|Sides of the Fox
by Fox Cutter
© Fox Cutter -- all rights reserved
I pushed open the door of the Blind Pig with my shoulder, and stepped sideways into the bar.
"We're closed for for another ten minutes." Donnie said, his back to me, doing something behind the bar. I guess cleaning out some glasses.
I tilted my head. "Oh come on, six months and you forget little old me?"
Slowly he stopped, and turned around, a glass and towel in his hands, and a shocked looked on his face. "Fox?" he said, I could swear his synthesized voice sounded amazed.
Walking over to the bar, I set down two quarters. "Who else."
He grinned a bit, setting down the glass. Then sliding the fifty-cents off the bar, quickly fixed my usual drink. Rum and coke, with out the rum.
I leaned on the bar a bit. "So, what's be going on in my absence?"
He shrugged. "Lots of things, we have a new waitress, a slick age-reversed six year old tried to become Mayor and run all us SCABS out of town, and Bob has a kid and moved out west."
I grinned, sipping my coke, the bubbles tickling my noise as usual. "So nothing major then."
He shook his head. "Fox, you haven't changed." Then turned back to his work before the bar official opened.
Telling me I hadn't changed was a MAJOR understatement. I hadn't, hell I haven't changed sense that day in 2004, when I woke up with fur and a tail. I had though it wouldn't happen to me (and I admit, a bit saddened) when I turned out to be naturally immune to the flu.
I wasn't, the fact is, I had gotten it in a very mild form, and also got SCABS in a mild form, mostly it was dormant, but I did get one thing then, immunity. I didn't start developing SCABS when the rest of the world started. In fact I was kind of annoyed when I didn't change, because I always wanted to be a fox.
I didn't expect to get it. One night, after I got a bad case of the cold, I woke up with an EXTREMELY stuffy nose, and found out it was a muzzle (do you know how much snot a muzzle holds? You don't want to find out). Not only that I had the fur, and tail, the face, well, I even had the legs. I had become everything I had wanted to be! Though I also inherited the immunity, so, not only am I permanently this way, no SCABS power works on me. Though interestingly enough, I've seemed to have also become age locked. I look exactly the same as I did that first day.
I also didn't expect it to destroy my fledgling career. So, finally broke and wondering, I found my self in this town, in front of a bar that had just opened a few hours before.
Stepping in, I found it only contained two people, one was an old friend named Fire (well, I didn't know her then, but now she's an old friend), though she was now living in San Francisco. The other was Donnie.
Feeling a little down, I walked in side, bold as brass, slap two quarters, all I had, on the bar and said. "Mike, Rum and Coke, sans the rum."
Donnie tilted his head, and looked at me like I was crazy. "First." he said, "My name is not Mike, it's Donnie, and second, the cheapest drink in this place is five dollars."
I looked are the bar, bewildered. "What, this isn't Callahan's Place?"
Donnie closed his eyes, and cracked a small smile. Then actually took the fifty cents, and gave me my drink. After about an hour, I convinced him he needed a second bartender, especially when Fire left, and brought back with her ten people, which doubled, and doubled again.
Interestingly enough, he still lets me get away paying fifty cents a drink.
Now, as I was sitting there on the bar stool, thinking over all this, my tail wrapped around the base, I heard the bar door open. Checking my watch, I saw that the bar had opened five minutes before.
I heard the person take three steps into the room, then stop. "Is that who I think that is?" He asked.
I turned, and saw wolf-morph, in his usual cape. "Wanderer, how's life?"
He shook his head. "Very interesting." He said, and things just started to get busier from there. More people came in, and I moved into the back corner, sitting and thinking.
A few hours later, I was hunched over a note-pad, working on something else that would never see print, when almost everyone in the bar yelled "Norm!"
Looking up, I saw a young lady walk into the bar. She gave a quick grin to everyone, then headed off to another back table.
I went back to my writing, make a note to meet her sometime in the near future.
She beat me to it. About ten minutes after she came in, I heard someone ask. "Excuse me."
Looking over the top of my note-pad, I saw her standing on the other side of the table. Pushing my specially made glasses up my muzzle I said. "Hello."
"Do you mind if I sit down?" She asked.
I shrugged. "Don't mind a bit."
I watched as she pulled out a chair, and sat down. Dropping my pad, I gave her a small grin. "You're not exactly here for idle chat?"
She grinned. "Not exactly. I'm a reporter, name's Lisa."
I raised an eyebrow. "Name's familiar."
"I've been doing the series 'The Human side of SCABS."
I paused. "I know this series." I said, giving it a slight english accent, a bit of a take off on an old movie. "I take it you want to interview me for it?"
She nodded. "Well, you seem to be the talk around the bar tonight. Wanderer said I should come over and talk to you. I'm willing to buy the story off of you."
I shook my head. "No, no need. My stories are all free."
She nodded again, pulling out a laptop. "No offense, but I didn't catch your name."
I shrugged, leaning back in my chair, resting my small feet on the table. "Fox Cutter."
This caused HER to pause. "That name sounds familiar." she snapped her fingers. "My mother, she as a couple off books in her library by an author with that name."
I winched, "I only got two published."
"What do you mean, you don't look that old."
"I'm 40, look 20, part of my SCABS, I'm aged locked."
"So, why didn't you put any more books out?"
I dropped me feet, and leaned forward over the table. "You want the truth, or the nice version?"
She grinned. "The truth."
I sighed. "Well... This happened to me early in 2004. Right in the middle of the black balling of SCABs. Overnight, no publisher would touch me, my agent quit, and one novel that just got accept came back. No one wanted anything from a SCAB, not a story, not a look, not anything."
"But that only lasted a few years, it shouldn't be stopping you now."
I nodded. "Yes, what's stopping me is that I made a BIG mistake. I fought it, I wrote letters, I went all over the place, pushing, forcing, even using pen names, and saying I didn't want cash. It was all for not, and it became a permanent lock out on me. I can't even self publish a book anymore."
She paused again, digesting this. "What's the name of your agent, and who sent back your book?"
I shrugged, and told her. Even giving her his phone number as of 15 years ago.
She grinning a bit. "Thank you Mr. Cutter. This has been interesting."
I titled my head, sipping at my drink. "My pleaser."
Closing her laptop, she started to stand, then stopped. "Pardon me for asking, but your drink..." she trailed off.
I grinned. "When he gets a fire place, I'll pay a dolor per." Which was a kind way of saying it was none of her business.
She grinned a bit, then went else where, and I went back to my writing.
A week later, my life had changed again, and for the better this time.
Once again, I was back in the corner of the bar, but this time I wasn't writing, I was reading. I found it amazingly interesting, it was a ten page, typed, apology letter from the publishing company who dumped me, and the industry in general.
Lisa's story, when it was run, was picked up by the national papers, then into the news, and in three days the country knew all about, as one reporter said, "Fox Cutter, a man forced away from his one love for years by the industry that once loved him."
With in five days re-prints off all my books where on the shelf, my agent had finally returned my calls after 15 years, and I had gotten this letter in the mail. Not e-mail, but the good old, and rather unused, US Postal Service.
Not to mention that I have thirty novels sitting on my computer, waiting to be sent in, most likely the first few will be instantly excepted. After that, well, it would have to be on my talent alone.
And all of this was thanks to Lisa, and I felt I had to repay her some how.
She only has to bring in quarters now too.
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