Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
This is Fan-Art, from me, and from others
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Here's a joke I wrote using Willow's Stupidity in Magic characters:
Loo Ellen: I'm confused. Some people say their use name is their given name. But, like, some people say the only true use name is your craft name, which has to be this really cool special name that nobody else is allowed to know anyway. And some people say you need, like, a whole new third name for your use name. So what's my use name?
Octavia: Don't sweat it so much. Your use name is what other people call you. No more. No less.
Loo Ellen: My use name is 'Stupid Little Bimbo'?
Octavia and Loo Ellen are © 2003 Willow Taylor. The rest is mine.
Jamie Robertson, who does Clan of The Cats, called for fan art, stories, etc., during his break the week of July 28 to August 3, 2003, and I sent him "The High Road and The Low. A Clan of The Cats Story." featuring Ben and Sebastion, which he displayed on July 30, 2003.
The High Road and The Low: A Clan of The Cats Story
From the kitchen Chelsea heard the front door close. It couldnt be Ben. Ben closed the door in one of two ways. A normal slam, or a damn-near-smash-the-door-off-its-hinges slam. He never closed it quietly. She came into the living room. And it was Ben. Something was wrong.
Anatech Labs had opened a new facility in Haven, and had invited many of the towns leading citizens, including Ben and Diane, on a guided tour. They must have just returned. Diane had apparently just finished crying. And Ben...
Chelsea had seen Ben annoyed, disappointed, enraged- all at the same time, usually at her. But shed never seen him like this. Never seen this combination of deep dark sadness and near-unbridled anger. She prayed hed never look at her like that .
"What...?" she whispered. Sebastian jumped off Bens chair, not challenging him for it. He was a cat, not an idiot. Sparky, Bens dog, ran up to him. The big man patted him.
"Ben", thought Sebastian, "if I didnt know you I would swear you were about to cry!"
"We went on the tour," Ben said in a monotone. "The Anatech tour. Theyd opened a few months ago, and were ready to invite the neighbors in. Just another God-damn business tour. You know, talk, talk, new jobs, local industry growth, good for the community, now eat your God-damn buffet, and give us our God-damn tax breaks." Ben was, in fact, one of the people who helped bring Anatech to Haven. And he loved these business tours. Chelsea refrained from making the three or four comments that occurred to her. "Things were going wonderful. Okay, maybe Diane was a little bored, but... we finished the main tour. And that snot-nosed Bobby Bayton from Bayton Publishers had to go and point out that they didnt show us an entire building.
"Well, they couldnt really skip the building without looking like they had something to hide. So they warned us. They did warn us. It was the animal testing facility."
"It was horrible!" Diane said. "They had all these animals. They were wired up, some of them, their eyelids were cut off, or their paws... they screamed in pain." She was crying, "They screamed in pain." Chelsea held her. "There were cats and monkeys and rabbits and-"
"Dogs," Ben said. "Those...monsters...were torturing dogs. Chelsea, take care of your mother. I need to make a few phone calls."
Ben slammed down the phone. Three hours, and he was nowhere. The problem was, what Anatech was doing was horrible, but it was legal. They had all the appropriate licenses. Even those Animal Control idiots couldnt do anything but sympathize. And refuse to let Anatech get test subjects from them. Maybe that was something.
But not enough. Nowhere near enough.
Just outside the door Sebastian watched with increasing annoyance. For once, he wanted Ben to succeed. And it had nothing to do with cats, or other cute animals. It was just that...novice familiars were at risk. Thats it. Novice familiars. "All right, Ben. You take your high road, and Ill take the low road. Well see whos in Scotland before whom."
Sebo hated dealing with elfs. The elf, naturally he was bigger than the cat, said, "SEBAstioN, WHat you ASK iS No smaLL fAvor."
"Neither is the favor I did for you, three hundred years ago. If anything, I should have some change coming back. But you do this, and well call it even."
