All was calm in the Hooper home. Hoppity, Fillmore and Waldo were all comfortably sat on the couch, clicking through channels on a dial TV though not really paying attention. Just a calm, simple bonding moment.
...that was, until the mail fell through the slot and Hoppity shot up to check it. He came back with two envelopes, eyes shining and wide smile across his face. He grabbed Fillmore’s hand and used a claw to open them. He then pulled out the letter inside the blue one.
Waldo sat up, “What is it?”
“My college acceptance letters!”
“Did you get accepted?” Fillmore chimed in.
“The admissions committee has reviewed your application-!” Hoppity’s expression dropped, all happiness draining from his voice, “...we regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission to Fail University.”
Waldo waved the emotion away with his hand, though Hoppity didn’t lose his sadness, dropping the letter.
“Manhattan is too expensive anyway,” Waldo said simply, “And Fail University? Hoppity I don’t think you’d pass in that place anyway.”
“No good for that place, I bet,” Fillmore added with a chuckle. “Open the other one, it might be better!”
Hoppity nodded, “Reviewed your application…. Ugh….”
“Oh no,” Waldo muttered.
But Hoppity’s expression shifted, and he suddenly jumped up, flapping his arms and firmly clenching the letter in one hand. “I got in!! Wossamotta!! I got in!!”
Waldo stood up too, making a box with his arms around him. “Congratulations!”
Hoppity ran into him in a hug, tears streaming down his face. “I got in…!” he repeated.
“You sure did!”
Fillmore stood and firmly sandwiched Hoppity between them. Waldo let out an uncomfortable noise, stepping back. He coughed.
“Don’t choke me before I can see you graduate!” He stepped back and took Hoppity’s crying yet smiling face into his hand, wiping away his tears with a sleeve. “Then I guess we’re going to Minnesota?”
“Where’s my trumpet?” Fillmore asked, rummaging through his luggage. The three had touched down in Minnesota a few hours ago, and quickly bought a cheap little cottage on the edge of Frostbite Falls.
“Why do you need it?” asked Waldo, standing next to Hoppity, ready to leave.
“So I can give him a fanfare!”
“Oh please, he won’t get registered if you kill the staff.”
Hoppity stifled a laugh, “Oh, I don’t need a fanfare, Fillmore!”
“Yes you do!” He exclaimed, turning, rushing at Hoopity and grabbing his arms, “Our little boy’s all grown up! He’s going to college!”
“We literally met three years ago! I was fifteen!”
“That’s three years Waldo and I raised you, Hoppity!”
“Is this what it means to be a guardian,” Waldo muttered, mostly to himself, “To embarrass your children?”
“Don’t you dare!”
Waldo clapped his hands, turning to Fillmore, “This is the one and only time I am on board with you blowing that bugle, Beauregard.”
“Really?” asked Fillmore, sincerely.
“Yes, now let’s see if his mother will send me some of his baby pictures, I’ll show them to his next partner.”
“Alright then, the school staff.”
Waldo snickered, “We’ll fanfare you when we get back, hm?”
“You’re killing me,” Hoppity said between laughs, “You’re killing your nephew.”
“Then perish in my affection.”
“Proof of existence?”
The three had received Hoppity’s registration papers, and were now reading them through before filling them out. Fillmore was trying, in any sense. He glanced between the papers and Hoppity.
“I mean… you’re here, aren’t you?”
“Give me those,” Waldo said, taking them from his hands, “That says proof of residency, field mouse, it means he needs proof he lives here.”
“.....he’s here, isn’t he?”
Waldo shook his head, laughing. He sat down at the kitchen table, Hoppity and Fillmore quickly taking seats beside him.
“We’ll have to get our licenses changed away,” he pulled a pen out of his back blazer pocket, “Let’s see. Your full name is Hoppity Hooper, your birth date is September 26th, 2000. Our mobile number is…” he looked at Fillmore, who shrugged. He groaned, then chuckled, looking at Hoppity, “Your gender?”
“Yes. You know I can fill these papers myself?”
“Excellent,” Waldo answered, ignoring the second part of his sentence, “Our address, city, postal code, country….” He looked back at Hoppity, “Previous schools attended?”
Hoppity took in a deep breath, “Foggy Bog Public Elementary, Foggy Bog Public Middle, Foggy Bog Public Intermediate, just Foggy Bog Public School and Foggy Bog Public High School.”
