Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ducktales: Twenty Years Later - Episode 14

Okay. New chapter. I'm starting to suspect that I am hopelessly in love with those long meandering character monologues I do. I do it again here, and after I finished up I realized that I might already have basically said everything in that monologue already during the end of the chapter in Salvador, Bahia. I added some stuff in, and changed a few things(Including revealing my take on a long-running Disney MYSTERY). Hopefully it feels good man.

I think it's because of my background in Theater and, yes, comics, so I fucking LOVE people talking to each other and at each other. That's what you get when you make the conscious decision not to edit anything you write and then proceed to write the whole thing in one sitting.

Anyway, Enjoy.

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Episode 14:

Another day, another town. With cooked book in hand the Sea Duck gang flew South, over the border. Their search for one humdinger of an accountant to fix up that binder would have to wait until the coast was clear, and in the meantime, José had the perfect place to hide out.

Huey had nearly passed it right by when he first flew over it, a dinky spot of a village in the middle of the desert, surrounded by a cattle range where a herd of Long horned bulls grazed under the dutiful eyes of the horse backed ranch hands.

José pointed out a primitive landing strip outside of town, essentially just a wide, flat dirt patch far from the town where no unfortunate plane accidents could occur. The plane bounced to a stop, the rough dirt jiggling the passengers around in their seats until they slowed down, and eventually stopped altogether. Louie, now wisely out of costume for the warm, dry southern weather, looked out the windows at the three unpaved streets knitted together in a pair of twin intersection by a slew of brown and grey buildings that were too small to be considered houses and too large to be considered huts.

"This just keeps getting better and better," he said, his nightly habit crying out for a building to climb that was higher than five stories.

"There are no worries Louie," said José, as stood and walked back into the cargo hold, followed by the rest of the group. He pressed the button to open up the cargo hold of the Sea Duck, and continued, "Perhaps it will do us good to live for a while in a place where nothing much happens."

As if on cue, there was a large chorus of clicks and cocks of six-irons and boomsticks of all shapes and sizes arming themselves for action. José, his face showing the slightest modicum of worry, twisted his head from its position looking towards Louie and the rest, who for their part were quite wide-eyed and shocked, to where the sea of metallic sound had come from.

A gang of dirty, angry-looking men, a motly crew of dogs and various common birds, some on horseback, and all in tough leathers, ponchos, and wide sombreros, stood, pointing their various guns up into the cargo hold. Dewey raised his hands in the air and motioned for the rest of them to do the same.

The ringleader yelled at them in barking Spanish, and José translated, "Please, they want us to come with them."

And so it was that the crew of the Sea Duck was lead off of the plane, and marched out towards the tiny excuse for a village.

***

There was an impact on the center of Dewey's back, which forced the duck painfully to his knees. The group had been lead, with jeers and laughs better left untranslated by those among them who knew the language. The door slammed shut as they were forced into the small barred cell, and the three duck brothers each found themselves at the bars, looking out over the room. It was, probably at one point, a simple police station or Sherriff's office, but had been taken over by the flamboyantly dressed cowboys.

Huey looked to the single man who had stayed behind, who had a sombrero over his face, obviously sleeping. He began to speak to the man in Spanish, a language he had a much better command over than Protuguese. He asked why they were being held, that they were simple tourists lost on the way to Mexico City. The sleeper said nothing as he was too busy sleeping.

With no answer to their circumstances in sight, the three boys put their heads together and entered a hushed huddle.

"Do you think it's the VPR? You think they followed us up from Brazil?" asked Dewey.

"Can't be," answered Louie, "These are grade-A rough riding Muchacho Banditos or whatever. They're so Mexican they shit Piñatas."

"Real politically correct, Louie," commented Huey, "They might be taking us ransom. Maybe they think we're just tourists?"

"Tourists, Señor?" The sudden voice, a booming, smiling voice coming from a figure suddenly by the open door, began to speak, "On a beautiful vintage bird filled to the brim with no luggage, no supplies, no camping equipment? I think that is unlikely."

The entire group looked towards the entrance, where there was a silhouette backlit by the bright sun outside. He obviously wore a sombrero, but beyond that, he was too overpowered by the sun to make out any details. Judging by the shape of his feet, he must have been some kind of bird. As he walked, they could hear spurs clinking against the ground. Dewey noted the twin guns at his side as he approached, well within reach, and just one quick draw away from giving them a few leaks.

