I do not own the Biker Mice From Mars, but I do own Rave- blah blah blah-
you can use her with permission-ect.ect.ect- sexual implications, graphic-
yadda yadda- I make no profit.
I don't own BMFM characters. I do own Myron & Rave, you can use them
with permission, content P.G.-you know the rest.
Greasepit sat unhappily in the dingy being towed from the rear of the yacht, his drippiness affecting only himself. Karbunkle grinned nastily at him from the stern of the much more luxurious vessel and taunted him with the usual unpleasantness. Their boss, Lawrence Limburger watched from a deck lounge chair, a drink served in a coconut shell and garnished with a paper umbrella in one hand, a plate containing grubs, meal worms and other bait resting on his capacious belly.
"Karbunkle!" he sang, a smug grin plastered to his face.
"Yes, your blind avariciousness?" the mad scientist oozed.
"Now that our vacation is nearly over, you may begin recruiting new goons to cover our, heh heh, assets. And come up with some better plans for qutting Chicago, will you? Low effort. High yield, that sort of thing." he slurped at his drink, "Oh, and be ready to call a pest control professional if our rodent infestation problem crops up again."
"Yes, your gluttonous glory." Karbunkle pulled some awkward looking electronic device from the apparently bottomless pocket of his lab coat.
* * *
"A month without Limburger's like a decade without death and taxes," Charley cooed, stretched out full length on her sofa, feet encased in fluffy bunny slippers, a blanket over her legs, and her head on Vinnie's lap.
"Yeah, but I miss not beatin' him or makin' him look bad, or costin' him money, or, y'know, the fun things in life," Vinnie half-moped, playing with a lock of her hair.
"My goodness Vincent," came the smoky voice of Throttle from the next room, "You almost sound like you're looking forward to ol' slither-lips comin' back."
"Yeah. Hey, either o' you two gonna help me get this thing in the stand, or should I just guess where it is?" Modo demanded, his voice muffled from being under the ridiculously huge spruce tree he toted in from the Garage. To Charley, who sat up to let Vinnie assist, it looked like a walking shrubbery. A really big one.
The two macho mice had managed to master the Christmas tree stand with minimal damage to the rest of the room by the time Throttle strode in, bearing a huge and very full punch bowl.
"Eggnog, anyone?" he asked, then added, "It's a little heavier on the nog. I'm warnin' ya."
Charley fairly danced around clapping her hands, "I love eggnog!" she squealed, and Vinnie elbowed Modo in the ribs.
"I love it when she makes that noise," he muttered, and Modo clapped both hands over his own mouth and staggered out into the garage again to cover his guffaws. Charley cast Vinnie a suspicious look, but relented with a laugh.
"Well, go on. Try it." Throttle doled out big cupfuls of the cloudy looking yellow liquid, then raised his in a toast. The others followed, Modo hurrying back inside to grab his.
"To friends, health, and victory!" he announced, and they all drank. Charley's eyes got so big they nearly bugged. Tears flowed, she coughed, gasped and choked, "What's in this? Battery acid?"
"Uh, two parts bourbon, one part Everclear and one part that stuff you got at the grocery store. For flavor." he answered, patting her on the back.
"My gawd Throttle, battery acid would go down easier," she wheezed, and Throttle beamed at her like some crazed but benign brew master.
"Yup, Perfect." he pronounced, and fetched her another cup.
The tree was decorated with ornaments and tinsel, bike parts, and most of a new shiny socket set. Vinnie was standing on Modo's shoulder to place the star on top.
"Hey, hold steady, bro, "Vinnie slurred as Modo listed a bit to starboard.
"I am. Yer just drunk," Modo hiccupped back, and caught hold of Vinnie's ankles. The task completed, Vinnie then attempted a back flip off his large buddy, with disastrous results. He flew in a perfect trajetroy over the couch and landed on Throttle, who was, for once, an innocent by-stander in a recliner.
"Ooof!" the chair did as it was designed to do and reclined, spilling them both onto the floor. They rolled, knocking Charley off her feet. She ended up sitting on Throttle's stomach, while he in turn came to rest on Vinnie's head.
"Geddoffame!" squawked Vinnie, and they scrambled up, none too steady.
"Geez. You guys're sloppy." mumbled Modo, contentedly plopped on the couch by then, munching popcorn and having yet another cup of nog without much egg.
Charley, with a wicked gleam in her eye nudged Throttle and Vinnie, "Get `im, guys. Just leave the tree standing."
* * *
Triple L surveyed the unmolested City of Chicago from the back of his limousine with a great amount of discontent.
"I had so hoped those biker buffoons would have left at least some of the city in ruins looking for that great grey gopher, Modo." he snarled, then his gaze fell on the standing Limbuger tower and his manner became more jolly, "At least my tower is in one piece,".
Inside, Limbuger made himself comfy behind his desk, going thru a pile of memos. The bottom one read, "Welcome back, Cheesy." it bore at the bottom a painfully familiar mouse logo.
"Oh, no." Limbuger moaned, and looked under the paper at a pressure switch. Then the booms began.
Moments later, under the pile of rubble that used to be his office, L.L.L. croaked, "Karbunkle, do get me the number of a reliable pest removal professional," to which the doctor responded,
* * *
Morning the bane of all partiers, terrestrial or other wise. Vinnie awoke mostly on the floor of Charley's room, only his legs still in her bed, and she was nowhere to be seen. His skull felt like it was inside out and his eyes would not focus. He looked in vain for his pants, then blew them off and stumbled to the bathroom. There he found Charley, asleep in a quasi-sitting position, her snores echoing into the commode, where her head rested.
"Ohh, Charley-girl. Poor baby," he picked her up and carried her to her bed, tucking her half clothed, limb body into the comforters.
Modo was sawing logo under the Christmas tree, for all the world like an enormous, tinsel shrouded gift. Throttle, on the other hand, had awoken nearly an hour before Vinnie, and had seen Limbuger tower take a beating. It cheered his considerably, so his mood was fairly even when the buzzer at the door to the Garage went off. He quickly swallowed 6 aspirin and went to investigate. There was no-one around, but a small package lay on the doorsill, addressed to: Mr. Modo, c/o The Last Chance Garage.
Cautious, Throttle pushed it with the toe of his boot. When it did nothing, he picked it up and went back toward the living quarters. On his way past the lube rack, he grabbed up a long pry-bar.
"Modo. MODO. Hey, bro." Throttle poked at the sleeping mouse from a safe distance. Modo groaned and sat up, batting the iron bar away with his steel hand. It went flying and embedded itself in the wall.
"Modo, d'you know anybody in Minneapolis? Anybody you neglected to tell your bros about?"
"Huh? Throttle, c'mere so I can hit you," Modo moaned, both hands clamped on his head as he tried to stand.
"Ha ha, oh no, man. You drank it, you suffer just like the rest of us." Throttle tossed the package at his buddy, who almost caught it. "Minneapolis, big guy. Post mark. No return address, sent to you."
"Minne...oh, WOW!" Modo dove for the parcel and ripped it open. Inside was the left hand glove he had been searching for for a month. And a letter. He pulled on the glove and unfolded the paper, rubbing his eye to try and clear it.
The missive read, "Hey stud. I hope you made it home ok and forgive me for ditching you, and I really hope you get this package. I had to pay good money to track you down. Well, I survived, and I'm gonna be passing your way in a while. I don't just show up uninvited, so I'll get ahold of you before I do. Hey, I said we'd get together again some time. See ya- Rave"
Throttle let Modo stand there with a silly grin plastered across his face for a full five minutes before he flung a cup at him.
"Well?" he demanded exasperated.
Modo ignored him, looking down at himself, "I look like hell! I need a shower-uh, I wonder if Charley has any steel polishing compound..." he talked in circles, then relaxed, "Heh, I got time. She's not gonna be here today..." he wandered off, leaving the letter on the arm of the sofa. Throttle snagged it, scanned it and set it back down just before Modo came rushing back in, folded it, and stuck it into his wallet next to a similarly folded paper.
As he spun and headed out, Throttle eyed him speculatively, a sly smile on his face. "A girl, huh? I knew I smelled a woman." He plopped bonelessly onto the sofa and watched with amusement as his bro paced the garage, talking to himself.
* * *
Karbunkle's transporter hummed and glowed, clattering alarmingly.
"Here it comes, your curdled calumny. Your problem solver," the scientist hissed, hands curled up in front of him like a preying mantis.
"This better be good, you bungling boor," Limbuger drawled, leaning on his cane.
Out of the transporter stepped a tall, angular, nearly naked man covered in tattoos, festooned with beads and bangles, and carrying a drum. His skin was red as human blood, as were his eyes and hair. He stopped in front of Limbuger and spat on the floor.
"Oh, dear," Limbuger stepped back from the fearsome look on the fellow's face.
"This is Spar. He comes from Destria IV, and is highly recommended." Karbunkle spieled.
"I am led to believe you can eradicate my major hindrance in business, a, eh, Spar, my dear man," L.L.L. began, but Spar held up a two fingered hand in his face.
"I need hair, body effects, a photo from each victim. I require one gold cup, a small blade, and one small animal." Spar said in a hollow voice.
"Oh. And what will you do to them with that?"
"I give the gift of Bad Luck."
"I see." Limbuger thought a moment, then began to laugh. He snapped his fingers. A henchman appeared at his elbow as if shot there.
"Go out and follow the mice. Do not attack or annoy them. If they drop something, pick it up. If they shed a hair, collect it. Bring everything to Mr. Spar. Grease Pit!"
Limbuger's aide de petroleum trampled in, tripped and slid to a stop at L.L.L.'s feet where he looked up, "Yeah, Boss?"
"Get a sludge proof camera. Go out. Take snap shots of those rampaging rodents. Lots of them. Then bring the camera back to me."
"D'uh, youse got it Boss." Grease Pit saluted and crawled out, muttering the instructions to himself.
* * *
Charley sat at her kitchen table, head in her hands, coffee in front of her, and Modo sitting opposite her, some how possessed by Vinnie. He bounced in his seat. His fingers would not keep still, tapping on the table top. He was in constant motion.
"Please. Modo, slow down. Gaah, I can't believe I'm saying this to you." she took another of the aspirin set out in a row before her like little round white soldiers.
"Look, Charley-ma'am, I gotta get ready. I don't know how long I got till she shows up." he pleaded, and, rather than deny that pitiful look on his face, she agreed.
"Yeah, okay big guy. You can use the buffing compound. And my credit card." she sighed, then looked at him sternly, "One pair of pants with alterations, one jacket. That's all. I'm not made `a money."
"Oh, Charley-girl, you're the best!" He hopped up and bounced off, then came back, "I'll pay ya back. I'll work it off. Don't worry."
Charlene Davidson suddenly had the most frighting vision of her life: Modo helping her with every thing to pay her back; housework, shopping, her business. She cringed and hurried after him. "No, Modo, really- think of this as a late birthday present...No really.."
* * *
Throttle listened a little longer to Charley chasing Modo around, then turned to see Vinnie coming down stairs, his bandoleers over one shoulder, his boots in his left hand.
"Vincent, our bro is having a day.' He began, to which Vinnie responded by falling into the couch. "He needs to be left alone, man. So don't start razzing him yet. Wait for the right moment. Just a word in your ear, brother,"
Vinnie grunted and tuned into the Modo and Charley show, now playing back and forth in the garage.
"Well, we knew he did somethin' on his birthday, all four days of it." Vinnie temporized as he pulled on his boots. He rubbed his face with his hands and seemed immediately perkier. "So, it was a girl, huh?"
"Apparently so. I can't begin to tell you how much I'm gonna enjoy gettin' our best bud back for makin' me take two messages from his dear ol' grey furred mama..." Throttle grinned.
* * *
"I said a bare room, you pompous wind bag!" shouted Spar in fury, knocking over furniture and glaring at Limbuger.
"Certainly, certainly. Just four walls, I understand now." L.L. soothed, hands out placatingly.
"And while we're at it, we can discuss my fee. In advance."
"Of course, my dear, dear man." Limbuger assented with a worried frown, pacing just out of arms reach.
"I will have three goats, two female, one male, five chickens, one male. All in good health. And two hundred thousand liters of fresh water. Uncontaminated." Spar ticked off on his fingers.
Limbuger hesitated, "But, no gold? No money?"
"I cant' use that. I have named my price. Pay up or no work."
* * *
Modo was cranky. He sat in the waiting area of Dale's Big `n' Tall getting crankier by the moment as he waited for his new dark charcoal leather pants. This was the fourth store, the only decent price, and they did alterations. And they took Charley's credit card. The clerk came to stand in front of him.
"Mr. Modo? We need you in fitting." he cleared his throat nervously. Modo stood and towered over him, motioning him to lead.
20 minutes later, Modo was yelling, "One hole! One tail, one hole! Morons!"
30 minutes after that, he was walking out with a parcel under one arm and a grim smile on his face. He patted the tank of his ride as he mounted, "Okay Lil'Hoss, we're all done."
* * *
"Hey, I'm gone, Charley. Tell Vinnie to meet me at the scoreboard tomorrow morning." Throttle called out as he waved good bye and roared off.
"Yeah. Great. Modo's off spending my money, Throttle's gone joy riding, and Vinnie's disappeared. Guess I get to clean up alone. Again." she shook her head slowly, "What a surprise. And just cleaning up after'em wasn't good enough for good ol' Charlene, no-she just had to go and get involved with one. Oy, I am such a lame brain sometimes...grrr..." she continued talking to herself as she set to the task of picking up after the previous evening's impromptu party.
* * *
Vinnie sat silently on his bike in front of the uptown department store, staring down at his bandoleer, which lacked two of the special flares he always wore. He sighed, patted the bulge of money in his pocket, and entered the building.
Out of his element, he wandered in the women's apparel section until a clerk took pity on him.
"Are you looking for something, sir?" asked the all-to-perky girl, ignoring the helmet and tail.
"I need a Christmas present for my girl." Vinnie was glad no-one could see him blush thru his faceplate.
"Does she have a fashion preference?"
"Uh, biker? Mechanic?"
"Ah, ha. May I suggest our line of distinctive leather wear? Or perhaps a lovely piece of jewelry?" she dimpled up at him.
"Okay. Show me." Vinnie followed meekly behind her as she took off at a smart pace.
An hour later, Vinnie loaded two perfectly wrapped packages on his bike, one large, one very small. His pockets were empty, but he had an odd, fluttery feeling in his belly. And a smile on his face.
He was totally unaware of Grease Pit, two blocks back, snapping away with a telephoto lens.
* * *
Goons ahead, goons behind, Throttle shook his head at their unnatural behavior. They weren't doing anything. Just driving around. Obeying traffic laws. He shrugged and continued on his way, when a cry for help reached his ears.
"Hang on, citizen!" he called out, searching for the trouble. Aha, a kid. And a tree. With a cat up it. Inwardly he shuddered. Yuck, he thought, but pulled over.
"I'll get him, little buddy." he assured the young boy, and ascended the tree.
"C'mere, kitty kitty," Throttle coaxed, reaching out. The cat sniffed, yowled, and struck out with claws and fangs, scratching his hand up. Blood flowed, brownish green pattering the leaves. He grabbed the beast by the scruff of it's neck and leapt out of the tree. Once again on the ground, he handed it off to the boy and nursed his wounds.
"Thanks," the kid grinned up at him and ran back into the house, cat in his arms.
