Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The night the router lights went out


The animals in the Land of the Flowered Bed hid under the bed, watching the Ben's feet scurrying around the bedroom. The flying pigs were peeking in through the windows, watching from outside and the ducks in the Spa were quiet for once, listening to the conversation.

"Nope, it's still out in here!" the Blonde Duck said.

"Now my Mac is out too!" Ben said. "Let me go check the router. I'm going to restart it." The animals watched both pairs of feet hurry out the bedroom door.

"What's a router?" Pumble whispered, his interest peaked. "Is it food?"

"You idiot," Cookies scoffed. He realized he didn't know what a router was either and fell silent.

"It must have something to do with computers," Hairy said logically. "They were carrying their laptops around." The seals clapped their fins silently. They liked the computers. The favorite part of their day was looking at pictures of seals online. They liked to pretend they were in Antarctica.

The feet returned, and the animals fell silent. "I'm going to go check the router next door," Ben said. "I think that must be what the problem is. It's knocked our Internet out, I'm sure of it. That's why our router isn't working."

"I'll come with you," the Blonde Duck said. The animals watched them walk out the bedroom again. They heard the front door open and shut. Cautious, they glanced around and crawled out from under the bed.

"I hope they get the Internet fixed," Pumble grumbled. "I had to post the new video of my cooking show."

"I had to order my new texts for my Russian literature course," Cookies said in a haughty tone. "That's much more important than your show. It's not even real anyway."

Pumble narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth. Hairy interrupted before they could start fighting again.

"Let's go see if we can help them!" Hairy said brightly, stepping between Cookies and Pumble. "Then the Internet will be fixed faster and you can each do what you want." The seals clapped their fins together in approval as Cookies and Pumble contemplated the idea. The ducks in the Spa, who were shamelessly eavesdropping, broke into a round of applause.

"Fix the Internet!" the first duck cheered. "Fabulous idea!"

"What a wonderful thought," the second duck cheered. "I can check my e-mail!"

"It would really be quite kind of you," the third duck said.

Pumble puffed out his chest. "That settles it then," he said, nodding his head. "We'll save the Internet!"

"And how do you propose we do that?" Cookies asked sarcastically.

"Well, if it keeps going out, maybe that means it's going to sleep," Hairy said slowly, piecing the information together as he spoke. "If it's sleeping, that means it's sick."

The seals interrupted with a burst of excited chattering.

"That's exactly what I was thinking!" Hairy smiled. "We'll bring some cough syrup, aspirin and medicine for a stuffy nose."

"Let's bring some Tums, too!" Pumble cried, rubbing his own large stomach. "Maybe the router has heartburn!" The animals loaded a small bag with all the bottles and creams they could find in the Spa. As the ducks cheered them on, they dragged the bag down the hallway.

"We have to hurry," Pumble panted, jerking the bag behind him. Sweat poured down his yellow face. "We don't have much time."

"How are we going to administer the medicine?" Cookies asked, trotting behind him. "Do you even know where the router is?"

"I think it's in this closet," Hairy said, pointing to the hallway closet. " That's what Ben kept saying, anyway. Something about drilling more wires or something."

The animals hurried toward the closet. Pumble shuffled along, dragging the bag behind him. Cookies waddled along behind him, trying to look as dignified as an owl could while walking. Hairy and the seals walked a few feet behind the bag, picking up whatever medicine fell out. Soon, Hairy's small arms were stuffed and the seals could barely move along the carpet without knocking five or six bottles off their backs.

Finally, they made it to the closet. They dumped the medicine back into Pumble's bag and looked up. The router was located several feet in the air on a shelf at the top of the closet. All they could see were wires curling around the shelf.

"There!" Hairy shouted in a triumphant voice. "See that white box! That's the router!"

Pumble gasped. "There's no lights on there! Are you sure it's not dead?"

"Is it supposed to have lights?" Cookies asked.

"I'm not sure," Pumble answered, chewing on his lip.

Hairy tapped his chin and beat his foot against the floor as he studied the shelf. He snapped his fingers and his furry lips spread in a broad grin.

"I've got it!" he cried. The seals chattered happily around his feet. "Cookies, you can fly up there and give the router it's medicine!"

"Excuse me?" Cookie did not looked pleased. He crossed his wings over his chest and stuck his beak in the air.

"Well, Pumble can't do it because he just had surgery," Cookies wheedled. Pumble pouted and showed Cookies the long scar down his back. "Plus, he can't fly as high as you."

"That's because he's fat," Cookies pointed out. "Forget flying high, it's a miracle he can fly at all."

"Shut up," Pumble snarled. "I can't help it if I'm built big for a bee!"

"Try ginoumous."

"Listen!" Hairy shoved himself between Cookies and Pumble. "You two have got to stop arguing. We don't have much time. If you ever want to check your e-mail again, we've got to do this now. Pumble, hand Cookies the cough syrup. Cookies, fly up to the shelf and give the router some cough syrup. Then fly back down and Pumble will hand you some more medicine. When we've used everything in the bag, we'll see if it worked."

"Ok," Pumble grumbled.

"Fine," Cookies huffed.

Pumble handed Cookies the cough syrup. Clutching it in his beak, Cookies carefully flew up to the shelf. He perched on the edge and delicately screwed off the cap with his beak, using his wings to drizzle it on the router. He flew back down and returned with aspirin, which he sprinkled on top of the router. After a few tums, some Sudafed tablets and a smear of Vicks, Hairy was convinced the router would get well. The seals cheered and clapped their fins together with glee.

"Hurry!" he cried, flinging the bag under the coffee table. "Run! They'll be back any minute!" The animals sprinted across the living room, careened down the hallway and leaped under the bed. Just as they slid under the bed frame, they heard the front door open.

"Amazing!" they heard Ben cry. "The Internet is working again!"

"Hooray!" the animals cheered in unison. "We did it!" Hairy cried, hugging Pumble and then Cookies. The seals flipped under the bed and chattered happily. They were so excited, they forgot to be quiet.

"Watch out!" the first duck in the Spa warned. "They're coming!"

"Shut up!" the second duck warned. "They'll hear you!"

"Thanks for fixing it," the third duck whispered. The animals watched as Ben's feet appeared in front of the bed, pacing back and forth across the room.

"Yea, it fixed just like magic," he said to the person on the phone. "It's amazing. I can't figure it out."

The animals smiled to themselves.

"The one thing that baffles me," Ben continued, "is how the cough syrup and Tylenol got on there. And the tums! Tums on a router!"

The animals stifled a giggle.