With the coming of ten post meridian came a visitor to the doorstep of His Lordship, Mister David Cole. He was nervous and shaky, and the wounds under the bandage on his paw were beginning to throb. He shivered, cleared his throat, and raised the brass door knocker.
Then he waited. He looked around at the house – it was a good size, dutch colonial in architecture, and well-landscaped. It was very David Cole, right down to the kat’s carved face on the knocker.
There was no answer. Surely, there was at least a servant at home. He knocked again, more loudly this time.
And Charles du Seine was again faced with a wait. His knees were wobbly. Maybe he wasn’t as ready as he’d thought. He turned to leave, and as he did, the door opened, and an enormous black-furred kat was looking at him and grinning.
“Do come in,” said the kat in a clear baritone.
Du Seine was surprised by the stature and appearance of …the butler? He wasn’t sure, but he walked in.
“Thank you,” he said, stepping forward and looking around.
He reached the entrance to the living room.
There, on the couch, mouth wide in an infeline yaw and eyes glazed, was His Lordship. A glass of wine sat poured, ready to drink, on the table next to the bottle. In Cole’s paw was a velvet box, and inside that was a diamond ring.
“No,” said Derek, “thank *you*.”
He drew his gun and du Siene whirled on him.
“Completely,” the Secret replied.
“You stay out of this.”
Charles didn’t know whether to laugh or pray. He chose to grab for the gun. Derek took the smaller tom’s paw, wrapped it round the gun, and put it to du Seine’s head.
“With you dies suspicion,” he said.
Du Seine fell, and Derek Whitepaws turned to leave.
He hadn’t a care in the world.
Why, he felt like dancing.
The night was young, and so, he knew, was he.
* * *
Felina stood in the doorway of her apartment tapping her foot. She had to to keep the circulation going, as the only shoes she could find that didn’t fall under the classification “combat boot” were a full size too small. The dress was uncomfortable and she was beginning to suspect that the cardigan was giving her welts.
Commander Feral hadn’t allowed Jason to say a word, not that anything he said would help Cole at this point. Jason knew he was in trouble when Feral pushed him out the car door, barked “142” and sped off.
So Jason walked up the steps of the apartment building with nothing to give his date and an excuse he couldn’t use for his lateness.
“Where have you been?” she demanded.
He opened his mouth to speak.
“Oh, never mind.” She looked exhausted, and the lump on her head was again flaring. She looked him over. “Nice outfit.”
They stood there a minute.
“Well, are you going to come in or aren’t you?” she asked.
“I’m going!” he said, and stepped past her. “Nice place.”
“Did you dress up just for me?” he asked, seeing her attempt to discreetly stratch her shoulder.
“What makes you think that?” she asked.
The thought that the mole was loose was plaguing him.
He walked around, admiring the decor.
Felina followed him wordlessly. Finally, the high heel on her shoe snapped, and she fell to the ground.
“Felina!” Jason exclaimed, rushing to help her. “Are you all right?”
“Oh, shut up,” she snapped, then realized he wasn’t laughing at her.
He reached down and pulled off her shoes.
“Yeah, a lot,” she admitted.
Felina smiled at him. She stood up. He stood up, too.
“Well, that takes care of that, guess dinner’s off.”
“It doesn’t have to be.”
“Really,” she said. “I don’t suppose you can cook.”
“Take-out?” he offered. “Delivery? …Pizza?”
“Ick – no.”
“My feelings exactly.”
“I’ll order – where’s the phone?”
“On the kitchen wall. Um, you mind if I change?”
Jason laughed. “Not a bit – if I can, too.”
Felina looked amused. “Into what?”
“Aw, lighten up,” he said. “Seriously, though – I have a T shirt and jog shorts on underneath all this stuff.”
She shrugged and disappeared into her bedroom. Jason pulled off his suit and when she emerged, they were dressed identically. Jason phoned the pizza place and Felina searched under the sofa cushions for the television remote. Then both sat down on the couch to watch Felina’s favorite movie – “Die Hard 4” – during which Felina demanded absolute silence, although she did, during the few scenes containing actual dialogue, turn to make faces at her newest friend.
Jason couldn’t concentrate on the movie. For one thing, he didn’t care for action flicks; he much preferred comedy. He couldn’t keep his eyes on the screen, not with the thoughts in his head. He couldn’t even look at her to see how vibrant she looked in the picture-tube glow, her eyes playful and her expression a perfect copy of the movie star’s as she mouthed the catchphrases.
No, Jason was thinking about the case. So he was relieved when the pizza boy finally arrived.
“Your pizza, Sir,” said the boy, a kitten of sixteen.
“Thanks,” said Jason. “How much do I owe you?”
“$14.95 plus tip.”
“The boss said to be assertive.”
“Hey, keep it down, would ya! This is my favorite scene!” Felina yelled from the living room.
The pizza boy stuck his head around.
“Oh, wow! Die Hard 4! My favorite movie!” he cheered.
And he walked in and plopped himself down on the couch, leaving a shocked Jason standing in the doorway holding a large green pepper, onion, and extra cheese.
