STAR IS TORN
(Part 2 of 3)
Spin and its characters are the property of Buena Vista Television/Walt Disney
Co. This short story was adapted from
the televised episode written by Dev Ross.
No profit was made, so please don’t sue me. Some extra parts were written and minor changes were made in
order to improve the narrative flow for the written page. I would also like to
thank my good pal Ted for his invaluable feedback and advice.
by Michelle “Gidget” Beaubien
Rebecca found herself hurled through the doors of La
Rotune Restaurant, landing hard on the sidewalk. She shook the loaf like a long fist.
“I wasn’t hungry anyway!” she yelled at the closed
doors. Painfully, she tried to stand. Three thousand shaboozies? All
I’m getting is bruises from this place.
Meanwhile, back inside, Baloo was reluctantly excusing
himself from the table.
“I’d better see if she’s okay, Kiki,”
apologized. “I’m real sorry about all this.
I just can’t seem to take her anywhere.”
Kitten smiled. “Perfectly
understandable. I’ll give you a couple
of minutes to smooth things over, then I’ll meet you outside… Baby Bear.”
--- I’m her baby bear!
He hurried outside, not bothering to wipe off all the
spaghetti. He cut a comical figure but
didn’t care. As soon as I check on Becky, I can go back to Kiki.
Rebecca was brushing her pants off when he found
her. “Becky, what gives? It’s my
job to embarrass us, not yours,” he chided.
She glared at him fiercely. “You said we were friends.
Why did you tell Kitten we weren’t?”
“Now, Becky, we are
friends,” he tried to soothe her. Then
a ludicrous yet disquieting thought rippled through the quiet pool of his
brain. “Wait a minute! You’re not jealous of her, are ya? Aw,
that’s just perfect. That’s all I need.
“Jealous!” she shot back, outraged. “Of an empty-headed
bombshell with a body that can stop a moose at fifty paces? Hmmph!”
Rebecca turned away from him, folding her arms. I’d
like to see that phony blonde pregnant with twins, no-- the Peon Quints…and
bald. Definitely bald.
“Good!” Baloo was relieved. “I only said those things ‘cause stars are so sensitive...you
know.” He took her arm and guided her
to a nearby bench in the outdoor patio of La Rotune Restaurant. They sat and he added, “You’re such a bright, capable woman.”
“True,” she agreed, somewhat mollified. “Kitten might
feel a little inadequate around me.”
“Right! And if
she got upset, she might fire me from the stunt.” He fought the urge to knock on wood---or in this case, rap his
knuckles on the bench’s wooden slats.
No more Kiki, ---it was a terrible thought. Beautiful women were almost never interested in ol’ Baloo. All he got were lady hippos. “Broadcast Sally”, his last date from a few
months ago, was a sweet gal with a silky voice but a big crush on him. Yeah,
she nearly crushed me ta death, carryin’ me off the docks when we got back from
Thembria. That Cleanser’s Comet mess was not an
experience he wanted to repeat. And
Plane Jane was another great gal, though she looked a lot better with a veil
over her face.
Suddenly, Rebecca remembered and started to stand
up. Like a seesaw, Baloo’s considerable
weight brought his side of the bench down with a ‘whump’. He lost his balance and landed on his back,
and she landed on his soft stomach, accidentally flipping the end of his long
tie across his nose, landing in a heap.
Baloo, you’ve got to quit immediately.
All kinds of terrible accidents have been happening---it’s as if someone
is trying to sabotage the film!”
Sabotage? Two of my least
favorite words!” They got up and Baloo
grabbed her hand. “Come on, pal, we
gotta talk to---”
Here I am,” A sexy, velvety voice interrupted them. All thoughts of imminent danger dissolved
and the big bear’s brain seemed soft, like it was full of pudding. His eyes glazed over and a foolish grin
spread over his face and his tongue rolled out. He was again under her spell.
Kiki, you came back for me….
Oh no, Rebecca groaned inwardly. Before she could elaborate, Kitten had
somehow slipped between them and with one shapely, hard hip, bumped her hard,
sending her into some bushes lining the walk.
That rotten little floozy did that
on purpose! There was no longer any
doubt in Rebecca’s mind that Kitten hated other females.
Kitten playfully chucked Baloo under the chin and patted
his face, cooing in the lisping, doting tones one reserved for a spoiled
pet. “Kiki’s got a big surprise for her
baby bear, “ she purred.
I’m going to be sick. Rebecca glowered at the other woman,
trying to imagine her with leprosy.
Baloo squirmed with boyish embarrassment, blushing and forgetting to
roll his tongue back into his mouth.
Catching the end of his tie and pulling it like a leash, Kitten gently
pulled him behind her and briskly signaled a Starrywood cab, which immediately
screeched to a stop at the curb.
Kiki. Big surprise. I’m her baby bear, Baloo sighed.
