TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO

                                      

Fan-fiction Story by jb

 

Disclaimer: The following story is based on the television series, characters and situations, created by Jymn Magon & Mark Zaslove, Tale Spin  © 1990-1991 Buena Vista Television/Walt Disney Company. Fan-fiction story and non-Tale Spin characters are creations by the author and may not be used without permission. This is a work of fan-fiction, using characters and property of the Walt Disney Company without consent and for non-profit use.

 

 

                                                                               PART FOUR

  

 

            In the upstairs room Baloo and Kit shared at Higher for Hire, the pilot busied himself getting ready for his dinner date with Katie that evening. Kit had never seen him this excited, at least not since he and Rebecca went to that near-disastrous Spruce Moose ball over and year-and-a-half ago.

            “…So you met Katie in Ghaphia and helped her on a search for the Bells of Tenabula while dodging this Klang character from getting it, saving her life and establishing her reputation in the annals of archaeology?” recounted the young navigator, looking up from the aviation maps he was charting for Molta at his desk.

               “Yeah…well, Louie helped too,” answered the grey bear, as he stepped out of the bathroom, adjusting his polka-dot bow tie.  He was wearing a blue blazer --- one Kit had never seen before.  “So… how’d I look?”

            “Baloo!” exclaimed Kit. “Where’d you get that blazer from?”

            “Hey, I’ve had my Sunday suit in storage for a…special occasion.”

            “Like dating a hot archaeologist babe?” Kit said with a knowing smirk on his face.

            Baloo looked a little flushed by the notion, then switched it to perplexed.

            “It ain’t a date, L’il Britches…it’s…more like havin’ dinner with an ol’ friend…like Katie is.”

            “Uh-huh…” said Kit, turning back to his aerial charting task. “I wish I had an old friend that looked like her.”

            As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Baloo realized that his ward was growing up. Sure, he still liked listening to that Space Riders radio show of his, assembling model airplanes and reading comic books, but even now he’d taken an interest in girls. Once he caught Kit just staring at some pin-ups in the Sea Duck, plus the way he looked at Katie – and who could blame him – at Khan’s office…well, it was time for that “talk.”

            “Uhhh, Kit… do ya know the –” he began uneasily.

            Kit turned to Baloo and rolled his eyes. “Relax, Papa Bear…I know about the facts of life.”

“Uh, yeah…well, Kit…the mechanics are simple enough ta understand …Look, I know I’d tried ta tell ya ‘bout understandin’ females, but ya see…”

            Kit looked at him with great interest. He had wanted to talk to him about that for quite a while.  Then there was a knock at the door. “That’s gotta be Katie! We’ll talk ‘bout this later, ‘kay?” said Baloo, sounding half-relieved.

            “Yeah…sure…” said Kit. His voice sounded dejected but he didn’t mind…much.

            Baloo charged down the stairs with anticipation.

            Rebecca, at her desk, saw her pilot and couldn’t believe her own eyes.

            “Baloo! Is that you – in a suit??!”

            “Ya betcha sweet patootie it is!”

            Just a few hours ago he was whining about me making him wear a decent jacket, Rebecca thought incredulously. But Miss PhD takes him out, and he’s ready to jump through hoops of fire!

            She can’t be all that great. I’ll bet she doesn’t even have a decent evening gow–!

            As Baloo opened the door, there stood Katie looking absolutely stunning in a black cocktail dress that sparkled all over with sequins. The fringed hem trailed above her knees, spilling over her shapely long legs peeking through black mesh hosiery and high-heeled pumps.

           The double straps of her dress hung off her elegant shoulders, leaving them bare with a plunging neckline that exposed a generous amount of her ample cleavage. Her cocktail gloves were of sheer black nylon, somehow showing more than they revealed and tiny gold earrings and a jade-set choker added the final perfect touch.

            “Katie…Ya…ya look fantastic!” stammered the grey bear.

             “Awesome!” exclaimed a wide-eyed Kit.

            “Oh, this old thing?” smiled Katie as she walked inside. “I just threw it on.”

            “You missed,” growled Rebecca under her breath contemptuously.

            “Well, aren’t you the man about town,” Katie commented, admiring his attire.