"Well, well, well. A pretty strange group If I say so," said the voice, thickly accented, "I tell a joke, A businessman, a pilot, and a playboy fly into a cattle range. They scare away a prize Texas longhorn and cause three of the rancher's best men to rush out to wrangle it back up." The shadowy man reached for his twin pistols slowly, and the three Ducks could see the silvery sheen, "What do you think the rancher said to the three men, Pilot, businessman, and playboy?" He cocked back the hammer of one of the guns and pointed it lazily towards the barred cell. "Guess. Is more fun to guess."

"That is enough, Panchito," said a voice from the back of the cell.

"Tio Ca-?" asked Maria, before the green feathered hand rose up to silence her.

"Panchito. Put the gun down."

"Ah-ha! So you have heard of the great Panchito Romero Miguel Junipero Francisco Quintero Gonzalez, eh, stranger?" He took off his large hat and threw it away off to the side and it landed perfectly to stack on top of the hat of the sleeping guard. Now with head uncovered, the boys could see the outline of a rooster's comb atop his head. "Or perhaps you know me better by the name known to my enemies." Both guns were out now and spinning on his two forefingers. "Panchito Pistolas."

"I know you, Panchito," said José, standing slowly and surely, using his umbrella to hobble on, "I only hope that you remember me now that I am an ol' man."

The two men approached the bars, closer, letting themselves be revealed by the light, José with his gracefully aging face and quaint manner, and the rooster, Panchito, with deep, sun-worn wrinkles and crags around his face, his eyes in a perpetual squint from working too long in the sunlight. He wore ranch gear, with chaps over jeans on his legs ending in spurs, and a worn, tanned leather jacket.

"It has been a long time, My frien'" said José.

"YEEEAAAAAAAAHHHOOOOOOOO!!" Cried Panchito suddenly, causing everyone in the room, with the sole exceptions of José and the sleeping guard, to jump in fright. Three shots were fired into the air and Dewey couldn't help but notice the three little shafts of light lancing through the dingy air of the building from three little holes in the ceiling. Suddenly, the jingle of keys, and the merry peals of laughter, and the entire group was free.

"José?" He cried out as soon as the cell door was open. In a moment the two old men were embracing, letting the squeeze of their arms say all that language could not, "Son of a gun! I cannot believe it! What brings you to Chihuahua?"

"I come a penitent ol' man, Panchito," said José, "I regret that I come because we are desperate for a place to hide, Myself and my family, and my frien's."

"Do not speak like that, José! You are always welcome in any house of mine." He then turned and began to bounce around the room, shaking the hands of everyone who had them, extracting their names. "You three mus' be José's leetle Neesies. He writes of you much."

The three girls smiled and each gave a little curtsey.

"And you four I do not recognize. Please, Señorita?" He said, puffing out his chest, still full and strong from his honest work in the range, for Webby's benefit.

She managed a smile, "Er, yes. I'm Webigail Vanderquack. Webby, please." She extended a hand towards the three Duck boys, "And these are my friends."

"Huey," He said, extending a hand with a beaming smile, forgetting already their short stay behind bars.

"Dewey," He said as he looked directly into Panchito's face, a grim resolve setting his features in response to the fear he had been dealt earlier.

"Er, Louie," He said, looking from Panchito to José, his mind connecting the two up to a single distant memory of their time with Uncle Donald.

After shaking, or, more accurately, ripping the arms off, all three boys, he repeated, "Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Where have I heard this Hueydeweyanlouie?"

"Look closer," said José with a wink, "Especially at the one in red. Does he remind you of someone?"

Panchito placed a hand on the underside of his beak and gave Huey a good, long look. As his eyes travelled up and down the pilot, they widened, and his wrinkled face rearranged itself in a warm, amazed smile.

"You! You three are Donald's boys!" Suddenly, all three were entrapped and encircled in a back-breaking hug, with the loud laughing voice pressing into their ears, "Donald's leetle Nephews! Hooey Dooley, and Loobie! How wonderful! José, Why did you not write me to tell of this?"

"I had not the time, my frien'. We are in big trouble."

