Mon Jul 16 12:22:39 PDT 2007
clues. "Hmm, I wonder." He got up and placed a hand on one end of the area
he was lying on, and his other hand on the other end. "Hmm..." He froze as a
growl was heard nearby. Slowly, the detective turned around to see a panda
bear waking up from its slumber. "Nice, kitty. Nice kitty. Daddy's got
something good for you. He produced a piece of wood and held it over his
head. "Now, fetch!"
The panda stood there as the stick bounced off its head. Baring its teeth,
"Bad girl! No bamboo bread for you tonight." He ran around the compound in
circles as an angry panda bear tried to make mincemeat out of the detective.
Ace jumped, rolled and tickled the bear, which only made it angrier.
Hiroshi watched the spectacle in horror. "Do something!"
"What? That idiot jumped there willingly. I told him it was... Ooof!!" A
moist Ace landed on Koji's head, and he held in his hands a few items of
trash. He was soaking wet from running through the small bathing pond in the
Ace hopped off the stunned head of security and paced for a moment. "Now,
where was I? Oh, yeah, you really need to give her some mouthwash. She
stinks." He brushed himself off. "She'll never get a husband if you don't do
something about her hygiene."
"How did you?" was all Hiroshi could say as he looked down into the habitat
and back to Ace and back down again. Below, Lin-Lin, the female panda, was
growling and staring up the wall at him with fury in her eyes and a stench
that reeked of a dinner that had been left out for a week.
"Self preservation is a powerful force. Now, for the main event, I believe
this is why your furry friend decided to go walkabout. I would too if she
was my roommate." Ace shook himself, spraying water everywhere and in a
moment, he was dry. A large backpack fell from nowhere and a small black pig
appeared. Ace looked down at the creature in recognition. "Charlotte?"
"Bweee!!" The piglet ran at high speed down the walkway and out of sight.
"Ah, man. He's worth a hundred bucks every time I send him back home. Maybe
next week... Anyways, your panda had an accomplice."
"I knew it." Mr. Utada nodded. "Now we're getting somewhere. How did he get
the panda out of there?"
"The panda got out all by himself. However..." Ace marched to the edge of
the panda habitat and pointed at the ground. "Here's where a man magically
appeared. He had to have carried Bon-Bon out of of the zoo. The tracks go
that way." He pointed to the west, which wasn't where the main exit was
located. "Strange thing though, he must have been very light on his feet.
These tracks aren't heavy enough for even the weight of a panda, unless..."
He gazed in the direction where P-Chan ran off to. "I wonder."
"Didn't we see someone on the surveillance cameras that night?" Mr. Ito
asked his underling.
"Yeah, and he's our prime suspect. But we didn't get a positive ID on him
and he didn't have a panda with him. There's no way he could have hidden it
in his clothes. If I remember right, he was wearing a martial arts gi."
"A gi? Where's the rest of the word? A g-suit? A g-string? Ewww..." Ace
Hiroshi had to help inform Ace about a common Japanese subject. "A gi is a
uniform worn by students and practitioners of martial arts. A lot of people
study that here."
"I see. Was Mr. Gi here the night of the crime? Was he about yea high?" He
held his hand at just under one hundred and sixty centimeters. "Was he also
portly, muscular, and smelled like bamboo."
"Wait a second." Yoshiro opened the file he had been carrying and turned a
few pages. He pulled out a photo and held it to Ace. "Are you describing
Ace did a double take. "Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!"
Mr. Utada crossed his arms in front of his burly chest in suspicion. "How in
the world can you know that this is the suspect when you hadn't even dusted
that area for prints?"
"Elementary, my dear Watson, which by the way I enjoyed for all of my years
in school." Ace held out a white bandanna and a pair of broken glasses.
"Now, where can I find, Genma Saotome?"
"You can read Japanese?" Detective Oki was truly impressed. The picture's
caption was written in katakana and kanji script.
"Uh... No. It says so on his hat." He turned the cloth over and there in
neat feminine writing alongside the same script in Japanese were the words,
'Property of Genma Saotome, if found, please send to Nerima Japan.'
Hiroshi examined the evidence from his place two meters away from Ace.
"Where did you find that? We searched the entire compound last week."
"Oh, I have my ways." He produced another piece of cloth. It had telltale
bite marks on it. "You really should watch what you feed her. Seat bottoms
from someone's pants is bad for her digestion."
"I knew this was too good to be true." Mr. Ito closed his file. "I had a
feeling that man was crooked."
Mr. Utada hurmphed in disgust and gave a look of 'I told you so.'. "How in
world could he not have been a crook? Pandas aren't exactly an animal you
can get at a pet store."
The curator replied. "The panda was living in Nerima for over a year. It was
well known to be a girl's pet. It was either we take possession of it, or
the Chinese would demand it repatriated back to China."
"Wasn't he the one who said he imported the panda in the first place?"
Detective Oki nodded. "I'm still trying to find out how he got a panda past
Mr. Utada smacked his fists together. "I can't wait to get my hands on him.
