Viva Las Vegas



"The three G's," Reggie said as the plane landed. "Glitz, glamor, and greed."

"That's how you sum up Las Vegas, huh?" Jerry asked.

"That and Atlantic City."

"Hey, say no more. I used to live near Atlantic City and I'll tell you it was basically the same thing."

If you hadn't guessed, the Mallards latest concert engagement was at Las Vegas, Nevada at Caesar's Palace. Mike wasn't really thrilled about the trip.

"You'd better not get us into trouble, Micky," he said, pulling a cigarette out of his pocket. "That's all I can say."

Mike lit his cigarette and took a drag. Then he adjusted his sunglasses.

"Gee, Mike, you ought to fit right in with the gamblers," Jerry said, waving the cigarette smoke out of his face. "You smoke and you wear sunglasses."

Mike lowered his glasses and gave Jerry the vulture look.

"Relax, Mike," Micky said. "I won't get the gambling bug again. Zelda really wasn't worth it. But still, I would like to put these Magic Fingers to good use."

"Don't you dare!" Reggie shouted. "You'll only get us into trouble!"

"Okay," Micky said. "I promise I won't get into any trouble gambling."

"Good. Leave the gamblin' to me!" Mike shouted.

The others groaned and started smacking Mike around. About an hour later, Micky and Reggie were walking around the casino, trying to keep themselves from playing the slots. Or basically, Reggie was trying to keep Micky from playing the slots. And that wasn't easy since Reggie had stopped about three times to adjust his contact lenses.

"I tell ya those things are a pain," Micky said.

"I know," Reggie said. "But I didn't bring my glasses with me and I'm blind as a bat without them. Besides, even though I'm blind as a bat, I can still tell when you try to sneak off and play the slots. I know you all too well."

"Atta boy, Reg."

Micky gave Reggie a hard pat on the back. That caused Reggie to drop one of his contact lens.

"Nobody move!" Reggie shouted. "I've lost a lens!"

"Hey, Reg, wait," Micky said. "Let me see something."

"What?"

"Funny. I thought you said you lost a contact."

"I did."

"Then how come both your eyes are still blue?"

"Mick, I wear contact lenses because I don't like wearing my glasses too much, not to change my eye color. I've always had blue eyes."

"Oh."

"Now help me look will ya?"

Micky smiled and he helped Reggie look for his missing contact lens. Reggie looked around the floor. He finally found it, stood up, and proceeded to put it in. Micky, however, was still looking. He was crawling all over the floor and crashed into Reggie. He fell and grabbed the handle of a slot machine, as a brake to the fall. It didn't work, as it was pulled down, and as it turned out, Reggie hit a jackpot.

"Thanks a bunch!" he shouted, ticked off that Micky hadn't been looking where he was going.

"Hey!" some girl shouted. "Those guys hit a jackpot!"

"Wha?" Micky and Reggie said in unison. A blonde ran up to them.

"You guys must have magic fingers!" she shouted.

"Aw, well," Micky said.

"Magic fingers my foot," Reggie said. "I lost a contact lens, we were looking for one, I found it, Micky ran into me, and I used the lever of the slot machine as a brake to slow down the fall. And to prevent losing my lens again."

"Whatever you say," the girl said. "But you do have magic fingers!"

Reggie rolled his eyes. He never did like gambling too much. He was just there because the Mallards had a gig. Micky, however, instantly caught the gambling bug. He ran around pulling the slot machines and ended up with a jackpot every time. Mike, Peter, and Jerry ran over after to them.

"What's going on?" Peter asked.

"We hit a jackpot!" Micky shouted. "And then I went around pulling them down and boom! Jackpot every time."

"Oh good god," Mike groaned. "It's just dumb luck, Mick! Here, I'll show ya."

Mike went over to a slot machine, put a coin in, and pulled the lever. He ended up with a cherry, an orange, and a lemon.

"What did I tell ya?" he said. "All those jackpots were just dumb luck."

"Yeah, man," Jerry said. "Try 'er out again. I betcha it won't be a jackpot."

"Okay," Micky said. He pulled down a lever, and instantly hit another jackpot.

"Good grief," Reggie mumbled.

"Magic Fingers!" Micky shouted. "I've got Magic Fingers!"

"You do not!" Reggie shouted. "It's just luck for heaven's sake! Watch!"

Reggie pulled down a slot machine lever and hit a jackpot.

"I don't believe this!" Reggie shouted.

"You've got Magic Fingers!" Micky shouted, gazing at Reggie's hand.

"Oh for cryin' out loud!" Mike shouted. "For Pete's sake, Mick! It's just dumb luck! Watch!"

Mike pulled the lever down and didn't hit the jackpot. Then Micky pulled the lever and hit yet another jackpot.

"How do you do it, Mick?" Jerry asked. "I've played sixteen slot machines in the past hour and already I'm broke!"

"Shame on you!" Peter shouted. "Shame on all of you!"

"Peter's right, man," Mike said. "I'm gettin' out of here, and I'd advise you do the same thing, Mick, before you get into trouble."

Mike, Peter, and Jerry left. Micky stuck his tongue out at Mike and continued to play the slots. Reggie joined in, trying to show Micky that it was all just dumb luck, but he always managed to hit a jackpot along with Micky.

"These things have got to be rigged!" Reggie shouted.

"Can't you just accept the fact that the two of us have Magic Fingers?" Micky asked.

