Welcome to the ninth installment of -
" A TIME TO EVERY PURPOSE UNTO HEAVEN " By Pepe K.
Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 soundtrack of THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
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 CD or 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 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (#MCAD-10133) and MUSIC FOR A DARKENED THEATRE - Vol. 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.
like to thank HKUriah, Thorne, Andy Fox, Dennis Smith, VmC
...and Danny Elfman
This story is dedicated to my Beloved Wife.
Thanks to the Great Pilots and Ground Crew of OLD RHINEBECK AERODROME of Rhinebeck,
- "Keep 'em Flying!"
In Remembrance of a wonderful human being - the late great Steve Allen
And now - Part 9 of -
"How could it all be true?! Why moi?!?" Fifi thought as she walked away from the elevator bench and marched towards the exit to the hedge-maze. A hundred emotions and a thousand questions filled her head at once. Doctor Lord - her Grandfather?! An immortal shape-shifter?! Her whole family created and lost because of it?! Had her very existence been arranged by him? Was her life preordained? Had she been "created" for him?!?
"It's one thing to be searching for yourself - but what if someone else already knows where you're bound for??" she thought.
The hedge walls stretched out before her in the darkness. She had to get out - to get away from here! Fifi turned this way and that in frustration, but found only barriers stopping and confusing her. She looked for any sign of the way she'd come, but could discern nothing. Angrily, she tried scrambling up the side of a hedge, only to have one of her high heeled shoes fall to the ground. She slipped and followed it, landing on her bottom with a squeak. With an exasperated growl, she looked at the top of the hedge and a light bulb appeared over her head. Coiling her strong tail beneath her like a spring, Fifi began bouncing and boinging her way up higher and higher. With a mighty bounce, she came to rest atop the the wall, but instantly began to lose her balance. She was about to fall, when an electric whirring sound surrounded her and the wall she was standing on retracted into the ground like an elevator. Fifi teetered and then jumped to the grass. The field lay covered with rectangular holes, showing the black outlines of the maze - then sod-covered doors slid closed and the vast lawn became completely flat and empty. Dr. Lord was evidently letting her go.
The anguished skunkette saw her house and was about to snatch up her fallen shoe, when Lord's voice echoed in her mind.
"Grandperé?" she said aloud, looking for him.
["Petité.. please don't leave?"] She scanned the area, but he wasn't there.
"Don't VOUS call moi zat!!" she snapped, using the formal term on purpose.
["... I never meant any harm"], his thoughts said, sounding hurt, ["I'm here to help you understand."]
"Ah understand! - Ah understand zat vous created moi and mah whole family just for yourzelf!" , she yelled back," Well I am not YOUR property!!"
["Fifi, please listen to me!"] his thoughts pleaded.
"Ah can't bear to hear any more! Go away!"
["....Alright"], his thoughts said sadly, ["..Just remember that I only did what I did out of love."]
Fifi raged into the silence of the night with tears in her eyes: " Ah Don't belong to VOUS! Ah Don't Belong To ANYBODY!! Leave Moi Alone!! Vous- VOUS- CREATURE!!!"
With her own bitter words leaving stinging tears in her eyes, Fifi stomped and clomped unevenly away, wearing only one shoe. Slamming the gate, she furiously marched into her pink Cadillac and banged the door shut. The gate was left ajar and her white slipper lay in the grass, but Fifi didn't care.
Inside, she pulled off her white gown, struggling with the fur caught in her zipper. Frustrated, she pulled the dress over her head and cast it aside. Her shoe, stockings and underwear were thrown on the floor and she threw herself on her bed to sulk. She plumped her face into her pillow and wiped away the tears. She thought of trying to sleep, but her mind was too busy to allow it.
"What can I do now?" , she thought, "I can't tell anyone - they wouldn't believe me! What can I tell them? ...What do I tell Hamton??"
She looked at Hamton's picture on her nightstand. What would this mean to their relationship? She'd never thought about her future lasting forever! True, she'd never been sick - ... except when her parents and Grandmother had perished. And today - when Lord was going to destroy himself in the race. But why? Perhaps immortality wouldn't be so bad. Under the right circumstances, a toon could live forever anyway. But what would it be like? If Lord had such powers and longevity - why would he want to die?
Fifi rolled over on her bed and looked across at the mirror on her dressing table. Her mascara had run from the tears she had shed. She wiped it off with a tissue and was struck by the fact that her own face did more than slightly resemble Lord's own visage. Her eyes darkened as she realized that she'd always look like him. She tossed her head away and looked out the window - only to see his mansion. Among the bushes close by it, she saw Kimba the White Lion, peacefully asleep, his head laying atop his forepaws in the soft grass.
She couldn't tell him...or anyone....
The lights of the house only served to remind her that Lord was there, only yards away. Fifi rolled over again to face the opposite wall - and saw the mansion reflected in her windows. It was inescapable!
Frustrated, she decided to go for a walk and marched out the door. She wanted to escape from his presence, so she crossed the darkened street and walked into the city. It was late and very quiet. No cars appeared anywhere as Fifi strode up the main street, thinking.
Did Lord really mean to claim her as his own? He couldn't!... Could he...? He'd always been very nice and acted like a perfect gentleman towards her... but did he want her romantically? Could he want that sort of relationship with his own Granddaughter? Impossible!
A new thought occurred to Fifi and she came to a halt in front of the Acme Arms apartment building.
She was having romantic feelings for Lord! Next to Pepe, her mentor - she had been seeing him as the ultimate skunk-hunk. Was she angry at finding her life might have been planned for her - or was she reacting like a jilted lover? All the skunks she'd ever pursued had disappointed her... But ...when they'd danced - it was *he* who'd let go - when she didn't want to. Perhaps she'd been imagining his attraction to her - or was it all an act? He'd had to deceive people for three thousand years with his shape-shifting. He's a spy of some kind in Reality - perhaps he was trying to seduce her for some purpose. It was all too much to think about! Too many questions and too few answers.
As Fifi stood lost in thought, her frustration grew till her scent began to rise strongly. Her tail twitched back and forth in agitation, fanning her fumes toward the building.
On the second floor, Taz and the She-Devil were having an argument over the TV remote. Their scrawny arms flailed as the remote was grabbed at again and again.
"YABASABBBALURALESHHH! Taz want see STEEL CAGE WRESTLING!! "
The She-Devil whomped his pointed head repeatedly with her rolling pin.
"EEEROBSNANNYAHHLAPHPPPPT!! WANT SEE CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH!!!"
|Art by Thorne|
His head spinning with stars and ringed planets, Taz gave up and stumbled drunkenly to the window. After rubbing his sore head, he stuck out his huge tongue and loudly raspberried at her. The angry glare he got from under her plastic hair curlers was enough to make him turn back to the window. Taz leaned on his elbows, looking out the window and grumbling in an imitation of her. He saw Fifi standing there under the street lamp. Taz blinked and rubbed his baggy eyes. His eyeballs then popped out and bounced around the room, ricocheting crazily like ping-pong balls! In her haste to leave, Fifi had quite forgotten to wear anything but her fur and her generous figure was having its effect on the male marsupial.
The She-Devil sighed blissfully, watching television as Taz's eyes rebounded around her.
Taz howled, crowed, barked and leaped about in excitement. His mate scowled as her eyes followed his wild gyrations around the room and she calmly put the TV remote on the arm of her chair and picked up her rolling pin. Taz stood with his face squashed against the glass windowpane, his hairy mug flat and distorted, whistling and hooting.
From behind him he heard the She-Devil yell.
Taz instantly cowered as she began bonking him with the wooden rolling pin again.
Their downstairs neighbor, Pete Puma, heard the noise and began knocking on the ceiling with a broom handle.
"Hey, You Touche-mani-ann Devils!! Ah'm sick ‘an tired ‘uh you guys wakin' me up with yer rumpassin'! NOW CUT THAT OUUUT!"
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Devils were in an all-out tornado battle! Arms, legs and assorted blunt objects appeared from the billowing cloud of smoke. Pete's broom struck up through the cheap, paper-thin ceiling, poking right up Taz's nose. The two Devils stopped their fight and Pete sighed in relief.
"Ah'm sure glad *that's* over! Sheeeeeesh!"
Taz pulled the broomstick out of his nostril with a messy pop and pulled it up to look closely at it. Pete - on the other end - hung on to it as he was lifted off the floor and his head was flattened against the ceiling! Taz then shoved the broomstick back down and the puma slammed into the floor. Angrily, Pete stood and thrust the broom back up. Taz's eyes went wide and began to water - then he was yelping around the room in pain. The She-Devil took hold of the broom and began plunging it up and down like a jackhammer, carrying Pete up and down, smack into the ceiling and flat onto the floor, making him truly two-dimensional. Taz grabbed for the handle and the two devils matched hand over hand up the broomstick, like baseball players matching to see who bats first. Pete had recovered his shape by the time the She-Devil had won the top hand and began slamming him up and down again. Suddenly, there was a groan of cracking and splintering timbers and the floor between the three toons collapsed!
