New Yak City, a bustling metropolis island.
All manner of beasts come to the city, both small and big, canines, felines, lizards, birds, even humans from across the globe. All have come together to colonize the island and turn it into what it is today.
From the southern half of the island and its industrial sector, to its various docks, to the more suburban north, not one square inch of this island is left to waste.
A literal safe haven from the turmoils of the continents to the north.
But for how long?
The young human girl was just walking on the street. She and her family lived in the north-eastern quarter of the Island. This part was homes to the middle class citizens, and was full of stores and smaller companies. Unlike the south quarter, the air was relatively clean, and they even had a few parks!
The human grinned, thinking of the wonder she called home, when her best friend interrupted, "Star! Hey, did you see that hot wolf today in school? I think it was love at first sight! Would you believe-" Ylan rambled on, talking about school, and boys, and just plain gossip. Star rolled her eyes. There never was a boring moment around her.
"And I heard another fox and a few other beasts went missing! Creepy!" Ylan shivered, "And it was closer. It seems humans and beasts are disappearing left and right. Nowhere is safe." Star turned to look at her normally cheery friend. Ylan's head was slightly down, and looked like she was scared. Or on the verge of tears. Or both!
Star patted her shoulder, "Hey. It's gonna be fine. The Police and the Island Patrol are on it. Whoever is doing it will be stopped. I promise." She genlty shook Ylan, causing her to look at her, "If you're that scared, I'll buy you ice cream, or a paw-cicle. How about it?" Ylan immediately cheered right up.
"Sure! Whoever gets there last buys!" She laughed, and took off. Star smiled and followed.
The adult squirrel Tinarandel leaned over the ice cream counter in total boredom, only stopping to adjust the oversized employee's hat that had for the fourth time today fallen over his eyes. An occupational hazard for working at Hackerson's Cream and Bakery for the past month, unfortunately. Luckily, Tinarandel was an optimistic creature. While the work was slow, this day in particular, he truly enjoyed doing it. Decent pay notwithstanding, the squirrel just outright loved serving the humans and creatures; the selfless service to hungry and thirsty beings who desired a relief from this annoying summer heat brought a joyful warmth to his heart and spirit greater than the season and that could melt all the cream in the parlor.
Speaking of which…
The shrill silver ringing of the bell hanging from the front door heralded the arrival of the humans Star and Ylan, and which shattered the plague of monotony from over the past half hour or so. He speedily reset his hat for the fifth time and felt himself genuinely smile as the teenagers inspected the selection of desserts.
These two troublemakers again?
Well, perhaps 'troublemakers' was the wrong word, and Tinarandel only meant it endearingly. Nevertheless, these two young ladies, regulars at the parlor that he knew personally, did have somewhat of a questionable track record of doing wacky things when off school. But he'd have to brave it and serve them what they wanted. It was his job, after all, and he needed the money.
"Hey, girls!" He greeted them in a cordial and amiable tone. "What can I get you two? Today's special is the vanilla chocolate fudge sundae with banana slices and cherries. Or would you just like to play it simple today?"
The girls looked up at the kind squirrel.
"Special." Ylan announced, while at the same time Star replied, "Just vanilla please." They both looked at each other and had a short laugh.
"The special for me, and a vanilla with sprinkles for Star." Ylan quickly ordered, before Star could say anything. Star shook her head, and grabbed out her wallet. Ylan caught her.
"Hey, no. I'm paying." She demanded, rushing to pull out her own sparkly pink wallet.
"No, I lost fair and square. I'm paying." Star protested, while placing the money on the counter. Ylan glared at her, putting away her wallet.
"Keep the change for yourself!"Star told Tinarandel, grinning.
(ooc: ill reply today after work. Its just been a crazy week )
"… The forcast is sunny today but dont let that fool you. Storm season is here and we are tracking a front moving in from the East. We will continue to monitor this storm to see if it develops into a hurri-"
"...This is a travesty of justice and we will appeal the courts decision. Mr. Sharptooth was only singled out as a suspect because he was a wolf..."