"Mick, if I had Magic Fingers, I'd be playing guitar in the band, not the drums."

Micky shrugged and he continued playing the slots, only to realize he and Reggie were being watched by another gambler. He was the henchman of The Boss (from the episode "Monkees on the Wheel"). He noticed Micky and Reggie making all the money, and called The Boss.

"Hey, boss," he said. "That Magic Fingers guy is back and he and his pal making all this money from the slot machines. We're talkin' jackpot every time here!"

"We didn't rig the slots, did we?" the Boss asked.

"No, we didn't rig anything this time, boss."

"Ehh, maybe that guy really does have Magic Fingers. Well, well, well, maybe we can play him for a sap. We gotta get this counterfeit money out somehow, and maybe we can use Magic Fingers and his buddy to do it. Bring them down to my office."

"Right boss."

The Boss's henchman (Biggy) hung up the phone and rushed over to the slot machines. A couple of girls were gathered around, watching Micky make a fortune. Reggie was leaning against the wall, rolling his eyes at his friend, wondering when the heck would he quit.

"Micky, this is getting ridiculous," he said. "These machines have got to be rigged for heaven's sake!"

"Come on, Reg!" Micky shouted. "I'm having fun!"

"MICKY WOULD YOU PLEASE GET YOUR GOSHDARN MAGIC FINGERS OFF THE GOSHDARN SLOT MACHINE AND GET YOUR GOSHDARN BUTT OVER TO THE GOSHDARN ELEVATOR SO YOU CAN HELP ME PREPARE FOR THE GOSHDARN MALLARDS GOSHDARN GIG, GOSHDARN IT!"

"Well, uhhh, since you put it that way, Reggie ol' buddy ol' pal, let's get to the elevator."

Micky darted to the elevator, grimacing at the vulture look Reggie was throwing him. Reggie never ever yelled like that! Of course, Micky was looking at Reggie, and he didn't see where he was going and he ran directly into Biggy.

"Sorry, Mister," Micky said. "I didn't see . . . . you!"

"Hiya, Magic Fingers," Biggy said.

"I knew you'd get us into trouble," Reggie said.

"Listen, pal," Biggy said. "My boss wants to talk to you."

"Just answer me this," Reggie said. "Did you rig the slots?"

"Who me? Wouldn't think of it."

Reggie rolled his eyes. Biggy talked a little more about the Boss wanting to see Micky and Reggie. Reggie gave in and walked down the hallway to the elevators. Biggy led them into the Boss's office.

"If it isn't my old friend, Magic Fingers," he said. Reggie groaned. Micky nudged him in the ribs.

"What brings you here this time?" the Boss asked.

"He's here for a gig," Reggie said. "My band has a gig here at Caesar's Palace and he's helping me prepare for it."

"I heard you were playing the slots and you two hit a jackpot every time," The Boss said.

"Yeah," Micky said. "That's why they call me Magic Fingers."

"Oh brother," Reggie mumbled. He cleared his throat. "Excuse me while I barf."

"Never mind him," Micky said, glaring at Reggie. "He's a little ticked off because he doesn't think I have Magic Fingers and I do. And he has Magic Fingers."

"I do not!" Reggie shouted.

"Well, your Magic Fingers will come in handy," the Boss said. "I can make you two rich beyond your wildest dreams."

"No thanks," Reggie said. "I don't buy into all this. It's just a bunch of loose change if you ask me."

"Oh really?" the Boss pulled out a large stack of hundred dollar bills out of his desk drawer and waved it back and forth in front of Micky and Reggie. The two of them watched it go back and forth.

"Exactly how much is in that stack?" Reggie asked.

"Ten grand," The Boss said.

"Ten . . . thousand . . . dollars?" Micky asked.

"You got it."

"Holy . . . ." Reggie started.

"We'll do it!" Micky shouted. "We'll do it! Anything!"

"Yeah, yeh-yeah, yeh-yeah, yeah, yeah!" Reggie shouted.

The Boss dropped the stack of money and Reggie and Micky made a grab for it. It was obvious the glitz, glamor, and greed had gotten to them. The first job of "Magic Fingers" and Reggie was to use the money on the roulette wheel, which The Boss had rigged so it would land on sixteen red for five minutes. The plot was simple enough. Micky and Reggie would play the games with the counterfeit money and win the real money. Then, Micky and Reggie would give the casino a generous donation with the counterfeit money. Then all havoc would wreak. Not to mention all the money Micky and Reggie were getting paid in was counterfeit.

The other three Mallards, however, weren't very happy once they realized Reggie had caught the gambling bug.

"Oh for cryin' out loud," Mike said. "Not you too, Reg!"

"Smart, genius, level headed Reg," Quackerjack said, shaking his head. "I can't believe it."

"Reg, I could kill you," Drake said, disgusted.

"What's the big deal?" Reggie asked. "I've got Magic Fingers, so does Micky, and we're just putting them to good use!"

"Yeah, man," Micky said. "It's not like we're robbing the bank or anything."

Mike rolled his eyes. The Mallards went to tell the Monkees and Jerry what was going on. Jerry groaned.

"Ah jeez," he said. "Won't they ever quit?"

"They'll nevah learn," Davy said. "Man, I'll bet they're already in trouble."

"Yeah," Quackerjack sighed. "Well, I don't think we'll get Reg out of the casino in time for the gig."

"Yeah, and we decided we're gonna do instruments on this one," Mike said. "Davy, would you mind drummin' for us, or Jer, you can do the guitar and I'll do the drums."

