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 13
You only get one second chance.

  213. That was the number of messages that I got today. That's not counting the threatening calls that were given directly to the cops. The messages ranged from marriage proposals to people accusing me of being the spawn of Satan. Some of them were down right funny. One was a Weasel claiming to be my twin brother. It takes all kinds.

  Putting the box of "duds" on the floor, I placed the more interesting ones on the table. There were requests for interviews from all the local media, as well as some national ones. I'd talk to Dave before deciding on whom to talk to. He'd know who to avoid and what their angles are.

  Turning off the light, I adjusted the bed so I could sleep comfortably. Despite my fatigue, I couldn't sleep. All I could think about was Sheila and how bad I'd screwed up. Giving up on just relaxing, I began doing some mediation exercises to relax my muscles and mind, hopefully to get some sleep.


  I awoke in the glade again. It was all wrong. There was snow on the ground, the pond was frozen over, the trees were bare and I could hear nothing moving in the woods. A freezing wind began to blow and I suddenly realized that I was very cold. Standing I saw that I was human again. Quickly I rushed into the hut and closed the door. The room almost looked abandoned. The fire was out and no food was on the table.

  After a few minutes work I managed to get a fair sized fire going in the pit and the room began to warm up. Still cold, I huddled near the fire, trying to get warm. Hearing a noise on the other side of the room I saw Nanuk step out of the shadows.

  "I don't know why I chose you to be my son." Squatting across the fire from me she continued. "I thought you were smarter than that."

  Ashamed of my self I couldn't answer.

  "Why do you think I helped you get to this reality? So that you could throw it away?"

  Meekly it was all I could do to reply, "No mother."

  "Bah. Mother is it still." Rocking from side to side she just stared at me. "Still, one mistake does not a tragedy make. You still have a chance my child."

  Shaking my head I replied, "I don't see how mother, she must think I'm a deviant, someone who's crazy, and to be avoided. She'll never accept me now."

  My head snapped up as I heard her roar. Stepping across the fire pit she hit me hard with her paw, sending me sprawling across the room and ending up against the wall. Dazed I looked up at her form as she hovered over me, a fire burning in her eyes that I had never seen before.

  "Think you know better than Nanuk?!?"

  Holding an arm up in a futile attempt to block any new blows, "No mother! I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking!"

  Her eyes narrowed and she let out a low growl. Leaning close I could smell the meat from her last meal on her breath. "That's right. You do not tell Nanuk what can or cannot be. I'm older than your race and will still be guiding my children long after you and yours are gone."

  Satisfied she backed up and squatted on the other side of the fire, watching me again. Painfully I managed to get to my spot by the fire, still a bit stunned from the blow.

  "Tomorrow you will have a chance at redemption. You must be honest, but for spirits sake child, use some common sense. We don't want to scare her off."

  A light bulb went off over my head. Sure it was a 20W or 30W one, but the illumination helped. "I know why she's important to me mother, but why is she so important to you Nanuk?"

  Smiling at my question, she had a look of satisfaction. "Now you begin to think. One can only ride the current so far before on goes over the falls."

  Finally sitting down, she made herself comfortable. "I have looked within this Sheila of yours, and I like what I see. She is worthy of one of my children. I believe that she will make a suitable companion for your coming journeys."

  I was confused, what journeys. Before I could ask the question she answered it. "I can not tell you what is to come, only that you will have a better understanding of yourself and the potential within you. Now it is time for you to go back. You're appointment with destiny awaits you my child. This time, think before you act."

  As she finished speaking, a strong gust of wind blew up against the hut, causing the door to swing open. A heavy blizzard was blowing outside, and the wind quickly doused my fire.


  I awoke with a start shivering with the memory of the dream. Looking at the clock, I could see it was almost 9AM. I had slept for almost ten hours. A knock on the door brought me fully awake.

  Looking to the door I saw a tall Otter pulling a cart loaded with cases. He smiled at me said with an odd accent "Hello, are we awake?"

  Doesn't anyone speak in the first person any more? "I'm awake now thank you very much."

  Bobbing his head quickly while flashing a smile he started into the room with his equipment. "I am Philippe, David called and said you needed my services." The accent was French.

  Thinking for a second, I remembered he was going to send over a hair stylist, or rather a FUR stylist. Sitting up I waved him over. "Thank you for coming. I've been a bit uncomfortable like this. I understand you can help out?"

  After closing the door he started to unload boxes of equipment from his cart and asked me to remove my gown, so as to be better able to get a picture of how to trim me.

  Sounds reasonable to me. After all David did recommend this guy. Besides, if he does anything funky, I can always give Dave a bit of a mauling in return for the favor.

  Giving me a first look over he cooed and said, "Oh my, you ARE a big one aren't you." Now I knew I'd have to be sure to thank Dave for this guy.

  Plugging a hose into the wall, I heard the sound of suction. Seeing my look he explained, "The hospital keeps a series of pipes for suction in various procedures. My equipment allows me to trim you and catch the fur in a basin using the hospitals suction, and yet not clog it with hair. It is also much quieter and less likely to disturb your neighbors."

