Crisis at the Hammys
At the Hammys — the annual music awards show — musical act after musical act is attacked. Feather Locklear, the Malibaboon-based heroine known as Duck Phoenix, soon learns a team of villains called the Hamtastic Bores is behind the attacks. Can she defeat them all, or will she have to subject the world to her singing in order to make herself the villains’ next target?
Feather Locklear (also known as the heroine Duck Phoenix, as well as Amora Lamour in her seldom-talked-about days in independent films) glanced around her at the crowd of stars and has-beens seated for the annual Hammy awards show.
The hottest musical acts of the last week were there to receive adulation and valet parking. Feather — not a singer herself but a highly skilled go-go dancer who had almost once made it as one of the Solid Gold Lightly Basted Oven Fresh Dancers — was with a real rock star. OK, he was a friend of a real rock star. OK, he had his own microphone! His name was Itchy Sambrello, and for a porcupine, he and Feather were tight. (He sat at least ten feet away.)
“Oh, Itchy, look!” she cooed. “There’s the Terrier Formerly Known as Prince! That purple dog collar sure looks costly.”
“Yeah, he’s been known as Fifi since that nasty neutering accident,” said Itchy.
“Look, there’s the first act!” she said, smoothing her pink and gold gown.
A blond monkey in a mini-skirt appeared. “I’m Fleaza Gibbons, hostess and journalist here to introduce the first act — the reigning queen of pop and my close personal friend! Hiya, girlfriend — Serpentina Aguilara!”
A blond snake slithered on stage, music pounding as she swayed to it.
“Serpentina Aguilara is pretty good, considering she’s off-tune and rather weak-voiced,” Itchy said.
“At least she looks good, and that’s important, too!” insisted Feather.
The young singer suddenly fell to the stage as much as a snake can be said to fall, apparently struck by some high-pitched wail that knocked her for a loop.
“Is that part of her act?” asked Feather, “‘Cause if it isn’t, I’m actually an actress-slash-model-slash-crime-fighter, you know?”
The poor girl was carried off, and the show went on. “Fleaza, here, with the reigning queen of pop and my close personal friend! Hiya, girlfriend — Chutney Ears!”
A cute bunny in a tank top started singing in between photo shoots for Penthutch Magazine. She suddenly choked as a massive hairball enveloped her tiny form.
“That’s just not entertaining!” complained Feather. “You know, if brutal attacks occur on two or three more singers, I’m going to suspect that something funny’s going on!” she added. “Hey, look! There’s Elton Fawn!” she said, forgetting her idea as she saw a star in the crowd.
“He’s a real deer,” said Itchy.
Fleaza, now in a shorter dress, said, “Our next performer is Nashville’s reigning queen of pop. Oh, no! I mean, she’s… uh…” The blonde monkey blushed and said, “Did you notice my skirt is really, really short?” Then she ran off-stage.
The next act was the rap act Dog Doggy Dog.
“I thought a country act was next!” said a puzzled Feather.
“He’s going country! His next CD is called Dog in the Cowpile!” explained Itchy.
“Ooooh!” said Feather, making a face.
But before the canine rapper could start, he was knocked off the stage by a hulking figure.
“I’m going up. Save my seat!” said Feather as she levitated on stage using her telekinesis. She soon found herself surrounded by four costumed figures, including the one who hit Dog Doggy Dog.
“We’re the Hamtastic Boars!” said the leader.
“Isn’t that Hamtastic Bores?” asked the second one.
“Boar and bore are close enough. They’re like homonyms!” said the third.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell!” warned the third.
“Excuse me, but shouldn’t we fight or something?” asked Feather, now in her guise as Duck Phoenix.
“Oh right! Sorry about that,” said the leader. “We’re the Hamtastic Boars!”
“You said that already!” admonished Feather.
“Sorry, I lost my place!” she explained.
“Villain attack, take two!” yelled Fleaza, coming back out in a bikini.
“Aren’t you Feather Thomas of The Wall Guy, about that spider stunt man?” asked the third figure.
“No, that’s not me. I’m Feather Locklear of Hen City. See my glossies?” she said as they passed around photos. “Also known as the Duck Phoenix.”
“OK, now let’s kill her!” declared the leader.
Feather saw her first enemy up close. She was a gorilla in a micro-miniskirt. Her mask hid her face, which was crowned with a huge, enormous, really big mass of hair that went down to her knees. She waved her right hand back and forth spasmodically, as if she was reaching for a high note or needing to use the ladies’ room.
A ball of her hair rolled into Duck Phoenix and tangled her helplessly. “This stuff is really brittle and oily!” she said in disgust.
The second figure (the leader) was a fat, dark-haired creature of the ocean like a seal or something else Feather didn’t recognize. She opened her mouth and sang, causing tears to cascade down Feather’s face as images of lovers lost at sea or in the supermarket or Walrusmart ran through her mind. She couldn’t stop weeping.
