When Ernie Met Bert
"Bird-brain! Bird-brain! Bird-brain! Bird-Brain!!" their voices pierced his ears and the taunting caused tears to burn his eyes. The young, pale boy sniffled,
"I-I am not a bird-brain!"
"Yeah ya are! You like pigeons, stupid!"
"Yeah, that's just weird!! Pigeons are dumb!!"
"Just like you, you big baby!" one of the older kids pushed him harshly to the ground, causing the boy to cry out. Then, the new book his father had gotten him was picked up off the ground and the kids started flipping through the pages.
"What is this JUNK?!!"
"Blech!! Look at all these words!!"
"Looks like he's a nerd too!! Bet he'll cry if I do this!" and with that, the bully ruthlessly ripped out a page from the book. The younger boy on the ground felt his heart being ripped in two.
"N-no!! No give it back, please!" He choked, standing and pounding feebly on the leg of the boy who was destroying his most prized possession.
"EY! Get off my leg kid!" the boy kicked him back and the child landed with a thud against the ground. He groaned a he rubbed his side, looking up helplessly at the boys vandalizing his book.
"P-please stop! M-my dad got it for me, b-before he went away! Pleae! I-"
"HEY!!! You stupid kids, I thought I told you to leave these younger brats alone!!" a gruff voice said. The young child and the three older pre-teen bullies looked up. Standing a few yards away and approaching rapidly was a furry, green teenager with an angry but powerful brown unibrow furrowed in agitation. He was roughly pulling on the hand of a small, dark skinned boy wearing a rubber-duckie jumper.
"Aw, Oscar, we were just joking around with the kid," the boy with the book said. Once Oscar was standing before them, he released the hand of the boy he had been dragging behind him. The younger boy rubbed at his wrist before looking at the sniveling child curled up in a ball. His eyes grew wide and he rushed forward.
"Hey, are you okay?" he asked, wrapping an arm around the young boy. The child shivered and curled up into a tighter ball, trying to isolate himself from everyone around him. The darker boy continued to try to comfort the child while his baby-sitter took care of the older bullies.
"Look, I am sick and tired of putting up with the crap you guys instigate on a regular basis!" Oscar said, grabbing the collar of the boy with the book, picking him up, and slamming his back against a nearby tree.
"I've been very patient with you idiots, but your working my last nerve!" he leaned forward, scowling and holding a furry green fist up to his face,
"Now if I catch you around here again, that'll be the last straw and you're gonna suffer the real wrath of a grouch! Got it?" for emphasis, Oscar slammed his fist on the tree next to the head of the boy he was threatening. The boy gulped and shivered in fear,
s-sure, whatever man. W-we're sorry, okay?!"
"Don't tell me, tell him!" Oscar nodded over to the boy till curled up in a ball and sobbing.
"S-sorry kid! We're sorry, alright?" he asked. The boy still didn't look up. Oscar growled before dropping the kid to the ground.
"Now, I want you to take your little idiot friends, and BEAT IT!!! Go on SCRAAAM!!" he cried, kicking the boy in the tushie as he scrambled to get away,
"C-c'mon guys! Let's get out of here!" the boy said rushing over to his bike with his gang of bullies right behind him. Oscar glared after them,
"Adolescents don't have a brain in their head," he said, turning to look at the two kids on the ground. Both were five years old, and neither of them had looked up during the exchange.
"Ey, he okay Ernie?"
"H-he won't talk Oscar. He' scared stiff," Ernie said worriedly, patting the boy on the back. Oscar frowned even more,
"HEY KID!! C'mon, get up, stop crying!! Don't be such a wimp!" Oscar cried, approaching the boy. The child who was balled up heard footsteps approaching and he looked up, taking in the site of the furry green teenager approaching him. He gasped and quickly skittered back as far as he could go.
"Hey! I'm not gonna hurt ya
"I-it's okay, it's alright!" Ernie stood and rushed in front of the boy's line of vision, wearing a friendly smile in hopes of comforting the boy.
"We're friends. We're here to help you! That's Oscar, he's kind of a grouch but he' not a bad guy." Ernie said, giggling a bit. The other boy blinked and looked from the scary teen in the background to the young boy before him. The boy was still smiling as he held out his hand,
"I'm Ernie! Oscar's my babysitter and
.well when I saw those kids being mean to you I told him and we decided to come over," there was silence where the boy just blinked quietly. Ernie tilted his head in concern and then looked back at Oscar. The elder shrugged,
"Don't look at me, maybe he's mute or somethin', not my fault if he can't talk. Kids are so annoying," he muttered. Ernie rolled his eyes and sighed before looking back at the boy.
"Are you new here? What's your name?" Now granted, the boy was still shaken up and trying to recuperate from the torment he'd suffered mere moments ago. Honestly, he hadn't even paid attention when these two
strangers came to his rescue. But still
they were strangers. And one of them was tall, green and furry
.and he smelled funny. The anxious boy sniffled, wiping tears from his eyes,
"M-my mom told me n-not to talk to strangers," he said quietly.