Waldo nodded, chuckling, “Your first language?”
Hoppity gave a hearty croak.
“Of course,” he then signed his name, sliding it to Fillmore- simply putting X. Waldo took it back, “Then that leaves emergency contacts!”
“You two are the only family I’ve got,” Hoppity reminded.
“And there’s three slots,” Fillmore added.
“No matter. Waldo Wigglesworth, relation to student, fake uncle.”
“Guardian!” said Hoppity, laughing.
“And Fillmore Bear, fake uncle the second,” he took a moment to say the next thing, “What are these contacts relationships to eachother! Oh boy, we’ll have to explain the story to these poor, poor people.”
Hoppity smugly smiled, “What is your relationship to eachother?”
“We’re husbands!” answered Fillmore, just as smug.
“No,” begged Waldo, “Shut up. Shut up.”
“But your last names are different!”
“Yeah I thought Fillmore Wigglesworth was a bit forward.”
Waldo covered his face in his hands, turning red, “Please, stop this.”
But Hoppity and Fillmore were not deterred.
“Forward about what?” Hoppity couldn’t help already laughing.
“My sex life.”
“Oh. I’m going to divorce you.”
“You love me!” Fillmore laughed.
“I thought!” Fillmore and Hoppity laughed. “I hate this goddamn family,” Waldo muttered, eventually succumbing to laughter himself.
A month had come and gone. Hoppity was doing great, and was happy about that, which is always good. But something not good hung in the alleyways near the city.
The taller one shook her head, “Moose and squirrel haven’t been in college for years,” she said in heavily-accented voice, “I don’t understand what we’re doing here.”
“Frog,” shrugged the shorter.
“Frog!” he repeated, “We’re meant to kidnap a frog and that will lead Moose and Squirrel to us!”
“Boris,” she muttered, “Frogs don’t live in cities.”
Almost to spite her, Hoppity passed by at that very moment. He was too absorbed in looking over his latest assignment to notice either.
Suddenly, Boris reached out and grabbed. Hoppity dropped his assignment, struggling his hardest to detach his elbows from Boris’ grip. Natasha slipped and tightened a bag over his head.
In their haste they didn’t bother to pick up the assignment, which Hoppity had already written his name on.
It was picked up in a breeze and splattered right onto a strikingly orange moose’s antlers. He didn’t notice, but his floating gray partner did.
“Bullwinkle! You’ve got something in your antlers!”
“Ooh! A surprise hat!”
“No!” chuckled Rocky, flying up and grabbing the paper. “Hm.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a… med student paper. By Hoppity Hooper.”
“Hoppity Hooper,” Bullwinkle muttered, “The frog who had a show after ours that absolutely tanked in ratings?”
“I can’t think of any other cartoon frogs,” Rocky said as he landed, “Wonder what he’s doing here.”
“And studying medicine.”
“Well, you know how his uncle is. Wait-” he started to float again, meeting Bullwinkle’s eyes, “Student! Bullwinkle, do you think he could be going to Wossamotta now?”
“Sure, it has been 55 years!”
“Well,” Rocky mused, “We’d better return this then.”
“Wait just a minute, Rock. We don’t know where Hoppity lives. I mean, lives now.”
“Oh, you’re right,” Rocky hummed, “Well, better start knocking on doors, huh?”
Meanwhile, at the Hooper home, Waldo was absolutely in hysterics that Hoppity wasn’t home yet.
“Waldo, it’s two minutes past three,” reminded Fillmore.
Waldo uselessly grabbed at his lapel, tears streaming down his face. “Wh-hw-where’s the police- we-we gotta find him.”
“Get offa me,” Fillmore commanded, effortlessly picking up Waldo and holding him on his shoulder before he could do anything. “Hoppity has friends, Waldo, I’m sure he just caught up with one of em.”
But Waldo wasn’t consoled. Fillmore sighed.
“He’s not back by four we’ll go out looking okay?”
“I can’t believe my baby’s missing and you’re waiting an hour before going to find him!” Waldo cried, trying his hardest to escape. “Put me down!”
Fillmore obliged, still holding his arms. “Will a liverwurst sandwich keep you docile for an hour?”
Fillmore chuckled, releasing him to make said sandwich. “Terrible,” he muttered, “We’re terrible parents.”