttered, stomping along in the huge rut her brother had worn into the path. "Big ugly Cinderschnozz."
Ashlyn walked and walked until her little legs that knew so many fairy dances, were just about dragging when she came into a clearing where there was a huge castle.
"How come she's so tired?" Kid Joey whispered to Sir WHIP. "She only walked about a quarter mile, maybe not even that."
"She's a little tiny fairy. They have little tiny legs. It's a long haul without wings."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. It took her so long to get there."
She stopped and had to look really hard to see all the way to the top of the tower, because the castle was surrounded by a cloud.
And not a white, cotton-puff kind of cloud that you would expect in a fairy tale, but a brown, almost gooey kind of cloud that smelled sort of like rotten eggs. Rotten brown eggs…that had been petrified in a tar pit and recently dug up after thousands of years. Yeah. That about told it, Ashlyn thought, holding her nose as her wings gradually appeared where they’d been before her little episode with her brother.
The good thing was, that with all the walking she'd done, her wings had grown back. So she fluttered up into the air again, amidst all the trees that had once borne flowers, but whose branches were now knotted and not a bit pretty any longer. But the butterflies danced on the breeze, doing their little butterfly loop-de-loops, and Ashlyn quickly joined in, and played their little games of chase. Until SLAM! Right into a tree, yet again.
“Ugly old gnarly thing! I hate trees!" She said, then jumped up as her wings poofed into nothingness and jumped up and down in a complete hysterical snit. “I just got them back!” she said, growling in between sentences. “It’s not fair!!!”
Still up in the tree, Kid Joey snorted out a little laugh, at the child fairy.  "She reminds me a little of my sister Ro when she gets mad," he said to Sir WHIP who agreed, and laughed a little as well.
She watched as Ashlyn swatted at the butterflies who now teased her for being such a grouch, and for being wingless, all her own fault.
“Leave me alone!" she shouted, swatting them away, but they merely flew out of her reach. “Ow!” Ashlyn cried when one of the little wingers sneezed and a butterfly booger landed in her upturned eye. “Ew! Gross!”
The butterflies decided to leave her be until she calmed down and walked her wings back on, so they flew up into the branches of the large tree in front of the house and played hide and seek behind its dead leaves and dried up flower buds.  
Sir WHIP and Kid Joey watched the little fairy begin walking round and round the castle, hoping she wouldn’t come to any harm like run into a troll or perhaps fall in the…
…moat. Jeez, thought Princess Nanette, up in the tower; how klutzy could this little fairy be?
“Ew! Neptune help me! It’s all snot!” Ashlyn screamed! “Help!”
She paddled and kicked her little feet, and almost went under, God forbid, a time or two, but all the exertion and exercise brought her wings back, even faster than walking would have. She made a mental note of that, swimming in snot makes wings grow back faster, as she flapped her wings before they had a chance to get weighted down with liquid boogers.
Moments later she was dodging the butterflies in a rousing game of air tag, until they all had to go home to their little butterfly homes and bed down for the night.
Kid Joey and Sir WHIP watched the little fairy fly aimlessly around the castle, then light on a branch of the old gnarled tree.
“Are you lost, little fairy?" Kid Joey said to the child sprite who had landed so close to him, practically on the same branch.
“What?!” Ashlyn turned with a start, her head snapping around, trying to spot the origin of the voice so fast that she lost her balance. “Augh!” she gasped as she fell from the tree. Fortunately, it was not a shout of temper, so she regained her poise and flew back to the branch. This time.
“Me? Lost? Why, no, not really." Ashlyn shouted up at the higher branch, still not able to see Kid Joey, so camouflaged was he by the leafy limbs. She thought of how her mother would scold her for being rude and shouting up at a stranger in a tree, and flew farther up to continue the conversation face to face.

Deeper into the forest, which was cursed, Grando was enjoying no such pleasantries. No lovely potential friends on tree branches, no butterfly games.
The wings he heard were not fairy wings, not by a long shot. They were leathery, evil sounding…
…sort of like his.
“What’s happened to me? I wasn’t evil. I wasn’t!” he asked the trees and the ever-present smelly cloud that surrounded him, making it almost dark, though he knew it wasn’t much past noon. Couldn’t be.
He flew along, hoping against hope that he was going towards home.
But how would he fit in the house? He was big as a…
For he was a dragon.
“What will Mom say?”