The She-Devil leaped into Taz's arms in fear and Taz managed a pathetic wave bye-bye before falling onto Pete, who had opened a ridiculously tiny umbrella at the last second.
The floor smashed down and the three were buried in rubble. Slowly, Pete sat up amidst the debris, still holding his broom, and tenderly felt his cranium.
"Oooooch! A whole lotta lumps! Eeeee!"
Both Tasmanian Devils emerged from under the piles of broken masonry, growling with the word 'Murder' in their eyes. Pete gulped and smiled sheepishly. Taz ate the broom with a crunch and was eying the panicky puma hungrily when Fifi's scent came wafting in through the broken windows and knocked them all senseless.
On the roof, Pepe Le Pew sat on a lawn chair and sadly contemplated the constellations in the night sky. His penthouse garden was still, as Pepe thought of Red Hot's tragic suicide. He'd cried already and sat remembering her as the stars twinkled above him. Penelope slid open the glass door of their penthouse and shivered sleepily in her nightshirt.
"Pepe? It's late. Please come to bed" she said gently. The grieving skunk didn't turn.
"Mah sweet...for once, ah am not een ze mood" he sighed.
Penelope was taken aback a moment and remarked, "Dear, there could be a planetary collision and you'd still be in the mood."
"All theengz change, mah leettle chanson d' amour" he said wistfully.
Behind his back, Penelope's eyes flew open! Visions of uninterrupted slumber filled her mind and she smiled and began to swoon with joy.
In a flash, Pepe was holding her up to keep her from fainting.
"Zere-zere, mah leettle Triangle ov Bermuda! Ah know eet weel deeficult weethout moi, but tu must understand -"
Just then, Fifi's "la fumes" reached him and Pepe's body stiffened - a smile on his face.
"Ah! Zee aroma ov spring flowerz zat bloom een zee spring!" he sighed, squeezing Penelope with passion.
"But it's almost Autumn!" she squeaked with wide eyes.
"AHH! Tu ave put on zat "Eau de La Skonkette" perfume ah gave you - how touching! You naughty minx!"
With a leer, he carried her into the penthouse.
After an hour, Fifi walked back home. The more she thought about it, the more questions she had and the more she realized that she probably shouldn't have run away from Lord. As her Grandfather, he'd always been a very special part of her childhood. She was still very upset with him, but her questions had overridden her anger. If only there was some way for her to be sure that he really was her Grandperé Putois`.
|Art by Thorne|
An idea seized her and she zipped over to open her closet. Boots, purses and shoes flew through the air as the skunkette burrowed through the bottom of her closet. Her fencing mask was jostled from the shelf above her and it landed - stuck on her head. She couldn't see, as the leather gloves covered her eyes inside the steel mesh helmet. Grumbling in French, she pulled it off and was about to throw it in frustration when the gloves fell out, into her paws. Fifi stopped and put them on and found her fencing foil. She toyed with the blade and assumed the "En Garde" stance of a trained fencer. Fifi slashed, parried and thrust for a moment, accidentally scaring herself when the tip of the sword hit the ceiling, then returned to her search.
She found her quarry atop the shelf - her photo album. Amidst the jumble of stuff from the closet, the lavender mephit sat cross-legged on the floor and leafed through the pages of memories.
There were pictures of last year's Junior Prom with Hamton and the gang. There was the first time they'd gone to the beach together and Hamton had been so embarrassed. She saw the time Rhubella Rat had stolen Babs' swimsuit and so Babs had stolen Rhubella's. Plucky, of course, had had a convenient camera.
There was the class picture of Hamton and Fifi grinning together in the line up and one of him presenting her with the birthday cake he'd baked.
Somehow, she'd eventually have to tell him of her immortality - if Lord would allow it.
"Already he's acting like a parent - telling me what to do!" Fifi thought. But obviously it had been necessary for him to keep it a secret all his life...perhaps he really did mean to help her...but these pictures wouldn't help. Fifi closed the album and opened the other end.
|Art by Thorne|
There was her childhood. Her Father and Grandmother, long gone. The family vineyards and their solitary house in the center of the wheat fields.
There were photos of Fifi and Moufette, her sister, dressed for Sunday School. Their matching, handmade pink dresses were trimmed with crocheted white lace to match their tiny gloves. Fifi looked delighted, but Moufette, as usual, just looked grumpy and uncomfortable wearing the cute satin dresses with large hair bows.
There was her Grandmeré, baking the world's best chocolate chip cookies. Fifi remembered the smell of the hot, freshly baked cookies and her grandmother's powdery-smelling perfume.
There was one of her beautiful Mother.
There was Fifi smiling with her best friend Mariette, the piglette. She remembered how Moufette had scolded her for getting so dirty when she and Mariette had played in the mud and how she'd finally told off her sister for the very first time.
There was a picture of Fifi with her aged Father, seated on the porch, his kindly wrinkled smile a delight to his daughter.
Now she understood why she'd lost her beloved Papa. Like her Mother and Grandmother - it was all simply genetic, because they weren't fully immortal, but weren't quite normal toons either. All these years, she'd wondered why they'd died. The long days by their bedsides she had spent, the hours she'd watched Grandperé laboring over the problem in his laboratory and the long nights of listening in the darkness. The prayers she'd whispered that were never answered. Fifi flipped the page and shut out the memories.
There he was! The photo was of herself at the age of five, riding on horseback with Grandperé Putois`. She sat astride in her little riding habit, with her Grandfather seated behind her. Fifi looked carefully at him - searching for something familiar and then found it. She held the old picture up close and examined it. The old gray skunk in jodphurs had one arm around his happy granddaughter and one holding the horse's reins that they held together. There it was... he was wearing the same oval amethyst ring she'd seen on Lord's hand. It *was* true.
Fifi closed the book and crawled into bed. She couldn't fight the truth. She lay back and tried to shut her thoughts away. The skunkette tossed and turned, but it did no good. This was the same Grandfather she'd grown up with, the same one who'd romped with her in the vineyards - playing hide and seek, the one who'd read her stories like "Alice In Wonderland", the one who had taught her fencing...and the one she'd come to when she was broken-hearted. He was the one who'd doctored her parents - his own son and daughter - for weeks at a time without rest.. and this was the same Grandperé Putois` who stood at their graves and cried with her...
Fifi thought and thought till her mind was in a daze. Too many things confused her...too many questions...
Outside on Lord's green lawn, wisps of vapor rose like fog and moved toward the pink Cadillac. It grew thicker and thicker, as it wafted through the fence and around the oil drums in the junkyard. The fog surrounded the old car and began to enter it through the chinks in the windows and doors. It flowed out of the louvered vents of the car and silently crept around Fifi's bed. Her eyelids fluttered as she tried to think. She smelled a sweet odor and breathed it in. The fog moved up and over her, swirling and becoming thicker. Fifi's eyes closed in sleep and the vapor turned into a translucent purple, glowing mass of light. It settled over her body and the light pulsated like a lightning-filled storm cloud. Surrounded by it's purple glow, Fifi smiled as she slept.
On the hood of the car sat Lord's black cat, Pyewaket. Her yellow eyes stared steadily in. She began to purr.
|Art by Pepe K.|
Hamton was hungry. He wandered through a glade in a beautiful forest and plucked a turnip out of the ground to gnaw on. He listened as idyllic music played around him and a flock of lambs gamboled through the trees. He found a babbling brook and lay on its mossy bank to drink. After gulping a few handfuls of cold water from the stream, he suddenly noticed his ugly reflection in the water and swatted at it angrily. He rose and saw Fifi above him on a hill next to the waterfall that fed the stream. She was radiantly beautiful in her lovely peasant dress, as she gently pushed one of her lambs away from the edge of the short cliff where she stood. Hamton was entranced by her beauty and moved closer to see her. He smiled at the pretty shepherdess and tried to warn her of the dangerous cliff, but found he could only make inarticulate sounds. He waved at her and she saw him - and screamed!! Fifi shrieked in terror at the sight of him and began to faint - drooping over the cliff! He watched helplessly in horror, as Fifi collapsed and fell over the cliff and into the water below! Hamton quickly splashed into the icy stream and carried her out. He struggled to lift her heavy, wet form onto the bank and knelt at her side, frantically patting her hands to revive her. Fifi's eyes fluttered open as she came to her senses and again - she screamed! Hamton could only make noises instead of apologies as she pulled her hands away from his and covered herself in fear.
