Book Four: The Bomber
It was three days after they had rescued Katareena from Turmoil, and Chance was still spoiling for a fight. Jake gathered from Chance’s muttered explainations that Katareena had told him it was over. Before it began, even.
Because Chance was so mad, it didn’t take much for Burke and Murray to get him on the edge when they delivered their next load.
Before Jake could do or say anything to defuse the situation, a high-pitched female voice piped up. “Hi’ya! I don’t remember you two brutes!”
Everyone looked at her. The dark blonde hair and opaque shades were familiar to Jake. She was the welding artist from about six months ago. He didn’t know whether to be pleased or upset by her presence. Burke and Murray leered at her.
To Jake and Chance she asked, “I take it these two aren’t close friends of yours?”
“Friends with dese two? Are you kiddin’, babe? Dese two ex-Enforcers aren’t worth ten minutes of our time,” Burke said, sneering at them.
“Oh? So you’re leaving? So sorry to hear that. Your intelligently phrased insults were a delight to my ears the entire time I’ve waited for you to get your big dump truck out of my way.”
She stood with her gloved paws on her hips, her lips set in a twist that was both a smile and a frown. Murray and Burke were confused by her words, not knowing if they were a compliment or an insult.
They left after having Chance sign their clipboard. The she-kat looked at Jake and Chance, her expression friendlier than they’d ever seen it.
“I’ll be back, my pick-up’s outside the fence.” She walked into the cloud of dust the dump truck had left behind and turned left at the gate.
“You can go back to the “Scardy Kat” marathon if you want to, Chance. I can handle this one. She’s a welding artist looking for junk for her sculptures. Shouldn’t take more than an hour.”
“Nah, you go inside, Jake. I need to have a little workout and if I go inside I’ll get sucked into the TV.”
Jake looked over his shoulder as the pick-up rumbled into the salvage yard’s lot. “Are you *sure*? She can be kinda…annoying.”
“I’m sure, you go listen for any…calls.”
“Roger,” Jake said, and almost ran into the office.
“Hi! Chance, right?”
Chance looked at her. She was wearing a grey sweat shirt, jeans, Kat-Bans, and heavy work gloves. Her dark blonde hair was in a single long braid down her back.
“Yes ma’am. My name is Chance. And yours?”
“Call me K.P. So, show me your junk.” _____________s______________w__________a___________t________________
As Chance worked with K.P, he felt his anger and stress melt away. She smiled a lot and talked a lot. She made jokes that made him laugh several times. He felt himself warming to her already. Annoying? Her?
He helped her lift what used to be a MASA control panel. They put it on the cart. He was confused by the diversity of the materials she wanted. She’d chosen monitors, old radar equipment, sheet metal…and even more unidentifiable things.
“What do you need all this junk for?” he asked her while they carried what used to be a helicopter propeller to her truck.
“Somebody commissioned me to do a big sculpture for their garden. I never know what I need until I need it. It’s better to have a lot than not enough.
“You’re telling *me*! Are you sure you can drive with all this stuff in the back?” He eyed the small mountain of metallic junk warily.
“Are you kidding? You should have seen the pile I got from another salvage yard! I’ll tell you what though, I’m coming here from now on.”
“Why? Do we have a better selection or something?”
“That too. You guys don’t leer at me like the other guys do. How much is it?”
Chance named the price and waited while she went inside the cab to get the money. K.P. counted it out and thanked him for his help. “See you later. Next week, maybe. ‘Bye, Chance!”
K.P. drove off. Chance couldn’t wait until next week. He walked into the office feeling much better. Jake was in front of the TV watching Ann Gora on the news.
Chance put the money in the cash register and then joined Jake on the couch. “You seem better,” Jake remarked.
“Much better,” Chance agreed.
“Is she an amateur psychologist or something? You’re smiling. You haven’t smiled in days.”
“I’ll be fine. Let’s watch “Scardy Kat”.” ____________s_____________w_____________a______________t___________
Katareena drove the pick-up to her hangar. It was hard to get to, a bonus. Five miles of road separated her from Megakat City. It would be only a snap by air.
