Callie nodded her head.
“I understand, Mayor,” she said, although in reality she did not.
How could he have chosen Cole over her?
“Now, Cal-lay, bay raysonable,” the mayor said, knowing that she was being as reasonable as one could expect. “I’m sure yau can get a jaub in the legisla-char.”
‘I don’t want a job in the legislature,’ she thought, but she said nothing. She could feel her lip quivering. She didn’t want to cry, not here, not in front of her bo- – no, the mayor. Mayor Manx.
“Who knaws, Cole likes yau, per-haps yau could get a job here.”
“Deputy deputy mayor,” she said.
The mayor laughed, then began to sniffle.
“Thas wasn’t an easy decis-iann,” he said.
“I can imagine.”
Callie’s tone was all buisness. She stood to leave.
“Wait, I’ll phone Cole, tell ham the naws… Cal-lay, what’s has num-barr?”
Callie turned to look at the fat little tom. He looked so old and so sad. Yet his eyes were sincere. She wanted to respect him.
“I’m sor-ray, Cal-lay,” he said.
She picked up the phone and punched in the number.
“Here you go,” she said softly.
David Cole answered his phone when it rang at 6:15 p.m. knowing exactly what it was that the mayor had to say to him.
“Cole here,” he said, waving his attendant, who had brought it to him, out of the room. “What is it, Mayor Manx?”
Cole walked out onto his porch, where he could watch the seagulls dive against a background of sea. The sun had set just moments earlier and the first stars were coming out to shine.
“Ah, happy news… but poor sweet Callie, have you told her yet?” he asked after hearing the mayor explain. “You have?”
“Shay’s here with me.”
“Is she?” Cole exclaimed, snapping his fingers for a glass of wine, which came nearly instantly. “May I speak to her?”
Callie wanted nothing to do with Cole, yet she was so close to tears that she decided to hear him, if only to have something to laugh at, or to make her too angry to cry.
“Congratulations, Mr. Cole,” she said, taking the receiver.
“Ah, Callie.” Cole sighed languidly. “The night is so beautiful – yet knowing you are sad, I cannot enjoy it.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Then focus on something else,” she said dryly.
To her surprise, he had a comeback.
“Ah, but which of these – your eyes, your lips… your sensual curves, your….” his voice trailed off.
“I meant on a victory celebration,” she said.
“Ah! But of course. I shall see you – at midnight?”
Callie let out a laugh – a full, rich, amused laugh. Why hadn’t she thought of this before?
Cole dropped the wine glass.
“F-fine?!” he blurted.
“Yes, fine. Midnight.”
Cole shook himself back into reality. “All right, see you then!” he chirped, then hung up.
“What was that abaut?” the mayor asked.
“A party,” she said. “Goodbye, Mayor Manx.”
A befuddled Manx watched as she-who-would-have-been-the-better-deputy strode out the door with a bounce in her step.
So what if Cole got the job?
It had given her the perfect opportunity.
* * *
Jason Whiskers ran up the steps to City Hall. He had run all the way to the subway, then taken the express train to the center of town, then run from there. And still, he only reached the prominent skyscraper at 6:45, which was over twenty minutes too late.
“May I help you?” asked the receptionist.
Jason tried to say “I need to speak to the mayor,” but only gasps came out. He leaned on the desk to catch his breath.
“May I help you?” she repeated. Her voice was very nasal.
Jason recovered enough breath to voice part of his question.
“The mayor… please…”
“Do you have an appointment?”
Jason smacked his own forehead, then rooted through his wallet to dig out his badge, which he flashed.
“Very impressive. You must have worked hard.”
How he hated sarcasm.
“I need to see the mayor. The new deputy mayor’s life may be in danger!”
The clerk was unimpressed.
“Tell you what I’ll do.” She lowered her glasses to peer over them. “I’ll let you turn around and walk out the door, and I won’t even call security, m’kay?”
Jason sighed and turned, but caught sight of a blue notebook sitting on the corner of the desk.
“Is that the appointment book?” he asked.
“What did I tell you?”
“Well, is it?”
“No, it’s addresses – hey, what d’you think you’re doing! Put that down!” She flailed her arms at him, reaching for the book which he was thumbing.
He swung it out of her reach.
“What was his name…” Jason muttered. “Aha!”
“Going!” Jason yelped, replacing the book and taking off in a run past the approaching guards. “Love to chat, but I gotta fly!”
“Not so fast,” declared a uniformed kat with a billy club. He stood in front of the door, tapping the club rhythmically against the heel of his left paw. Jason ducked to avoid him, but the kat had lightning-quick reflexes, and he found himself caught and pinned to the ground in a choke hold.
“This – really – puts a – damper – on – my – plans,” he gasped as another guard slapped cuffs on him.
There had to be a way out of this one.
