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The Catto Comeback
by M. Mitchell Marmel & EOCostello
(events happening in January 1937)

The Catto Comeback
by M. Mitchell Marmel and EOCostello

Part 5

    "Sergeant Brush, could I have a few minutes of your time?"

    Ah, fer th' lovea...great. 

    I gots my boss on the DL, my top boss all over my head fur, a huge mound a' yiffin' paperwork I gotta sort out, th' Inspect'r's filin' system, and I dunno how the HELL he works it.  Now, ontoppa all dat, I got a ditzy blonde doe clutterin' up my office even more.


    "Whassa matta, you lose yer pet poodle or somethin'?"

    "I beg your pardon?"

    "See, I figgers...ah, give it a rest.  Look, lady..."

    "Fawnsworthy.  Willow Fawnsworthy."

    "I knows who th' hell you is.  Yer sweet on that champeen nut, Buckhorn."

    "For the record, Sergeant, that's MISTER Buckhorn, and he is my fiancé."

    "Yer bad luck.  An' iffen ya breed, even worse. Even if he is yer fee-on-say, he's still a champeen nut."

    She makes wit' th' fisheye on yers truly.  "What is YOUR problem? No coffee this morning?"

    "Iffen ya call whateverthehell I got poured inta my cup this mornin' coffee.  Damn street vendor.  Tasted more like dragon piss."  Damn, I hope someone fixes up Luchow's soon, or ain't nobody gonna be safe in th' mornins 'round here.

    A rollin' look, an' it comes up doe-eyes.  "If you can POSSIBLY keep your mind off of dragon piss, my fiance, and other things that irritate you for one moment, I've got something important to tell you."

    "It ain't gotta do wit' poodles, right?"

    "WHAT?! No!"



    "Just askin'.  It's 'bout th' only piece a' nut-house stuff what ain't crossed my desk since th' Inspector's ticker 'n tummy went bum on him."

    Blondie's face twitches a bit at dat.  Hunh.  Must be a bit sweet on th' Inspector.  Dame deer, go figger.  She gets all serious-like.

    "I'm afraid we have a problem, Sergeant.  There's a couple of killers running around on Moon Island."

    I groans t'myself.  She's been hangin' round Buckhorn too damn much.  Seein' boogie-beasts unner th' bed.

    "Yeah?  Who?  Owl Capone?  Ma Barking?  Bunny and Clawd?  Look, Miz Fawnswort'y,  why'n th' hell should I take yer word fer it that we gots some killers on th' loose, hanh?"

    Blondie sighed and reached into her purse.  "Their names are Wynt and Kattridge, torpedoes for the Deertroit Mauve Gang."

    "Say WHAT?"

    "Heard of 'em?"

    "Not them two bums, fer sure.  Dat gang, yeah.  Made a pile o'dough running booze from Canada to Deertroit."  I looks at her, sharp-like.  "An' you'd know 'bout them mooks 'cause...?"

    "There's a good reason for that, Sergeant.  I'm not really, or primarily at least, a secretary..."

    That's when she flashes me her buzzer, gold Minkerton's shield inna black leather case.  An' Minkerton's aint onea them joints that does things by half.  There's a happy snap in dere, too.  One grim lookin' whitetail doe.  Dead ringer fer th' one that's flashin' me the buzzer.

    "Okeh.  Now that we know who each other is, do you want the info from my Honolulu office?  Or not?"

    Aw, CRAP.  This was def'nit'ley gonna be one o' THEM days.


    I had nodded off with my paw in Franklin's, and I was in sort of a soft purple haze when I got, to my surprise, an answering paw-squeeze from him.  I jerked awake.

    "Franklin?  What happened?  Are you all right?"

    He gave me a faint smile.  "Indeed so.  I'm feeling rather better with all this tender loving care."  The smile widened a bit, as he nodded downward toward his pyjama bottoms.  There was something there that indicated that he was, indeed, feeling like a new buck.

    I let go of his paw, and stood up.  "Well, waste not, want not, Inspector.  And I certainly want something, and I'm not going to let it go to waste..."

    I got rid of what I was wearing a lot faster than I did when I was doing that sort of thing professionally.  Also went a bit further than I did for the marks.  This was an audience of one, and a *very* special one at that.  One that showed his appreciation in more ways than one.

    "You are beautiful, Miss Baumgartner, I'm very glad you feel this way..."

