The Road to Entertaining 'Ya
By Indy and Chris Silva




Chapter One – The Offer Danny Couldn't Refuse



       "SAW-YER!"
       Happily, Danny bounded through the Hollywood mansion that he and his wife Sawyer called home.  Sawyer was at the breakfast table and had heard the phone ringing.  She knew Danny would run to get it first, so she contended herself with the biscuit she'd just slathered some strawberry jam on.
       She also knew that tone in Danny's voice—something was up, and he was excited.  That meant either a new movie deal, the latest dance craze had just started or…
       "We're going on tour with Bob Hoppe, star of radio, film and stage!" Danny shouted, nearly flying into the dining room. Sawyer picked up another biscuit, this time opting for honey butter.  "That would've been my third guess."
       "Huh? What's that?" Danny asked.
       "Never mind," Sawyer said. "I knew Bob was after us for going with him on his USO tour. Where did he say we were going?"
       "Honolulu!" Danny said. "Hey, we've never been to Hawaii. We'll learn the hula, drink coconut milk, eat poi..."
       "And have a great time, I know," Sawyer said. "But remember it takes a long time to get there and we have to fly."
       Danny paused at that. As a kid, he'd been up in an old WWI Jenny biplane at the county fair and nearly panicked when the pilot did a barrel roll. Since then, he'd been somewhat leery of flying.
       "Well, I'm sure they're not going to do any barrel rolls in a big ol' airplane like the one we'll be flying on," Danny said. "Besides, I'm not a kid anymore."
       "That's debatable," Sawyer said, smirking. "But I'm sure Bob will appreciate *our* volunteering. He did pay for our tickets, right?"
       "Better than that!" Danny cavorted all around the room. "We're going with him on a special plane! We'll get to talk privately with one of the great comedic geniuses of our time. Isn't that great?"

       "So then I told him, 'No I don't want any tarantulas.  Oh wait, that's your toupee!'"
       Danny bent over laughing in his seat on the plane.  Bob Hoppe had been telling jokes for the last two hours straight, starting before they got on the Cessna to fly to the field where they'd leave for Hawaii. He was a white rabbit wearing a snazzy blue and white striped vest, a light blue hat with a hatband that matched his vest, and a huge ego. Sawyer had lost interest after the tenth joke and now she was losing patience.
       "Mister Hoppe," Sawyer started.
       "Bob," the rabbit said.
       "You said our friends will meet us out there, but you haven't said what plane we'll be flying on.  Is it some kind of big passenger plane?"
       Bob grinned. "You could say that, but just what kind I'll leave for a surprise right now. Like my pal Bing Cherry says, 'Don't you just love a good surprise?'" Danny lit up immediately. "Hey that was the line he gave you in 'Road to Purgatory' right?"
       Sawyer shook her head. "Yeah, right before he and Bing were kidnapped by Ottoman Turks and forced to perform nonstop for the Caliph of Crassnesstan." Bob laughed. "It was just a movie, toots. Things like that don't happen in real life."
       With that, Sawyer shuddered.
       "What's wrong, Sawyer?" Danny asked.
       "I've got a bad feeling about this," Sawyer said. "Whenever someone like him says 'things like this don't happen in real life', it usually ends up worse."
       Bob laughed again. "She's a peach, Danny! If you ever let go of her, call me. She's the best straight-man I've ever come across. Ah, we're coming in for a landing. Everyone fasten your safety belts! I don’t use theirs myself—I have a black belt in safety."
       "And two in annoyance," Sawyer mumbled. Then she peered out the plane's window and the sight didn't please her. "Hey, this is a military base!"
       "Bull's-eye, ace!" Bob said. "We're flying over with some of the troops on a cargo plane. Isn't that a hoot! We'll 'owl' all the way."
       Sawyer crossed her arms, and even Bob could sense the chill. "I can think of a few other terms for it."

