Welcome to the sixth installment of -


Please send all comments to pepe.k@eudoramail.com

The following story concerns the Toonsters’ freshman year of Acme Looniversity at college level.

This tale of mystery is best read from the beginning – the other parts are available at HKUriah’s TTA Fanfic site, among others. I suggest you read it from the start or you’ll not know what’s transpiring.

This story contains many references to music, some of which you may be familiar with. It contains and was inspired by the music of Danny Elfman’s soundtrack of the films; EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, MEN IN BLACK and the theme from the television series: THE FLASH. In order to enhance this experience, I’ve made notations as to where each specific piece of music fits into the story. If it’s available to you, I’d strongly suggest getting the cassette tape, so that you’ll not only read the story, but hear it happen as well. All the music is available on CD. Most is from Danny Elfman’s MUSIC FOR A DARKENED THEATRE – Volume 2 No, I don’t make a living selling music for 20th Century Fox or MCA but Mr. Elfman’s music is incredibly beautiful, IMHO and well worth it. I’d like to thank VmC, HKUriah, Thorne, ...and Danny Elfman This story is dedicated to my Beloved Wife.

And now – Part 6 of –

"A Time To Cast Away Stones"


Chapter XXI

"Mission Control, this is Speed Racer! Doctor Lord is A-Okay!" called Speed on the Mach 5’s radio. A deep sigh of relief and the sounds of faraway cheering came from the speaker in the white racing car.

"Thank Heaven", said the voice of Craig Breedlove, "How’s he doing?"

Speed looked over as Fifi, Shirley and Wakko helped Lord to sit up on the desert sands of Bonneville Salt Flats.

"He’s exhausted, but I don’t think he’s hurt." Speed looked at the severe damage to Lord’s high speed suit and said quietly, "I think the Orpheus is a total write-off, though."

Just then, Spike and Chester arrived in their ambulance, pulling up to the scene through the rough earth left from Lord’s crash. The Flash helped them place the tall skunk on a stretcher.

"Say, you’re not too slow," said the bright red superhero, "How about racing with me sometime?"

"...I think not", said Lord quietly as he laid his head back, "I doubt I’ll be trying this again anytime soon."

"Well, I would have beaten you anyway" said the Flash with a snarky look. He stood and waved goodbye to everyone briefly.

"Goodbye, Mister Flash", said Hamton.

The Flash winked and shot his finger at the awed pig like a sharpster.

"Stay loose, Kid" he said with a smile. Then, in a red flash and a gust of wind, he disappeared over the horizon.

In the ambulance, Wile E. Coyote sat alongside the prone Roadrunner. The battered bird lay quietly as his long-time partner gently replaced his feathers one by one. Lord was loaded onto the other side and Shirley climbed in to sit with him.

"Ah want to go weeth heem," said Fifi.

"Oh Sure!" said Chester," We allow more than one rider to go with a patient, don’t we Spike? Huh, Spike??"

"Neh!" said the gray bulldog shortly, smacking Chester into his passenger’s seat.

Chester recovered and said sheepishly," Oh – uh – right! I guess we don’t..."

"Like, don’t worry, Fifi," Shirley said reassuringly, "I’ll take care of the Professor. I can restore his energy levels."

Hamton had been hanging back, but came forward as Dr. Lord beckoned him. He drew close to the tired skunk who lay on the stretcher, looking upside down at him. His size really showed now that he was horizontal.

"Yes, Professor?" Hamton asked.

"Would you... drive my car home, Hamton?" Lord whispered sleepily.

"Your Thunderbird?!", beamed Hamton, "Sure!!"

Lord’s eyelids kept drooping. "And..take Fifi home, please?"

"Un-huh!" Hamton said excitedly, "But I’ll need a ride home."

Lord’s eyes closed and he shook his head. "Nono...you drive it..and bring it back when you can...no rush.. I’m not in... condition..to drive."

Fifi pressed herself close to the stretcher. "Weel vous be alright now, Pavel?" she asked.

"Yes...Petite", he smiled dreamily, " You come over... as soon as you’re ready for the party."

"Oh, but vous can’t theenk ov going on weeth eet!", exclaimed the skunkette, "Vous are exhausted!"

The old skunk’s smile returned. "A couple of hours...and I’ll be fine", he said, " I wouldn’t miss.. tonight..for anything...I’ll see you both ...later...."

The others watched him nod off as Speed closed the ambulance doors. Fifi watched forlornly as it sped back towards the starting line.

"Let’s go!" called Speed, as he walked to the Mach 5.

Hamton’s hand slipped around Fifi’s and they followed.

Wakko sat in the driver’s seat again. "I wanna drive this time!"

Speed rolled his eyes.

"If you sit _quietly_and_behave yourself – I’ll show you what this car can do" he said patiently.

"YIPPEEEE!!" shouted Wakko, rolling over.

Hamton opened the door for Fifi and sat next to Wakko and Speed. The Mach 5’s engine gave out it’s barreling roar as Speed showed them it’s features.

"First – let’s use the grip-tires to get out of this rough ground. Push that button" he said pointing to one.

Wakko did so and with a whir, thick brown segmented rubber wrapped itself around the Mach 5’s tires. Speed shifted into first gear and they drove easily out of the terrain.

"Faboo!", exclaimed Wakko, as the car worked it’s way back onto the flat plains, "What else ya got?’"

"Push that one" said their driver.

Wakko did and a clear glass bubble-canopy covered them from the rear. A periscope arose from the trunk.

"This allows the Mach 5 to go underwater and the roof is also bullet-proof" Speed explained as he deactivated both features.

