The Ross Family and the James-Jennings Family clash in the great NYC for the fair! But a little mix-up takes them closer together, and to a point that they never imagined! Plus, see if a new romance across the two families brews!
"Why did I have to be cursed with this body full of fur?" Stan complained as he collapsed on the tile floor. "Especially on the hottest day in Pascedena history!"
Avery, Tyler and Chloe joined him. A couple minutes later, their father walked in from the kitchen, and tripped over Stan. He fell over next to Chloe just as Ellen walked in.
"Oh, goodness, Bennett," she said, helping him up. "We don't need you to fall on Chloe. Again."
"Well, I can't help that they're lying on the floor like a sack of potatoes!" he defended. "Um…why are you guys lying on the floor like a sack of potatoes?"
"Have you noticed how hot it is? It's in the upper 90's!" Tyler complained.
"Huh. That's why my egg fried itself this morning," Bennett said to himself.
"That's it!" Mrs. Jennings ordered. "Honey, we're taking these kids up north for a while. At least until it gets a bit warmer."
The kids seemed to like that idea. They all sat up and looked at each other excitedly.
"I agree, that would be great, Ellen, but I don't think we have the money right now."
Avery, who suddenly had the energy to stand up, cut in.
"But Dad, you know how I got that scholarship? That's worth a couple thousand dollars!" she said. Tyler and Chloe agreed, and stood up to join their sister in the fight.
"You haven't paid for a single hair-cut for Tyler since he was three! You saved a bunch of money that way!" Chloe added.
"We can sell Mom's spit on a tissue and say Beyoncè sneezed in it!" Tyler suggested.
"It's decided! We're taking a trip!" Bennet announced, followed by cheers.
"Oh! Let's go to New York!" Avery said. "I've done a little reading, and their award-winning fair is there this weekend! They have a pet competition (a possibility for Stan), rides, an abundance of games, and also live baby gators and a gator costume party!"
"Chloe! About that costume party, it'll finally be a chance for you to wear that green tutu I got you!" Ellen chirped.
"Aren't tutus for…seven year olds?" Chloe asked.
"Yeah. And you're seven." Her mom replied. "You walked right into that one."
"Fine, but I get to make my own mask. Mainly cuz I like sticky and smelly things like paper machè."
"If you like sticky and smelly stuff," Bennett began "you can have my egg."
Jessie, Emma, Luke, Ravi and Mrs. Kipling were moping around in the main room of their penthouse. Jessie and Emma were reading the latest issue of Leopard Beat, Luke was tossing around a foam football, and Ravi was hidden behind an easel, trying to paint a picture of his lizard.
"Mrs. Kipling, please stay still!" he complained. "How am I supposed to capture your beauty if you move around so much?"
Jessie interjected hopefully to help. "You've known Mrs. Kipling for a long time, Ravi. I'm pretty sure you can draw her from memory. Just work with what you have."
"Well, I am no Picasso," he replied modestly.
"Oh, come on, bro! Show us what you've got!" Luke pushed.
Ravi sighed, and turned around his plain, white canvas. It was empty.
"…it's a start," Jessie began slowly. "Now, why don't we work on putting something on the canvas?"
"But I would never want to misinterpret or ruin Mrs. Kipling's look!" Ravi said as if it were obvious. He continued to contimplate how to paint by staring at the canvas.
"As if the whole man eating lizard thing hasn't ruined the look." Jessie said to herself.
She shrugged as Zuri came down the stairs.
"Hey Jessie, do you know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?" Zuri asked.
"No, but I know the difference between an iguana and a chameleon." Her nanny replied. "Never mind, I don't. They both attacked me the same way…but what's with gators all of the sudden?"
"She's going through an alligator phase," Emma explianed, not taking her eyes off Leopard Beat.
Jessie understood and met Zuri at the end of the stairs. She walked her over to the couch.
"My schedule's empty today, I'll take you see some live gators somewhere." She offered.
"Good." Zuri said, slapping a brochure in Jessie's hands. "Let's go to the Everglades, and then Gatorland, Florida."
"Sorry, but we can't go that far today." Jessie said with a chuckle. "We have to meet your parents for dinner tomorrow night."
"But I really want to see an alligator! They're so cool!" Zuri complained. "Maybe you could take me in the helicopter?"
"And how many helicopter landing pads are close to the Everglades?" Jessie asked. Zuri pretty much knew the answer was no. But she would never get over her gator obsession unless she saw one soon.
Emma ripped an ad out of her magazine and passed it to Jessie. "The fair is in town. With live baby gators!"
"Sold!" Zuri squealed.
Ravi craned his neck to look at the ad for the fair.
"Hey, there is a pet competition! A chance for Mrs. Kipling to show off her post baby-body!"
"The fair opened an hour ago! Let's go!" Jessie said.
