Close Shave is an episode of TUGS: The New Series.


So, Ten Cents came to Mittsvile. "It's not fair!" he protested to Billy Shoepack. "Sakharine's made Captian Star and all the other Star Tugs think I'm horrid!" Billy smiled. "I know yer not." he said. "And so does Capt'an Star. You just wait and see." Ten Cents felt happier with Billy. He helped him with his barges, and somtimes he helped other Tugs by pushing their barges up steeper parts of the river. But Big Mac, Top Hat and Warrior never spoke to him at all.

One day, he pushed behind O.J.'s long line of barges, and helped him to the top of a hill. "Goodbye!" he whistled and rolled down the river to the base of the hill. He loved coasting down, runing easily with the wind wistling past. He humed a little tune to himself. Sudnely he heard the sound of O.J.'s whistle. He was confused. But his crew saw why. "Hurry, Ten Cents!" called his Captian. "There's been a breakaway! Some of the barges are chasing us!" Ten Cents looked behind and saw 10 heavy barges headed right for him! "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" they laughed maniacly. "We've broken away! We've broken away! Chase him, bump him, knock him on the rocks!" They hurtled down the hill, bumping and swaying with ever-increasing speed.

"Now what?" asked the Helmsman. "As fast as we can!" said the Captian grimley. "Then they'll catch us graudualy!" Ten Cents raced through Uptown, whistling furiously. But the barges caught them with a shutering jar. Ten Cent's crew brought him into reverse in an attempet to slow down the barges. Brakeing carfully, Ten Cents soon had the barges under control. "Another clear mile and we'll do it!" They swepted around a bend into Mittsvile.

"Oh glory, look at that!" cried a crewman. Top Hat was just pulling out from the key with a log barge! The crew put Ten Cents into full reverse. "It's up to you now, Ten Cents!" called the captian. Ten Cents put every ounce of weight and steam he hadagaist the barges. They felt his strengh. "On, on, on!" they yelled, but Ten Cents was holding them now. "I've got to stop!" he cried. Top Hat and his barge came nearer and nearer, and they were still going too fast. "It's too late!" he screamed. His crew had no choice but to bail. Ten Cents shut his eyes and braced for impact. He felt a sudden swerve, and found himself racing down a canal.

A barber had set up shop in a wooden shed on the end of the cannal. He was shaving a customer. Sudenly, there was a sliding, groaning crash, and part of the wall came in. The customer jumped nervously, but the barber held him down. "It's only a Tug." he said, and went on lathering. "Uh, sorry." said Ten Cents, having plowed through the key and crashed into the shed. "Excuse the intrusion, sir." "No I won't!" said the barber crossly. "You've frightened by customers, and ruined my business! I'll teach you!" And he lathered Ten Cents' face. Poor Ten Cents.

Sunshine and Little Ditcher were cleaning up the mess, when Johnathan Star arived aboard O.J. The Barber was telling the workmen what he thought. "I don't like Tugs crashing through my wall!" he fumed. "They disturb my customers!" "I apreciate your feelings." said Johnathan. "And we'll gladly help repair the damage. But you must know that this Tug and his crew have prevented a serious acident! You and many others might have been badly hurt." He paused impessively. "It was a very Close Shave, to say the least." "Oh." siad the Barber. "Excuse me." He ran into his shop (Or what was left of it) and feched a basin of water, and washed Ten Cent's face. "I'm sorry, Ten Cents." he said. "I didn't know you were being a brave Tug." "That's alright." said Ten Cents. I didn't know that either."

"You were very brave indeed." said Johnathan Star kindley. "I'm proud of you." Ten Cents felt hapier than he'd felt in weeks. "And once you're properly mended at Lucky's Yard," said Johnathan. "You're coming home." "Home, sir?" asked Ten Cents. "You mean the Star Dock?" "Of corse!" said Johnathan. "But Sir! They don't like me! They like Sakharine!" put in Ten Cents. "Not now." smiled Johnathan. "I never trusted Sakharine. After you left, he started telling lies about Hercules! I found him talking to the barges, and he confessed after I interogated him. So I sent him packing! Top Hat, Big Mac and Warrior are sorry, and want you back."

So, a few days later, when he came home shiny and new, there was a realy rousing welcome for Ten Cents, the bravest Tug in the Star Fleet.


And what happened to Sakharine, you ask? Well, it turns out that Walter Zero, who at that time was looking for a new vessel, was impressed by Sakharine's deviousness and brought him. He was given the Black and Marron lively of the Z-Stacks, and renamed "Zakharine". (Much to the anoyence of Zak, who was upset to have someone with a similar name on the fleet) Of corse, if you have ever heard the story of Boomer, you will know that it's bad luck to rename a vessel of any size of shape. So a few days after joining the Z-Stacks, Zakharine was out in the estuary delivering a load of fuel for Lillie Lightship when his engine went out. While his crew were busy making repairs, a Tramp Steamer colided into him. His crew lost control of him, and were forced to abandon ship. Zakharine crashed into Dender rocks, scraped his hull on the rocks, and slid back into the ocean, where he began to take on water. His crew had forgot to extingish his boiler before abandoning ship, so it exploded, guting him from the inside.

By the time Salvage, the Fire Tug, the Medical Tug, and both fleets arived on the scene, Zakharine was a smoldering hulk. He was pronouced dead by the Medical Tug, and Walter Zero sold him to Buke and Blair for $4,000. The folowing morning, the scrap dealers were suprised to find what was left of Zakharine gone, and imediately acused Walter Zero of stealing him back. The Coast Guard and Police Tug launched an investigaton, and found all of the Z-Stacks had rock-solid alabis (Zorran and Zebeedee were picking up a load of Coal from the Coal yard, Zak was dredging in the estuary with Scuttlebutt Pete, and Zip and Zug were taking engineering parts to the fire station.), so theft by the Zero Fleet was discredited. Several witnesses reported seeing a small vessel exeting the harbor in the dead of night. The case is still open.

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