       A minute later, the plane was on the ground and several servicemen ran up, loading their equipment on a big cargo plane the size of a flying fortress.  Bob walked over to a golf cart, starting it up as the plane's loading ramp came down. "I told 'em I wanted to take my ride along, and they said why not ride along with us? I figure on the way back we can find a good golf course and play a few rounds."
       Sawyer had an iron grip on Danny's arm, taking him aside. "Danny, this is going to ruin my hairdo along with all the clothes I'm bringing. If you hadn't promised to do this, I'd turn around and leave right now!"
       "Aw, Sawyer," Danny said, "now it won't be that bad. The plane looks nice and I'm sure the military will treat us all real good."
       "Get on board, you hack actors!" a dog sergeant shouted. "We ain't got all day!"
       "You were saying?" Sawyer said. She sighed, starting for the plane. Immediately, five soldiers emerged from the plane, running up to her.
       "You're Sawyer!" one said. "We are so happy to have you with us!"
       "Well, thank you, I—" Sawyer said.
       "Carry your bag, ma'am?"
       "Watch your step, ma'am!"
       "Let me get that for you, ma'am!"
       "Can we have your autograph, ma'am?"
       Suddenly, Sawyer was like a queen, followed by her entourage, and her demeanor began to improve noticeably. Danny smiled, coming up behind them all. "Rule one of public relations, always keep the talent happy…"

       Inside the plane, Sawyer was the darling of the whole crew. They made a place for her up front and showed her how everything worked, even letting her take the controls briefly once they were up in the air. Danny meanwhile went to see how Bob was getting along. The entertaining rabbit looked like he was moving his whole house to Hawaii with furniture and decorations everywhere.
       "Props, mostly," Bob said. "Some I like to take with me to feel at home. The boys will almost anything for me, and there's very little I wouldn't do for them. Our fighting men deserve the best, so here I am!"
       Bob had brought along a comfortable-looking twin-size bed and now he plopped down on it. "We've got a bunch of hours till Hawaii, Dan-Dan. Might as well get some shuteye. I brought along some beds for you guys too on the other side."
       "Gee, thanks Bob!" Danny said. "I know we'll have a great time. So, what's your favorite memory from the movies? Bob?"
       The rabbit was already asleep, curled up with his favorite seven-iron. Danny shrugged and decided to try to take his advice. The beds were plush and comfortable, but as soon as the song-and-dance cat sat down on his a queasy feeling came over him. The fast pace of the trip had made him forget about his aversion to flying, but now the memory of that biplane came back with a vengeance.
       "Sir?"
       It was one of the soldiers, carrying a bag. "Sir, miss Sawyer said you might need this. We'll all really glad to have you with us, sir."
       Danny took the bag gratefully, hoping he wouldn't need it. "Thanks. What's your name?"
       "Airman first class Jeffrey Vinson, sir. I've seen all your movies, sir. Do you really disappear into that hat, sir?
       In one motion, Danny grabbed the airman's flight cap, plopped it on the ground, did a quick soft tap and jumped into and out of the cap. Vinson stood there, spellbound. "Wow, that's amazing! How do you do that?"
       "Trade secret," Danny said. "I bet you'd like an autograph."

       Before long, Vinson had taken Danny around the plane where the cat signed autographs for all the flight crew. He found Sawyer in the cockpit, sharing tea with the pilots. "Oh, I see you're really being tortured."
       "So I was wrong," Sawyer said. "Thanks, Billy. That really hit the spot."
       "Our pleasure, ma'am," the chief pilot said. "It's about six hours to Hawaii. You and Mister Danny probably ought to go get some rest. We've flown with Bob before, and believe me you'll hit the ground running once you're there."
       Sawyer and Danny headed back, welcomed by Bob's snoring. "These people are really class," Sawyer said. "I'm glad we came along."
       "Me too," Danny said. "Bob likes to joke around, but he loves the fighting men and really wants to make it better for them. Gotta admire that attitude."
       Sawyer slid onto her bed. "So Danny, feeling all right?"
       "Surprisingly, yes," Danny said. "I was a little bad a while back, but after meeting all the guys and seeing how stable this plane is I feel great. Just think, when we wake up we'll be in Hawaii!"
       "Sweet dreams, Danny," Sawyer said, lying down.



