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Even Consciences Need Guides

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“Gee, Jiminy, do you think my father will be okay?”

“Aw, cheer up, Pinoke! Your father's just feeling a little under the weather tonight. That doesn't mean that we still can't go to the House of Mouse tonight, right?”

“I guess...” Pinocchio sighed, swinging his feet from where he sat on the front steps. Geppetto had come down with a nasty cold and couldn't take the boy to the popular club, something that had become fairly routine for the little family. However, the puppet really wanted to go there tonight. “How are we gonna get there, though?”

The cricket paused before smiling up at the wooden boy. “Why, we'll walk there, of course!” Jiminy answered, hopping up to Pinocchio's shoulder. “I'd be glad to keep you company on the way over. But we'd better tell your father that we're heading out.”

Pinocchio gave a small smile to his conscience and stood up. “Okay, Jiminy!”

After running back inside to tell Geppetto where they were going, the duo set out to the House of Mouse. The spotlights that illuminated the Main Street location of the club could be seen for miles, but it was still quite a walk to the club from Pinocchio's house. The wooden boy ran to try to get there faster, causing Jiminy to hold on to Pinocchio's black jacket for dear life. “Hey, slow down, Pinoke!” the cricket called, sounding like he was being bounced around like a ball.

“But we gotta hurry!” Nevertheless, Pinocchio slowed down a bit when he saw the cricket's situation.

“I know, I know,” Jiminy answered, climbing back up to sit on the boy's shoulder. “There must be an easier way--”

“Look, Jiminy, it's Dumbo!” The puppet pointed up to the sky at an elephant that was flying over where he and Jiminy were. “Hi Dumbo!” he shouted in greeting.

From the air, Dumbo the elephant heard Pinocchio and looked down, smiling at the boy. Wanting to see him better, the elephant suddenly started to go to the ground.

“Hey Dumbo, where're ya goi--AHH!” The mouse that was currently the passenger inside Dumbo's hat held onto the brim as the elephant began his descent. It was only after they landed on solid ground that Timothy popped his head out to the two walkers. “Hiya, fellas!” he greeted. “Need a lift?”

“We sure do!” The puppet boy grinned from ear to ear, giving the elephant a big hug as a greeting. The elephant happily wrapped his trunk around the boy, returning the hug. “D'ya think you can fly us to the club?”

“Now now, let's not rush into things here,” Jiminy piped up, hopping to the top of Dumbo's yellow hat. “It might not be safe t--”

“Ah, c'mon Jim,” the squeaky voice of the Brooklyn rodent interrupted, “it's poirfectly safe. Why, Dumbo 'n I are old pros at this! We know all about passengah safety. Right Dumbo?” Said little elephant winked in response. “See? We know what we're doin'.”

The cricket smiled and shook his head. “There's just no use changing your mind in these things, is there Timothy?”

“Just hop on already, won'tcha?” Timothy asked, playfully rolling his eyes at his long-time friend. “We gotta go ovah the pre-flight checklist before take-off!”

The usual spiel that Timothy regularly went over with the flying elephant was gone through soon enough. After an added section for their new passengers (“Please remained seated, an' hold onto yer hats at all costs. We don't want anything ta go missin' on this flight, including you! Your safety is our top concoirn!”) and an eyeroll from the cricket (“What a build-up...”), Dumbo flapped his wing-like ears, gathering enough air until he broke out into a running start.

Pinocchio closed his eyes and coughed from the dust that flew up, but when his eyes opened again, he was glancing down at the buildings and up to the night sky. “Hey, we're flying!” he cheered. The puppet had never flown before, especially on a flying elephant, so this was a brand new experience for him.

Not so for the cricket. Jiminy had flown as a passenger inside Dumbo's hat before, so he knew what to expect. Still, he hadn't been this high up in a while. The breeze in the air made him smile a bit, old memories drifting back to him as he observed the scenery.

“Kinda takes ya back, doesn't it?”

“Hmm?” Jiminy snapped out of his trance-like state and glanced at the rodent in the hat, who was smiling at him.

“Does it take ya back?” Timothy repeated. “Bein' up like...” Here, he motioned with his hands to the vast expanse of sky and the ground down below them. “... this?”

“It sure does, Tim,” the insect agreed, nodding happily. “It sure does.”

“Look, Jiminy!” Pinocchio's voice piped up, a wooden hand pointing to a lit-up establishment in the middle of Main Street. “There's the club!”

Sure enough, there was the club in full view, lit up so much that one could have sworn it was actually daytime. Dumbo, letting out a trumpet to alert the others, started to make his decsent to the red carpet walkway enterance. As always, a familiar Goof was there to greet them. “Hey guys!”

“Hello, Max!” “Hiya, Max!” “Hi!” Dumbo simply waved with his trunk.

“Glad you guys could make it,” Max Goof said. “Nearly a full house tonight, from the people coming in.” He looked around a bit . “Is... Gepetto coming? Figaro? The goldfish?”

“Uhm, Mister Gepetto had a bit of a cold,” Jiminy explained. “But Pinocchio--”

“We flew here!” the wooden puppet added.

“Oh, sweet!” The younger Goof opened the door for them. “Enjoy the show, guys!”

“Right back atcha, Max! Oh, wait!” Timothy paused, motioning for Dumbo to stay back a moment as Pinocchio walked in with Jiminy. “We have somethin' for ya, Max! Hold yer hand out.”

Max's face lit up in a grin. “Aw, you guys really don't--”

“There ya are!” the mouse smiled as he and the baby elephant placed a pair of peanuts into the Goof's open palm. “Have a nice night, Max! Don't go spendin' it all in one place, ya hear?” As Timothy urged Dumbo inside, he could've sworn he heard Max mutter something about some people taking something too literally before shoving the gifted peanuts into his coat pocket.

Jiminy was on Pinocchio's shoulder, shaking his head at the slight display. “Really, Tim?”

“What? Dumbo 'n I are used to workin' for 'em,” the small mouse explained before hopping up into turning to a duck. “How's it goin', Donald?”

“Evening, Donald. But that doesn't mean--”

“What does what mean?” Pinocchio asked the cricket doffing his hat, waving to a slightly unamused Donald as they made their way to the front desk.

“Pinocchio!” a cheery voice greeted as they approached her desk. “Glad you two could make it! I thought you guys wouldn't show up. Heard something about Gepetto having the sniffles. Usual tables for both of you? Oh, real quick! I know you're trying to keep it classic, but sometimes too much red is a bad thing.” Holding up a fashion magazine, the duck flipped to a page and showed Timothy the article. “Besides, whoever said that wearing red for all seasons is a good thing?”

The four on the opposite side of the desk stared at Daisy Duck, all but one of them looking confused. “... I'll keep that in mind,” Timothy said, motioning for Dumbo to move onward before he himself busted a vein with an argument.

“Bye, Miss Daisy!” the puppet boy smiled, heading off. The little elephant waved at her before he started off as well.

“You boys have fun!” Daisy chirped, waving the two small animals and their respective kids off to their usual tables. It was only until after they were a good ways away from her desk that the duck remembered something. “Oh wait, I gave Pinocchio's usual table to...!” She leaned over the counter and called after them. “Hey, wait a minute!” But they were already out of sight—and probably hearing range. Daisy then shrugged nonchalantly and went about her business as usual. “Welcome to the House of Mouse, how may I help you?”