Chapter 1: A book and its Cover
Judy paced back and forth in Nick’s living room. She’d decided to visit him during one of his, ‘Guy Nights In’. She’d been personally concerned he didn’t have much of a social life and was sliding back into his old con-mammal ways. She paused in her circuit around the coffee table to look at what she felt was proof positive; damning evidence that Nicholas Wilde, Officer of the Zootopian Police Department, had begun the tragic fall from grace.
When she’d arrived she heard him talking to someone on the phone about, ‘...getting the good stuff’. When she knocked on the door, she’d heard him squawk and hang up, then begin shuffling things around. It took him a minute to finally open up the door for her. He’d given some weak arguments about not having anything ready for guests, but eventually relented and, after a brutal application of ‘Bunny-Eyes’, agreed to run to the corner store to pick up a frozen Zanto’s(tm) Pizza. She bowed out with a complaint about her feet aching.
Once he was gone she began her search, which ended almost moments later at the ill-concealed glossy periodical. She couldn’t believe anything like this was actually published for con-mammals and hustlers, though with the existence of publications like “The Anarchists Cookbook” and terrorist manuals like “Inspire”, she supposed there must be a market for them.
Her only, faint, ray of hope was that it had been so poorly concealed as to almost beg to be found. She hoped against hope itself that this was a cry for help: a subconscious act by her friend to guide him back on the straight and narrow. With the Sheppard as her witness she was darn well going to try. Her ears perked as she heard Nick coming up the stairs. She grabbed the offending magazine and stood facing the door, her foot drumming on the floor.
The key turned and the door was bumped open by a crimson tail. “Sorry I took so long Fluff, but I got distracted; Sadie was at the counter and they were running this special on Buffalo Chicken... are you okkk!”
Judy noted that Nick nearly swallowed his tongue when he saw the magazine she was brandishing. “You and I have a LOT to talk about Nick!” There was fire to be seen in her eyes over the solid black magazine bearing three large X’s on the cover, along with the title and headline.
“Hustler: Special Edition”
"Beaver Hunt: Hustling the Ultimate Score”
Chapter 2: He who shall Not be Named!
Speak not the forbidden names, lest ye summon the unspeakable!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Judy fidgeted nervously in her seat in the Bullpen; for all she teased Nick about procrastinating and skirting the rules, he was never late. She heard the door swing open and turned, only to see Snarlov and Wolfard step through sans Nick. She was about to call him on his phone when Higgins marched in and called the room to attention.
Bogo strode in to his usual fanfare. “All right, settle down.” he glanced around, his gaze stopping on Judy. “Officer Hopps, while I will normally take any opportunity for a reprieve from your partner,” there was a chuckle from the collected offices, “...absenteeism is not something I can ignore. So I must ask: do you know where Officer Wilde is?”
She was trying to come up with something while planning to let Nick have it with both barrels later, when she heard a faint, distressing squelching noise approaching the Bullpen. The doors opened and Bogo began to speak. “Officer Wilde, I waahhkk...!”
Judy had just turned to the door when the smell hit her. It reminded her of a childhood memory, when one of the farms septic tanks blew and launched its contents onto a lit trash-burn pit. There stood Nicholas Wilde, Officer of the Zootopian Police Department’s flagship Precinct, covered snout-to-tail in raw sewage.
Judy was about to ask what had happened when he suddenly held up a manual paw, slinging a thin stream of effluent in the process. All was silent as he closed his paw leaving two digits up.
“Ooh, Charades!” A groan of, ‘Goddammit, Moon-Moon!’ sounded from the back of the pen as Wolfard bounced in his seat. “Two words!” The Chief looked ready to yell at the pale wolf when Wilde lowered one of his digits. “First word!” Wolfard looked positively giddy as Nick tapped two digits on his forearm. “Two syllables!” The Fangmeyers looked aghast as morning shift brief seemed to be degenerating into a party game when Nick tapped one digit on his arm. “First syllable!” The entire shift was rapt in morbid fascination, wondering which officer Bogo was going to kill first. Nick tapped one of his ears and pointed up. “Sounds like, Up! Ceiling! Roof!”
