Monday, July 13, 2009
Ducktales: Twenty Years Later - Episode 19
I have this horrible feeling that the picture for this chapter and the picture for the last chapter should be switched around, considering this one features Jose and the last one featured Jose, Panchito, and PK all together. But oh well. You can play a game of pretend, and suddenly JoseCariocaHirschfeld.png can go here while 3Caballeros.png went in the last chapter.
Also, is it weird that I basically copied down PK and Jose's usual costumes (Minus PK's hat, of course, that makes guessing his identity way too easy and makes the characters look like idiots, and not in a funny way), but I decided to take liberties with Panchito's? His usual costume looks a bit too fancy for honest ranchwork, so I gave him some leathers instead.
Anyway, this chapter and the next chapter were going to be a single chapter, until I actually got to the end of this one and I felt it appropriate to end it there. Enjoy!
In the fields, among grazing cows and surly ranch hands on horseback, the Sea Duck stood inert, tamping down the grass where its landing gear met the turf. Spread out beside the great yellow bird was a rough brown blanket, with sets of old but well-loved tools laid out. The front engine block of the Sea Duck in the nose was open, and Huey, having stripped off his leather jacket and undershirt and tied them off around his waist, was covered in sweat from the hot day and oil from the plane he was taking care of. Nearby, down to his shirt-front and holding his jacket in his arms while fanning himself with his hat, stood Louie in civilian garb. The extent of his injuries seemed to be healed, with nothing but a lingering ache in the ribs, and even then only when jumping from building to building.
The shirtless Huey stood up straight. While his upper body had seemed larger to Louie when they had first met after all these years, he understandably had had few chances to pay any real attention to things like that since the days of the Baiano pousada. Louie was a little irked, frankly, that Huey had been able to bulk up so much by flying planes and getting into fistfights, while he, who did exercises every morning after work, and was supremely active during the night besides, had still retained the lithe form natural to Ducks and their ilk.
Huey went on with their conversation, "He's still alive, Louie. That's just stupid."
"Paul McCartney is dead, Huey, you can't argue with the evidence," said Louie, annoyed at his brother's ignorance, "Cover of Abbey Road, the backwards messages in 'Strawberry Fields' and 'Revolution 9.'" He whispered low, with the timber of a conspirator, "'I buried Paul.' 'Turn me on, dead man.' How do you argue that?"
"He's still putting out Records, Louie. Why would this... what's the imposter's name supposed to be again?"
Louie tapped his head, as if imparting some crucial clue, "William Shears Campbell, Huey. Billy Shears."
Huey rolled his eyes, "Right, so if that band broke up last year, why would... Billy, want to continue the charade?"
Louie shrugged, "To use Paul's good name to launch a solo career I guess. He's going to do it too." Louie nodded, satisfied that his point had been made, "Paul was killed in a car crash during Sergeant Pepper, I can't see how anyone can see it differently."
"See, this is why I liked the Stones better," said Huey, "Beatles fans are so pretentious."
Louie growled, his brow creasing in frustration. "Philistine."
"I know what I like, and I don't like having to see stupid little messages in everything I listen to. What's the point? Can't you just enjoy the music?"
"Of course I enjoy...!" Louie stopped, sighing, "I don't even know why I try. It's always like this when we talk about the Beatles."
"When you talk about the Beatles," said Huey, diving into the engine block wielding a wrench, "you always bring it up. They broke up, they're gone, live with it."
"They might make a comeback!" Louie said, "anyway, Lennon is keeping the flame alive, even if he is with that woman. I wish I wasn't stuck in the middle of nowhere. I hear he put out a new album. There probably isn't a record store for a few thousand miles in any direction."
"I always found Lennon too... I dunno... spiteful," said Huey, "Like he would look at his fans and thing, 'They're so stupid.'"
"Not spiteful!" Louie sneered, "Above it all. Anyway, what do you know? You don't even listen to them."
"Of course I listened to them. You wore out three copies of Sergeant Pepper making everyone in the house listen to them. Everyone was sick of it by the time the third one died."
"You have to agree that after that, all bets were off. It was the first truly new thing to happen in music in years!"
"Yes, maybe the first three thousand times. After that it starts to get old."
