Chapter 2

The Great Escape

A caged bloodhound appears in a deep sleep
Near Puff with a question that will not keep.
“Excuse me sir, but where are we going?”
Puff asks with curiosity growing,

“For I think I might be on the wrong plane.
And yes—that might sound just a bit insane,
But I have reason to believe—you see,
This is not where I am supposed to be.”

Soon the bloodhound opens his heavy eyes,
And gives a friendly stare, to Puff’s surprise.

“We are off to the hills,
My little feline friend.
They reach high in the sky
Above—where eagles fly
And rivers have no end.”

“I am excited to get some fresh air,”
Puff says, “And leave these pets who do not care
If they smell worse than filthy hogs or sheep.
Forgive me sir, for disturbing your sleep.”

“I understand fully.
Hounds have a perfect nose
And can smell far away,
Where the common vole play
Or where ibex repose.

“For instance, I can tell
You have a family.
A young girl has been near—
One you hold very dear…
Who you would like to see.”

“As you say—I do have a family
That I am very desperate to see.
We have plans to go to a place called Rome,
Where we will enjoy the food, then go home.”

“Rome has delicious food.
Their meatballs are a must!
Try their rosemary steaks
Or their sweet pastry cakes;
You will eat till you bust.

“We have time to tarry;
You can call me Harry.”

“Nice to meet you, Harry. They call me Puff.
It is not much of a name—but enough.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Puff.
With exception of you
I have never liked cats.
They act like selfish brats
And are hard to talk to.”

“I did not know, Harry, that Rome has hills,
And I smell those seasoned steaks on the grills!”

“That is not what you smell;
Your nose is in a fog.
I hope you do not mind
That we left Rome behind,
And you smell a hot dog.”

“Harry, where is this plane heading from here?
I am now feeling just a hint of fear.”

“To Switzerland, good Puff.
It is quite far away.
They must know you are lost
So they will pay the cost
And bring you home today.”

“You would not lie. You have nothing to gain.
Tell me, Harry, am I going insane?”

“I have made this exact
Trip many times before.
No, you are not insane;
Yes, this is the wrong plane;
That you must not ignore.

“Was there some confusion
Somewhere along the way?
Had your cage been misplaced?
Your boarding pass erased?
Puff…it will be okay.”

Puff is confused, like slapped hard in the face.
He looks around, nervously lost in space.
Falling from the truck was a bad mistake
For the loaders of the airline to make.
For now—he must take one thing at a time,
Soon with no shortage of mountains to climb.

Puff tries to remain calm and do his best,
But his head only sinks deeper in his chest.

“I will certainly help
If I can, my good cat.
They will see their mistake;
There is too much at stake.
Now take your mind off that!”

Harry puts his head down and falls asleep.
Puff tries the same, but his mind wants to keep
Coming back to Kathy’s face and her smile,
And what happened every once in a while
When they would lie quietly on her bed;
Everything stood still when she stroked his head.

Once again—Puff feels his ears clog then pop,
As the plane’s altitude begins to drop.
Soon its giant wheels start to bump and hop,
Until they finally come to a stop.
Puff looks around—but cannot see outside;
A windowless room is all they provide.

Then the large cargo bay door opens wide,
Where Puff can see it is still dark outside.
The loaders take Harry’s cage carefully
Outside to a place where Puff cannot see.
But before they do, Harry shouts to Puff
Words that are not quite comforting enough.

“We will meet again soon.
Keep your eyes on the moon.”

Puff is left without any words to say,
As the loaders come and take him away.
He notices it is much cooler here
Than in Rome, and the air, it would appear,
Seems to be light and clean in this new place.
Puff looks back at the plane with a sad face.

His cage is put on a conveyor track,
Which transports him on small wheels painted black.
They push Puff to a luggage carousel
Where people wait for their baggage and tell
Stories of travels to faraway lands
With enchanted islands and blue sea sands.

Puff went ‘round and ‘round on the carousel,
Getting dizzier like under a spell.
Then he remembers Kathy’s ballet class,
How the young girls would stare at a glass
The teacher held carefully in her hand,
As their dizziness left by her command.

Then Puff decides to stare at the moon,
Hoping the dizziness would leave him soon.
By now, most of the luggage is taken;
And Puff is feeling a bit forsaken.
Soon he is alone on the carousel
And is ready to give a hearty yell.

Then he sees Harry down the corridor,
Passing through a recently opened door.
He plows through a man with a hearty shove,
Slipping sideways, just a bit ahead of
His master shouting, “Harry—stop right now!”
But as for Harry, his word was his vow.

He promised to help Puff the best he could,
And now he does exactly what he should.
Harry leaps on the carousel near Puff
And pushes Puff’s latch forward just enough
To permit the cage door to open wide,
Releasing Puff to a safe place to hide.

“I have to go now Puff,
And you do too, my friend.
You must never be found
Or be sent to the pound—
A most unworthy end.”

Harry’s master moves closer to Puff’s cage,
Breathing very quickly in confused rage.
He places the leash around Harry’s neck
And helps him down from the carousel deck.
Then he observes Puff’s door is open wide
And reaches to close it with Puff inside.

Harry realizes what he must do
And pulls on the leash and his master too.
Soon his master forgets Puff’s open door,
Drawn by Harry to a magazine store.
Puff just stares as the two scurry away,
Hoping to see Harry again someday.

For now—Puff must find a safe place to hide
And leave this annoying circular ride.
He leaps from the carousel to the floor,
Free from the confines of the cage once more.
He jumps and slides beneath a row of chairs,
Where he secretly tends to his affairs.

Puff sees two doors leading to the outside
But senses his exit will be denied.
They stay shut except when people go through,
Leaving him confused at what he should do.
He steps in front of the doors, just in case,
But they remain rigid and locked in place.

Puff hides again beneath the row of chairs,
Waiting for someone to leave with their wares.
But since it is late the traffic is slow,
So he thinks back to a few days ago
When things that comprised his daily events
Were much less complicated and intense.

Soon a young man walks toward the two doors,
Held by his grandmother whom he adores.
Puff thinks she is blind as she looks ahead,
Poised without worry, with a smile instead.
Puff ponders whether when he becomes old
He will have someone to securely hold.

The young man carries her bags from the plane
While she keeps balance with her antique cane.
Stepping on the mat, the doors open wide
As the fresh breeze empties in from outside.
Puff, realizing that now is his chance,
Scans the area with a thorough glance.

Then very quickly—like a stealth machine,
A thief in the night who cannot be seen,
Puff pivots to let security pass,
Avoiding being crushed between foot and glass.
As Puff looks out the window from inside,
He knows he cannot miss this perfect ride.

Then just as the glass doors begin to close,
Puff runs—then dives from the tips of his toes
Between the doors that nearly catch his tail,
In a tight mission with some chance to fail.
Then he pauses outside the doors, unscarred,
Crouching next to a security guard.

Puff realizes with no time to lose,
There is only one choice from which to choose.
As the security guard reaches down
To snatch Puff madly with an angry frown,
Puff jumps through his arms with no time to play,
While focused on the truck driving away.

Puff leaps toward the truck with all his might,
Landing on the bumper while holding tight.
Then he jumps to the top of the tailgate
And falls to its bed—not a second too late.
Puff watches the two with the moon on high,
Then takes a deep breath, followed by a sigh.