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[DAC-03] SD-01 Terryville Arrival

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  • [DAC-03] SD-01 Terryville Arrival

    Terryville - Digital Animation Country

    [DAC-03] SD-01 Terryville Arrival
    By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)
    07/01/2017

    Chapter One.

    Steven Duke was mad.

    His dad was being transferred to a new branch office in an unheard of part of the country, and worse, Mr. Duke was moving the family with him. This wouldn't normally be such a horrible thing, but it couldn't have come at a worse time. Steven had just earned his way on to the local softball team. And not just anyone could get into that.

    So, here he sat... packing his belongings into boxes that his mom had picked up from the moving company. His friends all knew that his family was moving, and most sympathized with Steven, but there was nothing they could do.

    Steven's older sister poked her head into Steven's bedroom. "Taking it kinda hard, aren't you?"

    Steven lifted his head up at his usually wiser than thou sister, Louanne, and replied, "How come you're not pissed off with all this? Doesn't this ruin your credits toward that scholarship you were working on?"

    Louanne smiled. "Mom and dad didn't tell you where we were moving to, did they? If you had known, you wouldn't be so mad. Not just anyone gets to move into that area."

    Steven arched an eye. "No, they didn't say... but I was pretty mad at the time and stormed up to my room. I just got on the softball team, Lupe. It just isn't fair."

    Louanne smiled, patting Steven's shoulder. "I know it isn't fair, but you'll soon be having more fun than you'll know what to do with in the Digital Animation Country."

    Steven suddenly brightened. "Where? Digital Animation Country? But... I thought DAC was reserved for anime characters and such. Why are we being allowed in there?"

    Louanne replied, "Dad got transferred into the Terryville city council. That's how come we can live there. I only hope we get into a quiet SANE neighborhood. I don't want to be awakened at 2:57 AM by a cartoon cat chasing a mouse through a circus parade."

    Steven had to laugh at that.

    Louanne grinned. "See? I got you to smile. It's not so bad of a move, now is it? And I am sure they'll have a softball team of their own you can join. Think of the wacky new friends you'll make. Besides, you can always stay in touch with your old friends."

    Steven smiled. "Yeah, I can. Thanks for cheering me up, Lou."

    Louanne walked out of the bedroom saying, "I have to go help mom in the kitchen. Finish packing your gear, Steven. I'll see you when you're finished." Louanne headed downstairs.

    Steven was still smiling. "Digital Animation Country... That might actually be fun."

    The trip to Terryville was extremely boring.

    Regular people weren't supposed to be able to live on Digital Animation Country. So this was sure to be a real eye opener for the cartoons already living there. The transition from reality to animated scenery through the entry Transportal was like those many scenes in Disney's Mary Poppins.

    Steven had been sadly watching the scenery go by, when suddenly, there was a donkey galloping backwards as fast as the car was driving, directly beside them. And there was a short cartoon cowboy trying to catch the donkey. This got Steven's attention immediately as he rolled down the window on the car and reached out to touch the animated donkey.

    The moment contact was made, the donkey turned his head toward Steven and said, "You must be the new council member's family. They're waiting for you in front of the city hall in town. I'm Action Jack, a janitorial donkey, and I'm looking forward toward seeing you in school, sexy." And with that, he continued on, galloping backwards ahead of the car, as if the vehicle was sitting still.

    Steven smiled. "The locals seem pretty nice, so far. I can't wait to meet some of the others."

    Mr. Duke said, "You see? You were getting mad about moving too soon. You already made a friend and we're not even to town yet."

    Steven was excited now. And watching the new surroundings with interest.

    A few moments later, the car pulled up to a stop in front of the city hall. And what Steven had not been expecting was a celebration party for the Duke's arrival in Terryville! It looked like the whole city of Terryville had showed up for the party. And the council members... they were some of the most well known cartoons in history.

    From the Disney set, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Simba presided. From the Hanna-Barbara set, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss presided. From the Warner Brothers set, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn presided. And from the Harvey-Toons set, Casper, Wendy and Moe Hare presided.

    These eight famous cartoon characters made up the standard Terryville city council. And now, Steven's father was joining them... but why? Steven still couldn't figure that one out.

    End of Chapter One.

  • #2
    Chapter Two.

    Simba was saying, "As the head of the Terryville city council, I am proud to welcome you, the Duke family, to Terryville. The first non-cartoon humans to ever have been given the privilege to live among us."

    Yogi then presented Mr. Duke with the key to the city, or a replica to the actual key, as Yogi explained it, and then, the feasting and partying commenced.

    It wasn't until late that afternoon when the Duke family were able to pull into the driveway of their new house, which was on a private drive in one of the more upstanding and quiet neighborhoods. Steven was glad to be at their new house.

    That night, after a good dinner, Steven was out behind the family property admiring the animated night time landscape. It was still hard to believe that they were being allowed to live on Digital Animation Country. They were certainly lucky. He wondered what school was going to be like. He recalled that Buckeye the Stallion said that he'd see Steven in school, so apparently, the school was unlike any other, if cartoon animals were allowed to attend.

    While Steven sat there, he saw a cartoon bunny dash by in the distance. A few moments later, an anime styled Kitsune emerged from the bushes and looked around. He then saw Steven and padded over to the human on the small hilltop.

    "Pardon me, hon youngster...can you tell me where bunny-san dashed?"

    Steven hummed. "He zipped into that tall field of clover and vines. Are you going to eat him?"

    The kitsune chuckled, as he patted Steven on the head and gave him a gold coin. "He is not for my meal...but for my daughter." The kitsune departed, once again, and vanished into the clover and vines.

    Steven arched an eye, as he looked at the gold coin. "It's going to take some getting used to living here, that's for sure..." He pocketed the gold coin and got up to return to the house.

    Standing directly behind where he'd been sitting was a male cartoon otter wearing a leather jacket and silver jewelry. "It is quite the view, isn't it? The name is Oslo. So you're the new kid..."

