Friday, June 30, 2006

Episode 6: A Scenic View -- of Doom

It was a hot day when Squatch finally tracked down Jimmie "The Claw," who was, from the looks of it, about to finish off Squatch's partner, Soda.

Real hot. The kind of hot that makes you want to dig a hole in the backyard and hide until the relentless sun goes down.

In this blistering heat, Soda struggled with the duct tape that held him. Squatch couldn't understand the muffled words coming out of his partner's mouth, but he knew that he had to keep the Claw distracted if Soda was to have a chance.

Squatchy stared down The Claw. He was the only thing standing between Squatch and today's afternoon rerun of Sanford and Son. Would this be the week that Fred Sanford found true happiness? Would Lamont finally make his father happy? The suspense was killing him.

"Hey Cop," The Claw hissed back at Squatch. "Word on the street is you got a thing for the jokes. I got one for you that's gonna just kill ya. Goes like this: knock knock..."

Squatchy stared at The Claw through a medicinal haze. He knew that he was supposed to respond with a clever rejoinder, but one did not leap to mind.

"Cop, are you all right there? You look ready to fall over. I'll make it quick then.

Knock. Knock."

The familiar setup was met with silence as Squatch glared at The Claw with his patented "Perp Stare."

A few awkward seconds later, The Claw decided to finish the joke himself by reading both parties' lines.

"Who's there?"
"Your partner."

As The Claw recited his joke, Squatch saw Soda stretching one of his pseudopods until it was behind the Claw's feet.

"Your partner who?"
"Your partner who just died because he didn't listen to - arrrgh!!!!"

While Jimmie was delivering a punchline that Squatch had no desire to hear, Soda extended his blobby foot between The Claw's rear feet and, as a just dessert for his partner's grisly fate, flipped The Claw off of the railing.

The Claw plummeted, screaming, into the foul-smelling drink below.

The buzzing of locusts covered the silence after his fall. Squatch quickly retrieved Soda from the edge of the observation deck and placed him safely on the ground.

"Great work, Squatch. I knew you'd make it. Now listen, we gotta move. This guy is working for a new boss in town - a guy he kept referring to as "Mr. S." Apparently this guy has a real appetite for trouble. And this water plant is involved, too."

Squatch listened anxiously, but Quincy Jones' infectious theme of Sanford and Son was playing in his mind.

Soda shrugged, exasperated. "Fine - we'll get over to Louie's and watch your stupid show. Come on - I'll report to The Captain on the way."

As they walked off, a coppery claw slid up and over the edge of the railing.

A steely expression was on the face that followed that claw over the edge of the railing. Two beady eyes burned with rage as they watched Squatch and Soda round the corner.

Across town, a rat was leading a canine hydrologist into a dark alley for an important rendezvous.

"Hey boss, here's that water doctor you wanted me to find."

A sinister figure emerged from the shadows and raised a gloved fist into the air.

"Brilliant. Excellent work, Cecil. Let's get the HYDRA in place and put her to work."

Zelda McFey glared at the criminal before her. "Where's my husband, you monster? I won't help you!"

"My dear, you have no choice in the matter. In fact, if your husband were here, I'm sure he'd tell you the same. Too bad he wouldn't cooperate sooner. Things might have turned out differently for both of you. Cecil, take her away."


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Episode 5: File Under E, for Evil!

Two weeks ago, eminent hydrologist Zelda McFey had been working late to compile the city's water report.

The report was a bombshell. The mayor's pet project, a rainwater treatment center, was a much-needed make-work project for the city's hard-hit work force. Unfortunately, the chosen site for the plant was located right next to a pharmaceutical plant that was conveniently owned by the mayor's brother.

McFey was a vocal opponent of the mayor's plans to build the treatment center in this location, and word was travelling quickly around town hall that her report would spell trouble for the mayor's plans. Several large businesses stood to gain from the project as well, and they were also expressing their displeasure with her work.

