Chapter 4

It had been a week since monkeyfish and spidercat landed on that isolated beach. Spidercat's wound had healed and he was capable of limping along. But monkeyfish was troubled by the fact that they were running out of food and water. With only enough food to go on for two days, our mutant friends must leave their beloved beach and go in search for another place to stay.

"We must move inland," declared monkeyfish as he stuffed the luggage with what was left of their rations of food and water.

"But I'm not sure if I'm capable of following you," meowed spidercat. "My leg has been quite troublesome lately."

"Don't worry," replied monkeyfish. "You'll get along just fine."

Before spidercat could utter his words of complaint, monkeyfish hurried along the beach and retrieved a floating log from the water. He worked it craftily with his coconut shell sword, removing the bark and excessive wood until it was smooth and round. Carrying it back to his beloved companion, monkeyfish examined his handiwork with delight.

"Spidercat," shouted monkeyfish, "look what I've made you! A walking cane! Try it!"

Spidercat reluctantly accepted the cane and managed to get on his feet clumsily. He then took his first steps since the accident.

"See, you are going to be fine," monkeyfish exclaimed. "What are you waiting for? Let's go!"

Our mutant friends abandoned the skiff and made their way inland. Burdened by the luggage and his wounded friend, monkeyfish toiled just to keep on going. After scaling the cliffs and crossing a stream, monkeyfish fish finally had enough. Filling the canteens with fresh water, he finally gave spidercat the order to rest.

"We've been doing well today," said monkeyfish. "I speculate that we've traveled two miles so far. Why don't we rest and stay here for the night."

"Good… idea," replied spidercat, who was still having problems catching his breath.

The mutant animal stuffed themselves with food and quenched their thirst near in the river. After covering the ground with batches of branches and leaves, monkeyfish and spidercat made themselves comfortable. They waited quietly for nightfall at their newly built camp ground.

While spidercat slept soundly, monkeyfish was awake and alert. Are we going in the right direction, thought monkeyfish? He knew all but too well the consequences of not finding food and water. Mutants, like all living organisms, need a sufficient amount of food to survive.

Suddenly, monkeyfish was startled by a series of growls. The noises seem to be coming closer and closer. Staring back into the darkness, Monkeyfish caught a glimpse of hundreds of glimmering eyes. An intangible circle seems to be closing up around our mutant friends. Spidercat, who by now had awoken, was also alarmed by the presence. He whispered in a hushed voice.

"Monkeyfish, what are these things? What do they want from us?"

But monkeyfish did not reply. Instead, a wailful call asserted its dominance. The ever menacing pack of stray dogs closed in on monkeyfish and spidercat, forcing our mutant friends to retreat. Slowly but steadily, monkeyfish and spidercat backed away from the threatening sets of razor sharp canines.

"This is no time to panic, spidercat," murmured monkeyfish as he fed a steady stream of fruit pits into his fruit-shooting gun. "Stay calm and stand your ground. Remember that the food into the luggage isn't the only thing on their menu."

Spidercat gulped upon hearing these words. But monkeyfish quickly added.

"When I count to three, fire your spider net at the dogs and entangle them. Fight back at..."

One clawing dog did not wait till monkeyfish finished his sentence. A black retriever eagerly leapt at spidercat, who looked like an easy meal. Unfortunately, for the vicious retriever, monkeyfish had faster reflexes. He quickly repelled the attack with his trustworthy laser blaster. The dog fell back with a horrific yelp as the laser beam flashed ominously.

Enraged by the attack, the pack dashed swiftly past the whimpering black retriever and toward our mutant friends. Fortunately, monkeyfish and spidercat had already formed their line of defense. The mutant animals aimed their weapons and prepared for monkeyfish's directions.

"One, two, three," shouted monkeyfish as spidercat nodded with approval.

Monkeyfish took aim and unleashed his furies. With the fruit-shooting gun in his left hand and the laser blaster in his right, monkeyfish pelted his enemies with a steady line of fire. Bolts of laser beams and clusters of fruit pits nailed the attackers with ease. Spidercat, on the other hand, has his own set of defense. From his tail came an endless strand of spider silk, entangling the canines within a sticky net. The sudden act of defense ward off the rush of strays, but it didn't shield our mutant friends for long.