"Since when do you drum?" Drake asked.

"Oh, Peter taught me some basics on the drums and keyboard, in case I ever got tired of the guitar."

Drake nodded. Davy agreed to do the drumming, and Jerry was going to pinch hit for him, just in case he made a date at the same time. Quackerjack and Drake were going to divide Reggie's songs, since they and Mike wouldn't have enough to satisfy the audience, since the songs Mike did in his solo career post-Monkees didn't go too well with the Mallards' teeny bopper fans.

"Maybe we can still talk them out of it," Peter said. "We might still be able to get Reggie to play the gig."

"Right," Mike said. "Let's go."

"I just 'ope Mike doesn't get the gambling bug," Davy said.

"Otherwise you'll be on drums, I'll do the guitar, and I'll be butchering hits like 'Sweet Young Thing' and 'You Just May Be The One' with my singing voice that can stop an elephant in it's tracks," Jerry said.

"Take a breath when you say those long sentences, mate."

Jerry gave Davy a smug look and the two of them retreated back into the hotel room. Peter and Mike arrived at the casino in time to see Micky jumping up and down at the roulette wheel. Reggie was busy counting the money.

"We're rich!" Reggie shouted. "Man, who needs the Monkees and the Mallards?!"

"Yeah!" Micky shouted. "Just think, Reggie my boy, a beach house in the Rivera."

"A private cabin in Aspen," Reggie said.

"A mansion in Beverly Hills."

"The girls of Baywatch in our living rooms."

"The last five Miss America winners."

"All the girls we wanted."

"If Sarah heard you say that, she'd pound you into the pavement, Reg," Mike said. "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!"

"Yeah!" Peter shouted.

"Eh, you two are just jealous because we're winning money and you're probably flat broke by now," Micky said.

"Micky!" Peter shouted, shocked that Micky would ever say such a thing.

"We're not jealous," Mike said. "You probably broke the bank already, haven't you?"

"Well, yeah," Reggie said. "But don't worry."

"Yeah," Micky said. "We're making so much money we gave the casino some of it."

"Good grief," Mike said. At that moment, the Boss came up to them.

"How are those Magic Fingers doing, boys?" he asked.

"Great, Boss," Micky said. "And we've paid the casino back some of it with the money you paid us."

Mike kept looking at the Boss. He didn't trust him. Peter didn't either.

"This is all so phoney," he said.

"I know, Pete," Mike said. "Somethin's rotten in Vegas."

"I thought the saying was there's something rotten in Denmark."

"It is, but we're not in Denmark, Peter. We're in Las Vegas."

"Oh yeah. I forgot."

The Boss gave Micky and Reggie their payment after they gave him the money they won. Once the Boss left, Mike and Peter continued to try and talk some sense into their friends.

"Look, guys," Mike said. "Doesn't that guy seem a little suspicious to you?"

"You're paranoid, Mike," Reggie said. "Let's go, Mick. Us Magic Fingers have work to do."

"But . . ." Peter said.

"Don't worry, Pete," Micky said, and he handed Peter a hundred dollar bill. "We'll be glad to loan you some money. Wait up, Reg!"

Micky took off. Mike folded his arms across his chest and rolled his eyes.

"Well, at least they're generous," Peter said. "Just think. Micky gave me a hundred dollar bill!"

"Yeah, great, Pete," Mike said. Peter kept smiling until he got a good look at the bill Micky gave him.

"Hey, Michael?" he asked.

"What?" Mike asked, ticked off at Reggie and Micky's actions.

"Who's on the hundred dollar bill?"

"Ben Franklin."

"Not Davy Crockett?"

"No. Why?"

"Just curious."

"Let me see that."

Mike took the hundred dollar bill and looked at it. Sure enough, instead of Ben Franklin, it was Davy Crockett.

"This is a phoney," Mike said. "Counterfeit. Only an idiot would believe it was real."

"Then that means . . ." Peter started.

"REG! MICKY!" both Mike and Peter screamed, and they took off after them. Of course, they were being spied on. The Boss had noticed the looks Mike was giving him during his conversation with the Magic Fingers, so he told Biggy to watch them.

Mike and Peter caught up with Micky and Reggie at the roulette wheel, once more.

"Man, look at this bill you gave Peter," Mike said, throwing the bill in Reggie's face.

"A hundred dollar bill," Reggie said, shoving it aside. "So what?"

"Man, doesn't it seem funny that Davy Crockett is on it? And it's supposed to be Ben Franklin!"

"Yeah, Reg!" Peter shouted.

"Must be a misprint," Micky said. Then he took it away from Mike. "Look if you don't want it, I'll take it back."

"Misprint my foot!" Mike shouted. "It's a fake!"

"Yeah, and I'm Shirley Temple," Micky said. "Now if you don't mind, Nishwash, Reggie and I have some winning to do."

"I don't believe you! You've let all this glitz go to your heads! The money's fake!"

"Ehhh, buzz off, Neshmesh."

Mike gave Micky a Look and stormed off. Peter glared at both Micky and Reggie.

"I can't believe you said that, Micky," Peter said. "And his name's Nesmith!"

"Who cares about him?" Reggie asked. "He's just jealous because we're in the money and he's not."

"But that still wasn't nice!" Peter continued. "Mick, come on, look at the bills. All of them have Davy Crockett. And he was never on a hundred dollar bill!"

