Werehamster of London
by Debra Hicks
It was a dark and stormy night. That's such a great line it's too bad that it was in reality a bright, clear Saturday morning. The start of a prefectly planned day. The comforting sounds of Ray making breakfast carried up the stairs, followed by the wonderful smell of fresh bacon. I knew if I played my cards right (and when don't I?) that I could have it in bed. The food that is. Breakfast, a few hours with Ray, lunch, another few hours in bed, dinner...
"Bodie. I need your help."
Since I know teleportation is impossible it came as quiet a surprise when I found myself on the other side of the room with the Browning in my hand. Just as the hammer clicked back my thoughts caught up with the rest of me.
"Dangermouse! What the hell? Are you trying to get shot?" I yelled.
He was staring at me, one eye wide. "I say, nice move."
"Thank you. Can't you ever knock? Suppose I had...Ray and I had been..." He was standing on the window ledge. One day I'm going to remember to close the windows. "And no. Whatever it is, not today."
"This is..." he tried.
"I don't want... ."
"Greenback has Penfold," he stated firmly.
I shoved the gun back in it's holster. "Penfold?" It was useless hoping that I'd heard him wrong.
"Grabbed on his way out for kippers."
The monocular mouse had me. I couldn't leave a mate, even a short mate with a bad wardrobe, in the clutches of that toad. I opened the wardrobe and started dressing.
"Why us?" I complained. "Why, on our first day off since Noah took his cruise, are we the ones you call..." I saw him look away. A sudden suspension arose. "We weren't the first ones?"
"Bond was on holiday."
I shrugged. "Well, second..."
"Steed's in hospital."
"Third?" I said hopefully.
"Callen's in the colonies and Blaise was..."
"Never mind!" I had my pants on, stepped to the door and bellowed, "Ray, get up here."
"What?" Came his lazy reply. "Now?"
"We have company."
Two seconds later he was crouched in the door, absolutely starkers except for a bright red apron hanging low on his hips and a Beretta in his hand. He glanced at me, then at DM. "Hallo, DM." He scanned the room once more (cautious is my Ray) then lay the gun down on the nearest table. Since I was getting dressed he knew something was wrong.
"Greenback has Penfold," I said.
Ray sighed. "Better go get him then, hadn't we?"
"Quiet," DM agreed.
"What?" I slammed the car to a stop, throwing Doyle against his seat belt, throwing DM into the floor, and causing several other drivers to give cruses that probably had my grandfather spinning in his grave.
I looked over as DM crawled back up on the seat. "Greenback is going to do what to Penfold?"
"Turn him into a werehamster."
"Look, DM," I explained slowly, "I accept the fact that you and Penfold are real; I accept the fact that Cowley knows your boss; I accept the fact that we fought a mechanical dog...and a...fake Loch Ness..."
The list sank through, helped by the look of utter hysterics on Doyle's handsome face and the fact that I was talking to a mouse in a white suit with a black eye-patch.
"Which way?" I asked meekly.
Doyle dissolved into a puddle of giggles in the seat.
It was one of those houses you see in vampire movies; old, vine covered, creepy. The only thing it didn't have was a thunderstorm and large kites off the roof. I don't understand why mad scientists have to live in places like this. What's wrong with a nice flat in Brighton? No room for the dungeon, I suppose.
"Remember, don't let Penfold bite you after we find him," DM warned us.
"Why not?" Not that I found getting bit by a hamster to be anything but annoying.
"Come on, Bodie," Doyle scowled. "Didn't you ever see that movie with Lon Chaney?"
"Whoever gets bitten by a werewo...werehamster turns into a werehamster." He looked at me, wearing that silly grin that he has whenever the rodent is involved. "Must admit that seeing you turn into a werehamster might be fun."
"Hang about," I protested. "That's only real were-creatures. This is a fake one. How do we know ... I can't believe I just said that." Not being able to think of anything else stupid to say I contented myself with checking my gun.
DM was doing his own check of a host of gadgets pulled from his belt. Batman has nothing on Dangermouse. I couldn't even begin to guess the purpose of most of them, and really didn't want to know.
"That brings up a rather interesting question," DM pondered. "What is Penfold turning into?"
"Beg pardon?" Doyle said, politely.
"Well, technically with a were-creature the 'were' part refers to the beginning form followed by the cursed form."
My brain was still waiting for breakfast. "What?"
