A pair of sunglasses glinted at Creamy as the driver wound down the window.
“Hello!” he smiled. “I just had to stop – you look so like my Misha.”
Creamy fell back a little. “Who is Misha?”
“Misha used to work for me. He guarded my cars; and for a bear, he made a pretty good guard dog. Hehehe!”
Creamy stared stonily at the man. “I’m a dog,” he said.
“Yes, he’s a dog,” chimed in Lennie, running up to the car. “We were expecting a van…” he added, his voice trailing away as he took in the gleaming car the man was sitting in. “Didn’t mean to bother you.”
“No bother at all,” smiled the man. “And if it’s food you’re after, I’m your man. I know exactly what sort of food would make your friend happy.”
Though Creamy was still annoyed that the man seemed to think he looked like some bear called Misha, his hunger got the better of him. “What sort is that?”
“The sort of food my Misha liked. Come on, hop in!” And as he spoke, the back door of the car swung open and two hands reached out to help Creamy in.
Lennie grabbed Creamy’s paw, trying to hold him back. But the hands that were gripping Creamy jerked him off the ground and into the car. All Lennie could do was to hang on tight and tumble into the car after Creamy.
In another moment, the door slammed shut, and the car pulled out into the road.
“Two for the price of one!” laughed the driver. “Well done, Beardy!”
Lennie looked at Beardy and shuddered. He had never seen such a long, bushy beard before.
“Thought you’d be pleased,” boomed Beardy, his large hands clutching Creamy and Lennie. “Have to say, we’ve done well this trip: the car is a gem, and you’ve got a new Misha, too, to work for you.”
“You are right there! Our loot in the garage will be safe with a bear on a chain outside! Hehehe!”
The driver pressed his foot down, and the car leapt forward and fairly flew along the road. Beardy laughed uproariously “Faster! Faster! St Petersburg, here we come!”
Creamy and Lennie stared at each other. “St Petersburg? Did he say St…?”
“Shhhhh!” Lennie whispered warningly, leaning across Beardy’s fat stomach: “not a word! They’re gangsters. From what they’ve said, I’m sure this car is stolen.”
Creamy’s eyes grew round. He shifted slightly, trying to move away from Beardy.
“Hey, keep still, you fat grizzly!” shouted Beardy. “In fact, I’ve had enough of riding squashed between you two,” he added and rapped on the seat rest in front. “Do we really need the small dog with us?”
“No, chuck him out,” laughed the driver. “I only stopped to get the bear.”
“Right!” cried Beardy. And with that, he leaned across Lennie, and pressed the button under the electric window on his side. The air rushed into the car and flattened Lennie to his seat.
Beardy put his hand out to lift him.
“No! Don’t!” cried Creamy, leaping from his seat. “Don’t throw him out, he’ll get hurt!”
“Try and stop me!” laughed Beardy.
Creamy was glad he knew about cars. Quick as a flash, he threw himself in between the front seats. His arms shot forward and he gripped the footbrake with his paws and pressed down hard.
There was a screech of brakes, the engine juddered and cut out, and the car came to a stop.
Beardy snatched Lennie by the scruff of his neck and sent him flying out of the window. Then he threw himself at Creamy, clutched his legs and yanked him away from under the driver’s feet.
“Drive! Drive!” he shouted, as he dragged Creamy back to his seat again.
For a second, Creamy sat there, speechless, breathing hard, but happy that he had managed to save Lennie falling from the speeding car. A small smile of relief spread across his face. At least Lennie was safe. Or was he?
Creamy sat up with a jerk. I must get to him! He might be hurt.
“Keep still, you!” scowled Beardy and wound his arms around Creamy’s chest.
Creamy growled. “That was my friend you threw out of the car! I’ve got to see if he’s safe. Get out of my way!” And with one big swipe, he sent Beardy off the seat and onto the floor. Then he threw himself at the door. The lock gave and the door burst open.
In another instant, Creamy was flying through the air, roaring as he went:
“I’m coming, Lennie! I’m coming!”