Speedy's five card draw by Truro
When work was finished at the Samurai Pizza Cats Pizza Parlour, Speedy and Guido like nothing better than to kick back in front of the playtoon channel.
Unfortunately for them, Francine removed the illegal cable line, so they whiled away the night playing cards.
'Well that's the last of my chips Guido. What've you got?'
Placing the cards down, Guido leaned back in his chair.
'I' got a bent.'
'A straight with one missing in the middle. How about you?'
Speedy's cards glided to the table.
Guido looked at the cards. His heart skipped a beat. His eyes went back to Speedy's face. The latter had a very big grin on his face.
'Darn it Speedy! You do this every time!'
Speedy let out a machine gun laugh 'I royal flushed you down the toilet of defeat!'
'How'd you get so good at cards all of a sudden?'
'Hey, with a name like Speedy, it comes naturally!'
'So just by having a name connected to velocity, that automatically makes you a card shark?'
'My last five consecutive victories would seem to prove that.'
'In that case, its no wonder people hate Sonic the Hedgehog.'
While Speedy gets ready to fleece Guido again, let's head over to the palace, where the Big Cheese is already working on his latest nefarious scheme for world domination.
'A huge crate has just arrived for you, from England, boss.' said the aged avian Jerry Atrick, holding in his talon, a receipt.
The Big Cheese, with a grin that betrayed all the excitement of a game show contestant about to see what was behind curtain number three, took the piece of paper, and scanned it, with his narrow eyes.
'Magnificent!' he cried in a high pitched voice. 'Those British fools fell for my ruse! Pretending it was for a children's party with hundreds of guest- it was sheer genius!'
A younger, taller and meaner looking ninja crow entered the room, from his perch in the floor above.
'Ah Bad Bird! Did you manage to get the pamphlets into the newspapers?'
'Yes sir.' He replied with an even higher voice.
The Big Cheese, satisfied with this answer went out onto the balcony, and gazed out at the city.
'By this time tomorrow, Little Tokyo will be mine!'
Next morning, over at the Samurai Pizza Cats Pizza Parlour, Pizza Cats for short, Speedy was scanning the newspaper, when he spotted an interesting article.
'Little Tokyo Poker tournament!' this announcement gathered the other three pizza cats around him. Speedy continued to read aloud.
'The Big Cheese is proud to announce that he is hosting the Little Tokyo Poker tournament today at eleven. Open to all (over 21's only). Free refreshments! Come register at the Royal Casino.' His face conveyed excitement, as he scanned the small print.
'PS: The Pizza Cats won't enter, they suck.'
Francine giggled, as Speedy's face became molten lava.
'He's talking about us!'
'Yup.' Said Guido.
'He thinks I'm not going to enter!'
'Yup.' Said Polly.
'Well he's wrong about that, isn't he?'
'Nope.' Said Francine.
'He is!' Speedy yelled, 'I'm the best card player out of the whole lot of us!'
'No your not, I am!' said Polly, 'don't you remember when I beat Guru Lou, and got him to wear the clothespin?'
'That was just beginner's luck! I know I'd walk away a rich cat, if I entered that poker tournament!'
'You're not going!' said Francine 'This is a busy restaurant, and I can't have my waiters slacking off!'
Speedy pointed his index finger at Fran's nose.
'Now just a minute here! Who, may I remind you, is the leader of this group?'
'I am.' said Al Dente, the Samurai bulldog, entering through the door. 'And I'm here to inform you, that you are not to enter that contest.'
'What are you doing here, Big Al?' Polly asked.
'I saw that article in the morning paper. It's obviously a trap. Don't you remember Robin Hood, and the archery contest?'
'Yeah, he won, and got to lip wrestle Maid Marian!'
'You're not going Speedy, and that's final. Understand?'
'Good. Now, about a breakfast pizza, before I go back?'
The others went into the kitchen, leaving Speedy alone.
'I understand that we wouldn't want the leader of the Pizza Cats be recognised…'
At the Royal Casino, the Big Cheese and Jerry Atrick were in the reception area, as the contestants were registered.
