"You are what you eat."
— Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Psychology of Taste
Chapter 1: Sash of Trouble
In retrospect, if one were to attempt to trace the exact point of where everything had gone terribly wrong, it wouldn't be all that hard for them to successfully sniff out the root cause behind it all. As a matter of fact, he himself was able to pinpoint the spark which had ignited the flame that would later fuel this calamitous disaster.
Now what was it, one might ask? Well, the answer was simple. It had all begun when he followed his owner into their neighbor-from-across-the-street's backyard.
In essence, that was the starting point — the moment right before he made a critical decision that jump-started a chain of unpredictable events, catapulting his day from what had been an original uneventful one to one of the most mortifying days in his entire life. There was a clear divide as to how his day had been going before and after he strutted into the Flynn-Fletchers.
So, yes… he would freely admit it. The entire fiasco had technically been manifested solely because of his insatiable mischief. But hindsight is always 20/20, so if he were to be objective, his owner Isabella was also partly to blame.
Getting to the point, it was a stray remark that had done it, a flippant comment that Isabella's best friend from across the street had made to her which wound up being the catalyst that started it all.
Phineas casually mentioning that Isabella's Fireside Girls sash was looked totally irreplaceable right as she held the object in question within his jumping reach? Ah, come on. Now that just skewed the probabilities in favor of him picking the more puckish option. Those words were like a challenge to him, and they made it far too tempting for the cream-colored chihuahua to resist the urge to play a prank on his owner.
Si, he couldn't resist! Dogs might be known to be a man's best friend, surely even canines like him were prone to occasional lapses in their sworn duty to their masters despite their species' reputation. Having an impish streak wasn't entirely an ideal trait for a loyal pet to have, but if it was an effective method for the chihuahua to de-stress after having to deal with his primary duties with the agency, then he was darn well gonna take it.
And as for the reason he was so grumpy and needed to de-stress in the first place? His sworn nemesis, Professor Poofenplotz.
The fashion-obsessed lady's scheme of the day was definitely one for the history books. She actually wanted to try and meddle with Daylight Savings Time so that she could extend her beauty sleep by an hour.
Daylight. Savings. Time.
"Do you even understand the significance of this, Pinky the Chihuahua? Ugh… a brainless quivering rat of your caliber cannot even begin to comprehend just how absurd of a concept Daylight Savings Time actually is! A full hour of the precious rest time that my beautiful body needs to retain its wondrous luster was conned… stolen from right under my nose! Ohhhhh, those confounded fools in charge of the worldwide time zone system are to blame for this outrage! But not to fret, for I will turn back the clock at the International Museum of Time and finally recapture those sixty minutes that the fool who came up with Daylight Savings Time swindled from me!"
He swore that he almost had a brain hemorrhage when he heard that.
But discounting the fact that Poofenplotz had completely misinterpreted the concept of Daylight Savings Time and the reason as to why the time switch was implemented during the advent of spring all the way up until fall in the first place, what annoyed Pinky most was that Admiral Acronym had summoned him to deal with Poofenplotz's nonsensical ploy at a wonderfully reasonable time.
…that was, if 3:00am was actually considered reasonable.
Saying that he was not pleased would be the understatement of the year. For crying out loud, the sun wasn't even anywhere close to peeking out from the horizon when he'd been rudely awoken from his peaceful slumber by the transponder attached to his collar. If he was actually allowed to shirk his secret agent duties on just one occasion, this early morning debacle would be when he lost his patience and exercised that option.
While he did get compensated by earning the rest of the day off in the aftermath of his confrontation with Poofenplotz, the exhausted chihuahua still found himself in a rather irritable mood as dawn broke and forced him awake.
As a result, Pinky felt little remorse for lashing out against the world in the following few seconds.
Even though there is a leash attached to his collar that was supposed to restrict his movement, it did naught to stop the determined chihuahua. With his nimble build and agile reflexes, the listless Pinky immediately seized the opportunity to spring upwards, lunging for the sash dangling from Isabella's fingers before snapping the entire thing up and swallowing it whole in one single gulp, patches and all.
His cheeky and unexpected stunt certainly managed to achieve the reaction he desired.
Isabella could only stare at the palm of her outstretched hand—now conspicuously missing one Fireside Girls sash—with unblinking eyes, remaining rooted to the ground until the shock eventually caught up with her. "Oh, no!" she gasped when she finally unfroze, her expression immediately turning downcast as reality came crashing down on her. "Pinky, I need that sash for a Fireside Girls ceremony this afternoon!" she exclaimed.
He chortled in reply, wagging his tail frivolously while gazing around aimlessly at his surroundings. Mission accomplished! And to top it all off, he hadn't been told off yet.
Maybe Isabella also realized the folly of tempting fate by declaring her Fireside Girls sash irreplaceable to the world, or perhaps her distraught panic overwrote her desire to reprimand her pet in a reproachful tone, but for all intents and purposes, he'd gotten away with it scot-free. He continued to smirk inwardly at his mischievous prank… at least, until he heard his owner's red-haired neighbor make a declaration.
"Don't worry, Isabella." Pinky cautiously tilted his neck, gazing up to see Phineas raise a hand in reassurance. "We'll get your sash back," the boy then stated brazenly, speaking almost as though his aim was set in stone and had already been achieved.
The alarm bells in Pinky's head rang too late. The pangs of regret didn't even wait five seconds before setting in.
"But how?" Isabella questioned her friend, understandably concerned. "It's in Pinky's stomach!"
