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       Adventures in Cottontail Pines - Goober's Cousin, p.1

           TK Wade
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Adventures in Cottontail Pines - Goober's Cousin
ADVENTURES IN COTTONTAIL PINES

  –

  GOOBER’S COUSIN

  by

  T.K. Wade

  *****

  PUBLISHED BY:

  Cover Art Illustrated by:

  T.K. Wade and Coy Fields II

  Adventures in Cottontail Pines:

  Goober’s Cousin

  Copyright © 2013 by T.K. Wade

  Thank you for downloading this free eBook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form, with the exception of quotes used in reviews.

  Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated.

  This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

  *****

  ADVENTURES IN COTTONTAIL PINES

  –

  GOOBER’S COUSIN

  *****

  It was a new day in Cottontail Pines. Morning was the time when most animals would wake up and begin their preparations for the day. For Flopsy the lop-eared rabbit, it meant brushing her fur and helping her mother make breakfast. For Blacky the skunk, it usually meant a lot of groaning and griping. And then there was Goober the brown rabbit.

  Goober was always promptly awake at first light. Only a minute after opening his eyes, the bunny would carefully crawl out of bed and begin doing his morning stretches and exercises. He even had a little chant that would help him keep his rhythm:

  “Left paw straight down to my toes,

  Back up again right to my nose.

  Right paw travels the very same way,

  And that’s how we start a brand new day.”

  Even though the exercise was not too strenuous, he would still take a moment to catch his breath. Goober was very careful about overexerting himself. He did not want to pass out.

  The brown rabbit would then proceed to make up his bed. He was very careful to make sure that all the creases were flattened out. This task was sometimes extremely difficult, because as one crease would disappear, another would surface somewhere else. Sometimes, Goober would have to start completely over two or three times to get it right.

  The next thing that Goober took care of was his personal grooming. He approached his dresser with the mirror atop of it. Everything he needed was lying in perfect straight lines along the top.

  The rabbit picked up a comb and began straightening his fur wherever he could. He did so with much care as he watched himself in the mirror. When he was done with that, he took a little cotton swab and began thoroughly cleaning out his ears. It was important to him that he would hear everything the teacher had to say at school.

  Goober made sure to rearrange everything neatly on his dresser. He made a last moment check of his room to make sure that everything was neat and orderly; although, he did find a few things wrong and proceeded back to reorganize everything until it looked satisfactory.

  As the bunny walked to his door, he said, “An orderly room is a safe room.” Goober picked up his school books and walked out to where his mother was just setting the table.

  Mother said to him, “Your father left a little early today, Goober.”

  The brown rabbit placed his books on the table and sat down to eat. “Was there trouble at the shop?”

  “Oh, no. Nothing like that. My sister–Maple from Sugarcane Crossing–is visiting us for most of the week, and your father went to meet them at the border.”

  Goober seemed rather concerned about this. “Crossing the great field is dangerous. I hope they have someone to escort them.”

  Mother reassured. “Don’t worry. They will. Mister Hooty the owl will also be accompanying your father to make sure they arrive without any trouble.”

  Goober made sure to cut up all of his foot into small, easy bites before eating any of it, and even still, he set some aside to eat later at school. He was always very conscious about the dangers of overeating.

  Goober checked to see if all of his school supplies were organized correctly before walking to the front door. Mother stopped him before he left. “I almost forgot to mention: Maple is bringing along her son, Waffle. You remember Waffle, right?”

  The younger rabbit did indeed remember Waffle. “Yes, Mom. I remember that he was very young. He couldn’t even talk.”

  “Well, he is a lot older now. I’m sure you both will have many things to talk about.” She smiled as she saw her son off to the cobblestone path that led through Cottontail Pines.

  Goober smiled at the idea that Waffle was coming. The truth was that he liked discussing things with family, and this would be a chance to pass on all the things that he knew to someone younger than him. Surely, Waffle had many things to learn. This would be Goober’s chance to educate him.

  He imagined himself sitting with his cousin and telling him all sorts of interesting things while Waffle just stared back at him in wonderment. Goober was starting to wish school was already over.

  *****

  Mid-afternoon: Goober was heading home with much more notes than what he had arrived with. Mister Hooty had assigned everyone in class that they should write a report about the flowers of Cottontail Pines. This was a subject which the brown bunny knew a lot about. He was already thinking about what he was going to write.

  He approached the front door of his house, wiped off his feet on the doormat, and entered. His mother and father were there with his Aunt Maple. The young rabbit greeted, “Hello, Aunt Maple!”

  The visiting rabbit stood to her feet and quickly pulled the surprised bunny into a hug. “I haven’t seen you since you were just a little bunny boy, Goober!”

  The young rabbit did not like being touched or held, but he knew that it would have been rude to pull away. He squirmed and said, “I am happy to see you too. Is Waffle here?”

  Maple pointed over to his bedroom. “Waffle is waiting for you in there. He says he doesn’t remember you, but he still sounded like he wanted to meet you all the same.” The news was actually a bit startling. Nobody entered his room without his permission. Even his best friends had learned that they needed to ask him first.

