This is a response to VC 26 Stuart 5 ("Maus #3")...
The phone call, rather surprisingly, was for Betsy. She went in to the kitchen to take the call, leaving her beloved Punkin surrounded by his family and the piles of packages heaped all around the Christmas tree.
"You never did explain why you were so late to the wedding," prodded cousin Dave.
"You promise not to laugh?"
"Lawyers honor!" intoned Dave, who had just completed his first year at the prestious San Francisco law firm of Dust, Grinding, and Black.
"You'll never believe me."
"I'm a lawyer. I can believe in anything!"
"What would you say if I told you I was kidnapped by an insane ex-lover who operates a company in Sacramento that's trying to take over the world by hypnotizing birds of prey?"
"Not that old chestnut again! Tell us what REALLY happened!"
"It's not just hypnosis, you understand. She first implants a microchip in their featherly little brains."
"It's nothing to smirk about, I assure you. This woman is very clever, in fact I believe her to be a genius, an evil genius, a dark angel. And I'm the one who made her evil scheme possible in the first place. It's a heavy burden to bear, let me tell you!"
Dave closed his eyes and pretended to sleep. He knew his cousin well enough to know that no objection could stop him from repeating his mad tale.
"She and I are the only ones who have seen the shape of the circuitry on those microchips. They tell me I never should have let her see the map. Even then she was mad. But she was so beautiful. And I was young and foolish. Who would have guessed she could so completely subvert the power of the starmaze?
"And yet, subvert it she did, using the secrets of the maze to amass a vast fortune. When her lust for power became so outrageous that even I could not pretend it away, I spurned her, and from that day forward she has plotted her revenge. When she left the tower, Ivory Tower Inc. that is, to become a bird doctor, I thought she'd finally gone entirely over the edge. But now I see what she was up to all those years. This goes beyond the wrath of a woman scorned! Why, if it hadn't been for Betsy, her plan might have suceeded, and we'd all be eating bird seed right now!"
At this Dave perked up. "You never did explain how Betsy managed to stop the driver of that limosine."
John smiled, growing misty-eyed at the memory of his wedding day. But before he could continue his story Betsy staggered into the room. She was trembling and her constellation of freckles stood out against her pale white face like a kind of reverse starry night.
"That was Janine on the phone. There's been an explosion at Alcatraz. The sky above San Francisco is filled with ravens. It looks like our friend has flown the coop!"
[There! As punishment for being late I nominate JANINE to write the next installment of this story. Publish or perish!]