SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron
Exercisin’ (Part One)
By Nicholas “Gym-nauseam” Ball
Looking back, I’ve sorta realised I’ve done some stupid things that I shouldn’t have. My brief stint in the philosopher’s club back at Uni is one such example. I thought that philospohy could help me defend myself against the harsh realities of life. Wrong. One night, some guy tried to steal my wallet in an alley, and I conclusively proved to him using simple logic that evil was merely ignorance of the truth. What happened? He broke my nose. So I decided to become a vigilante – to protect the others who weren’t existentialists, and I joined the SWAT Kats. My name’s Jake Clawson, though some of you know me as Razor, and here is my story.
Chance looked up from his paper, to the hopsital orderly. He hadn’t really been able to concentrate on the article he was trying to read, though he had stared at the whole paragraph three times now.
“The Doctor is ready to speak to you”
Chance stood up and folded the paper in half, putting it back on the waiting room table.
“Doctor who?” he asked.
“Yes. So you’ve met him?”
“No, I’ve never met a Dr Yes” he said, following her through a ward.
“No, Doctor Who” she corrected.
“Well I don’t know” Chance said, shrugging.
“No, you said you did know him”
“I’m telling you I don’t know Dr Yes”
“No” the orderly said, shaking her head and checking a watch. “Dr No? Wasn’t he that guy in the James Bond film?”
“I don’t know who! That’s what I’m trying to find out” Chance complained, waking up a sleepy patient in a nearby bed.
“But you said you knew him”
“Who?” Chance asked, looking around.
“Who isn’t exactly!”
“Who isn’t exactly what?” Chance asked.
“Who isn’t exactly yes!”
“Yes, but exactly who is who?”
“Exactly. Yes. Who is who”
“I don’t even know who I’m meant to be telling apart here” Chance said, shrugging lightly.
“You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?” the orderly said. “Who? Me?” Chance asked innocently.
“You’re not Who!”
“Who am I?” Chance said, genuinly confused.
The orderly growled, but continued to lead Chance on through the wards.
“Look, I’ll make this easy for the both of us,” began Chance, “the doctor is…who?”
“Okay. So where am I meeting Dr Yes?”
“Whowhowhowhowhowhowhowhowho!!!!!” the orderly yelled, rounding
oon him, only to be straight-jacketed and taken off to the ward for ‘Kats Who Think They Are Owls’. Chance watched, preplexed, as the orderly was dragged away. A tap on his shoulder made him turn around. “Hello, I believe you are looking for me. I am the Doctor” “Oh, yes? Doctor who?”
“Glad to meet you Doctor Precisely. Now where’s Jake?”
The Doctor rolled his eyes. This was going to be a loooong day.
Some people say you should start a story in the middle. A play-wright friend of mine used to always have trouble ending his play – he could never find a ending. One day I suggested to him he start with a good strong ending, and write backwards. He tried it, and ended up with a play with no beginning. That’s life, huh? Actually, life is basically the bit between the beginning and the ending, make of it what you will…or try to, anyway. Sorry, I tend to ramble. Back to the story –
“Hey, Jake!” Chance called from the other room.
“Hey, what?” Jake asked back, not taking the time to look up from his current project – a solar powered engine for the TurboKat – no-one ever bothered trying to enslave the city at night, and fuel prices had gone up again.
“Wanna head out to go Shrove Tuesday shopping? As it is, I’ve gotta get some shroves for my brother and his wife. And you’ve got more
ffamily than I do, so I figure we might as well go out before the really
**huge* crowds hit the malls.”
Jake sighed. “Sure. Anyone coming with us?”
“Remember Guido, that friend of Felina’s?”
He thought for a moment on that one.
“Yeah” Jake replied, still slightly hazy to the memory.
“He’s comin’ along with Milko, his imaginary friend”
“Yeah. So, you coming along or not?”
