Abigail hummed happily to herself. She was making a cheese and tomato sandwich and carefully placing the top piece of bread onto it, she looked at it critically. It was very tall and she squashed it down hard. Red tomato oozed out of the side but it smelt delicious. Licking her paws, she climbed back up onto the chair and opened the fridge again. Was there any chocolate cake left? She looked along the shelves hopefully. Ah yes, just there in the corner, one piece left. Time to get some more. Abigail paused, the plate of cake balanced on one paw. It was very strange now that she came to think of it, the fridge was always full of their favourite things. Patrick had asked her what she liked to eat and had made a long list, tapping on that screen he seemed always to be sitting in front of. But where did the food come from? Bags appeared outside the door, she’d helped the polar to drag them in, but who sent them and how did they know what they all liked? Clambering down, she placed the cake next to her sandwich and made herself comfortable on a soft blue cushion by the window. She’d ask the polar. ‘Patrick,’ she mumbled through a mouthful of tomato, ‘where does all the food come from?’
Perched on the table, the polar was busy writing a note, glancing up occasionally at the screen in front of him. ‘Hmm…?’
‘Patrick!’ said Abigail more loudly and a bit crossly, ‘I said where does all the food come from?’
‘The supermarket of course, I order it online and tell them to leave it in the porch,’ he paused, squinting at the paper more closely. ‘Then I have to pay for it.’
‘Pay?’ said Abigail.
‘Yes pay, with money. Most food and things cost money.’ He glanced at her, ‘you do know that?’
‘And where do you get money?’ asked Abigail, ignoring the question and trying to eat her sandwich, it was very big, maybe she shouldn’t have put quite so much cheese in it.
‘I earn it, I’ve got a website.’
‘What’s a website?’
Patrick rolled his eyes. ‘It’s something people use on their laptop or phone, they can get advice or look things up.’
Abigail felt very confused but was determined not to show it. “Oh I see,” she said casually, ‘and I suppose you give advice?” Without warning, she giggled and she quickly clamped a paw over her mouth. ‘Indigestion,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’
Narrowing his eyes Patrick stared over the top of the screen at her. Sitting up a little bit straighter he smoothed down his blue scarf. ‘I do actually, finances, planning, strategy, things like that. People pay me online and I can buy things we need like food.’ He raised his eyes up to the ceiling where they could hear Grigs bouncing on and off the bed. The light in the kitchen was swinging too and fro in time with each bounce. ‘Or buy things that get broken.’
‘Don’t they know you’re a polar bear?’ asked Abigail doubtfully.
‘Of course not,’ said Patrick proudly, settling down again behind the screen, ‘and that doesn’t matter anyway, it’s all very professional. I’ve got great reviews.’
Abigail wasn’t really sure what a review was, so she changed the subject. ‘There were a lot of things in the shop, like the ones in my bag,’ she said fondly. ‘But I had to leave my car behind it wouldn’t fit in.’
The polar paused thoughtfully. ‘And did you pay for those things?’ Abigail shook her head sheepishly. Patrick sighed. ‘Oh dear,’ he looked at her, ‘well I suppose you didn’t know, and we can just take them back to the shop.’ There was a thud as Abigail dropped her sandwich onto the floor. She had just taken a bite but her mouth was suddenly dry and she had to swallow hard. Her nose began to tremble and her ears drooped. Go back to the shop? Give things back? They were hers, they’d kept her company in her hidey hole behind the jigsaw. She loved her pink tree, and her bag, and the marbles. A tear leaked out from the corner of her eye. ‘Oh dear,’ said Patrick again hastily, scurrying across the table towards her, ‘don’t cry, it’s all right I can just pay for them, it will be all right.’
‘Really?’ sniffed Abigail.
Patrick waved a tissue at her nervously. ‘Yes really, I’ll go to the shop and sort everything out.’
With another sniff Abigail looked at him. ‘And could we, perhaps, get my car?’
Sighing again, the polar nodded. ‘I suppose so, if you really want it.’
‘I’ll come with you then,’ said Abigail more happily.
The next day passed in a blur, Patrick had listed all of Abigail’s things from the shop onto a big piece of white paper. They were now spread out all over the floor. The tiger had bounced on her tree and she’d had to spend ages straightening out the branches again. He did say sorry and he really hadn’t seen it down there, but Abigail didn’t believe him, it was bright pink! She sat hugging it on her lap in case he did it again. The Polar had stepped on her marbles and Abigail hadn’t meant to laugh but that had been very funny. It felt strange going back to the shop too. They were going to leave tomorrow night when it was dark, she didn’t know how they’d get in. With a sigh she curled up under the blanket, wrapping it around her tightly. With a tired happy yawn, she fell asleep dreaming of her lovely red furrari car.