Kid Joey looked into the eyes of the snarky little fairy and smiled. "Hi. I'm Kid Joey. That's my friend Kato down there taking a nap and missing out on meeting a fairy."
"I'm not quite a fairy. Have you been up here watching me the whole time?" Ashlyn demanded. The idea of someone watching her slam into the tree and lose her wings (a couple of times already), which was sort of like a stranger watching you get punished for being bad, kind of ticked her off already. She held her temper, though, and managed to keep her wings, at least for the moment.
Little did the fairy know that in the dungeon of the nearby castle someone else watched little Ashlyn and her new friends. They weren't in a tree or watching out a window, but gazing into a crystal ball, sort of like Grandma Crystal's crystal ball, but much larger.
And evil.
There were two bubbles floating inside the evil crystal ball:  one contained a swirling image of Kid Joey and Ashlyn up in the tree, the other, contained Grando flying along through the great fart cloud in the forest on the other side of the castle.
Even though Kid Joey had no clue that he and his friends (including Ashlyn, who considered him a friend so far and he hadn't said or done anything to tick her off…yet) were in any sort of trouble.
But Sir WHIP's scales were chilly. He twitched with nervousness, and finally made his presence known. Now Kid Joey, of course, knew he was there, but he caught Ashlyn Fairy-In-Training quite off-guard.
"Excuse me, my friends, but I'm getting an evil vibe," Sir WHIP said softly, flying up into the branches to land on the one where Kid Joey was perched. Even though the orange dragon had made himself about the size of a coffee mug, his sudden presence startled Ashlyn and she lost her balance and dropped almost to the ground before getting control and flying up again to the branch near Kid Joey.
"You're a dragon!" she observed, astonished. "How come you're so small?"
Sir WHIP, smiling said, "You are Ashlyn and have a feisty temper for a fairy. I am small because I did not wish to startle you."
"Oh. Well, that didn't quite work, but it was a nice try," Ashlyn said, chuckling. "Can all dragons make themselves small like that? What else can you do?"
"Those are some rather personal questions, young lady," Sir WHIP said, sort of teasing her.
"Oh," Ashlyn gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, I was just wondering, you see, because old LeRoy in there turned my brother into a dragon, and he's really bummed. He might feel better if he found out he has some powers or something."
Sir WHIP nodded, already knowing Grando's predicament.
"His name's not really Grando, it's…"
"Alexander," Sir WHIP finished her sentence for her, and her eyes got big. And then they got even bigger when he said, "and I believe his problem is housed in that castle in the clearing over there. I sense a princess there in the tower, and someone who has a lot of gas several floors lower…perhaps in a dungeon. He is not alone there."
"How do you know all that?" Ashlyn asked, amazed.
"Kid Joey's Grandma Crystal is helping me to see the pictures she is seeing in her crystal ball. They aren't very nice pictures. I think there are some children with the bad, gassy person in the dungeon."
"That would be LeRoy," Ashlyn said. "I'm not sure about the princess."
"Well, if we are to help, and I think we are, we are going to have to know the princess' story. Why don't you fly on over there and talk to her and ask her some personal questions like you asked me. Then come back and tell us what she has to say."
"Why don't you come with me?" Ashlyn asked, kind of spooked by the whole fly-into-LeRoy's-castle thing.
"Because in order for me to take my friend Kid Joey with me, I have to make myself big. That would be a little obvious, don't you think? You are very tiny. You might go unnoticed."
Ashlyn saw Sir WHIP's point, and agreed to go it alone.

What will she find out from the beautiful princess in the tower?  Stop by the RoJo Adventure Blog next week and see what happens! 