“Why not? We need some more shroves as it is, and the fresh air will do me some good, anyway”
‘We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind
uus, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered’. I love that quote. I wouldn’t say it’s my philospohy on life, though. I think it’s important to have one, but it has to be one that’s your own, and one you keep secret and sacred to yourself. Forget all that ‘Just Do It’ and ‘No Fear’ malarkey. Not to mention ‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Heaven Doesn’t Want Me and Hell’s Afraid I’ll Take Over’ – I mean, who are these people trying to impress? Wear you heart on your sleeve, wear your philospohy on your sleeve – it’s all the same. And what are you going to do when you get a runny nose? Jump. *****
“Man,” Chance said, struggling under the weight of his shopping bags, “we have got us enough shroves to last a THOUSAND Tuesday’s”
Jake laughed and smiled back at his partner.
“Tell me about it! Hopefully, these should help with that new ‘Speed Of Shrove’ device I’ve been working on” he said, pushing his back against the glass door of a bookshop. The door slowly opened, and Jake started to walk backwards in, when he saw someone on the street waving at him.
“Oh my God..” Jake muttered, staring over Chance’s shoulder. “What is it, bu-” Chance began, looking behind him. When he turned back, the door was swingly slowly shut, and Jake’s package’s were all lying on the doorstep, afer being so unceremonously dumped.
“-Ddy? Jake? Jake??”
“Oh God, oh God” Jake muttered to himself as he made his way through the shelves. Steven King. John Grisham. More Steven King. More John Grisham. Didn’t these people ever take a break? Star Trek. Star Trek. More Star Trek. Romance Novels. Conspiracy Books. X-files. Millenium. Dark Skies. Books for people who couldn’t handle reality, and had to balme it on others. “It’s the government’s fault I have no life. It’s a conspiracy!” Chris Carter had a very nice idea, it was just a pity he kept using the same one. Classics. Children’s Books. Babysitter’s Club. D.I.Y section. Bingo. “Blast From the Past”. Double bingo.
“Where is it? Where is it??” Jake muttered, nervously flipping through pages. Arriving at the section entitled ‘So Your Past Has Come Back To Haunt You’. Read. Introduction. Read more. Here we go. ‘The first thing to do, on encountering something from your past, is throw up..’
Jake threw up. He wiped the page down with the back of his paw and read on.
“Preferably in a bathroom sink. Ideal conditions involve standing next to a kat who looks like he’s just been smashed off his donkey or ‘ass’.”
“Aww, crud” Jake complained. “Now I’ll have to buy the book”. He took the wet, pulpy mass to the front counter and greeted the clerk.
“Just this, thanks”
“I’m not even supposed to be here today!” the clerk whined, as he fed the price into the register.
Jake took the book, and walked out of the store, reading intensely – so intensely that he didn’t notice Chance, or the shekat he just bumped into.
“Jerry! It IS you!”
“Oh dear God” Jake said, looking back down to the book again.
‘After being sick, you might like to pass ou-‘
Jake lay on the cold pavement, darkness clouding his world… END OF PART ONE
Exercisin’ (Part Negative Two) ———- ——————- By Aspirin (that’s Nick, but with newpanametabusatylaphynasuprasetameta parabisorohepnabolathetanarasudocotaniquofed, and added nilacodipnoquo llmesaventahodinenzantal50, and a new anti-quasting siphtofed formula with hypocidineparamucabol and ibonasalhiftomenebafuquistolmavinghybo hybogiveitawaygiveitawaygiveitawwaynow5) – ask for it by name. And if pronunciation persists, please see your doctor.
Yeah, well, everyone has a time in their life when something comes back to them. It may be a cheque, or a badly-addressed letter, or if you’re Feline Dion, something that’s all coming back to you, all coming back to you now. There were moments of…sorry. Anyway, I’d upset the big guy upstairs, (You could tell because he’d thump on the floor with his broom handle and yell ‘Damn you, Jake! Always playing your music so loud! I’m upset!’ I’m glad that I’ve moved out of that apartment) and now it was time to pay up. (I’m not talking back rent, neither, though I should pay that too…)
Chance woke with a start when he heard someone say his name. Turning quickly to see who it was, hoping to high heavens that it wasn’t the Doctor (he couldn’t bear to have another conversation with him). He saw, to his relief, that it was Guido.
