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Interviews From Across The Stars: Reba Haws Interviews Inspector Flaatphut

Announcer: After a much needed vacation in Tahiti (It’s a magical place… more literally since her visit), and getting de-nymphed once we could hold her down long enough for The Author to undo what he did (actually, Reba did most of the holding down, but… moving on), Reba is back in the interview chair with a fresh perspective on life and ready to get back to work. We DID have to promise no more interviews from, about, or as a result of anything or anyone from Maldene, though she DOES thank The Author for her new apartment upgrade that he inserted into her character description. It’s actually in her contract so we have to go along with it.

As a result, today’s interview has absolutely nothing to do with Maldene, but is in fact from Earth… or at least an alternate Earth. One where cyberpunk meets anthropomorphics, cars fly, and holographic computers talk back to their programmers. A fun world (for the readers, at least, not necessarily for those living in it or interviewing those from it) with absolutely no magic to concern our Miss Haws with. So join us now as Reba Haws interviews Inspector Henry Jefferies Flaatphut and his companion Tiffany Grace Lewurt.

Reba Haws: Hello, and welcome to the show, where it looks like I just might get away without being turned into a hamster or something. Today I’m talking with Inspector Flatfoot and his girlfriend Tiffany.

Inspector Henry Flaatphut: Excuse me, but it’s actually pronounced ‘Flaatphut’.

RH: Fla-at-p-hut? I’m not seeing much difference other than my tongue getting twisted around.

Henry: Nevertheless, I’m a bit picky about the pronunciation.

Tiffany: He really is.

Henry: But you can just call me Henry, if you wish.

RH: Okay…

(The reason for Miss Haws’ pause is because she is staring at Tiffany, for Miss Lewurt is a bipedal, five-foot-five feline with orange fur… in a jumpsuit.)

Tiff: Something wrong, Miss Haws?

Reba (quickly covering for herself): No, it’s just that, um… You have no tail. I’ve never met… a cat without a tail before.

Tiff (smiling): Oh, that’s because I’m a manx.

Reba (suspiciously): And you didn’t get changed into that by a wizard or something?

Tiff: Magic? Why that’s ridiculous, of course not. I was born this way, same as my parents.

Henry: I should explain. On our Earth, genetics have sorta gotten away from us. It started with uplifting cats and dogs, then got into storks, weasels, and even one red-headed elephant.

Tiff: I did not like that last one at all. Messy caper. Fun, but messy.

Henry (grinning): Aren’t they all?

(Reba pauses for a second to gather herself, then relieved that magic is not involved with anything, though still cautious, proceeds with the interview.)

RH: Well, it says here that Henry is an inspector with something called… InterSpec?

Henry: Under jurisdiction of the Interspecies Council. It replaced the UN after that bunch fell apart. InterSpec is sort of like your Interpol.

RH (brightening a little): Ah, then you’re kind of like the police. Tracking down criminals and stuff like that.

Tiff: Actually, that’s how Henry and I met. He was investigating something and I was working for the bad guys.

RH: What?! So, you’re a criminal and you’re working with–

Tiff: Purely a contract gig. I was hired to do some spying, breaking and entering, site clean-up, that sort of thing. I don’t do murder.

RH: So, if I get this right, you were hired to get in the way of Henry’s investigation, then how did you two end up together?

Henry: That’s a rather complicated story, but then all our stories usually are. It started with a disappearance, then a murder, corporate conspiracy, a couple countries having problems getting along, and myself getting stuck in the middle as usual.

Tiff: Ah, when times were simpler.

RH: Simpler? You call some corporate conspiracy simple?

Henry: Compared to some of our other stuff it is. Why, I can’t tell you how many times that badger boss of mine put a warrant out on me.

RH: I’m afraid to ask, but… an actual badger?

Henry (nodding): Three hundred pounds. That grav-chair of his is about ready to give up the ghost.

Tiff: I still think he lies about his weight. He’s gotta be more like five hundred.

Henry: At any rate, it’s gotten a lot more… entertaining since Tiff and I teamed up.

Tiff: Insurance rates always seem to go up anytime we’re in the neighborhood.

RH: I can just imagine. I’ve had a few problems with the insurance agency myself lately. Perhaps you could tell us of a few of your capers.

Henry: Well… there was the time we made that crime boss cry.

Tiff: I think it was more like whimpering. Though that one tie-dyed cat is always getting the short end of things. You know, I’m starting to feel almost sorry for him.

Henry: Don’t; he’s a flathead. Hmm, what about the time when we met that movie director? Pity they didn’t have a camera rolling when we were chasing that guy around the studio like that.

RH: Sounds rather exciting. But let’s start at the beginning. Tell us more about how the two of you met.

Henry: That was on that Looking Glass caper. You see, I was–

(At this point a beeping sound comes from Henry, to which he holds up a hand with an apologetic look while reaching into his pocket with his other hand.)

Henry: Sorry about the interruption. It’s just ICy.

RH: Icy?

(Henry takes out what looks like a smart phone while Tiff explains)

Tiff: His AI. A computer.

RH: And he calls him ‘Icy’?

Tiff: I.C. for Integrated Circuit. Cute, huh?

(Before Reba can decide on that matter, Henry cuts in.)

Henry: I’m putting you on speaker, ICy, so please repeat that.

(Henry places the smart phone down flat on the table and presses a button. Immediately a three-dimensional image appears in the air floating above the small phone– an act which you would think to catch Reba off guard.)

RH: Eh. I’ve seen worse.

(The image is a full-sized headshot of a smiling man’s head with a mohawk haircut.)

ICy: Hiya boss, hey I just– Oh, we have a guest?