"Damn cats." Throttle growled, wrapping his hand in a bandanna and taking off with a squeal of tires.
One sharp eyed henchman pulled over and climbed the tree, grabbing the blood smeared leaves and stuffing them in a pocket. He, however, climbed back down, rather than make the leap Throttle had. He grinned happily as he envisioned his bonus.
* * *
Limbuger grimaced at the mingled aroma of Goat shit, chicken shit, and his own fragrance. His tower was rapidly becoming a petting zoo, and he was, to say the least, unthrilled.
"Karbunkle, go and ask your witch doctor if he is ready to have these beast sent to his place of residence. I'm tired of having them in mine," Limbuger grimaced as he slipped in dung.
"Of course, your gasrionomic ghastliness. What shall I tell him about the water?"
"That's it's on it's way, of course." Limbuger covered his face with his handkerchief.
"Boss!" Henchman Bob hurried in, waving a fistfull of leaves. "I got a piece o' that brown one!"
"Exemplary, dear boy. Do hand it over to Spar. He's in the bare room down the hall." L.L. rubbed his hands gleefully, visions of a mouse-free environment dancing in his head.
* * *
Four days `till Christmas and nothing under the tree. Charley shook her head and did a mental tally of her book keeping. If Modo didn't go berserk with her charge card, she should have enough credit left to finance at least one nice gift for each of her guys, and something extra special for Vinnie. Giving out a tremendous sigh, she slapped both hands down on the table and stood. Just as she was about to head to the garage and check her work load, Modo came rushing in, new clothes inconspicuously wrapped in butches paper.
"Here `y go, Charley-girl. I owe ya. I owe ya big." he smiled ruefully and scratched his chin. "Oh, yeah, here." he handed her the credit card and the bill of sale.
Charley perused them, her eyebrows ascending to her hairline.
"Modo, these are great prices! I thought for sure you'd bankrupt me," she whispered the last few words, embarrassed by her own speech.
"That's all right, Charley. Most people figure I'm a big air head. Works for me if I get underestimated, but my momma didn't raise no dummies. Any son'o'hers that can't shop smart caught the sharp end `a her tongue." he beamed at her, rocking up on his toes.
"Oh, Modo, I'm sorry." Charley blushed, and hugged him. She backed off and grinned, "Well, show me."
Unwrapping parcels, they didn't notice their greasy nemesis at the window, snapping pictures. He snuck away before they turned in his direction.
Modo held up the immense black silk shirt, wiggling his eyebrows in suggestive manner, then he set it down alongside the butter soft charcoal grey leather pants.
"Oh, Modo, you... you lady killer." she gasped, then, "Go put'em on! Model for me."
He disappeared into the kitchen and reappeared a few minutes later, dressed out, the leather like a second skin, the silk just begging to be touched.
For a minute Charley couldn't speak, then she stuck two fingers in her mouth and did a long, slow wolf whistle.
Modo had the grace to blush.
* * *
Spar had done his voodoo on the tan mouse, but waited for some personal effects from the other two. He smiled as he watched his live stock enter the transporter, then turned to look expectantly at his erstwhile employer.
"Well? Where is my water, fish?" he demanded, and Limbuger danced around the guery.
"You still have two mice to go, don't you?" he began, but Spar rose to her full height, eyes blazing, the tattoos covering him seeming to writhe like trapped souls.
"I stipulated payment in advance! You will receive the balance of work when I have been sent the balance of pay!" he spat again, this time in Limburger's face, and leapt into the transporter after his animals.
"Damnable non-union workers," sullied L.L., turning a bilious green and screaming, "Karbunkle!"
* * *
Throttle was not feeling well. His hand throbbed, his head ached and he couldn't think of food. He turned around in the middle of the street and headed back to the Last Chance Garage.
When he got in the door, he nearly fell, but caught himself on the door frame.
"Charley?" he called, and fell to his knees. Charley ran in, saw him, and screamed for Modo.
Together they situated him on the sofa, and Charley began her inexpert but well practiced Martian Mouse Doctor routine.
10 minutes later, she blew the hair out of her eyes and said, "I've never seen cat scratches turn septic that fast. Never. I hope we got all the pus'n'nastiness out."
"I do too, Charley-girl." Modo was worried. Throttle had never been one to take ill easy, always on top of his game- even injured.
Vinnie strolled in, took in the scene, and boiled over, "Who hurt `im? Who messed up my bro?"
"A cat, Vin-man, a little pussy-cat," coughed Throttle, struggling to sit up. Charley gave him an assist, and he grimaced.
"I knew cats were bad news," huffed Vinnie, and went to the kitchen to scavenge for chow.
"This planet would be way cooler without feline intervention." he called as he rattled thru pots and pans.
Out of my kitchen, you culinary disaster area!" Charley howled, leaving Throttle in the care of Modo to rescue her appliances.
"But Sweetheart..." Vinnie's voice trailed off, and a moment later he fled to the recliner across from Throttle.
"Heh, heh. Works every time bros. Threaten to cook for yourself, and boom, you're off the hook." he settled in.
"I heard that Vincent," Charley fired off from the other room.
"I knew you did, sweetheart." Vinnie fired back, chuckling.
Modo stared at him, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Throttle, grinning from ear to ear leaned closer to Vinnie, "Hey, what's up buddy?" he whispered.
Vinnie shrugged, a sly look on his face, "You'll have to wait and see." he said off handedly, propping his feet up.
"Feet off the table, Casanova," Charley called, and Vinnie dropped'em, wondering aloud how she did that radar thing.
* * *
"Forget about the water. One rabid rat with ridiculously bad luck will throw off the effectiveness of the whole team. I have what I want." Limbuger paced in front of the doctor, who was doing some repulsive experiment on Fred the Mutant, who was enjoying it immensely.
"I wouldn't advise stiffing this particular villain du jour," Karbunkle stared after him a moment, then began rummaging thru every drawer and cabinet in the lab, grabbing up every religious icon, protective amulet and good luck piece he could find. He began placing them all over the lab and his person.
* * *
Throttle and Modo had beaten a strategic retreat after dinner, far more eager to bask in the questionable glory of their bachelor digs than be subjected to Don Juan Vincent's romantic maneuverings.
All seemed well until lights out. Throttle cursed. Loud.
"Wha- Are you all right?" Modo asked, sitting up in his hammock.
"Well, shit. I broke my shades." Throttle returned, angry. He attempted to leap out of his hanging bed, only to fall flat on his face with a mighty thud.
"What's wrong with you, man?" Modo demanded, surprised and concerned the infection had returned.
"Just fumbled, bro. No problem." the tan avenger sounded chagrined, and his grey right hand mouse decided not to belabor the point.
"G'night, Throttle," Modo said cautiously, and covered his head with the blanket, listening to his friend grousing on the other side of the room.
* * *
Vinnie waited `till Charley was deep asleep before he slid out of bed, put on his under drawers, and snuck out to the garage. He unloaded the presents from his bike and toted them into the house, stashing them under the couch. He rubbed his hands together with glee and headed back to bed.
"Hey, yer cold..." Charley complained when Vinnie slid back under the covers.
"So warm me up, beautiful." he snuggled.
* * *
By the time Vinnie showed up at the scoreboard, it was an inescapable fact that Throttle was having a real bad day.
When he had risen, he had searched high and low for anything capable of holding his shades together. The only available adhesive came in the form of duct tape. Modo had then had the bad taste to snicker, "Nerd shades," Throttle's only response was a growl as he stuffed the shades in his vest pocket.
Vinnie was bouncing off the walls, literally, in his exuberance. He was doing back flips from the cat walk when Throttle walked by, and narrowly missed landing on his friends head when Throttle stopped and looked away, directly under Vinnie.
"Hey! Look out!" Vinnie yowled, and stopped himself the only way he could: his tail wrapped around a vertical beam and halted him, hard.
"Oww! He nursed his pulled appendage and scowled at his dejected tan buddy. "What's up? You never used to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"I dunno, Vin. Somethin's just not right." Throttle went to sit on his bike. "At least I can't go wrong with my Lady, here," he said almost desperate sounding.
* * *
"Grease Pit, dear boy, have you seen my gold fish head cuff-links?" Limbuger asked, hunting in his private suite.
"D'uh, no boss not since night `afore last." Grease Pit replied over the intercom, as he wrapped yet more duct tape around his shoes to keep them together.
"Well be a good subordinate and FIND THEM!" L.L.L. bellowed thru the speaker, impatient as always.
Karbunkle, who had been eaves dropping, hesitated a moment, then picked up the phone to dial Murphy's's Discount Religious Wholesale Warehouse. He ordered one of everything, from Bibles to Buddhist prayer wheels, and requested a rush shipping.
* * *
Charley, her mood light, put on her nearly worn thru old leather coat and fired up her bike. She had a mission; she was born to Christmas shop.
Fifteen blocks away, she pulled over, her engine idling while her mind went into overdrive.
"I have no idea what to get'em! Neck ties are way out of bounds." she banged on her helmet in frustration. Then the idea bulb incandesced over her head, "Aha! I got it!" she put her ride in gear and headed back the way she came. Her first stop was a Sunglass Hut, where she shelled out mucho dinero for authentic RayBan Wayfarers for Throttle. She would upgrade the tint herself. As she packed away the sacred shades, she wondered aloud, "What the hell do I get for Vinnie?"
Her next stop was halfway to Detroit, the most icky looking hole in the wall that she knew; The Zip Gun. Parking her bike tail first in a row of other customized motorcycles, she entered with confidence. Most of her best customers frequented this bar, and not one of them would let their favorite wrench jockey come to harm.
She bellied up to the scarred bar and whistled for Myron, the owner.
"Hey, pretty lady!" he hugged her over the counter and grinned. "What can I do ya for, babe?" he drew her a root beer.
Charley cleared her throat, "I need to call in my marker, My. I'm in need of some help."
Immediately all conversation in her vicinity stopped, and various offers of assistance floated forth.
"No, not that kinda help, guys. I don't need anybody trashed. I need to get a real good friend a pair of boots."
Myron, who was in on the Martian connection, gestured and all the attention on them suddenly disappeared. "One o' th'mouseketeers, huh?"
"Yup. The big guy, Modo. His boots are about to bite the Barcelona Big One, and I need to replace them. A Christmas present." she sipped her drink.
"Size? Specs?" Myron pulled out a pad.
"Size 16. Steel toe, steel shin guards with buckle over straps, hobnails, uh, y'know, macho hero stuff that looks cool too." she waved her hands expressively.
"In three days?" Myron sighed, scratched his head, then held up one finger and reached for the phone.
Five minutes later, he turned back to Charley and smiled, "I got you hooked up. Price is one carb refit on a 72 Harley Sportster. Two blocks north, 17237 Rosicrucian Drive. Ask for Boris." he handed her the slip of paper. "And Charley, you ain't called in no marker. This is kidstuff. You need, you call."
Charley blushed and kissed Myron on the cheek, then went to wheel and deal for Modo's present.
All the while she worked over the carburetor at the bootmakers, she pummeled her brain for Vinnie's special present. She continued to draw a blank in the hour and half she waited after she was thru for the finished boots.
Boris finally exited his in-house shop with the coolest looking armored biker boots she had ever seen.
"Lite her off, let's see how she sounds," Charley said, ogling the footwear with covetous eyes.
Several minute adjustments later, they shook on the deal and Charlene Davidson left with the boots and a future customer for her Garage. She placed them securely on her carriage rack with bungee cords and took off with no further destination in mind, just hoping something would come to her.
* * *
Modo and Vinnie were envisioning the fifth ring of hell, and in it their bro Throttle was slightly less unlucky than he had been all day.
"We are in big trouble, Modo'm'man," Vinnie whispered as they waited at a rest area for Throttle to exit the men's room. "Throttle has saved up every ounce of bad luck for his entire life an' he's spendin' it all now."
"Yeah, seems like." Modo grumped. "I don't think we're gonna get much done today. Big bad biker can't bash bad guys if he can't stay outta th' bathroom."
"Nice alliteration, big guy," observed Throttle, walking back. "I dunno what's on my tail, but I really would like to flick it off."
"Don't doubt it fer a minute bro. Look, why don't you go relax or take some immodium or somethin? We can handle patrollin' th' geek squad fer the day. `S been pretty quiet." Modo suggested solicitously.
"Yeah. I'd hate t'jinx the both o' you too." Throttle remounted his bike, tail dragging. He took off down the road dispiritedly, his bros looking away.
"Maybe we shoulda just left it alone?" Vinnie said in a quiet voice.
"Nah. Feelin' unhappy's a lot bettrin' gettin' banged up by mistakes. Tell me, Vin' ever see Throttle lay his cycle down cause he took a corner wrong?" There was scorn in Modo's voice.
"I've never seen him lay it down unless it was shot out from under him." Vinnie hung his head.
"We got to do somethin' about this. The situation sucks."
* * *
Throttle kicked a dirt clod out in the end zone at Quigley Stadium, his helmet polarized to keep his eyes functioning. He yanked it off and plunked his "nerd shades" on. "Guess I'm prime candidate for a pocket protector and floods now." he muttered, flinging his brain bucket across the grid iron. It clanged off the goal post and rolled to a rest at the side lines.
"DAMN! He roared, "What's wrong with me?"
Trotting over to pick up his helmet, he tripped over the turf and fell flat. Throttle picked himself up, brushed himself off, and retrieved his belonging, then decided discretion was the better part of being jinxed, and headed up to the scoreboard, and back to bed.
* * *
"I believe the phrase I'm looking for is: Get Real! Karbunkle, do you really expect me to fear bad luck? My luck can't get much worse, can it? No, no water. We'll just have to accept our one mouse demolition derby." Limbuger pulled at his mask-jowls, staring the Dr. down.
Karbunkle shook his head and slithered out of L.L.'s office, determined not to go down with the ship. He headed to his lab and began to pack. As he was stuffing Fred in a steamer trunk, the transporter shrieked to life. Karbunkle screamed in terror and covered his head with his arms.
A small item popped out of the machine onto the floor. It made a wet plop noise. The doctor scuttled over to examine it, and began screaming hiysterically, unable to stop. The item was a goat head, one of Limburger's gold fish-head cuff-links jammed into it's left eye, one of Karbunkle's laboratory implements in its right.
Fred climbed out of the trunk and used his tentacle to roll the head around, "Eewww, huh, heh heh."
* * *
Charley just finished the last bit of wrapping on her kitchen table as two disturbed mice roared into her garage and continued roaring into her living room, sans motorcycles.
"Charley-girl, somethin' wrong with Throttle." Modo blurted out, and Vinnie followed up with, "He dumped his cycle today, goin' around a corner!"
She put her hands over their mouths. "Slow down. Start at the beginning."
It only took a few moments to categorize the day's misfortunes, with both mice talking non-stop, running over each other.
"So we went on patrol, and he took off. We checked on the scoreboard before we came over and he was in bed. Eatin' Chinese take-out." Modo was scandalized.
"Okay, He had a run of bad luck. It happens to everybody." Charley shrugged.
"Not our bro." Vinnie said mutinously, arms crossed over his chest.
"Right, he's not allowed to have a bad day? Tell you what, I'll go see him. Right now. Vinnie, put the stuff on the kitchen table under the tree and call for a pizza. Modo, there's a message for you on the answering machine from somebody named Rave." Charley left, both her buddies staring after her, then, Modo's mind clicked on and he bounced to the phone. He punched up the saved message and forgot Vinnie was there.