  Goober tried to reason with himself, What kind of trouble could Waffle do in such a short time? Maybe, he is just reading one of my books. The young rabbit slowly approached his room, and when he opened it, he was shocked at what he saw.

  Waffle was in there and had formed a fortress out of Goober’s book collection. The cute, little rabbit was sitting underneath it and smiled brightly at his cousin’s arrival. “Goober! Look what I made!”

  Goober frantically began disassembling the fortress. He scolded, “Waffle, books aren’t used this way! You just can’t play with them like this!”

  The boy did not move from where he sat, but instead, just watched the brown rabbit reorganize the books onto his shelf. “Well, what was I supposed to do with books, read them?”

  Goober stopped for a moment and looked at Waffle. “Yes. Books are meant to be read.”

  Waffle laughed. “I can’t read yet!”

  “Well, that is still no excuse to play with them.” Goober continued to place the books on his shelf; however, Waffle crawled over to the bed and peeked under it. The older rabbit saw this at the last moment. “Waffle!” He ran over missing the little bunny feet as they disappear under the bed.

  He heard the boy shout, “There’s all sorts of writing leaves under here!”

  Goober whimpered out of frustration and pleaded, “Ple
ase, come out! Don’t mess with those!”

  Waffle had secretly crawled out of another side of the bed and made his way over to the dresser. Goober was still trying to find him under the bed as his cousin began digging through the drawers. “What is all this junk? Why are there dead butterflies in here?”

  Goober bumped his head under the bed when he suddenly realized that his cousin was behind him. He crawled out and said, “Waffle, don’t touch those! They have to stay perfectly categorized!”

  The younger rabbit pulled out the glass case and held it to his chest. “I wanna look at them!”

  “That’s fine, but just let me hold them.”

  “No, I want to look at them!”

  Goober was so frustrated that he suddenly reached out for the container. Waffle suddenly turned and ran out of the room. “Mooooom! Goober’s chasing me!”

  Even though Goober was chasing him, he yelled, “No, I’m not! I just want my butterfly collection back!”

  Aunt Maple stopped her son in his tracks and took the collection away from him. “Don’t be rude, Waffle. This belongs to Goober. If he wants to show it to you, he can do it himself.”

  Waffle seemed to look ashamed of what he did, and pretended to kick something that was not there. Goober stepped up to him as if out of breath, but in reality, he was just rattled more than he usually was. The older boy said, “I’ll show it to you, but after that, I need some privacy to do my homework.”

  Waffle answered, “I understand. I’m sorry.”

  Maple handed Goober his collection back and apologized for her son. “I’m sorry, Goober. He was really excited to meet you. I’ll make sure you get some privacy before you go to bed.”

  The brown rabbit checked his butterfly case for damage. It was all right, but he looked back up when he realized what had been said. “What happens when I go to bed?”

  “Well, little Waffle needs a place to sleep tonight. We were going to lay out a cot in your bedroom. I hope you won’t mind.”

  Goober minded, but he did not want to be rude. He was already worried about all the things the boy might touch, move around, or break while he was asleep. “I… guess it will be okay.”

  Waffle added, “I won’t do anything bad. I promise. I just wanted to see your butterflies.”

  Goober reluctantly nodded. “I understand, Waffle.” He showed the younger boy his collection. “I collected these two years ago. I even named them.” He pointed to the names that he had written under each butterfly.

  Waffle smiled and said, “The big blue one is my favorite. What did you name it?”

  Goober blushed a bit. “Well… I named it Big Blue.”

  “That’s a pretty name for a pretty butterfly.”

  Maple placed her hands on her son’s shoulders. “Go ahead and do your work, Goober. I’ll bring Waffle into the living area to talk with your parents. Once again, it’s good to see you after so long.”

  Goober released a sigh of relief. “It’s good to see you also, Aunt Maple.” The brown rabbit retreated back into his room where he would finally have some peace to work on his homework assignment.

  *****

  It was late evening by the time Goober had finished his assignment. He had categorized and classified nearly every flower in Cottontail Pines. Most students would have talked about their looks and smells, but Goober had always taken the more scientific approach to his assignments. Mister Hooty never seemed to mind this because it was where the boy shined.

  His work was carefully assembled on no less than ten writing leaves with some very elaborate carefully detailed drawings on each of them. He was not a very good artist, but he had used references from some of the books that he had to make sure he did well.

  The brown rabbit took a set of hard covers and placed the assignment between them and wrote his name and the assignment on the front cover. After finishing his work, he smiled at just how flawless it was. “It will be the best assignment of the whole class,” he said to himself.

  The voice of his mother called from the dining room, “Goober, dinner is ready!”

  That was good news. The rabbit had worked up a hunger. He placed the completed assignment down near his school pack and made his way to the dining room. Unfortunately, he found himself sitting at a smaller table with Waffle.

  Goober did his best to keep calm around the unpredictable rabbit. He was carefully slicing up his cabbage cakes to make them small enough to eat safely. Waffle was not eating as much as he was just staring. The older rabbit asked, “Why are you staring at me?”

  Waffle cocked his head. “Why are you cutting all your food up like that?”

