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This needs to be solved.  That’s where I come in.  The name’s Rocky Raccoon, and I’m Anamalia’s number
one gumshoe.  Nothing gets by me, and no evildoer escapes my grasp.
I walked into my office at 2 a.m. and collapsed into my desk chair.  As much as I enjoyed these late-night
jobs, all these crooks were starting to wear me out.  I propped up my feet and started reading yesterday’s
paper.  Before I had a chance to get past the front page my office door was thrown open.
“Boss!  Mayor Shepherd is on the phone!”
If there was one thing I didn’t need, it was my secretary, Vixen, yelling at this time of night.  But, she was a
great girl, and the best partner a gumshoe could ask for.  I picked up the phone and Mayor Shepherd
started barking on the other end.
“Rocky!  Get down to city hall, now!  We’ve got a real emergency!”
Mayor Shepherd hung up the phone before I could get in a word.  But it sounded serious.  I headed down to
city hall and was surprised to see the Canine Police Force surrounding the entrance.  After making my way
through some unnecessary yellow tape, I got to the Mayor’s office.  Inside were the Mayor, Chief Beagle,
and Anamalia’s own Senator Hawk.
“Rocky!  Thank goodness you’re here!” Mayor Shepherd said.  “Senator Hawk’s daughter has been
kidnapped!  We need you to use every contact you have to find out who took her.”
“Alright, calm down Mayor.  Are there any leads?”
“No.  She was taken while being transported from my office to the car.  Her bodyguards didn’t get a good
look at the culprits and were knocked out before they could do anything,” Senator Hawk said.  “All we found
was a ransom note.”
“Senator, I’m going to need that note, and to speak with those bodyguards.”
“Just hurry, Rocky.  We’ll do whatever we can from here, but we’re counting on you.  The ransom is due in
four hours,” Chief Beagle explained.
There was no time to lose then.  I grabbed the note and headed out.  As I passed by the office next door, I
saw two bison bodyguards talking to one another.  
“Evening fellas,” I said.  “Either of you know what happened to that little girl?”
“Nope.  It happened too fast.  Next thing I know, I were on the ground sleepin’ or somethin’,” one said.
Well, at least it was unlikely either of them was involved.  This job seemed a bit too complicated for either to
handle.  That still left me without any leads, and I was running short on time.
I decided to go was to talk to someone that handled large amounts of cash.  Someone that a ransom collector
might go to in order to put their haul into some “investments.”
Sid the Snake’s juice bar was the hangout for all the low-lifes in this city.  Or, at least behind the scenes it
was.  Luckily Sid worked with me as much as he did against me.  It only mattered that the price was right.
“Sid, I need some information, now,” I said.
“Sure Rocky.  But you have to order something firsssssst,” he hissed.
Sid was too crafty for his own good.  He’d been playing both sides of the crime world for so long now that he
knew just whose buttons to push and when.  I had to order the proper “drink” and fork over the cash before
he’d say anything.  But I wasn’t in the mood for games tonight.
“Listen, you crooked serpent,” I said through my teeth as I grabbed him around the middle of his body. “I’
ve got no time for your business tonight.  I want to know if anyone has tried to hide a large amount of money
recently.”
Sid gulped as my hand held firm.  “Talk to Toady.  He’ll be in at three.”
I let Sid go and ordered an apple juice on the rocks.  I’d heard of Toady before, but hadn’t had the pleasure
of meeting him yet.  When he finally walked in, I could tell he was going to have some info for me.  He
walked past the rest of the bar’s occupants without a word.  But he had an air about him that commanded
respect from every low-life scattered around the premises.  For a bookie, something was very odd about
him.  But I didn’t have time to deal with that now.
“So you’re the new money man I keep hearing about,” I said to him as I sidled into his booth.
“And you’re that detective that always gets in the way of profitable ventures.”
He stared at me, waiting to see who would crack first.  Finally, his tongue flicked out and grabbed a fly off
the wall.
“Pardon my manners, Detective, but I missed dinner.”
“I’ll make this quick, Toady.  I need to know if anyone has asked for your services in making a large amount
of cash disappear.  We’re talkin’ millions.”
“Even if there was such an individual, why should I rat out my client to law enforcement?  That wouldn’t be
very good business.”
