cloudmonet’s kim stories

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Gila Monsters

Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Monique, Wade, Kim’s dad, and Cyrus Bortle are characters from the Kim Possible show, created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, owned and copyright © by the Walt Disney Company. The story takes place while Kim and Ron are going to college, a couple of years after “So the Drama,” and shortly after my earlier story, “Big Monkeys.” This story © 2005 by cloudmonet.

A coyote silhouetted against the starlit desert sky howled and yipped. On a gravel road between giant saguaros and prickly pears, a four wheeled all terrain vehicle moved quietly, its headlights off, the driver wearing night-vision goggles. “Green Man, this is Kent. Report.”

“All quiet.”

“Spider, this is Kent. Report.”

“All quiet.”

“Wheelie, this is Kent. Report.”

“Fleas on a dog.”

“On my way,” said Kent, speeding through the desert night toward Wheelie’s position. “Green Man, Spider— Wheelie has fleas on a dog. Time to scratch.”

“Roger that,” said Green Man’s voice.

“Ditto,” said Spider’s voice.

The coyote sniffed the air, then, apparently not liking whatever it smelled, yipped and cowered under the creosote brush.

Something large, dark, and shaped like a lizard stepped onto the gravel road in front of Kent’s all terrain vehicle, and turned toward him.

“What’s that?” he said, hitting his brakes and spinning.

“Kent, report?” asked Spider’s voice.

Suddenly the lizard, which must have been at least eighteen feet long, lunged toward Kent, who turned around and sped away. At first the big lizard kept pace with him, but as he sped up it began falling behind.

“I’m being chased by a freakin’ Komodo Dragon!” said Kent. “Okay, now it’s stopped comin’ after me.”

“Roger that,” said Wheelie’s voice. “I got one on my tail, too.

“4-1-1?” asked Spider’s voice. “What’s a Komodo Dragon?”

“Actually, looks more like a gila monster, only bigger, way bigger. Spider, this isn’t one of our codes.”

“Gila monster. Roger that,” said Wheelie’s voice. “Big gila monster chasing me away from the road.”

On the gravel road between two very large short snouted lizards with pebbled scales, a black big rig truck with headlights off rumbled forward. After awhile, when it reached the paved state highway, its headlights, taillights, and other lights came on, its license plate numbers changed, and it turned right and began moving north with steadily increasing speed.

The sun shone hot in a bright blue sky over a large concrete dome roof over numerous windowed pediments and side structures shaded in part by a few taller block shaped buildings nearby. Colorful banners and flags saying World Clothing Convention hung above the sidewalks around the main entrance. Inside, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable were watching their friend Monique go through a rack of Hawaiian shirts made in Guatemala.

“Yeah, I could see myself in something like this one,” Ron said, tugging out a particularly gaudy shirt covered with flowers and pineapples.

“I couldn’t,” Kim replied.

“I guess it is too bright, maybe. Ooh, how about this one?” he asked, holding out a monochrome bluish gray shirt with overlapping palm trees, waves, and fish. “Kinda captures my laid-back personality.”

Rufus poked his head out of Ron’s pocket and yawned. “Laid back, mm-hmm,” he said.

“Isn’t this exciting?” Monique enthused. “Club Banana’s actually going to let me select one shirt or dress to test market in a sample of stores, and I’ll get extra credit for my business management class.”

“Ew, you’re taking business management?” asked Ron.

“I think I’m gonna major in it,” said Monique. “When I graduate, I’ll be a buyer, then a manager, then maybe I’ll set up on my own. You should think about it, Ron. As good as you are at cooking, I could see you moving up management at Bueno Nacho, or setting up your own restaurant.”

“My only interest in Bueno Nacho is eating there,” said Ron. “You both know there’s a ‘Mucho Grande’ Bueno Nacho in town, don’t you?”

“Yes” Kim and Monique said together, with some exasperation in their voices.

“So what is this exactly?” asked Ron.

“People all over the world who make clothes exhibit them here, and buyers from different clothing store chains make deals with them,” Monique explained. “It’s great.”

Kim frowned. “Doesn’t it bother you how poorly paid and treated many of these workers are?”

Monique frowned back. “You got the money to style ‘Made in USA’?” she asked brusquely. “I don’t and lots of other folks don’t either.”

