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Waterslide
by Qualin
Qualin -- all rights reserved
 

It was a hot day outside. The news anchors had predicted that it would reach nearly 110 degrees fahrenheit outside. The thermometer was already reading 90. Damn it was too hot. I wasn't used to this weather, having moved down from Canada. I came down here because of job opportunities, nothing more. I loved Canada but they just didn't pay enough.

Obviously, it was mid-summer. Felt like someone was shoving a hair dryer down your neck when you went outside. On a day like this though, you'd think I would be happy and everything would be peachy. Try again.

I was depressed again. My job was stagnating. The boss kept trying to find things for me to do and it was getting harder and harder each day. He even once suggested I just sit down and read a book until the end of the day. That was a warning sign right there.

One day, I came up to him and asked him, "Look, if there's not much for me to do, why don't you just lay me off?"

He looked at me inquisitively, "Because you are the hardest working employee we have here. When I tell you to do something, you do it quicker than most people expect and you do a good job of it too. You do things so well around here. If I sent someone else to do the work that you do, it would take them three, maybe four times as long to do it.", he paused, "Look Singhe, just keep doing what you are doing and don't worry about it."

I sighed. I guess there is the fact that you can do your job too well. That wasn't what was depressing me. What was depressing me is that I knew I could get paid more someplace else, better benefits and treatment but I liked it here too much. It was an internal conflict that was bothering me. Perhaps I was looking a gift horse in the mouth. Perhaps I was taking things for granted. The last thing I needed was to have to see that the grass was greener on the other side, step over the fence and place my foot in a fresh pile of cow dung.

I continued my work for that Friday and decided that after work I needed something to calm my nerves. Something to take away my anxiety. If I could see the other hardships other people had to put up with, maybe it would make me appreciate my life so much more. Only one bar came to mind. "The Blind Pig". Now don't get me wrong. Singhe is a very Muslim name, but I abandoned my own faith and heritage years ago when I found out what my own faith was doing to other, Non-Muslim people in Iran, but that's a different story.

Ever since I came in for the first time, the SCAB's there accepted me. It was like I was one of their own. In a way, you could say that I had to put up with some of the racism that happens in this city. I was born in Kuala Lampur. My "Strange" accent made people treat me like dirt. Even in this day and age, with SCAB's, the KKK still exists. Only, supplemented with the Humans First groups. Hate, rage and discrimination.

I knew I was going to get plastered so I decided to hail a cab and take one to the bar. The cab ride was uneventful. Traffic was jammed as usual except for when the cab pulled around to the side streets, which weren't nearly as busy.

I hopped out of the cab and tipped gently. The cabbie looked at me and said in his thick Southern US accent, "Thank ya very much Suh." and then promptly drove off to take another call. Normally, I usually see cab drivers who are Somali, ones of my own kind, people with SCABS or Pakistanis. It struck me as odd to see a regular "white" man driving a cab. For a brief moment, I felt proud that things were becoming equal again.

Above the doorway of the bar was an interesting sight. A Foxmorph was struggling with an air conditioner while Donnie was watching.

"Hey.. Mr. Batran! Would you mind helping me put this air conditioner above the doorway?", the foxmorph grunted at me.

I shrugged. "Allright. What do you want me to do?"

"Well, just make sure that nobody opens the door while I <Urf!> put this thing above the doorway?"

"Allright."

I placed my foot up against the edge of the door while the foxmorph struggled with the unit. Donnie was too heavy for the ladder so someone else had to carry the unit up.

Slowly, the fox worked the conditioner into the hole above the doorway. Suddenly, without warning the door flew open causing me to fly headfirst onto the sidewalk. The next thing I heard was a loud "AAAIIIIEEEEE!!!!", a thud and then the sound of metal crashing into the pavement.

Looking back, I saw the fox sprawled along the ground, moaning. The ladder was in the middle of the street and the A/C Unit was smashed. A horsemorph was rubbing his head furiously, moaning in pain. Donnie looked angry but concerned at the same time. I guessed that the horsemorph kicked the door open, sent the fox and the ladder flying out towards the street and the A/C unit, as a result of not having any support landed on the horsemorphs head, then proceeding to land on the pavement.

I looked at the horsemorph, "You Idiot! Didn't someone tell you that someone was working here?", I shouted. Fortunately, all I had was a scrape or two, nothing major.

The horsemorph groaned, "No.. I thought the door was stuck so I kicked it open."

