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 FIVE

           

           The joint was jumping to a Latin swing mode to “Sing! Sing! Sing!” as Baloo and Katie danced at the Copabanana. The other dancers had made a wide space on the dance floor, for the couple had become the centre of attention to their synergetic movements.

           “Ssssssmokin’!!!” Baloo shouted gaily.

           He was twirling his partner around like a dervish, making Katie feel dizzy yet exhilarated at the same time as the sequined fringed hem of her cocktail dress glittered and whirled with wild abandonment – and she didn’t even care.

           “Whoo!” called out the vixen.

           Then, in the grand finale of dance moves, the huge pilot expertly spun her into his arms and deeply dipped her at the end of the beat, making her unexpectedly squeal in excitement.

           As the other dancers applauded, Katie laughed in surprise. She didn’t realize how much she had missed out on dancing and having a real social life until now. Drawing her back up gently, Baloo asked, “You okay, Red?”

           Still laughing and catching her breath, she managed to say: “Never been better!”

           He smiled.

           “Okay, okay!” said bandleader Jane Bunny, as she wiped the inside of her saxophone. “Things are getting a bit hot in here! Let’s cool it down for a while, shall we?”

            As the band broke into a slow-paced version of “Maria Elena,” Baloo turned to his friend.

           “Wanna sit this one out, Katie?”

“No,” she said, almost dreamily. “Let’s keep going.”

Moving to the pace of the ballad, Baloo held Katie at a respectable distance. He had always wanted to do this with her since they first met and felt after the brush-off she gave Louie and him back in Ghaphia that he wouldn’t get another chance.

Now, he couldn’t believe it was actually happening.

“Katie,” he began, “can I ask ya somethin’?”

“Hmm?”

“Back in Ghaphia… did me an’ Louie fight over ya that bad to turn ya off? ‘Cuz if we did…”            

            “No need to apologize, Baloo. Girl-crazy buffaloes like you and Louie have been fighting over me since I was eleven, when…‘things’ started to develop for me.” 

            “Ahh…really?” said Baloo innocently. “I…uh, never noticed that.”

            “Nice try, buddy,” Katie smirked. “But…thanks. You get used to it – just a little – looking the way I do. It comes with the territory, unfortunately.”

            Real nice-lookin’ real estate, though, thought the pilot.

            “But, I had to admit,” she continued, “after our little adventure together…I kind of missed you two guys.”

            “Really?”

            “I said, kind of,” Katie pointedly, “Well…maybe not the competitiveness or Louie’s one thousand and one come-on lines,” she added, laughing a little. “He wouldn't be too bad if only he wasn’t such a character!”

            “Aw, c’mon, that’s just Louie,” Baloo defended. “He’s a people-pleasin’ type, goin’ all da way. That’s why he’s my best friend.”

            “I see. Even when both of your brains switch off at the sight of a woman’s cleavage and end up duking it out over her?”

           “Guilty as charged,” he confessed with a chuckle. “We’ve been like that fer years. It’s all parta friendship. But I admit, Red…I wasn’t any better than him back then.”

           “True, you weren’t…but, you,” Katie said, gently placing her head on the grey bear’s shoulder, “You’re different, Baloo. There’s a certain charm that you have. Just being yourself by not trying too hard…I…I feel I can trust you with anything.”

           She closed her eyes.

           Suddenly, Baloo felt an unease settle within. Not with nervousness of dancing with a gorgeous woman this close, but remembering that Katie was just an old friend and a client of Rebecca’s on top of that. Besides, he never recalled her being the affectionate type before.

           Must be the music, he thought.

           “Uh, Katie…we both hafta get up really early like in da mornin’,” he gently reminded her.  “We should call it a night after this number.”

           “Mm-hmmm,” murmured the archaeologist, her eyes still closed. “But this is really nice, though.”

           Lady…ya don’ know the half of it…

 

 

 

“I don’t see why I can’t come!” pouted Molly. The eight-year-old watched her mother pack her suitcase, disappointed that she wouldn’t be coming on the trip to Molta.

“I told you before, Molly," Rebecca explained for the third time, "that this is going to be a rather risky job we're going on. It's for your own good that you stay with Wildcat until we return.”

As she snapped the clasps on her daughter’s suitcase, Molly pleaded again: “I promise I won’t get into trouble, Mom. I’ll be real, real good.

Rebecca just sighed. She didn’t want to leave Molly behind. And given the circumstances, it would have been educational to see a sunken treasure recovery and a new country to visit. But Katie’s story about the air pirates attacking the September Weed put her feral instincts into place and decided it wasn’t right to bring her along.

“Molly honey, try to understand…there are some places in the world where certain situations can be dangerous,” she said gently. “I’m not doing this to be a meanie. I love you and I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

            “You’re letting Kit come,” said Molly stubbornly. “Don’t you care about his safety?”

            “Kit’s fourteen and has had more experience,” said Rebecca flatly. “Besides, he’s Baloo’s responsibility and you are mine, young lady.”