The last page of the report was printing when McFey heard a tap on her window. She was startled to see a shifty rat peering in at her from the darkness outside.

"If you know what's good for you, you won't file that report, Doc." The rat hissed at her through the glass. "Working so hard can be... harmful. You should consider taking a long break. Get out of town for a while. A long while."

McFey growled and rushed outside to the front porch, but she was too late. The rat had vanished.

The next day, McFey turned in her report, which generated a furor at City Hall.By the time the day was over, she decided to go for a walk by the waterfront to clear her head.
The skies were turning gray as her travels brought her back towards her office.

"Tut, tut, Doc." a familiar voice hissed from atop a nearby water fountain. "Looks like rain." The rat from last night was lurking near a water fountain.

"What do you want?" McFey growled at him.
"It seems my employer is not pleased with the contents of your report." The rat replied. "He would like to show you what happens when headstrong dogs file dangerous water reports."

He sprang down to the pavement.

McFey coolly stared down the rodent. "You should be careful what you say, rat. My friends eat vermin like you for breakfast."

The rat was unfazed. "I don't think your husband would advise you to speak to me this way."

Suddenly, McFey's demeanor changed. "You -- you have Harvey?"

The rat nodded. "Come with me, Dr. McFey. I think you and he will have a lot of catching up to do."

McFey was loaded into the back of a sleek imported car. As the trunk closed, she wondered if the rat was telling the truth. Was her husband alive? And what was his connection to this?

Would she be any closer to a solution next week?


Friday, May 19, 2006

Episode 4: Just Add Water... for Danger!

Squatch was hot on the trail of his partner, Soda. A track through the dust was leading Squatch toward his missing partner. The air was heady with the aromatic bouquet of Soda: Aqua-Velva, Doritos and Selenium Sulfide. The trail led to the train tracks, where the old 10:43 was clicking its way north.

The tags on the train cars were all over the place here. Someone very clearly wanted it to be known that "SKORPOINS ROOL."

While he waited for the train to pass, Squatch's thoughts drifted back to Soda's parting words.

He chewed on a twig as he mulled over their meaning. Clean water... the importance of clean water... The medicine he was taking for his scorpion attack, combined with the residual poison from the scorpion attack, were making it hard to concentrate.

Suddenly, a realization smacked him like a tennis ball between the eyes. Of course! The McFey Incident. Soda had figured it out!

Two weeks ago, eminent hydrologist and social butterfly Zelda McFey had disappeared after her usual walk along the river. Some thought that she had just had enough of the high pressure world of water science, but Soda suspected foul play.

As the caboose rolled past and the train moved into the distance, a sign on the other side of the tracks came into view. The sign for the old Water Pollution Laboratory.

Of course! This must be the place. Squatch hurried across the tracks and ran through the field toward the large building in the distance.

Suddenly, he stopped. Something was skittering through the tall grass to his right. There was trouble here. Big trouble. Scorpion trouble.

Sure enough, Jimmie the Claw dashed from behind a plant and motored toward the "germy vista" lookout area behind the lab.

Squatch dashed after him, but the meds were not helping his coordination. As they rounded a turn, Jimmie kicked out one of Squatch's paws and he hit the pavement like a 50-pound bag of kibble. Pain shot through Squatch's back as he scrambled to his feet.

By the time he regained his footing, Jimmie was on the edge of the lookout, above a filthy pool of waste-ridden water. Next to him, wrapped in duct tape, was Squatch's partner, Soda.

"Don't make me do it, cop!" Jimmie hissed. "I'll push him in!" Jimmie shifted around nervously on the edge of the lookout. The smell from the water was terrible. What were they dumping out here?

Soda was in no shape to help himself out of this situation. He was trying to tell Squatch something, but the duct tape over his mouth made him sound as intelligible as Bob Dylan yelling through a mattress.

"Mmmmph!" He shouted. "MMMMPH!"