    Steven said, "Steven Duke. You come here often?"

    Oslo stepped passed Steven about a foot and replied, "You might say that. I like to bring either my girlfriends or boyfriends up to this hill for a bit of fun. Especially at night. And I'd hate for you to get any funny ideas about claiming this particular spot. Because if you did... I might have to hurt you," He peered back over his shoulder at Steven. "if you know what I mean..."

    Steven arched an eye. "A girlfriend, I could understand... but what do you mean by a boyfriend?"

    Oslo lowered his dark shades and grinned. "You really don't know, do you? I'm a bisexual cartoon otter. That means I go both ways...if you catch my drift."

    Steven paled a little, as he frowned. "Um...I think I'm starting to get the picture. I'm sorry I intruded in on your spot...really I am..."

    Oslo slowly turned to face Steven fully. "I really think you are sorry, kid. Tell me something... what're your favorite sports?"

    Steven smiled a little. "Softball and martial arts, though mom will only let me do softball."

    Oslo smiled, as he shook Steven's hand with his extra warm paw. "In school tomorrow, ask Coach Winslow for a softball tryout. If he says no, mention my name. See you around, kid."

    The next morning came sooner than Steven had hoped. Inside the Duke household, it was like any other morning. Breakfast was being prepared, Steven was emerging from the bathtub, Louanne was preparing for Acme Looniversity in nearby Wonderland, and Mr. Duke was sipping a hot cup of coffee while reading the morning paper. Or rather, trying to read the morning paper. Trying was the better word to use because he was laughing as he read each news article.

    Soon, Louanne and Steven sat down at the table and had breakfast with their parents.

    When breakfast ended, a male anime wolf on a motorcycle pulled up in front of the house and honked the horn. "Come on, Louanne! Your ride is here!"

    Louanne smiled. "That would be Starfang. I'll see all of you next weekend. Good luck in school, Steven." And Lupa headed out the door, put on her helmet, and got on the motorcycle behind Starfang. "Let's hit the road, Star!"

    Starfang exclaimed, "You got it, babe!" And together, they sped off into the distance. VROOM!

    Then, the school bus arrived out front and honked it's horn.

    End of Chapter Two.

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    • #3
      Chapter Three.

      Mrs. Duke kissed Steven and handed him his lunchbox. "I fixed your favorite, honey. As soon as you get to school, you're to check in with Principal Dum to get your class schedule sorted out. Have a good time, honey."

      Steven headed out the door and stepped aboard the school bus, where he saw a mish-mash of cartoon animals and teenagers conversing with each other. Steven irked when he saw what he was riding with and he sat at the very front of the bus, by himself.

      At the next stop, a male anime rat, Steven's own height that looked unwashed, boarded the bus and sat in the seat next to Steven. When he saw the ordinary human, he turned toward Steven and quietly and politely asked, "What are you being punished for?"

      Steven looked at the rat and whispered back, "I'm not being punished for anything. I just didn't want to sit back there with..." he paused looking scared... "them."

      The rat grinned and gently patted Steven's shoulder, then he held out his paw. "I'm Fenmire Rat."

      Steven shook Fenmire's paw, which felt warm and sticky, but didn't seem to have anything on it. "Steven Duke. The new boy, I guess you could say."

      Fenmire whispered to Steven, "How'd you like to be in the club my friends and I are in?"

      Steven arched an eye. "What sort of club is it?"

      Fenmire grinned. "I'm in the candle lighter's choir. We're called, the Wicks. You have a nice voice, so how about it?"

      Steven asked quietly, "You mean, you and your friends sing?"

      Fenmire quietly giggled and shook his head. "Only on Sunday morning. Members of the club take part of their name and affix the suffix -wick, so we can tell who is in the club. For instance, I am Fenmire Rat, but in the club, I am called Fenwick. A new name. Keen, isn't it?"

      Steven hummed. He wasn't particularly fond of his first name, and Stewick sounded really dumb. "I don't know, Fenwick. My first name doesn't sound that great with -wick. Stewick makes me sound like a loser."

      Fenwick grinned. "Do you have a middle name?"

      Steven had to grin back at that question. Yes, he did have a middle name that he often toyed with, but no one ever called him by that name. Ever. "Sure, it's Roe, but no one ever calls me that."

      Fenwick patted Steven's shoulder. "Roewick sounds like a winner. So how about it? Will you join our little club? I am sure the club leader will take to you like I have."

      Steven was starting to really like Fenwick. "If my parents say it's okay, I'll join up."

      Fenwick wrinkled his nose a little. "Why do you have to tell them?"

      Steven replied, "Cause my dad just joined the city council and he'll want to know what I'm doing with my time. But I think they'll say yes, because the candle lighter's choir sounds like something that they'd approve of my doing."

      Fenwick grinned again. "Okay. If he asks what we do, just tell him that we light the candles in the local Terryville church every Sunday morning. Which is exactly what we do. Though there is more to our club than just that. But I can't tell you anymore until you join us."

      Steven dug out his cellphone and opened it. "I'll call dad right now and ask him. Won't take a minute." He tapped in the number for his father's cellphone and then spoke to his father about joining the choir's club. He explained what he'd been told about it, not mentioning that was probably going to be more to it. His father thought it over, then gave his reply.

      "Call your mom and if she gives the okay, then you're in your first club. Have a good day at school." And his father hung up the cellphone.

      Steven then made the call to his mom, explaining the deal yet again, being wise to use the exact same words that he used to his dad. And she complied, as well, then hung up the phone.

      Fenwick smiled. "So how did it go?"

      Steven replied with a happy grin, "They both said I could be in the club."

      Soon, they were getting off the bus and Fenwick escorted Steven to Principal Dum's office. "Our principal is Scooby-Dum, so be nice to him. He's not all there a lot of the time. I'll talk to you around lunch period. Bye." And Fenwick headed off to his locker. Steven knocked on the door, then walked inside. Principal Dum was holding a magnifying glass and examining a piece of paper on his desk. "A clue. Right there."