“I’m sorry, Monique, but I’m working on this paper for sociology, and some of the stuff I’m learning about the effects of overseas outsourcing is really bad.”

Monique dropped her voice. “You know the clothes that are made in USA? Most of the workers are illegal immigrants. What’s the difference?”

“I’m not sure,” said Kim.

“I’m not seeing anything I like half as well as that shirt you brought me from Africa. That was good. I’ll keep looking.”

Dot dot dadot! the kimmunicator beeped.

“There’s been a theft at a secret research facility not far from you,” said Wade’s deep voice.

“Near here? Please tell me it’s not—”

“Cyrus Bortle’s lab?”

“Oh no!”

“Sorry, Kim. They’re waiting for you outside.”

“No big,” said Ron. “I’ll just look you over to make sure none of his neural chips get stuck on you.”

A henchman in gray uniform and sunglasses drove Kim and Ron to Bortle’s hidden underground lab in the desert. He swiped the plastic card lock through a slot in a small saguaro cactus and the sandy ground lifted up, revealing a ramp to an underground parking garage. From here, a tunnel braced with curving steel beams led to Bortle’s lab, a cavernous chamber with a few small windows cut through the reinforced cliff that faced the canyon.

“Kim Possible,” said a short man with bubbly enthusiasm and a thick accent.

“Dr. Cyrus Bortle,” Kim replied, shaking his hand.

“Okay Doc, so what kind of ferociously unethical mind control chips did Shego steal for Drakken this time?” Ron asked.

“Ron, Drakken and Shego are in maximum security prison awaiting trial,” Kim replied.

“You sure?” Ron asked. “I mean, you know, they escape a lot.”

“Not like the old days,” said Kim, switching on the kimmunicator. “Pardon me a moment,” she told Dr. Bortle. “Wade,” she asked. “Could I have a status report on Drakken and Shego? Please and thank you.”

“I’m missing a whole batch of modified moodulator chips,” said Dr. Bortle.

“Oh, great!” said Kim.

“No no, these aren’t like that one that got stuck on you. A human mind can easily override this kind of chip. It’s for animals only. Zoos and wildlife managers have to deal with some dangerous animals, and these chips can make them very docile.”

“Or maybe, very ferocious,” said Kim.

“Well, perhaps, but I don’t know why anyone would want to do that,” said Dr. Bortle.

“I can think of lots of reasons,” said Kim.

Dot dot dadot, the kimmunicator beeped.

Wade said, “The next trial will be— but this is a crime from a few years back— securities fraud in connection with the holding company Drakken set up to finance his hostile takeover of Bueno Nacho Corporation.”

“Those evil diablo toys,” muttered Ron. “Wait, wasn’t he already sentenced for doing that?”

“Securities fraud?” Kim asked.

“It’ll enable Global Justice to freeze his assets worldwide,” said Wade. “Next time Drakken and Shego escape, if they do, they’ll have no more lairs, no more bankroll.”

“So you’re sure they’re both still in prison?” Kim asked.

“Locked up tight.”

“So it wasn’t them.”

“Well, let’s look for clues,” said Ron. “Where were you keeping the chips?”

“They were right in this cabinet.”

Kim and Ron looked over the area very carefully. Rufus scurried around, sniffing. He stopped at one of the small windows.

“So they came in this way?” Ron asked.

“Rrrright!” said Rufus.

“Either climbed up from the bottom or rappelled down from the top.” said Kim, opening the window and sticking out her head to look up and down. “Coming down’s more likely. Dr. Bortle, I won’t be like Ron and lecture you about the ethics of your chips, because almost anything can be misused for evil. But your security—”

“It tanks,” interrupted Ron.

“But I changed the lock on the cactus,” Dr, Bortle protested.

Kim crouched on the edge of the cliff above Dr. Bortle’s windows. “Someone’s been here all right,” she said. “Look! There’s an eye anchor driven into the rock here, and there’s a groove in the soft rock at the edge where the rope or cable went over.” She clipped a climbing rope onto the eye anchor and told Ron, “I’ll go down slowly and see if I can find any clues. So far everything the thief left behind is pretty generic.”

On her way down the cliff, she saw several boot prints in the soil between rock layers and scanned them to Wade’s computer. “They’re a Mexican brand, Los Tauros, size 13,” said Wade.