"Pah!" called Louie, falling silent as Huey turned back towards the engine. Finally, his eyes lit up. A rebuttal so perfect, so cutting, that it comes only once in a lifetime!
"Huey!" Cried the Carioca girls as they ran up. "Huey!"
"...Oh, shit," said Louie, letting the epic burn fade away.
"Oh. Hi girls," said Huey, his smile and grace attaining a bit of masculine posturing, although with the slightest bit of confusion as to which of the girls he should direct his charm towards, "What's up?"
With rehearsed perfection, all three girls, with bright smiles, pointed towards the sky.
"Ha-ha," Louie said, thinking it so cute he might just kill himself, "There's no talking to you about some things, Huey. I'm out of here."
"You'll be back," Huey smirked, "I'm all you got. Farmhands wouldn't know 'Hey Jude' from a hole in the wall, and Dewey hasn't listened to music since 1959."
Louie had already started off, however, "Whatever." And he was gone.
Huey laughed, and turned back towards the girls, who each echoed his jolly smile as they swarmed over him, twining their arms in his.
"So. Uh. What did you girls want, exactly?"
Amalia smiled and looked to Maria. Maria took the smile, amplified it with a giggle, and passed her gaze along to Rosalina. Rosalina gave them both a smirking look, before turning back towards Huey.
"Ah. Well," said Huey, their strange wordless communication reminding him of how he and his brothers used to be, and marveling that three girls who had grown up apart from one another could learn the trick, "I'm, er, almost done tuning up the Sea Duck. Would any of you like to join me for some supper?"
A hand, he wasn't quite sure whose, rubbed its hand through his bare chest.
"We would like that," said Rosalina.
Huey smiled, wondering which one it was who touched him, wondering if the girls were aware of the fact that since Bahia they had gone to bed with Huey at least twice, each, and wondered how angry they would be at him and each other if they ever found out. He then thought of their Uncle-slash-father. He then thought of his own corpse, with Panchito standing over it, whooping and hollering.
The thought caused him to laugh quickly and break away from the three amorous girls and bend over the engine block to hide his sudden fear, "I'll, er, meet you kids at the tavern. Okay?"
"Okay, Huey," they all said, before each blowing a kiss, causing Huey to panic once again. Which one should I do something cute with?
Thankfully, they were gone before the imaginary kisses flying through the air could land on their marks, and Huey breathed a sigh of relief. As utterly exciting as this situation was, it couldn't be good for his blood pressure.
He finished up the tune up on the engine, just a few tightened, ancient components, and he was free to join the girls at the Tavern, where there was sure to be some lovely stew or other waiting for them.
He turned as a cloud passed overhead, blotting out the sun. He looked up on a whim, and found that clouds have gotten a lot darker and closer to the earth since he was a kid.
A young woman with a bright red pattern of feathers placed two mugs of cool, frothing beer on the table, before placing between them a small glass of water.
"Thanks," said Dewey, sitting at a table with José and Panchito, looking perfectly miserable, "Now tell me, you two, where did PK run off to?"
"Why do you think we would know?" said José, after a puff of his thick cigar, "He is as an enigma to us as much as he is to you, Dewey."
"As you went into the fire to chase the Weetch, he seemed to just vanish away."
Dewey closed his eyes and fingered his water glass. His other hand seemed to hover over the center of his chest. "Huey and Louie said as much. I was hoping you two..." He shook his head, "Nevermind. I just wish I could get a bead on that guy. First he beats up Louie, then he helps us find Fenton Crackshell, and then helps us against Magica DeSpell. Even if he is on our side, all the same, Panchito, I'd like your men to be on the lookout for him. He's probably still around."
The three drank in silence, Panchito with relish, José with a mind full of wistful remembrance of cachaça, and Dewey with annoyance at the apparent ignorance of his allies, when he was so sure he remembered them and PK acting almost like old friends.
"By the way, Dewey," asked Panchito, innocently, "Where is Webby? She and you are nearly never seen apart for so long."
"She..." He looked down into his water, "She, uh. She's taking care of Doofus."
"The big guy?" said José, his face expressing the distaste of someone watching a soap opera where his favorite characters do not end up together, "That is... nice of her."
"They... We used to be old friends before we grew apart. Apparently, Webby was friends with him a little longer than we were."
"Of course," Said José, "Panchito, I regret to ask, but could you leave us alone for just a moment?"
