Actions

Work Header

A Swinger's Wish

Chapter Text

PART THREE: THE DEBUT

Terrence paced around his cave, trying to be patient. A whole day had passed after he had called the studio for an arctic animal, and they still hadn't sent anyone over yet! He then heard a knock on his door. Ah, finally! He thought as he ran to answer it. As soon as he opened it, a small penguin rushed into the room. "Ah…nice and cool…" He said as sat down before looking over at Terrence. "Oh, sorry about that. Forgot the introductions! I'm sure you know us penguins, we burn up easy and all."

"I understand that. Name's Terrence Curvit, but y'all can just call me 'Shaker.' Almost everyone else does!"

"All right then, 'Shaker'. My name's Oswald. So, you're the guy who hired me, right?"

"Yep. I heard you were the best singer out of all th' penguins at th' studio. Took them a while t'send ya here, didn't it?"

"Sorry about that. I was visiting family up in the Arctic and I only came back last night! And what they said about me is all true," said Oswald, "We penguins don't really get to sing much in those movies this company makes, provided that we actually get into one! In fact, my grandfather was the only member in my family who got to sing! You've probably seen him in it!"

"Oh, really? What was he in?"

"He was a waiter in Mary Poppins."

"On second thought, I haven't. Ya know, I've been meanin' t'see that movie."

Oswald stared at Terrence for a moment. "You've NEVER seen that? What kind of rock have you've been hiding under?"

"This one probably," Terrence said with a laugh. "I don't go to the movies that often, ya see. I'm so attached to my work on the stage that I don't get out all that much!"

"I see. Well, I appreciate that you're giving me a chance to finally do some real signing! Say, what am I going to do in this show of yours, anyway?"

"You'll be doing a duet with me. And…" Terrence stopped his sentence when he realized something. "Oh my gosh, we're gonna be late for rehearsal! Come on!" He said as he grabbed his guitar and some music sheets and rushed for the door.

Oswald blinked for a moment. "Uh, how exactly are you gonna get me there without me burning up?"

Terrence stopped. "Whoops, I almost forgot." He grabbed a bucket that he had filled with ice. "Here, leap in this. It should keep you cool enough until we get to th' theater."

"Whatever you say, bud," Oswald said as he jumped into the bucket. "Now, let's get going! The stage awaits!"

With Oswald in tow, Terrence quickly ran over to the dock and set sail on the raft. They had gotten halfway across when the raft suddenly came to a halt. "Hey! What's goin' on here?" asked Oswald.

"Oh, no," said Terrence as he looked over at the raft's engine. "What a time for th' engine t'die out on us! It'll take us forever t'flag someone down…"

"Ah, don't worry about a thing, Shaker. Tie that rope we got over me and I'll get us over there in two shakes of a sea lion's tail!" Oswald said, pointing to a rope that was used to hold the rafts to the docks.

"What good will that do? How can you carry this whole thing over there fast enough…"

"Just tie it on and watch me, bud."

With some reluctance, Terrence grabbed the rope and tied it on over Oswald.

"I still don't see how this is gonna help…"

"Just hold on to somethin' 'Shaker', 'cause here we go!"

Oswald then dived in the water, towing the raft at high speed, almost causing the unprepared bear on board to topple into the water. In no time at all, the raft had reached the other dock.

"So what do ya say now, 'Shaker'?" Oswald asked as the raft was taken in for repair.

"I say that's a mighty fine trick ya have there! I plum forgot that penguins were such quick swimmers! Guess there were a few things I forgot from my studies at Nashville…"

"Well, that's nice and all, 'Shaker.' Now, where is this theater I'm singin' at?"

"It's just a short walk from here. Come on!"

After Oswald hopped back into the bucket, Terrence made a mad dash over to Grizzly Hall, just in time.

"Ah! It's warmer in here than it is outside! How do ya expect me to perform in these conditions?" The penguin asked after they walked into the music hall.

"Ah, don't worry about that, Ossy! I already went ahead and took care of that! Here, I'll show ya!" Terrence replied as he made his way upstairs. After greeting a few of the bears and having a few remarks about Oswald, they went into the upstairs bathroom.

"I talked about this with th' others," Terrence said as he started to fill the bathtub up with cold water and ice, "It's fine with them as long as you leap out for a sec whenever they have to make use of the place, if y'all know what I mean."

"Well, that's helpful. It's good knowin' I won't burn up around here after all!"

"Thanks. When we actually perform, you can hop in the bucket and stay cool for the moment that we're on, then I'll put ya back in here for a few moments before we head out for th' finale."

"Ya know, Shaker, ya never did tell me those songs we're gonna do."

"Almost forgot about that! You know the songs "Blue Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland" don't ya?"

"Well, kinda. It's been a while since I've actually done those, but I'll give 'em a shot."

"Alright then. We also gotta work on th' timing and all, so if you hop into th' tub, we'll get started!"

After Oswald had done so, Terrence handed him the sheet music. As they discussed the details of how their act would go, they were interrupted by a knocking at the door.

"Whoops! Hold that thought for a moment, Ossy," Terrence said. "It looks like we'll have to step out for a moment!"

"'Shaker'! Get out here quick!" Came Beulah's voice. "You've gotta come down for this!"

Terrence opened the door and answered, "Down for what? It can't already be time fer my rehearsal…"

"It's not that! Henry's about to bring her back in!"

"Bring who…oh, OH! You mean to say…"

"Yep! Quick, get downstairs, and bring that penguin thingy of yours with you if you want!"

"Right! Thanks, Beulah!" He quickly grabbed the bucket and went over to Oswald. "Hop in quick, Ossy! We need to get down, fast!"

Even though he didn't understand, Oswald hopped into the bucket. "For what? What was she talkin' about?"

"She's back! Teddi's back!"


Downstairs, some of the bears crowded along in the basement near the entryway to the Utlidors, shoving each other out of the way. "Step back, folks," said Rufus, trying to break up the mob of bears. "Henry an' Teddi will be comin' through here now, and she'll need all th' room she can get so she can reach the lift without too much trouble!"

The bears stepped back, looking down through the open door, watching as they saw Henry pushing Teddi through the tunnels in a wheelchair. No sooner than they arrived into the Hall's basement the others started gazing at her and started bombarding her with thoughts and questions.

"Please, please!" said Rufus, "One at a time! She's been through enough!"

As the bears stepped back again, a crashing noise came from the stairs. Everyone looked over and saw Terrence lying on the floor, with Oswald looking down at him.

"Hey, bud! Watch where you goin'!" He said.

"Ohhh…this darn scarf, I tripped over it!"

"Oh dear," said Teddi. "Are you hurt, 'Shaker'?"

"Only my dignity. Geez, we've sure been accident prone these last couple days, haven't we?"

"At least you didn't get banged up like Teddi did," said Henry.

"Speakin' a'which, Teddi, I heard what happened to y'all. It must be tough goin' through all this. How are ya feelin'?"

"My leg may still bother me some, but I can get by everyone's help, or so I've been told," she said as she eyed Henry.

"It's true," said Rufus, "I'm gonna be sure of that!"

"So that explains that weird do-hickey y'all were puttin' on th' stairs yesterday," said Terrence.

"By the way 'Shaker', Henry told me what happened to you th' other day. It looks like you and I are both going to look a little bit differently on the outside for a while, you with your fur and me with my cast."

"Yeah, but it doesn't bother me a bit. You'll be back to normal eventually and I can just die muh fur back when we get back to doin' the regular show. Although Teddi, I must say you're a true performer, not lettin' this injury get in your way! Ya know what they say: 'I can get knocked down, but I'll get up again, they're never gonna keep me down'!"

"Why Shaker, thanks for those lovely complements!"

"Y'all are welcome, Teddi."

"Say, Terrence," said Henry, "What in th' world is that lil' bird with ya? Looks like a black goose ta' me."

"Hey…"grumbled Ossy.

