The Return of
By Craig M. J. Marinaro
It was a dark and stormy night
It was a dim and tempestuous evening
It was a murky and inclement tenebrousness
It was a somewhat dingy, mildly turbulent mid-afternoon. The precipitation
fell faster than Felicity's ratings after Keri Ruessell cut her hair, casting a
dark shadow over the Warner Bros. Studio such as had never been seen since the release of Battlefield
Earth. The water fell in torrents, pounding the Lot without mercy, attacking the
soundstages fiercely, soaking the ground like some sort of big, concrete sponge. It
hammered against the windowpanes, slowly but surely eroding the buildings, striking
wherever it pleased with the force of pennies from heaven.
It was raining.
And on this darkest of days, this most fearsome of fechas, this most petrifying of
twenty-four-hour periods, the unthinkable happened.
The sun came out, and by 3:00, everything looked just jim-dandy.
But, despite appearances, sinister forces were at work on this day. Across the Lot, in
the office of Thaddeus Plotz, a shady human of female gender was going about her sinister
business. The lives of hundreds every day were placed in her hands, she and only she
possessing the power to help them or throw them to the wolves. And she'd do either without
a second thought.
Her name was Hufflemeyer.
Ms. Hufflemeyer sat at her desk, answering the phone.
"Mr. McCloud? Please hold..."
She glanced at the clock on the wall. 3:17.
"Mr. Dobbs? Please hold..."
It had been a slow day, and there was nothing that she wanted more in the world than to
"Mr. Blaine? Please hold..."
Sure, she'd probably just watch her tape of today's The Old and the Restful and
eat a fishstick-and-corn-slop TV dinner.
"Mr. Larrabee? Please hold..."
But it still beat the heck out of this.
"Mr. Marlowe? Please hold..." The voice on the other end began yelling.
"Don't you take that tone of voice with me! Mr. Plotz is in a very important film
screening." The yelling from the phone grew to a threatening roar, and she slammed
the phone down. She bent to her drawer and pulled out a jar of aspirin. As she swallowed
them down with water, she muttered to herself, "I guess my kindergarten teacher was
right...I'm really not a people person..."
Across the Studio, past the Administration Building, beyond the soundstages, over the
woods and through the river, sat a lone building, right on the border of the Studio. And
in this building was the most dreaded room on the Lot--the Sweat Box. Usually, it was the
directors who got nauseus at just the sight of this cold, forboding room. But today,
rather, it was Mr. Plotz himself who was feeling a bit under the weather, as he witnessed
the latest nightmare to rear its ugly head from his Hollywood Dream Factory.
Today, Thaddeus Plotz was viewing the Studio's big summer movie. In fact, it was the
Studio's only summer movie. Every fund the Studio had had been poured into this film.
Plotz had high hopes for this one, even though he hadn't seen any of it until now. Nor had
he read a script. In fact, he hadn't even received an official summary--just some
incoherent scribbling done in crayon on a Friendly's napkin. But he trusted Mr.
Director wholeheartedly. After all, he'd never let them down before.
Actually, when he thought about, it occured to him Mr. Director had let them down
before. Multiple times. Many times. Every time, in fact. Come to think of it, not one of
the sixty-three films he'd produced for Warner Bros. had proven to be even a slightly good
Why the heck do we keep giving him money?, wondered Plotz.
His latest ouevre did little to answer this question. Mr. Director had informed Plotz
that it would be a "masterpiece of human emotion, a thought-provoking, insightful,
endearing addition to an already-beloved American saga." It was titled Leprechaun
Goes to Sunday School.
About two hours and forty-five minutes in, Plotz was on the verge of mental collapse.
The film would be scarring enough if he wasn't slowly, painfully watching every penny the
Studio had going going straight down the sewer. But he was.
"Does this get any better?" he asked anxiously, as he fidgeted nervously with
his pocket change.
"Well, hard as it is to believe, yes, the film does become even more captivating
during the second half. There is one particularly memorable scene, in which little Timmy
teaches the Leprechaun that disemboweling everyone he meets isn't a particularly loving
approach to life. I think it's a lesson all of us could benefit from."
Plotz cringed. He began to mumble neurotically, trying to comfort himself. "I
suppose it could be worse. Sure...why, at least the Leprechaun doesn't dress up like J.
Edgar Hoover and sing Elton John's 'I'm Still Standing' atop a hot air balloon.
Right?!" he hopefully queried.
Mr. Director looked indignant. "What sort of director do you take me for? Of
*COURSE* he does. Here, look--it's coming up right now!"
And so it did. Plotz sat numbly staring for a moment at the ridiculous sight of the
Leprechaun dancing around in a red dress. Then he began to giggle. Then he chortled. Then
he snickered, chuckled, guffawed, and finally did something highly unusual for a studio
Mr. Director observed this, and decided to provide his evaluation of the situation.
"Hoyle! He's craaazy! Mr. Man in the projection booth, go run and get heeeeelp! He's
gone bonkers, nutso, loooooony! He's a little nut boy!"
Up in the projection booth, Steve the projector operator looked out at the scene below
him, and contemplatively observed the laughing executive and the insane Frenchman. He
shrugged, shut off the projector, and decided that this would be an ideal time to take a
"This wasn't in my job description..." he muttered as he grabbed his coat.
Plotz trod wearily into his office. He walked past Ms. Hufflemeyer's desk and stared
wistfully out the window for a few moments, taking the Lot in.
"All gone," he thought. "Yesterday I was one of the highest-regarded
C.E.O.'s in all of Hollywood. And now I've lost it all, in one fell blow. What a fickle
"Did you say something, sir?" inquired Ms. Hufflemeyer.
"No, no...I was just trying to say something rather poetic before I throw myself
out this window and end my life."
"Right...shall I cancel your 4:00, then?"
"There's only one last deadline I have to worry about, Ms. Hufflemeyer...and
that's the Ultimate Deadline. I'm going to the Big Board Meeting in the sky... There, that
was rather poetic. Wouldn't you say?"