'I don't think the pizza cats are coming, Boss.'
'Don't be silly Jerry! Of course they will! I can almost smell one of them!'
They went to greet the contestants, in hopes of confirming the presence of one of the said felines.
'Hello young man. What's your name?'
'Nesquick Bunny, Sir!'
'And where do you come from?'
'Well, good luck, Bunny.'
The two cheese balls went to the next contestant.
'Miles Prower Sir.'
'And where are you from?'
'Emerald Hills, sir.'
'Good luck, Prower.'
Cheesy then turned to Jerry.
'A Pizza Cats here somewhere! I just know it!' He then turned to the next one, who seemed to be dressed in a turtle costume.
'Speedy, sir. From Little Tokyo.'
'Good luck Speedy.'
The disguised cat gave a sigh of relief.
'Wait a minute! Did you say your name was Speedy! As in Speedy Cervichi?!'
'um-a-a no sir! Speedy…um…Racer! Speedy Racer!'
With a knowing glance, the Big Cheese turned back to Jerry.
'He's here somewhere, Jerry! And when I find him, I'll kill him!'
'When I find him, I'll kill him!' yelled Polly, slamming a pizza down on the table, giving the customer a heart attack. 'Running off like that, while the rest of us are working!'
'Unless you've been paying attention, that's kind of Speedy's niche.'
Polly took a customer's drink from the table, leaving him parched, and Guido soaked.
'Well my niche is getting ugly when I'm mad!'
'Oh no. You're just so cute when you're having a tantrum.'
Guido then raised a frying pan to his head. BANG! The sound resonated like the bells of Notre Dame. Polly rolled onto her back rubbing her knuckles in agony.
At the Little Tokyo Water Works, Bad Bird and his attack squadron had landed, and were just finishing binding the workers to the cigarett machine.
'Isn't cigarette supposed to have an E on the end?'
Regardless of my typo, smoking is bad for you, so let's not draw attention to it.
A big truck reversed into the waterworks, and opened the door of its trailer. Bad Bird felt a chuckle coming on, as the ninja crows began unloading the crates.
'So, you cunning fiend, you thought you had me on the ropes. Good always triumphs over evil. Your cunning tricks, and wicked plots don't stand a chance against the awesome power of the magical…Royal Flush!'
The chips rattled invitingly as they were pushed in Speedy's direction.
'If that guy in the turtle costume doesn't stop winning, I'm going to staple his lips to the floor!'
The Big Cheese wasn't enjoying himself, watching the tournament.
'And where the heck are the Pizza Cats! There's at least one of them here, I know it! Where is he, so I can beat him to death?'
'Calm down, my lord, Cheese. Remember, this is only a diversion.'
The rat took deeps breaths.
'1-2-3-4… ah….much better.'
'See? Now, shall we proceed to the toilet?'
'Ah yes, Jerry!'
When they got to the water closet, Cheese turned on the tap. His faced showed unrivalled delight, at what came out.
Back at the parlour, a scream echoed from the toilet. All eyes, and open jaws turned in its direction. The lock shot undone, and the door burst open. The canine who came out had his hands covered in a sticky red matter that dripped to the floor like blood from the ceiling in a Steven King novel. Guido almost fainted.
'What is this slime?' the dog demanded. Polly went over, and looked at his hand. She couldn't quite place her finger on it (in both senses of the word) until a strange fruity sent entered her small nose.
'Smells like cherries.' She muttered. Then she looked at the slime again. Scooping some up in her finger, she tasted it.
Screams were heard outside. Polly and Guido were about to investigate, when Francine called them over. Al Dente was on the line. In the backroom, they gathered round the video phone.
'I'm getting reports all over town. When people try to run a bath, it becomes jelly. I tried to have a shower a minute ago, and got covered in strawberry whips! I suspect the Big Cheese is behind this.'
'How do you know that Al?' asked Francine.
'It's always the Big Cheese. Besides, who else would try something as silly as turning the city's water supply into jelly?'
'The 60s version of the Joker?' Polly offered.
'Be that as it may, this is very serious business, get over to the water works and investigate. Wait a minute. Where's Speedy?'