      End of Chapter Three.

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      • #4
        Chapter Four.

        Steven giggled. "Um, Principal Dum? I'm Steven Duke. I was told to report to you for my class schedule this morning..."

        Scooby-Dum smiled at Steven. "Well hush my mouth! Steven! There are four classes you will be required to take. But the remaining three are for you to choose. The required classes are: Toon Geometrics, which includes geography and geology of Digital Animation Country. It's best if you can find your way around and know what mineral does what; DAC History, self explanatory; Script Literature, which is spelling, writing, reading, that sort of thing; and Mathematics, cause you never know when an equation might save someone's life. These 4 classes occur in the morning. What other 3 would you like to take?"

        Steven replied, "I at least need to take a P.E. class with Coach Winslow, if that's possible. As for the other two... I'd like to take Toon Physics, so I can know how toons operate... and... hum... Can I see a list of classes that Fenmire Rat is in, please?"

        Scooby-Dum coughed and dropped his magnifying glass when Steven mentioned Fenmire's name. "I hope you're staying away from that boy, Steven. He's trouble with a capital T. I'll show you which classes he's in, hour by hour, so you'll know what classes to avoid having to be with him in."

        Steven looked over the list, noting the last class of the day that Fenmire was in. "I'll take my last class of the day in P.I. Sciences. The teacher's name looks interesting." Steven assumed that P.I. stood for Private Investigation, but was he ever going to find out how wrong he was.

        Scooby-Dum was sort of shocked that Steven had chosen that last one as his last choice, but it was clearly Steven's choice and Scooby-Dum was going to honor it. He handed Steven a map of the school with his classes clearly marked, as well as his schedule.

        As Steven was coming out of the Principal's office, Fenwick walked up and said, "Principal Dum. I know you think I am trouble, but can Steven share my locker?"

        Scooby-Dum humphed. "I don't think you're trouble, I KNOW you're trouble. Why else would you end up in Saturday morning detention just about once or twice a month?"

        Fenwick presented his best Bambi eyed expression and trembling lip to Scooby-Dum. "P-p-please...?"

        Scooby-Dum sighed. "Okay. You get one more chance to straighten up. But if you blow it this time, you're off to... That Place. Get the picture?"

        After Fenwick showed Steven where the locker was and taught him the combination to the padlock, the two parted company again until lunch period. It was at that time that Steven sat at a table with Fenwick and three other cartoon boys... two dogs and a pudgy weasel. The four talked for awhile, as Steven shared his lunch with the others, then it was off to classes once again.

        When Steven walked into P.E., he noticed a slightly older young buck cartoon deer with a coaches cap on his head and wearing a whistle around his neck. Steven walked over to him and said, "Are you Coach Winslow?"

        The buck deer turned an eye to Steven. "That's who I am. You must be Steven Duke, the councilman's son. I heard you took my class. What's on your mind?"

        Steven replied, "I'd like to try out for the Terryville softball team."

        Coach Winslow replied evenly, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd be afraid that the opposing softball team would hurt you if you were on our team. They're toons, you know, just as our team is and that means that they can take some extra-ordinary damage that I am sure you can't take."

        Steven frowned, "But Oslo told me last night..."

        Coach Winslow cut him off, saying, "You met Oslo last night? Really?" His attitude and expression seemed to instantly change concerning Steven. "Of course you can try out for the team, Steven. But don't get your hopes up. Like I said, the positions are filled, this year. But we'll give you a try, that's for sure."

        Steven just had to ask before he headed off to get dressed out for P.E., "Um, how is it you know Oslo?"

        Coach Winslow blushed deeply, shifting from one cloven hoof to the other. "Er, I'd rather not say. Now run along, Steven."

        Steven was really wondering what hold Oslo had over people, as he got dressed out for P.E.

        One of the other school boys, a cartoon kangaroo named Jack, whispered to Steven, "Ah know about what you asked Coach Winslow... but it'll cost yas for me to tell yas, mate. Just promise to do me a favor at a later date and Ah'll tell yas what yas want to know."

        Steven whispered back, "I promise. So what's the big secret?"

        Some moments later, after having been told by Jack what was up, Steven and the other boys did their exercises and ran laps around the gym and then, they played some basketball. Steven couldn't get Coach Winslow and Oslo out of his mind, but he felt sorry for them. After P.E., Steven got dressed again and headed on to his next class. But the class he was actually looking forward to was the last hour's class, where he'd get to spend some time with Fenwick and the other guys he met during lunch period.

        End of Chapter Four.

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        • #5
          Chapter Five.

          Steven met with Fenwick at their shared locker just before the start of the last class of the day.

          Fenwick grinned. "You ready for the last class?"

          Steven grinned back. "I sure am!"

          Fenwick then asked, "Did any of the teachers assign you with any homework your first day here?"

          Steven replied, "No, they didn't. They said I could wait until Monday before getting into receiving homework like everyone else. Pepe le Pew is a riot as a Toon Physics teacher."

          Fenwick giggled. "Good. Then you can leave your books in the locker. You won't be needing any for the last class. I hope you like field trips, because the last class, P.I. Sciences, takes place away from the school. Every single day. It's almost like getting out of school an hour earlier than everyone else."

          Steven was excited! "Wow! I can't wait to see this class, then!"

          And the two headed off and joined the others under a teacher calling himself Professor Stromboli. The class group left the school, piled into a minibus, and drove out to the docks on the nearby Lake Ecric. There, they got off the bus and boarded a boat and sailed over to a lone dock at the base of island with high bluffs.

          As they got off the boat, the Professor said, "Find the three natural items pictured in these sheets I am giving you. And boys... stay near the beaches. I don't need to remind you that we lost a few boys out here a few years ago and the Toon Authorities still haven't been able to locate them. I'll wait here at the boat. You have until sundown to find the items. Starting....now!"