"Smuggled or not, it doesn't matter. The panda was turned over to the zoo
and Mr. Saotome was compensated. Without any hard evidence, we can't do
anything." Hiroshi sighed. "There was nothing on the security camera, no
witnesses and he has an alibi. Besides, how in can anyone sneak a panda bear
out of a zoo?"
"That's why I'm on the case." Ace smiled. "Of course, I'll have to charge my
usual fee." Without waiting for an answer, he strutted off, then ran into
the nearest men's room.
Mr. Ito walked over to the edge of the habitat and looked down toward the
other resident. "If he can bring that panda back, it will be worth every yen
we pay. If Lin-Lin has a baby, it would be a huge boon to the zoo."
Koji looked down as well. "As much as I hate to admit it, but he's right."
Looking down at the still growling panda, Koji shook his head sadly. "Unless
you get her some industrial strength mouthwash, no one's going to mate with
Nabiki Tendo was a naturally observant woman. After the arrival of Ranma and
his father Genma Saotome the year before, she became even more aware of her
surroundings. Her current source of suspicion came from the odd behavior of
a certain martial artist and part time panda bear who, for the first time
since he had arrived, hadn't asked for money from her father. Either he was
getting money from Soun Tendo out of her view, or he had no need of it. Not
wanting to assume anything, she looked up from her newspaper and spied said
martial artist as an eagle watched its prey. Genma Saotome sat on the back
porch next to a shogi board, playing the game with her father, Soun. Nothing
was unusual about this, since the two played that game everyday shortly
after he got here.
What was unusual was the exceptionally good condition Mr. Saotome's glasses
and bandana were. Both looked like they had been recently purchased, and the
glasses looked expensive. Nabiki kept her silent vigil, waiting for
something to occur or for Genma to slip up and spill the beans on what was
really going on. Hopefully, whatever crazy scheme he had wouldn't involve
her family and especially her sister, Akane. She mumbled to herself. "Who am
Nabiki turned the page of her newspaper to keep up appearances, and scanned
the room, looking for anything else that was out of place. Pervert in the
living room, ironing stolen underwear, check, her older sister cooking
dinner in the kitchen, check, her younger sister beating up a pole that had
a black wig tied in a pigtail, check and finally, her future brother in law
landing in the koi pond, check.
Nabiki sighed. Nothing out of place yet, but she had faith. It would only be
a short while before something happened. It always did.
Ranma emerged from the koi pond, angry, wet and female. In this form, she
had gone by the name of Ranko to elude her mother due to a suicide pact her
father had made many years ago. She glared in the direction of the youngest
Tendo, Akane, and stormed off into the house. "Stupid tomboy, all I said was
you should try feedin' that stuff to P-Chan." She slammed the door to the
bathroom as she once again embarked on her never-ending quest for hot water.
Akane punched her target dummy in anger. "Stupid Ranma. Stupid! Stupid!
Stupid!" Each shout came out like a battle cry and she slammed the straw
covered pole with all her might. "I make him dinner and this is how he
thanks me!" She delivered a kick which sent the pole flying into the sky.
Satisfied that the pole wasn't going to bother her anymore, she rubbed her
arm on her forehead to wipe away the sweat. "There, I feel better already."
"Dinner's ready!" Kasumi sang in her happy voice as she came out of the
kitchen, holding a pot of miso soup. She placed it in the center of the
dinner table as the family gathered around.
"Food!" Ranko jumped onto her place at the dinner table between Akane and
her father. She pulled up her chopsticks and glared at her father, ready to
defend her food from imminent attack.
"Why haven't you changed back?" Akane asked in an annoyed tone.
"I can change back later. I'm hungry now." Ranko stuffed her mouth with a
piece of chicken breast and used her elbow to jab her father's gut. "Back
"Ungrateful boy! You should share with your father." Genma grabbed a piece
of chicken off of Ranko's plate, only to notice that his potato had vanished
from his own plate. The two martial artist's chopsticks whizzed in a blur as
the two fought over grains of steamed rice.
Nabiki slowly ate her food. She wasn't in a hurry and those two freeloaders
knew better than to touch her plate. A light bulb went off in her head as
she finally saw what was out of place. She watched Genma and saw a glint of
metal under his martial arts gi. It was a thermos. He hadn't been in his
panda form for more than a few minutes for the last week, and when Mrs.
Saotome came to visit the day before yesterday, he ran off on a training
journey instead of pretending to be Mr. Panda. Pieces of the puzzle were
beginning to appear, but there had to be more. What could it be?
Happosai put down his bowl and gave a sigh of satisfaction. "Ah, Kasumi,
your meal is as exquisite as ever."
"Why thank you, Grandfather Happosai." Kasumi beamed at the compliment.
"Would you like some more?" She picked up the ladle out of the bowl of miso
"I'm quite done. Students?"
Instantly, Genma and Soun appeared behind Happosai and answered in unison,
"You two have been slacking off. And you, Popsicle, have something I need to
discuss with you." Happosai jumped out the back door, leaving behind two
very nervous disciples.
"I wonder what the Master wants this time, Saotome?"
"I don't know Tendo, but whatever it is, it can't be good."
In a flash, the two men bolted out the front door of the house only to find
the Master waiting for them. "I see I've got to work on your training boys.