"Cool!", exclaimed Hamton, "May I try?"

"Press the big one" the racing champion told him.

Hamton’s trotter hit the big center letter and the triangular "M" on the car’s hood opened and out shot what seemed to be a metallic bird! It flew in circles overhead, making a strange whizzing sound.

"What’z zat?" asked Fifi.

"A homing robot", said Speed. "I can use it to send messages or do just about anything with it by remote control."

"I remember when you used it to open the bottom of the Monster Car" Hamton recalled.

"That’s right," said Speed, pressing the button again. The homing robot returned, diving back into it’s compartment. "You’ve already seen the hydraulic jacks at work."

"You mean these?" remarked Wakko, hitting button "A" again.


The Mach 5 leaped into the air again and startled everyone as they were jolted by the landing.

"..Yes", glared Speed. "Are you suuuure you’re not a monkey?"

Wakko’s clownish eyes smirked. "Mmmm..could be!"

Speed’s eyes shifted. "Hamton, you sit next to me."

"Awww C’mon!" begged Wakko uselessly.

"Nope! Naughty monkeys don’t get to push buttons," said Speed firmly.

"What else is there?" asked Hamton with excitement.

"My favorite device!" beamed Speed, as he swerved toward a thicket of saguaro cactus. The others gasped as they zoomed toward the thorn-covered, tree-sized visions of extreme pain.

"Hit that button," said Speed calmly.

Hamton punched it and twin, rotating circular saw blades sprang out from the nose of the car just as they hit the wall of cactus. The whirling buzzsaws cut through the spiny forest, clearing a path ahead as fast as the car could go.

"Wow! Neato!!" exclaimed Hamton as they drove out of the last of the thicket. Fifi watched the scene happily and then looked behind them at the ambulance.

Shirley sat at Lord’s side, concentrating on revitalizing him, sharing her own energy levels with him. Wile E. Coyote gently replaced the last of the Roadrunner’s feathers, but noticed little change in his partner’s expression. The purple bird’s normally bright smile was nowhere to be seen – instead, a listless frown crossed his orange bill. Wile E. put a comforting, brown paw softly on the Roadrunner’s blue wing. They looked into each other’s eyes and spoke volumes without a single word. Both were surprised as Lord’s ungloved hand shakily was placed upon both of theirs.

"..I’m sorry..." he whispered to the unhappy bird.

The Roadrunner slowly withdrew his wing from underneath and clasped atop the other’s hands. He smiled a little and patted them. Lord’s glassy silver eyes began to close again and Wile E. looked at him seriously.

"What occurred out there, Professor?"

Lord’s drowsiness was rapidly overcoming him.

"...Providence...my friend...." he said with a wistful smile.

His hand fell from the other’s and he was asleep.

The coyote carefully placed Lord’s arm back across his chest and Shirley picked up the heavy visored helmet and put it back on the doctor’s head. The Roadrunner was puzzled by this action and watched as Shirley centered herself again into the lotus position and continued sharing her mental power with Lord’s sleeping form.



The scene at the starting line was an uproar. Daffy, Porky, Petunia, Pepe and Wakko had walked away with most of the winnings and not everyone was pleased. Many toons pouted and complained while Daffy did his dance of unbridled gloating. He bounced about on people’s heads, hoo-hooing with joy.


He bounced everywhere carrying his briefcase of money.

Porky and Petunia slapped him on the back as they too held their oodles of cash.

"Well Daff, are you going to start your own production company?" Petunia asked.

"Or are you s-s-simply g-gonna b-b-b -uh purchase Warner Brothers?" asked Porky.

Pepe kissed his taped-together betting slip and leered, "Or weel vous be creating a harem of feathery femme fatales?"

The black duck’s eyes spun with greed! "Thatths not a bad idea, you fffragrant fffrenchman you! But thince I have plenty of time to do everything I want – I firsst intend to return to my artisstic rootthzs – and and do thomthing I’ve been denying mythelf the pleasure of!"

"What might that be, praytell , D.D. – my loaded hero and mentor??" implored Plucky Duck.

"If you’ll keep your drooling bill outta my bills -," Daffy said with disdain,"I’ll show ya!"

He suddenly whipped the smaller green duck around to face him and in a moment – was running and hoo-hooing maniacally away with a bucket of black paint and a paintbrush. Plucky turned in astonishment, revealing a huge black painted mustache across his face.

"Oh d-dear" said Porky, spin-changing into Dr. Watson and adopting an accent worthy of 22B Baker Street. "It appears that the "Daffy Doodler" is on the loose again. What fiendish crimes shall ensue?"

"Undoubtedly a great deal, Watson!" said Petunia, falling into it as Sherlock Holmes (deerstalker hat and all). "And now that the culprit is wealthy enough as to become practically unstoppable – No one shall be safe from his disruptive Dadaism!"

"Zut Alors!" exclaimed Pepe as he noticed that most of the crowd now wore black freshly-painted mustaches, including himself.

"I s-say! The Doodler has begun his reign of derisive graffiti!" remarked Porky, " – Now no one is safe!"

Petunia giggled at the painted handlebar mustache and mutton chops her husband now wore across his deadpan face and wiped them off him.

Art by Thorne

"At least I know he won’t draw one on me!" she said, dropping character.

As she rose, Pepe smirked and nudged Porky from his stolid Dr.Watson characterization. Porky grew very red in the face – then he too was transfixed with laughter, falling back into his seat like Pepe. They kept trying to point out what Petunia couldn’t possibly see – a large black mustache had been painted on her skirt across her ample rear just under her tail. After a minute of frustrated looking and turning while Porky and Pepe giggled themselves silly, Petunia caught on.