TD – 1/31/2016


Princess Rosie stared at Gary sitting quietly watching over her room and the hallway, while she was supposed to be sleeping. It really did make her feel better to know that he was there to keep her safe and sound.
But she couldn't get to sleep tonight, and she decided to talk to Gary about it.
"Hello Princess Rosie," Gary said when she sat up on her bed closer to her nightstand so they could talk quietly.
"Hello, Gary, how are you tonight?" Princess Rosie said.
"I'm fine. Things are very quiet in the palace this evening." Gary reported.
"Yes. I know. It's always quiet when King Daddy is out," Princess Rosie said, looking a little nervous.
"Is that why you're still awake?" Gary asked. Princess Rosie nodded.
"It's weird when King Daddy goes out to work at night. That's when Daddies are supposed to be home with their families." Princess Rosie said.
"Well, some daddies and mommies work only during the day, but there are lots of night jobs," Gary said.
"Night jobs? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, I have a night job," Gary said. "I stay up all night and guard you. Many people do security guard work at night, watching buildings and people to keep them safe."
"But you don't have any children, Gary," Princess Rosie said.
"But I will someday. And most security guards have families. And that isn't the only nighttime job," Gary said. "Policemen, doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, waitresses, store managers and workers, firemen, taxicab drivers, airplane pilots and airport workers, cleaning crews, and many other people work evenings, and sometimes all night."
"Why? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, firemen and policemen, doctors and nurses work all night because accidents happen all the time. They have to be ready to help people who get hurt, or get into trouble of some sort." Gary said. "And people go out to eat in the evenings, so waiters and waitresses have to work whenever people get hungry. And stores are open in the evenings so that people can buy things that they need after they get off work at night, or on the week-ends. Think of the fun things you do on the week-ends like going to Oasis, or having lunch or dinner at a restaurant, or going shopping. The people who work in those places are working while you're playing, and while Queen Mommy and King Daddy are off from work."
Princess Rosie nodded.
"When do they sleep if they work all the time? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, there are a lot of people who work at each job. So some people work hours during the day, and other people work hours during the night. That is called working shifts. Your daddy usually works the day shift, but sometimes somebody needs him to fix their plumbing in the evening or even way late at night if something big breaks. And sometimes he has to work part of the week-end for the same reason."
"I don't like it when King Daddy has to work on the week-end, or at night." Princess Rosie said. I miss him, and it doesn't feel right for him to be away then."
"That's because you're used to him working only in the daytime, but if he worked a night shift you would get used to him being away. And people that work week-ends all the time, get to have days off during the week, on Monday or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday or Friday. Because most people work five days each week, with two days to rest and spend time with their families and friends." Gary explained.
"Then how come King Daddy doesn't get to have a day off in the week when he works on Saturday? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, that's because sometimes, when people work daytime during the week, they still need a little extra money. If someone needs help on a week-end day, they pay King Daddy extra money to take time away from his family to help them. It's called overtime. And even though it means King Daddy will be away from you in the evenings or on week-end days every now and then, the extra money he makes lets him do special things and go special places with you and Prince Joseph," Gary explained.
"It's still weird when he's out of the house," Princess Rosie said, looking a little nervous.
"That's the good thing about parents, though, Princess Rosie." Gary said. "Whenever one of them is out of the house, the other one is there to take care of their children and make sure they're loved and safe. And when both mommy and daddy are out of the house, they make sure there is a grownup to stay with their children and love them and keep them safe."
Princess Rosie said, "Like Grandma and Poppy, or Mimi and Poppop, or Nana, or Aunt Rachel, or Uncle Kodi."
"Yes. And I know something else that I'll bet you don't know," Gary said, mysteriously.
"What? Princess Rosie asked.
"Every time your daddy or mommy comes into the house if you're asleep, they come in just to look at you and give you a little kiss, because they love you and they missed you too," Gary said, and winked at Princess Rosie, then turned his attention right back to his guard duty, for it was his shift.
Princess Rosie leaned over and kissed Gary's cold, ugly little cheek, feeling much better to know his secret.
Sleep added weight to Princess Rosie's eyelids, and she stretched out beneath her covers, hugging Blankie to her, and sighed.
And when King Daddy came in a little bit later, she was sound asleep as he kissed her cheek and tucked the covers around her nice and warm.

The End.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


It took a long time for Kid Joey's sister Ro to befriend the monsters under her bed, because at first she hadn't understood them.  She'd thought they were just mean, and that they wanted to eat her, and even had bad dreams about them, at least until Gary Gargoyle had arrived to protect her. 

And protect her he did, of course, but he also explained a few things to her.  One of the most important of those explanations was that there were good monsters and there were bad monsters.  He was there to keep the bad monsters away, and he did a good job of it.  But she had been frightened of little teeny monsters who'd come in under the front door (she'd seen them in her dreams).

Well, when Gary inspected beneath her bed on the very first night that he'd arrived for guard duty in Ro's room when she was still very little, he'd found the ugly, but quite harmless little guys. Of course, who was he to call anyone ugly, right? 

As it turned out, Gary explained to Ro the next morning, after she'd gotten the first good night's sleep in weeks, the little monster dudes under her bed were not mean monsters at all, and they certainly meant her no harm.  They were sneaking into the house because it was cold outside and they simply wanted a safe place to cuddle up and keep warm. 