    I reached down with my paw.  "Not half as glad as I am that you feel *this* way, Franklin."  Things that were in the way were quickly disposed of, and the suitable natural arrangments were made.  You know, it's kind of funny how the folks who designed this Clipper knew how folks would be inspired in this suite.

    Certainly, the kiss I got from Franklin showed he was inspired.

    "Oh, In-SPEC-tor!"

    "Oh, Miss Baumgartner!"

    "Oh!  Inspector!"

    "Oh!  Miss Baumgartner!"

    "Inspector!  Inspector!  Inspector!"

    "Miss Baumgartner!   Miss Baumgartner!   Miss Baumgartner!"

    "Miss Baumgartner?  Rosie?"

    I opened my eyes to find a cute little jerboa wearing a Pan-Nimitz stewardess' outfit and leaning over me.  Ordinarily, I would have liked that.  As it was, the best I could come up with was a dazed "Whuh?"

    Geraldine, a regular at the Lotus when she's on layover, bit her lower lip.  "Sorry to um...wake you.  But we're landing in fifteen minutes."

    I pinched my eyebrows together.  Goddamnitohell, I was going to nail one Stagg or the other, one of these days, and in some place other than my dreams.

    "Mmmph.  Thanks, Jer."  Big kitty yawn.  "Musta needed the nap."

    Jer coughed a bit, and nodded.  The front of my blouse was open.  Oopsie.

    "Nice dream, Rosie?"  She eyed the sleeping/snoring Stagg and gave me a Significant Glance.

    "Very nice, yeah.  I'll tell you about it on your next lay-over."

    "I hear you.  Deer are strange.  They've got a certain something...funny thing, my boss was telling me that two does went into his office the other day and paid good money for a Pan-Nimitz uniform.  He said he'd have hired the younger one in a shot, and her mommy wasn't anything to turn your nose up at, neither.  Anyway, I'm gonna hold you to that offer at the Lotus," Jer winked at me.  "But back to business.  Strap yourself in and get ready for landing..."


    "Minkerton's, hanh?   Well, that 'splains how come yez got such a good groupin' t'ru th' glass door over t' the Grand last November,"  Durian-Face growled, giving me the fisheye.

    I nodded ruefully.  "Not one of my better moments."

    "Sez you.  I wouldn't mind shootin' like dat.  Anyhoo, aintcha s'posed t'be, well, I guess it's babysittin' Dynamite DuCleds, 'steada takin' dictation from him?"

    I quirked my mouth.  "That was the general idea, yes."

    A snort.  "How much o' a refund you gonna give 'em?"

    I put my hands on my hips.  "Excuse me?"

    He ticked off some points on his fingers.  "Well, lessee, th' guy's nearly got hisself killed crashin' his plane wit' yer sweet patootie..."

    "FIANCÉ," I shot back coldly.

    Durian Face narrowed his eyes.  "He been shot at by dat crazy Spanish buck, th' one who's th' daddy of that even ditzier doe; YOU tried, I hears, t'brain him wit' a tiki-head somethinorother; DuCleds winds up at th' New Year's dance doin' a damn fine imitation of a guano island..."

    "What's your point?"

    "Kinda lucky th' kiddo's in one piece, ain't it?"

    "Look, all right, already!"  I threw my paws up.  "My orders were to make sure he didn't get himself killed.  He still doesn't have his union card for the Heavenly Choir Invisible, so I'm doing my job.  Now, can we get back to the subject at paw?"

    A sigh from the fox.  "Awright,  awright.  So, ya seen a coupla torpedoes.   Any idea wheres they wents off ta?"

    I nodded.  "The one, Wynt,  I heard him tell the water-taxi driver to take em to the Chanticleer Club on Moon Island."

    Brush's ears flattened, and he slammed a pencil down on his desk.  "Aw, ya GOTTA be kiddin."

    I held one paw over my heart.  "Doe Scout's honor."

    "Great," he growled.  "Just what I need, a coupla pansy hoods runnin' 'round loose on my beat.  Just swell..."


    The first thing Franklin saw when he opened his eyes was my smiling face.

    The first thing Franklin did when he saw my smiling face was to lean over and start retching his guts out.

    To be expected, I suppose, seeing as he was coming out from the sedative, but I have to confess to being a little disappointed as I held the bowl for him.

    Eventually, the spasms subsided, and he leaned back, exhausted from the effort.  He looked puzzled, and then looked at the pillow under his head and the tatami mat he was lying on.  "Where-what..."