"The company must've goofed," Micky said. "Come on, Pete. We'll cut you in on the action."

"Yeah, man, twenty-five percent of all the profits," Reggie said. "I'm sure the boss will let you in."

"I don't want your old money!" Peter shouted. He gave Micky a shove and followed Mike.

"Well, then who needs you, you big crybaby!" Micky shouted.

"Yeah, we don't need people like you and Mike!" Reggie shouted. The two of them got back to the roulette wheel.

Peter had heard Micky's insult and started to cry. He found Mike almost right away.

"They've changed, Michael!" he cried. "They don't wanna be our friends anymore!"

"I know, man," Mike said. "But we're still theirs."

"We are?"

"Yeah. Come on, man. Let's go."

"Where are we going?"

"I'm gonna call the police. If there's counterfeit money floatin' around Caesar's Palace, there's probably gonna be counterfeit money floatin' around Vegas and pretty soon the whole country."

"I'm gonna go back to the hotel room and tell the others."

"Okay, babe. I'll meet you upstairs in ten minutes."

Peter smiled and ran to the elevator. Biggy got a nervous look on his face and ran down to the Boss's office.

"Magic Fingers's friend knows about the counterfeit money," he said.

"Which one?" the Boss asked. "Magic Fingers has a lot of friends."

"Wool Hat."

"Oh him. The one who was shooting me dirty looks."

"He's gonna call the cops on us!"

"Not if I can help it. Listen carefully. Here's the plan."

Mike walked around and finally found the nearest telephone. He put some money in and started dialing a number. The phone rang at least six times before someone answered.

"Hello, police?" he asked. "My name's Mike Nesmith, and I want to report some foul play at Caesar's Palace. There are counterfeiters around and they're usin' two of my friends as pawns in their scheme."

The phone suddenly went dead. All Mike heard was the dial tone.

"That's weird," he said. "I could've sworn I had the police on the phone. Oh well. I'll try again."

Mike hung up the phone, picked it back up, and dialed again. But he didn't get passed the area code. Someone grabbed his arm and clasped a rag over his nose and mouth. To top it all off, the rag was soaked in chloroform. Mike was soon unconscious. The Boss smiled.

"Pleasant nightmares, Wool Hat," he said.

"I'll tell ya Boss," Biggy said. "Chloroform sure works wonders!"

"It sure does. Take him back to my office and keep him there. And keep him unconscious. I don't want him waking up and using my phone to call the cops. We'll have to get rid of him. Soon Magic Fingers and Bushroot will make me millions and then we'll pay them the rest of the counterfeit money, take the real stuff, and live it up in Brazil."

"What about getting rid of Wool Hat?"

"What about it?"

"Well, do you want me to do it when I get him to the office?"

"Nah, it'll be too messy. He'll act as hostage just in case the cops get wise to us. Once we're safely out of the country, we'll do the job."

"Right boss."

"I'm gonna go check up on Magic Fingers. You take Wool Hat to my office."

"Right, boss."

Biggy dragged Mike to the closest elevator and rode down to the Boss's office. The Boss went over to the roulette wheel. Micky and Reggie had once again, broke the bank. They were celebrating.

"How are the Magic Fingers holding up?" the Boss asked.

"Terrific," Reggie said.

"Yeah," Micky said. "Ten million dollars! Don't worry though. We paid the casino some money."

"Good," the Boss said. "Now here's the rest of the money I owe you."

"Thanks a lot," Micky said. "What do we do now?"

"Why don't you boys go back up to your rooms and relax? You've earned it."

"Thanks a lot, man."

Micky and Reggie took a sack full of money up the elevator to their rooms. Peter was telling the others about the counterfeit money and Micky and Reggie insulting him and Mike.

"Boy that doesn't sound like the Micky Dolenz I know," Davy said. "'E'd nevahcall you a crybaby, Petah."

"And he wouldn't call Mike Nishwash or Neshmesh," Drake said.

"It's all the glitz and glamor, my friends," Jerry said. "It makes you greedy and forget everything. Boy if Dolenz and Bushroot were here, I'd give them a piece of my mind."

"Hello, hello!" Micky called.

"We're back and we're rich!" Reggie shouted.

"Lemme at 'em!" Jerry shouted, ready to pounce on them. Davy and Quackerjack grabbed him.

"Down boy!" Davy shouted.

"Steady, Jerry, steady," Quackerjack said. "Oh look who's here."

"If it isn't the all high and mighty Magic Fingers and his associate, Magic Fingers the second," Drake said, crossly. He left the room. Peter gave them a Look. Then he followed Drake out.

"Come on, what's the matter you guys?" Micky asked. "We're rich!"

"Who bloody cares?" Quackerjack said. "I'm outta here. This bloody room has gotten too bloody crowded."

"I'm with ya, mate," Davy said.

"Wait up," Jerry said. "I don't want to be around the spoils."

"What do you mean by that?" Reggie asked.

"You know the proverb, to the victor go the spoils," Jerry said. "And all that money is spoiling you guys."

"You're just jealous because we're rich and you're not," Micky said.

"I'm not jealous! You guys aren't even thinking straight! All that money has gotten to your heads! And let me tell you, Micky Dolenz, I'm surprised reality isn't penetrating that tumbleweed of yours!"

"Are you criticizing my hair?!"

"If the shoe fits, tumbleweed!"

"Well, at least I don't have big teeth! You've got to be part vampire!"

