Puff is a friendly cat, all things considered; but even the mildest cat sticks out the claws when annoyed. Rocketking has no fears of what will happen to Puff if he falls among his enemies. Taking Puff hostage would be as smart as juggling a chainsaw spot-welded to a hand-grenade, with both of them going.

Puff's Tale

Ellen Kuhfeld

Much of this story has floor level POV; the main character is Puff, Rocketking's cat. Puff gets thought balloons, but few of them when there are speaking humans in the vicinity; in that case, he speaks Cat. (Rreow?)

Puff curled beneath a laboratory bench. Alongside the bench are Rocketking and Professor Wadleigh, assisted by robots, preparing for a robbery. (We see them from the waist down.) From their conversation, Wadleigh will be financing a trip with his share. Rocketking will hold down the business. They take off separately, after synchronizing watches.

Puff wakes up, stretches, looks around. He wanders over to the cat-bowl, which is empty. He knocks over the bag of cat food; it too is empty. There is no water in the bowl. No water. No food. Puff goes over and flips the lever on the toilet, drinks. "FRESH water." And then he goes out the cat-door. "Let's see about food."

He leaps on an overflowing garbage can next to a chain link fence. The can spills into the alley with a clang and a schloop. "Turkey!" Puff digs into the carcass, while the chain-link fence bulges under the attack of a snarling, barking, frothing pit-bull.

"Wait your turn," Puff thinks. "I'm busy." Having finished the turkey, Puff leaps gracefully to the top of the fence. Another leap and a bounce and he's six feet up a tree in the middle of the yard, while the dog rages below. He cocks one claw; leans down; delivers a carefully calibrated slice to the dog's nose. The snarling and leaping increase.

In the alley, an Animal Control Warden truck slides to a stop. Two men with uniforms and nets leap out. "This has to be the place!" "Pit bulls. Why is it always pit bulls?" "We're here for the cat." "Oh God, it's the orange one!"

Puff leaps out of the yard (bouncing on the dog's head) and approaches the wardens. They repeatedly fail to net him. Eventually he heads down the alley with them in hot pursuit. They chase him for blocks as it grows plain that Puff is playing with them. Finally Puff makes a prodigious leap over a plank fence. One of the men tries to climb over the fence while the other wheezes below; but as his face comes over the top he sees Puff on the other side of the fence, paw cocked to swipe him in the face. He drops to the ground as the paw swishes through the air above him.

The two huff and pant a while longer, then trudge back to their truck. From over Puff's shoulder we see them cursing. "Somebody slashed our tires!" At the fence, the pit bull rages.

Puff struts off, and we go into a page of cat bragging.

I'm Puff the Cat; Prr'r'r-t, fft-spat!
Cat-cops can't catch me in their snare.
Puff bouncing about as the nets miss.

My claws are sharp, my voice a harp
Seducing sexy sheilas fair.
Puff on a fence yowling at a lady cat; shoes bouncing off.

The pit-bull here gives me much cheer
To tease, then let him catch me.
Puff riding on the back of a panicked dog.

A garbage truck is great good luck;
No common cat can match me.
Garbage truck with top peeled back like sardine can; garbage trailing down street, Puff on top with fish.

My finest feast came from the East -
Great Gorgilla, dragon-beast.
Japanese Monster towering over city. Supers helpless. Puff in foreground thinking "Oriental food!"

He trashed our town; I cut him down
Spraying scales and stuff around.
Reprise of Puff riding the pit-bull and the garbage truck, with Gorgilla as vehicle and guts as garbage.

He fell in two, with lots of grue,
I ate him up, each lizard-bit.
Bottom half of Gorgilla standing; top half lying on face. Puff lifting Gorgilla's forearm, preparing to bite off a chunk.

A tasty beast, a king-size feast,
-- hey, somebody's killing squirrels!
Puff looking towards the next page, nose twitching and ears alert.

We look over Puff's shoulder at the swinging doors of the Super-Villains' Club. (Sign: Enter freely, and of your own will.)

Track in under the door, to see a standard pub scene of people throwing darts -- except these people wear super-garb, and are throwing knives. Villains at the bar are drinking beer and watching baseball. Captain Mercaptan and Spring-Heeled Jack are at a side table playing chess.

Carnivore (a basic were-beast of cat derivation) is by himself, with a bottle of redeye and a shot glass. There is a squirrel cage, and a bowl with several squirrel tails in it. He is biting the head off a squirrel, and chewing. The other squirrels are running desperately and getting nowhere.

Puff walks in, under the swinging door. Carnivore sees him; his eyes light up. "Here, kitty, kitty!"

Mercaptan says "Nix, Carnivore! That's Rocketking's cat!"

"Rocketking's a wuss. He still hasn't got over being a hero. Come to Carny, sweet kitty-cat!"

Puff jumps on the table to sniff the squirrels. Close-up of Carnivore's hand popping claws and sweeping over to descend on an oblivious Puff. Collision! Puff is annoyed; Carnivore looks at a bent claw and throbbing hand in dismay. Puff swarms up Carnivore's arm, leaving claw-marks all the way, and proceeds to excise portions of his left ear. ("Fitz! Rowr! Spptttt!")

Puff on the table, chewing. Carnivore feels his head. "My ear!"

Mercaptan says "I wasn't warning you about Rocketking." Jack breaks up with laughter, face down on the table, pounding his hand.

Carnivore leaps at them with intent to maim. Mercaptan disappears, Spring-Heeled Jack flips into the air. Carnivore goes through the space they'd occupied, upsetting the chess game, and hits the wall. He slides to the floor. Mercaptan reappears in his chair. Jack adjusts the table and sits down.

Mercaptan beckons to the cat. "Hey, Puff! Prr'r'r-t!" Puff comes over, leaps up on the table, nudges Mercaptan in the chest with his head. Mercaptan waves at the bartender: "Pickled herring, Shifty!"

Carnivore stalks forward menacingly. Mercaptan sticks his pistol up Carnivore's snout. "Keenest nose in all superdom, you say?" Carnivore's eyes go wide. The bartender says "Use that skunk pistol and you're banned for a month!" Carnivore goes slamming out the door.

"Wow, that's some cat!" "Hey, Mercaptan, you know the animal -- how'd he DO that?" (Puff is eating pickled herring.) Mercaptan leans forward to his audience. "Some of this I got from Puff, and some from the Professor, and some from Rocketking. Now, I ain't saying their stories all matched, but the way I see it..."

"Rocketking wasn't fool enough to try an experimental super-serum on himself - he used white mice." (Lab with a severe supermouse problem: holes in cage and wall and refrigerator, etc.)

"The mice escaped, and infested his lab. What's the best way to get rid of supermice?" (Rocketking injecting Puff.)

Outside scene of bar, with laughter drifting under the swinging door.

Shift to Carnivore, in a REALLY bad mood. He's been cat-clawed, partially eaten, then thrown out of the bar. He wants to kill something. Miss Power catches him finishing off the pit bull Puff was tormenting. She confronts him, tells him to stop.