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Alarmed, Cozgo dropped his teacup in his lap. He jumped out of his chair and quickly wicked the hot liquid from his fur with a cloth napkin. “Geetle! Please don’t do that!”
Geetle obviously didn’t intend for the balloon to pop and startle Cozgo. Moments before, Geetle innocently pulled open a desk drawer and saw the deflated blue balloon. It lied flat, collapsed and soggy across some dried cricket snacks and it looked unbearably dreary. He simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to inflate it into the sphere of fun he knew it was destined to be.
“So terribly sorry, Coszgo…” Geetle closed the desk drawer and opened the one beneath it. In it he saw his foraging pouch filled with an assortment of deflated balloons. His little meerkat heart sank as he imagined their woeful chorus, “Save us from our tedious emptiness, Geetle! Inflate us into balloons!” He removed the plump bag and wistfully kneaded its soft middle before pronouncing, “Cozgo, I’m going for a walk.
As Geetle stooped out of the burrow, Cozgo’s distant voice was painfully heard, “You’d be better off if you put as much effort into foraging as you do those balloons!”
Significant time passed before a waft of concern washed over Cozgo, parental in nature, and he decided to join his brother outside. He didn’t mean to be harsh with Geetle but his brother’s eccentricities made him anxious. “What respectable meerkat makes balloon animals?!” he argued as he stooped out of the burrow and into the daylight. He stretched his little arms while he continued to mumble to himself, “The world is not kind to childlike meerkats like Geetle, what’s going to become of him?” then with elbows up, he pointedly marched towards a gathering of socializing meerkats in search of his brother.
He came upon the large group making cheerful ruckus. At the perimeter of the crowd he saw Aunt Meej and greeted her. “Hello Auntie! What’s all the happy hubbub about?”
“What else? Geetle’s magnificent balloon animals, of course!” and she clapped quickly with joy. “You must be so proud of him, Cozgo!”
Horrified, Cozgo aggressively pushed his way towards the nucleus of the din where he found his brother. Geetle was pensively coaxing twists into long balloons that responded with chirps and burps. Atop of his head was a wreath of comical inflatables that looked down upon him with a humiliating jiggle. Just as Cozgo was about to stop the mortifying activity, he felt the cool but strong grip of Aunt Meej’s paw on his shoulder. Cozgo dutifully paused, took a deep breath and looked around. To his surprise he did not see ridicule on the faces of his neighbors rather tender joy. Geetle completed his construction and presented a young meerkat with a blue balloon bunny. The pups’ eyes glistened with emotion as it embraced Geetle’s gift with gratitude. The crowd exhaled, “Awwww!” in unison then erupted in applause. Smiling, Geetle looked up and saw Cozgo. With a widening smile, Geetle pointed to a pile of insect snacks and shrugged. The more the meerkats laughed, the more the mound of delectable munchies grew.
Aunt Meej leaned towards Cozgo’s little ear. “Don’t worry that your brother is unique, Cozgo. The more you let Geetle use his gifts, the better off he’ll be.”
Cozgo looked again at the cheerful faces, then at the glistening mound of delicious insects, then at Geetle’s contentment and wistfully mumbled, “I always wanted to design spectacles!” At the prospect of an enjoyable future, Cozgo’s furry grin grew and grew and grew.
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