The third figure wore a brief top and showed a cast-iron stomach — it really was made of cast-iron and had a “made of cast iron” union label pasted on it! Her cowboy boots and dark denim outfit marked her as a country singer.
The Malibaboon Mallard fought to push the hairball away with her mental powers and did so only to fall flat when the third gang member hit her with a hard yodel. The sound solidified and spanked Feather’s bottom.
She slammed back with a mental blast that knocked the denim gal’s mask off to reveal famous feline features. (Try saying that out loud three times fast!)
“Hyena Twain — the abs-baring queen of country-pop!” she gasped.
Bowing, Hyena did three encores while her final ally pounded Duck Phoenix with hulking fists. She was a swollen boa constrictor with red hair and a Southern drawl.
“You’re Hissa Yearwood!” said Feather between blows.
“I reckon I am, sugah!” she said.
They ran together and vanished, leaving a bruised Feather on stage.
“Are you OK?” asked Itchy.
“Yes, but my gown is ruined!” she said grimly, or at least as grimly as an airheaded blond duck can sound. “I’ll make that Hamtastic Bores group pay! Next time they shriek, I’ll be ready!”
“How will you know when or where they’ll strike next?” he asked.
“I’ll make myself their target!” she said.
“But they only attack singing superstars, according to the program their left behind,” said Itchy.
“I know. I’ll just have to become a singing superstar and the next queen of pop by next week!” said Feather with her hands on her hips.
“Ohhhh!” said Itchy.
Feather Locklear was true as her word, although it did require several Boast-It notes for her to remember her plan. She went straight (after a quick styling session) to the source — Ted Source, music mogel and Hamway dealer. He had managed the greats and the lesser greats like the Backyard Boys, Samantha Fox, and N-Stink (the hot skunk group).
“Soa, youa wanta toa bea a stara!” he said.
“Why do you end every word with an ‘a’ sound? Is that some tacky ethnic slur?” asked Feather on her soapbox. (And in spike heels, it was not easy to get up on a soapbox, believe you me!)
“Noa! Ifa Ia endeda thema witha a ‘Y’ ita woulda bea silenta!“
“That makes perfect sense!” said Feather as she climbed down from her soapbox.
(Author’s note: Now that this vowel joke died, we’ll conveniently forget it.)
“So, you need some hit songs and an album,” said Source. “I can get those written today, costume you, and get some press going!”
“Great!” squealed Feather. “Oh, by the way, I can’t really sing!” she added.
“No problem. That’s really not important. It’s image that sells!”
“I prefer DC,” said Feather loyally.
In three days, Feather Locklear was a superstar, and Fleaza Gibbons was sleeping on her yard. Her album, Feather Bed: The Duck Tapes hit number one, and then backed up to hit it again with greater impact. The sales were due to the album cover, which featured Feather in fishnets.
Soon enough, she sat drying her nails and waiting to be attacked by the Hamtastic Bores. They suddenly appeared out of nowhere (Nowhere, U.S.A.) and the battle ensued.
“I’m Feather, not Sue. She’s married to that rubber guy!” said Feather.
“You mean Mr. Fantastic?” said Itchy.
“No — Elongated Man!” she answered huffily. “Can’t you see the DC label in the upper corner?”
The Hamtastic Bores ran toward her. As Duck Phoenix, she was ready for the team. Using her mental powers, she tossed a box of hot rollers at the gorilla, who screamed as her mass of hair was suddenly curled so tightly around her skimpy dressed body that she could not move.
“And I’d use conditioner, too!” scolded Feather.
The gorilla’s mask slipped off to reveal Mariah Hairy, pop diva.
Her teammate Hissa Yearwood stomped over, which was amazing since she had no legs. The Southern belle gasped as Feather tossed a plate of grits at her.
She smiled and sucked them down, only to gasp as she realized that they were low-fat. “I’ve broken my fat and greasy food twelve-step diet! Okra will kill me when I go on her show!” she wept.
As for Hyena Twain, Feather merely stopped her and cleverly said, “See that line on the lawn? It’s the dividing point between rock and country. I dare you to cross over!”
Hyena smiled and flaunted her cast iron stomach before doing so. Since she could not read, she did not realize the line really was the thin line between humor and sarcasm. She plunged to her doom as jokes about her musical ability exploded around her.
“You know, I thought that was the line between disco and hard rock,” said a puzzled Feather.
“It looks like the line between good and bad taste!” burped Hissa.
“Clever, you pin-up duck!” said the leader, who was revealed to be Sealion Dion, the Frog-Cornadian queen of sad love ballads.
“Here, look at your record sales! They’re really funny!” said Dark Phoenix.
Sealion saw them and couldn’t help but laugh. She laughed so hard she could not make Feather weep as she did before.
“Well, I’ve put a stop to their evil scheme to get rid of all other musical acts!” mused Feather. “Now, it’s only two o’clock. I’d better record my second album now if I want to be ready for my dinner date with Itchy!” she said.
And she did.