When Ro had heard that, she stayed awake until she heard them scurrying into her room that night, and crawled out of bed, and lay down on the floor beside it to get a look beneath.  She aimed her flashlight (which she mostly used for reading in bed) underneath her bed, as Gary watched over her. 

There they'd been, caught in the rude light that lit up their faces and its brightness made them squint.  Ro turned the light so it would not be right in their eyes and looked up at Gary who nodded.

"Go ahead and say hello," he encouraged. 

She'd turned her face back to the little monsters and smiled, finding it hard to believe that they could be friendly, but trusting Gary's word. "Hi," she'd said.  "I'm Ro."  

The little monsters smiled back! 

"I'm Glitch!"

"I'm Yech!"

"I'm Glow!"

"I'm Drat!" 

"I'm Darnit!"

"I'm Drool!"

"I'm Gimmy!"

"I'm Booger!" 

"I'm Lint!"

"I'm Goz!"

"I'm Bungle!"

"I'm Bump!"

"I'm Burp!"

"I'm Belch! Burp and I are twins!"

"I'm Splotch!"

Ro giggled at their silly names, and they all smiled back with their scary sharp teeth and their eyes glowing – red, or course because monsters had red eyes.  It's true, but it's not a bad thing.  Monsters are nocturnal – they are more active at night and sleep during the day.  Red eyes see better at night, apparently, and they glow too, for the same reason. 

Ro had tip-toed down the hall that night, into the kitchen, over to the snack cabinet, and swiped the box of graham crackers.  Mommy said they were a healthy snack, so Ro figured they would be good for the little monsters. 

They chowed down, their sharp teeth snapping right through the inside wrappers, and disappeared the crackers in less than three minutes.  Ro's eyes had been wide, watching her new friends scarf the food, then belch like a bunch of little piglets. 

But Gary Gargoyle had been right.  They all said thank you, and not one of them scratched her with their claws or bit her with their sharp teeth.  They smiled (rather gruesome little smiles, but they were meant to be friendly) and thanked her for her hospitality and asked if it was alright if they came in to sleep under her bed.

"Why didn't you just ask in the first place?" Ro said.

"Because you were scared of us, and we thought you would really freak out if we let you see us." 

"Oh my goodness!  So you were afraid of me because I was afraid of you?"

"That's the way it is all over the world, even with grownups.  People are afraid of what they don't understand – sometimes even other people!"  Belch explained, then, true to his name burped a big one.  Ro laughed. 

The little guys were so ugly they were cute.

And from that night forward Ro and the little monsters were friends.  And Gary's shifts guarding her were easy and nothing bad ever happened in Ro's room, or for that matter her whole family's house.

Until now, Sir WHIP thought, wondering what was going on when all the little monsters crept out from beneath Ro's bed, and snuck down the hall. 

Sir WHIP, flapping his wings, floated down to the floor by the door where he peeked around the corner at the little monster's line heading quietly into Kid Joey's room.  When they were all inside he himself snuck down the hallway and peeked around the corner into his pal's room. 

He almost laughed out loud. 

Under Kid Joey's bed all the little monsters had gathered and broken into Kid Joey's stash that he carefully hid in his old backpack from kindergarten. 

In the red glow of all their little eyes, Sir WHIP saw them feasting on Doritos, jelly beans all the way back from Easter, candy canes from Christmas, half a peanut butter sandwich from yesterday's breakfast, a couple of juice boxes, a half of a Milky Way bar, a pack of graham crackers, and half a bag of Cheetos. 

Ro might have stashed warm blankets and pillows under her bed for the little monsters to keep warm and comfortable, but snacks ruled, apparently.  Sir WHIP shook his head, and turned back to Ro's room, and ran smack into her toes. 

"What's going on?" she whispered, checking over her shoulder to make sure all the activity in the hallway hadn't woken up Mom and Dad, especially since Kato had jumped down off of her bed, which was what had woken her up in the first place. 

"Ummm…" Sir WHIP hesitated, his eyes straying over his shoulder into Joey's room where slurps and burps and chomps could be heard if one listened hard.  Well, not all that hard.  Monsters didn't exactly set records for table manners – or perhaps under-bed manners, in this case.  Sir WHIP couldn't help smiling. 

"Seems there's a little party going on in Kid Joey's room, " he said.

Ro's eye widened.  "A party?"  Sir WHIP nodded, still smiling. 

"At three in the morning?" she said.  And got another nod from the little dragon, and was surprised to see him chuckle.  "My brother is having a party at three in the morning and didn't invite me?  The little rat!" Ro's whisper was an insulted huff as she stepped over Sir WHIP (which always made him duck and cringe) and stepped softly, in spite of her temper, into her brother's room. 

