by Katie Sullivan
This was my first real TaleSpin story, although by no means my first fan fic.
After 6+ years of studying Spanish, I couldn't resist including some, but I've included translations in parentheses where I feel they are warranted. I'm not a Spanish expert, however, so if you know better and see a mistake e-mail me and I'll correct it.
I'll apologize right now to fans of Kit, Baloo, et al. They are not in this story. They have a ton of their own fan fics. This one is Karnage's. So there. :-)
If pressed to give this story a rating, I guess I'd say PG, thanks to a tiny bit of very mild cussing and an occasional innuendo, but it's way tamer than your average episode of Friends.
Also, since I love to draw, and TaleSpin IS a cartoon, there will be illustrations accompanying the story. If you see one of these icons...
...click on it for an illustration of the scene you just finished reading. All illustrations will also be linked from the regular art menus.
One last note...this first fic is slightly Mary-Sue-ish, but only slightly, and the other fics are much better. So bear with me.
Thanks, and happy reading! Feedback welcome and encouraged! :-)
It was amazing how much anonymity could be gained with a nice suit and a fake mustache. No one would guess that the well-dressed gentleman fox at the lunch counter was the Captain of the Air Pirates. Pirate Island was all fine and well, but every month or so Don Karnage got fed up with the squalor and unsophistication of his crew. On such days he snuck off on his own to soak in some normalcy in downtown Cape Susette.
Karnage tapped his claws on the shiny lunch counter and swished his tail restlessly as he waited for his dinner. The gazelle waitress finally passed through the swinging doors from the kitchen and approached him. "Sorry, sir, but the chef says he's never head of paella."
"What?" he snarled. "What kind of nincompoopery is this? Everyone has heard of paella!"
The gazelle shrugged and pulled a pencil from behind her ear, poised over her order pad. "What do you want instead?"
Karnage ground his sharp teeth in an attempt to keep his temper. "What's today's special?" he asked at length.
"Fine, fine. Whatever."
The waitress disappeared back into the kitchen, humming in off-key accompaniment to the radio.
An amused female voice came from further down the counter. "You don't honestly expect to find decent paella here, do you?"
Karnage turned to see a shapely blonde fox three stools away. "What do you know about paella?" he scoffed.
She spun her stool to fully face him. Her clothing was simple: khaki pants and a plain lavender blouse. But it complimented her curves nicely. "I spent a couple years in Mexico as a student. And a semester in Spain."
"¿Realmente?" Karnage said, intrigued in spite of himself. ("Really?")
"¿Y hable Ud. Español?" ("And you speak Spanish?" [formal])
"Claro," she said with a light laugh. ("Of course.")
"That is wonderful! No one in Cape Susette speaks Spanish!" Karnage grinned and motioned for her to come closer.
She slid her soda down the counter and took a stool beside him. "And you... You're not from around here, judging by that accent! Where are you from?"
He shrugged. "Many places. Cuba, most oftenly, but also Spain, Italy, France and other places."
Her eyes widened. "Why so much traveling? Your father's job?"
"You...uh...could be saying that." Smuggling and piracy did call for frequent relocating. "But the Spanish is my native tongue. The English is a silly language."
She gave a light, pleasant laugh. "I suppose so. I grew up in Youston, so it sounds natural to me."
"Up the coast a bit." She made a vague gesture out the door.
"I don't believe I caught your name."
Karnage hesitated, browsing his pseudonyms. "Phil Rivera."
She lowered a disbelieving eyebrow. "Phil? You're Cuban, and your name is Phil?"
He winced inwardly. Bad choice. "Uh...it is short of Felipe," he said with a nervous laugh. "And what are you called?"
"Scarlet," she said with a smile. "Scarlet Hindenfur."
"A pleasure." He took her hand and kissed it formally.
A rosy hue spread over her cheeks, and she shyly curled her billowing tail close to her body. "Thanks. You're the politest person I've met since I came to town."
Karnage briefly reflected on his lifestyle and smiled in irony.
Scarlet stood suddenly. "Say, I know a place across town that serves excellent paella. And the best tapas this side of the Guadalquivir."
His mouth watered unbidden. "I will be following your beautiful self, then, perhaps?"
"By all means." Scarlet sashayed out the door, her bushy tail lashing happily behind her.
They walked several blocks, through a section of downtown Cape Suzette that was not well-known for its safety. Sinister shapes moved through the weed-tinged streets, avoiding eye contact. Even the stray cats had chips on their shoulders. The police no longer even tried to clean up the neighborhood. It seemed easier to leave a shady pocket, so when crime spilled out into the rest of the city, they knew where to look for the perpetrators.