As anyone will tell you, Horsemorphs can really kick. I mean REALLY kick. I saw one literally put a hole in the side of a car with a hoof once. Thank God it wasn't a person. It takes a lot to damage those plastic panels. It was even a more interesting experience when a lion morph came out shouting at the horsemorph over the damage that was done to the car. I was out of there before I heard the fur and hair flying. Amazing what claws and hooves can do in a fight.

Anyway, I'm straying off topic. Here I was outside the bar with an almost comical sight. I looked down at the foxmorph lying in the middle of the road and asked him, "You all right?"

He looked up at me, "Yeah.. By the way, My name is Fox.. Jacob Fox."

I rolled my eyes.. "How original.", I thought to myself.

"You volunteered for the job?", I asked him.

"Yeah. It would have been a lot easier if Bob hadn't kicked the door.", he said in an angry tone, towards the horsemorph, who was still rubbing his noggin.

Bob stared at Jacob for a second, shrugged and then at look at Donnie with an expression that only could have said, "How was I supposed to know?".

"Oh Donnie, Put the door hinges... the A/C unit... and.. OH! The drinks on my tab", Bob said quickly, "I gotta get going. There's a very nice mare who I'm taking out for dinner tonight and I'm late!". Bob then proceeded to walk in front of a slow moving cab. The astonished cab driver brought the cab to a quick halt. In a matter of seconds, Bob got inside the cab and motioned the driver to move on.

That left all three of us in the street.

Donnie looked at Jacob angrily, then furiously scribbled something down with a small pad. He showed it to Jacob and he winced. I didn't know what was on the pad, but I caught Jacob mumbling something about "rich doctors".

Not wishing to share any leftover wrath Donnie would impose upon us for dropping the new A/C unit, I promptly entered the Blind Pig. The inside of the bar was hot. A Lizardmorph was nearly hyperactive while everyone with fur was panting like crazy, making the place humid.

It actually made some of the SCAB's look cute. I slowly sat down at a table and rubbed my forehead slowly. A large otter morph walked up to me.

"Something wrong?", the otter looked at me intensely.

"No.. No.. Just had a rough day at work. Nothing else. Go get me a Scotch, will ya?"

The otter looked at me with a hint of confusion. (I could see it in his eyes.) "Sorry, I'm not the waiter around here, but I'm getting a drink for myself also. Might as well kill two birds with one stone."

Suddenly, a large ostrich shot the ottermorph a dirty look. "Oh.. Sorry.", he responded, remembering where he was.

He returned with my drink a couple of minutes later. "Donnie said the drink was $4. I paid for your drink already.. He seems upset about something. Would you know what?"

I looked at him and shrugged, "I dunno.", I lied.

I reached down and grabbed a couple of bills at my pocket and tossed them onto the table. Quickly, the ottermorph snatched them and put them into a small pocket hanging from his waist.

"Thanks.", he grinned.

I slowly took a sip at my Scotch. It went down smoothly, hugging me all the way down. There's something to be said for the warmth that it gives you, even on a hot day.

I looked at him while he slurped his Pina Colada. "Why are you interested in me anyway?"

"I dunno. I guess I don't see norms in here very often and wanted to find out why you were here and not in some norm bar."

I smelled his breath. He must be drinking a virgin drink. Well, If he's going to stay here with me, he'd better be drinking the real stuff. Virgin drinks are for wussies. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I didn't come halfway across the city to sit in front of some cheery ottermorph while I pass out in front of him.

"Tell ya what.. What's your name again?", I asked him.

"Oren.. Oren the otter. I've heard your name is Mr. Batran. They say you don't give out your first name.."

"That's true. I don't like telling people my name, unless they know me really well. Just call me Sir and I'm happy with that."

He nodded contently.

"Tell ya what Mr. Oren the Otter. Next drink is on me, allright?"

The otter looked at me and happily clapped his hands, "Great! I don't touch alchohol though."

I nodded slowly. I was going to teach this otter a little lesson about drinking and the first thing I was going to do was treat him out to something he was unfamiliar with. Perhaps something that'll walk all over the alchohol?

I polished off my scotch and headed to the bar.

"Donnie, Give me a Bloody Mary and a Whisky."

The bovine morph nodded at me and returned a couple of minutes later with a glass full of a red liquid and a glass full of a yellowish liquid. He hesitated a bit until I started placing bills on the bar. It didn't take him long to be perfectly content. I suspected the gears whirring inside of his head told him a loyal customer is worth more than any A/C Unit.