Chapter Two – You Didn't Really Think It Would Be That Easy, Did You…



       "What was that?"
       Sawyer sat up quickly, alarmed. The plane was bouncing up and down, and now Danny and Bob sat up too. "Feels like I did the last time I checked my stock portfolio," Bob said. "C'mon, we'd better check it out."
       Quickly, the trio headed for the front of the plane. The peaceful scene Danny beheld there earlier was long gone, replaced by pilots shouting orders and flipping switches left and right.
       "We don't know what it was!" the chief pilot said, still concentrating on his work. "Everything was smooth as silk and then it was like a bomb or meteor or something hit us—TOM, TRIM IT OUT! LOSING NUMBER TWO ENGINE! Folks, you'd better get back and strap in."
       "We're going to crash?" Sawyer asked.
       "We're hoping for a forced landing," the chief pilot said, still working controls. "We're near the island of Lanai, about sixty miles southeast from Honolulu. LARRY, KEEP SENDING OUT SOS AND POSITION! I need you to go back now, folks."
       Danny, Sawyer and Bob did as they were told, finding seats at the opening to the cargo area. Bob took one look at Danny and retrieved the bag that Vinson had brought him earlier. "Better take hold of this, Dan-Dan. Your face is doing a fast imitation of a four-leaf clover."
       Gratefully, Danny took the bag as the plane began to dip up and down now. Sawyer strapped herself in. "Feels like one of the engines must be giving out. I hope we don't end up in the water."
       "Me too," Bob said. "I don't like the idea of being shark snacks. If only Bing were here, we could throw him in first and distract them."

       Now the plane headed down at a near-diagonal, the engines seemingly screaming for mercy. They could hear shouts from up front and then the plane righted itself and with a few impolite bumps the plane landed. Once Sawyer helped Danny clean up, the two cats followed Bob to the cockpit.
       "We found a private landing strip," the chief pilot said. "It's tucked into the mountains here, hardly visible from the sea. It was a tight stretch, but we made it. Looks like whoever owns this place is on the way out to meet us."
       Soon a group of ten guests left the plane, only to find themselves surrounded by thirty hosts. The hosts were all in black paramilitary outfits, save for one cat dressed in a designer gray suit with a red handkerchief neatly presented in his left breast pocket. The well-dressed feline was a head taller than Danny and more muscular, and at the end of his approach he bowed.
       "Greetings," the cat said, speaking in a clear German accent. "I am the Count Von Klaus, and you are welcome at the Schloss Koralle. You are also my prisoners."
       "The Schloss Koralle?" Bob asked. "Is that like the O.K. Corral? I just see any horses, and I sure don't see thing schussing."
       "That would be 'Coral Castle' in your language," the count said, approaching Bob. "You are the American actor who goes on the road with that Bing fellow. You are not funny."
       "Everyone's a critic," Bob said. "You're not the guy who wrote my last movie review, are you? If you're going to shoot us, you could at least compliment us."
       The count summoned them forward. "I have no intention of shooting you, actor Bob. As for compliments, I will save them for the young lad and her fellow dancer and singer. Danny and Sawyer Cat, I bow to your talents."
       The count did indeed bow, and the song and dance cats figured they'd better keep it polite. "Why thank you," Sawyer said. "It's always a pleasure to meet a fan who's so cultured and refined."
       "Refined? More like crude oil," Bob whispered to Danny.
       The count kissed Sawyer's hand. "You'll be my guest for dinner, of course." Danny shook the count's hand, giving him a big smile. "Hey, thanks count!"
       "Not you," the count said. "You and the ham actor will be honored guests in the dungeon."
       Bob crossed his arms. "Typical. The gal gets dinner while we get thinner."

