Gitcha Motor Runnin

-head out on the highway! Whoooo!

“Max.”

Yeah! Alright! Gitcha motor-

“Max!”

-runnin, head out-

“Max, shut up!”

What’s wrong?

“Are those the only words to that song you know?”

He doesn’t answer.

“Well, in any case, shut the hell up. I feel stupid enough on this thing without you playing Hell’s Angel.”

The Gutterballs are Messengers of Deceit!

The fire squad asked for somebody to come along to this call. Because the building was made entirely of asbestos, if an alarm went off it had to be either a prank or the world’s least competent arsonist. I got tapped to go, which is a perfect example, kids, of why you always need to look busy, even if you aren’t.

I suspected a prank and not arson when we pulled up, the first clue being the way the building was not on fire at all. Outside was the usual knot of gawkers, gawking. The gawkers are just a constant in this business. You can let it get to you or not: some cops’ll try to clear em off, and they can get pretty nasty about it. Me, I hardly even notice em any more. Let em just stand there with their huge eyes and expressionless faces, staring at something just cause it’s happening. They want to act like sheep, let em! Heck, some of ’em probably are sheep.

This time, though, the gawkers are where everything’s happening. Some pink hairless ape is pinning everything on a downright scary looking type in the sort of suit designed to say that those who mess with said suit’s occupants are likely to get a less-than-friendly visit from said occupant’s uncles or cousins. ‘Everything’ here being the false alarm. He’s got a shit-eating grin plastered all over his face, and that wasn’t helping the big cat’s mood any. Even Max could see that his guy was bad news.

Sly, why’s this idiot jerkin around with da Mafia?

“Stupid pinkies. They wouldn’t be able to put their shiny hairless butts into their pants unless someone drew ’em a diagram.” I sigh. And then when they blunder off a cliff, guess who’s problem it is. Stupid.

I tap the squad dog with the pad on the shoulder. “You might as well not bother with that. He’s feeding you a whole dump truck of bull.” That gets everyone’s attention.

Uh, and how would YOU know that? Ah huh huh… Man, that guy’s got an annoying voice. Why, uh, doncha go rob a hencoop! Ah huh huh huh huh…

I feel I must protest, butts in the leopard, doing that thing with his neck muscles like you see in kung-fu movies. Makes my fur crawl. This fellow, he is like a painted mannequin, he has had the audacity to insult me! He has asperged my good name!

Heh. Ass purged. Ah huh huh-

“Clam it, nose-face.” I raise an eyebrow for the leopard to continue.

I will not stand for this. This deeply wounds me, and I will not stand for it. He’s got this high, smooth voice, he clips off the ends of his consonants like they were hard candy, and there’s this creepy rhythm to it, like he’s doing some kinda chant. I’ve heard it before. It’s the kinda voice you get from spending all your time around people who deal in death, eat death, drink death, sleep death, and love death. This bald half-monkey has no idea what kinda trouble he’s in.

“So what happened?”

I, uh, saw him do it! the idiot crows, strutting as well as he can with that bowling ball, He left his game to go over and pull the fire alarm!

I tell you, sometimes it’s the stupidity of the lie that bugs you. The shallowness of it.

“Ok, pinkbelly, explain why he’s bowling in a three piece suit.”

He blinks, suddenly deflated. Uh, I uh, uh.

“Or why he’s the only one not wearing bowling shoes or carrying a bowling ball?”

Uhhh.

“That’s what I thought. See, I’m thinking you pulled that alarm.”

Uh, that’s ridiculous! I was in the middle of a game!

“The only question is why you’d do that. It’s not like you stand to gain anything. Maybe this guy took your dame, though I have to say I don’t blame her. Maybe you wanted to score him off, get him booked for something idiotic. Or maybe you were just losing the round and wanted an out.” It’s my turn to grin.

Now he’s indignant. I, uh, didn’t leave the lane at any time! The dog behind the counter will confirm that! You, uh, are gonna get a slander suit!

“Maybe you didn’t,” I shrug, “but he did.” I nod at the cardinal in back who’s been looking more and more like someone spiked his breakfast with ex-lax with each word we say. “I’m gonna bet that if we asked him to turn out his pockets, there’d be a nice crisp fifty in there. With your fingerprints on it.” And I give him one more grin for the road.

For some reason he can’t seem to come up with a comeback for that.

The squad car pulls up, and I nod for them to take the half-monkey and his feathery pal. Then I turn to the leopard, who looks edgy.

A fine tigress like that deserves more than the likes of him, he unctuates, already on the defensive, What they were doing, it was sacrilege. Wow. Guess I was right about a dame being involved.

“Not about to argue,” I shrug, “But all the same… anything happens to those two, either the pink one or the bird, I’m gonna know who to come looking for.”

There’s this long moment where our eyes lock, and then he saunters off, muttering that filthy humans aren’t worth his time.

Max is back on the bike, making vrooming noises with his lips. Didja think that guy looked familiar, Sly?

“Who, the leopard? Hell, he’s got a record the length of my tail.”

Naw, the other one. The bald one.

“Oh, the human. No, can’t say he did. But then they all look the same anyway.”

I rev the motor. “By the way, Max? You start singing again, and you’re walking the rest of the way.”

The Final Word.

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