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 9
Bodies in motion....

  Waiting on the nurse to come back and move me, I turned up the volume on the TV.  They were babbling about some traffic accident at the I675/I75 interchange.  Looks like yet another small car overestimated the stopping power of a Mack Truck.

  As I relaxed, I continued to chuckle at the Keystone Kops that had dropped by.  I'm sure they were nice guys, but I hadn't had better marks in a long time.  In fact, I hadn't had such an easy shot since my brother's bachelor's.....

  Just then, I saw Zig Zag's picture on the TV.  Turning up the volume I listened in.

  "...nday evening, when controversial 'Blue Film' actress, Zig Zag was reported to be in a single vehicle accident having struck a pedestrian.  Sources at the hospital report that the as of yet to be identified 'John Doe' has been upgraded from critical condition, to simply serious."  The backdrop changed to a video of the night of the accident.  The commentary continued, "While driving South on State Road 49, Zig Zag managed to lose control of her vehicle on the wet pavement, striking an innocent bystander."

  Now the video cut to Zig Zag, standing in the drizzle, looking like a wet cat.  "Police have not commented on exactly how or why she lost control of her vehicle."  Video cuts to the car being towed out of the ditch, zooming in on the door.  "According to sources, the John Doe caused these damages when the vehicle stuck him at high speed."

  Cutting back to the studio, the camera cuts back to show both of the hosts.  The commentator, a female Mink, and her co-host, a male Raccoon, began chatting about the story.

  Female: "It's a shame that it takes some nameless victim as we have seen in this story," flash up a picture of me taken in the ER, "to demonstrate the dangers of drivers who so callously disregard the driving conditions."

  Male: "Indeed it is Janet.  If people would only think twice before racing around on back roads."

  Hearing enough of this tripe, I turned off the TV.  I was steamed.  Had I been a lobster, they would have been rolling in the drawn butter.  As soon as I could, I'd get a hold of Zig Zag and get her to setup a press interview for me.  I wasn't gonna let some overgrown fur coat get away with the crap she was espousing.

  That thought brought me up short.  I was going to have to keep my colloquialism's to myself.  Terms such as "rug rat" and "lap dog" may not quite have the same connotation here as the did at home.  And certainly referring to a Mink as a "walking fur coat" would probably get me ten to twenty in the pen, or pound, or whatever they use here.

  Damn, I don't even know Zig Zag's number!  I suppose I could try and track her down through the studio.  Shaking my head I tried to relax.  Getting myself worked up into knots wasn't going to help either of us.

  Shortly before noon, the doctor came in with a small package.  As he unfolded it, I realized that it was a large hospital gown.  "Property of County General Hospital," was stamped on it.

  "You will want to put that on before the orderlies come to help you move."  He explained, handing it to me.

  "Hey doc, hard to do with only one wing.  My shoulder doesn't even hurt anymore, how about cutting me lose of this straight jacket?"  I asked.

  Adjusting the bed so that it was almost vertical, the doctor came around the bed to my right side and began undoing the straps.  "Normally we like to leave these on for a week or so, however as fast as you have been healing, I'm willing to try taking it off early.  If we leave it off, you must promise to put it in a sling until I say you are healed, ok?"  He said to me sternly.

  "You got it doc.  Anything, as long as I can scratch my ribs!"  I answered happily.

  Chuckling, he removed the last of the straps.  As he moved my arm away from my chest, there was a little twinge of pain in my shoulder, however that passed quickly.  After taking the appliance away, he slowly flexed my arm, and shoulder, watching my face for signs of pain.

  Seeing me wince a few times, he nodded and said, "Ahhh, you see my boy?  You are not entirely healed.  I will go get a sling for your arm, till then, just try not to use it.  Okay?"

  Conceding defeat, I nodded. "Okay, doc.  You got it.  I won't be doing any pushups or handstands until you say so."

  He then moved down to the cast on my leg.  Rapping on it with his knuckles, he watched me.  Seeing that I didn't wince he started to let the leg down.  Blood, now no longer denied an easy path due to gravity, quickly announced it's presence to my shin.  The throbbing was back and with a vengeance.

  As I sat taking deep breaths to try to control the throbbing a bit, I heard the doctor chuckle.  "Throbs a bit, does it eh?  Not as quick healer down here either, though you are still quicker than most.  Just relax and the throbbing will pass.  If you need it, I will get you some pain medicine."

  As the throbbing slowly started to fade, I opened my eyes.  He was still looking closely at me.  "It's OK doc.  Pain is useful.  Tells us when we've really screwed the poo... err... screwed up."  I told him.  Lord only knows how 'screwing the pooch' would go over here, I continued, "The throbbing is starting to fade.  I think I'll be alright."

  Nevertheless, he took my pulse to verify that it wasn't too elevated.  Then excusing himself, he headed out the door, presumably to get a sling.

  Throwing back the covers, I carefully began to put the gown on over my right arm.  It was indeed stiff and sore, but presently I got it on.  Realizing that I couldn't tie it in the back, I just settled on draping it over my shoulders.  I'd get the next nurse or orderly that came by to tie it down.

  As I sat there, I got a sensation that wasn't at all unfamiliar.  The one that was most insistent was that I had to go to the bathroom.  Having been laid up in the hospital before, I've had my share of "bed pan" experiences.

