Thursday, June 11, 2009
Ducktales: Twenty Years Later - Episode 4
Fairly short-ish chapter today, and also WORDS WORDS WORDS. I think they're important words though (Although I dunno. I'm pretty much making this up as I go along) and it ends on a cliffhanger. I didn't mean to end it on a cliffhanger. I just got there, and I was all like "Wow. That's a great place for a cliffhanger."
Anyway. Look what else I did. Over there. See it? An MSPaint drawing of Dewey. For future chapters I'll probably post some MSpaints alongside, just to make the Jourbleglon a little more visually interesting (And also to get some use out of the "Drawfaggery" tag.)
The sun was high on the day that the first bit of Dewey's fate would come into his possession. His normally rather clipped and clean style seemed rushed and rumpled, as if he had been in a hurry to dress that morning. His tie, a deep navy, stood out as particularly crooked. He stood by a limo, near the seaports just outside of Duckburg where Many McDuck Enterprises imports and exports floated side-by-side with several recreational sailboats and yachts. By his side eternally, Webigail stood, wearing a demure sundress, and a big hat with a big pink flower pinned to it. She looked over towards her boss. Neither of them particularly noticed or reacted when Webigail reached over and straightened Dewey's tie.
"Where is it?" said Dewey, checking his shiny, cheap watch, "It's coming by plane isn't it? It should have been here an hour ago."
Finishing with Dewey's tie, Webby spoke, "Be patient, Dewey. They're coming in all the way from India. It's bound to take a while."
Tapping his orange, webbed foot, Dewey let his arms cross in front of his chest. He didn't dare show it, but butterflies had taken up residence in his stomach, and his heart, inspired by the insectoid display right below it, was fluttering around his chest. He wanted these samples.
Suddenly, his ears heard the sound of propellers. His eyes followed the sound until he saw, in the distance, a yellow seaplane, one of those Conwing combinations passenger and cargo planes made popular after World War One. His fluttering heart suddenly jumped up into his throat as the plane got closer.
"There it is!" He said a little too loudly, before running towards the docks where the sea plane would land.
Bouncing on the roiling water, the Sea duck's propellers began to slow, until the plane had come to a full stop parallel to a long dock. Dewey ran up to the pilot's door and stood, waiting for the pilot to exit the plane.
The pilot poked his head out, whistling a little tune to himself. SLAP!
"Do you have any idea just how late you are?" yelled Dewey, "An hour, three minutes, and fifty-two seconds. I could have your job for this!"
"Good to see you again too, Dewey," said Huey, rubbing his feathered cheek, where the red imprint of his brother's hand was slowly fading.
Dewey was momentarily stunned. His eyes flickered over the body of his brother, perfectly identical to him in nearly every manner and yet different in a few key ways. Since Dewey had last seen him, he had bulked up a bit, and did not share the slight cheek-ruff Dewey was beginning to grow around his beak.
And that was that. Dewey, taken over by his own emotions, threw his arms around his brother, giving a tight hug. The two brothers smiled ear to ear as they took each other in.
"Huey! What are you doing here? I thought... The draft..."
"Strictly business, boss. You should have seen my boss blow a gasket. Mr. Kagan insisted I be the only one that come and give you this."
Breaking from his brother, he climbed back into his plane. As he disappeared into the back, Webigail walked up. Huey's head reappeared through the door, spotting the girl duck.
"Is that Webby?"
He jumped down and gave her another big hug, lifting her up and spinning her. Her hand shot up to keep her sun hat on her head. "Webby! I haven't seen you in ages!" He put her down and mutual smiles were passed around. "I hope you've been taking care of this cheapskate-in-training."
Dewey, happy to see his estranged brother, was equally anxious to get at his brother's cargo. "Huey. Don't we have some business?"
"Oh yeah!" Huey reached into the Sea Duck, producing a thick, metallic suitcase he had left on the pilot's seat.
Not even waiting for his brother to give it over to him, Dewey snatched the case away from his brother. He knelt down on the wooden dock, going at the combination lock like a kid ripping up the biggest present on Christmas morning.
"Jeeze, boss, What's in it?" teased Huey.
All was answered when Dewey finally got the lock opened. All three ducks shielded their eyes at the sudden glare of the sun bouncing off of the brilliant stones inside. Five nuggets of various sizes sat there in the case, glowing yellow in the bright blue day.