However, despite the power of the numerous attacks mustered by our mutant friends the dogs refused to disperse. This time they adapted another tactic- to form a ring around their prey and close in. The dogs quickly gained the upper hand by spreading their forces. Monkeyfish's weapons were no longer sufficient as the dogs scattered and took cover. Heroically, our mutant friends were determined to not have their food and especially themselves as the dogs' menu. Monkeyfish and spidercat prepared to make a last stand before the dogs rushed in from every direction.

"Are you ready, monkeyfish?" muttered spidercat as he shuddered with fear.

"Perhaps," replied monkeyfish. He carefully recharged the laser blaster and reloaded the fruit-shooting guns with a batch of apple pits.

Suddenly, the pack decided not to wait any longer. The dogs stormed the line of defense, tracking our mutant friends with their over sized snouts. The earth convulsed as the dogs ripped open the luggage and devoured its content. But fruits and cat food weren't enough to satisfy the dogs' insatiable appetite. They soon turned on spidercat, who seem to be crippled and helpless from the fear. Stroking his enemies with his walking stick, spidercat meowed in despair.

"Help me, monkeyfish, they're eating me alive!"

Upon hearing these words, monkeyfish leapt over his barking adversaries. Clearing his way with his coconut shell sword, he skillfully put down anything in his pass. Finally, spidercat came into his sight and to his dismay; a German shepherd had him in its jaws.

"Red tornado," bellowed monkeyfish as he swirled in mid air like a spinning top. He then drove the sword under the dog's throat and knocked it into oblivion.

"Thanks," mumbles spidercat as he jerked free from the dog's teeth.

"Are you all right," asked monkeyfish as he pinned an attacking bulldog to the ground.

"I'm fine," replied spidercat, "but our luggage is gone."

"Don't worry," stated monkeyfish. "Let's get out of this place before we suffer fate of the luggage!"

Hanging tight to spidercat, Monkeyfish dragged his friend out of the dogs' reach. They then fled east, running toward the glory of the rising sun.

Chapter 5

Following their encounter with the strays, monkeyfish and spidercat gathered up their belongings and continued their journey east. After losing their luggage to the dogs, our mutant friends had to go on without food or water. Marching under the scorching sun for half a mile, monkeyfish and spidercat were unable to cope with hunger and dehydration. It was time to use some rest.

"When is this coming to an end?" complained spidercat. "I'm hungry and thirsty and still have to walk with a broken foot. This is worse than staying at John's lab!"

But monkeyfish ignored his whines. Leaning his head against a tree, he heard what he thought was a car passing by.

"Be quiet, spidercat," warned monkeyfish. "Did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" replied spidercat stupidly.

"Did you hear the cars coming and going," shouted monkeyfish as he pursued the sound, dragging along an unwilling spider cat. "It's just like the cars that I've heard on T.V. back in John's lab!"

After trampling over the lush vegetations and heading down a mushy bog, monkeyfish discovered what he was looking for- a road!

"I knew it, I knew it all along," bragged monkeyfish. "Now we can get out of here! We are at L.A., finally!"

"How did you know that we are at L.A.," asked spidercat.

"Look at that billboard."

Spidercat looked across the road and set his eyes on a billboard. He then replied with dismay.

"Monkeyfish, it says "Los Angeles, 15 miles" on the board. That doesn't mean that we are any where near L.A. yet! We still have to walk for 15 miles! It could take us a week!"

"Don't worry," said monkeyfish as he glanced at the cars below. "We will take a free ride to L.A. by car."

After picking out a taxi stopping by the side of the road, monkeyfish and spidercat sneakily boarded the vehicle. Squeezing themselves under the passenger seat, our mutant friends patiently waited for the return of the driver and the moment of takeoff.

"Are you sure that the car will get us to L.A. and not to some other cities," asked spidercat.

"Don't be silly," replied monkeyfish with a sneer, "Taxis only travel within city limits!"

The Taxi driver started the engine and sped down the road. The car, carrying the unwelcome passengers, swiftly reached its destination. Stopping at the red light, the taxi driver opened his window to let in a little air when our mutant friends prepared for their escape.

"One, two, three."

Monkeyfish and spidercat slipped out of the window, only to land on solid pavements. After being stung by the ground, spidercat fell down grumbling with pain. But monkeyfish carried him off the road before the traffic would circulate again.

"You have no idea how much it hurts," meowed spidercat once he reached the safety of the sidewalks. "I almost broke my leg again!"

