The Gang of Five

It certainly has been a crazy year, hasn’t it?  Well, thankfully, a new year is upon us and here at the Gang of Five forum we have a new year of showcases, prompts, and themes to get the new year started in the right way.  We wish you all a happy new year, and we look forward to what you have in store for us this year!

For the month of January we have a new character showcase.  Please warmly welcome Littlefoot's Mother! :)littlefoot The character showcase topic for this month can be found here.

Also keep in mind that the December and January prompts for the fanfic prompt challenge is now open.  We are doing things a bit differently this season and allowing for people to either fulfill a monthly prompt or a suggested prompt during each month.  I look forward to seeing what you all come up with! :)  The fanfic prompt rules and list of monthly prompts can be found here.

Return To Toontown

Almaron

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Another thing I did, but unlike my other story ideas, I actually finished this one! This one I got the idea for after watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the first time in ages, and I ended up searching various sites for more info. At one point, I ended up on a forum dedicated to the Weasel characters. On this forum were countless stories people had written that had resurrected the characters and rehabilitated them. One story had them all living together in some old house, and the idea caught my eye, so I drew up a design for a house that looked both Victorian and Cartoony at the same time, as if a group of randoms had just taken over an old house.

Before long, I decided to give the idea of resurrecting the characters a shot and try and write my own fic to resurrect them, and add some other stuff (like finding a way to save that poor Toon shoe!).

Story rated PG for a few scenes with Greasy (the general consensus on the other message board was that he was a sleaze, so I added a few jokes involving him). Have a read and see what you think of it (I wrote this fairly quickly, and I think some parts could probably do with some tweaking).

(Darn! This message board has more or less destroyed the original formatting.)

