February 14th had been a day like no other for Gadget Hackwrench. She now
lay in her bed, unable to sleep. Chip and Dale had, as usual, attempted to
win her over. And, as usual, she had neither encouraged nor rejected either
of them. But it bothered her, somehow, because this year the competition
had seemed more serious. Chip's gift of a poem, a poem that expressed more
than passing interest, was quite unexpected. And what of Dale's utterly
romantic card and dinner, it had indeed been too much for her. She never
wanted that kind of attention before, yet today...today it had made her
feel like some lovesick girl out of a seedy romance novel. Perhaps a
southern belle torn between two lovers. It was all so exciting and
surprising. Gadget wasn't sure whether she was more surprised over the
extent of the affections presented towards her, or whether more surprised
over her actually enjoying them.
It wasn't that she didn't want to be involved with anyone, but rather that
she just didn't feel ready to add a relationship into her life. And who was
to say that she should get involved with Chip or Dale, or someone else
entirely. She thought on that for a moment, then decided that Dale probably
wasn't a true candidate. Dale was so wonderful and sweet, but they were
just too different. and Foxglove did so have her heart set upon him. But
what of Chip? Her exact feelings were difficult to pin down. I mean, in
many ways, Chip could be the perfect guy for just about everybody. He was
quite understanding. Aggressive in his pursuits, yet careful not to go too
far. He could be a tad overbearing, but no more than she herself was
obsessive. Chip was her friend, one of her best. He was also her leader,
leader of the group, albeit not officially. And she truly cared for him,
but love? She wasn't quite sure it was that. Maybe in time it would be. Or
maybe in time it would be someone else that would lay claim to her heart.
*Golly! Now I am starting to think about this stuff too much!* A knock at
the door interrupted her.
"Yes?" she called.
The door opened partway to reveal Chip. Gadget wasn't sure if she was
enthused or disappointed, it was difficult to tell. "Oh, hello Chip.
Something I can do for you?"
"Actually, yes, there is." he replied. " I want to set
"Set something right?"
"Yes. Gadget...I feel that I was way out of line today. That I went a
little bit too far. And...and If I troubled you, I'm sorry. I guess I just
suffer from the writer's curse. Give me a pen an paper and I'll write
something completely ridiculous and inappropriate."
"Don't fuss over it, Chip. It's Ok. I promise I'll never even give it
another thought. Really." *Because I really don't want
"I am sorry."
"Go to bed, Chip"
"I shouldn't have said all that."
"Go to BED, Chip."
"Sometimes I just get carried away."
"GO to BED, Chip."
"And I say things I shouldn't-"
Gadget looked up heavenward. "Why doesn't he hear me? I know I'm speaking,
I can hear my voice."
"Well, I should be going. Goodnight."
The door close behind the chipmunk, and he merrily went on his way.
*Was he trying to annoy me?* she thought to herself. *Goodness, that
chipmunk can be so annoying from time to time.* Gadget felt around under
her pillow and produced the poem that she and Chip had just spoke of. After
reading it through once more, she lay back, resting her head on the soft
pillow. Her arm reached up and felt one of the tinkertoy wheels that was
fastened to the top of her bedpost. She removed it, twisted it around in
her hand, then absent-mindedly tossed it across the room. It hit her mirror
and shot right back, nailing her in the chest. It then rolled all the way
down her body, dipped off between her legs, and came to a rest against her
foot. She sat up, almost dumbfounded at the lightning reaction. A quick
glance at the mirror revealed that it was unscathed. she picked up the
wheel and examined it, as though seeing it for the first time. It was
nothing out of the ordinary. Just a simple toy, a toy Gadget had found a
wonderful use for in many areas of the Ranger tree. She didn't really know
what it was like to not be able to see things in one's mind, not be able to
look at something and see it for something far greater. And as she fingered
the wheel, her mind was already forming altogether new and intriguing uses
for the thing. The poem lay next to her. She only became aware of it again
when she rolled over and heard it rumpling. Coming out of her trance, she
then picked up the love note and placed in one of her drawers, a drawer
where she kept some of her most private possessions and memories. Come the
morning, she would probably lock it inside the chest she kept in her
workshop. Nothing would ever disturb it there. A stray thought wandered
into her mind. "What if this is the only thing like this I ever receive?"
she said without thinking. She chased it out quickly. *What AM I thinking?*
I'm filling my head with all this mindless drivel! I mean, I'm keeping
myself awake, worrying and wondering about all this stuff that I wouldn't
ordinarily give a passing thought to! It's this stupid time of year,
that's all! For all the good it was meant to do, it seems to be bringing me
only inner turmoil! Ooooooh!*
Gadget panted for a moment, angry at herself for getting so worked up over
non-existant romances. "Control yourself Gadget." she said to herself.
"Calm down. Sleep. I need sleep. That's all I need." Settling down, she
collapsed back into a lying position and tried to let sleep overtake her.
She was, unfortunately, letdown. As though against her will, she threw open
her dresser drawer and grabbed the poem. Her first instinct would have been
to throw it across the room, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. "Chip
worked really hard on this." And she knew she could never destroy it,
regardless of whom may have written it. It could have been anybody, she
would not be able to bring herself to such a distasteful and uncaring deed.
Well, maybe if it had been Rat Capone. But since it wasn't. She couldn't.
She was truly furious with herself now. *Looks like I won't get much sleep
tonight.* She sighed inwardly. The worst part is that it was all her own
doing. It was her fault for never saying anything. She should have come out
before and said yes or no to Chip, yes or no to Dale, or no to both of
them. In pretending to be oblivious, she had only made the situation worse.
