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 12
Manic depression or just a bad dream?

  How could I have been so stupid?

  I laid there trying to figure out a way to repair the damage. 'She's thinking that I'm a nut right now. I'm just some kind of total flake with an infatuation and she'll never want to see me again.'

  As I lay there, my mind turning in smaller and smaller circles, I was suddenly interrupted by a knock on the door. Looking over, I saw a well-dressed cat in an expensive suit carrying a briefcase.

  "So it's time to talk about my bill eh? Hate to break it to you, but I have no idea if I have insurance or not." Turning away from the door, I put my head back on my pillow and closed my eyes. I heard him walk over to the chair that Sheila had left by the bed, and sit down.

  "I'm not here about your bill. On the contrary, I came to tell you that Zig Zag has arranged for its payment in full."

  I just lay there. I was glad to here that Zig was thinking of me, but the energy was gone. I had blown it with Sheila.

  Not getting a reply from me he continued. "My name is David Leery, I'm Zig Zag's attorney."

  "Please thank her for me," I said in a flat, emotionless voice.

  Setting his briefcase on the table next to the bed, he opened it up and took out something. "Actually I can do better than that."

  OK, I may not be a cat, but I still have a little problem with curiosity so I bit. I opened my eyes and looked over to see him holding up a cell phone.

  "This phone is programmed with Zig Zag's private phone numbers as well as my own, her close associate James Sheppard and the back door lines to ZZ Studios. She has instructed me to give it to you and ask you to use it when calling her. It is one of the new digital phones that uses an encryption system so your conversations will be private."

  Handing it to me I examined the phone. It wasn't very different from the phones of my world, and I quickly figured out how to browse the names database.

  "The phone is paid for bye ZZ Studios with Zig Zag's compliments. I want you to realize that you are now counted in the circle of a very few people that Zig Zag trusts. Please don't disappoint her."

  As what he said sank in, I nodded. "Don't worry, I have no intention of hurting Zig Zag either by intent or accident."

  I could feel him examining me, I felt like a bug under a microscope. "You have no idea how relieved to hear that. I don't know what you and Zig Zag talked about when she visited yesterday." He held up a hand as my head turned to look at him. "That's between you and Zig Zag. As her lawyer, I am privy to her business and legal needs, you shouldn't feel compelled to tell me anything you don't want to."

  Closing his briefcase with a sharp snap of the clasps, "Zig Zag has also requested that I see to any requirements that you need. If you should find that you are in need of anything, please call my office and they will obtain it for you. Is there anything you can think of off hand?"

  Thinking about my situation, I didn't believe that he'd be able to get me a second chance with Sheila. However a few things did occur to me. "I was found without clothing. I will need clothes. I don't know how easy it is to find something for someone my size. You might get your people on it."

  As I spoke, he took a PDA out of his suit pocket and began writing, "Anything else?"

  Hmmm, as long as he's asking, "I'm also rather uncomfortable. Sheila pointed out to me that I've a bit more fur than is normal for this climate. I was going to ask the doctor if he could see about doing something for me, maybe you have a suggestion."

  Smiling, he nodded, "No problem. I know a great stylist who also deals with long fur customers. I'll arrange to have them come down and visit you. According to a few other longhairs I know, they're a miracle worker. Anything else?"

  Shaking my head no, he snapped the PDA closed and started to get up. Seeing that something was still wrong he sat back down.

  "You know, for someone who's just been given the person phone numbers and a carte blanch expense account by one of the most popular adult film stars in the world, you sure don't look to enthused."

  I turned towards him and tried to smile. "Sorry, I'm just having a bit of trouble with my lifestyle right now. I'm just a little depressed with everything that happened with the press, and since then." Remembering the press, "By the way, how's Zig Zag, I understand the police had a warrant out for her arrest?"

  As he spoke, he wore a very serious look on his face. "Normally I don't talk about my clients, but I believe you have a right to know. Today she was arrested at her office, taken in hand cuffs to jail where she was strip searched and thrown into a holding cell for prostitutes. No doubt all that will be in the news anyway."

  Before I could get too worked up he continued, "She's OK now. I got her out within an hour of her arrest. I had her and James driven in our limo to his farm outside of town. I'm hoping that the news hounds don't know about it."

  Knowing she was ok helped, but I could still feel the blood pumping. I heard small pops as the claws of my hands penetrated the sheets and mattress.

  "I think you should know that your talk with that news hound today was most helpful."

  That cut through the red fog that was building. "How did it help?"

