"Chili, drop everything and give me ten...books!" Hotdog yelled. They could snark at each other later. Right now the future of the planet depended on working as a team. Chili didn't look up from his ipod.

"Your mother's a smarmy snoot," he muttered, too engrossed in Bat Segundo's antics to pay attention.

"It's 'your mother wears Army boots' you nitwit." Hotdog kept his leg wedged in the bookstore door, holding it open despite the crush of bodies flowing down the street that threatened to close it, sealing them inside.

Chili could muddle anything. Actions. Words. It didn't matter. Leave it to Chili and the world was doomed. But Hotdog wasn't giving up without a fight. There had to be a way to stop this madness, to return the street outside to the paradise of blue-haired ladies and promenading poodles it had always been.

"Give me books!"Hotdog's leg was going numb. He couldn't feel his bunion anymore. A small benefit, but he wouldn't be able to hold out much longer.

Chili's eyes never left the iPod. He laughed at something Bat Segundo was saying, while he groped along the bookcase behind him with one hand.

"You're mom got the name right," Chili mumbled. "Hotdog fits. The roar of the greasepaint, smell of the crowd. Drama king. "His hand closed on a book and he raised it above his head.

"You stupid Hinkypunk. That's a signed edition of Harry Potter. Choose another!"

"You're the frickin‚ will of the wisp." Chili set the book down with haste and reverence, his eyes still glued to his iPod. He fished out another, a thick reference tome, and lobed it in Hotdog's direction.

"It's will-o'-the-wisp, Einstein! It's the smell of greasepaint, the roar...Ow!" The book struck Hotdog's nose. He caught it anyway. Blood spattered the title: Terrapins, Turtles, and Terrain." An appropriate volume to save the planet. He'd only get one shot today. He'd have to make it a good one.

He shoved open the door, flinging bodies helter-skelter across the street to slam into tree trunks and storefronts with satisfying smacks and squashes. Taking careful aim at the hideous creature coming down the street, he released his missile. It hurtled through the air, pages fluttering, and thudded against the monster's hard-shell dome. The monster lost control of its bike, crashing into a hedge.

"Got him! Five o'clock. The world is safe again!"Hotdog grabbed his time card, punched out, and headed for the back door. "See ya, Chili."

Will Smith stuck his helmeted head inside the bookstore "That alley cat gone?"

"Galleycat gone. Shot out of here like a canyon." Chili switched off his iPod. Bat's show was over. "Left with a muddy blows this time."

Will frowned, working that one out. "Bloody nose?"

"Yay." Chili grinned and made a throwing motion. "I been practicing. You workin‚ 'til nine?"

"Gotta. Need the money. Bike repairs."

"Yay." Chili clocked out. "Another day, another holler."

Saving the world in less than 500 words!

Scoring to come

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