4: Changes on the Horizon
4: Changes on the Horizon
Early the next morning on the other side of the globe, Teasy and Sylvia Melika dropped on by the Pizza Cats' place. Speedy and GB were there, playing checkers. Guido was channel flipping in the kitchen. Aldonza was seated at the counter, writing something in a small journal. Francine and Polly, however, were nowhere to be seen.
Teasy spoke first. "Well, Speedy, you guys are organized, for once."
"Today's an off-day," Speedy growled. "With all the money we've made recently, Francine thinks it's a good time to rest up a little. Does that drive something in through that thick skull of yours?"
"My skull's not thick," Teasy protested. He made little waving motions at the air, then did his best Chico Marx impression. "There'sa just a lotsa comedic sponge in here thata absorbs laughter from all directions."
"Save the smart-talk," Sylvia interrupted. "Hey, Speedy, where's Polly and Francine?"
"Francine had to take Polly to a physical," Guido said from the kitchen. "Fran had some suspicions on why Polly's becoming substantially overweight, and so she made the decision last night to take Polly today to the office. Just so she could confirm her thoughts."
Teasy flinched. "I hope she doesn't try to kill anyone. Last time she was at the doctor's office, she put 7 people in critical condition, including one that was a special guest at the Live House for my comedy routine."
"She won't," GB assured him.
As if to punctuate his words, Francine and Polly both walked in the door at the moment. Not with the casual violence that they usually cast on anyone in their way, but with the happiness that usually followed an exciting event. "Obviously, the doctor WAS hurt," Teasy said with a touch of sarcasm in his voice.
"It was definitely a Kodak moment," Polly purred. "I was just too overjoyed to knock him out."
"Yeah, I'll bet," Teasy muttered. "He probably only needed a set of stitches."
"Right," Polly said. "That's true. But guess what else they found...." Her face turned sinister. "LAST NIGHT, SOMEONE PAINTED MY TOENAILS!!"
"Let me see the face you made," Teasy said, chuckling.
For a moment, Polly looked like she was about to clobber him into next year, but she calmed down at the last second. "Oh, never mind. I'll forgive you and Ambush Cat....THIS time."
"Whatever you say, Old Halibut Breath," Teasy murmured. Polly frowned at that, causing him to flinch, but she said nothing.
"You're unusually happy this morning," Sylvia said. "What's up with that?"
"Take a wild guess, Silky," Francine sighed, quoting Teasy. "Take a wild guess."
Teasy looked at the two faces, horror written on his own. Surely she couldn't have....
....but no. Just by looking at her, he could tell that she HAD. "Oh, no. Whatever those little creeps are going to do, I do NOT want to be around when they do it."
"Oh, come on," Polly chided him. "Having a couple of kids isn't going to be so bad. Why do you think I got married to Speedy in the first place?"
"Take a wild guess," Teasy snapped, mimicking his favorite phrase himself. "Take a wild guess. Kids have to be THE brattiest things on this whole mudball. Take one look at a kid considering knocking over a valuable vase and you can forget about any future peace and quiet."
Aldonza barked her agreement. "I've had experience with young pups. Trust me; it's NOT a good idea, and it's not safe, either!"
"Teasy, Aldonza, what's wrong with you?" Speedy yowled, facing the two. "Polly and I decided that we were going to have kids, and that is that. Nothing you're going to say NOW is going to change that!"
Aldonza stared at Speedy for a few seconds, then said something under her breath that would've gotten her in trouble with Curtis's claws. Guido's sharp ears heard what was said. He looked at her momentarily, disturbed by her misuse of the English language, then turned back to the television.
GB, in the meantime, jumped several of Speedy's checker pieces. "King me," he said. Speedy turned his head back towards the game and slapped his own face in despair.
Teasy ignored Speedy's sudden outburst and looked around, searching for support. Sylvia wasn't paying attention to him anymore, though; she had sat down next to Guido and joined him in flipping between the channels. Slowly, he let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
And with a flick of his wrist, upstaged the checker board, sending checkers flying everywhere. Without knowing what had happened, Polly and Francine had rushed to help Speedy and GB pick up all the checker pieces and rearrange them on the board.
And, just like that, Teasy was gone. Aldonza noted that and snarled, but continued writing in her journal.
Guido finally found a channel he wanted, and stuck with it. "What happened over there?"
"Teasy didn't like the idea of us having children," Polly said quietly.
