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 16
Guilty until proven innocent.

  Michael Jones was a cop. He was a damned good cop. And that's why they had made him a detective after only five years on the force, much to the chagrin of other officers looking for promotion. His captain had warned him that the powers would be were watching.

  After getting back the info from the FBI's fingerprint database, he had gone to confront this mystery man that had somehow been killed 600 miles away, while at the same time getting hit by a car on the edge of town. Either the guy had faked his death, someone had stolen his car, wallet and just happened to have dental work that matched his records, OR he was the one in a trillion that would match up on the fingerprints. Numbers two and 3 were immediately discounted as being absurd. That only left number 1. So either the guy had arranged to have someone killed in his place, or he was supposed to be in some kind of witness protection plan, and something had gone terribly wrong. If so, where were the feds?

  To his horror, the guy had suffered some kind of attack when he showed him the death certificate that Jones had gotten from the coroner's office in Kansas City.

  Yelling again for help, a doctor and several nurses began running down the hallway to the room. Moving back in side, he watched helplessly as they checked him over.

  "He's not breathing... No pulse.... WE NEED A CRASH CART IN HERE..."

  Christ what had he done! One of the nurses was pushing him out of the room, "You can't be in here right now."

  Standing outside, he made room for a nurse with a large cart to get by. As he watched they had rolled the guy over and were giving him CPR.

  As the door slowly swung closed in front of him, he felt dizzy. Leaning on the doorframe the same words were repeated over and over in his head. 'What have I done?!?'


  Getting ready to leave the hospital, Sheila had just finished packing up the small overnight bag that Zig Zag had brought her. Straightening up the tight fitting skirt that she had put on, she slipped on her stiletto heals and looked down at the effect. 'We're dressed to kill today aren't we?'

  Placing the bag on the bed, she headed out into the corridor and down to the nurses station. As she passed by, she heard a wolf whistle from on of the male nurses there. Giving him a quick wink, she continued on to the service elevator.

  Taking it to the 3rd floor, she got off and stepped around the corner towards his room. As she approached the room, she saw an off colored tiger standing outside the door. His brown on black color striping looked odd against the traditional navy blue suit.

  As she started to open the door he spoke, "I'm sorry miss, but you can't go in there right now."

  Giving him a confused look, "Why not?"

  As his eyes broke contact with hers, he hung his head, "He's had some kind of an attack, they're inside working on him right now."

  The shock of his words struck her like a physical blow. 'Good lord! He was afraid that I hated him. If he dies, he'll never know that I don't!"

  Just then the door opened, and a nurse began rolling the cart out, looking in she could see that another nurse was taking his pulse. The doctor, holding a paper in his hand strode furiously towards the door. As he got in the hall he turned to the tiger, holding up the paper he said to him in a strong voice, "Just what the hell is this!?! Were you TRYING to kill him or something?"

  Seeing the doctor held the death certificate, Jones could only shake his head. "You don't understand. I got a positive hit on his identity. That death certificate belongs to him. I wanted to get his reaction to seeing it. I never thought that something like this would happen!"

  Shoving the paper into the tiger's hand he growled slightly, "Did it ever occur that he wasn't in this hospital for a vacation? My god man, he was struck by a car less than four days ago!"

  A combination of horror and remorse etched into his face, Jones replied, "I'm sorry. I didn't know. I didn't think!"

  "That's right damned it! You DIDN'T think. Next time you pull a stunt like that with one of my patients I'll have you arrested for attempted MURDER!"

  Eyes wide, the tiger just swallowed.

  Feeling a touch on his shoulder, the doctor's head snapped around to see Sheila touching him lightly. "Will he be all right doctor?"

  Calming down a little, he nodded, "Yes. There were several things that combined to bring this on, but I am confident it won't happen again." Looking at the detective he continued, "As long as we can try to avoid sudden shocks that is."

  Giving them another quick look, "If you'll excuse me now," he headed back towards the nurses station.

  Remembering the paper in Jones's hand, and the comment that he had identified Arden, Sheila stepped over to him. "You said that you had identified him, how?"

  As if seeing Sheila for the first time, he asked, "I'm sorry, but who are you miss??"

