Monday night, and all was quiet in the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana. Almost. One jewelry store was locking up for the night, turning on the security system for their most prized possession, the Mardi Gras Pearls, the most expensive pearl necklace in the world. They were called the Mardi Gras Pearls, because they bore a striking resemblance to Mardi Gras beads, which is what two crooks counted on. They had a string of Mardi Gras beads with them, which were identical to the necklace. All they had to do was sneak inside the store without triggering the alarm.
"I'll have this lock jimmied in two shakes," one of them said.
"Good," the other said. "We can't afford any slip ups."
The first one nodded, and opened the door. The two of them slipped inside the store. The second crook took the strand of beads and switched them with the Mardi Gras Pearls as fast as she could, so she didn't set off the alarm. Then the two crooks fled the scene of the crime, as if nothing happened. Then they hightailed it to their hideout, which was a store that sold Mardi Gras beads, masks, and other decorative items for the holiday.
"I tell you, Jack," the girl said. "These pearls are gonna make us rich!"
"You said it, Nanette," Jack replied. "Better go put 'em in a safe place."
Nanette took the pearls and placed them with various other Mardi Gras items so they wouldn't look suspicious. Early the next morning, there was a knock on the front door of the store.
"We're not open until ten," Nanette said.
"Yeah, I know," Jack said. "I'll get rid of 'em."
Jack walked over to the front of the store and opened the window shade. He found Mike, Jerry, and Reggie standing in front of the door, waiting to get inside.
"Go away, we're closed!" he shouted. "Come back at ten!"
"We can't," Mike said. "We're the Discophonics."
"Yeah, we're performing in the Mardi Gras parade today," Reggie replied. "The parade director and our producer told us to pick up our costumes and stuff here at seven thirty."
"And it's seven thirty now," Jerry replied.
"Oh the Discophonics," Jack said. "Yeah, I forgot about you guys. Come in."
Jack opened the door, and Jerry, Mike, and Reggie walked inside, looking around the place.
"Nice place you got here," Mike said.
"Thanks," Jack said. "Stay here. I'll get the stuff."
Jack walked over to the back room. Nanette walked out to the front and saw the three boys, looking around the store. Her cheeks turned pink and she stormed towards the store room.
"I thought you were going to get rid of them!" she hissed at Jack.
"Those guys are the Discophonics," Jack said. "Remember? Some guy named Bob Rafelsen called and asked us to supply costumes and junk for this musical act for the Mardi Gras parade today? And we told them to come by at seven thirty?"
"Oh yeah, I forgot about them. Well, get them their stuff and get them out of here! We can't have them walking in and finding the pearls!"
Jack nodded, and took a box of stuff out to the front. He handed it to Jerry.
"It's all there," he said.
"Thanks," Jerry replied, looking through the box. "Come on guys, let's split."
Mike and Reggie followed Jerry out of the store, dying to go through the box. Jack shut the door, locked it, and pulled down the blinds.
"Close one," he said.
"No kidding," Nanette replied. "I'll go get the pearls. We've got to beat it before the cops show up."
Jack and Nanette walked into the store room in order to look for the pearls. Imagine their surprise when they couldn't find them!
"Where are they?!" Jack shouted.
"They were right here!" Nanette yelled.
"Back here somewhere! I just don't know where! But I know I put them back here."
"Yeah, but where?!"
"I don't know!"
"Think, Nanette! What did you do with them last night?"
"Well, last night, I came in here, and I threw them inside a box."
"Inside a box . . . . . Nanette, you didn't throw 'em in the box I just gave to those guys . . . . did you?"
"Well, the box isn't here so . . . . . . I did! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!"
"Me?! Why are you telling at me?! You were the one who left the pearls in the box!"
"Let's not panic. Let's think about this in a logical way. We've got to get those pearls back. Follow me."
Jack shrugged and followed Nanette out the back door. Luckily, they knew who to turn to in a case like this. The two of them went down Bourbon Street, past the French Quarter, and arrived at their stop. They walked inside a dark store, through a beaded curtain, and then sat down.
"What are we doing here?" Jack asked.
"We're here to visit Madame LaTrine," Nanette explained. "She's a voodoo expert."
"Oh yeah. I've come to her once or twice for something or another."
"Well, it doesn't look like she's home."
Suddenly, another beaded curtain swung open, and out stepped a woman, wearing a long, black garment, and a gold amulet with a green jewel in the center of it. She sat down and looked at Jack and Nanette.
"I am home," she said. "What can I do for you?"
"We have a slight problem," Nanette said.
"You stole the famed Mardi Gras Pearls and you accidently gave them to a group of boys who happen to be performing in the parade today," the woman said.
"How'd you know?" Jack asked.
"Madame LaTrine knows all and sees all," the woman replied. "Lucky for you, I know exactly what to do."
Madame LaTrine left the room, and disappeared. Jack and Nanette looked at each other, and shrugged. After awhile, Madame LaTrine returned to the room, carrying a small box. She handed it to Jack, as well as a slip of paper.
"Take that box to the address on the paper," she said. "Gordy will know exactly what to do."
"Who's Gordy?" Jack asked.
"My partner," Madame LaTrine replied. "That's all you need to know."
"Come on, let's split," Nanette said. "We have to get that necklace back!"
Jack shrugged, and took the box to Gordy's place, which was in the swamp. What Jack and Nanette didn't know was Gordy hailed from the Other Realm, and specialized in voodoo. He smiled sneakily and Jack and Nanette.
"Don't worry about a thing," he said. "I'll get your necklace back for you. No problem at all. You two wait here."
Gordy left his house, carrying the box with him. Jack watched him go, and then turned to Nanette.
"What's in that box, anyway?" he asked.
"I have no idea," Nanette said, with a shrug. "We'll find out sooner or later, I guess."
Indeed they were, but the Discophonics were going to find out first. In fact, they were preparing for the parade, changing into some very extravagant costumes.
"I tell you," Jerry said, looking at his reflection in a full length mirror. "We're gonna look like male Supremes in these!"
"No kiddin'," Mike replied, putting on a string of beads. "I can't believe this. Bob's got us wearin' the Mardi Gras colors."