Is this the end of Soda? Can Squatchy catch him before he takes a "toilet nap?" Tune in next week to find out!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Episode 3: One Is the Loneliest Number... Next to Zero

There is an unwritten code of conduct that Portland's men in uniform must obey. As an undercover K-9 officer, Sasquatch was technically not "in uniform" (or, for that matter, a "man"). Even so, he held himself to this rigid code:

1) Never sell out your squad.
2) If you kill the joe, you gotta make some mo'.
3) Don't let your partner get kidnapped.

Squatch had broken one of these sacred rules. His partner had been abducted, on his watch. What would the guys at the precinct say? Who would tape reruns of Sanford and Son for him? The situation was dire.

One thing was for sure: he had to find Soda. And fast!

Squatch put on his protective kevlar leash and hit the streets in search of answers. His only clues: a fleeting glimpse of Jimmy "The Claw's" Tempest as it rocketed out of sight in a cloud of burning oil, and Soda's parting words: "Remember the importance of clean water!"

First stop: Cathedral Park, a known sanctuary for undesirables. Search as he might, the trail was colder than a husky's nose.

As he was sniffing the fleeting trail of what must have been a gorgeous shar pei, a train whistle pierced the stillness of the morning.

That whistle cut through the fog of Squatch's drug-clouded brain and pulled forth a memory of a report of graffiti on train cars. A new tag was being found on some of the cars; a crudely sprayed message that read, "SKORPIONS ROOL." Perhaps this was something more than the idle message of a hair metal fan with poor taste.

Squatch headed to the industrial area near the train tracks. The weather was heating up, and so was the trail. Squatch picked up the scent of burning oil in the air. The Claw was close.

Near the old Loston Foundry, Squatch discovered his first real clue: a beat-up Tempest that looked like it had been left in a hurry. Soda's telltale aroma cocktail of Aqua Velva, Doritos and Head and Shoulders Intensive Treatment was all over the place.

A series of clawprints and a Soda-sized groove led through the gravel and dirt along the road. This was their path, no doubt about it. They must be close. Good thing, too - judging by the sun, it was almost time for Sanford and Son to begin.

Will Squatch find Soda in time? What did Soda's clue mean? Do Skorpions actually rool?

Find out next week!!!

Episode 2: Revenge is Best Served from Inside a Hard, Pointy Exoskeleton

In our last episode, Squatch was attacked by a mysterious scorpion and left for dead.

Luckily, he was found and rushed to the ER by his partner, SODA!

This week, Squatch and Soda are at the precinct, reviewing mug shots of potential perps.

Soda slides a photo across to Squatch.

"Is this the guy who got you?" Soda seems agitated. "This guy is no joke - it's Jimmie "The Claw!"

Jimmie The Claw had killed Soda's last partner. True, it was because he was underfoot when his partner stepped on him and fell over a railing in surprise. But still.

S&S hastily leave the precinct and head for their unmarked police car, which was blatantly parked in the "police only" section of the parking lot.

"Come on, Squatch!" Soda exclaims. Hurry it up!"

Squatch didn't tell Soda that the medicine he had been prescribed for the scorpion sting was seriously tripping him out. During the stakeout of The Claw's hideout, Squatchy was just idly staring into space with a goofy look on his face.

Suddenly, a break - Soda sees a scorpion tail disappearing around a corner and runs into the hideout, while Squatchy laughs at the knock knock jokes he is telling himself.

When Squatchy realizes that Soda is gone, he runs into the hideout to find him. But he's too late!

"Stay back, pig!" The Claw is holding Soda hostage. "Don't make me perforate your partner here!"

Squatchy watches helplessly as The Claw backs out of the hideout.

"Remember the importance of clean water while I'm gone, Squatch!" Soda exclaims as he is loaded into a waiting car. "Clean water!!!"

Squatch watches helplessly as his partner, who saved his life only hours before, speeds off to certain doom.

Not even the "interrupting cow" knock knock joke makes him feel better.

What will happen now? Can Soda be saved? Will Squatch ever recover? Tune in next week!