CHAPTER ONE

I looked up at the huge factory. Neon lights flashing on the side announced that it was the "ACME Warehouse." I turned to my client.

"Ya sure this is the place?" I asked. I liked having my facts straight.

"I hired you as an informant, Twinkle Toes," my client replied icily. "You're supposed to get answers, not ask questions." I shrugged my shoulders and held out my paw. "No payment 'til you tell me what I wanna know."

"Wasn't askin' ya ta pay me," I glowered. "It's a tradition of mine to shake the client's hand before I do a job." The client looked at me skeptically, but shook my paw.

I saluted, pulled my black newsies cap over my eyes, and started to maneuver up a pile of boxes on the side of the building. Scurrying along the stone walls at a personal-record-breaking pace, I found a window. Unfortunately, it was locked. A minor setback. All that meant was that I had to use my tools. I had hoped that I wouldn't have to get them dirty on this job.

Oiling the hinges to the window, I slipped a pin through the gears. A clicking noise resounded through my ears as my pin hit its mark. The window opened, unheard. Unraveling my grappling hook, I hooked the sharp end to the ledge and lowered myself to the floor of the warehouse. I was in.

"Time ta take a look around," I said to myself silently as I poked my snout into things that honestly weren't my business. But, hey, every weasel has to make a living. I checked inside boxes and things like that, but it wasn't what I was looking for. All the crates ever had in them were props for cartoons and gag bags. I was rooting through a particularly interesting box (it had a bunch of brick-sized PEZ candy inside) when I heard a noise.

"Well, look what we have here," a snide voice announced. I turned around to see exactly what I was hoping not to see. Again, a minor setback. All it meant was that I was going to have to whoop five asses. I made silent notes about each of the weasels.

The most prominent figure was the obvious leader. His spotless, light pink jacket showed that he didn't do much grunt work in the group. Besides that, the large jewel being used as a tie pin proved visually that he was making more money than the others. His curling snarl was enough to make any other weasel fall to the ground balling their little eyes out. However, I was not any other weasel.

The next most prominent weasel had dark fur and greasy, black hair. The green pants to his suit were hiked up all the way to his chest, yet, despite that fact, were still roomy. He must've thought his jaunty stance was cool, but all it did for him was make him look like he was horribly off-kilter and was going to topple over to one side at any moment.

"Hmm she's a cute little thing," the second remarked, licking his lips. I rolled my eyes, privately taking note of his Mexican accent. The first weasel looked me over and took a step towards me.

"Listen, toots," he growled, "you ain't supposed ta be in here."

"Oh yeah? Who's gonna make me leave?" I smirked. I tensed my muscles, ready to spring and climb if I needed to.

"We are," the leader replied slickly.

"You? Ya ain't fast enough, slowpoke."

The pink-suited weasel's face went dead straight. He bared his teeth viciously and ground them together. I could see his itchy trigger finger start to act up. I just stood there and smiled.

"For your last meal," he muttered menacingly, "you're gonna eat those words."

"I wouldn't mess with me, if I was you," I warned.

"GET 'ER, BOYS!" the weasel clad in pink shouted, ignoring me. Worse for him.

Keeping a cool head, I reached into the box and curled my fingers around one of the candy bricks. The four other weasels came rushing towards me, one running faster than the others.

The faster one surprised me, because he didn't look like the type who could run particularly fast. His big, fuzzy gut would appear to get in the way and his untied shoes added to the constant threat of tripping. The propeller on his beanie was going a mile a minute as he ran. As he got close to me, he wielded his bat, the nail in it reflecting the artificial light from the hanging lamps.

However, he wasn't fast enough or smart enough to take me on. As he approached, he opened his mouth in a dumb smile, his tongue lolling out to one side. I gripped the giant PEZ tighter before yanking it out of the box and socking it into the weasel's pie hole.

"Enjoy your candy, mister," I said teasingly, leaping up onto a pile of boxes. The dumb weasel fell flat on his back. The other three weasels stopped in their tracks, laughing at their companion's defeat.

"STOP THAT LAUGHING!" the pink-clad one yelled. "GET THE WEASEL, YOU MORONS!"

"Whassamatter?" I called down to the other three. "'Fraid of heights?"