"Well, there are three of us," Reggie replied. "And there are three colors of Mardi Gras. Purple, green, and gold."
"Yeah," Jerry said. "I would've figured they'd have me in gold since I'm the leader of the group."
"Well, the green looks better on you than it did on either of us," Mike replied. He happened to be wearing purple. "I'd much rather have had green anyway."
"Yeah," Reggie replied. "Sheesh, look at us. We've got so much metallic material on us, we'll blind anybody that comes within a two mile radius!"
Jerry had to laugh at that one. He pulled the remaining beads out of the box (which happened to be the Mardi Gras Pearls) and put them around his neck. Then he, Mike, and Reggie looked in the full length mirror.
"We look like fools," Jerry replied. "Davy would have a field day with this."
"Oh, I know," Mike said. Then he put on a mask. "At least they gave us these masks."
"They'll still know who we are," Reggie said. "After all, we are performing!"
"Well, Fellow Fools," Jerry said, picking up his own mask. "Are we ready?"
"We're ready," Mike said, laughing.
"Okay then," Jerry replied. "Masks on. Let's go."
Reggie and Jerry put on their own masks, and walked down to the parade grounds. The sidewalks were already jammed with people, most of them wearing costumes. Mike let out a low whistle as he looked.
"Man, I have a feelin' this place is gonna get wild," he said.
"You oughta see Mardi Gras in the French Quarter!" Jerry shouted. "It gets crazy over there!"
"How crazy?" Reggie asked.
"Well, let's say the behavior gets a little risque," Jerry explained. "But usually at night."
"We'll have to check it out then," Mike said.
Jerry and Reggie cracked up, and then climbed onto the float that they were going to be performing on. The parade got started, and Mike began to get a little nervous. He was getting that twinging feeling in his sixth sense, but he didn't say anything. He probably thought a fight was going to break up among the teenage girls that were on the street, since the Discophonics were going to be throwing beads, doubloons, and other items, like other float riders. For the introduction, the boys launched into a rendition of Gary US Bonds's "New Orleans" (what else?) Jerry was singing lead, and Mike, Reggie, and the crowd did the back up. The teenage girls went crazy. Mike and Reggie were doing most of the bead throwing. Jerry threw a couple of beads, but he had to concentrate on his choreography. He was moving around the float, dancing up a storm, and he didn't want to fall off the darn thing while it was in motion!
Just as Jerry finished up the song, a large puff of smoke appeared right in front of the float, stopping the whole parade cold. The crowds were awestruck.
"Is this part of the show?" one of the float riders asked.
"I don't think so," Mike said, taking off his mask to get a better look at what just stopped the float. "I'm gettin' that icky feelin' in my sixth sense again."
The smoke cleared, revealing a man, dressed in black, and face made up in white, black, red, green, and gold paint. He had some kind of snake wrapped around his neck. Reggie thought it was real for a minute or so, and then realized it was rubber.
"What is that?" Jerry asked.
"I'm not sure," Mike said. "But I think it's a voodoo priest."
"Voodoo?!" Reggie shouted.
"Ah ha!" the man in black shouted. "The young man has figured me out! I am most certainly a voodoo priest. They call me Gordonalis, the master of all voodoo!"
"Oh my lord," Reggie said.
"Mama mia," Jerry said, nervously.
"Now hold it," Mike said. "There's no such thing as voodoo. It's just a bunch of mumbo jumbo."
"Oh is it?" Gordonalis asked. "I have incredible power. Amazing power you'd never believe! I will now show you my next target."
Gordonalis waved his arms around, and then snapped his fingers. Another puff of smoke appeared in his hands. When it cleared, he was holding a voodoo doll in his hand. One that bore a striking resemblance to none other than Jerry Blavat.
"Wha?" Reggie asked.
"Me?!" Jerry shouted.
"Relax, Jerry," Mike said. "There's no such thing as voodoo."
"Yet there is such a thing as witchcraft?" Reggie asked. "Isn't voodoo a type of witchcraft, Mike?"
"Don't get technical, Reg. Besides, he's puttin' us on."
"Oh am I?"
Gordonalis took a pin out of his garment and stuck it into the Jerry doll's back. In response, Jerry let out a scream of pain.
"Ow!" he shouted. "I've been voodooed!"
"You haven't been voodooed!" Mike yelled. "There's got to be a logical explanation to all this."
"Yeah, I've been cursed, that's what!" Jerry shouted.
"Indeed he has," Gordonalis said. "And you, Jerry Blavat, you will remain cursed for all eternity!"
"But why me?!" Jerry shouted.
"Yeah, it doesn't make sense," Reggie shouted.
"It doesn't have to make sense," Gordonalis said. "It's the way it goes. But there is one way to lift the curse."
"What's that?" Jerry asked.
"First of all, you must not lose those beads you wear around your neck."
"Keep wearing these beads? Sounds kinda silly if you ask me."
"They're vitally important, trust me."
"Okay. I keep the beads. Then what do I do?"
"Seek out Madame LaTrine. You will find her in the swamp lands."
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," Reggie said.
"Yeah, the Louisiana bayou isn't exactly paradise," Mike replied. "And this Madame LaTrine sounds like one spooky character."
"Suit yourself," Gordonalis said. "If you want to remained cursed. That's not my problem."
With that, Gordonalis dropped the doll to the ground. Once he did that, Jerry felt like he was being thrown off the float, and he landed on the ground, flat on his back. Mike and Reggie gasped, jumped off the float themselves, and helped Jerry to his feet.
"Hey, Jer, are you all right?" Reggie asked.
"Yeah, that was some fall!" Mike shouted.
"I'm okay," Jerry said. "Still don't think there's such a thing as voodoo, Mike?"
"Of course there isn't!" Mike shouted. "That was just a coincidence."
Gordonalis laughed, picked up the doll, and twisted it's arm behind it's back. Jerry felt as though someone was twisting his arm them. He let out a painful shriek as Gordonalis twisted the doll's arm.
"Then again," Mike said. "I could be wrong."
Gordonalis laughed, and let go of the doll's arm. Then he snapped his fingers and disappeared the same way as he arrived. Everybody was silent. Mike, Reggie, and Jerry looked at each other, not quite knowing what to think. But one thing was for sure, they had to figure out what to do about this voodoo curse Jerry was supposedly under.