"Don't touch me!! Don't touch me!!" she begged, but he couldn't make her understand. He tried to calm her, but she was so terrified of him it was impossible. Two hunters heard her cries and ran to her aid. Hamton stood up as Buster and Plucky advanced towards him. He gestured to try to explain, but could only grunt at them. They had guns.
"There he is!", Buster said, "Shoot!"
Plucky hurriedly aimed his rifle.
Hamton waved "No, No!!"
The searing hot bullet buried itself in Hamton's arm. In agony, he clutched at the bleeding wound and ran away up the slope. Plucky grabbed Buster's shoulder.
"Run to the village quick! It's the Monster!!", Plucky ordered, "Tell the Burgomaster!"
Buster nodded and ran as Plucky crossed to Fifi's prone form.
Buster ran through the old Germanic streets to the town hall.
An excited crowd heard him yell, "He's in the woods!!"
Dr. Lord appeared from inside the hall.
"What is it?! What's the matter?!"
"The Monster!", exclaimed Buster, "He's in the woods!!"
Lord turned to Policeman Bugs and Yosemite Sam as the crowd began shouting in fervor.
"Get out the bloodhounds! Raise all the men you can, lock the women indoors and wait for me!" Lord quickly ordered.
The big skunk grabbed his hat.
"Now then!", he announced, "Monster indeed!! I'll show him! Follow me!"
The angry mob moved swiftly through the streets, carrying pitchforks, clubs and flaming torches.
Hamton struggled through the empty forest of barren trees. He ran as fast as he could, but was slowed down by his heavy, freezing wet tattered clothes. He clutched his bleeding, wounded arm and ran for his life. How could this be happening to him? From behind, he heard hounds baying and knew they were after him. Thorn bushes ripped at his legs as he ran on blindly, looking for escape. Suddenly Marc Anthony, Spike and Hector the bulldogs ran up the slope after him.
Barking ferociously, Chester, K-9, Sam the Sheepdog and Frisky all came at him from the opposite direction. Hamton saw a small hill with a boulder atop it and struggled up the rocks to reach it. He ducked and hid behind the boulder as the pack of ferocious dogs charged towards the hill. As Hamton's pulse raced in terror, the enraged, bloodthirsty mob poured into the forest ravine like a hungry swarm of army ants, shouting angrily. They brandished axes and shovels, guns and burning torches. Plucky and Buster saw him on the hill and drew their rifles. As they aimed at him from below, Hamton heaved against the boulder to stop them. It toppled over the edge and fell on them - crushing them to death! In anguish and horror, Hamton saw Elmer Fudd release the chains that held back the dogs! The frenzied crowd followed the snarling hounds and they were upon him! Hands were beating and grabbing him as he was dragged to the ground. Hamton struggled for his life, but he was overpowered as they tied him to a heavy pole. He was trussed up to it, his arms outstretched and suddenly he was being lifted up in the air on the pole! He hung there, bruised and beaten, as the horrible mob threw things at him! A hay wagon was brought in to take him away. Bound by the ropes, Hamton hung there, crucified by his friends, until he felt himself falling helplessly towards the wagon! His eyes opened wide as he screamed in agony - and sat bolt upright.
Covered with sweat and filled with adrenalin, Hamton found himself in his own bed at home. His room was dark and the bedclothes were all bunched up. It was just a nightmare.
He mopped his brow and sighed with relief as he settled down. The sleeve of his pajamas was tight around his arm and he felt it. There was no wound, of course. Hamton got up and remade his bed before he laid back down and pulled up the covers, wondering if it meant anything.
Next morning, Hamton had happily cleaned his room and was on his way out the front door when the phone rang. The caller ID showed it was Plucky.
"Hi Plucky!" he answered cheerfully.
"Hiya Hammy! - hey!..how'd you know it was - ?!..oh yeah.. Anyways, how'd ya like to shoot some hoops with me today?"
"I'm sorry Plucky but I'm having breakfast with Fifi."
He heard the duck's customary sigh of distaste. "Aw C'mon Hamton! I'll show ya some of my expert game-winning moves!"
"Oh, do you know any?" the pig asked innocently. "Plucky, Fifi and I have to study for 'Romantic Pursuit 310'."
"What?! You're taking an advanced elective!?! That's for seniors!! How'd you two get into that course?!?"
"Professor Le Pew gave us permission" said Hamton with pride.
"Figures!...Teacher's pig..", Plucky muttered sourly, " ..Don't cha get enough practice on your own?"
"Plucky...please don't start *that* again." the pig said patiently, "I'll be around tonight."
"Oh, C'mon..I - I uh.. I made a big mess in our room!"
Hamton's face clouded. "You better *not* have! I left it clean yesterday!"
"Uh..yup! I uh..Shirley and I partied all night long! Uh - Didn't we Shirl?....."
There was a pause and then Hamton heard a strange falsetto voice say, ".. Um, Like, fer sure, Plucky, my like, dream duck! We like, had the most, totally bodacious time!"
Hamton looked at the phone as though lobsters were crawling out of the receiver and then said into it, " Gee Shirley, I didn't know you were there too! I'll just let you two get back to your fun, then." There was a puzzled silence from the phone. "Oh - and Shirley?..Tell Plucky he should raise his voice another octave and a half if he wants to imitate your voice right. Bye!"
Hamton smiled to himself as he hung up the phone and left the house.
In their unnaturally clean dorm room, Plucky hung up the phone and sank back on the top bunk bed and sighed in exasperation. Another Saturday morning of watching Jokemon alone! He thought in desperation and.. did have a possible alternative - a weak chance at best.
He dialed another number nervously. "H-H-Hello Shirley? I, uh..was wondering..."
Halfway down the street, Hamton heard the familiar rumble of a engine and turned in time to see Arnold pull up beside him on his motorcycle. Sitting astride his old black BMW R75, the burly white pit bull looked dangerous in his black leather boots, chaps and motorcycle jacket. He wore a shiny black German helmet with goggles.
"Gut en morgen, Herr Schwine! Need a ride?"
"Hi Arnold! Sure! If you don't mind going by Fifi's house," Hamton said cheerfully.
"Perfect! I'm going to Docktor Lord'z haus, next door. Here! " said the beefy bodybuilder, handing him a helmet.
Hamton walked around and climbed into the sidecar. "Starting your job with him already?" he asked.
"Yah. I told Monty I quvit dis mornink. Boy, vas he mad! I toldt him to cool off and threw him in der pool!" Arnold said with a hearty laugh.
Hamton giggled and put on a seat belt. "What are you going to be doing for the Professor?"
|Art by Ludwig Van Goff|
Arnold gunned his engine noisily and began the drive to the junkyard.
"I told him how I'd restored zis motorcycle and he asked eef I'd like to verk on some really old engines! You'll never believe vat I'll be doing! Ein Luft Mechaniche!" beamed Arnold over the engine's roar.
"Huh?" puzzled Hamton loudly as he held on to the safety bar.
"Ein Flugzeug Mechaniche!" Arnold yelled.
"What?!" yelled Hamton, still unable to hear him.
"Heh! You'll be finding out zoon enough!" the big dog laughed.
They soon pulled up at Dr. Lord's driveway. There were a couple of cars there already and a third was just arriving.
From out of a flashy red, foreign-looking sports car came the stunning figure of what looked like a beautiful, long-legged white mouse. Her legs looked a bit like those of a kangaroo. She swaggered purposefully towards the door in a red leather jumpsuit that clung to her body like a coat of paint. Arnold howled and zipped to open the door for the statuesque blonde and ogled her as he removed his helmet and goggles. He offered her a hand.
"Hi Babe! ", he grinned flexing his arms as she barely glanced at him, "Velcome to ze Docktor's - !"
The over anxious male never finished his sentence. With a lighting-fast judo move, the lady mouse threw him into the bushes.
"Neimnetsky!" she muttered as she swept by on her way through the door and inside. Hamton rushed to Arnold's upside down form amidst the bushes. Arnold's eyes spun around till his pupils stopped in his right eye. His goony smile remained as Hamton picked up his friend.
" She vants me!" the dizzy pit bull said gleefully.
Dr. Lord was sitting in his main room, in the midst of a conversation with his business partners. Contessa Veronica de La Ardilla the squirrel sat with Armando the armadillo, on a couch and Mae Bear sat next to Lord, when the blonde bombshell of a mouse swept into the room.
"Docktor, ah must speak wit chu - Right avay!" she said smartly.
Lord and Armando rose at her startling entrance.
"Heavens, Laika - now this is a surprise." Lord said with sarcastic calmness. At that moment, Arnold rushed in.