"Gold?" asked Huey.
"My first Gold mine. One I found using my own resources, paying my own workers. My own gold mine, found fair and square without having to share with any brothers or uncles or anything." Dewey's beak was split in a delirious smile. "I've finally got a shot at making my own way."
Huey laughed out, "You're still on that kick? No wonder you look so sick." He turned to Webigail, "Don't you feed him?"
"I try. Sometimes he doesn't even take it."
Dewey closed the case with a slam and stood. "Dinner! Yes. Huey. I'll take you out to dinner. We'll celebrate."
"I don't know. I don't think I should stay in the states long." His eyes seemed to shift around slowly, as if searching for some unknown agent trying to take him into the service.
"Come on. It's just a couple of hours and then you'll be back on your way." Dewey then handed the case over to Webigail, before pulling a small memo out of his pocket. "Ms. Vanderquack. If you could take care of this for me."
"What? But... But what about dinner with Huey?" she protested.
"Business first. You can join us later. First I need you to follow these instructions to. The. Letter. Take the limo, we can walk. Please also give Mr. Kagan a message that I will be unavailable for a few hours."
Webigail looked from Dewey, to the disappointed-looking Huey, and back to her boss, before nodding her head, "Yes, sir."
Dewey nodded and immediately turned back to his brother, as if Webigail had simply disappeared once he had given the order. Huey gave an apologetic look as she turned to walk back to the limousine.
"Dewey. What was that?"
Not hearing the accusing tone in his brother's voice, Dewey simply took Huey's arm and began to walk on towards the Duckburg boardwalk and the selection of fine restaurants that can be found there. "It was business, Huey. Simple, straightforward, business. Just like Uncle Scrooge would have liked it."
Let your mind's eye be taken over by pitch blackness. Off in the distance, cracks of light suggest the outline of a door, with shadows passing under as people walk past, going about their days. In the dark room there is figure, too shrouded in black to make out, huddled in the corner with knees held to chest.
The figure sat, day to day, counting down his weeks by the disappearance of the crack of light, indicating that he is alone in his room, and in the building, a forgotten ghoul.
Suddenly, he heard the lock turn over in the door. He flinched, wrapping the rough brown blanket he had been given around himself tighter. As the shaft of light from the hall grew over the room, the figure in the corner shrank away from it, even the glare from the ground causing pain in his eyes, so unused to light.
Another figure, backlit and imposing, stood in the doorframe. "I thought you might like to know. I just got word. It's happening today."
The shrouded body did not move, even breathing too imperceptibly to see. In the darkness, eyes swiveled side-to-side, moving with the racing thoughts of their owner.
"That is all," said the man in the door, "Good night."
The man then threw a small box on the floor, containing a half-eaten loaf of bread and a jug of water. The door then closed slowly, just as the figure dove desperately into the light for the life-saving contents of the box.
"Mangoes and Bananas are all well and good," began Huey, with a billfull of tender steak, "I even enjoy a good pineapple every now and again, but nothing beats a good rare steak."
Dewey pushed back his words on his brother's terrible eating habits with a glass of water. The rich and famous residents of the city of Duckburg looked over at the impolite Duck in the leather flight jacket eating with one of the richest ducks in the world with disdain. Dewey had to struggle not to hide his face behind his napkin.
"Huey," he said, "We're in the most expensive steakhouse in the city. At least try to act like you belong here."
Wielding his fork like an admonishing finger, Huey retorted, a few food chunks falling onto the white tablecloth, "Oh no! If I learned one thing from Uncle Scrooge it's that if you let yourself get changed by money, you don't deserve money in the first place."
Dewey rolled his eyes. "Fine, but there IS such a thing as common courtesy."
Huey swallowed his steak. "You've changed. You're different. I didn't want to say anything, but you look tired. You've got bags under your eyes and you seem thin. Not to mention you were absolutely terrible to Webby."
"Webi... Ms. Vanderquack is my personal assistant and housekeeper. It's her job to follow my directions."
"I would have liked for her to join us for dinner."
"Yes, well, I needed some work done."
Huey's face still seemed amicable as he shoved another chunk of meat into his bill. "You're trying so hard."
