Chapter 16 Wednesday, 0700 hours (7 AM)
I wonder if animals dream of being human. I know I dream a lot of the time of being an animal. I don't remember what I was dreaming about when I was sleeping in Jungle World. All of a sudden though, I heard someone scream. It was Paul.
"Rom," he shouted. "Wake up everybody. Rom's here."
I sat up and it was true. Rom had found us. Boy, I was glad to see him. We all got up and mobbed him.
"Gosh, I'm glad to see you guys," he said. "OK, get dressed and let's get out of here."
Then we scouts stopped making noise and we looked in all directions.
"What's wrong?" Rom asked. "Get back into uniform."
Rom waited, but nobody said anything.
Finally Paul spoke up. "That presents certain difficulties."
He always uses fancy words when he thinks he's in trouble.
"Why?" asked Rom, looking straight at me.
"Because we don't have them. We left them back at the main zoo building."
"You mean you went traipsing through the zoo in your underwear? Why?"
I was trying to think of a good answer when Paul saved me the trouble.
"It seemed to be a good idea at the time," he said.
Suddenly, Jungle World's lights came on full. The building had woken up. Rom scarcely took notice.
"All right," he said. "Come as you are. There are a lot of people outside the zoo who will be very glad to see you."
In the artificial morning light, we looked at each other. All of a sudden I felt sort of naked. I guess having an adult around does that to you.
"We're not going out there without our uniforms," I said, and all the other scouts agreed.
"Come on guys, Let's go. Forget the uniforms."
"No," I said, "There might be girls out there."
Rom rolled his eyes. He tried to get us to leave with him, but we wouldn't move. Our minds were made up.
"Anyway," said Paul. "There are a lot of big hungry cats out there that might like Cub Scouts for breakfast."
"No," said Rom. "They're not hungry any more. Last night, Jeffery's father let the deer out of their cages. The big cats have eaten all they want and probably are too stuffed to move right now."
"Wow," I said. "Jeffrey's dad is neat."
"But what about the Calfers?" said Talbot. "They're bad and they have guns."
"I don't think they're all that bad," said Rom. "And there's no way they'd shoot at kids. But we're going to use our scout-skills and sneak out through a turnstile exit."
"Rom's right," I said without thinking. "Some of the Calfers are pretty nice."
Rom looked at me funny and I got scared that he'd somehow find out that I was running on all fours with the Calfers last night. "But I'm still not going out without my uniform."
"Okay all of you," said Rom, "Stay put. Jeffrey's dad is waiting for me downstairs. We're going to try to find Jeffrey now. You don't know where he is, do you?"
"Jeffrey's gone? You mean he escaped too?" I asked.
"Yes, but they recaptured him."
Rom gave us instructions and told us he'd be back soon. If he had time, he'd try to retrieve our uniforms, at least our pants, and maybe if we were lucky, some food other than snack cakes. I was surprised he knew about the snack cakes. He probably went into the classroom and saw all the wrappers everywhere. I thought about all those cakes, and felt sick. The other scouts looked sick also, so it couldn't have been the deer I munched on.
Rom told us to stay inside and keep out of trouble, and then he started back upstairs.
"Why are you going upstairs?" asked Wolfred, "You can get out the back door."
"Climbing's more fun."
Rom's really neat.
When Rom left, we had nothing much to do but wait, and I had time to think. It was great being a wolf but I had some feelings that scared me, and of course, I couldn't talk to any adult about them. I was almost ready to empty out the Lycanthrozine from my canteen. You know, it's not bad being a kid. I felt I'd had enough of this adult wolfy stuff for a while. I decided I wanted to stay a kid--maybe forever.