"I am sorry,Herr Docktor - dis voman just busted in!" he said hurriedly.
"It's all right, Arnold, I know the lady", said the tall skunk reassuring him, "Everyone - allow me to introduce Ms. Laika Tatyana Romanov - of Slobovia. This is -"
"Ah know who dey are -" Laika stated, interrupting him, "Ah must speak vith chu alone - and Now!"
Mae Bear scornfully put her hands on her hips.
"Take a number, Sister! We were here first!" she warned.
The shapely blonde turned with deadly calm and spoke to the bruin with false courtesy.
"Ah vould not hev ventured to come, vere I not carryingk information ov de *utmost* importance to ze Docktor. My beezness vith him - iz Private" she said firmly.
The others opened their mouths in protest, but stopped as Lord raised a hand for silence.
"Very well, Miss Romanov. I'll speak with you in the study. Arnold, you've met my partners - please entertain them for a moment."
He rose and walked into the hall. With a pleased look and a sweep of her tail, Laika followed him.
The Contessa sniffed disdainfully.
"Hhow rude! Hwhat a deesagreeabull little witch!" said the lady squirrel.
"Where I come from - we pronounce it a little differently" Mae remarked in a saucy way.
Arnold sat uncomfortably with them in his black leather motorcycle outfit and tried not to look totally out of place. He failed miserably.
"I think she's a hottie!" he said with a big smile.
"Indeed, yes!" agreed Armando also smiling.
The Contessa and Mae looked at each other. Mae rolled her eyes.
Hamton looked into Fifi's window and saw her - still sound asleep. Not wanting to disturb her, he silently opened the car door and crept in.
Fifi was sprawled across her bed on her belly, with a leg dangling to the floor and her tail almost hanging out the window. Dainty little snores came from underneath the photo album that covered her face. Slowly and carefully, Hamton gently took her tail from the window and covered her back with it. Her comforter had been kicked off the foot of the bed and he tenderly drew it up to cover her. He then delicately withdrew the book from her head and looked upon her enchanting features. He could see rapid eye movement under her eyelids and knew that she was dreaming.
Did she dream of him? He remembered the three nights he'd spent watching over her as she slept after her mother had died. He felt the warmth of her face and gently kissed her forehead. He was rewarded as Fifi smiled in her sleep. Suddenly, she rolled over to face away from him, tucking her leg under herself. Hamton rose with a shrug and soundlessly set to work straightening up the place.He hung up her dress, looked everywhere for her missing shoe, and put away the contents of her closet.
Lord's tail twitched thoughtfully as he led the young mousie into the privacy of his black oak-panelled study. He sat behind an antique desk, looking rather severe in a black modern suit and waited as she closed the doors behind them. He knew she wasn't usually like this. With self-assurance, Laika faced him, with her fists on her shapely hips.
"Pavel, eez dees room secure?"
Lord leaned forward on his elbows, contemplating her silently. Behind her, a steel panel slid out of the wall and covered the door. The metal louvered vents of the heating and air conditioning ducts closed and another armored panel shut off the light from the window, making the room light proof and pitch dark. Laika drew apprehensively backwards toward the door she knew was behind her. When the interior lighting came on, she was startled to find Lord standing right in front of her!
Before she had a moment to speak, he was reaching for her bosom.
|Art by Thorne|
As her eyes widened, the towering skunk grasped the front of her jumpsuit and ripped the top button away. Laika covered herself instinctively and began to blush with anger, till she saw the Doctor break the button in half and extract a miniature microphone and a wire.
"Now it is" he said, crushing it between two fingers.
He crossed back to sit in his office chair. Laika sighed at the discovery.
"My apologies. My countrymen are suspicious ov my liaison vit you. Dis vill not happen again" she said sweeping her hair back.
"See that it doesn't ", the skunk stressed, " I suggest you change your tailor. So...what brings you to this country?"
Laika's expression steadied.
"I am sure you already know" she said ominously," Forty-eight hourz ago, Objective Four EC Two vas liquidated."
Lord smiled slightly. "Well, that ought to make alot of people safer..and happy," the Doctor commented.
"He vas our target az vell, but my country vas displeased not to have been consulted first" Laika asserted.
"If you're going to use that pistol, at least put the silencer on - I don't want my guests disturbed" Lord said inscrutably.
The mousette grew heatedly angry. "Alvays you are for reading my mind before it iz told!!" she yelled angrily stamping her boot.
"It becomes necessary when dealing with dangerous spies like us," he concluded, "Besides - you're well aware that it won't hurt me."
Laika drew her pistol anyway, leveling it at him. It was a real weapon a 3-D Luger. Lord had no reaction whatsoever, as she screwed on the silencer.
"It iz my duty to my country and to both verlds to try to stop you!"
Lord shook his head sadly at her. "After all we've been through together - still you would do this."
She backed up against the steel door, suppressing her emotions.
"Please do not be making zis harder for me. I vould do zis to anything az dangerous az Berserker! I vas dere after you left - it vas Berserker'z doing! "
Lord now seemed interested.
"Really? What makes you think so?"
"Dere vere no traces, no tracks, no prints - nothing. Just blood and broken bodies. It vas beyond brutal!"
"And you suspect that I am Berserker?" Lord asked coolly.
Laika steadied the gun in her hand. Her eyes narrowed. "I have studied you for yearz, Pavel...and figured out just who and vhat you are!"
"I too, am a student ov history. No one else knows you az well az I. Few have seen vat you can do."
Only Lord's eyes shifted. "So do your duty, my dear."
Laika's red lip's curled. She hated having to do this. "Zat vould be useless against you - but there are those whom you protect."
Lord's face grew dark and he rose, advancing toward her.
""Please Pavel! Don't make me shoot!!" she begged pointing the gun at him, her fingers tightening around it. Lord's hand made a sharp gesture and the gun was nearly wrested from her grip. Laika struggled to hold on to it and the gun went off in her hand, making a muffled jet of noise! Lord came to a halt and closed his eyes in pain.
In shock, Laika released the gun as tears came to her eyes and she rushed to his side. He faltered a second, then his mind drew the gun through the air and into his hand. Laika's voice shook she took hold of his arm.
"I -I -I'm so sorry Pavel! I never vanted this! Please Forgiff me!!"
Lord straightened and put the gun on on his desk. He then showed her his wounded hand. The bullet hole in his palm was a clean round opening and he reached to the other side where she couldn't see with his other hand. He gave a slight tug and then dropped the spent bullet into her own hand. As Laika winced in repugnance, he showed her the open hole in his hand.
"Ouch." he said flatly.
As the Slobovian stared, the toony flesh of his palm moved and closed till the wound did not exist. Lord then walked over and put her pistol into his desk and locked it.
"You're not getting this back until I feel that you've matured" he said dispassionately.
The mousette fell into a chair in bewilderment. "Zen it iz true! Nothing can harm you!"
Lord's gaze was sadly cold - he was nearly angry. "Your lack of confidence in me hurts even more than that bullet. Those that I protect are most precious to me!"
Laika grew insistently serious again.
"Zen vhy do you endanger zem - and everytheeng?! Berserker iz menace to our world and yourz!!"
Lord slumped back in his chair with a sigh.
"I know" he admitted.
"Vhy den did you use it?!?", she beseeched him,"You know vat could happen!!"
Lord nodded gravely. "Because I'm not in full control. I no longer have the support I once did..the Berserker gang had to be appeased."
Laika was alarmed at this. "You are losingk control?! Vhat support do you need?"
"I require mental linkages to those whom I... - to steady my spirit I... I ...lost the last full link I had. The only one I have left... is only partial" he said self-conciously. "I need complete links to bolster myself."
Laika pressed him "Zen for God's Sake! - Use me!" she implored.
Lord looked at her in astonishment. "After you shot me?" he said with a laugh.
Laika hung her head in shame. Lord laughed again and rose to stand behind her, his hands on her sagging shoulders.
"I was just kidding, Comrade", he said smiling genuinely, "If you fit the profile - you and I would already be linked. You're my friend."
She put a small paw on one of his hands. "I'm glad zat chu still theenk so, Comrade" she said softly.
"By the way - my compliments on your detective work" the Doctor commented.
Laika smiled, self-satisfied. "Ah vould not hev believed it, eef I had not seen eet weeth my own eyes."
Dr. Lord crossed to stand in front of her. "Does anyone else know about me?" he asked.
The mousette shook her head. "Nyet..who could believe such a fanciful story?" she said lightly.
"Any records of it?"
"Just my personal files...I vould tell no one" she declared.
Lord crouched down to eye level with her. His eyes were glowing completely white! Laika's expression froze as though paralyzed.
"No, my dear - you won't" he said quietly with regret.