"To do what, Huey? To be like Uncle Scrooge? And why not? He was a great man, and I think he'd approve of my taking over his business..." He crossed his arms over his side of the table, empty except for his glass of water. "...Unlike my two brothers that ran out at the first sign of..."
"Don't start the blame game, Dewey." He swallowed. "You know I had circumstances. I shouldn't even be IN this country. You can't blame me for not wanting to fight in a war I don't believe in."
"Uncle Donald didn't see it that way."
"Uncle Donald, rest his soul, was an utter tool."
"Don't you dare, Huey. Don't you dare talk about Donald like that. When mom died, that man raised us like his own kids for years."
"And then at the first sign of wartime in Korea he fobbed us off onto Uncle Scrooge. You can't think that kind of blind patriotism is at all a good thing, do you?"
"He was a career navy man. What would you expect him to do? He fought in World War 2, it was simpler back then." In their fight, the two of them had begun gesturing wildly. "And besides, living with Uncle Scrooge was one of the best things that ever happened to us. What was wrong with living with Uncle Scrooge?"
Huey grimaced. "Nothing was wrong with it, it's just we... I don't know how he could have abandoned us like that, especially after Mom..."
Dewey placed his cheek in his hand. "I know, Huey. I know. It wasn't nice of him, but... But we've got to respect him. It broke his heart to see you run off like you did. I think it might have led to his disapearance."
"You can't blame that one on me, Dewey."
"I wasn't... Oh..." With eyebrows scrunching together, Dewey gave a grunt, pushing away his water glass. "I can't eat any more."
"You haven't even ordered anything."
"I'm not hungry."
"You've got more money than god. It doesn't do for people with more money than god to starve."
And thus there was silence, punctuated only by the chewing noises of Huey's voracious appetite. With a quiet swallow, and the clink of a knife cutting to the plate below the meat, another chunk of steak found its way into Huey's bill.
Sensing that a line had been crossed, Huey changed the subject, "So, how is Louie? Last I heard I was living in Saint Canard."
A loud boom of a laugh answered Dewey's clipped answer, "Just fine, Dewey!? I'd say I'm doing better than that!"
Both duck's heads swiveled around to behold Louie, being shown by a waiter to a table near to Huey and Dewey's. He was wearing a loud suit, a totally mod checked jacket in green, topped by a suede, Olive-colored Fedora. The first few buttons of his shirt stood unbuttoned, revealing a gold chain within. Hanging by his arm were the beautiful hands of a young goose, dressed in a close-fitting evening dress in deep purple, diamonds dripping from her neck and long-gloved arms. Her red hair stood atop her head, pinned into an updo by another diamond clip. Huey and Dewey stared at the sight of their brother with such arm candy, and all thought of their fight flew out the window.
"Well? Isn't anyone going to say hi?" Before anyone could say anything however, he snapped his fingers, "Garçon! Push our table together with my brothers'. We've got catching up to do!"
As the waiter went on, there was no more hesitation. Huey jumped up, grabbing Louie in another of his massive bear hugs. "Louie! I didn't think I'd get to see you! How the hell are you?"
Urk! "Just fine, Huey!" He was let down, and adjusted his clothes and hat. "Lorelai," He said, extending a hand suavely towards his pretty date, "I'd like you to meet my twin brothers. The one in pilot drag is Huey Duck, and the one who looks fifty years old twenty years too early is Dewey. Fellas." He wrapped his arm around the girl's thin waist, "This is Lorelai Loon."
"Charming," said Dewey, who was slightly less excited about his brother's sudden appearance, "What are you doing here, Louie? I thought you were in Saint Canard throwing Scrooge's money into an incinerator somewhere."
"Ah, my brother, Dewey. Still living on bread and water I see. Hold the bread." He then laughed, and the loon girl laughed along.
All of them sat around the now double-sized table. Lorelai pulled out a long cigarette holder and lit one up. Huey began the conversation.
"So what've you been doing? Saint Canard treating you well? Haven't been shaken down by any super villains have you?"
"Ah, that superhero thing is a lot more boring than its cracked up to be. Something happens. A fella in tights jumps in, blusters on, and chases someone away. Half the time they don't even catch the bad guys."
Lorelai was all smiles, "That's just the new guys, Duckie, like that new Green Phantom character. Butterfingers, every last one, not like in the old timers. I hear that Darkwing Duck, for example, always gets his man."
