Melchizadek Mahalaleel Cebu-Cheddar was forty-three years of age at the beginning of this story, but everyone called him Bob. If formality was ever involved (which, considering his station in life, wasn't often), he was called Mr. Cebu. He lived in a small apartment nearby a large amusement park. This apartment was sparsely furnished, with only a small military cot, a plywood what-not, a six foot long aquarium, and a card table. On one side of the card table was a beaten and scuffed metal folding chair, and on the other a beautifully carved mahogany and silk throne. He habitually sat only on the folding chair, and reserved the throne for his half-domesticated pet skunk, which he had found skulking about the apartment one day, and after only being sprayed four times, had made a truce: the skunk would sit in the throne, and Bob would sit on the folding chair. The skunk was, at this point in the story, dead, and Bob wore mourning clothing (white, for he was 1/512 Chinese) when he felt like it. On the wall was an old painting of a dwarf fearfully leaping into an exterior waste disposal unit (trash can), and landing painfully on a sharp-angled answering machine. On another wall, there was a window which was taped over with cardboard and gift-wrap tape. The floor was covered with scraps of wallpaper. One corner was completely covered by free AOL(tm) CDs and junk mail, which he had epoxied (tm) together. On the top shelf of the what-not was a crystal case on a balsa base, and inside was a Chromium necklace. None of those few who called themselves his friends knew of its origins, and the only thing he would say was, "It's my birthday present. "

His few friends, most of whom he had made in his People Who Support the Right to Choose Hairstyles tribe [Peowho Suprig Chohai (PSC)]. They found him somewhat peculiar, for he only invited them to his house once a year: on Waitangi Day (February 6), and he rarely went to any parties or other social functions. He seemed to live a quite life, and didn't have a wife or children to their knowledge. He wore a white suit to their meetings (though one day he appeared in sweat pants and a tee shirt, without explaining why), and on the few other times they saw him, he was wearing khakis and a polo shirt or turtle neck, depending on the weather. When not talking to someone, he hummed softly a tuneless non-lilting melody, which occasionally faded out, only to return a several minutes later.

His dislikes were few, his likes were less. He was apathetic in regards to most subjects, but some received his ardent hatred and other his fierce devotion. Among those which he felt strongly about, the use of PVC piping, the mistreatment of cork trees, the cultures of the ancient Mongols, and modern filming techniques were some of his most hated subjects. On the other hand, he supported the PSC, felt piscatorial work worthy of anyone, and loved humming.

His occupation was a security guard. He spent the nights patrolling the aforementioned nearby amusement park, and slept, for the most part, during the day. He made a fair amount of money, for it was a job to which not many would acquiesce, but he spent most of it rescuing poor cork trees, keeping only as much as was necessary to support himself.

Despite his living conditions and utter lack of company (excepting, of course for the currently deceased skunk) he never felt lonely. The skunk showed an interesting characteristic once it had died. Unlike most of its kind, it refused to decompose instead, it slowly mummified. This did not perturb Bob much. In fact, not many things perturbed him much, but the few which did were highly distressing. (One was the fact that his nickname was a palindrome.)

His lack of loneliness was beneficial, for he would likely have a very hard time finding someone who would abide his company; he was not a very interesting man in any sense of the word, and those who thought about the matter weren't sure whether or not he was entirely sane. So he sat quietly in his home all day, staring at the chromium necklace and humming mildly with the skunk on his mind. Eventually he would notice it was getting dark outside (he didn't own a clock, so he had to rely on his own senses) and he would jaunt cautiously down the long winding stairwell and slip unnoticed into the nearby amusement park to begin his duties as security guard, taking over from the day-guard.

Lately strange things had been happening to him as he worked. He would see a shadow flitting by or hear a rustle for an instant as something which his mind categorized automatically as a foe was slipping past him. Once he thought he had seen the glimmer of a moon reflecting off of something metal; it looked like the blunt blade of a ax. One time, just once, he even imagined that he had seen the hulking form of a large cow lumbering across his path a few hundred feet before him. When he loped to the spot, however, there was little to be seen, except the small sprouts of cork which he had planted in place of the maples which had been there before. He did hear a faint tinkling of a cow bell, and smiled, grimly satisfied.

He had always passed these things off as his imagination, but lately he wasn't sure... They were becoming more frequent, and he thought he saw the cow several more times. The bell began to haunt his dreams. His imagination excellent; this can be proven by the long, serious conversations which he often held with his currently dead skunk, but as he was soon to discover, these strange goings on were completely real.