She was probably two weeks away from completing her Phoenix. The jet was a masterpiece of welding and engineering. When it was finished, the colors would be black and silver. The mail controls would be in the front seat, though it could be flown from the back seat with the proper codes, if necessary. Unlike other jets, her Phoenix wouldn’t have a ‘black box’. It would be too dangerous.
Reena unloaded the truck and separated the materials into two piles: Hangar Control and Phoenix.
She had great plans for Hangar Control and the Phoenix. Artificial intelligence was one of them. She already had a working prototype thanks to something her eldest brother left her. Monitors in Hangar Control would show news all day. A microchip would know when a special news bulletin was shown and automatically record it and forward it to the Phoenix and her lap top computer if she were away from Hangar Control.
As for security precautions, only a special sequence on her control panel in the Phoenix would open the hidden hatch when she wanted to enter Hangar Control. The hatch would automatically open when she wanted to leave.
Reena began working on the Phoenix. She admired the work she had already done. The body was shielded by mega-alloy armor. The metal was almost indestructible. There was one main thruster and two smaller ones. By some engineering freak, her engines couldn’t be flooded out unless somehow she were forced into a body of water. The Phoenix was a smaller than the TurboKat, and more maneuverable. Of course, with all the bonuses, there was a big sacrifice of speed.
The TurboKat was beautiful and obviously lovingly made. The same went for the masterpiece of the Phoenix, made by paws that knew the craft almost by second nature. From the moment her mother, a mechanic, and her father, an Enforcer pilot, had met – Klawz was destined to be.
Katareena had always thought “Klawz” would be what she stenciled in under the cockpit of the Enforcer jet she would fly. The Enforcers wouldn’t have her because she was female. A few years later, Felina Feral would be the first female Enforcer, quickly followed by many more. If she had only waited she would have joined them…
But by that time Katareena had already signed a contract with Leo Vernes. She couldn’t get out of her acting career until she had made ten movies. When she had finally reached that point she had already made a name for herself doing Enforcer movies. No recruiting officers would have taken her interest seriously.
It was then that she started planning, and the bit of her she was saving for the Enforcers began taking on her own life. As Klawz. She had always been there, the entity that was Klawz…
The ex-Enforcers that had taught her how to be an Enforcer on-screen also taught her as much as they could about how to fly a jet. She took the written exams and passed with flying colors. But they were only written exams, done in secret and graded by ex-Enforcers.
They were trust-worthy kats, though. She didn’t tell them she was planning on becoming a vigilante. But she could tell they knew by some sixth sense. They would keep her secret until their dying day.
She was remembering her old pain while fixing a tiny monitor she would use in the Phoenix. Reena was using the screwdriver in her left paw and a pair of pliers in her right. She twisted the screwdriver, then dropped it with a cry.
The scar from the kreepling bite had pulled painfully. She would always have to keep the paw covered when she was pretending to be someone other than Katareena, the actress. ‘K.P.’ shouldn’t have the same type of scar and neither should ‘Klawz’. Reena massaged the paw until the pain went away.
She checked the monitor. It was ready to be installed. _______________s____________w___________a____________t______________
When she wasn’t acting in her new movie as Katareena, setting up her Hangar Control or building the Phoenix as Klawz, she was K.P. getting new parts at the Megakat City Salvage Yard and Garage.
Once Jake saw that ‘K.P.’ wasn’t as annoying as she was the first time he met her, he became as close a friend as Chance was.
Burke and Murray came about once a week. They were there officially to bring scrap metal, but there unofficially to pick fights with Chance and Jake, who both knew that. What Chance and Jake couldn’t believe was that *K.P.* wouldn’t let them.
K.P. was usually there the day Burke and Murray came. Their third mission seemed to be to get a date with her. K.P. always managed to confuse them into leaving. Her voice was always pleasant, almost friendly, but her words insulted their looks and intelligence. Not that either of the two dump truck drivers ever figured it out. As long as K.P. was around, Jake and Chance weren’t reminded by them that they were kicked out of the Enforcers.
They appreciated it, but didn’t understand why she defended them so valiantly. Jake decided to ask her the next time she came. Right after Murray and Burke left.
“Hey guys, K.P. around?” Burke asked, his eyes practically swiveling out of control trying to see her.
