Monday, November 1, 2010

The Most Magical Place on Earth - Fiction

If you love all things Disney and have no sense of humor, stop here and now. This tale is loosely based on real events from many years ago. For those still reading, I hope you enjoy. - Author

It all started innocently enough. Dearest wanted to plan a vacation to Disney World and was wise enough to broach the subject as I was on my first cup of coffee for the day, the time where I hear only every third word said. Instead of stopping the insanity there and then, I grunted and nodded. Several thousand dollars later, I found myself in a van with my loving family bound for sunny central Florida.

The trip to the Sunshine State was long but uneventful. We first went to St. Augustine since Dearest had heard there was a store where we could purchase something called “Pal Mickey” for a discount price. For the uninitiated, this is a Mickey Mouse with a microchip shoved into its nether regions that receives signals from transponders around the parks, providing helpful hints and trivia. A six-foot-tall Donald Duck greeted us at the door, and I went to purchase Pal Mickey while my family waited in the first of many lines for his picture. By the time I had fought through the throngs and made my way to the register, my precious four year old had got up to the duck. He held onto her shoulders while the first of many over–priced photographers snapped her picture. However, the duck kept his hold on my little princess. Warily, I watched the foul fowl with one eye while I made sure the non–English speaking cashier didn’t short–change me with the other. As I started to move away from the counter, the duck subtly pulled my daughter closer to him and turned his big yellow bill towards me. I took another step away from the counter and I swear it hissed at me. I stepped back to the counter and picked up several souvenir pens and another autograph book. He loosened his hold a little but kept her with him. He released her only after I'd spent another $50.00.

I tried to relay my concerns as we got back on the road, but of course Dearest wouldn’t hear of such a thing. Disney was about magic and children and wholesome family fun. They would never let something like money interrupt their mission to provide joy. She chalked it up to my imagination or my aversion to spending money. Eventually, I dismissed the whole scenario. Perhaps she was right. With a new determination to enjoy the vacation for my children’s sake, we completed our journey to the Magic Kingdom.

Upon arriving at our resort, we discovered that Disney was hosting one of its large conventions. This one happened to involve several thousand pre–teen cheerleaders and pee–wee football players. And of course, many had found lodgings in our resort. Further checking revealed they would be staying the same length of time as we. This added a bit of tarnish to my normally pleasant, agreeable nature. After 30 minutes of trying to navigate the resort’s food court, we decided to travel to another resort for the customary vacation buffet. Thankfully, the food was excellent, since we all worked up quite an appetite waiting in line more than ninety minutes before we secured a table.

Our first morning in the Happiest Place on Earth found us at the gates of the Magic Kingdom. I passed the hour–long wait (since we simply had to be the first in line) by laughing at the security officers that strolled just on the other side of the turnstiles. For some reason, I find it very difficult to take someone seriously when they have Mickey’s smiling face emblazoned on their shoulder. The day went along well, with the typical Florida sun and a slight breeze making the weather tolerable. I took cigarette breaks when Dearest decided to peruse the plentiful gift shops. I avoided this practice at all costs, even when most every single ride made its egress into its very own. I’m not a communist, far from it. However, I do have certain moral and ethical issues paying 300% mark–ups on pieces of plastic.

As we went from line to line…er…ride to ride, I began to notice that many of the loveable costumed characters seemed to be paying more and more attention to me. They would stand and stare at me for minutes at a stretch while they were supposed to be paying attention to the clamoring hordes of children vying for their autographs. Creepy. I chalked this feeling up to over–eating at the $30 a person lunch buffet and tried to ignore the plastic eyes of the six-foot woodland creatures. After a day of $5 bottles of Coke, $8 cups of coffee and standing in lines of squealing pre–adolescent cheerleaders we returned to our resort on dangerously over–crowded busses, where I watched grown men stay in their seats while women and children stood holding onto overhead bars for dear life as the trams careened this way and that through the resort areas.