"You really think there's such a thing as voodoo," Mike said. "Boy, we get ourselves into more predicaments."
"You're telling us?" Reggie asked. "What are we supposed to do?"
"I don't know about you guys," Jerry said. "But I'm gonna go check out this Madame LaTrine person. I definitely don't want to be cursed the rest of my life."
"Oh for cryin' out loud, Jer!" Mike shouted.
"Well, after what happened earlier," Jerry said. "I don't want to take any chances, that's all!"
"He's got a point, Mike," Reggie replied.
"Okay," Mike said. "Yeah, you guys do have a point. Well . . . . let's go. We've got a lot of ground to cover."
"We?" Reggie and Jerry asked in unison.
"Yeah," Mike said. "I'm not gonna let you go off into the swamp lands alone, Jer. Knowin' you, you'll land into a mess of trouble."
"Yeah okay," Jerry said. "Sure. I didn't want to go in there alone, anyway. Let's get out of these ridiculous costumes and head on out."
Mike and Reggie agreed, and the three boys headed back to their hotel to change. Mike and Jerry got changed pretty quickly. All they had to do was wait for Reggie. He came out, finally, wearing his glasses.
"Lose your contacts again?" Mike asked.
"I dropped 'em when I took that darn costume off," Reggie said. "I figured we didn't have any time to find 'em, so I just grabbed my glasses."
Mike and Jerry shrugged, and the Discophonics were off. But they were being watched, by none other than Madame LaTrine, Gordy, Jack, and Nanette.
"Does he still have the pearls?" Nanette asked.
"Yes, he's still wearing them," Madame LaTrine said. "I didn't know his friends would come along."
"We're gonna have to separate them," Gordy said. "Thank goodness we've got the voodoo doll. It'll be easier to separate the three of 'em with it."
"Just so long as Blavat has the pearls," Jack said. "We've got to get them back before he finds out they aren't Mardi Gras beads!"
"But what about the other two?" Nanette asked.
"Don't worry," Gordy said. "Once we separate them, everything will fall into place."
The four villains laughed. At the moment, the Discophonics had reached an area of the swamp lands, trying to figure out where to go from there.
"Well, there's walkin' in the marsh, and then there's the river," Mike said. "Take your pick."
This was the moment Gordy was waiting for. He knew of an old raft that was laying in the water's edge. All he had to do was steer the three boys toward it. He took a model raft from his table, and set the voodoo doll on it. That was when Jerry spotted the real raft in the distance.
"Why don't we go down the river?" he said. "Look, here's a raft."
"Ah ha," Reggie said. "That's good 'cause I wasn't about to walk through the marsh."
"Not in this humidity, that's for sure," Mike replied. "Let's go."
The boys climbed aboard the raft, and used long sticks for paddles. They rolled down the river, looking for anything out of the ordinary.
"What exactly are we looking for?" Reggie asked.
"You heard the Writer," Mike replied. "Anythin' out of the ordinary. Once we find somethin' out of the ordinary, then we've found Madame LaTrine."
"How does your mind work, Mike?" Jerry asked.
"Don't ask me, I don't know."
Jerry shrugged, and continued rowing down stream. They went further into the bayou, looking around for anything that looked like a voodoo priest's hut or whatever they lived in. All they saw was marsh and swamp.
"I feel like Tom Sawyer," Mike said.
"I guess that makes Jerry Huck Finn," Reggie cracked. Both Mike and Jerry swatted him.
"This is no time for jokes," Jerry said. "I'm getting a creepy feeling about all this."
"So am I," Mike said. "My sixth sense is startin' to twinge."
Those were the words Gordy and Madame LaTrine were dreading. They looked at each other and realized something.
"He's one of us!" they shouted.
"What do you mean?" Nanette asked.
"The Nesmith kid," Gordy said. "He's a witch! We've got to separate those guys and fast!"
"What's the matter with Nesmith being half witch?" Jack asked.
"He's the type who can sense danger," Madame LaTrine said. "And he'll be able to tell if those are beads or pearls if he gets a good look at them."
"We've got to act fast," Gordy said. He took the model raft and placed it in a model river, lined with model trees. Then he knocked one of the trees down onto the raft. The little raft smashed into pieces.
Meanwhile, on the river, the boys were still rowing, looking around for anything weird, when suddenly, they heard a tree falling. They looked up and realized that one was definitely falling all right. And it was about to hit them.
"Uh oh," Jerry said.
"Oh boy," Mike said.
"Timber!" Reggie shouted.
The tree crashed into the raft, and smashed it to pieces. Mike, Reggie, and Jerry grabbed onto pieces of it, and tried to regroup.
"Wow!" Jerry shouted. "That tree must've been filled with termites!"
"No kiddin'," Mike said. "Man, that was a close one!"
"The curse of the voodoo strikes again!" Reggie shouted.
"Reggie, that was just a coincidence," Mike said. "But just in case . . . . Jerry, do you still have those beads."
"Yeah," Jerry said, pulling the pearls out from underneath his shirt. "Right here."
"Let me see those for a minute."
Gordy began to get nervous when he saw that. Jerry took the necklace off and was about to hand it to Mike, when Gordy began to create a little rough waters for the boys. He created a strong current that swept the boys downstream.
"Whoa!" Mike shouted.
"Rough waters ahead!" Reggie yelled. "What do we do now?!"
"Try to get to shore, what else?!" Mike shouted.
Gordy watched the boys try to swim for shore and laughed. This was the perfect opportunity to separate them. He took his voodoo doll and threw it into his model lake. In the river, Jerry lost his grip on the piece of the raft he was holding onto and went under the water.
"Whoa!" Mike shouted, and then grabbed onto Jerry's hand. "Hang on, Jer!"
Jerry coughed and spat water out of his mouth. He scanned the waters, looking for something to grab onto, other than Mike. Gordy smiled, and created a lovely old fashioned thunder storm. That only made the already rough river waters rougher.
"What do we do now?!" Reggie shouted, trying to make his voice audible over the thunder.
"You're askin' me?!" Mike shouted. "Just hold onto anythin'!"