“Does it *look* like she’s here?” Chance asked sarcastically while looking at the empty space where she usually parked.
“Well…ya never know… Come out to the truck and sign the clipboard, will ya?” The short kat said.
Jake and Chance walked out behind Burke. K.P. was parking her truck. As petite as she was, she almost had to jump down from the high-slung vehicle.
“Hi’ya gorgeous! How come you always seem to be here when we’re here?” Murray asked, leering at her.
Behind the dark glasses she always wore, K.P. probably rolled her eyes. “I dunno. Just lucky I guess.” She walked past him, ignoring him.
“Hi Jake, Chance! How’s business?” K.P. asked, her usual greeting.
“It was slow until you got here,” Jake said, his usual answer.
“How come you always smile at dese losers and not us?” Burke complained. K.P. turned to him.
“I don’t smile at things I pity.”
Chance gaffawed, Jake smiled while he signed his name on the form on the clipboard. He gave it back to Burke, who took it and left without saying anything else. He probably didn’t understand exactly what she had meant by her comment.
K.P. looked at the watch on her right wrist. She had her left glove on and the right one in her paw. “Hey, Chance, “Scaredy Cat’s” on in five minutes. Hop to it.”
“Crud! I don’t even have time for popcorn! See you in a half hour!” Chance went inside to watch his beloved TV show.
By now, Jake knew what she liked to get, and could pick out the best stuff while she worked too. After ten minutes of working in silence, K.P. came over and stopped Jake from his search.
“Okay, what’s wrong?”
“Well, usually you’re full of jokes or stories. You’ve been as silent as a grave and your brow is furrowed like you’re trying to solve the secret of King Tukatcomin. Spill it.” “Well…I was trying to find a way to ask you something without offending you or sounding ungrateful.”
“Shoot, I don’t get offended often.”
K.P. probably didn’t, so Jake decided to go ahead and ask her his question bluntly. “Why do you defend us against Burke and Murray’s bullying? You don’t always stop all the bad mouthing, but you do always manage to get them to leave before they bring up our getting kicked out of the Enforcers.”
“You mean I’ve never told you two before?”
“Not me at least.”
“Okay, sit down and I’ll tell you.” They made themselves as comfortable as one could on piles of old metal.
“I was maybe sixteen… I wanted to be an Enforcer. I asked everyone that knew anything about flying to teach me. When I thought I knew everything I could be taught outside of actually joining the Enforcers, I went to the local recruiting center to sign up. The recruiting officer took one look at me and pointed back the way I had come. I even scheduled a conference with Commander Feral, I don’t remember what rank he was then, but he was still high up. He looked at me like he was going to yell at me. I could have handled that, I couldn’t handle the voice he *did* use. ‘We don’t allow females in the Enforcers, Little Lady.’ He said, like I was a kitten!”
“Why didn’t you join when the *did* allow females to join?”
Jake and Chance had gotten over most of their bitterness about being kicked out, but K.P. sounded like it had happened yesterday even though it had happened many years before theirs did. The pain was that fresh in her voice.
“I couldn’t. It’s as simple as that. I had prior commitments. When those prior commitments were fulfilled I already had a bright career ahead of me.”
“So, you know what it’s like. That’s why you protect us.”
“Uh-huh. Did you see that TV special on King Tukatcomin last night?”
“Must have missed it. What’d you learn?” he asked brightly, letting her change the subject. ________________s______________w______________a__________t__________
It was done. All of it. Everything. The movie, the Phoenix, and Hangar Control. Finished all on the same day. At her apartment she sat down. Three separate she-kats did: Katareena, K.P, and Klawz.
The movie was finished a little behind schedule because of her absence during the kidnapping. The Phoenix was completed late because she couldn’t find a fixable canopy frame. She had to make it herself. The Hangar Control was finished months ahead of schedule because she had discovered a small system of caves under the hangar. The caves made her job much easier because they were of the perfect size and place. The digging only had to be done where the Phoenix would exit from.
Above ground, the hangar looked normal, there were tools and old parts strewn around an old Enforcer helicopter. The office was filled with cardboard boxes full of some of her junk.
