…and the Case of the Petulant Princess in it’s entirety! Huzzah!
The Case of Inspector Panda and the Petulant Princess
“I knew the moment she walked into my office she was trouble, 5 feet 4 inches of trouble. I could handle the black and white fur look and even the round face but the .45 in that big paw spoke volumes.” (Laurie Smith)
“It was dark when I woke up. My head ached and there was something sticky running down my fur. My head felt like the panda kindergarten had been having soccer practice with it. I touched my paw to the wet place on my throbbing head. I gave my paw a sniff. It was just as I feared. Chocolate buttercream frosting. God only knows what devastation I left behind in some bakery.” (BTP)
“God only knows what I did while high on frosting, have I left any paw prints? Will they find the tongue marks all over the cinnamon buns in the window? Oh the pain, the guilt, why didn’t I stick to snorting bamboo shoots? Oh that’s right they kept getting stuck in my nostrils.” (LS)
“…small flashbacks keep popping up in my head…red velvet cuppycakes, chocolate filled butter-creams…what’s a bear supposed to do? I have appetites, you know. Once I had eaten a couple dozen, I must have blacked out. And now…there’s this case and the case involves a petulant princess with penchant for power…” (BTP)
“A case, darn I’d forgotten about the case. Now where is it?” A movement by the window made me jump, “What, who’s there?” Then I remembered, the panda with the .45.
She came closer, all 300lbs of her, bumping and swaying. My desk creaked when she sat on the edge. Leaning towards me I caught her scent, eau de strawberry frosting. I licked my snout and she said softly, “So, you have a case Inspector, if you mean the case of cuppycake frosting under your desk, well, burp. I ate it.”
– “You what, how, where?” Leaning even closer she tickled my snout with her pistol, “You were out of it Inspector, probably floating around in pandyland.” Slap. She hit me with her paw, “Wha?” Slap, I leaped up and tripped on empty frosting tubes. She grabbed my coat with her free paw, drawing me close she lowered her voice to a husky growl, “I need your detecting skills, someone I know, sniff, is in danger.”
Pushing the pistol to one side, I asked, “Who?” A movement at the door made me turn away as she said, “Princess……..”
The last thing I saw before slipping into a frosted wonderland was a large can of bamboo shoots sailing through the air. (LS)
The bamboo shoots hit me like the panda kindergarten exploding through the door on the last day of school.
Sherlock Holmes had his Baker Street Irregulars, but who do I have to do those sneaky little jobs that a …ahem… a stately figure such as myself wouldn’t be caught doing? You guessed it, the panda kindergarten are my eyes and ears on the mean streets of Panda Canyon.
“sorry! we din’t know dat rubber band would give us such good boinging power!”
“yeah! and besides, we wuz aiming at the window, not your head!”
But I still had the lady with the gun and the frosting to deal with, not to mention a pint-sized Princess with world domination on her mind… (BTP)
Snap! “Ouch…. Hey that hurt.”
“Sorry, Spector Panda, me didn’t know the lastic band was loaded, hmmm cuppycake crumbs.”
I tried to ignore the bedlam being created by my, err, eyes and ears of Panda Canyon. From where I lay on the floor all I could see was crumb filled ears and frosted noses.
“Stop it! Pandas to your posts, oh and help me up.” The woman, where is she? What is she doing in my cupboard?
“Excuse me, did you say Princess?” Putting a pack of frosting sugar back on the shelf, she rubbed the powder off her nose and walked towards me.
“That’s exactly what I said big… sorry Inspector. Princess Pinky, I need you to find her before she’s panda-napped, by…. Oh I can’t…”
Pushing my hat on I sat back at the desk, a giggling coming from behind me sent a chill up my spine. “Snicker, snicker, dis is funny, does it really say, Detecting for Dummies?” – “Ho, ho, look at dis magazine, Panda Ladies Love Frosting, ooohhhhh.” Turning I snatched the training manuals from them and yelled, “Back on the streets Panda cubs, get out there and detect.” I turned back to my visitor, “Now Miss?” –
“It’s Mrs., Inspector, Mrs. Felicity Doors. Wife of the greatest computer hacker ever known, Willie Doors. I think he’s going to take Pinky and turn her into a… I can’t bear it, a super-hacker.” (LS)
This is a big case! Princess Pinky herself, in danger of panda napping, and being the vehicle of Willie Doors’ fiendish plan! A super hacker! This is a fiendish plan indeed!
The pandy kindy headed for the door. “Not so fast!” I said as I grabbed my Detecting for Dummies training manual out of one of their frosting covered little paws.
“The pages are all stuck together! Which one of you was eating cuppycakes as you read this?”
“it was da black and white one” they snickered, as they rushed from the room.
Sigh….what’s a panda have to do to get good help? I turned back to my new client, but she was still nosing around in my cupboard. “Hey, that’s private property!”