"Very nice, sir. Would you like to repeat it for the dictaphone?"
Plotz grumbled, and then turned to the window. He gulped, held his breath, and then
heaved the window open and heaved himself up onto the frame. At just that moment, the door
by the window flew open, and Dr. Otto Scratchansniff burst in.
"Meez Huvvlemeyer, I haff eggzallent news! Vhere ees Mr. Plotz?"
"You just missed him," she deadpanned.
"Ngo he gign't," a voice behind the door muttered. Scratchansniff swung the
door closed in surprise, and inspected the window behind it. Plotz was pressed quite
snugly against the still-closed screen. Scratchansniff tentatively peeled him off and set
him on his feet.
"Oh, I'm zorry, I deedn't know you vere at a screening." He giggled at his
joke. Plotz, unamused, grabbed him by the collar and pulled him down to his level.
"You have precisely three seconds to justify my not throwing you out that
"Right! Um, actually, I came in here to geeve you some vunderbar news! It zeems
zat a zertain zuper-rich investor haz heard of our finanzial troubles, and ees offering to
make a zubstantial investment in za ztudio, if ve agree to use za money eggzactly as he
tells us to."
"Sounds rather fishy...what did he say he wanted us to use the money for?"
"He deedn't zay...but he zaid zat eef ve followed hees advice to za letter, ve'd be
back on top een no time flat!"
"Well, I don't guess we've got much choice at this point...let's hope this
'investor' isn't bluffing, or we'll all lose our jobs!"
"What a wretched concept," said Hufflemeyer sarcastically.
Plotz was sitting at his desk. He looked at his watch. It was 1:09. He mopped his brow
with his handkerchief, then looked impulsively at his watch again. 1:10.
This is ridiculous!, he finally decided. If this "Staffenbaum" is
so rich, how come I've never heard of him? And why would he want to invest in a destitute
movie company, anyway?
But just as he was convinced that the whole thing had been a prank, and he was about to
leave, Ms. Hufflemeyer's voice came over the intercom. "An eccentric-looking man in
dark glasses to see you, sir."
Plotz hesitantly reached toward the door to open it for his visitor. But before he
could touch the knob, it turned, and the door creaked open. A hunched old figure in a
trenchcoat entered. He had his collar pulled far up, and wore sunglasses and a fedora,
covering up almost all of his face. He exuded an air of spookiness, which was undermined
only by the rather pleasant aroma of daffodils that seemed to follow wherever he went. He
spoke in a heavy Irish brogue. "Good afternoon, sir. I'm terribly sorry I couldn't
have been more punctual, but my chauffeur refused to drive me before he finished listening
to his Dolly Parton album. I'd fire him, but I'm afraid he'd murder me. He's rather funny
"I...see," replied Plotz. "Well...I understood that you were interested
in giving our Studio a bit of...assistance?"
"Why, yes! I'm glad you happened to bring that up! You see, I'll be glad to give
you a, shall we say, generous sum, if you'll simply use it to invest in a little
invention, which, I might add, will greatly benefit your Studio."
"Why, yes! You see, awhile ago...at least, oh, a day or two...I ran across a young
gentleman...quite a brilliant fellow. I've offered to finance his research, in exchange
for 43% of the profits he makes off them. I think this investment will certainly be quite
worth it in the long run...his creations are quite practical and brilliant. He is quite
brilliant, you know."
"Er...no, I don't..."
"Oh. Well, then...there's only one problem. He's going to have to sell an
invention before he can gain worldwide fame. Right now, he's just a nobody, no matter how
brilliant he is. And he is quite brilliant. So, when I read about your financial problems,
I thought that if I lent you some funds to purchase one of my client's inventions, we
could all benefit."
"Well...what is the invention?"
"It is..." He pulled Plotz near and leaned in close. He whispered,
"Oh, did I say geraniums? Blarney, I always do that. What I meant was, a
completely mechanized, self-contained, non-stick Directing Unit robot."
"Why, yes! It's a robot that's programmed to direct films! You don't have to pay
him, he never gets tired, and best of all--every film is a guaranteed hit."
"Why, yes! It's in his programming. I estimate that by 2006, Directing Units will
have completely replaced human directors. And imagine your company being the first to ride
the wave! Why, you'll be back on top overnight!"
"I must admit that it does sound quite tempting...very well, you're on, Mr.
"Er... I'd appreciate it if you would pronounce my name correctly. The 'Sta' makes
more of a schtaough sound. And the second 'f' and the third 'a' are silent. My
family was from France, you see."
"Oh, um...certainly! Eh-heh...care to shake on it?" He reached his hand out,
and Staffenbaum drew back.
"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not...my...wrists are rather brittle, you
see." Suddenly, he whipped out a gas ball and threw it to the floor. A cloud of smoke
envoloped him, as Plotz stared on in awe. Then, the smoke cleared...and Staffenbaum was
still standing, hands in pockets, facing Plotz.
"Well, then. Toodles!" He opened the door and walked out. Plotz shook himself
and sat back down at his desk. After a moment's hesitation, he reached for the intercom.
"Ms. Hufflemeyer...please send in some *STRONG* coffee."
Plotz strolled contentedly up the path to his sizable house after a long day of work,
and plopped down in his easy chair, in front of a warm fire. The Directing Unit, DU-207's
first film, Hey-Diddle-Diddle, had been released today, and theaters across the
country had been packed. He flipped through Variety to read the review:
'Hey-Diddle-Diddle' is a landmark in filmmaking
history. It is heartwarming, poignant, and doesn't shy away from addressing some of the
most controversial issues of our day. The tragic romance between the Dish and the Spoon,
played by Meryl Streep and Ricardo Montalban, is without a doubt the most emotionally
involving love affair ever to grace the screen. As perfect as the two are together, it's
doomed before it can even begin, due to the terrible prejudices which, unfortunately,
still do exist between utensils and plates even today. The Spoon's parents plan to force
him to marry the Fork--a deliciously sharp-tongued performance by Liza Minelli.
