A Love for Fraps
A short story about Tsavo, a Mountain Lion turned Freelance Artist who has a terrifying adventure… Or is it just a brief disturbance?
Disclaimer: Tsavo is not my own original character. Instead I based this story on an image and character I found by AlRadeck and with his permission included the image here and added the story to it.
It was still morning when Tsavo began her work on new concept drawings for the company she was presently hired to do artwork for. Being a freelance artist proved to have many challenges for Tsavo. First and foremost, she was a mountain lion. Using her paws to color or draw proved very tricky at first, but she eventually did overcome her difficulties by constant practice.
The second barrier, associated with her heritage, was the issue of communication. When applying for any work she could not really answer any questions in full sentences, instead bobbing her head to agree or disagree. Of course sometimes Tsavo would try to gesture, but the size of her paws proved to pose a problem when it came to pointing out to something specific. She often had to type out every single possible answer to any questions and print out answer cards she would later present during interviews. This taught her to be very thorough in her resumes, to answer as few questions as was necessary.
The third issue was the dress code. Nobody wanted to see a mountain lion walking around without at least a shirt, and Tsavo was thankful that she did not have to wear heels, or a skirt. That would had been a terrible idea. So she ordered a special suit that she was capable of taking on and off with relative ease. Easy-wash as well.
Perhaps the most important question here was, how did a Mountain Lion become a freelance artist in human society?
Fate would have it that during an election in the North Americas a certain very popular president was elected. One of the groups or lobbies expected that he would uphold his promises of opening public education and labor laws to a completely unexpected and untapped workforce, wild animals. As such, when one day Tsavo opened her eyes and a terrified man in a suit offered her an education in one of the local colleges, state sponsored, at first Tsavo thought the man was delusional. Who in the right mind would send out government officials to recruit wild animals from the mountains and forests to live in cities and towns all around the country?
Perhaps this tale could be told another time, for right now Tsavo was far too occupied with her work, and her Frappucinno would not drink itself!
The mountain lion had a few personal sins that corrupted her otherwise wild nature. Frappuccinos were one of them, Netflix was the other. While she did miss the wilds there was something mesmerizing about laying yourself out on a couch and binge watching a series that was currently popular, or simply re-watching all the episodes of Friends. Joey always got to her.
Seated upon her chair Tsavo gently tapped with her stylus on the tablet’s screen, drawing the outlines of some male character. She glanced from the instructions that lay on her desk to the screen and with careful paw movements added more and more detail to the rough sketch. Without electronics who knew whether Tsavo could do this work at all. Sadly, modern technology could not solve all of her problems, and she never seemed to loosen her hold on the Frappuccino, afraid that it might fall, or move out of her reach. The lack of thumbs and longer fingers really made gripping objects difficult.
Tsavo was always silent when she worked. Unlike all the other people in the office she could not engage in small-talk. During her breaks she would only request her supervisor to bring her a snack, or something else, as that is one of the few people to whom she explained, in greater or lesser detail, what she needed in order to work efficiently.
Diligence and foresight, the two staples of her work-ethic that always provided her with more contracts and part-time work. Necessary if she was to remain a mountain lion freelance artist.
The lead designer for the project approached Tsavo’s desk. Tsavo knew he was approaching, due to the perfume he was using, with which she was familiar by now, and the sound of his footsteps. He also liked to eat chicken wings for breakfast, despite being on a supposed “diet”, so the smell of fried chicken was also a dead giveaway.
Tsavo looked up from her tablet, resting both of her paws on the desk, setting her stylus down with care. She sat up and waited for the man to speak. Her seat was of such a height that when she looked at the lead designer they were on eye level. That was meant to not scare the other office workers when speaking to a mountain lion contractor, but she was not sure if it worked at all.