Chapter One: Return To ToonTown

Far above Toontown, always slightly visible in the sky, regardless of the weather, was a small white cloud that, at first, seemed no different from any other cloud in the sky, but, upon closer inspection, was covered in thousands of tiny, floating Toon spirits. This was Cloud Nine, and it was inhabited by the ghosts of Toons who had accidentally killed themselves in their duties as perpetual comedians. Maybe they’d put one too many sticks of dynamite in the same room as themselves, or fallen into a trap set for their nemesis, or even choked on their own laughter. It was a little known fact that Toons occasionally perished as the result of a joke gone wrong. However, death for Toons wasn’t necessarily everlasting, as a small group of weasels were about to find out.
*
On an upper part of Cloud Nine, three weasels lay across various seats in a cumulus amphitheatre, each with tired expressions on their faces. Dancing across the stage below, an overweight weasel wearing a striped shirt and shoes with untied laces looked eagerly up at them.
“Guys, watch this!” he shouted.
He proceeded to do several complicated somersaults around the amphitheatre. Not so impressive, considering that he was aided by his angelic wings. The three weasels in the stands ignored him. “How long do you think he’s going to keep this up?” one of them said to his neighbour; a blue weasel.
“No idea,” the blue weasel said. “This is the fiftieth time he’s done this stupid trick, and it was never that exciting to begin with.”
In the seat in front of him, a crazy-looking weasel awkwardly bound in a straight-jacket, the last of their group, put his finger to his lips and made a hushing noise, clearly enraptured by the display going on below him.
The blue weasel sulkily went silent, and brushed some ash off his shirt. He was determinedly sucking on several barely smoking stumps of paper; all that remained of the cigarettes he had arrived with. Above him, the first weasel, who wore a zoot suit and hat, picked at the puffy ground with a knife he had pulled from his pocket. Each weasel was clothed in the same item they had been wearing when they died, except now every item was bleached a pure white; a side-effect of their ghostly status. A long time ago, they, and their leader, Smart Ass, had made up the members of the Toon Patrol, until they had met their fate as a result of working with the shady Judge Doom, and their leader had been dissolved in a vat of the caustic substance, Dip.
These weasels were the only Toons in the immense, nearly empty ampitheatre, save for the clan of hyenas dozing two rows back.
The weasel on stage finished his somersaulting and bowed to the mostly empty rows of seats.
The blue weasel moved in his seat. “That’s it. I’ve seen enough of Stupid’s crazy antics to last a lifetime. I’m getting out of here.”
He got to his feet. “Well? Greasy? Psycho? Are either of you coming with me?”
The straight-jacketed weasel paid no attention to him, but Greasy, the zoot-suited weasel, suddenly chuckled from his seat.
“Hold on, Wheezy,” he said. “I think Stupid’s act is about to improve.”
Wheezy looked at him with disdain, as he pointed towards the stage. Below them, Stupid, blowing kisses to an imaginary audience, was moving ever closer to the edge of the stage. Wheezy sat back down to watch the easily-guessable outcome.
Sure enough, Stupid didn’t see the edge, and with a yelp, plummeted towards the ground and fell on his face. The weasels in the stands immediately burst into laughter, falling from their seats and rolling on the floor. Stupid dizzily picked himself off the floor. “That wasn’t funny, guys,” he said, swaying from side to side.
Wheezy cackled. “Yeah, you’re right. That wasn’t funny. It was hilarious!”
He and the other weasels laughed even harder. The hyenas next to them were roused by the sound of laughter, and turned to see what the commotion was. Hyenas normally found anything funny, but seeing Stupid stumble across the stage was the comedic equivalent of gold. Before long, the entire hall was echoing with the laughter of the ghostly Toons.
Stupid finally managed to clear his head, and he sulkily turned and started to walk towards the exit; eyes closed, with his head in the air, determinedly ignoring the jeering of his relatives. Unfortunately, this meant that he couldn’t see two feet in front of him, and he proceeded to trip over his untied shoelaces. Any human would have simply fallen over, but Stupid, being a Toon, went flying out of control across the room, bouncing from cloudy wall to cloudy wall. In their seats, the weasels and the hyenas laughed even harder. This was the funniest thing they’d seen in ages!
But Stupid didn’t stop bouncing. Yelling in fear, he proceeded to go flying over and out one side of the amphitheatre, landing and tumbling across the surface of Cloud Nine. That stopped the weasel’s laughter. Although Stupid couldn’t hurt himself, he could get lost out there. Cloud Nine was a big place, one you didn’t want to get lost in.
Leaving the giggling hyenas behind, the three weasels rushed out of the amphitheatre and outside, following their comrade, now rolling along the cloudy floor, and picking up speed as he continued to tumble down.
Stupid! Hold on!” Greasy yelled, as he and the others gave chase, running through room after room, never quite managing to catch up.
Still running, Wheezy shouted at the straight-jacketed weasel. “Psycho, quick, stop him!”
The weasel nodded, saluting, and immediately took flight, soaring past his friends and Stupid, before halting in mid-air and landing several feet in the path of the tumbling weasel, arms outstretched, in a foolish attempt to halt the progress of the much larger weasel.
Stupid, ridiculously dizzy by this point, didn’t see Psycho standing in his way, and barrelled right over him, squashing him flat, and continuing down the hallway. Wheezy hit his face with his hand, cursing, but continued to run, peeling Psycho off the ground as he passed him.
Stupid continued to roll, vanishing into a vast area of foggy mist that obscured everything in the distance. The three weasels had no choice but to follow him into it, with no idea as to where they were heading in the slightest.
A crashing noise echoed from somewhere ahead of them. Wheezy called to the others. “Sounds like he’s stopped!”
They abruptly emerged on the other side of the mist, and the weasels found they were heading at full speed towards a large, cracked marble pillar, that Stupid’s head was embedded in.
Greasy and Wheezy both yelled as, unable to stop in time, they collided with the pillar, which came crashing down, burying the three of them. Psycho calmly slid to a halt, giggling at the display of rampant destruction.
Wheezy pulled himself out from under the pillar, grumbling. Stupid followed after him, pulling an unconscious Greasy out with him. Wheezy turned on Stupid.
“You idiot! The next time you lose control of your own feet, we’re not going to try to rescue you!”
Stupid didn’t hear him, and simply smiled goofily as a large piece of falling masonry shattered itself on his head. He started looking around the room. “Guys, where are we?”
Wheezy looked at their surroundings. They hadn’t been here before. They were standing in a large hall, filled with archways that stretched across the open ceiling, one of which was a part of the pillar that they had all crashed into.
A groan behind them signified that Greasy was awake. He groggily rose to his feet, muttering about his head. Ignoring his complaints, Wheezy started walking back in the general direction they had come from. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
The other weasels got up, and began to follow him, when they suddenly saw that they were not alone. A tiny Toon possum carrying a large staff stood in the middle of the room, watching their every move. Normally, the weasels would have moved on without another thought, but the way the possum was staring at them was unsettling, as if he had been waiting for them. Greasy, still holding his head, glared in the strange Toon’s direction. “What are you looking at, possum?”
“Nothing,” the possum stated, ignoring the obvious hostility. “Are you here for the morning rush?”
“What?” Greasy said, confused. “What morning rush?”
The possum continued. “THE morning rush. The Toontown express. The return trip. Are you here for it or not?”
The other weasels were now listening carefully. What was that he’d said? Wheezy spoke up.
“Return trip? You mean…to Toontown?”
“Yes,” the possum said,
Wheezy looked at the tiny possum with suspicion. Was this some kind of trick? He stepped closer.
“Who are you?” he said, leaning towards the diminutive possum.
“I’m the gatekeeper,” he said, with no change in tone. “Dealing with returning Toons is my job. Now tell me, Are you, or are you not here for the morning rush?”
Wheezy was about to ask more, but Greasy interrupted him.
“So, we can go back?”
“Yes,” the possum repeated.
“Really?” Greasy said. “I mean, our records aren’t going to stop us from going back, or anything like that?”
“Why?” the gatekeeper said, bored. “Did you do something cruel and evil down there?”
Greasy gulped and shakily continued. “Uh…well, we might have…err…worked for somebody not so nice, and been…uh…perfectly happy to go along with his evil plans of mass destruction?”
The gatekeeper’s expression wasn’t changed by this; he didn’t even blink. “And that’s an issue because…”
“Well, a lot of innocent Toons could have been hurt,” Greasy stated.
“And Toontown would have been destroyed too,” Wheezy pointed out.
“Kaboom!” Psycho added, a little enthusiastically.
The gatekeeper remained as unshaken as ever, if a little frustrated at their constant excuses.
“You’re Toons. It’s what you do.”
“But shouldn’t we…”
“No.” he said, rapidly losing his patience.
“But-“
“NO!” the gatekeeper shouted, before storming off to another part of the hall.
Greasy turned and looked at the others in confusion.
“Man, what was that guy’s problem?”
*
At the other end of the hall, the gatekeeper put his head in his hands. How could these weasels have forgotten such a fundamental part of Toon logic? And why was he the one who always had to deal with the difficult Toons? Toons weren’t perfect; it was a well known fact! Sure, some Toons did the odd evil deed, or swore vengeance on another Toon, or planned to destroy the world, but that was just how Toons lived, and there was always a limit as to how far they’d go! A Toon robber stealing from a bank was no big deal; it was his job, and no-one begrudged him for it.