Terrence chuckled for a moment and then said, "This ain't no goose, Henry. I'd like ya t'meet Oswald. He's a penguin, a bird who lives up in th' Arctic. He's th' one who'll be joinin' me in my act."

"Ah, so he's th' one th' studio sent to ya, eh? Does he know the words well?"

"Well, we're workin' on that right now. But I know we'll get it after a couple of tries!"

"I hope so," said Henry. "This is th' last day we've got of rehearsin'…"

"What? But, do you think we'll all be ready by then?"

"All of us seem to know th' songs purty well by now," said Henry. "I mean, I really want to open the show on schedule, but I can push th' date back if I have to…"

"Oh, Henry," said Teddi. "You don't have to worry about that. I'm sure if we all work hard today, I'm sure we can pull it off."

"I hope so too, Teddi," said Henry. "We better start movin' along then. Oh, Terrence, it'd be wise if you, your Arctic goose, and everyone else in here head back upstairs now before we load Teddi on to this thing."

"Gotcha, Henry," said Terrence. "We'll head straight back up and start rehearsin' again. Come on, Ossy."

"Yeah! Break it up here, folks," said Rufus.

Henry looked over at him and said, "Thanks Rufus, but I think they already got th' message."

After every other bear had gone upstairs, Henry and Rufus placed Teddi and her chair on the lift platform and rose up to the stage. As they made their way towards the stairs, Trixie approached from behind.

"Hey, Teddi! Nice to see you back again!"

"Why, Trixie! Haven't heard from you for a while. How have you been doing on your number?"

"Pretty well, Teddi. In fact, I was just about to go out and rehearse it!"

"Well, good luck with ya, Trixie!"

"I wish the same to you, Teddi. I hope you heal up soon!"

"All right, Trix! Thanks!"

Trixie then walked out on stage, and Rufus pushed Teddi over to the stairs. Before they were half way, Teddi said, "Whoa, Rufus, stop me here for a moment."

"Why for?"

"Well, I haven't heard Trixie sing her song clearly yet. I don't think it'll hurt if I stop her and listen to her, wouldn't it?"

"I don't see why not," Rufus said as he parked Teddi near a space she could hear Trixie clearly.

On stage, Trixie thought as she danced and sung on the main stage. Now that Teddi was back, it would be the perfect time to do her plans. All she needed to do was call Henry out and do her deed on him. As soon as Teddi gets wind of it, she would think that Henry was through with her, and he would be all his! She danced around the stage as she sung, knowing that it would definitely catch Henry's attention.

After she had finished, sure enough, Henry came on stage to greet her.

"My, my, that was great, Trixie! But you know y'all can't do all that dancin' durin' the actual performance!"

"I know that. Henry, you know that discussion I wanted with you? Well, c'mon over here, and I'll start discussin'!"

"Oh, Trixie," Henry said as he walked over to her, "You know we don't have for this! What's so important about it anyways?"

Trixie smiled as Henry walked right close to her. She now had him right where she wanted him.

"You'll see. Take a good look up there above you, along the rim of the stage."

"Uh?" Henry said as he looked up. "There ain't nuthin' there but holly…"

"You're standin' under th' mistletoe, Henry…"

"What mistle…"He then spotted it and gasped. "Oh, my gosh…"

"And you ought to know what you have to do when you stand under the mistletoe, don't you?"

Henry then gulped as it kicked into him. He then noticed Trixie coming close to his face.

"Oh my…oh, well gee, Trixie, I...uh…"He said as he started to sweat. "Can't we talk about this?"

"Oh, c'mon Henry, don't ya have any Christmas spirit?" asked Max.

"What's wrong? Got cold feet?" asked Buff.

Backstage, Teddi was overlooking the whole thing. She was wondering for a moment why there was mistletoe up within the holly. She didn't recall having any in the box, or owning any at all for that matter. Trixie must've set it up there herself, She thought. Oh well, she doesn't know about the deal with Henry and me yet. I guess one little peck on the cheek wouldn't do any harm…

She overheard Henry say, "All right Trixie, ya got me in your little joke. Y'all can just kiss me on th' cheek and get it over with…"

Teddi peeked through the curtain and watched as Trixie gave Henry a small smack on the cheek. Trixie then looked at Henry for a moment, but still kept him in the bear hug.

"Um Trixie, if ya don't mind, could ya please let me go now? I've got work to…"

Right as Henry said the word "to", Trixie suddenly put her face at Henry's and kissed him hard on the lips. Henry was completely caught off guard by this, and tried to break out of it, but with Trixie holding him down it was to no avail.

Backstage, Teddi was shocked at what she saw. What did Trixie think she was doing? A simple kiss on the cheek was acceptable, but this…

She just wouldn't let Trixie get away with this. She noticed the Bear Rugs standing near the curtain, watching the sight between Henry and Trixie. An idea popped into her head. She quickly called Zeke over to her…

Onstage, Henry still struggled to get out of the kiss. Had he not had his first kiss with Teddi the night before last, he may have actually enjoyed this one. He hoped that if didn't kiss Trixie in return, she would stop. But Trixie kept going and going. How was he going to break out of it? Suddenly…

"YEEEEE-HOOOOO!"

The Bear Rugs yelled out as they came on stage unexpectedly and began to play, completely startling both Henry and Trixie. Trixie was so caught off guard she lost her balance, toppling off stage.

Henry had immediately caught on at what the Bear Rugs were up to. "Whew! Much obliged there, fellas!" He said as he wiped his brow and dashed backstage.

"Deck th' halls with boughs of holly…"sung Zeke.

"Fa,la,la,la,la,la,la,la,la…"The others sung as Zeb sneezed…on Zeke.

"'Tis th' season to be jolly…"Zeb sniffled.

"Fa,la,la,la,la,la,la,la…"They sung as Zeb sneezed on Zeke again.

Oh, you owe me fer this, Teddi…Zeke thought. He then turned to Zeb and yelled to him, "Stop sneezin' an' let's hear ya, boy!"

"Follow me in merry measure…"sung Tennessee.

"Fa,la,la,la,la,la…"

Zeke then ducked, expecting Zeb to sneeze on him again, but this time he didn't!

Great, he didn't sneeze! Zeke thought.

Trixie finally got back up on her feet, and after realizing what had happened she jumped on the stage and angrily ran over to the Bear Rugs.

"Heedless of th' wind an' weather…"

"Fa,la,la,la,la,

fa,la,la,la,la,la,

fa,la,la,la…"

As Trixie ran in rage towards the band, Zeb started to sniffle. "Huh, uh…"

"LA!" The Bear Rugs concluded. Just as Trixie was about to get to the Rugs, Zeb let off a powerful sneeze.

"BWAAA-CHOOO!"

The force of the sneeze was so great it knocked Trixie over and caused her to roll backstage right. She continued rolling until she had went all the way back to the door to her room in the back of the Mile Long Bar. She rolled into the wall next to it, her girth causing her to bounce off it unharmed. She got up and walked into her room, pondering about things. Henry didn't even try to kiss her back. Well, maybe he wasn't in the mood first. Perhaps this was going to be harder than she had expected…


"Well, that sure was a strange incident," Henry said as he walked over the stairs. "What in th' world was Trixie thinking? Talk about gettin' carried away!"

"Just be lucky I saw how she tricked you with that mistletoe!" said Teddi. "Otherwise, I would have thought you were the kind who cheats on her lover!"

"Me? That ain't my style," said Henry. "Besides, that kiss she gave me didn't even compare to yours! I think she was tryin' too hard."

"By the way Henry, Trixie never tried to slap you, didn't she?"

"No, she's never tried! Then again, she was raised by a more modern family, so I guess she may not know about th' ol' customs!"

"Good thing she doesn't," said Teddi.

"It's a good thing th' Bear Rugs decided to break it up," Henry said.