"I get it," Doyle said, and he almost sounded like he did. "A werewolf would be a man, or any creature turned into a wolf."
"Exactly," DM agreed.
"So, Penfold can't be a werehamster." I was catching on. "Since that would be a hamster turning into a hamster."
"So Penfold is a werewolf." Doyle concluded.
"And Lon Chancey's probably doing the same thing as my grandfather," I concluded. I didn't explain and no one asked.
"All of this is not getting Penfold back," the white wonder said. (White wonder, do you believe that one?)
"You're the one brought it up," I protested.
Ignoring me the mouse did his by now famous Cowley impression. "We will go in with a three pronged attack. Doyle will take the south, I'll go north and Bodie, the west. We shall enter at ground level and work our way down. We'll keep in touch through those quaint little remotes you two carry."
"Know better ways to keep in touch." I whispered as I patted Ray's ass.
Both of them gave me a dirty look.
"Be careful. Greenback likes elaborate traps. There may also be other creatures around," DM finished.
"Let's go get 'em," I said in my incredibly good John Wayne impression.
DM quirked the one visible eyebrow at me. "Oh, very good, can you do anyone besides Bogart?"
Doyle was snickering as we separated. I tried to look offended. At least John Wayne had the cavalry. What do I have? The white wonder and the bionic golli.
On the other hand I can't see John Wayne kissing Ray. Errol Flynn maybe. Kissing Ray that is, not John Wayne. That thought conjurored up several interesting, rather erotic pictures of Ray in green tights and leathers. By the time I had reined in my active imagination I had reached the house. With a sickening feeling of time wasting I realized just how big a house can be when you are looking for a hamster (werehamster?), a toad and a pet caterpillar.
With dreams of a day of debauchery dissolving quickly I decided to make a fast, silent entrance and get this over with. I picked the window lock with flawless precision, raised the glass, slipped in, tripped on the rug and crashed into the dinning table. Fortunately no one, especially of the Doylian or rodent kind were there to see me. Unfortunately, someone of the amphibian kind must have since I had just gained my feet when the floor disappeared out from under them.
I don't mean it fell in like a trap door - it just vanished. It has always been Doyle's claim that the reason I get away with so much is that I don't believe it can't be done until I prove it for myself by not doing it. What this all leads to is that there was a fraction of a second where I did a fantastic Bugs Bunny impression and hung in mid-air. My mistake was in looking down. The feet immediately started down but I managed to let out with one very impressive scream before the rest of me followed.
Thinking quickly I twisted trying to find a good, (soft) landing spot. Luck was with me as I spotted the water below, not even that far of a fall really. The only draw back was that to hit the water I would first have to get pass the crocodile. (Where did Greenback get a croc in the middle of England?) Figuring that it was time for another window rattler I took a breath.
"Aay..." Something tightened around my waist and I jerked to a stop. "Bodie?!" Ray yelled down at me from above.
"What the hell..." I was slowly cranked up. Below me the crocodile snapped loudly.
Ray grabbed my hands and jerked my arse up to the ledge. "Bloody hell, Bodie, you trying to play Captain Hook?"
I didn't reply, since I was too busy examining the gossamer thread that had saved me from becoming Bodie pate'.
"Lovely stuff, isn't it? Prof whipped it up for me just for this missions." A black spider hung directly in front of me.
"Gentlemen," DM said, "I'd like you to meet Agent 57, Colonel K's master of disguise."
"Always a privilege to meet fellow professionals." The spider had a decidedly strong accent. "I say, DM, the little fellow is being held in the sub-basement. The green baddie is down there as well."
"Let's press on then!" DM said with that British paunch that conquered an empire and makes me nauseous. "This time I think we'll stay together." He tugged at the gossamer thread that had saved me. "Wouldn't want anyone hanging about on their on."
A scathing comment was what I needed. "Ha. Ha." (Scathing comments usually come to mind about two days after you need them.)
We pressed on. Ten minutes later, and no nearer the basement my blood pressure was climbing right through the stratosphere. Every second was getting further into my well-planned day, the mouse was getting right up my hooter and Doyle was deliberately walking very...blatantly in front of me. I was vaguely considering what our eye-patched leader would think if I threw Ray down in the hall and .... fortunately we turned a corner and were confronted by three steel doors.
"So much for staying together." I smiled, feeling vindicated without really having reason.
