Story (c) 2000 by Keith Dickinson. All rights reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, Tammy Vixen Shiela Vixen, Clarisse, and Carrie Squirrel (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Debbye Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Mr. Canis, Dexter Collie, Angel Collie, Sarge and Endora Mustelidae, Wendy Vixxen, and Wanda Vixen(c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. Character Terl Skunk (c) Rodney Stringwell. Character James Sheppard and Marvin Badger (c) James Bruner. Character John Silverback (c) Himself Character Kittiara and the restaruant "Callahan's" (c) "Kittiara" Character Katja (c) Herself Character Mark the cheetaur (c) Mark White Eric W. Schwartz (c) Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz. Arden Eastridge (c) Keith Dickson. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners.

Identity Crisis - Chapter 11
At last we meet again, for the first time.

  Laying in her bed, Sheila had been watching the TV. She had seen the morning report about the accident and was still fuming over it. When she had called the office to talk to Zig Zag, she had discovered that the police had come and taken her to jail, in handcuffs.

  "This is like a bad nightmare. How can this stuff be happening to us?" she asked herself for the umpteenth time.

  As she watched the TV, they cut to a reporter in the hospital, the word 'LIVE' in big red letters up in the corner. As she watched, she saw the stranger they had hit being rolled on a gurney. Turning up the sound, she listened to the event.

  As she watched, a feeling of shock came over her. This guy was defending Zig Zag. Not only that, he was attacking the News and their coverage.

  As the journalist finished up her report quipping about how he was 'defending his attacker', the camera caught a look of rage come across his face. Backing up hastily, the camera framed the orderly who was pushing the cart, now applying pressure to the man's shoulder, obviously causing him enough pain to keep him on the bed. Quickly the shot was cut back to the studio where the stunned anchors quickly recovered their composure.

  "And there you have it folks. Mr. Arden Nanewk speaking most passionately for the 'Blue Film' star Zig Zag. One can only wonder what took place during her private meeting with him yesterday afternoon."

  Laughing her co-anchor quipped, "Boy, what I would give to have been a fly on THAT wall."

  As they shared a laugh, Sheila turned off the TV.

  Arden. His name was Arden.

  Climbing out of bed, she carefully stood up. Holding her right arm close to her ribs, she grabbed her bag from the stand and headed towards the bathroom. Once inside, she got out her brush and tried to clean up her hair. Having been laying in bed for two days, it was a disaster. Only being able to reach up with one arm didn't help either.

  Finally somewhat satisfied with her hair, she quickly did her eyes, lips and sprayed a bit of perfume behind each ear. Putting everything away she went back out into the room. Replacing her bag in the stand, she went to the small closet across the room. Taking out a housecoat that Zig Zag had brought over along with some extra clothes from her condo, she cautiously got dressed to go out.

  Walking slowly down to the nurse's station she stopped and waited for one to notice her.

  "Oh look, Sheila's up. How you feeling girl?" It was the young panda that had been taking care of her, one of the few people who didn't treat Sheila like a second-class person so far.

  "Pretty good, thanks. Hey, I need a favor from you." Leaning down close, the panda leaned forward also to hear better. "I need to know what room that guy Arden is in."

  Smiling the panda leaned back, "Honey it's no big favor. He left instructions that anyone from ZZ studios should be allowed to call or see him and that covers you." Typing on the computer for a second she looked back up, "He's been moved to room 303, that's up stairs one floor, you can use the service elevator around the corner here to avoid anyone snooping around."

  Looking to where the panda was pointing, Sheila smiled, "Thank hon. I owe you one."

  Blushing slightly the panda said in a low voice, "Just remember that guided tour you promised me, AND the intro to Mike."

  Giving her a quick wink, Sheila headed over to the elevator.


  Walking quietly down towards room 303, she heard a commotion down at the other end of the floor. Looking behind her, she could see a couple of reporter types arguing with security at the nurses' station. Glad to have avoided them, she made a mental note to make sure that Mike was VERY nice to her new friend.

  Standing outside the room, she could see the door was open. The TV was playing a local classical music station on it. Peeking in, she could see him.

  Her first thought was 'God! He's huge!' Laying in the bed, he almost filled it from end to end. Considering it was an oversized bed that was an accomplishment.

  He was currently holding up an old copy of Time Magazine. She recognized it as being several months old. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the doorway and knocked.

  Without looking up the bear rumbled "No interviews, please leave"

  Clearing her throat she said in a quavering voice "I'm not here for an interview."

  "My god" she thought, "was that me? I sound like a nervous school girl!"

  Looking up, he squinted towards her for a bit. "Sheila?"

  He knew her. But according to the news reports, he had amnesia!

  Stepping further into the room, his face broke out into a huge smile. "Sheila! I was just waiting on a wheel chair so I could come visit you!"

  He was going to visit me? Who was this guy? And for that matter, what the heck am I doing here?

  As he gestured to the chair by the wall he grinned sheepishly, "Sorry for not getting you a chair, but the dock would break my other leg if I got out of bed again."