“The Doof!” Frank McHorn’s declaration caused nearly every officer in the room to yelp in alarm and flinch away from Nick, who nodded in conformation. Judy could only look on in confusion.
“I was on the Red Line’s Peak St. spur just past Cactus Grove when everything stopped.” Nick spoke for the first time, though he did sound congested. Judy thought he was just doing his best not to smell anything. “He was on the tracks where they cross Willmott Ave. making some kind of speech. He has a, a minder I guess is the word; a flying squirrel named Arthur from NIMH. He’s no longer ‘The Doof’, by the way; he insists they be called ‘Moose and Squirrel!’” Nick struck a ridiculous pose and spoke with a ludicrous East Eweropean accent. “He gets very upset if you don’t.”
Francine Trunkaby cocked her head to the side. “How upset are we talking.”
Nick stared at her silently until a particularly vile ‘ploop’ sounded. “Very. Upset.” He then turned to the podium. “By your leave, Chief, I’m heading to processing to have Bill give me a County Intake Special; I’m going to need a pressure washer to get this, THIS, out of my undercoat.” Without waiting, Nick turned and left the room.
Wolfard huffed. “Well, at least we don’t have to deal with Hoofdor...” The entire room erupted in alarmed noises. Even Bogo looked upset at the name. “What? You heard Nick! This all went down on Willmott; that’s Third Precinct.”
There was a knock at the Bullpen door and a disheveled lion Sgt. stepped in. “Chief, we’re gonna need to drop someone off.”
In the background could be heard a shrill voice. “Please sir, he has a serious mental condition; I really do need to stay with him.”
“Correct!” A pompous voice boomed through the building. “You may not separate the the dynamic duo of Moose and Squirrel!”
Bogo gurgled at the Sgt. While the podium creaked under him.
The lion held her paws in a placating gesture. “I know sir, but with that business with the Arabian League last night, our holding is already in overflow, and I am NOT driving to the Fifth with those two.” With that, the door shut.
There was a banging sound coming from Snarlov as he thumped the back of his head against the wall behind him. “Goddammit, Moon-Moon! Why did you open your maw?!”
Wolfard whimpered as the Chief leveled ‘The Glare’(tm) at him. “Assignments: Wolfard, you’re on cell watch.” The pale wolf all but folded in on himself and whined like a whipped puppy. “As one of our new guests is apparently under psychological evaluation, they are considered a high suicide risk. You will therefore conduct your wellness checks every half-hour, rather than every hour.”
As the Chief droned on with the officer assignments, Judy leaned over to the still shell-shocked McHorn. “Frank, who’s, ‘The Doof’?”
The subject of tonight's offering is made possible with the permission of 'labmeister' over on FanFiction.net. Check out his work, "From the Desk of the Chief" when you get the chance.
Chapter 3: All the world is a Song Cue.
A little music to start your day off...
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Nadine and Ralph Fangmeyer were at the head of the procession of cops making their way to motorpool after morning brief. They began checking out their cruiser before heading out on patrol. “Say what you want Naddy, it was a good zinger.”
The tigress paused to give her step-brother a flat stare. “It wasn’t a zinger ‘Rolph’. You know how much Hopps loathes parking duty. Just because it’s April Fools Day...”
The large wolf pointedly ignored his step-sister as he examined the wheel-wells. “And as a result, Leo Johnson gets partnered with Nick? You can’t tell me that isn’t a joke on the Chief’s part. Who knew he had it in him.”
Nadine just shook her head as she settled into the driver’s seat and began testing the various electronics. “Needs of the Force, Little-Bro. Besides, Leo needs to learn a little respect, and having a Fox whose ten years his senior...” Whatever else she was going to say was drowned out when she tested the sirens.
“Move, Bitch! Get out the way!
Get out the way, Bitch, get out the way!”
Ralph all but smashed his paw on the center console shutting the sirens off. The step-siblings had their ears pinned to their heads as they panted for a moment. Glancing around, they saw nearly the entire first shift staring at them. A huge yellow paw snuck in Ralph’s window and flicked the siren switch.
“Oh no, a fight’s out!
I’m gonna punch yo...”
