Call Off The Doctor! by David Perlmutter

David Perlmutter is a freelance writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The holder of an MA degree from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, and a lifelong animation fan, he has published short fiction in a variety of genres for various magazines and anthologies, as well as essays on his favorite topics for similar publishers. He is the author of America Toons In: A History of Television Animation (McFarland and Co.), The Singular Adventures Of Jefferson Ball (Chupa Cabra Press) and The Pups (Booklocker.com).

A superhero’s lot, like that of a policeman (at least, according to Gilbert and Sullivan), is not a happy one. You might think it would be fun, doing the kinds of things we do, but then you aren’t one, and so you wouldn’t understand. I, on the other hand, am one, and, along with my colleagues, am more acquainted with the uglier side of the job than you mere mortals could ever understand.

At least my human colleagues have the advantage of being able to blend in with the crowd when they want a break. Not as much of an option for me and others of my kind.

Who am I, you ask?

My name is Cerberus, and I am the mightiest puppy on Earth. I am faster, stronger, more intelligent and far more agile than any of my canine peers. As well as able to perform a variety of mental tricks that’d make your head spin if you could see them. How I got this way is neither here nor there for right now. All that needs to be known is that I was the progeny of an illicit affair between my Earthling ma and a mutha from outer space who left her alone to raise me. I don’t mind that, though- not even being sterile, or able to physically mature beyond my puppy form as a result of it. But given what my fellow female dogs have told me, I’m not missing much.

The point is, if you see a scrawny looking quasi-Dalmatian puppy with big ears, small paws and huge blue eyes, better not let your guard down. It might be me.

~***~

Anyhow, this is all preamble to the story I’m about to tell you, but you needed to know who I am to understand how this particular deal went down. And also, as I said before, not to misjudge me, which is exactly what the villains in my trade always do, for some unknown reason.

Let me set the scene:

Yours truly, in my civilian identity of Cuddles (not my choice of name, unlike Cerberus), the puppy pet of the physically beautiful but dumb as mud five year old human girl Gudrun Parker, had endured my usual post-breakfast, pre-kindergarten routine of having my mouth opened, my tail pulled, my ears stretched and my body hugged- repeatedly. Today in particular, beyond the limits of even my super-powered endurance. This was, fortunately for my temper, ended by my mistress leaving for school.

I had intended to get some Zs while Gudrun was away, to make sure I was strong enough to endure another “play” session with her when she got home. Unfortunately, I had only just settled in for a nap in my doghouse-cum-underground lair of secrecy and privacy, when the monitor of my intergalactic communicator clicked on, as it is wont to do in emergencies. On the screen was the visage of my fellow anthropomorphic heroine, Power Bunny, her baby blue uniform powerfully draped over her electric pink fur-clad physique.

“Wake up, Cerb’!” she shouted.

I woke up abruptly, cursed silently to myself and addressed her.

“This better be important, PB!” I snapped. “Gudrun played me like an ocarina this morning!”

“That’ll be the least of our worries if Doc Pomus is able to get her army of giant alien spiders loose on the world,” she told me. “Then, nobody will be safe from their ravenous hunger. Not even us.”

“Say WHAT?” I countered.

I’ll admit that I showed a bit of trepidation in my voice at the sound of “giant spiders”- for my fear of them is, at least psychologically, my main “weakness”, as it were- but that moment of petrification soon passed.

“I’m not making this up, Cerb’,” PB continued. “We gotta act quick if we want this to stop.”

“What about the other girls in the League? Are they in?”

I was referring there to our colleagues in the International League of Girls With Guns (again, not my choice of name), the reigning superhero club in the universe for saviors of the worlds with double X chromosomes. Alas, it appears that we would be alone on this one, as our associates were, it appeared, all otherwise engaged at the time.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” I told PB. “Don’t do anything ‘til I get there. Where are you?”

She gave me the co-ordinates, and I pledged to meet her there. Sighing, I made my great transformation from Cuddles to Cerberus by putting on the very same white T shirt with the giant black “C” on it in the center that you see me wearing now. Then, I was off.

  ~***~

Once PB and I had met up, we took cover in the brush outside of Doc Pomus’ estate to devise our plan of attack.

“Y’think she knows we’re coming?” PB asked.

“No doubt,” I said. “She’ll be prepared for anything, and so should we.”

“So what should we do?”

“We talk to her. Convince her of the negligible consequences of her actions, as well as her extreme selfishness and thoughtlessness in enacting them. Tell her she needs to stop immediately.”

“And if she won’t?”

“We KICK HER ASS!”

PB laughed.

“Always right to the point, aren’t you, Cerb’?” she said.

“Damn right I am,” I responded. “You spend most of your time the way I do, and you learn not to waste it.”

“Wish I could be able to waste time like you. You dogs get all the breaks when it comes to being pets.”

“Only if the cats don’t beat us to the good spots. Now come on. We got a job to do!”

So it was that we headed towards the estate, as nonchalantly as two anthropomorphic superheroes can be under