“Are you talking to Moi`? I was just checking to see if this frosting was past its pull date. It doesn’t last forever you know.”
“You know Pinky is guarded by the Secret Service,” I said. Willie won’t be able to get within 100 yards of her….unless….” (BTP)
“Unless……. Sheesh, this is hard work Mrs. Doors.” I said, trying to put her off. I knew where this was heading. Her husband would stop at nothing to get Pinky on his team of junior hackers. I know members of the Panda Kindergarten have been approached but they’re more interested in cuppycakes. Hmm, where did I leave that other packet. My thoughts were interrupted by a strident yell from Mrs. Doors, “Whaaaa.”
Then I saw her, my ex-wife. She stood at the doorway, her fur brushed until she shone, almost outdoing the tight, red dress she almost wore. I gulped, I hadn’t seen her since I left the clinic. She signed me in. Sick of my desperate , chocolate frosting addicted lifestyle. I can’t blame her… yet.
Trying to look like I hadn’t been rolling in cookie dough I growled, “Didn’t think I’d see you again, Yvette. Have you found somewhere worse than, Frosting Anonymous to stick me, or have you just come to gloat?” She smiled, I saw the glint in her eyes. I’m used to it. She gave Felicity a quick glance and tilted her snout, and then stared at me. Those eyes, it felt as if I were looking down two .45 barrels: big, wide dark and deadly.
Yes, deadly, she reached me, put her bag on my desk and said, “Why would I put my lovely ex away, again? No I bumped into one of those ruffian panda cubs you call, junior detectives. They filled me in on your Princess Pinky problem . So I’m here to help.” She glanced at the empty frosting tubes and cake crumbs on the floor, then at Felicity and said with a hint of sarcasm, “It looks like the first thing I need to do is clear the trash out of your office.” …….. (LS)
Inspector Panda took in the scene. For one long moment he thought he saw Mrs. Doors and Yvette duking it out in a large tub of chocolate frosting. Icing flying everywhere, paws covered in cream … “NO!” this was not the time for the Inspector to be having flashbacks to those lurid Cuppycake Houses in New Orleans he used to frequent.
There was something important going on here. Something he had to remember. Something PINK. Visions of Mrs. Door and Yvette duking it out in a large pool of rose water icing, lips covered in pink, the heady, floral aroma driving all sane thoughts from his head …. The Inspector fought his way out of this dream, a small crushed Turkish delight clasped desperately in his paws. He knew what he had to do. Grabbing the most expensive cuppycakes from the shelves, he jumped under the desk. The fur was about to fly. (Vicky Vladic)
A lone panda curiously watched the scene unfold in Inspector Panda’s office. The black and white lighting crisscrossed against her black and white fur, making her blend in perfectly with her surroundings.
“This was going to be big – real big” thought Panda Lane, a young and ambitious reporter for the Daily Panda. As she wondered how she could get the scoop before ZooNooZ, Lane was distracted by the scent of a lavender cuppycake.
The powerful smell was coming from the nearby alley. Lane was torn between spying on Inspector Panda or following that cuppycake. She had a feeling right in the pit of her stomach that told her to go for the cuppycake. Instinct, she thought, or hunger or greed. She turned into the alley just in time to a see a sequined gown disappear.
Following her nose she stopped before a door with a sign that proclaimed “Madame Panda Eyes – Where Destiny Awaits”. Taking a deep breath Panda Lane slowly opened the door. She wasn’t sure if Destiny Awaited but there was a chance this could be a lead. At the very least there’d be cuppycakes. (VV)
I stared at the scene unfolding in my office, “I may not be a great detective but I know my duty, Princess Pinkie’s safety comes first.” Yes, this calls for sneaky.
I tried not to look at the now disheveled pandas fighting over me. Reaching the stairs I ran down them and into the back alley, in time to see Panda Lane disappearing into Madame Panda Eyes’ exotic den. “No, forget her, she’s trouble.”
Stopping at the corner I glanced out onto Main Street. A long, black and white limousine stood by the kerb. The chauffeur sat behind the wheel, waiting but for who? A familiar voice came to my furry, frosting coated ear.
“Wat dat you say, my berry own puter, all for playing games?” Taking a firm grip on my magnifying glass I tried to see who Pinky was talking too. “No! It’s Willy Doors.” I tried to get closer and all I could see was the brand new, Orange laptop in his outstretched hands. “Here you are Pinky, you have a new place to live, and as many cuppycakes and cookies as you want.”
“But what do the Princess hab to do?”
“Not a lot my dear, I want you to hack into every zoo in the world and slip a simple code into their transfer files.”
“A code. I had a code once and I sneezed all da time.” “Don’t worry I’ll show you, it’s to send every panda cub here to New York, to my mansion on Long Island.”