          Fenwick and Steven tore off across the beachhead and around the far end. Once they were out of sight of their teacher, Fenwick slowed to a walk and said, "Told you he was cool! And now, we literally have the rest of the afternoon to do whatever we like and still get good grades for doing so!"

          Steven was leaning against the stone wall of the bluff as he asked, "I forgot to ask this earlier, but where exactly are we?"

          Fenwick grinned as he gave Steven a gumball, and then, started chewing one of his own. "This place? Oh, this is Pleasure Island. You know... from Pinocchio." He held Steven's arms, as he continued. "But don't worry... the place has been closed down for centuries. And besides, the only donkey boy I know is Lampwick." He winked at Steven as he said that.

          Steven had been about to freak out when he finally learned what P.I. meant, but upon the mention of the famous donkey, he was excited and smiling again. "THE Lampwick is still around?"

          Fenwick grinned, as he nodded his muzzle. "Yeah, he's the leader of the candle lighter choir's club."

          Steven grinned again. "When do I get to meet him?"

          Fenwick chuckled. "We could go meet him right now, if you wanted. But we have to be careful. This is Pleasure Island, you know. And it's power still works. As long as you don't make an ass out of yourself, you'll be safe. Think you can hold yourself in reserve while doing that?"

          Steven bobbed his head up and down. He was just excited to get to meet the famous, but not so well known, Lampwick of Pleasure Island. "Let's go!"

          Fenwick grinned. "You're mighty hyper. Remember what I told you and you won't end up braying. Now, follow me and try to keep it quiet. We don't want the Professor to know where we're going."

          Steven said, "If we get caught, I'll just say I got too curious for my own good and you stopped me before anything bad could happen. You'll end up looking like a hero... and that might get Principal Dum off your tail."

          The two silently headed inland, via a route that only the club members knew about and soon, Fenwick and Steven were walking along inside of the now closed carnival high atop Pleasure Island.

          Steven glanced around at all the broken machinery and shattered windows and doors. "What a mess. Maybe I should come back on a weekend and volunteer to clean up around here and do some repairs. Do you think Lampwick would like that?"

          Fenwick giggled. "I don't know if he would, but I know the island would like it."

          Steven arched an eye. "The island would like it? How do you mean?"

          Fenwick grinned again. "I told you... the island still has it's powers. It's literally alive. And it loves to have people take care of it. And it also loves to have donkeys upon it. And that's why you have to be careful." Steven said, "Before I had heard of Digital Animation Country, I had always thought that Pleasure Island was just a fairy tale. But now, I am really glad to actually have the chance to visit the place safely and to meet the famous Lampwick. Is there anything you should tell me about him so I don't get the wrong impression?"

          End of Chapter Five.

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          • #6
            Chapter Six.

            Fenwick smirked. "He's more responsible in actual life than you might have read about him in the story. But he does like to make boys happy, still. It's sorta his job. And of course, there is our club, that you will soon be an official member of."

            Steven couldn't help being hyper. Meeting Lampwick was like the ultimate dream of every boy out there on the whole Earth. Who wouldn't want to meet the boy who originally took Pinocchio with him to Pleasure Island and having all manner of abandoning fun?

            Eventually, Fenwick led Steven into a dark building that smelled like a stables for donkeys.

            Just after entering the darkened insides of the stable building, Fenwick said toward where he thought Steven was, "Watch your step, cause I don't want you to get-"

            And before he could finish speaking, something leaped on Steven from behind, knocking him forward unto the wet slick and sticky ground of the stall before him. In a way, he was glad he couldn't see what he had landed in... on the other hand, whatever had tackled him was still on top of him, and had an incredible grip, as it held him in place, with something unspoken pressing hard into his backside.

            "I got him, Lampwick!" said the one on top of Steven. "Want me to donkefy him?"

            Fenwick finished his sentence a little too late. "-hurt. Hey! Don't you dare change Steven! I brought him here to join Lampwick's club! Besides, his dad is the new city councilman in Terryville!"

            At that moment, Lampwick stepped out of the shadows directly in front of Fenwick. "You know it isn't safe to bring a human boy in here during the daylight hours." He then glanced through the darkness where his donkey companion was atop Steven, holding him in place. "If the boy promises to play with you, then you can't donkefy him. But if he refuses... accidents happen."

            Steven shouted, "I PROMISE, already! Sheesh! Is this how you treat new joiners to the candle lighters choir club?"

            Lampwick grinned slyly, as he turned a gaze at Fenwick and whispered, "Is that what you told him?"

            Fenwick whispered back, "I had to tell him something. He was a sexy stud, just like you described. Besides, he asked his parents for permission to join our 'choir', so it was the best story to use."

            Lampwick lit a lantern and looked at the other donkey boy on top of Steven. "All right, Wilwick... get off of the nice boy. You've made him accidentally mess up his clothes."

            Wilwick was still holding Steven down. "You mean I don't get to keep him?"

            Steven was starting to get a little miffed. "Please get off of me. My pants feel wet. Did you tinkle on me or something?"

            Wilwick slowly got off of Steven and looked at the boy's jeans. Sure enough, the entire backside was dark and wet. "I'm sorry, Steven. I guess I wasn't dry yet from my bath before I pounced you."

            Steven was upset now. "My parents are gonna kill me! Look at my clothes! I'm a mess front side and back! They'll never let me have outings like this again!"

            Lampwick exclaimed, "Oh yes they will; you're in the Digital Animation Country. So what you'll tell them is that one of the other students enthusiastically pounced you during the field trip, and you were knocked into a pile of doo and when you tried to get up, you fell in it. All you gotta do is lie and everything will be fine. Just don't make it sound too fantastic and they will believe you. Trust me. Do this for us and you're in the club."