I carried the glasses over to our table and handed the Bloody Mary to Oren. Oren looked down at the drink and wrinkled his muzzle a little, using his black dog-like nose to sniff it.

He looked at it intently, "What is it?"

"Just try it."

I sipped my whisky a little.

Slowly, he sipped it cautiously, "Mmm.. This is great!"

I guessed the taste of the tomatoes was masking out a bit of the alchohol. I never drank them myself, too much taste. I like them stiff. I can even drink everclear if I'm prepared for it but I tend to get carried away. A night at the hospital isn't worth it.

He quickly gulped it down. "I'd like another!"

"Allright.."

Again, I went up to the bar, but I ordered 5 glasses each. 2 Rums, 2 Scotches, 2 Seven and Sevens, 2 Bloody Mary's and 2 Pina Colada's. Man, I could put Donnie's kids through college at this rate, no pun intended.

Oren drank the Bloody Mary's quickly.

"Whoa.. take it easy there big guy!", I said jokingly.

"Wuff.. Thesh are gweat.. What are dose?", Oren said in a slightly slurred tongue. He wasn't used to the alchohol and I could tell. I handed him some pretzels.

"No more until you eat some of these. You gotta eat some of these after you drink."

"Why?", he nodded as he scarfed them down.

"Because if you don't, the rest of the pretzels in the back go stale and we can't have stale pretzels, can we?"

That logic seemed to make sense to him while his brain was slowly clouding over with the effects of the alchohol. I handed him a Pina Colada, while I sucked back another Rum.

"Hey.. Dese taste difff.. differnt.. Whazzis?", Oren was looking a little dizzy.

"Pina Colada's..", I said, noticing my own speech getting slurred.

We both sucked back the drinks like they were going out of style. I could barely standup myself but I knew when enough was enough.

I don't remember the rest of the night. I never remember anything when I get plastered. Which is a good thing because I've been known to do some stupid things when I get drunk. All I really remember was stumbling into the cab with a passed out ottermorph, driving to my place, dragging him up the steps and finally getting him onto my couch while I passed out harshly on the bed.


I remember waking up to hear an extremely loud whimper, followed by a loud groan and then a squeaky voice saying "Oh... Crap!". My own hangover was throbbing inside of my head but I was used to it by now. I knew Oren wouldn't be taking it as well.

Hearing multiple curses and the sound of paws thumping across my floor I eventually heard Oren find the bathroom. It was then I hear the most impressive puke I had ever heard in my entire life, short of the ones I used to make.

"BBBBBLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEECCCCCHHHHHHHH!!!!", filled the air, followed by the sound of multiple heaves and then a flushing toilet.

Some more scampering and then a soft thud sound. I slowly put my clothes on and stumbled into the living room. There was Oren, sprawled out on the floor, wearing a set of sunglasses, whimpering softly, "Please.. Don't say anything loud. I've got a headache from hell."

I slowly stumbled over to the couch and collapsed on it. It was still warm from Oren sleeping on it.

"I know.. How did you like getting drunk?", an almost evil grin crossed my face.

He turned towards me. Suddenly, his otterish self didn't look so happy anymore. "What did you do to me?", he squeaked out.

"Uhmm.. Well, I bought you a bunch of drinks mostly. The Alcoholic kind!" I spoke softly, recoiling at his breath.

"I asked you not to give me any.. Now look at me! I'm wearing sunglasses, everything looks like the brightness control is turned up too high and every word I say hits my head like a hammer."

He whimpered softly.

"When you drink with me, you drink with me. No wussy drinks."

"I guess I'll never drink with you again. You norms never realize the kind of pain we have to endure..", he whimpered out, with a cold tone of voice that seemed to reek of hate and disgust.

Where did that come from?

"Look Mr. Oren. Tell you what..."

He turned slowly towards me, all four paws limply hanging up in the air.

"I'll make it up to you. I don't need enemies. Your whimpering is making me feel sorry for you and your cute face is making me feel guilty."

He groaned a little, "Would you mind talking more softly?"

I nodded. I forgot. "I have a surprise for you once your hangover is gone."

"I hope it doesn't involve alcohol!"

"No.. Meet me at the bar tomorrow but don't have anything to drink."

"Not even a coke?"

"No coke. Don't eat anything either."

"Allright. But keep in mind that it's going to have to take an awful lot to make up for this headache.. ugh.. I feel awful..."

I walked over to the phone and called cab. "You can watch some holoTV while I get some aspirin out of the bathroom. You want anything else?"