"Micky, I'm surprised at you! Why would you want to insult people? First you call Mike Nishwash and Neshmesh and you know very well his name is Nesmith, and then you call Peter a crybaby, and now you insult my teeth! Boy, it's all greed and no brains under that tumbleweed!"

That was enough for Micky. He lunged for Jerry and managed to wrestle him to the ground, giving him a good sock in the stomach. Jerry fought back and a giant brawl was started. Davy ran back down the hall. He and Reggie tried to pull Micky and Jerry off each other. It wasn't any use. The two of them had just got started. Peter, Quackerjack, and Drake did manage to pry Jerry off of Micky. Both of them were a mess. Micky had a black eye, scratches on his face, a bloody nose, and a fat lip. Jerry had a black eye, a bruised cheek, scratches on his neck, and a split lip. Also his hair had been disheveled during the fight. If Micky's hair had been messed up, it was hard to tell.

"Man, what a brawl," Quackerjack said. Micky brushed himself off and looked at Jerry.

"Man, Jerry," he said. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, you know."

"I'm not!" Jerry shouted. "Man I'm glad I gave you that fat lip! It matches your fat head perfectly!"

"I take it back, Blavat. I'm not sorry I gave you that shiner! I ought to give you another one for calling me a fat head!"

"I'm not stooping to your level anymore, Dolenz! I'm out of here!"

"Us too!" Drake shouted. "I can't believe you two! You used to be so nice to people, until you caught the gambling bug!"

"I'm ashamed of both of you!" Peter yelled.

"I'm sorry we were ever friends!" Quackerjack yelled, and he stormed out of the room.

"Forget them," Micky said. "When you have money, you can't tell who your real friends are."

"Yeah," Reggie said. "Man, once you become gargantuanlly rich, your friends sure do change!"

"Yeah!"

Micky and Reggie have it a little mixed up. Their friends hadn't changed. They have.

The others were waiting for Mike in the other room in the meantime. Peter was so upset he was wailing like a fire engine. Quackerjack and Davy were playing a game of Go Fish, to ease their tensions. Drake was comforting Peter. Jerry was laying on the bed, watching an old Elvis Presley movie on the TV while holding an ice pack to his eye.

"Which movie's that?" Davy asked, looking away from his cards.

"Viva Las Vegas," Jerry replied. "How apropos."

Davy nodded and went back to his cards. Peter's wailing died down to just a couple of sniffles.

"By the way, Pete," Drake said. "When did Mike say he'd meet us up here?"

"Ten minutes after he called the police," Peter said. "Why?"

"Well, a whole hour's gone by and he's not back yet. You don't think there's been foul play, do you?"

Everybody turned to look at Drake. The only sound in the room was Elvis singing on the TV. Davy put his cards down and jumped up.

"Turn down the TV, Jerry," he said. Jerry turned the TV off and turned to Davy.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm gonna call the police. I want to make sure Mike got through to them. If 'e 'asn't . . . . 'ello, my name's David Jones. Out of sheer curiosity, did you receive any calls about counterfeit money? You 'aven't?! That's weird. Well, if that's the case, I'd like to report countahfietahs at Caesah's Palace. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Goodbye."

Davy hung up and turned to the others.

"There's been foul play, gentlemen," he said.

"It all makes sense," Quackerjack said. "Mike went to call the police and said he'd meet us up here ten minutes after he called. An hour has gone by from that time. He's late."

"Davy calls the police to confirm Mike made the call to them," Jerry interrupted. "We learn the police didn't get any calls about counterfeiters."

"Eithah Mike forgot all about the call or something 'appened to 'im," Davy said.

"What could happen to a guy in a casino?" Peter asked.

"Let's think here," Drake said. "You said you ran into the guy The Monkees delt with the last time you were in Vegas, Peter."

"Yeah, that's right," Peter said. "He was paying Micky and Reggie counterfeit money."

"And Mike was with you when you realized that?"

"Yeah."

"Gentlemen, it's clear to me that the counterfeiters are responsible for the foul play."

The other four nodded. All their hunches were right on the money. The Boss entered his office to check things out. Biggy was sitting at the desk, counting the loot, and Mike was laying unconscious on the couch, wrists and ankles tied together.

"Has he regained his senses yet?" the Boss asked.

"Not yet," Biggy said. "All I've got to say is that chloroform is strong stuff!"

"Be glad it is. Lucky for us we've got plenty of it for cases like this."

"What are we gonna do about Magic Fingers? Don't you think he and Bushroot would have noticed the money was fake?"

"I wouldn't worry about Magic Fingers. If he gets wise, we'll show him Wool Hat's predicament and threaten to kill him if he calls the cops."

"By the way, boss, when are we gonna . . . . you know. Chkkkkkk?"

Biggy moved his index finger across his neck when he made the sound effect. He also indicated Mike shortly after that all too familiar gesture.

"Patients, patients," the Boss said. "These things take time. You can't rush them. Besides, I'm trying to think of a good way to do it so they won't be able to pin it on us."

Biggy smiled and went back to counting the money. Reggie and Micky were counting their money as well, but they were getting bored with it.

"Man, I thought being rich was gonna be fun," Micky said. "Five million two thousand nine hundred seventy-six."

"Yeah," Reggie said. "But it's boring without your friends. Five million two thousand nine hundred seventy-seven."

"You know, I really didn't mean to call Peter a crybaby, and I didn't mean to butcher Mike's name, either. Five million two thousand nine hundred seventy-eight."