            That night, at the Duke residence, Steven took a nice long bath, while his dirty clothes were being washed. In the family den, Mr. and Mrs. Duke discussed what Steven had told them about the outing itself.

            Mr. Duke said, "So do you believe what he told us?"

            Mrs. Duke replied, "What kind of question is that, Lionel. Steven has never lied to us before and he looked us straight in the eye when he told us what happened. Unlike Lou does when she's trying to cover something up. I believe his story. Besides... we're the only humans in the whole region. A little enthusiastic pouncing is to be expected. We're lucky it was just poop and not an anvil or tar and feathers or even being painted to look like a skunk."

            Lionel Duke hummed. "I don't know, Leila. I know Steven has never lied to us before, but this time... it just seems like he's covering up for someone else. I hate to be suspicious, but after my day in council, I think I'm entitled to be a little suspicious."

            Leila Wolfe Duke asked, "So what happened in council this morning?"

            Lionel replied, "Daffy Duck passed wind, and then, the fire department arrived in response to the four alarm fire that was on Daffy's tail feathers and... Are you sure you want to know how my day went?"

            End of Chapter Six.

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            • #7
              Chapter Seven.

              Leila grinned as she folded her arms over her chest. "If Steven had your day and he came home and told you that story, would you have believed him?"

              Lionel started to reply, but then he realized that he had lost the argument again. "I see what you're saying, honey. My day sounded more made up than his story, so we should believe whatever he tells us, to a degree."

              Leila grinned. "We're in the Digital Animation Country, Lionel. My day wasn't all that believable. Bossybelle the cow and Minnie Mouse arrived to chat with me, then around lunch time Wile E. Coyote dropped by with Mighty Mouse to ask if they could borrow your drill. Then this afternoon, Top Cat and Sylvester chased Tweety across our lawn and into the neighbor's septic tank. So a little story about falling in poop is completely believable to me. It could have been a lot worse."

              After Steven's bath, he dressed in clean clothes and headed out on to the back hill to gaze at the stars. For an instant, he thought he saw Superman and the Human Torch fly over. Yes, living in the Digital Animation Country was certainly going to take getting used to.

              Suddenly, a near naked familiar otter sat in his lap and hugged him. It was Oslo. "You're on my spot again, Steven. But I don't mind a bit."

              Steven smiled and hugged Oslo back. "Coach Winslow said he'd give me a tryout this Saturday, but not to keep my hopes up. He said all of the positions were already filled."

              Oslo smiled. "If you don't get on the team, Steven... come on back to me and I'll fulfill your other sports interest."

              Much later, Steven was sitting on his bed in his pajamas, while he held his journal in his lap and began writing in it.

              Journal Entry: Day 08 / Month 03 / Year 200X; Thursday...

              My first day of school was interesting, to say the least. I made a few friends and struck a few deals. Fenmire Rat and Jack the Kangaroo, among others, have made this an experience to remember. Wilwick did pounce me and I think he enjoyed it a little too much. I didn't like having to fib to mom and dad about how I got messed up, but even I am surprised on how quickly they believed me. Looks like Lampwick was right... mom and dad's day must have been so weird, that my little story sounded too tame to believe. But good old mom sided with me and she knows how to wrap dad around her little finger when she has to.

              Although I miss Louanne already, I can't help but to wonder how it's going between her and Starfang in college. Too bad the Looniversity is in the Wonderland region, but perhaps it's for the best that Lou didn't get to see me smelling like a barnyard and looking like it too.

              Lampwick cleared me into the club, but they didn't really tell me what the club did other than light candles. That sort of bothers me a little, but I am sure I'll find out later this Saturday when Fenmire and I are doing community service work on Pleasure Island to repair and clean up things. Imagine a whole island being alive and liking to be cared for.

              Sooner or later, I will have to get someone to tell me where... 'That Place' is. Principal Dum mentioned it to Fenmire, but they never mentioned it again. Makes me want to go find out what 'That Place' is. Maybe I can do it next week during the teacher's meetings next Friday.

              Tomorrow is another school day, so I better sign off and see about counting some sheep so I can get some sleep.


              As he put his journal away, he suddenly realized that he was not alone in his bedroom. Standing there looking at him were over 100 numbered cartoon sheep. Their leader said, "Don't mind us. We're just doing our jobs. You just focus on sleeping."

              Steven rolled his eyes and got under the covers and replied, "Okay, start jumping, guys."

              "1."

              "2."

              "3."

              "4."

              "5."

              And so it went until Steven was asleep. Yes, it was certainly going to take some getting used to, but Steven was officially in the Digital Animation Country. And even if he didn't get on the Softball team, he had certainly made some new friends.

              When Friday morning arrived, Steven had a surprise waiting for him at the breakfast table. There was a union mouse lady as well as an anthropomorphic reindeer wearing a modified Batman costume. Steven asked, "What is all this?" The union mouse lady said, "It came to our attention that you signed up for a class which is under union watch, Steven. There are three missing Anisapien students whom were all members of Fenmire's Candlelighter's choir club. The missing anime human students are named as follows: Cris Ketchum, Alex Trent and Brent Knight. There is a huge reward for locating these missing boys and bringing in the information on what happened to them. Fenmire Rat is the main suspect since he was the last one seen with them."

              End of Chapter Seven.

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              • #8
                Chapter Eight.

                The Bat-Deer said, "And now, Fenmire won't even talk about them as if he never knew them in the first place. If you can somehow locate the missing boys, get their stories from them and bring those stories back to us at union headquarters, we can reward you properly while either prosecuting or clearing Fenmire. We would like to believe that he had nothing to do with their disappearances; but since he was the last one to speak to them, it doesn't look good for him. Your father told us how you had fallen in poop during an enthusiastic pounce while on the Pleasure Island field trip. If the boys are on Pleasure Island somewhere, you would be doing all of DAC a favor by finding them. Will you help us?"

