Together, Izzie and Mila were pulling a little cart, piled up with something and covered up with a blanket.
“Izzie?!? … Mila?!? What are you doing up this early?,” I asked.
“Hi kids! Good to see ya too!,” said Izzie. “This here, is our present to you, since we realized you’re up to something unauthorized,” Izzie went on while Mila started pulling off the cover from whatever they were hiding.
“You see,” said Mila, “... one thing you need is means of communication that does not involve yelling or having to keep constant eye contact with your buddy.” When you’re you out there, floating in space toward that International Bunn Station and listening to country music…
“Oh shush, man!,” Izzie cut him off, Hurry up, we need to test those things and show them how to use them. It’s a bit much to drop stuff like that on them. Here, Mr. Toes, let me fit it for you. Izzie proceeded to fit a headset with a tiny mike on Mr. Toes’ head. Mila, quickly put a set on his head, turned it on and started testing it: “Ltn. Toes, do you read me? … do you read me? … radio check, tell us how you really feel about this mission?”
“Loud and clear,” I said. I had no idea what to make of it. Radios are a good thing, always liked radios, but how did they know we would have use for them? Since when did they start watching us? Who’s side were they on? Did they outfit the hoomins with receivers as well?
“Suzy, Abby, Molly and Mr. Toes,” started Izzie, “... let me ease some of your well founded concerns.” We watched you during your first descent and we thought you did remarkably well. All things considered, of course. We don’t know if you’ll follow our path, but we do know you’ll need all the help you can get. So, as a token of our appreciation for your bunntitude, we’d like to contribute these radios to your adventure. Nobunny knows anything about it. Well, Bruno probably does, but he’s just that kind.
He always knows. Every thing.
Izzie proceeded to show us how to use these headsets. Turn this on and the system is voice activated. You don’t have to do anything to transmit. Watch these lights from time to time; green is good, yellow means batteries are half way gone, red is bad and blinking red means you’ll be left without com at any second.
Izzie grabbed my cheek and gave me a hug. “Good luck kids,” he said and turned toward the cart. Come on Mila, we need to push this thing back before we get into trouble. They waved to us and were gone behind the door. For a second, we could only make out a the faint sound of the squeaky wheels and little footsteps.
We remained speechless as we turned and headed toward the stairs. I grabbed one end of the rope and started making my way down. When I got down a level I pulled all the slack out of the line and we started guiding the first pack down. It thumped down slowly and when it rested at my feet I untied it and the girls pulled the rope back up. The next pack came down as easily as the first. The last one was half way down when one of its edges got stuck on the carpeted step. I could not pull it loose from my end. When Abby tried to let out some line, it looked like it would topple over. We tried to wiggle it loose and couldn’t so I just asked them to hold for a bit and I climbed my way back to it. Then they let the rope go completely and the entire boulder of the pack tumbled down and crashed into the wall. Right where I used to stand a moment ago. We tied it for the last leg of the trip and it gave us no more trouble.
We got down to the basement and Suzy asked Abby and Molly to scout the place for a good hiding place for our supplies. We got to work rolling up the rug, I took out my chisel and pried off the floor board. We put it aside quietly and turned on our headlights. This time we had a lantern and we lowered into the opening.
Nothing seemed to have changed. The headlight I left behind last time was still there. Silent, out of energy and dark. I listened for the faintest of sounds, but all was quiet. I circled the opening back and forth, looking out for anything suspicious. I looked at Suzy and said “Let’s make a pulley out of something, it will make it easier to pull that board up”. We took our rope, tied a loop at one end and lowered it down. Then we found a chair, pushed to the edge of the opening and made it face away from it. Throwing the rope over the top rail, we got a little bit of leverage pulling up the board. All we need were couple of inches. “Suzy, Molly, can you join us now?,” radioed Suzy. Meanwhile I took one of our packs and pulled toward the hole, then lowered it in as gently as I could.
It fell in with a thump and a cloud of dust bellowed out. We stepped away waited for the dust to settle.
I moved in for the lift and stepped down into the opening using our pack as a step. I picked up my old headlight and handed it of to Abby. “Please be gentle with it, Abby.” I picked up my chisel with my left paw and gently run it along the edge of the board until I found its corner, then switched the chisel into my right paw and did the same. It was about 4 feet wide, maybe a little less. I loosened the loop of the rope to about the width of the board and looked up at the girls. I mostly saw only the bright lights of their headlamps and waved to them. I hoped they were waving back at me.
I tried to slide the chisel under one of the corners of the board. It went in easily and I was able to pull up on it, lifting the corner a little bit. I moved the chisel a little further toward the middle, maybe a couple of inches and put the rope around the corner. Then I continued to move the chisel to the other corner, lifting the board and pushing in the rope under the wood.
Then I got the line under the boards, tightened the loop and made it as snug as I could.
I stood up and turned to where I thought the girls were and said “I think we’re ready, on my mark, you pull on the rope and I’ll try to lift here.”
Now the radios would shine! I had my paws under the board, adjusted my stand and made the call: “Three, Two, One and PULL!!”
I felt their tug on the rope and the board lifted up. I tried to pull it up as much as I could. “OK, can you hold it like that for a sec?” “Sure, take your time, not too much though,” said Molly.
I lowered my head and shone my light underneath.
“Hold it still, I’ll prop it up with the bag,” I said grabbing the bag and pulling it as hard as I could to get it under the board. When I had it securely under one of its corners I said “You can let it down now. I think you need to get here and see this for yourself.”
- Thank you Renee!
PS: Follow Suzy, Molly, Abby Mr. Toes Izzie and Mila and Bruno on FB!