But monkeyfish paid not attention to spidercat's complaints. He was astounded by what he saw around him. Skyscrapers stood shoulder to shoulder, sheltering the streets from above. An endless array of traffics flickered on and off as it is directed effortlessly by the traffic light. Shops clogged the sidewalks and flocks of people waited endlessly to get across. For a creature that spent his last five years in the confinement of a lab, this was a powerful welcome call from a new and exotic world.

Spidercat, who managed to get a foothold without being trampled by the people, uttered carelessly.

"Fine, we are in L.A. alright. But what are we going to do now? Where are we staying and what are are we having for lunch?"

For their first day at Los Angeles, food and shelter became our mutant friends' primary concern. Spidercat solved the first problem by building a plastic compartment on top of an abandoned apartment. Nevertheless, neither monkeyfish nor spidercat came up with a solution for the second problem. They were unable to obtain any food from the city. The only vegetations that grew there were palm trees and weed and neither of them were suitable for eating. Our mutant friends finally succumbed to hunger and resorted to eating grass after realizing the other option was to starve to death.

After living on grass for three days, our mutant friends finally gave up hope. Their stomachs weren't built for their fibrous diet. Unable to sustain himself, monkeyfish accidentally fell from the shelter and into the sidewalks below. Thank to his lightweight and amazing agility, he survived the fall. He stood up weakly and caught a glimpse of a furry object that was in front of him. His blood froze. The last thing he wanted was to be eaten by a dog.

Unlike the ones that he had faced, this dog was unrelenting. It advanced with curiosity, sniffing and licking our mutant friend. Monkeyfish tried to defend himself, but his limbs were feeble from starvation. He closed his eyes and backed into the wall.

However, the situation wasn't as violent as monkeyfish had imagined. The friendly mutt whined cheerfully and wagged his tails from sided to side. Knowing that the dogs meant him no harm, monkeyfish sat down uneasily.

"Yes, you can be my friend," he said. "But you will become my savior if you can get me a banana or two."

The dog's ears sprang up as monkeyfish muttered these words. He took off from the sidewalk and was not to be seen any longer. Monkeyfish shook his head bitterly and attempted in vain to get back to the shelter.

Surprisingly, minutes after its departure, the dog had found its way to the abandoned apartment. To monkeyfish's surprise, it had a banana in its jaws.

"Oh, good boy my pal, good boy," cried monkeyfish as he embraced the canine. He quickly peeled the banana and gobbled it down heartily.

Shortly after regaining his strength, monkeyfish grew wary for spidercat. He returned to the shelter in a single bound and discovered that his companion was in a coma!

I must save spidercat, thought monkeyfish. But he wasn't sure if the dog knew where to get cat food. To save his friend, however, monkeyfish decided to ask the dog for a second time.

"Hey bud," asked monkeyfish as he patted the mutt. "Go get me a pack of cat food."

Once again the dog hurried down the street. Before monkeyfish could celebrate his success, it returned with another banana!

"No," shouted monkeyfish, "I need cat food! Cat Chows you know!"

The dog didn't seem to react to his demand. It sat down and foolishly wiggled its tail.

Monkeyfish became frustrated with the situation. However, he thought of an ingenious solution to the problem. What if cat foods are sold at the place where the dog obtained the banana?

"My friend," said monkeyfish calmly. "Will you bring me another banana?"

The dog went off, but this time monkeyfish clung to its fur. As the bouncy ride came to a stop, monkeyfish let go and followed it through the jungle of cars and people. Finally, the dog led its friend into a shop-Wal-Mart super center that is.

The dog went to the fruit and vegetable section to retrieve another banana. Monkeyfish could hardly resist the temptation of taking an apple or two from the mountains of fruits. Remembering that his friend's life was on the line, he hurried off in the opposite direction. After avoiding being detected and crushed by people, monkeyfish had finally found what he was looking for, pet food! He sneakily took a bag of cat food off of the shelves and promptly left for the shelter.

To monkeyfish's relief, spidercat had revived from the coma. While feeding himself with cat chows, spidercat bombarded monkeyfish with questions.

"Where did you get this stuff? Had you found them an hour later I would've starved to death!"

Monkeyfish knew better than to tell his feline friend about the location of the supermarket. Instead, he stared out of the shelter, seeing L.A. in all of its glories.