Henry: Actually, we’re her guest so be good. Reba, this is ICy, my faithful computerized companion.

(The floating head turns around to face Reba, who is not sure what to make of it… at least until it speaks to her.)

ICy: Hey there, gorgeous!

RH: I don’t think I’ve had a computer make a pass at me before.

ICy: Actually I was talking to that audio board in the booth behind you. I think she likes me.

RH: I… see. So, what’s with the mohawk?

ICy: Oh, this? Just a little punk styling. You see, being a cyber unit and all, I wanted a proper cyberpunk look for our adventures, and so…

(That thud you hear in the audio is Miss Haws banging her head once onto the table.)

Henry: ICy, your report?

ICy (turning back to face Henry): Oh yeah. Well, you know those candy salesmen we were investigating? It turns out that they’re actually associated with the Carob Consortium which is run by the Coffee Growers Mob with ties to certain really big underworld figures who want to get their hands on–

Henry: ICy, we know this part already.

ICy: I know. Just recapping for Miss Haws and her audience.

RH (blandly): For which my lawyers will thank you when it comes time to sue this station again.

ICy: Well anyway, they have a rather well-armed hover-truck coming right this way.

Tiff (pulling out a rather large caliber pistol): You could have led with that.

(Henry starts pulling out his own gun while looking quickly around. His gun is even larger caliber than Tiff’s.)

Henry: Okay, get Tango revved up and plot an intercept course.

RH: Tango?

Henry: My car. We may be in for a bit of a fight here. Sorry to bring you into it.

RH (under her breath): And so it begins.

ICy: And boss, they got a rocket launcher on them.

RH (not even batting an eyelash.): Of course.

(Henry gestures to the one blank wall in the studio– the one opposite where RH is sitting– to which Tiffany nods, then he grabs up his phone and they both jump over the table to Reba’s side and proceed to push it over onto its side to use as a barrier.)

Tiff: Don’t worry, we do this sort of stuff all the time and we always make it through.

Henry: Not always with the sidekicks, I’m afraid, but we’ll try our best.

(At that moment that empty wall blows inward, leaving a six-foot hole, into which Henry and Tiff immediately start firing their guns. Reba is still sitting in her chair, not bothering to duck down behind the table, not so much as blinking from the explosion. Just letting out a tired sigh as the firefight begins.)

RH: I should have taken that job as a war correspondent in the Middle East; it would have been a lot safer. Maybe it’s not too late to apply for that position as bomb defuser.

(Bullets start flying in both directions, as four armored men crouch down at the other side of the hole with their rifles… except that these aren’t men but weasels wearing business suits beneath their armored vests. Behind them there is a truck hovering a foot off the ground with a large barreled rocket launcher balanced on its hood just taking aim… At least until the whole thing explodes from a rocket launched out by another flying car in the distance. Tiff cheers.)

Henry: Way to go, ICy!

(Our sound guy has ducked behind his control board, just as a stream of bullets shatter the protective glass window of the booth and send sparks flying up from the audio control board.)

ICy (coming from the pocket where Henry put his phone away into): My girlfriend! You can’t do that to her, lemme at them!

(Reba is still sitting calmly in her chair, uncaring about any bullets flying around her, a look of defeat on her face.)

RH: I’m cursed. That’s it, cursed. Who owns this rinky-dink station anyway?

Goon One (coming from one of the weasels in business suits): We got you now, Inspector Flatfoot.

Henry: That’s FLAATPHUT!

(Henry pulls off a shot that nails the offender right between the eyes.

Henry: ICy, you got that tapeworm virus uploaded yet?

ICy: It’s doing its thing as we speak. You know, it turns out that their computer system is female, so with this bit of code I’m injecting into her, there’s a good chance that in nine moths we might have–

Henry: ICy, cut off the nonsense, we’re in a firefight right now.

Tiff: Ah, I think he’s cute… Here, cover me for a second.

RH: I should’a done background checks on everyone associated with this station. My own fault, really.

(While Henry pulls off a few more shots, Tiffany leaps over the table, flips across the room, and lands feet-first into one goon’s face, a fist into another, then swings her leg around at a third… nailing him in the crotch. The bullets stop flying.)

Henry: That’s my girl!

Tiff: I think we’re good for now, but we’d better get moving before the other group shows up as well.

RH: I was just born under a bad star… The program director, he’s gotta be the one responsible. Maybe if I just do one of these interviews at that sadist’s house, he might learn a lesson… Naw, I’ll still come out on the short end of the stick somehow.

Henry: Miss Haws? Are you okay?

RH (not bothering to look up as she continues to sit in the chair and stare at the ground): I probably have a bullet wound in my leg, but I’ll be fine. Not the worst thing to happen to me. Say, could you investigate who owns this station? I have a little beef with him.

Henry: Soon as I get the time. Okay, Tiff, let’s make a run for Tango!

Editor’s note: Soon after this incident, Miss Haws disappeared, though we at Radio Lucifer can assure her that nothing she has experienced has been in any way personal; it’s just the way we do things down here. Now if she wants to complain then there’s– Wait a second, there’s a knock on the door…

Editor: Miss Haws? And Inspector Flaatphut and Tiffany. But how did you find– My but that’s the biggest rocket launcher you’re holding there; almost as big as that grin on your face.

RH: One of Henry’s friends let me borrow it. Now just hold still while I splatter your guts all over the Netherworld!

Editor: N-now, Miss Haws, we h-have a contract and you can’t–

Note from the NEW Editor: All that we found remaining of the old management was a very large hole in the ground. As far as Miss Haws, we have it on good authority that she is enjoying her retirement… speeding around in a flying car with Henry and Tiffany and laughing maniacally.

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