Ricky shoved open the studio door and looked around. It was ridiculous that Kalila should pawn this problem off on him. She had hired the werewolves, so she should be the one to make things right. The band was booked through summer, though, and anything that affected their reputation affected his as well. He couldn’t afford to let the crew strike.
Luckily, Calvin was on duty, which meant the strike hadn’t yet begun. Ricky walked over. “Hey. You doing anything important right now?”
Calvin looked up from a computer. “Just checking out what my cousins are like.”
Ricky looked over his shoulder and noticed he was watching a documentary about coyotes. “Hoping you’ll meet some when we go on tour next month?” Before Calvin could answer, he added, “Can we talk frankly? It’s about the strike.”
Calvin’s features became guarded but he dutifully paused the movie. “It’s nothing personal,” he said, waiting for Ricky to sit down before continuing. “Kalila pays well and you’ve all been good to us. Our quarrel isn’t with you; it’s with the treatment of werewolves as a species.”
“Treatment in what way? During a full moon, your kind consider my kind a food source. I think a bit of wariness is justified.”
“But the rest of the time, we provide valuable services. We don’t just roadie for bands and handle equipment, you know. There are werewolf security guards, bodyguards, and drivers all over this country, and we’re the most loyal ones you can find. It’s our canine nature.”
“Then if you’re so loyal,” Ricky said, leaning forward, “Why the strike? Don’t you see that it’s a betrayal? If others are being treated badly, take a day off and march with them or whatever you’re planning to do as a protest. Don't punish us.”
Calvin snorted in disgust. “You humans are so dumb. It’s not a punishment, okay? Pack animals obey the alpha and our alpha is the head of the Local 666. If he says strike, we strike.” He turned his back on Ricky and tapped a few computer keys so he could resume watching his movie. “Now go away.”
Ricky got slowly to his feet. He had his opportunity and he had flubbed it. “Fine. We’ll hire non-union, then.”
Calvin growled but didn’t turn around.
“Maybe we’ll even hire humans.”
“Good luck with that.”
“Well, if you strike, you’ll leave us with no choice but to take action.”
Calvin turned around. “Hire scabs, and when the full moon comes, we’ll have no choice, either.”
Ricky took a step back and waited until Calvin was engrossed in his documentary before cautiously making his way to the door. This was a bigger job than he was cut out for. He was going to need help or miracle, and had no reason to believe either was forthcoming.
To Be Continued…
NOTE: Please read the announcement below or in the header about this Saturday's Maelstrom concert, right here and virtual!"