Me: Is that you?
Nell: Of course it’s me.
Me: Why didn’t you answer before? Dave and Harriet are beside themselves with worry. I’ll send you a photo.
Nell: Now is not the time for photos.
Me: What happened? You were supposed to be coming straight home.
Nell: You’re not going to believe this.
Me: I just might.
Nell: Let’s say things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Me: Tell me.
Nell: There was an altercation on board ship.
Me: Do you mean a sword fight? That was bound to happen, Nell. All those cats and swords.
Nell: This fight was real.
Me: Was Poppy involved?
Nell: Both Poppy and Miss Maple were extremely involved and so was Rupert.
Me: Knitwear Wolf got into a fight?
Nell: He had no choice.
Nell: I’m afraid I’ve been extremely foolish.
Me: What do you mean?
Nell: You warned me and I didn’t listen.
Me: I did?
Nell: You said he was behind all this and I refused to believe it.
Me: Are we talking about that lion?
Nell: Yes, Lionel King. And now Rupert is tied to the mast and we’ve set sail for goodness knows where.
Me: Hang on a minute, Nell. Did you say ‘set sail’?
Me: So, you’re telling me that Lionel King and a dastardly band of sword fighting cats have you all imprisoned on the Cutty Bark?
Nell: Yes, and Lionel’s threatening to make Rupert walk the plank.
Me: Where are Poppy and Miss Maple?
Nell: The cats have imprisoned them in the crow’s nest.
Me: At the top of the mast?
Nell: Yes, ‘extra punishment for bad behaviour’ according to Lionel.
Me: Oh dear, you’re all in quite a pickle, aren’t you?
Nell: This is rather more than a pickle.
Me: Yes. Sorry.