AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm pretty sure there's never been a story like this before. All characters are property of Warner Bros.THE FAST AND THE FOGGIEST
Today was not one of Wile E. Coyote's better days. In fact, the concept of any day being better than another had become something of a laughable concept in the past half-century or so. His current misfortune was his ACME Rocket-Propelled Hang Glider, which had proved shockingly (if predictably) unreliable; rather than propelling him across the sky as designed, the rocket had opted to catch fire, burning up the hang glider – and the unfortunate coyote attached to it. This rather negated the craft's buoyancy, causing the hapless creature to plummet to the distant canyon floor below. He had just enough time to recover from his fall before the faulty rocket finally ignited properly, whizzing wildly around for a short time before detonating itself in a blinding explosion – Wile E.'s landing site being ground zero.
As a charred and fuming Wile E. dug himself out of the flaming crater, he was admonished by a booming voice with a Deep South accent. "No, I say, no, boy!" Foghorn Leghorn scolded in an authoritarian tone. "You'll never, I say, you'll never amount to anything laying around like that all day! You're doing it all wrong, son!"
Fifty-five years of pain and failure had given Wile E. Coyote a considerable amount of patience. However, even this patience had its limits. The coyote furiously spiked a wooden sign into the desert sand before storming off in a huff. Foghorn eyed the sign, which read "All right, big mouth! If you think you can do a better job than me, go ahead! I'm going on vacation!".
"Hmm." Foghorn mused. "That boy's got all the resilience of a dead pickerel. No backbone, that is. I think, I say, I think I might just take that two-bit coyote up on his offer, though. Show him how it's done. Give him a few pointers, you might say."
As the Roadrunner streaked merrily along the largely vacant highways of the American Southwest, Foghorn Leghorn assessed his challenge from atop a mesa. "Well, that bird can run around like his head's been chopped off, but that's about all, I say, all there is to him." Foghorn rationalized. "That Roadrunner's about as sharp as a bowling ball and half as bright. He might be speedy on his feet, but what I've got is brains. Superior intellect, that is." Foghorn declared, pointing to his own brain for emphasis. He rubbed his wings together in mischievous anticipation. "Heh heh. This'll be easier than trickin' that ol' Barnyard Dawg." He then began to prepare his strategy. The poor Roadrunner clearly stood no chance.
Near a hairpin turn on the highway, Foghorn tunelessly hummed Stephen Foster tunes to himself as he poured a sizeable pile of ACME Discount Birdfeed ("It's Cheep Enough!") onto the asphalt, and without breaking his rhythm in the slightest, produced a bottle of ACME Extra-Strength Tranquilizer ("Sweet Taste, Sweet Dreams!"). He poured the powerful sedative over the pile of grain, chuckling to himself at his own cleverness. "One shot of this stuff would put, I say, would put a racehorse in a coma! A siesta, that is."
Still laughing with self-amusement, the rooster retreated to the cover of a nearby pile of rock and awaited the fruition of his efforts. It was not long in coming. With a cheerful "Beep beep", the Roadrunner roared around the bend, only to skid to a perfect stop upon seeing the tempting morsels laid out before him. "Heh heh." Foghorn declared, confidentially. "Once old crazy-legs digs into that pile, the only place he's gonna be runnin' to is dreamland!"
But it was not to be. Upon examining the offerings closer, the Roadrunner simply made a rude razzing noise with his tongue and took off like a shot, leaving behind a wooden sign that read "Next time spring for the good stuff!"
"What?!" Foghorn demanded, storming from his hiding place to the now abandoned pile of seed. "The colossal nerve of that bird, insulting my palate! Culinary tastes, that is!" He examined the untouched pile with mounting disgust. "I can't, I say, I can't believe the gall, I say, the absolute gall of that high-and-flighty Roadrunner!" he continued to lecture to nobody. "Well, when I was his age, I was grateful for every bite of discount feed I received! No picky eating for me, no siree! Why, I had respect for every bite! Good stuff, I say, good stuff indeed! There ain't nothing wrong with this feed, and if he ain't gonna partake, by golly, I will!" he punctuating this final statement by scooping up a handful of the grain and tossing it into his beak. So disgusted was he by the Roadrunner's insolence, that it was only after he had swallowed that he vaguely remembered that the feed was drugged…
The crown on top of Foghorn's head twirled around like a propeller, as his eyes dissolved into dizzying spirals and his idly bibbled his beak with one finger. In a daze, he staggered to the side of the road and addressed a rock formation with a formal bow. "Good, I say, good evening, Miss Chocolate." He dithered in a giddy voice. "My, but you look ravishing this evening. You must give me your recipe for these pepperpot chitlins au gratin someday…" his voice trailed off as he keeled over to enjoy a very long nap.
