Riverboat Cruise, Part Two: Using Their Mussels

RiverBoat-2

The ferry crew was baffled as to what to do. Whatever was gumming up the paddle wheel was deep in there, and human hands couldn’t reach down far enough or maneuver finely enough to fix it. “Well boys, looks like we’ll have to pack it in,” said one of them. “This is gonna take hours to fix.” “Ladies and gentlemen,” the captain announced to the passengers. “We apologize greatly, but the remainder of the cruise has been canceled due to mechanical difficulties. Help has been called and rescue boats will be arriving shortly for you to board. Refunds will of course be---“

“Wait!” Justin gasped, “Does this mean… we’re not getting brunch?!”

“Not if I have anything to do with it!” said Sam. “I bet you we can fix that paddle wheel!” “Sam!” Miss Blatz didn’t like the sound of that, “You most certainly can’t! And it’s too dangerous besides!” “I think she has a point, actually,” Sadie Lynn began to think aloud upon the dilemma. “The problem is that the humans can’t get down into the lower part of the paddle wheels to loosen up whatever is sticking, right? Rats are much, much smaller, and far more flexible. Plus a rat could see what it was doing down there; a human just sticking their hand in couldn’t.” “See?” Sam said. “Sadie Lynn said a rat,” Miss Blatz answered primly. “That doesn’t mean it has to be you.” “It’ll be me!” proclaimed Jenner, and he started to leap towards the paddle wheel, but Sadie Lynn brought a paw down hard on the end of his tail and he dropped flat on the deck.

“Why you---“ “You can’t go down there without a way to bring you back up. I know rats are excellent climbers, but it’s very slippery. Here, look in the little bag that I have attached to my denim collar cover from Mister Migs.”

Jenner checked inside it, and found a pair of Migrubbie leashes.

“I can hold one end in my mouth,” explained Sadie Lynn, “while you hold on to the other end and I lower you down?”

“You wouldn’t drop me, would ya?” Jenner eyed her distrustfully.

Sadie Lynn decided it was best not to answer what came first to mind, and simply picked up her end of the leash to stop herself from speaking. The crewmen were convinced to let the pair of pets try their plan, and Sadie Lynn slowly lowered Jenner, standing in the loop handle of the leash, down into the paddle wheel works. After a few moments, he called up, “I found the problem! A buncha mussels are nested up on the paddles! I’m gonna gnaw ‘em loose!” “I wanna help!” said Sam, but Miss Blatz stopped her again. “Okay, fine,” said Sam, “but can Justin help? He wants to help!” “I do?” said Justin, surprised. “I’m not in charge of Justin,” said Miss Blatz. “He can do as he likes.”

As soon as Sadie Lynn had gotten another leash out of her pouch and put one end in her mouth in preparation for Justin, Sam raced forward, grabbed the looped end, and jumped down into the paddle wheel with a cry of “Tricked you!”

Luckily, Migrubbie leashes are made of very strong sturdy denim, so it didn’t break despite the speed with which the little rat plummeted down (though it did jerk poor Sadie Lynn’s teeth)

“Sam!” Miss Blatz called down.

“I’m alright!” Sam called back up happily, and Jenner added he’d keep an eye on her. Together, they began to gnaw the mussel nest loose from the paddles. Slowly, the ferry started to move again.

“Pull us up!” the rats called, and Sadie Lynn swiftly backed up, hauling the pair back up. They each had an armful of mussels.

“The cruise is back on!” declared the captain.

“And now we have a seafood brunch!” said Justin, seizing the mussels from Sam while Miss Blatz hugged and scolded her.

(End of Part 2)

Story and illustration by Mary Grace Mauney

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