The three cats looked around the room, seeking inspiration for an excuse.
'He went to that poker tournament, didn't he?' Al asked with the calmness of a chess champion.
They admitted it. That was their best guess too.
'Well,' the old dog continued, 'once you find Speedy and solve the water problem, come over to the palace with Speedy. So I can fire him!'
Guido and Polly entered the casino, in their battle armour. They saw Speedy by the bar, cackling like a schoolgirl witch, and holding an empty martini glass. Polly went over and gripped Speedy's shoulder like an orange, ripe for juicing.
'There's an emergency! You need to come with us!'
'What! This is the last draw! I can't leave now!'
Polly grabbed hold of the collar of Speedy's turtle costume and raised him to her eye level.
'Listen, you little twerp! Taps are pouring out jelly all over town, and all you can do is sit here playing cards!'
'Look, where exactly in the rule book does it say I have to finish the monster off? You guys have magic swords too!'
'That's not the point! It's….it's…' Polly couldn't think of a valid comeback. It was unthinkable. Losing a logical argument is embarrassing enough. But losing to Speedy? It defied comprehension! Before Polly take her usual approach to this sort of situation, (knuckle sandwich!) Guido took hold of her fist.
'Let's just go, Polly. If Speedy's irresponsible enough to abandon us to try and win money, then just let him.'
'Forget it, Polly. You can't control the will of others.'
Polly dropped Speedy, and the two cats walked away. Speedy looked after them.
Finally the Big Cheese and Jerry Atrick came out of the lavatory. Jelly dripping from the Cheese's lips, he announced the start of the last hand.
Speedy sat at the table, staring at his cards.
If Speedy's irresponsible enough to abandon us to try and win money, then just let him.
The anger burned his stomach. Who did Guido think he was, talking to the leader of the Pizza Cats that way? Okay, sure, he did skip work to attend the tourney, but wasn't he entitled to a little time off? Speedy did spend a lot of time fighting giant robots, and had a full time job at the parlour to balance with it. Francine never gave anyone time off, so it was only fair to take what he could.
If Speedy's irresponsible enough to abandon us to try and win money, then just let him.
Speedy's grip on his cards tightened.
Okay, I'm the best Pizza Cat! So what? Can't you guys solve it without me, for once?
The other player began to get board, waiting for Speedy to show his cards.
But still, Guido and Polly's weapons are nowhere near as powerful as my Ginzu sword. What if the monsters a tough one?
His eyes returned to his cards. Then his rival's disgruntled face. Then back to the cards.
What should I do? Should I continue the tournament, or go and help the others? Darn it! Nobody ever said I'd have to make these tough Super Hero choices!
Then of course, like the greatest Super Hero of all, his mind turned to his uncle.
He remembered those words that Uncle Irving told him, as a kitten.
You're changing, Speedy. Into the man you're going to become. And just because you can get away with playing hooky, doesn't mean that you should. With great power…
'Comes great responsibility…'
Well I was going to say with great power comes the ability to put the school bully in his place, but that's pretty good too.
'Okay!' Speedy cried. His opponent woke with a start. Speedy now knew what he had to do.
The roof of the waterworks developed two holes, as Guido and Polly burst in.
'Are you sure, we can do this without Speedy?' Polly asked, slashing an unfortunate ninja crow.
'Hey, it's about time we got a little time in the spotlight.' said Guido, smashing another crow on the head.
'But it's not the same without him.' She kicked a crow, sending him flying across the room.
Guido punched another 'Don't you think I'd miss him too, if he quit? Nobody can blow up the robot of the week, like Speedy, but unless he wants to come back, there's nothing we can do about it.'
'I guess not.' She threw a heart dart.
Guido bobbed another crow 'Say, you want to get some lunch after this?'
'Okay. French or Italian? She did a body slam.
'Will you take this fight seriously!' screamed Badbird.
Guido and Polly faced him, in the mother of all starring contests.
'Magna Truck- attack them!'