Aloud, he said absently, “Well...see ya around,
Becky. Thanks…let’s do lunch.” He crawled into the back seat after the
actress, shutting the door in Rebecca’s face.
The cab roared away, leaving her standing in the middle of the street
She shouted after the shrinking vehicle, “Baloo! You’re acting like a complete idiot, even
for you!” Well, if he won’t do something
about this, I will. I’m going to get to
the bottom of this accident business.
She returned to the studio and managed to find the
director’s office, where the platypus and his gander assistant were having a
hushed conversation. The door was ajar,
so Rebecca put her ear to it and peered through the small opening.
“I feel terrible about these accidents, Montgomery, but
the public loves the intrigue,” C.B.
was saying earnestly. “It’s guaranteed
big box office success. Perhaps I’ll
win my Oscar at last!”
Rebecca’s mouth fell open. “He’s the one causing
the accidents? Wha--!” She was so surprised that she tilted too far, and fell
into the room in a heap. Uh-oh.
CB didn’t bat an eyelash. He bent and with warm, sweaty hands, helped her up. “Ah, the actress I sent for.”
Rebecca was outraged.
She advanced on him, and grabbed the lapels of his cheap polyester
shirt. “So! Sabotaging your own film.
Admit it now, and maybe the
police will go easy on you.”
Good-naturedly, he detached himself and waved her off.
“No need to audition, young lady.
You’ve already got the part.” He
turned, seized the megaphone hanging on an elastic cord from his assistant’s
long neck and shouted into it, rustling the feathers of its owner. “Montgomery! Get her into costume immediately.”
“You won’t get away with this!” she yelled, “Causing
accidents is against the la--!”
Montgomery took firm hold of the ranting woman’s elbow
and firmly marched her out of the office, en route to the wardrobe
department. C.B. continued to hold the
handle of the megaphone, forgetting that Montgomery was still wearing it.
“Actresses are so temperamental. Sheesh!” He spread his hands in a ‘why me?’
gesture, releasing the megaphone, now stretched taut. Like a slingshot, it snapped through the doorway back to
Montgomery, knocking both him and Rebecca down with a crash.
Rebecca found herself spirited away by a couple of wardrobe mistresses, stripped
of her street clothes and quickly fitted into a fake leopard print loin cloth;
the snug cloth clung in all the right places.
The alluring fit suited her very well.
She looked like Jane of the Tartar movies. Except she was not to be the love interest of a sweaty jungle
hero, but of a mechanical gorilla. She
was on the set of Ding Dong, to be exact.
The giant simian was built in two units: The fearsome, snarling head of the
beast had a huge, hinged jaw, and was rigged to snap open and shut. Rebecca, squirming ‘on her mark’, was
clamped in a “fist” on a wheeled platform, lined on train tracks. When two technicians pushed the platform
toward the snapping jaws, filmed in a few takes, it would appear as though the
beast was bringing the struggling woman closer to its mouth. The polished sheet metal teeth were as sharp
as needles. Every precaution was taken
to ensure that in the first take, the fist platform would stop before brutal
contact could be made.
State-of-the-art special effects were tricky, the director knew---but
the expense was well worth it.
“Action!” C.B. yelled. The man at the control box flipped up two levers
and the heavy platform began to roll glide smoothly along the tracks. The other techs activated Ding Dong’s
jaws. They creaked open and slammed
shut. Opened wider. Slammed shut. The incisors gleamed wickedly.
“You’ll never get away with
this---!” The ‘damsel-in-distress’ continued her tirade, her voice penetrating
the back of the set.
“Hey, just stick to the script, okay?” was the only answer she got. A metallic ping interrupted her and she paused. A screw popped loose, then another.
Rebecca began to scream. Those
points of shiny metal slammed together with the inexorable finality of a
guillotine. I’m going to die, she thought wildly. Oh, dear God, Molly!
“The girl’s a natural!” C.B. told Montgomery excitedly. That gold statuette was as good as in his
sweaty hands right now.
Then Rebecca felt a slight change in the momentum. The platform’s speed was accelerating. C.B. finally noticed that something was
wrong. “Cut!” he shouted.
The man at the controls gripped both levers, tried to yank them down in the
‘off’ position. They would not budge.
The crew began to shout at each other, others stared in mute horror.
Kit walked by, attired in cowboy duds, boots, and hat. During this entire morning, he’d tried
auditioning as a gangster, a saloonkeeper, a sailor, and even a pilot, which really hurt. This time, he’d gotten tangled in the rope
when told to lasso a stunt man.
“Boy,” he said sourly, looking up at the commotion. “How’d she
get a part?” It just wasn’t fair. He continued to walk past them until he was
finally out of earshot.
“I said CUT!” C.B. bellowed.
