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Chapter 12

‘Sorry, madam,’ he said, stopping in front of her and wiping his brow, ‘only the green cap… I mean the gentleman in the green cap said…’

‘That's no gentleman! That's my husband,’ said the woman crossly, ‘and he has a name, you know, and it's certainly not the green cap.’

‘I'm sure he has, madam, but I haven't had the pleasure…’ and Lennie bowed in a courtly manner and went on: ‘Anyway, your husband told us to get these nets up the beach and hang them out to dry; which we shall be very happy to do, won't we, Creamy,’ said Lennie, and staring hard at Creamy, he took his paw and made him bow politely as well.

The fishwoman's eyes popped wide open in surprise. Quite taken aback by the two ‘rascals’ bowing to her, she was silent for a moment. Then she raised her hands in the air, and burst out laughing.

‘Well, I never!’ she cried, clapping her hands in merriment as she laughed.

‘What a pair you are! So you want to help with the nets, do you?’

‘Yes, madam,’ said Lennie.

‘No,’ said Creamy. Lennie frowned at him and whispered: ‘Be quiet!’ Fortunately, the fishwoman did not hear Creamy.

‘All right, then,’ she was saying, ‘but no mucking about, or you will tangle these nets up and that will be the end of them. And of you, too,’ she added darkly. ‘Now then, see that line of wooden posts over there? That's where you start. And mind you work fast, as I need the nets all dry by lunch time. Off you go now!’

Lennie and Creamy trotted off, the nets trailing in their wake. A short while later, they arrived at the first post.

‘Right,’ said Lennie, ‘Let's get down to it. Now, let me see…’

For a moment, Lennie stood, frowning at the pile of the netting at his feet. ‘OK, then. That's what we'll do: you unroll the netting, and pass it up to me bit by bit; and, Creamy!’

‘Yes?’ said Creamy, who had already started to ease a length of netting out of the bundle.

‘You'll remember what the fishwoman said, won't you: no tangling up!

‘Sure, sure, no problem,’ said Creamy, smiling to himself. He was smiling, because he was happy thinking of the pistachio ice cream Lennie had promised him.

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