The Dead Morning Light
HONG KONG PHOOEY WAS LIVID WITH RAGE, his fists pumping in unbridled anger.
“They can’t do this to you!” he yelled, his canine jaw moving so unnaturally as he spoke through clenched teeth. “They can’t treat you like that!”
“It’s just nature taking it’s course, HK,” I replied, rolling my eyes at his ire. “I mean, that’s what Cats do. They chase birds. They chase mice. And you, in turn, chase them, except for Spot. I mean, you wouldn’t chase spot, would you?” Honk Kong Phooey hung his head in shame, his clenched paws dropping by his side.
“If it was for a job… if I had to… it’s the least I could do for the little guy.”
We listened to the door squeak shut as our newest client slipped out. It was a tough case, I admit, but sometimes, these things are necessary. You see, Tom and Jerry had always had a strained relationship, but since Tom’s cousin Spike had arrived, things were looking real bad for the little mouse. That’s why he had come to us, CIPI. That’s Cartoon Incorporated Private Investigations. We were his last hope.
“I think I know where to start,” said Hong Kong Phooey stoicly. I tossed my feet up on my desk and tipped my hat down over my eyes.
“I would hope so. This is your business, mr. superhero investigator extrodinaire.” Hong Kong glowered at me. “Hey, it beats janitoring, right?”
He took a deep breath and said, “There’s nothing as fulfilling as a clean bathroom.”
WE HOPPED IN THE PHOOEY MOBILE and booked it for our first stop. We had the pictures, the evidence we needed, but we knew the police weren’t interested. We needed help from the underground, the deep underground. And you couldn’t get much deeper underground than Morocco Mole.
We pulled up at the park and locked up the Phooey mobile. The sun shone down in bright Tex Avery yellow reminding me how far from home I had come.
“YOOHOO!” cried Wally Gator as we walked past his pen. “Could you puh-leasse pass me that wrench? I musst complete my motor-ssycle before ssunsset if I’m going to make my Evel Kenevil ess-cape from here.” Hong Kong Phooey ignored him. There were some toons, you just don’t want to deal with when on a case. Wally Gator was one of them. “You sstupid assholess! You’ll never get any bussiness from me!”
“You couldn’t afford us, croc,” I said, my frustration getting the better of me.
“I’m an alligator! An alligator, dammit!” he screamed after us, breaking into sobs. “An alligator…”
THE PARK WAS ALMOST EMPTY. Already, the Hair Bear Bunch had massacred the Care Bear Bunch for ruining their good name, the elephants had run off site-seeing with the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister Dot, and Magilla Gorilla had been co opted by Mojo Jojo in a heinous plan to take over the world only to find a pair of mice with a death ray in their way. This was one tough zoo.
“You think the Mole’s still here?” I asked.
“He’s a double agent. If he’s not here, then I know who to ask,” said Hong Kong, his brow furrowing in that I-Need-A-Milkbone way.
When we reached the Mole Hole, as Morocco called it, it was empty. All of his gear was gone, which meant one thing: he was on assignment.
ROCKET SHOES ALWAYS SPELLED TROUBLE, and this was no exception. Thankfully, we caught Wile E. Coyote before the race.
“Wile! Hold on a second,” I called as we jogged up to the track. It was supposed to be for exercise, but today was something different. Bugs was out of town and the crowd was hyped to see Wile E. Coyote take on the tortoise. Apparently, he was stocking up on some performance enhancers.
That sort of thing always disgusted me, performance enhancers. And Acme was almost as bad a BALCO. No toon felt right getting caught, and what better way to avoid leaving evidence than to buy self-destructing equipment. Everyone knew that if the Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics commission caught you using performance enhancers, you ran the risk of having your records erased… possibly right along with you.
“We need some info, fox,” said Hong Kong, enlarging like Apache Chief.
“I am a coyote, not a fox. A Canis Latrans, though you may know me better as Carnivorous Vulgaris, Apetitius Giganticus, Eatius Birdius…”
“Shut up, fox.”
“Whatever.” Hong Kong Phooey was getting annoyed. I was worried he might try to pull off the Rice Paddy Flying Dragon Kick again. Luckily, he restrained himself. “We were looking for Morocco Mole, but he wasn’t in his pen. We think you know where he is.”
“You, sir, are mistaken. I am a super genius, not a spy,” replied Wile E. Coyote, his eyes shining defiantly. “I am a super genius.”
“Well, Mr. super genius,” I said, “if you are such a genius, then surely you could locate Morocco for us, correct?” He looked aghast and slowly began backing up, his eyes darting venomously. Sometimes you just know what going to happen. I’ve heard it called a 3rd eye, a 6th sense, and even a spidey sense. Whatever that tingle was called, Hong Kong Phooey looked like he was feeling it right then.
The coyote reached for the shoes, looking to make a fast getaway, but Hong Kong was faster. He pounced, slamming Wile E. Coyote’s paws to the ground and blocking any chance of escape.
“You either help us, or you’re going back in the canyon!” screamed Hong Kong Phooey as Wile E. coyote gasped in fear.
