Can It Get Any Weirder?
Back on the Earth, Geraldine was in just as much trouble as Brownie was in space. She had been carried far into the forest that lay between the farm and the old barn. When she finally had the bag pulled away from her head she was startled to see that it was morning. As she looked around a dark, furry face with a turned up nose greeted her as a hand plucked the rubber band from her bill.
“Bonjour!” said the furry face. “How are you today, monsieur?”
“What in the name of Swan Lake is going on here? I demand to know what this is all about! Who are you? Where am I?” Geraldine crowed loudly.
“Please, calm down. I was told you were chatty as well as feisty but you are, how do I say, a loud mouth,” the strange beast said with a strange accent.
“Loud mouth? Who do you think you are? Do you know who I am? Who are you anyway? What are you anyway? Why do you talk so funny?” Geraldine’s string of questions was never ending and for a moment her kidnapper considered letting her go and telling his employers that he couldn’t locate their target.
“I do not talk funny,” he said. “I think what you are hearing is my French accent. My name is Cyril the Bounty Hunter, monsieur. I am here to take you to your bosses that you have abandoned. Now please, monsieur, if I give you this banana will you shut your trap?” Geraldine’s kidnapper said as he offered her a banana. “For a duck you are quite the, uh, bag of wind.”
“Bag of wind? Duck?” Geraldine yelled. “I don’t have to take this! I’m leaving!” She made a move to go but a furry hand stopped her.
“You would do well to look around. We are above the ground and in a tree. Your wings are in a bag as well as your legs how will you get away?”
“What, what?” Geraldine shrieked as she looked down. She was indeed in a tree and had no way of escaping.
“So you see, monsieur. You are too far up to get away. Ah yes, your employers are most disappointed in you and your failing to return. You did not complete the task you had set before you. They are not pleased with you at all,” said Cyril the Bounty Hunter.
“Now see here, you brute. How did you get up into this tree? You have no wings and you’re not a bird! She shouted, as she looked over Cyril the Bounty Hunter’s body. The only thing she could see that was on his back was a small backpack. “Answer me this instant!”
Cyril the Bounty Hunter looked at Geraldine in amazement. “Forgive me, monsieur; I thought that you would know a chimpanzee when you saw one. My species are most adept at tree climbing.”
“I demand you let me go!” Geraldine screamed again. “When Sheriff Teddy finds out…”
“Ah, but your new, and soon to be old, employer cannot help you. I could hear them last night as we entered this forest. Lots of quacking and barking nearby and they had their bright lights out looking for you. They were quick to start their search and seemed very upset that you are missing. Now enough of this chit chats! Let us away!” Cyril snapped the rubber band back on Geraldine’s bill, shoved her into the bag and leapt off the tree limb swinging to another corner of the forest.
“Do not worry mon ami! We will be at our final location to meet your associates in the near future.” Once again, Geraldine had the feeling of airsickness as Cyril swung with her through the forest.
At the barn Teddy and Puffy were investigating Joey’s strange report. They had no idea that Geraldine was in trouble or that she was close to them. Teddy was busy in the barn sniffing around a large partial circular imprint in the ground where Joey said he had seen the saucer. Puffy was in the field in front of the barn also looking for clues to what had happened the night before.
“Hey Puffy!” Teddy barked from inside the barn. “I’m seeing some very odd tracks in here and some really strange smelling dirt. Do you see anything out there?”
“I’ve got some weird prints out here too,” answered Puffy. Puffy went inside the old barn to sniff the dirt that Teddy was in front of.
“What do you make of that dirt, Puffy?”
“I don’t know,” Puffy said in between sniffs. “Kind of smells like it was burned
“That’s what I thought also. I also noticed the air has a faint smell of something like ice to it as well,” Teddy said as he sniffed the air, too.
“Really?” Puffy said as he stuck his nose in the air. “I can’t quite catch the scent like you can.”
“It’s just odd the two smells being together like that,” Teddy said before he reexamined the tracks in the barn. “Look at these, Puffy. Four legs but the feet are close together. Kind of like a dachshund but with shoes on.”
Puffy looked closely at the footprints and grunted. “This dirt smells funny to me too. Like dirt after a good rain.”
“Indeed,” Teddy said as he sat to scratch behind his left ear. “What about tracks and scents in the pasture?”
“The ones I found point to what Joey was talking about. His tracks end like he took off flying after a dead run and Brownie’s are scattered all over like he was running for his life. I don’t like this, Teddy. Not one bit. Especially if I have to admit that the duck might be right.”
