Sorry, sorry, sorry. In Minion’s head all last week she kept going, “The text is all done and I shall post it as soon as Husband Minion gives me the new picture,” but then things got busy and he never gave the new picture, and she forgot. I will make her put up the rest of the story with old pictures ready to drop, and she can edit them before they post with the NEW pictures if she gets any of them on time, ’cause the story is DONE and Minion is not at all a visual person, anyway.

When the moose managed to sit up and turn to face the wolf, the visitor was slightly disconcerted by the tentacle like extensions squirming around Marmaduke’s head from each point of his antlers. At the end of each one spewed out a tiny, bright beam of light, that occasionally broadened into a flood as it focused on an item around the lab for half a breath or so, before  focusing down to room again, when the wolf did not seem ready to speak, Marmaduke started the ball rolling. “Would you like to go into the house for a snack or a drink of something? I seem to have worked through lunch, and I may have forgotten to get myself breakfast after taking care of the animals this morning when I had an idea as to how to improve the tad board over there.” Instead of pointing or waving a poof to indicate the board in question, two of the lightenticles flooded the wall with light.

The wolf swallowed and nodded his acceptance, profoundly relieved when Marmaduke shed his animated adornments, tucking them tidily in a narrow drawer built especially for them.

“There should be some tomato soup, bread and cheese that we can grill for sandwiches, at least I think someone came by to make sure I have proper things to eat, because I get so busy I forget to take care of myself, and that makes them worry.”

“I am sure we can find something,” the wolf agreed. Then he finally found a way to address the purpose of his visit. “I have come to ask if you would take an engineering projection on my behalf, but it is not a thing. I have ever done or observed done, so I do not know the proper way to go about the task.”

Marmaduke stopped on his way down the path to his house to give the wolf a piercing look, excitement lighting his eyes. “You tell me what you would like me to build, and I will tell you approximately how long it should take.” Rubbing his pooves together, Marmaduke started to turn back towards his workshop.

The wolf stuck his nose out in Marmaduke’s path, and gently steered the Moose back towards the house. “First we will find something good for your lunch. Then I shall tell you what I have in mind while you eat. I know for a fact that you can write and draw with one poof even as you ferry food into your mouth with the other.”

“Oh yes, right. The brain and body need fuel just as much as any engine,” Marmaduke agreed, leading the way towards the kitchen door. “Now, just what did you have in mind?”

“If you could manage it, I should dearly like a pair of wings,” the wolf admitted as they went into the house.

Now, of course, it was not as easy as all that. The wolf wanted wings to fly, not just an adornment, and he was too heavy to manage that with wings of any size that he could carry about on the ground. They discussed fixed wing designs with jets, rockets, props, even ramjets, but the wolf did not want to use anything that might scorch his surroundings, and no matter where they could put the vertical props, fore, aft, or wings, the wolf could not be comfortable with the whirring blades so near his person. Eventually, they did find somewhere that would work, and Marmaduke started working on a personal helicopter harness for the wolf, after a yummy bowl of tomato and herb soup, grilled cheese sandwich, and a bit of salad, of course.

The wolf left Marmaduke drawing, mumbling and munching celery sticks with a sigh of relief. The moose asked innumerable questions about the project and how the wolf wanted it to work, but the one question Marmaduke never got around to asking was ‘Why’ and the wolf was just as happy to put that off for a little longer.

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