Why do I always have to…” The platypus grabbed the megaphone, stretched it
from the gander’s neck and bellowed into it, making the assistant lose a few
feathers, “…repeat myself? I said CUT!”
Wires stretched taut, then snapped, the swinging wildly around the crew’s
heads, narrowly missing them. C.B. ran
to the front, arms outstretched, and tried to hold onto the gorilla’s massive
fist to ward it off, but the momentum would not let up, forced him backwards,
his feet pedaling frantically to avoid being run over.
“Please!” he begged,
The wheels of the ‘fist’ platform squealed, emitting tiny sparks as it
reached the end of the line. Like a felled tree, the fist tipped forward,
losing its iron-grip on the leading lady.
Rebecca would either fall, smashing into the pavement below or be bitten
in half. She stared into the thing’s
shark-like mouth and prayed that the end would be mercifully quick.
Arms flailing, she was sailing in mid-air, and managed to grab the edge of
the Ding Dong’s rubbery lip. Crash! The structure that held her in
its precarious grip was now a twisted maze of broken wooden planks, metal and
sizzling electric sparks.
A small wooden plank bonked C.B. on the head, but otherwise, no one else
“Do ya want another take, C.B.? Do ya? Do ya?” Montgomery asked his boss
excitedly, as the director sat up, moaning and rubbing his head. Rebecca managed to climb down the monster’s
face, hand-over-hand, using clumps of its hairy face as hand holds, and climbed
down the hairy arm until her feet touched the ground. Something black dashed from behind the gorilla head, disappearing
out the door in a blur of motion.
“Hey! Over there--!” She pointed, but the thing vanished. Gee, maybe the director wasn’t the one
causing the accidents…Rebecca was looking over her shoulder where the
mysterious figure had been standing as she walked away, distracted by her
thoughts…and bumped into something big and soft. It was Baloo, holding a bunch of dainty pink posies, which looked
ridiculously perky in his massive fist.
“Beck! You’re crushin’ the flowers
I got for Kiki.” He patted and straightened them back into shape. He did not notice her loincloth costume.
Rebecca said impatiently, “Baloo, look.
Whoever that mysterious figure was is causing the accidents.” He looked at her blankly.
“Accidents?” Then he got it. “Oh yeah, right --- the accidents! Come on, pal, we’d better go find---!”
“Balooey? Here I am,” A familiar
female voice purred. Baloo’s foolish, besotted expression returned; Rebecca
grimaced and moved away from Kitten, jockeying for a position on Baloo’s
right. Kitten stood at his left side,
and noticed the flowers.
“For me?” She accepted the
flowers, smiling. “Come, Poopsie.
Kiki’s going to take her baby bear out for a final fabulous meal before he flies his big important stunt.” She took
his arm and led him away, slyly glancing at Rebecca. It was that smug look at galvanized Rebecca into rushing forward
and grabbing the pilot’s other arm, trying to hold him back.
“Baloo, you can’t go! You have to
listen to me!”
“Hey, simmer down, we can talk later.” Baloo gently detached himself from
her frantic grip.
“Later? You might not have a later!” she shouted after him.
To Kitten, he apologized, “You’ll
have to excuse her. She skipped lunch.”
Kitten smiled understandingly and gave his arm a squeeze.
“Fine, Baloo. Don’t listen to me.”
Rebecca stalked to the wardrobe department to change into her street
clothes. But someone is causing these accidents, and I’m going to find out who
Rebecca found the stunt plane outside in an airfield set, climbed up and
sat in the open cockpit, making herself comfortable…even if I have to guard your stunt plane all night! I’m doing this for you, Baloo. Wherever you are.
At the Rotune Restaurant, Baloo and Kitten were talking and laughing,
completely ignoring the world around them.
Kitten laughed at his corny jokes and made him feel special, like they
were the only people in the room. He
didn’t want the feeling to end.
Finally, during dessert, Kitten rose gracefully from the booth,
smoothing the creases out of her long white dress.
“Excuse me for a moment, Sugar Loaf.
I’m going to go freshen up.”
Baloo waved her away genially. “Of course, take yer time.”
* * *
A black-cloaked figure stole slid along the walls of the building near the
stunt plane. He was covered from head
to toe in a long, wraithlike black sheet, like the Dickens’ hellish Ghost of
Christmas Future. Rebecca curled up in
the cockpit, dozing. She stirred a
little, but remained asleep. He
silently padded to the back of the plane, opened a panel and, with a wrench,
dismantled a small metal, cog- toothed gear.
His gloves made the task difficult, and he clumsily dropped the
piece. It landed on the ground with a
loud metallic clang! Rebecca’s eyes
flew open and she sat up fast, breathing hard.
“W-what?” She looked around
wildly, then her attention was arrested, riveted on the menacing figure below. He looked up, startled. All that were visible were two white slits
for the eyes. He dropped the wrench,
picked up the hem of his robe and took flight and disappeared through the
emergency exit of the set building.
