Tangent: Gunsmith Cats - The Case of the Missing Catnip

Inspired by James King's "Gunsmith Cats" Anime Tangent, which was
inspired by Gunsmith Cats by Kenichi Sonoda and DC Comics' Tangent
imprint (created by Dan Jurgens)

Copyright © 1999 by Rob Kelk

An HTML version of this story is available at the Anime Tangents Page,

Hello, everyone. My name's Marshal Gunsmith. (No "western" jokes, please. Trust me, I've heard them all.) In most respects, I'm an average guy - I like looking at pretty ladies, I get along with my sister Karin some of the time, and I've got a steady job. In other respects, I'm decidely _not_ average. First off, I'm an anthromorphic cat. Okay, that is average for where I live and work, but I understand that there aren't any of us on your side of the computer monitor. Yes, I _did_ say "computer monitor" - I know I'm a character in a fanfic. The fellow who's writing about my friends and me thought it would be nice to do a homage to the old Jim Henson TV show "Dog City", so somebody had to be in on the gag. Don't worry - I'm the only one in here that's wise to the secret. Hey, boss! You there? ("Where else would I be, Marshal? I'm writing this thing, after all.") You're not James King! Where's my creator? ("Probably at home, at this time of night. Don't worry - he knows I'm writing this story.") Oh, yeah. He _did_ turn this into a shared world, didn't he? ("Yep. How's everything going in there today?") It's quiet, so far. How long is that going to last, boss-for-today? ("You have to ask?") That's what I was afraid of. Sigh ... ("You may want to get out the quotation marks.") What, I'm about to have a visitor? ("No, your phone just rang.") Let me look at the call display ... Oh no, not _him_ again! "Marshal Gunsmith speaking." "You gotta help me! I've been _robbed_!!! Waaaaaaaah!!!!!" "Get hold of yourself, Sly!" This guy's one of our biggest would-be customers, and our biggest pain in the tail. Despite his name, he's nothing like Sylvester Stallone. He's nothing like _the_ Sylvester the Cat, either - the poor guy's allergic to canaries. "What seems to be missing this time?" "All the catnip from my store, that's what!" This _is_ serious - Sly's been known to misplace a couple of things in his store, but never an entire product line. Besides, Karin's birthday is tomorrow, and we can't celebrate properly without catnip! "You've finally hired yourself a detective agency, Sly. Let me get Rupert and Barkley, and we'll be right over." "Thanks, Marshal."
Mi-YOW! I _hate_ those abrupt scene changes! Don't _do_ that! ("What, you wanted me to waste screens of text on stuff that doesn't matter to the story?") I suppose you've got a point there. Okay, where am I now? ("You're in Sly's store. Rupert and Barkley are in the next aisle over, talking to Sly. See all the empty shelves in front of you?") Yeah ... ("That's where the catnip was stocked.") "Mi-YOW!" "What's wrong, Marshal?" That was out loud, wasn't it? Oops. "This crime - it just hit me emotionally. How are you doing over there, Rupert?" "We're getting nowhere with Mr. Sly. You want to talk to him?" "No thanks. He's a nice guy and all, but I can't bear to talk to him for too long." "What, he makes you all catty or something?" Double Oops. Rupert's a little sensitive about being the only anthromorphic bear in town. Usually, I watch my language better that that ... "Yo, Marshal! Look at this!" Whew! Saved by the dog! "What've you got, Barkley?" "There's some sort of footprints in the dust back here. Any idea what kind of person leaves tracks like these?" "I've never seen anything like _those_ before. I'd almost think they were human tracks, but the toes are all wrong ..." You going to let me in on the secret, boss-for-today? ("What, and short-circuit the whole detective story?") That's what I was afraid of. "Rupert, get your camera over here!" "Sure thing, Marshal." Rupert really knows his stuff. Ten minutes with a camera, and he's got more useful shots than most detectives would get in twenty. I suppose it's time for another abrupt scene change, isn't it? ("Got it in one, Marshal.") Great. Just great ...