Of course, the possum thought, that “Doom” character had gone way over the line, and by the sound of it, he’d gotten exactly what he deserved in the end. But that was a different subject. The gatekeeper got back up, brushed some dirt off his robes, in an attempt to look calm, and turned back to face the weasels.
“Alright, there’s just one last thing I’ll need to check before I can let you leave. You are part of a series, right?
The zoot-suited weasel stared at him in confusion. “What?”
The gatekeeper repeated himself. “Are you part of a series? You know, a cartoon?” The weasel still didn’t understand, and by the look of it, neither did his companions, who all looked at one another, in case one of them understood what he meant. The gatekeeper gritted his teeth, and started again.
“Are you somebody’s enemy? Are you the villains of a cartoon who need to be back for the next episode?”
The weasels just stared ahead, as clueless as ever. The gatekeeper banged his head against his staff. That was it. He didn’t care anymore.  
“Never mind. Come on then, follow me,” he said, gesturing towards a large stone archway in the distance. The four weasels hovered after him, following him through the archway to a tiny, unremarkable room.
Upon entering, one of the weasels looked around the room and remarked, “There’s nothing in here!”
The gatekeeper smiled. This was the part of his job that made dealing with difficult Toons worth it. “No, not yet,” he said, and pulled a golden lever on the archway.
Immediately, a large golden elevator emerged from the cloudy floor in the centre of the room, and the four weasels leapt back in shock. The two doors swung open with a loud “Ding!” noise, and the gatekeeper gestured forwards. “Well, there you go. Just take the elevator, and you’ll be home soon enough.
The four weasels hesitantly shuffled towards the open doorway, and prepared to enter. One weasel, the one wearing the zoot suit, stopped short, and peered into the elevator. There was no booth, only a shaft that went straight down, as far as he could see.
“Uh…I think your elevator’s broken,” He called back. “There’s no-“
Before he could finish, the gatekeeper pushed him down the shaft, where he fell screaming, until he disappeared into the clouds below. His comrades looked down the shaft after him as he plummeted, then turned and looked in fear at the gatekeeper, who now moved towards them with a vicious intent visible in his eyes.
The blue weasel didn’t move fast enough, and he was the next down the shaft. The large one simply stared at the gatekeeper in fear, and attempted to back away, tripping over his own shoelaces, and tumbling after the first two.
The last weasel left; the one in the straight-jacket, didn’t even wait for him to come any closer. He simply giggled madly and leapt into the elevator shaft, hands held over his head like an Olympic diver as he plummeted after his cohorts.
The gatekeeper chuckled to himself and went back to his desk. Toons weren’t perfect, and he wasn’t any different!
*
Greasy, the zoot-suited weasel, screamed in terror. His angelic wings had vanished the instant he’d been pushed through the elevator doors, and he saw no way of slowing his fall. Judging by the panicked yelling above him; or laughter, in Psycho’s case, the others weasels were also falling through the air with him.
The high-rise towers of Toontown loomed dangerously closer to them, as they fell closer and closer to earth. Greasy put up his hands, instinctively, to shield himself, and that was when he noticed something strange. The right sleeve of his jacket had gone green, the colour it had been before he’d died. Colour! He looked at his left sleeve, more colour was flowing into his clothing as he fell further. He stared at his arms in a mixture of glee and confusion, and was about to shout out gleefully, when he reached ground and crashed through hard pavement; the force of his impact leaving a small crater behind.
After a few minutes of lying there, waiting for feeling to return to his face, Greasy slowly forced himself to get up. He looked around where he had landed. It was a dark alley, littered with the trash and vermin common to a dingy street in any city. But the Sun in the sky above him had a goofy look on its face, there were several suspicious-looking “Acme” boxes sticking out of a nearby dustbin, and the colours of the buildings either side of him were too extravagant to be of any human city. Greasy couldn’t believe it. It…it had worked! They were back in Toontown!
His thoughts were interrupted by an increasing giggling noise, as Psycho fell out of the sky and landed on him, pinning him back on the ground. As Greasy groaned under the weight of his colleague, Psycho leapt off his back and started to bounce around the alley in excitement. Clearly he was happy to be back, Greasy thought, cautiously preparing to get up again. Wheezy promptly landed on top of Greasy. He barely had any time to apologise before Stupid plummeted onto both of them.
Upon landing, Stupid, sensing he was sitting somewhere he shouldn’t be, cautiously got up and moved to one side, revealing the crushed bodies of Wheezy and Greasy.
But they were Toons, and it would take more than an overweight weasel falling out of the sky to do them in.
Wheezy picked himself off the pavement and dusted his shirt off. He, like the others, had noticed the return of colour to their clothes, and was now frantically checking his surroundings, to make sure it was all real.
He suddenly shouted out; he had found a half-empty packet of cigarettes in a nearby bin. Wheezy spat the soggy stubs of his own cigarettes at the ground, and grabbed three fresh ones. Before long, the air around him was once again polluted with the same sickly smoke that had surrounded him years ago.
Greasy gave up trying to pick himself off the pavement, and just lay there. Stupid and Psycho were leaping happily from dumpster to dumpster, more than happy to be back amongst the living.
Wheezy, hacking and coughing from the smoke, walked over to where Greasy lay, and proceeded to pull him out of the crater. “Well, I guess that mad possum was telling the truth then.”
Greasy just groaned. Wheezy leaned him against a wall, and walked towards the edge of the alleyway to see exactly where in Toontown they had landed.
Walking into the light of the Toontown sun, he almost dropped the cigarettes he was smoking. The city that lay before him was completely different from the one he and his colleagues had left behind.
He leapt back into the alley, breathless with fright. Psycho and Stupid noticed this, and walked over to him.
“What’s wrong, Wheezy?” Stupid inquired.
Wheezy couldn’t find the words to describe what he was thinking, so he pointed instead. Psycho and Stupid looked past him at the world outside, before recoiling in shock. The buildings outside were all monolithic glass towers, reaching up towards the sky. The Toons that ran from place to place were like none they had ever seen before. Strange vehicles zipped across the road that lay before them. Stupid was greatly unnerved, and he had grown up in the middle of Toontown, and thus was used to some of the crazier things the town would throw his way; sometimes even literally.
Psycho and Stupid both looked at Wheezy with questioning looks on their faces, clearly hoping there was an explanation for the change to their old home. Wheezy simply stared ahead. “How many years have we been gone?”
“Hey guys,” Greasy called, awkwardly sidling over to them with a newspaper in his hand. “Look what I found.”
He handed the paper to Wheezy, before collapsing against Stupid’s shoulder. Wheezy looked at the cover. The title story was nothing of interest, just something about some unfamiliar director and a new Toon movie. But the date printed on the corner of the page was the thing that shocked them. At least sixty years had passed since the Toon Patrol had met their ends in the Acme factory.
“Sixty…sixty years?” Wheezy barely uttered. The others frantically looked over at the paper, not believing it. Greasy, by now well enough to comprehend what was going on, looked at the outside alleyway urgently, as if to confirm what they had been dreading.
“Is…is nothing out there the same?” he managed to say.
Wheezy pocketing the newspaper and shrugged. He hadn’t really looked at the new city for long enough to tell. Standing close to each other, so they had no chance of getting lost, the four weasels made their way to the edge of the alleyway, scanning the view that lay before them. Every building was different. They didn’t see one Toon that looked familiar.
When, all of a sudden, Psycho started eagerly pointing towards something in the distance. Only one of the buildings in the street remained the same today as it had in their time. The Toontown Precinct.
Seemingly their only hope, all four weasels dashed across the street, narrowly missing being hit by a strange car of some sort, stopping on the steps of the building to catch their breath. Stupid spoke first. “What do we do now?”
Wheezy looked at the familiar doors before them. ”The officers inside should have a map or something,” he said. “I’ll go get it”.
Wheezy got up and went to open the door. Greasy suddenly leapt up after him.
“Wait! Stop!” he shouted, pulling Wheezy away from the door. Before Wheezy could ask him why he’d stopped him entering, Greasy snatched a lit cigarette from Wheezy’s mouth, and stamped it out on the pavement.
“Hey!” Wheezy shouted in anger. “What was that for?”
Greasy didn’t say anything, but proceeded to rub the burnt end of the cigarette against his face, until he had an ashy moustache.
Psycho broke down in hysterics, and Stupid started guffawing, saying “What’d you do that for?”
Wheezy frowned at Greasy, and added “You’d better have a good explanation for what you’re doing or I’ll I knock your freaking lights out!”
Greasy hushed the others “The last time we were here, we were working for Doom! If we go in there looking like this, they’ll arrest us! We need disguises of some sort.”
Wheezy continued to stare angrily at Greasy, but he knew he was right. “What should we do then?”