"... senetor Crest is in the hot seat today after his latest attack add against sitting governer Rook. The add contains what many are calling inflamitory speach against the islands human population. Crest has been a loud crittic of what Rubens stance on human imigration to New Yak City from the war torn country of-"
"Another disturbing video is flooding social media. Posted by anti-beast extremests..."
"We built this city on rock and roOoOoOoll~"
The skinny pine marten finished flipping channels on the wall mounted TV in the ice cream parlor. By his uniform he was a fellow employee. "Well aint the news just one big ray of sun shine today, eh? At least they are done playing that horrible peice about the Yak City Canabal..."
When the door opens the marten hardly takes notice, letting the squirrel do all the work.
The door opens a second time, admitting a new face. The coyote is a well fed, rotund creature who seems to just glide into the room, oblivious to all around him with his snout focused on his own cell phone, even as he falls into the back of the line.
He wears a jacket and dress shirt tailored from cloth that looks expensive.
The jovial fellow shuffles slightly to what ever music his wireless ear buds are pounding away at him.
As his pine marten friend flipped through the channels of the TV mounted on the wall above her tables, Tinarandel voiced his own commentary on the reports that each one presented. One ear was flexibly turned to listening to the girls giving their orders, the other straight to the audio. He quickly snapped open the cash register took the girls' pay, pulled his ears back together, then opened up the ice cream counter to prepare the special sundae.
"Storm across the eastern front, huh? Pray it doesn't devolve into a hurricane. Whatever higher powers we believe in, if any at all, we must hope they will make it only a small passing rainstorm or something like that."
He scooped two helpings of vanilla ice cream into a plastic bowl, then peeled a banana, sliced a cherry into pieces, and spread thick hot chocolate fudge over the bunch, all in the space of one minute. Sticking the creamery's trademark rainbow-colored spoon into the bowl, he put it down beside the cash register and pounded the silver bell to indicate the prepared meal.
"Ylan, order up! …Sharptooth, as in Devran Sharptooth? He's my apartment neighbor, lives right next door to my family and me! Good to know that he'll be all right after the appeal of an unfair court decision. Devran is a great wolf, a skilled honorable sword fencer and an overall highly moral beast! He'd never do any harm to anybeast!"
Tinarandel swiftly set to gathering three more scoops of vanilla together in a new bowl, then added a pinch of colorful sprinkles to them for decoration. He placed that order beside the first and rang the bell a second time.
"Thanks for letting me keep the change, young ladies," Tinarandel winked gratefully at them. But he then sighed and shook his head disgracefully at the contents of the third channel.
"Crest, Rook, and Ruben again? Will their controversy ever end? That's, what, the fourth time this month they've been in trouble? Did the humans have any choice but to move here to New Yak from their war-torn homeland? See, this is why I hate politics so much!
By the way, would you two like anything to drink?' He posed to the two human girls, leaning tiredly again on the counter. "Water, fruit juice, soda, iced tea?"
As the report on yet another anti-beast extremist video came on, Tinarandel couldn't help but feel crestfallen, sadness twinging at his heart, but daring not to let it show on his face.
"Why can't they just stop? Next thing you know, there's riots in the streets. Beast and human alike will be hurt. Innocent blood shed - the government needs to take action to stop this now! I haven't even been on my Facebook or Tumblr in almost nine months!"
The squirrel walked out from behind the counter through the half-door and sat on one of the spinning bar stools to get a better view of the TV. A salvation sounded through the parlor as a classic rock song boomed through the speakers. Tinarandel's despondent expression was effortlessly replaced by a brightly shining cheerfulness.
"Now that's better! Give me music any day! What a relief!"
Spinning to his right, he saw the coyote approaching the counter as Star and Ylan took their food and cleared the line. Tinarandel slid off his stool and hurried back to his place, prepared to serve. He bit his lip disapprovingly at the canine barely paying attention except to the music in his earbuds. Instinctively, Tinarandel shot a paw forward and pulled the left earbud out of the coyote's ear, leaving it to dangling lazily on the collar of his dress shirt.
"Food first, entertainment later, buddy. Or I can turn on the jukebox, if you just ask. Whatever you were listening to, we might have it. The box gets updated with the times and trends, you know, but it tries to remain as comprehensive as possible. How can I serve you today? The sundae special or something basic?"
