The Case of the Modern Wild West Outlaw

There was no doubt about it. Megakat City had music fever. All over the city, kats of all ages and all walks of life had appreciation for some genre of music. Rock music obviously had the biggest influence, but thanks to Lenny Ringtail's variety show "The Lenny Ringtail Show" (running eight seasons, paired with a show-within-a-show playing of "Name That Tune," also hosted by Lenny) helped make big band and jazz in general a revived interest in the city, in addition to MoTown. (It was after that show Lenny went on to portray Catslock Jones, P.I. in the show of the same title for six seasons, and for the three after that, Marshal Mitch Mathis in "Gunfighters of Carson City.")

These days, with Lenny as a police detective, Enforcer HQ was getting its own taste of those two genres (with Commander Feral and Lt. Felina Feral part of the SWAT Kats Band, the city's top rock band, whose two major competitors were the Martian Freedom Fighters, the core of that group being the Biker Mice from Mars, and Sonic JAM, led by Sonic the Hedgehog). For the most part, if a banquet was held and Lenny was to be the entertainment, he revived some of his variety show's best musical features. This was (and still is) proof that the greatest thing about show biz is that you never really retire until the day you die. It was also proof that the public still loved listening to Lenny sing and watch him perform, even if Madkat had inherited his soul (at least until T-Bone intervened). And with his book, "Madkat and Me," now a bestseller, it seemed as if he was becoming a revived interest in the city, even though he was now enforcing the law. Stand-up comedy. Music. Acting. Detective work. He could do it all.

While Lenny's big rival in terms of comedy was still David Litterbin, it soon became evident he had a new rival in terms of lifestyle. Earlier, the SWAT Kats helped the Enforcers nail Johnny Hemmingway, twin brother of Gerald Hemmingway (a.k.a. Hard Drive, also now working for the Enforcers), for trying to steal Deputy Mayor Briggs' expensive sapphire jewel collection. After six months of rotting in jail, Johnny became disgusted with the complexity and modernity of life, and began to wish life would return to its pre-entertainment stage (according to him, this would be circa 1870, during the Wild West), and decided if he was going to attempt any more crimes, that was the way to do it. What he didn't know was that Lenny had experience portraying a Wild West marshal.

His first attempt came from when last time the bank was robbed, Lenny happened to be in Feral's squad car on patrol when it happened, with Felina and the Sergeant. "Uh-oh!" he exclaimed. "Bank panic!"

"Let's check it out," Felina suggested.

Feral drove the car with his sirens blaring, following the outlaw all the way to the deepest part of the woods, a part that no Enforcer even dared to go because of the legends about haunted villains and ghosts. "Oh, no!" the Sergeant exclaimed. "Look where he's going!"

"I hate to say it, troops," Feral replied, "but that zone is haunted. Nobody has ever even thought of pursuing criminals in there. At least that's what the legend says."

"Well, there should be the first time for everything," Lenny spoke up. "I noticed this guy is acting like some Wild West outlaw in a modern setting. We may be located in the state of Kansas, but the only city to embrace that culture as far as I know is Dodge City. Hmmm."

"Wonder if your Marshal character could take him on?" Feral suggested. "If you, as Catslock Jones, P.I., can solve real-life crimes in character, can't you take care of this outlaw?"

"I guess so. All right. I'm going to do it. But I'll need some deputies."

"Guess that means us," the Sergeant sighed, not wanted to give up his military-like image, but willing to do so anyway. Lenny took some time to call the SWAT Kats about the situation.

Within a matter of minutes, all six cats had dressed up in Wild West gear, and were armed with either ammo or a lariat. "I knew I wasn't going to be comfortable with this!" the Sergeant commented.

"Sergeant, are you backing down on the claim?" asked Feral in suspicion.

"No, sir. I just wasn't prepared. Some say I am way too patriotic to rock-and-roll. The same can be said here. I will do it, but I must warn you, I will slip into military habits. That's just me." The Sergeant paused to gulp.

"And that's what I respect about you the most," Feral replied in approval. "Nevertheless, it's time to giddyup, if you know what I mean."

Well, needless to say, the get-up act was a success. It proved that Lenny hadn't lost his touch for acting and that his characters could handle real-life outlaws. I'll tell you why: Johnny, not knowing that it was just an acting gig, was shocked to see the Marshal of Carson City with five of his gunfighters (supposedly) still around. He thought they had long gone and died, but apparently not. Since his view of reality was molded by television, it proved to be his downfall. The katty fly burglar trick was nothing compared to this.

When the outlaw tried to get away with the stolen money after planning phase two of his plan, he had nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. Lenny couldn't resist playing the drama of the moment. "Going somewhere, boy?" he asked in his Mathis voice.

"Ack!" Johnny exclaimed in shock. "It's Mitch! It's Mitch Mathis!"

"Right both times!" Lenny quipped, remembering how Jack and Tom had a similar reaction. Unlike Jack and Tom, Johnny tried to flee by the traditional Megakat method of 1) going into a wild "take" position, 2) recoiling in horror, and 3) fleeing in terror. Before he could get to step 3, Lenny turned to Razor and said, "Hey, Razor. Let me see what you got with the ropes."

"Sure thing, buddy," Razor replied, grabbing his lariat and using it to apprehend the criminal. It worked like a charm. "Hey!" he smiled. "I can do this!" He pulled Johnny towards himself and the rest of the group. "Beat that, Cowlorado Kid!" T-Bone added.

"See, Sergeant?" Feral assured his officer. "You can handle it!"

"I guess I can," said the Sergeant. "It was all a matter of conquering the fear through watching how the cowboy handles an outlaw. I certainly did that."

"Yes, you did." Feral turned to Johnny. "What do you have to say for yourself?"

"That was the cleanest bank robbery getaway I ever performed, and I still messed up," Johnny spit out. "How was I supposed to know the Marshal of Carson City was now in Megakat City?"

"Who did you expect?" Lenny taunted. "Moo Montana?"

After Johnny was thrown back in jail, the group had donned their regular clothes again and were headed to the nearest Ruby Tuesday™ to eat. "Whew!" Feral exclaimed. "That was easy, but that was hot! The summertime temperature is rising, all right!"

"That's what being a cowboy's all about, Commander," Lenny replied. "Feelin' the heat!"

THE END

SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network

Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa © Ryan Brown

Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA

Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies, and whoever else owns the rights

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