Dispatches on Hold-In their Place: An Old Clipping from the Honolulu Gazett

Doogan Plucked From Drink

The well-known ace reporter for the Hearst chain of newspapers is resting comfortably in the Royal Hawaiian Hospital today after being literally fished out of the Pacific by local boys fishing from an outrigger canoe.  It seems his trusty Remington Portable Typewriter had become entangled in their net.

"It all started as a joke," recalled the stunned newspaperman, "Hunnybunch and I had been out for a sight-seeing tour along the cliffs.  My new valet, Key Lock was hauling us in his rickshaw."

"Not that Key was a very good valet.  In fact he didn't do anything a valet is supposed to do.  But he's a good rickshaw runner.  He was a big strapping fellow and had the biggest thighs I've ever seen this side of a Brama bull.  That's what he did for a living before Hunnybunch started using him every day for trips around the island.  Next thing I knew he was living in our bungalow.  Hunnybunch said she'd hired him so he could be available full time."

"Anyway, during our picnic I had a snoot full and decided to take a nap in the rickshaw.  When I woke up Key Lock and Hunnybunch were pushing it backwards at a great rate, childish grins on their innocent faces.  I guess they didn't realize how close to the edge of the cliff we were.  The next thing I know I was free falling.  I reflexively grabbed for my trusty Remington just before I hit the water.  The next thing I knew I woke up here."

Local police inspector Charles Chan took up the story, "It appears that during the prank the heavy pounding of Mr. Key Lock's feet caused the collapse of the den of a family of wild boars.  Enraged the boars charged Mrs. Dugan and Mr. Key Lock as they peered over the cliff edge at the receding figure of Mr. Dugan.  They and the boars went over too.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday.  Roast boar will be served.

18. Dateline ? / Doogan Takes a Ride

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive.

Immediately after Lt. Merian Archer and I were beset upon by masked aerial assassins, who abducted the brave Rocket Trooper and laid a swath of destruction down upon the village market wherein we had taken refuge, a new peril befell this reporter.

As the smoke cleared, the villagers emerged from their respective hiding places to assess the damage to their shops and stalls. An angry murmur grew and it became apparent that the general feeling was that I, the foreigner, was in some respect to blame for their misfortune. My season on the Chicago Tribune’s sports desk honed a fine sense for a burgeoning lynch mob so I beat a hasty retreat up the road. They followed me for a pace and then, as if a starter pistol was fired, we simultaneously broke into a run, me clutching my Remington Portable and they, hay forks and lengths of broken wood.

Up the rutted path I raced and it was only the falling shroud of night that enabled me to take an abrupt turn up a side trail. Sheltering behind a gate post, they raged past me. I then discovered that I stood in the portal of a ruined mission. Suppressing my memories of Sister Eudorra’s oak yard-stick, I passed beneath a sagging lintel and entered.

The scent of decay greeted me and I knew that the missionaries had long since retreated from this crumbling outpost. I then noticed an object in the next room; a modern wheelchair! I examined this strangely placed artifact. Whereas all of the other furnishings were broken and decayed, the wheelchair looked clean and new. Fatigued from my ordeal, I took a seat to catch my breath. Toying with the arm of the chair, a surprising thing then happened. There were several switches secreted beneath the arm of the chair. I toggled one and there was a metallic ‘swish’. Ten inch, stainless steel blades protruded from the hubs of the chair wheels. In amazement, I toggled another switch. There was a roar of ignition and my seat shot forward in a gout of flame and smoke. The thin walls of the building blew away as the chair launched me outside. In futile panic, I tried to steer my ride but in the darkness I hit the jungle and flew through the underbrush until, what I think was a large palm, arrested my flight.

I came to in flashlight’s glare. At first I thought I was looking into the mustached face of my editor, C.J. Boggs, but realized that my examiner was instead a robust, Teutonic woman in a nurse’s uniform. I attempted to introduce myself but she raised a massive, knotted fist and I remembered no more. Turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

17. Dateline Gun Xiang / Woo Makes a Break

Cub reporter Jimmy Woo signing in. My escape from the besieged Gun-Xiang monastery has been successful, much due to the efforts of the courageous monks and especially my cousins, also monks within the order, the Chin twins.

To recount my situation, I was given shelter within the monastery after being recognized by the twins. I was then taken before the head monk wherein it was revealed that the Monks did indeed poses the Promethean Vacuum Tube invented by missing American scientist Dr. Raullo Ortega. The Head Monk explained that his order was in league with several other humanitarian groups, all engaged in a perilous struggle against a mysterious evil organization which was seeking total conquest of South Asia. While few details were known of this villainous group, it was known that Notorious Chun-King and his army were puppets of this infinitely devious criminal network. Apparently, a key player in this unfolding drama and a bastion in forces of good is the famed scientist/adventurer, Doc Thompson. Readers will all be familiar with the exploits of this heroic but seldom seen man, known for his fantastic exploits in the service of mankind. It was Thompson who was responsible for spiriting the Promethean Vacuum Tube away from Chun but due to further perils was forced to entrust the device to the good monks of Gun-Xiang. Unfortunately, spies had been at work and Chun was informed of the location.