I’d heard enough, Doors wasn’t going to get away with his plan. I ran towards them and yelled, “No!” Princess Pinky pulled out her wand, the last thing I saw was a flash of light. I didn’t know what time it was when the sound of knocking at my door woke me. I pushed myself up from where I’d slumped in my chair. The air was heavy with the smell of vanilla and cinnamon. Stumbling forward, kicking half eaten buns to one side I leant against the doorjamb and slowly opened the door.
A short, heavy set panda in a bad suit stood there, holding a badge in his paw. He turned to the uniformed panda behind him and said, “Okay O’Shaughnessy, cuff him, it looks like we’ve found our bakery burglar.” (LS)
“Wait, Officers! you’ve got the wrong bear!”
“I don’t think so, you little weasel.”
“Ha! I’m not so little and any idiot can see by my outfit that I am a panda!”
“Well, git along, little Panda, “said officer O’Shaughnessy. “It seems that the lock-up’s gonna be your new home.”
Well, this was a pickle and no mistake! Willie Doors’ limo was long gone and there was no sign of Princess Pinky, other than a few cuppycake wrappers by the side of the road. I licked the wrappers…”lavender,” I thought to myself.
“Quit yer stalling, you need to come along with us.”
Just then a black and white mini cooper came roaring around the corner, cutting off Officer O’Shaughnessy and his hench-bears.
“Get in! we have a princess to save!” cried Panda Lane, “there’s no time to waste!”
Who am I to disappoint a lady panda?….. (BTP)
The car sagged as Inspector Panda maneuvered his, umm, impressive frame into the mini. As she tore down the backstreets, Lane recalled her strange encounter with Madame Panda Eyes ….
Madame Panda Eyes toyed with a lavender cuppycake, her eyes darting between the cuppycake and her crystal ball. The crystal ball was opaque and looked suspiciously like a large vanilla iced cake pop. Madame Panda Eyes stared greedily at the crystal ball and said “I see an ambitious young reporter, tired of ZooNooZ always getting the scoop”.
“Yeah Right” said Lane “you don’t need a crystal ball to see that”.
“I see a petulant Princess who is going to get in a lot of trouble” said Madame Panda Eyes.
“So what – ZooNooz always gets there first” grumbled Lane.
Madame Panda Eyes slowly blinked and then looked up at Lane. “You know they have inside information, don’t you?”
“Yeah, everyone knows that”. Lane wondered where this was all going.
“Maybe You need inside information – maybe from someplace far away – maybe from China”, purred Madame Panda Eyes.
“Right! As if China is going to care about some spoilt American born Princess”. A light bulb went off in Lane’s head. “They will want her back one day … so maybe … Nah, no-one’s going to send me information from China”.
“You’d be surprised” whispered Madame Panda Eyes.
“Who’d be that brave, or that stupid?” asked Lane.
Madame Panda Eyes leaned forward, licked her crystal ball and exclaimed “damn that idiot Inspector! You’ll have to go save him. Take my black and white mini cooper”. Without another word, Madame Panda Eyes threw a set of keys in the air. Lane grabbed them, having to hold on tight. The keys were covered in some sticky residue Lane soon found out was vanilla icing. Without hesitation, Lane ran out the back, ready to save the Inspector …
Madame Panda Eyes sighed. Holding her ceremonial cake knife reverently between her paws she sliced her crystal ball in two. The smell of vanilla wafted through the air, with a slight undertone of lavender.
“Who’d be that brave, or that stupid?” Only one name came to mind. Tai Shan. (VV)
We arrived with the stench of burning rubber and a squeal of brakes to the gates of Willie doors’ mansion. We could see the panda kindergarten climbing over the walls waving large stalks of bamboo as they stormed the front door.
“Hurry! There’s not a moment to lose!”
But someone had gotten there before us.
Princess Pinky sat on the lap of a large smiling panda, waving her magical wand which made crackling and poofing sounds as it swayed, hypnotically, back and forth… There was a small pile of smoking ashes beside them.
“Yep, that’s all that’s let of poor old Willie Doors,” said Tai Shan. “”I came to save my little sister here, but it seems that she already had the matter well in paw.”
“Yeah! Pinky poofed his sorry…”
“Uh uh, little sister. You know you promised mom that you would not use bad language.”
“oh, you no fun…pinky want to do what pinky want to do.”
“Ha ha! Gotta love that little panda!” said Tai Shan.
“Well I guess this case is all wrapped up,” I said. “I guess I’ll be on my way.”
“Hey! What about the Panda Kindergarten,” said Panda Lane. “They are running amok in the pantry.”
“Sorry, but it’s time for my cuppycake break,” I said. “That’s a case for another day.”
Thanks to Laurie R. Smith and Vicky Vladic for contributing much of this story of Inspector Panda and the Petulant Princess. (section authors are identified by the name or initials in parentheses at the end of each section.) You can find more from Vicky at http://www.vsomethingesoterics.com and Laurie at http://laurie27wsmith.wordpress.com/