Date: Sun, Jun 30, 1996 4:32 PM EDT

From: Edmundkaz

Subj: CHAPTER ONE

To: FifiOToole, SecraTerri, Bottlenekk

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"Where does a man get a cool refreshment and a video rental in this noisy god-fersaken town?"

Indeed, Trailer Town was particularly noisy and more than a tad "god-fersaken" as Private Detective Frank Lee Peking stumbled off the Greyhound on this blindingly hot day in late June, the blue bus fumes burning his dried nostrils.

This case was "make or break" time for the small-time-penny-ante-loser detective.

It seems that Tom Brokenjaw, the greatly venerated reporter of UBC Slightly News, had mysteriously disappeared from his hotel room in Baton Rouge while working on a story about Geraldo Rivera's possible affiliation with the CIA.

And Frank Lee had a lead! But he was not about to share it with anyone. Not just yet.

Suffice it to say, Mr. Brokenjaw was BORN in Trailer Town, although all his bios firmly state Bangor as his place of origin. The dead giveaway is that everyone in T Town fails to pronounce their "l's" ... much in the same way that Tom Brokenjaw fails to pronounce HIS 'l's". A true native always says, "I'm from Traiyer Town!"

But the T Town-fathers have always forgiven him this slight (or "syight"), since he regularly gives money to "Silence of the Wickers" charity that distributes ear-plugs free of charge to the sick, elderly, and infirmed as protection from the painful "crunch" sound that permeates the summer months when everyone's windows are open.

Frank Lee was on that bus for HOURS, seated next to a most unsightly fellow named Caspar Mouse, a man who plainly REEKED of Hai Karate aftershave. Revelling in self-importance, Caspar talked non-stop (with a curious accent that at times sounded like Jose Jimenez and other times like Jimmy Stewart) to Frank Lee for the ENTIRE fourteen hour trip from Baton Rouge.

When Frank Lee managed to get a word in edgewise to inquire about the "essence" that was emanating from his person, Caspar solemnly intoned that his cellar was FULL of the stuff; he'd won it after taking third-place in the "Hai Karate Haiku Contest" in 1971.

*First Prize: 5 Free Bottles of Hai Karate

*Second Prize: 70 Free Bottles of Hai Karate

*Third Prize: a LIFETIME SUPPLY of Hai Karate

"Ya wanna hear my third-place Haiku?"

"Not really..."

"Ok here it is....

After I shave me

Girls will smell me and love me

Hai Karate: YES! "

As the prose flew from his lips (as well as a substantial bit of saliva) Frank Lee gazed at the misplaced sincerity on the face of this Caspar Mouse individual.

Suddenly a huge light went off in his head:

"I've found my SIDE-KICK!"

"Hey Caspar? Ya wanna make THIRTY TWO DOLLARS?"

"Why SURE! I could use thirty two bucks!" Caspar replied enthusiastically.

Then just as quickly, he furrowed his brow, causing hair number three to fall down the center of his face only to be quickly swept back by his right hand.

"What do I have to DO?"

"You have to be my sidekick, you know, like Gabby Hayes, like Burt Ward, like Paul Shaeffer, like Huntz Hall, like ...."

"Like KATO KAELIN???"

Caspar had always been enamored with Mr. Kaelin, both by his endless piles of flaxen hair and his proclivity toward "babe magnetism."

"Yeah yeah, like Kato Kaelin. You COMIN' or WHAT?"

Agreeing that it would be best to walk on opposite sides of the street, in order to avoid suspicion (and to give Caspar time to "air out") they walked briskly down Magnolia Avenue and made a sharp left into Videe-Go.

Courtney Bombeck was inside, lingering in the Steve Gutenburg section. She had just dropped Cale off to begin his work day. The unmistakable wheezing sound of the sticker-machine could be heard in the back room.

When Frank Lee first laid eyes on her, Courtney was strawlessly sipping a Lime Slurpee. She was depressed and vulnerable, the direct result of a terrible argument she just had with Nesushi. It was the usual debate: Who was more consistently funny— Ziggy or Beetle Bailey? Ever since Nesushi sold a gas grill to the vacationing Mort Walker a year ago last May he'd been unable to maintain an unbiased perspective when it came to the funny papers.

Courtney steadfastly maintained that Beetle Bailey was forever "gimmicky and redundant." The strip never took the opportunity to address important issues like gays in the military, or the problems of returning Viet Nam Veterans. She went on to argue that the discipline needed to evoke wistfully thought-provoking humor from a "single-panel" strip was what made Ziggy so incredibly special—a "national treasure" if you will.

That last pronouncement caused Nesushi's blood to boil. And when Nesushi shouted derisively, "At least Beetle wears PANTS!!!" that was it for Courtney. She stormed out without paying for her Slurpee and leaped into her car, vowing NEVER to set foot in T Town Grocers again.

As she fired up the Matodor, a concerned Cale turned to her and said, "What's the matter Mom?"

"SHUT UP YOU LITTLE BASTARD! AND TAKE OFF THAT DAMN SWEATER! IT'S SUMMER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!"

Cale sat in stunned silence, seeking comfort in his usual way by running his fingers through the wool of his cardigan.

Courtney had reached a crossroad in her life; She needed something new, something exciting, something DANGEROUS....

That something was standing right in front of her in the Bruce Willis section.

That something was Frank Lee Peking.

And he was THIRSTY. DAMN IT.

END OF CHAPTER ONE...

And the author of CHAPTER TWO is:

{{{ahem}}}}

the erstwhile SecraTerri

Thank you and good night!



Chapter Two!

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