“Are you telling me that you think Brownie was abducted by aliens?” Teddy asked in astonishment.
“I’m not quite ready to agree totally but I’m not going to discredit it either,” Puffy answered warily.
“I have to admit it is odd. My question is though, how did they get their ship into the barn. I mean the barn roof has holes in it but not big enough to get something like that in here,” Teddy pondered.
“I don’t know what to tell you, boss. Maybe they teleported in here or maybe they dug their way in. They are supposed to be giant worms after all,” Puffy said sharply.
“Careful, Puffy. You’re close to admitting the alien story is true and if it is then anything is possible.”
“Yeah, I know and that honestly worries me,” Puffy said with great concern. “If what happened here was the work of aliens, then what are we going to do?”
Teddy looked intently into the sky before answering Puffy. “I don’t have an answer for that, old friend. I just hope that wherever Brownie is right now that he’s okay and not in any serious trouble.”
“Humph. If aliens do have Brownie it’s they who are in trouble and not him,” Said Puffy.
Teddy laughed good heartedly. “I’m more than willing to go along with that. Come on, let’s head back and ask some questions around the farm. Maybe somebody saw something and I’m hoping that somebody is Mavis. She knows everyone’s business,” Teddy said as they were leaving the barn.
Puffy let out a small hiss. “Why do you have to do this to me, Teddy? Dragging me along to meet with her. She’s such a babbling bore.”
“I can honestly say she feels something like that toward you, too. God knows why you two don’t like each other.”
“I like her fine as long as I’m not around her, boss.”
“All you have to do is just stand there and look sour. I know you can handle that, Puffy,” Teddy said with a grin as they reached the edge of the forest.
The two law animals walked back to the farm taking a short cut through the least dense part of the forest. As they walked through the forest, Teddy and Puffy had no idea they were being watched by three sets of strangers eyes. The owners of the eyes said nothing to each other in the chance that they’d be heard and their plan disrupted. Instead they just watched and calculated on how they would deal with the law dog and law cat if the time came.
Back on the farm Mavis had woke up early that morning and started in on Benny. “Why isn’t this stable in shape yet?” She blustered at him.
“Same reasons as why you always feel the need to talk, which is no reason by the way,” Benny replied smartly.
“Now you see here. I’m expecting Geraldine over any minute this morning and I don’t want her to think we live in a stable.”
“New flash, dear town crier! We do live in a stable! We’re horses!” Benny said mockingly. “And your friend lives in weeds as all water fowl generally do.”
“I am a thoroughbred and don’t you call my friend foul!” Shrieked Mavis.
“I called her a water fowl and not foul! F-O-W-L not F-O-U-L! Aw, forget it,” Benny said bitterly. I think I’ll go break my leg. Maybe the farmer will put me out of misery.” Benny left the sable with his head held low. He decided that maybe he could stop Geraldine from coming over if he got to her before she got the stable.
While he was making his way to the fence he saw Joey walking away from the pond. “Hey Joey!” Yelled Benny. “Hey, Joey, where’s the Sheriff. I want to be put down now!”
Instead of answering, Joey just looked at Benny for a long moment and then waddled away faster toward the forest.
“What the dickens was that all about. That’s not like him at all. Usually can’t shut the bugger up,” thought Benny aloud. He decided to mention it to Teddy the next time he saw him.
Benny waited by the fence for an hour but saw nothing of Geraldine. After the first twenty minutes of waiting Mavis joined him which made the forty minutes that came after that much harder for Benny. When Geraldine didn’t show up, Benny himself became concerned.
“I’ve got my doubts about your friend showing up, Mavis dear,” Benny said with concern. “She’s usually not ever late at all.”
“Hmph, why would you care, Benny?” asked Mavis in a harsh tone. “You’ve never shown any concern for her before.”
“Yeah, well normally I wouldn’t but life’s taught me that when the punctual don’t show up on time, it’s not a good sign. We’d better get Sheriff Teddy.”
“You do that. My heart can’t take much more of this stress. I’m going inside,” Mavis said before going into the stables.
Benny was about to bay for Teddy when Teddy and Puffy came trotting up to the stables’ back fence.
“Good morning, Benny,” Teddy said as he stopped at the fence line. “Mind if I speak to Mavis?”
“Don’t mind at all, actually. I was just about to call for you. Geraldine was supposed to be here an hour ago and she hasn’t shown up yet.”
