Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Who Framed Roger Rabbit characters are the property of their original owners.
It was now official. Andrew Wells could make anything
Including a fedora, that supremely stylish headgear worn by such debonair masters of cool as Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and Johnny Depp. At present, this same type of hat tilted at a raffish angle on Andrew’s head, all in a vain attempt to make him look sophisticated and dangerous, instead had all the ludicrous equivalency of racing stripes being painted on a 1970 AMC Gremlin.
Glumly trailing along after her brash companion while he strutted down the darkened Hollywood alley, Faith had to admit to herself that Red was doin’ some damn fine payback. Yeah, okay, it might’ve been a kinda bad idea years ago in Sunnydale to hold this li’l witch hostage in the Mayor’s office to force the Scoobies into handing over what her then-boss had lost to them before his attempted Ascension. The Boston native ruefully conceded things like that could lead to a red-haired gal still holdin’ a really strong grudge ’gainst a certain Slayer over it.
Over the day, these dark suspicions had developed in Faith’s mind concerning exactly how she’d wound up with the walking disaster in front as her game partner. A couple of hours ago in the castle conference room, Willow Rosenberg tossed a pair of dice to randomly create five two-person groups to compete against each other. It seemingly had been on the absolute up-and-up at the time. However, in Faith’s delinquent past, she’d met one or two gamblers with enough skill in throwing the bones to make these dice show whatever numbers which were wanted. And those guys had been merely human. Someone with all the huge mystical might as the Red Witch, that other woman would have had no trouble doing the same, and in the process, also settling a few scores.
Moodily considering this, Faith soon shook her head in genuine respect at such a first-rate piece of retaliation. *Can’t say I don’t deserve it, but still, bein’ stuck with goddamn Andy? Managed to avoid him pretty much ever since the bottom dropped outta Sunnyhell. Red musta spotted back then or after, how he always set my teeth on edge. One thing or ’nother kept me from stompin’ him flatter than a pancake, and now I can’t do it in our stupid scavenger hunt. So far, he ain’t screwed up alla that bad, but if he does and makes us lose, I’m gonna seriously kick his ass anyways.*
All of these ruminations had flashed through Faith’s brain much more quickly than it took to narrate this. Bringing her attention once more to the untidy surroundings of the latest dimension where they’d been sent by a witch’s magic, the Slayer gazed ahead at where Andrew had just stopped in front of a sturdy wooden door at the end of the rundown alley. Looking over his shoulder to beam at Faith glowering in turn at him, the young man happily turned back to the door. Reaching out with one hand, Andrew briskly rapped with his knuckles onto the panels surface the rhythm of ‘shave and a haircut -- two bits.’
An instant later, the peephole set at head level on the door slid open. A single baleful eye peered out through this opening. Andrew drew in a deep, thrilled breath over finally being able to say what he’d dreamed of for years, and then he conspiringly whispered, “Walt sent me.”
The eye narrowed. After sending a suspicious glance at where Faith was resignedly looking up at the late 1940’s Southern California night sky, a reluctant grunt of acceptance from behind the door acknowledged this password to be correct. With the scraping sound of bolts being drawn back, the door then swung inwards.
An animated gorilla revealed by this now stood in the open doorway, his enormous bulk completing filling it up both horizontally and vertically. Before stepping out of the way further back into the building, the ape working as a doorman waved a massive paw to invite inside the newest guests of the Ink and Paint Club.
A huge smile instantly appearing on his delighted face, Andrew of course bustled forward right away into the building. Faith unenthusiastically followed after, but while passing by the gorilla, she received the usual ‘behave or else’ glare this woman had to endure her whole life. Faith promptly responded with an even colder expression of ‘ya and what fuckin’ army, pal?’
She also put a little Slayer spin on it, just for shits and giggles. Which resulted in Faith having to inwardly fight down a quick upwelling of malicious glee at seeing this bouncer momentarily turn pale under his abundant facial hair. The cartoon primate had just clearly realized here in front of him was a far more intimidating predator than anything the African jungles could ever produce. Hastily edging away, the gorilla thankfully closed the front door and returned to his post, sitting back down in the oversized chair by the inner wall. All while sending a very worried stare at where that unnerving human female smirking to herself was striding through the building foyer.
In a much better mood than before, Faith swaggered towards the nightclub cloakroom, where Andrew had already handed over his hat and overcoat to the waiting attendant. Stopping by her companion, Faith shrugged off her golden silk wrap, revealing a skin-tight, low-cut evening gown of deepest midnight. This dress stunningly complimented her dark mane and the woman’s alabaster cleavage. Casually dropping the wrap onto the cloakroom counter, Faith only lifted a quizzical eyebrow when the attendant advanced along the countertop to put away this strip of expensive cloth.