“Maybe our thief’s a bullfighter,” suggested Kim. “That’s bad. Calming the bull with a moodulator would be so cheating.”

“These aren’t bullfighter boots, despite the name,” said Wade, “just regular cowboy boots. Lots of people wear this brand in the southwest, who aren’t either Mexicans or cowboys. They’re durable, but cheap, and available at Smarty-Mart.”

Kim reached the window, saw scratches on the aluminum molding. “Screwdriver, I think, or maybe small pry bar,” she told Wade.

“Looks that way,” he agreed.

Ron stood at the counter inside the Mucho Grande Bueno Nacho, pressing menu item buttons.

“What’s he ordering?” Monique asked Kim.

“Sometimes it’s better not to know,” she replied.

“Should we eat outside on the balcony upstairs?”

“I think we’d better,” said Kim. “Ron, I want a guacamaco and a naco salad and a Pepper-Up.”

“You got it, KP.”

“Okay, get me a quesadilla with a naco salad and an orange soda,” said Monique.

“Done, done, and done.”

They carried their trays to the escalator and stepped outside onto the beautifully landscaped balcony, where the sunset haze stretched all the way around a city just beginning to sparkle with countless streetlights.

“So did you find the clothes you were looking for?” Kim asked Monique.

“There was one dress I really liked, but a buyer from Bullseye Stores outbid me. I found out where there’s a whole section of booths from African countries. Maybe there’s stuff worth stylin’. Maybe they’ll give a sister a good deal, know what I mean? How was the mission? You guys kick bootie?”

Kim laughed. “This wasn’t a time we caught anyone in the act, and the thief didn’t leave many clues. He’s a man, he knows how to use climbing gear, and he wears size 13 Los Tauros cowboy boots.”

“Yuck!” said Monique. “Cowboy boots are okay, I guess, but Los Tauros are weak. This is not an evil dude with style.”

Ron had a grande-sized plate of hot enchiladas and some nachos, which he made Rufus nibble politely.

“They can be trained,” Kim whispered to Monique.

It was night at the Oasis Motel, a cheap lodge near the freeway ramp. A few cars were parked in the parking lot near the doors of some of the rooms. Inside room 13, Ron was sitting on the easy chair, blipping through the small selection of cable channels looking for something to watch. The kimmunicator beeped. Ron looked around the room trying to see where it was. He picked it up off the table next to the door. “But what if it isn’t Wade?” Ron mused to himself. “Ah, an idea!” He stepped outside onto the walk between the parking lot and the door and answered the call. “Ron here, what’s up?”

On the screen was Kim’s dad’s face. “Ronald?” he asked.

“Kim’s in her room getting ready to go with me to a movie. I’ve got the kimmunicator because we’re expecting a call from Wade about the mission. Can you believe— I shouldn’t talk ’bout who it is, but his lab got robbed again!”

“I was just going to ask Kimmie if she’s enjoying the clothes convention.”

“Uh, yeah, I think so, Mr. Dr. P. I could have her call you back as soon as she, uh, comes back to the door.”

Dot dot dadot!

“Excuse me, gotta go, this’ll be Wade calling!” Ron pushed a button. The screen went dark, then Wade’s face appeared.

“Can you get Kim?” Wade asked. “She asked for any reports of strange animal behavior, especially in the southwest. Well, we got a hit on the site about just that.”

“The game is afoot, Rufus,” said Ron, turning the doorknob, which didn’t turn, and checking all his pockets for the room key, which wasn’t in them. He knocked on the door. “Aw, she’s in the shower, Wade, and I’m locked out. This may take awhile.”

“What’s happening?”

“I took another call. I kinda had, you know, a feeling about it, so I took it outside. It was Kim’s dad.”

“Good call. But you forgot the key.”

“Ron, is that you knocking?” asked Kim’s voice from inside.

“I, uh, locked myself out.”

She opened the door, wearing a robe, her long red hair wrapped in a white towel like a turban.

“Your dad called and wants to talk to you, but don’t do it like that. He thinks we’re going out to a movie.”

“And he thinks we have separate rooms?” asked Kim. “Good boy!” She squeezed his hand. “Mom knows about us, I’m pretty sure, and Dad probably pretty much knows, but as long as there’s no proof, he’s okay with it.”

