a story by
(c) 1998 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, and Tammy Vixen (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Amy Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Dexter Collie, and Wendy Vixxen (c) Chris Yost. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners. Story based on characters and situations created by Eric W. Schwartz.
The Mustelidae family said grace and ate dinner. Sabrina, the now-out-of work-starving-college-student, was happy to be invited, even if it was with her parents. Here 10 minutes, and I remembered why I moved out in the first place! Tabitha sat across from her, on two phone books, playing with her peas more than actually eating anything.
"So Tabitha," Sabrina asked, "what do you want for your birthday next month?"
Tabitha swallowed a mouthful of mashed potato. "I wanna plushie!"
"But Tabitha," said Mom, "you've got too many plushies already. Isn't there something else you want?"
Tabitha shook her head. "Nope. I wanna plushie."
"What about a board game?" Sabrina asked. "Something you can play with your friends."
Sabrina dropped her fork into her gravy.
"Tabitha," said their mother, "don't."
Tabitha scooped up a lump of potatoes and took slow exaggerated bites with her mouth open. Sabrina watched them both. "Mom, if that'd been me, you would've spanked me and sent me to my room!"
"Sabrina, you're old enough to know better."
Tabitha grinned at Sabrina with her mouth full, still chewing.
"So, Sabrina," said Dad from the other end of the table, "I understand you're seeing someone regularly. When are we going to meet him?"
"Oh, I dunno, Dad. Next time he comes over, maybe."
Tabitha started chanting. "Sa-beena's got-ta boy-friend! Sa-beena's got-ta boy-friend ... "
He nodded toward her mother. "Endora says he's not from around here though."
" ... got-ta boy-friend! Sa-beena's got-ta boy-friend! ... "
"No, he lives in Pennsylvania."
Dad swallowed his chicken. "Pennsylvania! My God, how on earth did you two ever meet?"
" ... -friend! Sa-beena's got-ta ... "
"On the computer -- Tabitha will you stop that!!"
Tabitha stuck her tongue out at her sister.
Sabrina pointed to Tabitha. "Dad!"
"Tabitha, stop." Then, "How long have you been seeing him?"
"Since February. Dad, he's so -- !" Sabrina got interrupted by a pea shot at her by her baby sister's spoon-catapult.
" ... won-der-ful."
Endora patted Tabitha's hand and pointed to her plate.
"Is he employed? What does he do?"
"He's a computer and network specialist. See, he gave me this on our first date." She used two fingers to hold up her abalone butterfly.
"Oh, that's very nice!"
Two peas landed in Sabrina's hair.
Sabrina ate her bite of chicken, sighed, and quietly picked the peas out.
"Which network? Would I have seen anything he's done?"
Sabrina took a drink of her milk. "No Dad, computer networks. It's how computers talk to each other."
A pea landed and stuck right on Sabrina's left lens.
"Tabitha, that's enough."
He turned back to his dinner. Sabrina scooped up a spoonful of peas from her plate and hooked one finger behind the bowl, aimed dead at Tabitha!
"Sa-brina! That's enough! Stop tormenting your baby sister!"
Sabrina looked at Endora, mouth open, pointed at Tabitha, looked back at her mother ... and mumbled to herself as she poured the peas back onto her plate.
Sabrina lowered her magazine. "Tabitha, get that!" she yelled.
Tabitha rolled over the floor from the television and skipped to the cordless phone. On the second ring she answered it. "Ha-llo!"
"Well, hello," Chris said, guessing this was Sabrina's infamous baby sister. "Is your big sister there?"
"Is this Sa-beena's boyyyyyy friend?"
"Sure is," Chris told her. "Is this Tabitha?"
Chris paused, not knowing how to carry on a conversation with a five-year-old. "Is Sabrina there?" he asked.
"Yeah," said Tabitha. "She's in th'baff-room."
From the bathroom:
"Are you gonna come to my birf-day?" she asked.
"A birthday, eh? You're gonna be a big girl soon."
"Yeah," she said. "I wanna plushie."
