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Fan Fics

What's in a Name?

by Kevin Mickel
(aka HKUriah@AOL.com)


     "Oh brother," said Buster as he watched the lion skulk away towards home, "I guess we know who wears the pants in his family."  Turning then to face the camera, he added, "Now things are different at my house.  Yes, sir, I can tell you most certainly that in my family, I wear the pants.  That's right, folks, I wear the pants in my family, and in fact..."
     "Buster!" called an angry voice, and the camera panned a little to the right to reveal Babs standing by a rabbit hole looking not very happy. Suddenly a signpost appeared with the words, "Mrs. Buster Bunny," written on it and a red arrow pointing at Babs.  "Do you know what time it is?"
     Buster glanced at his watch, grinned sheepishly at the camera, and then crawled meekly into the hole.  Once he had done so, Babs looked at the camera and said, "Confidentially, folks, Buster doesn't wear the pants in this family, no one does!"
     As the camera irised out on Babs face and the end titles came up on the screen, the lights in the auditorium came on, and Bugs Bunny walked out on to the stage.  "Okay, kids, that's the last one.  Grades for your projects will be posted outside my office the day after tomorrow. The entire faculty will be grading your projects together, so don't think you'll be able to get a better grade by buttering up your mentor.  Any questions?  No?  All right, dismissed.  Buster, I wanna see you in my
office."
     "Uh-oh," said Buster to Babs as everyone started filing out of the auditorium, "I think he's gonna lower the boom on me for changing the dialog in the final scene."
     "I wouldn't worry about it, Buster.  Given how you and I operate, and your regular attire, I think the scene worked a little better.  Besides, Calamity and Little Beeper redid Fast & Furious gag for gag in Acme Acres instead of the desert, and I don't think Porky will be upset with Hampton for visiting Steven Spielberg and being chased by Jurassic Park style dinosaurs instead of cowboys for his version of You Ought to Be in Pictures.  Everyone had to do some minor modifications to pull this project off."
     "I hope you're right, Babs," said Buster as they left the auditorium. "You gonna wait for me?"
     "I'll be here," said Babs.  "Don't worry."
     "It's not you that I'm worried about," said Buster when they reached the door to Bugs office.  "Well, I'll be right back," and feeling somewhat apprehensive, he opened the door and went inside.
     "Oh, Buster," said Bugs when he saw him, "come on in."
     "Hi, Bugs," said Buster sheepishly.  "You upset with me for modifying the dialog at the end of the film?"
     "Oh, not at all.  I am curious about something though, what made you decide to pick that film to do the remake of?  It is one of my more obscure pictures."
     Buster shrugged his shoulders.  "Yeah,  well, I really wanted to have Babs make that cameo at the end.  I think you know why I'd want that."
     Bugs smiled.  "Yeah, I guess I do.  You kids are good together. Don't mess it up, Buster."
     "Don't worry, Bugs, I won't.  So, uh, what did you want to see me about?"
     "It's the last day of the month."
     "Oh yeah, I almost forgot."
     "No you didn't.  Hand it over."
     Buster shrugged and pulled out a wad of bills which he handed to Bugs, who carefully counted them.  "Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one-hundred.  Very good, Buster," said Bugs as he put the money away.  "Well, that settles the account.  Your little trip to Hawaii has been paid off.  What does that tell you?"
     Buster nodded glumly.  "It tells me that I'd better ask first the next time I want to borrow one of your credit cards."
     "That you'd better," said Bugs seriously.  Then, lightening his tone, he asked, "So is Babs waiting for you?"
     "Yeah.  We've got to go reshoot the opening sequence for the second act of an upcoming episode, and then we're gonna go over to the park and maybe get a hotdog or something."
     "Uh-huh," said Bugs thoughtfully.  He paused for just a moment before pulling $50 back out of his drawer, and handing it to Buster he said, "Here.  Take her out someplace nice.  The park and hotdogs are okay, but they can lose their charm really fast."
     Buster was hesitant.  "Gee, Bugs, I..."
     "No argument, Buster.  You've worked hard to pay off that bill, and I'm proud of you for doing it.  Now go celebrate with your girl, and with no strings attached."
     "Thanks, Bugs," said Buster as he pocketed the money with a smile, "I'll pay you back as soon as I can."
     "No you won't.  That money's a gift.  Now get goin', and have a
good time."
     "Don't worry," said Buster, "I will."
     "Good.  Say, would you mind if I was to drop by and watch you guys do the reshoot?  After watching so many completed cartoons, I'd kinda like to see one being made."
     "You're always welcome on the set, Bugs.  I'll see you there."
     Feeling relieved to finally be debt free, Buster turned and left Bugs office, and found Babs waiting patiently for him in the hall.  "So how'd it go?" she asked.
     "Well, Babs, you'll be happy to know that our little trip to Hawaii has finally been paid for, and that I still have some money left over. Whattaya say we go celebrate my newfound financial independence in style after we get done with the reshoot?"
     "You're on," said Babs with enthusiasm.  "So where are we gonna go?"
     "I'll let you know when we get there.  But right now, let's go reshoot that segment."
     "Ooh, a mystery.  I like that.  Oh, that reminds me, I've been meaning to ask you this for a long time.  Just how did you get your hands on his credit card in the first place?"
     Buster stopped just long enough to give her a sly look, and with a faint grin he said, "Don't ask.  Believe me, you don't wanna know."
     Babs thought there was more humor than serious warning in Buster's response, but she also knew that he meant it.  "Okay," she said.  "But I'm still gonna wonder."
     "That's all right," said Buster seriously.  "Maybe someday you'll find out."
     "Now what's that supposed to mean?"
     "Nothing, Babs.  Nothing at all."