“I don’t understand your folks, and they make a lot more sense than mine!” Ron said.

“Mom let me know, she and Dad weren’t quite married, either, when they first, you know—”

“Uh, Kim, Wade says we got a hit on the site.”

“Wade?!” Kim exclaimed, pulling the top of her robe more tightly closed. “What up?”

“We got a hit from the Night Rangers,” Wade began. “They’re a controversial organization of volunteers who patrol the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants.”

“I don’t think I want any part of that,” said Kim. “Some of those anti-immigration groups are pretty racist.”

“Your call, but they say they had a close call with some giant lizards who seemed to be cooperating with an immigrant smuggling truck.”

“Giant lizards? How big are they?”

“About twenty feet, maybe a little less.”

“So they’re not just exotic, they’re mutant,” said Kim.

“And you can’t train lizards of any size to chase quad bikes. I think we know how the stolen moodulators are being used.”

“So we’re talking about a mad scientist smuggling illegal aliens. I guess that does fall into my expertise. Any suspects?”

“The world expert on lizard growth hormones is Dr. Paolo Gonzales of the Desert Reptile Park, which is—”

“Two exits north of our motel?” asked Kim “There’s a billboard on the other side of the freeway.” A photo appeared onscreen. “Is that Dr. Gonzales? He looks like a bad parody of a Mexican outlaw.”

“He’s quite the showman. He does demonstrations handling alligators, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, cracking jokes all the while.”

“Does he wear size 13 Los Tauros cowboy boots?” asked Kim.

“That would be affirmative. But make sure you have solid proof before you accuse him of anything. He’s a well-respected herpetologist.”

“Maybe we should check out the Desert Reptile Park while it’s closed,” Kim said, looking at Ron. “Let’s go mission mode.”

Very quickly, Kim and Ron changed into nearly identical mission clothes, black shirts and khaki cargo pants, gloves and athletic boots. Kim picked up the kimmunicator again, and Monique appeared on the screen, in a much nicer hotel room in the convention center complex.

“Monique,” said Kim. “We need a ride.”

She reached their room in less than ten minutes, driving a red sports car rented for her use at the convention by Club Banana. “What are you guys into now?” she asked.

“A little breaking and entering at Desert Reptile Park,” said Kim. “Our probable bad guy, one Dr. Gonzales, an expert on lizard growth hormones. It seems there’s giant gila monsters running interference for trucks filled with illegal immigrants.”

“Say what?” asked Monique.

“Lizards big enough to chase folks on quad bikes, controlled by the stolen moodulators.”

“Moodulators?” said Monique. “You mean like that mind-control chip that made you go all goofy for Ron, I mean, before you did for real?”

“I am not all goofy for Ron,” Kim said, looking at his face, then looking at her left hand where her engagement ring was hidden by her mission gloves. “Well, okay, I am.”

“Keep your head in the game, KP,” Ron said.

Kim laughed. “That’s my line. What was I saying? Let’s just go to Reptile Park and check out Gonzales’ lab.”

“Okay, pile in,” said Monique.

Kim got in the passenger seat, Ron in the back seat behind her. Monique zipped out of the parking lot, onto the onramp and for a couple of minutes the red car felt like it was flying. They passed one exit and got off at the second one. The parking lot was blocked with bar gates, no barrier to pedestrians.

“You want me to wait here?”

“Just go do whatever you were doing, but keep your cell phone at hand, in case we do need anything.”

“You got it,” said Monique. “I so like this car,” she added, and sped away.

Kim whipped out the kimmunicator. “What’s the best way in?” she asked Wade.

“Your cybertronic skeleton key should work on all the doors. They’re just brass key locks and deadbolts. I already disabled the alarm and fixed the security recorder so it’ll show nothing happening for the next four hours, but I can still watch you if you’re near a camera.”

Kim took out her skeleton key, which looked like a regular brass key, but the ridges and teeth could cybertronically change shape to fit into the lock, then push the tumblers to turning position. It took about a thirty seconds for it to find the right configuration, but then the deadbolt moved, and Kim and Ron stepped inside. Rufus poked his head out of Ron’s pocket, sniffed, didn’t like the smell, and dove back in, shuddering. Kim and Ron walked through exhibit rooms, around a circular balcony above a large pit with a pool, a sandbank, and several alligators on the bottom, and toward the private lab corridors marked “No Public Access.” Again Kim used the skeleton key to open the door.