           The yellow-furred cub looked forlorn.

           “You say travelling broadens the mind. How can I do that if I hafta stay at home all the time? It’s not fair,” she said, rolling over in her bed, facing the wall with her back turned to her mother.

            Rebecca sighed and sat on the edge of her bed, her voice softening.

           “I know, sweetie. Sometimes…life is unfair. I wish I could let you come. But if I did and put you in danger, would that be fair to you…or me?”

           Molly let out a resigned sigh. “No…I guess not.”

           “Good,” said her mother, stroking her hair gently. “Hey…I’ll make it up to you. When I get back, we can spend the whole day at the beach, just you and me. We can try out our new bathing suits, okay?”

           “‘Kay,” answered Molly not too enthusiastically.

“Okay. Now, go to sleep.” Rebecca kissed the tip of Molly’s ear. “Good night, Molly. I love you.”

“Love you too, Mom,” she repeated, but her back was still turned to her mother.

Rebecca felt a little sad as she headed out of Molly's room, turned off the light and closed the door. As she went back to finish her packing, guilt overcame her.

Sometimes she wished she was still married. She wished she didn't have to struggle raising her daughter alone and running a business at the same time.

But she made those choices a long time ago and had to deal with it, like her father once said to her.

 So, she thought, I’m doing it, Dad…

Rebecca decided to brew some green tea with jasmine. Going to the kitchen, she set up a kettle, prepared a cup and waited for the water to boil. As she waited, she looked at the window that overlooked Cape Suzette Harbour, watching the ships and little junks go by, the city lights blinking, the towering cliffs that were the symbol of this far-flung Asia-Pacifica entrepot.

It began to rain.

            She knew that coming back to the Cape – after a near-decade away from the place – was a good thing, even if it wasn’t what she had hoped for. Upon her return, she had found the familiar and unfamiliar. It wasn’t the same place the she-bear had known growing up.

           There wasn’t anybody she knew around here anymore. Some had died; some had fled from themselves or, just like her, struggled from here to get there. She didn’t expect to be rolling in the dough when she launched Higher for Hire overnight. Dealing with Dad’s passing in the same year was bad enough.

 

The small inheritance she got was enough to support her and Molly; plus buy out Baloo’s failing cargo service, was the only bright side that came out of that horrible time after getting her MBA through night school.  And of course, dealing with that …other life so long ago...

The kettle shrilled, snapping Rebecca back to reality. Pouring the water, the jasmine-scented green tea coloured the water to a pale yellow-green in the cup, releasing its pleasant fragrance up to her nostrils.  She felt an instant calm.

Taking the cup with her, she walked back to the window to take in the view.

 Somewhere out there, that bear is making a complete moron of himself over that archaeologist, she thought. And the way she fawned over him…what is it that makes that guy so darn popular?

And why is he constantly on my mind, for crying out loud?

Sipping her drink, she looked at her own reflection in the window as raindrops dotted the glass.  Look at you…in your late twenties, a single mom and all-round working girl. As if you would give any man the time of day…and so tied down with that dinky cargo service…when was the last time you had any real fun?

           Rebecca just shook her head, sighed and took another sip of tea. She decided to get back to her packing. And, with a wicked smile to herself, she’d throw in that very interesting dress she bought some time ago, just for fun.

           Maybe not right for this trip, she thought, but why not? Just because I'm a businesswoman doesn't mean I'm all business... 

 

 

The rain had turned into a downpour, so Baloo used his bomber jacket to shield him and Katie as they made it from a taxicab to the lobby of her hotel. Taking the elevator to the sixth floor, he escorted her to her room.

“Well, uh…thanks for the evenin’ there, Katie,” he said awkwardly. Katie had taken out her room keys from her purse and unlocked the door. “You’re welcome, Baloo. I…really had fun tonight,” she said politely, then turned to face him.

An indecisive silence fell between them, so Baloo felt the chivalrous thing to do was simply say: “Well, we’ll see each other in the morn – oomph!”

Before he knew it, Katie had put her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his lips that totally took him by surprise. A part of him wanted to kiss her back – he’d dreamed of this moment…

But, he knew business must take precedent over feelings and besides, something else, which he couldn’t explain, was nagging his conscience that this wasn’t right. 

The pilot gently extricated himself from her and sensing this, Katie stopped and looked at him.

           “What?” she said, a little confused. “Did…did I come on too strong?”

           Like ten thousand cups o’ coffee, hon!!

          “Whoa, Katie…that was really somethin’ else,” Baloo panted. “On a ten-point scale, that was hundred…but given the current situation…I don’ think we oughta git too…ya know, uh…”

           “…personal?” Katie finished.

           “Yeah…like I…we…uh, gotta put some priorities ‘head of ourselves, ya know what I mean?”

           Aw, great…she thinks I’m rejectin’ her…

           The archaeologist gave him a thoughtful look and then sighed.