“Oh…hi Guido” he said softly, ears down a little, before addressing the thin air to Guido’s left “And hi, Milko”.
Guido looked to where Chance was speaking, and looked back to the tomkat.
“Chance? Who are you talking to? Milko’s over there” he said, pointing to a space a few metres away from them. “I got word from the Doctor that you could go in and talk to Jake for a few,” the tomkat said, smiling and trying to encourage him a little.
Chance pricked his ears up. “Doctor who?”
Guido smiled. “Yes”
“Tell Doctor Yes thanks for me” Chance said, getting up from his seat.
“Who’s Doctor Yes?” Guido asked.
“Who’s not Dr Yes” an passing orderly said.
Chance walked into Jake’s room, deciding that the Doctor, whoever he was, would just have to thank himself, or at least, wear a decent nametag. He walked over to his friend and nudged him slightly, feeling his spirits rise when he saw Jake move a little.
“Morning,” Chance said softly.
“Chance!” Jake said, still a little weak. “I was hoping you’d be here…”
“Yeah, well…I don’t know ” Chance said, looking out the window. He moved a chair next to the bed, and looked with interest at the vase of flowers on the table. He picked up the small card tied to it, and looked at the inside of it. He blinked, then let the small card swing by its cord, before turning to face Jake again, who smiled nervously.
They sat and looked at each other, an eternity of silence passing between them. Jake felt guilty to see the look of anguish on Chance’s face. He wanted to crawl under his sheets and go back to sleep, to forget the pain he’d caused his friend…but that wasn’t an option. It was time to fess up, and both of them knew it. They didn’t know what fessing up was exactly, but all they knew was they had to start doing it. Chance went off to find a dictionary and an orange juice.
Jake slowly came to, being shaken gently by a shekat he’d thought he’d never see again. He shaked his head, weakly, as she put a paw against his forehead.
“Come on, let’s get you a nice cool drink of water”
“Jake?” Chance said, kneeling at his side, and putting his bags
ffull of shroves at the side.
“Hello. Who are you?” the shekat asked. Jake’s white spots slowly faded, and he weakly raised an eyelid.
“My name’s Amy. Who are you?”
“Uh..it’s Chance. Do you know my friend here?” he said, shaking her out-stretched paw.
“You could say that,” Amy said, with a slightly cryptic smile, “say, Chance,” she continued, “you look like a pretty strong kat. You athletic?”
“Well, I do-”
Jake opened his eyes fully at the sudden silence, and saw his blurry partner run off after an ill-defined Amy.
“No, Chance,” he said weakly, trying to raise a paw. “Don’t…”
But it was too late…
END OF PART NEGATIVE TWO
Exercisin’ (Part Pi) ———- ——— By Single White Nick
It’s funny, but I’d never noticed that it’s the depressing things in life that are most popular. I mean, the song ‘I Will Survive’ in its funky new Cake version – look at the lyrics, and it’s a tale of despair and heartbreak. Movies like Shallow Grave and Se7en, I mean, Se7en even has a cool, but depressing last line – “Ernest Hemingway once wrote ‘The world is a wonderful place, and worth fighting for’. I agree with the second part”. And the cheerful stuff only seems to get us down – who likes Frente, Hanson and Spice Girls? I suppose we like to wallow…
The two continued to run through the crowded mall. Amy bumped into a teenage kat trying to eat a freezy, and spilled his drink on the front of his shirt.
“Hey!” he complained, brushing himself down. “Goddamn lesbians!”
Chance hit him, knocking him back into a plant display. A security guard helped pull him out, and brushed some dirt off him.
“Look what that dyke did to me!” the teenager wailed.
“I’ll get them. Hey! No running in the mall!” Security Officer LaFours yelled, giving chase.
Chance saw Amy duck into a side alley, and continued to pursue the elusive she-kat. He skidded to a stop, howeverm as he saw standing there. Or rather, jogging on the spot.
“Ah, wasn’t that good?” she asked, obviously invigorated.
“I..what?” Chance said, leaning against a wall and breathing slightly heavily.