You're way too predictable." Shortly, the trio fled into the night.
Ranko gobbled up the rest of her father's meal, then proceeded to finish off
her own. "Ah, that's great! Nobody cooks like you do, Kasumi!"
"Thank you Ranma, perhaps you can help me tomorrow. Your mother will be
Ranko's expression changed from happiness to sorrow then back to happiness
again. "Sure, I can't wait to make something for Mom."
"I'll help too! I wanna try out one of Mom's recipes!" Akane clapped her
hands in joy.
Ranko's expression went from happiness to hopelessness in one point five
eight microseconds, a new record.
Kasumi, without skipping a beat, smiled at her sister, "Of course you can
Akane held her fists in front of her chest in a female symbol of
determination. "I'm going to master chicken teriyaki, if it's the last thing
Ranko mumbled. "It might be."
Akane's hammer fell swiftly onto Ranko's head, smashing the poor girl into
the floor. "Jerk."
"You just need practice, Akane. But first, I think it's better that your
work on your curry."
Nabiki mouthed the words, 'Thank you', soundlessly to her older sister.
Nabiki excused herself and picked up her newspaper and went back to her
room. Closing the door, she tossed the paper on her desk and picked up her
schoolbag from the top of her bed. No time like the present, she thought as
she sat at her desk and did her homework. An hour went by, and after she had
finished her book report, and placed her elbows on her desk and thought hard
about what was bothering her.
Mr. Saotome had been acting strange for the last month, ever since he got
that special delivery letter. It was that same day that that man appeared
who claimed a debt and that little escapade cost the family a week when
Ranma ended up at that French guy's house for a Martial Arts Dining contest.
Yet, the contract was with her own father, not with Mr. Saotome, so what was
in that letter? She racked her brain. Genma wasn't that smart, and what was
he up to and why wasn't he laying around in his panda form for the last
Frustrated, Nabiki picked up an empty soda can and a candy bar wrapper from
her desk and tossed them in the wastebasket. She tidied up her desk and was
about to toss the newspaper in the trash when another piece of the puzzle
stared back at her. "Well. I'll be."
She unfolded the paper and read the article. It was a follow up to a
headline story that ran last week and there it was, a clue. But how did this
all fit together? With determination worthy of a Tendo, she was going to get
to the bottom of it. Carefully taking a pair of scissors, she cut out the
article titled, "Bon-Bon still missing, police baffled."
Ace Ventura approached the fifth door on the right. He had been warned this
was the place he needed to be, but he couldn't be too careful. His back
against the wall, he slowly slid until he got to the nondescript door and
pulled out a plastic card. "Here goes everything!"
The Pet Detective deftly inserted the card into the slot on the door, and a
light flashed green. The mission was a go. He pulled the lever and swung the
door just wide enough from him to slip through. Once inside, he closed the
door behind him and crawled on the floor, using only the tips of his fingers
and shoes for mobility. Ahead was what he was looking for, a large beaten
steamer trunk. In a Darth Vader voice, he bellowed. "I see, we meet again."
The steamer trunk said nothing.
He continued. "When I left you, I was but a learner, now I am the master."
The steamer trunk still said nothing.
"Psst." Ace whispered. "It's your line."
The steamer trunk maintained its silence.
He got up off the ground and crossed his arms. "You're no fun. No nuts for
A loud pop heralded the arrival of the squirrel corps as the trunk exploded,
filling the room with creatures large and small. Two dozen furry
stormtroopers and two commanders lined up in order and raised their paws in
"That's better. Where's Jar Jar?"
A coconut flew from nowhere and smacked Ace in the head. His monkey crawled
out of the trunk and jumped on his master's head showing just how much he
hated being compared to that character. He yanked at the Pet Detective's
hair and wrapped his tail around his neck squeezing it tight.
"Okay! You're Chewbacca! You're Chewie! Gasp!" Thud! Ace fell over
backwards. The monkey leapt off of him and landed on the bed.
"Man, where'd you leave your sense of humor?" A wad of poo bounced off of
Ace. "C'mon, I said I'm sorry already. I didn't know that girl was going to
kidnap you and call you Pauline." Another, much larger piece of monkey poo
bounced off Ace's forehead.
"I guess I deserved that. Now, I've got a job for us, so gather 'round." He
was surrounded by Imperial Squirrels, ninja raccoons, an angry monkey, five
hamsters, Underdog, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a
pear tree. He pulled out a picture of a panda. "This is Bon-Bon." He held
several pictures, each one depicted items like cat food, nuts, and bananas,
"This is Bon-Bon back at the zoo. Any questions?"
Ace felt a wet spot forming on his pant leg. "Okay, you're Jar Jar again." A
toilet flew through the air and smashed the Pet Detective against the wall.
"Fine, you can be Han Solo." Ace passed out.
Author's Notes: Please review my story. It makes me feel oh so happy and
prevents me from hiring Ace Ventura for any reason whatsoever again.
Rebecca Ann Heineman
Last edited on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Email me at becky at burgerbecky.com
Or visit http://www.burgerbecky.com
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