The Case of the C-Store Robbery
by Tom Wilder
Disclaimers:“SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron” is a trademark of Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network. Leo the Patriotic Lion and Wildcat City are owned by Tom Wilder.
In the olden days, she was Lt. Felina Feral, serving as an Enforcer but having to take orders from her uncle. It should have been no surprise to anybody, therefore, that she would cooperate with the SWAT Kats, unlike him. Part of the reason being her admiration (and in his case, his jealousy) for how they do their own thing, whereas she had to take orders from uncle, who in turn had to bend to the incompetent wishes of Mayor Manx.
But, now things were different. She wasn’t Lt. Felina Feral anymore. She was now Commander Felina Feral, and she was the first female to hold the elite position. (In a recent switch, Callie Briggs had actually been promoted from deputy mayor to mayor after Manx was voted out of office when the media revealed his true incompetence and his desires to do nothing but play golf in reality. So, now her paperwork had a purpose.) Her first job, as it happens, was finding a replacement for Lt. Commander Steele, who also got fired for his incompetence, and Steele was now working in a toothbrush factory. As a way of doing time (because he was subsequently arrested for public disorder counts in regards to disturbing the peace), he wasn’t being paid one cent. Now, he was getting paid the standard $9 an hour that the factory paid, and working 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday suited him best.
Felina’s first day as Commander didn’t come without problems, however. She had to make note that she had former villains who turned over a new leaf now serving on her force, but some folks wouldn’t believe they had repented. Lenny Ringtail, still doing stand-up comedy part-time, was the Enforcer police detective, and Hard Drive, having revealed his real name to be Gerald Hemmingway, was working a desk job and was Ringtail’s second-in-command. Right now, however, Gerald was having to do Lenny’s job because Lenny was actually in prison. Felina, however, was working her tail off trying to free her detective and get him back on duty.
“No matter how much they interrogate me, and no how much the press will distort it, because they do distort everything and lie to us just to get rich, they are always going to get the same story out of me,” Lenny told Felina after she locked the door to his cell. “I’m out and about late at night, and I’m investigating a C-store robbery. I show the robber my badge, and he fires at me, and I fire back at him. I didn’t take a hit, and he did. Thank goodness he’s not dead; if he was dead, I’d have retired and gone into hiding forever.”
“Overreaction, I’d say,” Felina replied. “The way I see it, what you did was a self-defensive move because he did fire the first shot. But, what about the girl involved?”
“She’s a 17-year-old girl still involved in foster care as far as I know. She screamed and screamed at me for shooting at the robber because the robber was her boyfriend, but she wasn’t in on the plot. He was robbing the store to get the money to buy her something special for her birthday. He couldn’t just work an honest job. Then, she and I got in a fight, and she nearly broke my arm! The rest of you had come in at that point, and an ambulance got him while you got me. The girl got away.”
In marched the Sergeant, still at the rank of Sergeant, who halted and saluted Felina. “I’ve just gotten word that Lt. Harrison has just apprehended the girl, and they are taking her in for questioning on why she tried to beat the wind out of Ringtail.”
“Good work!” Felina replied with a thumbs-up. “Let me know if you find anything else.”
“Will do.” The Sergeant saluted again, and then left the room.
A few days later, Felina got word that the foster parents the girl had escaped from were also being taken into custody, but for entirely different reasons. If all worked as she imagined it, the girl would just go into another foster home, hopefully, with better foster parents. Ultimately, she just wanted a life where she was the one in charge. During the questioning, she wouldn’t cooperate with the Enforcers, however. She just wanted Lenny to die for injuring her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend’s parents had been secretly planning to disown him, Felina also learned, because, as the dad put it, “Look at all we did for you, and this is how you pay us back? Some son you are! Oh, and you’ll never date anybody again by our word! You got that? You are bound to that order for the rest of your life!”
“I share Lenny’s wish,” she said to the investigators serving on the shooting board. “Like him, I want the case solved with facts and not just people giving me outbursts. Had my uncle still been alive at this point, he’d have just banished Lenny out of here, no questions asked. But, I’m not a by-the-book type. If you go strictly by the book, every single citizen in this country would be just a jailbird and the only ones not in prison would be the prisoners running it. Why didn’t he ever learn?”
“I think, then, the best thing to do is to go back to the scene of the crime and do some more looking,” said the president of the shooting board.
The group, including Lenny and Hard Drive, went to the specific C-store, where other Enforcer officers had been speaking to the worker who had been working the shift when the robbery happened. A different employee ran the daytime shift.
“I’ve never been robbed; just him,” she said with the manager by her side. “But, what we have to say is exactly what your detective has been saying. Robber shoots, detective shoots and scores, and the girl tries to beat the stuffing out of him so that he’ll die.”
“What was he going to do with the money?” Felina asked the girl.
“He said he wanted to buy me a present,” said the girl, “but every time he said that to me before, he instead spent the money on lottery tickets. He never won, so he decided, ‘Screw it; life’s not worth the trouble, so I’ll get the money the other way.’ He never had any specific plans for the money. He was just wanting to be rich. Meanwhile, I’m awaiting my trial for beating him up and wishing he was dead.”
“The fact you wanted me to die is not considered a death threat,” Lenny put in, “so you’re not being charged for that. You’re just being charged for attempted assault and battery, and at your age, you are lucky you’ve only got to deal with a juvenile detention case. I don’t think this is serious enough to try you as an adult. When you’re 18, you will be tried as an adult, but as with all people, you had the right to remain silent.”
The scene was then recreated, but with no gunfire present. Hard Drive took the spot of the robber.
“So, this is where he was when he shot at you?” Felina asked.
“Yes,” Lenny nodded. “And, I ducked to avoid it and shot back. I didn’t see where the bullet he shot at me went because it went this way.” He made a gesture with his hand.
“Then why does that bag of chips have a hole in it?” Felina pointed out, showing that there was indeed a bag of potato chips nobody had ever noticed. It laid on the floor, showing the mess of chips.
When Lenny picked up the bag, he found the bullet that came out of the gun with it. “That’s the bullet, everybody,” he announced.
“Can I see the security camera footage?” Felina asked the manager, and the manager led the group into his office, where he brought up the tape of the day before.
The truth had been told by Lenny, and the cameras didn’t lie: the robber shot first and the detective shot in self-defense. Then the fight scene came as the paramedics ran in to grab the robber, and the Enforcers came by to bring peace to the scene.
At the later trial, Lenny was ruled innocent of all charges and that his gunshot did fall within departmental policy. Felina, having to testify, had felt the best thing to do was drop the charges against the girl for the fistfight, so she was just placed in another foster home. Felina just put her mind to putting the case to the closed file and focusing on the future. She could imagine her uncle smiling and looking down on her, saying, “Well done, Felina! You’ve made me so proud!”
As soon as the news reported this story, buckling under pressure to keep it unbiased, the SWAT Kats sent Felina letters of congratulations. She wrote back and said she was happy to do her part and she was well on her way to being a fantastic leader.
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