Spontoon Archipelago, 1939
Story & art by Warren Hutch
© 2010 Warren Hutch
PART 8 - TURNED OUT
"What th' Sam Hill d'y'all mean
y'all're checkin' us out early!? Y'low down, yellow bellied, tail
The white furred fox dabbed his forehead with a
folded handkerchief as Jane Early gripped the edge of the front desk,
standing on tip toes with her tail bristling behind her. Dorothy Pearl
stood off to one side, hugging herself and looking weary and miserable
in her thin satin slip, her disheveled hair sticking out in a tangle
from beneath her dark colored, veiled hat.
The natty vulpine cleared his throat tentatively.
"I... I'm quite sorry, ladies, but your room has been damaged and is no
The rabbit cocked an ear as she turned her head an
indignant 45 degrees. "Then give us another room."
The fox folded his hands on the desk register. "I'm
sorry... er... ma'am, but there are no other rooms available at
He rang a bell on the counter and glanced over his
shoulder with a jerk of his head before turning his helpless expression
to face her again.
Dorothy let out a sigh and
laid her hand on the furious rabbit's shoulder. "There's no use arguing
about it, Miss Early. They've already made up their minds they're not
going to risk another room getting destroyed. We're being thrown out."
The hotel manager's ears levered back in alarm, his
skin going pale under his already white fur as he started guiltily.
The tan furred doe's eyes flared, and she launched
into a stream of invective of such breadth and poetic inspiration about
the shortcomings of the manager and his parentage that his skin soon
flushed bright red as his brush frizzed out behind him. Roused from its
slumber, the parrot by the veranda began screeching and bobbing back
and forth, calling "Do you have a reservation?" again and again.
Struggling to keep his voice even,
the fox reached up a shaking hand and rang the bell on the counter.
"We... we've taken the liberty of collecting your things and bringing
them down to the lobby. Th-thank you for... uh... thank you for your
A nervous bellhop approached with the females'
suitcase and duffel bag in hand. Miss Early rounded on him and snatched
the bags out of his hands with her buck teeth bared in a snarl. "I'm
gonna check thru these, and if somethin's missin', I'm gonna come back
She's cut off at the sound of Mrs. Pearl's petulant,
raised voice. "Come ON, Miss Early. Lets GO…"
She stumbled forward and made her unsteady way out
the lobby, her tail hanging limply behind her as she went. The tan
furred rabbit cast a final, blistering glaze back at the nervous fox as
the bellhop fled for the safety of the upper floors, and stalked
angrily out of the hotel, the luggage clenched in her fists.
As they walked past the fragrant, flowering hedges
in front of the hotel, a long eared figure slipped out of a nearby
alleyway and fell into step behind them, flanking them along the
shadowy side of the street as they made their way along, stepping in
and out of streetlights as they headed East.
A low whistle came from the darkness shrouded
figure, to which Miss Early replied with a whistle of her own. The
rabbit and she cat nodded to one another and ducked around a corner out
of the orange glow of a neon sign, out of sight of the main
thoroughfare, and waited.
Presently, the figure stepped into the light, a tan
furred rabbit doe dressed similarly to Miss Early, who dipped an ear
and waved to them as she approached, a large bundle slung over her
shoulder. "Evenin' gals. Looks like we've had a busy night, huh?"
The doe who'd been with Mrs. Pearl nodded. "Y'all
don't gotta say that twice. Where've y'all been?"
The rabbit set the pack down at her feet and grinned
at them, patting the canvas wrapping of the bundle proudly. "Well, I
got th' campin' gear and whatnot, and some new duds fer Missus Pearl. I
got back jest in time to see th' cops lead me out the front door in
cuffs, so I ducked down an alley an' kinda laid low, 'til jest now when
I saw y'all leavin' th' hotel. I'm guessin' from whut I was hearin'
from th' lobby that we got kicked out."
Her double nodded ruefully. "Ayep. I guess I don't
really blame 'em. We did do a number on that hotel room."
At this, Mrs. Pearl flicked an ear. "Right, so while
we're on the subject, could you please tell me what happened now?"