"Mmm, hmmm," said Teddi. Yep, and I told them to keep doing that if Trixie tries to pull that mistletoe thing ever again, just to be safe…

"Anyway," Henry said as Rufus then walked over to the stairs. "This is a really good contraption Rufus worked out. I'll let him explain."

"Thanks, Henry," said Rufus. "I've spent all day installing these to all the stairwells." He pointed to a railway that was along the bottom side of the stairs. "It's a motorized belt. We attach your wheelchair to the side of the belt and up the stairs you go! It'll really come in handy, at least until they get Teddi into a walking cast. I figured it was time to make this place a bit more accessible in case anyone else ends up in her condition."

"Aren't you just somethin', Rufus? I really appericate this!" said Teddi.

Henry helped Rufus attach the wheelchair to the side of the belt, and it carried her upwards. Once they got to the top and got Teddi of off the belt, they approached Teddi's dressing room. "Take a look at what we've done with it, and see if it's what ya had in mind!" Henry said as they entered. Teddi then looked and noticed how her dressing room had been converted into a bedroom. Some of her belongings from home such as her wall clock had been placed around the room, and a small bed had been placed in the corner. She and Henry had decided that while her leg was broken, it would be easier for her to just stay at Grizzly Hall and to save her the troubles she would experience from trying to get back and forth to her EPCOT house. This way, she would also have support from the other bears.

"Oh, good," said Teddi. "You brought everything I wanted. This should be fine until my leg heals up."

"Good," Henry said as he moved Teddi over to the bed and helped her onto it. "Are ya comfy enough?"

"Pretty much," Teddi said as she laid down.

"Well, you're all set here, Teddi. Remember, if y'all need anythin…"

"I have only to buzz you, Ruffie, or anyone else. Got it," said Teddi.

"Good, y'all just rest up here for a while," said Henry. "After lunch, we'll see how you fare getting on yer swing."

"Hopefully I won't have much trouble," said Teddi.

"Me too! Well, I'll go downstairs and check up with everyone else. I'll check back with ya later! And remember, Teddi, just…"

"Buzz if I need anything. I got it!"

"Alright then," Henry said as he went downstairs.

Teddi laid back and sighed.

Well, living here may not be as bad as I imagined.. I better do as he says and rest up, we've got a lot to do later!


"Can we hurry up all ready, 'Shaker'? The stage is calling!" Oswald as he fidgeted in his bucket.

"Ossy, I can't believe you already want a stage rehearsal," said Terrence as he walked towards his stage. "We've only practiced several times! Boy, I thought I was stage struck back in my ol' greasepaint days…"

"I already have everything memorized. This oughta be a piece a cake!" Oswald said as the curtain opened.

"Well, well," said Max as they noticed Terrence and Oswald, "If it ain't our grizzly gone albino! And what is that thing you've got in the bucket?"

"This Max, is a penguin," said Terrence. "His name's Oswald."

"So, that's a penguin?" Buff asked. "Looks more like a goose wearin' a tuxedo to me."

Oswald, ignoring the comment, took a look at the heads and said, "Hey, that's a good trick there, Shaker! How do you do it?"

"Um, what are ya talkin' about, Ossy?" Terrence asked.

"Those talking trophies, of course! What, are they mechanical?"

"Well," said an offended Buff.

"I'm sick and tired of people thinkin' that about us," said Max.

"Yeah, I resent that!" said Melvin. "We are not mech-animals! Well we're part animal of course, but I know we're not anythin' mech! I think…"

Terrence groaned at Melvin. And to think he was th' one who gave me th' idea fer Ossy…He thought.

Oswald looked up at Terrence and gulped. "You…you mean to say that…"

"Yep," said Terrence. "They're flesh an' blood, or flesh an' stuffin' to be more correct."

"But...but how?" asked a puzzled Oswald.

"I'm not too sure muhself," said Terrence. "It's best not to worry too much thinkin' about it. Anyways, we gotta rehearse now!"

"Yeah, that's right!" said Oswald. "Let's hit it, 'Shaker'!"

"All right then," said Terrence. "Anyway, before I begin, I'd like to dedicate this to you, Melvin. After all, you're th' one who gave me th' idea fer this!"

"Really? Well, thank you, 'Shaker'! T'weren't nuthin'!" Melvin said.

"Nothin'?" Buff said. "Oh, you didn't do nothin', Melvin!"

"I did? Err, what did I do then?"

"You actually used what little brain they left in you for once."

"Uh, boys," said Terrence. "May we start now?"

"Err, yeah, of course!" Melvin said. "C'mon Buff, pipe down fer once! He dedicated it to me, an' I wanna hear it!"

"Alright then," Terrence said. "Ready, Ossy? A-one, a-two, a-three…"

Terrence and Oswald then sung through the song, just like they had rehearsed, with Oswald honking along as Terrence sang it, Melvin enjoying it all. Buff and Max, however, looked at each other and whispered to one another. When they had finished, Buff began to say something, but before he could, Terrence spoke, "If what you're gonna say is a stupid joke about us, Buff, don't even say it."

Buff winced at him. "Oh, you ain't no fun, 'Shaker'," he said.

"Yeah! All he was gonna say your penguin sounds like a car horn…"

"Max!" yelled Terrence.

"Hey! I said no makin' fun of them!" said Melvin. "Never mind them, 'Shaker.' I think it sounded wonderful!"

"Glad ya liked it, Melvin," Terrence replied.

"Yeah, Melvin. Thanks a whole lot…"said Buff sarcastically.

"That was defiantly something that only you would like," said Max.

"Well Ossy, I think ya did well," said Terrence. "We'll work on it some more, and later we'll practice our timing for the finale!"

"Got ya, 'Shaker'," said Oswald as they left backstage.

After they left, Melvin spoke to Buff and Max, "Why, thanks for those words, guys! I guess that means you'll not make fun no more?"

"Oh yeah, sure…"said Buff. One of these days that moose will have to learn about sarcasm…He thought.


"Now Beulah, be easy when you sign it," Teddi said while the cubs signed her cast. She was sitting up in her chair near the dining room table. While she had been eating lunch, several of the bears, the Sun Bonnets included, came up to her and asked if they could sign her cast. Of course, Teddi agreed, but only until after she had finished her meal.

"There! All done!" Beulah said as she put the lid back on the marker. Teddi looked down at her cast at where she had signed, right next to her sisters' names.

"Thanks, you three" Teddi said, looking at the various signatures from all the bears, from Big Al's child-like printing to Ernest's show-off cursive.

"Well, well, gettin' autographs from everyone?" Henry said as he came in to the den.

Teddi gave a chuckle and said, "First time anyone's asked me if I would let them give me their autograph for a change."

"How many do you have?" Henry asked.

"About almost everyone, and even some from a few CMs. They asked real nice, so I let them," she said. "I guess everyone who heard about my little incident the other day stopped by. News travels real fast amongst them!"

"Yeah, and of course they've been out front tellin' people that we're closed 'cause we're gearin' up for this Christmas thing! It's buildin' up th' public interest! We're sure to get huge crowds from all those curious people who are sure t'show up!

"I sure hope so, Henry," said Teddi, "By the way, is it almost time for our rehearsal?"

"In a couple minutes. You ready?"

"As soon as I get over to that swing, I will," said Teddi.

"Ah, good."

"Well, I'll head over there now. See you in a couple minutes, then, Henry."

Teddi took her crutches, and slowly got up. She had found she didn't to be on the wheelchair the whole time, her leg wasn't bad enough for that. It didn't bother her when she had to travel small distances. It was getting up or down the stairs that was her biggest problem. She then slowly hobbled over toward her room to get ready, and to put the rest of her outfit on. She had already had part of it on, the pink coat and white scarf she had on the day of her accident. But, she had decided to change her headgear.