Nadine swatted the offending appendage away from the controls, turning the siren off in the process. Officer Johnson chuckled and looked to his temporary partner as they headed to their own assigned vehicle. “I’d definitely move if I heard that coming down the road. Good one, little buddy.”
Nick snorted without looking up. “This right here? This is why we won’t see another fox on the streets all day today.” He started on the undercarriage and wheel inspections while Leo checked the top of the car. “Foxes get blamed for shit all the time, especially when it comes to anything considered, ‘sneaky’, like pranks.” He hopped through the open passenger window as Leo settled into the driver’s seat. “Hell, when I was a kit, mom would call me in sick for school any time April First was a weekday. I’d have called in SOTS today, but all my medical leave was chewed up after that ‘Moose-&-Squirrel’ nonsense.”
Leo just chuckled. “Yeah, sure it is.” He flicked on the sirens.
“Hey hey, Mister Fox, can you be my lover boy?
“Hey hey, Mister Fox, will you be my Foxy toy?”
Once again the entire motor pool was fixated on one patrol car as Officer Leo Johnson, former ZU Thunder’s Tight End and decorated SWAT Officer, scrambled out the driver’s side window of his car while clutching at the tattered remains of his right shirt sleeve.
Frank Wolfard and Daniel Snarlov headed over to the panicking lion. “You okay there Leo?” Frank swiftly and efficiently checked over his fellow SWAT Officer’s arm for injuries.
“I don’t know! That song started and Wilde just spun up to like 150 Mew-le-Hurtz! Am I missing any digits?” Johnson’s breathing was starting to level out as he stared at his arm.
Daniel got on the cruiser’s running board and looked inside. Nick was clinging to the center console by his claws, his uniform inflated by his puffed out fur. When he noticed the wolf’s curious gaze, he began gekkering angrily with bared fangs. Snarlov slowly backed away from the car so as not to alarm the agitated fox. “Well Nick’s right freaked out. Wonder what it is about that song?”
Frank patted Leo’s arm. “You’re fine buddy, why don’t you head back to the locker room and get a fresh shirt?” Once the lion was making his way back to the main building, the two wolves headed to their own cruiser. “‘Foxy Boy’ was a Carrot-Pop song from the late 90’s. One hit wonder by ‘The Weaver’.”
“I thought ‘The Weaver’ was an inter-species porn studio over on Pack Street.” Daniel absently remarked to his partner as they started looking their own vehicle over.
Frank settled into the driver’s seat. “Oh it is; they tried branching out, but I think all it really did was recruit new ‘Talent’ for their studio.”
Both Wolfard and Snarlov looked at the center console in mild concern. Daniel glanced at his partner. “Oh stop being a sissy and push the button, Frank.” Officer Wolfard snorted at the jab and hit the siren button.
“Who let the Dogs out?
“Who, who, who, who?
Daniel groaned in frustration. “I should have kno...Knock it off, Moon-Moon!”
“What, I like this song!” Frank Wolfard happily bounced in his seat as he sang along with the tune blaring out of the cruiser’s sirens. Daniel had just shut the siren off when a new song filled the motor pool from McHorn And Francine’s vehicle.
“Don’t stand so,
“Don’t stand so,
“Don’t stand so close to me!”
“Grahhh.” The entire cruiser shook as Frank McHorn threw his head back in frustration.
Francine looked at her partner in concern. “Frank?”
He lolled his head to the side to look at her. “It’s, ‘The Police’.”
Various officers were now standing outside their vehicles, hesitant to be the next victim of the music based Precinct-wide prank when a tiny form in a high visibility vest strutted through the midst of them. All conversation ceased as Judy performed her check of the infamous ‘Three-wheel-Joke-Mobile’ without any seeming concern to the scrutiny she was getting. She popped her Meter-Maid vest taut before she calmly sat in the driver’s seat, then turned her head to face the rest of the squad with her paw poised over the control console.
Officer Anderson’s jaw was almost hanging open. “No, way.” Judy raised her eyebrows, causing a pair of sunglasses which had rested on top of her head to settle onto her muzzle, and hit the switch.
“A, S, S, H, O, L. E!
“A, S, S, H, O, L, E!
“Woof, woofwoof woof, woofwoof woof, woofwoof woof!”