Other top-notch performances are turned in by Kevin Costner as the Cow, who succeeds in
jumping the Moon, despite having his dreams constantly mocked by the jaded, world-weary
Dog, portrayed by Fred Rogers. Richard Dreyfuss as the Cat Who Played the Fiddle, Bea
Arthur as the Moon. Directed by DU-207.
He smiled to himself. He'd finally done it--Warner Bros. was back on top, and the
future looked bright. "Yes, nothing can go wrong now," he mused. Sinking back
into his comfy recliner, he began to slip into sleep. As he dozed off, he muttered,
"Nothing can go wrong now...nothing..."
Mr. Plotz was sharply awakened by a piercing ringing. He stumbled through the dark to
the nearby telephone and picked up the receiver.
"Zir...ve haff a problem! Za DU-207 robot hass gone completely hayvire! He trashed
za whole ztudio, and zen ran off and iz currently rampaging za zeety, commeetting crimes
und robberies und bad zings! Und za poleeze zay zat you are zolely rezponzible for eets
"Ja, I didn't zink you'd be too happy about zat one...however, Hey-Deeddle-Deeddle
zet new records for opening day, und za DU-207 agreed to a zirty-five-pikzure
contract!" Plotz ignored this comment and proceeded to rave about the robot's crime
spree. "Tzk, tzk...muzt you alvayz focuz on za one leetle bad zing in life? Zees iz
vhat ve pee-zychiatrists refer to as 'pezzimizm.' Now, repeat avter me: 'za glazz iz half
Without missing a beat, Plotz went right back to his tirade. Scratchansniff shrugged
and turned around to take a sip of his iced tea, when he made a startling discovery: upon
closer examination, the glass was only three-sevenths full. He'd have to remember to make
a note of that.
A week had passed since the DU's initial night of felony. Since then, he'd gone out
every night committing crimes, and had returned in the morning, acting completely natural.
This wouldn't have bothered Plotz much--the robot already had five guaranteed hits in the
can, and every director has his minor quirks. But the fact that the city was charging
Plotz for the damages, and was threatening him with jailtime if this kept up, made him a
bit less tolerant of the situation. And so it was that the DU-207 was captured and dragged
to the WB Studio Grilling Room, and put under the heat. The questioning was intense. The
lights were hot. There was only one unfortunate factor.
Plotz let Scratchansniff do the questioning.
"Oh, zees ees zo threeling! Joost like in za movies! Alright, zen..." He
cleared his throat, and tried to work up a tough demeanor. "Okay, zen, zcumbag...vhy
did you rob all zose plazes? Zpill it, ja?"
The DU gave him a metallic stare.
"Vell...are you goink to talk, or do I haff to get tuff?" He pulled his arm
back and gave the robot a hard smack. 207 didn't look the slightest bit phazed, although
the good Doctor hopped around holding his hand for a bit. "Owie, owie, owies! Ooo, I
zink you broke my knuckles..."
Plotz shoved him out of the way. "That's it! Get out of here, Scratchansniff! Now
listen, robot, I want to know right now just what is going on here! Your little splurges
are sucking our company funds dry. I want answers now, or you'll never eat lunch in this
"Vill he at leezt get to haff an occazional egg zalad?" asked Scratchy,
"Quiet!" Plotz bellowed. "Why are you doing this? Who are you working
for?! JUST WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON HERE, ANYHOW?!"
The DU sat perfectly still, staring complacently at Plotz. Plotz breathed deeply
several times, and smoothed his suit. He turned to Scratchansniff.
"Do we have a list of the robot's crimes handy?"
"Vhy, zertainly!" He handed Plotz a portfolio, and the C.E.O. began flipping
"Petunias...violets...forget-me-nots?! All he's stolen is...flowers?"
"Er...yez, zir...ve alzo haff zome informazion about hees M.O. on page five, eef
you'd like to--"
"Vell, he zeems to haff a flair for za dramatic..."
"Er...vell...vhen he robbed za ztores...he gave everyone prezent zcripts,
coztumes, und props, und he pervormed a clazzic movie zcene veeth zem...und zen abzconded
veeth za bouquets, claiming zat zey vere for heez pervormance."
"That's...that's just bizarre."
"But it vasn't a total lozz...Mr. Bailey in za zhop around za corner zaid zat za
DU's performance in za 'mirror scene' of Taxi Driver vas, und I qvote, 'za mozt
greepping, heartvelt pervormance I haff zeen zince Gladiator.' Und Ms. Wingfield of
za Blue Rozes zhop haz finally found her true calling, after her highly-acclaimed
pervormance in za 'Moon River' zcene of Breakfast at Tivvany's!"
"Oh...well, that's good!" Plotz said hopefully.
"But they're zteel holdeeng you rezponzible for za thefts."
He spun wildly around, to face the robot face to face. "Rrrrr...that's it! You're
finished! You hear me?! FINISHED!"
The DU's look suddenly softened, and his steel lower lip began to tremble--or more
precisely, vibrate. "Oh, bosh. Now you've gone and hurt my feelings..."
"Hurt your feelings?! You've been going around robbing flower shops and costing the
Studio thousands of dollars!"
"Well, bloody heck, it's what I'm programmed for! Can I help who I am? Do you
think it's easy being a flower-stealing-film-directing robot? Do you think I don't spend
my nights lying awake crying in my pillow...wishing I could experience the simple
pleasures of life that you take for granted? Wishing I didn't have to steal? This isn't
what I wanted my life to be like..." He trailed off into sobs.
"Don't just stand there...do something!" Plotz whispered to Scratchy.
The pee-sychiatrist pulled out a pad and clicky-pen. "Very vell...er...tell me
about your childhood, Mr. Directing Unit Robot..."