“Call it a little charity for the city that allows you to run your ‘business.’”
Toady croaked with laughter.  This guy was smart enough to keep his head down and not stir the waters.
“Let’s say I do have this information,” he said.  “I’d need something from you in return.  Perhaps you look
the other way the next time you hear about me.”
“As long as you’re not breaking the law in this town, I’ll leave you alone.”
“Very well, Detective.  I believe someone called me from the warehouses by the pier looking to hide around
three million.  That was about 36 hours ago.”
Three million was the amount of the ransom.  And if it came from the pier, it had to be the Surging Shark
gang.  But no one had heard from them since their last failed jewel heist.
“All right, Toady.  I appreciate the tip,” I said.
“I hope I won’t be seeing you around, Detective.”
There were only two hours until sunrise.  I mulled over what Toady had told me, but something wasn’t
right.  The only ones that could have placed that call were the Surging Shark gang.  The pier had been their
territory for a decade.  But ever since I stopped their jewel heist a few months ago, they hadn’t done as
much as jaywalk.  Now kidnapping?  Nothing about this made sense.
I finally reached the pier, but everything was pretty quiet.  A little too quiet, if you ask me.  
“Careful with that!  Uh, the boss ain’t gonna be happy if you destroy everything!”
I carefully crept toward the voice, hiding just out of view.  There were about ten of them, moving around an
entire assortment of goods.  It looked like they were stocking up for a long trip.  Either that, or they were
just trying to get their criminal claws into every industry in the city.
The individuals themselves were somewhat obscured by the early morning shadows.  They were all wearing
caps with menacing curved horns poking out of either side of their heads.  Every one looked to be about four
times my size, and they were as strong as anything I had ever seen.
“Duh, hey Number 3, what’s this thing?” one of them asked with a snort.
“I don’t know.  Looks like one of those number machines,” Number 3 answered.
The first one had been holding up a computer keyboard.  Well, despite their strength, they didn’t seem t        
o smart.
“You two!  Get back to work!” the one in charge yelled.
I tried to sneak closer to figure out if these guys were responsible for the kidnapping.
“Hey Number 1!  There’s someone over here!”
I quickly spun around to find one of the lackey’s towering over me.  I tried to run for it, but the big guy
grabbed me.  Before I could look for a way out, I was carried off into the warehouse.
They finally put me down and tied me to chair.  I tried to struggle, but the ropes were too tight.
“You got a lotta nerve comin’ around here, Pipsqueak.”
From the shadows stepped an especially enormous bison.  In the light, I could see that they were all bison,
but the big one had a solid gold ring through his nose.  He must have been their leader.
“You shouldn’t snoop around where you’re not welcome.  Otherwise you’ll have to mess with Maxie of the
Iron Bisons.”
The Iron Bisons had taken control a few towns over.  But they had always stuck to small jobs.  No wonder I
hadn’t heard of anyone stepping in to replace the sharks.  Small fries like this wouldn’t have come up on
anyone’s radar.        
“Look, Maxie.  You seem like a smart guy.  You should probably let me go before the cops show up.  After
all, I’m Anamalia’s ace private eye,” I said.
“The cops!  Ha ha ha!” Maxie snorted.  “As long as he’s on our side, the cops will leave us alone.”
He?  He who?  Something was fishy here.  But right now I had to find that little girl.
“So Maxie, what kind of operation do you run here?  Any interesting business ventures?”
“Since you’re so interested, Pipsqueak, and since you won’t be leaving here, there is one profitable venture
under way.”
Maxie snapped his fingers and two of his goons appeared, carrying a chair.  Tied to it was Senator Hawk’s
daughter.  What’s worse, the two goons were his bodyguards.  So it had been an inside job.  I guess being all
muscle can make you seem more innocent when you have a boss calling the shots.
“Come on, Maxie.  What do you need with a little girl? She can’t get you anything.”
“On the contrary.  This little girl is gonna make us rich.”
All of the bison chuckled.  There were too many to fight, so I’d have to be smart about this.
“But a little girl won’t get you as much as, say, the best detective in the city.  Let her go and use me to get
even more money.  I solve 30 cases for the cops every month.  Without me, they’d be lost.  They’d pay
through the nose to get me back.  Even if the girl told everyone who took her, I’m sure you were smart
enough to make sure there’s no way to tie you to this.”