“You good at push-ups?”
“Wh..what are you on about?” he said, watching in surprise as she dropped down and did 10 rapid push-ups.
“Hey! There! Hold it, you two!”
“Oops, da fuzz” Amy said, and jack-knifed onto her feet again. Chance turned to see the boater-wearing security guard run towards him, and when he looked back, Amy was gone.
It wasn’t long before the police arrived and Chance forced Jake to come out with the story. Jake found himself only telling tiny pieces of the story, not wanting to tell how Amy knew him…
“Did you know that crazy Energizer bunny?” Chance asked as the two of them walked inside.
Jake shook his head no, trying to make it look believable.
“Godammit, Jake…you can’t tell me you don’t know her…”
“Look, Chance, I don’t..I..she called me ‘Jerry’ remember? See? She must have mistaken me for someone else” Jake evaded, holding a paw to his aching forehead.
“Yeah..well…something’s up” Chance said, picking up the last of their dumped shopping.
“‘Sup, C?” Guido said as he approached them. “Come on bud, me and Milko were about to go play the game where he thinks of a number between one and five and I have to guess it”
“What? No, look, I don’t have the time to-” Chance snapped, clearly exasperated.
“Fine. Be like that” Guido said flatly, walking off and talking to the thin air, “Is it 2, buddy? No? Hmm..”
“Wait up!” said Jake, hurrying after the two, “I wanna play!”
Chance sat on the cold pavement, looking confusedly after them.”Is it three?” he asked, weakly, knowing that no-one could have possibly heard him.
No, Chance, Milko always picks four. You should know that by now…
Sorry about stopping like this, but there’s just something I need to get off my chest…I…at this stage in my life…I..well…I started to..hear voices. Not all the time though, but whenever I answered the phone…
*ring* … *RING* …”Hunh…?” *RI-* *klik* “H…hello?” Jake said, groggy. “Hi,” a female voice said over the phone. “It’s me. Wanna go do laps?” Jake sighed and rubbed his eyes. “What do you want, Amy?” “I want to help you, Jerry” “Look, I don’t want your help, Amy, I don’t NEED your help…I’m purrfectly fine..” “Perfectly fine kats don’t pass out in public” “Yes they do” Jake said with a louder voice. Chance stirred, but didn’t wake. “Oh, so what’s your plans now, huh? Going night-clubbing with your perfectly fine pal River Phoenix? Come on, Jerry, you’re out of shape” “I’m fine, Amy, my job keeps me well on my paws and-” “What do you do?” “I..well..I fix cars..but-” “VERY strenuous, I’m sure” “No, I also…well, I do other things too” “MegaKat Park. 10 minutes” “No, Amy. No. Hello? Amy? I’m not going. Amy? Can you hear me? I’m-” *klik*
Jake sighed and hung up the phone, reaching a jump-suit as he did so. END OF PART PI
Exercisin’ (Part Infinity) ———- —————
You never know what’s it’s like until you’ve been there. I should expect. I don’t know, I’ve never been there… ***********
“Look, can..can we juh..just stop for a sec? Please?” Jake gasped, completing the fitfh lap of the park. Even the muggers had given up running after them.
“See? Have you been keeping to your food pyramid?”
“What? No, I haven’t kept to the goddamn food pyramid, that’s what I’ve tried to tell you over the past goddamn six-”
“Five laps. Jerry is dead. Gone. His membership expired. Now there is only Jake” Jake said bitterly.
“You may say that-”
“Right, I’m not taking another goddamn step” Jake said, and leant against a tree. His breath made thin whisps of steam in the cool night air.
“Okay. A breather’s in order, I suppose” Amy said, and jogged on the spot next to him.
“Look, Amy,” Jake began quietly, “I just want you to know it’s over”
“Over? What are you talking about?” Amy said, whilst performing chin-ups from a low branch.
“Look, Amy, I’ve moved on now. I don’t need any of this”
“Jakey, of course you do. Your body is a temple and-”
Jake grabbed Amy by the leg and pulled her back to ground level.