"I’m the butt of Daffy’s joke, aren’t I?" she smirked with comic annoyance.

"Oui!", leered Pepe, "Hm..too bad eetz not white paint!"

The sound of jet engines put a stop to Pepe’s overactive libido as Bugs’ "Hare Plane" taxied up and stopped close by. In a flash, Daffy appeared and began decorating the orange Learjet with mustaches. Bugs marched out and grabbed the duck by the beak. "We need ta talk" he called to Porky coldly.

Porky lowered his brow and with a sidelong glance to Petunia, he followed as Bugs dragged Daffy into the aircraft.

"Whatth the big idea!?!", sputtered the outraged duck," As an elite artisst, I must protest your inffringement on my rightth to creative expression!"

Once they were inside the passenger compartment of the plane and he had wiped away Daffy’s coating of spittle, Bugs answered him. "What yah created was a disaster! Where’d you get de gall to put Lord up to dis and ruin dah race ?!"

Porky did a spin-change into the tall French general and quipped, "Eetz deefeefcult to agree een a country zat haz 500 deefrant kindz ov cheese!"

"Oui-Oui, Mon-Sewer!" laughed Daffy, falling right into it.

"Cut da comedy!", Bugs exploded at them, "Yous both put him up ta dis and he’s ruint da race! He shouldn’a been in it in dah foist place and now he’s made us all look bad!"

Daffy flopped carelessly into one of the passenger seats. "Doc had every right to race! You’re just jealous cause he won! Nyah!" he he said sticking out his tongue.

Porky sat watching the angry words fly. Bugs bit his lip. "He made Speedy and duh Roadrunner look bad! Dey’ve always held da record fer bein’ da fastest toons -an’ now what have dey got?!"

"Aaaaah, the Flash was there", said Daffy dismissing it, " Everybody knows he’s the fastest toon there ith."

"M-m-m-uh perhaps the students w-will take it as an object lesson and p-p-uh – maybe the Looney Tunes will start to try harder to perform again?" Porky said quietly.

"We’re da teacher’s around here and we already represent duh best at what we do! We don’t need no outsiders showin’ us up!" stormed Bugs as he paced between them.

"Doc IS Not an outsider!! He was here at Warner Broththers before all of us and You_Know_It!!" Daffy spat back.

Bugs turned and crossed his arms. "He abandoned WB fer MGM!! He took Tex away from us!!"

"L-l-l-listen fellas-" said Porky, trying to interject.

"Tex left because Schlesinger cut the ending of one of your cartoons!" Daffy retorted, "Leon was always holdin’ us back! Doc wanted a starring role and he got it finally, by going with Tex – you can’t blame him fer that! Leon never gave him nuthin’ but minor roles – he was as jealouth as you!"

Bugs was seething, but pulled on his ultra-cool facade. "I am never jealous of anyone," he remarked, filing his nails, "After all, I’m the one with the Oscar."

Daffy was hopping mad. "HA! HA, I say!! And HA again!! Doc won his Oscar years before you did! You were glad when he left!"

"P-p-please guys? D-don’t-" Porky tried again.

"Untrue", Bugs smirked," If I wanted to get rid of ‘em - den why did I try ta get ‘im back?"

"C’mon Bugs -"Porky tried yet again.

Bugs spun on his heel and poked Porky’s stomach, forcing him back in his chair. "CAN IT, Private Porkster!!" , he said sneering, You’re just as much to blame fer dis!! Ya both wanted ta win megabucks bettin’ on ‘im and ya did!! Yah both happy now?!!"

Bugs turned his back on Porky and continued to berate Daffy. "So now yer both stinkin’ rich an’ ya got him in your corner! Tink yous guys are gonna take ovah, huh?! Well ya got a’ nudder ting comin’!!"

But Daffy was no longer listening. With wide scared eyes, he was cowering toward the wall.

"Ah-ha! I knew you would back down!" scoffed Bugs, "You all tink he’s so great with those powers a’ his! I don’t need ta read people’s minds ta..."

Daffy was pointing behind Bugs, wildly trying to warn him. "Shhh! ..Don’t...ya shouldn’t -" he gasped.

Bugs smirked and put his hands on his hips impatiently. "Don’t try dat ol’ ‘Look-Behind-You routine.’ You’ll have to do..bettah..den...dat.....?"

Bugs felt fire being breathed on the back of his neck and froze.

Art by Thorne

His eyes turned around to the back of his head and went wide. There stood Porky, swollen with rage to five times his size, towering twelve feet over him, his huge hands suddenly grabbed the rabbit by the throat and lifted him off the deck. The giant angry pig’s eyes were blazing infernos and the look on his monstrous face made Bugs’ ears wilt. His eyes huge with terror, Bugs gulped aloud and had trouble swallowing it through Porky’s clenched fingers.

"Yipe!" he whispered.

Porky drew him close and thundered in his face!

"YOU!! I’VE HAD IT WITH YOU!!! You think you’re so Smart! So Perfect! Doc’s always had it over You! You were Always Jealous of him! That’s why you’d never take his classes! Mister BIG SHOT from Vaudeville! Ya NEVER Studied!!

Bugs tried to act cool, but Porky’s words were striking home.

"I WAS THE FIRST WB STAR – YOU took that away from me! You think I’m "The Company Man", Huh? Daffy! – Daffy would work with me, BUT Nooo! Not You!! Three cartoons in All these years! You can never stand competition!"

"Porky – I didn’t..." tried Bugs.

