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The Background
by James S Cole
James S Cole -- all rights reserved

The air seemed just a bit more stagnate than usual, the bar loomed over head like a titanous beast. The sigh said "Blind Pig Gin Mill" this place was so familiar, yet never did he feel he truly fit in there. This place was the only SCABs bar in town, the arcticfox morph sighed to him self. He thought long and hard weather or not to go in, sure he was welcome, all SCABs where, but for him this place was different. No one liked to admit it, but this place had a certain group of people who knew one another and all where friends. Everyone called each other by there first names, all liked and tended to respect one another. The there was him, the proverbial outsider, never really noticed for anything, just part of the background.

He pushed on the door and it slid open just as usual. He looked around the room, all the usuals where there. Jack DeMule, the bar's resident bouncer/piano player, the Wanderer the actor who never seemed to get a break, Jon Sleeper and his lovely wife, The inescapable lupine boys, all the usuals. Just as normal he walked in, no greetings came his way, in fact his entrance was completely unseen, unheard, not considered. He got the same odd feelings he normally got, by various means he knew everyone, yet still was unknown by all.

He once again sat in a booth in the back, alone, just part of the background. He watched as the waitress placed his normal drink down on the bar, she was the owner's daughter, he never had caught her name. The owner, Donnie, knew of him, but did not know him. As usual he pulled out the magazine from the pocket of his long trench coat, the magazine was at least 25 years old. He knew it inside and out, he read it all the time, just the one magazine, always that magazine. The cover was beaten up, taped countless times, obscuring the title, it was full of images of anthropomorphic animals, once only a fantasy, now all very real. He placed the magazine in his pocket again, with all the other remnants of his life, which now was a fading dream.

All his life he had a hidden dream, a wish, to be an anthropomorphic animal, when the Martian flu hit, his dream came true, then became a nightmare. All had be lost, his family had declared him dead, his bank account was drained with a frightening speed. All his possessions where gone, all his friends, all of his life. The only shreds left where the magazine, containing 2 pieces of his art work, a small card box of magic the gathering cards, an old cartridge for a video game console machine, a few crumpled pieces of paper with his drawings on them, a gnarled pen, and 5 faded photos of him self and his family.

He nursed his drink, plain white milk, and thought of his life now. He survived by the skin of his teeth, working a dead end sanitation job, a garbage man. His degrees in computer sciences, philosophy, and art useless, because he was legally dead now. He lived out of his car, and old dented beat up pile of junk, than no longer had a working engine. It was in the slums, no one ever bothered to rob him, or try to steal from him, or even take notice of him.

He started to cry feeling his life was totally destroyed, then he felt a warm hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see the face of Raven Blackmane, the newest regular at the bar. She asked if he was ok, his answer, was yes. He made up a lie to explain his tears away, his girlfriend left him he said.

Raven took this as true, he had after all become an expert liar, and she returned to the group of friends.

Mournfully he looked over, seeing the smiling faces of the other SCABs, he wished he was with them, know, counted on. He sighed deeply, and looked at his furry hands, he looked over them again and again. They where just as he had once envisioned them, but this was no vision, it was real. His life was real, he steeled himself, for so long he was feeling sorry for himself, there where others worse off than he. Paying for his milk, which sat only half finished, he left the bar, at the entrance he bumped into Fox Cutter. There was no exchange between the two, just Foxes angry stare. The incident was quickly forgotten, after all no one pays attention to the background for long...

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