The rabbit doe pushed her hat back on her head and
scratched the side of her nose. She leaned diffidently back against the
wall and shrugged. "Sure thing, darlin'. Not too much t' tell. I was in
the room, takin' a nap, doin' some yoga, and sparrin' with myself. No
footwork, jest blocks n' holds n' whatnot. Keepin' it quiet so the
neighbors didn't git suspicious. Which is good, 'cos all of a sudden I
hear a rattlin' at th' door. Someone was a'pickin' the lock."
She furrowed her brow and pursed her lips. "So all
of me grab some wall on either side o' th' doorway an' keep an ear
cocked. An' o' course this is all happenin' so fast that none of us had
a chance t' git a stitch o' clothes on."
She shrugged as a blush spread across Mrs. Pearl's
features. "Anyhow, who comes in but this skeevy lookin' fox with a fake
eye, jest like yer hophead waiter described him, followed by our sushi-munchin' buddy from th' water
taxi." She let out a chuckle. "He was still lookin' a might wrung out.
T'ain't nothin' as sad n' ornery lookin' as a wet cat, no offense
The brown furred feline blinked and shook her head.
The rabbit doe shrugged and continued her story. "So
I jumped 'em. Th' fox went down like a bag o' fertilizer with jest one
kick t' th' head, and spent th' rest o' th' fight on th' floor, which
weren't exactly a healthy place t' be seein' how hard me an' his
buddies went at it. Got a purty thorough second hand stompin', tho, th'
She shook her head ruefully and continued. "Well
anyway, that neko had his
fuzz up an' he came at me with a knife, all shoutin' "banzai" and such. Mean as a snake
and twice as slippery, I tell y'all. Got me right here fore I disarmed
him." She tapped at the cut on her lip. "I almost wish I'd let him keep
his pig-sticker, 'cos he flips out and goes all ninja on me, switchin' purty smooth
between jujutsu and karate. So I uncorked a l'il krav maga, a l'il jeet kune do, some ishin ryu, and some o' my own
special doekido on his sorry
butt, and then proceeded t' use his face t' dust the furniture some."
She winced with a measure of embarrassment as she
ran a finger along the faint bruise on her face. "Well, I thought I had
the poor bastard outnumbered four t' one an' was gittin' ready t' play
full contact twenty-questions, when this dog comes barrelin' into th'
room, throwin' punches and tossin' me right and left. Knocked the first
one he hit coldern' a brass doorknob. Took a couple o' reshuffles t'git
my eyes t'uncross."
A rueful look crossed her face. "He was good, tough
as a damn brick and big. Too strong fer arm n' leg locks, kept me offa
his knees and had a good guard on his throat, shrugged off a couple
kicks t' the face, and he was wearin' a cup so hittin' his joy buzzer
weren't gonna do it." She shrugged as her feline companion blushed a
bit redder. "If'n I'da had th' boots on it mighta been different, but
y'all gotta go with what y'all got. Best I could do was pop a whole mob
o' dupes and bum rush him. Well, necessity bein' th' mother o'
invention, we knew we weren't gonna hold him fer long, and since we
couldn't keep him down we figgered we oughta toss him out, so we hefted
him on our shoulders like he was crowd surfin', and gave him the ol'
heave-ho. I reckon if a bunch o' me couldn't make him see our point o'
view, then let him go argue with gravity a spell."
At this her duplicate rolled her eyes. "Y'all jest
can't go fer one fight without tryin' t' recreate a mosh-pit, can ya?"
Her double snorted as a look of weary confusion
flitted across Dorothy's face. "It's gonna be what... fifty-somethin'
years at least 'fore any real ones happen, and by then th' best I'll
prolly be able t' do is roll over somebody's toes in a wheelchair."