The second day dawned. Dawned is actually an overstatement, since every day at Disney always starts at 5 a.m. We repeated our transportation ordeal and arrived at the Animal Kingdom, a euphemism for expensive fucking zoo. Dearest had already made plans to make a serious dent in the shops so I had outfitted myself with the stylish backpack that tells all other men "please God, shoot me". With the video camera, digital camera, 35 mm camera and the usual accessories, Japanese tourists were actually taking pictures of me. But I digress.
After a few attractions, most of which involved accidentally hitting scores of cheerleaders with my over–laden backpack, the rest of my family made off for the shops. I decided to go for a cigarette while they did this, taking my wallet with me (this wasn’t my first rodeo, people). It’s not my fault that Disney’s draconian regulations restrict smoking to exactly 3 square feet of a 2,000 acre park, far from any shopping areas.

My teenage stepdaughter had clipped Pal Mickey to my backpack before we had separated. As I sat amoking with the other cast–offs, Pal Mickey came alive and told a series of very old jokes. After the jokes, I had the sudden urge for shopping. Just as I stubbed my butt a hand grabbed my arm. I turned to find a very haggard man. His hair was wild and his beard nearly touched the ground. He waved his other hand in front of my face to display his fat wallet. “Don’t go…” the old man hissed at me. “It’s a trick! The blasted Pal Mickey! He uses subliminal messages to make you buy things… useless things… over-priced things!”

I dismissed him as an over-zealous employee (many pardons, but I absolutely refuse to call them “cast members”. They perform a service for their employer and are compensated for their time. This makes them “employees”, not members of a summer stock company.). Then he snatched the adorable Mickey from my pack and unzipped its back. Intrigued, I allowed him his dementia while he fiddled at the back with a tiny screw driver. Moments later, he squeezed Mickey’s stomach. What came up sounded like a record (that’s a disc, made of vinyl… just in case the reader may have no frame of reference) being turned backwards. But instead of the satanic messages I expected to hear, I heard the distinct chant of “buy…buy…buy…” I was shocked to say the least. Unfortunately, before I could get more from him the Mouse Police showed up. The old man threw the Mickey at me and ran off screaming into the Tree of Life, the blue–shirted security officers hot on his tail. I watched for a moment and worried for him, figuring they would catch him easily at the long line. But the old man had apparently been residing in the park long enough to learn a few tricks. While the guards hit the throngs of cheerleaders, the old man whipped out a Fast Pass and was ushered along the handicapped lane. I knew my family would never believe my story and that I would have to play it cool for the next few days before we could make our escape. After I met up with my family (Dearest of course had money for her shopping that she had been squirreling away for months), I realized that I was being followed. They tried to be sly of course, but a seven-foot-tall Tigger hiding behind a 3 foot tall rack of trading pins is difficult to miss. At dinner, Woody from Toy Story sat at a table across from us, and this time his holster wasn’t empty. He sat and thumbed the hammer of his silvered Colt Peacemaker while I finished my coffee and didn’t leave until I left a 30% tip for a serve–yourself buffet.

After dinner my family wanted to hop over to the Magic Kingdom for some special Christmas festivities and I elected to return to the resort alone. It was well that I did. When I returned, I found the door open. I entered cautiously and found Hercules, Buzz Lightyear and Woody, this time armed with a Winchester, waiting for me. Buzz and Hercules grabbed me and slammed me down in a chair while Woody covered me with the lever-action. The TV came on and showed a dark silhouette seated behind a massive desk. An incredibly high–pitched voice chuckled at me through the speaker as a bulbous pair of yellow boots slung up onto the desk in the swath of light from the bankers’ lamp on the desk.

“My associates tell me that you haven’t spent the customary 40% of your yearly earnings at the souvenir shops…” the voice whined. “That’s not being a very good Mouseketeer.”

The other characters laughed until the voice cleared its throat, a sound very akin to a giggle. But the Disney heroes fell instantly silent from it. I made to speak, but Buzz hit me smartly on the top of the head with his heavy - gloved fist. “The Big Cheese didn’t say you could talk yet…” he growled. Woody worked the rifle’s lever, the unmistakable sound quieting me.