Jerry managed to grab onto another piece of the raft, but that didn't do any good. All three boys were swept into the current. They came to a fork in the river. Gordy was planning on this. He caused the voodoo doll to swerve one way, and then Mike and Reggie would go the other way. The three boys were so panicked, they didn't even notice they were about to be separated. It was dark in this part of the swamp. Jerry could barely make out the low hanging branches, but he managed to duck some of them. Except one, and he smacked right into it. WHACK! He banged his head on the branch, and then lost his grip on the piece of the raft. He slowly sank into the murky waters of the swamp, and then at the last minute, washed up on the shore.
Mike and Reggie weren't very lucky, either. Mike's piece of raft slid into shore, and he slid right into the mud.
"Perfect," he groaned. "What else could go wrong?"
Plenty. Reggie's piece was coming in closer and closer. Mike was a little too dazed to even notice it!
"Hey, Mike watch out!" Reggie shouted.
"Huh?" Mike asked. Then Reggie's piece of the raft slammed right into Mike's, which catapulted Reggie into the air.
"Ooh!" Mike shouted as the raft hit him. He slid further into the mud.
"Whoooaaaa!" Reggie yelled, as he flew into the air.
Mike didn't see where he landed. He was too dazed out. For all he knew, Reggie had landed somewhere in the next county at the rate he was flying. He just groaned and lay there in the mud like an alligator for a few minutes. Gordy, Madame LaTrine, Jack, and Nanette had watched the entire thing through Madame LaTrine's crystal ball.
"The way I see it, you should have your pearls by nightfall," Madame LaTrine said.
"Yyyeesssss!" Jack shouted.
"Once we get those pearls back, we'll make a fortune!" Nanette shouted.
The four villains laughed. They still had to wait, though. They weren't about to go out into the bayou and go find Jerry, unless it was absolutely necessary. In the meantime, Mike had just regained his senses. He stood up, and tried to wipe the muck and mud off of him. He wouldn't be able to use any magic. His battery was completely dead, so he couldn't do a quick clean up. He also wouldn't be able to locate Reggie or Jerry.
"Oh swell," he groaned. "Well, looks like I'll have to look for them the old fashioned way. Jerry! Reggie! Where are you guys?!"
Mike walked along the swamp, calling Reggie and Jerry's names, looking around for them.
"Jerry!" he shouted. "Reggie! Come on out, you guys!"
Mike continued to look around. As he was looking, a creature covered in mud crawled out of the swamp and skulked towards Mike. Mike wasn't even aware he was coming! He just continued walking around, calling Jerry and Reggie. He wasn't even aware of a mud monster behind him.
"Jerry! Reggie!" he called, just as the mud monster tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, and was face to face with it.
"Yikes!" he screamed, and jumped nearly fifteen feet in the air.
"Chill a sec, Mike! It's me!" the mud monster shouted.
"Reggie?!" Mike asked, incredulously.
"Well it ain't Little Bo Peep!"
Reggie removed his glasses, which were covered in mud. As a matter of fact, the only thing that wasn't covered in mud was what was under the glasses!
"Eehh, what happened to you?" Mike asked, making a face.
"I decided to take a mud bath with my clothes on," Reggie said, sarcastically. "What do you think?! When my piece of the raft hit yours, I was catapulted into the air and I landed in a lake that was full of mud!"
"Oh. Hey, have you seen Jerry?"
"No, after I landed, I didn't see much of anything except mud."
"Well, he's gotta be around here somewhere."
"Yeah. Come on, let's look."
Mike and Reggie began to walk along the marshes, calling out Jerry's name, looking around. After about five minutes, Mike began to tire out. Usually when his battery went dead, that was a sign.
"Reg, I gotta stop," he said.
"Uh oh," Reggie said. "Mike, please don't tell me you're gonna pass out."
"I'm gonna pass out."
"Man, I told you not to tell me that!"
"I need to eat, man. This hypoglycemia doesn't stop for nothin', you know!"
"Mike, please try and hold out for as long as you can!"
"I'll try, Reg, but I can't promise you anythin'."
Reggie nodded, and he and Mike continued to look around, but not for long. Mike just couldn't go another step, and he tripped over a tree root. He ended up banging the side of his head on the ground and passing out. Reggie groaned.
"Oh great," he said sarcastically. "I guess I've got to look for Jerry on my own now."
Reggie turned around, but ended up banging his head on a low tree branch. He heard the cuckoo birds and saw stars, and then fell backwards, right next to Mike. Both of them were out cold. The moment Mike came to his senses, he found himself staring at some kind of light. He groaned, and sat up, and noticed that he wasn't in the swamp anymore. He and Reggie were in some kind of bedroom. He shook Reggie's shoulder in order to wake him up.
"Hey, Reg," he said. "Wake up. We're out of the swamp."
"Ugh," Reggie said, leaning up. "Man, I've got a headache the size of Texas!"
"Yeah, tell me about it! I wonder where we are anyway?"
"In our house, silly," a girl's voice said. Mike and Reggie looked in the doorway and saw a young man and a girl standing there. Both of them were obviously Louisiana natives.
"Welcome to the Beauregarde Jackson Estate," the girl replied.
"Glad to see you're awake," the young man said. "Allow me to introduce ourselves. I'm Beauregarde Jackson the Third. Folks here just call me Beau. This is my sister, Cynthia Lynne, but we just call her Cissy."
"Hi," Reggie said. "I'm Reggie Bushroot and this is Mike Nesmith."
"The Mallards?" Cissy asked. "Oh, I just love your records! I didn't recognize you for a minute."
"What brings you down to this part of New Orleans?" Beau asked.
"It's a long story, Beau," Mike said.
"And pretty involved," Reggie replied. "I'll explain. No wait. It's too long. I'll sum it up. Me, Mike, and another friend of ours, Jerry, were performing in the Mardi Gras parade as the Discophonics, and as we were singing, this voodoo priest or whatever showed up, and claimed Jerry was cursed, and the only way to rid the curse was to find Madame LaTrine, and she could only be found in the swamp."
"At least that's what the fella said," Mike replied. "So we got on a raft and went down this river, but a tree fell on the raft, it split into pieces, and we ended up caught in a thunder storm, and then we washed up on shore. We couldn't find Jerry, so we went lookin' for him."
