by Oren the Otter
I sat on the front stoop of my burrow, overlooking the lake. It was
beautiful today. It was home. The only home I had. I'd lost my apartment
several months back, and now this mound of dirt beside the water was
everything in the world I owned.
And now I was losing that, too.
Some rich slug bought the land I was sitting on and had ordered me off.
I'd worked so hard to make a home for myself, and now it was slipping
through my paws.
I looked down at myself. I was supposed to be an otter, but what good did
it do me? If I were a real otter, I thought to myself, he wouldn't be able
to do this to me.
I'm not, though. I'm human inside, and as such, I'm subject human laws.
Human laws that tell you where you can't go and how hard you must work and
who you can talk to and how big to build your house.
Is no good being human, but my powers don't help much. I can become
otter. I can become human. I can become part other mustelid when I need,
but still can't be real otter.
I sad. Everything seems so bad. Maybe I swim. Forget troubles. Water
good. Water fun! Swim swim swim. Fish! chase chase... catch fish!
Happy! Fish yummy. Wut wut wut...
Was sad? Sad? No. Happy! Happy otter. Ppprrrrrrr...
* * *
Copyright 1998 by Oren the Otter. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask for permission first.
Shoeprints led from the road to the pond, to the burrow, back to the road,
back to the burrow, and to the road again. Otter tracks led from the water
to the road. The afternoon sun was drying the mud, leaving a network of
A note was stuck on a tentpeg stuck into the hillock. This is what it said:
"Dear fellow Pig patrons:
It seems I've been ordered to vacate.
Please forgive me for leaving without
saying anything (again), but an oppor-
tunity opened, and it would have been
silly to pass it up.
I had a great time at the NormBash
last night, and I hope you all did too.
Victoria, don't worry.
The footprints around my burrow may
look suspicious, as may the fish,
but I assure you, there is an explan-
ation for all of this. Wut, wut!
It was printed with the printer usually connected to Oren's
password-protected laptop. Which was conveniently gone. Lab analysis of
the ink would later show that the note was printed around eleven that morning.
Bronski turned to the rabbit. "Most suspicious, Phil. I'm glad you found this, for Oren's sake."
Phil sighed. "I hope things work out. I knew something was wrong when I dropped by to chat,
and found half-eaten fish covered in peanut butter and no Oren."
The ostrich nodded.
Camera zoom out slowly, to fading sound of continuing conversation...
To be explained. Soon.
* * *
Copyright 1998 by BlueNight. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask for permission first.
Bronski and Phil were about to leave when BlueNight's 1987 Chrysler minivan
pulled up. It was a nifty custom job, with double sliding doors, Ford
Ranger truck engine, manual transmission, and mostly painted with that
color-changing paint that had been so cool only five years before. The
rear was painted blue, and the transition was the same transition as
BlueNight's tail, splotchily going from color-changing to blue. For a car
that old, it was filled with the newest systems and negative-emission
pollution control, and BlueNight kept it in top condition.
The passenger's door opened, and Oren got out. "Thanks, Blue!" he called,
then closed the passenger door and opened the side sliding door. The van
was turned off and BlueNight got out as well.
Oren turned toward his burrow and saw the ostrich and rabbit standing
there. "Hi guys. Miss me?" he said, then remarked, "I suppose I called
someone, but I was just so excited I forgot."
Phil asked, "About?"
Oren went into the burrow, and his voice was slightly muffled. "About the
five-novel deal I just got from TLQ Publishing!"
Phil called into the burrow, "That's great, Oren! But why did BlueNight
drop you off?"
"Oh, the guy from TLQ came by and picked me up, but he had a meeting, so I
called BlueNight from the guy's house. That is one sweet minivan, I'll
tell you that. Actually, that's not the bad news. I took the laptop so I
could show the editor guy a few pieces I'm working on, and I got email
right before he had to leave. The lake was just bought, and Blue is going
to let me stay at his place until the whole thing is figured out."
BlueNight continued. "So I'm here to help him get his stuff."
Bronski said, "Were you taken against your will?"
Oren replied, "No, of course not. The editor guy brought along a snack.
I've got to remember how good fish are with peanut butter."
Phil seemed to turn a bit green.
Oren came out, carrying a keyboard and several other small pieces of
equipment. BlueNight went in, and came back out carrying Rover itself.
When they had placed those in the van, they went back for more stuff.
BlueNight carried the monitor, while Oren had a bunch of random-looking
stuff. Phil decided to help with whatever he could, and so did the
detective. Between the four of them, Oren's burrow was cleaned out in a
matter of minutes.
"Thanks a lot. Seeya at the bar tonight, Phil, Ken," said Oren. BlueNight
waved. They got in and drove away.
Phil turned to the ostrich. "I don't know why, but I have a funny feeling
in the tips of my ears..."
At this point, dear reader, you may be wondering about a few things.
Namely, hadn't Oren gone feral the night of the NormBash? How did he
recover so fast, the time at the end of this story being only twelve hours
or so since he went feral? What is BlueNight's involvement in all of this?
Will this story be declared non-canonical? Will someone else have to
attempt to bring Oren back to humanity? Will I stop asking questions and
let you get back to reading the rest of your email???
The answers are: Yes. Explained in next story. Explained in next story.
Ask the TBP canon authorities. That depends on what the TBP canon
authorities say. Yes.
* * *
Copyright 1999 by BlueNight. If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask for permission first.
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