 With that bowtie? Rebecca thought. Either she’s got no taste in men or she’s been hanging around in the catacombs too long! 

            “Thanky very much, Katie. Ready ta paint the town red… Red?”

            “If you got the paint, I got the brush!” laughed the archaeologist.

           Oh, brother, thought Kit, the Sparx Brothers got nothing on these two…

            “Well, don’t any of ya folks wait up fer me,” said Baloo, putting on his bomber jacket.

“Don’t worry, Rebecca. I’ll have him back before his curfew, I promise,” Katie said, as she linked her arm through his.

            “Worried? Who’s worried?” said Rebecca brightly. “I mean, sure, we got a lot to do tomorrow and…”

             “We know, Becky. I’ll be bright-eyed an’ bushy-tailed by the mornin’!”

             That’ll be a first, Fly Boy, she thought sarcastically.

            “So…where we going, Katie?” asked Baloo as they both turned to head out the door.

“To the Copabanana. I’ve reserved a table and I hear that Jane Bunny and the Souls of Habana are playing there tonight.”

             “Great! I love the mamba!”

             “Bye, guys!” Kit called out. “Have fun!”

             Rebecca looked at her navigator with her mouth agape. He couldn’t take his eyes off the two, in particular Katie with her siren rhythm of her walk, the sway of her shapely hips and those legs. Neither could Rebecca, as she found herself gnashing her teeth for some reason.

            “Later, Lil’ Britches, Becky,” Baloo called back.

             You lucky son of a gun, Kit thought with envy.            

            As the two left, Rebecca found Kit still in a daze.

            “Kit…stop drooling.”

            “Ahh, no thanks, Becky…I don’t want any right now,” said the navigator absent-mindedly.

Oh, great, she thought. The hormones have kicked in now.  This is going to be a fun phase. 

Men! “Don’t you have any homework or map-charting to do, young man?”

            “Say – don’t you have to go home by now? It’s past seven,” the navigator reminded her.

            She quickly looked at her watch and gasped.

            “Oh, dear! You’re right! I’d better split before the sitter charges me overtime,” Rebecca said, hurriedly grabbing her briefcase and coat. “Make sure you guys are all packed for Molta. And I’ll bring Molly and her bags down so Wildcat can look after her while we’re gone. Good night, Kit.”

            “Good night, see you in the morning.”

            Rebecca smiled to herself as she left. She was relieved that Kit started calling her on a first-name basis now. In the beginning, being called Miz Cunningham by him was respectful, even courteous, unlike Baloo’s coarse brashness and familiarity.

            But after a while, when Higher for Hire became more of a family unit and not just a business, it seemed so…well, formal, since she’s tried to be more of a friend and confidant…even a mother to him. After all, she thought, he’s a part of my life and Molly’s now. I’m so glad he’s around to bring clarity to our lives…especially Baloo’s.

            Stepping into her car and starting the ignition, she quickly dismissed it. Why was she even thinking about him?

 

 

           At the Copabanana, Baloo and Katie caught up on what went on between those years since they last met, going over dessert. Katie had gone on about doing a couple of lecture tours about Tinubula and a residency with her waiting colleague in Molta, before the call of a new archaeological find drew her back into the field, which she had loved.

            “And it was then I realized I had unfinished business with the September Weed,” Katie said in between bites of her raspberry shortcake with white chocolate shavings. “So, I’ve spent these last eight months, going from institutions to corporations trying to get funding for this project. Finally, Khan Industries came to my rescue.”

            “Knowin’ you, Katie,” replied Baloo with a mouthful of tropical sorbet, then swallowing it. “Ya ain’t the kind ta give up. Why, even if ya didn’t get Khanny ta fund ya, you’d have gone to da bottom of the sea yerself an’ pulled the ship up to da surface.”

            Katie had to laugh at that. Despite his lack of etiquette in eating, she found Baloo amusing. In all her travels, she’d never met anyone quite like him. I’ve dined with worse, she thought. “And you would have been right about that, mister,” she answered. “It’s been at the bottom of the Sub-Mediterranean for eight years. I feel I have to retrieve it.”

            Her face grew somber then, looked down at the table and felt a little sad. The pilot sensed this and placed a comforting hand over hers. “Aww, doncha worry none. We’ll get to that Cache of yers, Katie. You’ll see.”