Pinky began to whimper, his body's instinctive shuddering going into overdrive when he saw the silent one of the dynamic sibling duo hold up two blueprints in reply to Isabella's query. Trying his best to keep his eyes bleary, Pinky focused onto the large font emblazoned on the prints which stated their function.
Needless to say, he had to try hard to suppress his growing alarm when he saw that the two drafts that Ferb was holding up were titled 'Mini-Sub' and 'Shrink Ray' respectively.
It was times like this where being blessed with an intelligent, logical mind with an IQ that ranked within the 99th percentile of all animals was not a blessing, but a curse. Being able to piece together what his two eccentric neighbors were up to in a single glance, Pinky began to have a very bad feeling about this.
He had a hunch as to where this train of thought was heading, and it was not a pretty hypothesis.
"Hmm… Ferb, you're a genius!"
Pinky flinched instinctively when he saw Phineas' beaming face, though he made sure to disguise the motion by tilting his head back in Isabella's direction. The boy's smile was disarming, sure, but he had a feeling that the show of reassurance was meant for Isabella, not him. Continuing to whine incessantly, he hoped that his owner would interpret his actions as a call of distress and take him far, far away from the boys' backyard and back to the safety of his own home.
While a distracted Pinky heard the shuffling of papers as Ferb set aside the blueprints that he had unfurled, a perplexed Phineas abruptly made a comment which enraptured his attention, placing him back on full alert. "Hey, where's Perry?"
Pinky narrowed his eyes, instantly feeling a blow to his pride when his floppy ears managed to discern those words.
Ay-ay-ay… that platypus witnessed everything, didn't he?
He was willing to bet a fetch stick that his good friend and colleague, who just made himself scarce, had managed to witness the full scale of the shenanigans that went down with his own two eyes. Even though Perry was someone who was known to be stoic and uphold a standard of utmost professionalism when his fedora was propped on his head, Pinky was positively certain that his amigo was currently chortling at his expense, likely bemused by the uncanny predicament that his chihuahua buddy had managed to land himself in.
Pinky felt like slamming his head into the nearby tree, knowing that one fine day Perry was going to lord this juicy, incriminating moment over his head.
Pinky shifted his gaze back to Phineas, seeing the boy shrug off his pet's habitual disappearance. But less than a second later, Phineas' face lit up as he fired off a sentence which would seal the deal.
"Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today!"
Though Pinky kept up his unassuming outward appearance, the chihuahua was panicking on the inside. He'd heard that catchphrase uttered by Phineas before on a few previous occasions when Isabella brought him here in the past, and thus he knew full well exactly what kind of anarchy those resolute words preceded.
Even worse, Pinky had worked out exactly what they were up to. Phineas hadn't said what his plan was yet, most likely trying to save the explanation for later. But even with the lack of clarification, he had already managed to infer what Phineas was planning to do by putting two and two together, fitting the context clues together like matching jigsaw pieces in a puzzle…
…much like the two blueprints that were currently in Ferb's hands.
Si, Perry was definitely laughing at him now. He could practically hear the monotreme's amused chatter in his head.
Despite the necessity for him to continue playing the role of a dimwitted dog while in the presence of humans, Pinky let his instincts get the better of him, breaking composure for just the briefest of moments out of sheer frustration.
This wasn't what he signed up for, not in the slightest! Given how it had all played out, even taking into consideration that he liked to let loose when off-duty, Pinky was forced to concede that while acting stupid did help to play a part in maintaining the whole 'mindless pet' façade, swallowing Isabella's precious sash in the spur of the moment was undeniably an idiotic move.
Still, gobbling up that sash was supposed to be nothing more than a harmless joke! None of this was supposed to happen!
Alas, said joke didn't seem quite so funny anymore when it was being turned back onto him. Now that he was internally in shambles, Pinky was forced to concede that his roguish prank had royally backfired, to the extent where the repercussions of his hasty actions was now a prime demonstration of the idiom "you reap what you sow" at its finest.
So it would appear that behaving like a rambunctious rascal didn't always pay dividends. Hardy-har-har. Ay, who would've thought? Go figure…
Before Pinky could brood any further, he was hoisted out of his wistful thoughts by Phineas' voice. "Isabella, can you give us about twenty minutes or so?" he requested, "Ferb and I need to prepare. You and Pinky can meet us outside the garage when we're all done setting up."
Isabella bobbed her head in agreement. "Sure thing, Phineas!" Glancing down at her dog, she proceeded to firmly give him a stern order. "Come along now, Pinky!"
As Pinky felt the leash that was attached to his collar tugging upon his neck, he made a silent vow to himself so that he could quash the pressing thought on the forefront of his mind.
There was no way he was going to let a shrinking submarine get anywhere close to his body.
So I first got the general idea for this fic a full two years ago, but then I got royally sidetracked on my other writing projects and unintentionally shoved this to the back-burner. Bummer, I know.
Phineas and Ferb is particularly fond of its whimsical and nonsensical scenes, but this is one of those moments that appears to make zero sense when you look back on it. Basically, if Pinky is established to not be as mindless as he seems in later seasons, then there should be no reason for him to initiate the events of "Journey to the Center of Candace" to begin with.
Realistically though, the actual reason for this disparity was probably because the writers didn't write Pinky as an agent like Perry in the first season, but where's the fun in trying to write off Pinky's behavior by using retconning as an excuse when I can instead use the later reveals to try and justify his uncharacteristic-in-hindsight actions as well as what it entails during and after this specific episode, hm?
Anyway, I hope that you like this. I will be attempting to emulate the style of an actual P&F episode with this story while keeping to canon as best as I can. I'll just have to see where that leads me, I suppose.