CAT was an adventuresome sort. After all, what good are nine lives if you spend them licking yourself, catching the odd mouse or bird and horking up hairballs? No thank you. Everycat must die sometime and Cat preferred to die gloriously.
“Live hard, die young, and leave a good looking corpse,” as Cat’s F. Scott Fitzgerald quoting Master was fond of saying.
Cat craved adventure and the adventure he craved most was to explore the MOON. How tantalizing it was! Floating just out of reach. Cat used up a few lives trying to jump to it from the tallest tree in the neighborhood. He must get to the moon, come hell or high water!
He went by rocket ship.
Upon his arrival on the moon, Cat was greeted by a ZEBRA and a PENGUIN. As you can imagine, lunar zebras and penguins are not like terra firma zebras and penguins. Lunar Zebra was fuchsia and lime stripped with a shining silver mane, tail, and hooves. Instead of the formal tuxedo look of earthen penguins, the lunar counterpart looked like a badly done tie-dye. However, both were cordial and enthusiastic to show Cat around the place.
Penguin invited Cat and Zebra aboard his BOAT, the Moonbeam. Cat commented on the lack of water for a boat. “Your rocket ship sailed through the ether, so does my boat.” That silenced Cat.
Penguin deftly hoisted sail and navigated as Zebra pointed out the sites of interest.
“This is the Sea of Tranquility,” intoned Zebra with a grand sweep of his leg.
Cat was struck dumb with awe of the beautiful vista. Then he was struck dumb from terror. A huge aquamarine tentacle, then another and yet another! were probing about the inside of the boat. One tentacle brushed Cat’s foot. He gave a strangled ‘mew’ which fetched Zebra’s attention.
“Oh bother,” sighed Zebra, rolling his eyes. Noting Cat’s bristling back he added,”Don’t worry. OCTOPUS is harmless. He’s not dangerous, just annoying.”
Penguin pulled out a box of jelly doughnuts from the boat’s locker. Giving half to Zebra they threw the doughnuts pell mell out of the boat. The tentacles withdrew and Penguin gunned the engine.
“Good riddance,” muttered Penguin. Turning to Zebra he asked, “Where to, matey?”
Zebra replied without hesitation. “To the JACK-IN-THE-BOX.”
“Excellent idea,” proclaimed Penguin, adjusting the tiller to change their course.
“Jack-in-the-box?” queried Cat.
“Jack is an oracle,” explained Zebra. “He gives excellent advice, when you can understand him.”
“And if you don’t understand him?” asked Cat.
“Then it’s your problem for being too thick.”
Duly they arrived at Jack-in-the-box’s box.
“Go the way of the ANT,” advised Jack.
“What does that mean?” wondered Cat when they were back in the boat.
“Hmmm,” mused Penguin, who then began to sing:
“The ants go marching one by one. Hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one. Hurrah! Hurrah!
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb-“
Zebra joined in with gusto.
“And they all go marching
Into the ground!
To get out of the rain!
Boom! Boom! Boom!”
“Down into the Ground!” cried Zebra and Penguin in unison. Penguin set their course for underground. As they entered the large mouth of a cave, Zebra flipped on electric torches, fore and aft, starboard and portside.
Cat stared wide eyed at the fantastic formations. Each room was more amazing than the last. The size of the stalactites! The whimsical shapes of the stalagmites! And the colors! Cat had never imagined anything like it.
They entered a smaller room, warmer, filled with EGGS. The eggs were marvels, glowing from within, jewel-like in colors, intricate patterns adorning the shells.
“What is this place?” asked Cat.
“Incubation caverns,” replied Zebra. “The eggs hatch into magical things.”
“Like dreams,” said Penguin.
“And unicorns,” added Zebra.
“I get the picture,” interrupted Cat, who was more interested in looking around. “What’s that?”
He pointed to a contraption that looked like a cross between a YO-YO and a XYLOPHONE. A gnome-like creature was hitting a xylophone board with a mallet while watching a blazing red disc roll up and down a cable.
“That is the Incucalcubatorlator. It senses which eggs are due to hatch. Just before peeping the eggs are shipped hither and yon…”
“To where they belong?” asked the Cat.
“Exactly!” replied Zebra.