"That's when Mike passed out and then I ended up banging my head on a tree branch," Reggie finished up. "Hey, you guys didn't see Jerry around, did you?"
"Nope," Cissy said. "Beau and I went walkin' when we found you two lyin' on the ground out cold and covered in mud."
"But we didn't see anyone else," Beau said.
"That must mean Jerry's still out there," Mike said. Then his head began to throb. His danger sensors were really going out of whack. "And by the way my sixth sense is actin' up, he's gonna be in big trouble unless we find him!"
Mike and Reggie jumped up and started for the door. Beau and Cissy followed them.
"Wait!" Beau shouted. "We'll come with you!"
"You could get lost easily in the swamp!" Cissy warned.
"Okay," Mike said, nodding. "We may need a little help with this anyway, the way my sixth sense is actin'."
The four of them ran from the Jackson Estate and began to search the swamp. Jerry, in the meantime, had just come to his own senses. He groaned, and sat up, and then he looked around. He found himself in a run down shack of some kind, walls covered with what looked like posters from a burlesque theater or something. Jerry leaned up and looked around the shack. He heard a low growl coming from the floor and dared to look. There was an alligator, hissing, and showing his teeth. Jerry let out a scream and began to back towards the wall. The alligator came closer and closer to him, wanting to take a bite out of his leg or something, when suddenly someone whacked him on the head with a broom.
"Hey! Now you know better than that!" a man's voice shouted. He had a real thick Louisiana accent. "Now get outta here! Go on! Git!"
Jerry looked at this stranger, wide eyed. He couldn't believe this guy had a pet alligator! The stranger turned toward Jerry.
"You all right?" he asked. "Sorry 'bout Fang. He just don't like strangers."
"Uh huh," Jerry said, nodding absently.
"You look a but out place there, kid. What's your name?"
"Jerry. Who are you?"
"They call me Flatfoot Sam. I live here in the swamp. Get a lot of privacy, you know."
Jerry just nodded. He wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but he didn't really want to find out any time soon. All he knew that the night before was terrible, and he was glad that the entire ordeal was over. Flatfoot Sam was sitting out on the front porch, hunched over, doing something or another. Jerry walked out in order to find out exactly what.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Diggin' out crawdads," Flatfoot Sam replied. "Usually use 'em to make gumbo."
"Sounds good to me."
"Other times I jes' boil 'em and then eat 'em that way. Then there are those times where I eat 'em raw."
"You eat them raw?!"
"That's how Fang likes 'em, boy."
The thought of eating a raw crustacean made Jerry sick to his stomach. At any rate, he went back into the shack, trying to figure out what happened to Reggie and Mike. Elsewhere, Gordy, Madame LaTrine, Jack, and Nanette were still hovered over Madame LaTrine's crystal ball, watching Jerry.
"Looks like Flatfoot Sam found our target," Gordy said.
"You know him?" Nanette asked.
"He's an old friend," Madame LaTrine said. "He's always finding our victims when we lose them. Like this time. Once Blavat tells him the voodoo trouble, he'll bring him here, and you'll have your necklace."
"Good," Nanette replied. "The sooner the better if you ask me."
The four looked into the crystal ball. They watched Flatfoot Sam gather all his crawdads into a large pot and then he walked into his shack.
"So what brings a city feller you to the swamp lands?" he asked.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Jerry replied.
"Try me. I hear me plenty a strange story, boy. Nothin's gonna surprise me."
"I've got a voodoo curse on me, and I'm looking for Madame LaTrine. Supposedly she can lift this curse."
"Voodoo, huh? Boy howdy, you must've made one of them there voodoo fellers pretty darn mad!"
"I don't even know what I did to have a voodoo curse put on me! Me and my friends were performing in the Mardi Gras parade when suddenly, this voodoo priest appeared out of nowhere, grabbed a voodoo doll that looked exactly like me, and next thing I know, I'm the victim of a voodoo curse."
"Let me tell you somethin', boy. Many a man come here seekin' Madame LaTrine. They come here and ask me where she is, 'cause I know that gal personally."
"Where can I find her?"
"Follow me, boy. I'll take you right to her."
Jerry followed Flatfoot Sam out of the shack and into the swamp again. They walked over to a small house, further into the swamp.
"This is it," Flatfoot Sam said. "You just go in there, and Madame LaTrine will take care of you."
Jerry gulped, and walked into the shack, upon entering the door, he walked through a beaded curtain and found himself in a small, dark room. The only things that were in the room were two chairs, a table, and a crystal ball sitting on top of the table. The walls were covered with black curtains with gold stars and moons decorating them. Through one of those curtains came out a woman wearing black, and a gold amulet. She sat down in one chair, and indicated for Jerry to sit down.
"Sit down, my boy," she said. Jerry sat down. "Welcome. I am Madame LaTrine. What may I do for you?"
"Well, uhh . . . ." Jerry said, getting a little creeped out. "My name's Jerry, and I'm experiencing a bit of a . . . . voodoo curse."
"Ah, voodoo. Take it from me, I know all about these things. Many a man come to me when voodoo is involved. Now. Don't say a word. I need complete silence while I gaze into my crystal."
Madame LaTrine waved her arms around in a circle. She looked deep into the crystal ball.
"You are part of a popular rock band, are you not?" she asked.
"Yeah, the Discophonics," Jerry replied with a nod. "We were performing . . . . ."
"At the Mardi Gras parade."
"Then . . . . . wait, it's coming. Ah, the voodoo master, Gordonalis, arrived and proclaimed you his next victim, am I right?"
"He told you to come to me . . . . . . oh yes. And you had a string of beads, too, yes?"
"Ah ha. Give the beads to me. Then I will solve all your voodoo problems."
Jerry looked at her for a moment. Somehow, he got the feeling that this all was just a hoax. He turned to Madame LaTrine for a moment.
"First I want to know if this is all phoney," he said. "Something just doesn't seem right around here."
"Of course it isn't phoney," Madame LaTrine said. "Now give me those beads."
