Puss in Space (Part 3) 1

by Mark Binder
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Our story so far… (click here to read it)
Sam’s father has died and left him alone on the moon, with nothing but a talking cat. After providing Puss with a jaunty space helmet and space boots, the cat ran off and began finding wild animals, which it killed and brought to the King of the Moon…

On the evening of the eleventh day, after drawing a particularly fine suckling pig from the sack, Puss happened to overhear whispers that the next morning the King was going to venture forth from his palace and survey a disused dome that dated back to the Second Great Blowout.

Smiling quietly, Puss bid the King and Princess a quick farewell and raced back to its Master’s compartment, burst through the door, hopped up onto the table and began dancing!

“You seem to be in fine spirits,” Sam grumped.

“Good news, Master!” Puss said. “Tomorrow all our plans come to fruition. Soon enough your future will be secured. Tomorrow morning, I need you to come with me, and remember to say these three things. ‘I am the Marquis of Carrabas.’ ‘My home is not far.’ and ‘I am not yet married, but I would like to be.'”

Sam frowned. “Who is the Marquis of Carrabas?”

“No,” Puss said, shaking its head. “You say, ‘I am the Marquis of Carrabas.'”

“But I am not,” protested Sam, who was quite honest. “What if the real Marquis discovers that I am claiming to be him? My home may not be far, for nothing is very far on the Moon, but as for possessions, I have little to my name but the clothes on my back.”

The cat sighed. “Would you like to be wealthy?”

“I suppose,” Sam said. “But wealth is not the most important thing to me.”

Puss arched an eyebrow. “And what would that be?”

“A family,” Sam said, blushing as he spoke. “And of course a beautiful girl to make one with.”

“Done and done,” said Puss. “And we’ll throw in the wealth as an extra measure—if you can follow my directions, no matter what I ask. Will you do this?”

“Yes,” Sam said at last. “I have little enough to lose.”

Puss leapt to its feet and shook its Master’s hand with its paw. “Tomorrow your new life begins,” the cat said. Then it pulled off its boots, hung its hat on a hook, curled up at the foot of Sam’s bed, and fell asleep.

The morning, Puss licked the top of Sam’s head until the young man awoke. “Master, get dressed quickly, and come with me.”

Bleary and dazed, Sam followed instructions and soon found himself wandering down corridors and tubes in a part of the Moon he had never visited. At last, they came to an antiquated airlock.

Puss cocked an ear.

“Where are we?”Sam asked.

“Shh!” Puss said. “Yes! Quickly! Get undressed. Take off your clothes!”

Sam sighed and complied. “Now what?”

“Through the hatch, quickly!” Puss said, stuffing Sam’s old and worn shirt, trousers, boots, socks and hat into the sack. “And remember what you are to say!”

Sam complied, ducking his head to pass through the portal.

Puss spun the wheel to close the hatch just in the nick of time.

At that very moment around the corner and down the hall came a long and slender flexible tube car bearing the King, Princess and half a dozen guards and courtiers.

“Help, help!” shouted Puss, jumping in the air. “Thieves! They have stolen my Master, the Marquis of Carrabas clothes and thrown him through a decompressed airlock! He has no clothes, no boots and no oxygen hat. Help! Help! He will surely die.”

The King clapped his hands and his guards got to work. In a matter of moments they had forced the airlock open, found the naked and gasping young man.

“Do you have a blanket for my master?” Puss asked.

“We can do better than that,” said the King. A moment later the bewildered Sam was dressed in royal finery.

The Princess, who had ample opportunity to blushingly observe the young fellow, was the first to speak with him. “Who are you?” she asked.

Although he could not see himself, Sam realized that he was in the company of greatness. He had heard Puss tell of visiting the King, but he hadn’t really believed it.

At last Sam spoke. “I am the Marquis of Carrabas.”

“Ahh!” said the King, reaching forward and shaking the young man’s hand firmly. “It is a pleasure to meet you. Where do you live?”

Again Sam remembered what Puss had told him. “My home is not far.”

“We shall take you there!” said the King.

