Solomon Hogg stood at the edge of the cliff with his one-wheeled flapicycle. Only a single, thick rope stretched between him and the treehouse on the other side. Solly looked at the package he was holding. It was covered in FRAGILE stickers. He returned it to his backpack.
“Okay Ms Sloth, at 44 Treehouse, Thorny Oak,” Solly said to himself. “Why would anyone have only a rope to get to their own house?” Solly looked over the cliff’s edge.
“Oh!” He took a step back.
Solly trembled. The height made him a little woozy. “Maybe I can just throw the box all the way across.” He pulled it from his backpack and saw the FRAGILE stickers again.
Crossing the rope was the only way to deliver the package.
“I am good at riding my flapicycle in a very straight line.” Solly looked down at his tyre and asked himself, “Is this crazy?”
Solly stepped several metres back, folded down his flapicycle wings, then pedalled up to speed. He zoomed towards the rope and, indeed, he wheeled right across it in a straight line...but only about one metre. Solly’s wheel slipped off the rope and he fell!
But he quickly grabbed onto the rope. His flapicycle fell ten metres down to the rocks below. *CRASH* He clung to the rope with his hooves.
“Oh, hoppin’ hazelnuts!” Solly had just enough strength to climb back safely to the edge of the cliff.
Back home, Solly stood in his garage workshop. It was filled with shelves of spare wings and wheels in different sizes and styles. He was going to build a new flapicycle. But he still wasn’t so sure he’d be able to get across that rope.
Solly talked to Jenny Wren on the phone while he searched the shelves.
“Just stop worrying so much, Solly,” Jenny said. “I think you can do it.”
“Thanks, Jenny. I need to hear that. Sometimes I think I’m crazy for trying. See you later.”
Solly found a large wheel. “Yes! I’ll use this wheel. It has a big groove in the middle of the tyre. That might keep my flapicycle from slipping off that rope.” Solly also pulled out a pair of large metal wings. “These could help me keep balance...maybe.”
Before long, Solly found himself at the cliff’s edge again. His new flapicycle was ready to go. Solly folded down the new, larger wings, tightened the strap on his helmet and got ready.
“I will get your fragile package across to you, Ms Sloth,” Solly said to himself, though he wasn’t so sure.
But Solly sped towards the rope anyway. He rode onto it and his tyre gripped on. He pedalled and stared straight forwards. It was working!
And then...it wasn’t.
Solly started to lose balance and felt himself leaning to the right! He quickly hopped off the flapicycle just before it fell down into a thorn bush below. *CRASH!*
Solly’s pig body hit the rope. Like a rubber band, the rope flung him backwards!
There he was, on his bum, back on the cliff’s edge.
“Okay,” Solly said, feeling quite shaken and dizzy. “It’s time to admit...I can’t do this.”
Solly pulled his phone out of his work vest and dialled Jenny Wren.
“Can you please help?” he asked when she picked up.
Soon after, Jenny Wren and Branston Crowe showed up with Solly’s flapicycle. They had pulled it from the bushes below. The birds brought it to him at the cliff. Solly inspected it and was relieved to find it wasn’t damaged. Jenny and Branston held onto the sides of Solly’s backpack with their feet. But Solly was having second thoughts.
“I don’t know,” said Solly. “Even with you both holding me up as I pedal, I still won’t make it. I should just let you take it there yourselves.”
“Nonsense! Let’s do this, Solly. We’ve gaaawt you!” Branston cawed.
Solly closed his eyes and said a rhyme he remembered his mum chanting. “Beans, buckets, brine. Click your tongue, you’ll be just fine.”
Solly began pedalling. He sped forwards. The wings of the flapicycle flapped.
He rode out onto the rope and raced ahead! He pedalled steadily and held his arms out for extra balance.
Solly’s little pig eyes were open wide as he stared forwards.
“It’s working!” Solly called to Branston and Jenny. He heard their wings flapping right behind him.
His wheel stayed perfectly on the rope. A few more cranks of the pedals...a few more flaps of the wings...and then, before Solly knew it, he was all the way across! Solly now stood on the deck of the treehouse.
“Oh, peachy peanuts! We did it!” Solly said, Branston and Jenny landed on the treehouse railing.
“You did it Solly,” Branston said.
“Well, yeah. But not without you two holding me up the whole time,” said Solly.
“No, Solly. Really. YOU did it,” Jenny said. “We weren’t holding you up. We just flew behind you. We were only there if you needed us.”
“And you didn’t need us. Your trip was flaaawless!” crowed Branston, with a big smile on his yellow beak.
Ms Sloth invited the three of them inside. She served tea with her brand-new tea set, which Solly had just delivered. She slowly raised her cup.
“Friends are great to have,” Ms Sloth said.
“They sure are,” Solly agreed. He held up his little teacup with his hoof. “Especially when they stay to help you get back across!”