A Worthwhile Pursuit

By Oren the Otter

My work was done. I had finished my comics for two months yet. I had
written stories and scripts until I was sick of my computer. I turned on
the TV. There wasn't anything good on, except for "Winds of Change", and
it was an episode I had seen a zillion times. It had been all reruns since
they canceled the new spinoff series.
None of my friends were on the Internet. There was just nothing to do.
I went down to the Blind Pig.
"Evening." I said to Donnie.
"Evening." Donnie signed. "Milk?"
"Nah. Gimme a Virgin Mary."
Donnie smiled at the name. He still found it funny. Thing is, Mr. Batran
had helped me develop a taste for Bloody Marys, but I just couldn't handle
the alcohol. I'd asked him to concoct a non-alcoholic version, and he came
up with the Virgin Mary.
I sipped my drink and looked around. Brad Fox was over by the partition
to the restaurant flirting with both Lisa and Jacob.
Wanderer and Carlos were at the Lupine Boys' usual table, eating cold
pizza and joking about women.
Phil was attempting to lecture Mr. Batran on the social graces.
Xander was moping over his ex-girlfriend while Raven attempted to comfort
And in the darkest corner of the bar was the saddest looking dino-morph I
have ever seen.
I finished my Virgin Mary and walked over to the piano where Jesse was
attempting to teach Jack a new song. I vaguely recognized the tune as
"Oren's theme". I liked that about Jesse. Always thinking of his friends.
Once he had finished the refrain and turned the keyboard over to Jack, I
nudged him in the tail. Discreetly calling his attention to the scaly
recluse, I asked him "Do you know that guy?"
Jesse shook his head around the axis of his nose, hitting Jack in the dot
with his ear. "Seen him here a few times, though. Had an unpleasant
encounter with Jon and a glass of beer. Besides that, he never talks to
"That guy in the corner?" said a small rat. "I heard Edwina say his name
is Cornwall or something like that. Never orders anything but water."
I knelt down to the rat. "Don't believe I've had the pleasure. Charles
Matthias. My friends call me Matt the Rat."
I knew that name. "I've heard of you." I said. "You're a writer, aren't
"Sure am, and so are you."
"How did you know that?"
"I recognized you from where you cast yourself as a character in your
comic book series about the alien clouds."
"Oh. Ppprrrrr... Cool."
"So what about this dinosaur guy?" asked Jesse. "Are we gonna go say 'Hi'
or what?
I shrugged. "Couldn't hoit." I replied.
So Jesse, Matt the Rat and I went over and forcibly cheered up the
stranger. His name turned out to be Gornul Eaves, and he was an
inanimorph. Seems he wasn't a dinosaur at all. He was actually a dragon
made out of clay.
We became fast friends in only a few minutes. He turned out to be a very
likeable fellow.
It felt so good to cheer him up that we decided to bring him along and try
to cheer up Xander.
"Truth is, I never had a girlfriend." said Xander. "I was just telling
Raven that the reason I'm so upset is: my car just got blown up."
"Really?" said Jesse. "That must have been frightening."
"It was. That was my home."
"You live out of your car?"
Xander nodded sadly. "I'm at the West street shelter now."
"That's a good place to be." said Jesse. "You're in good hands with Splendor."
"I just thought of something!" I exclaimed. "Jon and Maxine are renting
me that extra cabin they have up north. They're only charging me a dollar
a month. I was going to use it this summer. My lease gives me the option
to sublet. Would you like to stay there for a while?"
Xander smiled in amazed gratitude. "That's a really generous offer." he
said. "But I do have to work and I have no way to commute."
"Thanks for the offer, though, and thanks for coming over to talk. I
didn't think anybody here knew I existed.
Gornul smiled. "It's like I just found out." He said. "There's a welcome
here if you just let people know who you are." Oh dear."
"What's wrong?"
"That coke is seeping through my clay. Excuse me while I go and empty
Gornul trudged off to the men's room, trailing little brown dots across
the floor.
Chuckling, I ordered another Virgin Mary and settled on a stool to watch
my friends enjoying themselves. I had made three new friends today and
cheered two lonely individuals significantly.
THAT was a worthwhile pursuit. I wasn't bored anymore.

* * *
Copyright 1998 by Oren the Otter. If you want to post this
anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first. Thank you.
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