"I didn't have a childhood. I'm a robot!"
"Vell, I'fe done all I can..." Scratchansniff walked away indifferently,
merrily clicking his pen.
"Blimey! If this bloody studio won't even afford me a decent blinkin'
pee-sychiatry session, then I'll just be taking my leave. But I give you fair warning: if
I walk out that door and you haven't apologized, one of us is going to regret it very
"Might it be you?" Plotz asked hopefully.
"No...it will be you."
The DU swung around, tripped, and fell through the wall, leaving a gaping hole. He
walked off into the city, laughing maniacally. Plotz gulped.
"Vell, look at za bright zide," Scratchansniff offered pleasantly. "He
deedn't go through za door!"
Plotz gave him such an icy glare that he stopped playing with his pen in mid-click.
Late that night at Acme Laboratories, the only creatures stirring were two
unusual-looking mice. One was leaning through the bars of the cage to pick the lock, as
the other stood in the back of the cage, trying in vain to pick himself up by the tail.
"Egad, Brain, this is harder than it looks! If I could just figure out how to
carry myself, I could put all that energy I spend walking to better use..."
"You, put your energy to better use than you already do? Perish the thought,
Pinky...now, silence! I must have the utmost concentration to open this door..."
"It doesn't look so hard," Pinky said, as he strolled over innocently.
"Now let's see..." He leaned in for a look at the door, resting his arm against
it. It swung open, sending him sprawling out onto the table. "Well...there you are,
"Hrmph...they left it unlocked!"
"Isn't that a good thing, Brain?"
"I suppose...rather takes the fun out of it, though."
"Well, then, what shall we do tonight? Practice for my upcoming stint on The
Iron Chef? Oh, I do hope the special ingredient will be mint jelly..."
"No, Pinky, the same thing we do every night. Try to take over the--" Just
then, the phone rang out. "The...um, the... Blast, I lost my train of thought. What
was I saying?" Pinky shrugged cluelessly. Brain sighed. The phone rang again, and
Pinky ran to answer. Brain muttered to himself, "Oh, dear...they say the mind is
always the first thing to go. I'll retrace my train of thought...now, let's see...we were
talking about the door...Pinky introduced some sort of wacky nonsequitir..."
Pinky knocked the phone off the hook. "Hullo?"
"Ja, hello! Ees Mr. Za Brain zere?"
"Um...hang on, I'll check... BRAAAIN!"
"Not now, Pinky, I'm thinking..." Brain answered
"Oh, alright." He got back on the phone. "Um...he's in the shower! Could
you maybe call back some other time...?"
"'What are we doing ton--' Yes, that's it! I've got it!" He cleared his throat
and turned to Pinky. "The same thing we do every night, Pinky...try to take--"
He stopped in mid-sentence and glanced up at Pinky, about to hang up the phone.
"Wait! Someone asked for me?" Pinky nodded. Brain climbed up the table as fast
as he could and grabbed the receiver out of Pinky's hand. "Wait, don't hang up! I'm
"Ah, vunderbar! Zees ees rather important...you haff no doubt read of za DU-207
robot's reign of terror in za town?"
"Vell, Mr. Plotz is underztandably rather angzious to get za robot off za streets.
He zought zat you might be of zome...azziztance."
"What...what sort of assistance?"
"You no doubt remember...za Roboo-Cop?"
Upon their arrival at the WB Studios the next morning, the mice were briskly escorted
to meet Mr. Plotz in the commissary. After a hearty breakfast of Molden Grahams and
Columbian Sumatra Roast Mocha Java Hazelnut Almond French Vanilla Espresso Blend (Decaf),
they were led to Ms. Hufflemeyer's office. Plotz pressed a hidden button, and the wall
suddenly opened up. The two mice were then led through a complex series of hallways and
staircases under the Studio, led only by torchlight. Brain was highly impressed.
After what seemed like an hour, they walked up a staircase into a dark room. Brain
tried to take in his surroundings, but it was too dark to make out anything beyond a
cryptic-looking picture hanging on the wall near the torch Scratchansniff was carrying.
Suddenly, Plotz flicked a swtich, and...
The lights came on. Scratchansniff pulled open the nearby curtains, to reveal the
bustling WB Lot. The "cryptic picture," upon closer examination, was not an
alien symbol--it was the Batman logo. Brain realized where they were--Plotz's
office. He ran over to the door and opened it a crack. Right outside, Ms. Hufflemeyer sat
typing, just as they'd left her. Brain tried to contemplate what had just occured for a
moment, then shook his head as if to say, "Never mind."
Scratchansniff walked up to a large structure in the corner of the room, which was
covered by a blanket. He dramatically grabbed hold of the blanket. "Zees..." He
began, and then ripped the blanket of theatrically. "...ees za ROBOO-COP!"
Brain glowered at him. "I know what it is...I built it, you simpleton!"
"Oh, poo. You ruined my beeg zcene. I'll be in my trailer..." He walked out
of the room sulkingly.
"You don't have a trailer!" Plotz shot after him. He cleared his throat.
"Don't mind him...anyway, Mr. Brain, we were hoping you might be able to revive the
Roboo-Cop. It would appear the most logical way to defeat the DU-207...fighting fire with
fire, as they say. So...do we have a deal?" He reached his hand out to shake.
Brain contemplated for a moment, then decided that it would be a bit too risky to place
his delicate hand in Plotz's brutish Goliath of a palm. "Er...actually, I'd prefer
not to shake. My, um...wrists are brittle, you see."
Plotz, looking rather wounded, walked toward the door. As he walked past Ms.
Hufflemeyer's desk, he whispered, "Don't take your eyes off them for a moment."
"Sure...not like my eyes have anything better to do."
"What did you say?"
"I said, 'Yes sir, Mr. Plotz.'"
He grunted and left the office.
