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Panther and Comet

by Jarvis Ottum

King Panther, a young boy with fur and whiskers, looks up at the sky as a rocket comes down to his planet."Oh boy, I would recognize that blue spaceship anywhere with its big old white comet on the one side. Look at King Lois IX on a horse with that ridiculous sword of his on the other side of his spaceship. His puny sword is nothing like the one I yield." The hatch of the spaceship opens and a young boy appears with blue eyes and rosy cheeks. He pushes a button and a white brow or set of white stairs come out from the hatch. The boy walks down the brow of the rocket ship. Then he walks through orange grass and black daisies to visit his friend.

"How is it going Panther? So you still have your crown? Those orange rubies are blinding. It's sure nice to know nobody's overthrown you yet."

It's nice to see you too. I'm happy to have you as a guest visiting my planet Comet. Welcome to my planet Comet, welcome to Panther Country. How's my friend from Cometville?"

"I'm doing just fine. Why King Panther you look smashing in your royal orange robe. Oh and I love your black attire.

"Thank you Comet, you don't look so bad yourself in your white polo shirt and blue shorts."

"Thank you Panther."

"Yes, Comet, did you get a promotion? Now I see you have a blue captain's hat and a gold owl pin. Last time you had a silver one."

"I got promoted buddy, now I'm a pilot. I'm so excited to see you Panther."

"It certainly is a lovely day with a nice purple sunset coming from our two suns. Why don't you come in Comet?"

"I certainly will Panther." As they walk through the corridors, Comet crinkles his forehead and strokes his chin not talking much. Panther sits on his thrown and Comet sits on a smaller chair next to him.

Panther looks at his friend wondering why he looks so serious. "You're not going to blow me out of existence are you?"

"No, no of course not. You are my friend, that's why I always visit you when I'm in your galaxy."

"What bestows the honor of your presence Comet? You look so worried my human friend." Panther paws Comets brown hair lightly.

"You would never eat me would you?"

"Now, why would you say that now?"

"I was just wondering because I heard your stomach growling?"

"No of course not. I had a big portly potbellied lunch. Now what's your problem friend?" Panther eye's dilated on Comet and his breathing slowed as he listens to his friend.

"My planet is in grave danger," Comet cries out! "We're in desperate need of water. Panther, our water has been contaminated past drinkability. It's turning brown! Many of my people are dying. What can I do?"

"I need to know more about what is causing your planet's pollution?"

"My people are learning bad habits. They are taking their fluid nourishment containers and throwing them into our water supply."

"You must form a team and clean up your water source. Your water should be drinkable in no time Comet."

"Also, Panther businesses are dumping waste into our water."

"Now this is more serious. You should have told me about this earlier." Comet stares down at a crevice between the orange and black checkered tiles. A knot grows in his throat as he last remembers seeing a truck with a slide coming out of it. It was releasing brown sludge and fish were floating in the water afterwards.

"I would of Panther, but I was embarrassed of my fellow citizens." Comet tries hard to hold back warm liquid from being released from his eyes. This being a sign of weakness on his planet.

"Yes that is bad, but you can't ignore a problem. You will take with you in your ship half the oyster of my world. For each oyster you place in your water, will filter out fifty gallons of water a day."

"I can't do that, oysters are expensive," Comet says without pausing.

"Yes, oysters are very expensive. Don't worry, one day I'll need your help."

"Of course, and I'll be there for you the way that you've been there for me Panther." Panther claps his hands and two young and perky panthers run up to him. They're wearing orange and black miniskirts with knee high socks.

"Yes King Panther, how may we be of assistance to you."

"Load all the ships with the best fishermen and give them all the nets they need. Tell them they are to bring me half the oyster of the world. If they are successful they'll receive half their years pay paid in full." Comet has his hands on his head and his mouth wide open. He's shaking his head in disbelief.

"Yes your majesty, is there anything else you desire? Perhaps a cheer to welcome your friend."

"No that'll be all. Now be on your way."

"Yes your majesty." The panther girls threw their paws in the sky and bounced off. "King Panther he's number one, the greatest king under our two suns," the girls cheered as they were on their way.

"Panther all of this for me!" King Panther chuckles.

"Why yes, you're my very best friend in the universe and you're in need. One day I will need your help."

"Yes, but I'm not a king like you, I'm only a pilot."

"Don't worry I'll find a way for you to help me. I would appreciate it if you attended one of our sporting events, it's called football."

"Oh yes, we don't have sporting events on my planet, but I'd love to go see your what do you call it__ football."

"You see I told you, you could pay me back. Let's get going Comet!"

"What are those things on their heads?"

"They're called helmets. Now pay attention. My team is named after my kingdom, they're the Panthers. My team is wearing orange and black. We're playing the Warhorses."

"The ones in maroon and white are the Warhorses?"