There was only one way into the underground hangar without riding in on the Phoenix. Directly in front of your eyes too. A closet door. The door had to be closed while you were inside and you had to lift the light switch’s plate and push the button. Then the closet back opens and a stairway is revealed. She had put the finishing touches on that today too.
Katareena rested inside her apartment for another hour before forcing herself up again. She had agreed to be a guest on the David Litterbin show that afternoon.
From her closet, she pulled a white blouse and a black skirt. From her jewelry box, she took a silver ankh necklace. A simple, but elegant outfit. Reena dressed and applied some lipstick, then she left the apartment.
She rode the elevator down to the parking basement. Reena climbed into the red sports car and buckled her seat belt before driving to the MBC building. The show wouldn’t start for another hour and a half, and she wasn’t expected for another hour, so she took the long route.
After a while, she noticed a clunking sound under her car. She pulled over to the side of the road and parked. Katareena checked to make sure all her tires were sound, peeked under the car, and finally resorted to popping the hood. She stared at the tubes and wires and gadgets completely mystified. She was great at fixing jets and helicopters, but her mother had never gotten around to teaching her the first thing about fixing a car.
“Well, Jake and Chance, it seems I’ll be seeing you again real soon.” Katareena closed the hood and got back inside the car. It didn’t take long for her to drive to the garage. She got out and walked to the office. ____________s_____________w_____________a______________t___________
Chance nearly fell off the stool he was sitting on. He was just thinking of Katareena when she walked in.
Katareena smiled at the two of them and said, “Umm…my car’s making a funny noise, could you help me?”
“Sure thing, Miss Perkins,” Jake declared, getting up from his seat and following her outside. Chance took a little longer. He shook his head and decided to get a hold on himself. When he got outside, Jake was opening the hood of Katareena’s sports car.
“I was driving down the road when I heard this clunking noise under the car. I might know a little about helicopters, but cars are beyond me!”
Chance got the mechanic’s creeper and put it by the car. “I’ll go under and have a look.” He sat on the rolling equipment, then laid down. Chance pushed himself under the car and got a good look at what was giving her the trouble. “Hey, Jake…I think you’d better get a look at this.”
Jake got his own creeper and joined Chance. Together they looked at the crude bomb.
“Did you find the problem? Can you fix it?” Katareena’s innocent voice floated down to them.
“Chance, you get her out of here and call the Enforcers. I’ll make sure it doesn’t have a timer.” Jake’s voice was too low to carry to Katareena.
Chance pushed his creeper from under the car and stood up. Katareena looked at him with a curiosity that just might get her killed if he let her stop him and ask questions. “Follow me inside and we’ll talk about the problem.”
“I’ve got a *what* under my car?” Reena’s eyebrows were lost in her bangs. She had automatically stood up, now she looked out the window towards her car. “Well, what’s *he* doing out there? I didn’t think they taught how to defuse bombs in the Enforcers!”
“How’d you know he was in the Enforcer’s?” He was surprised that she knew.
“Oh, I know K.P. When I heard the noise I pulled up at a phone booth. I told her I was looking for some trustworthy mechanics. She recommended you guys and reassured me by telling me that you guys were ex-Enforcers. She wanted me to ask Jake how business was, by the way,” she said distractedly.
It didn’t surprise Chance that K.P. knew Katareena, she was the kind of she-kat that meets a lot of people. It didn’t surprise him that she didn’t mention Katareena either, K.P. didn’t say anything that wasn’t relevant.
“Yes, they teach how to defuse bombs in the Enforcers. That one is a very simple one, probably easy to defuse. It probably wouldn’t even explode.”
Katareena gripped the charm on her necklace. He stood up and walked over to her. Gently, he guided her to a seat. “Sit. I’m going to call the Enforcers,” he said gruffly. _________________s_____________w____________a___________t___________
Katareena sat in her seat, playing with her ankh while watching the Enforcers take the bomb from under her car. Jake and Chance sat near her, watching her. She pretended to be more upset than she really was, but it didn’t take much acting.
“I totally forgot! May I use your phone?”
“It’s right behind the counter,” Chance said.
