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A Trickster's Tail - Part 5

Copyright (c) 1997 Phaedrus; All rights reserved

Apologies for the long delay in this storyline; it was due to circumstances beyond my control. At least a couple more days' worth of action ought to follow pretty shortly; I just wanted to post this to let you know that I'm still alive. :-)

(November 2)

"Who is it?"

"We're with the government, Mister Dorner... Could you come out for a second?"

{Ohhhhhh, shit.} "Just a minute, okay? I'm not dressed."

"Fine, Mister Dorner. Could you hurry, please?"

"Uh, okay."

"Thank you, Mister Dorner."

{Quick. We've gotta change back.}


{Because we've gotta talk to him, and I just don't feel like doing it this way!}

{{Bad plan. Very bad plan.}}

{Huh? Listen, Kickaha. I was hoping the government wouldn't get in on this, but it looks like they are, and my life is toast if I start running away from every--}

{{You're not listening. Bad plan.}}


{{Watch this.}}

There was a brief moment of disorientation; then Keith found himself looking down at the hallway outside. Two men in expensive-looking black suits bracketed his front door. One of them fidgeted, reaching inside his jacket and stroking the handle of his gun. Keith's viewpoint rushed in at the other one...

...too many ears here; got to keep things quiet. Get him outside; then tranq him and work from there. Maybe he'll play. If not, he's got no appointments, not many contacts; no problem burying things afterwards if it comes to that...

Keith abruptly found himself back in his own skull.

{Bad plan,} he thought numbly.

{{Told ya.}}

{Well, let's get the hell out of here!}

{{Then they follow us. Besides, they only sent three guys after us. Personally, I'm insulted.}}


{{There's one watching the window. Now that I think about it, I like your first idea better. They want to talk to you? Fine. They can talk to you.}}

{But they'll kill me! Uh, I mean, us...}

{{So? Let 'em have their fun.}}

{Uh, Kickaha, if this is your idea of a joke, I'm not laughing.}

{{You're right. It is my idea of a joke. And I think you'll like the punchline. All we need is... ah, yes. Here we go.}}

Kickaha reached out his hand; with a *pop*, a rat appeared within it. It looked up at him inquisitively. Kickaha stroked its head with a finger. {{Sorry, little one. But better you than me.}}

He put the rat on the floor, stepped back, concentrated, focused, gestured. Keith suddenly felt like his brain was itching. The rat twitched, rippled, expanded, reshaped; in a matter of a few seconds, Keith stood there, looking down at the rat on the floor with the same inquisitive stare. The rat scurried into a corner, under the couch. Keith stood for a few seconds, then shook his head as if to clear it, and went to answer the door.

"Hello, Mister Dorner." An ID card was flashed. "We understand you flew back into town last night; is that correct?"

"Yes, that's right."

"Mister Dorner, we need to ask you a few questions. I think you know what this is about, and I'm sure you'll understand that this might not be the best place. Could you come with us, please?"

"Ummmm, sure. This won't take long, will it?"

"Not long at all, Mister Dorner. Thank you very much."

The door shut; Keith and the two men in suits walked off down the hall. Outside, they were joined by a third; they ushered Keith into the back seat of a waiting car, and smoothly drove him away.

A minute later, the rat emerged from under the couch, and resumed its familiar coyote form.

{{That went well, I think.}}

{Ummmm. quick question. What just happened?}

{{Well, they captured us, of course. They'll take us somewhere and question us; we won't tell them anything important, or do any magic for them--it's not in our heads. Eventually, they'll get tired and let us go for now, or they'll kill us and dump us in an alley somewhere, or they'll just leave us locked up somewhere until we turn back into a rat in a few days. In any event, it oughta confuse the heck out of 'em. In the meantime, of course, we should probably think about being somewhere else.}}

{I can see that. Ummmmm, Kickaha, does this sort of thing happen to you often?}

{{Is there any other way?}}

{I was afraid of that.}

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