... Ricky slouched even lower in the seat and as soon as the car stopped he ran as fast as he could into the house and up the stairs to his room, slamming the door behind him. Throwing himself on the bed, he sobbed and sobbed into his pillow.
With his face buried deep in its softness, Ricky reached his hand out for his teddy bear. He hadn’t slept with Teddy for a long time, because he thought he was too big for bears, but today he needed him.
Groping around on the covers, his chubby fingers instead touched something funny, sort of soft and sort of prickly. Curious, he sat up and brushed at his eyes with the backs of his hands, surprised to see a little live animal sitting next to his pillow.
“Hello,” the little animal said cocking his head to one side, “why all the tears?”
Ricky, swiped at his face and tried to act gruff, embarrassed that he’d been found crying. “Well, I’ve been to the doctor and his nurse stuck a needle in my finger and the doctor said I may be sick and I have to go back and have more needles stuck in me and ...” gasping for breath, he didn’t realize all the words had come out in a big gush.
“Whoa, slow down!!” the little animal said. “I can see why you have tears running all over your face.”
Ricky took a deep breath and asked, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The animal gave himself a rattle-y shake and said proudly, “I’m a porcupine, and my name is Sticky.” With a giggle he said, “See, I’m Sticky and you’re Ricky! We rhyme!! Just like Jack and Jill went up the hill.”
Ricky, failing to think he was funny, or even wanting to join in the giggle, demanded, “You didn’t tell me why you’re here!”
Sticky shook his head, “Boy, you’re an impatient one, you are! I’m here to help you. I have diabetes, and I figured you needed a pal while the doctor’s figuring stuff out, so I’ll be your pal Sticky. OK?” Ricky looked amazed. “You have diabetes? And you’re OK? Aren’t you sick?”