  “Because if you eat too much at one time, you might choke.”

  “My mother said that you only choke if you talk or breathe when you swallow.”

  Goober nodded. “That true. You should always be careful when you eat.” He took a bite of tiny cabbage cake.

  Waffle grinned slyly and started stuffing his cheeks with as much as he could fit in it. Goober went wide-eyed and said, “Stop that! You could get hurt!”

  To which the younger rabbit replied, “Ah aff foo fiff!”

  “See! You can’t even talk now! In fact, you shouldn’t be talking! Chew it up and swallow!”

  Waffle was chewing it all right, but a lot of it was falling out of his mouth. Goober cringed at just how gross it was. Finally, Waffle swallowed and said, “See? I don’t have to cut it up like you do.”

  Goober replied, “That was really gross, and you could have choked.”

  “But I’m all done, and you still have more to eat.”

  “You aren’t supposed to just gobble everything at once.”

  Waffle crossed his little arms and said, “Yes, you are.”

  Goober shook his head. “No, you aren’t.”

  “Yes, you are.”

  “No, you aren’t.”

  “Yes, you are.”

  Goober cupped his face. “Stop it!”

  Waffle laughed. “You lose! I win!” He ran away from the table before Goober could reply. The brown rabbit tried to finish his cabbage cake peacefully.

  When bedtime came, a cot was set up on the floor in Goober’s room. Pleasantly, Waffle was already falling asleep when he was introduced to it. The older rabbit released a long sigh as he lay in his own bed, and soon, he fell asleep as well.

  *****

  Early morning came, but Goober was not woken up by the hint of first sunlight as he was used to. Instead, he heard the sounds of cheerful humming coming from nearby. He blinked a few times to help with the grogginess and slowly turned his head. Waffle was sitting on the floor with crayons scattered about.

  The brown rabbit asked, “Waffle, are you already awake?”

  The younger rabbit turned his head with a smile. “Don’t look! I’m almost done with your present!”

  Goober slowly sat up and rubbed his eyes. “My… My present?”

  Waffle suddenly turned around and held up a leaf with a very childish drawing of Goober and Waffle holding paws. It was kind of hard to look at, but at least he had done well with coloring in the lines.

  The brown rabbit asked, “You made this for me?”

  “Yes! Because you are a great cousin!”

  Goober smiled for a moment; however, he suddenly had a really bad suspicion. The brown rabbit slowly turned the leaf over, and to his horrors, he saw a page from his homework assignment. It had been thoroughly scribbled over in Waffle’s previous failed attempts. Goober jumped to his feet in a nervous panic. “Oh, my gosh! This isn’t so bad. I can just redo this page quickly before I go to school.”

  Waffle was just baffled by that response. “Redo what? What’s wrong? Don’t you like the picture? It took me a ton of tries to get it right.”

  Goober thought he felt his heart stop. “A ton of tries? Waffle, what do you mean by a ton of tries?”

  Waffle pointed over to a bunch of leaves on the floor and an empty assignment cover. Goober darted over to them and found that his
worst fears had been realized. He turned to Waffle and shouted, “You ruined my assignment! I worked so hard on it! I had every single flower in Cottontail Pines categorized and named, and it was going to get me the best grade in the class!”

  Waffle began to recoil towards the door. His voice wobbled, “I didn’t know what it was, Goober! I can’t read! Stop yelling at me!”

  Goober looked like he was having a break down. “You can’t just come into other people’s houses and destroy their stuff! I don’t even have time to redo the assignment! Mister Hooty is gonna fail me! My whole life is gonna be ruined after this! How could you be so stupid, Waffle!”

  The little rabbit began to cry. “I was just… hnng… trying to… hnng… draw you… hnng… a picture!”

  With his temper flaring higher than ever, Goober yelled, “Well, that doesn’t bring my assignment back!”

  Waffle covered his eyes and ran out of the room crying his heart out. Maple ran to help her son just as Goober’s mother darted over to hers. She had heard everything. “Goober, I can’t believe you just talked to him like that! I’ve never heard you yell like that before. You’re normally so quiet and well-behaved!”

  Goober pointed at the destroyed assignment scattered about the floor. “Look what he did! My assignment is ruined!”

  Mother defended her nephew, “He’s just a little child, Goober. He didn’t know any better. I’m sorry about your assignment, but you are going to have to make up what you can before you leave. I’ll make sure Waffle knows what he did wrong.”

  “You don’t understand, Mom! It was perfect! I had the perfect assignment! It took me a long time to do it, and I don’t have time to do one that good before school! I won’t even have time to take care of my stretches and grooming responsibilities!”

  Mother wiggled her finger at her son. “The longer you stand there complaining about Waffle, the less time you’ll have to get that assignment done. Now, get to it!”

  At that point, Goober was a nervous wreck. It was not just because of how everything seemed to fall apart so quickly, but it was also because he had lost his temper. That was not normal for him in the least. Still, he had to do something for his assignment, so he got out some extra writing leaves and quickly threw together a much smaller, less orderly assignment. He barely had enough time to eat before he ran down the cobblestone path to school.

 
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