There were plenty of things wrong with Dora Marquez's life but the worst of it came shortly after her 18th birthday. Being fired from her prestigious position as a supermarket cashier was already taking its toll when that month's rent left her with barely enough for food for the following few weeks. The last thing she needed was to attend her cousin's funeral.
She and Diego hadn't been very close, per se, but she was reduced to tears when she got Alicia's call. Of all the ways she would have guessed that Diego would get to the big treehouse in the sky, she actually never imagined that Baby Jaguar would be the cause. His casket was closed during the service.
An empty bottle of whiskey joined the ever growing pile on the floor by the foot of Dora's bed. She knew that she didn't have money to waste on booze but it was the only way to numb the throbbing pain in her head. She reached over her puke encrusted sheets and grabbed her cellphone. It took her a full five minutes to find the strength to pull it back to her. The light from the screen stabbed into her eyes and dug into her brain. She looked away for a few moments until it subsided just a little.
No new messages.
She and Pablo hadn't been on great terms as of late but she assumed that he might have texted her about the funeral. It had been about a month since they last spoke and she was beginning to doubt that she even had a boyfriend anymore. If someone had told her that moving from Green Beach would have led to so much shit in her life, she would have gladly stayed up under her parents' roof her entire life.
The one solace she had was that it was only a short fall left to hit rock bottom.
Her phone buzzed.
Despite being annoyed with Pablo's silence, she found herself wishing that it wasn't him. If possible, she wanted it to be multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne calling to give her a small donation of a million dollars and a job at one of his tech firms. As she answered, she lamented that she hadn't even discovered all the features on her smart phone yet; working in tech would be impossible.
"Is this Theodora Marquez?" a raspy voice asked.
"No," Dora answered without thinking. "Wait, yes!"
"I'm Huey Freeman from the BCA. We have intelligence that says you were an acquaintance of the Fox. Is this true?"
Dora sat up. "What? Who?"
"Answer the question, Ms. Marquez," the voice was impatient.
"What fox? Who is this?" she asked, coming out of her daze.
The voice sighed. "If you remember anything, find the BCA. On the off chance that you're working for the Fox, the location of our headquarters will not be disclosed to you but I trust you can find it."
The person hung up.
Dora stood up. If that wasn't the weirdest thing that had ever happened to her…
BANG! BANG! BANG!
She swore that her brain broke in two. Pulling the door open a crack, she was greeted by a muscular man with gelled blond hair and a black muscle shirt. He was accompanied by two equally muscular men.
"Well hey there, pretty lady," the man greeted.
Even if there hadn't been enough alcohol swirling about in her bloodstream to poison an elephant, she would have been repulsed.
"I hate ta do this ta a such a fine momma, but I gotta kick you out, babe," he explained.
"What?" Dora was sure she was hearing things. "Hold on."
She closed the door and went to wash her face. While she was at the sink, she swallowed some as well. When she was feeling a little better, she grabbed her phone from the bed and opened the door again.
"Okay, what do you want now?"
The two other men grabbed her and pulled her out of the apartment. The man in the black shirt closed the door behind her and used a key to lock it.
"Hey! I still have a few more days to pay rent!" Dora protested. "Puta, let go of me!"
The blonde man looked at her somewhat sympathetically. "By tha Order of Tha Fox, you are hereby evicted from this building."
"What the hell?"
The men let her go and moved on to the next room. The blonde one actually came back and slipped her a piece of paper with his number and address.
Dora stood and watched as the trio went door to door evicting each person. They even used the same argument every time: The Order of the Fox.
Who the H. was the Fox?
The guy on the phone, Huey Whatever, had said she knew him. But the only fox she knew was Swiper, a pathetic excuse for a predatory animal from her childhood. Surely it wasn't him. Heck, even if Swiper were somehow smart or ambitious enough to pose some kind of threat to anyone, he should have been dead by then. Red foxes lived, like, five years in the wild if she remembered correctly. Granted, Swiper wasn't exactly a normal fox…
In any case, she needed a place to sleep and taking up that sleazy, greasy-haired guy on his offer was far, FAR out of the question.
Huey had also said that she could find the BCA if she needed to. It didn't sound like much but she didn't have much of a choice. The other residents had already given up screaming curses at the men and were filing out to find their own relatives and friends to seek shelter. Dora lamented that she didn't have that luxury. At one time, Diego would have gladly let her stay at his and Alicia's city apartment.
The thought brought tears to her eyes.
She didn't feel right freeloading off Alicia and Daisy while they were still mourning. She might have tried going to her own siblings but they were undoubtedly still mad about her calling them all kinds of bastard during their Thanksgiving fight. Pablo was clearly off the list and she hadn't spoken to any of her childhood friends in years though she still had their numbers saved. She scrolled through her contacts mumbling to herself the different reasons why none of them would let her mooch off them for a while.
Theodora Marquez, 18-year-old high school dropout, a third degree Capoeira Mestre but barely an Aluno in life, stood outside her apartment building, the remnants of alcohol still buzzed in her head. For the first time ever, she noticed banners upon banners plastered everywhere with a four-beaded paw overlooking the words: ORDER OF THE FOX. She noticed the tired looks on the people shuffling around her, some newly evicted and some having been out for a while. Something was up and while she still had no particular interest in it, the BCA, the place she was going, did.
With a deep breath, she stepped off into the sunset.