##########

     "Okay," said the director, "this shouldn't take too long.  All we need to do is reshoot this opening sequence.  You guys ready?"
     "All set," said Buster.  "How 'bout you, Babs?"
     "Ready as I'll ever be."
     "Good," said the director.  Taking a final look around the set to make sure everyone was ready, he said, "Okay, quiet on the set.  Roll the cameras.  And, action!"
     Buster and Babs walked from behind a large boulder, looking somewhat bedraggled.  "Whew," said Buster, "that's the last time I let Dizzy Devil run heavy machinery."
     "That's the least of our problems, Buster.  You haven't seen what our next assignment is."
     "Don't tell me, Plucky's trying to carve his face on Mt. Rushmore again, and we've got to stop him."
     "Worse," said Babs.  "According to this, Calamity Coyote is conducting cold-fusion experiments."
     "O great," said Buster.  "Nuclear power in the hands of a brilliant klutz.  Well, we'd better go stop him before he blows up the..."
     Buster was cut off by the sound of a strange woodpecker-like laugh.
"What was that?" asked Babs with surprise.
     "Cut!" yelled the director with disgust.
     "I'm not sure," said Buster, he sounded distant.  "But I'm afraid I might know," and he took ahold of Babs hand and squeezed it tightly.
     Babs turned to him with concern.  "You're scared."
     "I might have reason to be.  We'd better wait and see."
     They did not have to wait very long.  Soon after Buster said this, a strange looking gray rabbit walked onto the set.  He had a severe overbite, a white powder-puff tale, and he walked in a kind of crouched-over fashion that made him look like he was getting ready to jump away.
     "I knew it," said Buster when he saw him.  "It's him."
     "Hey," said Babs with surprise, "isn't that the other Bug's Bunny?"

[Notable Note:  To avoid confusion, please be aware of the fact that the character from the films Hare-um Scare-um and Elmer's Candid Camera will be referred to as Bug's Bunny, while the character who first appeared in A Wild Hare, and who is still with us, will be referred to as Bugs Bunny.]

     "It is," said Buster.  "Come on, let's go see what he wants."
     As Buster and Babs approached him, Bug's turned to them and said, "Well, it seems that I've caught someone's attention.  What names do the two of you go by?"
     "Buster and Babs Bunny," said Buster suspiciously.
     "No relation," added Babs automatically.
     "Rope it in, Babs.  This is serious."
     "Sorry, Buster.  Reflex reaction."
     "Bunny?" asked Bug's.  "Strange, considering your resemblance to ol' Texas.  Especially you, Buster, the resemblance is quite strong."

     "I don't know what you're talking about," said Buster guardedly.
"What are you doing here in Acme Acres?"
     "I'm here to settle an old score," said Bug's.  "That, and to reclaim what's mine.  Why don't you go and get Texas so that he and I can have a little chat?"
     "Why don't you just wait for him," said Buster.  "He'll be along soon enough."
     "Texas is coming here?" asked Bug's.  "Well that's fine with me."
He pulled a celery stalk out of his pocket then, and starting to munch on it he added, "I got plenty of time to wait."
     Bug's turned to the director then and said, "I'm sorry I had to interrupt your shoot, Sir, but I had to find an old friend, and I figured that a cartoon set would be as good a place as any to look for Texas Rabbit."  Having nothing else to say, Bug's went and sat down in the shade of a nearby tree, leaving the director wondering what in the world was going on.
     All through his conversation with Bug's, Babs couldn't help but notice the hostility that was in Buster's voice.  "Are you all right?" she asked him with concern.
     "I'm fine, Babs.  I just never expected to see him around here."
     Before she could ask Buster what he meant by that, the director stepped forward and said, "Buster, what's going on?  This guy says that his name is Bug's Bunny and that he needs to see someone named Texas Rabbit.  You seem to know who and what he's talking about.
Would you care to explain?"
     "It's a long story," said Buster.  "And it's one that I..."
     Buster stopped when he saw Elmer Fudd approaching.  "Hewwo, Buster," he said.  "Bugs asked me to stop by on my way home to tell you that he got held up at the Wooniversity.  He said he'd be by as soon as he could."
     "Thanks, Elmer," said Buster absent-mindedly.  "Did he say when he'd be leaving?"
     "He was twying to weave when I saw him.  He just asked me to tell you he might be a wittle wate."
     "That doesn't surprise me in the least," said Bug's as he came over to join them.  "Texas always was one to be late for things.  How you doin', Elmer?  Did you ever get your camera fixed?"
     Elmer turned around in surprise.  "Bug's Bunny!  What bwings you here.  I haven't seen you in years."
     "It has been a long time, Elmer.  But I must say, the time's been good for you, you look a lot better."
     "Oh, well, I guess this is an impwoovement.  But come on, what bwings you to Acme Acres?"
     "I've come see ol' Texas."
     A look of concern formed on Elmer's face.  "Uh-oh.  Well, goodbye, Bug's.  It was weawy vewy nice to see you again, but I've got to go.  Maybe I'll see you awound."
     As Elmer hurried off, Bug's shook his head and said, "Nice fellow, that Fudd.  Too bad about his appearance though.  I only
complemented him to be polite."
     About then, a line of dirt came into view, indicating the imminent arrival of a rabbit.  It stopped just a few feet in front of Buster, and up out of the ground came Bugs Bunny.  "Eh, what's up, Doah-ha-ha-ooh-eeee-ahh," he faltered when he saw Bug's.  "You!" he managed to get out at last.
     "Yep, it's me.  How y'doin', Texas?  It's been a long time."
     Bugs stiffened.  "The name is Bugs.  Bugs Bunny."
     "No, your name is Texas Rabbit.  I'm Bug's Bunny."
     "I'm Bugs Bunny!"
     "No, I'm Bug's Bunny, and I'll prove it.  Here, take a look at my identification."  With that, Bug's pulled out his model sheet, and sure enough, it was labeled "Bug's Bunny."  "See, I told ya so."
     "Humph," said Bugs.  "I got one-a dem tings too," and he pulled out his own model sheet labeled, "Bugs Bunny."
     "That doesn't mean a thing," said Bug's.  "Look at the date.  1943.
Mine says 1939.  I got you beat for the name by four years."
     "Well dis ain't my foist model sheet.  My appearance did refine itself over me foist few years.  This is what finally emerged, and it's the one still in use today."
     "Oh really?" asked Bug's.  "So you've got an earlier sheet?"
     "Not with me.  Buster, do you still have that model sheet of mine that I gave you?  My foist one from A Wild Hare?"
     "Uh, yeah, Bugs, but I..."
     "Never mind about that now.  Come on, let's go get it and settle this once and for all."
     As they headed back towards Buster's rabbit hole, a sense of concern was growing within him, and Babs could sense it.  "What's wrong?" she asked.
     "I'm afraid that Bugs is in for a shock.  Bug's has riled him, and he's forgotten something.  Something very important."
     "Why do I have a feeling it's gonna be something he's not gonna like?"
     Buster didn't answer her, he just kept on walking.
     When they finally reached his hole, Buster led Babs, Bugs and Bug's down to his living room, and pointing at the model sheet hanging on the wall he said, glumly, "There it is."
     "Yep, it shore is," said Bug's triumphantly, "and look at the name on it.  'Tex's Rabbit.'  Would you say that this proves me right, Texas?"
     Realizing that he had made a huge mistake, Bugs said, "Dis don't prove anything.  Just because they didn't call me Bugs Bunny right away doesn't mean that it's not my name."
     "I'm afraid that it does," said Bug's.  "And I intend to establish my rights to the name.  I'll see you in court, Texas.  I'm goin' after what's mine."