A bluish weasel seemed to take most offence to my taunting. He slipped the cigarettes he was smoking behind his ears and rubbed some dust from the floor over his nicotine-stained fingertips. From under his white resort hat, his reddened eyes glared at me.

"Don't worry boss," he wheezed. "I'll get 'er down." He grabbed for a foothold on my stack of crates. For a moment, I stood there, looking down on him.

Finally, I leapt to the ground, being extra careful to knock the boxes out of balance. They came smashing down on top of the weasel, who gave a shocked cry. When the boxes settled, he could be heard moaning and groaning in discomfort. His head protruded from the rubble and little birds flew around his ears. They didn't have long to do so before they started hacking up lungs because of the ring of smoke around the weasel's head.

The other two started laughing again.

"STOP LAUGHING!" the leader yelled again, putting more emphasis on "stop" this time.

"This is really boring," I announced from my spot. I leaned on the wall nonchalantly. "Can't ya guys do any better? If ya can't, I'm gonna hafta go to a more interestin' place." I punctuated this statement with a yawn. This made the two weasels shut up.

"Psycho, go get 'er," the Hispanic one said to the remaining weasel.

This weasel got my full attention, although for only a few seconds. He wore an unbuckled straightjacket and the fur on his head stuck up in all sorts of directions. His eyes swirled with yellow, blue, and white and the circles pulsed faster as he got more excited. In his paw (which was covered by the long sleeve of the jacket) he held a barber's razor. It was an original weapon. I'd never seen a gang member wield anything like it before. His laugh was high, shrill, and actually quite funny.

"I'm gonna get the weeeeeeeasellllll," he grinned crazily. "Hee, hee!"

I was gonna hate doing this. The insane had always had a place in my heart. As he ran towards me, I stood completely still. Just as he was about to run me through, I stepped aside and let the weasel slam right into the brick wall.

"Well that was easy," I shrugged, dusting my hands off on my jean jacket. I looked over at the leader, who seemed to be having convulsions at the sight of his gang being picked off one by one by a dame. "Hey, fancy pants," I called. "Why ain't you doin' nothin'? Scared you're gonna get that pretty suit of yers dirty? What a sissy!"

This was the breaking point. With those words ringing in his ears, the leader weasel yanked out a revolver from his jacket and took aim at me. He cocked the gun and started pumping lead. If he thought he had me, he was all too wrong.

I dance around, nimbly avoiding each and every bullet. I even did a quick pirouette actually standing on one of the lead projectiles. Being a toon has its luxuries. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the head weasel's revolver ran out of shells. I smiled to myself as I heard that horrifying click of an empty gun.

The leader's facial expression screamed, "HOW DID SHE DO THAT?!" But, he quickly caught himself and planted the sneer back on his lips.

"Ya think I can only throw bullets at ya?" he shouted at me. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a switchblade.

I yawned, which provoked him even more. He rolled up his sleeve and started to run towards me. In my mind, I asked why they never learned that direct contact with me was a dumb idea.

Right before the blade sliced me like fresh sushi, I stepped out of the way, caught Mr. Leader's wrist, and grabbed the switchblade away. With my free paw, I grabbed his shirt collar and lifted his hind legs off the ground. I may be a girl, but I'm strong. I pointed the knife at the weasel's throat.

"Hey, hey!" the weasel said, suddenly extremely nervous. "Easy there, sweetheart!"

"Aww," I pouted tauntingly. "Am I wrinklin' yer pretty, pink suit? Is it dry clean only? 'Fraid I'll get some bloodstains on it? Poor baby."

"Put me down," he begged. "Or at least put down the knife."

"Don't feel like it," I yawned. "Told ya not to mess with me." My arm didn't waver as he struggled to get out of my grip.

"Whaddya want me ta do?" he sneered. "Say 'uncle?'"

"Don't start with me," I sneered back. "I ain't the one hangin' by his throat here."

I should have seen what was coming next. After I had said this, a slow grin spread to the leader's face. His eyes lowered to make contact with mine and they had a glint of evil sparkling in them.

Before I could think to act, something hard and heavy smacked across the back of my head and I crumpled to the concrete floor of the warehouse. As I breathed through my mouth, trying to stay conscious, I tasted something sweet. I shouldn't have left that Hispanic weasel so close to the PEZ bricks. I blacked out…