  Gritting my teeth, I slowly swung first my left leg, then the cast of my right leg over the side of the bed.  As the blood quickly rushed down to my feet, I felt the throbbing return in my leg, worse than before.  I also felt light headed, as my body had grown accustomed to being horizontal.

  Again taking deep breaths, I waited till the dizziness had passed, though the throbbing remained a dull ache.  Holding on to the bed with my good hand, I tried to lock my bad arm against my chest, and stood up on my good leg.  Swaying slightly, I realized that I was tall, a lot taller than I used to be.  Then again, it could just be my perspective.  Damn, this is the wrong time to try to learn how to walk.  Using the bed as a crutch, I hobble-hopped to the end, leaving me about three feet away from the bathroom door.

  Taking the plunge I hopped on my good leg over to the doorjamb and held on for dear life trying not to fall over.  As I got my balance again, I maneuvered into the bathroom and turned the light on.  Closing the door, I took a look at the facilities.  There was a rather large bowl, similar to what I'm used to at home, only the space behind the seat was a lot roomier than I was used to.  It took me a few minutes to remember that some species had a large tail.

  Tail.  Damn, that's why I was so damned uncomfortable on my back.  Looking in the mirror, I saw a short stubby tail sticking out the back.  Mentally kicking myself in the butt for being dense, but then again, I'd only been a bear for less than two days.  I was allowed a learning curve.

  Propping my head against the wall, I used my good hand to relieve myself.  Flushing, I got a gentle reminder that there were other calls to take care of.  Turning around, I sat down for a squat.  I guess bears don't have to go in the woods.

  As I was sitting there letting nature take its course, I heard the doctor in the other room calling for me.  Being the bright guy he is, he noticed the closed door.  Opening it he leaned on the doorframe with an exasperated look on his face.

  "You are trying to give me a heart attack?"  He said, shaking his head, then gave me a quick look over.  "OK.  Since you are in here, finish up.  But call me when you are done.  I don't need you breaking your silly neck trying to get off the john."  He told me harshly. I could tell he wasn't happy with me.

  As he pulled the door shut behind him, I realized that he had a point.  Although there were some hand-bars around, to help people use the shower and etc, none of them would have really been useful for helping a one armed bear not only to stand up, but to also wipe his ass.  And of course that brought up other questions....

  And my day was going sooooooooooo well.

  After getting a rather enlightening lesson in bodily function and fur maintenance 101 from the doctor, I was aided by an orderly onto a gurney.  As they were wheeling me down to the elevators, a matched pair of foxes ran up to the gurney, one wearing a camera and light harness, the other wielding a microphone.

  "We're here LIVE with John Doe!  John Doe!  Can we get any comment from you about Zig Zag's being charged with reckless driving?"  The one with the mike asked.

  The doctor cursed, and tried to push the young reporter away.

  "Wait a second.  I said, "Stop the gurney.  Let her through."  They charged Zig with reckless driving?

  The doctor hesitated, debating trying to shield me from the press.

  "Doc, please.  Let me talk to her."  I said pleadingly, putting my hand on his arm, and slowly pulling it back.  Once again the microphone appeared in my face.

  "Mr. Doe, how do you feel knowing that the woman who hit you, has been charged with reckless driving."  She asked me.

  Looking into the camera I grabbed the microphone so she wouldn't be able to pull it away.  "How do I feel?  It's a travesty of justice.  It was my fault that I was standing in the middle of the road.  She did everything she could to avoid me, including almost getting herself and her passenger killed.  Even now her passenger is in this hospital, injured by my actions.  If someone should be arrested, it should be me."  I told her angrily.

  Glaring at the reporter as she tried to pull the microphone back, I let out a low growl.  Quickly releasing the microphone, she backed up a step.  "Zig Zag came here to find out how I was doing.  She was concerned with my well-being and took the time to make sure that I was in need of nothing.  Since I've been here I've seen nothing in the nature of good will from you or any other tabloid reporter in this town."  I informed her, and the world.

  Looking back at the camera I continued, "I've seen the supposed impartial news reports being run on TV, and frankly I'm disgusted.  Just because she's a celebrity, gives you no right to try to drag her name through the mud!"

  "And just for the record, my name is Arden.  Arden Nanuk."  With that, I released the microphone, allowing the young fox to regain control of it.

  "There you have it folks.  Arden Nanewk defending the woman who tried to run him down.  This is Cindy Lupus for Fox News at Noon."  She said into the mike.

  I swear by all that's holy that if that orderly hadn't pinned my bad shoulder in a most painful way, I would have probably hospitalized that bitch!  (Hey... that one fits!)

  As the reporters made a hasty retreat, hospital security showed up and escorted them to the exit.  Several others followed us to make sure that we weren't accosted again.

  While on the elevator, the doctor asked, "Where did you get the name Nanuk?"

  Sighing, I finally answered, "I couldn't go around being John Doe, or even Arden Doe.  I remembered that Nanuk is the Inuit name for my species.  I figured if I had to have a last name, that one would fit me as well as any other."

  I could see a confused look on the doctor for a second as he digested the information.  "I am happy you have decided on a surname.  It will make filling out forms much more convenient now."  He said facetiously.

  As I looked at him, he finally smiled, revealing that it was all a joke.

  Relaxing on the gurney, all I could think about was poor Zig Zag and what she must be going through right now.

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