* * *
Felina Feral decided to slip into something more comfortable as she waited for the time to pass. The lump on her head had drastically improved – it was a good deal better than before, with much less swelling. She walked around her apartment carrying two sets of silk pajamas, debating which one would look better. Finally she chose the ivory – the purple one brought out the bags under her eyes.
Wait. She was expecting a *male* guest, a date for *dinner*. Silk pajamas were certainly not appropriate. She put both sets back, then went rummaging through the closet once more.
Sweatsuits would not do. Neither would gym shorts or spandex workout bodysuits, or, for that matter, her t-shirts and jeans. No jog pants, wind pants, or uniforms of any sort.
This presented her with very few options. The only appropriate choice was the obvious one – a dress. But did she own one? That was the problem. Somewhere, beneath the mounds of masculine options, there was bound to be one of her mother’s old things. She honestly did not have one of her own. Perhaps she ought to purchase one on her next shopping expedition.
The thought made her burst out laughing. Shopping? Who had time for that? She had bigger fish to fry, and heads to bust. No, she didn’t do that *shopping* thing. Quite frankly she hated it. In and out, that was her view – just go in, get what you need, and get out.
At last, she found one. It was a bit old, but it was a dress, right? Yup, only one opening at the bottom, no pant legs. She didn’t know about the top, though. It appeared to have no sleeves or straps of any kind. Would such a thing stay up? She decided to try.
Felina walked over to the mirror and stripped, then pulled the dress over her head. It was a shimmery electric blue with a straight skirt that came to the knees and a bustier-like bodice. Felina was a bit frightened when she saw how she looked in it. It was much too drastic. Did she have a sweater she could wear over top? She found a black cardigan that seemed to match fairly decently.
And then she looked down at her feet, which were completely bare.
Disaster had struck.
She had no ladies’ shoes, unless they, too, were buried in the closet.
She began to look.
It was 9:15.
Jason sat in the little white cell, looking away from the blinding white lights, back against the white wall, staring at the white floor. So katkind had abolished torture, had they?
He couldn’t believe they were keeping him here. He’d shown them the badge, and they took his wallet. They also took his nice clean suit and tossed it in the filthy evidence locker, along with the wallet.
Then they strip searched him. He didn’t know he had that many orifices into which cold metal probes might be inserted. His butt hurt and he had a slight ringing in his ears.
“Can’t I at least have my phone call?” he demanded of a passing guard.
The guard offered him an apathetic shrug before moving along.
“Blast it,” he muttered. “Cole’s going to get killed, Callie Briggs is going to get killed, and then, I’m going to get killed by Feral – or Felina!”
He began to kick at the wall.
“It’s just not fair.”
“I miss the old days.”
A brown striped guard appeared.
“STOP KICKING THE WALL!” he bellowed.
“I SAID STOP KICKING THE WALL!”
“STOP KICKING THE WALL!”
Jason stopped, turned, and looked up.
“I can have my phone call?” he said. “Great!”
The guard said nothing and turned to leave.
“All right, all right, you can use your lousy call! Jeez!”
Jason cheered silently. The door to his cell was opened and he was led down a hall to a room with a phone, which he was offered. He picked it up and began to dial.
The phone in Feral’s office rang only once.
“This is Feral.”
Feral’s jowls drooped a permanent nanometer lower with his scowl.
“Whiskers. Aren’t you supposed to be getting ready?”
Jason looked up at the guard, whose expression he guessed to be a good approximation of what Ulysses looked like right then.
“Well, Sir, there’s been an incident.”
“This had better be good…”
“I’ve been arrested.”
Feral’s roar was so loud, even the guard heard it. The commander’s neighbors banged on the roof.
“But it’s not what you think! Really!”
“Where are you?”
“City Hall, sir, I-”
Jason looked at the phone disbelievingly.
The guard laughed maliciously.
“There’s your phone call. And if you kick the wall again, the next time this phone rings it’ll feel like yer farting, kapeesh?”
“Kapeesh,” said Jason as the guard escorted him back to his cell.
They had scarce gotten there when the commander burst through the door to the holding area.
“WHISKERS!” he bellowed, then turned to the guard. “Where is Officer Whiskers?”
“Commander? How’d you get here so fast?”
Feral traced the voice and ripped the door to Jason’s cell off its hinge, then threw it to the ground.
“Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?!!!” Feral demanded.
Jason looked around at the rest of the prison. Yes, yes he did.
The clock read 10:01. Already?!
Feral grabbed him by the shirt sleeve.
“They have my suit in the locker, and my badge.”
“Not anymore,” Feral grumbled, and a guard ran and grabbed the items. “Get dressed – NOW.”
“Here?” gulped Jason. Well, he thought, it was better than the strip searching. He pulled on the suit as Feral watched, almost appraisingly.
“Now get moving! I suppose I’ll drive you.”
Jason did as he was told and marched right out of the holding area, then out of the building.
Navigate This Author's Stories
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.