  "The media has attempted to make you the victim in all of this. Some poor innocent bystander who was mercilessly run down by the evil porn star." Seeing me nod in agreement he continued, "You on the other hand just kicked the ladder out of their crusade to crucify Zig Zag. Everyone who saw you on TV knew without a doubt that what you said was sincere and unrehearsed. Your attempt to get to the reporter after she tried to take a parting at Zig Zag also reinforced the opinion that she was the wronged party. Your attack on the media has had a very interesting effect on general public attitudes towards Zig Zag. I got a call as I was coming in the building from a friend of mine over at Pin Striped Polls. Zig Zag's general approval rating has climbed significantly since your interview. Her general approval rating was 12%, their latest ad hoc poll indicates that it's up over 30%. Meanwhile, the poll shows that pubic confidence in the media for 'fair and accurate reporting' has dropped to an all time low of 32%."

  I lay there, thinking about what he said. Apparently something good came from all that after all.

  "Zig Zag said that when you're ready to get out of the hospital, you've got a job waiting for you at the studios."

  Confused I asked, "Doing what?"

  The twinkle in his eye betrayed his attempt at a strait face, "Why acting of course." Noting my confusion he dropped the hammer, "Remember, you were found naked, and Zig Zag is always, how should I say it, keeping an eye out for well qualified talent."

  As what he said sunk in, I felt my face heating up. It's one thing to work with people in that business, but it's another thing thing to contemplate being in FRONT of the cameras.


  As the sun was setting, James looked out onto the back porch of his house. Spying Zig Zag in a rocking chair, he picked up the two drinks he had prepared and walked out the back door. Handing one to her, he settled down in the other, and began slowly rocking it back and forth while watching the sunset.

  As the last of the sun was about to disappear behind the horizon, he looked over at Zig Zag. Enchanted by the orange glow of the setting sun on the white of her fur, he noted that she still wore the necklace that he had given her. With each breath she took, tiny points of fire flared from the diamond dust that was embedded in the metal creating a scintillating pattern of light that appeared to chase itself around on the face of the letters.

  As the last of the light faded, so did the fire. Even then, Zig Zag just sat, drink untouched in her hand.

  "Zig? Are you ok?"

  Blinking, Zig Zag came back to the present. Slowly turning her head, she looked at James as if for the first time tonight.

  "Are you OK babe?"

  She gave him a small smile, and reaching out with her hand, she took hold of his between the chairs. "I'm all right. Just tired."

  "What were you thinking about? You seemed a million miles away?" Giving her hand a squeeze, James hoped she would open up and not try to hide what was happening to her.

  "I was thinking about Nanuk."

  James waited patiently, hoping she would continue.

  "There's something about him. I can't explain exactly what it is. It's like I've known him forever, but yet I've never seen him before." Giving a shiver, "It's like he is the ultimate case of déjà vu. It's strange."

  Concerned now, James leaned a little towards Zig Zag, "You don't think he's dangerous or anything do you?"

  Her eyes popping open, as if she hadn't quite been awake, Zig Zag turned to him and smiled. "No. It's not that. I've never met a man like him. I got the feeling that he knew a lot more than he was letting on. Like he was afraid that if he said the wrong thing something disastrous would happen."

  Suspicious now, "You don't think that he planned the accident do you? Just to get to you?"

  Finally noticing the drink in her hand, Zig Zag took a swallow. "No. I'm certain that's not the case. I still see the accident, and the look in his eyes, like a trapped animal. He didn't know what was happening."

  Taking another sip, "I'm not sure, but I think he might have been hit by the lightening. Or it could have hit close enough to have affected him."

  Shrugging, she continued, "I don't know. That's the odd thing about it. If he had been hit, there would have been electrical burns, but the doctor didn't find any, and then there's the question of his appearance. He was totally nude, in the driving rain. A longhair like him in our heat should have passed out from the heat somewhere. Yet he was just kneeling in the middle of the road, as if he stumbled and fell."

  Not really understanding, but willing to go along James nodded. "From the sound of him, he is unique. What little I saw of him on TV, he definitely looked like a throwback, but the way you describe him, he's too intelligent and well educated for that."

  Trying to find a way to broach his concerns, James finally decided on the direct route. "Zig, do you think you're doing the right thing? Giving him the phone, carte blanche and a job offer?"

  An honest smile and a small chuckle came from Zig Zag as she laid her head back and looked at the man she loved. "You know how much I love to collect strays. Can you think of a better project for me? And you must admit that I do owe him for standing up for me today. Besides, you didn't see him in the ditch. I could use talent like that."

  Chuckling, James quipped, "Just as long as you don't come out of retirement for his debut."

  Hand in hand, they stood up and headed inside, determined to put the worries of the day away, and enjoy their time together that evening.

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