Quietly, Kim and Ron entered the corridor. Almost immediately, a steel gate closed behind them.

“What’s that?” Kim asked.

“Heh, heh, heh, Señorita Possible, I was expecting you, but perhaps not so soon,” said a heavy-set man with a big handlebar mustache, sand colored clothes, and a Mexican accent. “I am, of course, Dr. Gonzales.”

Kim dropped to a fighting stance, and as did Ron. “Expecting me? Why?” she asked.

“You are the one who breaks into my lab, perhaps I am the one who should ask questions,” replied Gonzales. “But to answer yours— I monitor those Night Rangers. You should not be surprised that I oppose them. I was born ‘en Mehico’ myself. Why should my fellow compadres not have the same opportunities as I? Anyway, I read their hit on your website, so I think, if these Rangers tell you they are bothered by giant gila monsters, naturally you would come to me, the expert, for information. There are old stories of gila monsters far exceeding the half meter length that is pretty much as big as they get, but these are not credible. They are poisonous, but they usually won’t bother you if you don’t mess with them. Then they bite, and hold on, and chew their venom into you.”

“Ew,” said Kim.

“Very painful, señorita. Not usually fatal. But they don’t become five meters long, don’t chase vigilantes on quad bikes.”

“Not unless they were given lots of growth hormone and controlled with moodulator chips,” said Kim.

“Huh,” Gonzales grunted.

“I think you know what moodulators are, you with your size 13 Los Tauros cowboy boots,” said Kim.

“You think I’m smuggling Mexicans like their preposterous story? I am a big man for immigrants’ rights in this city, and they are trying to discredit me.”

“That still doesn’t explain the bootprints, Dr. Gonzales.”

“Bah! Plainly you are with my enemies.”

“Amp down, Dr. G.,” said Ron. “We like Mexicans. We like Mexican food. Maybe this is all a misunderstanding. We got in here pretty easily. Maybe someone else did, too. Maybe they stole your growth hormone and, like, made giant gila monsters. Where do you keep it? Is any missing?”

“Um, er, well— okay, we go have a look! Come this way!” He shuffled down the hallway and around the corner.

Kim held Ron back, “I think he’s improvising a trap.”

“We’re already in one,” Ron said quietly, pointing toward the steel gate. “I’m trying to make him show us something.”

“Let’s go!” said Kim.

They hurried to the corner, then slowed to a walk. Gonzales was unlocking a cabinet. “It’s in here.” He inhaled sharply as though surprised. “You are right, señor. Some of the hormone is missing.”

“I don’t believe you,” said Kim. “They would had to steal that hormone months or years ago to have time to grow them so big, no matter how well they fed them, and you should have discovered the theft long before this.”

“Maybe so, Señorita Possible, but I am a very busy man. I haven’t done the hormone studies for awhile, and—”

Gonzales broke into a run. Kim made a flying somersault leap to land on top of him. He threw her off while rising to his feet and reached into his pocket. Ron ran up, trying to grab and wrestle that arm. Kim grabbed Gonzales’ other arm. He tried to kick and Kim flipped him over. He struggled a bit more, seemed to give up, then suddenly threw them both off and managed to open a door and lock himself inside. There was the creaking sliding sound of a window opening.

“Stand back, Ron,” said Kim, and tried a kung fu kick to the door, which splintered a hole through the heavy wood panel.

A loud hiss came from the darkness, then a growl.

“Kim, I don’t think we want to go in here!” said Ron.

A beaded gila monster snout about the size of a small shovel poked through the hole and further splintered the wood.

“Giant gila monster!” cried Ron.

It kept ramming the door with its head and pushing, trying to break out in a rage.

“This way!” said Kim, sticking her skeleton key into a door lock back around the corner. “Come on, come on, please! Got it!” she opened the door and turned on a light.

Behind them, more sounds of breaking wood and deep hisses.

Inside the room, plastic buckets marked “western diamondback.”

“Rattlesnakes!” said Ron.