She got up and walked over to the phone. After waiting for the receptionist to answer, she had to wait an extra five minutes for the producer of the David Litterbin Show to pick up. Katareena was very grateful when he finally did, the ‘on hold’ music was annoying.
“Katareena! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, I’m not late yet…”
“We heard about the bomb!”
“You *did*? I thought only a few people knew.”
“Leo told us that there was a bomb that exploded in the back of your car!”
Reena rolled her eyes, “He was exagerating. When did he call?”
“About an hour ago. Will you be late or will you come to the next show?”
“The next show. I’ve got to go. I’ll call tomorrow, okay?”
They exchanged good-byes and hung up. She walked dazedly back to her chair and sat down. Nobody’s contacts were *that* good, not even Leo’s. Chance and Jake hadn’t even found the bomb an hour ago. Leo had planted the bomb, or had it planted.
“Are you okay, Miss Perkins?” Jake asked, a very concerned look on his face. Chance was half in his seat and half out of it, like he was waiting to rush out to catch her if she fainted.
Katareena smiled weakly at them. She knew what she had to do now. Whether she was really ready for it or not.
The door opened and Lieutenant Felina Feral walked through the door. “I’m going to have to ask you three some questions…seperately.” Jake and Chance got the hint and left. Lt. Feral sat down next to Katareena. “Do you know who would have wanted to do this?”
“No,” she lied. *She’d* handle this her own way.
“Are you sure one of the mechanics didn’t place it there when they went under the car?”
“Of course not! I went to them because I heard a noise. Besides, neither of them even brought tools under the car with them, let alone a bomb!”
“Has something like this ever happened before? Any death threats?”
“Who would have access to your car, Miss Perkins?”
“Anyone who could get into the appartment’s subterrainian garage.” She threw her paws up in the air as if the number of kats with access was half the population of Megakat City.
Lt. Feral questioned her a while longer before ending the questioning. “I’ll send Jake in, okay?” Katareena said as she wrote her phone number and address on a sheet of paper from her purse. She got up and walked outside. “Jake? She wants to talk to you.”
Jake walked over and was about to enter the office when Reena stopped him. “Thank-you, Jake. It was very brave of you to see if you could defuse the bomb.”
“I didn’t do anything – ” Jake protested.
“You *tried*. Actions speak louder than words, and that act *screamed* of bravery!” She hugged him and let him go inside.
“Yes, Miss Perkins?” He said, walking up to her. She smiled up at him.
“Call me Katareena. I’m going to leave my car here to get a tune-up and whatever.” She nodded to where the Enforcers were unhooking her sports car. It crashed down and both Reena and Chance winced. “As you can see, they didn’t take very good care of it.”
“You’ve got *that* right! That could ruin the shock absorbers!”
Reena pressed the piece of paper into his paw. “I’ve got to go home and lay down. This is my phone number and address. Call me when it’s fixed – no hurry.”
“Do you think it’s safe to go home? The bomber is still out there.”
She hugged him quickly. “You’re sweet to be thinking of my safety, but I’m sure Lt. Feral will insist that some Enforcers go with me and watch my appartment. Thank-you so much for taking care of me. I’ll see you when I pick up my car.”
Jake came out then. “May I use your phone again,” she asked.
“Help yourself. Chance, you’re next.” Katareena and Chance walked inside together.
“Chance, do you know a good cab company?”
“That’s not nessessary, Miss Perkins. Two of my boys will drive you home,” Lt. Feral said. “Just choose the two who look like they have nothing to do.” _______________s____________w_____________a____________t____________ Katareena nearly laughed out loud at the sight the two young Enforcers made. The way they tried to be macho while they checked her apartment for intruders was priceless.
They came up empty of course. The older of the two came up to her.
“Nobody’s been here, ma’am. I think we should stay here with you until this bomber is caught.”
“Why don’t you watch down in the lobby? That way you can catch him before he gets anywhere *near* me!”
They didn’t catch on to the illogic of her suggestion, they had no idea *what* the bomber looked like. The followed her suggestion like sheep to the slaughter. Katareena closed and locked the door safely behind the Enforcers. Then she went to her room and opened the secret panel in her closet.