"arE YOu CERTAin YOU want HIm TO knoW Its FAKe?"
"Yes. There may be repercussions. And for some inexplicable reason I dont want Ben to get hit unprepared."
Ben looked at the folder that had been left on his front door step. There was evidence and photographs to embarrass the senior staff at Anatech. Even if they could disprove it, the scandal would weaken the company to the point where Ben could kick it out of Haven.
But, no. Dammit, Ben knew right from wrong, and this was wrong. He couldnt stop Anatech like this. There had to another way. He put the folder and its contents in the fireplace.
Sebastian spat. Was there anybody else in Haven who had the desire and the power to use that information? Anyone with the credentials to prop up the fraud? "Stay to your high road, Ben. All the way to Heaven. My low road through Hell, with all its detours, is still faster."
Ben talked to the long-haired God-damn hippie freak in his study. Actually, the freaks hair was fairly short, he worked to save animal so maybe he wasnt damned, and he didnt dress like a hippie, he wore a suit. His philosophy was that the best way to fight big business was to gain public sympathy, and you did that by being part of the public. He looked like someone Ben wouldve been glad to hire to manage the accounting department.
The kid worked for the FFAA, the Fairness For Animals Association, the largest most powerful anti-vivisection group Ben could stomach. He wasnt trying to close Leathermans Coats Belts and Purses, Kaplingers Furs, or The Burger Barnanza, for Gods sake. Just stop some savages from hurting dogs.
The kid was organized and business-like, a major plus. He said him they could start with petitions, get the community support, maybe try to speak to the mayor. Ben had already spoken to the mayor, for all the good that did.
The kid saw Ben wanted results, and now. He said, "Mr. Monroe. Look, sir, the double F double a is on the level. However, if youd like, I just might be able to get in touch with a more...active group. Like those guys who trashed that lab up in Boston."
Ben told the long-haired God-damn hippie freak to get the hell out of his house.
Sebastian stared at the elf.
"YOu ask MUch, cat. aND This time YOu havE NO FavOR oWED."
"Do this for me, and I will owe you the favor. Larger than the one you owed me."
The folder Ben found on the front door step looked like the other one. Except this one said that this information was true. Well, one call to the Chief of Police would soon prove it. Probably nobody else in Haven could get this done, but Ben had the desire, the power, and the credentials to pull it off.
After police gathered evidence they raided Anatech Labs. They found several million dollars worth of marijuana plants. All the scientists, technicians, and staff tested positive for a variety of drugs, though they protested their innocence. The facility was closed. About one-fourth of the animals were so mutilated they had to be destroyed. For the rest, the town had an Adoption Festival, and thanks to Ben calling in favors, twisting arms, making promises, etc., they were able to give the surviving monkeys to Primate Preserve and all the other animals to homes in the area. In fact, many of the animals in the Animal Shelter got adopted, and the Festival itself had a cash surplus, which went to the Shelter.
Bens whole family was proud of him. Even that crazy Chelsea gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
That night, as he slept, Sebastian watched him. The marijuana plants...trivial for elves. The positive tests...just have a gremlin mess with the machines. The evidence gathered...a light touch of mind control.
Mind control that could, in very rare cases, drive a person to permanent madness. Drug charges that will ruin careers, maybe put innocent men and women in prison. Lines of medical research tainted by association.
Sebastian watch Ben sleep. "Well, you traveled your high road, and I traveled my low road. I guess were both still traveling. Sleep well, big man. We each have a long road ahead of us."
Chelsea, Ben, Diane, Sebastian, and the town of Haven are © 2003 Willow Taylor. The rest is mine.
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Copyright © 2003 Dave Lerner Stories (note that to use the mailto you'll need to edit it in your 'send to' window. I apologize, but I've already lost one address to spam, and if I get inundated again, I won't have time to read your letters.) - All Rights Reserved. Note that this includes images of the Tricryptogon, and the name "Tricryptogon".