Where are we now? Wait, I recognize this place - it's Karin's office. And there's my dear, sweet, loving sister ... "Marshal, just _what_ are you doing? Who said you could take a case from _Sly_, of all people?" That's my sister, all right. "Sister dearest, he's got a real case for us this time." "I'm sure he _thinks_ he has one. How much time are you three wasting on this?" "Cut me some slack here, Karin! It's not like the agency's doing anything else right now -" "That's beside the point, Marshal! A _real_ client could walk through that door at any time." Don't tell me the door's about to open, boss-for-today ... ("Okay, I won't tell you.") You scum. "Excuse me ..." Oh, it's Rupert. You had me worried there ... "What do _you_ want?" "I was looking for Marshal, and Barkley told me he was in here with you. Here's those photos I took earlier today." "Let me see those." Great, now Karin's sticking her nose into this case. She's a great administrator, but she doesn't know a clue from a hole in the ground. Curiosity kills the cat, but it's her curiosity and one of my nine lives ... "Hey, when did one of _those_ blow into town?" "One of what?" "You know what kind of person leaves tracks like these, dear sister?" "I've only seen them once, when I was on a tour of Japan. They're left by a anthromorph that's half cat and half rabbit." Yuck! Why would _anybody_ cross rabbits with us? Oh yeah, I forgot - it's got to be one of those cabbit things that James goes on about. ("You're hot today, Marshal!") Thanks for the vote of confidence. So, what's a cabbit want with catnip? ("That's for me to know and for you to find out.") "Sister dear, would you be a darling and ask your friends in Immigration whether any of these cat-rabbit crosses have entered the country?" "Why should I waste my time on this case, darling brother?" "Because we've already accepted Sly's cheque." "Oh. I guess I'd better get on the phone, then. Get out of my office - I'm working here!" Here it comes ... What, I actually get to _walk_ somewhere this time? ("You said you didn't like the abrupt scene changes.") Hey, thanks! "Marshal, do you think it's a good idea to get Karin involved in this case?" "Why wouldn't it be, Rupert?" "If she finds out what's missing, how's she's going to react?" "The only time I've ever seen her load up on catnip was on her twenty-first birthday. Ever since then, she's used the stuff with moderation. I don't think she'd care if there's catnip for her birthday or not." "So why are you so worried?" "I don't know, buddy. Maybe because the crime doesn't make any sense. From what I've heard, those cat-rabbit crosses like carrots. Why would one of them grab a store's stock of 'nip? They've got no use for it, do they?" "Maybe they're just crazy." "That doesn't make any sense either. All the crazy cat-rabbits are up in Canada, and Immigration doesn't let any of them through the gates. Excuse me, I've got a call." I _do_ like this celphone ... "Marshall speaking." "Hey there, brother." "You've got something already, Karin?" "I sure do! Immigration says there aren't any cat-rabbits in the city legally, but they think one of them snuck across the border last night." "Oh, great. Any more bad news for me?" "Not yet, but I'll try to find some. Bye!" Sometimes my sister scares me.
Hey! You did it again! Okay, where am I now? ("In the garage. Barkley's waiting in the Jeep nearest the door - he's got a map of the cty, with the cabbit's most likely hiding places cirlced.") What! Barkley's in a Jeep _alone_? ("Don't worry! The keys are in _your_ pocket.") Don't scare me like that! "Hey, Barkley, you ready to go?" "Born ready, Marshal!" We have _got_ to tone down that boy's enthusiasm - it'll be the death of him someday ... "So, which of these places do you want to check out first?" "Barkley, get that map out of my face and let me drive. Let's start with the one closest to Sly's store." "Right! That would be the one at the corner of Maltese and Takezaki. Hey, I got me a new rocket launcher!" "Not another one!" "That wasn't my fault, Marshal! It worked just fine the first time!" "Barkley, you keep forgetting that those are one-shot weapons. You just _can't_ use it twice without reloading it." "Oh. Ooohhhhhhhhh ... I get it now! I guess I didn't have to buy a whole new launcher, then!" Great, we get a guest writer and he bases