“And bad Mouseketeers have a habit of meeting… unfortunate ends. Now, you don’t want to be a bad Mouseketeer, do you?” the Big Cheese said. I shot a quick look at the plastic cowboy and found the rifle leveled at my chest. I bit back the various epitaphs raging on the tip of my tongue and shook my head “no”. The voice chuckled as the silhouette shifted in its seat enough to reveal the black edge of a large, round ear into the light. “Of course you don’t. There’s a good boy. Now, you’ll be at MGM tomorrow. You be sure to buy some nice things to take home. We wouldn’t want anything… bad… to happen to a good Mouseketeer like you, would we?”

Woody kept me covered while the pair released me with Herc’ taking a swipe at my jaw in his passing and the TV went dark as the three goons left the room. I got up and checked my reflection in the mirror to find a classic Mickey shape in the form of a swelling bruise where the demi-god had rabbit-punched me. I had to do something. But what could I do that wouldn’t endanger my family? They were completely oblivious to the dark underbelly of this place. After my family returned, I explained the bruise away by saying the bus ride had been rough and I had fallen against a decorative Mickey. The laughter at my expense was better than trying to explain to my family that their version of Eden was actually a front for an insidious, globe–spanning crime syndicate.

I slept uneasily and woke before the rest. I made my way to the resort food court, hoping to fill my coffee before the thousands of squalling cheerleaders descended. It was thankfully deserted when I poured my mug and went out onto the simulated docks to have my morning cigarette. The sun hadn’t risen yet as I leaned on the rail overlooking the deserted paddle boat fleet, enjoying the quiet before yet another busy, even dangerous, day at the Happiest Place on Earth. As I smoked, a small yellow bird landed on the railing a few feet away. It regarded me with impossibly huge eyes and shuffled its big orange feet, revealing a small bit of folded paper. It cast a glance over its wing and flew off just as a pair of Siamese cats came out of the shadows towards us. The cats stopped and glared at me for several moments, then slinked back into the darkness. I waited a few minutes then casually plucked the piece of paper from the railing. Back inside the room, I unfolded the paper.

Need help? Send a postcard to

BB c/o WB

I quickly shoved the paper into my pocket as I heard my four year old start to wake the rest of the family for this day’s descent into hell. If she ever learned what a horrible place this really was, it would shatter her tiny world. Not wanting to quash her dreams (nor pay for the exhaustive therapy such a thing would surely require), I had to find a way to both resist these loveable thugs yet still maintain the illusion for her sake. It is simply not in my nature to succumb to such pressure to the point of my own personal safety.

We spent our third day at MGM. I made a point to separate from my family as much as possible. If something were to happen, I didn’t want them caught in the crossfire. Throughout the day, every security guard and costumed character I passed paid more than cursory notice to me. I made a show of stopping at various shops and kiosks, feigning interest in their incredibly over–priced and self–aggrandizing wares though buying nothing. Each time I came away from these places empty-handed the cashiers would make little marks on clipboards or talk into their sleeves or watches. I had to hand it to Disney. As corrupt and devious as they may be, they certainly had their act together when it came to market research and pressure sales techniques.
After ducking several street vendors and more than a few stare–downs with Sorcerer Mickey and Donald Duck (not to mention a near–incident after Jiminy Cricket tried to trip me with his damn umbrella), it was late afternoon. Disney wasn’t succeeding in draining me through its shops, but it was doing a fine job with cold drinks and meals. Apparently though, the Big Cheese didn’t count that small fortune towards my forced tithe.

After a very good and extremely over–priced meal, we found ourselves standing in line at the Star Wars–themed thrill ride. Several characters were out to entertain the masses waiting like slaughterhouse cattle in the long lines. I have been a life–long Star Wars fan, and even I was happy to see a very authentic Darth Vader stride from the depths of the attached gift shop to stroll among the crowd. Now it‘s true that Disney expects their employees to stay in character, and I expected the Lord of the Sith to act aloof and imperious. I didn’t expect him to suddenly draw saber and come at me, the unmistakable hum of the fantasy blade slicing the air just above my head as I ducked (I guess when you have the kind of money Disney has for R&D, a working light saber is not necessarily out of the question). I shot a quick glance at Dearest and she returned with a warning look to play along with this “crowd show”. Obviously oblivious to the entirely real threat to my life and with my little one looking on, I had no choice but to play their game. After several passes of the blade I realized that Darth was pulling his attacks. Disney would never allow me to be hurt with witnesses around. But I got their message loud and clear. The crowd applauded his attempts to separate my head from my neck as he stopped and made a sweeping bow.