            Katie looked at Baloo and gave a small smile. There was truth in his voice and she felt it. Last time they met, had he said what he just said and done right now, she would have rebuffed it as another patronizing come-on.

            But, it was different this time around…

            Suddenly she felt a little bit of a conscience creeping within and decided to change the subject. “So, uhm…tell me what you been up to since last, old friend?” So for the next twenty minutes Baloo went on about a couple of tales after their last meeting, how he and Kit hooked up together, working for Rebecca, how Louie was doing with his nightclub. Katie listened to him intently.

           “So it doesn’t bother you,” said the vixen, finishing the last piece of her dessert, “working for a woman at all?”

           “Had practice with you, ‘member?”

           “Ha-ha. Very funny, wiseacre.”

           “Oh, at first it was kinda hard, but not ‘cos Becky was a woman, Katie. Just that she had my baby on paper in her name…but, hey…I got magnanimous ‘bout it after awhile an’ before ya know it, we made ourselves a pretty good team. We both know who bosses the plane an’ who bosses the business – so it works out.”

           “How altruistic you’ve become.”

           “Well, I’ve been secretly been workin’ on a li’l ol’ nest egg on gettin’ back the Sea Duck, but…” he whispered with a wink. “…Don’t tell Beckers none, ‘kay?’

           “My lips are sealed,” Katie smiled as she scraped the last of the raspberry shortcake crumbs from her plate.  “Seems like you’ve got a pretty full life there, Baloo. I almost envy you.”

            Baloo looked puzzled, blinking twice. “Envy me? Why’s that?”

            “Oh…it’s just…” Katie sighed. “Baloo, in the last couple of years I’ve done the rubber chicken circuit, lectures, residencies and archaeological digs. After Ghaphia, it made me realize something was missing in my life.”

“Which was?”

“Friends.  Real friends I could count on. Louie and you came to help me out at that time, not just because I was some leggy damsel in distress, even at the risk of your own lives and no reward. Got to find some kind of credibility in that.”

“Aww, shucks, ma’am,” said Baloo with false modesty. “‘Twern’t nothin’.”

Katie giggled, which kind of surprised her since she wasn’t the type to do so. “You’re such a silly, Baloo…but a dear too.”

            Just then Jane Bunny and the Souls of Habana began a mambo that got Baloo’s feet going.

            “Man, what a beat! I’m in the mood fer some dancin’… How’s ‘bout trippin’ the light fantastic, Katie?”

           The vixen looked flushed and shyly looked down at the table, biting her upper lip.

           “What?”

           “There’s just one problem,” Katie said in a small voice. “I…don’t know how to dance.”

           “Aw, get outta here.”

           “No, I’m serious.”

           “Ya really can’t dance, Red?”

           “I don’t even know how to do the fox trot.”

           The pilot looked surprised.

           “Now, how is it that a gal with all da smarts in the world can take on a buncha treasure-stealin’ goons, resist off every suitor an’ look good in a evenin’ dress, not know how to dance?”

           “Hey, just because I can dress for dinner and a faculty reception doesn’t mean I can swing a Lindy or two, pal,” Katie said waspishly.

           “Well, this knight’s gonna save yer day. Let ol’ Baloo teach ya how.”

           Katie looked at the gathering crowd on the dance floor, then turned back to her friend and said uneasily: “I…I don’t know.”

           “Aw, c’mon, Katie,” coaxed Baloo. “Live a little.”

           “Huh! The last time someone said that to me, I was facing the business end of a rival’s gun barrel while hanging by one hand off a tall sea cliff in Callous, looking for Saint Joan of Bark’s jewelled scabbard.”

          “Well,” chuckled the gray bear, “ I promise I won’t shoot ya if ya don’t get da steps right, Red.”

          The vixen looked at the large bear, whose eyes held a schoolboy’s mischievous twinkle and a copping plea; the kind of look he and Louie gave her back in Ghaphia at that restaurant, just minus the desperation.

          Well, he has been behaving himself and hasn’t leered at me all evening so far, she thought. Maybe just this one time…

          “All right,” the archaeologist sighed. “I’m willing to give it a try.”