Laika sat staring in front of her as Lord crossed back to his desk.
"You will forget everything about Berserker.You will remember that I am your good friend and what we've been through in the past. You came here to conduct Kimba the White Lion back to his jungle kingdom in Africa. You will see him safely there and then return home. Then you will return here with all the files you gathered on me as being the Berserker. You shall not remember what I have said or what has happened here today. Do you understand, Laika?"
"Yes" she said absently.
Lord shook his head sadly at having to do this to a friend, but his security was paramount. He looked up and all the metal security doors opened. He closed his eyes slowly and Laika followed suit. His large eyes opened and were their normal silvery aspect again. Laika blinked and her face drew to her usual charming smile.
"I'm so glad chu haf zis confidence in me, Pavel! When do I meet zee Keeng ov zuh jungle?" she asked rising enthusiastically.
"Right now!" Lord said cheerfully walking to the door. He was about to open it when the exuberant girl wrapped him in a hug and kissed him. Lord blinked in surprise and smiled.
"Eetz zo good to see you again, Pavel!" said Laika as she bounced out the door. The Doctor chuckled.
"Yes indeed!" he said to himself, shaking his hand and wincing in irritation.
Lord returned to the main room with the bouncy Laika holding his arm. Kimba sat chatting with the others as the happy blonde creature approached him.
"I am honored for to meet chu, your Majesty!" she said merrily.
Kimba was quite pleased and rose to greet her, while the others were puzzled at her new attitude. Lord introduced them.
"Kimba, this is Ms. Laika Romanov of the Slobovian Secret Service."
"I vill personally conduct chu safely back to Africa and your Jungle Kingdom, your Majesty" Laika promised.
The White Lion was impressed.
"My, what a charming guide you are! May I ask you - are you some form of mouse, Ms. Romanov?"
"I am a Slobovian Jeriboa, your Majesty" she beamed.
"Ah!" he said realizing, "Oh please, just call me Kimba."
"Zen chu must call me Laika!" she said with a giggle.
As the two began chatting amiably, Mae Bear whispered into Lord's ear.
"What did you give her? A "happy pill"?, she said out of the side of her mouth, "I would have belted her in the mouth!"
"She just saw things my way" the skunk said smirking.
Mae smiled knowingly.
"You do have a way with the ladies."
The two of them chuckled.
Fifi awoke to the delicious smell of scrambled eggs. She rolled over and found Hamton smiling at her.
"Good morning, honey! " he said putting her mug of cola on the nightstand. She smiled and took a deep breath of the wonderful breakfast smells and yawned widely, showing her canine teeth and stretching her tail. The purple fluffball then suddenly curled up, playfully hiding under her comforter and peeked out at him.
"Hi!" she said being coy and ducking back under to hide.
Hamton knew this game and his fingers sneaked under the comforter to tickle her. He was rewarded by happy squeals as she wiggled under his grasp. Hammy giggled as well and pulled back the edge of her blanket and kissed her pink nose. He didn't see her long tail snaking out from the bottom of the bed until it seized him like a hungry octopus and tickled him silly. As the pig found himself wrapped in luxurious scented tail fur, Fifi sat up and embraced him lovingly.
"Mmmm! Scrambled eggz! Merci mon conniechon!" the skunkette said sniffing. She took a long sip of her cola and then leaned over to give him a sweet good morning kiss. Hamton then placed her breakfast tray on her lap and they shared the repast he had prepared. Fifi tried the scrambled eggs and noticed something. She slyly raised an eyebrow and said with a smile,
"Tu sneaked salt eento zees, n'est pas?"
Hamton was caught with a great mouthful of them and grinned sheepishly, eggs dripping from the corners of his mouth.
"Naught-y boy!" she laughed, daintily wiping off his mouth with a napkin. Hamton chuckled and said
" It's lucky Buster and Babs aren't here - they wouldn't be able to eat."
This caught Fifi off guard.
"They'd probably be gagging at our high-level of cuteness!"
The happy couple giggled and dug into the hot-buttered toast.
"Hurry up Buster! We're ready to go!" called Babs down Buster's rabbit hole for the second time.
"I'm comin'! I'm comin'!", she heard his muffled voice say, "I just gotta find my LameBoy."
"Leave the video games! We're going on a fun journey - there'll be plenty of things to do!" the pink bunny said tapping her big foot.
"Got it!" exclaimed Buster, popping up from the burrow with the hand held game. "By the way, where're we goin'?"
Bugs honked the horn of his red Dodge Viper, where he and Honey Bunny sat waiting. Buster stood still and flipped on his LameBoy and began playing "Jokemon - Chartreuse Version", the machine making silly blooping noises.
"Let's go, Blue-Ears!" Babs said, taking his hand.
"Leggo, Babsy! I just got into a battle, here!" he said pulling away. Babs crossed her arms.
"I thought you told Monty that Jokemon was dumb!"
"Yeah, it is" Buster said absently, as he stared at the game.
"So why do you still play it?"
Bugs honked again as the blue bunny continued to press buttons and stare at the tiny screen. Babs grabbed Buster's ears and began dragging him to the car.
"C'mon' Mister Alert" she said slightly annoyed.
Buster began whining.
"Hey! Waitaminute! I'm de-evolving Geekachu! Ow! Wait! Yer pullin' my ear! Just a sec! Just a sec!....I wanna make him into Freakachumon!..."
Hamton was busily cleaning the breakfast dishes as Fifi dragged herself out of bed. Her fur was matted and her hair was shaped like the state of Alaska.
"Ah theenk ah need a shower. Mah hair must be a sight," she said stretching. Hamton blushed and scrubbed a dish.
"Uh...okay...um - I'll just turn my back" he said trying to look the other way. Fifi looked at him strangely.
"Hammy, tu ave seen moi een just mah fur before."
The pig turned red and scrubbed furiously at the dish.
The nervous pig scrubbed and ground the dish down to nothing.
"Umm...well.. that was before I couldn't keep my eyes from popping out."
Fifi woke up completely and hurried into the bathroom.
Hamton wiped his sweating brow. Fifi called to him.
"Well, ah'll just shower zen. Weell tu be okay?"
He sighed with relief.
"I'll watch TV - my favorite movie's gonna start."
Hamton dried the dishes and put them away then flipped on Fifi's small television. He heard Fifi turn on the shower and settled down to relax in a chair to watch. Suddenly, Fifi opened the door and dashed out to her dresser. Hamton covered his eyes and blushed again. She grabbed some clothes and hurriedly ran back into the bathroom and slammed the door. Hamton cautiously uncovered one eye with his fingers and peeked to see if she was there. The pig sighed happily in relief as he looked at the door. It was closed. It opened again and she stepped out.
"Ah just needed some clothes-!"
Hamton managed to hold his eyes in his head, but his tongue unrolled onto the floor and he panted like a dog.
"A-duh-duh-duh-duh!" the pig drooled, before howling and bonking himself repeatedly with a mallet.
"Oopz!" said Fifi slamming the door again
In front of Dr. Lord's mansion, Kimba the White Lion was leaving on his way back to Africa. He climbed into the red Ferrari next to his lovely guide, Laika Romanov. The lion turned to her with concern.
"Are you sure we'll have no troubles at the airport?" he asked.
The gorgeous jeriboa laughed.
"But ov course, Your Majesty!" she replied, "Ve haf diplomatic immunitee!"
"You couldn't be in better hands, Kimba" smiled Lord.
Kimba turned to the Doctor, who smiled and leaned down to the car. The two friends hugged each other through the open widow. Kimba's white mane covered Lord's face a moment as he expressed his thanks.
"You have my eternal gratitude, my Lord - and I *shall* help you one day" Kimba said as they parted.
"Knowing of your freedom is thanks enough, your Majesty," Lord said fishing in his pocket. He withdrew a gold chain necklace and hung it around the lion's neck. It bore a large amethyst gem that shone with a purple sparkle within it. Everyone was impressed. Kimba's sky-blue eyes shone.
"This is for your Queen - Kitty - and your family" Lord told him, "There is nothing more important than family."
"Thank you Pavel - for everything" Kimba said waving goodbye.
"I'll see you next veek, Pavel!" ,Laika called, "Dasvedanyeh!"
Lord smiled in his usual secretive way.
"Da" , he said, "Until we meet again."
With a wave and a toot of her horn, Laika drove away as everyone else waved goodbye.
The Contessa and Armando made for their car as well.
"I'm afraid we bedder get going az well" said the shy armadillo, in his delicate Mexican accent, "The Contessa must make her flight and mine eez soon after."
He shook hands with Lord, wagging his spiky tail.
"Adios, amigos" said the Doctor.
Mae Bear gave the Contessa a hug.