Her distinctive, husky voice came out of the tinny speaker: "Hey, party-boy. I'm gonna be in Chi-town in about 18 hours. I'll be stayin' at the Best Western out on Rt.6, room 223. Call me if you wanna come see me. Ciao."
Modo wrote the info so fast and hard the pen broke in his metal fist. He stuffed the memo in his pocket and yelled "Hoo-ya!"
"So, hot date,"party-boy"?" teased Vinnie, eyebrows waggling lewdly.
"Mind yer manners, boy," Modo scowled, sensing a prank at his expense coming on. Any brawl that may have ensued was brought to an immediate halt by Karbunkle's voice from outside.
Charley was calmly talking to the demented doctor as if he were not an arch enemy, her brow furrowed in thought.
"Guys, I found out what's wrong with Throttle." she said unhappily. "He's been cursed. By a Voodoo-man."
Modo's arm cannon was trained on Karbunkle, who seemed to be alone. He glowered at his own personal devil, then dropped his arm.
"I guess I just ain't the type t' kill an unarmed...whatever," he finally said, then, "So why're you here, head case?"
"That pissant Plutarkian reneged on payment, and now we're on the hit list too! Self preservation dictated my actions. If any one can save us, you can, much as I hate to admit it. We are comrades in adversity, mouse." Karbunkle hissed with distaste.
"Let's go." Vinnie growled.
* * *
Throttle was doing crossword puzzles from old newspapers. He had already cleaned the interior of the hideout, done what little dusting was feasible, polished his bike, shined his boots and washed his clothes.
He seemed to be fine, as long as he did, well, nothing. "I hate this," he gritted, wadding up the paper he was working on and tossing it in a corner. Unfortunately, it was the corner where they had jury-rigged a heater, and the resultant fireball was not easy to extinguish. "Great." he unplugged what was left of the heater and went back to bed, pulling the covers over his head.
* * *
"I don't sneak," Vinnie refused, striding thru the back hall to Karbunkle's lab.
"You vaninglouious fool!" Karbunkle barked, "You'll get us all killed!"
"But will anyone miss you?" Vinnie returned, a sour look on his face.
"Settle down. We gotta get Throttle squared away." Modo hushed, and Charley nodded in support.
When they reached the transporter, something new had come thru. A bag of animal skin with a note attached. The note was in some script only Karbunkle could read, and when he did, he snarled in displeasure.
The doctor held the bag in a shaking first, fairly spitting with rage. "That-that-that fiend! He's relinquished the curse on the mouse to double up on the fish! I'll fillet that flatulent flounder!"
"Then we go. Sorry Wheezy, but you can fight your own battle now," Charley smirked.
The scientist held up the juju bag and sneered, "I still have this! You win me free or you'll never get your tan troubadour's spirit back!"
Modo's metal fist came down on top of Karbunkle's skull with a fearsome crunch, and he grabbed the bag with his tail as the doctor slid to the ground.
"So much for that." Charley laughed, and Vinnie, not to be out done, set a grenade with a timer in the transporter.
"Let's book," Modo grinned, and they beat a not so quiet, if hasty retreat.
They hit the street just as the grenade went off, taking part of the lab out from under the tower.
"So, are we just gonna destroy the thing one room at a time now?" Vinnie asked, "Not gonna blow up the whole building anymore?"
"We'll get to it later. I wanna go give our bro the good news." Modo headed for the scoreboard.
* * *
"A curse, huh?" Throttle sat in his hammock in his skivvies, his pants hanging to dry, his duct taped shades in place. His bros and Charley stared around in shock. The place was clean, where it wasn't demolished.
"You musta been sick, man." Vinnie whistled, eyeing the remains of his former bachelor pad. "Kinda glad I don't spend so much time here, if y' know what I mean."
"I guess this is my cue," Modo tossed the skin bag to Throttle, who caught it.
"What do I do with this?" he demanded, turning it over and over to examine it.
"I think you're supposed to burn it, or something," Charley advised, "but I'm not sure. I don't want to tell you the wrong thing and have the curse come back."
Throttle shivered, "Uh, uh. Me neither."
"Maybe Rave'll know." Modo put in, then realized he had spoken aloud when everyone turned to look at him expectantly.
"Well, she knows stuff." he qualified some what lamely.
"And when are you gonna see her, you `party-boy', you?" Vinnie jibed, arm around Charley.
"Party-boy?!" Throttle goggled, emitting a laugh before he could stop himself.
"Hey, now..." Modo began, but Charley jumped to his defense, "Knock it off, guys. Don't pick on `im." she elbowed Vinnie hard.
"Tomorrow afternoon," Modo admitted guardedly.
"Christmas Eve," put in Charley, who then stiffened, "Oh, no!" she cringed.
"Whats wrong, darlin'?" Modo asked, concerned.
"Uh, nothin'. I just have something to do. Alone!" she hastily amended, when Vinnie looked about to steer her to his cycle. Modo blinked his eye slowly, then caught on.
"I gotta get ready t' meet Rave. Gotta get my clothes, see if I c'n do anything with these boots, y' know. I'll drop y' at home, Charley." Modo offered, and she nodded gratefully. They sped off, leaving Vinnie and Throttle to wonder.
"What was that all about?" Vinnie looked confused.
"I guess yer head's gettin' thicker as you get older, Vin. Charley's got last minute Christmas stuff on her mind." Throttle bounced the little bag in one hand, a thoughtful, pensive look on his face.
* * *
"Modo, I'm in a fix. I have no idea what to get Vinnie for Christmas." Charley hung over Modo's shoulder as he drove.
"Pop-up Kama Sutra, Zero Gravity Edition?" Modo chuckled, and she slapped him.
"Heh, sorry Charley. Thought Crime." he laughed even harder, and she had to join him.
"Rude advice aside, darlin', I don't think I can help ya. I got `im a six pack `a root beer, a new bandana, and a book a' dirty jokes." Modo confessed, pulling into the garage.
"Thanks a million, big fella. I wanna get him somethin' really special, this bein' our first Christmas as a, well, a couple." she blushed.
"Gee, y' sure are pretty when ya' blush, Miz Charley," Modo gently needled her, and took off.
"I'll be back! He called back as he rounded the corner.
Charley, in a funk now, racked her brain. She was stumped. "Rrrr!" she hurled a wrench across the bay and stomped into her living room.
* * *
Limburger went to bed without a thought for the ruin of the lab, Karbunkle's still unconious state, or the threat of ruinous bad luck hanging over his head. He settled his gills on the pillow with a sigh of contentment. All was well with his world.
* * *
Vinnie showed up at the Last Chance expecting Charley to greet him with a kiss, or at least a tart comment. He got neither. She was gone, as was her bike. He huffed in annoyance and finally did as she had mandated before Karbunkle's arrival. He ordered a pizza. With no cheese.
"While I'm waiting, I may as well see if any sports are on," he muttered, surfing the channels. Pro Wrestling caught his attention, and he arranged presents under the tree, his own to Charley included, to the melodious sounds of grunting, screaming, and flesh rebounding off canvas.
His pizza arrived, but no Charley. He paced as he ate. Then he paced some more, starting to worry.
Charley came in half an hour later, fortunately for Vinie's blood pressure.
"Where ya been, Charley? I was worried..." he trailed off when she brushed past him, hiding something under her jacket.
"Charley?" he squeaked, crestfallen.
"In a minute, Vin." she called from their room, but when he tried to follow her in, she kicked the door shut. "I said in a minute!"
He pulled back, discommoded by her brush off. Before he could think of much for a comeback, she yanked open the door and leapt into his arms, planting a seriously steamy kiss on him.
Any thoughts of being offended flew from his mind, replaced by what Modo had dubbed "Thought Crimes".
When Charley released her lip lock, he stammered, "I thought you were mad at me, babe,"
"Mad for you, maybe." she caressed his shoulders and cupped his face with both hands, kissing him again.
"Take me to bed, Romeo," she said softly in his ear.
* * *
Morning found Modo buffing out the scratches in his right arm, radio cranked.
Charley appeared in the doorway in her robe and slippers, her hair severely rumpled. "Modo, give me one good reason not to hang you up by your ears," she rubbed her eyes and glared blearily at him.
"Uh, sorry, Charley-ma'am?" he tried, putting away the buffer.
"Not buying it, bud. I was up late last night." she stretched, groaning.
"Hey, talk to Vincenzo the slick about that, darlin'" he dimpled back at her.
"No, after that, lummox. I had to wrap his present after I put his ass to sleep." she snorted a laugh.
"More than I needed to know, Charley," Modo winced, laughing. "What did you get him?"
"You'll have to wait and see. The walls have ears, y'know." she tried to run her fingers thru her hair and failed. "Keep it to a dull roar, huh? I need a shower." she shuffled off and Modo shook his head in wonder and grabbed up his new duds and Charley's boot polish kit.
* * *
Throttle showed up at the Garage some two hours later, his broken sunglasses the only thing giving evidence to his day in purgatory. "Bros? Charley?" he called, getting no answer. He shrugged and added his own gifts to the growing pile under the tree on his way to the kitchen to raid the fridge. He heard giggling from the direction of Charley's room and figured out why no one was around, Busy. Ah, well. He took his chow to the living room and ate while he channel surfed.
He sat up and took notice when Modo blew in wearing his new clothes, made a secretive phone call, grinned a greeting to his bro and shot out again with a hurried, "See ya tomorrow!"
Vinnie finally put in an appearance, his fur still mussed and damp from the shower. Charley followed behind, her hair wrapped in a towel, brush in hand.
"I figured you two'd like to have an update on the Plutarkian occupational forces," Throttle refrained from any ire raising dirty jokes.
Charley sat on the floor in front of Vinnie as he plopped on the couch, handing him her brush. He took it and unwound the towel beginning to brush. "Go on. Dish us some dirt,"
"Well, it would appear that my curse was bush league. Limburger's not only being audited-again-by the I.R.S., he's expecting a family visit from his mother and his sister, and the Plutarkian High Council is foreclosing on his assets, all of them."
Vinnie and Charley sat bolt upright and cheered.
* * *
Modo showed up at the door to room 223 with a bouquet of flowers. He rapped lightly. The door flew open, a hand shot out, grabbed the front of his shirt, and dragged him inside. He blinked in surprise.
"Hey, sexy," Rave growled and grabbed him by the ears, attaching her mouth firmly to his. He kicked the door shut and dropped the flowers.
* * *
"I wonder what this Rave woman's all about," Throttle posed, actually stringing almost half the popcorn in his bowl instead of eating it all.
"Yeah, I wonder how much I can get away with teasin' him about her," Vinnie piped up across the room where Charley had set him to stringing cranberries, none of which he ate.
"About as far as he's gotten with teasing us, snookums," Charley fired with asperity, hanging mistletoe in all the doorways.
"Snookums?" Throttle rolled with laughter.
Vinnie cringed and swatted Charley with his tail.
* * *
"Why do I always seem to end up in a shower with you?" Rave asked as she washed Modo's back.
"Same reason you always seem to get the jump on me, darlin'," Modo purred back, and rinsed, gathering her into his arms to nuzzle her neck. Unable to find a riposte, she let her body speak for her, and wrapped it around him, climbing him like a tree.
He shut off the water and carried her out of the bathroom, her legs locked around him.
He set her on the king size bed and lay down beside her, his fingers tracing subtle patterns in the water droplets on her body for a few moments before leaning over her and forming other patterns with his tongue.
Rave threw her head back and let out the soft cry, "Yes!" her long limbs thrashing with wild abandon. And a while later, when he took her for a different kind of ride of her life, she didn't sleep, she howled.
"Y'know, I was thinking of a romantic dinner for two when I knocked on yer door," Modo pulled lightly on her white-blond fore lock. She retaliated by diving under the blankets and tickling him maniacally.
"I'd rather eat in," she finally replied, sitting astride his hips, her attack on him halted by his belly growling.
"So I see," he laughed, his hands stroking up and down her thighs.
"No, really. I got room service," she got off both him and the bed, and whisked the linen cover off a lumpy table he hadn't been given the chance to notice in the few hours he had been there.
"Let's eat, lover," she invited, pulling out a tray covered with finger foods.
* * *
Throttle was yawning by midnight and tired of trying to ferret the contents of the refrigerator sized box addressed `to Vinnie with love' from Charley.
He stood and stretched, bid goodnight to the blanket wrapped ball of Vinnie and Charley on the couch, and rode on home to the scoreboard. He briefly debated causing Limburger some additional annoyance, but decided to be generous on Christmas Eve. A cold wind blew in from the north, promising sleet or snow just so he could put a handful down his pals' shirts. He continued on his way, whistling.
* * *
Rave lay quietly with her head on Modo's shoulder, one leg thrown over his.
"So when're y' takin' off?" he asked sleepily, not really expecting an answer. She surprised him.
"Tomorrow night. I got a line on some, uh, doings down in Shreveport. A contact of mine heard of some plans involving my town, an' I gotta confirm and or bollux'em." she informed him.
"Dangerous pastime, beautiful," he said unhappily.
"So's yours," she returned.
"But," she stopped him with a kiss.
"And you have an exquisite butt," she continued when she let him go, "so don't make me chew it up when I'd much rather be stroking it."
He cleared his throat and changed the subject, "If you aren't leaving till tomorrow night, d'you think y'could come meet my bros, an Charley; maybe have Christmas dinner?"
"I'll be honored," she smiled, and began kissing him again.
* * *
Eight A.M. Christmas morning. Charley's kitchen was chaos central, with two mice and one human valiantly attempting to cook a traditional feast and not kill each other in the process.
"Oh, come on, sweetheart! No yams, please," Vinnie begged, shoving the roaster full of 30 pound Turkey into the oven.
"Don't whine, Vincent." Throttle tsk'ed, chopping vegetables with a big honking knife.
Charley was contentedly simmering cranberry sauce on the stove when -BANG- the oven slammed. She jumped a foot, screaming.
"Ooops, sorry Charley-girl," Vinnie dodged the hot mitt she lobbed at him in vexation, and Throttle serenely kept chopping.
"When's Modo gonna get here?" Vinnie asked, using his bro as a shield.
"He called about seven. Woke me up," Charley threw Vinnie a glance, "He asked if Rave could come with him for dinner. I said yeah, to show up around noon. We can open presents and then eat around three."
"I can't wait to see this lady. I gotta know what the big deal is." Vinnie was getting antsy.
"Vin, my love, why don't you go get some cash from my desk and get us some wine, beer, soda and chips?" Charley batted her eyes at him, and he giggled, making smooching noises back at her.
"Oh, please, I'm gonna get diabetes around you two." Throttle moaned, agonized.
* * *
Modo groaned and tried to hide under the covers. Rave was not letting him get away with it.
"Come on, five more minutes? Please?" he begged, pillow clamped over his head.
She snorted and whipped the covers off. "Get up, or I'll open the window," she warned.
"But we only got to sleep at dawn," he yawned, sitting up, his eye creaked open just enough to show sentience.
"I know. I was there. It's nearly noon now, babe." she crawled onto the bed behind him, kissing his shoulder.
"Mmmm. All right, all right." he stood, stretched and gave her his hand to help her off the bed. As he turned to look at her, he gasped. Her neck was decorated with huge purple love bites, as were her shoulders and breasts.
"What?" she demanded, then looked in the mirror. "Oh, yeah, I meant to have a word with you about those, Mr. Modo."
