“Road Trip II” by Nicholas “En garde!” Ball
PreText: If you’re wonder WHY I’m writing this, I’ll try to tell you. Sometimes, I have a different perspective to the norm i.e “The Enforcers aren’t so bad as T-Bone and Razor make them out to be. They do all the work that keeps the city running, the tedious work that offers no reward, no thrill, no action. Writing tickets, walking beats, directing traffic. Someone’s gotta do it, and those goddamn SK’s are glory-hounds!” It’s hard to understand such a view, or way of seeing things, but it’s still a perspective. And perspective interests me. That’s why I wrote this – a sort of a study in perspective, you know, where you look at THE character, and not what the character is doing. I like to try and make people think – ‘What was she about to say?’ “Now WHY did he do that?” and the like. If you correctly anticipate it, then you understand him/her and it’s working out fine. Sometimes it’s better if you get it wrong. Where you double-take and go ‘Huh?’ when someone says something that appears to be wrong. All it means is that you’ve got your own view and perspective on the character. I was so impressed by other’s use of perspective (I associated, partially, with Lt Steele in Callan’s excellent ‘Educating Felina’, scarily) that I just had to give it a try. And that’s why I wrote this. Enjoy.
The kat hugged his shins further into himself and shivered. The way that he was bunched up would have looked particularly funny to the average passer-by, that is, if there were any passer-bys. The kat had not seen a single creature the whole day, and he’d been sitting by the road now for most of it. At least it had stopped snowing heavily.
A car drove by, hitting a puddle that seemed to have conveniently formed for the purpose of throwing several litres of dirty, ice cold water over the kat crouched there. The puddle performed it’s purpose very efficiently. The car stopped, then reversed so it was alongside the kat. The passenger door opened and the driver looked out. The kat looked up, so he saw the face of the she-kat who’d stopped.
“Hi. What happened to YOU?”
OH my GOD he’s naked.
Jeremy thoughtfully sipped his coffee as he looked over the small roadside cafe. There were 3 other customers, one cook and one waitress. He looked back to Kenya.
“Wasn’t he mad? I would have been mad. I think. Wasn’t he?”
“He still asked me out”
THE KAT WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
Jeremy pulled the blanket tightly around him, but continued to shiver.
“Hi. I’m presuming you’d like a lift”
Jeremy turned his eyes to the she-kat driver.
“Kenya…you speak English?”
There was a long pause, and Kenya started the car.
“I guess not”
Well this is good. I’ve opened my door to some crazed Nordic Naturist. Mother would be SO proud.
Kenya looked back to the tomkat.
“Juh? Geronimo? J’wanna dance? Judge not lest ye be judged also? What?”
“Juh..Nn. Juhnn. June. You’ve been out there since June. I don’t believe you.”
“Oh, don’t deny it. You just loiter naked in snowdrifts to trick foolish trusting she-kats like me letting you into their cars”
Careful K.F. You’ll give him ideas.
“That’s what I thought. Look, since I’m obviously going to be doing all of the talking – why don’t I start with the personal questions? Ok? Good”
Kenya looked over to the shivering kat. The snow had finally melted off his glasses, but there was still quite a bit in his hair and fur.
“Is there a REASON you’re naked?”
“!Ghh – fffsshh – Nnn – No. It’s what not..not what you think”
Kenya smiled and kept her eyes on the road.
“Well, THAT thawed you out”
If I don’t get canonised for this, there’s something seriously wrong with the entire concept of religion. I was worried about him getting chilblains and things so I turned the heater off. End result – I’m freezing my tail off, and he’s comatose. He came around, later.
“Welcome back. So, who’s ‘Abbysinnia’?”
“You were doing some pretty serious muttering whilst you were out. Sounded kinda interesting, but fortunately for you, I’m WAY too polite to listen”
Personally, I think St Kenya has a nice ring to it. I wonder who you apply to? Anyway, before we could do anything else, we obviously needed to stop and get him some clothes.
“Can..could we maybe..um..stop? And I could…erm…get..find…find something to wear?”
That was when I started to notice it.
“Or…? Oh. Maybe..um?”
“You want me to turn up the heater?”
For some reason, he’s not very good at noticing when he’s being teased. Not being mean, or anything, but you’d think he’d be used to it. Instead, it just passes him by completely.
“We’ll get you some clothes”
“Try that on”
“Um…I don’t really think that it’d-”
“Listen, I’M the one paying for it – now’s not the time to get picky over fashions and styles”
“Try it on”
“I don’t think it would fit me”
“Go and try it on”
Jeremy took the shirt and walked over to the changing room booth. There was no curtain, so he turned his back to everyone in the store whilst he changed shirts. He changed, and walked back.
“We’ll take it”
“Cash or credit?”
Jeremy tried to button the shirt again, but it wouldn’t reach. It was a peculiar shirt – tall enough for kats like him, but there wasn’t enough material to make it go around completely to the front.
“I think you should button the shirt up”
“Here – let me do it”
Kenya tugged at the shirt, but had even lesser success than Jeremy. She let go of it, and let in hang open.