Chapter 6

Shortly after his visit to Walmart, monkeyfish encouraged spidercat to make friend with the dog. At first, spider cat was a little reluctant (since cats and dogs don't mix). Luckily, monkeyfish managed to get these two together. Once spidercat joined the gang, our friends were ready to hit the "mother lode". Raiding Walmart on almost a daily basis, monkeyfish and spidercat not only brought food and water to their shelter, but soaps, batteries, and electronics as well. With enough food and water to sustain them for a month, our mutant friends decided to make one last raid before they would need anything again.

Stealthily prowling the urban streets, the three friends carefully avoided automobiles and human beings. And sure enough, they arrived at Walmart without being detected. As soon as the automatic doors swung open, they went in along with the surge of human shoppers. Upon entering Walmart, our friends split up in search of their favorites.

Spidercat, obsessed with cat chows, slithered into the pet food section. Loading his bags with cat foods of all shapes and sizes, he couldn't help to taste a few of them. The dog wasn't into dog food that much. Instead, it scurried towards the meat and poultry section and wreaked havoc in the freezer. Shredding the packages with his canines, he gnawed on the bones and licked up the marrows. While the dog was being troublesome, monkeyfish was getting other products that were on his list. Fruits, however, weren't the only things that he was looking for. He searched the shelves for batteries, which were used to power his laser blaster. Shortly after stuffing his plastic bag, he picked up a graphing calculator and a few handfuls of nuts and bolts. Believe it or not, monkeyfish was trying to build a formidable satellite station right in the shelter!

Meanwhile, spidercat had so much cat foods that he could hardly carry the bag. Disturbed by his incapability, he pushed and shoved the bag with all his strength and opened the old wounded on his left foot in the process. As his wound erupted with blood, spidercat shouted in agony.

"Oh, I am killed, it's bleeding again!"

Spidercat's cry was followed by a scream. Unknown to spidercat, an elderly woman had been there to witness his actions. Dumbstruck to see a cat speaking English, the old woman shouted before fainting onto the ground.

"It talked."

But pale from his injury, spidercat couldn't move an inch. All he did was to slap his paw on the wound to stop the blood flow.

Monkeyfish, too, heard spidercat's mournful cries. He dropped his bag and tip toed to the pet food section. There he found spidercat lying on the floor, meowing his complaints.

"What are you doing?" asked monkeyfish. "You are breaking our cover! You know what will happen if we are exposed to humans, they'll dissect us for study!"

"But I hurt my foot," whined spidercat as he stared blankly at the fainted woman.

"Then don't say anything," whispered monkeyfish as he bandaged spidercat's wound with piece of bandage, "now let's get out of here."

Unfortunately, it was too late for our mutant friends to proceed. A short, middle aged man was gazing at them with bewilderment. Monkeyfish was ready to take the man down with his sword and make a hasty get away. But instead, he asked for assistance.

"Will you please hide us, sir," asked monkeyfish politely.

The man looked around and stubbornly replied in a British accent.

"Yes, hide in my bag please."

Our mutant friends obeyed the stranger and leapt into the bag that the man had just picked off of the counter. Through the crevices, monkeyfish saw a familiar figure hopping along the floor. A Walmart attendant was chasing after the dog angrily. That was when something amazing had happened.

"Biscuit, oh my boy, come here," shouted the man as he examined his lost pet. "Where were you? I've been looking for you everywhere!"

But as Biscuit and his owner engaged in their reunion, the attendant picked up a piece of turkey bone and waved it in the man's face.

"Is this your pet?" inquired the attendant.

"Oh yes," replied the man, "my pal Biscuit got lost sometimes last month and I've been searching for him. Did he cause any inconveniences in the store?"

"I see," said the attendant coldly, "I've seen the lost and found signs that you set up out side of the store. Your name must be Lauren Major, isn't that right?"

"Yes, but.."

"Your dog had been stealing from quite a few turkeys lately," interrupted the attendant. "I don't understand why any owners would let lose their pets and give them the right to wreak havoc in the neighborhood! Mr. Major, why don't you put the damage on your credit card! Oh my good…"

The attendant clapped her mouth with her hands and rushed to the side of the fallen matron. She grasped for her walkie-talkie and shouted.

"Hey Sam, Mrs. Freeleigh… Yes, your aunt. She fainted… Yes, fainted. That's why we need medical help… No, the company will pay for it."

The attendant impatiently hung up the phone. She waited until the doctors arrived and carried the elderly woman away. Before she too could walk away, however, Lauren Major approached her and said.

"You forgot the credit card. I didn't pay for the damages yet!