Star thanked Tinarandel, while Ylan just grabbed the dessert- while slightly drooling- and grabbed her friend's hand. She whisked them both to the booth right next to the jukebox. Then she heard the depressing news.
"Oh. It's all so horrible. Couldn't they for once focus on the good stuff? The riot though…" Ylan trailed off. Her eyes which were filled with joy just a few seconds ago, were dull and lifeless. Star frantically searched the area, looking for a distraction. She quickly smiled and faced her best friend.
"Hey! Focus on the good stuff, remember? I know what'll cheer you right up!" She got up and went straight to the jukebox. Smiling, she pressed the song titled, "Happy".
The rotund coyote pulled out the head phones, scratching at his ear with a claw while replying, "One small scoop of vanila please. With more almonds and less talk of politics if you please," he turned towards the other customers, arching an eyebrow at the furless weasel… Er, human, longer than he intended too.
He gives the other girl a thumbs up at her musical choice.
The jukebox clicks and wirls in imitation of a real one and begins to play the music.
"Come along if you're sad~"
A happy, lively beat fills the ice cream shop, even as the station on the TV changes. An emergancy news alert scrolls by on the screen, its volume muted by the music of the jukebox, even as the headline, "Senetor Crest shot while giving speech. Human gunman is at large."
"Cause I'm happpyyyyyyyyy~" the jukebox continues.
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A Tasmanian Devil from Aukstralia dressed in what looked like a Crocodile Dundee outfit, but it was his usual clothes had been sitting trying to decide what to get. He saw what the special sundae looked like and said "I'll have the special too. It's the bees knees, it is!" Just then, the announcement of the Senator being shot came over the telly. He hit the table. "That bloke had better not come anywhere near here if he knows what is good for him." he said.
Tinarandel moved at an impressive speed for his species, practically half-sliding half-walking to fill the new orders. A small scoop of vanilla and a cup of almonds for good measure, asked for by the coyote. He stuffed the rainbow-colored spoon into the cream and placed it up on the counter. The sound of the silver bell had barely finished resonating before Tinarandel was starting on the special requested by the Tasmanian Devil.
"The special is fantastic, sir, I agree." Tinarandel gave the Devil both his treat and a sunny smile, and rang the bell a second time. "Anything I can get you to drink? Water, soda, juice, iced tea?"
His listing of the available beverages was cut abruptly short by the notice popping up on the screen concerning the attack on Senator Crest, seen in his peripheral vision, though the spoken report proper was easily drowned out by that blasted Pharrell Williams blaring over the jukebox. The squirrel dashed over to the colorful and makeshift music player and turned down the volume. He hated the darned song anyway.
"Sorry, girls, but we've gotta hear this," he sincerely apologized to the human young ladies sitting down to eat. "Gosh, does anybeast know if he's going to be okay? If the gunman is still at large, on the run, won't the violence only escalate?"
He shook his head, pulling himself out of his depressing train of thought before it went too far. "No, no, I can't think about that now." In the blink of an eye, he was behind the counter again after slightly turning the music back up. He waited patiently and with a tiny growing grudge for Pharrell to finish, before returning to it and cycling through the main music selection, eventually settling on one of his classic favorites, Glen Campbell's "Southern Nights".
"Southern Nights! Have you ever felt a southern night? Free as the breeze, Not to mention the trees, Whistling tunes that you know and love so?~!…"
The squirrel sang softly to it, not wanting anyone to hear him, but in time he came to raise his voice, singing in a moderate time and hitting every note with accuracy while taking care to manage his breath. After all, he'd studied it in college, and he never forgot what he learned. Though the song was an octave higher than he liked, he did his best to keep up in his best imitation of Campbell. He wanted to entertain his guests, as well as keep his spirits up, to lighten the mood and keep the atmosphere positive. And he was darn sure that the human girls could hear him. He'd do whatever it took to keep everyone happy.
"Southern Nights! Feels so good even when closed your eyes! I apologize to anyone who can truly say, That he has found a better way~..."
