Polar Bear on Thin Ice

Everyone was going absobloominglutely nuts at the Chicago Zoo when big polar bears made little ones, Nuki and Suki.

Polar Bear on Thin Ice

by Jules de Jongh

Season 2 Episode 45

 [opening theme music and strapline]

Nanny Bea: Oh, come and join me, the tea is brewed and my neighbour Jules will be here with a story any…

[knock sfx]

Nanny Bea:  minute now.

Nanny Bea:  Is that your door? Oh, no it’s mine. Hello?

Jules: Hello there Nanny Bea, it’s your neighbour Jules with a story.

Nanny Bea: So you are and in good time too. We were looking forward to your visit. 

Jules:  Get ready to be doubly pleased then because today we have a wonder word.

[insert jingle]

Bella:  Hello I’m Bella. I have a wonder word for you Nanny Bea, it’s hootenanny.

[insert drum roll]

A hootenanny can be a big sing song or it can be a gadget, usually mechanical or electrical. I wonder if anyone takes a hootenanny to a hootenanny? Bye Nanny Bea.

[insert chime]

Jules:   Thanks. Sounds like we’re going to have some fun today.Are you ready for a story?

Nanny Bea:  Oh, yes please.

Jules:  Okay then, Polar Bear on Thin Ice, adapted for radio

Everyone was going wild, absobloominglutely nuts at the Chicago Zoo when the big Polar Bears made baby polar bears, two identical balls of whitey fluffiness. Oh I could just hug on those cubs all day long, if it weren’t for mama bear who would stop me from hugging any cubs or anything else ever again. Still, I can tell their story, as mama bear doesn’t listen to podcasts and even if she did, she doesn’t speak English.

So those little cubs were mama bear’s pride and joy Nuki and Suki. Now Nuki was a contended little cub, happy as can be hanging onto to mama’s back, swimming with the other cubs, sliding and sliding and sliding. For Nuki life was swell.

For Suki life was not swell or even well.  She was miserable, always seeing the miserable, saying the miserable and being the miserable. The other cubs got tired of being around her but her twin Nuki rallied them around, ‘It’s just that you don’t know Suki, deep down like I do, it’s a twin thing. She’s miserable on the outside but deep down there’s a pit full of happy just waiting to get out.’ The other cubs listened ‘cause they like Nuki but they weren’t convinced.

Then one day Nuki just right out asked her, ‘Suki,’ he said in polar bear of course. ‘What would make you happy?’ Suki stopped complaining for long enough to think and it was a long think. Nuki thought maybe she’d frozen solid but then she gave him an answer, ‘I’m tired of plodding around the ice, If only I had ice skates, then I’d be happy,’ she said. Well that’s all Nuki needed to know. He went off and rallied once again the other cubs. They wouldn’t have agreed if it wasn’t for Nuki offering to teach them how to do his triple tumble back flip cartwheel. He was really good at that. 

So with Nuki, the other cubs held a raffle, after hours at the zoo. They offered toys visitors had dropped in the enclosure, snow cones they’d shaved with their own claws and sliding lessons for one lucky winner who happened to be a flamingo named Steve, Steve was not made for sliding, let’s just leave it at that. They raised enough to buy Suki her skates. She seemed almost happy, she laced them up and skated around all day long until she got blisters, they told her to wear double socks but she didn’t listen and she’d twisted her back paw. She wasn’t having fun any more.

A few days later after she started with the whole ‘I’m miserable,’ thing again an idea hit her, ‘Ow,’ she said as a snowball from the other cubs game of catch struck her. ‘If only I could have a ball, the dancing kind, not the throwing kind, then I’d be happy,’ she reported back to her brother. Nuki was a bit upset about the skates not working out but liked the idea of a ball, he could sell it to the cubs as a hootenanny, they were always up for one of those. After hours at the zoo they decorated and refrigerated and calculated, their den, fish fingers and budget, respectively. This was going to be the event of events. They called it the Ice Queen’s Ball, a bit of a dig at Suki but she was too busy being miserable to notice. They laid on the atmosphere, the food and the music. All the other animals had to bring was their boogie boots ‘cause there’s an orangutan in the house and he’s making sure the music is knee slappin’, twirlin’ and rappin’ kind of music, that primate has his own unique style. 

Their event was the event of events. Not even the animal olympics could compare, especially with all the new rules on which breed can compete against which breed. Anyway, the ball was a blast, even the ‘Ice Queen’ had to admit it. Well, should have admitted it but, ‘Now I have a headache, that bass is still pounding in my head and I’ve worn the fur off my coat breakdancing.’ Of course you do and you did, thought the other cubs. Even Nuki was losing interest in his twin sister.

Several days passed and I don’t know if Nuki was feeling generous because his lottery numbers had just come in (look out penguin neighbours, the bears are about to build an extension!) or if it was because he got a patent on that new automatic fishing net he’d created, seriously you can catch fish and go out for ice cream all at the same time.

But Nuki saw his sister moping and actually asked, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ Now Suki may see the miserable in everything but she still can see an opportunity when it’s put in front of her. ‘Actually, if only I could go to Disneyland, then I’d be happy.’ As you know Nuki not only had that cash from the lottery, his patent on the fishing net was gonna bring in plenty of moola. 

So in spite of the other cubs telling him otherwise, he booked the flight, tickets for the two of them to Disneyland. And then all the other arrangements, the hotel on ice to feel like they were in a home from home, matching Micky ears and sweatshirts and of course a couple of polar bear doubles to act like them in the enclosure while they were away. 

All this planning started to take its toll on Nuki, he wasn’t sleeping well, started snapping at the other cubs and went totally off his fish, even the halibut but he made it happen and off went Nuki and Suki to Disneyland. Nuki tried to enjoy the small world ride but fell asleep half way around. He tried to enjoy the tea cups but found the halibut wouldn’t stay down. Suki could see her brother was struggling and for once in her life stopped thinking about what would make her happy and started to focus on what would make someone else happy, Nuki. She took him on the pirate ride knowing he loves all things ‘ooo, arrr,’ she stood in line for him on the Matterhorn while he went to the little bear’s room, she even bought him a corn dog and a cotton candy mouse head in spite of her aversion to food on a stick. At the end of the trip on their flight back home Suki turned to Nuki and said, ‘You know when I’ll be happy?’ She didn’t wait for Nuki to reply, ‘right now.’ And from that day on Suki made a point of seeing the good, saying the good, and being the good little bear cub her brother always knew she could be.

The End

Nanny Bea: Why thank you Jules. I was on that flight actually, the one coming not going and you could hear those two cubs carrying on, laughing and loving life.

Jules: I just have to ask, did they travel first class?

Nanny Bea:  No but they were upgraded to premium economy. I think it was those matching ears and sweatshirts, they were so adorable.

Jules:  I bet they were.

Nanny Bea:  Will you be here next week for more tales and tea?

Jules:  But of course.

Thomas:  Go to NannyBea.com

Jules:  Go there to find out about all our stories and how to be on the show with a story seed or a wonder word like the lovely Bella. And do tell all your friends about us. See you next week for more Tales and Tea.

[Be on the Show jingle]

Mr Announcer: This has been a Toad in the Hole production for NannyBea.com.