He’s tampering with the plane! “Hey!
You!” she yelled, slinging one leg,
then the other over the lip of the cockpit and jumping to the ground. She felt the shock sing through her legs,
and grimly absorbed it, wincing with pain.
“Come back here, you…you…Starrywood
saboteur!” Then, wisely deciding not to waste her breath, Rebecca grimly
pursued her quarry into the building then gave the interior a desperate
glance. She heard loud footfalls---the
mysterious figure rushed up a flight of stairs. When Rebecca followed, she found herself surrounded by a bunch of
paper mache buildings no taller than her waist. It was the Ding Dong set,
complete with a miniature city for the monster to stomp through and wreak
terror and destruction. The black-robed
figure brushed the fragile buildings, knocking most of them over with a
clatter. Rebecca nearly tripped over
the structures, picking her way quickly through the mess and continued the
Ahead, the saboteur glanced in her direction---then spied several pairs of
stilts leaning against a wall, in case technicians working on the elevated
‘city’ structure needed to move around the set without the added nuisance of
retracing their steps all the way back to the staircase. He lost no time in
hoisting himself onto a pair and hurriedly tottered away. The determined businesswoman grabbed another
pair of stilts and stiffly followed.
She heard the frightened squeak of a mouse as it ran for cover, grunts
and yelps of pain below and almost tripped over two actors: A lady hippo and
her stork husband, lounged on a sandy beach set, pretending to enjoy the
imitation sunshine beaming from the hot overhead lights.
Ropes weighted down by sandbags on pulleys hung from the rafters like
twisted jungle vines. The robed figure tottered over to a sandbag, and wrapped
his body around it and stepped off the stilts, where they tipped over and
landed on the couple below. The ropes
spun through the whirring pulley wheels as his weight sent him to the ground. As he landed, the aardvark tech that was
holding on to the other end of the rope shot upward like a rocket. Rebecca wrapped her body around the startled
man, dropped her stilts and their combined weights, in two stomach-turning
seconds, sent them plummeting to the ground—fortunately they landed on their
Ahead of the robed figure was a huge black wall. Rebecca picked up speed, shortening the distance between
them. Yes! Rebecca thought
triumphantly. I’ve got you now! The
triumph turned into dumbfounded amazement when he didn’t slow down, didn’t
stop. He kept a straight course toward
the black wall.
On the other side of the wall, a night-lit graveyard was being haunted. It
was amass with grave markers, dying flowers and freshly dug loam. Out of the shadows cast by tombstones, an actor
in a ghost costume leapt forward, moaning hideously---and was rudely
interrupted. He shrieked with surprise
as a strange black ghost-thing
suddenly burst through the graveyard
backdrop, leaving a large ragged hole; it shouldered him roughly aside, and he
tumbled backwards onto a grave, into the dirt.
A backdrop! Rebecca gritted her
teeth and ran through the hole, past a ghost trying to assess his filthy sheet.
Dismayed, he moaned, “I’ll never
get these stains out,”
Several wheeled flights of stairs leading up wooden scaffolds seemed to
mingle into each other. She heard
footfalls—saw a flash of black cloth above her on a catwalk. There! Rebecca raced up three flights of wooden
steps, only to bump into a door. She turned and saw him again, standing across
from her on a similar scaffold ---the two structures were separated by several
feet of huge, dizzying open space. She
looked down past the floor of the scaffold on which she stood and color drained
from her face. From where she stood on the wobbling set, the ground was easily
a hundred-foot drop.
Don’t look down, she ordered
herself. She backed away a few steps,
took a deep breath. Arms outstretched,
she ran forward…and jumped.
Rebecca sailed over the open chasm and got a frightening glimpse of tiny
people scurrying around like ants. The
edge of the scaffold ahead seemed further away than she thought…then her hands
slammed into the hard wood, and agony sang through her palms. Without thinking, Rebecca called up every
ounce of flagging strength in her aching body and hoisted herself up, rolling
onto the platform, panting. Her palms absolutely stung, burning with raw scrapes and splinters. I did
it. I don’t know how, but I did it!
Rebecca ignored her stinging hands and got to her feet once more. A good businesswoman never quit.
She saw him head for the exit. Adrenaline seemed to fill every pocket of
her body until it overflowed. She
gritted her teeth, shot forward in an extra burst of speed. And hurled herself in a flying tackle, landing
on top of her tormentor with a resounding crash. Her prisoner flailed at her, twisting, but was pinned to the
floor under Rebecca’s weight. He tried
to push her off, swearing coarsely. “Get off me!
Rebecca’s lips thinned as she reached over, gripped the hood and roughly
tore it off. When she saw who it was,
she was so surprised that she did not resist when her quarry finally rolled
over, breaking her hold. The words
tripped out before she could stop them.
of Part 2
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