“Yeah, but they’re normal sized and stuck in buckets. Come on, there’s a window, that’s all we need. Now, Ron!”

An enraged gila monster the size of an alligator was coming around the corner toward them. Kim latched the door, crossed the room, and unlatched the window. “We’re on the second floor here. No big. Let’s go!” She fired her hairdryer gun, the grappling hook grabbed the top of a light in the parking lot, Ron held onto her shoulders, and they swung a long way from the building.

Suddenly, almost silently, a black sedan with headlights off came at them.

“Oh my gosh!” said Kim, shooting her hairdryer’s second hook at another light. Grabbing Ron, she let the winch pull her high in the air, then slackened it to make a landing outside the fence. “He’s got night vision goggles,” said Kim. “Have I got mine?” She felt in her cargo pockets. “Yes! Parity!” she put them on. “I really wish I had my rocket skates.”

Ron pulled a miniature skateboard out of his pocket, which quickly went through a cybertronic enlargement when he pressed a button.

“You rock, Ron,” said Kim, hopping onto the board behind him and embracing his waist as the rocket motor fired and they sped down the road. In almost no time they were across the bridge over the freeway, and weaving through the city’s side streets and alleys.

They stepped into an all night coffee shop and sat down at a table in the corner, where the light was dimmest. Ron collapsed his skateboard and put it back in his pocket. Rufus poked his head out of Ron’s other pocket and said, “Naco!”

“Sorry, buddy, but this so isn’t Bueno Nacho!”

“Aw!” said Rufus, and dived back into Ron’s pocket.

Kim went to the jukebox, looked at the song list, said, “Oh well,” and dropped in two quarters. A country western song began playing. Ron looked surprised. “It was too quiet,” Kim said softly, pulling out the kimmunicator.

“Wade, I need to meet with Dr. Bortle, and then Agent Kent, you know who I mean?”

“Bortle’s easy, and I think I can find Kent. Good idea, Kim.”

“Huh? What idea?” asked Ron.

“Not here. You’ll see.” Kim stepped slowly to the door, peeked outside, looked up and down the street.

“You think he’s looking for us?”

“I so have a bad feeling about this—” said Kim, taking Ron’s hand and pulling him outside. “The motel! I’m registered there. Gonzales may have enough internet savvy to hack We’re in danger there. We’ll have to get our stuff and go somewhere else.”

“And pay twice as much,” Ron said sullenly.

“Well, we could camp in the desert,” Kim suggested.

It took them about half an hour to slip through the side streets on foot till they were in sight of the motel. “Total caution,” whispered Kim. “Gonzales might be there— look, he is!”

In the shadowy edge of the parking lot, away from the rooms and behind two big rig trucks, one red and silver, the other black, was a black sedan.

“Think those trucks are part of his operation?” Ron whispered.

“The first one was already here. The second one looks like bad news.” Kim and Ron crawled behind the desert brush outside the fence surrounding the motel. “Okay, there’s our room and it’s dark, and the door’s closed. It’s opening.”

Gonzales came out of the room, a sombrero and bandana covering most of his face. He looked around, moved into the shadows, and climbed into the passenger sat of the black big rig. “They’re not here, Pedro,” he said quietly. “Guess we set up a surprise.”

The men walked around to the back of the truck, opened the sliding door, and pulled down the loading ramp. Gonzales took a remote control from his pocket and went inside. A bit of bumping and clanging, and he came out again, followed by a gila monster that looked about eight or ten feet long. He ran across the parking lot to the room. The big lizard followed.

Kim took out her hair dryer and fired the grappling hook into a landscaping tree. She grabbed Ron, winched and swung over the fence, and dropped to the ground next to Gonzales’ black car. Crouching beside the door, she stuck her cybertronic skeleton key in the lock. After a few tense moments, she opened the door, slid into the driver’s seat, Ron got in the passenger’s seat, and Kim stuck the skeleton key into the ignition. “Come on, baby, got it!” The key turned, the motor started. As Kim backed out of the parking place, she rolled down the window and stuck what looked like a wad of brown gum (or mud) onto the black tractor cab, then turned on the headlights and peeled rubber across the parking lot, just as Gonzales was locking the oversized poisonous lizard inside her motel room.

“Badical! We stole his car!” said Ron.

