Followers

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Wild Blue, Black and Tan Yonder (not necessarily in that order)

Chapter 7

Tasha reached up and grabbed the throttles. With a trembling paw, she pushed them forward, slowly. Below, she could hear sputtering. Then, a whirring noise, that grew faster and faster.

Remembering what Snoopy had said, she slowly moved the elevator wheel back. She then pushed the throttle further forward.

Down in the tower, amid the cheers, Snoopy said, "Tasha, do you read? Over!"

"Snoopy, it sounds like the engines are turning, but I can't see from here."

"Okay, I need you to look at the control panel, and find the altimeter."

"Where is it?"

"It looks like a big dial, and it says 'altimeter'."

Tasha looked around the panel, and said, "I see it."

"Okay. What does it read?"

"Looks like...........400 feet."

" And what color is it?"

"The whole display?"

"Affirmative. That means 'yes.'"

"Red. And it just went down to about 390."

"That's good."

"Okay. Wait a minute. It just turned green."

"Are you sure?"

"Affirmative."

Seeing the nervous look on everybody's face, Easy said, "What's the matter?"



Ernie turned and said, "The blimp was going down, but now it's going back up!"
 

 











Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Wild Blue, Black and Tan Yonder (not necessarily in that order)

Chapter 6

Snoopy, Ernie, and Easy ran up the stairs to Squeaky Toy Tower, just as the rain started pouring down. From his seat by the Window, Walter watched debris flying through the wind, and raindrops pounding the glass, and said, "Nothing's going to be taking off or landing 'til this storm clears."

"Not even a blimp?", Snoopy asked.

"Especially not a blimp", Walter answered. "You should know that better than me. You fly those things. Speaking of which, where is the blimp?"

Snoopy pointed out the window. Walter squinted through the darkness, and said, "Oh my Dog! Anybody aboard?"

"Tasha and Shasta!", Snoopy said. "They were on board when Puddles tried to steal the blimp. For some reason, when the wind blew it away, the blimp went straight up. We think one of them must have got caight on the elevator wheel."

"Can you get them down?", Easy asked.

"All we can do is try", Walter said. "Is the radio on?"

"It was when I left the control car", Snoopy said.

Walter grabbed the microphone, and said, "Badyear one, this is Squeaky Toy Tower. Do you read? Over."

Only static. He tried again, but to no avail. Walter shrugged, and said, "It's probably the weather. Look at that lightning."

After a thunderclap, Snoopy said, "Maybe they don't know you're calling them. Let me try."

Snoopy grabbed the microphone, and said, "Badyear one, this is Squeaky Toy Tower. Tasha or Shasta, if you can hear me, get those headsets on, now!"

High above the field, Tasha and Shasta were hanging on to the control panel, trying to keep from falling out the open door.  Suddenly, Tasha thought she heard someone call their names, far off, and very faintly, but she could hear "Tasha."

Shasta heard it, too. Quickly, she looked up, and realized the sound was coming from the headset. But she couldn't reach it without letting go. She turned to Tasha, and said, "Can you reach those earphones?"

Tasha swatted the air with her paws, then found some firm footing, and jumped up onto the control panel. She grabbed the headset, put it on, and said, "Snoopy?"

Down on the ground, they all cheered. Snoopy looked skyward, and said, "Are you two okay?"

Through the phones, a static-laden voice said, "No. Shasta is hanging on, and can't reach the controls."

"Okay, listen carefully. Just before the blimp went up, did you move that big metal wheel next to the pilot's seat?"

"I didn't mean to. My paw got caught, and I spun it by accident."

Easy breathed a sigh of relief. "Great. Now all they have to do is spin the wheel back......."

"It's not that simple", Walter said.

"Why not? I saw Snoopy do it a zillion times."

"Because the blimp was moving through the air", Ernie said.

"It still is", Easy said.

Walter shook his head. "It's moving with the air, not through it. It's drifting, like a boat with the motor turned off. The rudder and elevator won't work, unless the blimp is moving faster than the wind."

"Ooh", Easy said. "What'll we do?"

"Tasha, listen to me", Snoopy said. "Look over to the left hand side of the panel. Do you see the two big black handles sticking up?"

"Yeah. I'm scared."

"It's okay, just do what I tell you, and we'll bring the blimp down together. First, push both handles forward, slowly. When the engines start to spin, throttle up to speed, and slowly spin the elevator wheel forward. As the speed of the blimp increases, you should level out. Got it?"

"I think so."

"Okay, start the engines!"

They all looked skyward.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Wild Blue, Black and Tan Yonder (not necessarily in that order)

Chapter 5

Francine was last to reach the top of the mast. By now, the breeze had turned into a gust, and it was growing stronger. They could still see Sarge coming down the field, and were scrambling for ideas.

Puddles looked up at the snoot of the blimp, and said, "I've got it. With this wind, there'll be so much confusion, all we have to do is pull the pin, cut the blimp free, then slide down these snoot lines, and run into the little house down there on the bottom, where they fly it from."

"That's crazy", Ernestine said. "The three of us handle this big thing?"

"It doesn't weigh anything", Puddles said. "It's full of helium. You know, that stuff that you inhale when you want to talk funny."

Down below, the dachsie ground crew was heading for cover as the thunder roared and the lightning flashed. Inside the control car, Tasha was still sitting in the pilot's seat, looking up at her brother's nameplate on the control panel. Beside the seat was a large metal wheel, positioned parallel to the centerline of the blimp. Tahsa toyed with it, and said, "Is this the steering wheel?"

"I don't think so", Shasta said. "It's in a funny place if it is."

"But there isn't any steering wheel in front, isn't that where it should be?"

"Usually." Just then, a gust of wind knocked the blimp slightly to one side. 

Up on the mast, the rain was pouring down. Fearing that the mast might be struck by lightning, Puddles reached up and grabbed the pin. "Get ready!", she yelled. Puddles then pulled the pin. As she did so, a huge gust of wind blew over the field, and before she could grab the snoot lines, the blimp had broken free, and was sailing away in the wind.

Tasha had her paw on the wheel, when a gust caught the blimp under the nose, knocking her from the seat. The wheel started spinning like a top. And the nose of the blimp rose high in the air. Tasha and Shasta hung on, and they quickly realized the tail of the blimp was off the ground, and the whole airship was going straight up.

On the ground, Snoopy and Ernie saw the blimp rise, and before they could grab the lines, it was out of their reach. Snoopy pointed to Sarge, who was busy rounding up the usual suspects, and said, "Have Sarge get a chopper airborne, I'll meet them."

"They won't be able to get that close in this weather."

"Well, we better do something fast, because if they keep climbing, all the air'll bleed out of the ballonets, and they'll be on pure helium."

"Until they rise high enough for the helium to start bleeding out."

They both looked up at the blimp flying away, and started thinking. Just then, Snoopy's phone rang. 

"Hello? Shiloh? Where are you? Grounded? You buzzed the tower again, didn't you? So you want Shasta to fly for you this afternoon? Well, that's gonna be a little difficult............"