"Ooops?" he hung his head, embarrassed.
"It's a damn good thing I have a turtle neck sweater, isn't it?" she kissed him again and led him to the bathroom.
* * *
Limburger, standing beside Grease Pit, who supported Dr. Karbunkle, waved a sad adieu to his tower as it was knocked down by several wrecking balls. The city of Chicago had condemned the place for sub-code violations, unstable foundation (due to Karbunkle's demolished lab) and health concerns (the stench). His own government had imported workers to demo the edifice and transport the rubble to Plutark post haste.
"I should have given up the water," he moaned, sobbing into a hankie.
* * *
It was almost one by the time Modo showed up with Rave, and then nearly 2:00 before introductions and inspections (from the boys) had subsided enough to allow the mass orgy of paper ripping and present dispersal.
` Charley was awed by the regard of her guys, Modo had given her a new air compressor, a really big one, and Throttle had found out her weakness for Sunflowers perfume. She hugged them both, and was thrilled at their reactions to the new shades and boots.
Rave was still cooing over the necklace Modo had given her, shyly pressing the box into her hand. It was a tiny silver mouse logo on a silver chain. In return, she gave him a ruby stud to replace the steel one in his left ear.
Then, after Vinnie had been viewing his own gift to Charley, he set aside Modo's and Throttle's, and opened his own from them, from Modo the sixer, book and bandana, and from Throttle a full length mirror etched with bikes and mice along the borders. Charley groaned at that one, punching Throttle in the arm, "Now he'll never get out from in front of it,"
Vinnie had gotten them a subscription to Easy Riders, a T.V. and gift certificate for `Bob's All You Can Eat Hot Dog Emporium'.
That left the gifts to each other. Charley opened the big one first and immediately put on the new black leather biker jacket. She hugged him ferociously and squeaked when he put the little box in front of her. She opened it with shaky fingers and nearly fainted when she saw a ring.
"Don't go postal, sweetheart, It's not that kind of ring. Yet," he grinned, and put it on the middle finger of the left hand. The heavy silver glinted in the light.
"Oh, Lord," Throttle rubbed his temples.
"Open it," Charley, sniffed and wiped her suspiously moist eyes.
Vinnie tore into the enormous box, which turned out to be full of more wrapping paper. He cast her a surprised look and dug deeper. At the very bottom was a small bundle. He pulled it out and tore it open. Inside was a very minimal pair of red seedos and an envelope. Vinnie was stupefied. He ripped open the envelope and read the contents.
"Two reservations for a weekend in Baja?" he was amazed.
"Keep goin' hotshot," Charley hugged herself in glee.
"An entry into the Baja Cafe Racers 500! Oooww! Charley!" he leapt into the air, landed, grabbed her and swung her around. "Baby!" he was uncontrollable.
"It's next month. I figured with Limburger cursed and all, we could go for a few days." she glowed.
Throttle and Modo shook their heads. "Another round of Bad Craziness?" Modo raised his glass in toast. Rave just laughed and asked, "When's dinner?"
Discretionary note: You people should know this by now-NC-17 ect.
P.S. Rave and Danni are mine. So is Dillon. You can use'em if you want-just ask
* * *
On the morning of Jan 4, it was cold, grey, and snowing. The climate was absolutely perfect for a trip to Baja, California.
Charley was just packing an extra wrench or two in the saddlebags of her own bike when the familiar feeling of being near a transporter crawled over her skin. She hid on the other side of her cycle, grabbing for a tire iron on the ground.
She relaxed when an equally familiar form solidified out of thin air.
"Stoker!" she hollered, letting the iron clang the floor.
"Charley?" he shook his head, "Whadda ya know. It worked."
"What are you doing here?" Charley gave him a warm hug.
"We got a transporter on Mars, now. Dug it outta some Plutarkian ruins about six months ago, and we finally got the damn thing workin'. Kind of." he sagged a bit and found a place to sit.
"Are you all right?" Charley asked, crouching in front of him.
"When I said `kind of', I meant it. This was the first live transport- that worked. Still real rocky."
Vinnie bounded out, yelling, "I heard that voice!" he collided with his former mentor and they both went rolling in a friendly free for all.
Charley finally doused them with water to stop it.
"Charley!" Vinnie protested, but she stood over him, feet planted wide and fists on hips.
"Read my lips, Romeo; Baja. Leave in one hour."
"Okay, okay, I'll go change."
"Into what?" she shot, pinching his rear as he got up to go into the house.
Stoker just stared, gaping.
"Yer gonna catch flies, Stoke." Charley reminded him gently, and he shut his mouth.
"No, don't tell me...you two are...are..."he fished for the right words.
"Amorously connected?" she supplied, eyebrow raised.
"Shackin' up?!" he clarified, and rolled on the floor, holding his sides, his mechanical tail lashing and knocking things over.
"What's so funny?" she barked, getting annoyed.
"I just bet he chased you `till you caught `im, huh?" Stoker wheezed, laying flat, laughing so hard it hurt.
She chuckled, "Some thing like that."
"Good for you, girl. Hey, where's the other two?"
"They should be here to see us off," she hesitated, then winced at the sudden explosion of noise.
Modo roared up, waving a post card. They had obviously collected the mail. Throttle appeared seconds later, a long suffering look on his face.
"Charley-girl! Rave sent a post card! Listen to this: "Howdy all! Met the big head-cheez down here in New Orleans, blew up some buildings, bolluxed his plans to annex Minneapolis. Having fun, wish you were here, see you soon. Luv Rave." he grinned, "Ain't that great?"
Stoker remained silent. He wanted to see how long it took them to notice him.
"Oh, hiya Stoke.....STOKER?!" They both flew thru the air, tackling him. The rolling melee commenced all over the garage.
"Guys! Guys!" Charley tried, then picked up her C.B. mike and switched to P.A. "GUYS!" she blasted their ears, and the ruckus died down.
"You've got time to pummel each other senseless later. Now I need to tell you about business." she glared at all three.
"If a simple repair comes in, handle it if you can. Anything complex, schedule it for next week. Can you handle it? Any money comes in, put it in the lock box, I'll take care of it when I get back. Give receipts. Do not take checks. Got it?" she stared at them hard.
"Don't worry, darlin'. We can handle it." Throttle reassured her.
She was unconvinced. "Stoker, how long are you staying?"
"Dunno. All the previous tests put the Plutarian garbage out of commission for 2 to 6 weeks while it recharged." he replied, getting up and dusting himself off.
"Since it looks like you're stuck here awhile, could you help them?" she gave him her best pleading puppy dog eyes.
He looked like someone hit him, hard. "Uh, sure. Charley. No problem."
"Thanks. You guys're the best." she smiled gratefully, and went to check on the bikes one last time while she waited for Vinnie. He finally showed, dried, dressed, and ready.
"I just know I'm gonna miss out on some danger," he worried, pouting.
"A weekend with me and the Baja 500 not dangerous enough for ya, Vincent?" Charley asked, striking a hip-shot pose.
He turned red and grimaced with embarrassment. "Uh, yeah, I forgot." he high fived his bros and Stoker, and leapt onto his bike. Charley mounted her own, and they both waved, taking off.
"See you in a week!" she called.
"So, boy, who's this Rave?" Stoker crossed his arms, head cocked to one side, the long hair in front of his ears falling forward, more silver than dark tan now, the rest pulled into a pony tail.
"She's Modo's...uhff!!" Throttle found Modo's metal hand over his mouth.
"Uh, huh," Stoker sidled up to Modo, batting his eyes, making kissing noises, his hands clasped under his chin.
"Hey, Stoke, she's not like that," Modo stated, letting Throttle go.
"Yeah, she prefers the direct approach," Throttle mimed an attack on his big grey pal.
Modo drew himself up to his full height, head held high, and looked down on both of them. "She certainly does. And I don't see either o'you gentlemen with a lady on your arms, or any where else, so pth!" he blew a raspberry at them.
Stoker attempted to look repentant, but couldn't hold back his laughter. "You punks are goin' native. The gentler sex must be real accommodatin'' down here, accepting tails and ears and all." he finally sighed. "Maybe I'll just have to get me a summer cottage Earth side and go trawlin' fer babes."
Throttle took the shades all the way off for that one, and Modo sniggered rudely, "Yeah, you two can play checkers on the porch and drink lemonade."
"Drink you under the table any day, brat," Stoker sniffed, finally surveying the garage. He opened cabinets, poked in tool-crates and boxes, flipped switches and clucked at a rack of sockets. "So we're mechanics for a week, huh? If I'd known I was gonna get a job I'd a sent somebody else thru the damn transporter." he grumped, then got over it. "What's for breakfast?"
The day wore on, and the teasing of Modo progressed.
"Say, brother, what's up with the name Rave?" Stoker asked Throttle over lunch.
"Short for Raven," Modo supplied, reading the paper.
"Raven? Isn't that an earth bird that eats mice?" Stoker elbowed Throttle.
"Occaisionally..." Throttle returned, desperately trying to keep a straight face.
"Not often enough," Modo put the paper down, smiling, and walked away.
"Ouch." Stoke and Throttle winced.
"This is more boring than house work." decided Stoker as he stood glaring out the open garage doors.
"Yeah. But we promised Charley. Regular business hours." Modo reminded, idly playing with an air hose, making it wriggle across the floor.
"Isn't there some body in need of ultra cool bikers to rescue them from something?" Throttle moaned, leaning against the wall. He perked up at the sound of footsteps, slow, heavy ones, as if somebody were pushing some thing.
Around the corner appeared the front tire and distinctive extended forks of an awesome machine, but no engine sound. All three mice loped out doors and were glued in their tracks.
Pushing a motorcycle out of their wet dreams was a woman to match.
"N-need some help, there, citizen?" Throttle choked.
"You Charley's guys?" came the voice behind the faceplate.
"Yup!" Stoker replied promptly, already moving to help push the monstrous cycle. It was a severely modified `69 Harley, a full dress chopped hog.
"Great. Is she around?" demanded the woman, pulling off her helmet. A great cloud of red-brown hair cascaded out of it, and she impatiently swept it out of her sharp green eyes. She stared at them a moment, then grinned, "I guess Charley wasn't doin acid when she said she knew mice that rode steel."
"Uh, she told you about us?" Modo asked, unnerved.
"I'm her cousin, Danni. She tells me everything. When we actually get ahold of each other. Where is she?"
"On vacation with Vinnie." Stoker was captivated by her. He stared at her as if committing her to memory, from her long hair to her leather encased curves.
"Shit. My baby's got colic." she groused, hopping up on the seat of her bike. It sat mutely on it's kickstand, volunteering nothing.
"Non-sequiter?" Throttle pulled his tongue back into his head.
"My ride. I need a fuel pump. It just burped it's last. I barely made it here." she explained, hooking her helmet over the ape hanger handle bar.
"We can help you!" came the chorus, testosterone surging in their wake.
She smiled sweetly, "Oh, gentlemen to a lady's rescue?"
Modo looked at Stoker and Throttle, then shook his head, retreating into the house to laugh his ass off. Soon, he predicted, soon the teasing and razzing would be up to him. And Rave, when she showed up, eventually. Revenge was sweet.
* * *
Vinnie ran back into the hotel room in a state somewhere between horror and hilarity. He nearly dumped the full ice bucket on Charley, who was watching, again, "Howard's End" on the free cable.
"Oh, oh my!" he gibbered, very close to hysteria.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" she demanded, flinging a stray cube at his head. It bonged nicely off his half-mask, falling in his lap.
"At the ice machine! Orange and purple... oh, my heart..." he swooned theatrically.
"What?" she pounced, sitting on his lap, grabbing his shoulders.
"I think it was a woman- or Barney." he finally gave in, roughhousing with her a bit. She wrestled back, more intent on divesting him of his clothes than anything else. By the time they were sated, the movie was over and a new one was half over. Charley sighed, drawing her nails thru his fur while he tried to catch his breath.
"Do you think I should call?" she asked several minutes later when they were getting dressed for dinner.
"Nah. Nothing's gonna happen while we're gone, babe. Chicago's free of stink-fish for the first time in years, it's winter; the worst that could happen is a big snowstorm." he advised her.
She looked uncertain, but allowed herself to be placated.
* * *
Lord Camembert was in a foul mood. In the week Limburger and his cohorts had been on Plutark, they had not only demolished the shanty he had them under house arrest in, but Limbuger's sister and his mother had been pestering him daily, complaining that he had ruined their vacation to Earth, ruined the family name, and worse yet, brought their relative back to his home planet, far too near them for comfort. An annoyance visit was one thing, but to have to live on the same orb as he was intolerable. His head ached, he was off his slime worms, and he really, really was dreading yet another groveling session from Limbuger himself. Finally, he decided that, all things considered, one absolute screw-up in one city on Earth was a cheap but effective way to keep everyone else concerned out of his scales. He punched a button on the arm of his throne. Immediately an aide popped up at his elbow.
"Find the chief clerk. He should be on Saturn now. Tell him I need him here in three days or less. And get me a tub of antacid."
* * *
"Is there a cheap motel near here?" Danni asked, burping politely as she finished her fourth hot dog and drained her root beer.
"Oh, you can stay in Charley's room. She won't mind," Modo told her, an evil gleam in his eye.
"You sure?" she looked around at the other two, who nodded like twins. "Okay." She went to the garage for her saddle bags.
"You two are embarrassin' me" Modo growled, kicking Throttle in the shin under the table and punching Stoker in the arm. Hard.
"Wha-?" Stoker took his eyes off the door she had exited.
"Yer like vultures at a wake." Modo continued, "She's a lady, not a trophy. I watched you two tryin' t' out do each other over her bike. And makin' eats. Get it together or she'll die of laughter b'fore either of you can ask her out."
"And who made you Dear Abbey?" Throttle asked, offended.
"Yeah? Who says I'm even interested? She may be cute, and have the hottest ride I've ever seen in my life...but she's human," Stoker huffed, his eyes wandering back to the garage door, "Sh! Here she comes."
Modo rolled his eye heaven ward and told himself, "This is gonna be better than the Super bowl," as he watched his pals watch Danni move. Her hips swayed just enough in the tight black leathers, and the tank top she revealed under her jacket was minimal.
"Yup. Sure, Stoke." Modo said casually, rising. "Well, I gotta head back t' the scoreboard. See ya." he left them on their own.
"Tomorrow's Sunday. Charley's closed on Sundays, right?" Danni asked, flirting outrageously with both tan mice.
"Right you are ma'am," Throttle said cheerfully, and Stoker took the cue, "Yes indeed."
"So, are you boys gonna show me around? I haven't been down in ages." she took her seat at the table, leaning forward. Four red eyes were glued to her cleavage.
"Sure," Throttle swallowed, and Stoker piped up, "I'm new here myself. I don't even have my bike."
"Well, now that my baby's cured, you can ride with me, and Mr. Throttle can be my guide," she purred, her voice like warm honey.
* * *
Modo's radio woke him at 7 am. He basically knee-walked to his bike to answer it.
"This better be good." were his first words.
"Modo? It's Charley," her voice was breaking up.
"Hey, girl. Yer cousin showed up. She's playin' havoc with Stoke `n' Throttle."
"Danni? Damn, I'm sorry I missed her. Watch out, in High School she was voted `girl most likely to'." Charley laughed, then static cut her off.
"You're gettin' outta range, Charley-girl. Don't worry, we're takin' care of everything."