                The union mouse lady then said, "Please don't lie to protect Fenmire, Steven. If he is innocent, then help us find the proof to clear him. Otherwise, your life will be in deadly peril when spending any time with him."

                Leila then said, "Lionel was ready to ground you for coming home so dirty, son. I vouched for you and I got him to be lenient this first time. I will continue to cover for you if you agree to help the union to solve this case. But if I find that you have lied to us for any reason, you will be grounded despite helping the union solve this case. Remember, Steven, honesty will set you free. Time for a freebie; did Fenmire convince you to fib to us when you came home last night?"

                Steven knew he could trust his mother's assistance in keeping him out of the grounded spotlight, but he had to come clean in order to earn it. "I had met Lord Lampwick and his top recruiter, Wilwick, on the island during the field trip class. Fenmire was taking me to a safe meeting location where I could meet Lampwick without being in danger of acting like a jackass and getting transformed. Wilwick had not been informed that Fenmire was bringing in a guest to join the choir club and when we barely cleared the door to meet with the famous donkey, Wilwick was the one who pounced me from behind and knocked me into the creamy coated manure in one of the stalls. He apologized after messing up my clothes. When I lamented that you and dad would never let me have another outing after getting so messed up during a field trip, Lampwick said to lie to you guys and he would clear my joining the Candlelighter's choir club; he is the leader of the club; not Fenmire. Lampwick reasoned that you and dad would have had such fantastic days that my little story of being knocked into poop would seem tame in comparison. I did as he asked and sure enough, mom, you sided with me and convinced dad not to ground me... just as Lampwick had suggested that you guys might agree upon. I didn't want to be dishonest... but I really wanted to be in his club. I offered to help repair the public carnival this coming Saturday; so if I am to try to locate the missing boys, that would be the day to make the attempt. But if I do this, please keep dad off my ass; I don't want to be grounded for helping the union with a legal matter."

                At that moment, Lionel entered the dining room and sat down at th breakfast table. "Actually, Steven, I hadn't left for work yet. Since the union is asking for your help and you came clean to your mother just now, I won't ground you. I knew you had to be covering for someone. I am having a separate problem at work; Bugs Bunny and I caught Simba looking at my ass on more than one occasion yesterday when the bunny and I were discussing a serious council project. I don't know what is wrong with that lion, but if he keeps it up, I will raise a complaint to both the union as well as the Founder."

                Steven then asked, "Does the union have a bumper sticker patch that can be affixed to the back of my father's pants that reads, This spot is under union investigation; tamper at your own risk.? Then when Simba reads the message, if he keeps acting like a prick, then you will have a serious issue to complain about, dad."

                Lionel smiled. "I think most of council might get a good laugh if they saw that on my ass."

                The union mouse lady said, "We do have something like that to deter criminals from messing with Union protected areas. We can give it a try to see how it goes."

                Steven then said, "On another side note, Oslo Otter has been coming on to me for the last couple of nights. I like him and do not want to report him for anything. He is a good friend; so far. He was the one who told me whom to speak to in regards to softball. Since we are on an information subject... who can tell me where the oh so whispered THAT PLACE is so I don't get too curious for my own good in trying to find it?"

                Both of his parents arched their eyes at the mention of the title as the union mouse lady replied, "THAT PLACE is a punishment zone located in the Underworld. And we do not mean fire and brimstone. Instead, it is normally a black market bazaar where the officer in charge of detention punishments assigns students sent there a work chore during the course of their stay. Normally a stay is three days which is the equivalent of being grounded by your parents for those days. And since you stated that you want to avoid being grounded, please do not go to the Underworld. You can get into horrible trouble down there; you can even undergo male pregnancy through Toon Physics."

                Steven now looked disgusted. "Thank you for that warning. I don't need to give the lady folk in my family a reason to tease me. Anisapien High has been a rather strange experience for me so far; will I be able to school elsewhere if I develop a reputation for being a stoolie in Terryville?"

                The union mouse lady then said, "King Kazma of Summer Wars fame has recently commissioned the building of his own Anime project world for Anime and Digital beings as well as Battle Card partnerships. The Red Queen of Wonderland is pooling her regions' resources so as to join up with Kazma's project world to be. If Kazma succeeds in opening his own world, DAC will become the Animation Retirement Community otherwise known as ARC. Comita-Gotham is also wanting to join Kazma's project world while changing their city name at the same time. This will literally leave behind the classic toons and their families within the new ARC project. We have also been looking into an important factor behind the Terryville Council hiring you, Lionel. Before you came along, it was forbidden to have a live action member on a toon council. The rules stated that Council members had to be toons for at least a year as well as having lived in the Project land for at least a year to be eligible for inclusion in the council. If Simba told you otherwise, then he broke the law. But all is not lost; you could join King Kazma's project world and assist the new Hero city's council or even apply to become the mayor of one of the new community cities in the new project world. Shall we put in touch with Kazma so you both may discuss this prospect further, Lionel?"

                Lionel then said something he thought was important. "I would like to join Kazma's project but I also enjoy working with Bugs Bunny, Scooby Doo, Mickey Mouse and Moe Hare. If those four and their families could come with us to Kazma's world, I would be interested in making the legal move. And since my son has not felt comfortable in attending Anisapien High, it is only right that we repair his schooling choices. Steven will attempt to locate the missing boys this weekend and after that, Kazma and I can discuss a mutual arrangement for his new world."

                The union mouse lady said, "We will contact Kazma and make the arrangements for your joining his project world perhaps with those you prefer working with."

                End of Chapter Eight.

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                • #9
                  Chapter Nine.

                  Later on the school bus, Steven was socializing with some of the students who sat in the back of the bus. Jack Roo was sitting with a reindeer boy (Connor) whom looked familiar and an owl boy (Parker Owl) who had a disgusting look on his beak. As Steven approached the three, he overheard the owl boy complaining about his father. "Woodsy was doing rap again, like a young teenager. He makes me embarrassed to be his son and to be a teenager." Steven said with a smile, "Since Woodsy wants to embarrass you, perhaps you should do a commercial to embarrass him. Something like Parker Polluter and his Garbage Warriors."