Almaron

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Chapter Two: Toontown Precinct

 “Alright. Are we all ready?”
A murmur of assent sounded from the group. Greasy pushed the door open, and the four weasels all walked into the Toontown Precinct. Greasy just hoped their disguises would be enough. Not having much to disguise themselves with, they had mainly ended up swapping their shirts and hats. Psycho’s straight-jacket had had the arms tucked in, to make it resemble a normal shirt, and he was wearing Wheezy’s waistcoat over that. Stupid had Greasy’s overcoat and hat on, and Greasy and Wheezy had both settled for disguising themselves with cigarette ash. The four of them made their way towards the desk of the police commissioner; a fat Toon bulldog who was presently asleep in his chair.
Reaching the desk, Wheezy rang the bell sitting on the edge of it, and waited for the bulldog to wake up and assist them. No response. The bulldog simply shifted in his sleep and then began to snore loudly. Greasy leaned over the desk, in an attempt to wake the sleeping bulldog.
 “Hey, dog…dog!” Nothing. “Officer, the building’s on fire.” Not even a blink. “Here boy,” he said, grabbing a pen from the inkstand. “Fetch the stick, boy!” The bulldog remained as deeply in sleep as before.
Greasy had just about lost patience with the sleeping police dog and was about to turn around and leave, when Stupid abruptly walked forward and brought his hand down on the desk with a loud CRUNCH!
The bulldog immediately shot up in his chair, and his head collided with Greasy’s. Both weasel and officer fell back in pain, while the other weasels screamed with laughter. Wheezy suddenly realised the urgency of the situation, stopped laughing himself, and silenced the other two before they could give themselves away.
The bulldog sat back on his chair, rubbing his head. “Um…so…Welcome to the Toontown Police Department,” he said, with the enthusiasm of a person who’d just lost their job. “How can I assist you on this fine day?”
The weasels panicked. They hadn’t thought out what they would say to the officer. Greasy looked around himself frantically, for an idea of what to say.
“Um…we…we are…”
He suddenly noticed a poster on the wall advertising a holiday on some fancy cruise ship. “Tourists! Yes, we’re tourists…from…from…EuroToonTown, and we need a map to help us find our way around town,” he finished feebly.
The others held their breath. Greasy was a lousy liar. But the bulldog fell for it, and sat up in his chair.
“From EuroToonTown?” He brightened at their answer. Clearly, he hadn’t had much to do lately. “Sure, I can help you. Sorry you haven’t had any help here, we’re a bit short of officers at the minute.” He got to his feet. “Just a second. I’ll be right back with that map.”
He dashed away into the depths of the building. As soon as he disappeared from view, all four weasels cracked up laughing.
“I can’t believe that actually worked!” Wheezy cackled. “Tourists? That’s the best you could come up with?”
“Well, it worked, didn’t it?” Greasy chuckled, relieved. A second later, the police officer would return with their map, and their problems would be over. But something the officer had said didn’t sound quite right. The words echoed in his head. “We’re a bit short of officers at the minute”. Greasy couldn’t believe it. Were things in Toontown really that bad? Was there only one cop dealing with all that chaos outside?
Before he could ponder things any more, the bulldog returned with a brochure in his mouth.
“There you go,” he said, dropping it in front of them. “That map lists all the major roads and buildings in Toontown. Anything else you need?”
Curious about the lack of officers, Greasy continued the conversation.
“Yeah. What was that you said about there being few officers around? Are you the only policeman?”
The bulldog groaned. “Just me and two others. No-one wants to be a Toon cop anymore! Ever since those weasel policemen schemed with that Toon judge...”
“Judge?” Greasy said nervously.
“Yeah. Judge Doom, his name was,” the officer continued, “and he was a nightmare, I can tell you. He had a crazy plan to destroy Toontown, but he got killed by his own machine in the end. And then, not a year later, another gang of hoodlums managed to bribe an animator to bring him back to life! Doom and those weasels may not have accomplished much, but they certainly left their mark. No-one comes in here anymore.”
 “Really?” mumbled Greasy, sweat running down his forehead.
“Yeah. The pictures of those weasels are just on the wall over there, if you want to know what they looked like,” the bulldog finished.
Sure enough, on the wall to their right were five large photos of them in their prime, shortly after their promotion by Judge Doom.
On Greasy’s left, Wheezy gestured urgently towards the door with his head. Greasy nodded back at him before facing the bulldog.
“Well…um, thank you for that. We’ll just be on our way then,” he said, starting towards the exit.
The bulldog was confused towards their sudden departure. “Are you sure? Is everything alright?”
“Yes, yes, we’ll be fine,” Greasy babbled. “C’mon guys, we’d best be leaving,” he said, grabbing onto a motionless Stupid and pulling him along. As he did, Stupid jerked in fright, sending Greasy’s hat, precariously perched on his head, tumbling to the floor in front of the bulldog. Apart from his jacket, Stupid was now a complete match for the weasel pictured on the wall.
“Hang on…” the bulldog said, looking closely at Stupid and the others. “You look familiar…”
That was the last straw. The four weasels had been nervously shaking since they’d entered the building, but that final comment pushed them over the edge. Wheezy panicked first.
“We’ve been found out!” he shouted.
“Vamoose!” Greasy yelled.
The four weasels quickly turned tail and ran for the door, as the bulldog barked after them. Reaching the door, Greasy pulled on the door handle, only for a metal cage to fall from the ceiling and land on him and the others, trapping them completely. The weasels struggled to escape, but it was no use.
“I was right! You are the Toon Patrol, aren’t you?” the bulldog said, calmly walking alongside the cage.
“Never heard of them,” Wheezy said, trying to act calm.
“Come now, everyone in Toontown knows of the Toon Patrol!” the bulldog said “You didn’t honestly think that the events at the Acme factory were tightly kept secrets?” He stopped along one side. “To tell you the truth, I expected better. If this really is the ëfearsome Toon Patrol’, I might as well set you free. You’re no threat at all.”
Greasy’s heart sank. There was no way out of this one. Just barely ten minutes back on earth and they’d already blown it. He looked at the bulldog, who now stood in front of him. “What are you going to do with us?”
The bulldog frowned. “I’m not sure. I could just throw you in jail.” A calculating look suddenly flashed across his face. “But I think that would be a waste of a cell. Tell me, you were good officers before you met Doom, weren’t you?” he enquired.
”What’s it to you?” Greasy retorted.
The bulldog continued. “If you were ëgood officers’, I might just have a job for you.”
“And why would we work for you?” Greasy snapped.
“Because if you don’t, I’ll just throw you in jail,” the bulldog replied in a bored tone.
“You don’t scare us, copper.” Wheezy suddenly said. “No prison can hold us for long. We’ll be back on the streets in an hour.”
A grin spread across the officer’s face. “Maybe, but once word gets out on the streets that the weasels that nearly destroyed Toontown are back in the city, I doubt it’ll be long before you’ll be fugitives in your own home.”
Greasy snarled in response. He didn’t like being forced to do anything against his will, but it didn’t look like he really had any option. He glared at the bulldog, who sat before them with a smug look on his face. “What do you want us to do then?”
The bulldog smiled. “Simple. I desperately need new officers on my force, and you need to survive in this new world. You used to be officers here, you don’t need any training. And if I recall correctly, the group of you had a pretty good criminal record prior to the Cloverleaf incident. Basically, I want you to work as officers here. And, if you behave, I’ll help you clear your names, and prove that you’re no threat to Toontown anymore. Is it a deal?”
Greasy pondered what the officer had said. By all accounts, they should have been on their way to the big house a minute ago, and yet, they’d just been offered their old jobs back. Greasy looked at Wheezy, who was equally confused. But in the end, Greasy thought, he’d go back to working for the police than go to jail any day, so he nodded. The others followed suit. The bulldog clapped his paws together.
 “Great!” he said. He pressed a button, and the cage disappeared into the ceiling. The four weasels began to pick themselves off the ground. “All your old gear is in storeroom fifteen; you can pick it up whenever you like.”
“Exactly what is ëour old gear’?” Wheezy asked suspiciously, climbing to his feet.
“Assorted weapons, paint, some old newspapers, and a paddy wagon,” The bulldog listed. “After the Cloverleaf Incident, we impounded every scrap of evidence linked to the case for use at the trial. It didn’t get used, and none of us felt like cleaning it out, so it’s been sitting there for…I dunno, the last sixty years?”
Wheezy promptly choked on one of his cigarettes in surprise, prompting Stupid to grab him from behind and squeeze him, in an unsuccessful attempt to help. Psycho leapt into the air with glee. Greasy struggled to stand. He didn’t know what to think. He wasn’t exactly friendly towards the officer, who had nearly signed death warrants for each of them, but after he’d returned all their belongings…well, at least he wasn’t planning to come after him anymore. The bulldog continued, not noticing their various reactions to the news.
“You officially start work now, but you can take the day off so you can get the hang of things around town. I’ll call you over the radio if I need you to do anything. By the way, which one of you is the leader? Is it you?” he said, pointing at Greasy.
“No, it’s-“Greasy stopped himself, a sad look on his face. None of the other weasels bothered to finish the sentence. The bulldog saw this and quickly changed the subject.
“Never mind, there’s plenty of time to sort that out. Well, that’s pretty much everything, so, carry on then!”
He turned and headed back towards his desk, stopping halfway and turning back.
“Oh, and a final word of advice. Clean the ash off your face. You look ridiculous”. Psycho and Stupid laughed at an embarrassed Greasy, as the officer walked away, leaving the four weasels in the empty hallway. After a moment, Greasy spoke to them all.
“Well, you heard him. Let’s get our stuff and go.”
Greasy picked his hat off the floor, and the four of them walked out of the Police Station.