I feigned a headache and left my family so that I could rest then hopped one of the death busses and made my way to the resort. Stopping in the gift shop, I actually made a purchase, a $6.00 postcard with a big picture of the Big Cheese on the front. I scribbled the address the little birdy had left me and dropped it into the US Mail outside the resort. I felt foolish, but I had to do something. It was one thing to use cute forest creatures and little girls’ fantasies to build a financial empire, but it was another to corrupt the image of Darth Vader. That sort of thing had to be avenged. I returned to a thankfully empty room and slept warily throughout the rest of the night. We would be in Epcot the next day, and something told me that I would need every bit of rest I could get.

We started the day in Norway at one of Disney’s character breakfasts, this time with the famed Disney Princesses. I won’t even go into the rationale behind how the diverse princesses all know each other, or exactly what kingdoms they represent. Regardless, my two daughters thoroughly enjoyed the event. Just after the waitress raped my wallet I excused myself to have a smoke outside. It was still early in the parks and the rest of the nations hadn’t opened yet, so the alley beside the restaurant was deserted. As I leaned against the building, a small service door opened beside me. Princess Jasmine poked out her head like a scared rabbit, shoved a receipt in my hand then ducked back inside. I likewise scanned the alley then peeked at the back of the receipt. Scrawled there were two simple words; “Help us”.

What could I possibly do to help anyone? Unarmed and faced with armed cowboys and saber–wielding Jedis, there was little I could do. As I stood there, I saw another door open farther down the mock alleyway. Out of instinct I slipped into the doorway where Jasmine had been and peered around the jamb. The Princesses came out the further door, ringed by the Seven Dwarves. The Dwarves looked around warily and constantly spoke into their wrists (except Dopey. He had the sub–machine gun) as they ushered the young ladies into one of the numerous “Cast Member Only” doors placed throughout the park.

I waited until the barn–style doors closed before I crept down the alley. I gently pushed on the door and found it unlocked (perhaps it had been a bad idea to have Dopey bring up the rear after all). Despite my better judgment, I slipped through the door to find a small path that twisted away and disappeared around a bend. I looked up just as a security camera started to swing my way and I dove behind a bush. If they knew I was here, away from witnesses, I had a feeling I would no longer be considered a “good” Mouseketeer. I waited for the camera to swing away from me before breaking from the bushes and moving around the bend. Staying to the sides of the path, I used the foliage as concealment at each passing of the security cameras. After a few hundred yards I finally came upon a squat, windowless cinderblock building with only one door. I approached cautiously and tried the knob. It turned easily and opened into a small room with a large cylinder in the middle of it. I had gone too far to turn back now, so I slipped in and approached the center. Upon closer examination I found it was actually an elevator. I pressed a button and the door slid open to reveal the car. There were only 2 buttons on the control panel; an up and down arrow. I pushed the down arrow and waited as the door closed and the car slid into the depths of Epcot.

I exited the elevator into a long hallway dimly lit by naked, hanging bulbs. If there were any cameras here, they would be sure to see me. With nothing to be helped, I cautiously made my way down the corridor. A door appeared up ahead, the soft sounds of a woman weeping coming through its barred window. I crept up to the door and peeked past the bars. I had found where they kept the Princesses between appearances, it seemed. The room had several hard cots bolted prison–style to the walls with dark forms lumped onto them. Faded pictures of various Princes’ and castles were scattered along the walls and their formal gowns were neatly hung on a rack to the side of the room. The rest was lost to shadow. Suddenly, a multitude of bright lights came up. I ducked and blinked away the stabbing light then peeked again. Several well–lit vanities came to life along the far wall. The Princesses had scrambled from their bunks and were crowding around the vanities, hurriedly applying their make–up and fixing their hair. As I watched, Jasmine suddenly caught my reflection in her dressing mirror. She bolted away from the vanity to the door, her face pushed up against the bars.