She shrugged with a toss of her head. "Anyhow, it
worked. Frankenpooch hit th' street like a bag o' toasters an jest lied
The rabbit doe tugged irritably at an ear. "Well,
t'weren't long fore I heard a different music, tweetin' cop whistles,
comin' up the street. And feet a'runnin' up th' stairs and down th'
hall. All I had time t'do was git my numbers down t' jest one o' me." A
blush came to her face. "Got the last pair combined jest as th' hotel
detective an' a couple o' big bellhops come blunderin' thru th' door.
Lordy the way their eyes bugged out, seein' me standin' there in th'
altogether, right in th' middle of whut musta looked like a dang bomb
crater, and them two scumbags at my feet waitin' fer th' tooth fairy t'
She rolled her eyes. "They jest
sorta froze there with their dumb yaps hangin' open fer what seemed
like five minutes or so. I actually had time t' consider jumpin' out
the window and usin' that big goondog like a crash pad, but by then
thar was a crowd o' cops n' tourists millin' round and I figgered I
might as well jest stay put."
She pursed her lips ruefully. "I put my hands up an'
surrendered. And even then they jest stood thar gawkin' as a crowd
gathered behind them. Some of th' peanut gallery started whistlin' and
makin' jokes." Her brow furrowed as she blushed redder and cast a look
at her feline cohort. "Y'all're a lot dirtier-minded these days than
all them ol' black n' white movies on th' classic movie channels let
on, I might add."
She shook her head and shrugged. "Well, finally
somebody's brain reconnected an they let me toss on a shirt an' some
boxers, then th' cops led me off. They marched me over t' th' police
station n' booked me fer assault n' battery an' disturbin' th' peace
an' whatnot. Took my prints an' photos. And tarnation' if'n that matron
o' theirs don't keep her hands in the dang fridge between strip
searches. Y'all'd think they woudn't even have t' do one considerin'
th' state I was in when they arrested me. Then they tossed me in th'
holdin' tank n' thar I sat fer th' rest o th' afternoon." She fixed her
companions with a weary gaze. "An that was that. Y'all showed up a l'il
while later and y'all know th' rest."
Her double looked at her with a cocked eyebrow. "So
whut all happened at th' station with Missus Pearl?"
The rabbit doe beckoned her with a toss of her head.
"Come here an' find out."
With a nod, the duplicate stepped forward and
vanished, her vacated clothing dropping empty to the ground. The bruise
and cut on the remaining Miss Early's face faded to almost nothing, as
the rabbit doe crouched down and began to gather up the empty garments.
She looked up at her feline companion ruefully. "I wish I could keep a
couple dupes around t' carry all this stuff, but I don't reckon we
wanna take a chance on anybody else seein' double."
Mrs. Pearl nodded gravely to her companion. "Yeah.
We're making a lot more of a splash around the Spontoons than I would
have wanted. I guess we should be more careful."
With a sigh, the rabbit crammed her discarded
clothes into her duffel bag, and pulled her canvas jacket out of the
tangle, unfurling it with a flap as she walked around behind her feline
cohort. With a gentle flourish, she laid the jacket over the tabby's
hunched shoulders. "Right, and that includes not catchin' a cold. It's
gittin a l'il chilly."
Mrs. Pearl smiled warmly at her as she drew it
tighter around herself. "Thanks, Jane. I dunno what I'd do without you
taking care of me like you do."
The rabbit doe gave her a rueful shrug. "Well,
y'all'd probably be lyin' down fer a good night's sleep in a nice clean
bed, fer starters..." She bent down and hefted the large bundle to her
shoulder along with her duffle bag, crouching under her load with a
weary look on her face. "I got a couple bedrolls in here. Guess we
oughta go find a couple park benches or somethin'..."
The feline dipped down and picked up her suitcase,
looking over at her companion with an equally tired expression. "Well,
at least a park bench won't be bugged."
The rabbit winced and slapped at the side of her
neck in irritation, peering at her palm in the hazy light with a
grimace as she swayed to regain her balance, wiping her hand on her
trousers. "Not by electronic ones, anyhow..."
They shared a resigned look into one another's eyes,
and stepped out of the alley, heading down the street side by side.
No Place To Go In Paradise - by
Warren Hutch (Larger file here - 1.7