"My brother's always been that stupid," Sylvia commented, putting what she had gathered up on the table. "He cares only about himself and usually doesn't think of other people when he makes his decisions." She retied a loose ribbon on her left shoe.
"Tell us something we don't know," Francine said.
"How about what's going on this television?" Guido shouted from the kitchen, his voice rising. "There's a large riot happening over in New York!"
"THERE'S WHAT???" everyone else yelled in unison. And, as one, they ran in front of the television.
The view on the screen wasn't pretty. A large crowd had stormed the mayor's office of New York City. From the looks of it, it was looking as if they had wanted to get rid of the mayor himself.
"About 35 minutes ago," the newscaster reported, "2 young kittens seen off to the sides somehow managed to incite the crowd to riot. They were just standing there, muttering something, and a large group of people had suddenly stormed in front of the----"
There was a sudden yellow flash that contained traces of fur. When the screen returned to normal a few seconds later, the newscaster was no longer there, leaving behind just a few scuffling noises. A second later, the head of a yellow kitten appeared in the camera. "COME ON, CAMERAMAN! SHOW US THE GOOD NEWS!!" it shouted.
The person over there must have decided to comply, and the camera panned over to the right. Off to that side stood the New York Pizza Cats in their civilian garb, just standing there and not even bothering to move a muscle. Their faces, however, seemed red and puffy around the eyes. "The New York Pizza Cats have been temporarily paralyzed and cannot do anything about the present situation. If they move, then you know what happens to the mayor."
The parlor was filled with the sounds of silence. No one bothered to argue, either, as GB whistled the tune "Pop Goes the Weasal".
Eventually, the image on the camera shifted suddenly so it was taking in the sky, then turned to static.
The streets of New York City cleared out, and for a single dark minute, they were empty. Chaos Kitten and Felonia appeared satisfied with all the damage and devastation that had been caused.
"That was one clever way of sparking the crowd's angry side," Felonia commented. "What with those insults, and all..."
"I hadn't told you until now that I've been able to throw my voice," Chaos replied. "All I had to do was pretend the insults were coming from the window in the mayor's office, and the rest was history."
Korbi peaked out of hiding. "Is it safe to go in, yet?"
"As safe as it ever will be," Chaos said.
That was Korbi's signal to move. He slowly marched into the office. Trailing behind him were hundreds and hundreds of robot drones, varying from the large to the small. "Have the connections between the mayor's office and Gorgonzola International Headquarters been set up?" he asked one of the drones.
"Connection complete," answered the drone in a monotone voice. For a moment, it reminded Felonia of the droids from the Trade Federation, except that THESE were bulkier.
Korbi allowed himself the satisfaction of a smile. He walked inside the building, carrying what appeared to be an important document with him.
"What's that he's holding in his hand?" Felonia asked, curiousity overcoming her.
"You'll see soon enough," Chaos said. "I'm just happy those New York Pizza Cats weren't able to interfere. What did you do, anyhow?"
"I simply warned them that if they tried to stop the mob, I'd make mincemeat out of the mayor." Felonia held back a laugh. "There's nothing like a decent round of blackmail to take the fun out of the situation."
Korbi's voice erupted over New York. "Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "I've come to you in the heat of the darkness that has been placed around us. And, in the LIGHT of this situation, I have been called upon to put an end to this conflict at any way possible. If there's going to be any way for me to help the people of this city join together, I'm going to find it! Join me, everyone, and I'll bring happiness and prosperity to this wonderful city!"
At first, there was silence; then, full-blown cheering. Felonia decided that the peoples didn't think that Korbi's speech was lame, and decided to compensate for it, instead.
Chaos simply stood there. He and Felonia both knew what Chester Korbi had in mind for this city. First, it would be direct control of all economic and military systems, including those in the country's capital, and then a slow military buildup to overcome the rest of the nation. The fact that it violated the United States Constitution made no difference to him.
It wasn't until the cheering stopped that he allowed himself the luxury of a grin.
Sundance, Cosmo, and DeeDee stared up at the office of their recently-appointed mayor. Their first REAL failure in their history. And now, Korbi was taking advantage of it.
Sundance wiped away the last of his tears. "Well, what can I say?" he muttered. "I tried to warn you."
DeeDee grabbed his arm and started walking in the general direction of their parlor. "C'mon. Let's just go. We still have a LOT of stuff to get done."
Cosmo followed seconds later, picturing the future of his hometown. With a chill, he realized that Sundance's guess would be correct.