“I’m hungry,” said Penguin. “What do say about going to the IGLOO for a bite? I could go for the HOUSE special, Apollo 11 latte.”
“I’m with you,” answered Zebra. Turning to Cat he added, “You really haven’t lived until you drink an Apollo 11 latte.”
Being the adventuresome sort, Cat was agreeable.
The Igloo lived up to its name; it was on the dark side of the moon where it is cold enough to keep the ice from melting. The hot drinks didn’t stay hot long in the Igloo.
An odd color of chartreuse KANGAROO served them their drinks. The Kangaroo had an electric blue Joey peeking from her pouch, giggling. He had never seen a grey cat before.
Cat took a swallow of the latte and began to gasp and wheeze. Zebra pounded him on the back while Penguin grinned.
“Too strong for you, Cat?”
“What’s in that stuff?”
“Who wants to know?” Said a voice behind them.
Cat turned to look. Through watering eyes he saw what he thought, but it couldn’t be, could it? A SNOWMAN.
“Please forgive our friend,” said Penguin. “He’s from Earth. Just arrived. It’s his first meal out and he doesn’t know that it is terribly bad manners to ask what’s in your food and drink.”
“Earth.” Gasped Cat.
“Just arrived.” Added Zebra. “Let me introduce you. Cat, this is Crusty, owner of this fine establishment. Crusty, this is Cat, earthling.”
Crusty held out a frosty hand for Cat to shake. Cat reluctantly shook, finding his paw quite frozen when Crusty let go.
“Here,” said Crusty, thawing toward the shivering animal. “I got something that’ll help. Got it from Neil Armstrong.”
Crusty left the room and returned with a large, multi-colored LOLLIPOP. Although he did not have much of a sweet tooth, Cat licked at it gratefully. He did begin to feel better.
“Thank you, Crusty.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Penguin settled their tab and the trio hopped back into the Moonbeam.
“Where to now?” asked Penguin.
“Fishing!” shouted Zebra. Cat was not quite as enthusiastic, but Penguin loved to fish so fishing it was. There were only two poles, so Cat was in charge of the NET.
Cat did not know what to expect. They caught a VIOLIN, a GOAT, a WATERMELON and an UMBRELLA. Zebra and Penguin did not seem to think this was unusual. The Goat was crotchety and none too pleased about being caught. Penguin put him off at the closest promontory and gave him the watermelon and umbrella to mollify him.
Zebra kept the Violin and began to play. He was not a virtuoso, but he was good. Cat and Penguin lay back in the boat letting it drift where it would, while Zebra played melody after melody.
The Moonbeam bumped gently into a rock formation, returning their awareness to the here and now. Penguin recognized the formation. “This is Julius Caesar Crater. If we climb over we will be in the land of RAINBOW TREES.
Rainbow Trees sounded exotic to Cat, who followed Penguin’s waddling lead up and down into the crater. It was filled with slim, tree, rather like birch, but where on earth the tree would have leaves, here it bore bubbles. The bubbles shimmered iridescent with rainbow colors.
Beneath the Rainbow Trees, FROGS hopped purposefully, taking bubbles into their mouths and then jumping high into the air, out of the moon’s orbit to –
“What are the frogs doing?” asked Cat.
“The frogs are servants of Hekat, a goddess of your planet, who is Queen of Midwives. The Frogs bring mature Rainbows to her, and she displays them wherever.”
“Oh,” answered Cat, who knew nothing about the Egyptians save they used to worship him.
A shocking pink puppy came running through the woods to them. “I am so glad I found you,” he panted. “The DOG QUEEN, Canina, heard about the earthling and would love to have him for tea. It is so seldom we have visitors here, you know.”
Cat, Zebra and Penguin followed the puppy, a page to the Royal Canina, and had a lovely tea with the Queen. They discussed peaceable relations between earth cats and moon dogs until it was time for Cat to return to Terra Firma. Cat was heart-broken to have to leave, but rocket shuttles to the moon have strict schedules, and besides his oxygen pod was running low.
“Until we meet again!” called out Zebra and Penguin in farewell, thrilled because had it not been for their chance meeting of Cat, they would never have had audience with the queen.
Cat was overwhelmed with the hospitality and wonders he experienced. Upon returning home he tried to set up an Moon Travel Agency, but it never got off the ground.