He asked for her current progress on the concept art, and so Tsavo turned her tablet around so that her work could be examined. It was all still at its early stages, and honestly some of the instructions were not very precise. Unfortunately in a lot of jobs Tsavo took she was met with guidelines that did not seem practical or well thought out. Sometimes these would change from one hour to the next. Slightly different color of the hair. Changed height. Smaller hands. She did not envy whoever had to later animate the character. Thankfully this time the lead designer seemed pleased, and he only explained a few of the instructions Tsavo was provided with in greater detail. He soon departed when the mountain lion nodded her head that she understood all that was conveyed to her and her gaze soon returned to her tablet.
She grabbed the stylus in her giant paw, once again, and began to tap away on the screen. Her free paw reached out to seek what was left of her Frappuccino. Forming a hook the paw made a sweeping motion across her desk but her pads could not feel the plastic cup anywhere. She waved her paw again, perhaps the cup was further than she remembered. She repeated this motion a few times, trying to focus on her work until from frustration she gazed to her right, seeking her Frappuccino… but the cup was no longer there.
Agitated Tsavo began moving her head around rapidly, looking across the whole surface of the desk, then peaking under it. She set down her stylus and jumped off her seat to check around her work space, but still nothing.
The floor across the office was covered in a thick carpet so she did not make almost any noise when moving around, but the urgency with which she moved around her desk seemed to put some of the other workers in a state of unease.
But Tsavo quickly came to terms with the terrible truth, her Frappuccino was gone. If it was not on or around her table that means it was moved, that means somebody took it.
While the office was full of coffee drinkers her cup would have her own scent present on it, as she just held the cup. While the other office workers looked on in worry as the mountain lion lifted her head up, sniffed the air and moved down along the office, to Tsavo it was a start of a grand and desperate hunt.
The scent led her to the other side of the office, and thankfully she did not have to look for long. Her Frappuccino was spotted in the office’s small break room, standing on a table, lonely, abandoned. Whoever was responsible was not present in the room so only one issue remained, returning with her prize back to her table. She snorted lowly knowing well just how difficult that would become. There was no way of explaining to anybody nearby that she wanted the cup moved. The only solution was to carry it herself.
She approached the table and used the only other tool she could to grab the cup, her teeth. Tsavo tilted her head sideways and carefully closed her teeth down around the cup, lifting it up and then moving with it. While not much of her beverage remained she could not turn her head upright as that would spill the remaining contents. Tsavo had to adapt, walking with her head tilted absurdly to the side, with the cup still in her maw, trying not to press on it too as to avoid any damage.
Everybody in the office watched Tsavo’s struggle, not knowing if they should intervene or just allow the Mountain Lion to do her thing. Who knew what would happen if anybody stopped her in this task. With her tilted vision it was also a bit difficult not to accidentally walk into something or somebody. There were a few close calls when her coordination failed and she almost walked into a seated co-worker, or walked into a table, but eventually she arrived to her destination. With a careful, calculated move Tsavo set down her cup, releasing her grip on it…
And as she turned her head upright she noticed there was another cup already on the table. Another Frappucinno cup. Was it there all along but she failed to see it? Tsavo studied the phantom cup and nudged it gently with her nose. It seemed full, so it was not the same old cup but a new one. As she looked from her recently obtained cup to the one that appeared from thin air she could not tell what exactly was happening.
The dilemma was soon answered by a co-worker who was just passing by and noticed the two cups on Tsavo’s desk, one lightly mauled by the lion’s teeth. The fellow female worker noticed that Tsavo was running low on her beverage, and while she spoke with the Lead Designer she wanted to bring Tsavo a fresh serving.
As the co-worker offered to take the old Frappuccino and throw it away Tsavo quickly reached out for both cups with her paws and pulled them closer to herself, hoarding them greedily. There was no way the Mountain Lion would surrender any of her drinks. Before there was one, now she had two.
She would keep a tighter paw on both of them.
Writing: WriterX (Myself)
Beautiful Artwork of Tsavo: AlRadeck (http://alradeck.deviantart.com/)