Almaron

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Chapter Three: On Duty

Light streamed onto the crates as Stupid lifted open the large warehouse door that was the entrance to storeroom fifteen. The weasels slipped inside. Most of the boxes that filled this room were Acme products, no doubt taken from the factory following Doom’s death. Some of them had been opened, and evidence of their use littered the room. A quartet of swords sang in one corner, while two huge magnets were embedded in the left wall of the storeroom. To the side of this, the weasels found what they had been looking for; their old paddy-wagon. What the bulldog had told them was true; all their stuff had been impounded with it. Stupid had found his old baseball bat with the nail through it in a nearby box, much to his delight, and Psycho had been re-united with his razor blade, which he was now waving dangerously around the room.
Wheezy and Greasy had pre-occupied themselves with finding the keys to the cab. Greasy looked in the window of the car, and saw they were gone. Worse, the door was locked. Greasy attempted to pick the lock, without much success.
Watching Greasy’s failed attempts in anger, Wheezy was about to storm back to the officer and demand he show them where it was, but a happy yell behind him signalled that Psycho had got the back doors open. Psycho’s head suddenly appeared over the door, leering menacingly at Wheezy. Wheezy, somewhat unnerved by this, slowly started heading towards a crate for safety, when Psycho suddenly dropped something shiny at his feet. “Keys,” he said, and disappeared into the back of the car, giggling madly. He was quickly followed by Stupid, who leapt in the back after him.
Wheezy cursed himself for being so nervous, and picked up the keys. A click sounded nearby.
“Hah! Wheezy, I’ve unlocked the door!” Greasy triumphantly pronounced from alongside the driver’s door.
Wheezy threw the keys at him. “Nice job.” Greasy began cursing under his breath, as Wheezy opened the door and sat in the driver’s seat. A thought came to him. He popped open the glove compartment, and, sure enough, inside were the three spare packets he’d always kept in the cab. He smiled and lit himself three, before choking and spitting tar on the storeroom floor.
“Hey guys, come and look at this!” Stupid’s voice suddenly echoed from inside the car. Greasy turned to look at the back of the car, and then zipped over to the rear doors to see what Stupid was shouting about.
Inside the truck, Stupid and Psycho were standing around a small grey box with a screen on one end. A long cable ran out of the back, connected to another cable that trailed off to an unseen outlet somewhere in the storeroom. Must be a machine of some sort, Greasy thought to himself. He climbed up beside Stupid and Psycho, so he could get a better look at the strange box. “So, what does it do?” he asked.
Stupid looked at him, a large grin on his face. “Just watch this,” he said happily, and he pressed a button on the side. The box flickered into life, and a picture of a dancing Toon cat appeared on the screen. Greasy was dumbfounded. This tiny box was showing entire cartoons to him and the others! Psycho happily copied the dance of the cat, as Greasy and Stupid stared into the dim glow coming from the screen.
“How do you suppose it got here?” Stupid wondered aloud. Greasy wasn’t sure himself. Someone must have tossed it inside the car ages back. Probably the same person who’d played with the various Acme products in the storeroom.
The slider on the back wall immediately moved to one side, and Wheezy’s face was visible from the driver’s seat.
“What’s making that noise? Greasy, what are you doing back there?”
“Look at this, Wheezy. It’s like a portable theatre,” Greasy said, lifting the mysterious box up for him to see. Wheezy was unfazed by the image.
“Whatever. When you’re finished mucking around back there, get up here. I need you to read the map for me.” The panel slid shut, leaving them in silence.
Greasy leaned down to the box and pressed the tiny power button. The pictures disappeared from the screen. Psycho and Stupid looked somewhat sad that they’d lost their new toy. Greasy looked at them, and then said “We’ll take it with us, and set it up when we’re home.”
Stupid grinned. Psycho pulled the cable free from its long connector, and clutched the box to him like it was a child of his. His work done, Greasy leapt from the back of the car and shut the two doors.
He hurriedly headed for the cab, but in his haste, failed to see the pile of magazines in front of him, and skidded across the floor, falling flat on his face. “Who’s the idiot who left this old rubbish lying around?” he shouted furiously, looking back at the mess of papers now scattered around the room.
Anger quickly turned to glee, once Greasy saw that the “rubbish” he’d tripped over was really a lewd magazine collection. He hastily gathered all of them, until, from the cab, Wheezy shouted for him to hurry up.
He leapt into the passenger seat with the magazines placed on the seat beside him. Wheezy frowned at him.
“What are those?”
Greasy grinned weakly. “Magazines. I…found them.”
Wheezy groaned, knowing Greasy well enough to guess what the magazines probably contained. “We’re too busy for that.”
He grabbed the magazines from Greasy, who protested angrily, and threw each one of them into the back, via the slider. “You can read those when we’re finished with our work. We’re on duty, remember?” he smirked.
Greasy grumbled, and sulked in his seat. “Just drive.”
Wheezy shifted the car into gear, and speedily reversed out of the storeroom and onto the street.
*
In an older area of Toontown, the old Toon Patrol paddy-wagon sped down street after street without any particular destination in mind; its drivers more concerned with familiarising themselves with the city streets. Despite a slow start, the recently re-instated Toon Patrol had accomplished much in their three hours as Toontown police officers. So far, they had spent the last few hours driving around town, handing out parking tickets, and chasing down the odd speeders, but mostly trying to solve the many problems that lay before them.
One had been solved fairly quickly; the problem of where they were going to sleep. The police bulldog had told them via police radio that their old house on the outskirts of town had been confiscated along with the rest of their stuff and was presently abandoned, save for the odd squatter, and they were welcome to move back in. They had been briefly cheered by this good news, but their spirits had dropped soon after, as it still did nothing to solve their biggest issue; who would be the leader now?
Initially, they had attempted to pick a new leader from among themselves, but it hadn’t ended well. Greasy had insisted he be leader, but his actions when they attempted to return a woman’s stolen purse had resulted in the rest of his team hastily dragging him into the paddy wagon and claiming he was mentally unstable. Wheezy had taken over from there, but after a few minutes of Greasy driving in circles while he sat back and smoked, he had realised that he had no idea of what they should do next. Finally, Psycho had given leadership a shot, in a not very well-thought-out situation. After they had caught up with the paddy-wagon and forced Psycho out and into the back of the car, they quickly decided that giving Stupid a chance to lead wouldn’t end well, and stopped there. No matter how hard they’d tried to deny it, nothing could change the fact that none of them were leaders at heart. Smart Ass had been the right boss for them, and as far as they knew, he was nothing more than a Dip stain on the floor of the Acme Factory.
They had decided to get back to their work, claiming they would think things over later, mainly as an excuse to drop the subject. Greasy had resumed his position as acting leader of the Toon Patrol, and presently sat to Wheezy’s right, staring off into space. He was allegedly planning their next move, but Wheezy knew from experience that he was more likely thinking about the lewd magazines in the back of the car.
Wheezy returned his attention to the road ahead, and steered down an alleyway shortcut. Halfway down it, Greasy perked up.
“Isn’t this the road Valiant and the rabbit broad fled down when we came after them?” he abruptly said, staring out a window.
Wheezy looked again. “Yeah, it is. Doom had followed them, in an attempt to head them off, but they got the better of him.” He spat one of his cigarettes out the window, and continued down the dark alley, emerging in a bright street in central Toontown. A nagging thought came to Wheezy’s mind. Something about Doom…
He signalled to his cohort. “Greasy.”
Greasy stopped staring out the window and faced him. “What?”
“What did that cop say when we first walked in?” Wheezy asked. “Doom came back?”
“Something like that.” Greasy muttered, turning back to the window. “He said he bribed some animators or something.”
“Shows how much we mattered, then. Doom comes back from the dead and doesn’t even give us a second thought.” Wheezy spat. “I suppose we’re better off without him.”
Beside him, Greasy hadn’t heard a word Wheezy had said. He was staring ahead, with a thoughtful expression on his face. Noticing his lack of response, Wheezy turned to face him. “Greasy?”
“I’ve got a plan. Pull over.” Greasy suddenly said.
“What?” Wheezy grumbled.
“Pull over!”
Wheezy wasn’t the best of drivers, and in his attempts to stop, he just missed crashing into a tree, which, to his luck, leapt away at the last minute.
Once the car came to a standstill, Greasy leapt out of the drivers cab and walked to the back of the car, where he wrenched open the doors.
“C’mon everybody, let’s get to work.”
Stupid got up from his seat. “What are we gonna do now, Greasy?”
“I was wondering that myself.” Wheezy said, as he arrived from the front of the car. “What is this plan of yours?”
Greasy smiled. “Remember what that cop said about Doom? He came back, because somebody drew him again!”
The weasels stared at Greasy, not understanding.
Greasy continued. “Doom got dipped, just like Smart Ass. If someone could bring Doom back, then we should be able to bring back the boss!”
The others stared at him in shock. Could they really resurrect their old leader? Wheezy stepped forwards.
“How are we gonna re-draw him? We’re no human animators!”
“I know, but it’s not like we have any other ideas, do we?” Greasy insisted. “And besides, it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?”
“Yeah!” Stupid shouted, clapping his hands. Beside him, Psycho nodded enthusiastically. Wheezy tossed one of his cigarettes aside. “Alright then. How should we do this?”
Greasy looked at the supplies lying in the back of the car. “We’ll need some paint, and some paper, plus a picture of the boss.”
Wheezy flicked some dust off his shirt. “They’ll be easy enough to find.”
Greasy smirked. “Let’s get to work then.”
*
And so it had begun. Wheezy and Stupid had successfully obtained art supplies from a Toontown Gallery, and Psycho had stolen the photo of Smart Ass from the Toontown Precinct, much to the confusion of the bulldog officer. They quickly got to work, parking the paddy-wagon in an empty street where they wouldn’t be disturbed, and each got to work painting their boss’s likeness from the picture in front of them, and their own memories. After a while, despite their enthusiasm, they hadn’t gotten too far. Stupid hadn’t managed to draw anything more than a simple stick figure in pink. Psycho’s picture wasn’t much better, except he’d also drawn lots of insanely smiling figures surrounding the pink-clad weasel.
Upon seeing each other’s drawings, Stupid and Psycho both broke down in laughter, prompting Wheezy to knock their heads together in an attempt to calm them down.
Greasy’s picture had started off well, but somewhere along the line he’d gotten distracted and accidentally stopped drawing a picture of his boss, and instead the image of a centrefold from the truck, with the result being, interesting, to say the least.
Wheezy’s picture looked the most like Smart Ass, but the smoke and ashes from his many cigarettes had wrecked the picture to the point where Smart Ass looked like he’d just survived the Great Chicago Fire. Still, they all knew that his was the best picture out of all of theirs, and so they’d just have to make do.
“Right, let’s do it then,” Greasy said, pocketing his own picture.
A brief silence followed, each weasel staring at the tobacco-stained image lying on the ground before them. Stupid broke the silence. “Uh, how does a drawing bring Smart Ass back anyway?
Despite the fact that none of them had said anything, it didn’t change the fact that all of them had been thinking it. “Maybe we’re using the wrong paint,” Greasy said.
“Well then, I guess there’s nothing we can do then, is there?” Wheezy stood up in anger and turned away, lighting up another cigarette to join the four he was already smoking. Greasy sat down in the street and stared at the pavement. Next to him, Stupid continued to look at the picture.
“I wonder how the movie-makers make Toons,” Stupid mused.
“Well, we’ll never know. It’s not like we know any cartoonists” Greasy mumbled.
“Why would we need to? The studio’s just over there”, Stupid insisted, pointing to one side.
Greasy and Wheezy both looked up. Visible in the distance was the wall that separated Toontown from Downtown Los Angeles. Even further back, just barely visible was the shape of a familiar building, silhouetted by the setting sun; Maroon Cartoon Studios.
Wheezy, looking towards the distant building, remarked “That just might be the smartest thing you’ve ever said, Stupid,” who goofily smiled in response. Greasy got to his feet. “What do you say, hombres, are we up to a little ëinvestigative’ work?”
The weasels all smiled and laughed evilly. It had been a while since they’d had a chance to put their talents to good use.