“Just what do you think-”
A building on the screen exploded; then out of nowhere it was replaced by a shot of dogfighting helicopters.
“Now wait just a-”
One of the helicopters was struck and began to careen downwards toward the vicious-looking ocean.
The helicopter struck the water. It cut to a shot of a kat floundering in the surf, clutching a life preserver. Here the pizza boy let out a whoop.
Felina looked over and realized what had happened.
“What the…” she growled. “GET OFF MY COUCH!”
The pizza boy jumped and ran out of the apartment amid a volley of machine gun fire.
Jason walked over to the newly vacated spot on the couch.
“The grease was starting to burn my fingers,” he said.
The silver-furred tom sullenly set the nearly clear box on the coffee table, opened it, and removed a gooey, thin-crusted slice. He leaned over to avoid dripping tomato sauce on himself.
There was a hostage situation and a bomb on the elevator. Felina’s eyes were glued to the screen as she blindly reached for her own piece. She took a bite just as the international terrorist pulled a knife on the president’s daughter.
And despite the warning “Don’t move or she dies,” Felina set the slice down with a somewhat revolted face and picked the little strings of cheese from her fingertips.
“They put yellow peppers on it,” she complained.
An hour passed. The movie’s plot dissolved further. The pizza got cold as Jason could only bring himself to nibble at it. Finally, as the witching hour drew near, he could take it no longer.
“Felina,” Jason began.
“No talk. Movie.”
Jason set his pizza down and stood up, switching on the light.
“No movie. Talk.”
Felina pushed the “pause” button and turned to him with a “what-is-it -this-time?” look on her face.
“Felina, look, there’s something going on that I need to talk to you about.”
“Can it wait for the end of the movie?”
“You know I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
She gestured for him to turn out the lights but he didn’t. So began a staring contest of epic proportions. The clock struck midnight.
Then at 12:05 the phone rang.
It was Sergeant Fred O’Reilly of felicide.
“Is Officer Whiskers there?” he asked in a thick brogue.
Felina tossed Jason the phone.
“Work,” she said.
O’Reilly looked down at the crumpled body of one young french waiter.
“The Commander said you’d be interested in this,” he said.
“Why? What happened?”
“David Cole is dead – and it looks like so’s the guy who killed him.”
* * *
Callie Briggs had been dancing around her apartment somewhat giddily only an hour before. Now she was shaking with fear and the occasional hysterical sob as she paced back and forth in David Cole’s sitting room under the watchful eye of an Enforcer e kat.
She’d thought it wonderful that Cole had invited her, on the eve of his victory and her defeat, to his beach house. It was perfect. She would simply show up at his door, listen to his overtures, and then, when he either 1. proposed, or 2. propositioned her, she could calmly, firmly, and flatly refuse him. In fact she was even hoping that there would be a servant around, that he might be publicly humiliated.
She would even give him a gift – she would say: “I know it’s not the trophy you wanted, but you can make do.”
And then she would leave, and go on with her life. She’d get a job as a divorce lawyer with her former roommate’s parents’ law firm, and earn a nice, solid income of half a million a year before she retired at the age of 40 or so, settled down, got married, and maybe adopted a kid.
And she would always be able to laugh at the memory of this day.
But it was not to be, for when she knocked on the door, there was no answer, and when she tried the knob, the door opened to reveal… this.
Cole was dead, frozen forever in time at his moment of greatest and happiest anticipation. The ring in his paw was the clincher.
Had he loved her? Really? Truly, though mistakenly, had he believed she would ever fall for him?
And marry him.
The breath rushed from her lungs and she sank to the floor by the body of Charles du Seine. But she would not cry. With some effort she crawled back onto her feet and searched about for a phone.
She found one, picked up the receiver, and dialed the only number she could think of: 9-1-1.
She reached the dispatcher.
“Yes, I’d like to report a felicide. That’s right, a murder. David Cole is dead.”
And though Derek Whitepaws had fired seven bullets, her words rang out in the empty house as the coldest shot of all.
It was cut and dry, open and shut, but the media wasn’t about to leave it alone. Ann Gora of Kats’ Eye News stood outside the Cole beach house, which had been cordoned off. Sirens blasted in the background and it had begun to drizzle. When Jason and Felina arrived, still in jog shorts and tees, they were not happy to see her.
“Hey Annie, look! It’s the detectives on the other murder cases!”
“Where?!” Ann exclaimed.
She was getting attached to her new cameraman – he was proving to be quite an asset.
“Over there – going in the house round the back!”
Ann took off in a run towards the house, but was grabbed by an Enforcer officer with bluish fur and a short temper.
“See if you can get a shot!” she yelped, but it was too late. Another Enforcer already had his paw over the lens.
“Hey,” Jonny whined.
“What is the meaning of this?” Ann barked. “I want answers! Why are Officers Feral and Whiskers at this murder scene?!”
The officer just laughed, and told her that he’d tell, film at eleven. Ann didn’t find that very amusing.
It was then that she caught a glimpse in the window of Callie Briggs.
“The other contender?” she mouthed.
She turned to her assistant.
“Jonny, I think this may be the story we’ve been waiting for!”
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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.