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Voyage of the Mouser: a Night Raid

by Lori Crews, Houston, Texas, USA


Sammy and Tabitha crept softly to the door of the cabin and up the stairs to the quarterdeck. As they passed the doorway leading to the deck they saw the silhouette of a man sitting at the rail with a cat on each knee. Sammy and Tabitha both crouched low to slink past the doorway with their bellies scraping the deck - they must not get caught now before their raid had even begun! Sammy remembered Mischief's warning about having to ship out if she didn't shape up and the tension in her belling increased.

"Psssstttt!" Sammy was so startled at this noise that she inadvertently turned on the anti-gravity device in the pads of her feet and shot three feet straight up into the air, hovered a fraction of a second, whirled around and then landed facing Tabitha.
"Don't DO that!" Sammy exclaimed, "I think you just cost me one of my lives, dang it!"
"Sorry," Tabitha replied, "I just wanted to know where we're going."
"We're going to find a snack, and I think the galley might be the best place to look for that, don't you?" Sammy retorted.
"Ummm." Tabitha replied noncommittally.

As the two neared the galley, they heard snatches of conversation from the foredeck. Again they crouched low to sneak along the wall until they reached the door of the galley. Sammy pushed at the galley door and snaked her head around to peer inside. The large room seemed to be deserted so she continued inside then walked towards the bins at the rear, holding her nose high and sniffing for anything smelly-good. However, all the bins were tightly sealed and Sammy could not tell which held sardines and which held tuna (her favorite).
"Hmmm," she said, "we'll have to remove the tops of these bins to see what's inside."
"They look pretty heavy." Tabitha demurred.
"Nonsense," Sammy scoffed, "we're both big and strong."
She eyed Tabitha for a bit then said, "Well, I'M big and strong. I can get these open."
With that she jumped up to the top of the bin second from the end and started pushing at the lid of the bin on the end. The lid was quite a bit heavier than she expected, but she didn't want to look foolish in front of Tabitha so she added her other front paw to the effort, stretched her back, and really shoved.

Quite unexpectedly the lid of the bin shifted, teetered on the edge of the bin, then crashed to the floor with a loud bang. Sammy, totally unprepared for the results of her effort, overbalanced and landed head first inside the bin. Cream! Gallons and gallons of cream! Sammy came to the surface sputtering and tried to leap back out of the bin, but the cream was too deep, she was too short, and the sides of the bin were too tall. "Help!" she cried when she saw Tabitha's face peering at her from the top of the next bin. "Get me out of here." she screamed. Tabitha took a moment to sneer just a bit, but turned about and lowered her tail down so Sammy could scramble up to safety.

"Well," Tabitha said looking at the drenched kitten, "that was a good move!"
"I just picked the wrong bin," Sammy replied hotly while furiously licking cream from her fur, "anybody could have made that mistake. Here, help me get the top off this next bin, I'll bet this is the one filled with tuna!"
"I don't know," Tabitha replied, "maybe we should just go back to our bunks."
"No way," Sammy yelled back, "I'm getting us a snack, now help push!"
Tabitha, a bit miffed at the bossy kit, nevertheless helped Sammy push at the top of the next bin. With both kittens pushing, the lid of the bin seemed to leap off and landed with a crash on the floor next to the first lid.

This time it was Tabitha who overbalanced and started to fall into the bin. As she was doing so she made a grab for Sammy's tail. However, Sammy was not braced for this and both kittens tumbled through the air to land with a soft puff in the bin full of flour. "Stupid kit!" Tabitha shouted.
"Clumsy!" Sammy shouted back. Tabitha scrambled onto Sammy's back then leaped to the edge of the bin and to safety.
"Give me your tail!" Sammy yelled.
"Why should I?" Tabitha replied. "You'll only get us into more trouble."
"Please," Sammy begged, "this stuff is yucky!"
Tabitha relented and lowered her tail down for Sammy to use to climb out. Both kits stood on top of the third bin panting. Tabitha shook herself and seemed to vanish in a cloud of white. Sammy, unfortunately, could not do the same. Her cream-drenched fur was now matted with flour and sticking out in jagged white spikes all over her body. She tried licking off the paste, but the taste was too bad to tolerate and she soon ceased her efforts to glare at Tabitha instead.

"OK," Sammy said, "let's try this next bin."
"Are you crazy?" Tabitha exclaimed, "I'm going back to my bunk before you get us both strung up form the yardarm!"
"I knew all along you were a big chicken." Sammy sneered.
"Well then chickens have more brains that you do." Tabitha retorted hotly.
"Oh come on," Sammy wheedled, "this next bin MUST be the one with the tuna."
Tabitha eyed Sammy dubiously, but after all the excitement and physical exertion she was feeling a bit peckish. "OK," she said, "just one more try and then I'm going back to my bunk."
"All RIGHT," Sammy yelled, "help me push this lid off."

Both kittens pushed, more gently this time, but this lid too crashed to the floor with a loud clang. However, both kittens were now prepared for this and managed to keep their balance. They leaned forward to peer over the edge of the bin and sniff the contents. Sardines floating in cod fish oil! Not as good as tuna, but at this point Sammy was not going to be picky. Just as the kittens were leaning further to extend a paw into the bin, the lights flashed on overhead and a voice yelled, "Who's there?!" Both sets of anti-gravity devices turned on full blast and both kittens instantly arose into the air. However, neither kitten had fully mastered the device and both sorely misjudged their landing and found themselves floundering in the bin of sardines.

Between their panicked undulations and the force of their landing, the bin of sardines was overturned and spilled its contents, and two sorry looking kittens, out onto the galley floor. Eight little paws had barely touched the floor before taking off at full speed towards the galley door. Mischief and Lacey watched as two white blurs, reeking of sardines, streaked past them and out of the galley and down the passageway.
"What on earth was that?!" Lacey exclaimed.
"I don't know, but I'm surely going to find out." Mischief replied, looking grim.


Editor's note:

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