                  Parker made an even odder look at the human boy. "How are we going to get this past my old man?"

                  Steven smiled. "We will have Mrs. Leghorn help us put together a commercial where a bad guy zaps you with a nasty green ray and the ray transforms you into Parker Polluter. At the end of the commercial, we have the fading words of Who will save Parker from undoing Woodsy Owl's good work... To be continued..."

                  After the boy had made this suggestion, there were peels of laughter issuing from the back of the school bus!

                  Fenmire boarded the bus at that moment and when he saw Steven amidst the others in the back of the bus, he grinned briefly as he settled into his assigned seat in the front of the bus. In truth, he was glad that Steven was opening up to the other students on the bus. When he learned what the humor was about, Fenmire said something aloud that likely surprised everyone on the bus. "As interesting as it might be to see Parker as his father's arch enemy, I don't think he should be left in villain mode. A rescue commercial should also be planned and made so there is a happy ending."

                  And then Jack Roo spoke up before Steven could respond as he said, "If yas truly feel that way, Fenmire, then 'ows about talking about rescuing Chris, Alex and Brent who all joined yer club before they disappeared last year. Even if yas don't know where they are now, clamming up about those three doesn't 'elp yer public reputation."

                  Fenmire turned in his seat to face Jack Roo. "The main reason I choose not to talk about them is because everyone in Terryville has already condemned me as being guilty and unless I got a fair shake, why should I help the authorities find them? I didn't make them disappear, but no one believes me. Even Principal Dum thinks that I am guilty without proof."

                  Steven then said, "Fenmire... where do you suspect that they are? People don't just vanish like the Invisible Girl for no reason. Please open up about this topic... for me?"

                  To the students surprise, Fenmire blushed when the human boy begged him to open up about the missing boys. "I suspect that they convinced Wilwick to let them hide out at Pleasure Island in Lake Ecric. And if they are there, then they are likely donkeys by now which would explain why no one can find them. Wilwick can be pretty secretive at times; so secretive in fact that he tends not to tell Lord Lampwick about who all might be on the island. And since the island is point-blank next to Terryville, no one would ever suspect the boys were close enough to monitor any searches to find them. In the event that they don't want to be stuck as donkeys, Lampwick would have to be informed about their plights and their being there. Normally, Lampwick keeps Albert informed of when a runaway boy has been hiding on Pleasure Island. Keep in mind, when Lampwick knows, he tells Albert. But if Wilwick doesn't make the proper report, then Lampwick might not ever find out the truth." He lowered his head. "That's where I think they are hiding; I have no proof. Alex showed the most interest in living out there; as most of you know, Alex was almost always getting sent to 'THAT PLACE' almost every few days. Chris told me that his parents were abusing him at home when he got bad grades in school. So his reasons for going out there might have been to escape from his parents. Brent was a bad boy with little regard to other people's property. He could have been targeted by Wilwick as being a bad boy for recruitment. Chris is a chocolate addict. Once he starts indulging in the stuff, he won't stop eating it. He cleaned out the faculty candy bar vending machine one week, if everyone will remember. He told Dum that he was hungry and couldn't wait for lunch hour."

                  Fenmire then said, "The normal club members have to stay their own species; running away and getting changed into a donkey means that you have quit the club. If it seemed to imply otherwise, then anyone could have asked me about the club rules. Just as Steven did yesterday morning right here on the bus. To become a member, you take part of your first or middle name and stick the suffix -wick on the end; since Lord Lampwick is the leader of the club, the initiation rule makes since. Despite being a donkey himself, he prefers that club members stay themselves and stay out of trouble at school and at home. True, when he was growing up, he had no room to talk about this; but he figures that if he can help others straighten out their lives and not end up as he did, then he's given something back to society. When I lived in Jaded Shadow, I also received abuse from my drunken father. After my mom passed away, he kicked my brother and I out of the house. My brother had gotten a place to live in Terryville and he moved me here and the deal I have with him is that as long as I get my high school diploma, I can live in my brother's house. That's why I don't play hooky from school. I have to get an education in exchange for having a roof over my head. Otherwise, I am homeless."

                  The bus driver then pulled the bus over and he turned around in his seat to face the students. "The truth really does set you free. Looks like Mr. Duke was right. Fenmire, as long as you help the union to find these boys I am sure we can likely get your name cleared from the unjust accusation that you were involved in making them disappear. I work for the union myself. I record every bus trip we make in hopes that you will eventually open up and you finally have. When we clear your name, if it is proven that it was their own idea to disappear, then the entire school will owe you an apology."

                  Steven approached Fenmire and hugged him. "When the union told me that you were under investigation, I didn't want to believe that you had anything to do with the missing boys. They asked me to help them find the others and if you were innocent to not lie to protect you. Will you help me talk to Lampwick and Wilwick after school? One of them has to know where the boys are. You said it yourself; Wilwick can be very secretive, where Lampwick tries to stay on the up and up with Albert."

                  Fenmire said, "Since you want to help clear me, I will help you to talk to them. Just remember to stay out of Mr. Pouncy's direct line of nabbing flight. I think he took too much pleasure in pouncing you yesterday. He normally isn't like that. I hope he isn't in heat."

                  Steven asked, "How can a boy be in heat?"

                  Nearly every student on the bus started laughing once again before a female student took the time to explain the humor and truth to the human boy in regards to magical species like toons, anime and planar beings. "In heat for a boy means that they are in rut even if it implies bisexual or homosexual activities together."

                  End of Chapter Nine.

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                  • #10
                    Chapter Ten.