It has now been determined that the Promethean Vacuum Tube must be returned to Doc before the monastery falls as it is only a matter of time before the sinister forces behind the warlord dispatch a more powerful force to conquer Gun-Xiang.    

In the end, the head monk asked for my assistance. I have been charged with the grave duty of carrying the mysterious Promethean Vacuum tube away from Notorious Warlord Chun-King and delivering it into the hands of Doc Thompson. To this end we were assigned a prized possession of the monastery, a German built motorcycle with a sidecar. The monks then saw to it that a large amount of rice wine found its way out to Chun’s army and seizing an opportune moment, all of us, Chin twins and I, clad in the robes of the monks, made a break for a hole in the lines.   

Our exit was made trough a small aquifer tunnel known only to the monks. Out we burst at full throttle down a shallow river bed, orange robes billowing behind us. Machinegun bullets spattered and a few shell rounds landed too close for my comfort, but we tore away from the monastery before the drunken troops could muster sufficient force to stop us.

I must end my dispatch here in hope that Mr. Doogan will read of my promising investigations. I will now conclude by asking Mr. Doogan’s Mother to set free her cat and switch off her lights as is traditional in this column.

16. Dateline Chin Wey / Mystery Attack

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive!

This dispatch continues from where I left off in my previous missive wherein Lt. Merian Archer and I were finishing a scant but hard-earned meal in the muddy street of a remote up-river village. Suddenly the ground rocked with a violet explosion! Chaos erupted in the market as panicked villagers abandoned their stalls in terror. Staccato burst of machinegun fire tore the air and Lt. Archer and I dove for cover beneath crates of cabbage, a pal of acrid smoke enveloping us.

The instigators of this heinous attack on defenseless villagers began to emerge from the oily grey haze. I could barely contain my astonishment. Clad from head to toe in rubber coated coveralls, faces obscured by hideous gas masks which sprouted breathing tubes attached to chrome cylinders, these villains were a veritable image from the medieval notion of Hades.

Lt. Archer brought his side arm to bear on the apparent leader. His shot caught the masked figure in the shoulder. At once the marauders poured their fire in our direction, spraying shredded cabbage everywhere. My attempt to surrender was nullified by Merian’s determination to make a hopeless last stand.

It was then that I noticed that the ground, in which my nose was buried, had darkened. Glancing up I saw an unnaturally low cloud formation overhead, almost touching the village rooftops. At once the shooting ceased. To my continued astonishment, the rubber suited attackers seemed to leap into the air and disappear into the strange cloud.  I turned to Lt. Archer but at that instant there was a blinding flash and I lost consciousness.

When I came to I was suffering a hangover befitting Uncle Ernie’s worst bathtub gin and Lt. Archer was nowhere to be seen. I realized now that my quest for missing American genius, Dr. Raullo Ortega, was to be a stranger adventure then even I had imagined it would be. Turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Doogan signing off.

15. Dateline Chin Wey / Doogans Takes the Stage

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive.

In the weeks following my previous dispatch, much has occurred that would baffle and astound my loyal readers at home. My companion, Lieutenant Merian Archer of the United States Rocket Corp, and I had come to the tiny up-river market village of Chin Wey and were seeking passage to China Station so that I can continue my quest for vanished American botanist, Dr. Raullo Ortega, creator of the Ultra-Violet Photosynthesizing Accelerator. Unfortunately, our sorry financial condition gave us little esteem in the eyes of the various river junk captains anchored at the decrepit jungle wharf.

In our desperation, I remembered my youthful apprenticeship on the variety desk of the St. Lewis Evening Bugle. Digging into my vaudeville memories I convinced my partner to join in a small street performance. While neither Lt. Archer nor I could soft shoe worth a hill of beans, our recently acquired chicken, Cassilla (aptly named after my first wife who was burlesque hoofer sporting legs not dissimilar), showed a marked ability to perform the lindy hop. Soon we were in the market square with Cassilla dancing while Lt. Archer played rocket pack percussion using chopsticks in accompaniment to yours truly as I hammered out a passable rendition of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ on my Remington Portable Noiseless Typewriter.

The sizable crowd our act drew was testament to our showmanship; however, my upturned hat remained sadly empty, perhaps due to the rural population’s unfamiliarity with sophisticated western culture. Our audience did eventually bestow upon us a sizable contribution of slightly over-ripe vegetables which, when combined with a soup stock made from our star attraction, kept us from starvation for another day. Despite our theatrical ambitions, passage up river remained an elusive goal.

I must pause here with a note that matters were about to take a dramatic turn. Until then, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Broadway Doogan signing off.