“My master is very rich,” said Puss “He owns all the lands ahead and our castle is not far. Follow me,”

It takes some while for any royal procession to get moving, so by the time the King, Princess, Sam, guards and courtiers began, Puss was far out of sight. The cat sped through the corridor, pausing only to hide Sam’s old clothes in a pile of trash.

This was a part of the moon that had been long neglected[1].

Through the next hatch, Puss came upon a pair of scavengers searching for useful junk.

“Hello good people,” Puss said. “In a few moments you will be asked, to whom does this land belong? Please answer, ‘To the Marquis of Carrabas, of course.'”

“And why should we do that?” asked the elder of the two, eyeing the strange creature. “These lands belong to a fierce ogre who lives in the castle[2], and he will kill us if he hears of such a thing.”

“My master will reward you,” the cat said, and then ran off.

The man shrugged. “It never hurts to humor a talking cat.”

Through the old ruins Puss dashed, and told everyone it met, “If anyone asks you who is your master, tell him ‘The Marquis of Carrabas.'”

All the folk tried to warn the cat of the ogre, but Puss would neither listen nor stop until it had reached the castle’s gate.

Now this castle was not exactly empty. It was occupied by a vicious ogre. The Ogre was more than just a gigantic monster; it was also reputed to be a magician of great and terrible power.

“I’ll outfox him,” thought Puss, knocking on the door.

“What do you want?” said the giant Ogre, staring down at the tiny cat.

“My goodness, it can’t possibly be true,” said Puss, bowing low and removing its feathered hat.

“What can’t be true?” asked the Ogre.

“I heard from someone that you have magical powers. This is a modern age and there no one has such powers. They are scientifically impossible.”

“I do have magical powers,” the Ogre bellowed.

“Where did these so-called powers come from? Cosmic rays? Genetic mutation?” inquired Puss.

The Ogre leaned down and peered at Puss with its single eye. “Magic comes from magic,” it said. “That is why it is magic.”

“Foolishness,” said the crafty cat. “I’ve heard that you can change yourself into a tiger or a bear.”

“Of course I can change myself into a tiger or a bear,” said the ogre. “Just watch.”

The Ogre said a magic spell and POOF, it turned itself first into a fierce white tiger, and then POOF, it turned into a ferocious black bear.

“But you are so large. You couldn’t possibly turn yourself into anything tiny,” teased Puss.

“The tinier the better,” growled the Ogre.

“As tiny as a mouse?” asked Puss.

“Just watch,” said the Ogre. It said a magic spell and POOF! It turned itself into a tiny white mouse.

In an instant, Puss jumped on the mouse and ate it in one big bite.

Then it ran to open the castle’s gates for the King’s entourage.

With a great flourish, Puss bowed low. “Welcome, your majesty to the home and castle of my master, the Marquis of Carrabas!”

Sam, who was quite dumbfounded, said not a word, which was fortunate, because dressed as he was in the King’s finest robes, and standing as he was in the hallway of the great castle, he did indeed seem like a Marquis.

“This is quite a castle,” said the King. “And you do have quite a bit of land. How, if I may ask, is your wife?”

“Alas,” said the young man, finally catching on, “I am not yet married, but I would like to be.”

The Princess blushed, and the young man blushed back.

They smiled at each other.

“Then it shall be so,” exclaimed the King.

“You see, master,” whispered Puss in Boots. “I told you that all would end well.”

And that is how the Marquis of Carrabas, who was once a miller’s son came to be the Princess’s husband, and later in his life King of the Moon. And always at his side was his wisest and finest advisor, a small black and white cat who wore boots and a fine blue hat.

Together they all lived happily ever after.

The End

[1] Domes and settlements on the outskirts of the main facility were frequently subject to cosmic radiation, meteor strikes and vermin infestations. They were often sealed off for decades at a time.

[2] When the moon was initially settled, rather than living in separate sectors, the colonists lived in large castles surrounded by air moats. After a relatively short time, the close quarters became intolerable and the castles were deserted or converted into office space.

This story was written for Wooly Fair 2011.

All Hail the Wooled!

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