The previous day, she had discussed with Henry to try to make her leg seem not as noticeable to the audience. She didn't want people think she was clumsy for falling off, so she would cover it by appearing as a skier for the show. When Henry had to leave, he said, "See you later, my chanteuse of the ski slopes." Somehow, the name seemed to stick with her, and Henry decided to introduce her with this nickname, which was okay by her. While the coat and scarf would go with her skier guise, her derby obviously did not, and she had replaced it in favor of a toboggan and a skier's visor. After she entered her room, she slipped them both on without much trouble. She then grabbed several props Henry had sent for her, a small pair of skis and poles, which complimented her outfit really well. She had Rufus hold on to them as she hobbled over to her swing, and handed them to her after she had gotten on her swing in a comfortable position. While she had done all this, Henry had been over the P.A. announcing finale rehearsals in a few moments. She was more than ready for it…


SEVERAL HOURS LATER…

"Say, 'Shaker'…"

"Yeah, Ossy?"

"I don't think I did as well as I thought…"

Oswald put his head down in shame as Terrence brought him up the stairwell. At every rehearsal for the finale they had that day, most everyone agreed with the Heads' comments about him sounding like a car horn, except for Henry and Teddi who knew Oswald was trying well to sound well but just in his own way, and the Sun Bonnets who were curious over him. But most of the others, especially Ernest and Tennessee who were both the criticizing types, thought he sounded bad.

"Aw, don't let those guys get to you, Ossy. A lot of people criticized me during my days as an actor. Some folks used to call me an ol' snaggle- toothed fowl-up that would never amount to anythin'. But I didn't let that get to me! I kept goin' on and took up bein' a singer, an' look where I am today! Just wait 'till tomorrow, the crowds 'll love ya!"

Oswald looked up at him. "Ya really think so?"

"Of course! Just stick with me, and you'll do okay!"

"All right 'Shaker', whatever ya say! Now, how's about we get a good night's rest?"

"You said it, Ossy. Just let me set ya in the tub here first," Terrence said as he turned the knob to the upstairs bathroom door...to find it locked, causing him to bump into it.

"OOOF! Oh...I shoulda knocked first..."Terrence said, "Who's in there, anyway?"

"Shaker? I'm in here," said Teddi from behind the door. "I'm takin' a bath in here. Didn't you see the note?"

"What note?"

"Ummm, Shakes," said Oswald as he pointed to a piece of paper on the room. "I think that fell off when you slammed into the door."

"Errr, let's see here," Terrence said as he picked it up. It said "BATH IN USE. DO NOT ENTER."

"Whoops," He said. "Well, sorry about that, Teddi." Something then hit him. "Hey wait, how can you bathe when you have that cast on your leg?"

"I have it propped up with a plastic bag attached to it. Keeps it from getting' wet."

"Oh, I see. 'Bout how long will ya take?"

"It might take me awhile, Shaker. I just got in, and I have to take my time getting out because of my leg."

"Oh. Sorry fer botherin' ya, Teddi," Terrence said as he walked away.

"Great, now where am I gonna sleep?" asked Oswald.

"Hmm...let's see," said Terrence. "Can't stay in my place 'cause I can't adjust the temperature th' same way. Hey wait, I got it! Come with me!"

"Where are we goin'?" Oswald asked as Terrence took him downstairs.

"The best place fer you…"

"Ah-ha! This is great, 'Shaker'!" Oswald said as he entered the walk-in freezer in the back of the Pecos Bill Café.

"I should have thought of this sooner!" Terrence said. "This is the coolest place in the whole area! You'll have no problem with burnin' up in here!"

"Thanks, 'Shaker'," said Oswald. "I think I'll take a rest now…"

Oswald crept himself into a shelf in the corner of the freezer and made himself comfortable.

"Good. I'll get ya in th' mornin' then!"

"Okay. See ya then…"Oswald said with a yawn.

Terrence then prepared to close the door. He then took a look at the bucket he had been carrying Oswald in. The ice in it had almost completely melted. Terrence thought to himself for a moment, and then got an idea.

Instead of just refillin' th' bucket later, I could just stick it in there an' let it freeze overnight!

Terrence crept in and set the bucket in the freezer, next to where Oswald was resting. He then turned and shut the door quietly. "Good night, my lil' friend…"

Terrence then walked out of the Café and towards the dock. Back in the freezer, Oswald twisted and turned as he slept with dreams of stardom. As he did, he carelessly rolled off the shelf and splashed into the bucket below. Because of his Arctic nature, the temperature of the water didn't wake him. He continued to sleep, unaware of the water freezing around him…


Teddi opened her eyes as she heard her chimes go off the next morning. She slept really well the previous night. By the time she had finished her bath, all the night entertainment and crowds were virtually gone. I'm startin' to like it here already…Teddi thought as she sat up. Of course, with my leg it's difficult to enjoy it…

A knock then came from her door. "Is that you, Onionia?" Teddi called.

"Yes, Teddi. I heard your chimes go off. I take it you're ready?"

"Sure," said Teddi.

Onionia entered and helped Teddi to her wheelchair. "Thanks, Onionia," Teddi said as she took her locket off. "Now, would you put this back in its case for me, please?"

"Of course," Onionia said as she took it from her. The previous night, after Onionia had helped Teddi into her room, she had told Onionia to help her with her locket. After she had noticed it, Onionia had asked Teddi where she had gotten it and why she only chose to wear it to sleep. Teddi then explained most everything about the locket to her, so Onionia understood why the locket was so precious to her. After returning the locket, Onionia pushed Teddi towards the den, towards the dining table. Liver Lips was setting plates of hotcakes, bacon, eggs, and grits in the middle of the table. Ernest was sitting at the table, about to stab a fork into the hotcakes. "'Bout time, Liver Lips! I'm starved!"

Liver Lips then swatted Ernest's paw with a spatula. "Hey! Keep yer paws off! You wait until the girls get to th' table!"

"Ow! Hey, ya hurt my arm! I'm gonna sue ya fer that, Liver!"

Teddi glanced at them as she was wheeled towards the table.

"Oh, don't mind them," said Onionia. "They bicker like this most of th' time."

"I hope y'all are hungry, Teddi," said Liver Lips.

"Oh, I am," said Teddi as Onionia wheeled up next to it. She craved a piece of the hotcake and chewed.

Liver Lips and Onionia looked at her as she did. After swallowing, she commented, "Mmmm! Now that's pretty good! My compliments to the chefs!"

"Why thanks, Miss Barra!" Said Liver Lips. "Those happen to my specialty!"

"Oh, it shows," said Teddi in between bites "These are excellent!"

"It's nice to get a compliment, Teddi" said Onionia, "especially since we don't get any from ol' city slicker here." She looked over at Ernest, who was tearing in to his food.

"Yeah, I know," said Liver Lips, "He ought to, though. It's not every day I fix 'em, after all. Besides, I made them especially because of you, Miss Barra. You're gonna be our guest fer a while, so I wanted to show a bit of hospitality."

"Oh, ya didn't have to go through all that trouble just for me, Liver," said Teddi.

"Actually, I think it did some good," said Onionia, "It got Ernest up early anyway."

"It did?" Teddi asked.

"Yep. He woke up and dashed in here the minute he heard me fry up the griddle," said Liver Lips. "He was so hungry I had to keep him from eatin' the batter!"

"I can see why," said Teddi as she continued her meal.

"There's plenty more where that came from," said Liver Lips. "Though the others will be joinin' us in a sec. Everyone else is gonna come up and eat here soon."

"Ha!"said Ernest. "Better keep Trixie outta here then, 'cause they're ain't gonna be anythin' left if she eats!"

"Ernie!" said Onionia.

"Oh, Ernie, you're startin' to sound like Buff!" said Teddi.

After that comment, the bears continued to eat their food until they couldn't take another bite! Teddi had gotten full at just the right time, as the rest of the bears had arrived to take in the meal. Teddi was scooted out of the way to make room, but remained to take in the conversations with the others. The home-cookin' and company was something she didn't have her breakfasts at the Land. Near the end of the meal, Henry got up and rose his mug of coffee, and called for everyone's attention. He declared a toast to the success of the new show. Teddi remembered that they had done the same thing back when they had first opened. She joined in with her own mug as the other bears followed suit. "To the new show!" All the Country Bears said together. A few moments later, most of the bears headed downstairs to get ready. Terrence however, stayed in the kitchen and went over to the fridge. After getting some small fish out, he then started to cook them.