"QUIET!!!," roared the enraged pig, "We All know WHY you’re jealous of Doc!! Cuz Red loved him and Not You! Even after they were married – you shunned him!!

"Dat’s..not true!", Bugs lied, his ears drooping again with guilt, " I -I got him back fer "Little Red Riding Rabbit," an’ we woiked together!"

"You Didn’t Want him Back – you were after Red! And when she couldn’t get out of her contract with MGM – you and Friz had to get that bobbysoxer to play her part and rewrite the entire script!", stormed Porky with damning efficiency, "And you raised hell during the shooting! Anything Doc did – you had to one up him!!"

"He waz readin’ my mind!" countered Bugs.

Porky’s eyes were in Bugs’ face and were bigger than his head. "And_You_Can’t_Stand IT!!! Can You?!! Bugs HAS to be cool!! Too cool to ever show his feelings!! Bugs has to be perfect! Bugs cares only about his OWN image!!"

Porky dropped Bugs and stalked to the door.

"You’re not worried about the other’s looking bad – you’re the one who doesn’t want to be shown up! You don’t want anyone around to be seen as better than you!" Porky calmed himself, which made his words sting all the more. "..You’ve hated Doc for years for things that aren’t his fault. He’s never said a word against you, but you treat him like this. .Daffy’s right – you are despicable."

With that, Porky stomped outside.

Bugs stood crestfallen in the middle of the room.

He could think of nothing to say – Porky’s words had struck home. His ears sagged, as Daffy watched him in silence. The bunny didn’t move as the black duck walked silently to the door.

There was a long pause before Bugs retreated to a chair. Daffy watched him try to act calmly, but saw him finally give up and look pathetically at nothing. Bugs waited to hear, "I told you so".

"Ya notice he didn’t stutter even once?" Daffy asked quietly.

Bugs shook his head.

"He can only do that when he’th really mad", Daffy remarked offhandedly, "Yer lucky he didn’t beat ya black and blue. Never get that pig mad at cha! I talked him into quitting the studio onceth cuz I wanted to be Schlesinger’th star. When Porky came back – he beat me to a pulp. ...That was how I realized that I really liked him."

"Whatdaya mean?" Bugs quietly asked, puzzled.

Daffy looked back at him, uncharacteristically genuine. "You only hurt the ones you love. Porky’th the best friend I’ll ever find. He really cares about people."

"I nevah figured he resented me." said Bugs with his head in his hands.

"He’th not the competitive type, Bugth. But he does have thenthative feelingth", Daffy told him," You shoulda taken the time to work with him – he’th a great partner."

Bugs looked away and said " Dere’s alot a’ tings I should a’ done... So... How’d yous guys know how I felt about Red?..."

Daffy pointed to his eyes. "These happen to work, my friend."

Bugs looked down, ashamed. "...Does everyone know?"

Daffy waddled over close to the humbled rabbit.

"Nope, not everyone", he remarked kindly, "Friz figured it out after ya filmed "Little Red Riding Rabbit. Doc knew during the shooting, but he didn’t tell Red or anybody till years later."

Bugs stood up in embarrassed surprise.

"He knew?! ", he gasped in shock, then slapped his forehead, "Of course he knew! He was reading my mind and talkin’ to me all the time in my head."

Bugs sat down again in astonishment.

"I just couldn’t deal with his powers" he admitted, "I’ll nevah forget duh foist time I saw him do a spin-change into the Big Bad Wolf... nobody’d eveah done dat before."

"Doc’s a pretty hard act to follow" remarked Daffy," That’th why I decided to listen to ‘em, rather than try to compete with ‘em. You just tried it the hard way."

Bugs leaned dejectedly on his elbows. "I shouldn’a egged ‘em on into dah race dis morning" said Bugs.

"He wath,’nt even gonna race thith morning", Daffy told him,

"Maybe it was you – maybe it wasn’t ...he wath sure acting funny just before it began ...even after he’d won – he kept on goin’. Nearly got himthelf killed – in a manner of speaking."

Daffy crossed to leave. "Thomthing strange ith goin’ on" he said turning.

"Don’t take it so hard – nobody’th perfect all the time – not even ‘ol Doc."

He walked out but stuck his head back in. "Except me of course." he said with a haughty smirk.

Bugs watched him go, puzzling at seeing this lighter side of the egocentric duck.

"Maybe..? " he thought.


Chapter XXIII

Hamton was thrilled, as he drove Lord’s gold Thunderbird back to Acme City. The car was heavy, but responsive. He flipped down the turn signal lever, watching the bullet-shaped staghorn light blinking orange and heard it tick-tock, as he turned onto the main street through the countryside.

"Oooo, Look! The Beach Boys!" he said turning on the CD player. Fifi’s long lavender hair flew in the breeze, as she sat smiling joyfully beside him. Sleigh bells and a fast electric bass guitar beat the air as "Dance, Dance, Dance!" began playing from the car’s speakers and the teenage couple bopped to the music. Hamton was feeling charged and drove a little faster, the tires squealing a bit on the curves.

"Tonight, we can show everyone how you taught me to dance better" he beamed.

"Oui oui!" sang Fifi, " But do tu theenk zey will play zee tango for us?"

"I’ll make a special request to make sure" Hammy said earnestly.

"Ah can’t believe all zat happened today and zat Lord eez still going on weeth zis party" she admitted.

Hamton grew thoughtful as they drove through Acme Forest. He turned down the music and drove a bit slower.

"Fifi? ...The way he acted.. it was like he was planning ..." Hamton gulped.

"Oui", Fifi said seriously, " ...Not to return."

She looked at him with concern. "Ah knew zomthing waz wrong...Ze way ‘ee would not stop.."

"And that strange storm...and the screaming sound", wondered Hamton, "And what happened to you? What was it?"

The skunkette shook her head. "Ah dunno", she told him," Eet was like what ah felt when Maman died... Ah felt sick to mah stomach..lahk part ov moi was gone. So terribly empty ...- and more alone zen ah’ve ever felt before."

Her boyfriend was pensive as he said," You have some... connection to him...somehow." He looked at the road ahead. Fifi saw the concern in his eyes and heard the jealousy in his voice.

"Eef ah do – ah dunno what eet eez, cherie. Zee only clue eez zat vision ‘ee showed moi – and ah still can’t understand eet."

"What did he show you?" Hamton asked.

Fifi paused, trying to recount it. "Ah remembair seeing mah mother, looking younger like moi... and...a color" she said uncertainly.

"What color?" he asked.

She strained to remember, closing her eyes, "...Purple..ah theenk, ...lahk a mist..but...eet moved...lahk eet was..alive."

Hamton drove the T-Bird into the city and onto Fifi’s street. "I don’t know what’s going on – but it’s sure making me nervous" he confessed.

Fifi, too felt uneasy. "Ah’m pretty sure he’s going to tell moi, tonight. We’ll both know soon."

Hamton nodded, but still felt odd about it as they arrived in front of the junkyard and Fifi’s home. Fifi wrapped her arms around him and kissed his floppy ears to cheer him up, tickling him.

As he smiled and giggled, she said, "Now tu go home and ave fun making your desert for ze party!"

"Ambrosia!! ", he exclaimed, " I hope I have enough little marshmallows!"

"Zen come back az soon az tu can!"

"Oooo! Let’s go formal!"

"Okay! Ah’ll wear zee gown tu moi een Paree!"

Hamton kissed Fifi and off he drove to joyfully create a culinary masterpiece.

Fifi turned and saw Lord’s mansion looking stark and silent – no lights or sign of life showing anywhere. The mystery surrounding Lord was perplexing, but Fifi knew she’d soon discover whatever lay behind those eerie eyes of his. With a look of satisfaction, she pranced happily into her pink Cadillac.

Inside, Fifi switched on the radio, but all that was playing was pop songs by "N Stynk", so she switched on the tape of Burt Bacharach’s music that Hamton had made for her. "The Look of Love"’s romantic saxophone played as Fifi showered and stood under her monstrous blow-dryer, brushing and combing out her fur.

"Vat a relief!" she sighed, happy to be unencumbered by clothes – at least for a little while. She still wasn’t used to the idea of wearing clothes, but it was fun to be fashionable and better than having all the boys going ga-ga over her figure all the time.

Not that she minded the attention.

Having decided on going formal, the skunkette powdered and primped herself herself to look her best, spraying herself with "La Stink" – her favorite perfume. Halfway between Tea Rose and her own fragrance – it was Hamton’s favorite too.

Art by Thorne

After trying half a dozen hairstyles, Fifi decided to wear her hair up, but long in the back. She took out the white silken, French cut ball gown that Hamton had

bought her in Paris. As she put on the lace stockings, Fifi recalled how Arnold and Pepe had secretly helped Hamton to buy the expensive gown she’d been so enamored of. How sweet they’d all been to her that summer!

The snug waistline fit her perfectly, but she wished there was someone else around to zip up the dress in the back. After a moment of struggling to reach it, Fifi snagged the zipper with the tip of her tail and pulled it closed. The slit for her tail made sitting down easy and she slipped on her matching white Italian shoes. The high-heeled "Mephitio" pumps made her two and a half inches taller and she delighted in the fact that she’d be almost as tall as Hamton.

For a touch of color, Fifi added a small red bow to her hair instead of her usual pink one. She twirled before the mirror, delighted at her appearance. After fussing with a last bit of makeup and lipstick, she walked out towards the mansion.

Her makeup had to catch up to her face, as she did a huge double take!

What had been a huge empty field behind the mansion was now an elegant European garden! There was a tremendous hedge-maze nine feet tall, the gleaming black statues and vast bronze fountains. Fifi noticed a golden statue of King Neptune being drawn in a chariot by golden hypogriffs spurting water. It was just like the fountains at the Palace at Versailles. She also saw an ornate gate in the fence on her side, with a polished white marble walkway leading to the mansion.

All this hadn’t been there an hour ago!

True, she’d been busy, but she’d heard nothing at all.

In astonishment, she walked to the gate and found it already open.

Her heels clicked on the marble as she crossed slowly to the door. She’d always wondered about this house since the day she moved in, years ago. Living next door, Fifi had imagined it to be haunted – at least that’s what Plucky had told Hamton when they’d sneaked in years ago. With the strange lights and sounds that sometimes had come from it – she’d believed it. Now she stood at it’s door, waiting to meet again with the fascinating stranger with whom she shared some unknown connection in the past.

Chapter XXIV

Fifi looked up at the doors and the massive metal rings that hung there. Timidly, she raised one a few inches and let the heavy knocker fall with a resounding echo. There was a pause , then the tall door opened.

A man stood there – a 3-D human.

He bowed deeply and spoke in perfect French.

"Good Evening, Miss La Fume. Please, won’t you come in?"

He made no move to meet her, but stood waiting.

"Uh... yes, thank you.." she answered in French. She stepped across the threshold and the man approached to close the door. He was a young man, perhaps in his late twenties with short blonde hair and wore white tie and tails, evidently a butler.

"Please allow me to introduce myself, Miss. I am Kirrik, mi’Lord’s servant" he said, bowing again stiffly. He spoke in archaic French.

"How do you do?..", said Fifi, " ..Uh – Where is Doctor Lord?"

"He is at rest, Miss", said Kirrik reassuringly, " The Master was far more fatigued than he had anticipated. He begs your forgiveness and bade me to show you about ."

"Is he alright ?" she asked.

"He is well, Miss" said the man.

Lord’s musical theme began coming from everywhere – pleasant, but slightly ominous.

{ES #3 – "The Castle on the Hill"}

"You see, Miss?", Kirrik intoned, " My Lord sings his tune and cheers himself. Please allow me to show you the house."

He gestured and she followed him into a long hallway.

The house was an odd mixture of styles. The furnishings were old, very old and downright ancient. The long hall was richly paneled with black oak that looked at least a century old. Beautiful masterpieces of art adorned the walls and gas light fixtures burned unevenly, lighting their way. Their slow steps echoed on the polished hardwood floors.

"No wonder Plucky thinks this place is haunted!" thought Fifi.

As they walked, Fifi had a chance to study her host. Kirrik appeared to be quite normal for a human being. He was neither tall or short, fat nor thin. He seemed somewhat stiff and formal, evidently an Old World European. The music and the stillness made the surroundings seem creepy and Fifi looked nervously behind her – half expecting the eyes of the paintings to follow.

Kirrik turned and gestured as they came to the entrance to the most magnificent room Fifi had ever seen. It was like the throne room of an ancient castle, thick gothic stone walls were supported by massive black hand-hewn beams up the the twenty-five foot ceiling. Medieval shields, spears and banners hung from the walls high overhead, alongside groups of hundreds of gilded organ pipes. Atop a platform sat the organ’s four inlaid ivory keyboards and pedals, behind a carved ebony bench. Across the oriental rugs along the far wall, there was a vast stone fireplace big enough to hold a Volkswagen, between two black marble gargoyles. Their jeweled eyes glowed with the reflection of the logs burning on the grate and flames fluttered from their gaping jaws.

Amazed, Fifi walked into the center of the room like Dorothy arriving in the Land of Oz. Then she noticed a painting over the mantelpiece. Though the other paintings were of reality – this was a picture of a toon. Though the painter’s style reminded her of Leonardo Da Vinci – the figure in question was unmistakable.

It was Red Hot – the gorgeous red-headed girl from Tex Avery’s cartoons. The painting was splendid beyond description and the mantle was arranged around it, with a bowl of pink English roses below and the word "Semper" engraved above it in stone.

"I recognize her. We studied Tex Avery’s cartoons last year" Fifi said pointing.

Kirrik walked over, his hands withdrawn behind his back. He paused, gazing at the painting a long moment before he said, " That is the Lady Red....the master’s last wife."

Fifi felt a twinge of jealousy and finally said, " Mr. Le Pew told me they were very happy together, but that they disappeared fifty years ago."

Kirrik’s blue-gray eyes shifted and stared at Fifi gravely.

"Yes Miss.They moved to Europe."

"And they just returned?"

"Yes, a few nights ago, Miss."

"Will I meet her soon?..." Fifi asked uncertainly. "Is she at home?"

Kirrik’s face was inscrutable. "She is here, Miss, but no longer attends social gatherings. Follow me please."

With that, he turned and led her back to the hallway. Fifi followed, puzzling – and wondering why she felt jealous anyway.

Kirrik led her across the hall into a library. Shelves of books were stacked to the ceiling. Under glass cases Fifi saw a Gutenberg Bible and one of Shakespeare’s First Folios. There were ancient tablets inscribed in Latin, Greek, Chinese and several alphabets that Fifi did not recognize. In the center of the room sat a marble Roman throne gilded with gold. The silent butler then led her into a 16th century French provincial musical conservatory. Musical instruments of every description lined the room. In the center, sat a grand piano, a harpsichord and a beautiful golden harp.

"Magnificent!" sighed Fifi wanting to touch it. "I play the harp."

Kirrik smiled and said "Mi’Lord has told me how very talented you are, Miss. I believe he has grown quite fond of you."

Fifi was taken by this. " Really?"

"Yes, he has spoken of you several times", he told her, "This way please, Miss."

As he led her down the hallway, Fifi walked next to him this time. She noticed his aquiline nose and deep set eyes. He had strong features for a human.

They turned down another hallway, passing other rooms, a European style kitchen that would’ve made Hamton drool and an enormous curving staircase. The dark music followed. The walls were lined with black marble statues. They were figures from human history: warriors, philosophers, scientists, artists and statesmen. All looked somehow familiar – and so accurate that they seemed almost alive. Most were men, but some were women – and some were grotesques. Demons, devils and beasts with outstretched claws and bat’s wings stood like monsters frozen by a gorgon’s stare.

"Have you known Doctor Lord long, Mr. Kirrik?" Fifi asked nervously.

"It seems like forever, Miss" he said without turning.

They reached the end of the hall and Kirrik showed her a beautiful mirrored ballroom.

"This is one of the Master’s favorite rooms."

The dance floor was perfectly polished white oak and was very, very wide. There was a proscenium stage covered by rich red curtains and hung with old-style stage lights.

"What a perfect stage!" exclaimed Fifi.

"Thank you Miss" Kirrik said smiling.

"It’s so nice to be speaking to someone without an accent for once in my own language" she said.

"Hmm.. so it is...But if you’ll pardon my saying so, Miss – you seem to have a slight American accent in your French" he said apologetically. "

Fifi nodded. "Hmm, that’s alright. My friends in France say the same thing...Um... may I ask you something, Mister Kirrik?"

"Certainly, Miss."

Fifi looked down shyly and Kirrik looked puzzled as he turned back to face her. The music became serious.

"Is something wrong, Miss?" he asked.

"Well... did you talk to Lord today...about the race?"

Kirrik looked at her steadily. "Yes Miss...I know what happened...and I must thank you for saving him...from himself."

She nodded and paused. "...I just couldn’t let him..." She stammered and could say no more.

"You are concerned about him?" he asked gently.

"Yes, very much" she told him.

Kirrik smiled warmly at her and dropped his formality.

"I’m glad he has a few friends", he said sincerely, " He needs people who care."

Fifi smiled and was about to ask more when they heard a knocking at the front door. The music trailed off and ended.

"Pardon me, Miss" Kirrik said, hurrying to answer it. Fifi rushed to keep up with him, her high heels slowing her as she clicked along, following him.

"Aren’t there any other servants?" she asked as they raced along the long hallways.

"Only myself, Miss" he called back.

At the door, Fifi frantically smoothed herself as Kirrik answered the door.

There stood an interesting trio.

Art by Thorne

A tall, elegant lady squirrel stood next to a shorter, rounder lady bear and an even shorter, but handsome armadillo.

"Hello Kirrik, where ya been keepin’ yourself?" said the pretty brown bear as she casually walked in. She wore a tight red, low cut gown and red fishnet stockings. Noticing Fifi, she smiled and asked, "Hey, who’s this? You Doc’s niece or sumthin"?"

Kirrik cleared his throat and said in perfect English, " If I may, please allow me to introduce Miss Fifi La Fume, our neighbor. This is the Contessa Veronica de La Ardilla."

The sophisticated grey squirrel nodded.

"Buenas noches, Senorita La Fume" she said in a rich Spanish accent.

Fifi curtsied, surprised to be meeting royalty. Kirrik indicated the armadillo, who stood smiling shyly at her behind his glasses and mustache. "This is Senor Armando".

"How do vous do, Senor?" she said, switching to her accented English.

The tan armadillo blushed. "Very pleased to meet you, Mademoiselle Fifi", he said in a soft Mexican accent, " I recognized you immediately from Tiny toons, yes?"

"Oui, merci Senor!" Fifi beamed.

Armando blushed more and looked down shyly.

"And this is Ms. Bear" said Kirrik.

"Call me Mae, kiddo. Kirrik here is a bit too stuffy to say my full name" said Mae Bear kiddingly, shaking paws with Fifi.

"Ah’m tres‘ pleased to meet all ov vous" the skunkette said graciously.

"And h’where eez the Doctur?", asked the Contessa, " I hhave thengs to discuss weeth heem".

"Mi’Lord will be joining us shortly", said Kirrik, "If you’ll all please follow me?" He led them to the throne room and Fifi observed the newcomers.

The Contessa was positively regal in her jeweled aquamarine gown and held her tail tightly curled as she walked stately along. Armando was dressed casually in dark colors and his spiny tail shuffled behind him cautiously. Mae Bear strutted confidently and was more relaxed. They all were apparently mature adults.

"I hope Doc’s got the champagne on ice!", said Mae, "I could use a belt."

Armando chuckled quietly. " Well – don’t start drinking it with a straw again. You know how silly you got the last time!"

"Ohhhhhh!", exclaimed Mae in a funny gravely voice, "Don’t remind me! Last time when I woke up, I didn’t know where I was! – Neither did the monkey wearin’ my clothes!"

The others laughed (except Kirrik) and Fifi’s eyes opened wide in bemused shock. As they drew into the room, Mae took Fifi’s paw and said, " Don’t mind me, honey – I’m only joshing!"

Fifi joined in their laughter.

Mae looked around at the throne room. "Wow, this is bigger than Doc’s place in France!"

"Eet luuks a bit older than his chateau, ah believe" noticed the Contessa, sitting on one of the large couches.

"Yes, it certainly has hiz mark" commented Armando, looking at the buffet, "See? He remembered." He picked up a bottle of tabasco sauce from the table of perfect hors d’oeuvres.

There was more knocking from the front door and Kirrik left to answer it. "Excuse me please" he said quietly.

"Ah take eet vous all know Lord quite well?" Fifi asked.

" You could say that!" joked Mae.

The Contessa smirked at the ursine’s quips. "We are the Doctur’s business partnerz. Mae runz zee New York offices for North h’America, Arrrmando eez our computer genius and runs de Central and South h’American offices and ah am the hhead ov European operationz."

"Mon Dieu", Fifi exclaimed, "Ah deedn’t know zat he had zo much! ..’Ee werkz all over ze werld?"

"Oh, this is only part of it! ", remarked Mae as she lounged on a couch, "You should see his holdings in the 3-D world. Whew!"

Timidly, Armando asked, " Would you care for something to eat, Mademoiselle?"

"Oh, merci, – but not just yet, Senor", said Fifi gratefully, "Ah wonder -"

Just then, Kirrik crossed through the hall, escorting several humans who carried guitar cases. Older men who looked familiar.

"Mister Wilson? Mister Love? Right this way", they heard Kirrik say.

The humans followed him out of sight as the thought struck Fifi.

"Do vous know who zat Was??!!", she asked the others, "Zat waz zee Beach Boys!! Ze Real ones! Zey must be ze Band!!"

"You mean that old human group from the Sixties who did surfin’ music?" asked Armando.

"Oui!! Oh, Hamton weel be zo thrilled!!", cried Fifi, "Zey are one ov hiz favorite bands!!"