Jerry didn't believe her for one minute. He stood up, and walked along the walls, looking at them intently. Something was fishy about the entire thing. Madame LaTrine watched him as closely as she could. Then she turned to her crystal ball, which was also a communicator to Gordy.
"He suspects something," she whispered. "He's approaching your wall."
"We'll be ready," Gordy said.
Jerry turned to face Madame LaTrine. He folded his arms across his chest and gave her a Look.
"I don't think everything's on the up and up here," he said. "I get the very distinct feeling that this is all just an act."
"You're right," Madame LaTrine asked. "It is all just an act. But you won't be around long enough to tell anyone."
Suddenly, someone clapped their hand over Jerry's mouth and pulled him back into the back room. Madame LaTrine walked through the curtain afterwards. Gordy threw Jerry on the floor, and Jack proceeded to tie his hands behind his back, while Nanette tied his ankles together.
"It may all be an act, Mr. Blavat," Madame LaTrine said. "But Gordy and I happen to be witches, and we do know a thing or two about voodoo."
"Oh lord," Jerry moaned.
"I believe you have something of ours," Nanette said. "Those beads you were wearing. Where are they?"
"Well, last I remember, I took them off," Jerry said. "I still had them in my hand when the raft fell apart, and that's all I remember."
"You dropped them?!" Jack shouted. He grabbed the front of Jerry's shirt, and pulled him up to his face. "Where did you drop them?!"
"I don't know," Jerry said.
Jack searched Jerry, but he didn't have the pearls in his possession. Jack and Nanette figured he probably hid them somewhere, but he wasn't telling them where.
"Where are those beads?!" Nanette demanded.
"I don't know," Jerry said.
"We have ways of making you talk," Gordy said. He picked up the voodoo doll, and slammed it into the wall. As a result, Jerry was slammed into the wall as well. Repeatedly, I might add.
"Well, where are the beads?" Jack asked.
"I told you already, I don't know!" Jerry shouted. "What's the big deal? They're just cheap Mardi Gras beads!"
"They're not cheap Mardi Gras beads!" Jack yelled. "Those are the Mardi Gras Pearls, the most expensive pearl necklace in the world! We stole them from the jewelry store and gave them to your group by mistake! Now where are they?!"
"Jack, you idiot, you just told him what we did!" Nanette shouted.
"I did? Oops."
"Too late now. Okay, kid, what did you do with the pearls?"
"Look, I probably dropped them somewhere," Jerry said. "I just don't know where. I hit my head against a tree branch, and then woke up inside a shack. I didn't realize those beads were gone until now."
"Well, we'll just have to go look for those beads," Gordy said.
"Right," Madame LaTrine said. "In the meantime, we'll have to keep him quiet. I have customers coming in. We can't have him telling them I'm a phoney and a crook."
"Gotcha," Gordy said, and he whacked the voodoo doll over the head with a pipe. Once the doll was hit in the head, Jerry fell unconscious.
"Now find those pearls," Madame LaTrine instructed.
Gordy nodded and went to his crystal ball. Jack and Nanette followed. They had to find those pearls before Mike and Reggie did. Unknown to them, they were a little too late. Mike, Reggie, Beau, and Cissy were just happening to the spot where Jerry's piece of the raft crashed. Mike began using his sensors to scan the area. He managed to locate the pearls buried underneath some mud. He ran over and pulled them out.
"Hey," Reggie said. "Those were the Mardi Gras beads Jerry was wearing."
"Yeah," Mike said. "Jerry was wearin' these all right, but they ain't beads. They're pearls. Really expensive ones, too."
"Those are the famous Mardi Gras Pearls," Beau said. "The most expensive pearl necklace in the world. I heard they had been stolen from the jewelry store downtown."
"But how did your friend get hold of them?" Cissy asked.
"I don't know," Mike said, shrugging. "He pulled them out of a box with a bunch of other Mardi Gras stuff that we got at a Mardi Gras supply store, that was giving us some costumes and things to wear at the parade."
"Those guys who were running the shop sure seemed to want to get rid of us though," Reggie said. Mike nodded. Then something occurred to him.
"That's it!" he shouted. "It all makes sense. The two people who owned that store were so anxious to get rid of us 'cause they stole the pearls! They must've accidently threw them into the box with the other Mardi Gras stuff!"
"But what about the voodoo stuff?" Reggie asked.
"Simple, Reg. I have a feelin' those guys may know some witches who know a bit of voodoo. It's big in certain areas of the Other Realm. They probably asked them to conjure up a bit of voodoo on Jerry, in order to scare him into givin' the pearls to them."
"Well, if the pearls are here, what happened to Jerry?"
"I don't know."
Suddenly, the side of Mike's head began to throb in terrible pain. He held his hand to the throbbing, and grinded his teeth.
"Ooh! Full scale tweak!" he shouted. Then he concentrated as hard as he could. "Jerry's in real trouble. He found out about the pearls!"
"Oh no!" Cissy shouted. "What's gonna happen?"
"I don't know yet," Mike said. "But somethin' tells me those crooks are gonna do somethin' drastic if they don't get these pearls. Come on! We've got to find them and fast!"
Mike took off. Reggie, Beau, and Cissy followed. It was all they could do. They had to find Madame LaTrine's hideout before it was too late. As it turned out, Gordy found out Mike found the necklace, discovered it's value, and was on his way to the hideout.
"Madame, Nesmith and his crew are coming," he said. "What are we gonna do?"
"I'll handle him," Madame LaTrine said. "And I'll get the pearls too. You, Jack, and Nanette take care of Blavat."
"Right," Gordy said. He turned to Jack and Nanette. "Come on, you guys. We've got work to do."
Jack and Nanette nodded. They were planning on getting rid of Jerry then and there. They retied him, dragged him outside to the river, put a blindfold on him, and threw him inside a boat.
"We'll wait for Madame LaTrine to give the word," Gordy said. "And then we'll send this kid on a river ride he won't forget!"
"Right, through gator infested waters," Nanette laughed.
The three crooks laughed, and waited for Madame LaTrine to give her signal. In the meantime, Mike, Reggie, Beau, and Cissy walked inside the house, through the beaded curtain, and into the parlor. Madame LaTrine came out, giving off a flashy welcome.
"Welcome, my friends," she said. "What may I do for you?"