Despite the area's dubious reputation, Scarlet seemed quite at home. He, of course, was in his element.
It soon became apparent that she had no vehicle nearby. "We are walking?" Karnage commented.
"Yeah. Sorry. I can't afford a car. I can barely keep gas in my plane. Although, if you don't mind my saying, you don't look as if you're unfamiliar with exercise." She gave an approving glance at his physique, and he elevated his nose a little, glowing proudly.
"Plane? You fly?"
"Oh, yes! I love it! Why, do you fly, too?"
"Do I fly? Do I fly? Does the little blue boy's horse jump over the spoon? Of course I fly, you silly girl!" he laughed.
"What kind of plane do you have?" she asked eagerly.
"A CT-37," he responded without thinking.
"CT-37? Really? I thought only air pirates flew those things these days."
Karnage nearly tripped and gave another nervous giggle. "No! No, of course not! They are being good little planes!"
Scarlet regarded him strangely but said nothing further on the subject. Moments later, she made a sharp turn down a narrow alley and into a small, darkly-lit restaurant. Faint flamenco guitar music was playing, and a pall of cigarette smoke clouded the air. There were few other patrons, just a wizened bobcat by the door and a couple of hawks more interested in their drinks than the new arrivals. A wide painting of a bullfight spread across the back wall. The few plastic bushes were badly in need of dusting.
"¡Magnifico!" Karnage said gleefully, gazing around at the distinctly Spanish decor.
"I like it," Scarlet said, shrugging. She slid into a corner booth and folded her bushy tail in her lap to make room for him beside her.
Karnage sat, and within seconds a tigress in a flamenco costume arrived with an order pad. "The usual, Scarlet?"
"Make it a double, Liz. And the best tapas you've got."
"You got dough to pay for this?"
"We can discuss that later," Scarlet said, making an inconspicuous gesture in Karnage's direction.
"All right, Scarlet, but if your tab gets any bigger, you're going to single-handedly put us out of business."
"It's not as bad as all that."
"Mmm hmm," the waitress said skeptically before leaving.
"You are known here?" Karnage asked curiously.
"But not liked?"
"Aw, Liz is always like that."
The waitress returned with two mixed drinks and a platter of tapas, including olives, sardines and other appetizers. The two foxes began sampling the delicacies. Karnage smacked his lips in pleasure as a wave of nostalgic flavor burst in his mouth. "¡Excellamundo! I haven't tasted anything like this in years!"
"Told you," Scarlet said with a coy smile. Suddenly, she gave startled look and slouched back as if trying to hide behind him.
"Nothing," she whispered, obviously lying. Karnage turned toward the door and saw a uniformed police officer, a collie, standing in the entryway. He was looking around with a hard stare, his face grim. Karnage quickly turned his face away and felt his pulse begin to race. He had been followed! Scarlet gave him a curious look, but he did not answer. Curse the maimed ear which made him so readily identifiable! The waitress and the cop discussed something in low tones, and soon the blue-garbed dog began marching straight for their table.
"Dammit, how'd they find me?" Scarlet swore, slouching into the shadows.
"You?" Karnage said. "He's after me!"
The cop's gruff voice burst into their whispered conversation. "All right, you, it's time to--"
"Not another word, you estupid furry dog-type person!" Karnage snapped. He drew an antiquated pistol from inside his suit jacket and pointed it at the collie, who quickly reacted by drawing his own gun.
"What are you doing?" Scarlet said, her voice shrill with surprise. He turned to see her brandishing a long dagger with obvious practice. What in the world...?
"Escaping!" he snapped.
"Fine by me." She heaved her weight against the table and flung it into the police officer, knocking him over in a messy clatter of silverware and water glasses.
"Run!" Karnage yelled as he began his flight out the door. Down the alley, around a fallen garbage can, over the sidewalk and into the street he dashed. He was surprised to find himself matched in pace by his new friend. She followed close at his heels as they wove through the traffic waiting at a red light. In between gasping breaths of air, he said, "Go away! You don't need to get involved in my problems!"
"Your problems?" She stumbled briefly on the curb as they left the street and fled down the sidewalk. "He was after me!"
"What are you talking about, you silly girl-lady? He was after me!"
"He was not!" Scarlet insisted. "He was after me 'cuz I stole the Humberfeather Diamond!"
"You heard me!"
"Never mind. Let's just get away from here!"
