It’s cold. Ice particles. Wind. Face-fur solid and stiff. In the distance: “Ugh!… Ugh!” barely audible above the whistling gusts of arctic air.
Jakie’s eyes were frozen shut. He used both of his iced paws to pry open each eye. Sierra was in the distance with her hands beside her mouth in holler position. She was barely visible through the blizzard. And the wind – my god, that wind at his back. Finally, he could hear what she was saying. She wasn’t yelling, “Ugh!” She was screaming, “Duck!!!”
Jakie dropped and hugged the floor. All was dark again. His ears flapped even more furiously in the wind. In just a few seconds the light came back. He looked around. He was on top of a train! Roaring across the side of a snow-capped mountain, they had just gone through a tunnel. And if it wasn’t for Sierra’s warning he would’ve looked like roadkill laminated to the tunnel entrance.
“I owe her another chocolate bar,” he noted to himself mentally.
“I’m coming Jakie! As soon as I figure out how to run on ice!” explained Sierra.
They must have been near the peak, as all around was nothing but pristine whiteness. Below, an equally pure undefined misty blackness of a void. The sunshine, normally welcome, sprayed throughout the snow caps, forcing him to squint.
He must’ve lost consciousness for a few seconds after Pierce delivered a right cross to his cheek while Jakie simultaneously landed a roundhouse kick on Pierce’s temple. Wait. Who’s Pierce? Jakie turned around. There he was. Pierce was getting up too. He and Jakie had been fighting for what seemed an eternity.
“I told you, one ear. Just one ear,” Pierce pleaded, as he raised his right hand, holding his weapon of choice: an ear piercing gun.
Pierce lunged at Jakie’s ear with the ear piercing gun. Jakie parried with his left paw and gave him a kick with his hind foot, leveraging Pierce’s own momentum and sent him tumbling down the length of the train. Pierce somehow managed to roll back into a standing position.
Jakie remembered now. He had planned a retirement party on this train ride from Zermatt TO St. Moritz. Just because he changed his mind didn’t mean he couldn’t still have the party. But not only friends arrived. His old enemy Pierce must have heard about it and came to take one last shot at him. Why did it have to be Pierce? He could’ve inadvertently rooted out a more hideous criminal like The Masked Marsupial, Baron von Ralph’s, or The NBA Ref. But no, he got some guy who likes piercing big ears.
Whoosh! Pierce swung his ear piercing gun and Jakie instinctively dodged.
“I’m awake now,” Jakie said to himself. “Time to finish this guy off.”
Jakie wound up for a reverse spin kick. Three quarters into the spin, his right foot slipped on a spot of ice. Jakie managed to recover, but not before Pierce fired off a starter stud that got caught in the stitches at the tip of his left ear. Jakie grabbed Pierce’s wrist, wrangled the ear piercing gun away, and tossed it off the side of the train and into the infinite void below.
Pierce stared at the stud dangling from Jakie’s ear.
“It just needs a little adjustment,” he murmured.
“Adjust this!” Jakie yelled. And as he wound up for another roundhouse kick, he slipped on the same spot of ice AGAIN. But this time he fell and rolled toward the edge and almost off the train. Pierce, knelt down, grabbed Jakie’s ear and tore the stud out. Jakie screamed in pain. Pierce tried to stick the stud back into the ear with his bare hands, while Jakie tried to get up and slipped yet again on the ice.
Pierce held the stud in his mouth while he used both hands to stabilize Jakie. Jakie held Pierce’s wrists, pushing them away from him. Suddenly, with a few clicks, those wrists were encased in handcuffs. Sierra pulled up both Pierce and Jakie.
“You should’ve let me retire,” Jakie smiled at Sierra.
“We need you,” Sierra replied.
“So you can keep saving my butt?”
“Thank me after we’re back at headquarters. You might change your mind.”
“What’s at headquarters?”
“Not what. Who.”