"Yeah, me neither. All the money just went to my head, I guess. Five million two thousand nine hundred seventy-nine."

"I also didn't mean to sock Jerry in the stomach. Five million two thousand nine hundred eighty."

"You sure socked him good. He was just trying to prove a point to us. Five million two thousand nine hundred eighty-one."

"I don't blame him for insulting my hair. Man, we should apologize."

"Yeah! Forget the money!"

Micky nodded. That's when he noticed something about the bills.

"Man, I thought the company who prints the money goofed up badly," he said. "But this is ridiculous!"

"What do you mean, Mick?" Reggie asked.

"All these bills have Davy Crockett on them."

"And the same serial numbers."

"Do you know what this means, Reggie?"

"I sure do."

"Counterfeiters," both Micky and Reggie said in unison.

"So Mike was right," Micky said. "But who could've . . . ."

The thought finally came to Micky. He snapped his fingers.

"Of course," he said. "And I overheard Mike say to Peter he was gonna call the police!"

"Yeah, and the Boss's goon was there when he said it," Reggie replied. "And I haven't seen Mike since."

"You don't think there's been foul play do you?"

"Indeed I do. Come on!"

Micky and Reggie dashed down the hall to the other room. They had to apologize fast. They had counterfeiters to bust. Micky ran down to the next room and pounded on the door. Quackerjack got up and looked through the peep hole.

"Who is it, Quacky-baby?" Jerry asked, eyes (or I should say eye) glued to Elvis.

"The Dolenz kid," Quackerjack said. "And the Bushroot kid's right behind him."

"Uh oh," Jerry said. He shut off the TV and jumped up.

"Hey, I was watching that!" Drake shouted.

"If he's come to give me another black eye," Jerry said, running for the bathroom. "Tell him I skipped town."

"So you're gonna 'ide in the bathroom?" Davy asked.

"Yeah."

"Works for me. Okay, Quackerjack. Let 'im in."

Quackerjack opened the door. Micky and Reggie ran inside, shut the door, and locked it. Then they darted to the bed.

"What's the mattah?" Davy said, sarcastically. "Ah you running from the cops?"

"No," Micky said breathlessly. "Guys, we've got a lot on our minds. First of all, we want to say we're sorry for everything."

"Yeah," Reggie said. "We let all that money go to our heads."

"Peter, I'm really sorry I called you a crybaby. And I'm sorry I gave Jerry the black eye and socked him in the stomach."

Jerry emerged from his hiding place upon hearing the apology.

"You haven't come seeking revenge on the crack at your hair?" he asked.

"Hey, I deserved it," Micky said with a shrug. "What do you say guys? Apology accepted?"

"We have to talk it over," Quackerjack said. He, Davy, Drake, Peter, and Jerry got into a huddle, muttering gibberish (and the word rhubarb snuck in). Then they turned to Reggie and Micky.

"Accepted," they said in unison.

"So, what made you change your minds?" Davy asked.

"We realized Mike was right about the counterfeit money," Reggie said. "Have you guys seen him?"

"No," Davy said. "We think there's been foul play. I called the police, thinking maybe I'd confirm the call Mike made, and they said they nevah received the call. Anyway, the police ah gonna meet us in the casino. Bring along some of the counterfeit money, you guys. You know, as proof."

"Okay."

The group went down to the casino. The police were waiting for them.

"Oh, 'ello," Davy said. "I'm David Jones and these ah my friends. I'm the young man that called about the counterfeit money."

"We need you to answer a few questions, Mr. Jones," the first officer, Officer Jackson, said. "How did you find out about the counterfeit money?"

"Uh," Micky said. "My friend and I were gambling and all that jazz with some money someone gave us."

"We were hitting the jackpot every time on the slot machines, and we let it all go to our heads," Reggie said. "They figured it out before we did."

"Do you have any proof the money is counterfeit?" the second officer, Officer Walker, asked.

"Right here," Reggie said. He handed Officer Walker one of the fake bills. "It's not every day you see a hundred dollar bill with Davy Crockett on it. And here's another one dealing with the serial numbers."

The officers looked at the bills and nodded.

"One more question," Officer Walker said. "Why did you call us and ask us if we received any calls about counterfeit money, Mr. Jones?"

"A friend of ours said 'e was gonna call the police about the money," Davy said. "But when you said you didn't receive any calls about countahfiet money, we probably thought there was foul play."

"What does your friend look like?" Officer Jackson asked.

"Well, 'e's six foot one, very thin, black 'air, and brown eyes."

"Is there any way we can identify him? A lot of people are six foot one, thin, have black hair and brown eyes."

"Oh yeah. 'E always wears a green wool 'at. 'E uses it to keep 'is 'air out of 'is face when 'e rides 'is motahcycle."

"Who saw your friend last?"

"Petah."

Davy indicated Peter. The officers asked him where he last saw Mike.

"I last saw Mike over by the roulette wheel," Peter said. "He was trying to tell Micky and Reggie that the money was fake and they wouldn't listen. Then Michael said he was gonna call the police and meet me in the hotel room ten minutes after he called the police. An entire hour went by and he hasn't returned. And I know Mike. He's never everlate!"

"That's why we suspect foul play," Quackerjack said.

"Can you identify the man who gave you the counterfeit money, Mr. Dolenz?" Officer Jackson asked.

"Well, we only know him as The Boss," Micky said.