"Okay Modo. Hey, Does Danni still have her hog?"
"Yeah, she's torturing the guys with it. They're gonna end up toe to toe over her, and I'm gonna sit back and watch."
"Sounds about right. Take it easy. We'll call later."
Modo clicked off the radio, stretched, thought about the shower, and headed back to bed.
* * *
Throttle and Stoker were playing `rock, paper, scissors' to determine who would attempt breakfast for their guest. Throttle lost and opted for dry cereal. There was no way he could ruin that. Stoker scoffed at him, "Good choice, kid. Gourmet all the way, huh?"
"Give it up, Pappy." Throttle pointed a spoon at him. "You are no cook either."
"Nope. But I got money." Stoker looked smug.
"There's a pool hall around the corner. You'd be surprised how easy it is to hustle drunk humans."
"Are you insane?" Throttle yelled, just as Danni walked in wearing a short teddy in red with matching robe.
"Great alarm; two macho guys havin' a pissin' match," she yawned, ignoring the cereal and opting for a hot dog out of the fridge.
Both mice were thunderstruck, but Throttle recovered enough to greet her, "Morning, Danni."
"Hi," Stoker managed a moment later, and pulled out a chair for her.
Modo wandered in just as Stoker was getting on Danni's bike behind her. He was definitely not used to being behind a woman on a cycle.
"Hey, where you goin'?" he yelled, and Stoker turned halfway around to yell, "Sight seeing!"
Modo shrugged and hit the kitchen, hoping they'd left something for him.
They drove to Quigley field, showed her the scoreboard hideout, and Throttle dove around, kicking things under furniture or equipment before she had a chance to recognize them; underwear, empty T.V. dinner trays, etc. Stoker watched and grinned, saying, "This place is even worse than last time I was here."
Throttle threw him a dirty look, then hustled the tour along.
In twenty minutes they were at the crater that had been Limbuger tower, and Throttle was telling Stoker and Danni the Christmas story, with a lot of editing.
"I been meanin' t' ask, boy, what did you do for your birthday? It bein' five days before this Christmas thing and all." Stoker queried, leaning up against a light post.
"That was our little eggnog party, Gramps." Throttle shot back, engaging in a quiet duel with his mentor turned rival, "Got blind, knee-walking- spittin' on myself, shit faced drunk with my best friends and had fun."
"Uh, huh. And you asked if I was crazy, hustlin' pool in the wee-hours last night?" Stoker stood away from the pole.
"Yeah. It's not like we need all'a Chicago knowing about us, y'know."
"Open yer eyes boy! All'a Chicago does know about you!" Stoker yelled back, up in his face, "Three years now you been here, interacting with the populace, fightin' in the streets with Plutarkian scum usin' lasers and what not, bein' good kids an helpin' the citizens, protecting the unarmed, what ever. You don't think every one knows about you?"
Throttle glared at his former teacher and commander, "No, I don't think so! These Earth people are so xenophobic it's bordering on psycho! If they even thought there were Martians here there'd be army guys with a battery of probes up our collective asses so fast we'd never have a chance. We keep our helmets on, mostly, we keep a low profile..."
Stoker cut him off with a disgusted snort of laughter, "Get serious, junior. The tails are a dead give away. The bikes are real covert too, doncha think? And the explosions? Don't you think the feds investigate loud, violent altercations on a regular basis?"
Throttle was bristling with bottled anger, trying to keep his cool in front of Danni, who was reclining on her bike, just watching.
"So what's your point, Stoke?" he finally gritted, forcing the words out.
"These people know what's what. They know there's something wrong that they can't handle and probably don't even want to deal with. You are- so they let you. It's called turning a blind eye. What's more, you're doing it for free."
"He's right, y'know. The mayor knows. We passed him this morning. He nodded at you." Danni added, sitting up.
"But, if they know, why..." Throttle was confused.
"They'd have to admit it. They're in denial. This way they can just go on with their little lives and not be part of anything bigger." Stoker finished, the fire going out of him.
"C'mon. This is gonna depress me if we keep on. Let's get some lunch. It's on me."
* * *
The phone rang. And rang. Modo jerked up off the couch where he had fallen asleep and stampeded for it, "Hello? Hello?!" he caught it just before the machine picked it up.
"Modo?" came the staticky voice of his sometimes girl, Rave.
"Hey, darlin' Got yer card today," he knuckled sleep out of his eye.
"I'm done down here. You up for some company?" she asked, and he heard traffic sounds in the background.
"Sure. It's a circus here right now, so bring some popcorn. Our old top's here, Stoker, an' him an' Throttle are fightin' over Charley's cousin like a couple `a dogs over a bone. Charley and Vinnie are headed for Baja, and I am being entertained."
Rave laughed and said, "I'll be there in a day or so. Keep a list you can amuse me with when I get there." she rung off, and Modo rubbed his hands together, envisioning the mischief about to commence.
* * *
Charley and Vinnie were exhausted. They sat in a McDonald's, mechanically munching fries, waiting for feeling to return to their extremities.
"By tonight we should be in Phoenix, and then tomorrow we'll hit Baja. And the resort. Oohh, I can't wait for that." Charley gushed, and Vinnie grunted back, staring at the map.
"Try to contain your enthusiasm, Vin. People are gonna talk," she said sarcastically.
"Hmm? Oh, sorry, sweetheart. I'm just trying to work out the fastest possible route." he reached across the table and squeezed her hand, eyes still scanning.
"Okay. Let's get going. Sooner we go, sooner we get there." she smiled, and took the map away.
"Charley!" he protested, but she told him firmly, "Look, the road between here and Phoenix is pretty much straight. It won't get much faster than that."
They headed out again, eager to get where they were going.
* * *
Stoker and Throttle spent an uncomfortable afternoon making subtle jabs at each other, while Modo and Danni watched their wrangling with tolerant amusement. Danni even made a small side bet with Modo as to which one would work up the courage to ask her out first.
"My money's on Throttle. Or it would be if I had any right now." Modo said while they cleaned up the dishes left in the kitchen.
"Nah. It'll be Stoker. I've got a feeling about him," Danni rejoined, putting dishes away.
"Which one would you go out with?" Modo asked quietly, bending over to whisper in her ear. She stretched up on tip-toe to reply, "Both. I'm an open minded girl. Youthful exuberance vs. Age and experience-hmm, I'd give'em both a try."
Modo laughed until a tear came to his eye, and said, "Lady, you're dangerous."
"T.N.T. in leather," she smirked, and said, I think I'll just go in and escalate the situation."
Modo shook his head in disbelief and replied, "You go right ahead, Miz Danni. I'm gonna get some sleep." he took off with a friendly wave.
Throttle was irked. He needed cash, and had no prospects to get any. He ground his teeth in frustration, then remembered the vault under the scoreboard where he kept his mementos. In it was a small stash of Plutarkian gold gills he had found after a previous adventure. They were minted in Plutarkian script, yeah, but gold was gold. He could sell them, pay Charley for some of the upkeep they owed, and have enough left to wine, dine, and charm the pants off of Danni. He rather liked that last thought, and resolved to do the deed tonight, after everyone was asleep. Just as he made up his mind, he noticed Stoker talking to Danni.
She smiled and nodded, then headed to her room. Throttle was on Stoker in seconds. They got loud, Then louder.
Danni stalked out of her room and planted herself in between them, wearing a very tiny leather bustier and satin G-string.
"Boys. I am changing. You can decide who's taking me to dinner by the time I get out, or I'll go by myself," she flounced back into the bedroom and slammed the door.
"Okay, punk. Here's the bottom line. I asked her. I got cash. Do you?" Stoker poked Throttle in the chest with an index finger.
"Not yet." Throttle had to admit.
"So I win this round." Stoker didn't-quite-gloat.
The restaurant was not terribly crowded, but every head turned when they were seated, and they were not staring at Stoker. Danni was almost wearing a tank dress that started just above her breasts and ended just below her ass. Her heels were stilettoes, black like her dress and leather jacket.
Stoker pulled out her chair for her, hung her jacket on the back of it, then took his own seat opposite.
They perused the menus, but Stoker found he was out of his depth, He couldn't make head or tails of the French.
Danni took pity on him and ordered for both of them, and ordered a bottle of wine as well. The evening had just begun.
* * *
Modo awoke to a gentle tickling under his chin. He leapt up to find Rave crouched beside his hammock, a gentle smile on her face, as well as a bandage covering the right side from hairline to chin.
"Darlin'! What happened?" he took in her whole appearance; the right side of her body was swathed in bandages, what he could see of her, and her left forearm as well. He was aghast.
"You shoulda' seen the other guy. I won- me and a couple `a gangs down south. Fish-boy in N'awlins won't be back in business for months." she sounded obscenely pleased with herself. "I will need help doing a real bandaging job, tho, if you'll oblige."
"Aww, Rave, `course I will," he looked terribly worried about her.
"What time is it?" she yawned, turning on lights.
"Uh," he looked for a clock, "3 in the morning," he yawned as well.
"Shit, I'm sorry. I guess I was exceeding the speed limit a little." she apologized, and took her clothes off. On the right, she was bandaged roughly. Her arm, side and leg were covered. On her left, only her forearm. She sat quietly on the table in her underwear while Modo dug up a med kit, and only winced and cursed a few times when he undid the makeshift bandages she wore.
"Phobos and Demos." Modo breathed when he saw her flesh. Her arm and leg were the worst, but her side showed damage too. It looked like road rash, and she told him it was, mostly, but some was from a falling roof. Her left arm was gashed fairly deep, but already scabbed over, also from the roof.
"The eye's not so bad." she remarked, "Fish-boy had a hidden knife."
"Oh, Raven." he sounded reproving as he gently peeled off the pad of gauze. He repeated the words, followed by devastated, "Oh, mama," His hands fell to his lap. Her forehead, eye socket, and cheek were purple with bruises, and a cut bisected her forehead, eyebrow, and upper cheek. Modo felt like crying.
"You can't do this anymore." He said, trying to delicately clean out the facial wound.
"It looks worse than it is," she brushed it off.
"Are you completely insane? How hard do you have to get hit in the head?" he pleaded.
"Look, Mr. Biker. I really like you. You're my friend and you're a fantastic bed buddy, but this is my planet. This is my fight. Don't tell me to stay out of it." she shook her finger at him.
Modo looked about ready to explode, but then the wind went right out of his sails. "Yer right. I don't like it, but yer right." he sighed, and finished rebandaging her in silence. Neither of them noticed Throttle come in `till he cleared his throat.
Ironically, the only thing Rave tried to cover up were the love-bites still clearly visible on her throat and breasts, but then she gave up, giving in to the fact that he had probably already seen them.
"Hey Rave," he greeted, then, "Hey , bro. Here's your share of the stash." he handed Modo a fistful of cash. "Vinnie's and Charley's is at the Garage."
Modo looked at him suspiciously. "Stash?"
"Plutarkian gold gills. Found'em right after we crashed here, but I didn't think about cashin' `em in till now. I forgot about'em." he looked chagrined. "After all, gotta have funds to escort babes." he grinned ruefully.
"Hey, maybe I should turn myself in for the bounty." Rave joked lightly, half asleep.
"Bounty?" Throttle's eyebrows rose above his shades.
"Why don't you tell him about it, Modo. Is there a couch I can sleep on?" she yawned again.
"Here. You can have Vinnie's old hammock. We'll figure out somethin' better tomorrow." Modo tucked her in with his own pillow and blanket, then put out the lights. The last thing she heard were, "That much?! In gold gills? Shit. Hey, nice necklace y'gave her for Christmas, man. I mean the purple one, not the silver..." from Throttle, and Modo's answering, "Shut the hell up, Throttle. Yer so obnoxious before dawn."
Rave chuckled and drifted off to sleep, Modo's scent on his pillow soothing her into dreams.
* * *
Stoker had been a perfect gentleman at dinner, when he took her dancing after, and when he had seen her to her bedroom door. Danni had had enough by then, and paused with her hand on the doorknob.
She turned to him, and gave him a hug. When she started to release him, she changed her mind, grabbed the long locks in front of his ears and pulled him in for a kiss that curled his toes. Then she did release him and opened her door. "You need to know when to stop being a gentleman, Stoke. See you in the morning." her door closed behind her, leaving him standing there looking like he had been hit with 20,000 volts.
"I'll remember that," he whispered, fingers brushing where her lips had just been.
* * *
Throttle shook Modo awake with one hand over his mouth. He nodded to Rave and whispered, "Let her sleep."
Modo nodded and followed Throttle. They rolled their bikes to the back exit ramps and coasted out. Once on the ground they lit off their engines and headed to the garage, where they found Stoker asleep on the couch.
"How'd it go?" Modo called from across the room, making Stoker jump. He fell off the couch and got up groggy.
"Great. French food sucks." he announced, and headed for the garage bathroom.
"Well, at least I got a fightin' chance," Throttle said to his bro, then, "Hey, if she'll go out to breakfast with me, will you mind the store?"
"Sure. Just be back by noon so I can go check on Rave." Modo gave in gracefully, worried about his friend, well his almost girl-friend.
"Great! Thanks," Throttle headed up the stairs to Charley's/Danni's room.
By the time Stoker had returned from the bathroom, dripping from the primitive quasi-shower and searching for a towel, Throttle and Danni were gone. When he found out, he kind of laughed and groaned at the same time.
"Why the long face, kid?" he demanded, sitting up on a workbench.
"Ah, I'm just worried about Rave. She showed up at 3 this morning all banged up to hell and she still won't give up." he shook his head.
"Listen here, pup. Did you give up when you got hurt? When you lost your arm? When your mama begged you? No. Did any of us?" Stoker pinned him with a raw look.
"No. But Stoke, she's just one girl! She's hurt, she could get killed!"
"Yeah, she could. If Limbuger wasn't such a loser, so could you." Stoker reminded him, "If the damn stink fish send somebody better, you still could. Or, if `ol drippy drawers comes back, he could get lucky."
"Hey, thanks for cheerin' me up, teach." Modo brooded.
"You won't do her any favors by tryin' to make her decisions for her. She's in need of a supportive friend, not a hovering doom sayer tellin' her what not to do. That'll chase her away." Stoker was dead serious, holding Modo's cyclopian gaze.
"I still don't like it, but I gotta bow to your logic. And hers."
* * *
Throttle was enjoying himself immensely. A race to the restaurant had been a good contest. He had won, but barely. It was a fair fight, no rocket boosters involved, and they had arrived out of breath and laughing. A friendly bread fight after they ate had gotten them kicked out, and they had fled, still laughing. On the way back, they stopped at Dairy Queen and shared a banana split, just for the hell of it. Outside the garage, she kissed him softly and said, "This was fun. Next time we'll do something, oh, more mature." she went inside.
Modo saw Throttle and leapt up, hustling to his bike. "See ya." he yelled and took off in a hurry.
Rave was wet, naked, dripping blood and cursing a blue streak when Modo entered the scoreboard.
"What the hell do you think you're doin'?" he bellowed, grabbing towels and attempting to stanch the flow from her left arm. Her right eye was still swollen shut, but her left was still grey and sharp.
"It's been six days since I got thrashed, an' 6 days since I been clean. I itched! My hair itched, and I smelled." she defended, allowing him to patch her up again. "I didn't wanna be a burden," she finally admitted.
"You will never be a burden," he promised, helping her into a pair of sweats she had dug out of somewhere.