"I think you know, LaTrine," Mike said. Then he turned to the others. "You three wait outside for me. I have to discuss business with Madame LaTrine alone."
"Right," Reggie said.
"Whatever you say, Mike," Beau said. He, Reggie, and Cissy left the room. Mike waited until he was sure they gone. Then he sat down at the table and crossed his legs.
"Okay, LaTrine," he said. "I understand that I've got somethin' you want, and you've got somethin' I want."
"You are perceptive, Nesmith," Madame LaTrine said. "Very perceptive indeed. But I'm hardly one to gamble, you know. Let me give it to you straight. You have the Mardi Gras pearls, we have Blavat. Right now, he's in a boat, ready to go down the river, right through alligator infested waters. And you don't know Louisiana gators, Nesmith. They're big and mean. My associates are waiting for me to give them my signal, and when I do, they'll send your little friend down that river."
"So you're tellin' me Jerry's gonna be gator lunch."
"Especially if you don't give me those pearls."
"Okay, fine. It's a deal. I'll give you the Mardi Gras Pearls, if you give me Jerry."
Mike took the Mardi Gras Pearls out of his pocket and laid them on the table. Madame LaTrine looked at them for a moment, and then suddenly gave her signal to Gordy, Jack, and Nanette. They laughed sneakily and sent the boat down the river.
"Try to pull a fast one, eh, Nesmith?" Madame LaTrine asked. "You should know that there's no fooling me. These are just plain old Mardi Gras beads!"
"So my little ruse didn't work, huh?" Mike asked. "Ooh, I should've known better, but I went ahead and did it. No matter. I wouldn't give you the real pearls for a million dollars!"
"I had a feeling you'd be the stubborn type. No matter. I think it'll be fun watching the gators tear your friend to shreds once he reaches their little watering hole."
"I have news for you. Alligators aren't man eaters."
"I know that. But they still attack. And Blavat should be reaching them soon."
Mike jumped out of his chair and ran out of the house. Reggie, Beau, and Cissy stared at him.
"What's the matter, Mike?" Cissy asked.
"Madame LaTrine just sent Jerry down the river," Mike explained. "He's headin' for alligator infested waters, and he'll be a goner if we don't get there fast!"
"Come on!" Beau shouted. "I know a shortcut to the river bank!"
Mike, Reggie and Cissy followed Beau around the house, and down to the river. They had to catch up to the boat at all costs. They managed to find it, just as it reached the gator infested area. Mike sensed that they were all around, ready to tear the boat, and Jerry, limb from limb. He took the pearls out of his pocket and handed them to Reggie.
"Hold onto those," he said. "And whatever you do, don't lose them!"
"What are you doing, Mike?" Reggie asked.
Mike didn't answer. He took off his boots and his shirt (Nez Heads, start your droolers!) and then dove into the water.
"Mike! What are you crazy?!" Regie screamed.
"Get out of there!" Beau shouted.
"The gators'll tear you to pieces!" Cissy warned.
"I'll risk it!" Mike shouted, emerging from the water. He dove back under and began swimming around. He snapped his fingers so he could breathe under water. He found the boat, and an alligator right near it, ready to take a bite out of the side. Mike zapped it in the nose.
"Get away from there!" he shouted. The gator lunged. Mike thrust his hand forward, and magic came out of his finger tips, and surrounded the gator. It stopped short. Mike swam up to it, and rubbed it's nose.
"There ya go fella," he said. "You're not really as mean as they say you are, are ya?"
"No," the gator growled. "But how can you understand me?"
"I'm the Dr. Doolittle of the Monkee set. Now tell all your buddies to leave my friend alone, okay?"
The gator swam off. Mike emerged from the water, and climbed into the boat. He took the blindfold off Jerry, and then proceeded to untie him. Then he shook the DJ to wake him up. Jerry groaned, and opened his eyes slowly.
"Jer, you all right?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, I think so," Jerry replied, sitting up. Then he rubbed the back of his head. "Oh man, have I got a headache!"
"Yeah, I'll bet. Come on. Let's get this thing back to shore."
Mike and Jerry proceeded to paddle the boat back to shore. Once they reached it, they climbed out of the boat. Reggie handed the pearls back to Mike.
"What do we do with those now, Mike?" he asked.
"Get back to the city and return them to the jewelry store where they came from," Mike replied. "Let's go."
"But what about Madame LaTrine and the rest of those crooks?" Jerry asked.
"Yes, what about Madame LaTrine?" someone asked. The entire group turned around and saw Madame LaTrine, Gordy, Jack, and Nanette standing there. Gordy smiled sneakily, and held up the Jerry doll. Then he put a knife to the doll's neck. Jerry let out a choked sounding gasp, and felt a sharp object right at his Adam's apple.
"Nobody make a move," Gordy said. "Or else I'll plunge this knife right into the doll's throat. And once I do that, your friend's done for."
"He's not kidding, Mike!" Jerry warned. "If he cuts the neck of that doll, my neck's gonna be cut, too!"
Jerry began breathing heavily. The others just stood there, not wanting to make any false moves. Finally, Madame LaTrine came forward.
"A wise decision," she said. "Now, as you know, Nesmith, I'm a woman who's always got an eye out for a bargain. Give me the pearls, or we'll cut your friend's throat."
"You could go to jail for murder," Beau said.
"Not likely," Madame LaTrine said. "They won't be able to find the knife, and who would believe you if you told them the murderers cut the throat of a voodoo doll?"
Beau looked at Mike and shrugged. Mike took out the Mardi Gras Pearls and clicked his tongue against his teeth.
"Well, you drive a hard bargain," he said. "But okay. Here, catch!"
Mike threw them into the air, right at Gordy. Gordy had to let go of the knife, and the voodoo doll in order to catch them. Jerry breathed of relief, and then tackled Gordy. He fell backwards, which caused him to drop the pearls. Jerry grabbed them and threw them to Mike.
"Mike, catch!" he called. Mike caught them without any problems, but Nanette pushed him to the ground and grabbed the pearls.
"Got 'em!" he shouted.
"No you don't!" Cissy shouted, running by. She grabbed the pearls as she did. "I got 'em! Heads up, Reggie!"