The kids cheered. Luke and Ravi helped Mrs. Kipling into her sky blue cage, and Zuri wedged herself under the staris, looking for something.
"Now's not the time to play hide-and-seek!" Jessie said. "Let's get a move on!"
"I finally have a chance to use this!" a muffled voice replied. Zuri came out with a cardboard box on her head, decorated to look like a gator's head. "If I'm gonna meet a gator, I might as well look like one! Wouldn't want to scare them away!"
"Yeah, well you almost scared me away!" Emma retorted. Jessie shook her head and helped Zuri up.
"So, you're just going to half dress-up like an alligator?" she asked. Zuri was in gloves, a tutu, skinny jeans, and combat boots, all in green.
"Don't give her any ideas! I can barely handle the mask!" Emma said. She joined Ravi and Luke and Mrs. Kipling in the elevator. Soon, Jessie and Zuri bolted in after them.
The fair was a sea of people from all over the country, flashing lights, bells ringing when people won games, and of course, circus talents.
Luke gawked at a guy riding a unicycle juggling chainsaws. He had never seen an act so dangerous.
"Hey, man! Pass me one!" he called. "I got this!"
"No, you don't!" Jessie said, pulling him back. Lucky for her, the stuntman wheeled off. "If you get seriously injured, it's not my fault!"
"Okay!" Luke agreed, and chased after the unicylist.
"I have to go! Emma, take Zuri to see the alligators. Ravi, I'll meet you at the pet competition after I find Luke!" Jessie said, then tore off after Luke before she could hear Emma complain.
"Why do I have to be stuck with Zuri!?" she whined.
"Sorry," Ravi apalojized. "I would help you, but Mrs. Kipling and I have prior tasks. We have to go put her stage make-up on." And with that, he marched off carrying Mrs. Kipling's cage.
Emma rolled her eyes and began to walk Zuri to the alligator exhibit. On the way, Zuri walked straight into one of the stilts someone was wearing, and made them fall backwards, wiping out a whack-a-mole tent.
Emma threw the owner of the tent a sympathetic look, and dragged Zuri by the alligator ear over out of the way.
"Can't you take that off? You're causing a disaster!" she demanded.
"About that, I made this to fit my head perfectly, so I can't take it off, or I'll break it!" Zuri explained.
"I don't mind." Emma said. "…Listen, I have to go meet Rosie at the Thrift Shop tent to do an exposè on how to shop at a thrift store. I have to go now, so why don't you join the alligtor
"But I-""I'll take you to see the gators later. I promise!" Emma interrupted, then opened the velvet rope for her sister to enter the party.
Emma began to runn off, but she smashed into a tall guy with shoulder-length brown hair and thick eyebrows. They both fell to the ground.
"Sorry!" she apalojized. They guy didn't seem phased. He immediately whipped out a piece of papter, and thrust it at her.
"Hi, I'm Tyler! Here's my phone number and e-mail address!" he said.
Emma, confused, took the papter. A dirty blonde-haired girl shook her head as Emma and Tyler stood up.
"If you're done flirting, can we go now?" she complained. Emma noticed the girl had a sky blue pet carrier just like Ravi's.
"Aw! Is there an Asian Water Monitor in there?" she asked.
"Yeah, his name is Stan!" Tyler responded.
"No!" the blonde said. "He's a dog we got from a rescue shelter."
"Oh, that's nice!" Emma said. "You see, my brother has a huge lizard as a pet. It's weird-he has the same pet carrier…except, you know, his doesn't carry a dog."
"Ah. Well, maybe I'll see him at the pet competition." The blonde responded. "Actually, we were just heading there. We just need to drop our sister off at that alligator costume party."
The girl gestured someone Zuri's size with the exact same outfit as Zuri. Even the cardboard box mask was strikingly similar.
Tyler took the little girl in the costume over into the party, leaving Emma and the blonde girl, who Emma didn't really like that much.
"You don't have to keep his personal information," the girl explained. Emma noticed she was fingering the paper Tyler gave her.
"Maybe I want to." Emma said, and began to walk away. She could have sworn she heard a male voice say 'Why do humans dwindle with personal information when you can sniff butts and know it all?', But when she turned around, the blonde girl and her sky blue cage were gone.
Bennett James and his wife Ellen were trying to enjoy a nice day at the fair. They played games together, enjoyed some food truck meals, basicall spending a day of spouse bonding time.
But it was kind of hard for them to bond when every five minutes, a short kid with a face full of freckles ran by, being chased by a red-headed teenager.
The next time they came around, Ellen had had enough.
"Bennett, can you please do something about that kid!?" she complained.
Her husband was apalled. "Has the day really come that you'd like me to do my job? I thought you hated it!"
"Wha-I never said I hated your job!" she denied.
"But you implied it."
"Can we please just deal with this kid? Maybe he's had too much Go-Go Juice," Ellen said. She and Bennett positioned themselves so that the next time that the boy came around, he would be blocked.