"Well! You can tell me about it on the way! We must go to my Ranch house! We will throw a fiesta in honor of my friend coming back to me, and my other friend sending his love through his nephews! You will see everything I do here, how your Oncle made it possible for me to begin my cattle ranch, as was my dream. Come! Come! There is much daylight to burn!"

***

Of the many men who only an hour before had had malicious intent on their minds, all of them were now drinking and laughing to the health and longevity of José, to the three Brazilian nieces, to the lovely Webby, and, most of all, to the three Duck brothers. Everyone, it seems, had been told of their adventures so far, and each brother, in his own way, was soaking up the sudden attention.

Huey, yet another mug of frosty beer in his hands and the three Carioca girls surrounding him, was telling a small parade of children, several of them Red-colored hens and roosters, for the third time of the attack of Cape Suzette by the Thembrians and Magica DeSpell, of course, with embellishment.

"So, it was just me and Dewey there against an entire ship full of burly Thembrians. Some kind of a hex had been put on the island, and I was the only one who could stop it," He said animatedly in Spanish to the awestruck audience, "Dewey was cowering in the corner when I slap him and say to him, 'put yourself together!' I says, 'your dime is the only thing keeping us from becoming just like them...!"

As the Raconteur soldiered on, Louie sat nearby, sitting among the adults, who had been full of apologies moments before, but were now full of games and mischief. Darts was the name of the game, and Louie tried not to beat them too badly.

"Triple 18! I guess I win."

The laughs were a little less frequent on this side of the room as the men betting against the plainly-dressed American gringo shelled out their meager pocket change to the Zillionaire. Louie, for his part, laughed heartily and walked straight up to the bar with his winnings, paying for a round of drinks for all of his new friends around the dartboard. With a cheer, the board was set up again and the new bets were made. After all, it must have been beginner's luck that allowed the friendly American to beat their best player so badly.

Elsewhere, at a smaller table by the wall, Dewey sat away from the raucous party he did not feel comfortable in, between José and Panchito as they spoke of the past and of the present. Webby sat next to him, her arms yearning to encircle her boss's.

"This town seems to love you very much," said José, looking out over the festive tavern with an appreciative eye, "You seem to have done well."

"Si! You can thank your Oncle Donald for that, Dewey," He quaffed his beer, before wiping his beak on his sleeve and continuing, "The open range has always been my dream, even if the business is being taken over by all those new devices and machines, I know I can get by with just horses, fences, and open farm country, and of course my wonderful town!"

In answer, every man, woman and child in the bar answered with a bright yell of happiness, which Panchito in turn answered with a bright, beaming smile.

Dewey held back his opinions on this very un-economical way of thinking about things, figuring he should not insult the man who had threatened to shoot him only moments before.

"Mr... er... Panchito..."

"Please Señorita! Simply Panchito is nice."

"Yes. Panchito. You weren't really going to shoot us, were you?" asked Webby, with a pleasant smile.

"You? Of course not miss. These... what do you say? Peas-shooters are only for to show my emotions! I never use them on friends... I..."

"Panchito," said a grim-sounding voice, before he launched into some Spanish. José seemed to lose his ever present smirk, and Panchito all but grimaced at the news.

The voice had come from a short crow, holding a shotgun up to the back of a masked man, a dog, wearing a brightly-colored poncho with a string of numbers on the front. Dewey felt a thrill as he recognized the surefire signs.

"A Beagle Boy!" He called, "Here?"

"They live all over, Dewey, and breed like rabbits." Panchito nodded towards José. "Please. I must deal with this." He then stood and grabbed the Beagle roughly by the shoulder, "Well, Bandito Beagle, I'm sorry to say, but you've rustled my herd for long enough. Sooner or later we shall have your whole gang."

The Beagle's eyes went wide as he was lead out the door of the bar by the rooster. The room, Webby noticed, had gotten a little quieter, as everyone seemed to listen out for their patriarch. As soon as the two had disappeared into the dark outside, the room seemed to pick up again.

BANG!

Dewey and Webby looked at each other, then back to the door. Panchito walked back inside, blowing smoke from his revolver. He holstered it before jerking a thumb out the door, signaling for the crow to clean up the mess outside.

"Anyway! Where were we?" He thought for a moment, not letting Dewey and Webby's stunned reactions get him down, "Ah yes! I would never turn my gun on you fellows. You are like my family."