“Never mind. The open shirt look suits you well” Kenya lied, turning the cashier to sign the credit forms.
“Tell me something about..’Abbysinnia’”
“Um. I don’t know. She might find out”
“Oh, I’m sure she won’t mind”
“Once she threatened to shave me entirely because I laughed at one of her hats”
“She has bad dress sense?”
“Heck no. She wears great stuff. This was a weird hat that her sister sent her. Made her look like she had a cactus on her head”
“Tell me about this sister”
“I don’t know much about her at all. I think she’s a SW- er, a swell person. Abby’s very protective of her”
Kenya narrowed her eyes, and changed gear.
“Sisters are like that. You have any?”
“Um…I used to have one. Chloe”
“Used to? What happened?”
“Well, she’s still your sister. Man, you should meet my sister. She’s got like, all these pierced ears and navels and stuff. A bit like your type I s’pose, Mr ‘Kick Me Hard’”
“I saw your back in the clothing store. I don’t know how you kats do that to yourselves”
Jeremy stared out the window, and thought deeply on some unknown subject.
“I didn’t do that to myself…but I did”
“Ya want a Lemonhead?”
“Um…no. Thank you”
Kenya shrugged and changed lanes.
“All the more for me”
The she-kat scoffed the Lemonheads down in one gulp and turned to the kat, expecting him to say something like ‘How’d you-‘, but he didn’t. Kenya cringed and looked back to the road. There’s no impressing some people.
“And then he said, wait for it, he said “I knew you were hung up on me, and I only said that so you wouldn’t get hurt”.”
“That is such a good thing to say”
“Jeremy?…It’s not a good thing to say”
“Want another coffee?”
“I’ll get it. Two, please!”
The waitress stopped in her tracks and turned her head.
“What did you say?”
“Do I KNOW you?”
Kenya leant forward, across the table.
“We’re just passing through” she explained before elbowing Jeremy. “You’re IN there!” she whispered to the nervous kat.
“Trust me, I know these things. Go up to her now, as she’s getting the coffee’s and say this” Kenya continued, jotting a phrase down on a handy napkin.
Jeremy looked at the napkin.
“Do I have to?”
“Oh, go on. What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
Jeremy got up, and walked over to the waitress, who was picking up the coffee pot. He said something that they only could hear, and looked up at the waitress. She smiled, handed him the two empty cups, and poured the coffee over his head. She said something to him, and he returned to the table.
“She says she sorry, and she’ll be back with more coffee”
“I…right. Tell me something nice about ‘Abbysinnia’ whilst we’re waiting”
There was a pause.
“Well, she’s..she’s really beautiful. I mean on the inside. You know. Cos that’s where it counts. But no, I mean she’s nice on the outside too. She’s beautiful all over. Not that I’ve….um…-”
“Don’t you EVER quit???”
Jeremy looked up from his seat and saw that the waitress was standing over him with a fresh pot of coffee.
“Too late for sorry”
The waitress poured the coffee onto Jeremy, who wriggled at the heat of it.
“Yes. Two sugars” Jeremy muttered, before he realised. “No, wait! I-”
The waitress added milk to Jeremy, and tossed two paper sachets into his lap.
“And what will you have, honey?” she said, turning to Kenya.
“Uh, cheque please” was all she could say.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Jeremy’s asleep, even though it’s midday. I pull up in a small town for a break, you know, so I can stretch my legs, and I get out of the car REAL quiet, so I won’t wake him up. Anyway, I go into a small bakery, and I’m buying some bread when the whole town erupts. There’s yelling and all this guns firing into the air and stuff, so I look out the window.
“How quaint” I think. “They’ve formed a bloodthirsty mob”
They’d formed a circle around my car. I run out of the bakery – NO WAY are any of these hillbillies getting thier paws on my car, and I reach the center of the dispute. There’s screaming and wailing etc, but they don’t dare touch the car. I jump in, and speed off, as best I can whilst being chased by hillbillies convinced I was ‘Party To The Beast’ or something. Then Jeremy wakes up.
“Whut? Why are we driving so fast?”
“Shut up. I don’t think I’ve lost them all yet”
“I think I’m hungry”
Ever save someone from certain death at the paws of enraged inbred Southerners and regret it? I’ve got to get some new carseat covers.
“I swear, if those hillbillies who can’t meet breeding partners outside their own families have put a single SCRATCH on this paintwork, I will personally go back and level that town”
“Hoboken. Not to worry, I’ve got a sister who runs an autowork garage. Have you ever met – oh, you’re asleep. Funny how you can go to sleep so fast. Usually, it takes me AGES”
“Abbysinnia. Abbysinnia. Abbysinnia. Not a name you hear very often. Is she British?”
“..I don’t think so”
“You never asked her?”
“Well, with Ace around, it would have been kind of embarrassing. She’s sort of so much more British than anyone has a right to be”
“Okay – Ace”
“Um. She’s a dangerous psychotic who blow things up alot. She’s good at it”
“Dangerous psychotics are like that”
“Not all of them. Michael’s not really all that psycho, but he doesn’t really blow things up either”
“What’s that accent?”