"Don't remind me of that stuff. I had so much sugar that I thought you were the Easter Bunny." Bennet groaned. He readied himself as the boy barreled towards him, obviously no match for the rather buff man. He bumped into Mr. James and fell back into the red head teenager's arms.
"Gotcha!" she said. "Please stop being stupid, and let's go to Ravi's event! I'd let you go off and play games, but we all know how that went!"
"Woa! That's no way to approach a hyper child!" Bennet said. "I would know. I'm a world renound child psycologist, Bennett James."
"You're Bennett James? I'm Jessie Prescott." She said, obviously star struck. She shook his hand, and took that chance to throw a smug look at Ellen over his shoulder.
"Did you write You're Doing Everything Wrong?" she asked.
"Why, yes I did!"
"That book is horrible! I pracically raised my youngest wrong, and set her on the edge! I am never reading any of your books again!" Jessie spat. "Plus, you were wrong about the imaginary friends chapter."
"B-but that was the chapter I related most to!" Bennet gasped, appalled. His wife tried not to laugh as Jessie began to stomp away with her nose in the air.
"Wait!" he called, and rushed to catch up to them. He gestured a picnic table nearby. "Please, I just want to help. One free session. I guarentee results!"
To Bennett, it wasn't really about wanting to help….It was but mostly he really just wanted that lunatic kid to stop ruining his day. That, and he wanted to gain a former fan back.
"Yeah, Jessie. We all know you need serious help." Luke said. He gladly sat down at the table with Ellen and Bennett.
"I'm not the one with the problem! This is about you!" Jessie accused. She sat down and looked at Mr. James expectantly. "Right?"
"Well, I can definetly sense that you two are not getting along," he explained. "This is mainly about your relationship with each other."
"Well, this isn't the first time she's chased after me," Luke said. Jessie rolled her eyes.
"W-w-wait! Do you have a crush on her?" Bennett asked. "Jessie, how old are you?"
"Bennett, it's obvious she's a teenager. Her pores are the size of Mount Everest." Ellen whispered loud enough for everyone at the table to hear. Jessie looked around uncomfortably and covered her face.
"Now guys, let's not pay attention to me," she said half-embarrased, half-modest.
"You're right, we have a lot of work to do." Bennett agreed.
Avery stood in the wings of the stage. She wondered where her Mom and Dad were. They promised they would be there in time for the ending ceremony, but the runner-up and the grand prize winner were about to be announced.
Then again, they frequently forgot Chloe. Avery wondered if everyone else was at the hotel, totally oblivious to the fact that the eldest daughter was sweating it out at a nerve-wracking competition.
She bent down over to Stan's cage to talk to him.
"Do you smell Mom or Dad yet?" she asked nervously.
"Nope. No naturally smelling ham feet," Stan reported. Avery sighed nervously.
"I can't believe Tyler's not even here!...Do you think he's trying to flirt with that poor girl again?" she said.
"Probably not. Besides, I thought he liked Nicki?"
"Well, I guess he finally realized he has zero chance with her," Avery guessed.
"There's zero chance of a talking dog, and I'm here," Stan pointed out. Avery shrugged and stood up, shocked to find herself face-to-face with a short Indian boy.
"D-d-did?..." he stuttered. "W-was that dog-?"
"No, no, no, no, no! You see—I do impressions," Avery explained. "That was my…dog impression?"
"That is impossible! Dogs cannot talk!" to boy said to himself beginning to pace.
"Stop pacing! You're making me nervous!"
"But the dog—" the boy could no longer find words, so he took his cage and ran away, yelling "I saw nothing!" It was more to himself than Avery.
"In second place," an announcer continued from the stage. "Avery Jennings and her dog, Stan!"
Avery pretended nothing had just happened, and she took Stan in his cage to the front in between the 3rd place and the announcer, ignoring what had just happened and accepting her prize without a smile.
Jessie thumbed through the booklet of coupons Mr. James had given to her. They were all for getting discounts on skype psycologist sessions.
The session they had just had was actually kind of helping. For hours, Luke and Jessie had played games at the fair without one argument, or even disagreement.
Ravi ran over and thrusted his cage into Luke's arms, and gripped onto Jessie. He had vanilla icecream all around his lips.
"Hey!" Jessie said, peeling him off her. "The last thing I need are for the flies to get in my pants."
"Jessie! We have to leave now! This is turning into a freakshow!" Ravi yelled.
"Just because Emma's here doesn't mean you have to look at her!" Luke explained.
"Noooo!" Ravi continued. "You have to believe me! Can we please go?"
Luke struggled with Mrs. Kipling's cage. "Geez, has Mrs. Kipling gained weight?" he asked, finally giving in and putting it on the ground.
"Well, we may have been spending the last 30 minutes stuffing our faces with vanilla-nilla ice-cream." Ravi admitted. "At least some good could come out of this bad situation…It was on sale!"