She found him asleep, of course, not having a party at all. 

But there was a strange red glow seeping out from under his bed. 

A monster glow. 

No longer afraid of monsters under beds (even the mean ones were small and Gary kept a great watch so they never got in anymore), Ro dropped to her knees and leaned forward, cheek to the floor to see what in the heck was going on under there. 

"Really?  You swiped Jo's Cheetos?  He's gonna have you guys for breakfast," Ro said, giggling at the little green dudes, orange cheese crust around their mouths and in between their teeth.  They handed her a couple of Cheetos and a Twizzler and she nibbled, laughing, and Sir WHIP rolled on the floor behind her at the weirdness of the whole thing.  He eased Kid Joey's door closed without a sound and the party swung on.

Finally, after Ro had scarfed the Twizzler and taken a couple of sips from a juice box, Kid Joey stirred above, and caught sight of his sister lying on her side on the floor next to his bed. 

"What in the world?" he wondered aloud, and leaned over the side of the bed where a little monster held up a graham cracker, more or less as a peace offering for seriously denting Kid Joey's snack stash.  Actually, the graham cracker was pretty much all that was left.

Kid Joey's jaw dropped, and he was a little peeved at first, but then he laughed in spite of himself.  The entire space beneath his bed was filled with chattering, giggling, happy little monsters, powdered cheese crusted mouths, all burping and farting and licking their sharp little chops, rubbing their stuffed little tummies, and thanking him for sharing his snacks, though they hadn't really given him that choice but went right ahead, as monsters most often will, and helped themselves. 

Well, they were monsters, after all.  But they had meant no harm. 

Kid Joey looked at Sir WHIP still laughing on the floor, and his sister Ro doing pretty much the same, and couldn't help the smile twitching at his mouth. 

Soon he was laughing with all the rest of the little partiers, munching on the last graham cracker, little monsters jitterbugging under his bed while Ro sang "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" just as Nana Terri had taught her. 

Down the hall, Mom and Dad snored on, sleeping right on through the biggest monster party of the year.    