       Inside the Schloss Koralle, an ancient stone building that appeared to have been rebuilt a couple of times, the harsh exterior gave way to a lavishly-furnished dining room featuring a fifty-foot oak table with ornate chairs lining both sides. Various medieval ornaments lined the walls, giving the place the feel of a European keep. Sawyer soaked it all in, patiently waiting for the right time to make a move.
       "So, count…" Sawyer started, her voice echoing in the large room and resonating to the far side of the table where the count sat. "Klaus," the count said. "Fate has thrown us together so we may as well be on cordial terms."
       Sawyer sipped some wine from one of the three crystal flutes in front of her. "So Klaus, what are a bunch of Germans doing out here in the middle of the Pacific? Certainly not collecting shells."
       "I think you have already guessed it, Sawyer," Klaus said. "We are working for the benefit of the Fatherland. Here, in the Schloss Koralle, we operate an oyster farm. The operation may not be entirely as you would say legal, but one must have a cover."
       "A cover? For your spying operation?" Sawyer asked.
       "Quite right. We use the oysters to send information beneficial to our government. Your able military is thorough, but even they would not suspect our mode of communication. You have come at an opportune time, Frau Sawyer. We are about to deliver the most important information we have come upon at this post, and we are delivering it in a special manner."
       Sawyer took another sip of wine. "Oh, and what's that? By the way, the fish and dessert are excellent." Klaus nodded. "Kind of you to say so. Of course, you realize by my telling you these things that I must unfortunately detain you and your comrades for the remainder of the war. However, I am a gentleman. Your friends will not be in the dungeon forever, and as long as they abide by the agreement to not make a hostile act—as you must too—then all of you will be given free range of movement."

       Sawyer promised and the rest of dinner went smoothly, her thoughts centered on the dungeon below. Far from the somber and fearful environment one would expect, the place echoed with laughter.  Bob was hamming it up, doing what he did best.
       "But seriously, folks. This jail's pretty bad, but it's nothing compared to the one I was in over in Zambia. Over there they don't even have bars. They just line up a bunch of hyenas and wait for you to escape. Talk about dying laughing…"
       The guards were holding her bellies for the laughter, and Bob whispered to Danny, "Nothing like a captor audience. Now it's time to get out of here." Bob returned his attention to the guards. "Okay, I need a volunteer from the audience. I want to show you how Bing and I busted out in our latest movie, "The Road to Hysteria".
       As one, the guards quit laughing and crossed their arms. The guy in charge spoke up. "Nothing doing, Bob. We know that's how you get out in all your films. The count wishes you to stay here for now."
       With that, the guards returned to their assigned duties and Bob sighed. "That's what you get for being worshipped and famous." Danny sat back down on his cell cot. "Well, at least they're not going to kill us. Maybe we'll figure a way out of this yet."

       Later that evening, Sawyer joined the Count von Klaus outside. Darkness was everywhere and not even a moon greeted them. "As you can see, Sawyer, we have chosen this night to avoid prying eyes. Can you hear it?"
       Sawyer listened and soon a strange noise met her ears. "Sounds like a squadron of planes. What, are you invading or something?" The count shook his head. "Not quite, though I suppose it is true in some way. What you are hearing is the Graf Zeppelin. We have found it a most effective means to carry secret information while avoiding enemy detection."
       "A zeppelin?" Sawyer said. "I thought using those big bags of gas in battle went out with the last war."
       "Not at all. As you may know, we use them for commercial transport. However, the Graf Zeppelin is capable of flying at high altitudes for many thousands of miles. She came right over the North Pole, avoiding detection. Now, she will pick up the cargo we have for her."
       Sawyer decided to press it. "Must be something pretty valuable for them to go to all that trouble." The count produced a packet from his coat. "Absolutely. We have been conducting experiments here with what you would call 'hard water'. A most effective bomb can be made from the information we have here."
       "A bomb? You're going to bomb America?"
       "Only if necessary," the count said. "We hope America will listen to reason and it will not come to that. Now, I must ask you to remain here while I meet our envoy."
       Sawyer looked up into the night as Klaus left and the noise got closer. "We can't let them do this."

       Just then, Danny moved toward the barred window of his cell, the zeppelin's noise attracting his attention. "Looks like we have visitors. Want to come watch?"
       "Nah," Bob said. "I'm thinking about how much money we're losing by not being in Honolulu tomorrow. And I had my heart set on a new set of gold-plated golf clubs."
       Danny was about to make a retort when he saw something coming their way. "Hey look, a rope! It's headed right for us!" Bob turned over on his cot. "Oh great, now he's getting delusional. Soon he'll be thinking he's as talented as I think I am."
       But it was no illusion. The rope came right up against the cell window and Danny grabbed it, pulling ten feet of it in before reaching the end. "I think I have an idea," Danny said. "Get up and help me tie this rope to the bars and get ready to hold onto them!"

