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During the day, Marcus Gilbreth works in a small photography studio in downtown New Orleans. His job for the past three years has been to adorn small furry animals in technicolor wool sweaters for Hallmark pictures the world over. He was picked for this particular job because dogs seem to be rather neutral to him. Once Marcus' boss, Mr. Devlin, had hired a vet student over the summer to help dress the kittens, puppies, and occasional mouse for his shoots. She had a very natural rapport, a kindred spirit with the animals, but this turned out to be a curse disguised as a blessing. The animals would frolic for hours, showing little patience for sitting still or behaving while the cameras snapped. The girl was quickly let go, and Marcus' non-descript demeanor once again ruled the day.

At night, Marcus takes over at his second job at a bowling alley. It is his job and his job alone to spray each pair of shoes twice with the small container of whatever it is they spray inside of bowling shoes. After two weeks on the job, Marcus noticed that the smell of socks lingered on his hands when he went home. At first, he used ordinary soap, but the smell remained, and he upped the ante, moving from Palmolive to Lava and finally to a caustic lye-based liquid that scalds his hands greatly. Yet after he's done with the treatment, his hands are as white as snow, and he pristinely grooms his nails to match his soft palms. Marcus secretly suspects that even this dermatological potion isn't enough to completely remove the scent, and this is what keeps dogs from liking him more.

And thus Marcus is in a perfect state of flux: his bowling job allows him to do his costuming job, and he can get rid of neither.

On the weekends, Marcus has a new hobby. He drives out into the Louisiana country to a place called MAXIMUM PAINTBALL. He puts on the recommended safety goggles and head gear, as well as a large camouflage cape. He then slips onto the giant battlefield that they call "Vicksburg", after the Civil War battle. He waits there, sometimes up to two hours, before finally a game begins on the battleground. Then he, like the rest of the men who wish to be young and free again, takes part in the game. Marcus doesn't choose sides; he shoots players from both teams equally and indiscriminately. He's done this for the past six weeks, and nobody has ever really complained. One time one of the players spotted him and the two began an intense battle of wills. Marcus worried that the player wouldn't recognize him, and would complain. So Marcus stood up quickly; the player fired, and struck Marcus in the chest. Marcus only laughed and ran towards the out of play zone (though in reality he ran to his car and left.)

Sometimes, while Marcus is adjusting the collar on a Siamese cat or making change for a dollar for the chain-smoking mom and her son tugging at her sleeve, Marcus will unconsciously rub his chest and let out a breathless giggle. And sometimes you can find Marcus daydreaming on his lunch break, waiting for an imaginary army to come charging over the hill and face the enemy.

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