Gold Rush

"Agent Shepherd, we got who you asked for." I thanked my feline assistant, Tabby, as I gathered the necessary files and evidence. It was a closed case that reopened because of recent events. Three canine junkies were found dead after ingesting a new drug called, Gold Rush that entered the underground scene couple of months ago. I was assigned to this case around that time because the boss wanted me to handle it. Apparently I'm good at tracking things down and getting the job done.

"Your nose is the best in this bureau Shepherd, I trust you'll give me good results," he

oinked while wiping some sweat off his forehead. That pig of a boss thinks flattery will get him whatever he wants, just because it works on him doesn't mean it works on all animals. The real reason he gave this career-killer to me was because he knows I can't say no to any case assigned by the bureau, I'm that obedient. I was annoyed that I was given to this dead-end case until I examined it. It turned out to be the perfect case for me seeing how it dealt with a certain slippery canine.

Walking upright on my hind legs, I adjusted my tie before entering the room. Four solid black walls held it together, one had a big mirror on it and in the middle of the room was a small table with a lamp right over our heads. Tied to a metal-chained leash, a grey and white-coated wolf with vigilant blue eyes in that gaudy orange v-neck shirt sat across from me. His piercing eyes watched me carefully as I presented the evidence bag filled with a brick of golden substance to him. He looked down at it and growled.

"Get that shit away from me."

"Do you know what this is?"

"That's synthetic honey made by that bastard." The chained wolf grimaced distastefully.

"Oh! So that's what it's called. They call it Gold Rush out on the streets. It's been causing a bit of trouble 'round town. I'm Agent Shepherd, and I'm in charge of this case." I sat and leaned forward over the table clasping my paws together.

"Can you tell me more about this…synthetic honey?"

"I told you people everything when this first began." He said with a snide undertone. I looked through the case files.

"You're Professor Grey Wolf, the chemist who created the formula for Gold Rush…you were accused of creating and distributing a new hallucinogenic drug…that was a couple year ago…"

The wolf scoffed at the information. I took a good long look at the bitter professor sitting in front of me before giving him the contents of the recent developments.

"Canines have been showing up dead after consuming Gold Rush and its affecting canines more severely than other species. We need to catch the scumbag behind all this and figure out what's causing animals to drop dead."

"That's what this is about? What makes you think I would have a clue?" the wolf asked confused.

"You were canned for this and now it's resurfaced." I got up and started to pace, "You know, I found it strange when I read your record. A professor of chemistry dedicated to serving the animal kingdom with strong family values and a clean track record. Why would someone of your nature throw it all away by creating a drug that would kill thousands? I didn't see the motive for you to do this to yourself. So I looked through everything on this case over again. In all your interviews, you mentioned something, but no one seemed to listen and was blacked-out from the record. Covered up real good. Finding that strange and intriguing, I dug around more and found something very interesting."

I pulled out two photographs and set them down on the table, one of a fox, an auburn pelted, bushy tailed fox in a smart lab coat; however, he wore a scheming grin and those golden eyes gleamed with mischief. The other one was a donkey, an average grey colored, shorthaired donkey, also in a lab coat, that held an eager-to-learn expression on his face. The wolf recognized the fox and scowled at it.

"I know, Dr. Red Fox. This donkey," I said pointing to the picture, "appears to be his new apprentice, Assistant Mule. I'm trying to stop the fox from killing a bunch of animal, but I can't do this alone. Help me and I can get you your freedom."

Professor Grey Wolf thought hard, then took a deep breath and began to speak.

"Back when we started this project, I believed it was for a good purpose. The world was facing a honey shortage so when Red Fox approached me with this proposition that may help with our honey crisis, I enthusiastically agreed. Honey, as you know, is like currency in our world and we were consuming honey faster than the bees can produce them so I thought synthetic honey was a brilliant way to solve our problem. This way the bees would have time to harvest the honey while the world can still enjoy their honey, just different…."

I could hear the betrayal he had faced in this ordeal. I never liked foxes. They were always plotting something and this fox in particular was more devious than most.

"You were framed." I said, confirmed.

"I had no idea that slime ball was tweaking the formula and selling it underground."

"Red Fox has been eluding the authorities for a long time. He's a criminal mastermind, but even geniuses run out of their wits when they get too cocky." I smirked as the wolf before me raised a brow. "We got the Mule in custody, but he's stubborn."

The wolf's ears perked up at this progress.

"He honestly thinks that Red Fox is god. Poor lad's been brainwashed. We're also currently gathering more information about his whereabouts as we speak. So, will you cooperate?"

"I work best in a pack." The wolf smirked; I could see the wheels turn in his head. I stuck out my paw and we shook on it. I undid his leash and guided him out.

"Let me talk to the kid first. I may get a clue out of him." The professor insisted.

I had a feeling he would say that so I had Tabby help him gather his necessities and let him inside a different interrogation room similar to the one we were in previously.

I stood and leaned against the door and observed the two from afar. The Mule appeared traumatized by all the interrogation tactics used to squeeze information out of him, but he held strong in his conviction. I observed Professor Grey Wolf approach him. Assistant Mule raised his gaze and met eyes with the wolf. He shrank further into his seat and quivered in fear. He quietly took a seat across from the trembling donkey.

