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.
Michael Jones (c) Martin Pedersen. Arden Eastridge (c) Keith Dickson. All rights to additional characters
reserved by their respective owners.
As I waited for Dr. Grahl to come back I propped up the bed and turned on the TV. Surfing around I quickly skimmed over the channels. Stopping at a local UHF station that was showing a strange looking version of Hogan's Hero's. I always thought Hogan looked kind of like a Black Lab. Leaving it on in the background, I was flipping through the book again when I heard the program change. It wasn't until I heard my name mentioned that I bothered to look up and pay attention.
"That's right folks, the guardian angel in white for that slightly sticky personality Zig Zag has been identified. His name is Arden David Bearridge. Good news I hear you say? This reporter though so too until we were given a copy of THIS document."
Flashing up a close up of the death certificate, you could clearly read my name as well as the fact that it was a death certificate. "According to this innocuous piece of paper, our newest celebrity is DEAD folks! You heard me right DEAD! Zig Zag is now receiving support from the great beyond." Logan flashed the camera a smile. "According to details in the death certificate," text began scrolling as he spoke, "Mr. Bearridge was driving his Ford Explorer on the 435 loop outside of Kansas City, when a defective Firestorm tire blew out, causing the vehicle to crash and burn. The body had to be identified with dental records. To make things all the more interesting, the accident occurred at the EXACT same moment that our snowy white friend was butting heads with Zig Zag's passenger door."
Cutting to a picture of the corridor in the hospital, I could see Dr. Grahl, Sheila and Detective Jones standing. Doc was shaking the death certificate in Jones's face. Obviously it had happened after my resuscitation. "And what of the intrepid brown and black police detective Michael Jones? Apparently Jones, who had discovered the information, confronted the recently undead in the hospital with proof of his death. Our sources think that he may have been trying to convince him to crawl back into his crypt as, upon showing him proof of death, our mystery man once again left the world of the living. Reports say that he was with out a pulse or respiration for almost three minutes."
Cutting back to the commentator, "As Dirty Harry would say, 'No trial and less paperwork to file.' Fortunately for our not so shining knight, hospital staff managed to resuscitate him despite the best efforts of the good detective. Some how I don't think Der Uber Furer would have shed a tear if he had joined the choir up above."
Disgusted I turned it off. The fecal matter had certainly struck the rotary atmospheric motivator.
Sheila sat at a table in the food court of the Columbus MegaMall, sipping on a soda as she took a break from shopping. She couldn't believe her luck! While driving her home Zig Zag had mentioned that she was going to send Clarence out to buy some clothes for Arden. Sheila remembered laughing so hard that she almost passed out not only from the lack of oxygen, but the pain in her ribs. What made it all the more humorous was that Zig Zag didn't seem to think it was all that funny. From what Sheila had heard, it had taken some major female intervention by his current girl friend to get him this far away from geekdom. Last thing Sheila wanted was that poor kid trying to buy for someone twice his size, while struggling to not to mix stripes and patterns.
Despite Zig Zag's protest, Sheila declared that she'd do the shopping for their new friend, after promising repeatedly NOT to over do it. So far, she had four bags of clothes in the car and still felt good. It was almost 9PM and her ribs were just fine. Picking up the one bag she had just finished filling, Sheila headed for the upper deck exit. Passing by 'Ultimate Leather Experiences', she just had to swing in if for no other reason to find out if there were any new accessories. As she wondered around, she spotted a spiked collar the size of her thigh. Giggling, she grabbed it. Almost tempted to look around and see what else would fit him, she finally decided to see how he responded to this.
Smiling with anticipation, Sheila headed for the checkout counter.
Soaking in the Jacuzzi, Zig Zag was enjoying that fog one gets into as total muscular relaxation occurs when the phone rang. Tempted to ignore it, she decided that it must be important or they wouldn't have called. Picking up the universal, she muted the speakers and hit the hands-free conferencing button."
Letting out a sigh, she spoke loudly into the air. "Yes?"
"Zig Zag? This is Mickey, have you got a second?"
Closing her eyes, and giving a quiet sob of anguish to herself, she finally admitted that there was no rest for the wicked. "Sure thing Mickey, what do you need?"
"I got a call from Bjorn's agent. It seems that Phusion Philms has pushed up their date for his shoot by a month, and says that unless we can move ours up, Bjorn won't be able to fit us into his schedule."