Princess Rosie and Joey Owl
Royal Goals

 Joey Owl, though his beak couldn't show it, smiled big and bright, for he was on his way to visit his best friend, Princess Rosie of Rosieland.  The feeling that they would have a wonderful adventure today gave him reason to flap his wings that much faster, and to fully enjoy that sudden burst of energy and excitement, he did a loop-de-loop right then and there! 
Within moments he swooped around the palace, to land on Princess Rosie's windowsill.  "Whhoooo!" he hooted excitedly, hoping his friend was already up and dressed and ready to jump-start the day.  No response, in fact, no movement, no sound, no Princess Rosie. 
She heard the tapping on her window, recognized the beak signal, and pulled the covers over her head. 
Joey Owl frowned, looking quite fierce, as owls will look from time to time, and leapt into the air flapping his way around to the front door of the palace.  He aimed himself just right and pecked the doorbell. 
Almost instantly the door swung wide, and Queen Mommy, looking very busy with Prince Joseph in one arm and his sip cup in the other hand, smiled at Joey Owl.  "I'm glad to see you, Joey Owl!  How are you today?" Queen Mommy said, ever pleasant. 
"I'm well, of course, Your Highness.  But I'm concerned about Princess Rosie…" Joey Owl said. 
"As we all are, Joey Owl," Queen Mommy said, looking a little worried. 
"Is she not well?" Joey Owl asked, knowing how strange it was for the princess to sit still.
"Her body is fine, but she doesn't seem to care about anything." Queen Mommy said, glancing back at Princess Rosie's bedroom door.  "Not her toys, not her schoolwork, not her playmates, just her TV shows." 
"Oh dear," Joey Owl said, already in flight to Princess Rosie's room.  "I'll think of something," he promised Queen Mommy, wondering what he would think of.  A bored princess was a grumpy princess, and that would never do. 
Joey Owl perched on the safety rail of Princess Rosie's bed.  "Good morning, Princess Rosie!  Mr. Sun is wondering why you're not outside running around enjoying his company!"
"I see Mr. Sun every day.  I'm bored running around in the yard.  It's boring." Princess Rosie yawned a grumpy sort of yawn, and Joey Owl jumped onto her pillow. 
"Oh pish posh, Princess Rosie!  You love to play outside!  We have such fun adventures!  Come and play with me." 
"No thanks, Joey Owl.  We play every day, and it's boring." Princess Rosie said, not seeing Joey Owl's sad eyes.  He'd so hoped for a fun adventure with his friend today, and it hurt his little feathery feelings to think that all the fun times they had bored Princess Rosie.  He found it hard to believe, actually, remembering her giggles, smiles, shrieks of delight when flying on his back, her wide thrilled eyes whenever they met a new friend. 
"Well no wonder you're bored, Princess Rosie!  You're lying there telling yourself you're bored!  Whining that you're bored over and over is like building a little wall around yourself that no one can get through!"  Joey Owl said, and flapped his wings, flew over his friend, grabbed the covers in his talons and dragged them off of Princess Rosie, who frowned. 
"Stop it!" she said, grabbing at the covers, but Joey Owl was too quick and they were well out of her reach. 
"See, you're already sitting up.  Might as well come outside with me and we'll see if we can't find some interesting playmates."  Joey Owl said, while Princess Rosie glared at him.  "Uh oh…I'm getting 'the look,'" he said, pretending to be frightened, then laughing, trying to get Princess Rosie to laugh along. 
Princess Rosie swung her legs out of bed, and then crossed to her dresser for clothes.  Joey Owl sat on the windowsill facing out, to give her some privacy.  When he was sure she wasn't going to change her mind and go back to bed, he flew over to the garden bench to wait for his friend outside. 
Soon Princess Rosie joined Joey Owl in the garden, flopped on the bench.  "We do this every morning almost!  It's boring!"
Joey Owl ignored Princess Rosie's bad manners for the moment and tried not to get upset with her.  "I have an idea, Princess Rosie, let's play news reporter.  Let's interview all our friends and see how many of them get bored," Joey Owl suggested. 
Princess Rosie tilted her head, a little confused.  "What's a news reporter?" she asked. 
"A news reporter is someone who travels around their neighborhood, city, state, country or even the world and finds out what's going on, writes it down or records it, and then their stories are put in newspapers, on TV news shows, or on the internet."
"I don't want to write anything.  I'm tired of writing!  It's hard work!" Princess Rosie grumbled.  "And it's boring!"
"Well, then we'll just remember our stories.  It's not like we're writing a newspaper or going on TV.  Come on, Princess Rosie, let's go talk to our friends,"  Joey Owl said and flew off before Princess Rosie could argue, though she did manage to roll her eyes as she got up off the garden bench and followed her friend's flight path. 
First of all they went inside and talked to Queen Mommy.  Joey Owl perched on the back of a chair in the royal kitchen while Princess Rosie began interviewing her mom.  "We are news reporters," Princess Rosie said, looking over at Joey Owl to make sure she got it right.  When he nodded, she continued.  "We are asking all of our friends if they get bored." 
Queen Mommy smiled and nodded, "My goodness of course I get bored!  The chores that I do every single day are always the same, wash dirty dishes, wash dirty clothes, fold clean clothes, put away clean dishes, scrub bathrooms, make beds, cook food, bathe children, bathe myself, day after day after day," she said, as she put clean dishes away out of the dishwasher. 