"He's right! We have to get out of here!" Jessie agreed. She turned to Ravi. "When it's on sale, it's gone bad. The recovery process requires several hours in a bathroom. Let's go find Emma and Zuri."
Coincidentally, Emma walked by dubbed in a new trench coat, and a leopard-print fedora. Rosie was with her, carrying a camera and lots of shopping bags.
Jessie grabbed Emma's arm and pulled her over, scaring Emma a bit.
"Where's Zuri? I thought she was with you!" Jessie snapped.
"She was looking especially conspicuous, so I just dropped her off at the costume party while Rosie and I did some very important shopping." She explained.
"The Sherlock Holmes look is in right now!" Rosie added, putting a black fedora on her head.
"Well, go get Zuri!" Jessie ordered. "Ravi's having a meltdown, so we'd better go home now!"
"Okay," Emma said with a sigh. She hurried to go find her sister.
DOG WITH A BLOG
Chloe sat in the back corner of the lame costume party she was at. Well, it wasn't exactly lame, she just couldn't see anything through her mask. And unfortunetly, she didn't let the paper maché sit long enough, so it had dripped and stuck to her tutu's collar.
Someone's foot bumped her leg, and she heard a thump.
"Sorry," she said, and pulled her feet in.
"It's fine," another kid her age replied from the ground. "It's just the kind of day I'm having. At least your head sin't stuck in a mask!"
"…It is." Chloe replied, sulking.
"What are the chances of that? I'm Zuri."
"Hi, Zuri. I'm Chloe. My brother Tyler dumped me off here so he could go chase after some girl. He's not that smart."
"Really?" Zuri asked. "My sister Emma promised to take me to see the alligators, but she left me here so she could go shopping. She's not smart, either."
Chloe noticed that she and Zuri pretty much had the same lives, and were stuck in the same situation. She wondered if Zuri had just moved in with a new mom and had a pet, also.
"Do you have a talking dog, too?" Chloe asked.
"…No, but we have a belching lizard!...You have a talking dog?"
"Who-who said anything about a talking dog-YOU brought it up first!" Chloe blurted. "…Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we…you know, switched lives? It would be cool to have a burping lizard!"
"Switching lives? That only happens in the movies!...And occasionally TV shows!" Zuri said. "Well, it was nice seeing-uh-hearing you, Chloe, but I'm gonna go find the alligators, or this whole trip to the fair would have been useless!"
"Lemme go with you!" Cloe said. "Zuri!" she called, trying to follow her new friend's footsteps. But soon they got lost in the low murmur of the crowd.
Then, someone grabbed her arm and yanked her away.
"STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER!" she yelled. The person stopped pulling.
"Relax, Zuri!" It's just me, Emma!" the person who was pullling her said, then continued dragging Chloe.
"Zuri? Emma?" Chloe said to herself. "Hey! You're the one who's not smart!" she said to Emma.
"Um, I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!" Emma snapped. "Ravi's having a chrisis, so Jessie ordered me to get you. We need to go to the penthouse immediately. And we need to cut that hideous mask off of you."
"NO!" Chloe protested. "Bury me in this mask! It's my own original work!"
"I'm not Zuri! Now lemme go! I will call the police! 8-1-1!" Chloe continued.
"It's 9-1-1! And the only police officer we have in Central Park arrested someone on theft charges for taking a free sample!" Emma explained.
Chloe laughed and pointed at Emma. "That's funny!" But then she resisted Emma's grip on her arm. "Now let me go!"
"Tony! HELP ME!" Emma groaned.
Someone (Chloe assumed it was Tony) picked her up as she was screaming.
"What does she want this time?" he asked.
"I don't know!" Emma replied hopelessly. "She didn't want to leave the fair, and she keeps saying she's not Zuri!" she gasped. "I've heard of tantrum level 7, but maybe this is level 8!"
"And why would Zuri be throwing a tantrum?" Jessie demanded as Emma and Tony (holding Chloe) stepped into the penthouse from the elevator.
"To be honest, I didn't take her to see the gators," Emma confessed. "And I promised to, and I'm really sorry! But now she's so upset that she denies being Zuri!"
Jessie took who she thought was Zuri from Tony, and set her down on the ground. She then took the kid's hands.
"Zuri. Although you may be upset that Emma didn't take you to see your favorite animal at the fair, you don't need to pretend to be someone else.
"We can talk about it! So, would you mind telling me what's really going on?"
"I'm not Zuri! I'm Chloe!" she began. She then lifted Jessie's hands. "And…you hands are so dry!" Have ou ever thought of using Aloe?"
The nanny was shocked and didn't move. Chloe took that chance to find the stair railings, and navigate her way upstairs.
"Something's definetly wrong!" Jessie cried.