Everybody gaped as the tiny traffic control vehicle made its languid way towards the exit.
“I’m an asshole, and proud of itEE-OO-EE-OO-EE-OO”
The entire shift startled as the normal siren began when the cart paused near the roll-up door. A tiny paw stuck out the side of the cart and wiggled a black Thumb-Drive for all to see before heading out. There was a mad scramble as the assembled shift located and removed the offending media devices from the Mobile Data Terminals in their vehicles.
“Frank? Get over here!” Officer Wolfard looked towards Leo Johnson who was in a new shirt standing outside his cruiser. “I think Nick just ate the USB.”
'The Weaver' has graciously granted permission to play with their things; no one else was consulted so deal with it.
Additional song credits as follows:
“Move Bitch” By Ludacris, published 2001 under KLC
“Who let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men, published 2000 under Artemis Records
“Don’t stand so close to me” by The Police, published 1980 under A&M
“Asshole” by Denis Leary, published 1993 under A&M
Chapter 4: Runner
Whenever you assume...
Today's offering is devoid of shout-outs, devoid of Nick and Judy, and devoid of humor. You have been warned.
Keep low, walk softly; don’t worry about keeping down wind, worry about making a sound.
“Hayesil yayna?” (Have the scouts found him?)
“Nahl, Ni-sithile.” (No, Lieutenant.)
They can’t be everywhere, I just have to find a hole in their lines. There has to be one!
“Marhraye nahl. Sisi hayes!” (He can’t have run far. Search again!)
“Vahl-fa!” (Yes sir!)
This can’t be happening; I’m the predator! I’m the wolf! I’m...
“Thli-e, m’haye!” (There he is, I see him!)
“Hrairail-e! Sizaynes!” (Chase him down! Go! Go!)
This can’t be real! Efrafans are bunnies! They’re just bunnies!
Chapter 5: Swamp Folk
Country road, take me home...
Bogo stood at the podium as he did every morning. “Next on the docket, there’s been a rash of corporate vandalism: several boats from Furner Broadcasting and ZBS, along with a substantial amount of filming equipment has been destroyed on Margay Key in West Bayou...”
“Not it!” Judy jumped as Nick, Frank McHorn and Daniel Snarlov all barked out at once.
She was all the more shocked when the Chief’s normal no-nonsense glare was tempered with, sympathy? “Setting aside the fact that we in the ZPD are not a democracy, I need aquatic mammals for this one.” Judy’s puzzlement turned to concern when Lt. Higgins seemed to pale to an ahsen shade of grey. “Anderson, Fangmeyer, head out to the second and coordinate with river patrol. Wilde, cell watch. McHorn, Snarlov, report to traffic enforcement. Wolford, you and Hopps have civilian outreach. PR will tell you where.
Judy couldn’t begin to fathom why every officer except Wade Anderson and Nadine Fangmeyer seemed so relieved at not taking the RFD investigation. She’d have to pump Frank for info while they were out.
Frank proved unhelpful as he had only ever gone to the Rainforest District for the annual Jazz Festival along the festive Canal d'eau Rouge. She resigned herself to having to interrogate Nick and enduring his endless smugness at yet again educating the country bunny. They arrived at the Precinct House to find Wade and Nadine huddled on the floor in front of Clawhauser’s kiosk. They were surrounded by the entire force. Even Bogo stood nearby with a pained look on his muzzle.
“...then they let the snakes loose. The patrol boats from the Second barely stuck around long enough to pick us up.” Officer Fangmeyer finished what was apparently her and Anderson’s harrowing tale while her stepbrother rubbed her back.
Judy saw Nick at the outskirts of the crowd and headed over. “Alright Slick; I need to know what’s going on here. What’s in Bayou that’s so terrible as to stop our investigation?”
Nick gave a tired huff. “There’s no investigation; we,” he gestured collectively to the gathered officers, “already know what’s happening and who’s doing it.” He noted her expectant expression, and seemed about to start the expected tease when he slumped. “The Hopfield and McConey families; swamp rabbits. They pretty much own half the Bayou. Aside from Icthio-farms like ‘Bubba Hump’s’ and the Trinity College for Herpetology, they don’t really like outsiders. Doesn’t matter who you are, you’re unwelcome and they will let you know.”