"Then why do you do all of that?" Princess Rosie said. 
"Because at the end of the day, I look at my house and it's clean, and my children are fed well, healthy, and happy, my husband is healthy and happy, and everyone knows that I love them, and that I care about them and take care of them.  And I know that my family loves me and appreciates all the things I do for them."  Queen Mommy answered. 
"Even if it's boring?"  Princess Rosie asked.
"Of course!  I just tell myself when I'm doing the boring stuff, that the faster I get it done, the faster I can do the fun things," Queen Mommy said.  "And the boring things aren't so bad, really, especially if I sing songs while I work.  And some things, like folding clothes I can do while I watch TV." 
Princess Rosie looked at Joey Owl.  "Okay, that's our first story," she said.  "Thank you, Mommy," she said, remembering her manners. 
Queen Mommy smiled, "You're welcome."
Joey Owl flew into Princess Rosie's room, perched on the windowsill, and faced inside.  Princess Rosie sat on the edge of her bed, and turned to face her friends, all lined up.  She picked up Olivia Pig and hugged her.  "Olivia, do you ever get bored?" she asked. 
"Sure!  It's not easy laying in the same spot all day, staring at the ceiling or one little thing in your room until you decide to come and play with me.  I can't move without help.  I can only dance and play and get around when you do all those things with me!" 
Princess Rosie's eyes got a little sad, "I had no idea!"
"It's okay, that's my job," Olivia Pig said.  "And I have a lot of company in your room.  And we can hear you laughing and playing and singing songs and that makes us very happy."
"Guard duty is very boring too, Princess Rosie,"  Gary Gargoyle said, "But even though I have to sit quietly and just keep watch all night, I know that I'm very good at my job.  I also know that even though I have to sit still and work hard to stay awake all night, that I'm doing something important.  I'm making you feel safe and loved." 
Princess Rosie nodded.  "Yes, I love you too, for watching over me at night.  It makes me feel safe just knowing you're there.  But I never thought about it being so boring." 
"Well, Princess Rosie, nothing's perfect.  And when I get bored, I just think of things that make me happy; sometimes I hum a song I like, or think of a story I've heard, or think of how proud my mommy and daddy are of me when I do a good job, and that makes me want to do my very best," Gary said. 
Joey Owl and Princess Rosie finished their interviews in her room, then went downstairs to the computer.  Princess Rosie Skyped Duchess Nana, who popped up onto the screen after a moment, looking busy.  
"Hi Nana!" Princess Rosie said, and blew her grandmother a kiss, which was promptly returned. 
"I thought you were bored with Nana School?" Duchess Nana said, looking a little sad.  "I've missed you, though, I'm glad you're here." 
"I want to ask you some questions.  Joey Owl and I are interviewing my friends…we're news reporters."  Princess Rosie explained. 
"I see," said Duchess Nana.  "What would you like to know?" 
"Do you ever get bored?" Princess Rosie asked.
"Oh my goodness!  Every day!  It's so hard to find a job, and I have to because I need money to pay my bills, and buy food, and presents for my little prince and princess!  But it's such hard work to keep looking up places to send my resume." Duchess Nana said. 
"What's a resume?" Princess Rosie asked.
"It's a story about me and all the places where I've worked.  It tells people who might want me to come and work for them, all of the things I know how to do.  They read my resume and decide if they want to pay me to do a job for them."  Duchess Nana explained. 
"Is it boring?" Princess Rosie asked.
"Yes, just putting the resume into one email after another and clicking send is very boring.  But I try and listen to music while I work, and think of how happy I will be when I finally get a good job."  Duchess Nana said.
"Do you get bored with Nana School?  Sometimes I think I'm never gonna learn to read!" Princess Rosie said, frustrated. 
"I know it seems that way sometimes, Princess Rosie, but one of these days you'll be practicing your sounds, and then Mommy or Daddy will be reading a book and you will see words that you know.  And you'll be able to look at the words you don't know and figure them out because you know all the sounds of the alphabet.  You'll see!"  Duchess Nana said. 
"But do you get bored teaching me?"  Princess Rosie asked. 
"Oh no, Sweetheart!  I love to see you learning a new letter every day, and seeing you write them down.  And when you start figuring out the words for yourself I will know that all the hard work paid off!  And it will!  I'm so excited!  I can't wait for you to learn how to read so we can email each other with fun messages!"
"That will be fun!  Joey Owl and I have to go now.  Love you!" Princess Rosie said, signing "I love you" to Duchess Nana, and blowing her a kiss.  She hung up the Skype call and Joey Owl leapt into the air from her shoulder. 
They left the palace after telling Queen Mommy where they were headed, and soon found themselves in the Royal Woods.  
Soon they came upon Ozzie the Gnome's hollow tree, and to Princess Rosie's relief, saw that the tiny fairy-sized door was open, and Ozzie was already outside, trying to trim a bush into shape with clippers that weren't any match for the bush.  Finally he spun around, first to the left, then to the right, then blew a kiss at the bush.  The kiss that came from Ozzie's mouth was no ordinary, invisible kiss, mind you, it was like a puff of sparkly golden smoke that surrounded the bush for a moment, then slowly faded, leaving behind a beautifully trimmed bush in the shape of an elephant. 