"I'll see you guys at the conference next month. Stay loose, Veronica!" she smiled. The Contessa turned with a snarky sidelong glance at the she-bear.
"Mae, ju are hwhat dey call - 'one right broad'."
With that, the upper-class squirrel sat beside Armando, who began to laugh as he drove away. Mae stood there in surprise. Lord smirked and began to laugh as he walked inside. Mae followed him in and closed the door.
"How do ya like that?" she commented, " Who'd have thought that the old girl had a sense of humor?"
Lord chuckled for a bit before turning to Arnold. "Arnold, we'll try out the Dreideckker today! Grab yourself something to eat in the kitchen and then give her a good going over. I'll give you a hand rolling her out as soon as I'm ready."
"Jahwol, Herr Docktor!" said Arnold with a click of his boot heels as he left.
Mae looked at him, her expression changing pleasantly.
"I thought they'd never leave" the pretty bear said smiling and taking Lord's arm. "Come with me."
Lord raised his eyebrows and let her lead him into the main room.
"Are you staying in town?" he asked.
Mae sauntered over to the couch and patted it for him to sit. Her royal blue dress was a trifle tight on her pleasantly plump frame.
"I figured I'd spend a few days away from the 'rat race' in New Yawk," she said fluffing out her bi-colored long hair with her fingers. "I'll stick around till Monday. You got anything to do?"
"Not much this weekend, but classes start again Monday."
Mae leaned toward him with a sultry look in her big brown eyes and pulled Lord's tie out of his suit.
"What ya doin' fer dinner?" she said provocatively.
Lord laughed, pleasantly surprised. His toothy smile confused her.
"What? Ya think I'm kidding?" she asked jokingly.
Lord looked at her in genuine surprise.
"Mae Bear!" he said in mock shock.
"Always a possibility!" she joked again. Now they were both laughing.
"Why, Mae!", he chuckled, "Whatever can be on that mind of yours?"
The attractive ursine smirked, "Why don't you find out?"
Again, Lord was surprised and asked "You really want me to?"
The bear lady wiggled her eyebrows, saying "Yeeeeeees".
The triangular white pupils of Lord's eyes grew whiter for a moment and his expression softened.
"Why Mae - this is so sudden!" he said in a slightly silly voice.
"Oh C'mon!", she said lightly slapping his shoulder, "You knew that I felt that way about cha. I'm about as subtle as an anvil."
Lord just smiled with delight, as Mae began to blush and fiddle with his tie.
"I mean... you're now officially single...we've both been married before..."
"I did....remarry..." he told her, his chin sinking down.
Mae looked down in disappointment.
"But...eleven years ago, my other wife died. A few month's ago... my only daughter passed away too" the tall skunk revealed.
Her brown paw touched his shoulder and she put her arm around him.
"I'm sorry Pav...I didn't know. You never tell us anything personal." She drew back and looked into his eyes gently. "...You really should, ya know? A guy gets to feelin' lonely when he doesn't trust others... I've been there - I know. A person can't make it alone in this world."
Lord looked up at her.
"How well I know that", he said sadly, "... I've.. been going through a personal crisis as well."
Mae nodded, "You have been kinda gloomy lately", she said kindly.
"I'm not quite myself", he told her," There's something missing."
"Well, maybe I could help", she said hopefully," I'd like to."
"What do you propose?"
Mae's face lit up, "Now there's an idea!" she beamed.
"You're a pistol, Mae, You really are!" he laughed.
She cocked her head sideways, "That's why I get the big money!"
He pulled her into a hug and their difference in size didn't seem to matter so much. She squeezed him back. He looked at her closely.
"I'll think about it, Mae - honestly, I will."
She seemed pleased.
"I can live with that! We've got lots of time."
Lord's secretive smile escaped him.
"We do, at that."
Mae stood and faced him. "Well, I'm gonna go get lunch…and then I'll be back for dinner...
And you better be a good cook!" she warned jokingly, walking for the door. At the hallway, she stopped and looked at him.
Mae turned and sashayed slowly back to where he sat, making sure he got a good look. She posed and showed him a very shapely leg.
"See these gams?"she said brazenly, "Remember 'em!"
The stunning woman then stepped up closely.
"Feel this kiss?", she whispered just before planting a long passionate embrace and a powerful kiss on him. She dipped him and Lord's tail shook and his stripes burned red like a boiling thermometer. She gently released him and put him back on the couch.
"Remember *that*!" she whispered with a seductive smile.
Lord watched her, stunned, as she walked back to the door, like Mae West. She posed at the entrance slowly smiled and said, "Ah'll be back ta see ya.....tonight."
With a flip of her feather boa, she exited.
The tall skunk sat quite amazed.
"Hmm! Something new has been added!" he smiled.
Fifi had dried herself after her shower, under her giant blow-drier and brushed out her fur, but it wouldn't stay smooth no matter what she did to it. Combing and slicking it just made her full of static electricity and she zapped herself touching the doorknob. Finally, she gave up and put on the clothes she'd grabbed; her lavender shorts and a purple tank top with a tie-dyed heart on it. She heard old orchestral music coming from the movie Hamton was watching and came out of the steamy bathroom to see what it was. It was an old black and white film from the human world. The Frankenstein Monster was being chased by an angry mob. Fifi stopped to watch the scene and then she saw Hamton.
He was curled up in a fetal position in terror and was in tears!
"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHG!!" he screamed as she startled him and he leaped out of the chair to wrap himself around her.
"Hammy, vat'z wrong?!", she implored as she held him, "Why are you so scared?!?"
The wide-eyed pig pointed at the television.
"I dreamed that that was ME last night!! *I* was the Monster!! And everybody hated me and Plucky and Buster SHOT me - and I KILLED them!"
Fifi tried to comfort him as he sniffled and shivered.
"Hammy, eetz only a movie! Eet can't hurt you! Eetz not real!"
The poor pig quietly sobbed.
"But ...you were in it too! You were horrified by me!! You screamed and pushed me away!"
Fifi took him back to his chair, sat with him and calmed him down.
"Tu had a nightmare - zat'z all! ..Ah would nevair be frightened ov you - ah love you!"
Hamton hugged her tight and turned to look at the TV once more.
"I ...I know it was."
He suddenly grew angry.
"Oh! Darn! Darn! Triple Darn!! - This used to be my favorite movie, too! ...I've seen it a hundred times!" he said regretfully.
"Vat eez eet, anyway?"
"'The Bride of Frankenstein'! It's the greatest horror movie of all times!", Hamton rattled away like a dictionary, "Directed by James Whale in 1935! Starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Una O'Connor,(she was really funny!) Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Dwight Frye and Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Pretorius!"
"Tu watch too many scary movies, mon conniechon... but eet soundz impressive" Fifi said watching the screen.
She began to think of Lord again and settled down to watch. Hamton got back into his chair as the mob scene drew to a close.
"Why does zee Monstair look like 'ee eez being crucified like Christ on zee cross?" the skunkette asked.
Hamton looked on, still hurt by his nightmare.
"That's what the director was saying about people who are different from the rest."
Fifi held his hand as they watched the rest of the picture. She thought of Lord and his creation - her! Was he the Creator? Or the Monster? She witnessed the thrilling creation and destruction of the female Monster and came away wondering at it all.
Nearby at Weinnieburgers, Plucky had reluctantly paid for the brunch that he and Shirley had just finished.
"Seventeen Bucks!?! For This stuff? This is outrageous!"
"Like, mellow out, Plucky", Shirley shrugged, "That's about normal - when yer like, paying for it. Up till now, it was usually me who would foot your bill."
" Yeah, I remember feeling those kicks in the teeth " he said, holding his jaw. " Well..I took care of it, so you won't have to Shirl."
The loon crossed her arms.
"I've noticed that you've been like, ultra-nice to me today," she said as they walked outside.
Plucky was sullen and began stuttering, " Well I - well I - I - I...."
"You're like, really trying to be nice! Aren't you?" she asked, happily amazed.
Plucky waved his wings about.
"Shhhh! Don't spread it around! I have a reputation to uphold!"
"Mmmm-right ", you wanna be known as a selfish egotistical duck? Don't worry. I think your rep is safe. Like, I wouldn't tell anyone yer being sweet to me!"
"Yup! If anyone asks - I'll say yer just a maladjusted mallard - er sum junk."
"That's fine with me! Now, would you care to accompany this most foul fowl to the basketball courts?"
"Fer sure - as long as you don't make any foul shots at me", Shirley said as they began the walk to the Looniversity.
"I promise! These hands will remain in strictly legal territory."
Plucky smiled to himself and they continued on their way.
Buster had his face against a window, staring outside. He gulped audibly.
"Babs, I gotta admit you were right about this journey and having plenty to do!" he said weakly as he turned green.