“Say ‘really’ again”
“There. That accent. Your one”
“Um..I didn’t really know I had an accent. It’s probably Australian. Or Scottish”
“It’s a bit of a story”
“Tell me it later. I want to sleep now”
Jeremy stood up and walked over to the couch, which had a blanket sitting on it.
PASS OR FAIL?
I couldn’t even comprehend WHERE to start with this kat. You know, see how he ticks. Then it hits me – Cleo. She-kat Magazines contain all the info you’ll ever need on tom-kats, and what’s more, they only cost you a few bucks each fortnight. Why bother with moral rectitude if you’ve got the handy quiz? Ah, the quiz. Well, in the Cleo I had at the time, there was a simple little question that could determine what kind of kat he was, simply by the number he gave as an answer. The question was disguised as a brainteaser: “If a daddy bull drinks 8 litres of water an hours, and a baby bull drinks 4 litres of water an hour, how many litres of water an hour does a mummy bull drink?” Then the guy would say his answer. If he said 4, it meant that he saw she-kats as little children, if he said 6, they served subsient roles in society, if they said 8, they were into equal rights. 10 meant that he believes that she-kats are subservient, and they’re only main purpose was to make more kittens – preferably male. 12 meant that he respected she-kats and their right to bear kittens. The best part is the fact that the tomkats don’t even know that they’ve been tested – whatever their answer, you just say “That’s right” and they think they’re right, even if they’re Mr. Wrong. I asked the question to Jeremy. He stared out the window for a few moments, and then he turned to me.
“None, no litres an hour”
Cleo hadn’t prepared for this answer, so I had to decide what he meant.
“What do you mean – ‘none’?”
“Well, the answer’s ‘none’.”
“Well, it’s in the wording of the question, I think. ‘How much water does a mummy bull drink in an hour?’”
“So you think the mummy bull doesn’t deserve any water at all, just so the daddy bull can have it?”
“No, don’t you see? Mummy bull”
“I want to know what you see in the mummy bull. Do you think she’s important?”
“What? The mummy bull doesn’t exist”
“Doesn’t exist??? How can you even validate that? Of course there’s mummy bulls!”
“No, there’s no such thing as a MUMMY bull. All bulls are males. You can’t have a mummy bull. Bulls are daddys.”
“….They are, aren’t they?”
“Yep. Is that the correct answer?”
The kat looked around the interior of Platinum Grit cafe.
“So she’s not your girlfriend”
Jeremy looked back at the younger she-kat.
“But you do live together”
“Yes. Different rooms”
“And because of her, I found you naked in a snowstorm”
“It wasn’t really HER fault. It was her computer I used to broadcast the message”
“Message? Do tell”
And he did. Actually, it makes sense of a few things. Sort of. Like when I first picked him up, I said “I like your hair, who did it?” and he said “Aliens”. Mind you, if I came across a few versions of myself, I wouldn’t expect them to write on my back – imagine if they’d done a shopping list ‘Milk. Bread. Return Videos’ would be my legacy. ‘Kick Me Hard’ is no picnic itself, I s’pose.
“So what happened to the message? Won’t it just keep radiating out into outer space?”
“I guess…only the inverse square law can save me now”
And the scary thing is, I believe him. I know I’ve never had my hair cut that well by a kat. What confuses me is what he’s so busy trying to HIDE… mind you, I’m hiding something myself.
MEGAKAT CITY VICE
“So your Uncle Donald just – what – vanished?”
“What about her?”
“Yes, she’s one…”
We were in downtown MegaKat City – almost home and I was starting to delve.
“And that one?”
“She’s a prostitute too”
“How can you tell?”
“They’re all prostitutes, Jeremy”
“Really? Not the one at the lamppost – !”
“ALL of them” “That she-kat will have sex with ANYONE!”
“…and you returned back to MegaKat City again?”
“What do they do all day?”
“…It’s a mystery, isn’t it?”
“I mean, I know they have SEX…but what do they do during the DAY?…Can we ask one?”
Oh my God.
“Excuse me?” The kat leant out the window and spoke quietly to two of the she-kats on the street. They spoke briefly back to him, and burst into hysterical laughter. The kat banged his head on the window as he yanked it back in. His eyes were wide open, and he was halfway between blushing and going white – a sort of a pinky hue.
“Come on – let’s get you home”
Abby ran past Jeremy and hugged Kenya.
“It’s been so long!”
“Same old expression”
“Where have you been?”
“I came with Jeremy”
Abby turned to face the kat.
“Oh, so you’ve met my sister Kenya have you, Jeremy?”
Jeremy cleared his throat.
“S..ss..sister?” he gasped, before passing out.
I guess I should have told him.
Postnote: The first episode I ever saw of SWAT Kats was ‘Mutation City’ – what are all of your first episodes? We all have one… except for that guy who does everything twice. Except for that guy who does everything twice. E-mail me with your responses at email@example.com with your replies, if you can be bothered. I’m doing a mini-survey, just so you know.
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