Pride Lands Online
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...
By: Rindimo Cheetah

        It was a dark night. A stormy one. One that turned the hot street tar into a fragrant perfume of mist that only a road worker with a vertical smile hangin' out his pants would appreciate. It was the kind of night where you'd really want to just pack up your work, and go home. That is, unless your office /is/ your home.
        The name's Cheetah. Rindimo Cheetah. Double-Oh-Zero. No wait, that's not it! Wrong cheesy adventure story! This is pulp! Any way, The name's Cheetah. Rindimo Cheetah. I'm a Private Eye. Yeah, yeah, quit laughin' already...
     Bein' a private eye ain't easy. The job isn't the most consistant. Ain't the most dependable, or profitable either. It's not everyday people just bang down my door, and throw rolls of dollar bills at me. Man, that was one hell of a mardigras! Until that happens again, a guy hasta tighten his belt- if he has one- and do without a couple pleasures in this life. Yeah, I don't have a Ferrari. I heard if I were to actually spruce up my rusty Cutlass Supreme a bit, it could sell for a six-pack-- cold one, too. Heck, if I sprayed the car with a floral-scented disinfectant, I could sell it to the junkyard in no time flat!
     But even though there isn't much material possessions in my grasp, I've found a way to cope with it. I like for dinner to be classy-- especially this particular dreary night. For appetizers, some grapes in the form of cheap wine. The main course: a nice well prepared grain dish I like to call beer. The side dish: tequila. Yes, I eat the worm. To go along and help wash that dish down, I got some nice rum. And finally, for dessert, I like some peaches with a little peppermint mixed with it. Schnapps, that is.
     Normally, I like to pull out my saxophone after such a superbly prepared meal (my compliments to the chef) and blare out some blues to annoy the neighbors before I pass out on the floor... But tonight was differrent.
     "Uh, sir, there's someone who would like to see you..."
     "Who is it, Sharon?"
     Sharon was my secretary. She's a college sophmore. What would make her work for me? Co-op/internship-- whatever the hell you call it. All I know is she works for free so long as I say she's doing a good job to the school board. Works for me. Besides, she's helped me out with some pretty tough crossword puzzles...
     "There is a lioness to see you, sir. She, uh, says she has a message for you... {whispering} But I think {giggle} someone's forcing her to do this."
     "Send her in," I sighed. So much for dinner tonight.
     I gotta admit, seeing a lioness walk in with little bunny ears on, along with a cute bunny suit made me smirk. She seemed rather happy for someone forcing her. Yet again, Sharon's hunch seemed wrong.
     "Why hello there, big boy!"
     Look out, kids. This ain't the cleanest story I've ever told. ;)
     "Um, hi."
     "Oh, are you going to supply the music?" She gestured at my saxophone.
     "Music? I thought you had a message for me."
     "I do, but I need a song to tell you. How about the tune, "Happy Birthday"?"
     "Suit yourself." I shrugged, and began to blare out a jazzy rendition of it in all my drunkeness. I could begin to hear people from upstairs start to stomp the floor and shout out obscenities.
     "Ha-ppy Birth-day... to you-ou-ou-ou..." She began to throw a part of her costume my way.
     "Hold it!"
     "What is it? Would you like a little something {giggle} different?"
     "It's not my birthday."
     "What?! Isn't this apartment number 305?"
     "Upstairs, deary."
     "Oops. Sorry."
     "Nah, it's all right. Hey, aren't you the girl who was at the precinct last year for officer Murray's birthday? Loved your work."
     "Why, yes. How'd you know that."
     "I'm friends with a couple of the officers."
     "Well, {blush} thanks for the compliment! Sorry I can't talk to you longer, mister--"
     "...Rindimo, but I gotta hurry up and get to a party!"
     As she walked out, I had to shoot a glare at Sharon, who had her "I-gotta-call-up-my-friends-and-tell-them-about-this-one" face.
     "Nothing happened!"
     She laughed.
     "No really, nothing happened."
     She laughed harder.
     "Forget it."
     It took me a couple minutes to realize I could've really mooched away someone's birthday present. Nah. I mean, heck! I'm *supposed* to be playing one of the good guys here...
     So I'm sitting behind my desk eating "Dinner" as usual. The rain continued to keep up its pattering on the dirty window pane of scum. Somewhere between listening to the rain, and my Shnapps dessert, I fell asleep. Either that, or a stupor from all the alcohol fumes. Take your pick.
     {Bzzzzzzzt!!!}"Private Eye! mmmmm...Cheetah...{snore}"
     {Bzzzzzzzt!!!}"Money... For me?...."
     {Bzzzzzzzt!!!}"All Right! I'm up, what is it?!"
     "Sir, You have a {giggle} visitor again."
     "What?! What time is it?"
     "About forty five minutes since your last drink."