Almaron

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Chapter Four: Maroon Cartoon Studios

At night, Maroon Cartoon Studios was dark and empty, all its employees having gone home. The building was lit only by the street lamps that bordered the surrounding street. This, naturally, made breaking in far easier for the Toon Patrol.
The glass window shattered quickly from the force of Stupid’s club, and the four weasels slipped into the building, finding themselves in a tiny hallway. Wheezy brandished a lantern ahead of them to light the darkened corridors. “Does anyone remember which way we’re supposed to go?” Greasy and the rest of the Toon Patrol had once done background character work for Maroon Cartoons, before being laid off as a part of the depression, so they had vague recollections of where the old store-rooms were.
As they continued down the hallway, Psycho pointed towards a sign on the wall. Wheezy, shone the lantern over, so he could read it. “Maroon…Store Rooms 1-3! We’re near them!”
Turning a corner at the end of the hall, the weasels emerged in another hall, this one full of doorways.
Greasy looked around. “So…which door should we take?”
While Wheezy shone his lantern at the various doors, Stupid leaned against the wall nearest to him, which proceeded to collapse beneath him. He fell down with a yell, alerting his fellow weasels. Greasy and the others ran over to him, and found, once the area was illuminated, that Stupid’s fall had been caused by his leaned on an unlocked door, which, upon closer examination, led to a store-room.
Heartened by their initial success, Greasy beckoned and led the others into the room. “Right then, let’s find the page and get out of here,” he said, reaching for the light switch in the dark. “It shouldn’t be too har…”
The lights came on to reveal a vast warehouse containing towers of filing cabinets. Greasy gulped. This was going to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. The other weasels looked around the room as they entered, the same thoughts undoubtedly going through their heads. But they had a job to do. Greasy cleared his throat, and indicated the first cabinet on the left wall. “Alright then, let’s start with the cabinet over the..”
He was abruptly interrupted by Psycho, who proceeded to wrench the entire top drawer out of the nearest cabinet, and drop the entire contents on the floor, laughing as he did. Greasy cursed under his breath. “Let’s start here then, shall we?”
He and the other weasels got to work searching through the multitudes of paper for anything that resembled their leader. They had gotten halfway through searching the various sheets, when Psycho abruptly dumped another drawer from the same cabinet on top of the existing papers. Wheezy groaned, but continued searching with the others. Before long, it became evident that none of them had come close to finding their target. “Doesn’t look like there’s anything in this pile.” Wheezy said “Let’s focus on the…”
But before he had finished, Psycho had leapt up, and was heading towards the next cabinet. “Psycho! Stop!” Greasy called, but it was too late, and already the drawers from the next cabinet were being scattered to the winds. Stupid was now trying to help Greasy stop Psycho, but their insane relative had successfully emptied the cabinet, and was jumping over to the next one, cackling all the while.
As Psycho sent the next file of animation cels flying across the room, Wheezy’s eye was drawn by a yellowed note that stood out from the papers. He went over and picked it up. It wasn’t an animation cel, this was a note from one of the animators! “Hey guys, over here.” Wheezy called. Intrigued, Greasy and Stupid moved over to him, while Psycho continued to attack the filing cabinets, emptying their contents all over the floor. The others ignored him, and read the note Wheezy had found.

Dave,
I need you to re-colour animation sheet #07892. That Judge on the Acme case got a little over-excited and liquidated a Toon shoe part of a set meant for delivery to R.K.O. Pictures. The filmmakers are kicking up a stink, and we need to replace it pronto. Use the rostrum camera in Room 32 to reanimate it; it’s not being used by any filming crews at the minute. Drop it off at reception when you’re done, and I’ll take care of things from there.
-Frank

