“Hey Jake!” called Midge as she and Booker-T entered through the gate at Jake's place. “Where are you?”
“Maybe he is sleeping,” said Booker-T looking around.
“Lets check the back yard,” said Midge as she started around the corner of the house. “Come on Booker-T.”
Booker-T followed quickly behind Midge as she entered the back yard.
“Jake!” called Midge. “Where are you? Booker-T and I are here.”
“Hi Midge,” said Jake as he poked his head through the doggie door and came outside. “Hi Booker-T.”
“Are you ready to go to the zoo this morning?” asked Midge. “I want to see the animals.”
“We don't know if we can get in there yet,” said Jake.
“The sign on the building said Free admission, didn't it?” asked Booker-T.
“Yes,” agreed Jake. “But they might not let us in because we are animals.”
“We aren't going to hurt anyone,” said Midge. “We will just walk around and look at the animals.”
“But they don't know that we won't hurt anyone,” said Jake.
“Don't you want to go see the animals?” asked Booker-T.
“I want to see them and we will try,” said Jake. “I just don't want you to be disappointed if they won't let us in there.”
“We will sneak in,” said Midge. “I'm a good sneaker.”
“Oh,” laughed Jake. “We know you are a good sneaker. You have gotten us into places I had no idea we could ever get into.”
“Come on lets go,” said Midge. “I want to see the animals and we told Duke we would be there today.”
“I wonder how long he will be there,” said Booker-T. “He's a cute little guy.”
“Yes,” agreed Jake. “A strange looking cat.”
“I wonder why he is called a cat,” said Midge. “He looks nothing like a cat.”
“He said he was a meerkat,” said Jake. “So what does meer mean? I never heard of that kind of cat.”
“I don't know,” said Midge. “Do you think Duke might know what meer means?”
“If he is still there,” said Jake. “We can ask him.”
“What kind of cat are you Booker-T?” asked Midge.
“I think they call me an alley cat,” said Booker-T.
“Why?” asked Midge.
“Maybe because I lived in the alley,” said Booker-T. “I just think of myself as a stripped cat.”
“Like a tiger,” said Midge. “But you are smaller than a tiger.”
“They are mean too,” said Booker-T. “You aren't mean like they are.”
“I wonder why they are so big and mean,” said Midge. “They are pretty cats but they are so mean.”
“I don't know why they are that way,” said Jake. “Maybe they are mean because they are in the cages.”
“No,” said Midge shaking her head. “I think they are always mean.”
“Well, come on lets go and see what kind of animals are in the little zoo building,” said Booker-T. “I want to see the animals. I think I saw an elephant in there when we were talking to the meerkats.”
“I saw it,” said Midge. “Do you think that was the elephant from the circus we say?”
“Oh no,” said Jake. “This will be a different elephant. He is just a zoo animal.”
“How do you know?” asked Midge. “Maybe it was the same one.”
“We can ask the elephant when we get there,” said Booker-T. “Lets go!”
The three of them headed out the gate and along the sidewalk to where the zoo is located. They hurried to the gate and found it standing open. Jake approached the gate and peaked inside the zoo. “I don't see anyone here,” said Jake. “Lets hurry inside before someone shows up.”
“Come on Booker-T,” said Midge as she walked in behind Jake.
“I'm right behind you,” said Booker-T.
Inside the gates, the three stood there looking around the zoo to see what animals are there. “Look at that animal,” said Midge pointing to the back of the zoo. “Isn't that a giraffe?”
“I think so,” said Jake. “They are really tall.”
“How does he eat stuff on the ground?” said Booker-T.
“I think his neck bends,” said Midge. “We can ask him how he eats.”
“Do you think he will talk to us?” asked Booker-T.
“We can try,” said Jake. “We talked to the meerkat and we talked to the elephant when he was here with the circus.”
“Maybe we don't speak giraffe,” said Booker-T.
“Maybe he talks the same as you and I do,” said Midge.
“I like his color,” said Booker-T. “He has the same colors on him as I do.”
“But he has spots and you have stripes,” said Midge.
“Hey Midge,” said Booker-T. “What is that big animal in the corner? He is really fat.”
“I don't know what that is,” said Midge. “Do you know what it is Jake?”
“No,” said Jake. “We can ask him when we go to his cage.”
“He sure is big,” said Booker-T. “Come on, lets go over there. I want to know what he is.”
The three walked to the cage and stood looking at the big animal in the pond. He was just standing there in the pond looking around. He opened his big mouth and Booker-T stepped back. “Oh my,” said Booker-T. “He has a really big mouth.”
“Hi,” said Midge as she pressed her nose against the cage.
“Are you talking to me?” asked the Hippo.
“Yes,” smiled Midge.
“Why are you out there?” asked the Hippo. “I am in a cage, but you aren't in one.”
“I know,” said Midge. “My friends and I are not zoo animals.”
“I think I'm a zoo animal,” said the Hippo.
“Do you have a name?” asked Jake.
“My mom called me Hippy,” said the Hippo.
“That is cute name,” said Midge. “What kind of animal are you?”
“I don't know,” said Hippy. “What does the sign out there say?”
Midge looked at the sign and said “It says that you are a Hipp o pot a mos.. wow that is a long name.”
“I'm a big animal too,” laughed Hippy.
“You are very big,” agreed Booker-T. “My name is Booker-T, this is Midge and this is Jake.”
“Nice to meet you,” smiled Hippy.
“It is good to meet you too,” said Booker-T.
“Can you get me out of here so I can come play with you?” asked Hippy.
“Oh no,” said Midge. “We can't unlock the cages. You wouldn't have a place to live out here.”
“I can come live with you,” said Hippy.
“Hmmmm,” said Midge. “You are too big to fit through my house door.”
“Oh,” signed Hippy. “I guess I have to stay here.”
“That is a good idea,” said Jake. “You will like it at the big zoo when they take you there.”
“It is good to meet you Hippy,” said Booker-T.
“Thank you for coming to see me,” said Hippy. “It is nice to talk to you.”
“We will come back to see you if you are still here,” said Jake.
“Okay,” said Hippy as he slipped beneath the water.