It never went away, not after years of remaining quiet between the many human variations, not after laws were put in place to prevent it. Times change and humans still thrive on negative comments and pushing another below them selves in rank or status.
This makes my job difficult on a daily basis. I work as an airline attendant running the red-eye flights from Australia to the USA, and by extension this requires me to deal with people every hour of the job.
From serving drinks to changing sheets in business-class, cleaning and food preparation. It's all covered by myself and my colleagues.
Like all airline attendants I wear a standard sharp looking suit, tie and a hat that sits neatly between my ears. Keeping myself groomed for the fifteen hour trip can be arduous though. I hate brushing my tail the most, it sheds so much I have to clean the bathroom afterwards! But it's worth it, the orange blends in with the white tip nicely afterwards and I can sit it comfortably between my coat-tails as I walk up and down the isles.
This is all well and good in theory, but the catch is...I'm the only one of my species in the company. I am told I was from the third generation after the species split, but I still never knew my biological parents. I grew up with a loving family in Gosford who treated me as far more than the general public do.
After giving my pre-flight briefing, and rolling my eyes at all the people not paying attention, I sat and waited for us to become airborne.
"Can you believe that?" someone said, my ears swiveling to pinpoint their location; "Now they even have jobs in hospitality" came a snide whisper.
I put my head in my hands and shook it slightly. Fairly sick of hearing comments like that, its kind of depressing. Like I said before, racism, it never left. It just evolved.
When we reached cruising altitude I began my rounds, offering refreshments to the passengers on the right side isle. Most people replied with a gruff, uninterested 'thanks' while some of the elderly folk deeply enjoyed my service and replied in kind.
Just then the attendant light came on. I quickly finished my rounds, stowed the trolley and rushed to the passenger requesting service.
I arrived at the seat and the passenger looked at me with a deep scowl.
"There is hair in my coffee! That's bloody pathetic of you not checking the thing first!" growled the man. I recognized his voice right away as the one who made the comment during take off.
"I am deeply sorry sir, let me take that for you and replace it" I offered politely.
"Yes, do that. And bring me a serviette and an empty cup, I'm going to filter these hairs out and send them to the appropriate authority!"
"I am sure there is no need for that sir, I can see quite clearly there to be no traces of hair of any kind floating in your coffee." I replied, my temper allowing a small breach in my etiquette.
"With an attitude like that i'm even more shocked you have a job of any kind, filthy animal."
"Sir, you need to keep that kind of language to yourself. I will return in a few moments with your coffee." I finished and bustled away before he could hurl more negative comments towards me.
Quickly making his coffee and grabbing a spare container and serviette, I returned to his seat.
"Watch where you're shedding next time and don't forget to come back later to clean up the spills. Now get lost"
I returned back to the mini-bar and sat down. Furious was not a strong enough word for how I was feeling right now. The comments had put me in a mood that would prevent me from doing my job as best I could, this was making me angrier! My tail swished back and forth giving away my emotional state dispute my attempts to hide in on my face.
Movement caught the corner of my eye and I snapped to attention to look at the newcomer.
He appeared to be familiar, I was sure I knew his face from somewhere before.
"Uhh...sorry, I just wanted to get a drink of water...but I can ask someone else if you would like some time alone" he spoke politely.
Training snapped into play; "Oh no sir, not at all. Here, let me offer you some chilled spring water from the cooler."
As I poured a glass for the man I could feel his gaze upon me, almost like he was trying to gauge more information without asking. To be honest it made me feel a little creeped out, but nothing worth worrying about.
I handed the man the glass, taking a mental snapshot of his physique as I did so to try and figure out who he was later on.
He took a sip, sat the glass down on the counter and asked me a very casual question; "Rough day?"
"Ugh, Company policy kinda doesn't like me talking about personal issues...but yeah. A few things that have been building up have gotten to my nerves today."
"You are a very tolerant person in my eyes if that makes you feel any better, you do seem to cop a lot of verbal abuse in your job."
I grabbed an empty glass from the counter and began to clean it. "How do you know this?" I asked.
"I fly on this same flight every Tuesday in business as part of my employment" the man explained.
"That's a fairly long haul to be doing once a week" I commented, realizing why he was so familiar. finishing with one glass I grabbed another to keep busy.
"It has it's perks. Anyway, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"
"Umm, Only if I do not get called away. I am still on duty."
"I am sure you will have plenty of time. Do you like your job?" he asked very abruptly.
"Well, the pay is nice, the hours kinda suck and so do a lot of the people. But I manage ok."
"Do you take pride in your job and how you carry it out?"
"Yes I do, most defiantly."
"But do you feel like you were made for something more?"
"I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that...I suppose I could re-train in a richer form of hospitality, though my passion lies with engineering...although...no. That's what I keep telling myself as it's a plausible goal. My true imaginary life goal is to be part of an automotive race team. But as I said, imaginary. Race teams typically stick with humans."
"Thanks for answering, though I do have one more question on a more personal level."
"Your genetic code was spliced with that of a North American red fox, have you ever wished you were human? would you give anything up to change?"
"Not at all. I may have many a low moment but I am proud of who I am and what I do" I explained. "What brings you to such a curiosity about myself anyway?"
"That's for me to know, and you to find out" he said, tapping the side of his nose and finishing his water.
The man walked back out the way I had entered the mini-bar area. I could hear his footsteps come to a halt not far from the door however.
"Do not bite the hand that feeds you, both literally and figuratively" came his voice.
"Get out of here old man! you're invading my personal space!" came the rude reply from the racist passenger.
There was the sound of a small squabble, I quickly left my seat and poked my head around the door to see my questioner holding the racist by the collar, a few inches from his face.
"Who do you think you are!?" choked the passenger, his feet light on the floor.
"My name is Charles Krane, and I own this airline. Now, you will be apologizing to the flight attendants, all of them, on their next round. Your return flight has, as of this moment been canceled."
"You can't do this you prick!" came the angry reply.
"I can and I just did....now SIT DOWN!" Charles yelled and dropped the man into his seat.
I never saw Charles again on the late flight. It was almost disheartening but these things happen. Temporary friends come and go.
Several weeks later I received a letter from my employer, Krane Airlines. Thinking it was just another paycheck I left it unopened for several days.
Finally, when bored I opened the letter with the sharp edge of my car keys and removed the contents.
Skimming through the header, bla bla apology for customer bla bla, I quickly pulled up half way through the forth paragraph; "And so it is with great pleasure, we invite you to undertake a training course before joining us on the BAJA 1000 cross country race in 6 months ti....."
Words cannot describe.
Good things DO come to those who wait.