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Splendor's Story - Afterword
by Mark Van Sciver
Mark Van Sciver -- all rights reserved
 

I was eating peanuts out of a bowl. I know they were peanuts. I checked. You have to do that here because with Donnie's wide range of clientel, you'd better check before you put something in your mouth.

I didn't once and damn near choked to death trying to swallow kibble. It's a quiet night, not much going on. The crowd is starting to pick up because San Francisco is playing Denver at nine and it promises to be a good game.

You know it's a funny thing about prejudice. I mean, we SCABS have been around for 20 years now and we've had to endure a lot of discrimination. We've lost our jobs, marriages have collapsed, friendships and families have been torn apart. But we refused to go away and hide, and now, finally, we starting to make a small -- very small -- forward movement.

Who'd have thought that our egress back into the mainstream would have been found on the football field. I mean, I don't even like football that much, but if Colin Underwood is playing for the 49ers, I'm there!

It took an incrediable talent like Colin to start leveling the field for the rest of us. Six years ago, they wouldn't let a SCABS like Colin in the stadium, let alone on the field, but talent will out.

It took some coach at a jerkwater college in Iowa to recognize the potential that a anthromorphic cheetah-man could have on a running game. Colin took his team to a bowl games all four years he was at college. He won the Heismann, and yet, the big story his senior year was whether he'd be allowed to play pro.

Poor Colin endured a lot during college. He was unmercifully taunted by opponents and the media. But he kept his cool. The 49ers chose him on the 26th round of the draft. Can you believe it -- 26th! The number one player in the U.S. has to sit and wonder if he's even going to be allowed to play ball.

But he did, and the 49ers made the playoffs his first year and won the Super Bowl for the next two.

Now seeing SCABS players on the field doesn't seem as unusual as it used to. Jack particularly likes the special kicking teams. Although I heard there's a kangaroo-morph from "Down Under" who Buffalo is looking at for next season.

The pre-game show is hardly being watched, assorted food stuff's are flying about. Regal and I have been arguing with Mike Prischelli about Batman XI: New Blood.

Now imagine, here's two SCABS arguing with a normal that Batman should have been left at plain old Bruce Wayne instead of being a bat-morph. Mike, on the other hands, loves it.

Mike?

Oh, he's okay. He's been coming in for a few years now. One of Donnie's pals. That Donnie can make friends with anybody. Anyway, Mike's daughter is a partial ani-morph. She has the legs of a White-Tail deer, but since her body structure doesn't support the change, she's been confined to a wheelchair most of her adult life. I guess that made Mike a little more sensitive, but I suspect he an Donnie would have been friends anyway. They go fishing a lot together at the coast.

In the midst of our argument, we notice that one of the "ladies" has come in. Donnie doesn't generally give them a hard time, unless they try and operate out of the bar. Donnie's philosophy is "Treat people with respect and they will generally reciprocate."

The lady sits by herself. I don't know her name. I'm generally shy around women to begin with, even more so with a professional. She's attractive, in a cold sort of way that I can't quite put my finger on. That she's a SCABS is obvious -- her skin betrays it to me. Dr. Bob has trained me well, there are signs that even the best poly-morph can't disguise.

I suspect that our lady friend is an ani-morph, possibly a herpi-morph, but I'm only guessing. She orders a drink and sits quietly drinking, ignoring everyone as much as everyone is ignoring her. Some people have the ability to become invisible in a crowd. Some people do it by personality, some, like her, seem to be able to creat a zone about themselves that makes you want to stay out of their personal space.

They're recapping the news before the start of the game. The big story last week was the SCABS attack on a prominent member of the city council. Last Tuesday evening, Councilman Barnes was found on West Street at 9.a.m. West street is where you can buy love, or at least rent it by the hour.

No body could imagine what the Councilman was doing there. The story was made more sensational in that the Councilman, a normal, had been reduced physically in age from 46 to six years. Barnes claimed he'd been attacked by unknown SCABS thugs who surrounded his car and pulled him out.

According to news reports, they first beat and tortured him, then reduced him to his present state in revenge for his tough stance and moral crusade against what he called the "SCABS investation."

People in this neck of town got more than a little nervous over Barnes' charges. The last thing we needed was anti-SCABS riots like back in '06. It was reported that Barnes' had been permanently reduced, which I didn't think possible. I asked Dr. Bob and Bryan when they came in. They said that while they had never heard or seen a report indicating that someone could permanent alter a physiogomy, that with SCABS, anything at this point was possible.

Things really heated up in town as passions flared. But just a quickly as things heated up, they were doused with confirmed reports that Councilman Barnes had more to answer for than had been previously reported.

It seems that a unknown person or persons had dropped off a videotape showing Barnes cursing and swearing at an unknown woman off camera. It was fasinating television:

"You bitch! You damned whore! Change me back!"

"I wouldn't if I could,"

"You're now eight years old, want to try for six? If you are thinking about that switchblade, it isn't there. Yes, I knew about it. I knew about it because that woman with the brown fur you carved up last week was my friend, Sally. I don't know why you did that and I don't care, but you're not going to do it again."

"She was a whore! A damned dirty whore, like you!"

"You're now six. Do you really want to go down to four?"

"No, please. I'm sorry. Please, change me back. Wait! What about me? You can't leave me like this!"

"Yes, I can. You're on your own. I'm still leaving you in a better situation than you left Sally. At least you aren't struggling to reach a phone while your lifeblood throbs away."

I understand Barnes has been charged with murder in the case of a SCABS prostitute found dead two month ago. I hope they fry him, but he's a juvenile now so they don't no what to do with him.

I understand they holding him in a juvenile facility, but will try him as an adult. After all, even if his body is six, his warped little mind knows what he was doing.

The kick off is in two minutes, Mike Regal and I get our orders in before the game starts. Mike whistles to himself.

"You know, might not be too bad being a kid again," he says.

"I don't know," I answer. "I wouldn't want to have to go through all that awkwardness again. And I know I wouldn't want to experience puberty twice."

Regal nods in agreement.

"Still ... . I wouldn't mind a beautiful woman doing it to me for the night, and Ooo-la-la. If you know what I mean," Mike says with a sly wink.

Both Regal and I look at each other, visions of monsterously huge women towering over us, and both of us nodded.

A voice behind us -- a woman's voice -- said softly, but loud enough for the three of us to hear, "Careful what you wish for boys."

When we turned, there was nothing but the sight of the front door closing. It must have been the lady on the end, but I hadn't noticed her for a while. In fact, I haven't seen her since.

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