"Getting a last minute snack, heh?"

Terrence looked over and saw Rufus walking in from behind. "Oh hey, Rufus! Nah, this ain't fer me, it's fer Ossy."

"Ossy? Oh yeah, that penguin that ya had with ya yesterday. Why wasn't he up here for breakfast?"

"Oh, I let him sleep in. I'm gonna go on down an' wake an' feed him. Say, you're just th' bear I wanted to see. Ya wouldn't happen to have a pick or a chisel or somethin' like that with ya?"

"I think so. Why?"

"Come on with me then an' I'll show ya…"


"…you left the penguin in th' freezer? That's a smart idea," Rufus said as they walked behind the Café. "But that still doesn't explain why ya need my chisel…"

"Oh, you'll understand perfectly when you see it," said Terrence as he opened the freezer door. "Oh, Ossy! Rise an' shine, my lil' Arctic friend! Ya ready for the show?"

No response came. Terrence waved the fish above him. "Hey, Ossy! Wake up! I got breakfast for ya!"

There still was no response. "Ossy?" Terrence went into the freezer, searching around. "Oh c'mon, Ossy! This ain't funny! Ya know we gotta do a show today! Oh, don't tell me you're a heavy sleeper, an'…AHHHHHHH!"

"Shaker! What's wrong?" Rufus asked as came in to the freezer. Then he saw what made Terrence scream. He gasped. "What in Ursus' name?" Terrence was holding up the bucket of water, which of course had frozen over…with Oswald frozen solid inside it!

"H-how did this happen?" Terrence said.

"Shaker, where was he sleeping at when you left?"

"On this shelf over here…" Terrence then frowned, "Right near where I placed the bucket. It was full of water…"

"And he fell in and got frozen soild! What were you doing with it, anyway?"

"I was just tryin' to reuse the bucket's water and have it freeze over…"

"And shatter it to little ice bits using my tools. I see now," said Rufus.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time. But look what I did! I…I killed the lil' thing! Oh Ossy, we hardly knew ye…"

Suddenly, the bucket started to shake violently in Terrence's hands. "Hey! What in th'…? Ossy! He…he's still alive in there!"

"I guess he can take the chills!" said Rufus.

"Oh Rufus, this is great! All ya have to do is take yer tools an' smash him out!"

Rufus took a look into the bucket and shrugged. "It ain't gonna be that easy, 'Shaker'. I just can't stick my tools down straight through the middle without drivin' through Oswald by accident. I'll have to pry the frozen ice out of the bucket, and then slowly chip away the ice until we get him free."

"How long will that take?"

"A good amount of time, and with showtime comin' close, that ain't somethin' we got a lot of."

"Oh, gosh! Ya think ya get him out in time?"

Rufus took a deep breath. "I don't know if I can Shaker, but I'll try. Come on, we gotta hurry!"

With the frozen Ossy in tow, the two then quickly headed back to Grizzly Hall.


After several minutes of waiting, they finally open the gates to the park. About time, another minute of standing with all these people and I would go nuts! But that's not important anymore. I heard from the park workers that today is the day when the theater finally reopens. Though my main reason for coming here is to see if the Swinger has returned or not, I also want to see what kind of entertainment those bears are providing. I then proceed towards the theater. As I near it, I notice that they've hung some banner over the marquee to advertise their new show. It says, THE COUNTRY BEAR CHRISTMAS SPECIAL. I walk into the lobby with a crowd of people and wait…


"How is it goin', Rufus?" Terrence asked as he went back into the den.

"I managed to slip the ice out of the bucket, and I've started chiselin' as easy as I can. He keeps shakin' around in there! At this rate, it could take hours to get him free!" Rufus said as he continued to chip away the ice with his chisel. Like Rufus had said, Oswald was still conscious in the ice, and he had a "Get me outta here!" look on his face. Just then, Henry came into the room.

"Ah, there ya are, Rufus! I need you to do a final check on th'…" Henry stopped in mid-sentence when he noticed the frozen Oswald. "My word Terrence! What happened to yer penguin buddy?"

Terrence glanced at the frozen ice block. "Long story."

"Well, I'll hav'ta hear it later. Rufus, it's almost showtime. Is everythin' in workin' order? The lightin', the curtain controls, Teddi's swing?"

"I checked it all before I went down with 'Shaker'. Everything's a-okay. You know, you seem nervous fer once, Henry."

"Nervous? Me? What gave ya that idea?" Henry asked.

"Well, yer actin' exactly th' way ya did the first day we opened. I recall ya were late getting on stage…" said Terrence.

"Which led to them wall-hangers' bickerin' for th' show t' start. But I ain't gonna let that happen this time!"

"It will again if you don't hurry. It's only a minute 'til showtime, ya know," said Rufus.

"It is? Oh great, I must've lost track a'time! You two get ready. I'm goin' down now."

Then in a rush, Henry dashed downstairs. In a matter of moments, Terrence and Rufus, along with every bear in the theater, overheard Henry on the P.A. for everyone to take their places. A moment or two afterwards, Terrence and Rufus heard a buzzing sound.

"Hey, what's that mean?" Terrence asked.

"Oh dear, Teddi must need someone to help her get on her swing! Shaker, try and ask Onionia if she'll attend to her!" Rufus said as he frantically chipped away the ice.

"Right, Rufus," said Terrence as he ran off. I just hope you pull this off for me, Rufus, he thought. Talk about cuttin' thangs close!


"Hey, ma'am, will you stop holdin' us up? Didn't ya see the doors open?"

I take my eyes off the portrait of the Swinger in the theater lobby and look over at the people behind me. I then look over towards the back of the lobby and notice that the doors to the theater have opened and everyone in front of me has already entered.

"Whoops, sorry," I say as I proceed towards the doors. I walk in and seat myself in the back of the house. Now I just need to wait…


All right, I've made the final announcement. Time to head out. Hope everyone's ready, Henry thought as he clicked off the PA. As he walked out towards the stage, he heard Max and Melvin arguing.

"Look Melvin, I'm the deer, I got the red nose, so I get to sing…"

Oh, great. Melvin must've tried to sing that reindeer song again! Henry thought as he walked behind the curtain and sat on his barrel. Guess I'll have t'break it up…

"Ain't we go through all this before?" Buff asked as he cut in.

"Well, I don't see why he always gets to sing…" whined Melvin.

"Hold th' phone there, boys!" Henry said as the curtain opened. "Where's yer Christmas spirit?"

He then looked over at the audience. "Sorry folks," he said as he cleared his throat. "Gomer, let's show 'em how it's done!"

With that, Gomer rose up, playing the introduction music, and then Henry welcomed the audience and sang "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas".

All right, this is it, Henry thought after he had finished, Time to really kick things off!

"Ladies and gents," Henry said as the curtain on the center stage opened, revealing..."The Five Bear Rugs!"

"When th' snow begins a-fallin' and yer gun begins to freeze, it's time to stop and holler! And slap yer hairy knees…"

"So hand me down my banjo," Zeke sung as he joined in, "I think I'm gonna sing…"

"Th' time for sittin' idle's in th' summer or th' spring!"

Zeke then ducked over to avoid one of Zeb's sneezes, and they all began the chorus.

"We're makin' tracks in th' snow! Everythin' is rosy…"

"No more hiberatin', boys!" Henry said.

"We're up on our feet!"

"Just makin' tracks in th' snow, getting warn an' cozy, shiverin' and shakin' to that good ol' country beat."

"Sing it out, Henry!" said Zeke.

"I like a cozy fire on a cold dark winter night, "Henry sang solo.