                    That afternoon, Fenmire, Steven and a group of Union authorities approached the donkey recruiter class room building where Wilwick and Lampwick taught new recruiter donkeys in how to locate and bring in bad boys. Steven approached the door of the building and he called out, "Wilwick? Are you and Lampwick in there? I need to see you out here for a moment. Unless you don't want to see the nice boy this afternoon..."

                    It didn't take too long after that for both donkeys to emerge from the building in response to the nice boy's bribe. When they saw the union authorities with the two Anisapien students, Lampwick asked, "Can we help you with something this afternoon, Gentlemen?"

                    Steven said, "We are trying to clear Fenmire's name in regards to the missing boys; Chris Ketchum, Alex Trent and Brent Knight. Fenmire implied on the school bus this morning that he suspected that all three were out here on the island without your knowledge; and how Wilwick might know more of their being out here. Therefore, Wilwick... if they are out here, please tell Lampwick and the rest of us the truth. Fenmire and I are still planning on coming out here tomorrow morning to work on repairing the outer carnival."

                    Lampwick now turned to look at Wilwick with a questioning gaze. "Just be honest, Wilwick... are they actually out here or not?"

                    Wilwick took a breath before releasing it. "I didn't recruit any of them. Chris and Alex arrived out here on the same day. Alex asked me if he and Chris could stay at the boarding house for a few days. As I was leading the two there, Chris gave us the slip and by the time we did locate him, he had the ears and tail of a donkey and his face was all messed up with donkey chocolate. A few days after that, Alex also had the ears and tail. Then Brent arrived by himself and he was also asking for a place to hide; his parents were about to arrange for him to be sent to 'THAT PLACE' and nearly everyone on the island knew that Brent was a certifiable bad boy. Bad Boys don't hand deliver themselves to one of us every day, so I brought him inside and let him go in the park. Sometime later, we found him entirely transformed into a donkey; he was crying and begging for a chance to be restored to normal. I took him to one of Lampwick's work farms and put him to work with the intention to let Lampwick know that he was there; but then we got busy with island business as we usually did and I forgot to file the report. I suppose you union officials want to interview the three, yes?"

                    The head union official replied, "If we are to clear Fenmire's name in this case, I think the interviews would be for the best."

                    Wilwick said, "Finding Chris will be mission impossible since he could be anywhere throughout the park. But I can bring you the other two."

                    Lampwick then said, "Perhaps it is for the best that we are finally finding them; I recently applied to join King Kazma's upcoming project world. but in order for me to be accepted, we cannot have any outstanding charges against us. I own a gift shop in Comita-Gotham where a few of our donkey boys work at sometimes. And since Comita-Gotham is about to join Kazma's project, I don't want to lose access to our gift shop. Normally, the deal for getting restored is becoming a full donkey for a year and working for a year at my donkey work farms. That implies a single year, not two years separately. When their time has been served, as long as they have earned the points to buy the restoration, they can be restored to normal. But in this case, I think we can waive the work fees just so we can get this case closed. I hate to make an exception but they have been missing for over a year."

                    Lampwick then turned to look at Fenmire and Steven. "The repair work on the island will be called off until well after the move, guys; however... if your family aims to be on Kazma's new project world, Steven, I would love to give you a part-time job at the public carnival. You see, I am not a stupid donkey myself. I also figured out what the Union had in regards to your father being illegally hired to join the toon council. I remembered the laws in question to that instance. I know your father is not a toon. And you surely are not one unless you are wearing one clever disguise."

                    Steven smiled. "No more clever than your hot and sexy disguise. If we end up in the same area on the project world, Lampwick, I would love to have that part time job at your carnival."

                    While Steven and Fenmire worked on collecting Stromboli's scavenger list items, the union officials spoke with Alex and Brent; both of which corroborated Fenmire's and Wilwick's telling of events. It was their own idea to come out to hide on Pleasure Island. And where as Brent had gotten used to working on Lampwick's work farm, he didn't want to quit the job there. Alex also wanted to stay at his warehouse guard job on the island. As for Chris, it took a trick to make him reveal himself. But once he was caught, he said that if he was taken away from the island, he would do everything in his power to return to the island. He went so far as to threaten that he would either get to stay on the island or he would jump into a vat in one of Mr. Pink's factories. And since no one knew what Mr. Pink processed in his factories, the threat seemed to be serious. All in all, three for three; all three boys verified Fenmire's claim that they chose to come to the island; no one made them disappear.

                    Lampwick then came and found Steven and Fenmire where they were reporting in to Mr. Stromboli. "Looks like the union is satisfied, Fenmire. They are going to publicize that you were wrongfully accused. Your name has been cleared. The three boys will be restored and taken back to Terryville, although their parents may not be pleased to learn that the union will be watching all three boys very closely and if even one of them shows signs of abuse during their in-school medical check ups that will occur each week, then the boys will be granted the rights to return to Pleasure Island legally. Brent wants to work full time for me at my work farm. His request will be fulfilled simply to keep him out of trouble and so that he has a money-making job he can do after school each day. He will still be watched by the union until he turns thirteen."

                    Steven asked, "So how old is he, Lampwick? His donkey form looked eighteen to me."

                    Lampwick replied, "Brent is only twelve years old. He was eleven when he disappeared. And for that reason alone, you can understand why everyone quickly pointed the finger at Fenmire; The jaded rat is a year older than you are, Steven. His brother is four years older than he is. Scott Rat had to get his GED to have a decent high school ranked diploma. Which is why he wants Fenmire to get his diploma the right way."

                    Steven then asked, "What about you, Lampwick? Weren't you about Brent's age when you got changed into a donkey? Did you have to get your GED like Scott did?"

                    Lampwick placed a hoof leg around Steven's shoulder. "I was stupid when I was younger. So like Scott, I had to take a correspondence course to get my GED. I wish I had gone to school."

                    End of Chapter Ten.
                    End of Episode One.

                    Stay tuned for the next episode, Terrydale Cove Migration.

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