Panchito looked towards the sullen Duck and the concerned parrot and understood, "Say no more, amigo." He then stood, taking his drink and walking over to a burly crow who led the guard patrols.
"What's this about, José?"
"I would like to speak of matters of love, Dewey."
Dewey started, blinking as his head rose quickly. He turned towards José's smirking, knowing face, before he darted his eyes away, afraid looking at the green parrot might reveal something untoward. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Some men drink, some men write poetry, some men sulk. Alcohol and paper cost money, so I made a nice guess." José placed a hand on Dewey's shoulder, "You are in love my frien'."
"I... It's not... she's my personal assistant, I just miss her... uh... organization."
"I did not mention Webby. I only mentioned love."
"Oh! Oh..." he crossed his arms, "Well that's ridiculous."
"This new Doofus fellow is getting you down."
"He... Well... They seem to act... Together they seem... I don't know. I don't want to talk about it."
He and Dewey sat for another moment, drinking.
Dewey spoke up, filling the trap of silence José had left, "I know they were friends and all, but... they act like they have... a past together or something."
"Perhaps they do."
"Yes, but... Webby is..." He sighed, "How do I...?"
"Courage, Dewey. You can fight back. You and she hev' been together too long now and through too much..."
"I..." He tried to look positive, "I guess so."
"The only thing holding you back from her is yourself, not that Doofus fellow."
"I... You're... José, I..."
But suddenly, the door to the tavern swung open, letting the bright sunshine into the bar. The shadow that stood in the frame was of a duck. Dewey stood.
Huey Duck spoke, "Don't get up on my account." He began to walk forward, his hands up in the air. He was being followed by another figure, "We've got company."
The glint of the sword pointed towards the duck's back caused every gun in the tavern to be drawn.
"Ah-ah-ah!" said this new man's voice, "One wrong step and I am running him through, yes?"
Panchito raised his hand and gave a signal, and every man, woman, and child in the tavern lowered his or her pistol.
"Thank you very much for your co-operation," said the voice, stepping into the light of the tavern.
Dewey yelled, "Commodore...!"
"So glad you remember me, Mr. Dewey Duck, fugitive. We have been tracking you for quite some time."
"No!" Dewey cried, "No. Not now."
Perry Kid rolled his eyes, "Aw don't get all upset. I'm not here to arrest you." He planted a fancy boot in Huey's back and pushed, sending him to the ground. He then sheathed his sword, "I am here with my crew on behalf of S.H.U.S.H. The investigation on Mr. Farid Kagan is underway."
Huey and Dewey perked up suddenly. Huey crawled away slightly before standing to his feet and turning. "Why didn't you say so? You didn't have to...!"
"Because I still do not like you, and it was well within my legal options. Yes no?" He smiled deviously.
"What are you doing here then?" said a voice from behind Perry Kid. Kid looked behind to see The Green Phantom standing behind him, face painted mask obscuring his face, hands hovering over his utility belt.
"It seems I am surrounded," the coyote said with a smile, raising his arms, "It is all right, yes? S.H.U.S.H merely wants you all taken into custody..." a twitch of guns and gadgets, "No! No! It's not like that. You have been... partially absolved."
"You mean...?" said Dewey.
"They think we're innocent?" finished Huey.
"Maybe! In any case, I am required to take you in peacefully. I do not get to start shooting unless you refuse." He looked to Dewey. "Please refuse."
All eyes turned to Dewey. He crossed his arms slowly, before nodding. "If it will help S.H.U.S.H's investigation, we will be happy to cooperate." He looked up, "But only us three. The others have nothing to do with it."
"No!" said a voice at the top of the stairs. Webby ran down, followed by Doofus, "If you're taking Dewey, I'm coming too."
"Webby?" said Dewey, "Webby. Don't..."
"No. I'm coming, and that's final."
"Me too!" said Doofus, his shoulder appearing to be nearly fully healed.
Seemingly from nowhere, the three Carioca girls had appeared from somewhere, and had latched onto Huey.
José smiled, but with a note of pain beyond the jolly façade, "Ahh. Youth."
"Well. Such a big family," scoffed the Commodore, "Very well. Within the hour Dewey Duck." He then came face to face with the Green Phantom, "To one side, yes no?"