Dewey couldn't help but think about the fact that Panchito did not know they were family until José spoke up. He just couldn't stop thinking about it, nor could he stop thinking about himself in place of the Beagle Boy outside. He couldn't stop thinking about both facts. He couldn't stop.

Webby placed a hand on his arm, "Panchito, José, We've had a long day, and I think we need to get to bed."

"Oh! Are you sure Señorita? The night is still young!"

"Oh, you can't imagine the jet lag we all have after all that travelling. Come along, Dewey. We'll get you turned in first."

"Er... Yes. Goodnight José. Goodnight Panchito. And thank you once again."

"Don' mention it at all! I'm sure your Oncle would have done the same for my little ones," He said, with a light look towards his little grandchildren gathered around the storytelling Huey.

"An' mine, I'm sure," parroted José, giving a sly look towards his three little girls still fawning over the same storyteller, and smirking at Huey's predicament.

After Dewey and Webby said their goodnights and began up the stairs towards their room, Dewey heard José and Panchito begin to speak. It sounded like Spanish one minute, but like Portuguese the next, and all throughout English words would rear up their heads. The effect was almost entirely unintelligible to the outside listener. Dewey spent a moment as he walked up the stairs trying to discern what the speech was, before realizing what it must be.

They're speaking Caballero, he thought, before giving a single look back towards their table. Both had stopped speaking and were staring quite openly at Louie, who was too busy with games to notice their attentions.

***

It had taken much drinking and many more, different game before his new Mexican best friends had let him finally crawl up to bed, trying his best to act as drunk as they obviously were. He idly wished he could have actually drunk the beer he had pretended to quaff, like his brother Huey did as he continued spinning fish stories for the village kids, but he wanted to explore the town, such as it is, and it would be dangerous to roof-hop even these puny dwarfs with alcohol in his system. Better to abstain until another night, when he was sure there was nothing in the town that could go wrong like there usually happened to be when they visited, well, anywhere.

He adjusted his mask. His costume supplies were running low, including his sad little bottle of spirit gum. He knew he was going to have to either find some other way to cover his face, or start using the kind of mask with the little string.

But no matter, those are trifles for another day, for another person. In the warm embrace of the southern night, the Green Phantom listened to the dead heat of the night, to the vestiges of the party still raging within the tavern, and too the distant sounds of cows, being utterly fascinating.

It is a single, unchallenging jump from one roof to the next, But with the roofs too low to swing over the dirt-lined streets without his legs touching the ground. Instead, he made do with jumping down into the gaps between the buildings before looking out the alley for a clear coast. He then rushed out, exposing himself to the bright moonlight for only a second before disappearing back into the alley across and back up to the roof.

The Green Phantom's patrol went on like this for several minutes, until he had surveyed the entire town. As he began his second lap around, he began to feel a little pang of disappointment.

To relieve it, he stopped rushing about so fast, a pace meant for large towns, or considered a leisurely stroll in large cities. He tried to notice his surroundings, looking out for the signs of people; a dusty footprint; laundry left out to dry; Children's toys lying around in front of porches. He noticed something as he oversaw the town from atop the tavern like a dark gargoyle, or, more accurately, he noticed the lack of something.

From watching Panchito, and how he operated his town, he would have thought that there would be a nightly guard at the edges of the streets where the village ended and the ranch began. At the moment there was nobody.

Perhaps they're all still at the party, he thought idly, but then he remembered the crow who had produced the Mexican Beagle Boy, how he hadn't seen him at the celebration, or any other blackbirds for that matter, even though there were a fair few who had captured them in the first place. Perhaps I simply can't see them, he then thought, It's quite dark.

But no. The best defense for a town like this is to have someone sitting high and visible, to let bandits and rustlers know that this area is being protected. That doesn't fit with having stealth guards. Once he had realized this fact, he began to tread a little more carefully.

He found the tallest place in the village, a bell tower, and jumped inside, being careful not to disturb the bell. He looked out over the entire town from there, and began to sigh. This is what he had to look forward to for the foreseeable future; the exact center of nowhere, Mexico, Population in the double digits, where everybody knows your name and there's some pretty nice beer but nowhere to get a decent hot doughnut at four in the morning, or anything else for that matter. He began to pine a bit. This adventure had led him down a downward urban spiral, until he had finally found stability, joy of joys, surrounded by walking leather jackets and steaks. Against his better judgment, he began to wish that something would happen here, to spin the wheel and sent them living somewhere else again, preferably somewhere with indoor plumbing.