  "I'm Sheila Vixen, I was in the car that hit him. I was the passenger."

  Nodding, "All right. Yesterday I re-ran his fingerprints to make sure the traffic guys hadn't missed something and got a positive ID on him. The unfortunate part is what kind of ID I got on him." Distractedly he handed her the paper, allowing her to read it.

  Sheila couldn't believe what she was reading. This was a death certificate for someone who had died the same night they had hit him. Confused she looked up at the detective, her question unspoken.

  "I can't explain it. I was hoping that by watching his reaction to reading it I might get an idea. Unfortunately I hadn't anticipated such a reaction. I never thought this would happen."

  Looking again at the paper, Sheila asked, "But what does this mean? How can he have a death certificate and be here? I don't understand."

  Taking the paper back, he folded it up and placed it in a pocket. "Neither can I, and that's the real mystery of the whole thing."


  Having finished talking to the doctor about Arden's condition, Zig Zag took one of the main elevator's to Sheila's floor. Entering the room, she saw the overnight bag on the bed, but no Sheila. "Ok kiddo, where did you run off to now?" After waiting a few minutes, she decided to check with the nursing station.

  Sitting behind the desk was a nice looking coyote filling out paperwork. She cleared her throat to get his attention.

  Looking up his eyes quickly became the size of dinner plates. Leaning forward Zig Zag gave him her best publicity smile. "Hello, would you happen to know which way Sheila Vixen went?"

  Still not blinking he pointed to the service elevator, "Ummmm...... She went to see that guy on the third floor."

  Blowing him a little kiss she thanked him and headed for the elevator. Just as she was about to press the button it, the bell for the door dinged. As she waited for them to open she saw Sheila get off the elevator.

  Sheila walked right by Zig Zag is if she wasn't there.


  Turning she saw Zig Zag for the first time, but still didn't say anything. She had a haunted look on her face.

  Zig Zag didn't like the look on her face, "Sheila? What's wrong girl?"

  "There's a cop downstairs. He says they identified Arden."

  Now clearly confused Zig Zag shook her head. "Isn't that good news?"

  Looking into Zig Zag's eyes, she could be barely heard, "He was identified by his death certificate."

  The shock of hearing this struck Zig Zag physically and emotionally. 'A death certificate? How could he have a death certificate?' Then his comment came back to her, "The person you hit survived."

  "No, this is NOT right!" Shaking her head violently Zig Zag declared, "Something is definitely not right here! Where's that cop you talked to?"

  Again going to the third floor, they saw the cop still standing outside of Arden's door, the door closed. Striding purposefully up to the cop Zig Zag demanded, "What the hell is going on here? You flat feet think you can just screw with me and my people whenever the hell you want?"

  Looking Zig Zag directly in the eyes, Jones straightened himself up and replied, "No madam, I have no intention of screwing with either you OR any of you're people. I'm trying to find out the truth here." Taking the certificate again, he handed it to her. "This paper says that the man in this room died the night that you hit him with your car at approximately the same time over SIX HUNDRED MILES away!"

  Unfolding the paper Zig Zag read it. It described an "Ursine of indeterminate genus" killed in an auto accident. The body was burned beyond recognition requiring the identification to be using dental records.

  Seeing the look on Zig Zag's face as she read the document, Jones commented, "I'm sorry. I know how others have treated you in the department, but please believe me when I say I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this. That's all."

  As the door opened, a nurse stepped out into hall and closed it behind her. Jones caught the nurse's attention, "Beg your pardon miss, but can I see him now?"

  "I'm sorry, the doctors given strict instructions for him not to be disturbed right now."

  Taking a business card from his jacket, James handed it to the nurse. "Please have someone call me as soon as the doctor says he's able to answer some more questions." Nodding, the nurse took the card and walked back towards the station.

  Finished reading, Zig Zag looked up, "Would it be possible for me to keep this?"

  Thinking for a second, James decided that it was bound to get around any time now anyway. Besides, she had a vested interest in the guy from what he had heard. "Sure, just don't pass it around please. I have another copy at my office."

  Folding the paper, Zig Zag looked at Sheila; the confusion and concern she felt was mirrored in her face.

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