Carefully closing his extra-long beak upon the golden fabric, the Central American toucan then flapped his wings to soar upwards with his burden. Hovering in mid-air, this colorful bird neatly deposited the wrap besides Andrew’s fedora resting on a shelf jutting from the room wall. Again using his beak to snatch a small disk dangling from the front edge of the shelf, the toucan swooped back down, landing easily onto his clawed feet upon the cloakroom counter. Andrew took the offered disk with a number engraved on it corresponding to the shelf number. He placed the identifying disk into his tuxedo jacket pocket for later reclaiming their property when they left the nightclub.
Both New Council members walked side-by-side down the short corridor to enter the main nightclub area proper. Faith and Andrew paused together just beyond the entrance, looking around in their shared curiosity.
As expected, the large circular room with a curtained stage on the left perfectly resembled what had been shown in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Numerous dining tables filled with tonight’s patrons eating and drinking at these were placed around the room, and at the far back, a good-sized bar had an animated octopus busily preparing a half-dozen drinks at the same time with all eight of his tentacles.
Faith sensed Andrew’s intentions the very second he moved, and her arm shot out to grab his elbow, holding him there in the middle of his first step. The startled man turned his head to see his beautiful game partner giving him a sour look, along with her irritably hissing, “Hell, no, we ain’t gonna be right in front.”
Ignoring Andrew’s outraged expression, Faith instead nodded across the room at an empty booth built into the curving wall. “That’ll do okay for us, and don’t fuckin’ argue. This movie might be one of yer favorites, but we’re not here ta get involved in things. You can film that private eye, Eddie Valiant, just fine from over there.”
“But--” Andrew began to whine his protest, only to immediately shut up when Faith twitched up her lips to bare her teeth at him in a pitiless snarl. The Slayer next swept off towards her chosen table, not even bothering to look back to see if Andrew was following. Which he indeed was, despite doing so in a very sullen manner and continuously grumbling under his breath during this.
Andrew’s immense annoyance over being ordered around like now in the middle of one of his film favorites lasted throughout him huffily taking his seat opposite Faith in their booth. However, his irritation abruptly lightened when their cheerful penguin waiter showed up a few moments later. As was only natural, since nobody can remain surly while in the diverting company of those amusing flightless birds in their dapper black and white feathers. On the other hand, Faith was also there, ready and willing to stick it again to her exasperating companion.
With a somewhat disturbing smirk on her lips, Faith graciously told the penguin taking their orders, “Whiskey on the rocks for me, an’ a Shirley Temple for him there.” The woman’s smile now turned pure evil when she added, “Oh, what the hell. He’s been a good li’l boy all night, so he deserves a reward. Put double the usual cherries in his glass!”
The penguin bobbed its head in acceptance of this and then scooted away from the booth. The Antarctican bird left behind a very contended Faith savoring her petty revenge and a livid Andrew about to explode in sheer fury at being ordered a children’s drink composed of ginger ale with a splash of grenadine, along with a garnish of maraschino cherries.
Just before Andrew would’ve erupted at Faith, no matter what the cost to him from this, the Slayer lifted a warning finger. She used this to urgently point at the nightclub entrance. Following where his game partner was indicating, Andrew abruptly cooled down. He fumbled out Willow’s video camera from his pants pocket. Discreetly holding the recorder hidden from anybody who might be watching, the absorbed geek started filming Eddie Valiant’s entrance into the Ink and Paint Club.
An intent Andrew continued his labor of love throughout all of what that Hollywood private eye next did: taking a seat at an empty table in front of the stage, holding a conversation with Betty Boop and also talking to Marvin Acme, to then watch the insane piano duel between Daffy Duck and Donald Duck. Not even the delivery of their drinks made Andrew pause in his task. The filled glass holding the Shirley Temple indeed well-stocked with cherries was instead ignored by him.
On the other hand, Faith was enjoying her booze. She sipped at this damned good whiskey, during thoughtfully eyeing the chunky detective across the room from the pair at their own table. The fact was, in the 1988 film with its farfetched premise of cartoon people interacting with real folks, it was the human over there who was her most favorite character from the movie. She flat-out had to respect a stubborn guy who tried to do the right thing while working at his everyday job, even if he had really good cause to dislike toons. Yep, Valiant was okay in her book.