Emma shook her head. "Nothing's wrong with her. You are in desperate need of lotion! I can go run to the store and-" someone, presumably Ravi screamed from the kitchen.
"You take the boys, I'll handle Zuri." Jessie ordered. "…And on the way I'll stop by the bathroom for lotion!" She dragged Tony up the stairs as Emma ran into the kitchen.
Ravi was standing on the countertop and Luke was knelt next to Mrs. Kipling's cage. It was open.
Ravi stopped Ema before she could get any closer.
"What is that hairy beast that is inside Mrs. Kiplilng's cage!?" He wailed.
A medium-sized dog, white with brown and black spots walked out of the cage and looked around.
"A dog?" Emma asked. She thought this was a joke. She bent down to the dog, and let it smell her.
After it did, the dog barked. Emma scratched him behind his ears, and read his name tag.
"Stan." She read. She turned back to Ravi. "Yep. This definetly isn't Mrs. Kipling."
"No wonder the cage was so heavy! It wasn't the ice cream! It was this dog!" Luke thought aloud.
"Hey! I'm not fat!" Stan defended. "I'm Husky." He said in a lower tone.
All the kids screamed and held onto each other.
"OMG! He just talked!" Emma yelled, pointing.
Stan realized his mistake, and barked twice, hopefully misleading them.
"That was the same exact dog in the same exact cage I heard talking to a girl!" Ravi explained. Stan nervously barked twice.
"And that was the same voice I heard talking to Tyler's sister!" Emma added.
"I never talked, okay? I just barked to prove my point!" Stan said.
Emma, Luke, and Ravi all screamed again. They slowly backed away in a huddle as Stan walked towards them.
"That was a mistake!" the dog explained. "Please keep quiet! You guys weren't supposed to know! Just don't tell anyone!"
Bertram busted into the kitchen. The kids screamed for the third time because he had scared them.
"What's with all the screaming!? You guys look like you've seen a talking dog!" he said.
Emma sent a warning look to Luke and Ravi so that they wouldn't spill anything. But apparently Ravi didn't get the message.
"We did!" he said, breaking away from the group. "That dog just talked!"
Emma clamped a hand over her youngest brother's mouth as Bertram looked in the direction he had pointed.
"…Why is there a dog in the kitchen?" he asked.
"Uh…" Emma began. "Ravi…won him at the fair! Did you know they upgraded their prizes?"
Bertram looked half convinced. "And did your brother just say it talked?"
"You know us kids and our imaginations!" Luke said. He, his siblings and Stan slowly began backing out of the kitchen. "Imagination." He repeated, using the Spongebob rainbow hands.
Once they were safe in the living room, Emma slapped Ravi on the back of the head.
"Why did you tell Bertram!?" she demanded.
"I am sorry! But hasn't anyone thought that maybe not having Mrs. Kipling has me stressed out?" Ravi asked.
"Think on the bright side!" Luke explained. "No more taking her on walks, taking her out to use the bathroom, having plenty of space for her to play, and monthly visits to the vet!"
"You just explained everything you have to do with a dog!" Stan pointed out.
"I am not taking care of you!" Ravi said. "If we have been played in the old 'switcheroo', then someone has Mrs. Kipling! Who know what they are planning to do to her!"
"What do you mean?" Luke asked.
"I mean," Ravi began, grabbing his jacket and heading toward the elevator. "I am going out to find my lizard! However long it takes, however far I have to travel, I will find her!"
He pressed the button and the elevator opened. He stepped in and began his voyage to find Mrs. Kipling.
As soon as the door closed, Stan turned to Luke.
"I hate to tell you this as soon as he leaves, but this was no master plan. It was an accident!" he said. "In fact, my family and I are only here on vacation. We go back home tomorrow! To Pascedena. California."
Luke frowned. "That's not good."
"Do you think he'll be back?" Stan asked.
"Yeah, as soon as he realizes he has no idea where he's going." Emma re-assured him.
"But for the time being, we'll take care of you, Stan." Luke offered. "It can't be hard!" he and Emma both wrapped Stan in a hug. All three of them began to think the switcheroo wasn't too bad.
"We don't know how to take care of a dog, so this could be fun!" Emma said.
"Then, I will have to teach you," Stan responded. Seeing a window of opportunity, he jumped onto their expensive sofa, and made himself comfortable. "Rule #1: Always let dogs on the couch."
"Emma!" Jessie growled from the top of the stairs. She was holding a girl under her armpits who didn't have her mask on anymore, so lots of curly red hair was revealed. "This isn't Zuri!"
"I know!" the girl said, shaking her hair. "Although some people say I have the mane of a lion!"
Jessie put her down on the floor. "I didn't say furry, I said Zuri! It's the name of one of the kids I'm a nanny for!"
The girl looked Jessie over up and down. "Don't nannies have magical powers and and umbrella that makes them fly?"
"No, but I can shoot a bulls-eye, and my scissor kick can dislocate somebody's ankle!" Jessie offered.