"When th' windows are a-ramblin', an' th' stars are shinin' bright."

"Muh feet up on muh huntin' dog, mah arm around mah wife," sung Tennessee.

"They may be old an' toothless…"

"But I've had 'em all mah life!"

Henry chuckled as they went into the chorus again.

"We're makin' tracks in th' snow, an' everythin' is rosy…"

"No more hibernatin', boys…"

"We're up on our feet!"

"Just makin' tracks in th' snow, getting warm an' cozy, shiverin' an' shakin' to that good ol' country beat…"

"Yes sir!" said Zeb.

"Shiverin' an' shakin' to that good ol' country beat!" They sang as they held on to the final note. Following another sneeze from Zeb, the curtains closed and the audience applauded.

Wendell then rose up and sang his song, concluding with the Sun Bonnets signing background from backstage.

"You be careful with that squirrel gun, now Wendell," Henry said as he appeared on stage.

Wendell glanced at the prop gun he held. "Aw, heck, it ain't even loaded!" He pulled the trigger, and a bright flash erupted from it.

"BANG!"


I look as the bear sinks back under the stage, saying "Sorry." I can't believe that they would still let him carry that gun with him after what happened, thanks to me! The next thing I hear is Henry calling out for that Rufus guy to change the lighting. Well, if they keep this gig going they'll run their budget on new lighting! After a sec or two, the lights come back on and Henry introduces…oh, it's that fat ol' Trixie! She starts singing something about hibernation interfering with her love life. Humph, I wish I had a love life! With all the troubles my family had, and with all the things my grandfather forced me to do, I never had the time to experience one…

I turn back to watching the show, the talking taxidermies commenting on her singing. As she finishes up, Henry comes back out.

"That was mighty purty there, Trixie."

"Why thank you, Henry! Oh Henry, why don't you come on over and try out this here mistletoe, hee hee hee?"

I look over at Henry as the ol' blimp says this. Judging from the look on his face, I don't think he wants to go along with it. He tries to protest, but the heads cut in on him.

"C'mon Henry, where's your Christmas spirit?" says the deer.

"Yeah!" says the moose.

"What's the matter, got cold feet?" says the buffalo.

Henry then tries to protest again, but then those Bear Rugs come out again and break it all up. This scares ol' Trix off stage, and then she starts to cry over the whole lousy thing. As her curtain closes, I notice she stupidly dries her eyes with her gloves. What did she think she was holding in that paw, a handkerchief? I turn back to the main stage and listen to the Bear Rugs' drunk sounding version of "Deck The Halls", while the banjo player avoids getting sneezed on by the fiddler. The act seems so rushed, like they never rehearsed it. It makes things so ridiculous it's almost funny!

They sing one verse of the song before the curtains close on them. I wonder what's next? Acck! No! Not an Elvis impersonator!


"Terrence! Liver Lips is up now, ya gotta head down now or you'll miss yer cue!" Henry said as he rushed up the stairs.

"Oh, great! We're not even halfway through breakin' Ossy out!" Terrence said as he looked over at Rufus, who was frantically chipping away. The ice around Oswald was now in the form of a block.

"You're gonna have to go on without him, 'Shaker'!" Rufus said. "I can have him out by the end of the day if we're lucky…"

Suddenly, the block suddenly started to shake. Inside Oswald was making angry squawking noises, a look of determination on his face.

"Hey, what the…?"

"Ossy! Rufus, it looks like you've broken away enough ice for him to speak through and move some! This is great! We can still do the performance together!" Terrence said as he grabbed the ice block and his guitar and zoomed downstairs.

"Wait a sec, Shaker!"

"Too late, Rufus. Looks like he's long gone. Well, I better be headin' down myself. Be ready with the projector for the Sun Bonnets' number and then lowerin' Teddi afterwards, okay?"

Rufus sighed for a moment. "All right."

Downstairs, Terrence had arrived behind the stage just as Liver Lips had finished, with just barely enough time to set the frozen Oswald down and get himself into position.

"All right, Ossy," Terrence said. "This is your big moment! Be ready to sing!"

The curtain opened, and Terrence began singing.

"I'll have a blue Christmas without you. I'm so blue, just thinkin' about you…" It was at that point that Terrence noticed that Oswald had missed his cue. He looked over at him and whispered, "Hey, help me out here!" Oswald then tried, but his muffled squawks could barely be heard through the ice block. Terrence then quickly continued on his own, "You'll be doin' alright, with your Christmas white! I can't hear ya!" He said as he whispered to Oswald again. "I'll have a blue, blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas…brrrrr!" Terrence looked over at Oswald. "I thought you wuz gonna sing!"

After the curtain closed, Terrence picked up the frozen penguin. "Oh Ossy, I'm so sorry about that! Looks like we need to thaw you out a lil' bit more!" As he made his way back to the stairs, he glanced back behind his shoulder for a moment. That girl in the back row looked awfully familiar. She looked like that one I thought I saw on the island the other night! Hmmm…


Well, that was a weird act the ol' snaggle-tooth had! I'm hoping he didn't see me or recognize me if he had spotted me the other night! If he did, then things will be even harder tonight, provided Teddi is present! I keep my view of the stage, listening to the audience chuckle at the slide show that plays as the three girls on stage sing "Sleigh Ride". After that the other bear that spotted me, the "Dude", appears. He and the Rugs sing a somewhat amusing song about getting snowed in. That last line about them eating Santa actually makes me crack a smile. Whoever wrote that is okay with me! Henry then comes out again, probably to introduce whoever's next. "Here is she, that charmin' Chanteuse of the Ski Slopes!' Swingin' Teddi Barra!"

She returned after all! I notice the cast on her leg, the result of my previous attempt. Her being cripled will probably make my troublesome job easier. I listen to her as she sings "The Christmas Song". I never knew she could sing so well! I almost get choked up as I hear the brief duet between her and Henry at the end. I sigh as she begins her ascent back up. Such a talented girl...it's a shame with what I'm going to have to do with her...

I then turn my attention over to the heads on the wall, who've begun a new spiel.

"I'm sure lookin' forward to th' New Year!" says the deer.

"Yup, ain't nothin' like a brand new year to lift your spirits!" says the buffalo.

Then I hear a guitar, which is playing "Auld Lang's Syne" in the background. It then strikes a wrong note.

"Of course I could be wrong…"

Then, I see a Trixie-sized male bear appear on stage…wearing nothing but a huge diaper and a party hat, singing pretty lousy. The whole audience just erupts with laughter at the sight. Ah, so I guess this must be that Big Al bear I've heard so much about, the supposed star of this show. I sort of see why people like this guy so much. I have to admit that I find the fat lug so darn funny!

After a brief number, he disappears and then Henry comes out with yet another talking taxidermied animal on his head, this time a raccoon. He encourages the audience to join in with him before the two begin singing "Let It Snow". The two eventually are joined in by the triplets who close the song for them. Then, the deer starts singing that Rudolph song the moose tried to sing before the show started. He doesn't get real far as the moose interrupts him, and soon ol' Snaggle-tooth comes out and begins another song, "Winter Wonderland." Soon, the rest of the bears join in, and eventually the song closes with that little Wendell guy shooting his gun off and busting the lights again, scaring everyone off stage. I can still hear that Al guy stupidly singing in the dark as Henry calls for that black bear to get the lights back on. A moment later they do, and Henry and his talking headgear speak once more.

"G'hawhawhaw! Well folks, I guess that about does it fer our show. Now bundle up, stay warm…"

"And come back and see us real soon!" The raccoon says.

"Happy holidays, y'all…"

The curtain then closes, and the usher tells everyone to grab their stuff and leave. Of course, I do plan on coming back really soon, though I wish it were on better terms. Well, I have a whole day to blow now. I guess I should enjoy this park while I can and then get to the island before dusk to hide. It's going to be a really long night…


As the day went on, the bears' crowds started to grow and grow. The lines were long, with people waiting to see the new show. The audience reactions varied, from the rate they clapped along in time with the music, from their laughter, from their applause, it was a different experience each show. By closing time, it felt just like the first day they had performed. As the day ended, Rufus was finally able to bust Oswald from his ice block. After the park had closed, they headed back towards the island. As they were on the raft, Oswald noticed the disappointed look on Terrence's face.