“That is odd,” Puffy said seriously. “That goose never shows up late to flap her bill.”
“Agreed, Deputy,” Benny said. “I don’t know why but I’ve got a bad feeling about it.”
“We’ll head down to the pond and have a look see,” Teddy said turning toward the pond.
“That may not be necessary, Sheriff,” said Benny. “I saw Joey down there about an hour ago. I tried to talk to him but he didn’t say anything to me not even any smart alecky remarks. He was acting pretty weird even for him.”
“Since when did you become Mr. Community Watch, Benny?” asked Puffy.
“Since I decided that the Sheriff might give me time off from my sentence for good behavior, Deputy.”
“We’ll see what we can do, Benny. See you in a little while,” Teddy said nodding to Benny.
“See you later, fella’s,” Benny said amicably in return. Benny turned toward the stables calling for Mavis. “Get out here, Mavis. The Sheriff wants to talk to you.”
Mavis walked up to the fence as Benny went inside the stables. With her usual grace and poise she addressed the law animals. “Thank goodness you are here, Sheriff. My dear friend Geraldine is missing and I fear for her safety.”
“Well Mavis, being an hour late to meet with an animal is hardly missing but we’ll look into that,” said Teddy. “ The reason we’re here is that I would like to ask if you saw anything unusual last night around the farm or pasture.”
Mavis stood still staring at Teddy for a moment. “Sheriff, that question implies that I am knowledgeable about anything that goes on here at the farm.”
“You’re the farm busy body, Mavis so yeah you are knowledgeable of what goes on here on the farm,” Puffy said sarcastically.
“Why do you always bring him with you, Sheriff?” Mavis asked angrily. “Do you always keep such impolite animals in your employ?”
“Puffy, please let me handle this,” Teddy said without looking at Puffy.
Benny bayed loud laughter from inside the stables. “Deputy, you’re on your own with this one. I don’t have a horse in this race.” Mavis didn’t bother to respond to Benny’s remarks. She just shook her head and muttered something about how she loved him regardless of what he may say.
“Okay, okay, okay. I’m sorry for what I said Mavis,” said Puffy.
“I accept your apology deputy now please allow your superior and I to converse,” Mavis said as she proudly raised her head.
Teddy rolled his eyes and resigned himself to try to talk to Puffy again about his dislike of Mavis again. “Mavis,” began Teddy, “You keep your eyes and ears opened in the best interests of all the animals. I appreciate you looking out after everyone so I figure you may be the one to have seen something out of the norm last night.”
“One does what one can to look after their community, Sheriff. Sadly I have not noticed anything out of the ordinary today. Last night is a different story though,” Mavis said as she walked closer to the fence and lowered her head toward Teddy and Puffy. “Last night, there were all sorts of barking and quacking from the pasture. Why I thought the duck was trying to kill that poor nephew of yours, Sheriff.”
Teddy stretched his head forward. “Could you make out anything that was being said?”
“No, I couldn’t hear anything being said but your nephew and that duck were carrying on something terrible. I could have sworn they were attacking a giant squeaky toy because I kept hearing the most horrifying squeaks. I also saw some strange flashes of light on the horizon,” Mavis said in an almost whisper. “Then I saw a streak of blue light that flew off toward the sky. It was most peculiar.”
“Well, that seems to match some of what Joey told us,” said Puffy.
“Indeed,” answered Teddy thoughtfully. “The more I hear the more I think we have a rather big problem.”
“A rather big problem, Sheriff?” Mavis said with a grin. “Please elaborate, Sheriff. I’m dying to know.”
“I bet you are Mavis,” Puffy hissed before he stuck out his tongue and bit it to keep from saying more.
Mavis furiously scowled at Puffy. “Rude feline. Rude, rude, rude!”
“Please, Mavis, just ignore my deputy for now,” Teddy said calmly. “If you happen to notice anything else unusual, Mavis, let us know.”
“I will do that, Sheriff. Please excuse me; the stress of this day is giving me the vapors.” Mavis walked back inside the barn leaving Teddy and Puffy to decipher what they had been told.
“Now this is just weird,” Puffy said as he stood up.
“Indeed it is,” Teddy said. “Puffy, let’s go to the pond and look for Geraldine. Maybe she knows something.”
The two law animals walked to the pond without saying a word to each other. Teddy was trying to figure out what to do about a deputy being abducted in an alien invasion while Puffy was trying to convince himself that there wasn’t an alien invasion.