It might have been a good plan at one time, but now she realized it for a
harmful mistake. *It could be worse, she mused, *It can always be worse.*
She stood up, theorizing that the best way to deal with the situation now
was to have a drink. An honest to goodness alcoholic beverage. *Only a
drunk person would get into this to begin with, I guess I'll need to think
like a drunk person to get out of it.* She knew she was kidding herself,
that she would never get herself drunk. It went against all common sense,
and though one could argue that Gadget Hackwrench has not always made use
of this basic tool, one could also say that she is not completely lacking
Sure enough, she entered the kitchen and helped herself to Monterey's
private stash of fine whiskey (used mainly in cooking, lest you be worried
I'm portraying him as a secret drunk) and poured herself a small amount.
She held it up, then allowed a small amount to pass through her lips and
down her throat. No, Gadget would certainly not find herself drunk. She
probably would have trouble finishing her thimbleful. Staring off into
space, Gadget knew there was only one thing she could do, only one thing
that might provide her with an answer.
"Dad?" she asked. "Daddy? I know more than anything else you've always
wanted me to be happy, to be myself. But right now I just don't know what
to do? I need some clarity, some direction in my life. I mean, I love the
work I'm doing here as a Rescue Ranger, but...but I need to be more in
touch with my personal feelings. I don't know if you can hear me, dad? But
I do know that you're out there, up there somewhere. I just want to know
what I should do, and I don't know who else to ask. Please, daddy, give me
the clarity I need. I love you." Poor Gadget was altogether engrossed in
her prayer that she
screamed aloud with fright when she felt a hand touch
"Aaaaah!" she yelled.
"Whoa! Whoa! Settle down Gadget. It's just me!"
Gadget turned to look at her intruder. Her facial expression turned from
one of shock to one of
annoyance. "I thought I told you to go to bed, Chip."
"I did go. But I couldn't sleep. I realize I still needed to make things
"You've done enough already, thank you."
"Gadget...I'm only going to say this once. I just want to be your friend.
All that other stuff doesn't mean anything if you're not my friend when all
is said and done. He reached out his hand and took the poem from her own,
then crumpled it."
Gadget turned her head sharply. "You didn't have to do
"Yes, I did."
"You gave it to me, and it was mine. And it was the most beautiful,
poignant thing anyone has ever given me, don't you realize that? It was an
outcry of you feelings!"
"Now it's garbage."
"What do you want from me, Chip? What do you expect of me? You've put me in
a really bad position here!"
"And it was wrong of me to do that. So I'm getting you out of it. I want
you to just let it go, permanently. Forget it. Put it out of your mind. It
doesn't matter what I feel. It's what you feel."
You know what the unfair thing is? It's that you are someone that I can
bring myself to love very, very easily, Chip. But I'm really just not ready
to take on something like that right now.
"Then don't. Gadget, you might very well find someone else who will become
the world to you. And I won't begrudge it to you if you do. All that's
important is that you follow your own heart and climb the steps of your own
soul. Take the time you need. If you need a month, I'll wait. If you need a
year, I'll wait. If you need a decade, I'll still be waiting. Only tell me
either way. If you find someone else, don't hide it from me because you're
afraid I'll be hurt. Because it would hurt me much worse if you kept it
from me. What I'm trying to say is, I'll wait for you. Even though you're
not a sure thing. But I don't want to lose what we have right now. Because
love or no,. there is still a great connection between us. One that we
haven't completely explored yet. You're a very integral part of this team.
So take all the time you need to sort some of this stuff out. Just have the
heart to forgive me for pushing so hard."
Gadget merely soaked in all his words without speaking. She nearly cried
"Thank you." She whispered. "For understanding."
"I just want you to be happy, regardless of what happens to me. Now, I'm
afraid I must leave you. You've got a lot of soul searching to do, and that
is best done in privacy. And I promise never to speak of any of this again
unless you ask me to. Business as usual, Gadget."
"G'night! Sleep well, we go hunting for a new case tomorrow."
"You know I will!"
The Next Day.....................
Scene: Atop the ceiling fan of the local police precinct.
"Ahoy Chipper!" shouted Monterey Jack. "You spy anything worthy of our
interest yet? I'm gettin' a mite tired o' hangin' around here! There ain't
even a bloomin' piece of cheese t'be had!"
"So they're lousy caterers! No, nothing yet. Looks like we seem to have hit
a dry spell. Perhaps we should use the opportunity to take a quick, 3-day
Everyone's head slowly turned to look at him, and each ranger had a
downright dumbfounded lokk on their face.
"Chip!" began Gadget "Are you suggesting we take a break? YOU? Quick!
Somebody get this on tape! We can use it against him later! He's getting
"All right Allright! Very funny! Can't a guy do something slightly out of
the ordinary around here once in a while?
The four seemed to huddle for a moment, then simultaneously
"Who cares?" shouted Dale. "Let's just take him up on it before he changes
"ZZzzzzz!" said Zipper, which translates loosely into
"Too right!" exclaimed Monterey Jack. "Where to?"
"Well, I think I could get us down to Florida by 1 this morning. Any
objections?" asked Gadget.
A moment of silence, then Chip said "It's settled. Florida. C'mon, let;s
get packed and moving. Every minute wasted here is one less one spent at
It was as though they were stampeding for the Rangerplane, and indeed they
were. During their run, Gadget gave Chip a cryptic, inquiruing
"Well." he said, "Business almost as usual." was all he
And Gadget Hackwrench understood, and smiled to herself. *He may not be
perfect, but I wouldn't have him any other way. Maybe, just maybe, we