Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The Hairball Express (Part 2)

Continued from Part One...

Tuffy looked around to make sure no one was listening. "Not now," he hissed. "Grandma watches you like a hawk, and she won't let anyone out. Plus we have to watch out for Inky and Stinky. We'll go tonight, when everyone's asleep."

So that night, the two cats snuck into the kitchen, where they made turkey sandwiches for the trip. They packed the sandwiches along with some granola bars into the engineer's cap that Thomas had given Moxie.

Then, the two cats snuck out--I can't tell you how, but they snuck out.

Grandma's yard was empty, so the two cats dashed across the grass and into the trees, headed for the old station.

Little did they know that Inky and Stinky saw them, and the two big dogs followed them into the dark, dark woods.

On the cats ran, holding the engineer's cap full of turkey sandwiches and granola bars.

Until at last, they came to a big clearing full of tracks.

Some tracks were rusted and broken.

Some just ended at bumpers.

One track just went around in a big circle.

But one set of tracks led back behind an old station. And behind the old station was an engine shed. And inside the engine shed they could hear a

Chsssh! Chsssh! Chsssh!

"I'd know that sound anywhere!" exclaimed Moxie. "That's a steam locomotive!"

"The old man who runs the station fires up the boiler every night to make sure the train still works," said Tuffy. "Come on, let's go have a look."

"Wait!" said Moxie. She nodded to a railroad switch on the track. "If we can throw that switch, we'll be able to switch the train onto the Main Line. Come on!"

The two cats ran to the switch, where Moxie jumped up on Tuffy's sturdy gray back.

With all of her cat strength she pushed the switch and


The tracks switched over to the Main Line!

Then, the two cats ran down the track to the engine shed, and slowly pushed open the doors.

There was the biggest train Moxie had ever seen in her life. It was a giant choo-choo, with a big red smokestack, and smoke (which Thomas always called "woo-woos") chuffing out of it.

They heard another noise, too.

Snnnnnorrrrrrp Pff Pff Pff Pff Pff

Snnnnnorrrrrrp Pff Pff Pff Pff Pff

"It's the old man!" hissed Tuffy. "He must have fallen asleep after he fired up the boiler."

"Good!" said Moxie. "That's one less job for us. You go outside and make sure the yard is clear, while I take a look at the controls."

As Moxie hopped up into the cab of the engine, Tuffy sat outside the doors of the engine shed.

And that's when he heard two low growls, coming up fast in the dark.

"Rrrrr! You didn't listen to us!"

"We're the bosses around here!"

It was Inky and Stinky!

Snarling, the two dogs crept closer and closer to the sturdy little gray cat. "You left the house! Now we're gonna get you!"

Tuffy arched his back and tried to look brave. He tried to roar like a big cat, like a lynx, maybe or a mountain lion. But all that came out was a spluttering "Pfff! Pfff-fffffft!"

The two dogs laughed and were just about to pounce...

Suddenly, an ear-splitting noise filled the air!



"Awoooo!" the two dogs howled. They fell backwards, shaking their heads.

Then, there was a tremendous


as the doors to the engine shed flew open!

Inky and Stinky looked up and saw the enormous choo-choo bearing down on them.

With Moxie at the controls!

"All aboard!" shouted Moxie, and gave another blast of the whistle.

The noise was too much for Inky and Stinky. They turned, tails between their legs, and ran into the woods.

"Wow!" said Tuffy, as he hopped aboard the train. "That was wicked!"

"That's just for starters!" said Moxie. "Watch this!" And as she nudged the throttle, the train surged forward, heading out into the yard.

"Hold on," said Moxie. The train was coming up to the switch. Moxie would have crossed her fingers if she'd had them. The train came up to the switch and...


They were on the Main Line!

And just in time, too. All the noise had awakened the old man.

He jumped up, saw his train leaving, squinted, rubbed his eyes. "It can't be!" he shouted.

He ran for the station, where he picked up the phone and called the Train Police.

"Two cats just stole my train!" he bellowed.

But the Train Police just laughed and hung up on him.

"You know," said Tuffy, as they left the station behind. "We ought to name this train. All good trains have a name, don't they?"

"You're right," said Moxie.

She thought about it.

"I know!" she said at last. "We'll call this train the Hairball Express!" And with another blast of the whistle, the Hairball Express thundered into the night...


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