Chapter 11: Misidentify
Geno wasnít looking so good. He had taken a beating from that fox and otter, and the princess was still passed out. Marita looked at her watch. The destroyer should be here in a minute. She looked back at Geno, now also passed out in the bottom of the lifeboat. It really wasnít so bad in this line of work, you got paid well, and had excellent benefits. The risks were pretty high though. This was an easy job. Well, she was done. She had the princess, she was getting paid, and she was getting out. The raccoon began to stir in the bottom of the lifeboat.
"Good evening, Princess," said Marita. "How are you feeling?"
"Iíve been worse," she replied. Then she looked about. "Where am I? Who are you? What have you done with Greg?"
"Calm down, princess," said Marita. "Let me introduce myself. I am Marita." The raccoon looked at her, then looked at the fox lying in the boat.
"What have you done to Geno?" she asked, checking him over to see if he were all right.
"How do you know him?" asked Marita, now confused.
"He often visits the hospital where I work at," replied the raccoon. "Heís not doing so well."
"Hospital?" asked Marita. "Are you sure youíre all right, Princess?"
"Why do you keep calling me that? My name is Angie."
"Angie?" asked Marita. "Arenít you the princess of..."
"No," said Angie. "Iím just a nurse. How could you have confused me with a princess?"
"Uh," she began.
"Look," said Angie, "My friends are going to be worried sick about me, especially Greg, who is back on the ship. Why did you bring me in this boat anyway?"
"So your not the princess?" she said dumbly.
"Obviously, and Geno here needs some medical attention," said Angie.
"But how? The picture I have..." She pulled a printout of the picture from her purse and handed it to Angie.
"This is a really good picture, but itís not me," said Angie. "The fur patterns are the same, and we are the same height, but look, her fur is a deeper color than mine."
"Well, it was dark in the ballroom," began Marita. "And you two do look a lot alike."
"I just hope Greg doesnít wind up with that princess," said Angie.
Phylaís head was ringing. The last thing she remembered was some clumsy raccoon tripping and falling into her. She hit her head on the table and blacked out. She opened her eyes. There was the raccoon lying next to her. She jumped clear out of the bed and stared down at the raccoon. She was still fully dressed, so was he. So how did they wind up in the same bed, and where was Joseph? She considered screaming, but that would be a bad idea. One, if this guy was crazy, sheíd be dead before help could arrive. Besides, he looked disturbed as it was, like a horrific dream had settled over him in the night, tearing at him from the inside. He began to stir.
Greg felt next to him, only to find nothing. He opened his eyes and looked out onto the room to see a red and white raccoon staring down at him.
"Angie, are you okay?" he asked.
"Who?" asked Phyla. Greg stood up and looked at her. It was Angie, wasnít it? No, her fur was darker.
"Iíd like to know the same thing," said Phyla.
"I donít know," said Greg. "Last thing I remember was dragging Angie from the ball room and passing out up here."
"Well, the last thing I recall was you tripping and knocking me out cold," replied the princess.
"Sorry, about that," murmured Greg. He reached over for his travel case and produced a bottle of aspirin. "Want one?" he offered.
"Sure," said Phyla. They both swallowed the pill and looked about again. "So what exactly happened last night?"
"Well, I tripped into the captain and you, then these goons jumped the captain and some wolverine,"
"Oh my! Joseph!" she said. "Heíll be worried sick about me."
"Whoís he?" asked Greg.
"Better question," said Phyla. "Who are you?"
"My name is Greg," he replied. "Who are you and why do you look so much like my girlfriend?"
"My name is Princess Phyla," she said. "Iím sure you donít really want all the titles that go with it, but suffice to say that you girlfriend is probably with Joseph, or in the arms of terrorists right now."
"Thatís what I was afraid of," said Greg.
"What else happened last night?" asked Phyla.
Greg looked at his watch. It was about one in the morning. "Itís still tonight actually," he said. "Well, after the guys jumped into the fray, a black mouse tried to drag, I assumed at the time it was Angie, away. I lost control for a second and knocked him back through a table. I grabbed you then apparently, and ran. I passed out here just after..." Greg suddenly snapped to a realization. "My God!" he yelled. "Someone has kidnapped my girlfriend!" He jumped up, and promptly sat back down again. The pain from last night was back.
"Pardon?" asked Phyla.
"Well, as I was running out of the room, I saw a tall skunk and a grey fox fighting with an otter and another fox. The grey fox I believe was and old friend of mine named Geno, and some woman skunk picked her up."
"A grey fox named Geno?" asked Phyla. "Geno Vulepes?"
"Yeah, why?" asked Greg. "Is he famous or something?"