"Oh for the love of
c'mon Ernie! See, this is why I don't like helping people! They never appreciate it and it's a waste of time!"
"No it's not Oscar, it's good to help people!"
"Not wimpy whiny people!"
"He's just scared."
"Well LET him be scared! C'mon, I gotta get you back home before your mom comes!" he said. Ernie sighed before looking at the boy again. He was staring down at the ground. Ernie smiled and reached into the pocket of his jean jumper.
"Here," he gently took the boy's hand and turned his palm face up before placing something inside. He then closed the boy's fingers over the gift.
"I found this on the ground and it's really cool! I was gonna use it to make something artsy but you can have it instead, okay?" Ernie asked, standing up. The boy looked from the grinning child before him to his closed fist. He then slowly opened his hand and his eyes grew wide. In his hand was a bright, shiny bottle-cap that glimmered with a bright array of colors. It glistened in the sunlight and it was really beautiful. The child before him smiled and shoved his hands in his pockets,
"I hope to see you around, maybe we can play together sometimes!" he said, turning to walk back to his care-taker, who was huffing and tapping his foot rather impatiently.
"B-bert," a soft voice said. Ernie stopped and looked back at the boy,
"M-my name is Bert. I
I just moved here a few days ago," he sniffled again and wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his t-shirt.
"I-I don't have any friends here yet and
" he started to cry again as he remembered the guys who began to bully him for no reason. He clenched his eyes shut tight, trying to fight back the stinging sensation behind his eyes, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up,
"I'll be your friend. Me and Oscar both will, right Oscar?" he asked. Oscar scoffed and rolled his eyes, looking off to the side,
"I only hang around you brats to get my paycheck, it's not like I actually like you ya know." He said. Ernie shook his head. Bert scrunched up his face,
.k-kinda mean. And he s-smells funny," he said, pinching his nose. Ernie laughed nervously,
"Yeah, that's Oscar. But ya know, even though he acts mean, he's really a big softie deep down. Hey! You wanna hang out with us?" he asked. Bert slowly stood up.
I should probably get home," Bert said, looking across the street at the complex in which he lived. Ernie looked in his direction,
"Oh! Well I live just a few blocks from here, maybe we can hang out tomorrow then?!" Ernie asked, excited at the prospect of having a new friend. Bert looked down shyly. He nodded,
Oscar's coming too right?" he asked, scared that the bullies might come back.
"Ey! You brats know I've got better thing to do with my time, right?" Oscar said. Ernie rolled his eye and nodded,
"He'll be here. He looks after me every day around this time. Oh, this'll be so fun! I'll even bring some of my toys and we can play, okay? And you can bring some of yours!" Bert was a bit taken aback by Ernie's enthusiasm, but he nodded,
t-thank for before," he said softly.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Oscar said, walking up and taking Ernie's hand. He then started pulling Ernie along back toward Ernie's house. Ernie turned and waved at Bert,
"See you tomorrow, Bert!" he cried. Bert blinked and shyly waved back.
y-yeah, tomorrow." As the two beings walked away, Bert looked down again at his clenched fist and opened it. The bottle-cap still glistened in the sunlight, and he couldn't help but to smile. He
was suddenly very interested in the tiny object, and wondered how many different ones there were out there. He had no idea that the small item would be the start of his later infamous bottle-cap collection. All he knew was that it was the first gift he'd ever gotten from a friend
.a real friend. He shoved the object into his pocket, maybe living on Sesame Street wouldn't be so bad after all. At least he had a feeling that he and Ernie would grow to be best friends.
About a year later, Ernie had stopped by Bert's house for Christmas with a gift of his own to give his new best friend. He watched as Bert excitedly tore off the wrapping paper.
"Oh! Oh wow!! Hey!! Ernie this is
." It was a copy of the book that those bullies had ruined so long ago. Ernie nodded,
"Yeah, I had to look all over for it but
I remember you told me it was your favorite book! So
ya know, I was hoping I could find you a replacement,"
"Oh wow, thanks Ernie!!" Bert said happily! He then eagerly began moving boxes around from under his tree to find the gift he'd gotten for Ernie.
"This your gift!" he said, practically shoving it into Ernie's arms. Ernie clutched the package tightly before looking up and seeing Bert, waiting anxiously for his response. Ernie gave a small smile before ripping open the wrapping paper.
"Oooh!!! A Big Rubber Duckie Plushie!!!" Ernie said with a wide grin! He hugged the doll tightly,
"WOW! Thanks a lot Bert!!" he said. Bert smiled in relief,
"I know how much you love rubber duckies so
"This is awesome!! Now my little rubber ducky has a friend to play with! Just like me!" Ernie said, beaming at Bert. Bert grinned too,
"Ya know Ernie, I'm happy I met you when I moved to Sesame Street," Bert said. Ernie nodded,
"Me too, Bert! Me too!" he said.