"Come on. We're goin t' Charley's. My old buddy Stoker should look at yer arm." Modo brooked no argument on that point. She meekly followed him to his bike and got on behind him.
"How'd you get here, any way?" he asked, giving her a gentle ride to the parking lot.
"See that rusted out shit-box Rambler over by the street?" she pointed to an ancient, oxidized & rusty sedan.
"My stars and garters. You are insane. You drove from Louisiana to here in that?" he was astonished.
"The price was right. Free."
Stoker and Throttle were just finishing a simple tune up on a little Honda Rebel when Modo and Rave arrived. Stoker took the cash, stashed it in the lock box and saw the customer off while Throttle took a long look at Rave.
"Hey, babe. You really look like hell," he mentioned in greeting.
"Thanks, I just love it when studly guys pay me compliments." she limped toward a chair.
"Stoker, this is Rave. Rave, Stoker." Modo introduced, then looked around for Danni. Her bike was gone. "Where's Danni?"
"Shopping," they reported in unison.
"Uh, huh. I don't want to know. Stoke, could you take a look at her arm? It's way too late to sew it up, but..." he looked expectantly at the elder mouse.
Rave unwrapped and Stoker stared at the half healed gash sluggishly oozing blood. He poked and prodded, pinched it shut. Finally he stood back and conversationally confessed, "Red blood. Huh. I don't think I'll ever get used to that. Besides bein' messy, It's looking pretty good, all things considered. Just wrap it loose an let some air get to it." he grinned at his patient and looked at Modo. "What? You expected me to wave a magic wand and make it all better?"
"I told you it's not as bad as it looks. I just show bruises spectacularly." Rave nodded her thanks to Stoker and got up. "Is there a brush around here?"
"In the bathroom." Throttle answered, and trotted over to collect it for her. Modo intercepted his return and sat her back down, gentling the brush thru her long tangled tail.
"Holdin' out on me, Mr. Biker? I didn't know you were a hair dresser, too." she joked, letting him braid her tail into something manageable.
Stoker sputtered with mirth, and Throttle politely asked, "Can I be next? Manicure, perm, maybe a facial?"
"Don't tempt me, pal. I could probably arrange a concrete facial and an all over bikini wax if properly motivated," threatened Modo with a laugh and a whip crack of his tail in Throttle's general direction.
* * *
Charley was close to being in Heaven. The air was a balmy 85 degrees, she was sipping a maitai pool side, and Vinnie was frolicking in the pool in front of her in his new speedos, a most entertaining sight.
"Lookin' good, Vin," she called, saluting him with her drink.
"C'mon in Charley-girl! I can't look this perfect and have the most beautiful girl at the pool snub me!" he returned, holding out his hands to her.
She laughed at him but complied, letting the towel around her waist fall to reveal her own new thong bikini.
"Aowww! Babe!" cheered Vinnie wolf whistled and clapped, catching her as she jumped in.
Her arms twined around his neck and she kissed him, "I can't imagine a better get away with you. And the race is only day after tomorrow!"
"Yeah. I'm gonna win it for you." he nuzzled her, then turned crafty and flung her up in the air. She shrieked with laughter, but that soon turned to sputters as he let her land in the water with a hellacious splash.
"Vinnie!" she roared, spitting water. He ran, or tried to.
* * *
"Modo, you wanna get some food?" Rave asked, drooping with boredom, from the living room. He had just closed the garage doors, making the current imbroglios between Throttle and Stoker echo slightly.
"Are those two having another psycho sensory disturbance?" she asked, having witnessed six since she arrived.
"Yeah. Man, I hope she picks one of `em soon. This shit's gettin' old." he observed, escorting her to his bike and helping her on.
As they left, Danni showed up, a huge stack of shopping bags and parcels bungeed on the seat behind her, precariously balanced.
"Hey! Macho dudes! Who does a girl have to blow to get some help out here?"
Two tan mice jammed out the side door and mobbed her bike, unbungeeing and toting.
"Huh. Prospects are looking up." she said to herself as she carried her helmet inside behind them.
Stoker frowned at Throttle, "So what're y' gettin at, boy?"
"This back `n' forth is gettin' us nowhere. Stoke. I propose a contest, winner gets the girl."
"Name the terms." Stoker watched him carefully.
"Drinkin' an' Eightball." Throttle snarled, "Round the corner." he paused, "tonight,"
"Done." Stoker finalized. Neither of them knew Danni was listening from the other room, laughing till her sides hurt. Oh, she was gonna love this.
The two of them took off on foot, and she went to change into an indecently short leather skirt, thigh high leather boots, and her bike jacket, with nothing under it. "Oooh, definitely dressed to thrill." she mimed a kiss at the mirror before following them.
They were bellied up to the bar, talking to the bartender, who apparently recognized Throttle.
Y'know, gents, around `th' hood here, we were thinking you were down right antisocial. We've known Charley for years, and we seen what y' all been doin', helpin' an all." he drew them both a draft beer and set a shot of whiskey beside each one.
"We, ah, we didn't think we'd be welcomed with open arms," Throttle was mildly uncomfortable.
"At first, there were a few talkin' about F.B.I. an' aliens, but you boys proved yourselves. `Sides, we got all sorts `o ethnic backgrounds here, why not you boys too? `S' on the house." he waved Stoker's money away.
"Why thanks, citizen." Stoker smiled, downing his shot and chasing it by draining his mug `o' suds. Throttle followed suit.
"Mind if we settle a little issue with a few games'o pool?" Throttle asked, looking over the interior.
"Sure. Help y'self." the bartender ran a hand over his short wirey curls, then added, "I don't think anybody else'll play after th'other night, tho'."
"Just between the two of us, friend," Stoker winked and told him, "and keep th' rounds comin', will ya? This is a contest."
Danni walked in in the middle of the second game and went straight to the bar, ordering a small brandy. Her eyes never strayed from the mice.
"Friends `o yours?" the barman asked, nodding.
"Could be. I'm Charley's cousin. They're trying to work out who gets the girl. I figure I'll let'em get a few under their belts before I let'em know that the girl has the final word."
"I remember you. We went to High School together." he informed her, "Dillon McHenry. We were in Mr. Harris' algebra class together."
"Oh, my god. We were, weren't we? I guess my reputation doesn't bear too much scrutiny, does it?" she grinned.
"Hell, Danni, you were always cool to me. Those two won't know what hit'em, will they?" he chuckled, wiping glasses.
"Not if I have any say in the matter." she sipped her drink.
"What've you been doin with yourself?" he leaned against the bar, warming up to old home week.
"I've been up in Seattle. For a while I was a martial arts competitor, you know, amateur stuff, then I got into stunt work. I do that for a living now. It's pretty exciting, and I make a hell of a lot risking my skin for Hollywood." she chattered on with Dillon for quite a while in between his jaunts down the bar to serve other patrons. All the while Stoker and Throttle continued to play 8-ball, the points always ending in a draw, the drinks equal as well.
Near midnight, she judged they were pretty well looped, and a sudden death tie breaker fight was brewing. Unwilling to let her school chum's bar get knocked down, she unzipped her jacket to her waist, fluffed her hair, and sauntered over to them.
"Boys..." she sang, striking a pose.
They turned and both jaws dropped. She stepped up close, grabbed Throttle's right ear and Stoker's left, and pulled them close to whisper, "I wish you hunks would have just talked to me before you decided to joust to the death. I'm a lot of woman- enough for both of you. If you think you've got the salt, I'll take you both on." she leaned first one way, then the other and flicked both ears with her tongue. Then she let them go and swung her hips to the exit. They tracked her with their eyes and then glanced at each other. A heartbeat, they both shrugged, and when she called out, "Coming?" they broke for the door with inebriated care.
Dillon just grinned till he felt like his face would crack.
* * *
Modo, who had had more then enough of the Throttle and Stoker show, rented a motel room after dinner, and ensconced Rave in a nest of pillows and blankets. She watched in mute astonishment as he shuttled about the room, made her a cup of tea, turned on the T.V., and handed her the remote. He then pulled the chair away from the table, turned on the heat in the room and sat beside the bed.
"I'm undecided as to whether I should pat you on the head or deck you." she stated, startling him.
"What's the matter, baby?" he asked, ready to leap up and do her bidding.
"Do you think I'm on my death bed? Do I seem like an invalid to you?" she set the tea on the bedside table and whisked back the covers. "Will you please get in here with me before I start screaming?"
"But Rave, you're hurt..." he began, but she cut him off, "Not as hurt as you're gonna be if you don't haul your sweet ass into this bed, biker boy. I came here to be with you, even if it's just snuggling for a few days, not to be waited on by you."
"Raven, I don't want to hurt you worse on accident." he hung back.
"You won't. I've been telling you it looks worse than it is. I'm not made of glass, lover, and I really would like for you to hold me." she set it out for him. He complied, and they watching television together.
* * *
In the morning, they rolled up to the garage, almost dreading what they would find. What they found was-nothing. The place was silent, deserted. Modo opened the double roll up doors and then searched the house. He ended up in front of Danni's door. He knocked quietly and she answered, "Yeh-come." in a not quite awake voice. He opened the door, immediately registered the scene in front of him, blushed, stammered, "I-I-I'll be in the garage..." and rapidly shut the door. He leaned on the wall, hand over his eye.
"More then I needed to see- way more." he breathed, and left seeking Rave in the kitchen. She was cooking real food, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hashed browns.
"Did you find `em?" she asked, looking up from her frying pans.
"I'm afraid so." he planted his ass in a seat at the table.
"Are they hurt?" she worried.
"I have no inclination to find out, babe." he laughed, a bit embarrassed at his own reaction.
"What? Now I've got to know." she demanded, setting his meal in front of him before resuming her culinary odyssey.
"They're all in Danni's room in a big naked heap in the bed, with who knows what all layin' all over the room; whipped cream cans, I saw at least one jar o' hot fudge sauce, an' there's more stuff I didn't care to identify." he couldn't seem to stop laughing now, and she began to join him.
"Oh, my. At least their fighting over her's finished," she gasped, flipping a hash brown.
"I hope so. Hey, are you cookin' fer them too?" he suddenly caught on.
"Why not? I'm already cooking for us, I'll just cook it all. They can probably use it." she stopped when she heard the shower come on above her. "They'll be down soon enough."
"I guess. We'`, she said she'd take'em both. She says what she means." he began giggling.
"Are you getting hysterical?" she demanded over her shoulder, draining bacon grease into a coffee can.
"Naw. Just imagining what Charley'll do if she finds out what they did to her room."
They ate in companionable silence, occasionally looking up and smothering giggles at a thump or curse from above.
Eventually, the trio stumbled downstairs, two tan mice with hang overs and one 5'10" red head with a cat-that-ate-the-canary (or mouse) look on her face.
"Food?" Throttle croaked, seconded by Stoker. Rave gestured to the plates on the counter, and all three dug in.
The two women once overed each other like two alpha bitches from different packs. It made Modo's hackles rise, but he kept his peace. After a moment, they apparently decided they were girls together, and nodded, relaxing. Breakfast progressed apace, and Modo began his long awaited revenge, every once in a while injecting a pointed question or obnoxious comment into the conversation. Throttle and Stoker were too drained to mount a defense, and suffered for it.
Leaving the males to clean up, Danni and Rave went to rummage a suitable wardrobe for Rave from the closets of Charley's room. After they made the room a bit less of a disaster zone and changed the bed clothes.
* * *
Limburger cowered before the wild gesticulations of Lord Camembert. He ducked as an ornate bowl of slime worms sailed at his head.
"I'm going back to Chicago?" he groveled, kissing the hem of Camembert's robe.
"Don't touch that, or me, or anything," the High Chairman spat, twitching his clothes out of Limburger's clutches. "The only reason I'm sending you back is because I don't want to see your relatives again. Ever. That, and it's cheaper than a state execution. Get out. You go back in one week, when the nastiest stench carrier I could find docks. I don't want to see or hear or smell you until then."
"Of course, your vengeful vaporishness," Limburger backed out of the audience chamber on his knees. Outside, he let out with a totally uncharactic "Wahoo!" and went to get his henchmen back under his thumb.
* * *
Vinnie bounced on the bed. He bounced across the room, off the walls, in and out of the bathroom, and finally Charley pulled his tail hard to settle him.
"Tomorrow, hot shot. Relax till then, okay?" she told him, shoving his dress shirt at him and trying to put her earrings in at the same time.
"Relax?! I can't relax!" he wailed, fighting with the fabric.
She came to his rescue and smoothed it on, buttoning it for him.
"Take me to a nice restaurant for dinner and I'll relax you later?" she asked seductively.
"How can I refuse an offer like that?" he held the door open for her.
Obligatory disclaimer: BMFM Characters belong to their owners, my characters belong to me. Use them in good humor. Non-profit. NC-17.
Baja, California. The big race was over, and, true to form, Vinnie could
not be contained. He walked on air, his chest puffed out even more than
usual. Even with all the special mods taken off, he had won, and he was
"I'm tellin' ya, Charley-girl-it was no contest. I had it socked in from the get-go." he crowed, polishing the garish trophy. Charley had the winner's check safely put away.
"Do you smell something?" she turned her face to the warm desert wind, grimacing with distaste.
"Eeww!" he sniffed, "Smells like a Plutarkian upwind." he replied, dropping the cloth. Charley stood up from her crouch by his bike, where she had been re-installing the weapons and jets and other hardware.
"Stink fish? Here?" she gasped, nauseated by the smell.
"I'm afraid so, sweetheart." he hopped on his cycle and told her, "You know the drill. Studly mice only. I'm gonna take a look."
"If it is, don't take'em on alone. I'm gonna call the guys for back-up. A few days won't make much difference here."
"Okay, okay. I'll just reconnoiter." he assured her, fingers crossed behind his back.
* * *
Throttle worked diligently on his bike, Stoker keeping him company, the furor between them much eased by Danni's mandate: "You boys are equal in my eyes. No more one-ups-manships, or I'm history."
"Y'know, the female gender has us just where it wants us," Stoker ruminated, shaking his root beer can to see how close to empty it was.
"Yeah, yeah. I hear ya, Stoke. But the rewards outweigh the penalties, no question."
"This is much better." Danni said from the doorway, surveying the new mice in her life with a calm eye.
"When I learn somethin', it stays learned, pretty lady My first run to Earth, I got a rude awakenin'. Too old to run the plays, but not to old t'call'em." Stoker shook his head ruefully. Throttle whacked him on the back, hard.
"Yeah. Now he's in the enviable position of making young mice do his dirty work. He stays cool an' looks good." Throttle grinned, and fell over backward as Stoker sucker punched him.
"Haha, I still got a trick or two in me. Age an' experience, y'know." Stoker gave Throttle a hand up. They stood there grinning at each other, then the wrestling match began. Modo heard from inside and galloped out to join in the fun.
"I don't know which is worse, the real grudge they were starting, or the good natured `fun' that's destroying the garage now." Rave limped out to watch with Danni.
"At least the money for the garage is in a fireproof, crushproof lock box. That way maybe Charley'll forgive us for not stoppin'em." Danni mused.
"Don't worry too much on that score. She can't stop'em either."
The phone rang, and the two women almost missed it. Danni dashed back in and grabbed it up before the machine did.
"Last Chance Garage." she was very business like.
"Danni? Danielle LaCroix?" Charley yelled in her ear. Danni backed the phone off a good foot.
