C - G : A Romance
By Ronnie Rabbit
The bedroom was pretty classy, Chip thought er, possibly, he added to himself.
You have to understand that the concept of luxury, of having more than you need to survive, is invented by human society a society only vaguely understood by the vast majority of animals, even though it was often used as models for behavior. Chip, having to deal with its inexplicable intricacies quite often and having an eye for detail, knew more about the human world than most but his experience with wealth usually involved either the very poor, the very wealthy, or thieving animals like Fat Cat. Being able to draw the line between tastefully luxurious and gratuitously overdone hadnt been a pressing need, even if he HAD enough models of both to work with.
But the stuff in here was nice.
And it was carefully arranged: large mirror just so; bed just so; painting just so. Again, most animal thieves just heaped anything they took in piles around a room. Gadget, as usual, had apparently gone to some trouble to study the idea of anything that interested her at the moment. Whether she had succeeded again, Chip could only guess.
Besides, there were much more pressing details to work out. The location of the hidden camera, for instance: behind the big mirror. Miss Hackwrench was brilliant, but the simple fact of her relative size always imposed limitations on what she could do with certain things like a camera that needed to be hooked into an extensive security system. The wall-mounted mirror had pretty good coverage of the room, too. Definitely where it was.
Chip swung his legs out of bed gingerly; they seemed to bear his weight okay. Nothing broken. Very slightly light-headed when he moved, but nothing serious, like Gadget had said good.
He got up, and walked over to the mirror. Waved cheerfully. Stuck out his tongue.
As long as he was there, he took a closer look at himself. No visible bruising, scars no blurry vision. And someone had bathed him and combed his fur ooog. He winced. New jacket. His hat was gone. He needed a hat.
Wandering casually around the room, examining everything, he carefully eyed the angle to the mirror.
The door could not possibly be in its view, nor the keypad next to it.
Chip sighed. It COULD be the way the room was set up, the electrical system again, the mouse size limitations made that kind of arrangement necessary more likely, it was a trap.
Well no time like the present.
He walked over, out of range of the hidden camera, and closely examined the device.
Simple keypad; 26 letters, digits 0-9, enter key. An exclamation point? Okay. He didnt have the tools to do any of the old spy routine tricks dusting it for fingerprints, infrared examination of the keys, or any of that, so hed just have to guess the code. He sighed again.
*Well again, lets get this over with,* he thought * I need to know what Im going to be dealing with before I make a serious escape attempt.*
It had at least four letters; thats all hed been able to tell from Gadgets rapidly dancing fingers when she left. So
Well, what the hey. Why not?
He carefully typed in G A D G E T, and hit the enter bu-
dont fiddle around with the keypad, Chip. Please? Gadget said anxiously, leaning over him.
She was in a different outfit that oddly reminded him of the jumpsuit. It was a rich charcoal color all over: blouse open at the neckline rather wide in a very distracting (and, he was sure, very intentional) fashion; snug slacks. The blouse, in another uncharacteristic touch, had ruffled lapels.
what did you HIT me with? The ceiling? he mumbled, wincing as he gingerly felt the back of his head.
She frowned. I COULD have put in one of the axes, if you prefer she reminded him. You know a nets not going to do much if it gets you or one of my more usual guests, either. The points to slap you on the wrist so you dont feel like trying again.
I feel a little more than slapped! he mumbled, scrunching down on the bed where he once again found himself. *So much for progress *
Youll be fine, she said absently. You konked yourself out most of a day, though. Really, Chip, I mean it! Dont try it again. Youre already not in great shape from the fall. She sighed. We cant really talk about stuff if youre asleep all the time youre here
Id sleep less if I had something to do besides lie in a bed, he said pointedly. Like in another room? Not locked up?
Theres plenty of people whod LOVE to be in my bed! she snapped back, putting her hands on her hips as she scowled darkly. She held the pose for two long beats, then added rapidly, Um, because, you know, its really a very nice expensive bed, and its very comfortable. And warm. And it has a nice pair of pillows and
Chip casually leaned back, head leaning on his folded arms, nodding with a mischievous grin. Go on! Youre doing great! he said cheerfully.
He swore he could actually see smoke rising from her large ears. You you DARN chipmunk! she snapped, then turned on her heel and stomped to the door. More furious typing, then she left, fuming.
Chip muttered. Even that upset- she hadnt been trying to conceal what she was typing at all he couldnt tell a thing. At least four letters, that was all. She was just so fast, and the angle from the bed was awful.
He took a deep breath, and swung his legs out of bed walked over to the door. He looked around no, there was no way to tell where on earth the gentle discouragement Gadget had installed on this thing was popping out of. No visible panels in the wall heck, this was Gadget, maybe she WAS dropping the ceiling down onto his head.
He studied the keyboard, chin on his hand. Hed need to think more carefully before trying this next one he was only going to be able to take getting konked so often, he thought wryly. About ten options popped into his mind immediately. He carefully considered, discarding about half after a minute, then thought harder. Everything he knew about Gadget. He ended up with the one hed always thought most likely to begin with. Satisfied, he tensed if he was lucky hed have time to jump out of the way if this didnt work and swiftly tapped in
G E E G A W
and moved to jump aside as he hit ret
Gadget siiighed, rubbing her temples as she sat on the side of the bed. Im SERIOUSLY considering the axe, she muttered, looking at him intently. He vaguely felt for a moment like hed very badly disappointed his mom.
Another dress, this one black: strapless. Heels? Yes, heels, for heavens sake, if small ones. Shed been out in this one, he could tell very small smudges indicated it wasnt fresh from the closet. Out stealing something else? Dinner date? He thought a bit woolenly, trying to shake off the latest noggin buster.
Rubbing his head, he decided he wasnt in the mood for it. Drop the act, Gadget, he said quietly. You dont want me to stop trying.
Chip realized hed never felt the FULL force of her disapproval before this moment as her look intensified. Now he felt like hed deeply disappointed his priest. Are you out of your MIND? You think I ENJOY having you constantly beaten on the head and lying knocked out in my bedroom? she snapped, standing. Trying to get around MY security? Do you know how much damage you could do to my stuff- to YOURSELF, wandering around, poking at things in here?
I have no idea why you want me to! Maybe you DO enjoy it! he shot right back, sitting up despite the brief wave of discomfort. Look- I may be getting my head pounded into mush the past three days, but Im still not dumb!
His hand waved at the keypad. Youve got the key sitting INSIDE THE CELL, Gadget! Conveniently out of the range of your security cameras! For goodness sake, if you wanted me INSIDE, why wouldnt the keypad be on the OUTSIDE? And if I wasnt supposed to be able to guess the code, youd have some random string of letters and numbers memorized in that amazing head of yours! he shouted. And youd TELL me that, so I wouldnt need to keep getting pounded unconscious, because you *care about me*!
He stopped, breathing heavily. Gadget had taken a step back, hand to her mouth.
because you still care about me Chip mumbled, looking at her. He paused. So why DO you keep letting me get bonked on the head?
She turned and quietly walked to the door, tapping the exit code.
I keep hoping itll knock some sense into you, she said
quietly as she stepped out. Looks like it just might be starting to work.
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