"And he's not Bruce Springsteen," Reggie clarified.

"That's about it," Micky said.

"Every little bit helps," Officer Walker said. "Don't worry, boys. We'll keep an eye out."

"Thanks," Reggie said. The officers left. Micky sighed. This wasn't going to be easy, that was for sure.

The guys went down to the coffee shop to settle their nerves over a cup of coffee. It was all they could do. At least until Reggie spotted the Boss walking down the hallway. He immediately dropped his coffee all over Drake's lap.

"Don't do that," Drake said, wiping up the coffee.

"That's him," Reggie said. "That's the Boss."

"You were right," Jerry said. "He's no Springsteen."

"Oh shut up and let's go after him!"

Jerry saluted. The Monkees, Jerry, and the Mallards jumped off of their stools and chased after the Boss. He didn't know what was coming. They tackled him onto the ground.

"We've got him!" Peter shouted.

"All right, you dirty rat!" Micky shouted, doing his James Cagney impression. "We want answers and we want them now, you dirty rat!"

"I'm not telling nothing," the Boss said. "Now let me up!"

"Where's Mike?" Peter asked.

"Mike who?" the Boss asked.

"Don't play dumb with us, pal," Jerry said. "We've already called the police on you. They're waiting for you to be caught in the act and you were."

"Yeah!" Davy continued. "We know all about the countahfiet money. Only an idiot would think Davy Crockett was on a 'undred dollah bill!"

"So tell us where Mike is and we'll go easy on ya," Drake said.

"Okay, so maybe you guys aren't as dumb as I thought," the Boss said. "But that doesn't mean I automatically spill the beans. Ol' Wool Hat's in my office."

"Let's go," Reggie said, and he started running for the door. But the Boss stopped him.

"Not so fast, Bushroot," he said. "My associate's down there with him. We have a surveillance camera hooked up in my office that sees anything in the casino, and he can hear us talking. One false move out of any of you (such as going down to my office), and my associate will . . . . well, chkkkkkk!"

The Boss made that all too familiar motion of sliding his index finger across his throat. Davy gulped and grabbed his own neck.

"Do you get it?" the Boss asked.

"All too clearly," Jerry said.

The Boss laughed. Jerry called the others into a huddle and they started muttering again (and once more, rhubarb got into the conversation).

"All right, you dirty rat," Reggie said, doing his imitation of James Cagney. "We'll strike you a deal."

"I'm listening," the Boss said.

"We play a little game of poker," Quackerjack said. "The seven of us versus the two of you. We all start with an even amount of money."

"And it 'as to be real money," Davy said.

"And we play until one of us has won all the money," Quackerjack continued. "One of us wins, you turn yourselves in and Mike goes free."

"And if I win," the Boss said. "Wool Hat comes with us, out of the country, and nobody breathes a word to the cops. If we find out you called the cops on us, Wool Hat never sees another sunrise."

"Deal," the guys said, and they all shook on it.

"We play in an hour," Reggie said.

"And you're gonna supply the money," Jerry said. "Make sure it's real money. If it's fake, we call the cops."

The Boss nodded and went down to his office.

"Biggy, we're taking Wool Hat to the car now," he said. "You and I are engaged in a poker game in an hour. You bring the money. And make sure it's the real thing."

"Okay, boss," Biggy said. "Sure."

"Better give Wool Hat another dose of chloroform before we go. I don't want him waking up in the car."

Biggy got the chloroform bottle out of the closet and waved it under Mike's nose. The two of them made sure no one was around and they took Mike up to their limo. For good measure, they closed all the windows, including one that blocked off the front and back seats, and the Boss pushed a button. Chloroform came shooting out of small exhaust pipes that were in the back seat.

"That oughta hold him until we get out of the country," he said. "Let's go get the money."

"What's the deal, Boss?" Biggy asked.

"Simple," the Boss said. "Magic Fingers and his pals challenged us to a poker game. The seven of them versus the two of us. If they win, we surrender and Wool Hat is no longer our hostage. If we win, Wool Hat comes with us."

"Is this gonna be an honest game, Boss?"

"Heck no! What kind of fool do you take me for if this was an honest game?! Let's go."

Exactly one hour later, the challengers and the challengees were standing in a room of the casino. Jerry was shuffling a deck of cards.

"Got the money?" Davy asked.

"Yeah," the Boss said. "Let's get this show on the road."

Davy divided up the money. Jerry dealt the cards and the game began. Davy was the first to go broke, followed by Peter, Drake, Jerry, Quackerjack, and finally Micky. But they weren't worried. Reggie was still in the game. Soon, Reggie had to bet all his money on the hand. But he considered it a very good hand.

"I can't lose," he said, showing the others his cards.

"Okay, Bushroot," the Boss said. "Whatcha got?"

"Four queens," Reggie said, laying his cards on the table.

"Ha ha!" Micky shouted.

"All right, four ladies!" Quackerjack yelled, giving Davy a high five.

"Four queens," the Boss said. "That's a good hand."

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Reggie said, reaching for the money.

"But not good enough," the Boss cut in and laid his cards on the table. "Four aces. Read 'em and weep."

Jerry's jaw dropped so fast it would've gone through the floor in two seconds. He gaped at the cards. Peter was completely speechless. The others began talking at once.

"Wha?" Micky asked.

"How the heck?" Drake said.

"Four aces?" Quackerjack asked.

"That's impossible!" Reggie shouted.