“And put a tracking device on the truck, which I hope they don’t notice,” said Kim.

Kim raced up the freeway on ramp, headed toward the interchange with the other freeway, and headed south.

“Wade, patch me through to the Oasis Motel.”

“Um, okay—”

A view from the lobby security camera came on screen, showing the receptionist who was saying, “Oasis Motel, how may I help you?”

“Hi! This is Kim Possible. I rented room thirteen. You might want to know that the mad scientist lurking in your parking lot has locked a ten foot long venomous gila monster in my room.”

“Sorry, we don’t allow pets,” said the receptionist.

“Well, if you want to call animal control to have it removed, I won’t object— but you might want to wait till I get back. The mad scientist, you see, is making the lizard obey him with a moodulator. I’m just giving you a heads up so no one gets hurt.”

“Oh, okay. You really are that Kim Possible, aren’t you?”

“Gotta go,” she said, and Wade returned to the screen. “Now Dr. Bortle,” she said.

Cyrus Bortle appeared on the screen, wearing pajamas. “Miss Possible—”

“This is what I need, and I want it ready for me by the time I reach your lab.”

Between midnight and dawn, a speeding black big rig turned off the state highway onto a gravel road, with a screech of tires digging a spray of rocks. It almost fell over, but didn’t, and bumped down the gravel road.

“We’re in big trouble now, I know it,” said Pedro, the driver.

“Just twelve miles to Mexico, mi amigo, then we disappear in the mountains for awhile, ” said Gonzales.

About a minute behind them, a sheriff’s truck and a state patrol car turned off the state highway onto the same road.

Gonzales’ truck ran over a spike strip across the gravel road and the tires went bang. Pedro managed to keep control, to keep moving, but the vibrations and rattling quickly became intolerable, and at the first rise in the road, the truck rolled to a stop.

On another gravel road, a four wheeled all terrain vehicle moved quietly, its headlights off, the driver wearing night-vision goggles. “Green Man, this is Kent. Report.”

“Kent, the dog has tripped. Where’s Knockout?”

“On my way,” said Kim, sitting with Ron on another quad bike. “Let’s roll.”

Kim and Ron and the Night Rangers converged on Gonzales’ stranded truck. The back door was open, and three ten foot long Gila monsters were aggressively coming down the ramp.

“I don’t think so,” said Kim, pulling a moodulator control out of her pocket and aiming it at the lizards. They slowed down considerably and looked around at their surroundings, as if puzzled.

Meanwhile, six much bigger giant gila monsters, one of them a truly imposing twenty-one footer, converged on the scene.

“You guys chill, too,” said Kim, sweeping the control around at the others. “Gonzales, you are so busted!” she shouted. “Come out of the truck and surrender. My control’s more powerful than yours, even on the lizards right next to you.”

Two sheriff’s trucks, and three state patrol cars converged on the scene. Gonzales and Pedro came out of the back of their truck with their hands up, lay face down on the ground, and were taken into custody.

“Good work, Miss Possible,” said one of the officers. “Now what do we do with these critters?”

“I guess they belong to Desert Reptile World,” said Kim. “As far as Wade can tell, the owners and administration are not involved with this business, but you may want to verify that. These critters should be quite harmless as long as this control is locked on docile. Get some trucks out here, we’ll move them, and let the other herpetologists figure out what to do with them.”

Kim and Ron got into Monique’s rental car. “You spent the day moving nine giant gila monsters?” she asked. “Eww-ohh,” she shuddered.

“They were stuck in a friendly mood,” said Ron.

“There may be a few more we missed,” said Kim. The Night Rangers are searching the desert near the border.”

“The dude was bad road,” said Ron. “He gave us this self righteous spiel about the rights of Mexicans. Turns out he was smuggling southeast Asians for big bucks.”

“They’re holding him on attempted manslaughter or mayhem with deadly giant lizards under moodulator control while they investigate his connections,” said Kim. “Did you find something good to buy for Club Banana?”

“Ron, it’s in the convention plastic bag, right next to you.”

Ron removed a jungle print blouse with embroidered neckline and sleeves and passed it to Kim.

“Wow, Monique, that is really fine.”

“The Ghana brother gave me such a sweet deal, way below what corporate pays China for stuff so less fine. Girl, I’m on my way!”

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