"That's right pal."

"Wow the Panthers are really pouncing on the Warhorses. What does it mean when the player runs the ball all the way down the field past that line that says zero? Why is everyone cheering Panther?"

"That means that we scored six points, it's called a touchdown."

"We're winning right? Oh wow, we scored another touchdown already."

"You bet we're winning. Yes, that other touchdown is called a two point conversion. That means we have two more points Comet."

"This is a very exciting game. When you come to my planet you must teach my people how to play.

"Sure that would be a great idea."

"Another touchdown, we win the game. I guess the oysters are ready Comet. Let's get back to my castle so we can fill up your spaceship.

When they return King Panther's fisherman are busily walking bags up the brow of the spaceship.

"Looks like you'll be on your way little buddy." Comet gives his friend a hearty embrace.

"Thank you so much. You're very kind and giving." Comet smiles uncontrollably.

"Oh no, you did your part watching the football game with me."

"I must admit it, the game was a treat Panther." Comet runs up to his spaceship he smiles at Panther and waves. Panther grins back at his friend then he closes the hatch door. Comet sits down at his captain's chair and buckles up. He puts his fingers up with his thumbs down to commence his countdown. Touching the three parts of each finger he counts because they use base nine on his planet. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one blast off!"

As Comet flies over his home planet, he drops the oysters across his water source. "Oh wow, they're so many of them! Thank God for those oysters. They're going to give us back our clean water." The oysters swim out of the open bags and begin filtering the water. Comet looks with amazement and a smile as big as a hyenas as the brown water converts to blue. People come out of their homes and wave up to Comet. Young children yell, "thank you Comet", as his rocket ship passes over head!

The citizens slowly come out of their homes with drinking containers in hand for some of the blue water, but Comet's spaceship lands in front of the water source. "Stop before you drink from the water, remember don't leave your drinking containers. Also, we'll be forming a cleanup crew."

"Let us drink!"

"No, you must listen first! I would appreciate who ever would be willing to join me to help keep our water source clean." The people look right through Comet to the sparkling water. "We must keep our water clean," Comet insists.

"Please water!"

"No! You must listen citizens!" Some stubborn gentlemen try to push their way through to the water source. Comet being stronger and replenished pushes them back. "No! Now you will listen to me! It is because of your negligence our water was undrinkable. There will be no more dumping of chemicals in our water is that understood?"

"Yes, shouted the thirsty mob!"

"I know you're tired, but before you fill up your container it would be a commendable gesture to pick up just one piece of litter." Comet stares at the motionless crowd for a moment. Then he fills up a container and closes it. He holds up the container with the sparking blue water. "Our water is precious we must be thankful. Look how blue our water is now. You must show your thanks by picking up just one piece of trash." A small boy puffs up straight and tall in front of the crowd to speak.

"Comet is right we must keep our water clean. I will gather my friends to clean up after school." The young boy starts picking up litter furiously jamming the trash into his pockets. Once his pockets are full he un-tucks his white polo shirt and pulls it out to uses it as a tray. Once the trash was disposed of the little boy gathers more litter. Monkey see monkey do other kids fill their pockets and pull their shirts out too.

"Yes, and we will get our relatives together to clean," said one gentlemen.

"My nephew works at the courts he can help close those chemical companies," said a little old lady excitedly. Comet walks up the brow of his ship and stands at the open hatch door as cheerful as can be. All of the people started picking up trash and throwing it away in the cans that are along the Medina River.

"You see people our water source is already starting to look spic and span. Now drink my citizens then get to work cleaning our city." The citizens slowly move toward the water as they had been rationed to only four ounces of water a day. Some of them fainted before they made it. Some elderly folks in the back collapsed. The young folk gallop up to the front and take their fill, then fill some more for their moms and pops. While the citizens drink up, Comet returns to his spaceship with his water container. Then he steps inside and closes the hatch door. Once in space he turns on his monitor to watch the news.

"The citizens of Cometville are working hard cleaning our water source," said the reporter. "The Medina River is almost ready for fishing season. What this I've just heard that the whole town of Cometville is down at the river. The Medina River is immaculate. Boy am I thankful we have such great citizens hear in Cometville. It's a proud day to be a human!"

"Back so soon Comet!"

"Yes, I have a gift for you, please take this refreshing water." Panther opens the container and gulps the water down.

"Most delicious water, fit enough for a king."

"I wanted to let you know that my people have exquisite blue water thanks to you. We have already formed a cleanup team. I just finished watching a video of them hard at work. Also the chemical companies dumping in our water source were quickly deemed foreclosed by the courts. They already have condemned signs on their establishments. They're going to demolish their buildings next week."

"That's great. One would think you were a king or something."

"Ha ha. Yeah that's funny!"

"Speaking of favors I'm in need on a pilot. I'm having a little pirate problem."