She begged me to release them, help them escape. With no plans, weapons or even the slightest idea of where I was, releasing them now would only mean capture for us all. I promised her that I would call the authorities, but she stopped me. Disney owned the law enforcement community from Miami to St. Augustine. Any report to them would be neatly discarded. She continued to beg and plead, quieting only when I told her that her noise would surely bring their handlers. She begged me to release them before Saturday, otherwise known as “Harem Night”, the night where the Big Cheese and several of his cronies would… well... I would not offend the reader’s delicate sensibilities by relating her exact words, but let's just say there are reasons why Goofy and the Big Cheese wear pants (and conversely, why Donald does not). Jasmine told me a few directions to use the tunnels to get back to the surface without being discovered, and it was with heavy heart that I left them there while the shuffling of 14 dwarf feet sounded from down the corridor. I emerged from the tunnels just outside Spaceship Earth. Using the two–way radios we had packed, I located my family and told them that I had gone off sight–seeing. We had only one day left in this commercial hell, and I still didn’t want to destroy their image of the place. Besides, with all the money I spent on this trip, somebody should get some enjoyment out of it. I decided that I would wait till we left the park and going north before I would contact the authorities about the goings–on here.

The day passed with the accustomed ugly stares and not a few concealed, obscene gestures from the loveable characters. Every time we saw the princesses though, I received more than a few pleading looks. Snow White even kissed my daughter on the cheek, leaving a thick lipstick stain. My only pleasure that day was covertly looking at Donald and holding up my thumb and index finger in the universal accusatory sign for a lack of manhood. He responded to this with his customary rampage of indecipherable words and assaulted my daughter’s Pal Mickey. The crowd thought it was good fun, but the duck and I knew better. My refusal to succumb to their merchandise had apparently become known park–wide. Lines that I stood in always seemed to take longer, and any food that I ordered was always wrong or burnt. Waitresses in restaurants would pass by my empty coffee cup numerous times and the Mouse Police were everywhere. Still worried for my family, I made sure to keep us in well–populated areas and away from any dark corners. Aside from the obvious snubs, little else marred the day and we returned to the resort tired and foot–sore. The “Mousekeeping” staff had set up a cute diorama with my daughters’ various stuffed animals they had brought. Maleficent, one of the evil queens that populate the Princess stories, sat alone on my pillow in her full dragon form, giving me unease as to what I may face on our last day.

We awoke early and made for the Magic Kingdom. After the obligatory expensive character breakfast in Cinderella’s castle (and I won’t even tell you what obscenities the Fairy Godmother made to me) we headed out into the park. We revisited several of the family’s favorite rides and of course all the shops for our last day’s purchases. I performed my usual ducking and purchased a cup of coffee from one of the street vendors, then went for a cigarette. An employee came up to empty the ashtray and dropped yet another note at my feet. I checked the note and read it several times, not believing what was wrote. My morning coffee had been spiked with a slow–acting poison. If I didn’t bring receipts to show that I had bought my share of Disney merchandise to the resort bar by ten o’clock, the poison would kill me shortly afterwards. If I followed their demands, they would give me the antidote. The bastards! First they had defiled Darth Vader, and now, coffee! I went back to the kiosk, but there was a different employee there. Of course, it could all be a ruse. But with everything else I didn’t think it would be. I couldn’t leave to seek treatment at any hospitals and leave my family to their tender mercies and the medical facilities on site would surely be in on the plan. Now a matter of life and death, I knew what I had to do.

I found the rest of my family in the Pirate’s gift shop and went about the aisles looking desperately at the merchandise. I picked up several items and made it as far as the line at the counter before I came to my senses. I would not let them manipulate me this way. There had to be a way to fight back. I put the items down and stumbled out of the shop as a wave of cold sweat washed down my back. This was no ruse. The poison had already started to take effect. But still, I thought of others that would be counting on me. The Princesses, surely, but what about all of the other men that came to this place? They would be financially devastated just as they were trying to do to me. How many millions had they made off us through guilt or assault over the years? I had to strike a blow. The question remained; how?

