Tuesday, April 12, 2005


The Hairball Express (Part 1)

(No, this isn't my first blog entry. I predated the entry because this was about the time I first started making this story up with Thomas. And I needed to bury this somewhere in the blog. If you're finding this first, you might be better off starting here instead.)

Moxie & the Hairball Express

A Story Written Just for THOMAS

By His Dad

You have to understand that Moxie was a very special cat.

She had fur that was black as a locomotive and eyes that burned bright, like two pieces of coal that had just been shoveled into a firebox.

But that wasn't what made Moxie special, NO!

What made Moxie special was that she knew more about trains than any other cat on earth!

How did she know? Her boy Thomas told her.

Every day, Moxie would watch as Thomas played with his wooden toy trains. He showed her how to make the trains click together, and how to build tracks that wouldn't break apart.

Every afternoon, when Thomas watched his trains videos on TV, Moxie watched too, and learned how the BIG trains operated, how to make them stop and go, how to switch trains from one track to the next, and, most importantly, how to pull the rope to make the whistle go "Woo Woo!"

And every morning, when Thomas left with Mommy to watch real trains at the station near his house, Moxie would watch them go, then wait for Thomas to come back and tell her all about the trains he had seen.

And they had a very nice life together, until one day...

Moxie came into Thomas' room and discovered a BIG MESS.

Little boys sometimes get angry for reasons only they understand, and when they do, they sometimes throw tantrums. And here was Thomas, throwing the biggest tantrum Moxie had ever seen.

(It might have even been two tantrums.)

Toy trains were strewn everywhere. Videos were out of their boxes. Tracks were scattered about the floor--there were even some under the bed.

Just then, Mommy and Daddy came in and saw Thomas and Moxie sitting in the middle of the BIG MESS.

"WHO made this mess?" they asked.

Before he could think better of it, Thomas pointed at MOXIE and yelled, "She did it!"

Thomas loved Moxie, but he didn't want to get in trouble.

Moxie was sad that Thomas blamed the mess on her, but she didn't want him to get in trouble either.

So she didn't say anything.

So Mommy and Daddy thought MOXIE did it.

"You're in big trouble," they said. And they put Moxie in her cat carrier for the night.

Thomas felt so terrible about the lie he had told, that later he snuck down and gave Moxie his favorite blue engineer's cap to wear and a bunch of his favorite trains to play with in her carrier. He also gave her some turkey from the refrigerator.

(Turkey was Moxie's favorite food. She liked granola bars too.)

In the morning, Thomas was going to tell Mommy and Daddy the truth, but he had to go to pre-school and Mommy was so busy getting them ready to leave Thomas didn't have a chance to tell her.

As soon as they drove away to school, Daddy came down the stairs and picked up Moxie's car carrier and put it in his car.

What Thomas and Moxie didn't know was that Mommy and Daddy had the decided the night before that they couldn't have a messy cat in the house. Moxie would have to go live with Grandma.

(Grandma lived on a farm way up north in the country, and had lots of animals living with her, including chickens, birds, a family of raccoons in the barn, a salamander, dogs, and other cats.)

So that very morning, while Thomas was at pre-school, Daddy drove north to take Moxie to her new home.

Moxie was sad to go, and especially sad that she wouldn't get to say goodbye to Thomas. So she laid down in her cat carrier and curled up around the special blue engineer's cap and cried--ROWWWW ROWWWW ROWWWW--the way cat sometimes do when they're in the car.

Now, it's not that Grandma was mean (she wasn't) or that she didn't have a nice place (she did). In fact, Grandma's house had lots of windows for cats to look out of, and lots of toys for cats to play with.

But Grandma also had two big dogs living with her, named Inky and Stinky. Some big dogs are very nice and friendly, the kind that wag their tails and lick your face and are happy to see you even if they don't know you.

Inky and Stinky were the other kind of dog. The mean kind. Luckily, they lived outside, while all of Grandma's cats lived inside.

When Daddy's car pulled into the driveway, they came right up to the window and growled at Moxie in her cat carrier.

"We're the bosses around here," they told her. "And we don't like cats. You stay out of our way. And don't you go outside. It's our yard, and it's not for cats!"

"Hmmph!" said Moxie, who was not scared of any kind of dog. She turned around in her box and simply twitched her tail at them.

Daddy gave the carrier to Grandma, then got in his car and went back home. Grandma brought Moxie inside and let her out of her box to explore. Moxie looked out all of the big front windows--in one of them she could see Inky and Stinky growling at her.

Moxie explored all the closets and looked under all the chairs. The she went upstairs and tried out all the beds in the bedrooms.

All of a sudden, Moxie heard something else!

She swiveled her keen cat ears around. From downstairs she could hear a familiar clickety-clackety sound. It sounded like a train!

She ran downstairs to her cat carrier. The special blue engineer's cap was there, but the toy trains Thomas had given her were GONE!

Moxie started looking around the room when she heard the familiar clickety-clackety sound again. She followed the sound into a big room. And there in the middle of the floor stood a sturdy little gray cat with one bent ear.

His name was Tuffy.

And he was playing with her train!

Tuffy was pushing them with his paws and looking annoyed when Moxie snuck up behind him.

"You took my train!" she said, hissing into his bent ear.

Tuffy whirled and stared at Moxie with a guilty face.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I love trains. I was born under the platform of an old train station. When I saw your little train, I couldn't help it." Tuffy batted the little wooden train sadly. "It doesn't matter. This train is broken. I can't get it to go to together."

Moxie looked.

"No it's not. If you turn those two cars around, I bet they'll all click together," she said.

Tuffy turned the cars around and click-click-click-click! All the cars joined together to form a nice long train!

"Hey, thanks!" said Tuffy, pushing the train around happily. "How do you know so much about trains?"

"I'm Moxie," said Moxie. "I know more about trains than any other cat on earth."

"Who taught you?" asked Tuffy.

"My boy Thomas. He lives far away." She drooped her head. "I miss him."

"Well, why don't you take the train to see him?" Tuffy asked.

Moxie looked at the little wooden train. "That toy train isn't going to take me anywhere."

"No no no," said Tuffy. "I meant a BIG train. Not far from here, there's an old station. I used to live under it, until the mean old man who lives there chased me away and Grandma took me in. The old station is just on the other side of the woods outside. And behind the old station, there's an old engine shed. And inside the engine shed, there's an old train that still runs."

Moxie thought for a second. "If we could get that train on to the Main Line, why, I bet I could take it all the way to the station near Thomas' house!"

She looked at the other cat and ruffled her locomotive-black fur with excitement. "Tuffy, let's take the train!" she said...


Poor Moxie.

I tried to blame my beagle, Koo, for forgetting to put the clothes in the dryer. For some reason, it didn't fly. Hmm.
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