Brain worked on the robot through the day, and long into the night. Pinky tried to
entertain himself by using paper clips and pushpins to restyle all the toupees he found in
Plotz's desk drawer, but by the wee small hours of the morning, he was bored our of his
little mousey skull. He impatiently approached Brain.
"Working. Don't you have anything better to do than look over my shoulder?"
"But we've been here sixteen hours! Why are we going to all this trouble for Mr.
"We're not going to this trouble for Mr. Plotz, Pinky. I have implanted an
override chip in the Roboo-Cop! Once he has defeated the DU robot, and is hailed as a
hero, I shall activate the chip, and take control of the Roboo-Cop! Naturally, this will
greatly facilitate my rise to a position of earthly rule."
"Oh, alright, then! Um...if you need, I'll be over on Mr. Plotz's desk, punching
holes in the script for the 2000 remake of Get Carter..."
"As admirable an endeavour as that would be, you would be better advised to wait
here. I'm about to bring the Roboo-Cop to life!" He adjusted a few bolts in the
robot's control panel, then slammed the casing on. Both mice gazed expectantly at the
Roboo-Cop's eyes opened. He saw the dreary office surrounding him. He glanced about for
signs of life, and spotted two absurd-looking mice standing on the desk. The thinner one
jumped up on his beak, and gave him a huge smooch right between the eyes.
"Happy Presidents' Day! *NARF*!"
Roboo-Cop glared at the rodent for a moment. With a quick flip of his head, he sent the
little fella flying into the air, and caught him in his beak.
"Hey!" shouted the shorter mouse on the desk. "Bad reincarnated metal
chicken! *BAD*! Spit him out now, or there'll be no supper for you tonight!"
Roboo-Cop contemplated this odd-looking rodent for a moment. Finally, he casually
obliged him, expectorating the idiotic thin mouse onto the desktop below.
"Oh, dear...I don't seem to be to his liking," Pinky worried. "Do you
suppose I taste like chicken?"
"Be silent, Pinky."
The Roboo-Cop soared over the rooftops, looking down on the city. Brain had made him
better, more powerful--with the aid of turbo boosters, his formerly vestigial wings now
provided him with flight capability. The DU-207 had been reported minutes ago arriving at
the Inedible Daisies store on the corner of McKay and Sixth. Now, Roboo-Cop rushed to the
scene of the crime.
But why was he rushing to the scene of the crime, anyway?
He tried to reason it. Did he have any interest in this case? Did he care whether the
flowers were stolen, or whether the WB Studio was plunged deep into debt by the repeated
pilferings? Did he care if justice was served? 'Course not.
But he did have some sort of feeling driving him. It wasn't quite a desire to fight
crime. No, not that at all. And yet--
Programming. That's what it was. He was programmed to fight crime. He personally was
completely apathetic to the situation, but he had been revived for the sole purpose of
defeating this miscreant.
He thought about this for a moment, then shrugged it off. Heck, he was a
recently-revived cybernetic oversized chicken. It's not like he had anything better to do.
At the Inedible Daisies shop, the DU was staging his interpretation of a scene from Arsenic
and Old Lace. He was impressively made up with scars and a Boris Karloff complexion.
He sat at a table with two elderly female customers, playing the Brewster sisters, and
obviously thrilled at the situation. The owner of the store, a rather overweight
bespectacled fellow named Bob, came running into the scene, dressed in an overblown Teddy
Roosevelt outfit and carrying a book.
"'I found it! I found it!'" he shouted, overplaying the part. "'Here it
is, gentlemen--the story of my life. My biography!'"
Suddenly, Roboo-Cop burst in through the window, and, landing on the ground, stared
menacingly at the DU. The 207 walked over and gave Roboo-Cop a once-over.
"Hm...well, casting calls are technically closed...but, let's see what you've got.
Tell me, can you do a Peter Lorre impersonation?"
Roboo-Cop cocked his head to one side, then let out a metallic cluck.
"Brilliant! Fabulous! We've found our Dr. Einstein! Get this man into a
Before he could put up any resistance, Roboo-Cop was swept up in a storm of people,
stuffing him into a suit and plating him with makeup. He was dumped into a chair at the
table, and the scene resumed, as Boo looked around, rather puzzled.
"'Here's the picture I was telling you about, General! Here we are, both of
us,'" related Bob, pointing to something in the book. "'That's me, and that's
Boo stared inquisitively at him.
"No, no, *NO*!" the Directing Unit yelled at Boo. "Your line is, 'My,
how I've changed!' You're terrible! You got that? You'll never work in this town again!
Roboo-Cop looked hurt for a moment, then became angry. He struck a dynamic fighting
pose, and the DU followed suit. DU-207 went for the first blow, coming at Roboo-Cop with a
flying kick. Boo stood firm, and just as it looked like his opponent would knock him off
his feet, he raised his wing, knocking the 207 out of the air. Then, as the dazed robot
sat on the floor, Boo proceeded to peck his head open, resulting in an explosion.
When the dust cleared, the DU was no more, and Boo stood triumphantly over his remains.
But as Bob came toward him, he didn't look nearly as grateful as one might expect.
"You lousy fowl! That was my big break! My chance to get out of this lousy dump,
and you wrecked it!"
"Baaaaawk?" our hero questioned.
"I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU, YOU STUPID CHICKEN!" He grabbed a nearby
bouquet and began to batter Roboo-Cop with it. Boo thought it best to flea, and Bob
followed in hot pursuit.
"Oh, look, Nick!" a woman on the street exclaimed. "A man dressed as
Theodore Roosevelt is thrashing a giant half-machine half-chicken in a suit with a bouquet
of rhododendrons! How exquisite!"
"No, dearest, those aren't rhododendrons. They're merely daisies."
"Oh...how prosaic," she yawned.