##########

     Three days later, Babs sat in front of her TV set and listened to the news of the court's decision with disbelief.  Bugs Bunny had lost the rights to his name to Bug's Bunny, and he was legally declared to be named Texas Rabbit.  In a related ruling, because all of the institution's documents said that he was, Bug's Bunny took over as President and Chancellor of Acme Looniversity, and he took out an injunction against Texas Rabbit, barring him from all access to the campus.
     "I've got to see Buster," thought Babs as she turned off her set. "He's not gonna take this well."
     When she got to Buster's place, she was surprised to see Bugs Bunny's Cadillac parked next to the hole.  "Buster," she called down into it, "are you home?"
     There was a strangely long pause before the answer came up. "Sure, Babs.  Come on down."
     Going down to Buster's living room, she saw Bugs and Buster looking over some legal looking papers that were spread out on the coffee table.  "I just heard the news," she explained.  "I thought you could use some company."
     "I'm glad you're here," said Buster.  "I was just getting ready to call you."
     "What for?"
     "I asked him to," said Bugs.  "I've got to go up to Sacramento to file my appeal.  It's going to be a complicated, time consuming process.  I'll be up there for a while just trying to get the legal machines going. While I'm doing that, you kids are gonna have to find something, anything, that we can use to fight this.  I'm gonna be too busy dealing with lawyers to do it myself, and there's no one else I'd trust to do the work for me."
     "Gee," said Babs.  "Thanks, Bugs.  I won't let you down."
     "I know you won't," said Bugs as he stuffed the legal papers into his briefcase.  "Buster, this isn't gonna be easy for me, or you.  Be prepared for anything, understood?"
     Buster nodded somberly.  "I do.  If anything comes up, I'll contact you."
     "You do that.  Well, I gotta go, kids.  Good luck."
     As Bugs left, Babs looked over at Buster and asked, "What did he mean when he said to be ready for anything?"
     "Well, we might lose.  We have to be prepared in case we do."
     "No way," said Babs.  "There's something more to it than that."
     Buster sighed.  "You're right, Babs, there is.  But I can't tell you, yet."
     "Yet?"
     "Yet."
     Babs nodded.  "All right.  So, where do we start looking for our evidence?"
     "I'd say the library.  That'd be as good a place as any."
     "It would," agreed Babs.  "Come on, let's go."
     Upon their arrival at Acme Loo, Buster and Babs were shocked to see a workcrew pulling down the statue of Bugs Bunny at the entranceway and replacing it with one of Bug's Bunny.  "Oh boy," said Babs.  "He's already taken over."
     "That's why we're here," said Buster as he looked at the new statue with contempt, "to stop him."  He continued to stare at the statue, and fter a few seconds, a mischievous look formed on his face.
     "What are you thinking?" asked Babs when she saw it.
     "Well," he said thoughtfully, "I'm not exactly sure."
     Babs noticed then that Buster was holding an Acme Little Giant Firecracker in his hands and that he was running his thumb over the fuse.  "You wouldn't?" she asked in all seriousness.
     "I would.  I'm just not sure how.  If only I had a way to distract them."
     Babs grinned.  "You leave that to me," she said,  "I'll take care of it."
Babs quickly spun herself around into her Kathleen Turner costume and said, "I'll just go give those workers a little Bunny Heat."
     Buster's jaw dropped down to the ground when he saw what Babs had done to herself.  "Gaah," was all he managed to say.
     Babs smiled.  Picking up his jaw and fitting it back into place, she said, "We'll talk about it later.  Right now though, we've got work to do," and she walked off towards the workers.
     Buster regained his wits in just enough time to see that her plan was working.  The entire workcrew dropped what they were doing to ogle at Babs, who walked past them in a most seductive manner.
     While the workers were so engaged, Buster made his way up to Bug's statue and pushed his firecracker up into a hollow spot in its heel.
He lit the fuse then, and racing over to Babs he grabbed her hand and said, "Sorry fellas, but this Bunny's mine, and I don't wanna see her blown up."  With that, they raced away from the statue and up the steps to the Looniversity's main entrance, leaving the workers to wonder what he was talking about.
     Upon reaching the top of the stairs, Buster and Babs, who was in her regular clothes again, turned around to witness the results of their labor.  "Well, come on guys," they heard the Foreman calling to his men.  "Let's get back to..."
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     When the smoke cleared, the statue of Bug's Bunny was gone, and the members of the workcrew were covered with black soot.  "...work," gasped the Foreman, and he fell over on his face in amazement.
     "Good work," said Babs as she admired the destruction.  "Shall we?" she asked as she turned to Buster and offered him her arm.
     "Let's shall," said Buster as he hooked his own arm around her elbow.  "We've got work to do!"
     Without saying another word, the two rabbits made their way to the Looniversity's library.  Going to the computerized archives room, they found Bookworm busy cleaning the main terminal.  "Hiya, Bookworm," said Buster as he took a seat at the terminal.  "Babs and I need some information.  What can you find for us on the origins of Bugs Bunny's career?"