"He's not going to save you."

The donkey gasped and his long ears twitched.

"Yes, he will."

"No, he's not, Red Fox is only trying to save himself. Why do you think you're in this position?" The wolf questioned as he crossed his arms.

"Regardless, I'm not ratting him out." Mule said, trying very hard not to quiver. Wolf rolled his eyes and asked, "Why?"

"Because what he's doing is going to save this world…."

He continued on about how Dr. Red Fox was going to use the synthetic honey to make the world a more efficient place to live and Grey Wolf started to laugh. The kid looked at him nervously.

"Is that what he told you? Kid, the only thing that bastard is saving is his own skin."

"No, the doctor really trusts me. He told me himself." The fact that this was getting us nowhere was annoying me so I took over the situation. I went right up to his face and use my low tone of voice,

"You know, Mule I can just use you as bait to drag Red Fox in, or I can just lock you up for the rest of your life for something you never did. Now tell me what I need to know or suffer the consequences."

Mule still sat there not saying a word. What a stubborn ass? I got up and shrugged.

"Fine, have it your way. We can find that bastard without your help," I opened the door and called some fellow agents in, "Hey guys detain this guy." The donkey began to panic.

"No! You can't keep me here! You can't contain me! I'm claustrophobic!" He began to get violent, other agents came in and tried to restrain him, but then he thrashed about with his hooves and wrenched himself out of their hold. He flipped the table and charged towards the door, bursting out. That berserk donkey managed to escape by crashing through the first window he saw. I made sure everyone was all right. Scanning the area, the professor wasn't in the room either. He went after the kid. I told the other agents present to track the Mule, as I ran out on all fours.

The sun was still up which was good, I hate running after crazy animals when the sun was down. I saw Grey Wolf running after the mad Mule. Following a safe distance behind we went through an array of terrain from green meadows, suburban housing, deep forests and now red dry land. Where the heck is this kid going? The professor was just up ahead, hunched over and out of breath. I caught up to him, huffing and puffing.

"Why did you stop, Grey Wolf?"

"Because now I know where he's headed." He motioned his head forward. My gaze followed his; we were in front of the dusty red high canyons.

"Why the high canyons?"

"Synthetic honey can only be made at a certain climate. The high canyons are ideal because of the cool temperature and high altitude."

A voice from the sky startled us to look up. A silhouette against the sun, but I can still make out who it was.

"Well done Agent Shepherd and long time no see Grey Wolf."

"It's over Red Fox! You have nowhere to run!" Red Fox laughed. Grey Wolf's impatience and anger got the best of him and he rushed ahead.

"Wai-! Damn it!" I went after him as well, I got notice that field agents were close by. I heard a gunshot go off, so I dashed up through the canyon caves and finally reached the top. The air was thin, making it very hard to breathe, but I managed to get my gun out. I assessed the situation; Grey Wolf was growling with the intent to kill Red Fox and that sly fox had him at gunpoint. Down by his feet was the donkey in his own pool of blood. He was a goner for sure no way he's alive with all that blood loss. Red Fox turned to me and gave me one of his malicious grins.

"Be careful where you point that Agent Shepherd, or someone could get hurt."

"You've got nothing, Red Fox. Drop the gun."

"Oh really? As we speak, my lab underneath is being destroyed by a fire set off by my deer assistant."

Oh no, the evidence! I could see the professor ready to charge at the doctor. I had to do something before more casualties.

"Turn yourself in quietly and we'll make a deal." I said. Grey Wolf was losing patience. Red Fox laughed, "You want to negotiate with me? I thought you were a straight-edge

agent."

"I know how to bend the rules when I need to. So how 'bout it? That's how you got by for so long, right? Negotiating with people in high places?" I tried to stall more time for the other agents to get here. Red Fox shook his head, "No, I'm just really smart. That's how I got naïve Professor Grey Wolf to take my place in jail." He cackled in a sinister way. Before I could say anything I saw a flash of grey rush past me. Grey Wolf launched, bearing teeth, Red Fox pulled the trigger, then my reflexes kicked in and my paw pulled my trigger. The bullets flew past each other. The force of the bullet impact pushed the doctor off the cliff of the canyon. I ran over to the professor; the bullet had hit him in the forearm.

Above me, a harsh wind blew from the helicopter, sirens and tires shrieked from below, and rapid footsteps were coming towards me. The other field agents were finally here. Why are you guys never on time? I wondered.

"Get him to the hospital! Red Fox's body should be down there! And put out that fire in the lab!"

"Sir! We are nearly done putting out the fire!"

"Good, I'm going to check it out!" He saluted me and helped haul Grey Wolf's body into the helicopter. I checked out the lab; it smelled like hell.

I visited Grey Wolf at the hospital a week later to see how he was doing. He was sitting upright, nursing his cast arm. He looked up at me with a small smile of gratitude.

"Red Fox is dead and we managed the salvage some of what's causing all this trouble."

"What did it turn out to be?"

"It turned out to be the worse poison for canines. Chocolate." Grey Wolf sighed, relieved it was over and finally free.