 “So that’s our next move then.” Greasy remarked. “Once we find the boss’s picture, we head for that camera.”
A noise from the back of the room caused the three weasels reading the note to all leap around in fright. The source of the noise was Psycho, who stood atop a ridiculously large pile of animation cels, caused by his assault on the various Maroon Cartoon files. He abruptly leapt forwards and slid head-first down the paper mountain to stand before them.
“Found the boss!” Psycho giggled, proudly unfurling a plastic sheet with a Toon weasel on it. Although there was no colour, it was unmistakably the figure of Smart Ass.
The other weasels looked at him in awe. How he had managed to find the image so quickly was beyond any of them. Wheezy spoke first. “So, on to Room 32, then?”
Greasy and Stupid mumbled in agreement, and they headed towards the door, leaving the mess in the storeroom for some unfortunate janitor to deal with.
*
 “No, his shirt’s not that colour”
“What?”
Wheezy turned to look at Greasy.
“You’re using the wrong colour.” Greasy continued. “You should be using this,” he said, holding up a paint tube with a similar colour on the side.
The weasels had successfully found their way to Room 32, where Stupid had found a box of art supplies, and they were presently hard at work re-animating Smart Ass; Wheezy specifically dealing with his boss’s suit.
“No it’s not; it’s just a basic pink.” Wheezy said, and turned back to the image.
“It’s darker than that,” Greasy insisted, pointing again at his team-mate’s rendering of their boss’s suit.
“What do you mean, it’s darker? It’s just basic pink!” Wheezy shouted, angrily defending his work.
“No, it’s a darker colour!” Greasy retaliated.
The two began shouting at each other and fighting over who had the right colour, while Stupid painted Smart Ass’ tie, and Psycho continued to draw faces on the edge of the animation sheet. Greasy moved to attack Wheezy and take the paintbrush for himself, but the smoking weasel was too quick, and soon he was on the floor himself, with Wheezy sitting on his back. Wheezy leaned down and blew smoke in Greasy’s face. “It’s pink.” He said, getting up and returning to the picture. Greasy quickly picked himself off the floor, and, acting as though nothing had happened, grabbed a brush and started painting in his boss’s watch chain.
Several minor scuffles, and a few tubes of paint later, they stood back to look at the result of their hard work; a finished and true-to-life image of Smart Ass. After a few minutes admiring their work, Wheezy broke the silence.
“So…now what?”
Greasy’s smile left his face. “I’m…not…sure?” He hadn’t thought this far. He’d just assumed that the second they finished the picture, Smart Ass would leap from the paper.
Beside him, Stupid scratched his head with his bat. “Didn’t that paper say something about a camera?”
Greasy looked around. He had forgotten the camera! He signalled to the others. “Search the room.”
Psycho took off in one direction, followed by Greasy, while Wheezy and Stupid headed in another; Stupid calling, “What are we searching for again?” as he and Wheezy disappeared into the shadows of the dark room.
Greasy and Psycho immediately began checking the desks that lined the walls of the room; Greasy checking the contents of the drawers, and Psycho running across the top of each table. Each drawer yielded nothing but junk left by various animators; pencils, a newspaper clipping, some string. Judging by the lack of noise from Psycho, he hadn’t found anything either. Alternatively, his silence might indicate that he wasn’t even searching. Greasy was beginning to lose patience.
Suddenly, a shout echoed across the room from Wheezy; he had found the camera. Greasy and Psycho followed the light of his lantern, as well as the trail of Wheezy’s cigarette smoke to where he was waiting.
The two Toons quickly arrived next to their comrades, who were standing around a large and complicated-looking machine with an adjustable top. Greasy frowned. “This is the camera?”
“It’s the only thing in the room that could be the camera,” Wheezy said. “How do you think it works?”
Before any of them could try anything, Psycho had leaned forwards and flicked the switch on the front of the machine. All of a sudden, a huge flash briefly lit the room, and sent all the weasels leaping back in fear, save Psycho, who stared into the flash, before starting to giggle.
The other three weasels slowly approached the strange machine again. Wheezy looked at the part that had caused the flash, and noticed four tiny brackets on the corners of the machine. “Look!” he called to the others, pointing at his discovery. “That must be where the picture goes.” Wheezy said, although there was a sense of uncertainty in his voice.
“That makes sense,” said Greasy, although he was no more certain than Wheezy. “Somebody go get the picture.”
Psycho abruptly disappeared in a puff of smoke, reappearing a second later with the picture of Smart Ass rolled up under his arm. Wheezy took it from him, and proceeded to hook it up to the machine. Greasy watched his actions cautiously, prepared to bolt in case they were misusing the machine dangerously. Stupid and Psycho seemed to have similar thoughts, and were both hiding behind an animator’s chair.
Wheezy finished fixing the lens in place over the picture and turned around, to see his friends cowering in various places. He snorted with disdain, and returned his attention to the machine, in an attempt to hide his own cowardice. He gulped in fear, almost swallowing one of the cigarettes in his mouth, before slowly reaching forwards a finger, and activating the switch.
The machine’s light erupted into existence again, and Wheezy fled across the room to join his fellows. This time, with the picture added, the machine was shaking viciously and giving off sparks, and Wheezy and Greasy leapt behind the animator’s chair where Psycho and Stupid already were hiding. The sparks and flashes continued as the four weasels scuffled with each other, each frantically trying to shield himself from the possibly dangerous machine. Finally, the lights dimmed and went out, and the shaking ceased. The room was silent. Wheezy’s hand shot out from behind the chair, waving Greasy’s hat through the air, to test whether it was safe to come out of shelter. Greasy angrily snatched his hat back, and Stupid peered over the chair rim at the machine.
“What happened?”
Wheezy pointed the lantern towards the machine. “Did it work?”
Greasy frowned. “Only one way to find out.”
The four weasels moved as one towards the machine. Cautiously leaning over the lens, Greasy saw that the picture was still there, unchanged. He groaned. The others immediately understood. “What did we do wrong?” Wheezy angrily said. Before Greasy could respond, three tiny laughing Toon faces peeled themselves off the corner of the picture, causing Greasy to leap back in shock. The faces, freed from whatever had bound them, leapt from the bench and rolled along the floor, encircling the weasels. Wheezy leapt to one side as one passed him, and Stupid attempted to club the faces, while Psycho happily cheered and laughed to himself. The faces soon stopped their mad revolutions and headed for the door, disappearing down the hallway. Wheezy slapped Psycho, ending his erratic laughter. “That was your fault, you idiot! Drawing on the cel?”
Greasy was also unnerved, but suddenly something occurred to him. “Hold on, guys. If they came out of the machine, then what about…”
A groan sounded from the top of the camera. Greasy turned and watched as a furry hand reached up from the lens and grabbed onto a hook, pulling its body up. “Ugh…what’s going on?” A familiar brown weasel with a pink felt hat and coat rose from the lens of the machine, shaking his head.
Smart Ass was back.


Almaron

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Chapter Five: A New Beginning