The window was on Bugs Bunny's private Cessna 172 and Buster was looking at the trees tops five thousand feet below the airplane!
"Yup, plenty to do! ..Urgh. I could throw up aaaall over the cockpit!"
Honey Bunny cautioned him from the front passenger's seat.
"Buster! Don't you dare do that in this aircraft! We'd all have to stare at it and smell it for the next hour and a half!"
Bugs looked back from the pilot's seat.
"Relax, kiddo. Flyin' is safer den drivin'!" he said.
Buster collapsed back into the seat next to Babs, as he turned plaid.
"Yeah", said the woozy rabbit, "If you're a bug on the windshield!"
Babs sat having a great time. She was stuffing handful after handful of greasy potato chips into her mouth.
"Relax, Buster! See how good it feels to conquer your greatest fear!"she chuckled.
"So this is your revenge for my requesting that song, huh?"
The pink bunny turned to him with a supremely smug look.
"I conquered my full name and you can conquer you fear of flying!"
"Ya think so, Barbara Ann?"
"Err - Yes! Yes I do!"
"Are you suuure, _Barbara_Ann_?"
"Grrrrrrr! Yes! I'm positive!!
"Absolutely suuure, Barbara Ann??"
"GRRRRRR!!! DON"T CALL ME THAT!!! "
Buster was now not only a green plaid color - he was covered with a smashed bag of greasy, crushed potato chips!
Hopelessly, he looked out the window again and muttered,
"I hate flying,I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying...."
"Zat waz quite zee good movie, Hammy" Fifi remarked, thinking more and more of the situation with her Grandfather.
"Why do tu suppose zee lady monster rejected Frankenstein?"
"Maybe because she was given an artificial brain" Hamton shrugged, "I think the director was showing the irony of people being different - that even people who are like each other, still see differences between themselves and are still afraid and hate others. She was made for him - but she hated him cause he was ugly."
"But she didn't ask to be made as a bride for heem."
"No, but... well in the original screenplay - the Monster said: "She is like the rest"- instead of - "She hate me! Like Others!" Hamton told her, imitating Boris Karloff. "Oh by the way - Frankenstein was the doctor - not the Monster."
"Tu really know alot about eet" she said with a smile.
The pig proudly nodded. "I've seen it enough times."
At that moment, there was a very loud sound from Lord's adjoining back lawn. Hamton looked out the window, but Fifi turned away and went to sit on her car seat.
"I wonder what that was?" Hamton said curiously.
Fifi didn't know or care what Lord was up to. She got out a textbook.
"Hammy?" she called softly," I theenk we should start studying for our Romantique Pursuit class!"
Hamton looked at her with delight and zipped to sit next to her.
Fifi opened the book Le Pursuit et Capture dé la Sex Opposité by Pepe Le Pew.
Hamton giggled. "I don't think Arnold would do very well in this class. We saw a pretty lady mouse at Doctor Lord's house and when Arnold tried to make an impression on her - she judoed him into the bushes!"
Fifi raised an eyebrow and asked " A lady mouse?"
"Oh yes! She came in this fancy red sports car."
"Zee pretty girl?"
"Un-huh, imagine Jessica Rabbit as a blonde with white fur and a tail. She was wearing all this red leather."
Fifi's eyes narrowed.
"And what waz she doing zere?"
"I dunno. I came over to clean up your house then. How come you threw your new dress on the floor?"
The skunkette was taken aback.
"Oh, ah'm sorry...ah forgot."
"That's okay. Just please be careful - silk can get damaged or stained very easily!" he told her. "By the way, what happened last night?"
"Oh...nothing... much", Fifi stammered nervously. She didn't want to have to lie to him.
"So was Doctor Lord okay? Did you find him?"
"Uh.. Oui, Kimba zee White Lion helped moi to track heem down."
Again, there was a very loud sound from behind Lord's mansion. Arnold came flying through the air, apparently thrown by something and struck the fence. His body took on the slatted shape of the wrought iron fence. He got up and shook himself to his own shape. He was wearing olive drab coveralls covered with oil stains.
"Are you alright?" they heard Lord's voice call.
"Jahwol, I just forgot to let go!" Arnold laughed back as he walked back out of sight. Hamton kneeled on the seat to try to see what was going on, but Fifi continued to stare at the book.
"Arnold must be working at his new job with the Professor."
Fifi ignored the goings-on and began to read aloud. "Chaptair One -'ow to Detect and Identify zee Oppozite Sex."
They heard Arnold and Lord speaking loudly in German.
"I wonder what they're doing?"
Fifi looked at him impatiently.
"Hamtone? Are we not going to study zis?"
He looked back and sat down with her again.
"I'm sorry, Bebé, I just - Oo! Say, Did you find out how the Doctor knows you?"
Now Fifi felt caught - she'd have to tell him something.
"Ummm ...well -"
"Does he know your family?" her boyfriend asked innocently.
Fifi hesitated and then said, " Oui....he..knowz mah Grandperé..".
Hamton's face lightened.
"Oh! He knows your Grandfather Putois`? That's nice, I like him!"
Now she'd done it. Fifi hedged...
Suddenly there was a terrific blast of noise and Hamton looked out the window again, then turned to her.
"C'mon! Let's go see what they're doing!"
"Non, ah... we..we ave to study, Hammy!"
"Let's try it with feeling!" they heard Lord yell .
Suddenly they heard ominous music from everywhere. Lord was broadcasting a dark, modern and thrilling theme
(M.I.B. #1 - Main Theme )
"C'mon!" ,said Hamton," I've got to see what's going on!"
"Oh!" Fifi sighed as he grabbed her hand and they ran outside.
Together, Fifi and Hamton raced through the junkyard, leaping over piles of rusted cans, to reach the side gate to Lord's property. The sight that met their eyes was something they could never have expected!
Arnold stood hand-priming the cylinders in the rotary engine of a World War One fighter plane! Dr. Lord sat in the open cockpit on an all-red German triplane, with black iron crosses on white fields emblazoned on the wings, sides and rudder. The small, strange aircraft was covered in blood-red shining silk that shone in the bright sunshine. The undersurfaces were pale blue and it had a gleaming silver cowling. Dangerous-looking twin machine guns were mounted forward of the cockpit where Lord sat, wearing a heavy brown, leather flight suit. Most importantly - the aircraft was 3-D, very real!
It sat in front of a large open hanger door in the rear of the mansion.
"Gosh!! It's the Red Baron's Fokker Triplane!!!" Hamton gasped. In a second, he and Fifi had zipped to the side of the fuselage where Lord sat at his controls. He looked at them through his old fashioned goggles.
"It's a copy, actually. There are no real ones left" he said smiling. Hamton couldn't contain himself.
"May we go up with you?!? PLEASE?!?!"
"Sure! " he said.
Lord turned and slid open a door behind him on the top of the fuselage, creating a second open cockpit. Hamton began to babble.
"Oh wait, but this is only a single-seat pursuit plane! It's not built to - WHOOPS!" he exclaimed as Lord grabbed his wrist and hoisted him up and into the cockpit behind him. The pig found himself seated in a rattan basket chair with a pair of flying helmets and heavy shoulder harnesses. He was surrounded by the thin red silk fabric, covering welded steel tubing that made up the framework of the craft inside.
Fifi stood reluctantly as Lord held out a hand to help her into the plane. She looked him square in the eyes and thought, [" Oh no.. You weren't the Red Baron?!?"]
His own eyes didn't waver.
["Freiherr Manfred Von Richthofen, at your service."]
Fifi froze there in shock and made no move to take his hand. Hamton already had his white flying helmet on and he too reached for Fifi's hand.
"C'mon Fifi!", he said joyously, this'll be great!!"
Fifi and Lord stared at each other and he saw her anger still there. As Lord watched, she deliberately reached and took Hamton's hand. As she stepped up on the metal foothold and climbed in to sit just in front of Hamton, Lord turned slowly to face the front of the aircraft. Though they sat practically in each other's laps - the two relatives felt miles away from one another.
From his position on the ground in front of the wooden propeller, Arnold finished squirting raw gasoline directly from the can into each cylinder of the ninety-year-old, circular rotary engine. As he moved the prop from place to place, the engine rotated with it as well, popping and hissing and turning like a giant metal wheel, beneath the silver aluminum cowling. The round cooling vents on the cowling made the plane look like it had a face with eyes. The tangy smell of castor oil and gasoline filled the air as it dripped from the cylinders.
"Ready, mien Herr!"he called.
Despite his hurt feelings, Lord turned as best he could in the tiny cockpit to look over his shoulder at Hamton and Fifi. She now sat in Hamton's lap at close quarters. Things now began to happen very quickly.
