We said the word in unison as we gazed down over the beautiful Seattle skyline. We had been on our way home from Monterey, or so we thought. “How did we get here?” Panda asked incredulously. I had to admit I had no clue. “I must have taken a wrong turn back there over Bakersfield,” I mused. “But since we’re here, let’s go see Tiger and Benji!” Panda agreed, and we were soon being welcomed into our friends’ warm, cozy living room.“It’s great to see you guys again!” Tiger exclaimed as Panda jumped up with him on his chair. “Nice hoodie,” he continued, examining Panda’s new outfit. “Is that a real pocket?” Panda explained that it was. “Mom made it for me,” he added proudly, to which both Tiger and Benji nodded in approval.
We enjoyed reminiscing about the last time we had been at their house. “That was sure funny how Panda tried to sneak Benji into your suitcase before you went home,” Tiger remembered. Panda laughed. “We almost pulled it off, didn’t we? But Sue came in before we could close the suitcase. Hey, speaking of your humans, where are they?”
“Oh, Sue and Bob?” replied Benji, “They’re not home. They went bike riding.” Panda nodded. “I saw a really pretty picture Sue posted on your blog from when they went to look at her new E bike. There were a lot of sunflowers in it.” It was then that we thought we should have a moment of silence in memory of Mom’s sunflower Sunny, who, we are sorry to say, is no longer with us. “Hey, do you want to go for a ride on our flying carpet?” we asked our friends after our moment of silence had ended. The guys thought that sounded fun, and once we had convinced them we would be back before Sue and Bob got home, we all hopped onto our carpet and took off. “Dude, don’t let your foot hang over the edge,” I admonished as Tiger tried his best not to slip off the carpet. “Well you’re going too fast,” came the slightly disgruntled reply. “Actually,” Benji commented, “I think we’re losing altitude.” Panda agreed. “Benji’s right, Fos,” he exclaimed, as I tried desperately to pull up on the controls. “We’re going to land right in the middle of the Washington state fair!” Benji’s eyes grew wide. “Seriously?” he asked. “I’ve always wanted to see the fair!”Once we landed we were amazed by all the colors, sounds, and smells of the fair. It took us a minute to get our bearings, and suddenly Panda exclaimed, “Where’s Benji?” After a quick discussion, we decided to split up and look for him.
Panda and I went to the animals first. We described Benji and asked if they had seen him. “No, I can’t say that I have,” the goat said in between mouthfuls of hay. The cow agreed. “Hey, where are your ear tags?” she asked. We looked at each other, puzzled. “Oh, we’re not fair animals,” Panda replied as he realized the cow’s meaning. “We’re just visiting.” Both animals agreed to let us know if they saw Benji, and we continued the search.Tiger told us later that he had gone to check the front gate, but no one there had seen Benji either. “He didn’t come through the ticket booth,” a nice lady replied to his questions. “I would have remembered that.” Tiger felt it necessary to explain. “Well, we didn’t exactly come in through the gate,” he said, “but we didn’t sneak in either. We just sort of, well, landed here.” The lady looked at him quizzically, shaking her head. “I’ll keep an eye out,” she offered. Tiger thanked her and then we all met up at the hot dog stand.“Wow,” Panda mused as we sniffed the hot dogs sizzling on the grill. “I’m not sure I would want to eat a dog!” “They’re not real dogs,” I replied, laughing. “Hot dogs are made from beef or pork.” Tiger nodded. “They smell delicious,” he remarked. “But I don’t think Benji would have come here. Let’s keep looking.”We went to the midway and checked the stuffed animals. “You never know,” Panda said. “I’ve been mixed up with stuffed animals before and it’s not fun.” It was then that we heard a little voice. “Hey, whats so bad about stuffed animals?” We were amazed to see Hedgy, the new pencil pouch Mom got to go with our new friend, Dusty. “Hedgy!” I called from where I stood outside the booth. “How did you get here?” Hedgy shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he replied. He hadn’t seen Benji but promised to let us know if he did. About this time we were getting hungry, so we went to look for a snack.“Elephant ears?” Panda exclaimed. “Now that is just gross!” I was just about to say that I didn’t think they were really ears from elephants when something caught my eye in the corner of the window. “Hey Tiger!” I called. “We found Benji!”Tiger immediately ran up and climbed up to the snack bar window. “Benji!” he admonished. “Where have you been? We’ve been looking all over for you!” “Dude,” Benji replied. “I’ve been here the whole time! As soon as we landed a little girl saw me and picked me up. She brought me here because her parents own this stand. They thought I was lost so they were keeping me inside until they could find my owners. Hey, want some elephant ears? I get them for free!”After a brief explanation and a quick snack of elephant ears, the little girl’s parents allowed Benji to go with us. Now it was time to go on the rides!I have to say we had a blast on the Ferris wheels.Panda wanted to try the bumper cars but Tiger and Benji decided to pass on that one. I only went because I knew Panda would need supervision.“Hey, check this out!” Panda called as he jumped up on a carousel of cars an motorcycles. “This reminds me of when we joined the police force!” The rest of us agreed. “Copy that!” we replied in unison. By now it was getting late, so we decided we’d better start back to their house.As we all headed for our flying carpet, for a brief moment we thought we had lost Panda! “Not again!” I thought. “I can’t do this twice in one day.” Fortunately it didn’t take long to find him. “He’s over here!” Tiger called from the horse stalls. “He says he’s looking for his long lost relatives!” “Dude, not every black and white animal is one of your long lost relatives,” I said sternly. “Now get out of that barrel and let’s go!” Panda complied, and after an uneventful flight over Washington state, we were soon back to Tiger and Benji’s house. Ahh! There’s nothing like a nap in front of a nice, warm fire! A little later we were awakened by Sue and Bob coming in from their bike ride. “Oh, hi guys!” Sue said when she saw us. “Your mom told me you were coming.” “Looks like everyone’s all tuckered out,” Bob remarked kindly. “But you’d better get up now. You don’t want to have to say you slept through your whole visit to Seattle!”
Background “fair and carnival” photos are from www.pixabay.com, a royalty free photo site. (Granted, none of them are from the Washington State fair, but “the guys” don’t know that.)
The photos of Tiger, Benji, and their house were taken by their human mom, Sue. You can read more about Tiger and Benji at her blog, Cats and Trails and Garden Tales.
Foster and Panda would like to thank Sue for letting Tiger and Benji participate in this adventure.