At the halfway point of draining her drink, Faith then stopped to cringe at the thunderous explosion coming from the stage, which was the raucous climax of a musical feud between two animated avians. As the stage curtains closed, Faith flexed her jaw muscles to alleviate the ringing in her ears. There were definite times when the Slayer’s heightened hearing was unfortunately just something to make her frantically grab for the nearest earplugs. Well, at least it was over and done with now, before Faith became even more annoyed and in the mood for a little roast duck.
*Hmmm… Might as well as stay here afterwards when it’s all finished, what Red tol’ us ta do. Andy and me, we can spare some time for a good feed. This place will do fine, so when Mr. Director there quits filmin’, I’ll ask for a coupla menus. Okay, what comes next in the movie?*
From above, the house lights dimmed, and the room which had previously been pervaded by the nightclub crowd’s amused chattering among themselves over what they’d just watched, now suddenly hushed. At the same time, Faith’s expression became quite disgruntled, with her mentally grumping, *Oh. Right. Her.
The stage curtains stirred, and from where they were parting, two massive fleshy protrusions clad in red sequins advanced towards the audience. There was an actual few seconds’ delay until the rest of Jessica Rabbit’s body caught up with and followed along after. Sashaying forward, this slinking, scarlett-tressed cartoon woman gave the awed spectators a truly smoldering look of raw sexuality.
In her darkened booth seat concealing what she was doing, Faith sneered back, and she tossed off with one gulp the rest of her whiskey. Placing the now-empty glass onto the tabletop, this superhuman female caught sight from out of the corner of her eye the glazed look now upon Andrew’s face while he single-mindedly continued to operate his camera filming everything. Peering through the dim light, Faith’s superlative night vision also saw virtually every other male there -- either animated or flesh-and-blood -- had the same expression of pure lust while those morons stared at the most magnificent breasts in Hollywood.
At that point, the grouchy Slayer remembered and fully agreed with the acerbic remark uttered by the alien villainess Serleena during the sequel to the original Men In Black
movie: “Silly little planet. Anyone could take over the place with the right set of mammary glands.”
Inelegantly lounging in the booth, a dimensional visitor dourly resigned herself to spending the next couple of minutes tolerating a performance by someone whose tits were bigger than her talent. Faith had never liked that bunny-humper right from the start, whose main claim to fame was Jessica Rabbit’s naughty comment that she wasn’t bad, she was just drawn that way. Yeah, sure, and Olive Oyl was in her Toontown life the equivalent of Mother Theresa.
Hey, it wasn’t any kind of hypocrisy, what she was thinking. Faith damned well knew she was hot, and she’d traded in on this plenty of times. But the major difference between her and that blimp-chested bimbo on stage was that Faith could back it up when the mean and nasty shit got started. The skank there…what the hell did she
ever do, the rest of the picture? Stayed around looking decorative, vamped every guy in sight to make Faith’s fingers itch for a stake, did nothing but scream and whimper when in danger, and basically played useless arm-candy throughout--
*WHAT THE FUCK?!
Snapping bolt upright in her seat, Faith stared in total disbelief at the crooning sexpot on stage. Did she really
Keeping her gaze firmly fixed upon a certain part of a toon’s body, Faith waited through the next stanza of ‘Why Don’t You Do Right?’ Her patience was rewarded by another sway of Jessica’s lush hips clad in a dress slit way, way up which revealed again for an infinitesimal moment what the Slayer’s acute eyes had accidentally noticed the first time. Quickly glancing around, Faith checked the audience’s sightlines. She soon started to experience what was nothing less than genuine admiration for that lady in red, far different from her previous feelings.
It must’ve taken hours and hours of practice, plus the ability to remember exactly when, where, and how to do it. But the end result was that nobody else any closer in the nightclub could possibly detect what Jessica had just done. Neither could normal people in the booths at the back of the room, not at this distance for anyone who didn’t have the ultra-keen vision capable of reading a dime’s date from the other end of a football field. A reluctant grin tugging at her lips, Faith leaned back in her seat, and she mentally saluted Jessica Rabbit.
*Like hell yer not bad, sister. Dunno why yer doin’ this -- for the whole fun of it, just ’cause it’s comfortable, gets ya off, whatever -- but I owe ya one. Gonna take a while ta figger the right time to lay it on Fan-boy, but it’ll be totally worth it. Betcha he’ll start bawlin’ real tears at what he missed by bein’ in the wrong seat insteada mine. Otherwise, his stupid camera, it woulda caught on tape not just a time when the guy drawin’ ya sneaked a practical joke past everyone, but the honest truth ‘bout that ya don’t ever wear panties.*