  Taking a brush to the fur on my arms, he began to tease it and work the knots out. "You have very long fur. I have never worked on someone with fur this long. You come from the far north eh?"

  Shaking my head, "I don't remember. I lost my memory in the accident. I don't even know where I'm from."

  Making tisking noise he continued to check the fur on my shoulders, and back. "We must decide how you wish to wear the fur. This long it would be gorgeous if properly cared for, but doing such would be a full time job. On the other hand, a very short cut would give you tremendous muscle definition, but might tend to itch. Personally I'd suggest a combination of the two. For your arms, head and upper torso we go short. As we progress downward towards the hips we allow the fur to lengthen. At the waist, I will not trim just even it up. When one is with the women, one wants to have a bit of mystery and there is nothing like a good long layer of fur to leave one dressed while yet undressed, no?" Sounded reasonable to me.

  "For the arms legs we do the same thing. Trim the top short, go down to just under the bend, below that point, we just do some trim and shaping to give you, again, the look of wearing clothes without actually wearing anything.

  "Sounds like you're going for an exotic look to me."

  "You are an exotic creature monsieur, one must accentuate the strong points. Never have I had a customer that this would work for until now. Trust me, it will look splendid on you. And if you do not like the look, we can trim some more to make it more uniform for you."

  I had to admit, it sounded like a fascinating look. Nodding to Philippe, I decided I might as well relax and go with the flow. I just had to make sure to get out before I hit the falls.


  As he worked, Philippe talked with me constantly on every subject from what I liked to eat, to what team might win the World Series. Eventually we got around to the accident. The little guy hadn't even heard about it.

  "Why should I waste my time listening to the tripe they spew on the Television? I have better things to do with my ears than to listen to reporters try to tell me what to think so I will agree with them." This guy sounded pretty reasonable. Despite my original assessment, I was getting to like the runt.

  "I am glad that I was able to get to you this early. I had no idea what a BIG project you were. If I had come any later I would have had to change my appointment with the lovely Sheila."

  That got my attention. "You're going to work on Sheila Vixen after me?"

  "But of course silly boy, who else would I be talking about. I take care of all the talent for Zig Zag. You are a most lucky man, Zig Zag only hires the best to take care of her people. There is no way I would have dropped my morning appointments to take care of you if it weren't for her."

  "Hold on a second there bud. Just so we have things strait, I'm not one of Zig Zag's talents. I'm not even sure what I'll do even if I do accept a job there."

  "You are pulling Philippe's tail. With your, um, attributes shall we say? One such as you could write their own ticket in her business. Philippe likes your joke."

  Why does everyone assume that I'm going to be doing the nasty in front of cameras for Zig Zag? Doesn't she have other jobs that don't involve over exposure?

  He continued on, "Surely you have an eye for the Sheila, no? I have been told by other performers that she is most talented."

  Think about calculus. No try trig. Last thing I needed was to have this guy get me excited. Time to redirect the conversation.

  "So you handle Sheila normally?

  Making a rather indecisive noise, "Sometimes. She often goes to Maurice, but as my salon is just across the street from ZZ Studios, they all come in to take care of work related hair problems.

  "Tell me about her will you?"

  "Eh?" He stopped trimming. "She can be soft spoken but only in private, very private, and yet quite a tease with the fans. She enjoys just about every type of music but is very eclectic about which song she likes. I had to make some CD's for the stereo at the boutique or she would have me changing the channel with every other song. She enjoys reading, riding her bicycle, sailing and of course her work. Philippe thinks she has been at the studio since before Philippe began working with Zig Zag, and that has been almost nine years now." Shaking his head he continued to cut. "Why is it you ask?"

  Sink or swim? Go with the flow, or is that Niagara Falls coming.

  "She came to see me yesterday."

  Once again he cooed. "And were there sparks?"

  "I think so, maybe, but then I put my foot in it. I'm afraid that I screwed up big time and scared her off."

  "No...." Looking up from his work near my groin he put his hands on my knee and rested his chin on them. "Tell Philippe all about it."

  Sighing I told him about the accident and then our meeting. "So you see, when I told her that she was the reason I was here, I think I freaked her out. I'm afraid I scared her away Philippe."

  Cocking an eyebrow for a second, he went back to work trimming my leg, "It is possible, but you never know. Saying such a thing can be quite a shock. Perhaps she will believe a plea of temporary insanity, no? You did have the blow to the head, no?"

  He had a point. "Yah, that's true. I supposed I could plead insanity, the problem is even getting the court to come to order. I'm afraid that the jury may have already rendered a verdict."

  He chuckled, "Philippe thinks you were a lawyer maybe. Philippe will fix it for you. When Philippe works on Sheila's hair today, Philippe will put in a good word for you. After all, you didn't eat Philippe, eh?" I distinctly got the feeling that he wanted to add a 'at least not yet, no?' to the end of that sentence.

  Chuckling at the little guy, I decided that hope springs eternal. Now I had to concentrate on some trigonometry, lest something else spring eternal while he's trimming down around there.

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