  Quickly walking over, she took the chair and set it down by the bed. Suddenly she was back in the ditch, looking into those piercing gray eyes, rimmed in silver. He was reaching out to her again. Suddenly she was back in the room, his hand on hers.

  "Hey. You okay there?" He had a concerned look on his face.

  "He's worried about me," she thought. "I'm ok, thank you. Just for a second, I saw you laying in the ditch again." Looking down she swallowed. "I thought you were dying."

  Leaning back he adjusted the bed so that it was easier to lay on his side, facing her. "Don't worry about me, I'll survive. How are you feeling? I understand that you have a couple of cracked ribs?"

  "He had even checked up on me," she thought to herself. Smiling, she said, "Yes, I did, but like you said, I'll survive."

  There was a bit of a pregnant pause, his eyes never left her face. Finally he spoke, "I know why I was going to go see you, but what brings you down here to see me?"

  Remembering the news her face brightened some. 'I saw you on the news when you were in the hall."

  Rolling his eyes up, he rolled over onto his back and gave a low moan.

  Putting her hand out on his arm quickly she continued. "I think that was wonderful what you did. Not many people are willing to stand up for someone like Zig Zag."

  As he turned his head to look at her, she continued, "It was very nice of you. And the look on that foxes face when you tried to attack her was priceless."

  Chuckling, he smiled, "Yep, she was lucky that orderly grabbed me before I could get off the gurney. If he hadn't, I don't think she would have gotten far, broken leg or no."

  "He's got a beautiful smile," she throught. Aas her paw stroked the fur on his arm, she noticed how long it was. "Wow, with such long fur, aren't you uncomfortable down here?" she asked.

  Bobbing his head to the side for a second he reluctantly admitted "Just a little bit. It's ok if I don't move, but I really overheated when I got up earlier. That run in with the press in the hall didn't help matters much." He breathed a heavy sigh, "Then again, you're presence isn't helping my blood pressure much."

  She looked back into his face as he gave her a quick wink. Sheila felt a flush coming to her face. "My god, am I blushing?" she wondered.

  Seeing the blush through the fur of her muzzle he let out a little chuckle. "I thought you would be immune to blushing by now" he teased.

  "Well, maybe it's just the lack of cameras," she said licking her chops.

  He grabbed his chest with his right hand, "Doh! I've been wounded." Taking her hand in his, he got a very serious look on his face, "You're the reason I'm here. If it weren't for you, I might have given up."


  Why did I have to say that? What was I thinking? I was going to scare her off. As I looked into her eyes, I saw shock, and confusion.

  "I don't understand" she said quietly.

  "When I first saw you," How could I say it? "The look in your eyes. When you put your hand on my shoulder, it was like a dream. I knew you, your face, the colors of your fur, your smell." Taking a deep breath, "Your name."

  As she straightened up I continued. "When I was in the ER, all I could think about was you. You were my lifeline." Lifting her hand to my snout, I gave it a quick kiss. "Thank you."

  As I let her hand go, she slowly drew it back. The look on her face betrayed her confusion as she tried to digest what I had said. Looking at her hand, she sat there quietly for some time. I don't know how long we sat like that as all I could do look at her.

  The memory of her on my computer screen was as fresh as if I had seen it five minutes ago. Despite Eric's artistic prowess, the 'real' thing was a thousand times better. Her smell lingered in my nose.

  We were interrupted by the sound of a knock at the door. Both of us turning, we saw a couple of hospital people in the door. They were loaded down with followers.

  "What in the world? What's with all the flowers?"

  As they entered, the lady in front, a slightly pudgy hamster, put planter down on the table next to me and smiled. "I'm afraid you made quite an impression with your interview on television Mr. Nanuk. We've been inundated with orders to deliver flowers and balloons to your room."

  As the third load came in I put up my hands, "Wait a second. I don't need all these flowers. Tell you what, distribute them around to other patients in the hospital would you? And any more orders that come in, tell them I'd appreciate it if they would make a donation to the chapel rather than buy me flowers."

  She stood up a little taller and smiled again, this time it wasn't a polite smile but an honest one. "Thank you sir, I'll do just that. Should I leave this bouquet or take it with me?"

  Looking over, I saw that it was a bouquet of roses. "Thank you, but I think I'd like you to leave that one." Reaching over, I took one of the roses out and handed it to her. "However, I would appreciate it if you would take this one for yourself."

  She cooed as she took the flower. I had never heard a woman coo, much less a hamster. It was a unique experience.

  As they filed out Sheila too got up. "I think I had better be going myself."

  "Wait." Turning back, I reached back over to the flowers and picking up the entire container. "Please, take these with you. I can think of nobody else I would prefer to have them."

  Hesitantly she took the flowers. Quickly she turned, and fled the room.

  As she walked away, I had the sinking feeling that I had just annihilated any chance I had with her. I was beginning to wish that this were a dream.

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