"Hey 'Shaker', what's wrong?"

Terrence sighed. "Oh, Ossy, I'm so sorry about today…"

"Sorry about what?"

"You getting frozen in that ice, that's what!"

"What's to be sorry about? I kinda liked it in there…"

"You did?"

"Yeah! It was all nice and cool in there. Hard to sing in it though…"

"So…you actually liked it?"

"Sure! It was better than staying in that bucket. Anyway can you freeze me up like that again?"

"I think I can. But you know Ossy, you know it'll be hard fer ya ta sing an' move…"

"Ah, we'll just make the ice block a little bit thinner next time! We'll keep tryin' to get it just right until the audience can hear me!"

"Hmmm…well Ossy, we'll see," said Terrence as they reached the island and stepped of the raft. "I'll try to manage it like that. Shouldn't take me long to figure out how to get it right. "Here, let's head to my cave and I'll start trying to…"

"'Shaker'! Look out around you!"

"What?" Terrence said as he jumped back. As he did, he saw a slim woman leaping out from the bushes near the dock, charging towards him. As she dashed by him, she slashed at him with her nails. He suddenly felt pain in his arm where she clawed him.

"OW! He lady, I don't know what's going on, but you ain't supposed to be here! The park's closed! I'll have to go get a…"

"'Shaker'!" Oswald said. "Look at your arm!"

Terrence looked down at where the lady had scratched at him, and was shocked when he saw that there were three cuts on his arm! He quickly clutched the wounds with his other hand.

"Hey, what in th'…! I don't know about you, ma'am, but y'all better get yerself a manicure 'fore ya go an' knick someone else, an'…"

Terrence then gasped as he took a better look at the woman. She had a human face, but her right hand, the one that she had scratched him with, was a bear's paw. A bear's paw with long claws.

"Hey, what th' heck! Are you really a bear under that getup?"

"Well, the cat's out of the bag. It's just as well. I don't need this disguise anymore anyway," said the woman. She then took of the glove on her left hand exposing her other paw, and then peeled her face off, revealing it as a latex mask and wig. Underneath it was the head of a bear. She gave a chilling stare at him with hazel eyes. She looks familiar. Could she be…? Suddenly, it hit Terrence.

"Hey, now I remember! Your that girl I that I saw fer a sec th' other night! That was th' same night Ernie thought he saw a slim she-bear sneakin' around th' Grizzly Hall den! That was also the night before Teddi had her accident! I'm startin' to get the feelin' that you might have had somethin' to do with it, didn't ya?"

The girl glanced at him. "Guilty as charged," she said to him. "Too bad for you that I no longer care about being caught or not!"

"Being caught…what does that mean? Does it have anythin' to with what you did to Teddi?"

"The Swinger…where is she anyway? At the theater still? If she is, you better tell me Snaggle-tooth, or otherwise I'll do something drastic! And you wouldn't want me to do that, now would you?" She said she flashed her claws off to him. Though I don't really want to do anything to any of them…She thought.

Terrence gulped. Boy, this girl means serious business! Now what? If I tell her that Teddi's still at the theater, she'll do who-knows-what to her! And if I don't, she'll do that to me! I'm a peaceable bear though; I don't want to harm anyone or anythin'…

"No way! Leave us alone!" Both Terrence and the woman were surprised when they saw Oswald rushing towards them. In one quick motion, the penguin leaped at the woman, and did a flying headbutt into her stomach. The woman stumbled back towards the railing at the edge of the island. She lost her balance, causing her to topple over it and into the water.

"Ha! Take that!" Oswald said as Terrence stared at him.

"That was good work Ossy, but next time let me know when you're gonna sneak attack someone like that!"

The woman quickly got her bearings and went to top for air, and then began to swim as fast as she could.

Oh, forget it! I shouldn't waste my time with them anyway! I've got more important matters to settle! I'll just to the theater and find out for myself!

"Look, 'Shaker'! She's still at it!"

"She's headed to the theater! Quick, we better warn the others! C'mon!"

"But, what about your arm?" Oswald asked as they ran.

"Oh, it's just some minor scratches. Nuthin' serious t' worry about. I'll just slap on some bandages when we get back and check with th' doc later fer safe keepin'!"

As soon as Terrence got to his cave, he immediately grabbed his phone and called Grizzly Hall.

"Henry? This here's Terrence! I've got somethin' important t' tell ya…"


I keep on swimming, not stopping an inch until I've gotten to the other side. Now that Snaggle-tooth has found me, I've got no other choice but to hurry. As soon as I make it to shore, I don't hesitate in rushing towards the theater and climbing up the posts in front. This time instead of breaking through the back, I pick up a good-sized rock off the ground and hurl it at one of the windows, shattering it. I reach through the broken window and unlock it. I quickly crawl through the open window, and find myself in what appears to be a large storage room; some of the items here appear to be old antiques and books that once belonged to Ursus H. Bear. I've got no time to look around, though. I bolt through the door, and find myself in the den again. I spot a rifle next to the door, the same one that little Wendell guy was carrying in the show. The same one that was responsible for Teddi ending up with a broken leg. The same one that was responsible for giving Snaggle-tooth his white coat. I pick it up and hear voices coming from Teddi's room.

"Hey Onionia, did you hear that shattering sound a moment ago?"

"Yes I did, Teddi. I was just about to go see what it was."

Ah, so she is here after all! I dive under the table again, and wait for the old Onion lady to leave. I don't want anyone to witness what I'm about to do. After she leaves, I take a deep breath, and walk over to her room. It's time to get this over with. I bust in through the door, catching her by surprise. She's lying on the bed, and with her broken leg, she's totally helpless. She gasps. "What in th'…!" She then screams for a moment. "Who are you?"

"I'm afraid I'm the last person you'll ever see, Miss Teddi Barra," I say, pointing the rifle at her, trying not to let my emotions choke me up from doing this. Suddenly, I hear someone's footsteps rapidly approaching the room.

"Teddi! I just got a call from Terrence! He says that there's this crazy gal comin' after ya, and…oh, no!" I hear Henry say as he dashes in and see what I'm doing. Hmmm…with him here, I can kill two birds with one stone!

"You!" I yell at him, motioning him with the rifle. "Get over there with her!"

Teddi looks over at Henry, with a scared look in her eyes. Henry however, just looks at me and shrugs. He looks calm despite having a gun pointed at him.

"Well, if it's th' way it has t' be…" He says as he walks over to her.

"Henry! What are you doin'?" The Swinger asks as he takes a seat beside her.

"I'm sorry I have to do this to you two," I say. "But you two have caused havoc amongst my family! Or should I say your ancestors."

Well, while part of this is true, these aren't my own words. It's what he wanted me to say to them when he forced me to do this for him.

"Believe me, I don't really want to do this, but I've got no other choice," I say as I begin to choke up. "I just wish there was another way…goodbye."

With that, I close my eyes and fire.

BANG!

I hear Teddi scream at the exact same time. I wonder if I should open my eyes or not and look at them…

Suddenly I hear a chuckle, coming from Henry. I open my eyes and discover that the two are still alive and unharmed! Teddi looks down and gasps. "What? Oh my gosh…we're still alive! But how?"

"That…that's just what I like to know!" I stutter with a puzzled look.

Henry chuckles some more. "Silly girl…what do ya think y'all are doin', tryin' t' shoot us with blanks?"

"B-blanks?"

"Yup, what y'all are holdin' is nothin' but a prop gun Wendell used in his act today! You see, Terrence called me several minutes ago. I knew you were comin', so I planted that gun in the den. I knew you would try to use it!"