Taking a deep breath, Zig Zag mentally reviewed the production schedule. Bjorn was not only a well-endowed porn star, but had the good graces to actually be able to act. Having started in porn films, he wasn't shy about them, and still enjoyed doing the occasional shot for Zig Zag when a reasonably good script showed up. Unfortunately he was scheduled to make a feature film that would easily net him fifty million or more and there was no way on earth he'd put that off to do a shoot for Zig Zag no matter how much fun it was."
"Call his agent back, tell him we can start shooting next Wednesday, also let the prop guys know that they need to dust off the old house scenery from 'Bjorn to Teach'. " There was no way they'd be able to get sets made in time to shoot, hopefully they could do the 'at home' scenes and give the prop guys enough time to make the other backdrops. "Let everyone know that we're going to be putting the New Years special on hold for Bjorn. Got that?"
"Right. Call Bjorn's agent and tell him we start shooting Wednesday, have the prop guys pull out the old house set from Bjorn to Teach, and tell everyone we're putting the New Years special on hold till we're done with Bjorn. Anything else Zig Zag?"
"Nope. Get on that and let me know if you have any more problems with Bjorn."
"Sure thing boss." Hitting the button on the remote, she hung up the speakerphone, then un-muted the stereo. Just as she was laying back to relax again the timer kicked off.
As the foam faded from the pool, Zig Zag just sat there and promised whatever powers that be, that she'd get her revenge some how.
As I lay in bed reading a magazine, I found myself humming the healing song that Nanuk had taught me. I could almost feel her arms about me. Life was good.
Hearing the door open, I folded up the magazine. It was Dr. Grahl. "You needed me for something my boy?"
"That I do doc. I need out."
That took him aback a bit, "You were dead yesterday. How am I supposed to justify you're release?"
He had a good one there; fortunately he had left me plenty of time to think this argument out. "Just tell them that I'm being transferred to a private care facility that, for security reasons cannot be disclosed."
Mulling it over I could see him trying to think of an excuse. Trying to cut him off at the pass, "Doc, my ribs are almost completely healed. My shoulder IS completely healed. My leg is well on the way to getting there and should be ok within a week. There's no reason to keep me here and every reason not to."
Hearing that last part, his eyes narrowed into slits and I continued. "The news hounds have a copy of my death certificate from Kansas City."
His eyes widened, "Already? But it's been less than a day!"
Nodding confirmation, "I know. Probably the DA had something to do with it. All I know is that things could get rather interesting for me in the very near future and I don't want to be stuck in here when they happen. I want to be outside where I have a chance of trying to clear my name. I'm sure there's someone in KC that can come up with proof that the original me was down there."
Seeing he wasn't going to be able to dissuade me from my decision he grabbed the chair and sat down. "Let's say I do release you tomorrow. Where will you go? What will you do for money?"
I had him; it was just a matter of making him comfortable with it. "Zig Zag has agreed to put me up in an apartment that they keep for out of town talent. She said it wouldn't be used for the next month or so. That gives me a place. As for money, Zig Zag has offered me work," holding up my hand to stop him, "that WON'T require me being in front of the camera."
Smiling he understood. I had been fighting that battle from the beginning and would probably be fighting it for a long time.
He sat there for a little while thinking, and then finally surrendered. "Fine, I will arrange for your release tomorrow. Have someone here to pick you up. In the mean time, I'll be back with a pair of crutches so that you can practice walking."
As he stood up to leave, I took the notebook out. "Hey doc, here." Handing it back, I saw him take it gently in his hands, as if it were a fragile item that would shatter. "You had better hold on to that. I have a feeling it wouldn't be safe around me."
As he left the room I opened up the magazine. That was one battle down and who knows how many I had yet to fight.
I had a sinking feeling that I was going to get the raw end of the stick from Der Uber Furer and there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it.
Convincing the captain that he should be allowed to do direct research in Kansas City, Michael had been more than happy to agree not to charge the department for travel time in exchange for use of an unmarked vehicle. On the seat next to him was his briefcase with one copy of the folder he had made. The other had been locked in a strongbox at his house. If anything happened to either official set of documents, he should still have a good copy as a backup.
As he pulled out of the station he felt the anticipation build towards the eleven hour drive.
Something very fishy was going on here, and he was going to find out what it was.