Just as he had thought this, he heard a loud, disorienting noise from behind him. His ears rang, resonating with the churchbell that had detonated behind him, and he turned around quickly, holding his hands to his ears. His eyes went wide as he saw the giant brass monster enter a downswing coming right towards him. Just before the extended lip of the bell could smash into him, he fell backwards off of the tower, chancing a couple cracked ribs over an entire crushed ribcage, reaching for his grappling hook. He was too slow, however, to outrun the church roof a mere single story down from his perch, and he struck the thin boards and shingles hard, breaking a hole clean through.

He struck a rotted old rafter as he descended, breaking it clean apart with a loud crack, before landing, finally, in the pews, cracking one of the long church benches right in half.

He gave a lurching groan as he tried to stand, something on the side paining him. A cracked rib, like he predicted. He was still alert, even hunched over a bench in pain, and noticed a sound, a horribly familiar sound, behind him. He turned quickly, trying to stand up through the stabbing pain in his chest bones, and managed to give a convincing imitation of a stand-at-attention.

The black cape and costume tipped him off first, the single-eyed mask last. Somewhere in between came the lined face and usual duck features.

"Yo-" It hurt to speak. He had a small thrill of terror at what this might mean, before he went on, forcing himself through the pain, "You again."

The man said nothing, instead letting his wide cape billow behind him as he leapt towards the Green Phantom, tackling him to the ground. He applied pressure to the offending rib, causing GP to scream out in pain, before swiping out with his hands.

There they were, two costumed vigilantes, rolling around the dirt floor of a village church, wrestling, trying to wrest control of the situation from the other. Grunts and yells were voiced, lost in the night air. Every so often someone's hand would strike out, trying to find purchase in a face or gut, or a foot would swing around, trying to connect with something soft and vulnerable. The Green Phantom had fire in his eyes as he used his strong arms to push and pull his opponent off of him, away from him, towards him, trying to get him into a useful position where the advantage would go to the Phantom. However, The Green Phantom could feel the years his opponent had on him, the subtle maneuvers that gave him the advantage, the not so subtle abuse of GP's wounds for his own sake. It was all he could do keep his head above water, with nothing to say of winning.

Finally, GP found an opening, using both legs to push the black clad hero off of himself, and scrambling to his feet, not even noticing the pain in his ribs anymore.

"Who are you!" he yelled, "Why are you following us! I demand to know who you are!"

The one eyed vigilante slowly stood to his feet, before saying, "I am known by many names, in many places."

"Just one will do, buddy."

The figure paused, his single eye unmoving as he sized up the Phantom. He straightened out, spreading his shoulders apart and puffing his chest out.

"You may call me... PK."

"PK. What's that stand for?"

But the one known as PK avoided the question, "I've been watching you all for some time."

"That goes without saying."

"You in particular, Louie. You have assigned yourself as a protector, one who defends the rights and freedoms of others, and yet you are unfocussed. Your skills, though many, are ill-used or downright ignored."

"Cry me a (ow) god damn river. I'm doing the best that I can."

"Which is exactly why you are not worthy of your position," PK said, "All three of you have had to learn your own way, Huey using the easy way he fits in most places, Dewey using his knowledge of money. Both of them respected the gift Scrooge left you all."

"Is this...? Are you talking about the inheritance?"

PK continued, "Instead of relying on yourself, on the training you had received by virtue of your past, you chose to buy things, to try to use Scrooge's money as a crutch."

Louie's eyes broke, and began to look away, "I... So? It's my money now. I used it for useful... for supplies. You don't really expect me to be like... like Dewey do you? I couldn't live like that."

"I expect you to use what you have. You already had everything you needed to be a hero by the time you had grown, and yet..."

"Fine! Fine! The toys were a bad idea. I'll never do it again, boo hoo. (urg, boo-hoos hurt) But who are you? Really?"

"You don't remember...?"

At this, Louie strained his memory, trying to find who this strange rogue would represent. After a moment, he blinked.

"There... In Duckburg there was a masked man like you once..."

"Yes?"