Karnage led the way through some side streets, over a wooden fence, across an abandoned lot, through a rather pungent alley, and down to an obscure dock at the edge of town. Moored at the abandoned pier was the unmistakable brown CT-37 airplane belonging to the Captain of the Air Pirates.
"Holy Smokes," Scarlet breathed as he scrambled into the plane. "I thought you looked familiar! You're Don Karnage!"
"The one and exceedingly handsome only," Karnage said with a small bow. He ripped off his fake mustache but immediately regretted it. "Ow!"
"Wow. Maybe that cop really was after you!"
"Never mind that! Do you want to escape or not?" he held out a beckoning hand.
"Uh...well, yeah, but my plane is on the other side of town, and I... Oh, what the heck. I don't have a lot of options at the moment." She took his hand, pulled herself up into the small cockpit and squeezed in behind him.
"Hold onto your fat!" he said, starting the engines.
"That's 'hat'," she corrected.
"Whatever." He quickly adjusted the controls and taxied back from the pier. Before long, they were airborne, heading toward the pass through the cliff which led to the open sea. A pair of missiles whooshed by as they passed the cliff guns. Karnage made an evasive maneuver with a little more flair than was really needed and easily kept out of their path.
A soft hand came to rest on his shoulder. "Nice flying," Scarlet said.
He held his head high immodestly and grinned. "But of course. What else were you expecting from the famed Air Pirate?"
They were soon out of reach of the cliff guns and into the vastness of the ocean. There were few clouds, and the tropical sun gave a blinding glare off the water far below. "Are you taking me to Pirate Island?" she asked.
"Unless you are objectionable."
"Isn't its location supposed to be a secret?"
"Honor among thieves, mi amiga. Speaking of which, what is this Humberfeather Diamond?" he asked. "And where did a nice girl like you get such a large knife?"
Scarlet sighed. "It's kind of a long story."
He gestured at the limitless sky before them. "It is a long flight."
"Fair enough. I've always loved fancy things, especially jewelry. I started stealing while I was in Mexico. Never got caught. Back at home, I heard about this huge diamond that was going to be on display at the Pithsonian. So I figured, what the heck? One thing led to another, and, well...I'm on the run at the moment."
"Do you have the diamond?"
"Not on me. But I know where it is. Anyway, I'm a wanted criminal. I thought I could hide out down here in Cape Susette until things cooled off, but the cops figured it out."
Karnage raised a dark eyebrow in interest. Tapas, a beautiful girl and a giant diamond, all in the same day? His horoscope hadn't been kidding about good luck.
"Hey, you're a pretty influential guy. Maybe you could help me," Scarlet said suddenly.
"What are you needing, exactly?"
"Oh, not much. Just a ride to Owmaitoe Island and back. Plus a little protection."
"That's where I hid the diamond."
"This is a very big diamond. And there are plenty of people who want it besides me and the law. Your 'honor among thieves' doctrine isn't the standard, I'm afraid."
"What is in it for me?" Karnage asked.
"My undying gratitude?"
He snickered disdainfully. "There is honor among thieves, señorita, not charity!"
She sniffed indignantly. "I'm not asking for charity. I just want your help."
"Fifty percent of the money from the sale of the diamond."
"Fifty percent? No way! Plus, I'm not planning on selling it!"
Karnage purposely made the plane dip abruptly, letting it plunge toward the ocean with frightening speed. She yelped and tried to reach for the controls, but he swatted her hands away. She closed her eyes and held on to his shoulders, awaiting impact.
However, he pulled up at the last second, carrying them to safety in a spray of saltwater.
"What the hell did you do that for?" she gasped with fright and slapped his back angrily.
"To be reminding you that you are in my plane. Do not try to trick the Prince of Pirates!"
"I'm not trying to trick you! I really don't want to sell the diamond! It's beautiful! I just want to keep it. Have it made into a necklace or something. But listen...I've got other jewels stowed with it. If you help me get that diamond back, I'll give them all to you."
His ears perked up with interest. "How many other jewels?"
"A bag full. Rubies, emeralds, star sapphires, you name it! I promise!"
Karnage considered this. "H'okay. It's a deal." He took one hand off the controls to shake hers.
"You won't regret this."
He flashed a dashing smile but narrowed his eyes in a subtle warning. "I better not."
On to Chapter 2
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This story and the character Scarlet are © Katie Sullivan and may not be used without permisson. Don Karnage, the Iron Vulture, the Air Pirates, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette, Tale Spin and all related indica, etc, are © The Walt Disney Company and are used without permisson for non-profit entertainment purposes only.