Maxie bellowed with laughter.  “You certainly know how to make a guy interested, Pipsqueak.  But it’s not
going to be that easy.”
“Hey Boss!  We just got the call!  They’re ready to make the drop!”
Too late; the mayor and the others were going to give up the money.  One of the bison came forward to grab
the girl.
“Leave her!  We can get more money if we don’t exchange her once we have this money,” Maxie said.
The entire gang left the warehouse and locked the door.  I needed to get us both out of here before the
Senator gave up his money.  I tipped my chair over to use the corner of a nearby crate to cut the ropes.  The
rope finally snapped, and I quickly untied my legs, then got the girl free.
“Come on, kid.  We’ve got to get you back to your dad.”
There was a broken window to the right of the door.  We hopped up onto a stack of crates and climbed out. I
looked around, and saw the two phony bodyguards loitering by the water.  Silently, I grabbed the girl’s hand
and we ran back into the city.  The exchange was supposed to be happening at the old library downtown.  I
put the kid on my back and ran for it, as fast as I could.
When we finally approached the library, I could see Mayor Shepherd facing down Maxie.  The major had the
satchel of money, ready to give it over.  
“We’ll hand over the money once we know the girl is safe,” Mayor Shepherd called out.
“You’re not really in a bargaining position, Mayor,” Maxie called back to him.
“I don’t know about that, Maxie!  From where I’m standing, we’re holding all the cards!”
I walked out from the alley behind the police line with the girl.  I smirked at Maxie as he stared in shock.
“Chief, I’d say it’s time to arrest those guys.  You’ll also want to raid the pier and confiscate their hideout.  
Oh, and Senator, you’ll be wanting some new bodyguards.” I said.
“You heard him boys!  Round them up!” Chief Beagle yelled.
The CPF charged in, and within a matter of minutes they had the entire Iron Bison gang rounded up.
“Rocky, you’ve done it again,” Mayor Shepherd said, shaking my hand.
“Indeed, well done Mr. Raccoon.  I owe you a debt of gratitude.  I don’t know how I’ll repay you,” Senator
Hawk said.
It was all in a day’s work, and another job well done.  But who had been pulling the strings here?   It looked
like that would be a mystery for another day.

                                                      © 2015 Zach  Gasior  [All Rights Reserved]
At first I thought this was a trite story for kinder gardeners. Upon reflection, I found it a wonderful new
addition to the Literary Masters, Inc. short story library.  After all, it was not too long age that we were new
a crafty writer is fun and refreshing. This has the makings of a series. Nicely done. Send more. ****__ Jean
Ann Morgan.

I liked it. Its childlike simplicity makes for easy reading. There is more than enough terror and thriller out
there. It is a pleasant surprise to have the problems of small town America, created by the usual suspects,
solved through the "street smarts" of animal characters. The word smithing is quite clever, although I sure
wonder if there is anyone in America who knows just what a bison is today. Thanks for entertaining us and
welcome, Zach. ****__ Su Chang-Wu

WOW! This takes me back to the good ol' days of Rocky The Squirrel and Bullwinkle The Moose. And who
can forget Dudley Do-Right and Nell? I always fancied myself a "Do-Right-Type." The cartoons and stories
were enjoyed by children and adults alike with adults buying the tin-can humor and children loving the
animal characters. If there are more than one of these stories, it looks like you have a winner here, Zach.
(Get yourself to a children's book publisher fast.) Here's why: I read your story to my 5-year-old as a
bedtime story, stopping at the part where Rocky and Senator Hawk's beautiful (emphasis added by the
storyteller) daughter are left in the warehouse. My son barely got to sleep. Early next morning his first
request was for me to finish the story. Just could not make it to another bedtime. This is a winner! Keep
going!*****__ Alan V. Galloway.

A fun read for child or adult. Brought back some fond memories of earlier cartoon characters for me too. I
was particularly impressed with the easy, conversational tone and writing ability. It is not easy to write
believable conversation. Good job, Zack. ****__Fred McIntire.
"Rocky Raccoon and the
Kidnapped Hawk"
By Zach Gasior
Monday, April 17, 2015
Rocky needs the help of a snake to solve this one.
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