It's the classic question that inevitably gets asked in these type of stories. It's not
grammatically correct, mind you. In fact, it's hardly even intelligible. It can be written
out as "Who done it?" which still merits a good bawling-out by your grade school
English teacher, but at least it makes a bit more sense. What the heck is
"Whodunnit?" supposed to mean? Perhaps it was originally compressed by some
cheapskate editor, who was paying the author by the word, and was hoping to save a few
measly cents by consolidating random words? Speaking of getting paid by the word, this
author is running low on story ideas, but I still need about a thousand or so more words
to cover my grocery bill for the week. You think it's easy writing this junk? I spent
hours slaving over a hot thesaurus for you. But did you appreciate it? Did you even give
me one buggin' compliment?! I don't have to stand for this, you know! There are plenty of
other places I could go where my talents would be--
Oh, my, I'm sorry. I'm drifting. Where was I?
This moronic, semicoherent, trisyllabic, flimsy excuse for a word is what it always
comes down to. And, in the interest of keeping this story moving, that's what it'll come
down to here, too.
"Do you realize what you've done?!" Plotz grabbed the Roboo-Cop and attempted
to strangle him, to little avail. "I fired all our human directors--we were banking
completely on the DU! And you just *DESTROY* *HIM*?!"
Brain cleared his throat. "If I may be so bold as to remind you that you
dispatched the Roboo-Cop to defeat the DU? You made no further specifications, and
Roboo-Cop performed commendably. So if you'll kindly remove your sweaty hands from my
"And you'll kindly remember that the Roboo-Cop is still WB Studio property."
"Balderdash! What further use could you possibly have for him?"
"Tracking down whoever sabotaged the DU-207, for one. Someone tried to ruin this
company, and there's nothing to stop them from doing so again, as long as they remain
free! But Roboo-Cop wouldn't have any trouble tracking them down and capturing them."
"Er...right now? I mean, don't you think the poor robot has done enough work for one
day? Look how weary he is! I doubt he could lift a wing if he wanted to! Pinky, put the
nice Mr. Roboo-Cop to sleep..." Pinky tried to coax Boo into a chair in the corner of
the room. Boo in turn tried to eat Pinky, and chased him around the room, in the process
violently overturning Plotz's desk and knocking out a large chunk of the west wall.
Finally, Scratchansniff managed to tackle him and tie him to the chair. Once sitting, he
wildly struggled against his bondage, causing the chair to bounce heavily about the office
in the process.
"He doesn't look so tired," Plotz objected.
"Nonsense! I'll have you know that he's already fast asleep! He just, um...having
a bad dream!" Boo, still in the chair, crashed into a large filing cabinet, then
plunged forward through the door leading into Ms. Hufflemeyer's office. Brain grinned
"Mr. Plotz, Mr. Director is in Sound Stage 12 negotiating with our best men.
Apparently he's giving them a tough time."
"Ms. Hufflemeyer, tell them to handle it! I have enough trouble at the moment
"Hold it," said Brain. "Do you mean to say that Mr. Director is still
working here? I thought you'd fired all your human directors?"
"Well, since *SOMEONE* destroyed the DU, our only source of income, we've begun
the process of rehiring some human directors. It was actually a rather peculiar
circumstance...Mr. Director was standing waiting to ask for his old job back as soon as
the news of the DU's desmise broke..."
"That's it!" He turned to his assistant. "Pinky, are you pondering what
"I think so, Brain...but you remember what happened the last time we tried to make
"No, Pinky..." he whispered. "The sabotage of the DU can easily be
blamed on Mr. Director. Once he's captured, the Roboo-Cop will be freed up for our
purposes!" He turned to Boo. "Roboo-Cop...apprehend Mr. Director
"Bawk!" he exclaimed. He rolled across the room in his chair, then, with a
bit of effort, forced himself forward, crashing through the window. The denizens of the
room looked out the window to the lot below, as he smashed against the ground, smashing
the chair, and leaving Roboo-Cop with several nasty-looking dents. He jumped up, unfazed,
and blasted into the air. Plotz shook his head incredulously, as Brain slapped his
In Sound Stage 12, Mr. Director sat nonchalantly behind his desk, as two lawyers with
briefcases full of money tried to negotiate with him.
"Boys, boys...I don't seem to be making myself clear. Right now, I am the *ONLY*
director available to your company. I am *THE* man. Now, if you can't work up a better
deal than this," he distastefully indicated one of the briefcases, "Then this
Studio isn't going to have *ANY* directors. And that is a very unfortunate position for a
film company to be in. So...what's it gonna be?"
And with that, Roboo-Cop burst in through the wall.
"Oh, so Plotz thinks to use his ridiculous little machines to force me into a
contract, does he? Well, if that's the way he wants to play, I happen to have a few tricks
up my sleeve as well!" He lifted his arm, and shook out a few hunks of Trix cereal.
"Yuck...sorry about that. Anyway, Roboo-Cop--how do you feel about facing...the most
terrifying characters ever to grace the silver screen?" As he declared each name a
corner of dark the room lit up, revealing uncanny likenesses of each. "Darth
Vader...Freddie Kruger...Hannibal Lecter...the Wicked Witch of the West!"
Boo cowered, obviously more than a little fearful. "Ha-ha-haaa! Pretty terrifying,
eh? Well, unfortunately, those are just wax statues." Boo glanced over at Hannibal,
who was visibly melting under the hot light beaming on him. He ran his wing over his brow,
wiping off a bead of sweat. "However, I do have...*HIM*!"
Then, before you could say "Mrs. Millie Mulberry makes munchy mutton mignon most
Monday mornings," the floor beneath Roboo-Cop opened up, and he fell in. Moments
later, he rose up, sitting on top of a hot air balloon, which floated up toward the
ceiling. He glanced over and saw, to his horror, an ugly little Leprechaun in a red dress,
singing Elton John.