"Just some nice algea to sleep in.."

"Sorry. I don't carry any of that stuff.."

A couple of seconds later, Each of us had a glass of water in our hands.

"You otters aren't allergic to aspirin, eh?"

Oren looked at me and shook his snout. I once fed a canine SCAB a hunk of chocolate once. How was I supposed to know that was a bad thing to do?

Eventually we were both popping aspirins like candy. Not that it helped all that much, but maybe it's a mental thing. The more you eat, the better you feel.

"Look Oren. I didn't think you'd crash so bad. The cab should be here any minute. Get your stuff."

He nodded slowly and put his waist pocket back on. I took it off before he crashed on the couch so he wouldn't sleep on it.

The cab arrived. The least I could have done was help him through the door. "You can keep those sunglasses Oren. I never liked that pair anyway."

He nodded as I guided him into the cab.

The cab whisked him off and I went back inside to collapse on the couch.

I've been rotten lately. Taking out my frustrations on everyone. Even local SCABS. My first good deed of the day made me feel great, despite my hangover.

Usually for me, my hangovers only last about a day. That's what I spent the majority doing. Watching TV at a low volume and relaxing on the couch. Thank God for the weekend. Work would have been hell.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I thought about Oren and wondered if he or any of his friends would exact revenge upon me for slipping him the equivalent of a mickey when he noticed it the least.

I can imagine it now. I'm slumped over a table, my hair and shirt is a mess. They pull me out of the bar and cover me with tar, then with feathers, then throw me into the dumpster. I've heard of the pranks they've done, the local TV stations have even featured one or two of them. The last thing I need is the golden bust of a horses rear end sitting in my living room. My boss would make an ass out of me if he saw it. No pun intended.

On Sunday, I started up my old beater and drove to the bar. I rarely ever drove to the bar but I knew I wouldn't be touching the alcohol that day. I slowly stepped into the bar and some of the SCAB's shot me evil looks. The kind of look that said, "Look what you've done."

In one of the booths, there was an Otter, crying to a Rabbit.

"Phil, I've never been so embarrassed in my life! I feel awful!", I overheard Oren say. I decided to blend in a bit and eavesdrop on the conversation.

The rabbit named Phil looked at Oren and placed his white fur covered paw on top of Oren's. "It's no big deal Oren. I've been in situations that were much worse.. So bad in fact, it completely ruined the floor of the place I was staying at.."

"Really?", The otter looked up.

"Yeah.. Well it all began during a celebration..."

I stepped towards the booth and Oren noticed me. Phil stopped mid-sentence and shot me a glance that said it all.

"Look.. Uhmm.. I don't want any Trouble Mr. Rabbit.. I just want to talk to the beav.. ugh.. otter over there.", I paused cautiously. Those choppers looked a mite dangerous. Perhaps I was being a bit paranoid, but you can't help but be careful.

Oren looked at me and rubbed his eyes a bit, pausing for what seemed an eternity, his otterish voice squeaked out, "All right...".

I looked at the Rabbit and shot him a annoyed look, "Right .. Right.. Anyway, Oren and me have a private deal to take care of, so if you'd politely leave us alone, I'd highly appreciate it."

The Rabbit slowly worked himself out of the booth and looked up at me. "Don't you try anything like you did last time Mr. Batran. That was an awful thing you did to him. He was crying you know."

I nodded and shot him a look like, "Like I give a shit.."

He wuffed at me in disgust and walked away to the other side of the bar. I wasn't in the mood to put up with being lectured. I knew the damage I had done and I didn't have time to justify myself to anyway.

"Oren, Come with me. My car is parked out in front. Let's go."

"Go where?", he looked at me with curiosity.

"Remember? It's a surprise."

He nodded slowly and got out of the seat. We walked slowly out of the bar and we both got into my car. Fortunately, it was enough of a beater that nobody bothered to steal or strip the thing. It didn't even have enough metal on it to make it worth anyone's time to sell it for scrap. All of the beaters these days were so full of plastic, the most metal these things had was in the frame itself. Thieves didn't feel it worth their time to strip everything off just to sell the frame for the paltry amount it was worth, but I'm straying again. It's an old '08 Chrysler, it gets me around and that's it.

I revved the engine and we took of. As a private thing of mine, we careened through the more shady parts of town. The kind of places where you bring someone to get "Offed". I saw him get nervous as we passed by a gang-bang in progress. Amazing how young these tykes are before they take a cleaver and start hacking people up. You almost have to be a SCAB to survive in these parts. Fangs, Claws, fur.. it all would help in a fight..