Barkley on that Mihoshi character I've heard about. ("And what's wrong with Mihoshi?") Stop right there! No tangents in this Tangent, boss-for-today! That's where this anthromorph draws the line! ("Okay, okay ... You're there, by the way.") Already? I guess we got all the green lights. Thanks! ("Don't mention it.") "Want me to blow the door, Marshal?" "Let's knock first, Barkley. Hello!!! Anyone home???" _Is_ there anyone home, boss-for-today? "Mii-ya?" I guess so. "Well, hello there, little girl! We're looking for a cat-rabbit cross; have you seen anyone like that around here?" "Barkley, she _is_ a cat-rabbit cross." "Oh." "And now she's slammed the door in our faces. Good move, Barkley." "Does this mean I get to open it now?" Sigh. "Yes, Barkley, it does." "Yahoo!!! Where'd I put that pound of C-4?" Hey, boss-for-today, that's major-league overkill! Barkley's not stupid! ("Right. I suppose I should re-write that line.") I suppose you _should_! "Yahoo!!! Where'd I put that tube of thermite paste?" That's better. "Ah, here it is. A little dab on the lock, add a primer, and stand back ... Hoo-whee! Isn't that pretty!" "Yeah, whatever, Barkley. Let's just get in there and ... What in all the never-emptied litterboxes is _that_?" "I don't know, but I hope whoever's inside it is friendly ..." "MII-YA!!!!!" "Marshal, I think the cat-rabbit's driving that thing!" "Really. What was your first clue, Barkley?" "The voice ..." "I was being sarcastic, Barkley!" "Oh. Distract it, will you? I'll be right back." Great. Just great. Distract it with what? ("Here you go.") Thanks, boss-for-today! "Hello in there! I've got a nice bunch of carrots for you!" "Mii-yaaaaa!!!!!" Oops. ("You were supposed to _throw_ the carrots, Marshal.") _Now_ you tell me. How can I dodge that ... What _is_ that, anyway? ("It's a cabbit mecha.") Wonderful. That thing looks _really_ stupid, boss-for-today. "Marshal! Get out of the way!" "Barkley! What are you ... No! Don't fire that rocket launcher!" "Why not?" "You've got it pointed the wrong way!" "Whoopsie! There, is that better?" "Much better! Okay, I'm clear!" "Right! One away!" Hey, boss-for-today, you _do_ know that Barkley's a rotten shot, don't you? ("Don't worry! That cabbit mecha is the size of a barn!") "Whoopsie! I missed!" ("Barkley really _can't_ hit the broad side of a barn. Wow.") So now what do we do? ("Look where it did hit.") It hit a pillar. Wait, that's a _support_ pillar, isn't it? "Barkley! Let's get out of here!" "Okay, but why?" "Because this whole building's going to come down on us!"
Stop that! You know how I hate those abrupt scene changes! ("That was the last one. I promise.") "Marshal, I want to thank you for getting my catnip back." "That's why you hired us, Sly. You don't need to thank us - you've already paid us, and that's all the thanks we need." "Why did that little girl steal all my catnip, anyway?" "I'm still not too clear on that." Hey, boss-for-today, do you have an answer for that one? ("Why don't you ask Rupert? He's been poking around the building that you and Barkley brought down.") Sure, why not? Let me give him a call ... "Rupert, it's Marshal. Any ideas on a motive yet?" "Actually, I've just found a note inside the mecha's pilot chamber. Hey now, _this_ is interesting ..." "What's interesting?" "It seems that Karin has a secret admirer! Somebody hired this 'cabbit' to get some catnip for her birthday present!" "That's just weird, you know that?" "I think it's sweet." "Whatever. Any ideas on who wrote the note?" "It's been typed, on an old typewriter. There aren't too many of those still around - most people use computers and printers nowadays. The police on the scene want to talk to me again. Bye!" Okay, boss-for-today, who's my sister's secret admirer? ("I have no idea. This is the loose thread I'm leaving for the next writer to pick up and run with.") What, the story's over already? (And you're mixing your metaphors there.) ("I'm afraid so. (And so what?)") Well, I'll see all of you nice people again sometime. I hope it won't be too long before somebody else writes another story with me in it. I wonder whether I'll get to talk to all of you in the next adventure?

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