       While Danny and Bob arranged for their escape, Sawyer was busy as well. She watched as the zeppelin came down close enough to drop a rope ladder for the count. He climbed up, then returned a few minutes later. Then the zeppelin started to move, the ladder coming in her direction. Klaus came back, and Sawyer took his arm.
       "It's a shame, isn't it Klaus," Sawyer said.
       "What is a shame?"
       "It's a shame I have to leave!" she said, running up him until she was on his surprised shoulders. Sawyer jumped, grabbing hold of the retracting ladder with her claws. "Bye, count! I'll be back for my husband!"
       As Klaus' surprised shouts faded into the night, Sawyer cautiously climbed up. She felt a jolt from below as if something was tugging on the ladder and then she finished her climb. "Where's a good stunt double when you need them…"

       As the rope slithered out of their cell, Danny and Bob held firmly to the bars. "Hey guards!" Bob said. "What do you call recess in jail?"
       "A prison break?" one of them asked, playing checkers with another guard.
       "Give the guard a gold star," Bob said. "Sayonara!"
       As the rope pulled taut, a wrenching noise startled the guards. Rushing to the cell, they were in time to see Bob and Danny waving goodbye, with Bob waving his hat in his free hand. "I'm a rising star again!"
       As they disappeared into the night, the two entertainers turned their attention to the source of their newfound freedom. "A zeppelin?" Danny said. "So that's how they've been getting secret information back and forth. I bet that's what bombed our plane and forced us down!"
       "Now all we have to do is get in and figure out how to take it over," Danny said. "Any ideas?"
       "For now, just climb up and look for a porthole in the storm," Bob said.

       Sawyer was already a step ahead of them. The underside gondola of the zeppelin was spacious and Sawyer found to her surprise that the passenger section was empty. She crouched at the far end of one of the aisles, thinking about what to do next. Largely her thoughts were on Danny. How would she get back to help him and would he even be alive when she did?
       She was about to get up when a knocking sound caught her attention. Looking across to the end of the other aisle, she saw a wonderfully familiar face with its nose squished up next to the porthole. Sawyer ran across and opened the porthole.
       "Danny! Danny, you made it! Where's Bob?" Sawyer asked.
       "Playing booster seat!" came Bob's voice from below. She looked down and a little left to see the rapacious rabbit was standing on a narrow ledge. They had managed to swing their way over, and now Danny was standing on Bob's shoulders. Sawyer pulled him in, then the two of them grabbed the rope and pulled Bob up.
       "The same way I got into the Oscars last year," Bob said. "Let's see who's in charge in El Blimpo and see if we can't get 'em to change course."
       "We've got to do more than that," Sawyer said. "That count gave them information on some kind of new bomb. We've got to get it away from them!"
       Danny smiled, taking the lead. "This'll be the first time we've bombed anywhere!"
       Bob grumbled from behind, "Don't steal all the good lines, kid…"

       The pilot's cabin was locked, but a few loud knocks brought two of the uniformed pilots out. There was no one, so they went back into the passenger area. There was Sawyer, sitting comfortably in one of the aisle seats.
       "So glad you could join us, gentlemen! And now for your viewing pleasure, here are the Dancing Domingos!" Danny and Bob jumped up from behind a row of seats, wearing lederhosen and alpine hats.
       "Hit it, Bob!" Danny said.
       Bob and Danny came out into the aisle, humming a traditional German tune while dancing around. The soldiers began to clap as one of them pointed and said, "Movie cat and silly rabbit! Ha, ha!"
       "Come on, movie cat," Bob said. "Time to give them a front-row seat."
       Danny and Bob danced their way up to the clapping soldiers. "Patty-cake, patty-cake, ba-ker's-man. Bake me a cake as fast as you CAN!" On 'can' they tackled the guards and knocked them out—well, actually Sawyer knocked them out thanks to a stray piece of wood she'd scrounged.
       "Still works," Bob said.
       "Yep, good as ever," Danny said. "Time for a quick change."

