Bernalillo’s main street looked very empty and very safe. Willie gave the go-ahead signal to the group and they pushed the mothership off the curb. It took one bounce, wobbled, and then rolled smoothly out across the asphalt.
Suddenly, out of a side street a pair of headlights turned their beams toward the group. The critters scurried back to safety behind a parked car and watched with dread as the car slowed to view the strange “old tire” rolling by itself across the road. Someone threw an empty soft drink can at the tire, but they didn’t seem to notice that it went straight through the center without coming out the other side. The car sped off.
With a huge sigh Willie went back to his lookout post to double check and see if the coast was clear. Moments later the group caught up with mothership where it had tipped over several yards off the pavement and part way down the alley to the Rail Runner. Terrance was pushing the can out of the extra-dimensional door of the spacecraft and muttering invectives about people who litter public streets.
With a lot of bear blood, bear sweat, and bear tears, the crew rolled the mothership up to the bushes by the Rail Runner depot. When the last human had stepped on board, they gave a shove and rolled on board.
“What are people going to think now?” asked Gussie’s bear. “We can’t pretend we’re just a pile of toys.”
“Don’t worry, Gussie Bear,” soothed Big Brown Bear. “People have a way of seeing what they expect to see and not what’s really there. I suppose they’ll think this is just an old tire and we’ll be safe inside with Terrance.”
To everyone’s surprise, when the conductor came by, he leaned over and called down into the center of the old tire, “Tickets, please.”
A big brown furry paw came up out of the extra-dimensional doorway and held up five passes. The conductor punched four and handed them back, saying, “Turtles ride free.”
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