     Bookworm looked thoughtful for a moment before hoping over the keyboard to type in a series of commands.  After a few seconds, a text file came up on the screen, which read as follows, "Bug's Bunny was a Warner Bros. cartoon star whose all too brief career began in 1938 with the film Porky's Hare Hunt.  This was followed in 1939 with Prest-o Change-o.  After this picture, Bug's appearance was modified somewhat and in the same year he starred in what many feel was his best film ever, Hare-Um Scare-Um.  In 1940, Bug's played his final starring role in the film Elmer's Candid Camera, which also introduced the character of Elmer Fudd.  Bug's made one more appearance, a cameo in 1940's Patient Porky, and then his career was over, leaving behind an excellent legacy of cartoon moments that were destined to become classics.
     Bug's was not seen again for many years until 1994 when he returned to Acme Acres to reclaim the rights to his name, which had been inappropriately acquired by the character who replaced him at Warner Bros., Texas Rabbit.  Once he had established the legal rights to his name, Bug's took his rightful place as President and Chancellor of Acme Looniversity, where he remains to this day, instructing young Toons in the fundamentals of cartoon comedy.
     This report was compiled by the Acme Looniversity Archives Staff. A multi-media presentation of this information is in the works, complete with clips from Bug's films, and interviews with him.  Please check again in the weeks to come."
     "Well that's not very helpful," said Babs when she had read the report.
     "No," agreed Buster, "it's not.  He sure didn't waste any time, did he?  Well, thanks, Bookworm.  Come on, Babs, we're gonna have to try looking somewhere else."
     As they left the Looniversity, Buster smiled appreciatively at the rubble where the statue of Bug's had been.  The members of the workcrew, who had recovered nicely and cleaned themselves up, were busy cleaning up the mess.  "If only getting rid of the real Bug's would be that easy," he muttered.  He shook his head in disgust before turning to Babs and saying, "I don't know where we're gonna look for more information.  You can bet that Bug's has replaced all the information about Bugs in Acme Acres with stuff about himself by now.  You got any ideas?"
     "I'm not sure," said Babs.  "Maybe we could..."
     Babs was cut off when a young man on a motor scooter rode up to them and said, "Package for Buster Bunny!"
     "I'm Buster Bunny.  Watta y'got?"
     "Telegram, sir.  Postage due.  That'll be $11.00."
     "Here," said Buster with disgust as he pulled out the money that Bugs had given him and used it to pay the messenger.  "Now let's have it."
     "What's it say?" asked Babs as the messenger drove away.
     With a look of genuine curiosity on his face, Buster opened the telegram to read, "Recent decision of concern to many stop.  You have friends that you are unaware of stop.  For more help pull aside background stop.  A friend stop."
     "Hmmm," said Babs.  "I wonder who it's from?"
     "There's only one way to find out," said Buster, and he reached up to pull down the background.  "Oof!" he said after a couple of seconds.
"Give me a hand with this, Babs.  It's awfully heavy for some reason."
     "That's odd," said Babs as she reached up to help him.
     "That's unheard of," said Buster as they pulled down on the background together.
     Even with both of them pulling on it, there was still considerable resistance for a few seconds before the background popped down, and when it finally did, Buster and Babs were shocked by what they saw. Seated at a large table were several well known Toons from several different studios.  From WB there was Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd, from Universal was Woody Woodpecker, from the Fleischer Bros. studio, Betty Boop and Popeye, and from Disney there was Mickey Mouse. From the comic books, and propped up on an easel in a white cardboard frame was Scrooge McDuck.  "Oh good, you made it" said
Mickey when he saw them.  Then, shaking his head, he added under his breath, "I always wished that Walt had let us do things like that."
     Buster and Babs looked at each other with amazement before looking back to Mickey and asking in unison, "YOU sent us the telegram?"
     "Ah, no.  It was actually Scrooge who sent it."
     Turning to the easel, Buster asked, "Postage due?"
     A word balloon formed over Scrooge's head containing the words, "Well what did you expect at 50 cents a word?"
     "I should have known," said Buster.
     "Hey," said Babs to Scrooge's picture, "how come you're not animated?"
     New words formed in the balloon.  "Because I'm not a Toon like you.  I'm a comic book character."
     "Oh," said Babs, sounding unconvinced.  "If that's true, how can you be here?"
     "When you've got three cubic acres of money," printed the balloon, "anything's possible."
     "Riiiight," said Babs.  "Buster, what's going on here?"
     "I dunno, Babs.  But, I do have a feeling that it's not so bad."
Looking then to Mickey he asked, "Am I right?"
     "Probably.  Elmer, why don't you start?"
     "Sure, Mickey.  You see, Buster, it's wike dis.  This wuling has vewy far weaching impwications, and none of us are comfortable with them. If Bug's can weagawy way cwaim to Bugs name, maybe Egghead will twy to cwaim mine.  I couwd also be forced to twansform myself back to the way I wooked in Ewmer's Candid Camewa.  I don't wanna have to do that."
     "Elmer's re-uh-right," said Porky.  "We c-could all be f-for-uh-fors-uh, required to ree-uh-rever-er-uh-retur-uh go back to our earliest forms just to avoid lawsuits.  I don't wanna get fat and start wearing sweaters again."
     "And I don't wanna have to be a dog again," said Betty.
     "And there are other things to consider," said Popeye.  "There are indications that my Technicolor imposter over at Famous/Paramount could use this ruling to threaten my very existence."
     "Don't forget about me," said Woody.  "I've already been warned that if I keep using my laugh that Bug's will sue me for copyright infringement.  If he can claim Bugs name, he very well could have a case for claiming my laugh."
     "It wouldn't surprise me," said Buster.  "What about you, Scrooge? What's your angle?"
