Read Gatwick Bear and the Secret Plans Online

Authors: Anna Cuffaro

Tags: #Boys, #Juvenile, #Girls, #Adventure, #Children

Gatwick Bear and the Secret Plans

Gatwick Bear and the Secret Plans


Anna Cuffaro


Illustrations by Anna Anguissola




The right of Anna Cuffaro to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved

© Sparkling Books Ltd 2009

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted by any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.



BIC code:   YFC

ISBN: 978-1-907230-40-0

ISBN of printed edition:  978-1-907230-02-8


1  Homeless

It was early one Thursday morning when security first spotted a bear cub roaming around London Gatwick Airport over their CCTV system. They couldn
t believe their eyes. But, there he was, in the departures area, as large as life trundling around a big box on wheels, tied up with red rope, and a small blue Edwardian case with rusty catches and an even rustier big lock. He was wearing a navy blue waistcoat done up with a row of shining golden buttons. Security couldn't make out whether the bear was coming or going. Did he just land and get lost? Was he about to catch a plane? They didn't know that the bear had actually lived at Gatwick Airport for some time and that he wasn't a passenger. Oh, no! He was homeless. And, all he had in the world was in that luggage.

Security decided not to catch him straightaway. They pointed their camera on the bear and spied on him to see what he was up to. They saw him park his luggage and then he rode on baggage trolleys jumping from one to the other while they were moving. He had this idea that if he kept moving around he wouldn't get caught, and he knew full well that you're not supposed to live at an airport. But he had nowhere else to go. Anyway, he soon got fed up with riding around, so he started window shopping at the airport stores. The bear had never bought anything, of course, he had no money. At the coffee shop, he usually found some leftover coffee, cold but drinkable, and scraps of chocolate muffins. Sometimes he found muffins on or under seats or in the bins, but today he had to crawl under a table to get one. He so adored chocolate muffins.

Next the bear made his way to the pizza hut. There were always scraps there, too. Then, like he always did after breakfast, he went to the men's toilets, gave himself a quick wash all over, brushed his fur nicely but only down the front, he couldn't reach round the back. He was very proud of his fur, though it was often a bit ruffled because it just wouldn't stay down.
Gatwick Airport was the best place in the world. It was clean, warm, safe and shiny. But his favourite place, his very favourite place in the whole airport was the broom cupboard. Every night, when the last planes left and night fell over the airport, the bear slept there snuggling up to the biggest mop, who he thought must have been some distant relative of his. He would run and hide under the mops when he saw a police officer or anyone else in uniform.

At night when he couldn't sleep, sometimes the bear would have fun sorting out the cupboard for the cleaners. He loved the coloured liquids. All the reds on the top shelf, all the yellows in the middle, and all the greens at the bottom – just like traffic lights. The cleaners knew all about the bear cub. They had often seen him in the cupboard. But the cleaners didn't tell security. The cleaners called him Gatwick. He became their mascot and they were very fond of him. To repay the cleaners for their kindness, Gatwick kept the cupboard tidy; he rearranged the mops for them when they threw them in the cupboard after use. Gatwick would place all the yellow mops in the left-hand corner, all the blue ones in the right-hand corner, all the brooms at the back against the wall, and the buckets in a high stack in the middle, and he'd even fold up all the dusters.

The cleaners should have told on him but, if they had done that, Gatwick would have been turned out onto the streets. Sleeping in the cupboard also meant he wouldn't be shone on by those big neon lights fixed to the ceiling all over the airport. Such horrid things, they were on all night and used to stop him sleeping before his cupboard days. Gatwick himself didn't know how long he'd lived at the airport. In fact, he didn't know if he'd been born there, if he'd been lost there, or even if he'd been found. He didn't know much about himself at all really, except that he knew for sure that he had no family. He also knew that he was not like anyone else he'd seen at the airport. No, he was certainly different. Much more hairy for a start.

Every night before he switched the light off in his cupboard, he took out his map of the airport. When he found a piece of muffin, he would draw a muffin in the spot where he had found it. That night he drew a muffin under the table at the coffee shop. Gatwick had a feeling that there were lucky places in the airport, and he wanted to remember where they were. He had already drawn five muffins on the map.

Security were now ready to deal with him. The dreaded Miss Acid, Head of Security, set out on his trail. Her nails were pointed and varnished black with silver tips – more like claws, really, which were as sharp as her eyes. Her hair was worn in a painfully tight bun which stood up straight on her head. It was so tight that it drew all the skin on her face upwards and distorted her ugly face. She terrified everyone at the airport. She wore flat shoes and was thick around the hips. She had to keep discipline in the airport
maximum discipline. Let me tell you if you don't behave, she'll throw you  straight into a prison cell.  Just don't argue or be cheeky to her. There were rumours going round that she threw furry creatures in the cement mixer on the building site next door: cats, dogs and mice who wouldn't stay away from Gatwick Airport. Miss Acid only liked feathered creatures: especially eagles, vultures, hawks and ravens. One day, she caught a gigantic raven using her bare hands and a strong brown net used by hunters: “Let me out! Let me out!”, the raven squawked. But Miss Acid whisked him up and shut him up in her locker. There he would stay until she had time to buy a cage. He was now her pet and she named him Jet. Gatwick knew this because he had seen it all with the eyes in his head and heard it all with his furry ears.

Well that was it. Gatwick was cornered too. Miss Acid looked at him with dreadful suspicion: “Hey, little fellow, and where do you think you're going?”, she asked with her voice rising dangerously to an incredible squeaking pitch. Gatwick stood there with his serious round face and watery eyes. His ears stood to attention as he stammered out in his little voice:

“I... I... don't know exactly... where...” Without giving him time to finish she shrilled:

“Get out of the airport this second. You are nothing but a detestable furry creature”.

'What did she mean by that?' thought Gatwick.

Whatever it was, she didn't sound pleased to see him. She didn't like his fur. 'Maybe I should brush it all in the other direction', Gatwick thought looking down at his ruffled paws. No matter how much he brushed his fur down, it did insist on sticking upwards, on end. So Gatwick began to feel... quite odd.

Maybe I don't belong here. In future, I will just have to keep moving around even more to avoid being caught. I will have to hide behind newspapers or under the seats in departures', Gatwick thought.

Anyway, she marched him to the door and, as she threw him out in the dark and the rain she shouted: “And, don't come back again!” But Gatwick Airport was his home! That night he slept on a hard wooden bench in the scary pitch black and hollow bus shelter. The rain bucketed down sideways, and all his fur got soaking wet.


2  Departures

Always the happy chappy, Gatwick would not let Miss Acid get him down. The next morning, he sneaked back into the airport wearing a pair of sunglasses and fake sideburns. Everything Gatwick had, he'd found in or around the airport. And he crammed all these items in his luggage.

He'd never been abroad before though he'd lived in departures all his life. The time had come to get away from Miss Acid and fly away somewhere. Gatwick looked up at the departures board.
Hmm!', he thought.
I'd quite like to go to the mountains'.

Let's see', he scratched his head,
yes, Switzerland. They have big mountains there called the Alps. I want to climb to the top of one of those'.

In the brochures scattered around the airport, Gatwick had seen the Alps
they looked as if they'd had icing sugar sprinkled over them through a mega-gigantic sieve. They looked so good to him because he had such a sweet tooth. After all, he was just a cub. And, the chocolate they made in Switzerland also looked so scrumptious. He would like to try some of that.

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