The two cats turned to see the truck roll into the building. Its trailer extended, and split apart. Two sides of the front half of the trailer split from to main body, into what looked like a pair of arms. The arms did a push up, springing the robot upright, unto the read end of the trailer, which had become a pair of legs. The cab folded back, like the hood of a rain coat, to reveal a head.
'It's a transformer!' Polly gasped.
The Decepticrow began to fire lasers at the cats.
With their feline agility, they leapt out of the way, to hide behind some pipes.
'You can hide, but you can't run, Pizza Cats! Crush them!' Badbird pointed in the cat's direction, as if to set a very large dog after a door to door salesman.
The robot grunted. It slid its foot forward. Then the other one to join it. Its arms went up and down as it snail-skated towards the cats.
'Can't it move its legs?' Polly asked, bewildered that no indescribable carnage had broken out.
'Oh no!' groaned the evil avian, 'Jerry warned me that we had to sacrifice a lot of articulation, for a simpler transformation!'
'What a dork!' laughed Guido 'Making all that commotion about your new Transformers rip off and it's only a Spy-Changer!'
'What do you expect? We can't afford a Leader Class with our budget!'
'In that case all we have to do is get behind it, and finish it off!' said Guido brandishing his sword.
All of a sudden, the robot fired a barrage of laser shots. Guido and Polly fell back behind their cover again.
'Well you're not going to get that chance!' cackled Bad Bird.
The metal instruments that the cats were hiding behind were beginning to melt, from the laser fire.
'Polly, can you see and opening?!'
'No! There's too much laser fire!'
All of a sudden, a third hole burst open in the roof. A glowing yellow light filled the room, as a figure covered in swirling pink fire slammed into the ground behind the monster.
'Now for the big finish!' a high pitched shriek echoed all around, as the glowing yellow light grew into a huge circle. All around knew that voice.
KABOOM! The robot was no more.
'Speedy Cervichi comes through, yet again!'
Bad Bird retreated.
The three Pizza Cats met in the middle of the floor.
'It's about time you got here!' said Guido, with a smug, wide eyed smile.
'What actually is a smug, wide-eyed smile?'
'It's impossible to imagine, for a start, Speedy. Like a greenish purple, its impossible to picture.'
Okay, so maybe that wasn't the best way to describe Guido's delight that his reverse psychology had worked, and that Speedy didn't abandon his friends for the sake of money.
'Actually, I won the tournament. I've got a couple of million on me right now!'
Guido and Polly were Speechless.
'Hey, it's not like I totally ditched you guys, like the last time I got rich. There was only one more hand to play, after all, and I had the best hand ever!'
'You stayed to finish your card game, even after Guido gave you that lecture?!'
'Hey, with a hand that powerful, it would have been pretty dumb to give it up, just to get here a few minutes sooner. You know the whole Power and Responsibility deal.'
'Responsibility? Responsibility?! I'm gonna kill you!'
'Whoa, whoa, Little Miss Tantrum.' said Guido holding her back, with a chain and a three ton anvil 'Right now, we have a bigger problem on our hands. How to turn the jelly back into water.'
Big Al Dente arrived on the scene to give his advice on the matter.
'The easiest way to get rid of the jelly is to hold a big children's party. They'll have the jelly digested faster than the release of the next lousy Sonic game.'
'But how do we get the water back?' asked Speedy. One hand was in his utility belt, making sure his winnings were safe.
'Simple.' said the old war dog. 'He rent the water factory, from France, and make some more.'
'Rent the water factory?! Do you have any idea how much that'll cost?'
'Oh, I'd say your winnings from the poker tournament should just about cover it.'
Speedy froze. Busted.
'But I was going to get me and Lucile romantic week away in Hawaii!'
'I'll tell you what, Speedy. If you hand over the money, I'll forget about firing you, for disobeying my instructions. Or you can keep the money, and by the next episode, Guido will be the star of the show.'
Guido's smug grin returned. 'Ooh, I like the sound of that! Then I'll be the one with the Jacuzzi in my trailer.'
Speedy quickly forked over the cash.
And so the sun sets on a Little Tokyo, safe in the knowledge that it's once again safe to take a bath. (Thank goodness for that, I'm sweating cobwebs, here!)