The four weasels rushed towards their leader, amazed to see him standing before them once again.
Stupid shouted with glee. “Boss, you’re alive!”
“What are you all squawking about? I’m fine…” he began, climbing down from the rostrum camera. All of a sudden, the memories flashed before his eyes, and he remembered the fateful events of that night.
“Valiant! Where is he?” he reached into his coat pocket for a gun that wasn’t there. Greasy ran forward. “Cool it, boss, that’s all over now.”
“What do you mean?” Smart Ass shouted. “Toontown faces certain ëreduction’ at Doom’s hands, and we need to make sure that nothing gets in his way, especially not us.”
Greasy walked over to his boss.
“Doom’s dead.” Greasy said.
Smart Ass looked as if he’d been punched in the gut. “What?”
“Valiant got the slip on him, and he was melted with his own dip,” he affirmed. Although Greasy had perished by the time Doom had met his end, that hadn’t stopped him and the other weasel’s spirits from watching the final events from the warehouse’s rafters, before heading on up to Cloud Nine.
“Dip?” Smart Ass stuttered. “Wha…he was a Toon? What happened? How did you…?” he lamely finished, unable to comprehend these new circumstances.
Greasy cleared his breath. “Well, boss, it’s sort of like this. You remember that night at the Acme Factory?”
“This might take a while,” Wheezy sighed, placing the lantern on the ground to better illuminate the area.
Smart Ass nodded angrily, the memory was fresh enough in his head. “Well? What happened?”
Greasy continued. “Well, right after Doom left, Valiant flipped the switch and…”
*
“So wait, all of you ëcrumbs’ have been dead for the last sixty years?”
The weasels all stared downward, as if they were being reprimanded by a grumpy teacher.
“And all this time, I’ve been…” he struggled to find the right words. “…a…puddle?!”
The other weasels still didn’t meet his glare. Smart Ass looked at them in anger.
“See? I told you this would happen!” he bellowed at them. “You couldn’t stop laughing, and you all died! And now Doom’s gone, and all our hopes with it.”
“Does anyone remember exactly what we were gonna get once we’d destroyed Toontown?” Stupid said from behind Psycho. Smart Ass opened his mouth to say something, and then stopped. He didn’t recall what Doom had promised them himself, but he remembered the shady actions of his own boss, and with a sense of betrayal, knew that one way or another, he and his team would probably have all ended up ink stains in the end.
His sulky thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a voice breaking through the silence.
“It’s good to see you again.” Psycho said, without giggling for once. Smart Ass was amazed. He wouldn’t have expected any sorrow towards his own demise from any member of his team, much less from Psycho. Evidently his team cared about him more than he thought.
In the silence that followed, Greasy walked back into the dim light of the lantern. “Hey, boss?”
“What?” Smart Ass grumbled.
“I’ve been thinking. Maybe we should go straight for a while.”
“What?” Smart Ass snapped at him.
Greasy leapt back. “Just for a little while, I meant. Just until we’re back on our feet.”
Smart Ass looked at his old gang of mobsters. Were they going soft? Certainly something was a bit different about them. For one, Wheezy was less raspy, and almost coherent. Even Psycho seemed slightly less…psychotic than usual. Sixty years of plucking harp strings must have done wonders for his old platoon, he sarcastically thought.
But even he had his limits. Smart Ass and his team had technically been criminals for a long time now, but it wasn’t his idea of a living. He didn’t like the idea of being constantly on the run. He missed the good old days, before they’d worked for Doom, when he and the rest of his boys could waltz into any old club in Toontown and be the bell of the ball, at least until Greasy got them kicked out.
He sighed. This was no time for reminiscing. He and his old platoon were in dangerous waters. “So what can we do now?” he said, sitting on an old Acme crate.
Stupid suddenly spoke. “There’s our police job!”
Smart Ass was confused. “Police job? What do you mean, Stupid?” he said, moving towards the jumpy weasel.
Greasy moved closer. “It’s what I was saying, boss. Remember I told you we visited the police station? The commissioner said we could have our old jobs back.”
Smart Ass nearly choked. “What?” he said, incredulously. “You just walked in and the ëpractitioner’ gave you your old job back?”
“Yeah, just like that,” Greasy answered. “He said he was short of recruits or something.”
Smart Ass couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He assumed that the commissioner didn’t know about some of the more “unfriendly” things that he and his group had gotten up to.
“That, or he’d throw us in jail,” Stupid added. Well, that explained that, Smart Ass thought. He sat there and considered his options, the other weasels tensely watching him, simultaneously curious and afraid as to what their next move would be.
On the one hand, Smart Guy mused, now that Doom was gone, there was little chance that they’d ever reach the heights he’d claimed they would if they worked for him. But on the other, with Doom no longer their leader, they were free to do whatever they liked, and best of all, thanks to that policeman, it sounded like they were going to get to keep the status they had occupied as Doom’s henchmen.
He got up, and straightened his hat.
“Well boys, I guess there’s no other ëadoption’ for us,” he said sombrely, picking his hat off the floor. The weasels worriedly watched him, prepared for whatever his order was and how terrible it might be.
Smart Ass suddenly grinned at them all. “I guess the old Toon Patrol is back in business!” he said, placing his hat on his head. The other weasels looked at him in shock, and then similar smiles lit their faces. This was the Smart Ass they knew.
Greasy stepped forward. “So, boss, what should we do next?”
Smart Ass scratched his chin. “Depends. What’s the current state of our sleeping ëestrangements’?
“The commissioner said our old house hasn’t been inhabited since we last were there, so we could probably head back there.”
”Great,” Smart Ass said. “Have we got a cab?
”Our old paddy-wagon; it was rusting away in a storage locker,” Wheezy told him. “I’d better drive,” He quickly added. “Toontown’s changed a bit since you were last there, boss.”
“Ehh, whatever. I’ll adapt soon enough. Let’s am-scray.” He turned and made for the exit, stopping in the doorway. He suddenly looked at the sleeve of his shirt. “What happened to my suit? Why am I wearing pink?”
Wheezy groaned, and hit his head with his hand. Greasy snickered at him, much to the confusion of Smart Ass. Greasy turned back to face Smart Ass. “Never mind boss, we’ll find you a replacement at home.”
That was good enough for Smart Ass, and he turned back towards the door, the others following him down the hallway to the main doors of the studios. Before long, the entire pack of Toon weasels had left Maroon Cartoon Studios far behind them, and they and their ancient paddy-wagon disappeared into the old Toontown entrance tunnel.


Almaron

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Epilogue

Later that night, in the lounge of their ancient house, Smart Ass sat in his armchair, now clad in a fresh suit, taken from his cupboard. Everything had turned out quite well for him and his team, he thought. As soon as they had returned to their old home, they found that it was in almost the same condition it had been in when they’d left it. Which wasn’t really saying much, but that didn’t matter too much, Smart Ass thought. The wallpaper may have been peeling in more places than normal, and the front door had come off its hinges and landed on Wheezy when they had tried to open it, but otherwise it was the same home they had lived in many years ago, and at least it was still standing.
They had quickly got to work, bringing their house back up to a liveable standard, which mostly meant clearing dust off the main table, and throwing the trash left by various squatters out the windows. Stupid and Psycho had quickly disappeared into the lounge, with a strange box from the back of their car. Greasy had tried to explain it to him, but he hadn’t understood at the time. A tiny movie theatre? Ridiculous! But now, sitting in his chair, watching the tiny box illuminate the otherwise dark room, he had to admit he was impressed. Stupid and Psycho, clearly proud of their work, were both watching the screen intently; Stupid sitting forward on the old couch while Psycho held his feet in his hands, rocking on the floor. As for the others, Greasy had fallen asleep on the couch next to Stupid, and Wheezy was determinedly ignoring the pictures on the screen, instead reading an old newspaper in his own chair.
Smart Ass found himself slightly surprised at the outcome of the day. He had assumed that his story had come to an end in the Acme Factory, many years ago. Yet somehow, fate had given him and his team a second chance on life.
Of course, their problems weren’t over yet. They had a whole new world to adjust to. But they would deal with that tomorrow. They were the Toon Patrol, and they’d been through much worse stuff than this. Smart Ass smiled, closed his eyes, and drifted off to sleep.

The End


Almaron

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Commentary and notes regarding this story:

At one point, I actually toyed with the idea of continuing the story a bit, mainly to deal with the character of Voltaire. In the original scripts of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (in addition to having many more nameless weasels at his command; one of whom even gets shot by Valiant), Judge Doom has a pet vulture named Voltaire that acts as the hood ornament for the Toon Patrol Paddywagon. As far as I know, there's no animation art of him, but there is a depiction of him in action figure form (and he also appears in the BAD LJN game of the same name). In the original script, he alerts Doom after the weasels laugh themselves to death, and eats some ACME pills that make him first shrink, but then grow to a large size. Finally, Valiant hits him with the dip gun and he falls into the vat.

Because he never made it to the film, I was going to have him also working at the Police Station, having been called off sick some time prior to the beginning of the film. I didn't have many ideas of what to do from there (save for having him nest in the attic). I thought the obvious story would be them doing something heroic (saving randoms from a fire or something), but I couldn't think of anything that stood out, so I left it there.

On the topic of abandoned characters, when I designed the house I mentioned, I actually made room for the abandoned Weasel Characters. Apparently, there were originally going to be seven weasels, and they would have been the opposite of the Seven Dwarves. Two got cut in the end; Slimy (concept art shows him as a Greaser who had slime coming out of his mouth and nose) and Flasher (who wore a coat and had no weapon. Just guess...or perhaps don't.). I searched through various making-ofs in the hopes of finding out of character traits I could build on, but nothing really stood out in the end.

However, Slimy and Flasher did make it to a graphic novel in the end; an official semi-sequel to WFRR entitled "The Resurrection Of Doom". In it, not only are Doom's origins revealed (Named Baron Von Rotten, he played the villain in cartoons until a concussion made him believe he really was one), but Slimy and Flasher (plus Ragtag, a new weasel) bring Doom back by reanimating his animation cel (which I used here to resurrect Smart Ass).

Apart from all that, the only other stuff of note is that the TV in the story was only added because I had a mental image of all five watching some crummy show in a lounge prior to writing the story. Also, the Hyenas briefly mentioned in the opening are a nod to Doom's comment in the movie that they had Hyena cousins who laughed themselves to death. So...thoughts on the story?


Nick22

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you did a good job, and Ii learned some things I had not know previously about the film..
Winner of these:


Runner up for these: