Stranded like Robinson Crusoe on a desert Island, to make my own way, find my own food make fire fight the natives and hope for rescue. Well almost, in fact way more exciting! Yep these are the voyages of the Sta…..oops! sorry, this is the tale of a Castaway Cat, pink plants & Mouses, almost!
My story started one evening with a series of long phone calls and a lot of mutterings. Peep does mutterings very well, in fact dare I say, nay in fact I double dare I say that he probably has a doctorate in Mutterings Murmurings and Machinations! Ooo, I think maybe I won that dare, as I said “dare I say” again. Me thinks I should get a prize for that, now where did peep keep those treats….
Oh yes, sorry, back to my tale.
That night peep couldn’t sleep, in fact he tossed and turned so much I couldn’t sleep, and at one point I got pushed off the bed. Enough was enough, a girls got to have some rest you know, so I headed on out to the bush.
When I awoke in the wee small hours it was dark and cool under the bush, but dry. There was a strange smell in the air, salty cum fishy, and whilst not unpleasant it reminded me of my supper and a warm bed, so I headed home.
To my horror, when I cleared the hedge, I was confronted by a beach, a 100% sandy complete with shells and water no Beech trees beach! I took a step back and sat down, this couldn’t be, I thought, I’d not eaten any cheese last night, and I swear I’d not clicked “BUY” for that cheep last minute Internet holiday to Grand Canary, though the prospect of a large canary had been tempting for sure!
Its hard to shake off the sudden realisation your on a deserted beach (though that could have something to do with the sand which gets everywhere) but here I was, sat wide eyed mouth open staring at a moonlit beach. The only thing for it was to have a nap. I turned and headed back over to my bu…….oh, ah, what bush would that be then I said to my self, for where I had walked out was nothing more that a clump of seaweed and that funny long Marram grass like stuff.
Once more I sat and took stock. This wasn’t going to be easy to sort for sure, and what was worse, there was no nip or cheese. Wowser!
Being a practical Princess I had to get priorities sorted, the essentials, food for breakfast, somewhere to nap, food for lunch, somewhere to nap, I’m sure you can get the feel for it. Anyways, looking around seemed the best plan for starters, not that I am food obsessed but it pays to be prepared for lunch. I inspected first the clump of seaweed and Marram grass out of which I had walked, nothing unusual there bar the color, a hint of strawberry I found myself saying, peep would like that for sure! The other grasses, the dunes and the beach were fifty shades of a gray brown mousy colored, but as I was on a beach and never having seen a beach in person I was letting the color scheme pass.
Noting my position I moved on along the sand and it seemed clear pickings would be slim, and as the sun was rising in a clear sky the need for shelter was increasingly obvious. Now I took to the high ground to get a better view of the coastline and to see if there were any shops around, well I’m nothing but an optimist and there’s nearly always a Big MaC to be found. The view from the top of the dunes was rather impressive, mile or kilometre after each other of straight coast interjected with strangely rectangular outcrops. I could see that the beach was covered with straight lines, set at what appeared to be regular intervals that ran both its length and from the sea inland some sort of drainage maybe? facing inland I could see in the distance some flat top mountains and in between stands of trees palms and the like.
Thus far Id seen no other life, not a peep of a peep so to speak, or a flap of a feathered friend not even a mouse! I headed back to the beach to see if anything had been washed ashore with me, for surely, I surmised, I had been in some tragic ship wreck, suffered amnesia and dragged myself ashore taking refuge in the long grass where I awoke? Apparently that’s how it always happens on TV so who am I to disagree. Dodging the rather straight waves I made my way along the beach following one of the lines in the sand that I had seen from the dune.
The lines were, I noted, not actual lines but shallow trenches dragged into the sand and between 1 to 2 foot in width. Definitely not natural these I thought, but what could have made them or whom? Mid thought something caught my eye, something moved in the sand ahead of me, just a little but enough. I froze, not least because of the temperature, and waited. There, it moved again, did you see it? no? oh well don’t worry take my word something moved. Suddenly this box like shape popped up and scurried towards the water.
Not usually one for a second look, I had a second look, and then did what any self respecting Princess would do, I gave chase. It wasn’t really a fair chase, it had far more legs than I and made it to the water before I was half way there. What sort of a creature were you I said to myself out loud “Well” a small voice behind said, “that was a Box Crab, bit like me me hearty!”
“Eeeek!” was about all I could mutter as I spun round, so fast that I slipped and landed square on my bu… derriere, again! This is becoming a habit, I thought as I gathered myself up and looked at my new…erm, companion?
There in front of me was a Box Crab, about my size, complete with waving square pincers and square eyes. “Oh Hello” I said, wary of offering a paw, “I’m Erin the Cat (Princess) but that last bits optional, do you live here?”
“Hello young Eriny, they calls me “Someday” but I’m Crusty the Pirate to my friends, and I comes an’ goes, like the tide” said the less than crusty Crusty, “what about you?”
“Well I’m not entirely certain where here is, but I don’t live here and rather like to get back home if I can. I just seemed to arrive out of that pink bush on the dune.”
“Arr” said the crab in a very telling nautical way “you mean the strawberry colored one over yonder?”
“Its not strawberry its pink!” I wasn’t about to have that conversation again, especially not with a cardboard colored crab “yes that one there, why?”
“No reason….” said Crusty,
“OK, can you…..”
“….well” said the crab starting up again “its just that’s a Port Plant!”
“A what plant” I began to feel another color debate starting “surely you don’t mean the drink, and its definitely not red its pink, in case you were about to say!”
Unperturbed by my interjection Crusty continued “….shiver me timbers, noo, its a port, like Jamaica Out.”
“You mean Jamaica Inn don’t you, and that’s just a book with pirates and the like?” I hadn’t actually read the book but felt on safe, if sandy ground on that one!
“Noo you ninny!”, said the crab “donts you know? well shiver me timbers! every kingdom has Port Plants, doors in and doors out they are, to different kingdoms, arr. That there plant probably blew in in the last storm, don’t recalls it being there before, and I’d have noticed that red for sure!
“Its not red……oh I give up!” I said, “so do you mean that pink Port Plant is a gateway, a gateway home for instance?” The thought of home made my tummy rumble ever so loud and Crusty looked at me, as only a crab can, and winked. Quite off putting when a crab winks at you for sure, and I pondered what a crab might eat, alarmingly catfish came to mind!
“Surely its walking a plank” I corrected
“Arr, but not if someone ties you up and pushes you its not” said Crusty with a broad square grin, a flourish of his nippers.
The thought of walking or indeed being pushed off a plank, with or without breakfast did nothing to improve the situation so I moved on….” so where exactly am I and where do these Port Plants come from, and who put them wherever they are, um, put?
“Arr, you not from these parts are you, well to answer your question young Eriny, this ‘ere place is Metricopolis, and them there Port Plants are put around by the Metric Guards so they can keeps their Law and Order about the land. Hard nosed bunch they are, worse than us pirates if you ask me. You wants to steer clear of them MM Guards me lass, have you trapped in no time, don’t like cats you see! And whatever you do, don’t go ’round smellin’ of cheese and fish, they hates cheese you see, can smell it a kilometer off. Bein’ a cat smelling of cheese is a capital offence in these waters.”
“Silly question I know” I said, “but I don’t seem to recall seeing Metricopolis on any atlas, and Ive slept on a few you know. Where abouts is it near Canada, America, Australia? and if you don’t mind me asking why is everything box shape?
“Arr, you’re an inquisitive one Eriny, that’s for sure. Well I’ll answer ye as best I can me lass, but you will need to take the Pirates Oath” and with that he turned and stood on his hind legs and raised his pincers in the air and said “Now Eriny the Cat (Princess) Optional, please stand an’ repeat after me.”
Standing on sand ain’t easy I can tell you, but with Crusty’s helping claw to balance on we managed to get through he ceremony like the strangest dancing partners you can imagine! I cant tell about the oath on account of it being a secret oath and all, Arr, but I am now an honorary “round” Box Crab Pirate, can sail the 10 seas of Metricopolis pillaging & plundering all days 8-12 and 2-5 (imperial time), except Sundays and Public Holidays, and I have a new extended family of several thousand Box Crabs (fortunately though don’t have to send them birthday cards!) Oh, and I must say “Arr” at least once a meeting. Arr!
Now Crusty revealed the history and ins and outs of Metricopolis. Created and expanding between worlds by a corrupt magical business empire, out of the spaces left over when, for example, you create a circle out of a square. Running out space between worlds they sought to end all imperialism and things, well curvy, in favor of straight line efficiency and metric boxes. Stopping at nothing to achieve worlds domination-metrification, they created Port Plants to our and other worlds to Metricate and square as many as possible! They enforced there rule, Crusty told me, with vicious Guards called MM’s who traveled the land and trapped, converted and imprisoned all who were curvy, liked cheese fish and didn’t literally square up to their ideals. The Box Crab Pirates subverted the MM’s whenever they could by taking corners off things, but they couldn’t travel far inland, needing the water and all.
The thought of being converted didn’t much appeal, being square has never been in fashion in any of the books I’ve slept on so I needed to get out fast, and talking of fast I’d not yet had breakfast!
“Crusty my fine fellow pirate friend” I said leaning in to the crab, “where can a Princess Honorary Pirate get a bite to eat around here, and where is the nearest Out Port Plant?” Well young Eriny, if you after something fresh look no further than along this ‘ere shore, theres always a square meal to be had, fish and the like. But failing that theres a Big M burger bar over yonder, arr, but minds your time me lass as the MM’s will be about soon and mark my words they’ll smell you a mile off! If you can get in the water you’ll be safe else try find that Port Plant, but make sure you wish for home click you heels, and think curvy, else who knows where you’ll end up, Kansas even!”
With that Crusty turned and scuttled off, but just before he entered the sea he turned and hailed “Be seein’ you ship mate!” and with that he disappeared.
Now fish aren’t my fav food, but with a little cheese & cream sauce they’re quite acceptable. Now it was nearing 8 am and at noon, ten in metric time, and them MM’S would be out and about so I figured I had some time in hand to get a meal and find that Out Port Plant. I headed down the beach towards the (clearly) pink grass, and soon found to my surprise some tins! Well that’s what they looked like, but on inspection they were square fish floundered on the shore, well more Sardined on the beach! I wasn’t going to turn up a meal, cream sauce or not so I set about my late breakfast with relish, which by the way I didn’t have! (another memo for Miss Description I think.)
Duly stuffed, or pooped in near nautical sense, I needed a nap, so headed back up to my Out Port Plant with some of the fish for a snack later. As good a place as any I thought, head down under cover should be good till dusk, what could go wrong. I settled myself down in a hollow made by the intersection of two of those trenches and closed my eyes, content with myself for sure.
I awakened to a scraping sound. The sun was at 10 o’clock and hot, and there was a strong aroma of fish! The scraping sounds seemed to come from all around, and getting louder with each breath I took. I popped my head up and promptly fell on my bum, again! Eeek would be the word I’d use but in this case I thought it _ _ _ _! Bearing down on me was a Mouse, not just any ol’ mouse but a Metric Mouse! HOW could Crusty had failed to mention that that ONE really important fact that MM’s were mice, huge 2ft (60cm) long with long triangular nose sort of huge! Again _ _ _ _!
Panic started to try and overtake me, I stood up ready to face my foe, puffed out my chest, and then it was upon me. Its long pointed nose tipped with steel whiskers ground to a halt inches (5cm) from my nose. It twitched, its whole body vibrated as its whiskers curled towards me, feeling the air around where I stood.
“Well what do we have here” came a rather patronizing whinny voice “something stinks of fish and cheese, and those curves. Oh dear oh dear oh dear! this wont do at all!”
“Do you mind, those curves are all mine!” I blurted, “and there’s nothing wrong with cheese and fish, lovely with a cream sauce, and touch of nip, for sure.”
“Silence! We will convert you, and any change will be fed back to the fishes, Ha to your curves!”
“We? surely you mean I” I muttered trying to sound cool, “anyhow it was very nice meeting you, but I have a decorators appointment at, erm, 11pm and you know how hard a good decorator is to find, so be seein’ you!”
“Oh I don’t think so” said the Mouse, and with a flick of his nose he pushed me back into the Out Port Plant. I tumbled through, and landed further than I thought the other side.
“You cant get away” said three more voices in unison. Three more voices from three more Metric Mouses approaching along the remaining three of the intersecting trenches, “Eeek!” carrying a large square net and a box, “Eeek” again, the time for silence was clearly well past!
My goose was cooked for sure, alas I wasn’t there to eat it let alone take it out of the oven! I was corned, well and truly done for, I sat still, there was no escape, the mouses had all the trenches covered.
“Come my not so pretty curvy thing” said the nearest and now looming Mouse, “this wont hurt, much!”
It tossed the net, but it wasn’t high enough to go over me and the leaded weights on the edged headed for my head. I instinctively spun and fell backwards into the Marram grass as the net landed with a deadening thud behind me. I crawled further into the grass as another thud came, and then it went dark. I was awake and hadn’t passed out, but it had gone dark. Maybe this was the box!
I looked around, there was no sign I was in a box, and I could feel air about me and see a modicum of light, and hear the sea. No! I could hear birds? I crawled out of the grass the other side, and was confronted with a Beech a Beech tree green grass and tarmac. Wowzer! I was home! I turned and sure enough my hedge was there, a dew glistening in some early morning light.
I was Home, not hungry but Home! I went to run in to see peep, but the re was a rustling behind me. I froze, turning I saw a little nose stick out from leaves under the bush, and a voice said “Be seein’ you!” and promptly retreated under cover.
Peep complained bitterly of there being sand in the bed for the next few days, but I kept stum, least ways until I can figure out to stop the Metric Mouses from world Metrification!