"WHO'S MINDING THE MINE?"
by
LEE M. WITHERS
(An Original Looney Tunes/Tiny Toon Adventures Fanfic...more or less.)

CHAPTER ONE:
LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! IT'S A...CARROT???

If you were to look up in the sky that August Saturday not too long ago, you would have been impressed with the beauty of an absolutely gorgeous, perfect cloudless sky--blue for as far as the eye could see. Nothing up there at all, in fact, save for ol' Sol, the occasional bird, and a lone airplane. One might not have even taken notice of the plane, were it not for its color: bright orange (the color of carrots, and a major piece of sporting equipment), with a bright green tail. Pictured on the tail was the silhouette of a rabbit's head centered in a group of concentric circles. This identified the plane as "Hare Force One", the private plane of Toondom's most famous rabbit, Bugs Bunny.

Bugs had always enjoyed piloting his own plane ever since he made "Falling Hare" (that Clampett cartoon about the Gremlin during WWII); somehow, Bugs had gotten the flying bug (no pun intended) after that, and it had yet to let him go. Of course, Warner Bros. wasn't too happy about Bugs's hobby, but you didn't tell your top animated star "No", so...

If you were ever to go looking for Bugs and absolutely, positively could not find him on (or below) the ground, then all you had to do was simply look up. Flying was therapeutic for him; in fact, next to a quiet romantic evening at home with his long-time "goilfriend" Honey Bunny, Bugs said that being "up dere" was the sanest place he could think of. No contract talks, no meetings with "da suits", no script conferences...no Daffy...none of the trappings of being a film legend could bother him when he was in the cockpit of his custom-built Cessna. He felt absolutely free in the air...except for today. Something was bothering him, and not even the freedom of flight could cheer him up; a fact not lost on his co-pilot, who was never at a loss for words, and who lived his whole life by the simple motto, "WHY SHOUT WHEN I CAN YELL?"--Yosemite Sam.

"All right, ya rackin' frackin' varmint," Sam bellowed. "Ya been tight-lipped ever since we left Acme Airfield. What's eatin' at ya?" "I'll let ya know when we land," Bugs said grimly. "Wa'al, for the sake of our passengers, ya COULD try bein' a bit more hoss-spittable, ya long-eared galoot!"

Bugs was not smiling. He had not asked for the extra company on this flight, and was clearly not happy that they had somehow gotten on board without being noticed. He sighed, looked over his shoulder at his two "uninvited guests", and with an intense scowl, said, "You two okay back dere?"

"We're...just fine, Bugsy," Honey Bunny said nervously, an uncomfortable forced smile marring her otherwise pretty face. She turned to the smaller blue bunny strapped into the seat next to her. "Aren't we, Buster?"

"I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying..." he repeated forlornly, gripping the armrests for dear life. Honey felt it best not to ask Buster any more questions, and if at all possible, not to talk to Bugs until he'd cooled off. She really couldn't blame him for being ticked off at them; after all, it was Honey who had talked Buster into having a "look" at Bugs's plane (Buster had never seen it before), and it was while they were seated in the back that Bugs and Sam had somehow, suddenly, and without even looking in the back of the plane, picked that precise moment to file a revised flight plan to a place called Gower Gulch, and then took off before even noticing that they had company. In fact, they were halfway to their destination before Buster had made their presence known (by whining "I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying..." like a broken record). But Buster and Honey Bunny (no relation!) were there now, and Bugs was just going to have to deal with it as best he could. He continued to glower at Honey as if to say he'd deal with _her_ as soon as they landed.

"Oh, please don't look at me like that, Bugsy, I _said_ I was sorry," she pleaded, her lower lip quivering uncontrollably, tears starting to form in her ever-expressive deep dark chocolate brown eyes. That was all Bugs had to see.

"Ohhh...all right, Duchess," he relented, addressing her by the most affectionate nickname he had for her. "Dry them there eyes. I can't stay mad at ya. Anyways, it's my fault, I guess I shoulda checked da plane again before we took off."

"Again?" Honey asked, regaining some of her composure.

"Yeah, I'd had da plane prepped for takeoff yesterday, but Looniversity stuff came up, and I didn't get back out to da airfield until...uh...ya feelin' okay, Buster?" Bugs finally asked, noticing the little blue (not to mention slightly green) bunny.

"I hate flying, I hate flying, I hate flying..."

Honey smiled. "He'll be all right, Bugs. Now, you were saying?"

"Well, it all concoins dis telegram...did ya ever meet my Uncle Buck?"

At the mention of his name, Honey's face lit up like a Christmas tree. "Yes, when I was a teenager! Gosh, I haven't seen Buck in years! How is he?"

"In a whole heckofaheap o' _trouble_, dat's how he is. Which is why we're headin' ta Gower Gulch..."

At Bugs's remark, Buster recovered his wits only long enough to say, "Gower Gulch? I always thought Porky made that place up..."

"Naah, Buster, it's real enough, all right," Sam said. "An' speakin' of Gower Gulch, that's it dead ahead!"

Upon hearing that, Buster said, "IhateflyingIhateflyingIhateflying..."

"Eh, Sam," Bugs remarked, "ya coulda chosen _anudder_ phrase, ya know."

"Huh?...oh...ah _see_," Sam chuckled. "Sorry, Buster--'straight ahead'!"

"Bugsy," Honey asked, "you could've made this flight yourself. Why is Samuel here, no offense, Sam."

"None taken, Honey Gal, and tuh answer yer impertinent question, if there's anybody that knows this here ter-rain, it's ME!"

Bugs allowed himself the luxury of a brief smile. "Dat's right, Hon, if anybody knows his way around Gower Gulch, it's Sammy. Besides, he and Buck are old friends. It wouldn'ta been right to leave him outta dis."

Meanwhile, Sam was making contact with the Gower Gulch airport. "FXL-5 tuh CON-trol tower, FXL-5 tuh CON-trol, over?"

"This is Gower Gulch Airport to FXL-5, we read, over?"

"This here's 'Hare Force One', ya got any place that we can park this here mo-cheenie, over?..."

After receiving landing clearance, the bright orange plane with the bright green tail made a lighter-than-hare landing. Bugs cut the engine and turned to his passengers.

"Dere, dat wasn't so bad, now, was it?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

"Perfect," Honey smiled. "You know, Bugsy, you really should take me flying more often..." Then she turned her attention to the bunny seated next to her. "Um...Buster?"

Buster wasn't saying anything, however, as he was otherwise occupied, throwing up in the nearest available container. Honey simply rolled her ever-expressive deep dark chocolate brown eyes heavenward, sighed, and said, "Oh, well...I suppose I can ALWAYS buy another purse."


Go to Chapter 2.

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