Captain Planet Would Be So Proud.

Fame is a horrible, horrible thing. Because once you’ve solved some high profile smash and grab, and had your face thrown up on all the newspapers, then people start scheming on how they can use you to make them look good.

When one or more of those people are your boss, you’re pretty much screwed.

By Their Powers Combined.

Apparently somebody at city hall gave the chief a chewing out about some environmental stuff, because he didn’t just give me this case–something about somebody dumping big old cartoon barrels complete with skull-and-crossbones on the side, he also gave me a long spiel about ‘raising awareness’–which is politicianese for ‘we get credit for doing something and everyone gets to feel good without anyone actually having to do anything to solve the problem’–and about how appalling it is that the harbor is polluted.

Because obviously it’s the job of the police to deal with that.

I don’t know who he thinks he’s lidding, frankly. As long as I can remember, the harbor has been dirtier than most septic tanks. There are oil tankers that themselves are cleaner environments than the harbor. The only difference some barrels of toxic waste could make would be to maybe help disinfect the place a little.

Sure sounds like a great place to go scuba diving, huh?

I hate my boss so much.

Blurblbplgblrburb? Max comments helpfully, eyeing the various sea-life as they wander around looking like extras in a commercial for heartburn medication.

I ignore him. In his usual wise use of my intelligence and deductive skill, the chief told me to get a water sample and come back because that’s obviously a job you send a trained detective on, and not something a crime scene investigator or even a forensics intern should do.

Blubsgluhplnblubble! says Max.

I guess I could bring up that old bottle, but I’d have to empty it first. Which would involve unplugging my air hose. Call me crazy, but I like air. I also like not having water that’s full of toxic waste get in my face mask. And since there’s also a can, a bucket, and lots of seashells lying around, I don’t see why I’d bother.

Blub blp brlp? Max remarks as I grab the bucket and head for the surface.

While they’re running the test, I take four or five showers. It doesn’t help. I’m gonna smell like oil and diesel fumes and sewage and dead fish until I grow my coat out all over again. My barber is gonna get rich on cologne. I hate my boss so much.

“Incidentally, what were you trying to say down there?” I ask Max while we’re lounging outside the lab, waiting for the results.

I had ta go to da little boy’s room.

“You should have gone before we left.”

Yeah, well, hindsight is twenty-tewenty.

I’ve got your results, Fox.

“Alright, what did I waste a whole day swimming through muck to find?”

Well, the ample you brought me contained no less than twenty seven toxic compounds and industrial grade pollutants. But that’s normal, after all. It’s from the harbor.

“So what was in those barrels that coulda knocked stuff used to living in that cesspool for a loop?”

Cough Syrup.

“Cough Syrup.”

Yup. I stare at him. I guess they were so used to toxic crap that a little medicine makes em sick?

Dat’s da lamest explanation I’ve ever heard! And I hang out wit Sly!

Whadda ya want? I’m no marine biologist.

The Final Word.

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