“Alright! Alright, just please don’t hurt me!” he screamed. “I’m all out of signs. I’ll tell you what you want to know…”
I GUESS WILE E. COYOTE JUST DIDN’T KNOW, nor did he seem to have the technology. I’m not sure I believed him about that, but then again, if I was a super genius coyote, I wouldn’t tell anyone about my toys either. The truth was, Wile E. had seen Morocco with the tortoise earlier that morning, and knowing the overgrown turtle’s penchant for appearing dumb but still beating the rabbit, I had a feeling he was the Q of the operation. Every operation needs a Q, and if Morocco Mole was flying solo, that Q wasn’t part of squirrel.
We rounded the corner towards the pond and the reptile pit. That’s where Cecil Turtle kept his workshop. We saw him working on a new custom shell. It still amazes me he got that internship on the set of American Chopper, but hey, a talented mechanic is always useful, no matter what species.
“Hey Cecil!” I called out. The rocket shell shone in the sun as Cecil turned around. He dove into the shell and we heard the engine start.
“FUCK!” screamed Hong Kong Phooey as we busted into a run. We had to catch him. No one runs from the CIPIs.
Flames burst from the tailpipe as Cecil zipped over the water. We had the angle; we could cut him off at the pass. We leaped through the brush, Hong Kong grabbing for his bolo. Water sprayed everywhere as Cecil burned across the pond. We just didn’t have the speed to make it in time.
“Damn!” I cried, pulling up huffing.
“Don’t give up yet!” screamed Hong Kong, his bolo swinging as he hurdled a fallen tree. The cord whipped from his hand tailing end over end. My heart thumped wildly as our last hope flew through the air.
HONG KONG PHOOEY WAS A MASTER AT MANY THINGS, the bolo included, but I was still shocked at how accurate his throw had been.
“So what’s it going to be Cecil? You ready for your close-up? I’ve got a special remake of Duck Soup ready for you with turtle substituted.” Hong Kong Phooey’s smile was twisted like the old oak tree. I wasn’t sure what would happen or even if we were playing good dog, bad dog. If we were, I knew I was the good dog.
“Listen, we’re not normally violent people.”
“And dogs,” growled Hong Kong Phooey.
“Violent people and dogs. We just need to find Morocco. He’s got access to the records we need.” Cecil closed his eyes, tears mixing with the blood drooling out of his mouth. He shook his head. Another tooth went flying as Hong Kong punched him.
“Jethus!” lisped Cecil. “You know how long itth going to take me to regrow those teeth?”
“Millenia,” I said, remember that only prehistoric turtles have teeth. “At least, that’s how old you have to be to have teeth.”
“I’m a fucking cartoon tortoithe, you thtupid thit!” he replied. “Fuck thith! Morocco’th in my houth. Go get him if you want, jutht leave me alone!”
MOROCCO HAD A FILE IN HIS HANDS,his blood pooling slowly over the light brown manila. He lay on the floor, his claws dug into the file, shielding it from grasp. I reached down and rolled him over. He was still breathing slightly.
“Is that you Secret?”
“No, Morocco. It’s me and Hong Kong Phooey. We came for your help, but it looks like we’re too late.” His heavy panting rasped out, little droplets of blood congealing on his fur. “Can you tell us who did this to you?”
“It… was Spike…” The words drawled out of Morocco’s lips. “Please… tell… Secret… I love him…”
“Holy shit! You’re gay?” screamed Hong Kong Phooey, but it was too late. Morocco was dead. The file slipped gently into my hands as I stood up. “I can’t believe Secret Squirrel is gay, man. I mean, he’s always had all the ladies. Remember When he broke up Donald and Daisy? I mean, gay? Who knew?”
The evidence was there; pictures of Spike working the bird angle. It was time to set up some feline vengeance.
JERRY STARED FITFULLY AT US. The pictures were laid out on the table starring him in the face. Pleasure abounded in his big round eyes.
“It’s all there, Jerry,” said Hong Kong Phooey. “Everything you need for blackmail. But I know blackmail’s not why you came. You want to take out that cat.” He paced around the room. “I hate cats. I really do. But this is something you need to do for yourself.” Jerry nodded.
“I’ve already got a plan. I’ll catch that fucking Spike when he least expects it.”
“In the litter box?” I asked.
“No, while he’s licking himself. The litter box is where he’ll end up.” Jerry began laughing maniacally. We had earned our weight in cheese. But there was one thing left to do.
IT WAS EARLY AFTERNOON, THE SUN STILL SHINING. We were perched in a tree, our zoom lenses on Spike. It was just as Jerry had described it. He leaned down and began to lick, his balls flapping in the morning air.
“This is gonna get ugly,” I whispered to Hong Kong Phooey.
“Yup,” he replied.
Jerry slipped up behind and yanked a frying pan out of nowhere. He slammed it into Spike’s head before he had a chance to react. It was obvious that was one out-cold pussy.
Out came the rapier. I knew it was going to be ugly. Spike had taken out Jerry’s Mousketeer recruit only a few days ago. I turned away, hearing the involuntary screeching wisp across the field.
“Man, that’s one neutered cat,” said Hong Kong.
“Tell me about it HK,” I said. “No, on second though, don’t.”
and to the Something Awful Goons for use of their pictures.