     "Darn! It's been *forty five* minutes? Is that a record or something?"
     "Sir, your visitor?"
     "Yes, yes. Send whoever it is in!" (All right! It's money making time! What a break!)
     Without further ado, walks in the same lioness.
     "Um, sorry, it's still not my birthday."
     Suddenly, she bursts into tears.
     "Rindimo! You have to help me! I've been robbed!"
     "What??!!! A prety girl like you?! What happenned?! Who took what?!"
     "My Lion King collection! Someone's stolen my Lion King collection!!!"
     "Why can't you tell the police?!"
     "They just laughed at me! You're my only hope of getting them back!"
     I was already beginning to like this case right from the start. A beautiful woman asking for my help... man, it really beats the case of the missing nerdy Star Trek conventioners by a long shot!
     "All right, cutey, I'll help yah! Calm down! I'll find your Lion King collection if it kills me! First thing's first: let's get a description of your things."
     She finally began to stop sobbing.
     "Well, I had this life size Simba plushy, an autographed Simba lithograph, an autographed Simba glossy photo, an autographed cell of Simba, a Simba coffee mug, a Simba statuette used in making the animation, a Simba coffee mug, every single Simba poster, and a Nala dart board."
     "Okay, I understand the Simba stuff-- apparently you like him... But why the Nala dart board?"
     She cocked her head at me. I realized I just asked a drunk question. It was cute the way her face scrunched up in jealousy, though.
     "To throw darts at! It's her that came between us!"
     "Whoah! You mean you and Simba?"
     "Yes. We were both fresh out of acting school... He was a promissing actor, and I was his girl. It was when he hit it big in that movie, that that... that *LIONESS* stole him away from me! So what if I just ended up being a standin!" She continued to sob, "Oh, Simba! You told me we'd always be together! That it was written in the stars! Oh, Simba, why, why why??!!!"
     "It's all right, cutey! Pull yourself together! People do things they don't understand, and they don't know how bad it hurts others." This was the part I hate. How come all the girls have to cry?
     "Here," I handed her a bottle of Dr. Jack Daniels her way, "this'll help you feel better."
     "Well, not really. But after a couple of sips, you'll think so."
     It helped her at least stop sobbing for a while, as she took a couple swigs. Kinda impressing, actually. She has some guts.
     "Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I'm going to need some more info before we head on down this trail." I pulled out my little form from the huge pile of papers and bottles littering my desk.
     "Name please."
     "OOh, nice one!"
     "Well it sure sounded better than Frieda!"
     "Ouchy. Phone number?"
     She looked at me with a truckload of suspicion.
     "Hey, it's in case I need to contact you if there's a break in the case!"
     "I suppose next you'll want my measurements?"
     "Anything that'll help this case get along... Uh, did I say that one out loud?"
     She nodded her head. I quickly grabbed a bottle, and began to take a swig of my own...
     "Well, let's just drop the form for now... So, any idea who would steal your precious Lion King collection, and why? Does anyone know it even exists?"
     "No.... Yes! Well... Yes, I guess. At the hotel where I live, there was a commercial of Simba's pride playing in the lobby, and I commented that I owned a bunch of stuff from the first movie."
     "Anyone in particular take notice?"
     "Um, no."
     "So anyone could've heard it, and gotten the idea to steal your stuff, that is so long as they knew your room number?"
     "Well.... yes. Heck, almost every male in the place knows my room number!"
     "Hmmm... Well, there's only one thing to do. Take me to your place." There was that suspicion again.
     "I want to see the scene of the crime, for pete's sake!"
     "Oh. Hee hee, I'm sorry."
     "I forgive you."
     "Now I really wish I cleaned the place up before I left."
     "No no no! you could disturb some vital clue!"
     "Oh, that's right!"
     "So, you got a car?"
     "Um, no. I never found need for one."
     "Now I wish I had a can of Lysol... Come on, you'll hafta give me directions."
     I got up, and put on my old worn-out fedora, and my jeans jacket.
     "Excuse me, but don't most private inspectors wear an overcoat to go with the hat?"
     "I'm not your average gumshoe, sweety. Besides, this was half-off at Goodwill. Just Kidding! Geez!" I took an extra swig before we headed off to the tenant garage, for luck.

To be continued.....

     Will Rindimo find vital clues to solving this case? Will his car start? will the plot *EVER* thicken? Will Veronica willfully give out her phone number? Will Goodwill profit from this free advertisement? Will anyone even *WANT* to read the continuation of this story?

{whispering} Please, oh please, oh please.....

Part II

Text Version
Author: Rindimo
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