A/N: Read this story – it’s something different for me – no vampires, no wrestlers, no superheroes… but it’s still kind of cool. I think I may have discovered a whole new approach to story-telling…
Originally written and posted on September 21, 2011
The Train Ride (The Adventures of Riff & Raff) – Fiction
The Train Ride (The Adventures of Riff & Raff)
Riff and Raff were two tiny little squirrels. They lived at Acorn Hill in a cozy little tree house with their mother, Magenta R. Squirrel, called “Maggie” for short. Around the hill ran a tiny train. It stopped at all the stations in the area. The engineer was a big old bullfrog. The Conductor was a huge beetle. And for a whistle, the train had a small pig named “Cheese”, who would squeal loudly at each stop.
One morning, Riff and Raff were watching the train from the windows of their tree house. They waved their paws at the conductor and he would wave back. He knew Riff and Raff’s tiny gray furred faces and was always happy to wave and smile at the two young squirrels.
“Listen up, Riff and Raff”, said their mother. “Your father and I have a big surprise for you. This afternoon, the two of you are going on that train. All by yourselves, too. You’re going to travel to Frank’s Hollow to visit your Uncle Alice.”
The two young squirrels were extremely excited and jumping up and down with joy. But then they asked questions.
“Who will take care of us?”, Riff asked.
“Why does Uncle Alice have a woman’s name?”, Raff asked.
“Your mother and I will put the two of you on the train”, Maggie answered. “And Mr. Conductor will put you off at Frank’s Hollow, where your Uncle Alice will be waiting for you. As for Uncle Alice’s name, I think he got it from a Ouiji Board.”
“I can’t wait to see Uncle Alice. He’s a great singer”, Riff said.
“What’s a Ouiji Board?”, Raff asked.
“Never mind that”, Maggie sighed. “Go pack your suitcases and get ready!”
Riff and Raff scampered off to go pack. They were so excited and happy, their feet barely touched the ground as they ran off.
That afternoon, Maggie took her two children to the train station where they waited on the platform for the train to arrive. It wasn’t long before they could hear it coming down the tracks towards them. RIff and Raff jumped up and down in excitement.
The beetle conductor got out and shouted, “All aboard!”
“Here are Riff and Raff”, Maggie smiled at the conductor. “They’re going to Frank’s Hollow to visit their Uncle Alice. He’ll be there to meet them. Will you please keep an eye on them and put them off at Frank’s Hollow?” She handed the conductor their tickets.
“No problem”, the conductor said. “I’ll take good care of them. One question though. Why is their Uncle named Alice?”
“Ouiji board”, Maggie answered.
“Just wondering”, the conductor smiled. “Can’t judge a guy by his name though. They used to call me Ringo.”
“The children…?”, Maggie started to say, but the conductor interrupted her.
“They’ll be fine. I’ll take great care of them. Jump aboard,. boys.”
So Riff and Raff jumped aboard, bags in hand. They sat down in their seats and peeked their heads out the window. They waved to their mother and the train started.
There were a few other animals riding in the same train car as the two young squirrels. A muskrat, two field mice and a porcipine were all already in their seats and looking comfortable and quiet.
Riff and Raff were way too excited to sit and be quiet. They squirmed and wiggled. They pressed their tiny squirrel noses against the windows and looked out. They saw a big pond. A deer was drinking some water from the pond’s edge. Frogs croaked. A small snake was sunning itself on a log. Then Riff and Raff heard the loud squeal of the small pig, “Cheese”.
“We’re comng to a stop”, Riff said. “Isn’t this where we’re supposed to be getting off?”
“I think so”, said Raff.
And the two small squirrels grabbed their bags and jumped from their seats, headed towards the door. But just before they reached the door, it opened and the conductor stuck his head inside the car.
“Whiskey River”, he shouted.
And then he say Riff and Raff.
“Sit down boys”, he said. “This isn’t your station!”
They sat down as the train stopped at Whiskey River. An old wise owl, with long feathers tied back in a pony-tail and wearing a headband, climbed aboard.