"Meh. That's not as fun." The red head replies as she started down the stairs.
Stan tapped Luke with his paw, and when Luke bent down, Stan whispered: "That's Chloe! She's a part of my family!"
"And you both got switched up?" Emma asked, now listening.
At that moment, Chloe saw her dog, and she hurried down the stairs and squeezed him. "Stan!" she yelled.
As Jessie came downstairs, Chloe looked suspisiously from Luke to Emma.
"Did you notice anything…different about this dog? " she asked.
"Well, although he only barks, it seems as if he…speaks to us." Emma replied with a wink.
Chloe got the message.
Zuri sat in the lost children's tent of the fair on a cold, hard bench next to only a small amound of other kids either lost, or forgotten by their parents.
The costume party had ended an hour ago, and Jessie hadn't come to pick up Zuri. She was very puzzled on why it had happened, because not onece had Jessie forgotten her. If anything, Jessie always gave her special treatment.
At least Zuri found some time to poke out two of the alligator teeth so that she could see. But that was only if she put her head up and craned her neck at the right angle.
That's how she saw someone's hand grab hers, and whisk her away.
"I'm so sorry I forgot you, sweetie!" he apalojized. "I was so wrapped up in-""Who are you calling 'sweetie', old man!?" Zuri interrupted.
"I'm sorry, Chloe," the man corrected.
"And just who are you?"
"Your dad," Chloe's father replied. "The handsome, smart, cunning, world renound child psycologist."
"You're not my dad!" Zuri said, resisting. But unfortunetly, Chloe's dad was too strong. "You have the wrong person! My dad made Galactapus! This is just the unfortunate case of a switch-up mix-up!"
"Please, Chloe. Those only happens in the movies."
"Yeah." Zuri said. "The movies my dad makes!"
"Chloe, you seem rather persistant today," the man noted. "Is it because I forgot you? Honey, I'm sorry!
"Hey! How 'bout I take you to the store and buy you any doll you want, for being so brave?"
"Any doll?" Zuri asked. Even though she wasn't Chloe, she figured she could be her just a little while longer. "Alright! I could live with that!"
Dog with a Blog
"Man, what a cool day at the fair!" Tyler marveled as he slid the key card to get into their hotel room. "I played every single game! Instead of getting prizes, I got tickets, and I redeemed them all for this awesome Nerf gun!"
He opened the door and shot a little bullet that had a plunger-like sucker at the end.
It shot across the room and almost grazed Ellen's nose before it nailed a painting of an abstract tree.
"Hey! Trying to sleep here!" she snapped.
As usual, her children ignored her compliant of discomfort. Tyler shut the door, and Avery set Stan's cage in a corner.
"Why are you here, but Dad's not?" she asked.
"Well," her mother began in a suspisious tone. "When we got home, we realized we'd left Chloe. Again. So, I volunteered your father to go get her.
"I'm just too tired to go anywhere! I can't get any rest, for some reason."
"Do you think that's because the city never sleeps?" Tyler suggested. Ellen groaned at the thought of a sleepless night. Approxamately 10 hours of staring at a tan ceiling. At least they got cable TV in the hotel.
"Good thing we're leaving tomorrow." She said.
"NO! Not a good thing!" Avery whined. "I won the pet competition!"
"Oh, wow! That's great!" Ellen marveled. She was confused why Avery had used such a sad tone.
"No! It's not! A different boy won, but I accidentally scared him off before the awards ceremony, so the prize was automatically forefitted, and instead of being the runner-up, I won the grand prize." Avery explained.
She set the trophy half her height on the bed along with a couple medals and checks.
While Tyler was on his way to the computer desk, he slipped a $100 check into his pocket.
"How did you scare that kid off? No offense, but you're not the most intimidating person." He said.
"He ran off when he found out that Stan could…that he—" Avery caught herself before she could accidentally spill Stan's secret. She threw a look at her brother for help.
"When he found out Stan was so…so…talented?" Tyler asked.
"Uh, yes!" Avery agreed.
"Oh, that's just Showbiz," their mother explained. "Why don't you take your little champion out to stretch?"
Avery dragged herself over to Stan's cage. She still felt horrible for that kid. He should have whon, fair and square. He shouldn't have been scared away because of Stan's super ability. Wasn't that cheating, anyway?
She undid the hatch. "C'mon out, boy!" A dark figure stirred around, and lunged at her.
She screamed in terrifying horror when an Asian Water Monitor Lizard came within inches of her body.
Her mom and brother were startled at the commotion coming from in front of the door.
Avery acted fast as the lizard hissed. She dove for the nearest bed and stood on it and screamed. Not long after, Ellen realized what was in the cage, and did the same as her daughter. Tyler craned his neck from the swivel chair, but still coldn't catch a glimpse of what was causing such a panic attack.