I liked to pass through this area to help remind me of the wonderful life I live in comparison to some of the lesser people whose monthly income is in ounces of crack cocaine and bullets.

"I came from this neighborhood once Oren, right after I moved from Canada. Times were tough you know. I was here because it was cheap. Canada was too expensive to live in. That's why I moved to these slums."

"Really?"

"I was a upstart. Nothing in life was mine. It was a miracle that I escaped this life and started a decent one on my own. I've come a far ways now Oren.. I have a decent house. Decent stuff. A decent job.. I might even move back to Canada, who knows? Although, I suppose if I did, I wouldn't have anything to remind me of how far I've come since SCABS first hit this city."

I turned off onto the freeway and took the fifth exit down.

Finally, through driving endless miles of Suburbia we eventually came across the place. It was a newly built facility, a dome that was absolutely massive in size. The architecture was absolutely incredible. However, the sign stuck on it's outside wasn't.

"WILD ED'S FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT FACILITY.

BINGO IN MAIN CONFERENECE HALL ON SUNDAYS TRY OUR NEW MASSAGE FACILITY!

WE ARE A SCABS-FRIENDLY ENVIROMENT"

I drove up and picked a parking spot.

"Why here?", Oren asked.

"Common.", I gestured.

Sometimes, I'm a soft man. I like to see others enjoy themselves so that I can remind myself that I'm doing something for somebody, that my life isn't worthless.

We slowly entered into the facility and stopped at the cashiers office.

"$32.50?!??", I said to the cashier.

"Yes.. $32.50. Will that be Mastercard, Visa, Interac or Monex?"

"Uhmm.. Interac I guess."

She slipped my bank card through the register and the gate ker-clunked, letting us through.

"Oh Sir! Morphs have to wear bathing suits!"

I turned back in surprise. "Really? But he has fur!"

"It's the decency laws Sir! Everyone has to wear them!"

Oren looked at the Cashier with surprise. We eventually walked towards a store that sold bathing suits. I bought a pair of swimming trunks while I bought Oren a speedo, with a tailhole in the back.

"Why are you being so nice to me Mr. Batran?"

"I need friends in this world Oren. Not enemies. I thought you'd like the booze. I guess not. I forced something upon you due to my own ego and I guess I should pay you back for that. Serves me right for being so selfish."

He nodded slowly and we headed out to the waterpark.

Man! This place was massive! Waterslides everywhere! Spas, Saunas and even a wavepool! It had been years since I had been to a place like this, I had forgotten how much fun it was to body surf.

"Let's go into the hot tub first."

Oren nodded and followed me around like a sheep. We stayed in the hot tub until my fingers started to wrinkle and Oren started to pant madly. "This water is just too hot, Sir.. Let's go someplace else.", Oren panted.

I shrugged and remembered what his native environment was like. After walking across the soaked cement floors and working our way up a massive amount of steps, we eventually came to the "Ultratunnel" waterslide. Slightly rusty guardrails herded us into a small area with two entries into the slides. A green and red light signaled us into when we should be going.

On the wall, a sign said:

HOOVES AND CLOVEN HOOVES MUST BE COVERED WITH RUBBERS. - NO ANTLERED SCABS! THIS IS FOR THE SAFETY OF OTHER SCABS AND TO PREVENT THE SLIDE FROM BEING DAMAGED. - IF YOU ARE SHEDDING, PLEASE SHAVE PRIOR TO ENTERING THE SLIDE. - SHEEP MUST BE SHEARED BEFORE ENTERING THE SLIDE. - NO LONG HAIR OR FUR IS PERMITTED. LONG HAIR TIED UP IN A BUN IS OK. - TAIL FIRST AND BETWEEN THE LEGS - DO NOT SLIDE HEAD FIRST. LIE DOWN TO GO FAST, SIT UP TO GO SLOW - HIGH DEGREE SCABS OR SCABS WITH STRONG INSTINCTS ARE NOT ENCOURAGED TO RIDE THIS SLIDE DUE TO THE SPEED AT WHICH THE OCCUPANT MAY SLIDE! - PLEASE WEAR A FLORESCENT YELLOW NECKLACE IF YOU PLAN ON SHIFTING INTO A FULL DEGREE FORM. - THESE SLIDES HAVE NOT BEEN CERTIFIED FOR INSECT SCABS. INSECT SCABS MAY BE INJURED OR MAY DROWN DUE TO THE FORCES THESE SLIDES EXHIBIT. THIS FACILITY WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DEATHS AS A RESULT. - AQUATIC SCABS MUST SLIDE HEAD FIRST - WHALE SCABS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON THE SLIDES FOR WEIGHT REASONS. - DOLPHINS SHALL REFRAIN FROM SENDING OUT SONAR BURSTS WHILE SLIDING. IT INTERFERES WITH THE PA SYSTEM - NO MORPHS MORE THAN 400 POUNDS ARE PERMITTED TO SLIDE ON THIS SLIDE - NO STUNTS! - MANAGMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR MENTAL TRAUMA THAT MAY OCCUR AS A RESULT OF USING THIS SLIDE. - INANIMORPHS MUST WEIGH MORE THAN 40 POUNDS TO USE THIS SLIDE - ONE PERSON AT A TIME!