"Geno is the greatest Watcher that the organization has ever had," said Phyla.
"Watcher? Genoís retired, maíam," said Greg. "He was in the Italian navy, but..."
"Never mind," said Phyla. "We should find Joseph."
Joseph stood outside the door listening to the voices coming from the inside. Phyla was in no danger really, but still he had failed in his job to protect her. His jaw still hurt from that fox. He shook his head and knocked on the door. A black and white raccoon opened the door.
"May I help you?" asked Greg, obviously pained.
"Iím looking for Phyla," said Joseph.
"And who are you?" asked Greg.
"I am Joseph," he replied.
"Itís okay," called Phyla. "Thatís really him." Greg opened the door and let the wolverine in. Joseph saw Phyla sitting down on the bed, still wearing the dress she had put on earlier in the evening. She saw him, jumped up, and wrapped her arms around him. "Youíre safe!"
"I wouldnít worry about me," said Joseph. "You worry about you."
"Touching," said Greg. "Really it is. It brings a tear to my eye. Now can I ask you a question? Where do you two know Geno from, and where is Angie?"
"Thatís three questions," replied the wolverine. "But Iíll answer them. Geno is an agent for Watchers, a program set up to protect the general public from terrorist groups. Angie is probably with them, along with that skunk."
"I guess the question is who is the skunk?" asked Greg.
"What?" yelled a tall squirrel. "You mean you grabbed the wrong person?"
"Iím sorry, David," said Marita, "but it was dark and obviously the look very much alike..."
"I donít care!" screamed David. "This was our opportunity, and you blew it!"
"Donít yell at me," said Marita. "You can go to hell for I care. Iím done."
"Oh, no your not," said David. "You owe us a complete mission, then you can go."
"Nothing doing," said Marita. "Iím sick of this organization. By the way, Geno said heís done as a field agent."
"Heís the best we have!"
"Heís in his 70ís! Let him retire."
"Well, who do we get to take your places?"
"I saw a badger on the ship. She looked like a good candidate."
"Oh right, Iím sure you dropped her a pamphlet. Oh, never mind, you were too busy grabbing the wrong person."
"Ah, sit and spin," replied Marita, extending her middle digit. "Iím going home." She slammed the door behind her and walked out to the hall where Angie stood leaning up against the wall.
"You know," said Angie, "for steel walls, they certainly let a lot of noise through."
"Oh, donít worry about him," said Marita. "Heís just pissed that I messed up."
"Bugger him then," said Angie. "Iím hungry."
"Yeah, me too," said Marita. "Letís head down to the galley and see what we can dredge up."
"Oh, seafaring food," said Angie. "I can hardly wait."
"Youíre a pretty good sport about this entire thing," said Marita. "Iíd personally be really upset right now."
"Well," said Angie, "Iím just going with the flow. I knew this was going to be a trip, but I didnít know it was going to be this strange."
"Really?" asked Marita.
"That and Iím not going to go nuts until I know if Genoís going to be okay or not."
"Well," said Marita, "heís a tough old fox. Heíll survive. Oh hereís the galley now." Marita pushed open the door and walked into the small dining hall. Since they were not on a large ship, there was minimal room about. They ordered two plates of food and sat down at the table. Marita tried to think of a topic of conversation.
"So where did you and Greg meet?" she blurted out, realizing instantly that was probably the worse subject that she could have brought up.
"Actually," said Angie, "we met in the hospital. Greg was in a car accident..."
"Is he okay?" interrupted Marita.
"Heís fine," said Angie, suspiciously. "Do you know him from somewhere?"
"Um... not really," she lied.
"Where did you meet him?" asked Angie. "You obviously never learned the raccoons trick of hiding their emotions."
"Well," began Marita, "I was sort of married to him." Angie stared dumbly at her. She picked up her fork, and her stare became a menacing glare.
"You?" she demanded. "You know what you put him through?"
"No," said Marita, now becoming frightened. "What?"
"Greg has spent the past two years of his life in a drunken stupor because of you," she said, rather calmly. "I think that when we get back to the ship, you had better apologize very nicely, explain everything, and maybe Iíll consider not throwing you overboard."
"You know," said Marita, struggling for something to say, "this might not be the best time to bring this up, but we are still legally married." Marita saw Angie lunge, and she quickly pulled her hand away. Instantly, the fork was stuck in the table where her hand had just been. The fork vibrated in the table as Angie stood.
"I think that it would be a good time to figure out a way around that," said Angie as she left the galley. Marita was impressed. She had never seen anyone that angry over anything. And yet she remained calm. Maybe she could take her place in the Watchers. But that would definitely be a bad idea to bring up right now.
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