"Hey, cuz. How's tricks?" Danni yelled back.
"Not cool. We've got a small glitch in the vacation. A Plutarkian is in the area, and Vinnie wants to trash him. He's not gonna listen to me, but he needs help. Close up shop and get here with the guys as soon as you can." Charley was not clam.
"Yo, chill. Where are you? Is anyone hurt yet? What's the sitch?"
"We smelled a Plutarkian out at the track. Oh, Vinnie won, then, just as I finished replacing the last laser in his bike, he took off to do some recon. He's not back yet and it's been hours."
"Okay. Cool out and I'll get us there by tomorrow night, latest. I got a few strings I can pull. We'll come in at San Diego. Be there and just wait." Danni hung up, then began dialing.
"Sid? Hey, baby. You remember when I pulled your fat outta the fire and did all the choreography and stunt work on "Dark Justice" for free?" she paused while he talked, then, "Look, I need your plane- Yeah, and a pilot. There's five of us, and three motorcycles to cargo." she listened, then continued, "No, Sid. I need to bail Chi-town for San Diego tomorrow A.M. and I need you to be ultra realistic and help me out. I helped you." she finished, and listened to his reply.
"Okay. Yes, Sid. I promise. Your new wife will never know. Thanks. Ten A.M. tomorrow at O'Hare-private gate- got it. Now I owe you." she rung off.
Danni ran into the garage and announced, "Pack it up, kids, and get out your summer clothes. That was Charley. She was all worked up about...umm, `tarkin' fish- and Vinnie was on recon- anyway, she needs us like yesterday."
All three mice were front and center like raw recruits in fronts of a drill instructor.
"Where, how, and when? We can get there in a couple of days, but that's too long." Throttle began pacing.
"Hey, muy macho, fight smarter, not hotter. We're on a private jet 10 tomorrow morning, we're in San Diego by 1 pm. Pacific time. Charley'll be waiting." Danni informed.
"You are just too good, girl," Stoker smiled, reaching out to stroke her hair.
"Yeah, I've heard that," she winked, and pulled Throttle aside.
"Look, the five of us can ride on our three bikes, but that ain't gonna cut it, I have a feeling." she said as a soft aside to him. He nodded, taking off his shades and rubbing his eye-lids.
"We got one walking wounded who won't sit this out, and one freedom fighter past his time in the trenches. We're gonna need somethin' to..." he started planning.
"Hey, mi amigos. Ridin' doubles if a fight breaks out is gonna suck really bad." Rave broke in, standing by Modo, who looked like he really, really wanted to tell her to stay behind, but wanted her with him just as much.
"Yer point?" Stoker was cautious. He had just admitted his own deficit, and was not eager to have it brought up again.
"If Danni can arrange some wheels for me on the other end-and I mean real, American steel, I can take Stoker riding shot gun. He can keep my blind side covered and call some shots. I can drive a car thru anything, no matter what condition I'm in." Rave made the offer.
Modo kind of sagged in relief, letting out his long held breath.
"What kind of car?" Danni asked, digging thru her saddlebags in search of something. She pulled out an address book.
"Late seventies, big engine, made of steel not aluminum." Rave laid out her preferences." Something that runs tits but won't be very badly missed if it gets totaled!"
"Yeah, okay, I'm on it," Danni went thru her book and fled back into the house to use the phone. A lot.
"Okay. We got one 1970 Ford 1 ton truck with a serious case of rust, God only knows what huge monster engine dropped into it about 6 years ago, and my partner Tom's son' don't want it no more',". Danni came out about an hour later to tell them.
Rave nodded. "That'll do. Y' did tell the guy we were probably gonna destroy it, right?"
"He's filling out the papers as we speak. It'll be at his house in San Diego when we show up for it."
The others were packed, antsy, and raring to go. "I hate the waiting most." Modo spoke for all of them.
"You boys need to take your mind off waiting," Danni advised, and pulled Stoker and Throttle by their tails. When she had their complete attention, she informed them, "There's an old saying among stunt men, of which I am most fond. I say it every time I jump head first off a 30 story building, or get set on fire, or drive head on into a wall: "Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die." So, gentlemen. Let's go dancing." she swatted them both across the ass.
"I guess we're goin' dancin, bro." Stoker said to Throttle, eyebrows raised.
At Rave's request, Modo had made a bed of sorts for them in the scoreboard. It consisted of an old air mattress piled up with every pillow and blanket they could rummage, and both of them fit on it. Barely. If they squished together.
Modo was sleeping quite well when he was rudely interrupted by Rave in the middle of the night. He awoke to find her hands stroking his body in a very creative and arousing manner.
She was watching him try to reason with his own body when she said, "Y'know, I figured if I got to you when you were half asleep, you wouldn't say, `no, Raven, you've got boo boos'." she whispered.
"But darlin'," he began. She shushed him.
"I have some ouchies I want you to kiss and make all better," she presented areas of her person to him that had no connection to her injuries. He laughed and complied.
* * *
At Six in the morning, Vinnie walked in the door of their suite. When he pulled his face out of the carpet where Charley's slap landed him, he wondered, "What was that for?"
"Don't you dare ever do that to me again!" she shouted, livid with rage and relief at seeing him alive and relatively undamaged.
"Geez, Charley. That was a good right cross." he complemented, and she wrapped him in a fierce embrace.
"You-geek!" she sobbed into his shoulder, clutching him so tightly his ribs creaked.
"C'mon, babe, loosen up before you kill me." he stroked her hair. Looking down into her face, he saw her eyes circled with purple exhaustion.
"You've been waiting up all night?" he demanded, sweeping her up in his arms to deposit her on the bed.
"Gee, no, Vin. I wasn't worried about you, I really didn't care if you were hurt and couldn't call for help." she glared up at him.
"I'm sorry, I really am Charlene, honey, but I got busy. I lost track of time." he sounded absolutely contrite, kneeling beside the bed and holding her hands.
"Oh, Vinnie, I'm just glad you're all right." she let him off the hook, taking his face in her hands. She leaned over and kissed him, her arms once again going around him.
"I worry when I'm not there with you. I love you, you idiot!" she cried, and Mr. Adrenaline got all choked up.
"Me too, lady." he returned around the lump in his throat.
Charley dried her eyes and released him, sitting up. She cleared her own throat and told him, "I called the others. They're coming in to San Diego today."
"You did? Great I was wondering how to swing that." he grinned impishly at her. She hit him lightly and said, "We have to go meet them. My cousin is with them, so it'll probably be a private plane."
"Your cousin?" he blinked.
"She's a stunt woman. Hob nobs with Hollywood royalty. She said she could pull some strings-we should get going soon."
"Hey, babe, it's only an hour and a half away- Take a nap. I'll wake you up." he said, and she nodded, laying her head on the pillow. She noted he'd neglected to tell her what he found, but let it pass.
* * *
The private gate at O'Hare airport was deserted at 9 Am when five beings arrived to load the bikes and make their presence known. The pilot, who ignored any eccentricities about his passengers, opened the cargo loading doors himself when they insisted upon installing their motorcycles and securing them personally.
Inside the jet, a single stewardess saw to their needs, and they relaxed into the ridiculously huge and cushy leather seats. At 10 sharp the plane took off.
"This is definitely not like flyin' coach." Rave exulted, drinking a Dr. Pepper. Danni toasted her with a Mountain Dew, and replied with a grin, "Lap of luxury. It helps to have a movie producer who owes you big,"
"Hot damn. Remind me to get one `o these," Stoker grabbed a can of root beer and flung it to Modo, and another to Throttle.
"Yeah. An' there's supposed to be a movie, too." Modo was happily cradled in his seat, munching on a little bag of peanuts.
" `Scuse me. What are you gonna show us?" Throttle asked the flight attendant.
"Dark Justice, sir. The movie will begin once we've reached our cruising altitude." she gave him her professional smile and moved on to the galley.
Danni put her face in her hands and screamed-quietly.
All eyes turned to her expectantly.
"Somebody sedate me, please," she begged, "not that."
"Why not?" Rave wanted to know, leaning out around Modo to see Danni.
"Sid, the guy who owns this plane- I did the stunt work on this flick, and all the fight choreography- well, Sid is making sure I know he's paid up. I did the work for free. This is his return favor. I hoped I'd never have to see this piece of trash ever again." she moaned, but the others were now looking forward to the video.
"Cool." Was Throttle's only comment, and Stoker just patted Danni's knee with a grin.
* * *
Vinnie, never good at waiting, was much worse at the airport, where there was NOTHING to do. He sat, he stood. He visited all the shops, twice, and that was in the first half-hour.
Charley watched him from the cramped seats at the private terminal. She wanted to do the same as he, but had a bit better self control, not to mention still being tried.
Eventually, as he began his fourth tour of the concourse, she saw a man in uniform approach the arrivals board. With a held in breath, she watched him program in the information, which then scrolled out on the screen above his head: Private flight #117, arriving from Chicago at 1:05 pm. On time.
"Thank God," she whispered, checked her watch, and went to find her significant other. They only had two more hours to wait. She could distract him with food for most of that.
* * *
Danni, having endured her lowest moment in cinematic history, was playing Mortal Kombat 3 against Rave when the pilot's voice came over the intercom.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing in San Diego in approximately 20 minutes. Please return your seats to their upright positions, stow any personal carry-ons, and turn off any electronic equipment. The temperature is 91 degrees locally, but cooler at the beaches. Please fasten your seat belts, and thank you for your attention."
Rave stowed the game controls in the little table between the seats they had come out of and went back to her seat beside Modo, who was asleep. He remained asleep even when she refastened his seatbelt and straightened his seat back, then her own.
Throttle and Stoker did the belt and seat thing, never taking their eyes off the game of magnetic travel chess they were involved in. It appeared to be the only game mice could play quietly while sitting calmly, and even then quiet was a relative term.
"HA!" Throttle shouted, pinning Stoker's queen in a two pronged attack.
"Right back atcha," Stoker replied in kind, moving his bishop into check mate.
"Aw Shit." Throttle toppled his king in defeat." Thought I had you, there, Stoke."
"Hey, two outta five's better than you used ta do." Stoker reassured him, hands behind his head, stretching. "Face it, bro. I taught you most of what you know, but I never taught you all of what I know."
"Yeah, yeah. An' you'll never get tried of lettin' me know it, either, right?" Throttle griped good humoredly.
Vinnie and Charley stood in the terminal, watching as the five arrivals collected their bikes and other assorted stuff. Modo was yawing, Rave limping, and Danni, Stoker and Throttle seemed to be functioning as a unit.
Charley giggled, pointing this out to Vinnie, who scoffed, "I ain't gonna believe it `till I hear it with my own ears."
"I warned Modo. She's a very aggressive individual." she clapped her hands. "I wonder which one she nailed."
"Hey, thos're my bros, sweetheart." he cried foul.
"And she's my cousin, Vincent. Females unite." Charley returned, her gaze locked on the group.
"Rave looks like she's been in a scrape or two. I'm surprised Modo's not wrapping her in cotton batting and carrying her around." Vinnie commented as they walked toward the exit.
"He probably tried. Give him an "E" for effort. Rave's just ornery enuf to back him off his "must coddle and protect" imperative. I kinda like her." Charley held his hand as they strolled toward their friends.
"Me too, but she'll probably break his heart."
"Hmmm." Charley made the noncommittal sound.
"Hey, Vincenzo the magnificent!" Saluted Throttle in high spirits. The four mice all high fived each other, for going the traditional rumble in public, much to Charley's relief. While the males did their macho greeting, the females all put their heads together to cover lost ground.
"Well, spill it!" Charley demanded, and Rave covered her mouth to hide her shit-eating grin. Danni made no apologies, but gave Charley a long-deadpan stare.
"You know how I am about making choices when I shop." she finally said, at which point Charley lost her jaw.
"No, really?" she whispered, and Rave nodded so hard Danni feared her head would fall off. Danni just shrugged and made the comment, "I'm a greedy bitch."
Charley began laughing, then coughing. Rave and Danni both patted her on the back till she was done, then they regrouped with their boys.
"Truck?" Rave reminded everyone, and climbed up behind her grey-furred gent.
The others followed suit, and then followed Danni as she took off. Twenty five minutes later, Rave and Stoker were in the cab of a vehicle that needed everything repaired but the motor, and Danni was signing a release of liability.
"Thanks Tom. I `preciate it, mucho. Hey, remember, we got that shoot at Warner Bros. On February 12. It's only a five day, so don't bring your whole family, huh?" Danni pleaded to the white haired, dark eyed man who ignored everyone but her.
"Yeah. Okay Danni. But you gotta promise, no more free shots. We gotta keep this a money oriented business. We gotta get paid."
"I promise. Strictly contract work forever more." she waved, and the mini convoy headed south.
It was a tight squeeze, seven people in one resort hotel suite, and everyone swore it would only be until they got their own rooms in less extravagant hotels, but finally, when every body had come to rest, Vinnie let them know what they were up against.
"This is a scouting foray." he began, "I've never heard of this fish before, and I think he's lookin' t' stake his claim here. There's no real base of operations, except a really huge R.V. It looks like it's seriously armed and armored, and it has an escort of eight or ten of the greasy old dune buggies-converted with weapons, natch." he paused for breath.
"So, Vin, what're you thinkin'?" prodded Stoker, perched atop the dresser, giving Danni a shoulder massage.
"I'm thinkin' we could probably end this real quick. This guy's not expectin' any opposition, his just lookin' for a good place to start tearing holes in the landscape. We could end his delusions of world conquest before they even start."
"Works for me." Rave was dead serious, sharping a long-thin blade on a whet stone.
"You're the driver this time. Stoke's shot gun, remember?" Modo didn't like her cold tone.
"That's the plan for now. Plans change." she spun the knife and made it disappear back in some secret pocket.
Modo threw Stoker a pleading look over her head, and the older mouse nodded. Modo relaxed, marginally.
"Okay. When did you last see this bottom feeder?" Throttle wanted to know, pacing as much as possible in the confines of the small space he was allotted.
"Early this morning. That R.V.'s parked down by the beach, about seven miles west. There's nothing near it but sand and surf." Vinnie reported, ensconced on the bed with Charley and Modo. Rave sat on the floor between Modo's feet, her fingers now busy with peeling the bandage off her face. When she turned around on her knees to look at Vinnie, he winced in sympathy, his hand going to his mask for a moment. Charley cringed.
"So he's open to attack on all sides? He isn't dug in up against a wall?" Rave asked him, leaning over Modo's thigh.
"No. He seems to be really over confident that he's safe, or he's the dumbest stink fish I've ever come across."
"Good." she sat back down, leaning up against Modo's left leg.
"Look, people. I've never done this kind of thing in real life. I do movie stunts, where we try like hell not to get hurt when we make things look good. I don't know how much help I'll be." Danni voiced, her back against the T.V., standing away from Stoker now.
"How are you at target shooting?" asked Stoker, an idea forming in his head.
"Nobody's better." she stated, eyeing him questioningly.
"Right. Here's my take. I'm shot gun, Rave's the driver from Hell, Danni in the bed of the truck with a pulse rifle or what ever we can pull outta one of the bikes. We fake out the R.V. with a constant peppering `till you guys take out the escort, then we pull down the big game. Charley, you run interference from the beach side while we take the truck in from the dunes. If we're good, we can be done by happy hour." Stoke grinned.
