This very first air-to-land communication, sent from the Airship America to a human secretary sitting in a little field office in Atlantic City, is yet another technologiCATical break-through. Or break down, as the case may be, cuz, see, Kiddo was never asked if he wanted to be in this over-sized balloon. No one ever fully ‘splained how he would be the first Airship Cat and float a billion miles in the air, over a billion bathtubs full of salt water. No, the humans really dropped the ball here. The crew coulda guessed that he was gonna run around like a “squirrel in a cage” long before he got on board the rickety Airship with its slightly-bigger-than-a-bicycle-basket gondola. Woulda saved evabuddy lots of troubles. But no.
“Let’s take Kiddo on board! He’ll be good luck!” sez the crew.
“Sure thing. Let’s also bring this new fangled wireless radio so we can tell people on land how much Kiddo loves being tossed to and fro over the chopping waves of the Atlantic with a hurricane on the way!” sez Melvin Vaniman, the First Engineer.
Akshully, Mr. Melvin doesn’t even know ’bouts the hurricane, being a human and all. Humans, as you know, suffer from Obvious Danger Myopia. Also, Incurably Inconsiderate Disorders. For instance, Mr. Vaniman is surprised that Kiddo doesn’t appreciate the ship sudddenly shooting from an altitude of 200 feet to 3,600 and then later plunging so low that it scrapes the masts of schooners floating below. No. This is no time for teh hints.
So Kiddo had no choice but to Freak Out. Even then the crew doesn’t get it. In fact, they were so freaked out by Kiddo’s freak-out that they stuffed him into a bag and tried to lower it into a boat. But the water is so choppy that the humans on the boat can’t get ahold of the Bag o’ Kiddo, and our little hero is dunked in the water a few times like a furry burlap donut until finally they give up and hoist the poor hysterical guy back on board the Airship and then toss him into a hammock and cover him with a blanket to calm down. And then someone finally they says, “Gee. Maybe it’s not safe up here.” And under the blanket, Kiddo screams “YA THINK?!”
Kiddo did calm down, but only because the storm passed. Later, the navigator, Murray Simon, the only human on board equipped with the powers of observation, finally notices that Kiddo makes an excellent barometer.
“You must never cross the Atlantic in an airship without a cat…this cat has always indicated trouble well ahead. Two or three times when we thought we were ‘all in’ he gave most decided indications that he knew we would be shortly getting it in the neck.”
Kiddo is, of course, thinking ‘in the neck, with my claws, you morons.’ But he remains polite and does not kill the humans, recognizing their inherent worth as fellow creatures of the Earth who know how to land this dumb balloon. But after 72 hours of flight (a new record of Airborn Pigheaded Stubbornness), the crew concedes that Kiddo was right all along and they drop like a rock into the ocean and wait patiently to be fished out of the Atlantic.
“Thrilling rescue at sea!” the newspaper sez. “Come to our Hero’s Parade!” The Mayor sez.
But Kiddo sez nothing. He is so done with talking. He is done with trying to reason with these humans. He high-tails it to Gimbles Department store where the store manager has created a home for him in the front window display, a cushy spot in a safe, stationary, ground-hugging gilded cage with lots of non-helium filled satin pillows. And he is not moving.
Thanks to Purr N Fur , the Telegraph UK and to the book “Animals Aloft,” by Allan Janus, for the dets on this story. Illustration artwork by Andrew Bell and available for purchase at his great website