I stand there, stunned. I should have known all along that the gun wasn't real…

"A prop! Grrr…why you…"

I charge at Teddi, raising the gun as a club. After I've been through trying to carry out this job, I don't want to fail! Well, part of me does, anyway. Before I can strike her, though, someone grabs the gun from behind me, and swipes it out of my paws. I look over and see that Big Al guy standing behind me holding the gun, with Rufus standing at the door shaking his head and finger in a "Uhh, uh, uh," way. Al hands the gun off to him. I growl out of frustration and anger. "Well, I don't need the gun! I still can do the job with these..." I say as I bear my claws. Before I can react, Al reaches over and grabs me in his arms, pinning me against his chest. I struggle, but his strength is too great.

"Good job, Albert! Rufus, you go downstairs and watch for the po-lice, and direct 'em up here, OK?"" Henry says. "Gotcha, Henry," Rufus says as he walks away with the gun. But one thing doesn't make sense...

"But if the gun is fake, how did the lights break in the show today?"I ask aloud.

"All that stuff with the lights goin' out was all part of a planned act, with Rufus turnin' them off and playin' sound effects," said Henry. "You really don't think I'd let him bring his real gun anymore after what happened t'e other day, did you? Though of course now I know it wasn't really his fault," He says as he eyes me with an angry stare. "So Terrence was right then! It wuz you all along who was behind Teddi's accident!"

Teddi then looks at me and gasps, then looks at me with the same angry look. "I get it now! When Wendell went to clean his gun, you must've reloaded it! Why, you no good…you ought to be ashamed! Just what did you think you were doing? What led you to it?"

Oh, no, they have me! As they remind me off all the evil things I have done, in their angry tones, I begin to feel guilty. I start to break out in crying. Henry glances at me with a stern look, with his arms crossed.

"Feelin' guilty now, are ya? Admit it, gal! I don't know who y'all are, but you must have been crazy tryin' to pull off a scam like that here! I'll have y'all know, I had Rufus dial the po-lice earlier, and they should be here any sec now. I wonder how many accounts of attempted murder we should charge against you?"

I then glance at Teddi. She's been eying me for a while. She then has a sudden look on her face, as if she had just realized something…

"Forget attempted murder, "she says, "I wonder how many accounts of successful murder we should charge?"

Henry looks over at her. "What do y'all mean by that, Teddi?"

"Henry, think about this. All this time she was tryin' to get rid of me…a Big Time Swinger. Rufus told me the other night he found the bolts to my swing loose, the night before I broke my leg!"

"That was th' same night Ernest said he saw a slim she-bear in the den!" Henry said as he takes a look at me. "That pretty much matches y'all's description, don't it gal?"

I gulp as I start to sweat. Now they're really on to me! I just hope they're not thinking what I think they're thinking…

"Y'all were gonna try to rub Teddi out by makin' her swing unhook, weren't ya? Now, that sounds a lot like somethin' that happened t'many of th' other Swingers…"

Oh dang, they are thinking that! Teddi looks at me with another angry stare. "All those poor ladies," she says. "Many ended up like me, or paralyzed for life, or worse! Now I know why we lost so many, why the number of us dwindled down over the years, and how I lost Georgette…"

I look into her eyes, which are filled with rage…

"It was you all along! Why, if I could get up, I'd…"

"No! Please! I'm…I'm sorry for your suffering! But, I never did those things…"

I say as I start to tear up. "Please believe me…"

"Why should we?" Teddi yells at me. I look as Henry stares at me for a moment, stroking his chin.

"Hold on, Teddi, she may have a point," He says. "I mean, she doesn't look a day over eighteen! All those incidents with the Swingers happened many years ago! She would have been too young for that…"

I sigh for a moment. Henry's taken the hint, but Teddi doesn't appear to. "So? How do we don't know she's covering her age up? She could be usin' makeup to make herself look younger you know!"

"I don't know, Teddi, we'll see. When the cops come get her, we'll get everythin' out of her!"

At this point all I can do is cry. Sure, I that I've made Teddi suffer, but would they really understand the suffering that I've been through? The whole reason I'm doing this is foolish anyway, it's because he forced me into this! That does it; I'm just going to turn myself in and do what I should have done from the start…

I sigh. "You're right, Henry H. Bear. I will explain everything, but it's a rather lengthy story…"

Suddenly, Rufus and several park security guards rush up the stairs. "She's over in there," Rufus says, pointing towards me.

"So, she's the one then?" One of the guards asks. I take it he's the head one. "All right, lady, you're under arrest for the following charges: trespassing in the park after hours on two occasions, attempted murder, and judging from the broken window outside, breaking and entering."

"She broke a window? Oh thanks a lot lady, now that's another late night job I'm gonna have to do! Grrrr…" Rufus says as he storms off towards the storage room.

"Okay Al, you can let her go now," says Henry. Al does as he's told and I collapse on the floor after he releases me. The guards then all haul me up and restrain me as they handcuff me.

"You have the right to remain silent…" One of them says.

"I know my rights," I say. "But before I shut up, I need to tell you one thing. Go to the Contemporary. Room 23, third floor. There you'll find the real madman behind this. He forced me to do this! I swear…"

"Who might that be?"

"My…my grandfather…" I say sadly. I turn over to Teddi and say, "Miss Barra, I hate to say this, but he's the one who got rid of your friend…"

Teddi looks at me again, startled. I wonder, though, if she believes me…

"We'll search there, then," says the security chief. "Thomas, you and Paul go over there and check that out."

"Okay, chief!" The guy he was talking to says.

"He may be under disguise like I did, so check him as soon as you get there…" I say to them.

"We will then. Okay boys, take her away," The chief says as we leave the Hall.

"Wait, one more thing," I say. "Henry, if they'll let us, I need you to come over to whatever jail I'm going to tomorrow night. There I'll tell you the whole story behind me. It kind of ties in to your past so you might find it interesting…"

"I see. Is it all right if we do that, sir?" Henry asks the chief.

"I'll see if they can let you come in on her interrogation, Mr. Bear," the chief answers. We then leave the Hall, and I'm taken towards the backstage entrance behind the Thunder Mountain ride to a police car. I look up into the night sky, and give a brief smile. Hopefully, if they catch my grandfather, maybe it will finally put an end to our families' cycle of hatred…


"Henry," Teddi said. "Do you actually believe that woman?"

"I don't know, Teddi. But, I pity her if her granddad really did misguide her into doing it. I'll have to hear her story and see," Henry replied.

"Well no matter what she says, I'm coming with you. If that story has anything to do with Georgette and the Swingers, I want to hear it," Teddi said. "I assume we'll leave after the park closes tomorrow?"

"Yep. I need t'go look fer somethin' in th' storage room, Teddi. I assume y'all are goin' t'bed now?"

"I'll try, but after all that trauma I just faced, it won't be easy."

"Well, try to get yer excitement down. We've got a lot to do tomorrow. Good night, Teddi."

"All right, Henry," Teddi said as Henry left her room.

Henry then entered the storage room, where he saw Rufus replacing the window the she-bear had broken, grumbling to himself. "Somethin' wrong, Rufus?"

"Yeah, I was hopin' I could get a good night's rest tonight. I've had to stay up doin' small jobs for th' past few nights, an' I've hardly gotten any sleep. This won't take me long though."

"Keep at it then, Rufus. After you're through, take a long break. You deserve it."

"Thanks, Henry. What are ya doin' here now, anyways?"

"Just popped in t'get somethin' from in here. Now where did I see it last?" Henry said as he searched through a few drawers in an old cabinet. "Ah, here they are!" He said as he pulled out several old documents. "That girl mentioned something about my past, and I think I've got an idea about what she's talkin' about."

"Really? About what?"

"One of the most mysterious cases of my great-grandfather Ursus' life, Rufus. And if I'm correct, I just might be able to get th' answers t'both it, and what happened to th' Big Time Swingers."