       Two minutes later, a knock came at the pilot's cabin. The captain answered, and two uniformed officers saluted—right on the captain's jaw. Before the pilot knew what was happening, they'd tied him and the captain up. Sawyer took the wheel. "Let's see, this thing's going north, so we'd better turn right."
       Sawyer spun the wheel and slowly the zeppelin responded as Danny locked the door. "Where are we now?" Danny asked.
       "Near as I can figure," Bob said, squinting at the marked map position, "either about fifty miles east of Honolulu or we're about to hit the Jersey turnpike."
       "I'll guess it's the first one," Sawyer said. "Sit tight, boys. I'll get us there. You search that captain and get the secret documents back."
       Bob harrumphed. "Women drivers."



Chapter 3 – The Big Finale, or How Bob Learned to Love Zeppelins



       "Gee, where could they be?" Tilly asked. "The show's already been going an hour and there's still no news!"
       Cranston crossed his arms. "They're probably back in the States, sipping champagne at the 19th Hole somewhere. I don't trust rabbits."
       "You don't trust anyone," Tilly said.
       "What's your point?"
       Slowly, the show's emcee approached the podium. It was lavishly decorated with "Bob Hoppe USO Tour" spread across the front in giant letters. There were thousands of soldiers gathered, most in Hawaiian shirts, whooping it up.
       "Ladies and gentlemen," the announcer began, "we regret to inform you that Mr. Hoppe won't be here for the show today. He is indisposed elsewhere and—"
       "JUST A MINUTE, BUSTER…"
       Everyone looked up and a roaring cheer erupted. There was the zeppelin, and Bob climbed down the ladder, back in their regular clothes. A flustered emcee shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bob Hoppe!"
       The shouts were too much for anyone to say anything for a minute. The soldiers had no idea that it wasn't one of Bob's famous entrances, so they were standing and clapping for the command performance while "Thanks for the Memories" played in the background.
       "Thank you, thank you!" Bob said. "This is Bob 'Sink 'em in '41' Hoppe, coming to you from Honolulu, Hawaii. Sorry to drop in on you soldiers like that, but TWA just raised their airline prices again."
       The crowd laughed as one, and Bob was in his element. "Hey, do you like my little bag of wind here? The only bag of wind bigger than this one is Bing Cherry when you get him in front of the microphones."

       Now the crowd shouted again as Danny and Sawyer climbed down the rope ladder. "It's about time!" Frances said. "You're as late as my second husband. Died while cliff diving in Mexico. No one told him about the sharks, poor dear."
       Danny ran up to the microphone. "Hey there, Honolulu! Ready for some singing and dancing?" That of course got a great reply. "Sawyer, let's go!"
       Danny took Sawyer's hand and soon the orchestra was playing "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" for which all their friends joined in, even Bob. The soldiers ate it up and stood on their feet, cheering as they finished.
       "We're pleased to be here in sunny Honolulu," Sawyer said. "We think you boys are great! If I had time, I'd kiss every one of you."
       "We'll wait!" came a reply from the back, causing all the guys shout and wolf-whistle. Sawyer laughed and waved back, and then Danny and Bob came up to the microphone again, now wearing their lederhosen.
       "Say Danny," Bob said, "do you know where the best restaurant to be in Germany is right now?"
       "Where's that?"
       "The Fuhrer the Better!"
       The orchestra started up, Danny and Bob doing a song together:

       What do you do when your Sau-er-kraut goes bad?
       That stink-ing, stink-ing stuff that makes you gag and retch like mad!
       Bet-ter run my chum and kick that bum called Hit-ler out my friend!
       Or sau-er-kraut's the least you'll pout a-bout from Ber-lin's end!

       The cat and rabbit cavorted, reprising the song again to the delight of the audience. Then Sawyer came back up, now in a sparkling blue evening dress. The orchestra played and the audience quieted down. Slowly, her lovely voice reached out over them all with, "There'll Be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover."
       There were few dry eyes in the audience when she was done, and the applause was universal. Bob came and hugged Sawyer, reassuming center stage. "Isn't she great, folks? I wish I had her along on every tour. And now it's time for us to be going, but we want you to know that the folks back home love and pray for you all. You're the best bunch of soldiers and the best audience anyone could ask for. So until next time…"
       Bob started in on "Thanks For the Memories" and the entire ensemble joined him.