     A rather large word balloon formed over Scrooge's head, containing the words, "If you think I'm gonna let this ruling go unchallenged so that that animated imposter on DuckTales can get his feathers on my 16 fantastacatillion, umpteen billion-jillion, uncountabadillion dollars and six cents, then you're not as smart as I thought."
     "Sorry," muttered Buster.  "I should have known."
     "Well," said Mickey, "now that you know why we're all here, let me tell you why we sent for you.  For reasons that should be obvious, we can't let it be known that we're helping Bugs.  When I called him, his answering machine had a message on it that said to contact you.  Now, we feel that the only place where you'll be able to find what you need isn't here.  It's in the real world.  The world of live action."
     Babs found that notion intriguing.  "You may be right," she said, "but how are we supposed to get there?"
     "With these," said Mickey.  "These devices were designed by the most brilliant minds in all of Toondom.  Gyro Gearloose, Prof. Grampy, Wile E. Coyote, The Brain, and many others.  Not only will they get you to the live action world, but when you're done, they'll bring you back."
     Buster looked at the devices with a dubious stare.  "I dunno.  You say Wile E. had a hand in their design?"
     "I wouldn't let that worry you, Buster.  None of the components were purchased from Acme, so they will work."
     Buster looked at Babs and asked, "So what do you think?"
     "It's worth a try.  I've always wondered what reality was like."
     "So have I," admitted Buster.  "Uhm, Porky, you've been there. Any advice?"
     "Jee-uh-just be careful.  Reality can be dangerous."
     "Right," said Buster.  "So, how do these things work, Mickey?"
     "Push the red button to transfer to reality, and the blue one will bring you back again."
     "Okay," said Buster.  "You ready, Babs?"
     "Uh, not here," said Mickey.  "It would be better for you to leave from Acme Acres."
     "If you say so," said Buster.  "Well, thanks a lot.  I know Bugs'll be grateful for the aid."
     "I'm sure he will," said Mickey.  "Now get going.  You've spent far too much time here already."
     Buster nodded his understanding, and turning to Babs he said "Come on, gimme a hand with this thing," and the two rabbits reached up to pull down the Acme Acres background.
     They got the one with Buster's rabbit hole on it, and once they were there, Babs said, "Well, that was certainly interesting."
     "That it was.  So, you ready?"
     "Ready as I'll ever be.  Let's do it."
     With that, they each pushed the red button on their reality transformers.  It seemed to both of them that reality was melting away, and yet at the same time taking on a more definitive quality.  After a few seconds of this, they found themselves standing on a live-action animator's desk.  "Whoa," said Babs with amazement, "thirteensomething was nothing like this."
     "No kidding," said Buster.  "Come on, let's get going."
     "Uh, Buster, wait a minute.  Don't you see a small problem?"
     "You mean the fact that we're Toons in a live action environment?"
     "No.  I'm talking about a SMALL problem.  We're only two inches tall!  How are we supposed to get around?"
     Buster looked around at the hugeness of their surroundings.
"You've got a point," he admitted.  "Maybe we can..."
     Buster stopped when he heard the sound of approaching footsteps. "Quick," he said as he grabbed Babs hand, "we gotta hide!" and he pulled her into a dark spot behind some drawing supplies.
     Folding back their ears so they wouldn't stick out, Buster and Babs carefully peered around the things they were hiding behind to see who was coming.  They both held their breath as a lady came into the room, humming the theme from "Animainiacs."  As she came closer to where Buster and Babs were hiding, they could see that her name badge said, "MacNeille, Tress.  Actress, Cartoon Division."
     "Hey," whispered Babs, "I know her!"
     "What are you talking about?"
     "Don't you ever watch the credits on the show?  That's Tress MacNeille, my voice!"
     Buster wanted to make a comment about voices, but he thought better of it and asked, "Do you think she would help us?"
     "There's only one way to find out," whispered Babs.  Then, much more loudly, she called out, "Hey, Tress, over here."
     Tress stopped what she was doing and looked around the room.  "I must be hearing things," she muttered.
     "No you're not" called Babs.  "Over here, on the drawing table."
     Tress turned around to see Buster and Babs standing on the drawing table waving at her.  "This is too weird," she said.  "This can't be happening."
     "I'm afraid it is," said Babs.  "We need your help."
     Against her better judgment, Tress walked over to the drawing table, and eyeing the two animated rabbits that were standing on it, she asked, "Who are you?"
     "Isn't that obvious?  I'm Buster Bunny."
     "And I'm Babs Bunny."
     "No relation," said Buster and Babs together, and they were joined by Tress, who added the line without even thinking.
     "Whoa," said Buster.  "Stereophonic Babs.  I love it!"
     "This is ridiculous," said Tress.  "You can't be Babs Bunny," then, switching to Babs inflection, she added, "I'm Babs Bunny!"
     "No," said Babs, "I'm Babs Bunny.  You're just my voice."
     Tress found it hard to argue with that statement.  "Okay," she said as she sat down, "I'm not dreaming, and I don't think I'm cracking up. Assuming that you are who you appear to be, what are you doing here?"
     "That's a long story, Tress," said Buster.  "You see, we're here to help out Bugs Bunny."
     "Okayyyy," said Tress cautiously, "help him with what?"
     "Well," said Buster, "do you know anything about the other Bug's Bunny?"
     "You mean the one that Bugs Hardaway created?"
     "Who?" asked Buster and Babs together.
     "Bugs Hardaway.  He was a director for Warner Bros. back in... Never mind.  What about Bug's Bunny?"
