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Skindancer
by Greg Williams
Greg Williams -- all rights reserved
 

The door to the Blind Pig opened to admit an aged old man with a worn face straight out of the Southwest. He takes a seat at the end of the bar and Donnie waits patiently for the old man's order.

"Tequila, please."

Donnie nods and goes to prepare his order. The old man turns and looks around the bar at the various characters it contained. An entire table full of wolves with a cheetah going over papers with them, a cockroach and horse shared a table, a family of deer and a partial raccoon shared a booth; a mule sat at the piano plucking a minor tune and in another booth a teenaged lion sat doing homework. "A very interesting place they have here." the Indian thought. Donnie brings him his tequila and he sips at it, setting the amount of the drink on the bar.

The old man finishes his drink and Donnie shows him a notepad with the words "Care for another?" written. He shakes his head no and Donnie goes to another customer. As the mule gets up from the piano to get another beer, the old man takes out a wooden flute from inside his vest pocket, puts it to his lips and plays.

Most of the conversations die down as the old man gets into the rhythm of the flute. A haunting melody from an age and a people long past it's prime. He goes on for several minutes in his song; a stirring rendition to all in the establishment. As his song get more involved a strange thing happens; his skin starts to shift. Now perhaps it's a trick of the light but his body changes into the body of an upright wolf. He looks straight at the table full of wolves and they can't help but look with jaws dropped. He looks around the room as his skin and body change again. A deer, a raccoon, an otter, a cougar, a big horn sheep; all the while still playing his tune on the wooden flute.

His song finally ends when he turns back to his human body, and the entire bar erupts into applause.

"Thank you my friends." replies the old Indian "Just my way of adding a little joy to your lives."

He stands up to leave when one of the wolves steps up to him, wearing, oddly enough, a cape.

"That was simply amazing good sir. I for one was impressed. What's your name?"

"Shane Skindancer."

"You are the most amazing SCAB I have ever met."

The old man gave a small smile.

"Scab? I thought that was a wound cover. What an odd sort of fellow you are."

The wolf got a confused look on his face as the old man left the bar. The wolf actually does a double take at the door as soon as he's gone and then turns back to the other patrons.

"I always knew Indians were mysterious but that was downright creepy."

The wolf shook his head to clear it and went back to his table. Soon the old Indian was forgotten and all activity went back to it's normal pace.

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