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FLIPSIDE
AUTHOR'S NOTE
PROLOGUE
CHAPTER I
CHAPTER II
CHAPTER III
CHAPTER IV
CHAPTER V
CHAPTER VI
CHAPTER VII
CHAPTER VIII
CHAPTER IX
CHAPTER X
CHAPTER XI
CHAPTER XII
CHAPTER XIII
CHAPTER XIV
EPILOGUE

EPILOGUE

Jerry had just reached his car. He was about to unlock the door when he heard someone coming. A nice scent wafted in.

"Excuse me." came a voice from behind.

He turned around to the sight of the handsome new guy who had shown up in Sunday School. Jet black fur gleamed in the sunlight as the guy smiled nervously.

"Yeah?"

The man, Jerry couldn’t remember his name, offered his hand. "Hi. I’m Cameron Johnson. I just got into town last week."

Jerry returned the shake. "Jerry Scillet. Welcome in."

"Thanks, you seem to have a really nice congregation here. I like your preacher’s style."

"Yeah, he’s a little eccentric, but a lot of fun. What can I do for you?"

"Uh," he started uneasily, "I don’t want to seem pushy, but I’d really like to have lunch with you." he finally blurted.

Jerry hesitated, doubtful of whether or not he wanted to do this. He hadn’t been involved with anyone since Mike’s death, now a long time ago. He’d turned down previous offers fairly quickly. He eyed Cameron carefully, measuring him. Maybe it had been too long since he had considered a serious relationship.

What am I doing? How many more times is a gorgeous guy, who also just happened to join your church, going to walk up and ask you out? Isn’t it time to really let Mike go? Get on with your life, idiot.

Jerry smiled, feeling a weight lift that he hadn’t even noticed was still there. "Your car or mine?"

 

They sat on the back porch, drinking tea and enjoying the scenery spread out beyond the grounds. A small TriV sat on a table to one side, playing a popular show.

They cuddled close, holding hands. Mike reached up and scratched his neatly trimmed beard.

"Junior!" he called over his shoulder.

"After all these years, you’d think you would know by now that you don’t have to yell." John said, raising his left ear from where he had pinned it back. "He could have heard that from Nebraska."

"Sorry."

"Yes, Oh Furless One?" Junior asked from the doorway, using the nickname invented by his grandparents.

"Are you and What’s-His-Face still planning on leaving tomorrow?" Mike asked.

"After ten years of blissful marriage, you’d think they would know my name by now." Steve said from where he had appeared behind Junior.

"Did you hear something?" Mike asked John.

"No, should I have?"

"Yes, we’re leaving." Junior interrupted. "I have to get started on my next project."

"I told him over and over not to follow in his stepdad’s footsteps. I tried and tried to get him interested in zoology. And what does he do? He takes your advice and becomes an architect." John mused. "He always liked you better."

"That’s because you wouldn’t let me spoil him. At least he’s good at it."

"You still managed to sneak me plenty of brownies." Junior said, sitting and putting an arm across Mike’s shoulder and resting his hand on John’s. "It took a monumental effort to keep this tummy flat, as my former slave driver will point out." he added with a meaningful glance at John.

"Someone had to keep your stepdad from making you too fat." He turned to Mike. "He’s just like you, too."

"Is that such a bad thing?"

"I guess not." John sighed, looking over at Junior. "So you’re not going to stay to see the kids? They’ll miss you."

"I know, but I’m a little too busy to be a good uncle right now. I’ll see them some time next month."

A news bulletin interrupted the show, grabbing their attention. The scene panned across a rocky cliff, moving down to the ground. A crumpled body lay there, dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt. A backpack was twisted around one arm.

It was a human body. Working it’s way through his shock, something tugged at Mike’s memory. "I know that place..."

A reporter came into view. "This is the scene at an abandoned quarry here in Decatur..."

"That’s the quarry behind Deb’s house!" Mike exclaimed. Three sets of ears perked up. "It’s a little north of the stream I was jogging along when..."

"...Where two hiking teenagers came upon the amazing sight you see here. Yes, it’s a wereman, found less than fifty minutes ago. It was not far from this very spot where, thirty-six years ago..."

"Thirty-six years." Mike mused with a sigh, glancing at John. "John, you’re an old man!"

"Thirty-six wonderful years." John corrected, giving his cheek a peck.

"...Michael Carter was found. This time, though, it seems that Mr. Carter’s good fortune..."

Mike snorted.

"Watch it." John warned, giving him an affectionate squeeze.

"...Was not to be repeated. Scientists brought down from Chicago, on site here for about half an hour, believe that the phenomenon that brought Mr. Carter here repeated itself at the top of this short cliff. It’s believed that this man," he continued, nodding in the corpse’s direction, "Fell from the cliff when he appeared. Ionization at the top of the cliff, although much fresher and stronger, matches that which was measured nearly forty years ago when Mr. Carter was discovered. In a possibly related story, a man by the name of Darren Leonard has been reported missing from these same woods. Since he was also reported to be hiking near this spot, the question we have to ask ourselves is; is this man," he again gestured to the dead hiker, "Darren Leonard, and is the real Darren Leonard lying on the ground surrounded by humans? This has been Lloyd Svenson."

The view returned to the anchorman in the studio. "We’ll have a complete story at eleven. Meanwhile, Mr. Carter, who’s long-awaited autobiography is still North America’s best seller, is being contacted at his Colorado estate for comment. Now we return you to the season finale of Orbital Station, which was not cut for this news bulletin."

"It’s a shame that he died." Mike said with genuine feeling. "It would have been nice to talk to him. I still sometimes wonder how things are going back in the, eh-hem, real world."

"It is sad." John agreed.

"How much do you want to bet that dead guy’s name is Darren Leonard? Maybe this time the poor beast was smart enough to carry a wallet." Junior said, finishing with another long-running joke.

"I guess this proves your story." Steve added.

"It took a while, didn’t it?"

"I always believed you. I wouldn’t have married a liar."

The wallphone inside beeped its low tone and they heard the butler promptly answer it.

"What are you going to say?" John asked, softly rubbing his snout against Mike’s beard. He slipped a hand in to rub his chest and belly.

"You’re going to make my antsy in front of the children." He sighed and leaned his head back. "Oh, I’ll think of something."

"You always do." John said, pressing his lips to Mike’s throat.

"John..."

"Do you remember when you got all mad during that live People Video interview back in oh-seven?" John continued, taking his mouth away from his neck.

Mike laughed at the memory. "Oh-eight."

"Uh-oh, they’re starting to reminisce again." Junior said with mock trepidation. "We better run while we can."

"Was it?" John asked, ignoring their son. "You always remember that stuff better than I do. Anyway, what was it he had asked? I’m not sure I remember. Something about whether or not I was supposed to have been assigned..."

THE END