     "It's crazy," said Buster.  "Bug's has legally claimed the name, 'Bug's Bunny,' and he's kicked Bugs out of Acme Loo, taking over himself. Bugs has gone up to Cartoon Sacramento to file an appeal, and we've been sent to look for information that he can use to fight the decision."
     "Can you help us, Tress?" asked Babs.  "We're too small to travel around and look for the information ourselves.  If you won't, then Bugs is doomed!"
     Tress stared at the little animated rabbits and thought about what they said.  "Well," she said cautiously, "either you are what you appear to be, or I'm going nuts."  She sighed heavily and said, "Well, I'd like to think I'm still sane.  Alright, I'll help you."
     "Yes!" said Buster with enthusiasm.
     "Great!" said Babs, and the two of them jumped off the drawing table to give Tress a big kiss on each cheek.
     Tress grabbed the rabbits, and pulling them down in front of her, she said, "Well that proves you are who you say you are."  Setting them down on the table again, she added, "Wait here.  I'll be right back."
     As Tress left the room, Babs turned to Buster and said, "Do I have a great voice or what?  I told you she'd help us."
     "Yeah, well, come on, we should stay out of sight in case someone else comes by.  They might not react as kindly to us as she did."
     "Good point," said Babs, and she ducked behind some drawing supplies with Buster.  "So," she asked once they were safely out of sight, "do you think she'll be able to find us what we need?"
     "I hope so," said Buster.  "'Cause there's no place else left to look.  If we don't find what we need, Bugs is finished.  If that happens I..."
Buster's voice trailed off as he couldn't bring himself to voice his thought.  After a few seconds, he took Babs by the hand and said very seriously, "Babs, I need to know something.  If this is the end for Bugs, then I'm finished too.  If that happens, will you stick with me?  Even if it means leaving Acme Acres and never coming back?"
     "That's not gonna happen, Buster," said Babs with effort. "Everything'll be fine, you'll see."
     "I hope so," said Buster.  "But it might not be.  Babs, I gotta know, if I'm finished, if I have to leave, will you come with me?"
     Babs knew that she was at a moment of truth.  Buster was asking her what was most important to her, him or her career.  She also knew that he didn't want her to have to make the choice, and she had never thought about it.  She'd always counted on having both.  But then again, she'd never counted on seeing Bug's Bunny in Acme Acres.  After a few seconds of intense soul searching, she took a deep breath and said, "If it comes down to it, I'll go with you.  It wouldn't be worth staying without you."
     Buster relaxed considerably.  "Thank you, Barbara Anne, that means a lot to me."
     Babs opened her mouth to tell Buster not to call her that, but before she could, she realized that he wasn't using her full name to tease her, and that realization made her not mind.  "We'll beat this, Buster.  I know we will."
     Buster forced himself to smile.  "I know."  He paused for just a second then before asking, "I wonder where Tress is?  She's been gone for a while now."
     "This is reality, Buster.  It could actually take time to do things around here."
     "Yeah, I suppose it could."  Putting his arm around Babs shoulders then, he added, "Well, at least I can wait with good company."
     "Thanks," said Babs as she rested her head on his shoulder.  "I'm glad you think so."
     They sat quietly together that way until Tress returned.  "Buster? Babs?" she called out softly.  "Are you still here?"
     "Over here, Tress," called Babs as she and Buster came out of their hiding place.
     Going over to the drawing table, she showed them a book and said, "The info you need to help Bugs is in here."  The book's title was, "Bugs Bunny.  Fifty Years and Only One Grey Hare."  Laying the book on the table in front of them and opening it to a marked page, Tress said, "Here's a couple of paragraphs about Bug's.  They should tell you what you need to do."
     Buster and Babs looked over the spot that Tress had indicated and as they read it, their eyes lit up.  "Do you know what this means, Buster?" asked Babs.
     "I sure do.  This makes Bug's claims totally null and void."
     "But how are we gonna expose him?"
     "Don't worry, we'll think of something," said Buster with enthusiasm.  "Tress, I can't thank you enough.  We never could have found this out without your help.  Is there anything I can do to repay you?"
     "Well," she said with a smile, "there is this."  Switching then to Babs inflection, she added, "You could start paying a little better attention to some of the more important things in your life."
     Before Buster could respond, Babs said, "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that, Tress, he has.  We've come a long way since the show ended."
     "Hmmmm," asked Tress.  "How long?"
     "Long enough," said Buster.  Turning to Babs then he said, "Come on, we've gotta get back."
     "Right," said Babs, and they each pulled out their reality transferers. "So long, Tress, it was nice to meet you."
     Tress watched in amazement as the two rabbits each pushed the blue button on their machines and vanished from sight.  "It was good to meet you too, Babs," she whispered as she picked up her book.  "Good luck."
     Leaving the animator's room, Tress headed for the recording studio, humming the Tiny Toons theme as she went.  On her way, she ran into Steven Spielberg, who had a look of relief on his face.  "Oh, Tress, there you are.  Where have you been?  We need Dot for this recording."
     "No problem," said Tress in Dot inflection.  "I'll get right on it."
Then, switching back to her natural voice, she added, "Steven, I've been thinking.  We need to get Tiny Toons back into production.  I've got an idea for a great new story.  In it, Buster and Babs..."