DM was non-plussed. "Right! I'll take the right, Doyle the middle, Bodie the left. On the count. One, two, three!"
We charged the doors, slammed against them, bounced back, hit each other and landed in a heap arse first on the floor. I stood up and rubbed my bruised pride, reached over and rubbed Doyle's. He glared at me.
"I say, old chap," I asked the mouse, "anymore brilliant ideas."
"Ah, yes." Without missing a beat he leapt up, landing on the door knob of the center door, whipped out a pick and within two seconds the door sprang open. He dropped down and started toward the second door.
"Why the hell didn't you do that before?" I demanded.
"The other way makes for a much better entrance." The last door opened. "Yes, well, in we go. Do be careful."
Despite the glare I knew it would earn me I leaned over and kissed Ray lightly on the lips. He smiled at me instead, ran a hand lightly over my arse. "Still got the afternoon," he whispered.
With guns drawn, at least Ray's and mine, we disappeared into the inky, dangerous darkness on the other side of our respective doors. (Good turn that.) I ventured in, an inch at a time. My hair stood up. There was someone (something?) in the room.
"Penfold?" I started feeling along the wall for a light switch. This strange, almost growl sounded somewhere off to the right. "Penfold?" I refused to admit that my voice had gained an octave.
I flicked a switch and yellow light flooded the room, just in time to let me see this brown, wool suited form lunge at my ankle. (A step up from tweed, anyway.) It was Penfold, almost. He was taller, maybe six inches rather than three, and had gained enough girth that he had split the suits coat and shirt. Incredible Hulk, eat your heart out. (Why is it never the pants?)
"Penfold!" He didn't respond, just got closer to my ankle. "Penfold, will ..." I reached down to stop him and suddenly found myself looking down on the room from somewhere near the ceiling. The floor met me half way down. I rolled over and Penfold, the original was standing next to me.
"Crumbs! Where did you come from, Mr. Bodie?" He took a step forward. I took an inch backward. Hoping the R/T wasn't smashed I eased it out. "I'm very glad to see you, Mr. Bodie. It's been a most remarkable day. I was on my way for kippers this morning, over to a lovely shop on..."
"Doyle, DM," I said calmly, "I've (got?) found Penfold."
"...Hyde Lane near West Tapper when this amazingly bright green flying motorbike zoomed by and snatched me. Picked me right up off the ground. Well, I tell you..."
I stood up. "Right. Let's go find..."
The wall stood up and slapped me across the face, fortunately the floor caught me before I could hurt myself. I turned around, Penfold was closing with me, only it wasn't Penfold, again. (?) I scrambled up fast but the little, larger than normal hamster zipped up, grabbed my leg and threw me into the opposite wall. It took me a minute to notice that the R/T was still in my hand.
There were numerous options open to me at this point. Unfortunately, I could only think of three of them. I could run like a very agile rabbit into the hall and hope that I didn't run into any more cast rejects from Peter Pan; I could be noble and warn Doyle and DM not to come in, so that I was the only one who ended up kissing the wall paper or my personal favorite...
"Yell all you like, Mr. Bodie. It won't help." A very nasal, very familiar voice announced.
I stayed down, saw Penfold the Real staring at our little, slimy green foe. "Why Baron Silas Greenback," I said calmly, "what a surprise."
I noticed the door behind him was closed. I couldn't help but notice since Penfold phased out again and threw me against it. I had about had my fill of meeting the architecture personally. I didn't mind quiet as much this time since it put me behind Greenback and next to the door. And Penfold was Penfold, again.
"Come on, Penfold!" I yelled as I reached for the doorknob. But a strange thing happened. This time the doorknob, (electrified, I should have suspected it) threw me back in the direction I had come from. I bounced off the wall and landed at Penfold's feet.
"Enough, is bloody well enough!" The Browning was in my hand and pointed at the Baron. "First you will put Penfold back to normal, or as close as he usually comes, second you are going to open this door and third you are going to come with me and surrender to DM."
"Oh, really, Mr. Bodie," he snickered, "how melodramatic."
"We'll see how melodramatic it is when I let loose with the whole clip." I said in my most menacing voice, clinking back the hammer.
He laughed again, so did his caterpillar, which is incredibly annoying. "You have forgotten my secret weapon."
"What?" I asked a little nervously.
"Get him, Penfold!"
