9: AFTERMATHS

Every action has its consequence. When Beanalsarion and Fleenoci departed on the supercharged thunderbolt, so swift and powerful was their ride that it disturbed the ionosphere, sending ions cascading into the stratosphere, which loosened a great quantity of latent rain that fell upon the Crow 'n Bear heavily and without remorse. Under the unremitting deluge of water, a leak developed in the roof of the great building that housed the Big Engine, and now water was falling---zzzPT, zzzPT---upon the hot capacitor. This was most ominous, for if the capacitor should have even the slightest nick in its surface through which even the tiniest drop could seep, there would immediately be a cataclysmic explosion!

It was of the utmost importance to stop that leak.

But how to do it? For the steel-framed building was too high, too treacherous for anyone to climb up there with patching compound. Neither Spanakopiti nor Zom could dare attempt it. The only, possibly, merest creature who could scale those perilous beams would be someone very small and very agile---a little monkey, for instance . . .

"Send for Kinkajou," the Spanakopiti clamored, but poor little Kinkajou sat huddled in the farthest recesses of the PerSisters, hiding from his shame and humiliation, the laughter of derision yet ringing in his ears. Still wet and shivering from his dunking in the punch bowl, he had taken a chill.

"Talk him down for us, Wise Old," pleaded Spanakopitus.

"Bring him to me, the little darling," said Spanakopitae, "and I will wrap him in a blanket and minister to his chill."

Wise Old flew up to where Kinkajou clung. "Here's your chance," he counseled the bedraggled monkey. "They need you. You will be a hero. Do it, Kinkajou. Reclaim your dignity. Redemption is at hand. To say nothing of the fact that if you don't, we will all go up in the explosion. Even the Zom."

Kinkajou shook his head sadly, but he began to move slowly, slowly down the tree, for he liked the Zom and didn't want to see them hurt, even though they had laughed, and he knew Wise Old was right: the Spanakopiti needed him.

So Spanakopitae wrapped the little brown monkey in a warm cozy blanket, and she rubbed his little blue hands and feet till they were pink again, and she fed him some hot monkey broth to liven up his innards, and by and by Kinkajou had the familiar twinkle back in his eyes.

Just then, along marched ZomMaster, looking stern. "Give us back our pet monkey," he demanded. "He may be silly, but he belongs to the Zom and we want him."

"Want him you may, and have him you can, but right now there's an important mission that only he can achieve," said Spanakopitus. "See that leak dripping through the roof and hitting the capacitor, zzzPT, zzzPT? Well, if there is even the slightest nick in the capacitor's surface, the resulting explosion will be cataclysmic. Everything for miles around will be leveled. Even you. Someone's got to go up there with patching compound and stop that leak!"

"Build a scaffold, then, and climb up there yourselves, but give us our monkey back now."

"No time. There's not a second to lose. Only Kinkajou can save the situation."

"Then let him get on with it and come back home where he belongs," huffed ZomMaster.

Kinkajou's eyes sparkled and his fur fluffed out and he began chittering. Instantly he snatched the can of patching compound and began scrambling up the tall steel girders---up, up, up till he was nearly out of sight of the dizzy bystanders, who held their breaths and clutched each others' hands.

Plip-plop, he dabbed the patching compound all around the tiny hole, and then, just to show he could, from the very tiptop steel beam he swung merrily from his prehensile tail, clutching the empty can of patching compound in his two little fists.

"What a monkey!" exclaimed Zomador.

"What a friend!" exclaimed Spanakopitus.

"What a day!" beamed Kinkajou.

10: Speculations and Concerns
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