In the closet, her new uniform and weapons were hung in precession. She dressed quickly. Her flight suit was exactly like that the SWAT Kats wore, only the colors were reversed. Where there was red in the SWAT Kats uniform, blue replaced it in hers and vice versa.
When she placed the helmet on her masked head, she became Klawz, her alter ego. Katareena Perkins faded away until only a glimmer was left. Klawz stood in her place. It was Klawz who chose her weapon, a glove-a-trex similar to what the SWAT Kats used. It was Klawz who exited the apartment through the bedroom window. It was Klawz whose eyes glittered with anger at the bomb Leo had put under Katareena’s car.
On the roof, Klawz tried to get her bearings. The office building where Leo practically lived wasn’t far, but it would be different in how to get there by roof-top. When she knew where she was going, she began running. Klawz cleared the space between roof-tops easily. The next distance wasn’t close enough to jump, so she used the glove-a-trex’s grappling hook to get over.
Five buildings later, she was where she wanted to be. Leo always worked late, so he would be there alone. The whole top floor was owned by him, so all she had to do was enter through one of the windows. And she did. Klawz secured a rope to her waist and to the roof, then jumped.
Klawz swung through the big plate-glass window and grabbed the windowsill so her momentum wouldn’t swing her back the way she had come. All the shattered glass went into the room, not onto the street far below. Quickly, she untied herself and retied the rope to a chair so she could exit the same way she came in. Then she went in search of the agent.
He was on the phone when she found him, oblivious to the loud noise she had made while entering. Leo yelled into the phone and hung it up, then began searching through his Rolodex.
“Leo,” Klawz said in a loud, teasing whisper.
He looked up, startled. He didn’t see her in the hall’s shadows. “Who’s there?” Klawz stepped into his office so he could see her. Leo gasped loudly.
“Your conscience, Leo. Your conscience. Leo…you’ve been a very bad kat.”
“What did I do?” He tried to fake innocence, but his fleshy face wasn’t used to it, so he actually looked very afraid.
“You put a bomb under Katareena Perkins’s car. Naughty, naughty.” She slowly walked towards the kat who was already scared out of his wits.
“What do you want to keep quiet? Katareena can’t know!”
“Trying to bribe me? That doesn’t work. I *want* Katareena to know. You’re going to tell her from behind bars. Everyone will know what you did. You’ll go to jail. Do you want to tell them, or should I?”
“Ten thousand dollars? I can get you money!”
“No, Leo. You’re going to tell the world what you did.”
“I *won’t*! Nothing you do or say can make me!”
Klawz grabbed his shirt collar and lifted the short agent inches above his seat easily. “Wanna bet?” she growled. _______________s___________w__________a_____________t_______________
An hour later, Klawz left the way she’d come. Leo was on the floor of his office sniveling about how his conscience told him to call the Enforcers. The operator probably couldn’t understand a word of what he was saying. She was two roof-tops away when cars of Enforcers pulled up in front of Leo’s building.
It was dusk. Lights were just starting to go on in Megakat City. Klawz was on the roof of her apartment. She couldn’t bear to change back yet, so she stayed on top of the roof until the moon was hovering at the edge of the city. ____________s_____________w_____________a_____________t____________ Katareena awoke to the sound of furious banging at her door less than an hour later. Groggily, she pulled a housecoat on and stumbled to the door. Through the peephole she saw about a dozen armed Enforcers. She quickly unlocked and pulled open the door. The Enforcers streamed past her and throughout the apartment. They left ten minutes later, but not before one of them explained why they were there. “We found out who put the bomb under your car.” “Who? Is he in custody?”
“Yes, he’s in custody. It’s your agent.”
“My agent! Leo did this?”
“Yes. We called to tell you, but you didn’t answer, so we came to see if his accomplice had you.”
“I always turn off the ringer before I go to sleep. So his accomplice is still out there?” She asked, thinking she might have to do some more searching.
“Leo gave us two possible locations the accomplice might be. Here planting another bomb or at his apartment. Don’t worry ma’am, we sent Enforcers to the apartment too. They should have him.”