There was substantially less joy when a once again awakened Foghorn prepared his next trap. "'Course, there are always bound to be slip-ups from time to time." Foghorn grumbled to himself as he tugged on a rope with determination. "But I'm not gonna let one little mishap, I say, mishap discourage me. I was just goin' easy on that boy. Givin' him a sportin' chance, that is. Well, I'm not, I say, not playing games with him anymore!"
The rope was slung across the highway, formed into a makeshift snare, which was attached to a tall cactus on the side of the road. Once the Roadrunner's foot was caught in the snare, the rope would snap back and he would end up dangling upside-down in mid-air, trussed and helpless. And once that occurred, Foghorn had an entire box of delights to unleash on his defenceless prey: bottles of seltzer water, firecrackers, boxing gloves, and of course a bucket of green paint. This was going to be fun.
Foghorn's anticipation was momentarily stymied with the uncooperative rope loosened itself from the cactus and flopped limply to the ground. "Hmm. Shabby workmanship." Foghorn muttered, attempting to re-attach the rope. "I never was a Boy Scout, but I do know a few things about making knots. I've learned, I say, I've learned the ropes." He paused, addressing the audience. "I made a funny! I learned the ropes! That's a joke, son! Why aren't you laughing? You better pick up the pace if you're gonna stick with me, boy! Loosen up! You've got yourself all tied in knots! Knots! That was another one, boy! What's the matter? I'm throwin' them in the strike zone but you just ain't swinging!"
So amused was Foghorn by himself that he failed to notice that Roadrunner had zipped and screeched to a halt directly behind him. He began to notice, however, when the Roadrunner let out a cheerful "Beep beep!" startling Foghorn and causing him to leap straight up, gripping the cactus for support.
"Now, what, I say, what are you tryin' to do to me, boy? Sneakin' up on me like that!" Foghorn scolded. "Why, I could have had a coronary! A heart attack, that is!" It was then that he realized that he was gripping a cactus in a bear hug. "EEEEEEYOOOOWWWWWW, I say, OWWWWWWCCCHHHH!!!!" Foghorn screamed as he rocketed into the sky in considerable pain. The Roadrunner merely beeped again and sped off to parts unknown.
When a needle-punctured Foghorn landed, it was, unfortunately enough, headfirst in the bucket of paint. As he floundered and sputtered in an attempt to remove the offending container, he inadvertently kicked the firecrackers in the direction of the cactus. Amazingly enough, the box endured just enough friction to create a spark, which ignited the crackers, and creating a small explosion at the cactus' base. By the time a now chartreuse-faced Foghorn managed to pull the bucket off of his head, he had just enough time to look up and see that the cactus, weakened by the explosion, was teetering directly on top of him. "I do hope, I say, I do hope that my medical insurance covers acts of cactus." Foghorn muttered, just before the impact.
Next to an isolated stretch of highway, hidden from sight behind a billboard for Jones Soda, Foghorn waited, a simple wooden club gripped in his hands. "Every rooster, I say, every rooster has his breaking point, and I'll be stir-fried if that wall-eyed Roadrunner hasn't stepped on the wrong side of my generous nature." He declared, idly slapping the club against his palm. "I'm gonna tan that bird's hide where the feathers are the thinnest!"
Beep beep! A familiar sound signalled the arrival of the rooster's quarry. Seizing the opportunity, Foghorn leaped out onto the highway, club at the ready – until he realized that the beeping sound was emanating not from the Roadrunner, but an eighteen-wheeler truck. The laws of physics took over, as when Foghorn (a mass) met the truck (a mass moving at a velocity), he was the unwilling bearer of several thousand joules of momentum, the force sending him pinwheeling headfirst into the billboard full-tilt.
"Oh. Terribly sorry, feather-britches." Sneered the truck driver, who proved to be a familiar dog. "Was youse tryin' to figure out why the proverbial chicken crossed the road?" The Roadrunner, perched cheekily on the fender, beeped in affirmation.
"I've been, I say, I've been had!" a dazed Foghorn slurred, stars and chirpy birds dancing around his head. "Hoodwinked! Hornswoggled! Willfully deceived, that is…" he moaned, as he collapsed into the comforting arms of unconsciousness.
With a click of the remote control, Wile E. Coyote switched the television off. Even as he reclined in his lounge chair on the sunny shores of Pismo Beach, he had to smile slightly. Now he understood why everybody had been laughing at him all of these years. Lying back and gazing at the sun, he let his eyes close, content in the knowledge that he wasn't the victim this time.
Of course, the hurricane looming on the horizon had other plans, but that's another story altogether.
THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!