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Interlude By Qualin
by Qualin
Qualin -- all rights reserved

It was raining outside when I walked into the Blind Pig. I had a lousy day at work. Everyone was yelling at me, making me feel worthless. I had worked so hard and none of it seemed to matter to anyone. I needed a drink.

I am the kind of guy who doesn't drink unless he's really depressed or has had a lot of hardships and today qualified. I visit the Blind Pig on occasion only because the SCAB's inside are there to drown in their troubles, not mine. I guess that's hard to explain.

They don't care about my problems and I don't care about thiers. I don't have fur, or a muzzle. I'm just a plain regular human. I go in there because the furry faces seem to cheer me up a little. Perhaps I might get SCAB's from one of them as an excuse to get away from my regular life, I don't know.

If they had all known that I thought that they were all deformed freaks inside of my head, I probably would have been mauled to death. Fortunately, the alchohol didn't loosen my lips like it did with other people.

The old door creaked and banged against the frame as I walked in slowly. The huge bovine morph looked at me with an expression on his face that could only mean one thing, "What do you want?"

I sat down slowly. He was polishing a glass, looking down at me with his big brown eyes. His snout took away some of his expressions. I didn't want a bartender that could frown or smile at me. No, that wouldn't do. I didn't want a bartender that could speak to me, just someone to take my orders.

"Donnie, give me a shot of Grand Marnier. Straight with a little ice.", I sighed out.

He looked at me, nodded and poured my drink. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. "Here's a twenty. Keep 'em coming until this bill can't pay for them anymore."

I always did that. 4 shots to a twenty. Roughly. I stared at the half-full glass of orange liquid and sniffed it. Sure enough, it was the right stuff.

Tilting my head back, I gulped it. Tasted like medicine, always did to me. I never was much of a drinker. I shivered as the drink gave me a warm hug on the way down.

A tear slowly ran down my cheek. A large deer looked across the bar from me and looked at me, "What's wrong? You look beaten down today, Mr. Batran."

I didn't like people calling me by my first name. I didn't want anyone at this bar to know me. My co-workers would think I was a wannabe. A fake. Someone who was in with the wrong crowd of people. I sighed again. Anyone who called me by my first name promptly got growled at. For a norm, I could do a mean growl. Even the wolf pack at the table seemed to admire me for it, although I never growled at them. I saw way too many werewolf movies as a boy. It was only when I growled at the "Prey" animals that they took notice.

Call me anti-social, perhaps, but that's the way I am at all the bars I have drinks at. I don't go to bars to get laid or to make friends, I only go to them to get drunk and that's it. Nothing more. To get piss drunk.

"Another one, Donny.", I spoke out.

I turned towards the buck, "You know what, you guys think you have it so bad as being animals.. maybe the freaks of nature you are, but I'll tell ya what. Being human, just as I am, now.. here.. has it's challenges too. I mean, Sure, I don't have fur.. But I don't have a family that can reject me either."

The buck looked at me with glistening eyes, just listening.

I continued, "I don't have family.. I have a job that sometimes makes me life miserable. I nearly got killed by a car last week. That was harrowing. At least all you guys are special. Every one of you. You show up in a crowd. You belong to a social group.. You know what I have? My internet connection. I send E-Mail all day to people and get E-Mail all day. The chat rooms are no fun anymore. That used to be my social life, you know? Now, it's so infested with pretenders, role players, humans who are SCAB wannabes and SCAB's who want to be human wannabes. It's all fake. I can't carry on a decent conversation anymore."

The deer slowly opened it's muzzle. "You can talk to me, Mr. Batran.. What's your first name?"

I looked at him, "You don't need to know my first name. Sir is good enough. Just call me Mr. Batran and that's all. Don't call me Batty."

Somewhere a bat morph in the corner of the bar looked up from his drink and asked, "Hello? Did someone call me?"

I shrugged. Go figure.

"Look Mr. Deer,", I impolitely said, "You can sit there and listen to me but that's all I need from you. Ever wonder why I come here? It's because of Donnie here."

The bovine morph looked at me and grunted.

"He doesn't speak. He doesn't talk. Sure, it's callous of me to say that. I respect the fact that SCAB's took away his speech, but there's nothing he can do to tell me what to do. No cussing me out. All he can do is throw me out of the bar and I'd rather have that. No bartender telling me when I've had too much. Having him write it down on a piece of paper just seems so much more, acceptable to me.."

"Howso?", the deer asked.

"I don't know. It's like he's less threatening. Less real I guess."

Donnie grunted again, pointing to himself.

I hurmphed.

I gulped my second glass and motioned to it for another one. Another glass promptly replaced it.

"Damn, I've had enough.", I said, gasping after downing the third one.

I slowly got up and looked at Donnie. "Keep the change."

I walked slowly out of the bar and hailed a cab. It seemed like the cab was there waiting for me, as if it was anticipating my fare.

I looked at the wolfmorph sitting at the wheel. "1953 West Crescent Place please."

The wolf nodded at me and we took off.

Just then, the rain stopped as we passed over a bridge overlooking a massive river. It was as if someone had said, "Allright. Back to work.."

That's right. Back to work. Back to the daily routine that makes us all cogs in the machine. Back to the hurting. I can take it though. I'm a man. I take things like a man. A cold, unfeeling machine that just keeps going until something breaks.

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