"Sounds good. Contingency, tho." Throttle held up a hand, "If anybody drops the ball, I want some mortars ready to rock. We need to be able to swat this Plutarkian but good."
"Right on. I can do that," Rave got the hotel stationery and jotted down a list on a single sheet so there would be no print on the pad. "Find me a hardware and garden store, and I'll need some black powder."
Modo just looked at her.
"You want bombs? I'll make you bombs." she grinned like a shark.
"Okay, people, let's move like we got a purpose." Throttle said quietly.
By seven P.M., Vinnie was stashing Raves homemade bombs in the truck bed and on Charley's like, all the while trying to convince her not to take chances, not to get too close. She hushed him with her lips and said, "Now you know how I always feel."
"But look what happened to Rave! I couldn't take it if..." he tried again.
"Look, Vincent. I don't want to fight...well, before a fight. I'm gonna be riding interference, just like Stoke said. I'm not gonna be in the thick of it. Now kiss me for luck and let's go." Charley put her foot down.
He did, and sullenly got on his bike. It was show time.
As it turned out, there was nearly no battle, no danger, and only one or two small explosions.
"What a bust." Vinnie complained bitterly, holding a blaster on the sleepy, smelly Plutarkian.
"Cheer up, Vin. At least Charley didn't get hurt." Rave commented from the other side of the room, twirling her knife again. She made Throttle nervous.
Stoker checked the mini transporter in the rear of the R.V. with Charley's help. It was a new model, but very efficient.
"This'll get you home, Stoke, if you wanna go," she said quietly, but he just grinned at her, "Not just yet, Charley-m' girl. I'm havin' too much fun fer the first in years."
"What about these ugly, smelly, disgusting creeps?" demanded Danni, holding a really big gun on a mixed group of young Plutarkians and human goons. They were trussed up to a fare thee well, but Danni really liked the big gun.
"Well send'em with their boss. Hey, what was your name again?" Modo asked, nudging the fish with the toe of his boot.
"I am Juan Primo Ricotta, and you; you, creatures are in deep, deep trouble." the Plutarkian huffed, puffing up with indignation. He shrank back just as quickly when Rave dropped down to one knee and poked him sharply in the gills with her knife.
"Why send him anywhere? Just do `im and dump `im." she said coldly.
Throttle now knew why she was making him so nervous. She wasn't willing to just win. She wanted revenge on all of Plutark. Dangerous urges, he thought to himself. Modo put himself between her and the fish.
"Ease off, darlin'. We don't do unto others first." he told Rave, and she reluctantly backed down, rather than destroy what she had with him.
"Awright. We'll call Carbine and send'em all to her. She can deal with these wanna be's." Stoker finally decided. Charley nodded, and moved aside to let him at the radio.
Throttle's ears twitched at the sound of Carbine's voice some few minutes later, but he made no move toward the radio. Danni noticed and stepped a little closer to him, "She's the one who...?" she hissed, and he nodded tersely.
"Ah." she stepped back to her goon pile, leaving him with his own thoughts.
Stoker over and outed on the squawk box and motioned the guards to move their charges toward the little glowing pad. One by one they were forced onto it and disappeared.
"Well, that was way too easy." Vinnie still pissed and moaned, but gathered Charley close when she neared him.
"Do we destroy this thing or what?" Modo asked, still somewhat freaked over Rave, worried she would turn into a loose cannon.
"Why?" Rave countered, seeming to be her normal self. "It's got a boss new gadget, a kickin' radio, an' if we can get the stink out, it'll be a groovy way to cruise the highways back east. Then, when we get back to our home base's we can gut it for the technology and sell the shell. Now that's cost efficient."
"You're okay?!" Modo was relieved.
"I'm always okay, lover. Sometimes I get a little cranky, that's all." Rave looked over at him, a tiny smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. Modo swooped her up in his arms and kissed her. She hugged him and asked, "Why do you think I'm never around when I have P.M.S.?"
Charley and Danni both got a good chuckle at the joke; none of the mice got it.
"Lets blow this locale, heroes." Stoker announced, and headed for the truck. Danni rode with Throttle, who was coming out of his Carbine caused funk, and Rave drove the monster R.V.
* * *
"So, we saved Baja, what are we gonna do now?" demanded Vinnie, still jumping with unspent adrenaline.
"We're goin' to Disneyland!" Rave did a cheerleader jump out of the R.V. doorway and into Modo's arms. They were in the parking lot of the hotel, mostly loitering because they didn't want to be crammed into Vinnie and Charley's room again.
"I've always wanted to say that," Rave giggled, wriggling down from Modo's grip. He laughed at her and said, "No, really."
"Why not? We're on the west coast. It's on the west coast. How can we miss it?" Charley bubbled, causing Vinnie to do a double take. Charley rarely bubbled. It must be a pretty special deal to her, he figured and cast his vote with her's, "Yeah, why not?"
"Okay. Sure. I'll give you Chicago. We're-dare I say it-fixtures there. But Disneyland?" Throttle was skeptical.
"Are you kidding? That's the greater L.A. basin. Just say you're in for a con. Nobody's gonna bat an eye. There's Klingons on every street corner, and at least fifty different conventions a year." Danni reassured him, an arm around each of her partners.
The problem of sleeping accommodations cropped up, as problems always seemed to-at the worst times. They were all tired, and hungry, and unwilling to bunk together.
Vinnie remembered a Motel 6 just up the freeway, and all five of the late comers jumped at the chance.
"We'll meet in the morning?" asked Charley, and got nods in return as the others left. The truck and R.V. stayed in the parking lot.
At 7:30 the following morning, Danni and Stoker not only annoyed Throttle into wakefulness with their silliness, they used the phone as a weapon against their friends blissful state of sleep.
"Come on! We're the oldest ones here and we're already up and ready to roll!" Danni bellowed thru the phone into Charley's ear.
Charley groaned and tried to throw the phone across the room, only to find that it was anchored to the table; only the receiver flew, and it bounced back at her when it reached the end of the cord.
Vinnie leaned over her and smashed the pillow down on top of the phone and dragged her back onto the bed.
Danni shrugged and hung up, trying Modo and Rave's room just down the hall.
"Piss off." Rave's voice commanded, and the phone slammed down in her ear.
"Geez. I guess it's just not cool to be ready to go right now." Danni put the phone back down and went to hustle Throttle out of the shower while Stoker finished dressing.
"You are agonizingly cheerful this morning," Throttle noted as he stepped out of the shower stall.
Danni handed him a towel and patted his butt as he passed her on the way out of the bathroom. She wiped off the mirror and brushed out her drying hair. When she was satisfied with the results, she pulled it all back into a ponytail and went out to join her guys.
"So, who wants to join me for breakfast?" Stoker demanded, watching Danni as she dressed in shorts and tank top.
"Road rash'll really mess up those beautiful stems, babe," Throttle stroked his tail up her left leg.
"Stop trying to ruin my fantasy with reality,"she stuck her tongue out at him and changed to jeans.
Modo was just dozing off again, curled around Rave's warm, pliant form, when the banging on their door began. If he could have freed his right arm from under her, he would have used his arm cannon to answer the nuisance, but since he couldn't, he tried to ignore it. It refused to go away.
"Rave." he murmured. She made a grumpy noise at him and rolled over, burying her face in his chest fur. He tried again, "Raven. I gotta get up, darlin'"
"Why?" her voice was muffed by his person.
"So I can kill who ever's still knocking on the damn door." he rumbled, and she got as far as sitting up before answering, "Kill'em a little for me."
Modo stood up, wrapped a towel around his waist, and yanked the door open, glaring down at whoever had the audacity to disturb them.
"Are you suicidal?" he growled, clutching the towel with one hand and looming over the intruder against the door frame with the other.
"Yeah. Are you awake now?" Danni grinned up at him, her eyes dancing with mischief.
"I guess so. Go away. We'll be out eventually." he grumbled, and she nodded, heading for the coffee shop.
By 10 all seven were taking up adjoining booths in the rear of the coffee shop, the waitresses shuttling back and forth with trays laden with food.
"How do you manage, cuz?" Danni demanded as she drank her forth coke.
"What?" asked Charley around a piece of bacon.
"Feeding three of these hollow dudes on what your garage pulls in?"
"Oh, I get some special projects now and again that have a hefty cash allowance, and hot dogs are pretty cheap." Charley responded, using her best boarding house reach to get at the toast half a table away. She snagged a piece for her, and at Vinnie's nod, a piece for him as well.
"Right. So, we head north now, is that it?" Stoker was busily slurping a third chocolate malt to go with his ham and biscuits.
"Yeah. We'll all check out, go to some large car wash facility, clean out the R.V., and be on our way to L.A." Rave burped politely, her tiny, "Scuse me," bringing guffaws from Modo, who topped her with a hearty belch.
"Get any o' that on ya, big guy?" queried Throttle, miming wiping something from his arm.
"I'll letcha know." Modo returned, patting his stomach happily.
By the time they left, the waitresses were so glad, they weren't hoping for a tip, they were just happy to see the backs of them. The tip Danni left was large, but inconsequential.
The cook was just happy to have survived.
* * *
Traveling up the 405 freeway, Danni was driving the truck, two of the bikes tied down in the back, Throttle at her side. She checked her mirror to see if the R.V. carting the other five and the three remaining bikes was still following.
It was, and she made the interchange to the 55 smoothly.
"So what's the big draw at Disneyland? I know it's a theme park, and there's this stupid, big-headed, squeaky mouse, but what's the attraction?" Throttle wanted to know.
"A return to innocence. A chance to forget reality for a while and see things with the simple wonder of a child." Danni supplied, then reached over and stoked his cheek. "It's called fun, handsome. Look into it."
He laughed easily with her, his left hand comfortably resting on her thigh.
Modo was holding on for dear life between the two front seats. Vinnie occupied the drivers seat, Rave was shotgun, and Charley and Stoker were aft, trying desperately not to lose their enormous breakfasts.
"Vincent, you are a menace!" Stoker choked from the back, hanging onto the handlebars of Modo's bike for balance. LilHoss honked an angry affirmative, as did Charley, who was clinging with every ounce of self control to her own ride. Vinnie's bike sat mutely, tolerantly between the other two, the A.I. chip stewing and waiting, planning a suitable revenge on it's rider for this indignity and banging around. Probably involving the painful application of it's seat to his and a few well placed pot holes.
By the time they exited the 5 in Anaheim, Rave was absolutely car sick, tho not as bad as Modo, Stoker, and Charley.
"Yer never drivin' a vehicle with more'n two wheels anywhere near me again, punk." Stoker vowed, and Modo seconded.
"What? I'm a great driver, no matter how many wheels I'm using." Vinnie scoffed, and Rave gifted him with a sour look.
"Me pukin' on yer boots kinda gives the lie t' that statement, Mr. I-can-drive-this-thing-no-problem-butthead." Rave spat, holding her head.
"I'm drivin' from now on." Modo decided, and made the offended Vinnie pull over.
"You guys have no appreciation of greatness," he sulked as he surrendered the driver's seat.
Danni noticed, and pulled over as well, Throttle trotting back to see what was wrong.
"What's up?" he grinned cheerily, to which four out of five people glared at him and pointed at Vinnie, who was on a bench at the back of the R.V., pouting.
"Oh, Yeah, right. How's our cash holding out, Danni wants to know?"
"Rock bottom, mine's all back at the garage.' Charley said unhappily.
"I still have $10." Vinnie volunteered, then remembered, "Hey! My Winnings! Charley, the check's made out to you, sweetheart!" he gloated.
"Oh, my god! You're right!" Charley's face lit up, and she pulled her wallet out of her back pocket. She read the check carefully, and said, "We gotta find a Bof A."
"Tell you what, Charley-girl." Rave butted in, "Why don't you go in the Truck with Danni and we'll find a cheap motel, get some rooms, and get settled?"
"Do you have enough?" Modo questioned, surprised.
"My plastic's not nearly maxed, We're cool." Rave returned and said, "Charley, just look for the mutant bus in a hotel parking lot. O.K.?"
"Yeah, okay. We're cool." Charley headed for the truck.
Modo lay on his stomach on the bed in the little motel room, Rave astride his bare rump giving him a back rub.
"I don't wanna wear shorts to the park tomorrow. All I got left are yucky, ugly scabs. I'll look like I got leprosy." She bitched, working on his lower back muscles.
"Aww, you got pretty legs, darlin'," he muttered sleepily, reaching up and back with his left hand to stoke her undamaged calf.
"Flatterer," she tickled him, making him squirm.
"Now look what you done. I'm all tensed up again. Now yer gonna have to start all over." he laughed.
Vinnie was, for the moment, still and silent. Almost. He snored. He was dead asleep when Charley showed up, sneaking in.
She jumped on the bed, squealing as she rained cash down on his prone body.
He jumped, screaming, reaching for a blaster that wasn't there.
"Charley!" he cried, but she just flung the money at him in handfuls.
"You're a rich mouse, my love!" she laughed, crawling up his body to plant a big smooch on him.
"Hey, the money's all for you, babe. I'd just blow it anyway." he put his hands on her hips, shaking her from side to side gently.
"No, it's your money, Vincent." She was serious.
"Okay, so make me a silent partner, use it for back work you've done on all three bikes, hold onto it for future work, whatever." he insisted,
"Well, all right. After we do Disneyland." she grinned.
Danni was in the shower. Again. With two mice.
"You guys're nuts, you know that?" She laughed, stepping out, out of breath.
Stoker and Throttle followed, glancing at each other and yelling "Double Team!" before pouncing on her, carrying her to the bed, and tickling her with no mercy. Eventually, the tickling turned into something else all together, and they lost track of time.
It was after dark when Modo, Rave, Charley and Vinnie banged on the door. When no-one answered, they banged some more. Finally, Stoker cracked the door open, a sheet wound around him, his long hair extremely mussed and in his face.
"Yeah? Is it morning?" he asked, knuckling sleep out of his eyes.
"No. Stoke. It's dinner time. We're heading out to get chow." Rave laughed, peeking around him. There were Danni and Throttle, sprawled on the bed, the blanket rucked up, around them.
"Oh. Uh, hang on a minute." he shut the door. They loitered around for 20 minutes, listening to the cursing and thumping, then the door popped open again, and the three of them trooped out, none too clearheaded yet.
"Danni, is that Stoker's vest?" Vinnie teased, and she looked down.
"Y'know, I do believe it is." she replied, and smoothed it down over her chest.
"Yer not wearin' Throttle's drawers or anything weird, are ya?" Modo asked, a bit too politely.
"Modo, honey, I'm not wearin' any." she patted her own rear end, and Stoker and Throttle laughed while Modo blushed.
"More than I needed to know, cuz. Thanks for the visual," Charley laughed, and they went to fetch the bikes out of their respective berths.
After a quiet dinner at an In&Out Burger, they retired, agreeing on the unoffensive time of 9 A.M. in the morning for regrouping and trundling off to Disneyland.
* * *
At 10 in the morning, the gates opened, and the average throng of multiple people surged in, plus four Martian mice and their three human companions.
There, standing just inside and waving silently to his adoring subjects was Mickey himself, in tux.
The four mice gathered around the cultural icon, patting him on the head and laughing really loud. Mickey, to say the very least, was over whelmed. Danni, ever the prepared one, fetched up the disposable camera she had just purchased at a kiosk, and snapped the Kodak moment. The Magic Kingdom was officially invaded.
The End? Or Not-
^^^^^You tell me^^^^^