Ozzie moved to the next bush and blew another kiss, got a lion, the next an owl, the next a wolf, which brought him back to his front door.  That's when he finally turned to his guests.  "Bet you're not here just to say hello then be on your way," he said, a little impatient.  "Make it quick, I have more chores waiting inside," he said, his foot tapping. 
Princess Rosie glanced at Joey Owl briefly, cleared her throat remembering that she was a princess and controlled the nervous butterflies in her tummy and ignored Ozzie's gruffness.  "Ozzie, Joey Owl and I are reporters and our question today is, do you ever get bored?" she asked, glad it was all out and Ozzie's turn to speak. 
"Bored?  Are you kidding?  With all there is to do?  No, I don't get bored!  When I'm doing boring chores like laundry and dishes I think up stories to tell my grandchildren.  And apparently when I'm doing gardening chores there are always people like you coming along to ask me dumb questions and keep me entertained." Ozzie said. 
"You never get bored?" Princess Rosie repeated. 
"Only when I'm asked the same question twice!" Ozzie said, rolling his eyes.  "Look.  Are you bored, or afraid of a little hard work?" he said, and Princess Rosie frowned, almost insulted.  "Don't gimme that face!  A lot of people start learning something—a new game, a new hobby, a musical instrument, a new job, a new subject, and they quit, say they're bored, but they're not bored, they just don't want to work hard and master it!" 
"Like you didn't want to work hard and trim your bushes?" Joey Owl said, a featherly little smirk on his face. 
          "They're trimmed!  And better than you can do, owl!  I have magic tools!  And the faster I do my chores, the more of them I can finish by the end of the day, and the more time I have to help other people!  And don't get smart, owl!" 
Joey Owl chuckled at the feisty little gnome.
Looking back at Princess Rosie, Ozzie said, "Do you know what a goal is?"
Princess Rosie looked confused and shook her head no, so Ozzie continued, "It's when you choose something important to work for, like driving a car, or learning to swim or read," he looked Princess Rosie right in the eye on that one, "you know it's going to be hard work every day, but you do it because reaching your goal will make you very happy.  And it will make the people who love you very proud and happy too because you reached your goal and learned something to help you through your life.  That's called achievement, or accomplishment.  You accomplish goals.  The more goals you accomplish, the smarter and stronger you are," Ozzie explained. 
Princess Rosie seemed interested, so he continued. 
"Some goals are little, like getting a load of laundry washed, folded and put away before lunchtime, or finding Daddy's car keys before he is late for work.  Or finishing off all your peas in time for dessert.
"Some goals are big, like learning to read.  You have to work a little bit each day for a long time to reach that goal. 
"But once you learn to read, or walk, or go potty by yourself, or drive a car, or graduate from school, it opens up a whole new part of the world for you!" Ozzie said excitedly. 
"Can you blow me a kiss and make me know how to read?" Princess Rosie asked. 
"Nope.  That's your goal.  I already know how to read.  You, my beautiful princess, have to learn how to read all by yourself.  Everybody has to work hard in their lives to accomplish their own goals.  That's what a person's life is all about: the goals they win!  Now shoo!  I have dishes to wash and a book to read—I'm learning to be an artist you know!  My newest goal!" 
With that, Ozzie blew Princess Rosie a kiss (the regular non-magic kind, though all kisses are a little magical just from the love), and disappeared into his tree house, slamming the door behind him with a little puff of gnome dust. 
Princess Rosie and Joey Owl started back to the palace.  "Do you have a goal, Joey Owl?  Princess Rosie asked. 
"Many.  Some little, some big." Joey Owl answered. 
"What's one of the big ones?" Princess Rosie asked. 
"To be your friend and help you learn about life and become a grown up princess able to help people."  Joey Owl said. 
"That's a big goal, but I help people now," Princess Rosie said. 
"Yes, but the more you learn about the world, the more you understand the problems that people have.  And when you understand the problems you can help fix them.  That's why princesses have powers.  So they can help people, not just make themselves happy."
Princess Rosie nodded, seeing Joey Owl's wisdom.
"And remember about the sandwich," Joey Owl said. 
"The sandwich?" Princess Rosie tilted her head, confused. 
"Yes.  If you try and shove a whole sandwich in your mouth and swallow it whole, you choke.  So you take little bites and chew each one up well." Joey Owl explained. 
Princess Rosie nodded, agreeing. 
"That's how you reach big goals…little bites," he started, and Princess Rosie caught on.
"Like in Nana School, I learn new sounds and two or three words every day."
"Exactly!  And pretty soon you'll know enough sounds to read whole books all by yourself!" Joey Owl said, excited that his best friend understood. 
"And then I can read stories to my dollies and Gary Gargoyle so they're not so bored!" Princess Rosie said, too excited now to be bored, thinking about her big goal. 
"A very kind goal indeed, Princess Rosie!" Joey Owl said, proud of her accomplishment this day: understanding goals.
And with that they went inside to ask Queen Mommy if she would help them write down their story. 

The End.