You can call me Peppercorn
Peppercorn the Porcupine was a prickly little fella. Not just prickly in the physical sense (have you SEEN all the quills a porcupine has)??? But his mood was generally prickly too! Meaning, he was blah and grumpy most of the time! Most of his friends would actually call him ‘Persnickety’, because it was the funnest word to say!!!
Peppercorn didn’t mind it. He thought it was a fun word too, so he was fine with his “nickname.”
Peppercorn loved music. So much in fact, wherever you would see Peppercorn, you would see him with his headphones on. He would listen to music going to school. He would listen to music walking to his friend’s house. He would listen to his music as he walked to the store. Because he was always listening to music, he rarely walked with anyone. Peppercorn had a particular street he liked to walk down going home called Drew Avenue. He also had a specific side of the street he would walk on as he listened to his music. Peppercorn had a favorite pair of monster socks that he would pretty much wear every day too. He loved those socks, but they were a little big on him.
One day, his buddy, Buster, part of the Bark Squad that lives down the road, came up to him, on the same side of the street Peppercorn walked every day. “Heyyyy Persnickety!” Buster snickered as he elbowed Peppercorn’s side. “How are you?”
Buster smiled his big smile as his light brown shiny coat shimmered in the bright sun. He asked, “My mom gave me a couple of dollars. Would you like to go get some ice cream with me? My treat!” Peppercorn hated changing anything to his routine. He liked the fact that he stayed on the same side of the street, listening to his same music, going his same way home, alone. But ice cream… for free???? How could he ever pass that up! “Sure. Thank you.” Peppercorn the Porcupine may have been persnickety, but he was always polite.
Peppercorn followed Buster to the other side of the road in the complete opposite direction. He could feel the prickly quills on his back harden as he was going outside of his normal routine and felt funny. But ice cream was now on his mind, and it was free, so he tried to lighten up his persnickety mood and enjoy his friend’s company.
Buster and Peppercorn made it to the corner store, completely in an area that Peppercorn was unaware of. He was so used to walking down Drew Avenue every day, that being on Crane Street felt odd. But he was about to get some ice cream and hang out with his friend, Buster. “What kind of ice cream do you want, Peppercorn?” Buster asked as he took the money out of his pocket.
“May I have a chocolate cone please?” Peppercorn asked.
“Of course! I think I will have the same!”
The two of them licked their ice cream and chatted about school and music and their other friends. Peppercorn pulled up his monster socks and said, “I should probably go. My mom is going to wonder where I am!”
Buster smiled and patted his friend gently on the arm. Thanks for coming to the corner store with me. We will have to do this again. Now you better get back on Drew Avenue before the street misses you.” Knowing how much his friend does the same thing on a daily basis, Buster thought his comment was funny and definitely accurate. Peppercorn rolled his eyes, but managed a smile for the joke, and waved goodbye.
Heading back to his familiar area, Peppercorn tried to grab his headphones to listen to his music. But they weren’t there. He felt the top of his head and touched around his neck. NOTHING! Peppercorn started to panic. Where were his favorite headphones??? He KNEW he shouldn’t have gone off his normal routine and go for ice cream. Now he has lost his most favorite item. What was he going to do?
As Peppercorn was on Drew Avenue stalling on his side of the street, he suddenly had an idea. He looked into the sky and said out loud, “What about Denny and J.B.? The Watchdogs! They’re detectives!” Peppercorn knew no one TOOK his headphones… but they are lost, soooooo being the great detectives that they are, they could perhaps find his lost item.
Peppercorn knew where the Watchdogs lived. He made a turn off his normal route and started heading to their house, feeling a little uneasy. He was hoping that the Watchdogs were outside because he knew their family didn’t know anything about their detective skills. It was a secret that only the animals in the neighborhood knew about!
As Peppercorn strolled down the street, he saw two sets of black ears bouncing up and down in a yard. Peppercorn kept walking towards their house and saw them outside playing on a trampoline. “Hey guys! I need your help!!!!”
“What happened?” Denny asked.
“I was having ice cream with Buster. I KNEW I shouldn’t have went down a different street and walked a different way. Bad things always happen when I don’t follow my daily routine. And now I’ve lost my headphones. Do you think you can find them for me???”
Denny and J.B. dashed in the backyard to their doghouse to grab their detective gear. They knew they couldn’t wear it because it was still light outside, but Denny said if they had it next to them, it would make them more “detectivey.”
Peppercorn took his headphones and actually produced a smile for the Watchdogs. “Thank you so much. I’m sorry if I interrupted your playtime and made you get your detective gear for nothing. Maybe I am Persnickety.”
Peppercorn managed another smile, “Ahhhh that’s ok J.B. I know I’m a prickly kind of guy. It’s just who I am. And I’m ok with it!” And with that, he let out a laugh. “I better get home now. I’m going to put my headphones on and make my way to Drew Avenue and walk on my special side of the street so I don’t lose anything else!! I’ll see you guys later.” Peppercorn waved to his Detective buddies and pulled up his monster socks one last time before taking off.
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