A pair of humans might have panicked, but Sam and MiMee were, at worst, nonplussed, and only for a moment. Dogs have good night-vision, and rats are in fact far more at home in the darkness than they are in bright light. The power outage would have been an absolute non-issue to them, except for one thing. “The food will spoil if the power stays out!” MiMee pointed out. “Huh?” Sam didn’t understand the connection between these two things.
“The food is kept cool by the refrigerators,” MiMee explained. “The refrigerators are powered by electricity. With no electricity, they’ll stop being cold on the inside, and the food will go bad! That probably won’t happen over the course of a single night for most of it, but the ice cream will probably all melt for sure!”
“Oh no!” Sam said. “All the wasted ice cream!”
“And wasted money. They can’t sell ice cream like that, and if they can’t sell it, they can’t make back what they spent, so it’ll cost the diner money,” MiMee said. “And that man was so nice, letting us stay in here out of the rain,” added Sam. “We have to do something!”
“I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” said MiMee. “Just wait for the power to come back on, and hope it does soon.”
“Nuh-uh!” said Sam. “I can turn the power back on!”
“I’m a handyrat! I help Miss Blatz out loads with stuff like this. I know all about it! There’s a power box, see, and it has all these switches and that controls the emergency electrical supply! Every building has one; ours is in the basement.”
“Then this one probably is too,” said MiMee. “Are you sure you can work it?”
“Like I said, I’m a handyrat,” Sam puffed up her tiny chest as much as she could. “Let’s head to the basement; we’re gonna save that ice cream!”
The pair made their way down into the basement of the diner, which was even darker than their advanced night vision could handle. Sam, however, had a way around this; she navigated with her whiskers! “Even though we can see in the dark, rats still have bad eyesight overall,” she explained. “So we feel around with our whiskers a lot to compensate. Heck, that’s all Miss Blatz relies on!”
“But what about me?” asked MiMee. “Are you just going to leave me all alone here while you look for the power box?”
“Gosh no!” said Sam. “Here, hold the end of my tail in your mouth. That way you can follow me and we won’t get separated!”
MiMee did so, and they trod around the basement like that for awhile, until finally Sam stopped. “Well, MiMee, looks like I’m gonna need your help now.”
“What with?” MiMee mumbled around Sam’s tail.
“I found the power box, but it’s set so high up on the wall I can’t reach it. There’s a big box in the corner over there, I’ll guide you to it, then you push it back over here, OK?”
Sam led MiMee to the box and, with Sam’s guidance, MiMee pushed it to where Sam needed it to be. Sam hopped on top of it, then tried to reach the power box above. But she couldn’t, not even when she stood on her tippy toes, nor when she jumped as high as she could, and Sam was quite the jumper. She started fussing over what to do, and, just as in the diner with the bill, MiMee came to her rescue again.
“I have an idea,” she told the distraught little rat. “I’ll get on the box, and then you stand on me and jump! You’re sure to reach it then!”
MiMee couldn’t see Sam’s face in the dark, but she could tell that the little rat’s mood had brightened by her voice alone when she squeaked about what a good plan that was. With that, MiMee hopped up on to the box, and Sam scurried up on top of her head, bounced off MiMee’s nose like it was a diving board, and got just high enough in the air to swipe at the correct switch on the power board. The lights instantly came on, flickering for a few moments at first, but then stabilizing.
“We did it!” crowed Sam as MiMee wagged her tail. When they returned up the stairs to the diner, they found that the rain had stopped, and it was now safe for them to go outside. MiMee walked Sam home, where the latter had to profusely apologize to a worried sick Miss Blatz. As punishment for sneaking out, Sam had to do chores all week, plus pay MiMee back for the sundae, but she didn’t mind so much, because she and Miss Blatz had made yet another new friend.
Story by Mary Grace Mauney