Cissy threw the pearls. Reggie jumped up and grabbed them, but Jack tackled him to the ground, and yanked the pearls out of his hand. Mike pointed his index finger, and sent a jolt of electricity into Jack's hand, and then he sent the pearls flying. Mike caught them in his hand. But Madame LaTrine was ready for him. She turned to Nanette and nodded. Nanette also nodded, and then tackled Jerry to the ground. Madame LaTrine picked up the voodoo doll.
"Resourceful, Nesmith," she said. "But not resourceful enough. Come on, Nanette. We have the upper hand now. If I don't get those pearls, you'll never see your friend alive again!"
Nanette and Madame LaTrine walked off, taking Jerry with them.
"Now what do we do?" Beau asked.
"As long as she's got that voodoo doll, we can't do anythin'!" Mike shouted. "We've got to destroy it!"
"But if you blast it with your magic, won't you kill Jerry in the process?" Reggie asked.
"That's the problem," Mike replied. "We can't do anythin' to that doll without hurtin' Jerry. I don't know what else to do. Looks like we have to surrender the pearls."
Mike began to walk off. He didn't have much of a choice, either. He followed Madame LaTrine's tracks to the edge of a large cliff. She was standing there, holding the Jerry doll over the edge, ready to drop it. Nanette was holding onto Jerry's arms, waiting for Madame LaTrine to drop the doll.
"You have no choice but to give us the pearls," she said. "Or else I drop this doll, and let me tell you, Nesmith! If you try to destroy the doll, you'll only destroy your friend!"
"I know, LaTrine, I know," Mike said. "That's why I've decided to give you the pearls."
"Those are the real things, right?"
"Scan 'em for yourself."
Mike held up the pearls. Madame LaTrine scanned them, and then nodded. She grabbed then out of Mike's hand and laughed. Then she handed them to Nanette.
"There you are," she said. "You'll be rich."
"Fine," Mike said. "You've got your pearls. Now I guess you're done with Jerry."
"Oh of course," Madame LaTrine said.
"Good. Now drop that doll!"
Madame LaTrine gave Mike a sneaky look, and dropped the doll all right. Straight over the cliff. Of course, that only meant Jerry was thrown off the cliff as well.
"Help!" Jerry shouted as he fell at an alarmingly fast pace.
Mike clenched his fists and turned to Madame LaTrine.
"You double crosser!" he shouted. "Oooohh, I oughta . . . . ."
Mike got so angry, he threw his hand forward. A gigantic shot of magic flew out, and blasted the amulet around Madame LaTrine's neck.
"No! Not my amulet!" she shouted, as her amulet exploded. When that exploded, so did the Jerry doll, but Jerry was still falling.
"Now I get it," he said. "The amulet was what powered you, and your voodoo doll!"
"No matter!" Madame LaTrine shouted. "Blavat's still falling, and there's no time to reach him!"
Mike snapped his fingers, and a broomstick appeared in his hand. He straddled it, squeezed it, and took off as fast as he could. He zoomed down to the bottom of the cliff and caught Jerry before he could hit the ground. Jerry caught his breath, and put his hand on his chest.
"Wow," he said. "That was a close one!"
"Too close," Mike said. "You all right?"
"Yeah. I'm okay. I'm fine. Just a little dizzy, that's all."
"We're not through yet, Jer."
Mike hopped on his broomstick. Jerry followed. Both of them rode back to the top of the cliff, and zoomed past Nanette. Jerry reached down and grabbed the pearls as they passed. Then Mike snapped his fingers and dropped a cage on the two women.
"You can't do this to me!" Madame LaTrine shouted. "Just wait until I get out of here!"
"I'd like to see you try without your magic," Mike said. He snapped his fingers again and a magic proof cage dropped on Jack and Gordy.
"I think everything's all wrapped up here," Reggie said, once Mike and Jerry landed. "Let's head back to the city."
Mike and Jerry nodded, and Beau and Cissy escorted them back to New Orleans. The Discophonics returned the Mardi Gras Pearls to the jewelry store. The owner was every grateful. The press was there, covering the entire story.
"I don't know how to thank you boys," he said. "You quite possibly saved the world's most valuable pearl necklace."
"It wasn't much," Mike said.
"Yeah, we're happy to help out," Jerry replied.
"You boys deserve a little reward for your trouble," the owner said.
"Oh no, we couldn't," Mike said.
"Yeah, we were just helping out," Reggie said.
"No, I insist," the owner said. He brought out a case, and opened it. Inside were three pearls, not as expensive as the ones from the necklace, but still pretty valuable.
"Please take these as a reward," he said. "After all, you've earned it."
"Okay," Mike said, taking the box. "I think our girls would get a kick out of these, anyway."
The owner nodded, and put the Mardi Gras Pearls back on display. Mike, Reggie, and Jerry left the store.
"Well, another case closed," Jerry said. "And another fine mess we found ourselves in cleaned up."
"Exactly," Mike said. "Come on. Let's do a little street shoppin'. I promised Bob, Peter, Phyllis, and my cousin Sabrina I'd get them some Mardi Gras beads."
The boys walked down the streets of New Orleans, taking in the sights, and doing some shopping. Not to mention sampling the local cuisine and Cafe Du Monde (where they have the best beignets). They came across a shop where they had some Mardi Gras stuff. Mike and Jerry were scoping out the beads while Reggie was looking at the doubloons, and other Mardi Gras items. He came across a rubber snake and picked it up.
"You know," he said. "Voodoo doesn't look so hard. Let's see if I can cast a little voodoo on this sucker."
Mike and Jerry glanced at each other, and then turned back to Reggie. Reggie was chanting some mumbo jumbo under his breath, waving one hand around while holding the rubber snake in the other. Mike rolled his eyes, waved his own hand, and shot a tiny bit of magic at the snake. It began to move, hiss, rattle, and bear fangs. Reggie screamed and dropped it. The minute he dropped it, it changed back to a rubber snake. Mike and Jerry cracked up.
"Very funny, very funny!" Reggie shouted, cheeks turning pink.
"Well it just goes to prove one thing," Jerry said.
"What's that, Jer?" Mike asked.
"No one can do voodoo like you do voodoo, Mike!"