"What is it?" he groaned, assuming it was a small, harmless spider. He tried to get up and approach the cage, but his mother stopped him.
"Don't get too close! It's a giant lizard!"
By now, he could see the head of the beast protruding from the cage. But of course, he paid no attention to the fact that there was a Varanus Salvator in their hotel room.
"Hey, isn't that Stan's cage?" he asked. His sister screamed again.
"That kid who was supposed to be the winner of the pet competition! He had the same cage, identical to ours!" she yelled. "HE HAS STAN!"
"Is this sabatoge?" their mother wondered.
"Not likely." Tyler concluded. "After all, didn't he win the competition? And even if he didn't know if he won, why would he try to sabatoge your pet if he didn't know if you won? Why would he leave his pet with us?"
"We need—we need to…" Avery began. "Call him! Find him! NOW! He has our dog!"
Tyler pulled out his phone. "Well, what's his number? What do I dial?"
"Try 9-1-1! We have a carnivorous giant lizard in our room!" Ellen hinted.
Avery ignored her mother, and Tyler did, too. They were more worried about Stan's safety than their own.
"I don't have his number. I don't even have his name!" Avery wailed, panicked.
Their dad walked in with who they thought was Chloe, still dressed up in her gator attire, with a shiny new doll in her arms.
"Oh good Bennett!" You're here! Get rid of the lizard!" Ellen suggested. Her husband spotted the lizard to his left and dropped the Chloe look-alike next to the cage, and he screamed loudly, joining Avery and her Mom on the beds.
"Oh, so now I'm road kill?" the little girl snapped. The lizard hissed at her. "I'd know that hiss anywhere! Mrs. Kipling!"
She used her doll's hand to cut part of her mask, and she pulled the whole head piece off.
"Ah, rock-hard plastic. Sometimes painful, but eventually forgivable." She sighed and pet Mrs. Kipling on the back, who seemed to calm down a bit.
"Chloe!? That's not you!" Bennett yelled.
Zuri clenched her fist. "Shoot! My cover's blown!"
Mr. James got down from the bed. "I just spent $300 on a doll for a stranger!? I paid so much that my wallet could win the biggest loser! It lost 20 pounds!"
"No backsies!" Zuri sang. "You said any doll, then pinke swore on it. The only way you could get it back is to cut off your pinkie!"
"But then how would I drink tea like the Britains do? With my pinkie up?" he whined, slumping down.
He quickly got over his defeat, and picked up the phone on the nightstand. "Who are your parents? What's their phone number?"
"Mmmm." Zuri began. "That's confidential. They're movie stars. But you can call my nanny, Jessie, or my brother Luke, or my sister Emma."
"You have a sister?" Tyler asked.
"Wait…Jessie is your nanny? And Luke your brother? Ross?" Bennet said.
"Yeah! How'd you know?"
"I had a psycology session with them." Bennett continued. "But…how is Luke your brother? You don't look anything-"
"I'm adopted." Zuri stated in a monotone. "You may have gone to college for 8 years, but you sure aren't smart."
"Wait, hold on…" Tyler said, steering the conversation back to him. "Your sister's name is Emma? Tall? Blonde?" Zuri nodded twice. "Your sister has my number! Problem solved! When she calls me, we can arrange a time to grab lunch, then drop you off at your house on the way back."
"She's not going to call you." Avery replied with a smirk. She ate her words when Tyler's phone rang.
Even though everyone could only hear one side of the conversation, they all got excited from what Tyler said.
"Yes?...Mmhmm. Oh, great! Yes, room 124. The hotel's on the side of the highway…Okay! See you then!" Tyler hung up.
"You found Zuri's family, and they're on their way to trade pets?" Avery asked.
"No. Pizza will be here in 20 minutes."
Their Dad groaned. "Son, why would you order a pizza at a time like this?"
"I ordered it a long time ago!" Tyler defended. "To celebrate Avery winning the pet competition."
"Am I the only one who's worried about Stan? We have to do something! Now!" Avery said.
"Okay," her mother said, jumping back to reality. "Um…your father and I will go downstairs, send an alert to the police, and print out flyers. You all stay here and take care of her." She pointed to Zuri.
After that, Ellen grabbed her purse, and bolted out the door with her husband.
Immediately, Avery began stuffing her prize winnings and clothes into her backpack.
"What are you doing?" Tyler asked.
"I'm going out to find our dog! And on the way, I'll stop by the fair and get Chloe." She stated. She slung the bag over her shoulder and opened the door.
"Wait! We can't leave! They told us to stay here." Tyler protested.
"You don't have to come." His sister assured him.
"What!? No way! I'm comin'! I can't miss an adventure like this!" he said, and grabbed his own backpack. On his way to the door, Zuri stood up in his path.
"Um, hel-lo? What about me?"
"Zuri, you're welcome to join us, but you don't have to." Avery offered.