I had the gun in my hand and the toad in sight. I pulled the trigger. Two things happened - Penfold grabbed my leg and the gun went off. These two events immediately caused three more events, (equal actions and all that) the bullet whizzed passed Greenback who had the decency to yelp, bounced off the brick wall, zinged back by me and shattered the door lock. That was one. Two was me grabbing Penfold, the were version, by the scruff of the neck and three was exercising the better part of valor and running like a scared hare.
"Stop him!" The Baron yelled.
Not being sure what he was yelling at reminded me of the old saying about not looking behind you because something might be gaining. I kept moving. Werefold, uh, Penfold, was doing his damned all best to twist around and snap me one but I had him tight between thumb and forefinger so he wasn't getting very far. I took a hard right, refusing to admit that I didn't have the slightest idea of where I was going. As I flew pass one of the many halls (Is it possible for a place to be bigger on the inside than the out? Nah.) a familiar voice screamed my name.
I tried to stop but momentum was working against me. My boots keep going on the waxed floor even as the rest of me tried to stop. The result was a slide that would have done an American baseballer proud. This would have been embarrassing but nothing else if it hadn't been for the unfortunate placement of a statue between me and my chosen landing site. I hit the statue with a jolt...and disaster struck. Okay, disaster really struck when I forgot to close the window that morning but this was a real serious sort of disaster. Somehow Penfold sailed out of my hand, the statue tipped and before I could do anything fell on the little beast.
Doyle and DM were suddenly next to me. Doyle was picking me up and I vaguely heard him asking if I was okay. I managed to look up into the puzzled green eyes. He couldn't figure out what I was upset about.
"Penfold, was under..."
"Crumbs! What a mess!" This high pitched voice whistled from somewhere near my right foot. "Are you alright, Mr. Bodie? That was quiet a slide. Boom! And the way that statue fell over. Well, its a great good thing that no one was under it..."
"Penfold?" I questioned.
DM sighed. "I say, steady on Penfold. We still have to get out of here."
"Oy, right, DM."
"Hold it!" I leaned over and looked very closely at the small brown shape in round glasses. "If you're Penfold, then who the hell was that kept throwing me around the room back there?"
Doyle had stepped passed me. "Let's see." He lifted the statue off whatever it was. A very smashed piece of hamster shaped machinery lay under the marble.
DM stared at me.
"Drat," I amended. I should have known it wasn't the real bloke. The suit was too nice. "Why make a mechanically WerePenfold?"
"Ah well, knowing the Baron as I do it was probably to convince us that he could turn agents into monsters so that he could then blackmail us into giving him whatever he wanted," DM explained.
"But while you were playing with the fake hamster, DM and I found the real basement, rescued the real Penfold then came and rescued you."
"Rescued?" I demanded. "I was on my way out!"
"With the fake Penfold," the mouse said, "which is what the Baron wanted."
"Yeh, well, if it hadn't been for that statue," I reminded them. "we would have all been in trouble."
"Well, let's not stand here discussing it," Doyle said. "Let's go round up Greenback."
"Too late for that I should think," DM said. "Baron Greenback is not known for staying around when a spanner shows up in his works."
I almost cheered. A quick glance at the Superman watch told me that at least the afternoon in bed was salvageable. I grabbed Doyle by the hand and headed down the hall.
"I say, Chief," I heard Penfold say, "he's going in the wrong direction."
"Yes, I know, Penfold," DM sighed.
Ray was chuckling. I ignored him, turned around and followed the one-eyed spy out.
I was kissing Ray before we got the door completely closed. He laughed, pushed me away. "Shower first then bed."
"Okay." I looked down at the slight cut on my thumb. Ray noticed my gaze.
"How'd you do that?"
"Don't know. Think that fake Penfold bit me." I managed to look a little panicked. "Ray, you don't suppose..."
"Twit. It was a fake werewolf."
"I thought you said it'd be cute to see me as a werehamster." I glanced at my injured appendage. An evil thought was growing by leaps and bounds. "May I should talk to DM about this, what with full moon only a couple nights away."
"Bodie!" Ray threw up his hands and headed for the bedroom. He exits that way quiet a lot since getting involved with a certain tall, dark and handsome CI5 agent.
The minute Ray was out of the room I went for the phone directory, flipping to the D's. On the third ring a high pitched voice answered. "Penfold, Bodie. You wouldn't happened to know a large hamster that would like to pick up a few quid on the next full moon night, would you?"
-- THE END --