“Amy, I don’t need all this fitness business. I’m fine.”
“Jakey, everyone needs to keep fit and healthy”
“Amy, really. You have no idea how I -”
Amy rounded on Jake and pushed both paws against his chest, knocking him over backwards.
“No idea?! *I* spend 5 years consulting dieticians, fitness advisors and physiotherapists and you say I have no idea?? YOU try maintaining your basic metabolic structure whilst being an endomorphic mesomorph on a carbon based diet, for awhile, huh?! And you try to tell me I have no idea?? Jakey, YOU have no idea – the biggest mistake you ever made was leaving the gym!!”
And it was all there. The nautilus machines, the steamy sauna and the filthy locker-room; Jake held his stomach and staggered uneasily. He leant his left shoulder against a tree as he felt his stomach contents churn, and the ever losing battle against his dinner commence, as he held his gut to try and compensate for the pain.
The exercisin’ was far from over…
END OF PART INFINITY
Exercisin’ (Part Infinity Plus One) ———- ———————— By The Writer Currently Known As Nick
I guess I have to go back to the beginning now. I didn’t want to, but my story must be complete. Beginning, middle and end. But I’m sure you don’t want to hear me yak or wildebeest on for ages, here goes…
“Hey there gang!”
“Hiiii Ammmyyyy!!!” the she-kats yelled in not-quite-unison.
“Are you all ready to get fit?”
“Well, then, let’s get physical!” Amy said, starting up the music, only to stop it almost immediately. She stretched to see over the crowd from her small platform, and waved to someone at the back.
“Hey, you! Yes, you! Come up on stage here for a moment! Look, everyone! We’ve got a new member in our class today! What’s your name?”
“Uh…Jerry” Jake said, adjusting his collar.
“Well, gang, right away we can all see something’s wrong with Jerry, can’t we? What is it?”
“Wrong with me??” Jake said, eyes wide with surprise.
“Oooh! Oooh! I know! I know! Jerry’s in the She-kat’s Aerobics Room when he should be next door with all those hunky tomkats!”
“Actually, Sheri, I was going to say something about how he’s dressed…Jerry’s wearing a suit. Now, can we get fit and healthy in a suit?”
“Nooo!!!” they cajouled, a little too happily.
“Exactly. Jerry can’t get all sweaty at all. And what’s the point of being in a gym if you can’t work-out?”
“Yeah,” Jake muttered, “what would be the point of standing in a room filled with voluptous she-kats all gyrating in tight lycra?”
“Exactly. Now, Jerry, since you’re new here, I’m going to do you a special favour”
“I can stay here?”
“No, silly. I’ll let you change into the gym’s complimentary gym outfit, and when you’re done, I’ll take you through the whole course! You’ll work out like you’ve never worked-out before!”
“Actually, I think I’d rather-”
“Sheri, you take over the class when I’m gone. Katareena, you teach all the cheerleaders their moves, since you’re one yourself” Amy said, climbing off the stage.
“Actually, I don’t really-”
“Come on, we’ve got fitness to do!”
Jake stood completely vertical, his breathing laboured. He ran across the green tapestry of midnight grasses that compiled the park in a panic. He slipped over, landing on his back, and for a moment he thought he was back in the gym again, battling to stay on the treadmill or lift the 180 pound barbell. He let out a loud sob as he scrambled to his paws again. He didn’t want to deal with this…didn’t want to remember. Oh god, he wanted to get rid of these memories. But there was only one way…
Once again on his feet, he ran, frantic, to the nearest health bar, and ordered a carrot and celery salad. There wasn’t going to be any hesitation this time. It was all or nothing…and now that it was all back, there was nothing he could do. It was time to put an end to the cycle, and kill the memory that the daemons had left with him forever…
I…that’s how it happened. That’s why I was in the hospital. I had some major work done on me, but I got out okay. I told Chance everything, like I’m telling you…Chance didn’t know what to say. He felt terrible…so did I. I don’t know what to do with the memories. They still horrify me…but at least I get to lie around on the sofa watching daytime TV tomorrow.
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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.