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 big 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 thing he called a laptop. He always seemed to be sitting in front of it. 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 about money don’t you?’
‘And where do you get money?’ asked Abigail, ignoring the question and trying to eat her sandwich, it really 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 to people? 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.’
‘How can you give advice? Don’t they know you’re a polar bear?’ asked Abigail doubtfully.
‘Of course not,’ said Patrick proudly, settling down again behind the screen, ‘I just advertise my services as P. Polar. They just think I’m a human. 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. ‘I suppose people used money for those. But I had to leave my car behind it wouldn’t fit in.’
The polar paused thoughtfully. ‘And how did you pay for those things?’ Abigail shrugged. Patrick sighed. ‘Oh dear,’ he looked at her hard, ‘well I suppose you didn’t know you had to. 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 suddenly went dry and she swallowed hard. Her nose began to tremble and her ears drooped. Go back to the shop? Give the things back? But 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. And her blue cover. A tear leaked out from the corner of her eye down into her fur. ‘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, her nose still trembling.
Patrick waved a tissue at her nervously. ‘Yes really, don’t cry. I’ll go back to the shop and sort everything out.’
With another sniff, Abigail looked down at him, wiping her eyes with her paw . ‘And could we, perhaps, get my car?’
Sighing again, the polar paused. Abigail widened her eyes hopefully.
‘Well… I suppose so, if you really want it.’
‘I do! I really really want it! I’ll come with you then,’ said Abigail more happily. ‘That’s settled! I can help you find it.’
The next day passed in a blur. All of Abigail’s things from the shop were spread out all over the floor. Patrick carefully listed them on a big piece of white paper. 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. His paws had flown into the air and he had rolled right across the floor. But it felt very strange going back to the shop. 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 her blue blanket, wrapping it around her tightly. Yawning tiredly, she fell asleep dreaming of her lovely red furrari car.