"'Ow did 'e do that?!" Davy yelled.

The Boss smirked and took the money out to his limo. Biggy followed him.

"Time we headed out," he said. "Let's go."

"Right boss," Biggy said.

The two gamblers loaded the money in the car and started driving off. The Monkees, the Mallards, and Jerry stood in the casino, wondering how the heck the Boss was able to get four aces.

"The chances to getting a hand like that are a million to one!" Jerry shouted. "Unless . . . ."

"Unless what?" Micky asked.

"Unless he cheated."

"How would you know?"

"I lived in Philly most my life. Very close to Atlantic City. I would know a cheater at a poker game. I had a feeling there was something fishy about this game."

"Makes sense."

"Let's check a security tape or something."

"Gotcha."

The gang ran to the security guards office and told them what they thought was going on and asked if they could see a video tape of the events that had happened in the past hour. They watched the tapes of the poker game as closely as possible.

"We're looking for a needle in a 'aystack," Davy said.

"There has not been anything fishy about the poker game," Reggie said. "Maybe those chances of getting for aces are better than a mil . . . ."

"Back up, back up, back up!" Jerry screamed, suddenly. He grabbed the remote and pushed the rewind button. Then he pushed the play button and the pause button.

"Gentlemen," he said. "We have a cheater on our hands. Check this. I'll play this back in slow mo."

Jerry pushed another set of buttons and they saw the Boss pull three aces out of his jacket pocket and replace the other cards he had with them. It was when Reggie was showing the others his four queens.

"Read it and weep, boys," Jerry said.

"I might have known," Quackerjack said. "He's probably halfway out of Vegas by now."

"Maybe there's still time," Davy said.

"I have an idea," Jerry said. "We need to get to a costume department, though."

"Why?" Micky asked.

"Trust me," Jerry said with a sneaky smile, and ran off. The Monkees and the Mallards had no choice but to follow him. They managed to find a costume department, used to supply the show girls with their outfits. Davy was thankful he found a couple policeman uniforms.

"What ah we supposed to do with these?" Davy asked.

"Follow me," Jerry said.

"What's your fantastic plan?" Reggie asked.

"You'll see. Now let's get going."

Reggie sighed and walked off. Meanwhile, The Boss and Biggy were laughing hysterically at their master plan.

"By the time ol' Magic Fingers figures out the plan, we'll be halfway to Brazil!" the Boss shouted.

"Ya got that right, boss!" Biggy shouted. "Boy, he sure is an idiot!"

"Why do you think I used him in my plan, knucklehead?!"

"Oh yeah."

The Boss laughed. He was just imagining all the money he had stowed in the trunk. He was interrupted from the daydream by Biggy making a sudden stop.

"What'd you stop for, stupid?!" he shouted.

"There's a cop right in front of the car!" Biggy shouted.

Jerry, dressed as a cop, was standing in front of the car, as Biggy said. He was blowing on a whistle and holding up a sign that read "Detour."

"What seems to be the trouble, officer?" the Boss asked.

"Can't you see the orange cones, buddy?" Jerry asked. "Severe road work, pal."

"You've got to be putting me on!"

"Take a look for yourself if you don't believe me."

The Boss looked. He saw some construction workers (who were Drake, Peter, and Quackerjack) working on the roads.

"All the roads are closed," Jerry continued. "That's why I'm here. Move along, buddy, or else."

"Sure thing, officer," the Boss said. "You heard the cop. Turn left."

"Right," Biggy said.

"No, left."

(Old joke)

Jerry made a face at that awful old joke and turned. He gave Drake, Peter, and Quackerjack the "OK" sign with his fingers and the four of them ran off. The Boss was still gloating about how well his plan turned out. Biggy began thinking it over too, until finally they ran into a brick wall, literally. Davy, Micky, and Reggie ran over to the car, with Quackerjack, Peter, Drake, and Jerry right behind them, not to mention the police were with them.

"Gotcha," Reggie said, smugly.

"You dirty rats!" the Boss shouted.

Micky and Reggie took over from there. They pulled the Boss and Biggy out of the front seat and surrendered them to the cops. Then they pulled Mike, who was still unconscious due to the chloroform, out of the car and woke him up, by slapping his face.

"Mike!" Micky shouted, who did most of the slapping. "Wake up, man! Are you okay?"

"I will be once you stop slappin' my face!" Mike shouted. He sat up and shook his head, trying to get himself organized. "What happened? One minute I'm at the phone and the next . . . ."

"We'll tell you when we get back to the hotel room," Jerry said. "In the meantime, I think four musicians are gonna be late for their gig."

"Ack!" Quackerjack shouted. "We've been so busy keeping Mick and Reg out of trouble I forgot all about our gig!"

"We'd better get going!" Drake shouted.

The Monkees, the Mallards, and Jerry ran off. They didn't have time to change into their costumes, they just wore what they were currently wearing at the scene. After the gig, the guys informed Mike about what happened.

"That would explain the headache," Mike said.

"I would think so," Reggie said. "All because Micky got the gambling bug. Mick, I hope we never have to go through this kind of thing again!"

All Reggie heard was silence. Micky had somehow disappeared.

"Mick?" Reggie asked. "Mick? Micky?"

Jerry tapped Reggie on the shoulder and pointed. Micky was pulling down levers of the slot machines, and winning.

"Oh no!" Reggie screamed.

"All together, folks," Jerry said.

"Here we go again!" everybody shouted in unison.

The End