I checked the time constantly throughout the day and could feel the poison as it worked its own brand of Disney magic deep in my gut. Many of the employees and characters I came across during the day simply smiled and waved. I let them think that they had bested me (and they just may have) and kept my head held high. The rest of the day passed in a blur until the early evening when even Dearest noticed the sweat that ran down my face. I begged off illness and returned to the resort alone once again and fell into a sickly sleep. By the time my family returned and woke me, it was half past nine. I hurriedly left the room, telling them that I needed a cup of coffee.

I made my way to the hotel bar. The place was nearly deserted except for a dark table towards the back. Buzz and Woody were there, flanking the darkened table. Woody had his Winchester and Buzz was armed with some sort of futuristic rifle that I could only assume was lethal. Wafts of pungent cigar smoke drifted out of the darkness, formed into odd–shaped rings reminiscent of the classic mouse silhouette. I stumbled towards the table and stopped as the pair leveled their weapons at me.

“I hear you haven’t been a good Mouseketeer.” the Big Cheese said in his happy, high–pitched voice. If it wasn’t for the poison’s debilitating effects on me, I would've went over the table at him, guards or no. I told him that I despised him and all he stood for, for taking something magical from children and perverting it into something dark and evil. “You sound like that goody–goody Walt… right before I had Goofy whack him. Oh, we could've went on like he wanted, but he refused to see the potential in what we'd spawned. When I brought him the idea for the steamboat character, he took it and ran with it as his own and made me a silent partner. I would've drawn it myself, you see, but having only four fingers is somewhat prohibitive to the arts.”

I could feel tight cramps as they rolled through my gut. So this is how it would end? I had long thought my end would come in a bar, but never one that ran you eight bucks for domestic. The Big Cheese and his cohorts must have noticed my discomfort and laughed. “Still won’t buy anything, huh? You know, the resort gift shop is open till eleven...” An oversized white glove came out of the darkness and set a vial of amber liquid on the edge of the table. “Just buy something and your problem will be taken care of.” I thought about his offer. But try as I might, I still couldn’t make myself go to the gift shop. I stumbled and had to grab the edge of a table to keep myself standing.

“You know…” the mouse said, “I could use someone like you. Donald has been skimming the till, but I didn’t want to delete him without a ready replacement. The children so love that maladjusted duck. I think with some alterations you’d be perfect for the part.” The Big Cheese’s offer sickened me even more. Besides, I would need pants. I shook my head as cold sweat rolled down my face. I knew I didn’t have much time left. My vision swam. I looked over my shoulder at the bartender, but he had been replaced with Goofy, dressed in garb typical of the old–west saloon keep. He downed a shot of bourbon and guffawed at me. The place was so empty you could hear Tinkerbelle fart. But over the pounding of my blood in my ears, I heard heavy footsteps coming into the bar. All eyes turned towards the door. Silhouetted in the light from the arcade next door were two dark figures. Neither was tall, but one of them was particularly low to the ground. I knew without looking that both of the guards’ weapons had moved to the newcomers.

The new arrivals didn’t seem to care as they walked in tandem across the bar and into the light from the lamps over the pool table. I peered at them through pain–squinted eyes and tried to place them. They both wore black suits with white shirts and thin ties under long, black trench coats. The taller of the two sported a rumpled orange cap which stood out against the smartly–tailored suit and he was completely clean shaven and pale. The smaller wore a battered and impossibly large Stetson that sat over a pair of bushy red eyebrows and moustaches that practically touched the floor.

“And just what the hell do you two think you’re doing here?” the Big Cheese asked from the darkness, though now his voice carried an edge of unmistakable fear.

“Garsh, Boss…” Goofy said, his voice shaking, “You didn’t say nothin’ about these guys showin’ up…” he guffawed nervously and tossed down another bourbon.

“Woody…Buzz…show these Warner Brothers clowns what happens when you interrupt the Big Cheese…”

Faster than I had ever seen anyone move, the newcomers threw back their coats. The taller one brought a huge shotgun out from the folds as the smaller slapped leather on a massive pair of .454 Cassul revolvers. One blast from the shotgun utterly destroyed the spaceman’s weapon. A bright flash of blue energy accompanied his howling as whatever powered it blew up in his face. One blast from each of the smaller’s revolvers punched a ragged and bloody hole in each of the cowboy’s hands. They both spun on Goofy just as he was reaching below the bar. The sawed–off shotgun never cleared the edge as lead tore through the gangly dog (at least, I think Goofy is a dog), plastering him against what remained of the mirror behind. Blood and gore spattered against the shards of glass as the punished body slid to the floor in a trail of viscera.