##########

     After a brief moment of disorientation, Buster and Babs found themselves back in Acme Acres, just outside of Buster's rabbit hole. "Come on," he said.  "I've got to contact Bugs and tell him to come home.  After I do that, we can start to figure out how we're gonna expose Bug's lies.  You up to it?"
     "Lead the way, Buster, this is important."
     Going down his hole, Buster said, "Have a seat, Babs, I've gotta get something.  I'll be right back."
     Babs sat down on the couch as Buster went into his bedroom.  He came out a few seconds later carrying a small gray metal box marked, "Secret Stuff."  Setting down the box on the table, Buster opened it and started rummaging through it until he found what he was looking for, a small envelope marked, "For Emergency Use Only."
     "What's that?" asked Babs.
     "Bugs secret beeper number.  I can contact him anywhere in the world with it, but only if I absolutely have to, and right now, I have to."
     Picking up the phone, Buster opened the envelope and dialed the number written on the piece of paper inside of it.  After a few seconds he hung up and said, "Well, I've beeped him.  He should call back within a few minutes.  You want some carrot juice?  I'll go get it."
     "Sure," said Babs, "that'd be nice."
     Buster dropped the envelope back into the box and headed off to the kitchen.  As he left the room, Babs looked over at his box and thought, "I wonder what else he keeps in there?"
     As Babs thought this, one particular item caught her eye.  It was a legal sized envelope marked simply, "Birth Certificate."
     Babs could feel her curiosity overwhelming her.  "Buster's birth certificate," she thought as she picked up the envelope.  "This is the answer to what everyone's always wondered about.  I could..."  Her thoughts trailed off as she realized that Buster must have trusted her enough not to look through the box, otherwise he wouldn't have left her alone with it.  "No," she whispered.  "He'll tell me someday, and I can wait.  Whatever this says, he's got his reasons for keeping it a secret," and she put the envelope back in the box.
     A few seconds later, Buster returned with two glasses of carrot juice. "Here you go, Babs, enjoy."
     As Babs took a sip of the juice, Buster noticed what was on top of everything else in his box.  "Did you look?" he asked.
     Babs sat her glass down and looked away from him.  "No," she said flatly.  "I wanted to, and I almost did, but I figured you had your reasons, and that I should respect them."
     "I do have reasons," admitted Buster.  Then, picking up the envelope, he handed it to Babs and said, "And it's time that I shared them."
     "You mean that?"
     "Open it," said Buster.  "If anyone needs to know, you do."
     With just a little trepidation, Babs opened the envelope and looked at Buster's birth certificate.  "It's true," she said after a moment.  "Bugs Bunny is your father."
     "Yep, he is.  Now you know why I've been taking this thing so hard."
     "Why the secret?"
     "Can you imagine what it would be like for me at Acme Loo if I was attending as the son of Bugs Bunny?"
     "I can see how that would be difficult for you.  Everyone would be constantly hounding you for...  Hey, I just realized.  This explains how you got ahold of Bugs credit card."
     Buster had to smile.  "And a few other things."
     "Like the model sheet?"
     "Yeah."
     "Has it been hard to keep the secret?"
     "Not really.  Although, I was a little nervous the time Bugs patted me on the head and said, 'That's me boy,' in front of everybody, but no one seemed to think anything of it."
     Babs thought back to the incident that Buster mentioned.  "I know what you mean.  That was a very fatherly kind of gesture.  I can't imagine Daffy complementing Plucky that way."
     "Or any of the other mentors saying something like that to their proteges."
     "Doesn't Foggy call Fowlmouth, 'Son?'"
     "Foggy calls everyone, 'Son.'"
     "Oh yeah," said Babs.  "Even me, Shirley and Fifi."  She paused for just a moment before asking, "So, do you plan to ever let the secret out?"
     "We haven't decided.  Certainly not before graduation, and even then it would be hard to say."
     "Uh-huh.  What about your mother?"
     Buster lowered his eyes just a little.  "I never knew her," said Buster quietly.  "The other rumors, the ones about the plane crash, they're not entirely false."
     "Oh, Buster, I'm so sorry."
     "It's okay, Babs.  But thanks just the same."
     Babs was feeling a little overwhelmed.  The information itself was one thing, but Buster's willingness to share it was another one entirely. "So, uh, why are you telling me these things?" she asked after a moment.
     "I had to.  Even if no one else ever learns the truth, you have to know.  One of these days, Babs, I'm gonna break down and ask you to marry me.  I can't very well keep a secret like this one from my future bride."
     "You seem pretty confident that I'll say yes when you ask me."
     "Won't you?" asked Buster as he took ahold of her hand.
     Babs sighed.  "I will," she admitted.  "So when are you gonna ask?"
     "I'm not sure yet," he said with a grin.  "But when I do, you'll be the first to know," and he leaned forward to kiss her.
     Before he could though, the phone rang.  "It seems that Ma Bell has a wonderful sense of timing," said Babs wryly.
     "So it does," said Buster calmly as he got up to answer the phone. "Hello?"
     "Hi, Buster.  It's Bugs."
     "Hi!  Babs, it's Bugs.  Bugs, you gotta get back to Acme Acres  right away.  Babs and I have found a way to invalidate Bug's claim to your name, and at the same time make sure that he never bothers you again. How quick can you get back?"
     Buster felt the floor beneath him give way as Bugs pulled down the background of Buster's rabbit hole so that it was behind him.  "Is dat quick enough?" he asked.
     Buster looked from Bugs to the phone in his hands with surprise. Hanging it up, he said, "I've always wondered what it was like to be in the scene that was changed instead of being the one doing the changing."
     "It is different," said Babs as she shook her head.  "I'm a little dizzy."
     "Never mind dat," said Bugs.  "Tell me what you've loined."