"Strap yourselves in very tightly, put on those helmets and goggles and hang on!"
He pointed with a leather gloved-finger to his head.
"And think to me - you won't be able to hear over the engine!"
He turned back and looked at his controls - primitive, but serviceable.
Fifi looked at the three red wings and their scalloped trailing edges. The plane was bizarre and flimsy-looking, but had a beauty all its own.
"Ready, Arnold!" Lord called.
"Svitch Off?!" yelled Arnold.
Lord checked the ignition switch.
"Switch Off!" Lord yelled, confirming it.
Arnold turned the propeller ninety degrees into a good position for him to spin by hand. The engine popped and hissed mechanically.
Lord flipped up the ignition switch and power ran along the bare wires to the dual spark plugs.
Hamton's fingers curled as he awaited a moment he'd dreamed of all his life!
Arnold reached up with his brawny arms to grasp the two-bladed wooden propeller. The music built to the pounding macho MIB theme.
"CONTACT?" he shouted.
Lord's hands poised on the air and fuel mixture levers.
"COUPEZ!!" Lord shouted.
Arnold's mighty arms spun the huge blade and the engine came to life!
The engine spun like a gyroscope and blasted!! There was no other word for it! It was the loudest, sweetest sound Hamton had ever heard! The unmuffled machine spat puffs of flame and hot oil everywhere,as it's 350 pound mass of hot metal spun at full power! Faint blue smoke was blown into their faces, smelling sweet and sour at the same time and the engine roared like an unholy monster! The airframe shivered beneath their feet. Lord shifted the air and fuel mixtures and the engine spun faster, the sound changing slightly as he took up the RPM's.
At 1200 revolutions per minute, he set the controls and fixed them.
Fifi held her ears and gritted her teeth at the engine's thunderous roar. The white flying helmet she wore kept her hair from lashing Hamton's face - just barely.
Their pilot held the stick in his hands and hit the blip switch atop it.
The engine went silent for a second as the power was cut off.
"ACHTUNG!!!" he shouted and Arnold backed away, giving him a thumbs up sign.
Lord released the button and the still-spinning engine erupted with life again. As the music pounded tensely in their heads, Lord moved the joystick from side to side. They all watched as the large, heavy ailerons flapped up and down in opposition as Lord controlled them. He then looked back over his shoulder at the tail as he tested the rudder and horizontal stabilizer. They flapped up and down and the iron cross on the rudder waved. Lord noticed Hamton's huge grin and grinned back. He turned and blipped the engine again. In the moment of quiet he shouted to Arnold.
"PULL THE CHOCKS!!"
The monstrous engine erupted back to life as Arnold reached from under the bottom wing around the undercarriage's huge flat wheels. He grabbed a rope and pulled the yellow wooden blocks out from under the tires. The pit bull moved away from the plane, came to attention and saluted the pilot smartly. With a taut grin, Lord returned his salute.
He turned to Fifi and Hamton, blipping the engine quiet a second.
"HERE WE GO!!!"
As the couple grabbed ahold of each other in the cramped cockpit, Lord let the engine go to full power again and the red triplane began to move. It rolled slowly at first, as it's pilot blipped the power on and off, then he left it on as the gleaming red machine moved faster, heading for the other end of the huge field. The fuselage was tilted back and Fifi's weight was pressed into Hamton as they accelerated. Hamton was absolutely thrilled as he saw the ground speeding by underneath them. Lord held the rudder to the right just to make the airplane go straight ahead. The bumping lessened as they roared down the runway.
The tail rose up and they could all see in front of them at last. Hamton then remembered what he'd read of these planes being terribly hard to fly! He clutched Fifi's shoulders as they reached 60 mph and the Fokker Triplane rose into the sky!
Lord pulled gently back on the stick and the Fokker ascended into the heavens. Before it had just been a thing - now it flew in it's proper element. The trees flashed by under the plane as Lord climbed. The wind was cold and both Hamton and Fifi began to wish they had worn heavier clothes. Lord climbed higher, the engine running flat out.
Fifi looked over the side and saw Arnold waving and growing to look smaller and smaller. The music calmed and and became soothing as the triplane reached 500 feet. The mansion and the junkyard looked like scale models.
It was an utterly beautiful view.
["OH BOY, IS THIS GREAT!!'] thought Hamton loudly as Lord's telepathic link came into play.
[" Not too loudly, please"] Lord thought to them.
["Sorry"] Hamton replied.
An overpowering amount of emotion flooded their heads and they all knew it was from Hamton. It was almost as if he were crying.
["Hammy, what's wrong?"] thought Fifi looking back at him.
Sure enough, there were tears in his goggles, but he smiled through them.
["This is my dream come true!"] he thought, sounding choked up.
Lord grinned and Hamton felt the skunk's satisfaction and relaxed a bit. The Doctor pulled them into a steeper climb, pressing Fifi back against Hamton.
["It climbed like a monkey and maneuvered like the very devil."] Hamton recalled the Red Baron telling his men.
["Quite right, my friend"] thought Lord back to him.
Fifi thought to Lord irritably, ["So you were really-"]
["Yes, I was"] he though back, cutting her off.
|Art by Pepe K.|
Lord pulled the triplane into a slower climb and into a left turn. The landscape slowly wheeled around beneath them. The clouds and sun were above. Stretched out below was Acme Acres; the city, the forest - they could even see the Looniversity. Lord's helmeted head leaned over to look below at his mansion - taking a sighting. He saw the tiny figure of Arnold.
["Back inside Now, Arnold!"] he thought.
["Jahwol, Herr Baron!"] they all heard Arnold think back and he retreated into the hanger.
["Uh..are you a real Baron, too?"] asked Hamton's mind.
Lord seemed to be concentrating on something.
["Yes. Excuse me a moment."]
The music's heavy percussion became dangerous-sounding as Lord sat forward in his cockpit. Holding the stick with his left hand, he reached out with his right to the black, oddly-perforated tubes that made up the airplane's machine guns on the deck between him and the whirling propeller. He pulled back hard on the gun charging handles one by one and then banged his fist against both of the breeches to clear them of any jam. He then settled back.
["Wow! Those look like real twin Spandau machine guns!"] Hamton thought.
["Thanks. They should."] ,Lord replied, [" Hang on..ANGRIFF!!"]
With that, Lord pushed the stick sideways and the world turned upside down! As Hamton and Fifi gasped and screamed, the triplane flipped sideways and upside down twice! Lord pulled out of the double barrel-roll into a hammerhead stall. The red triplane hung in midair for a moment - then spun around and down - headed straight back at the mansion!
As they plunged earthward in a steep dive, Hamton and Fifi's minds screamed!
The ground was coming up fast!
["WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!"] thought Fifi!
She felt Lord's excitement growing.
["Diving!"] he replied.
The mansion was growing bigger! Hamton screamed uselessly.
["WE'RE GONNA CRASH!!!"] Fifi thought desperately!
["Nonsense!"] Lord replied as the dive took them closer!
["BUT WE DON'T HAVE PARACHUTES!!!"] she yelled in his mind!
Lord's thoughts were adamant. ["You_Don't_Need Them! See that bag?"]
Fifi's eyes looked to the mansion's roof, where a garbage bag hung limply on a pole. The music was pounding in their heads, terrifying Hamton and Fifi! The ground was rushing up at them as the red Fokker Triplane dove at the mansion! ! Then Lord's mind said coolly:
[" Target - five o'clock low! FIRE!!!"]
He pressed the trigger and the machine guns spoke, spitting fire and hot lead! They thundered through the propeller arc - the tracer-bullets seeking the garbage bag! As it exploded in a huge orange fireball – Lord pulled the Triplane's nose up and they swooped directly through the flames!!
The airplanes wheels just skimmed the surface of the roof - then they were climbing back up over the neighborhood. They looked back and saw the fire was out - the bag had just exploded leaving no damage at all.
["WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING???"] Fifi's mind yelled at Lord. He responded calmly as if it were nothing.
[" Part of my regular flight exercises - target shooting. What do you guys do for fun?"]
Fifi was totally nonplused.
[" You're crazy!"] she thought.
Lord shrugged as the music ended.
[" To each his own"] he thought carelessly smiling.
Suddenly, their heads were filled with exuberance!
["YIPEEEE!! WOW!! THAT WAS GRRREAT!!! CAN WE DO IT AGAIN??!!'] pleaded Hamton's gleeful mind!
Fifi looked over her shoulder at the ecstatically grinning pig in amazement, as the red Fokker Triplane climbed up into the sky over Acme Acres.
Look for the next Chapters of -
"A TIME TO EVERY PURPOSE UNTO HEAVEN"
coming to you soon.