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Barzon, the Tasmanian Devil, got up and picked up his special. "Water is fine," he said. He got a couple of spoons and sat down with the sundae and his water. As Tinarandel started playing "Southern Nights," Barzon started tapping his foot and using the spoons as drumsticks on the table. He dug into the sundae. "You did great on this," he said. "And before you ask, I spend most of my time when I'm not doing my thing as a biker as a drummer on a rock band." He watched as more came on about the shooting. He ground his teeth. "Where I hail from, I am a descendant of Tazmar-Lords who defend the innocent against vermin like this shooter."
When the song finished, he selected another, "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. He followed the drum sequence like a pro when he wasn't eating the sundae. Being a drummer was a release for him.
(has it really been a week since I posted Dx. Ill do what i can to get one up tonight)
The yote raises an eyebrow to the vermin remark but says nothing. Instead he turns to the tv and says, "Well, it's about time." His eyes widen, realizing he said this out loud.
"I mean, I'm only surprised this didnt happen sooner. Crest doesn't exactly censor what he says and humans ain't known for…" His eyes glances towards the human girls. In the next instant he shoves his ice cream into his muzzle to keep himself from digging himself further into this hole and begins moving for the door.
The news continues to cover the story about the senator. Most of the video is current and live, showing concerned and panic faces with out showing video of what exactly happened.
"...being rushed to the hospital in critical condition."
"...shooter is at large. Considered armed and dangerous. He has a peach colored hide, blond fur on the top of his head along with a beard..."
Star shivered while watching the TV. She really wished she could tear her eyes away, but no matter what music was playing or what Ylan was saying, the flashing lights of police cars, photos of the victim and suspect were to... captivating. Besides, she'd rather know who the possible criminal was so she could try and avoid any trouble, or at the least keep Ylan out of it. Ylan was talking on as usual, but with almost everyone watching the TV, and her friend becoming more and more distracted, she too quieted and started watching.
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(to late to join?)
(I don't think so. You should ba able to jump right in.... but ever since the site breakdown it's not very active...)
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Tinarandel paid no heed to the jukebox as it faded out the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song, precisely as the iconic folk rock group had recorded it. He waited while his yote friend had turned up the volume again before returning to his bar stool and seating himself, gaze never moving from the television screen.
A little instinct inside his gut told him to pay a visit to Devran Sharptooth after work today. And then, time permitting, to Senator Crest in the hospital as well.
"Hey," he asked across the diner. "Sorry to interrupt everyone's meal. But do any of you know which hospital Crest was taken to? It's all right if you don't, but somebeast has to know, at least."
He glanced back at the TV as it described the appearance of the shooter at large: peach-colored hide, blond fur on top of his head and a beard of some kind. It sounded familiar, but much to his begrudging, Tinarandel could not place a proper name to the face, nor the other way around.
He hoped the day would end already, so he would be able to go home to his family, and figure everything out from there.
Devran...Crest...What next? Who next?
And why now?
He didn't care that the jukebox had stopped playing. No one was bothering to queue in a new song anyway. The energy in the creamery had suddenly dropped to a tense and nervous negative. Something was wrong. But the speechless Tinarandel could not figure out what.
Finally, he pulled himself together and spoke up, albeit tentatively. He still had a job to do, to be the best employee as he was able to. Whatever little hope or positivity he inspired in his customers would go a long way, unbeknownst to him.
"Does anyone need anything else? Don't forget your drinks are free refills, and bottled water and sodas are 50% off until next Saturday. If you need anything at all, just ask. Cones will be 75% off all of next week."
Waiting for an answer from anyone, he slid off his stool and rushed back behind the counter. He leaned over the cash register, removed the large hat, and tossed it aside nonchalantly. The squirrel buried his face in his paws. But try as he might, the images burned themselves into his mind. The fact that they'd stay there for a while, or perhaps permanently, terrified him to no end.
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Star glanced at the counter, then the TV. She tugged on Ylan's arm.
"I think we should go..." Ylan nodded, and they headed out. Before Star left she called to Tinarandel.
"Have a great day! Thank you for the ice cream!" The two best friends left, and walked fairly quiet down the street. The sounds of sirens echoed from far away.