       Thanks for the memories
       Of great Hawaiian skies…
       Of flower laden ties…
       Where victory in wait for our fighting soldiers lies…
       And thank you, so much!



Epilogue



       At their Honolulu hotel, the whole USO tour group gathered in song and laughter. At the huge center table, Danny and Sawyer sat along with all their friends. Bob was right in the middle as usual, hamming it up. Next to Sawyer sat General Henson, replete with medals and ribbons on his braided army uniform.
       "Sawyer, thanks for that 'gift' you gave us," the general said. "We'd been trying to hunt down the source of enemy information in the Pacific for months. We've already taken care of the Schloss Koralle. And keeping those documents out of their masters' hands will push their weapons development back quite a bit."
       Sawyer smiled back. "Glad to be of help, general, but Danny and Bob deserve as much thanks as me. Without them, we'd never have made it back here."
       "What can the army do to show its appreciation?"
       Now Bob interjected. "Actually, general, there is something. I'd like to do an extended tour of the Pacific theater, but as you know that requires a lot of clearance and transport help. I'd like to visit all the major bases and give the boys a taste of home."
       It was the general's turn to smile. "Bob, if I have to steal the planes, you'll get there. And anytime you're doing a tour, just call me." Bob got up and shook the general's hand. "How'd you like to be my agent? Two or three soldiers backing me up, and I'm sure I could get at least a ten-percent raise."
       The general laughed, as did the others. Bob came over Danny and Sawyer now. "How's about joining me? You and your friends are all welcome, and when I'm not fouling things up you can fill in. Should be a lot of laughs."
       Danny looked over at Sawyer for approval and then back to Bob. "Sure, we'll go along for a while. What about it, guys? Shall we all pitch in with the USO tour?"
       The group gave universal agreement and Bob raised his glass in a toast that they all joined in. "To our fighting men, and to a quick and successful end to the war." All drank, then Bob came back to Sawyer. "And now, that band over there's begging for someone to dance to it. They'll throw me out if I try it alone, so I'd better have someone pretty with me."
       Sawyer rolled her eyes and stood up. "Be right back."

       To the tune of "Begin the Beguine", Bob and Sawyer danced. Within moments, a dozen couples joined in and the dance floor was jumping. Soon Danny tapped Bob on the shoulder and Bob stepped back. "Thanks for the spin around the floor, Sawyer. Just be glad it was me. Bing's so bad at dancing he makes the rumba look like a rumble."
       Danny took over, the two cats gliding easily across the floor. "So, glad you came?" Danny asked. Sawyer smiled slyly. "Wouldn't have missed it for the world. After all, someone had to be there to stop the bad guys and entertain the troops. Maybe we'll make it the plot of our next movie."
       "Nah," Danny said. "It's so far-fetched, no one would believe it. But maybe we ought to contact L.B. anyways. I have a feeling he'd like to film us over this way, if we can talk Bob's agent into it."
       "If his agent can get a word in edgewise over Bob," Sawyer said. "He's sure the talkingest rabbit I've ever seen. A nice guy, though."
       "Yep, sure is. Imagine just packing up and going to perform the troops gratis. Not a lot of people would do that."
       Sawyer looked over in Bob's direction speculatively. "Oh, I don't know. I have a feeling after this big tour that lots more of the Hollywood crowd will be joining in. You couldn't ask for better PR."
       "Or cornier jokes," Danny said.
       With a chuckle, Sawyer leaned her head on Danny's shoulder. "Thanks for the memories, Danny."


The Count Von Klaus and Jeffrey Vinson are copyright Indy and Chris Silva. Danny, Sawyer, Frances, Tilly and Cranston are all copyright Warner Brothers and used without permission but with the utmost respect. Bob Hoppe is of course a tribute to the late and beloved Bob Hope, who we hope would get a laugh out of this.