           “You’re right, Baloo…I-I’m sorry for being impulsive. You see…you’re the first guy I’ve been out with in the longest time that didn’t treat me just like a colleague or some kind of…‘conquest,’ but as a real companion and a lady. It’s…been a while since someone did that. And I wanted to… thank you for being a friend…and a gentleman.”

           Baloo felt embarrassed. Not long ago, he too would have thought of Katie as a “conquest,” as she had put it. But that person no longer existed, in a sense. He kind of wondered what changed all that.

           “Uh…yer welcome, Red,” he said softly.

           “We really should give this a bit more perspective, hmm?” Katie said with a small smile.

           “Yeah, uh…good idea,” he said quickly. “Well, uh, it was a swell evenin’ and’ all, Katie, so, uh…g’night. An’…uh…thanks for the kiss.”

            Picking up his pace a little as he made his way down the corridor to the elevator, all Katie could say as he walk away was: “Good night, Baloo.”

           As he stepped into the elevator, the grey bear leaned back against the elevator wall and repeatedly thumped the back of his head. 

Man! Baloo thought as he did so, that gal just gave ya the best lip sandwich of yer life, an’ ya turned her down? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! 

            Stepping out of her heels, Katie placed her purse on the nightstand in her room, sat on the edge of her bed and began to pull off her cocktail gloves delicately. Good gravy, she thought, I haven’t kissed anyone like that since I was a junior in university…glad to know I haven’t forgotten how to…

            Tossing her gloves beside her, she gently fell backwards onto the mattress, stared at the ceiling with her arm across her forehead and sighed heavily.

           He really was a gentleman to me tonight, compared to the guy I first ran into back in Ghaphia years ago…heck, I even let him call me “Red,” of all things! Maybe it was best not to let things get...too far.

           And yet…why do I feel disappointed – and relieved – at the same time?

 

 

Kit emerged from the bathroom in his blue nightshirt, buttoning the last two buttons up his collar and yawned. He had just spent the evening charting the flight to Molta with them meeting Katie's assistant at Velveeta, then packed about a week's worth of clothes suitable for the sunny climate.

He looked at the clock at the nightstand, reading ten-thirty.

 Papa Bear and Katie must be having a ball, he thought with a grin.

 But something had troubled him since leaving Khan’s office about Katie. Where’d he hear her name before?

She said she had run into Don Karnage years earlier as an archaeologist doctorate student. He’d remembered two years ago, when he was part of Karnage’s pirates, that he had overheard the leader himself had planned to rob one of Khan’s cargo planes that would eventually lead to the events of the Siege of Cape Suzette.

When Karnage was on one of his usual raids, Kit had snuck into his private quarters on Pirate Island, looking for any and all information on that flight date that would allow him to “make his move.”

Coming across his top-secret personal log, he’d flipped through a whole series of plundering and such, which didn’t interest him much…until he came across one interesting entry.

It had been written in a very angry tone. Something about an attempted raid on a cargo ship in the Sub-Mediterranean called the September Weed…A sexy red-headed vixen named Katie…something about stopping him from taking an archaeological find…

And something about a bazooka…   

Kit found himself getting drowsy. It was getting late, so he climbed into bed and switched off the light, trying to figure it all out before he was soon lulled to sleep by the rainfall outside.

About an hour later, he went downstairs for glass of water. Finishing it in the kitchen, he heard the front door unlock and open. Coming out, he saw Baloo come in and shake the rainwater off his jacket.

“Lil’ Britches!” he said, surprised. “Watcha doin’ up?”

“Just getting a glass of water,” he answered, bleary-eyed. “So…how was your evening?”

“Oh…it went fine, Kit. Just fine,” Baloo said innocently.

Kit took a whiff of the air. Something sweet-smelling permeated the room. “Wait a minute, Papa Bear…Isn’t that the same fragrance Katie was wearing tonight?”

“Ahh…musta got some on me when we was dancin’.”

 Kit then took a good look at Baloo’s face, ran a finger trace on his muzzle and picked something off the left lapel of his blazer.

           "One of Katie's hairs.  And..." he said, holding up a smeared finger, "isn't this her shade of lipstick, too?"               Baloo tried very hard to keep a straight face against the navigator’s knowing smirk, but managed to compose himself and said very pointedly: “I’m a gentleman, Kit…an’ gentlemen don’ kiss an’ tell. Understand?”

          “Yeah, I understand…” said Kit. It was best not to press it any further with Papa Bear. Well, you certainly did something… 

           “Hey, ya look real bushed, Kit boy…we’d better get some of that ol’ shut-eye. Tomorrow’s a busy day.”

“Yeah, good idea,” Kit yawned, as they both went upstairs.

“So…did you kiss?”

“Can’cha tell?” Baloo grinned.

“She was that good, huh?”

The pilot placed his massive arm around Kit’s shoulders, looked him straight in the eye and said in all honesty: “Lil’ Britches…my lips may never walk again.”

 

End of Part Five

 

Back to TaleSpin Fiction