    I smiled again as I wiped his muzzle.  "It's okeh, Franklin, we're safe at the spa.  Welcome to Seven Springs at Mist Point."

    "Mmmph.  Bleah.  Water?"  I held out a glass, which he took with a trembling paw.  "How long-?"

    "You've been under light sedation for a week, and we put you under for the flight.  Less strain that way," I said. 

    Franklin looked around at the ricepaper walls, the swaying conifers outside the open windows, the lacquered low furniture.  "Hmp."

    I smiled. "Hey, ya got a nice room, a nice view, nice weather..."

    The head and chest of a pudgy naked panda fellow were visible out the open window, his sandals crunching on the gravel path outside.

    "And it's clothing-optional.  What's not to like?"  I concluded brightly.

    Franklin's eyes were scrunched shut.  "Get.  Me.  Out.  Of.  This.  Heathen.  Place.  Now."

    Thus began the Two Weeks' War...


    It would appear that OId Durian Face was having a Bad Day.   Too bad for him.

    "Pansy or not," I said, "you have a couple of killers on the Islands.  What do you propose to do about it?"

    Durian Face looked optimistic.  "Mebbe they'll burn th' Club down wit' themselves innit?"

    I sighed.   "I rather suspect that's wishful thinking, Sergeant." 

    Brush nodded grimly.  "A fur kin only dream, toots."

    "I suppose you could go over to the Chanticleer and sniff around some-"

    "Th' hell I am!"

    I raised an eyebrow.  "Well, then, what would-"

    A loud gurgling rumble from Brush's gut interrupted.  He paled a bit.  "Scuse me."  Guess the bad coffee must have kicked in.  He made a beeline for the door, and headed down to the little tods' room.

    I sighed and looked around the room.   Apart from the crummy furniture, peeling paint and generally seedy ambiance, it reminded me of Da's study back home.   Piles of papers, each stacked according to Da's own private filing system...

    I grinned slyly and set to work.


    Swear t' th' Gods, I'm gonna run that vendor in fer food pois'nin'.  Musta been in th' WC fer near half-an-hour.  Well, mebbe Miss Prissy Pants Minkertons got bored and went to find some other cop t' bother.

    No such luck. 

    I gets back, and...

    "What th-?"  Well, I ain't too proud t'say I wuz gobsmacked.  Alla paper was neat and organized-like, files wuz filed and Miss Priss wuz sittin there, typin' somethin, looked like one of th' Inspector's reports.   Guess that secretarying stuff wasn't a cover, neither.

    She looks at me all bright-like.  "Okay, Sergeant, everything is filed, and-" she waved a paw- "you should be caught up with your notes and forms."

    "Gee.  T'anks," I growled. 

    She gave me a sharp looksee.  "Don't worry.  It's filed properly.  I figured out the system." 

    Huh.  Must be a deer thing.  Whatever.

    "Awright, hot shot, now what?"

    "Now," Miss Priss sez, "we go through the files...now that we can find them... and see if we can figure out what our fey friends are up to..."


    "Ooooopen the hangar,  here comes the Stagg Clipper..."

    "Blast it all, Miss Baumgartner, I CAN feed myself!"  Stagg waved off the spoonful of applesauce.

    I shrugged and handed him the bowl.  "Okay, then, go to it.  Finish it all gone, and you can see the bunny at the bottom of the bowl-"  A glare from Franklin.  "Okay," I said, handing him the bowl.   "Finish up, then we'll get you  changed into fresh jammies, and get that diaper off you-"

    Stagg's eyes widened, and he shot a glance downwards.  "DIAPER?!"

    I nodded.  "Yeah, for the flight, just in case.   You were a gooooood boy, though, and I didn't need to change it. "

    "Merciful heavens," Stagg inplored, looking heavenwards.  "What next?  A bonnet?"

    I looked thoughtful.  "Forgot to pack one, but I can probably run down to the gift shop and get-"

    He began to make a strangled, gurgling sound which wasn't from swallowing the applesauce.  "OUT!  OUT!  OUT!"

    I shrugged.  "Okeh.  Be next door if you need me."

    Stagg grumped and waved a paw, taking another spoonful of applesauce.

    A bit later...

    "Miss Baumgartner!"

    "Yes, Inspector?"

    "It was a baby chick, not a bunny."

    "Sorry, Inspector.  I'll do better next time."



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