Interesting how the rules have changed since SCAB's came onto the scene.

I jumped into the slide feet first and slid. The dark tunnels were a bit freaky, I wasn't quite used to them, but I had forgotten how fun these slides were!

"AAAAIIIIEEEE!!! WWWHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! AAAAARRRGGHHHH!!!", I screamed as I fell faster and faster down the slide. I could hear Oren screaming in the slide next to me, a combination of human and animal shrieks like nothing I had ever heard before in my life filled the air that day.

Finally, both of us ditched into the pool below. Oren looked at me with an excited look on his snout. His whole entire body seemed to tremble in anticipation.

"Hey Sir! Again? Please again? Yes! Again? Oh pleaseohpleaseohplease??"

"As many times as you want Oren.", I grinned at him slightly.

The first four times were great. We slid on every slide at least that much but Oren just kept going and going, full of spunk and energy. I was completely worn out by the steps but seeing him go to all fours made him much faster than I was at climbing the steps.

Finally, I collapsed in exhaustion, "Tell you what.. You go slide on the slides while I sit in the hot tub, OK?"

"Yeah!yeah!Sure!Ok!", Oren bounded.

In the span of 3 hours of sitting in the hot tub (My favorite way to relax) he must have ridden the slides over 250 times. I would have been like jelly after that.

Although, it was nice to hear something like..

"EEEEEIIIEIIEEEEEEE!!!! WWWWWWOOOOOOOO!!!!! YYEEEEEEEE!!!"

Then

"AAAAAAOOOOOO!!! ARGGGGGHHHHH!! BLEH!! WWEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

(Repeat ad infinitum.)

Hearing his screams of glee made me smile. I knew the price of admission was worth it. Unfortunately, Oren was too transfixed on the water slides to try anything else. I thought about showing him the wave pool, but decided later he wouldn't have liked it anyway.

The garbled PA system announced closing time and I finally managed to get him to ride the slide one last time.

"Common Oren.. We gotta go, the place is closing!"

"All right.. That was fun!!"

"Yeah.. I could hear your screams.", I smiled almost evilly.

Together, we went into the changing rooms. It took Oren nearly half an hour to dry off, it took me about 15 mins. Eventually, we headed towards the car, the night was black outside but the air was warm.

"So, you wanna do this again sometime?"

I looked at him as I opened the drivers side door.

"Yeah.. But next time you are paying.."

I got into the car, "I hear there's a polymorph in the bar."

Oren nodded, "Yeah.. Isn't she cute?"

I nodded slowly, "You know, I can't see what it is with Otters and waterslides, I'll have to get turned into one and see for myself."

Oren grinned at me as the car lurched forward. I could almost hear the wheels inside of his head turning.

We headed towards his place, knowing he was somewhat exhausted for the night. He held out his hand when we finally arrived.

"Friends?", he held out his paw.

I looked at him, "All right.. Friends."

I shook his paw. "You can call me.. Singhe.. but only outside the bar."

He sighed, "All right. You have my word."

The car door popped open and he popped out. "Same bar, Same time next weekend, No alcohol?"

I smiled, "I'll see what I can do."

He stood there, with his snout slightly open as I closed the door and took off. The old car rumbled along as I preceded to my place. I chuckled slightly to myself, "What a character", I grinned.

I sighed gently and thought of the time we had. The bridge seemed to beckon to me, "Back to work" it said.

"I know.. I know", I replied to myself, as the tires made the familiar "Thup-Thup" sound, bouncing over the connections.

Finally, I would have at least one friend in the bar.. maybe I'll understand him better someday. Maybe I'll understand them all someday.

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