" Righteous, Dude!", quipped Mae like a surfer, "Doc must be pulling out all the stops, tonight!"

"Indeed he is, Ms. Bear." said Kirrk’s voice, as he suddenly appeared from another door.

"Whoa! Don’t sneak up on me, Kirrik!" Mae said, exaggerating and pretending to faint. "You’ll give me a heart attack!"

Kirrik smiled in a knowing way and said, " I’m sure it would take more than that to rattle your senses, Miz Bear."

"You’re darn right it would." she laughed.

"If I could trouble you to watch the door for me for a bit, mi’Lord would appreciate it", the butler asked them, " I must attend to him. He’ll be down shortly to greet you." He crossed and entered an elevator behind them.

"Ah will!" said Fifi happily.

"Thank you, Miss Fifi," smiled Kirrik as the doors closed behind him.

Fifi huffed and said "Ah should ave asked heem."

"What? asked Armando.

"Well, ‘ee uses Lord’s name lahk a title" she observed.

"It is his title, honey!" said Mae walking over.

"Vous mean – "ee really eez a Lord??!" exclaimed Fifi.

Contessa Veronica nodded. "Jes, Pavel haz many titles."

"He doesn’t like to flaunt them" Armando told her.

"So ‘ee eez..."Lord Pavel- ... Lord??" Fifi exclaimed.

"Lord Pavel D‘ Lord" the Contessa said, correcting her.

" Sounds redundant, so he never says it himself" said Mae.

There were "Shave-&-a-Haircut" knocks heard at the door and so Fifi went down the hallway wondering at this. "He is royalty too?" she thought, " What next?"

At the door, she found Buster and Babs. Buster was his normal self, but Babs had decked herself out in a brand new trendy pink outfit, with platform shoes.

"Hiya Feef! " exclaimed the pink bunny, " Like my new threads?"

"Looks like she’s gotcha beat, Babsy" said Buster, looking at Fifi’s formal wear.

"Zat’s okay, Babz!" Fifi told them," Hamton and ah decided to go formal tonight."

"Okay!", Babs began, "You can be elegant and I’ll be- " " – Expensive." finished Buster Babs raised eyebrows at this. "Whatdya mean expensive?"

"What would you call ninty-seven dollars for a pair of shoes?"

Buster asked.

"About normal" said Babs and Fifi.

"Figures", commented Buster with a deadpan look as they came inside, "We’ve spent the last couple of hours shopping for all this stuff and now I’m broke!"

"Ya mean you’re busted?" asked Babs asked apologetically.

"No, I’m Buster" her boyfriend quipped. "Glad I didn’t make any bets on the race – my pockets would be emptier than Plucky’s!"

"He lost his shirt, huh?" asked Babs.


"Eeeewwww!", laughed Fifi, "Now, ‘ee’s fowl – and naked!"

Babs cuddled up to Buster. "I’m sorry we spent so much Blue Ears, but you need to appreciate my emotional needs as a woman."

"Well, you need to appreciate my financial needs as a guy!" answered Buster. He then smiled devilishly and wrapped his arms around her. "Besides.. there’s better things to do than go shopping."

"True", sighed Babs blissfully as she fell into his arms.

"Cuddleeng eez much more fun!" laughed Fifi.

"And so much cheaper!" agreed Buster.

Babs smirked at that, goosed Buster’s belly and started to run away, playfully starting one of their chasing games. Lord’s theme interrupted them, as it began playing in their heads.

{ES #1 Introduction}

"Ah theenk our host eez about to make heez entrance!", said Fifi in high excitement, "C’mon!"

"Wow! What a layout!" exclaimed Buster as Fifi led them back to the throne room.

"Whoa, this place is nicer than Monty’s!", commented Babs, "Then again, anyplace is nicer than Monty’s... Didja find out any more about him, Fifi?"

"Some... but not everytheeng" said the skunkette.

The ghostly melody wafted through the long halls, creating a majestic atmosphere. The wordless voices sang liltingly in an eerie chorus.

"Say, that’s the same music we heard yesterday!" noticed Buster, "Is it from Dr. Lord?"

"Obviously, Mister Alert!", smirked Babs, " How’s he do that?"

""Ee playz eet een hiz mind and we hear eet een our heads" Fifi told them.

"Wish I could do that!", said Babs, " My own personal comedy soundtrack anytime I want it! "

" Great", whispered Buster smirking," Just what you need – a non-stop laugh track!"

Fifi shushed them as they entered the throne room and saw Lord’s associates waiting by the elevator doors. The ladies primped themselves as they watched the elevator numerals descending. The Contessa tugged at her satin evening gloves and Fifi followed suit. She felt thrilled and couldn’t wait to see Lord again.

Art by VmC

The music grew as did their expectations – and they were not disappointed.

As the music crescendoed, the doors slid open. Doctor Lord stood there, filling the small elevator. He was resplendent in a romantic 18th century, wine-colored velvet suit, with rows of gold buttons on his wide cuffs. A snowy white cravat draped his throat and polished black leather musketeer’s riding boots came up to his knees. He wore a dark purple, floor-length satin cape with a high flared collar. The cape flowed about him like wings as he stepped out to greet his guests and his great size dwarfed everyone. The Contessa and the others curtsied and bowed before him. He closed his glowing silver eyes and returned their honors, bowing deeply. Fifi could barely contain herself. He was the most handsome creature she’d ever seen.

Lord dew himself up, smiling at her and addressed them all.

"Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring! "

Then with a wink, he said "Let’s Party!"

Look for the next Chapters of -


coming to you soon.