“Anymow of yow boys need a wesson in good mannas?” the taller asked, his speech impediment taking me back to my childhood.

“Well, if’n I sees any more a’ them no good, horse–thievin’ cattle–rustlin’ no goods, why I’ll…”

“Now Sam… you need to be mowe dewicate… we’e not savages, you know?”

“Awright, Elmer… but if’n just one more a’ them greasy little…”

I heard shuffling sounds from the darkness. I was even too weak to dive to the floor for fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back up. Woody and Buzz stood to either side of the Big Cheese’s table with mixed looks of fear and hatred in their eyes. “You’re violating the treaty by coming here.” The Big Cheese said smoothly, all trace of fear gone from his voice.

“You viowated it fiwst, Mickey. You and Bugsy agweed we wouldn’t fweece the pubwic too hard all at once. Enough for evewybody, wemember?”

“I say we just do the miserable varmint right here…” Sam shouted. He dropped the barrels to the floor and fired off an impossible number of rounds from each, propelling him into the air a few feet. Just as the little man landed, a harsh scraping sound made the floorboards to my left thrum. The wood shattered and a pair of white and grey paws came through. A tall rabbit popped out of the hole and dusted off his impeccable pin–striped suit.

“Eh… sorry I’m late, boys… I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque…” Elmer walked over to the rabbit and pulled out a leather cigar case. The rabbit never took his eyes off the dark table and pulled a long, fat carrot from the case. He held it out as the little Texan bit off the green tip violently. The rabbit put the untouched end in his mouth and chewed on it thoughtfully. “Eh…what’s up, Doc’?” he said towards the table. “Why you tryin’ ta’ muscle our agreement?”

“Heh heh…you’re a bit out of place to be threatening me, rabbit.” the Big Cheese said. “The rest of the boys are already on their way. You’ll be fricasseed shortly.”

“Nahhhh… I don’t think so, Doc’. See, neither one of us can afford a war. You’re over extended. Maybe Euro–Disney wasn’t such a good idear, huh? But you still need to be taught a lesson in what happens when you break a contract with Bugsy. Boys, get the rube outta’ here.” I knew that Bugs was talking about me, and I really didn’t mind being called anything at this point. Unable to speak, I pointed weakly to the vial on the table. “Ahh! The ole’ poison in the coffee trick. Elmer?”

The hunter went behind the bar, kicking Goofy’s corpse for good measure, and threw a bottle of Jack Daniels to his cohort. Sam deftly spun the top off the bottle with a practiced thumb and downed the neck of it before handing it to me. “It ain’t nothin’ that a little drink won’t cure.” Bugs said to me. “Now get outta’ here… no sense bein’ a witness to this, now is there?” I nodded weakly, grabbed the bottle tightly and stumbled for the door. I stopped near Elmer and motioned him over. I whispered that when they were done here, there were several young ladies in the caverns behind Norway that would be most appreciative if they were rescued. Sam smiled with tobacco–stained teeth and gave me a hearty “much obliged”.

I went back out onto the fake docks and slumped into a deck chair. I nursed the bottle and lit a cigarette as I heard several shots and screams come from inside the place. The Mouse Police would be here soon, but I doubted that would matter much. Bugs and the rest always seemed to pull through just fine from one cartoon to the next.

The next morning all I had to deal with was an intense hangover and packing for the ride home. As we climbed into the van in the early morning hours for the ordeal of the return home, Dearest asked me how I enjoyed the trip. I told her that it was all right, but next time we would go to Busch Gardens. After all, I had always preferred Warner Brothers.

1 comment:

  1. Universal Orlando is much better than Disney. I was told I wasn't princess enough to eat at the Magic Castle at Disney, but I'm princess enough to eat everywhere in Universal and they have a fast pass that skips all lines at Universal, not to mention Harry Potter kicks Jack Sparrow's behind.