"What about your lizard?" Tyler asked.
"Please," Zuri said, waving it off with her hand. "If she lives on rats and bugs and roaches, she'll survive in a hotel room!"
"Okay, just hurry!" Avery said, ushering her brother and Zuri through the door. "I don't want Mom and Dad to get too worried. This is just a quick trip around town. It's been less than 5 hours since we lost Stan, so he can't be far!"
They all ran down the hall, and to the elevator.
When they got down to the lobby, they spotted Ellen and Bennett talking to a police officer at the front desk.
"Now all we have to do is sneak past our parents without them seeing," Avery whispered to her fellow escapees.
"Here!" Tyler pointed to a luggage cart filled to the top with bags being pushed by a bell boy, heading towards the exit.
All three of them jumped onto the side of the cart facing away from their parents. The bulky suitcases blocked them from being seen.
Tyler turned around to see the bell boy's reaction, only to see him staring back.
"Okay, I understand them," the bell boy said, pointing at Zuri and Avery. Then, he gestured Tyler. "But aren't you a bit too old to ride on a luggage cart?"
Tyler slipped the boy $5. "This stays between us." He whispered.
When they got outside, the kids tore around the corner until they were safely out of sight from their parents.
"So, what direction is the fair?" Tyler gasped, catching his breath.
Avery peered at a map of a bus stop nearby. "Um...further downtown. So we just continue down this road, and take a right 5 blocks away.
"I just hope we don't lose Chloe on top of all this!"
"Just think!" Jessie said to Chloe. She, Emma, Luke and Stan were circled around Chloe on the couch.
"I dunno! How am I supposed to know the name of the hotel we were in! I'm only seven!" she complained.
"Well," Luke began. "Considering you can't recall your parents' phone numbers, your address, or any other contact information, seems like you can't remember anything!"
Jessie broke up the circle around the tiny seven year old.
"I think she's just nervous. Maybe a nice snack will jog her memory?"
Right at that moment, Bertram came out of the kitchen with a fresh plate of cookies splattered on a silver tray. Their aroma enlightened everyone in the room.
"Oh, good! You came at just the right time!" Jessie didn't even get to finish before the perfect plate of cookies crashed onto the floor.
"Ah! More children!" the butler yelled.
"Don't worry, Bertram. She's just here temporarily." Luke said. He glared at Emma. "Someone brought home the wrong kid from the fair!"
Bertram groaned as he struggled to pick up the mess on the floor. "Why do you guys invite all these kid over? You might as well fire me now before I have a stroke!"
"I already told you, it's Emma's fault!" Luke sang. "Besides, if anything, you should be happy. WE have one less kid around here."
"One LESS!?" Jessie screamed. She mentally did a roll check. "Where's Ravi!?"
"Um.." Emma stalled as she eyed Luke. "He went out to find Mrs. Kipling."
Jessie was so shocked that she couldn't speak. "He…really?...Wha-…ran…huh?" She frantically looked from Chloe to the elevator, wondering what to do first.
"Don't look at me! If anything, I'm the least of your problems!" Chloe advised.
"You're right! Emma, Luke, if you guys don't find him tonight, you're grounded for all eternity! Bertram, you stay here with Chloe. Kids, let's go!" Jessie ordered. Emma and Luke didn't ask questions, so they followed their nanny into the elevator.
When the door closed, Chloe turned back to look at the butler. After he threw the cookie remains into the trash and noticed the girl looking at him, he glowered back.
"Shouldn't you be joining Ravi's search party?" he asked.
"I don't even know what he looks like!" Chloe said in defeat. She absent mindedly followed Bertram into the kitchen. "Was there a such thing as a car when you were a kid?"
"Why are you still here?" Bertram groaned.
"Look, if you can teach me to drive, I'll be on my way!" Chloe explained.
"Forget it, you can't reach the gas pedal." Bertram said. "Trust me, I tried that when I was a kid."
"Aw man!" Chloe sulked onto one of the chairs at the dining table. Then, she looked up. "Wait-you tried that as a kid?"
"Uh-yeah! If you knew my mother, you'd do anything to escape her cold, bony, sharp grip…she never clipped her finger nails…"
"My parents accidentally leave me places all the time," Chloe explained.
"Yeah, yeah, mine, too. Please leave." Bertram asked.
Chloe ignored him and thought for a second. "Who knew I'd have something in common with an old, round, hairy, grumpy man, even if his experience was like…200 years ago!"
"Yeah," Bertram said with fake understanding that Chloe couldn't detect. "Get out."
"Fine," she grumbled, and shuffled over towards the door. "But, how long is the walk from here to the nearest airport? I was thinking 500 miles, but then again, New York is pretty small-"
"If I give you the keys to the helicopter, will you be quiet and leave me alone?"
"Yes!" Chloe chirped, and excitedly caught the keys the butler tossed her, and ran out the door.