“On the road again”, the old owl muttered as he took his seat. And then the train moved on.
The train traveled through a thick patch of woods and past a small creek, a corn field and a yellow brick road and was coming up on a meadow full of poppies. The pig, Cheese, squealed once more.
“This time, it has to be our stop”, Raff said to his brother.
The two squirrels grabbed their bags and quickly scurried down the aisle. The door opened and the conductor shouted “Oz!” And then, noticing the two small rodents, said, “Sit down boys I’ll let you know when it’s time to get off.”
The train stopped and Riff and Raff looked out the windows. Oz was a pretty place, with lots of colors and magic in the air.
“Look! There’s a munchkin!”, Riff screamed, pointing out the window.
“All I see are a bunch of small people holding lollipops”, Raff said. “Where? And what’s a munchkin?”
“Never mind”, sighed Riff with a small squirrely smile.
Riff and Raff watched as a green monkey with wngs climbed aboard, followed by a Scarecrow and a small dog.
“Doesn’t he have any brains? That dog should be on a leash”, Riff and Raff heard one of their fellow passengers mutter.
They looked and saw a big orange cat sitting and watching the new passengers with narrow eyes. Noticing the two small squirrels that were now looking at him, the cat turned to them and sneered, “What? What? I don’t like dogs not on a leash! So sue me!”
Riff and Raff quickly put their heads down and moved as far back in their seats as they could, hoping that the cat would not speak to them anymore. Soon the cat was distracted by a piece of yarn and had forgotten all about the two small squirrels. And Riff and Raff’s excitement and exuberance soon reappeared.
“This is a long trip”, Riff said to his brother.
“Are we there yet?”, Raff asked his brother.
They watched out the window as the train ran alon the edge of a hill. They could feel it slowing down as Cheese, the pig, began to squeal.
“This has to be our station”, shouted Riff.
“I think it is”, Raff chattered.
The two young squirrels grabbed their bag and were headed towards the door, but the conductor opened it and shouted, “Babbling Brooks!” And this time, they pushed right past the conductor and lept off the train.
“There they go again”, the conductor sighed to himself. He lept off the train and caught them by the backs of their little jackets. He led the two young squirrels back to their seats.
“Now stop this, boys”, he told the two youngsters. “Just relax and take it easy. I will let you know when we get there.”
So the train ride continued. After awhile, the two young squirrels heard Cheese squeal once more. But this time, the two youngsters didn’t jump up and try to leave the train. The conductor called out “Penny Lane” and Riff and Raff pressed their noses to the windows and just looked out to see a barber standing and showing photographs and a fireman carrying an hourglass.
Eventually, the train departed once more and went on and on and on. And once more, Cheese let out a high pitched pig squeal.
“Frank’s Hollow”, called the conductor.
But no one moved.
“Now where are those two little squirrels?”, the conductor asked himself. “I don’t see them anywhere. Did they sneak off the train?”
He ran up and down the aisle. He didn’t see them at first, but then he spotted them. There they were, laid out flat on the floor. They had worn themselves out with so much jumping around that they had fallen asleep in their chairs and tumbled off the seats and on to the floor.
The conductor reached over and touched each on the shoulders, waking them up.
“Wake up boys”, he said. “We’re at Frank’s Hollow.”
Riff and Raff jumped up and went flying towards the door.
“Don’t forget your bags”, the field mice and the porcipine called out.
The conductor handed the two young squirrels their bags and then the two young squirrels rushed into the waiting arms of their Uncle Alice.
“I’m so glad to see the two of you”, Uncle Alice said. “Welcome to my nightmare!”
“Yay!”, Riff said.
“Why is your name Alice when you’re a guy?”, Raff asked.
“We’ll talk about that later”, Alice said. “Right now, ‘we’re going on a picnic and then to the karaoke bar to sing.”
“Yay!”, both Riff and Raff shouted.
“Did you two have a good trip? Did you get along all right?”, Uncle Alice asked.
“Oh yes”, Riff said. “All we had to do was get off at the right station!”
“It was very easy”, Raff added. “And here we are!”