Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

The Hairball Express (Part 3)



(Continued from Part 2)


They sped out of the country, and on into the cities.

They passed through one city. Nobody noticed them.

They passed through two more cities. Nobody noticed them.

But the next city they passed, a station master saw the train roar through and thought it was a runaway train.

(He didn't know Moxie was at the controls.)

He called up the Train Police.

Someone at the Train Police called the TV news.

Then someone at the TV news sent out a helicopter with a camera to take pictures of the runaway train.

Meanwhile, as the sun was coming up, Thomas was up already. He had cried all the day before and into the night when he came home from pre-school and saw Moxie was gone. He told Mommy and Daddy who REALLY made the mess in his room. He was sad as he had ever been.

Mommy and Daddy were sad too, because they had sent Moxie away. They had been up all night feeling bad too. Mommy went downstairs to make breakfast and as she did she turned on the TV.

The morning news had a story about a runaway train that was headed for their town.

The TV news crew on the helicopter showed a close-up picture of the engine cab.

And there, sitting at the controls, was a black cat wearing a blue engineer's cap. It was Moxie!

"It can't be!" said Mommy, rubbing her eyes. "I need coffee."

Meanwhile, aboard the Hairball Express, Tuffy was contentedly munching the last of a turkey sandwich and playing with something on the windowsill. Moxie, who was eating granola bars, dropped the wrapper and squinted at Tuffy.

"What are you playing with?" she asked.

Tuffy looked at Moxie with his guilty face and she saw the little wooden engine in his paws.

"Did you take my train again?" she asked.

Tuffy lowered his head. "I hid it in the cap when I packed the sandwiches. I thought it would be fun to play with. I LIKE trains."

Moxie was about to say something when the flicker of flashing lights in the distance caught her attention.

Tuffy saw it too. "What's that up ahead on the tracks?" he asked.

Moxie squinted. "It's police cars," she said.

And it was.

The Train Police had driven their cars up on the track, hoping to stop the runaway train.

(They didn't know Moxie was at the controls.)

But the chief of the Train Police figured it out quick, when the chief grabbed his binoculars and saw who was in the cab.

"They won't stop us," said Moxie. "Full steam ahead!" She pushed the throttle forward while Tuffy pulled on the whistle.

"Two cats stole that train and they're not stopping for anything! Clear the track!" yelled the chief.

All the policemen got off the track in time.

But their cars didn't.

And...

BASH!

The Hairball Express crashed through, knocking the police cars off the track.

And kept going!

Now it was speeding straight for the station near Thomas' house.

Where, it turns out, Thomas was headed at that very moment!

And he wasn't alone. Along with Mommy and Daddy there were also police cars, and TV news crews, and crowds of people.

Someone said, "There's a runaway train headed straight for this station."

Thomas thought that sounded exciting. "Boy, I wish Moxie were here to see this!" he said.

And in the distance, he heard a

Woooo-Wooooo!

Meanwhile, aboard the Hairball Express, there was one tiny problem.

"You WHAT?!?" exclaimed Tuffy.

"I'm...um...not quite sure how to stop this train," said Moxie.

"How can you NOT know?" asked Tuffy. "You're Moxie! You know more about trains than any other cat on earth!"

"Thomas' videos never covered this particular model of locomotive," said Moxie.

"Well, you better figure out how to stop this train now, otherwise, we're going to shoot right past the station," Tuffy cried.

Moxie stared intently at the controls. They were going too fast, and just past the station was a Big Curve. If they couldn't stop in time, they would jump the track! She had to find the brakes.

But there were so many buttons and switches and levers. Which one was it? She thought she knew everything about trains.

She looked and looked but it was no use. Up ahead, she saw the station, and just beyond it. The Big Curve.

"Get down!" she yelled to Tuffy. "We're going to jump the track!"

With a "ROWR!" and a fluttering of granola bar wrappers, Tuffy jumped to the floor of the cab. Moxie let go of the throttle and did the same. She closed her eyes tight. The engine roared like a lion, then--

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Sparks flew up from the wheels of the Hairball Express!

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

The two cats rolled across the floor of the cab!

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

The Hairball Express shuddered and swayed, and steam poured from every valve and then...

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

The Hairball Express stopped.

Everything was quiet.

Moxie looked at Tuffy.

Tuffy looked at Moxie.

"How'd you stop it?" Tuffy asked.

Moxie looked up at the throttle and suddenly she remembered. "Some trains stop automatically if you let go of the throttle. As soon as I did, the brakes came on."

Just then, Moxie heard a familiar sound. It wasn't the CCCSSSHHHH CCCSSSHHH of the steam engine. It wasn't the clickety-clackety sound of a train.

It was a voice.

Slowly, Moxie climbed up to the window of the cab, and looked out at the crowds of people in front of the station, staring in surprise at the train.

And right below her, who should she see but---

THOMAS!

HER BOY!

Moxie leapt into Thomas' arms and gave him a big kitty hug.

"Ohhh, Moxie!" cried Thomas. "I'm so glad to see you! How did you ever get here?"

Now, if this were one of those stories that had lessons at the end, this would be the part where Thomas would promise never to lie again. Where his parents would promise to get all the facts before punishing anyone.

And it would also be the part where Moxie would learn that sometimes, knowing more than anyone else isn't as important as admitting when you DON'T know something. And WHEN you don't know something, sometimes, just sometimes, you need to let go and trust to luck.

And Moxie might have said that very thing to Thomas.

But before she could, she was interrupted by a

"WOOOOOO WOOOOOO!"

And a "CHUFF! CHUFF! CHUFF!"

as the Hairball Express suddenly pulled out of the station.

And do you know why?

Because Tuffy took the train!

And that's...THE END


Comments:
Great story, MM!
 
Oh, MM. Thomas is so lucky to have you and to have this story.

You REALLY need to market this. It need's to be a children's book and a children's movie.
 
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