A cloud of smoke erupted at the base of the volcano, and a familiar figure emerged.
“Artie!” Josie and Daphne cried.
“Artie?” Marylou McBeebeard asked.
“Artie?” repeated the beard of bees in unison.
“Quirkums!” Cynthia, the Queen of the Bermuda Triangle exclaimed.
“Quirkums?” said Josie and Daphne and Marylou and the beard of bees.
“Cindy!” Artie Quick said, gasping.
“Cindy?” said Josie and Daphne and Marylou and the beard of bees. Todd the Brontosaurus said nothing, as his mouth was full of the rope of the Volcano Cage. He was, however, as surprised and confused by the events unfolding as everyone else.
“Quirkums, I never thought I’d see you again. When you disappeared in that barrel going over Niagara Falls, I was sure you were a goner!” Cynthia’s haughty demeanor had transformed into one of awe mixed with obvious puppy love. Everyone but Todd noticed this.
“Ah, but you forgot about my astounding powers of prestidigitation!” Artie said.
“Oh, yeah I forgot about that,” Cindy said.
“Artie, how did you find us?” Daphne asked.
“You may recall I said if you should ever need me, or wish to see me, just call out my name. And voila!”
“That’s incredible, but how did you get here so quickly?” asked Josephine.
“You must have forgotten about my astounding powers of prestidigitation!” Artie said.
“Oh, yeah we forgot about that,” Josie said. Cynthia began hopping up and down.
“Wait, Quirkums, you know these intruders?” she yelled.
“They’re not intruders, Cindy; they’re dear friends of mine.”
“How dear, exactly?” Cynthia asked, reddening.
“Oh, my dear little rabbit, you have always been the jealous type. But never fear, my heart beats only for you.” Artie said, kissing her paw. The Volcano Cage began to shake as Todd protested this sign of affection.
“Wait a second, are you getting fresh with my missus?” he said, though with the rope in his mouth, it sounded more like, “Wayuhsheg, yoogehi fweshmymishish?”
“Todd! What have I told you about talking with your mouth full?” Cynthia, the Queen of the Bermuda Triangle shouted. Todd spat out the rope, and the Volcano Cage fell to the ground with a crash. Josephine, Daphne and Marylou were shaken, but unharmed.
“Listen, you,” Todd said, neck bending low so he could stare Artie Quirk in the eye. “That ‘dear little rabbit’ happens to be my wife, so I’d appreciate you keeping your lips off her mitts.”
“A trazillion apologies, dinosaur friend, I didn’t mean overstep my bounds.”
“I ain’t your friend, friend.” Todd huffed through his nostrils and ambled closer to the elephant.
“Todd! Don’t be rude to Mr. Quirk; he’s… a good friend of mine.” Cynthia intervened, stepping between the two. Artie sashayed over to the three who were vacating the now-crushed Volcano Cage.
“What do you say we get out of here?” he whispered to them.
“Get out of here? You do know we’re in the Bermuda Triangle, so.” Daphne said.
“So?” asked Artie Quirk.
“So, no one has ever escaped the Bermuda Triangle.”
“Poppycock! Why, there’s hundreds of escape routes. The trick is finding the one you really want.”
“Keen!” Josie said. “Let’s go exploring!” While Todd and Cynthia, the Queen of the Bermuda Triangle continued their spat, the others wandered into the jungle. Marylou and Artie were introduced to one another. Artie removed what looked like a remote control for a toy car from his coat pocket, and flipped switches and dials while pointing it forward.
“This little device will detect where the portals to the rest of the world are,” he explained. “Be careful, though, some lead to places you won’t expect. Ah! Here’s one.” A light at the top of the device flashed green.
“Ooh, let me check, let me check!” said Josie. It was a hole in the base of a tall tree, and before anyone could protest, Josie stuck her head in it. Somewhere in Wales, an elderly woman was shocked to find the head of a panda protruding from her bowl of tomato soup. “Sorry,” Josie said, embarrassed. When she removed her head from the tree trunk, it was drenched in tomato soup.
“What did I tell you?” said Artie, laughing. Daphne and Marylou were laughing as well, and soon Josie joined them.
After a few moments of exploring, Daphne suddenly gasped and turned to Marylou. “I almost forgot! The Jacques Kozuh, it…”
“I know,” said Marylou.
“We know,” said the beard of bees in unison.
“We’re so sorry, Marylou, love, if there’s anything we could do, just let us know.” Josie said, squeezing Marylou’s arm.
“What is all this about Jacques Kozuh? You mean the famous sunbeam explorer?” Josie and Daphne explained how Marylou’s boat had crashed and split in two on the beach. “Is that all?” he said. “Why, it’s a simple fix, and I just so happen to have the tools with me. Show the way!”
It took some time, but they eventually made their way to the beach and the Jacques Kozuh. Artie removed his hat with a flourish, reached down and pulled up a large tub labeled ‘Alchemic Glue.’ “This glue will fix anything, broken bones, discombobulated houses, even misplaced limbs. It will certainly repair your boat.” And it did! Within minutes, the boat was as good as new.
“Thanks a million!” said Marylou McBeebeard.
“Thanks a million!” repeated the beard of bees in unison. However, it was a bittersweet victory, as with the sun now rising, Marylou had to be on her way. She hugged Josephine and Daphne, and Artie kissed her hand.
“Goodbye, and we’ll see you real soon!” she shouted as her boat drifted into the sky.
“Real soon!” repeated the beard of bees in unison. The green light on the remote device began blinking.
“Huzzah! A new portal must be near,” Artie said. The device led them to a hole buried in the sand. Before Josie could reach down into it, Daphne stopped her.
“Oh, no,” she said. “This time I’ll check it out.” She poked her head in the hole, and soon began to laugh. Artie and Josie exchanged quizzical glances. Daphne came back up, tears of laughter streaming down her face. “You’ll never guess where this portal leads,” she said.

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