"Just for awhile, after Uncle Donald had come back from the war and Gizmoduck had moved to Saint Canard. He... That was you, wasn't it? God, I can't even remember your hero name."

PK said nothing.

"So you're trying to tell me you're some... some ghost from our past who chose now, in our darkest hour, to come in and beat us up? Some hero."

"I've come to test you, to make you all better. You are the one that needs the most improvement."

Breathing hard, the Green Phantom lowered down, to a more useful position, like a coiled spring. PK did similarly, reading the intent for a fight on the younger Duck's face and body language.

"I'll show you a test (ow dammit) you'll never forget."

After a moment of silence, the two masked figures exploded, leaping towards each other like two wildcats, screaming with ragged duck voices on their approaches.

***

José was up early, sitting next to a window by the tavern, a cup of tea warming his throat as he glanced nervously out the window. The drawn curtain over the window let none of the dawn light in, except for the moments where he moved the rough cloth out of the way to let in a bit of light, and let himself see out into the grey morning.

"You're up early," said a voice, Dewey, "why...?"

José looked up at Dewey's face, kindly, with a weary smile, "I suppose I'm so used to rising early to make breakfast for guests. Even with last night's festivities, I cannot break a habit." He lowered his eyelids and gave Dewey a strange, smirking glance, "What is your excuse? I hope you slept well."

Dewey's eyes looked away, even as his face rose up to meet José's, "I... slept fine."

"That is good."

"Yes."

"Sleep gives you strength for the next day."

"Y-yes."

"So it is a very good thing you had a good night's sleep..."

"Right."

"And haven't simply stayed up all night fretting or some such."

"I..."

But José had finished the conversation, and had moved on, speaking as he looked out the window, "I'm worried about our Phantom friend."

Dewey breathed out, letting the hot stone of guilt settle back down in his stomach for later, "Green Phantom? Did he go out?"

"Louie left the party early. He was clearly drunk while going up the stairs and yet was sober as a grave in the hall. This of course has nothing to do with the Green Phantom..."

"...right. And he hasn't come back?"

"I worry about him. I worry about all three of you. Before you came to me in Rio I only remembered you as sweet leetle boy scouts, and now I know you as... I hate to say it... You have grown into men and I never even got to meet you in between. I worry."

Dewey nodded and sat, taking a teacup from the tray and measuring himself out a cup, "You don't have to worry, José. We can take care of ourselves."

José didn't seem to listen, and went on, "I worry about you, Huey, an' how much he seems to hate poor Donal' for leaving you all. I can't begin to understan' it, but I cannot judge. I worry about Louie, and whatever is driving him out into the street when he should be in bed sleeping."

"We..." Dewey began to speak, "Our parents..."

José seemed interested, but deferred to his better judgement, "You do not have to tell me if you do not wish to. I cannot pry where I do not belong."

"No! I... It's just that our... father died when we were very young."

"I am sorry."

"It was... It wasn't really any of our faults. It was just a silly prank that went out of hand. We'd gotten our hands on some fireworks, and wanted to give our father a scare, and... Well..."

"I see. And your mother?"

Dewey sighed and took a sip, feeling the weight of the information lifting off of him, "We've never really... We never talk about this, even with each other, but I just know how much it affects Huey... affects all of us in a way. Our Mother had a nervous breakdown after Father died, and she sent us to live with our Uncle Donald before she jumped off of the roof of the tallest building she could find in Duckburg." He closed his eyes and gulped. "Nobody even let us know she was dead until we were teenagers. We all thought she was in a home somewhere. When they finally let us know she was dead, we went searching for her obituary, but couldn't find it. It was finally Louie who went searching the records at the library, and found out we and been lied to for ten years.

"Of course, even before that, Huey... Huey suffered without a mother, you know? Louie and I, I think we turned out just fine. Donald and Uncle Scrooge were the best parents we could have ever had, but Huey felt like he had been betrayed or something. When Uncle Donald re-upped with the Navy during Korea, well, none of us were ever the same. Huey was the first to move out, and you know how he gets when anyone ever talks about Uncle Donald. Louie, on the other hand, clung to Donald like a leech or something. I... Well... I thought I would try to follow in Uncle Scrooge's footsteps."

Leaning back, José added, "Just three leetle boys who want to be loved, eh?"

"I... suppose."