Louie moved out of his way, letting him out the door.
All members of the group gathered in the middle of the room wordlessly. Hope sprang among them. This was their chance to finally stop running. Their chance to be safe and secure for once. Louie thought of Saint Canard, and of climbing and swinging among tall buildings. Huey thought of the sky, and the Cape, and the world. Dewey thought of his business, and what he would do once it was once again his.
Nodding their heads in agreement, they each dispersed their separate ways to pack up and prepare for the long trip to the SIL home base.
Chattering among themselves, the three girls packed three small bags filled with as many supplies as they could fit. Their conversation meandered on about nothing, pointedly ignoring the big move they were about to take. The closet of their small room in the tavern, filled with nothing much but a few extra dresses, was stripped bare and each color dress was shuffled off to the bag to the appropriate girl.
There came a knock at the door, and the girls smiled. They ran towards their places. Amalia draped herself over the small chair like a duvet, pulling a strap off of her shoulder and letting his hang. Maria sat on the floor, to read a book, her legs curved out under her. Rosalina took the bed, lying on her stomach in such a way that the cavernous canyon formed by her breasts was accentuated by being squished between her body and the mattress. The three girls nodded towards each other, before they each said, "Come in!"
The door opened, and the girls looked their sexiest, and were momentarily disappointed when it turned out to be their Uncle Carioca and not Huey Duck. The three of them switched their language to Portuguese.
"Hello Tio Carioca," they said, easing into more comfortable, less sexy positions.
"Hello girls," said José as he walked in supported by his umbrella, cigar between his fingers, "I'd like to speak with you."
Amalia stood up from the chair, allowing José to sit. The girls surrounded their uncle, looking up at him with familial adoration.
"What about, Tio Carioca?" asked Rosalina.
José began to look a bit uncomfortable. "You see, girls. It... You all are going away from me, and I don't know if I shall ever see you again." The girls began to speak all at once, and José raised a kindly hand to silence them, "I don't wish to lie to you girls any longer. I think you are old enough to know of the truth."
"What is this about, Tio Carioca?" asked Rosalina, laying her hands on José's arm.
To stall for time, José let out a sigh of smoke from his cigar, "It is... about your parents. Your mothers, all of them, are beautiful, wonderful women, and your fathers are... are good, honorable men that I do not deserve to call my cousins." His hand was trembling suddenly, and he grabbed the arms of the chair tightly to try to stifle the motion. "I... I knew them all well and... and I'm sorry to say that I have done your father's a great disservice. I... I am somewhat of a lecherous man, I think. I always have been. That is why I never married, you see. Too many women, even in my advanced age, I cannot stop myself." He looked at the girls and shook a finger, "You must never fall in love with a man like me, my little ones. He will break your heart."
"Yes, Tio Carioca," said the girls dutifully.
"Is that what you wanted to say?" asked Rosalina, "Is this about Huey?"
"No! No no. Huey is a good man to be sure. I talk about... I talk about myself. You see..." beads of sweat appeared at his brow, "You see, girls, I... I am... Your Mothers were very dear to me, and I, well, I..."
He stopped as he felt three dainty hands lay themselves over his own wrinkled hand gently. He looked into the faces of each of his daughters, so alike to him, and yet with their basic feminity making them so different. Each of them smiled kindly.
They each spoke in turn, "Our mothers" "Told us" "Tio Carioca."
"Then... you already know?" his eyebrows raised up and crinkled in remorse, "That I am...?"
José stood suddenly, taking a pained drag on his ever-present cigar, "Then... Then you must think I'm..." He leaned on the wall to the room, laying a hand on his him. "I... I feel terrible about what I did to them. Your mothers and fathers. I can't help but... You must hate me for what I have done to you."
Running up to José, Amalia was the first to speak in the beautiful excesses of language, "No! Tio Carioca, we all love you. We will always love you. Your visits to our homes were some of the best memories of our lives. When our mothers told us about you, they did not tell us in regret or rage. They said so in the wistful remembrance of a love long past. They love our fathers, but they adored you, who gave them their greatest nights of romance and passion. And we owe you a debt of gratitude. We three grew up apart as cousins and dear friends and pen pals, but when we were told we were suddenly all daughters of José Carioca, and while we will always love our fathers as fathers, we will always love you for tying us together as sisters."