A phone call two minutes later confirmed the capture. The Enforcers left after getting her word that she would press charges. Katareena shut and locked the door behind them, then she dragged herself back to bed. She was asleep in less that five minutes. ____________s_____________w_____________a_____________t____________
“Hey, Chance! Come look at this!” They had just finished their work on Katareena’s car. Jake was watching the news while Chance was making them a snack.
Chance closed the fridge and walked over to the couch. “What is it, buddy?”
“Ann Gora just said they got the two kats who planted the bomb under Katareena’s car.”
Chance punched one fist into the other palm, grinning savagely. “Darn. I wanted to get them and have a little…chat.”
“Affermative. It’s on, let me turn it up.”
“This is Ann Gora, live on the scene with Lt. Feral. Lt. Feral, who *did* plant the bomb under Katareena Perkins’s car?”
“At approximately two a.m. yesterday morning, a thug named Luter Gato got a call from Leo Verne, Ms. Perkins’s agent. Verne hired Gato to place the bomb in an area of the car that would have the least chance of killing or injuring the driver. Less than two hours later, Gato had made the bomb and was placing it under Ms. Perkins’ vehicle.”
“And how did you receive this information?”
“Six hours ago, Verne had an attack of his conscience. He phoned in to the police station and told all.”
Ann Gora turned to the camera and triumphantly said, “You heard it here first! Katareena Perkins’s own agent sabotaged her car! Miss Perkins was driving to a taping of the David Litterbin Show when her car suddenly started making noises. She pulled into a local garage where two mechanics discovered the bomb and called the Enforcers.”
Jake turned off the TV. Chance wasn’t so accepting of the situation. He immediately began pacing.
“I can’t believe him! Her career is at its height! There’s no way she’s going to be dropping from the spotlight anytime soon! He’s her agent – he should know that!”
“He’s a greedy sleezeball, Chance. He thinks, ‘her career’s gotten this high, why don’t I push it just a little bit higher?’ Then it gets there and he tries to get even more attention for her, because the more money she makes, the more money *he* makes.”
“*You* saw where that bomb was! Where that bomb was it would have blown up the gas tank. That agent of hers didn’t even have enough sense to check out whether or not this guy knew bombs or not!”
Jake let him rant and rave for a few minutes more before interrupting. “Chance. Did you want to call and tell her that her car’s ready, or should I?” _______________s________w__________a___________t____________________
Katareena struggled out of bed. Slowly, she undressed and took her shower. When she was dry, she put her hair up in a ponytail, brushed her teeth, and threw on a pair of old grey sweats.
As she flipped through the newspaper, she reflected that it was mornings like this she wished she drank coffee.
She was watching the morning news and caught a news broadcast Ann Gora had made earlier that morning. She noticed they didn’t say anything about the broken office window. The phone rang.
“Hello?” she asked cautiously, just in case a reporter somehow found out her phone number.
“Hello? Miss Perkins?”
“T-Bone?” Reena whispered.
There was a pause. “I’m sorry, Miss Perkins – I didn’t quite catch that. This is Chance Furlong from Megacat Salvage Yard and Garage. Your car is ready and you can pick it up anytime.”
She took a deep breath from disappointment. “Err…yes, of course. I’ll pick it up in an hour.”
“Sure thing. See you then.” ____________s_____________w_____________a_____________t____________
Chance hung up. It had taken all his willpower not to say he was T-Bone. For the next hour he hovered between depression for not being able to talk to her as T-Bone and elation because she had recognized his voice.
Exactly an hour later, a cab pulled up. The woman who got out and paid the cabbie was *definitely* not Katareena Perkins. Her hair was in a long blonde ponytail. She wore no make-up and grey sweats. On her feet she wore old running shoes. As she got closer, she smiled he realized he *wasn’t* looking at Katareena, just like he had thought. He was looking at Reena. *His* Reena not the made-up image that was Katareena Perkins the actress.
“Right this way, Miss Perkins.”
Reena gave a little startled laugh and said, “I’m surprised you recognized me! That cabbie took me all the way from my apartments to here talking about how worried he was over his ‘favorite star, Katareena Perkins’ and never once caught on.”
Chance shrugged not letting her praise affect him, “Hey, *I* knew you were coming, right?”
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