##########

     Three days later, a mandatory all student assembly was being held at the Acme Looniversity auditorium.  Babs sat in the front row and waited.  If everything went according to plan, Buster would soon expose Bug's Bunny's lies, and Bugs would regain his name and control of the Looniversity.  She looked up at the clock and thought, "Almost ten o'clock.  Good luck, Buster.  You're gonna need it."
     Even as Babs silently wished Buster good luck, the clock reached ten, and out popped Go-go.  "Cuckoo-cuckoo!  It's 10 o'clock, and if your not at the assembly you're cuckoo."
     As Go-go retracted back into the clock, Bug's Bunny walked out onto the stage.  "Good afternoon, students of Acme Looniversity.  I, as you all know, am Bug's Bunny."
     That was Babs cue.  Jumping to her feet, she shouted, "You are not Bugs Bunny!"
     "Oh really?" asked Bug's very calmly.  "Then who am I?"
     "You're an imposter!" shouted Babs.
     "I am?  Then just who is Bug's Bunny if I'm not?"
     "Eh, I am, Doc," said Bugs as he walked out onto the stage.
     "Texas," said Bugs with contempt.  "What are you doing here?  I've got an injunction against you."
     "No," said Bugs, "you've got an injunction against someone named Texas Rabbit.  I'm Bugs Bunny."
     "No.  I'm Bug's Bunny.  I proved that in court."
     "Sorry," said Bugs, "but your court decision isn't valid."
     "Really?  Why not?"
     "Because you're not who you claim to be," said Bugs as he backed away from Bug's a little.  Then, looking up at the catwalk above the stage, Bugs shouted, "Now, Buster!"
     From his vantage point up on the catwalk, Buster shouldered his Acme Strait Jacket Ejecting Bazooka and fired it at Bug's, neatly trapping him in one of its fabric projectiles.  Climbing down one of the ropes to the stage, Buster walked over to Bug's and said, "Give it up, you faker.  It's over."
     "You can't do this to me!  I'm Bug's Bunny.  I'll sue!"
     "I don't think so," said Buster as he took ahold of Bug's ears.
     "What are you doing?" demanded Bug's.
     "Pulling off your disguise," said Buster, and he gave the ears a hard yank, pulling the entire rabbit face mask off of a very angry looking Daffy Duck.
     "Curses," muttered Daffy with disgust, "foiled again.  Okay, Buthster, how'd you know?"
     "I read it in a book," said Buster.
     "Read what?
     "That Friz Freleng once said that Bug's Bunny was, 'just Daffy Duck in a rabbit suit.'"
     "Where'd you get a copy of that quote?"
     "Sorry, Daffy, but that's a secret."
     "Great," muttered Daffy.  "Now I get to wonder about how you figured it out."
     "That's not all you get," said Bugs, and he motioned to a pair of policemen that had been waiting in the wings.  "Okay, officers, do your duty."
     "Duty?" asked Daffy with alarm as the policemen approached him. "Bugsy, old pal.  What are you talking about?"
     "I'm pressing charges, Daffy.  Impersonating a rabbit, fraudulent court claims, and being a real jerk.  You're going to jail, Duck, for a LONG time.  Oh, by the way, you can kiss your professorship goodbye."
     "No-o-ho-ho," squealed Daffy.  "Bugs, you can't do this to me! Please, I don't wanna go to jail."
     "Welllll," said Bugs, sounding unconvinced.
     "Bugs, please!  I'll do anything!"
     "All right," said Bugs, "it's a deal.  Renounce any and all claims that you've made to the name Bugs Bunny, and give up any gains that you may have made as a result of them."
     Daffy gritted his teeth and growled for a few seconds before spitting out the word, "Done!"
     "Okay, officers, let him go.  Buster, help him out of that jacket."
     Buster walked up to Daffy and started untying the laces on the jacket.  "No apologies, Daffy?  Don't you have anything to say for yourself?"
     "Yeths," said Daffy once he was free from the jacket, "I do."
Turning around, he bent over so his face was only an inch away from Buster's and said, "You're dethpicable."
 

The End


"What's in a Name?" has been brought to you by the severely warped mind of Kevin Mickel.

My sincerest apologies to Tress MacNeille for including her in this story.

Most conveniently overlooked fact:  The "commercial" for those fruit snack things on the beginning of the HISMV cassette, wherein Buster receives a phonecall from his parents informing him that they are on their way home.

Scrooge McDuck created by: Carl Barks

Special thanks to Nefaria for being the first person, that I am aware of anyway, to suggest that Bugs Bunny might be Buster's father.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.  (Didn't I write that once before?)

"It's been surreal!"

[It has been pointed out to me that I should try coming up with an all new and original tag line, but I can't think of one.  Anybody got any ideas?]

 

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