Chapter Seven. The Scary Menace.
They took Sogwa to Nerdle’s oldest city, and its worst neighborhood, and its grungiest street, and its creakiest abandoned house. They took her right up to the door of the dimmest room of the creakiest house on the grungiest street of the worst neighborhood of the oldest city on Nerdle; and from within she could hear an ominous humming noise. The Nerdlings cried, “That’s it, that’s it, it’s the Scary Menace, it’s... it’s... it’s...”
Sogwa boldly flung the door wide open, and the Nerdlings screamed;
“IT’S THE DUNDLEDEE!”
Sogwa looked at the Dundledee, and she thought, “That’s it? That’s why you’d run a hundred and twenty thousand lightyears?”
The dundledee looked just like a bumblebee, except she had green and purple stripes. She was flying around and around in circles in the middle of the room. She was trapped indoors, and she knew it, and she didn’t like it. She flexed her stinger and buzzed as loud as she could.
“Oh we’re scared, we’re so so scared,” the Nerdlings moaned. “What’ll we do?”
Sogwa saw that the dundledee was just as angry and confused and frightened as the Nerdlings. Sogwa’s kitty-cat heart melted with sweet sadness, for she understood both dundledee and Nerdlings, and she felt sorry for both of them, and she knew what to do for both of them.
The Nerdlings were sky-blue with terror. “Kill it, kill it, kill it,” they cried.
But Sogwa said, “Nonsense. I’ll evict her instead. Bring me a Bug-Catcher.” But the Nerdlings didn’t have one, so she said, “Then bring me a clear plastic bowl, and a cardboard board just big enough to cover the bowl. And watch, and learn.”
The Nerdlings brought her a bowl and a board. Armed with her bug-catcher, Sogwa entered the dundledee’s room. The dundledee was still buzzing loudly in a circle. Sogwa sidled around to the curtains, which she opened all the way; then she shuffled to the opposite side of the room. The dundledee landed on the window; Sogwa crept up on cat-quiet feet.
She quietly plopped the clear bowl over the dundledee; then she slid the board under the bowl; and she lifted away the bowl and the board and the dundledee caught between. “Look here,” she told the Nerdlings, and she showed them the bug caught in the bug-catcher. “Would one of you please open the window? Thank you.” Sogwa leaned way out the window, and whipped the bug-catcher open. The dundledee flew out and up and away.
“There you go,” said Sogwa, “problem solved.” She gave the two parts of the bug-catcher to the astonished Nerdlings. She said, “These are the tools; and you saw how to use them. Now you have the technology. Now you need never fear a trapped dundledee, no, never ever again; nor need a trapped dundledee ever fear you, no, never ever again.”
The Nerdlings cheered. They called Sogwa a hero, they called her a mighty hunter, they called her a genius inventor, and they even called her a teacher.
But Sogwa said, “Really it is you who have taught me. By your example, dear Nerdlings, I have learned that the real Scary Menace is not an exploding sun, nor an energy vampire, nor an imperial death moon, nor even a trapped dundledee; for your fear vanished when you knew what to do. You have taught me that the only Scary Menace is not knowing what to do.”