"BAAAAAWK!" he screamed in terror. He tried futilely to blast off, but the
Leprechaun had grabbed hold of his leg and was holding fast. Boo bent down to give him a
good pecking, but the spritely little fella dashed out of the way and caught Boo in a
necklock just as he leaned over. Boo jerked his head to the side, and the Leprechaun
stumbled, his heel inadvertently puncturing the balloon. As they floated to the floor,
they slugged it out. Finally, Boo managed to swipe his skinny leg under the Leprechaun,
knocking him off his feet just as he sang, "I'm still standing / Better than I ever
diiid--!" This feat not only proved Roboo-Cop's great fighting skills, but put his
impeccable sense of timing on full display. He attempted to make some sort of witty
parting remark, but then remembered he couldn't speak.
So, he just blasted off, leaving the balloon to crash along with the Leprechaun. Then,
he confronted Mr. Director, by now hiding behind his desk and speaking in his
"Ooo, nice Mr. Robot, you wouldn't want to hurt little old me...? I was just
joking...being silly! Hoooyle, please don't make with the huuurting..."
But just as Roboo-Cop was about to crush his puny human skull, a shout came from behind
"Oh, please do refrain from this senseless violence. After all, Mr. Director here
isn't responsible for the sabotage of the DU robot at all."
Boo spun around to see a hunched-over, dark figure who smelled peculiarly
of...daffodils? Boo dropped the Director, who fled as fast as his little legs could carry
him, and turned on this figure suspiciously.
"Why, no! No, I was not the one who subverted the machine. However, I do have
a...shall we say, vested interest in the matter. I believe this will provide all your
answers." He slipped a book out of his trenchcoat and threw it to Roboo-Cop. He
whipped out a gas ball and was about to throw it to the ground, when Boo clucked
questioningly. He waltzed over and glanced at the book, to find that it was titled The
Big Book of Paper Clip Scultures. He grabbed it away and shoved it back inside his
"Oh blarney...I've really got to organize this coat one of these days..." He
dug around for a bit, and finally located what he was looking for around the right
shoulder. "Here you are!" He chucked it to Roboo-Cop, then dramatically cast his
gas ball to the floor, laughing maniacally. The gas filled the room, then cleared, and as
before, he remained right where he had been. He timidly walked up to Boo.
"That...that is what I meant to give you, isn't it?" He glanced over Boo's
shoulder. "Why, yes! Wonderful. Well, I guess that's that. Bye, now!" He walked
out of the Sound Stage cheerfully, hands in pockets, whistling dixie.
Roboo-Cop looked a bit puzzled for a moment, then shrugged it off and looked down at
the piece of steel he now held in his hands. It appeared to be a piece of the DU--and on
the inside, he saw a stamp reading "MFD. BY ACME LABS." He thought for a moment,
then made the connection. He clenched his fist dramatically, crumpling the piece of steel,
then threw it across the room angrily, involuntarily beaming one of the lawyers, who were
still hanging in the corner of the room.
"Ow! I'll sue you! Where's my lawyer?"
"Right here!" the other merrily replied. "My card." He handed the
former a Queen of Hearts playing card.
"Hey, you cheater...this card is marked!"
"That's for easy reference. Anyhow, you're just upset because you got the Old
"You leave Martha out of this. I'll have you know I couldn't ask to be married to a
"Sweet? She's about as sweet as those cookies she serves every time anyone comes
over. Maybe she should only let the milk curdle for three weeks instead of four..."
"You want to start something? You want a piece of me?! Come on! COME ON!!!"
Boo sheepishly tiptoed out the door as the lawyers went at it.
Brain sat in Plotz's office, awaiting the return of Roboo-Cop. Pinky dashed up and
tried to drag him toward the desk.
"Oh, Brain, you simply must see what I've been making! I've been trying to
improvise dishes from whatever we've got on hand...to practice for the show!"
"That's wonderful, Pinky, but I've really got more important--"
"Of course, all I could find was that baby mush stuff you made..."
"That 'baby mush' is the Roboo-Cop's fuel."
"Yes, well, I tried to do as much as I could with it...I must say, I'm rather
proud of the result...oh, do come see!" He pulled the reluctant Brain up onto the
desk, where Brain's jaw dropped at the spread Pinky had set out.
"Now, here, we've got the baby mush salad...baby mush soufflé...baby mush
canapés...baby mush gumbo...baby mush pilaf...baby mush marzipan...and for dessert, baby
mush á la mode! *ZORT*! So," he said, trying to sound as much like a snooty waiter
as he could, "What will we start off with tonight, sir? If I may be so bold, the baby
mush is absolutely stupendous today."
Brain's stomach turned a good 129 degrees. "Er...perhaps we'd best wait for
Roboo-Cop. After all, we don't want to seem rude..."
"Oh. Right you are then, Brain! Hopefully he'll be back soon!"
Ms. Hufflemeyer sat at her desk, typing a letter that Plotz had recorded on his
dictaphone. It played back, "...and in conclusion, my life is in your hands. I'm an
old man...I have nowhere to go, no family or friends to speak of. So pleeeeease don't
foreclose on my mortgage! I'm on my knees...pretty pretty please with a cherry on top, and
whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles--no, wait, rainbow sprinkles! Yes, rainbow
sprinkles, and smothered in fudge, and those little cookie crumb thingees spread all over
it! There, I did it--I threw in the little cookie crumbs, for Pete's sake! PLEEEASE have
mercy on me!" At this point, he broke down into sobs for a few seconds, then
straightened himself out, and said in a businesslike tone, "Sincerely, Thaddeus
Roboo-Cop stampeded into the room, and angrily smashed Ms. Hufflemeyer's desk in two.
She leaned over to reach the typewriter, and continued typing, completely unfazed. Without
looking up, she said, "Ah, Mr. Roboo-Cop, I believe they're expecting you. Go right
on in." He stormed past her and smashed through the door to the office.
"Oh, come on," Pinky said persuasively. "Just one bite?"
"Pinky, please! I--" Suddenly, Roboo-Cop burst into the office, with a
resounding cluck. He stomped towards Brain, and dropped the piece of metal at Brain's
feet. He clucked accusingly.
