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“This is Scooter. Scooter this is Herbert. He just woke up today.”

“Scooter eats rats,” the horse neighed, and was off again, chasing another one. They watched him attentively move to the edge of the green plateau…

… and then dive into the bushes.”

Scooter doesn’t really eat rats,” said Hoppy in a lower voice in case Scooter was listening in. Horses could tune into about 5 different conversations around them if needed and understand everything in every single one. “He just chases them, then *pretends*. Or maybe,” Hoppy says in a rethink, “he just pretends *everything*.” Hoppy hadn’t actually ever seen a rodent in the woods. Except for Wilber the Vole, who doesn’t count (uneducated).

Scooter emerges from the bushes about where he entered them and walked to his grassy spot again. “Scooter ate rats. Scooter sleepy now. Goodbye.”

—–

“Okayyy, then moving on, we have Jerimy here on the picnic table, enjoying… well, what’re you eating Jerimy? Don’t say rats, hah.”

“Spinach.” And Jerimy takes another bite of his blueberry pancake. But Herbert notices he sounds exactly like the horse in saying this.

Hoppy looked up to Herbert, sensing the confusion. “Lots of comedians here, you see. Horses that pretend to eat rats, bears that pretend they are horses eating rats — er, spinach — in turn. Bears are super mimics.”

“Bears are *super* mimics,” says Jerimy in exactly the same tone and register as Hoppy, except emphasizing the word “super” a bit more.

“See?” He turns back to Jerimy. “Where’s your mother, Jerimy?”

“Shot.” Now he sounds exactly like Jackie the swan.

“Now, Jerimy, that’s not very nice. You shouldn’t make fun of tragedy.”

Jerimy makes a series of machine gun sounds, then a loud whistle as if a plane was plummeting from the sky, then an explosion upon impact. Hoppy was shaking the resulting spittle from his entire body and Herbert was shaking it from his shoe and the lower part of his trousers.

“Radius: 10 feet,” then exclaimed the young bear comedian (comedian?). “All debris must be cleared up by O 9 o’clock.” Radio announcer now. Jerimy’s a regular listener of the BBC, especially enjoying war dramas like “Mary Queen of Scots”. “Penguins,” he then utters nasally, imitating something else, perhaps another voice from the radio. “Bloody *stupid* penguins.”

“Jerimy?” Hoppy was trying to get the cub to focus. “Where’s Mama?”

“Mama.” The voice of a human baby now. “Ma-ma. Ma-ma.” He pretend sucks at a milk bottle: “*slurp slurp slurp* *BUUURP*”.

Jerimy, that’s *rude*.”

“BUURRRRRRRRRRRRRP!” Half the birds in the surrounding woods flew from their perches. Several thought they were being shot at with some kind of special gun. One fainted and fell to the ground. But he was okay (Billie Perch, a Hollywood starling).

“Done, Jerimy?” Hoppy thumped a rabbit foot and crossed his arms in exasperation. Bears could be trouble, especially if they go on a comedic roll. How to slow it down?

(to be continued?)

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