"You are much more observant than I give you credit for, Dewey." José took a final sip of his tea before putting the cup down. "Or at least you used to be."

Sensing the conversation taking a nasty turn, Dewey looked down into his tea, trying to lose himself in it.

"Of the three of you, I worry about you most of all. You know? I watch you. You do not eat, you do not sleep. You barely notice the people around you except when they are talking to you or talking about money." He held up his hand. "The other two, they love Oncle Donald. They learned from Oncle Donald. They were raised by Oncle Donald." He held up his other. "You however..."

"I know, Oncle... I mean, Uncle Scrooge. I admire him. Is that wrong?"

"Of course not, and if you are happy, he will be happy, but you have to do what you want, not what you think he wants from you." Before Dewey could protest, José went on. "Do you want to be a businessman?"

"Yes, of course!"

"A good strong answer. I believe you. So why are you miserable?"

"I... I'm not..."

"You are and there is no use denying it. You were happy when you were running my Pousada, even if it was a funny sort of happy, and you were held back by the need to stay small, but when you are at the head of McDuck, or even THINK about being at the head of McDuck, you break out in ulcers and you do not eat. It is because you wish to make your own business, yes?"

"No! I've still got to run McDuck Enterprises."

"You will never be Scrooge McDuck, Dewey."

"But I can try, dammit. The company can still grow and change, and become mine..."

"You still carrying around your Oncle's dime?"

"Er... yes..."

"Louie told me about it, about how Scrooge's will say's that the Dime be used."

"Yes, I know."

"That he wanted you to let go of it. Let go of him. Be free to make your own choices and fortunes."

"I know."

"And yet..."

"I..." Dewey stood, his brow creasing. "I can't believe I'm talking about this. Thanks for the tea."

"I can make you some breakfast if you would like."

"No, thank you!" said Dewey curtly, before something large wrapped in a blue tarp with twine came crashing through the window, sending broken glass and the rough curtain billowing to the floor.

Both men cried out for a moment, José standing up, dropping the teacup to the dirt floor with a crash. For a moment, the two men and the tarp-wrapped thing were motionless, waiting for something to happen. Suddenly, the tarp twitched.

Dewey's eyes were wide.

"José! Go get Huey and the others," He said, dropping to his knees and whipping off his jacket to brush off the shards of glass on the tarp, "And Panchito as well. I think he should see this."

"Si! S- Si!" And he was gone, up the stairs to alert Huey and Webby of the event. He resolved, however, to let his daughters sleep.

Dewey's hands found the knot on the twine, and hacked at it with a butterknife from the tea tray. If finally gave out just as Huey came down, bleary-eyed and still in dreamland, followed by Webby, same.

"Wha' happened?" asked Huey.

But Dewey didn't answer, he merely pulled apart the tarp, revealing what was inside.

There, laying near motionless except for the natural movement of breath, was Louie Duck, his mask ripped from his face and torn in half. His body was blue and purple from welts and bruises, and in a few places blood drained from open wounds.

"Louie!" cried Webby.

"What happened?"

Dewey reached over to a piece of ripped up paper stuck to the 'GP' on his brother's costume with a pin, and pulled it closer to read it.


An accountant is being held in the Khan Building.
-PK, A friend.


"PK?" asked Huey, looking over Dewey's shoulder at the brief note. "We can't trust this, can we? Look what... He massacred Louie!"

"You're right. We can't... AH!" He called out in surprise as Louie's bloodied knuckles rose up and grasped Dewey's wrist in a crushing grip.

"T... t...."

Webby was on her knees at Louie's side, already using a towel soaked in strong spirits retrieved from behind the bar to clean the blood and disinfect the wound, "Please, Louie. Don't talk. You're going to be all right."

"Y... you... have... to..." He had a sharp intake of breath, his eyes blinking away the pain, "Trust... him..."

He then passed out completely, leaving the three ducks to ponder the message.

1 comment:

  1. Mickey Mouse, P.I.July 2, 2009 at 11:19 PM

    Since the thread I was about to comment in got moderator'd thanks to that slash shit that pops up every time you update, I'll comment here. This was probably one of my favorite chapters, since Panchito is probably my favorite Caballero. And to top it off, we finally learn that the mysterious vigilante thats been helping/whooping their asses, is none other than PK. And we all know who THAT might be. You're good people, Anon.

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