          “Atta girl,” beamed Baloo. “Let’s hit it!”

          Gently taking the lovely woman by the hand, the pilot led her to the dance floor. Standing close to her, Baloo placed his arm around her waist and grasped the left hand before Katie said a bit nervously and abrasively: “Uh…does it have to be this close?”

          “Usually it is,” he answered, sensing her feelings. “But if it makes ya uncomfortable, I’ll back up a bit.” Keeping a short, but respectable distance, he started up on the lesson.

          “We’ll start with a basic mambo movement, six simple steps that won’t put ya in a tizzy – ”

          “You promise?”

          “Cub Scout’s honour.”

          You…were a Cub Scout??” she questioned, sizing him up.

          “No – but I was cub once.”

          The archaeologist giggled again, only this time allowing herself the guilty pleasure of enjoying her company’s sense of humour; relaxing her nervousness.

          “Okay…Master Baloo,” she joked. “Your ‘disciple’ awaits your instruction.”

          “Alrighty then…like I said, it’s just six steps, nuthin’ fancy. We’ll take it slow an’ easy, okay? Now, follow my lead…move on the right, leave left behind…move yer weight on the right…move forward a bit…move on the left, leave right behind…move yer weight on the right…back on the left a bit…”

Baloo kind of dragged the vixen around a little for a good five minutes, but then she got the notion to do it for herself. “OW! Hey, watch it with the heels, Katie!” said the bear, grimacing from the pain. “Yer steppin’ on my feet!”

           “Sorry,” she said in frustration. “Oh, I’m never going to get this right!”

           “Hey, hey, hey… yer doin’ fine, Red,” he assured her. “Ya got the steps right, it just takes a little time ta get the backbeat in ya backbone. Just ‘member…quick, quick, slow…quick, quick, slow.”

           Katie repeated, “Quick, quick, slow…quick, quick, slow.” Following the steps slowly, Baloo showed the great patience with allowing her to move, for which she was grateful for until finally she said with satisfaction: “Hey…we’re dancing!”

           “Wait ‘til I getcha doin’ the merengue an’ rueda, toots.”

           “Look, you,” she playfully scolded him. “Don’t get too ambitious, mister.” The two of them then focused on the music, which Katie got the hang of and – much to her own surprise – was having fun in the process.

 

 

A panther security guard made his way down the corridor of the Research and Development division of Khan Tower, checking that every lab door was firmly locked for the night. Behind him he heard the light scurry of footsteps. Turning rapidly, the guard rushed around the corner to find…

Nothing.

Scratching his head, he shrugged and went back to business. Must be hearing things, he thought. Maybe I should go back to the dayshift...

As the guard’s footsteps grew faint, a raccoon figure appeared from around the corner. Undetected, thought the mystery guest. Good. Expertly working on Lab Room door 17’s lock, the raccoon slowly opened the door, hoping not to trip any alarms or detection systems.

Quickly, the figure went through the lab searching for the intended information. Within a couple of minutes, the desired top-secret folder was found in a file cabinet. Purveying through the file, the dark figure saw the diagrams, plans and then saw the instructions printed under his penlight:

 

DESTINATION: VELVEETA, ISLE OF MOLTA

PROJECT: SEPTEMBER WEED RECOVERY

VESSEL: S.S. PROWLER

 

The raccoon’s eyes widened in surprise. So! They’re raising the September Weed to get the Cache, he thought. The Grand Leader must be informed of this!

Memorizing the document a minute longer, the raccoon returned the top-secret file back in its proper place and left Buzz’s lab room the way it was. Retracing the steps taken previously, the shadowy figure stealthy ran down the hallway until he heard footsteps coming back.

The night guard!

Acting fast, the intruder remembered this floor had a garbage chute. Not exactly a dignified exit, but there was little choice now. The security guard had to double-check his suspicions, when he thought he hear a thunk noise. Approaching the floor garbage chute, he readied his revolver, slowing encroaching to the panel, quickly opening it to find…

Nothing…again.

Though he swore he saw something go down the chute, the panther smacked his face with disbelief and thought, That’s it… I’m definitely going to transfer back to dayshift!

 

End of Part Four

 

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