She gawked for a second. “You’re telling me this precinct, First Precinct, ‘The best of the best of the best with honors, Sir!’” the last said with an exaggerated parade-ground tone that got everyone’s attention, “have been stymied by a bunch of Pentacostal Hillbilly Hares?”
Her outburst drew the attention of the entire precinct: Higgins and Snarlov looked shame-faced, while Anderson and Fangmeyer looked incensed. Bogo simply looked curious. “You believe you can do better, Officer Hopps?”
Nick could actually see Judy doubling-down on her claim when she turned to face the Chief. “If you’re willing to give me until Thursday sir, then yes I can.”
There was a hush in the atrium. “And if you can’t?” The Cape Buffalo crossed his arms.
Judy assumed a parade rest stance. “Then I will personally, and publically, apologize to every officer here present. Sir.”
Nick sat in the back of a canoe with Judy and a bag she refused to tell him about but insisted he carry. “If at any point someone demands I squeal like a pig, I’m doing my best impression of you.”
“Oh stop whining Nick.” Judy relished the opportunity to snark at her partner. “Besides, our escort’s here.” Nick looked around in confusion until he noticed several wakes in the water. A little closer inspection revealed them to be a dozen rabbit heads just above the water. Judy spoke up just as Nick started to panic. “I know you Pentacostal types practice eschatology, but unless you’re here to lead us to whomever I need to talk to, then this really will be the End of Days for you.” Her gaze never left the shore of the island they were approaching.
Amazingly to Nick, they were guided to a small boat dock where a crew silently helped them secure the canoe. Nick secured the package and they were led to mobile trailer office. An aged, notch-eared rabbit looked at them suspiciously. Judy returned the impassive look for a moment, then emptied the bag Nick had been hauling around onto the table; it was a glazed clay half gallon jug with a waxed cloth and wood stopper. “Sugar-beet Vodka, my grandfather’s recipe.”
Nick stared slack jawed as the ears of nearly every rabbit in the room perked up. The old buck considered the jug for a moment, then whistled sharply and waved with three fingers. A younger, stocky buck came up with three cups and three shot glasses in his paws, and a nondescript brown wine bottle with a ceramic stopper tucked under one arm. “Pecan Brandy; the ‘Angel’s Share’ as it were.”
Nick was familiar enough with ‘legally adjacent’ etiquette to know he couldn’t really refuse when a shot of Hopps’ offering and a measure of Brandy were poured for everyone. The Bunnyburrow rotgut burned like the judging fires of hell, while the brandy might as well have been liquid sin. He was startled out of his reverie when Judy spoke up. “Alright then, let’s talk about your kin trashing a couple of thousand dollars of film equipment.”
“You’re sure about this Hopps?” The Chief eyed his smallest officer sitting across from him.
She nodded. “I gave the security footage over to Cyber-crime to check that it hasn’t been doctored, but it looks like not only did the studios not contact the McConey Fish Hatchery for permission to film, they damaged one of the nursery nets while trespassing. Cleatus McConey quoted around $150,000 in damage and lost revenue. FBS’ $12,000 in lost equipment is a drop in the bucket compared to what they did in Margay Key.”
Bogo snorted. “Alright, once we verify Furner is in the wrong I’ll give this over to Oates and let him handle the studios. One more thing Hopps,” Judy stopped in her efforts to leave the office, “where is Nick?” He saw the panic cross her face for a moment. “This isn’t going to turn into another ‘Doof’ incident, is it?”
Her ears flagged and she chuckled weakly.
Two swamp bucks looked at the floor of the office trailer.
“What should we do about him?”
Nick lay curled up on the floor of the office hugging two empty bottles. A two toned ‘hoot’ sound could be heard every time he exhaled.
“You heard the doe; she said to let ‘im sleep it off, so we let ‘im sleep it off. You might want to distract ol’ Jade ferrin she decides to ‘snuggle’ ‘im. I don’t rightly wanna find out what the country doe would do iffin we lost her fox.”
“Rekkon yer right Jethro.” The two rabbits set about distracting the Black King Snake that had been moving towards the sleeping todd.