There was a momentary flinch in Louie's expression, before he was back to his former self, "Isn't she just a kidder?"
"Seems you've changed too, Louie," said Huey, "I don't remember you ever being this..."
"Gregarious?" finished Dewey.
"I've learned life, guys. All the money in the world doesn't mean squat if you don't do anything with it." He placed a dot on the sentence with a sly look towards Dewey. "Anyway, speaking of money, how's business, Dewey?"
"Just fine, Louie."
Huey chimed in, "He's struck gold!"
"Gold? Really? Well aren't you just the best little forty-niner who ever sashayed across the Yukon." He smiled, "S'pose you didn't need my help after all."
"Sorry. Bygones and all that. You've done very well for yourself, even if you did drive me out."
Dewey nearly exploded, his bottled up feeling pouring out through his eyes and mouth, "I never...!" But just in time, he put the lid back on and was able to attain his calm demeanor, "You know as well as I do I never drove you out. You drove yourself out by being a wasteful, sloppy businessman."
"The claws come out, Lorelai. We make insults now," he said to his date, who was fascinated by the interplay between the three brothers, "Just because you refused to see McDuck Enterprises as anything other than a machine to create more money..."
"It is a Business, Louie. That is exactly what a business is. Spending money to create more money. If a business spends something it should expect a profitable return."
"Just because Uncle Scrooge wasn't the biggest fan of philanthropy doesn't mean we have to follow his example exactly," His eyes were deep set and one could see the serious expression behind the carefree façade, "He's already more than provided for us. Keeping so much of his money just for ourselves is just utter greed."
Huey cut in quickly, "Dewey! Louie! Both of you shut your traps right now."
They did, their imposing "older brother" had spoken.
"Quit it you two. I only have a few hours before I need to get back home and I don't want to spend them watching you two old hens peck at each other over something that happened two years ago. Your stupid little feud can wait until I get out of here, so We are going to sit down, shut up, and tell Ms. Loon here (And by the way, may I say that that is a lovely necklas you are wearing. Tiffany?) about all the good times without focusing so much on the bad." He sat, roughly, "Now how about that one time we were in the Junior Woodchucks. We had... that... We had..." He then froze, his eyes headlights of shock and fear.
"Wh-what?" said Louie, as he followed Huey's gaze.
There were two goons standing in front of the restaurant, speaking with the maitre d'. Both were large men, round-nosed dogs, in black suits and ties. While one spoke, the other scanned the room, his inscrutable eyes encased in a pair of opaque sunglasses.
"...Er... that reminds me. I promised Old Man Cloudkicker I'd be back at the Cape by... by tomorrow. I need to get going if I want to make it."
"What?" said Dewey, not seeing the fear in his brother's eyes, "but you just got here, I'm sure..."
"No," said Louie, smiling at his brother, "You go on. Have a nice flight."
Without another word, Huey began to bustle on towards the back room of the restaurant. The two men spotted him just as he exited and called out, "Stop!" before running through the dining floor, dodging tables and chairs and rich diners.
"Wha-?" said Dewey as he watched the G-men run, before it clicked into place, "He's in trouble, isn't he?"
"Yup," said Louie, "Should we help him?"
"I think so."
"Good," The three diners rose up out of their seats, "Tag along, 'Lorelai?'"
However, Lorelai was cut off by a series of loud bangs, like a hundred firecrackers taped together. Diners all around ducked down into their food and under their tables, recognizing the telltale sound of something being riddled with bullets. Louie and Lorelai's heads snapped towards the front, where the maitre d' was still somehow standing, his formerly rigid back now riddled with ugly uneven holes, dripping in blood. He collapsed to the floor, revealing to the room at large three men, beagles, dressed in Orange sweaters with numbered plaques attached to their fronts.
"This is a stick-up!" said the smallest of the three, "We want all of your jewelry and money in a nice little pile in the floor, and no funny business." He then waved a hand towards his two companions, "These are my brothers," first a tall, thin guy with greasy hair and an even greasier appearance, ogling all of the well-dressed rich ladies and licking his lips, "Boner Beagle," Then to a large, insipid-looking fat man who was nonetheless strong enough to carry a large machine gun one-handed, "Ballast Beagle," and then he finally pointed towards himself, the shortest and scrawniest of the three, "And I'm Braincase. We're the Beagle Boys, and this is our town now."
To be continued!