"What! You're not implying that *I* rigged the DU robot?"
Plotz raged into the office, with Scratchansniff fast on his heels. "Here, now!
Just what the devil is going on here?" Boo signified the hunk of steel and the mice
to Plotz. "What...? Your Lab made the DU-207? Then--it all fits together! You were
using us to get to the Roboo-Cop! And what's this?" He picked up the override device
Brain had prepared.
"Eet looks to me like zey planned to uze zees remote to control za Roboo-Cop, for
zeir own nevarious purpozes!" said Scratchansniff, after analyzing the device.
Plotz grabbed the device and smashed it against the desk, as Brain cringed. "Why,
you scheming little weasels! Just wait until I get my hands on you--"
Brain angrily cleared his throat. "If you'll allow me to explain...the DU was a
top-secret project the Labs were working on months ago. They abandoned it after all its
films turned out to be of the same mentality as most Chevy Chase movies. But I salvaged
the machine, and after a bit of tinkering, made it a success! Staffenbaum was some rich
old cook who I happened to meet through a...mutual friend. I guessed that you'd be more
likely to purchase the robot if you had a multimillionaire's insurance that it would
"But you sabotaged it! You used us!"
"Ha! Don't flatter yourselves. If the DU had functioned as planned, I would have
made enough money to buy an army of Roboo-Cops, had I so desired! No, it was not I who planted the bug in
"I wouldn't mind knowing myself...unfortunately, I don't know of any way that we
could find out."
"Um...actually, I think I can answer that." All eyes turned disbelievingly on
Pinky, who ran his foot along the desk nervously. "Well, the DU was just sitting
there minding his own business when that nice man who smelled like flowers came into the
Lab to talk to Brain...and DU smelled the scent of flowers in the air, and he got all
upset, because robots are just supposed to be all logical and think-y, and they aren't
supposed to be able to experience all the wonderful smells that other people sniff in
life...but then he realized that he was different from other robots, because he could
smell, but he feared that he'd never be able to smell that wonderful scent again, because
robots have to obey their programming, and they don't have time to do other happy
things...so he begged me to put the 'flowers' thingee in his programming, so that he'd
always be able to go get yummy-smelling flowers...and he gave me all the instructions on
how to program him, and it seemed like such a wonderful thing to do for him...I didn't
know he was going to steal, honest!" Pinky broke down into tears.
"Ur...there, there, Pinky," Brain comforted him. "It's not your
"Oh, he wasn't a bad robot, Brain...he just wanted to be loved, and to smell
things! Is that so much to ask?" He began to sob again.
"No...it's alright, Pinky. Wherever he is now, I'm sure he's much better
"Is...is there a heaven for robots, Brain?"
"Certainly...it's, um...right between Dog Heaven and Rock Heaven." Pinky
sniffled a bit. "Now, straighten yourself out. With our plans here eradicated,"
he glanced distastefully at the smashed override device, "We must return to the Lab
to prepare for tomorrow night..."
"Why, Brain? What're we gonna do tomorrow night?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky--"
"Oh, no wait," Pinky interrupted. "I almost forgot--tomorrow's the night
of my appearance on The Iron Chef! Guess we've got the night's schedule pretty full
up, then...I do hope you didn't have other plans?"
"Oh, no...nothing important..." Brain sighed. The two walked off.
"Vell...vhat are ve to do veeth za Roboo-Cop?"Scratchansniff questioned.
"Hm...well, I certainly can't think of any further use for him," Plotz
reflected. "He's served us well...what say we give him his freedom?" Roboo-Cop
clucked merrily. "Then it's settled...my friend, you're a free robot!"
Boo jumped through the hole in the wall where the window used to be, and flew off into
the distance. "Well, I'm glad that's all over," Plotz said.
"Er...not qvite, zir...vhat zhall ve do veeth all zees yickee food zose mizes
levt?" He put a bit on his finger and licked it off. "Eet tastes like...baby
"Mr. Plotz," Ms. Hufflemeyer called from the next room, "The commissary
chef is on the phone. They just sold out of today's special! What should they do?"
Plotz and Scratchansniff exchanged a scheming glance and smiled.
INCREDIBLY THRILLING, EDGE-OF-YOUR-SEAT, SUSPENSEFUL
Chicken Boo, Pinky, The Brain, Thaddeus Plotz, Dr. Otto
Scratchansniff, Ms. Hufflemeyer, and Mr. Director © Warner Bros. Inc.
RoboCop and related plot elements © Orion Pictures Corp.
Roboo-Cop originally created and developed by Romey, Brainatra,
myself, DR. BELCH, and The Siren for the WBC fanfic story "Chaos of Characters."
Staffenbaum, DU-207, and other characters, plot elements, and the
story as a whole © 2001 Craig Marinaro.
LOOK FOR "ROBOO-COP 2!": Coming eventually to a WBC
fanfic page near you!
HOKEY THE HARE SAYS, ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FLORIST FIRES!
Experts estimate that every year, nearly a half dozen florists' shops in the US burn down
due to outright carelessness! This slightly staggering number has attracted the attention
of the federal government, who have established a multimillion-dollar campaign to fight
this problem. The effects of the campaign have been marginally impressive--compare the
whopping six and a half florists' shops that burned down in 1999, with the rather less
whopping five and three quarters that burned down in 2000! So remember--fire power and
flower power don't mix!
HERE'S WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING!
"When the turmoil of the hair incident on Felicity was
brought up, I knew the tale would truly prove captivating... I haven't finished reading it
yet.. it's like I'm held captive and can't escape, doomed to read forever!!!! Help me!
Help meeeeeeeee!!!!" --James
"Uhh... when does Roboo-Cop make his appearance? Where's
Roboo Cop?!" --Romey
"[...] I liked this story [...] Should be sending
"Toons and Doom" to the archives soon [...]" --Robert