The three parrot girls gave their uncle a great hug, all together. As they embraced, José could feel his eyes mist over from a swell in his chest, an overflow of gorgeous emotion that he had never felt before. A feeling of fatherly love, rather than mere affection as he had felt before, had come over him, and he couldn't help but wipe away his rapidly forming tears.
"Rosalina," he said, touching her face, "Maria," and hers, "Amalia," and hers, "I... thank you. I cannot believe I have never been as happy as I am at this moment." He encircled the three girls in a strong embrace, which they reciprocated, wrapping their arms around him and each other. "I... I only wish I had more time..."
A knock at the door. Webby's voice called, "Almost time to go, girls. Get ready."
"Must you?" asked José, "Must you leave now?"
Rosalina nodded. "If we don't follow Huey now, Tio..."
Maria continued, "...We'll regret it..."
"..For the rest of our lives," finished Amalia.
José, a great believer in life, and taking advantage to it to the fullest, understood his three daughters perfectly. It was too late for him to be their father, and too late for the three blossoms in spring to stay cooped up with him until he was ready to let them go. They had to chase after their love, by any means necessary, just as he had in his turbulent, amorous, fantastic youth.
"Then... I give my blessing. I may not be able to speak for your own parents, but I can speak for myself," he loosened his grip and looked at the girls, noting that their cheeks and beaks were stained with tears as well, "Go. Go to him. Chase after him. Have the time of your lives. And I only have one request."
"What is it..." "...Tio..." "...Carioca?"
"When you are ready, you come back to me, and tell me all of your adventures." He nodded, wiping his eyes, satisfied at what had occurred here today, "Now go. Don't let me see you again until you have lived."
With a kiss, each girl left the green parrot alone in the room, taking her bag and departing without as much as a second look. Amalia was the last to leave, and she gave a strained, "Goodbye" as she exited into the hall and towards life.
José watched the empty doorframe for a long time after that, hoping perhaps, that somehow they would have a change of heart. He waited, even as he heard the distant sounds of the Sea Duck's engines roaring to life and taking off to meet the Iron vulture in mid-air. Eventually, however, he sat down, his eyes dry and strong. He took his cigar, which had burnt down to nothing but a stubby roach, and put it out on an ashtray on a table by the chair.
He knew that his part in this adventure was over, somehow, and that the part he had played for the Duck boys and PK, and all the rest was over. He could go back to Bahia, try to rebuild the bed and breakfast there, or perhaps go back to the hotel in Rio if it is still there. He had some money squirreled away, perhaps he should finally rest on his laurels. Retire, perhaps, live somewhere and await the return of his girls with the stories of their youth. He was too old to marry, and soon would be too old for the alternative, so perhaps he should just stop.
But then he thought of his time with the Sea Duck; His time in Bahia, dealing with the personalities of the three boys, each so full of life and regrets and futures in their own way. He thought back on Panchito, doing what he loved to do, and still ready and able to at an even higher age than himself. He thought of his friend Donald...
No. Never retire, He thought, When the girls come back to me, they will bring me stories of their adventures, and I will pay them right back with stories of mine!
He smiled to himself, reaching into the pocket of his coat for another cigar. He thought dimly that he might need to give that up soon, with thoughts of his health looming over his head. However, he lit it up anyway. If he was to live life as his girls were, he would live all of it. Good and bad. He stood quietly and walked out the door, down towards the front room of the tavern. Soon he would go back to Rio and use what he has learned from Dewey to remake his hotel as a successful venture. Perhaps he will build a stage and give floorshows every now and again. In the meantime, however, a dear friend was downstairs, waiting to be entertained in the here and now. He could not disappoint, not as long as he was alive.
"Alright Junior, open up. We're coming in," said Huey into the CB.
"What is the magic word?" Asked that Spanish inflected voice.
" Alright Junior, open up. We're coming in, Motherfucker," answered Huey dryly.
There was a momentary growl that was cut off mid-tone as Kid began to speak, "You will watch your step around me, Mr. Duck, yes no? Remember how soundly you were thrashed the last time we came face to face, remember. Do not tempt me."
After a pause, the CB went dead, and the Iron Vulture began to open up. Huey smiled and pointed the nose into the large airship. This was the home stretch, it had to be.
And even if it's not, what a ride!