As Itsy continued on and on again, the clouds began to clear and a tower appeared in the distance, the first thing other than jungle and fog on the horizon. “If the apes aren’t there, I just might sight them from the top tier”, Itsy said to herself. “Hopefully they invite observations up there.”
As she slid above the treetops towards the tower a road began snaking beneath her, and further up the road she could see someone leading a small child by the hand in the same direction. Itsy slid up alongside them, an old swan wrapped in a thick coat and glasses leading a very small and very happy duckling by the hand.
“Hi,” said Itsy yet again. “Are you both going to that tower by chance?”
“Do you mean to say the laboratory?” suggested the swan. “If so, then yes we are, but also if so no, we’re going there deliberately, by choice, not mere chance.”
“SPIDER!” cried the duckling with delight as she tried to clasp Itsy between her two out and up-stretched hands. Itsy slid upward and out of the child’s reach, as she did not feel much like being held or worse. “The Sha Mom was right,” Itsy thought to herself silently. “Between things isn’t always fitting.”
“JOY!” scolded the swan, pushing her round glasses up her bill. “We do not hold strangers we just met in our hands!” She pulled a toy boat from under her coat and handed it to the hand of the child she wasn’t holding. “Here. This should keep you busy until we reach our proper destination. Life is much like a sailing ship, you know.”
The small duck studied the toy on all sides, turning it over and around with some interest, then she smiled and held it over her tiny head. “I can BREAK IT!”
“Yes, you can…” cautioned the swan, pulling a small hammer from under her coat, “but IF you break it, THEN you have to fix it,” and she let go of the duckling’s wing and handed her the hammer. “What breaks up in the morning must be hammered down by nightfall.”
The child studied the tool and toy in wide-eyed silence. Then her face lit up, and she held the hammer over her head. “We could use the TOOL to BREAK IT!”
The swan snatched the hammer back. “JOY! This is not a toy! It is a serious tool.” She put the hammer back in her coat and turned to Itsy. “She’s always breaking things, and I’m always fixing them for her. She learns, but not the things she’s taught. By the way, I am pleased to meet acquaintances, so we should be properly acquainted. I myself am Prudence, pleased to meet you in appropriate measure, and this little one here is Joy, still a bit rough around the edges but not entirely unpleasant.”
“I’m Itsy, and pleased to meet you both.” Itsy bowed. “So what do they do in that laboratory?”
“What don’t they do?” asked Prudence. “It’s the largest thing in sight, and I hear they give free tours. It is both important and imperative to show the young and undisciplined what detail and dedication can do.”
“Seeing things getting done would be a pleasant change of pace,” admitted Itsy. “ I think I will freely join you on this tour.”
“YAY! We’re going with a SPIDER!” cried Joy.
“I’m glad you approve,” said Itsy.
Prudence eyed Joy with clear disapproval. “Oh, don’t mind her. Everything makes her happy. It can be quite infuriating at times.”