Chris walked around his bed with his two-day-old dirty socks. "You like plushies?"
"Yep. I wanna bunches a'lots of 'em."
Sabrina came up behind Tabitha and peeled the receiver out of her fingers. "Thank you, Tabitha," she said and moved around the corner into the next room."
"You got toilet paper on your foot."
Sabrina hopped on one foot and reached for it while she talked. "Hi there!"
"Hey there, Kitten! How're you doing?"
"Better, now." She pulled a chair over from the table and peeled the paper from her foot while Tabitha returned to her cartoon show. "What're you up to?" she asked.
"Trying to make the place presentable before this weekend." Chris tossed the socks into the laundry pile outside of the door. "I'm getting my clothes put away, laundry washed, house tidied, ropes tied to the corners of the bed ... "
"You're incorrigible!" Sabrina laughed, taking a brush from her purse.
"That's what they pay me for."
Sabrina wedged the phone against her ear with her shoulder and started brushing out her tail. "I'm coming to see you, remember, not your house."
"Yeah, but I don't want you to have to sign a waiver before I let you in."
"Wouldn't be so bad if I was all laid up. You can take care of me."
Chris paused before he answered. "I could do that. Brush your tail the way you are now ... "
Sabrina dropped her brush. "How did you know?!" she gasped.
Chris sat on his bed and shrugged. "I dunno. Hard to explain, I just do."
"I don't believe you knew that!" She bent over and picked up her brush. "You hiding cameras around me?"
"I'd never tell!"
Sabrina looked down at her sister tugging on her tee shirt. "I'm t'irsty."
She covered the mouthpiece. "Go get yourself a soda."
"But I donno what kind I wan'!"
Sabrina pulled the covered phone in close to her. "Pick one!" she hissed.
"But I can't get it OPEN!"
Chris was hearing this all on his end and trying hard not to laugh. He sat up as Sabrina spoke. "Chris, I'm sorry. Can I call you right back?"
"Kitten, I'll hang on, don't worry."
"I can't let you do that," she said back. "It's long distance for you."
"Don't worry. Trust me."
Chris could hear her smile as she said "Okay. I'll be right back!" He heard the phone set down and he started picking up his dirty clothes again.
"Oh!" Chris dropped his week-old socks. "Tabitha."
"So," he fished for something to talk to her about. "You're about to have a birthday, eh?"
"And how old are you going to be?" he asked.
"I'm gonna be SIX!" She jumped and threw her free hand in the air.
You wanna make it to seven? "Boy! Before you know it, you're going to be a big girl."
"Big like Sa-beena!"
"Heeey!" Chris chided. "Your big sister's very pretty!"
"Nuh-UH!" Tabitha yelled.
"You love Sa-beena?" she asked.
Chris' voice went soft. "Oh, yes," he admitted.
"You gonna marry 'er?"
Sabrina pulled the receiver from Tabitha's paw and pushed a can of soda pop in its place. "Grape, t'anks Sa-beena!"
Tabitha held the can in both hands and began guzzling, and Sabrina brought the phone back up to her ear in time to hear "If I had my way, kiddo, I would tomorrow."
Don't think for a second Sabrina hadn't overheard her baby sister while she was in the kitchen. She felt that heart-melting feeling, but wanted to keep it to herself for the moment. "Tabitha bending your ear, huh?" she asked, smiling.
"Huh?" She caught Chris totally off-guard. "Yes. Yes, she's a chatterbox. Must run in the family I guess."
"Hey!" Sabrina laughed. She picked up her brush and took it and the phone upstairs. "I can't wait for this weekend to come," she said as she climbed the stairs. "Got big plans?"
"Yeah." Chris pushed his shirts off of his chair and sat down. "Gonna teach you about hockey. I think you'll like it."
"I can't wait."
Sabrina sat on her old bed in her parent's guest room, keeping the door cracked so she could monitor her sister. "It's pretty violent though, isn't it?" she asked.
"Depends on what your definition of 'violent' is. It's no worse than your basic neighborhood barfight, except there's ice skating involved."
"I used to ice skate," Sabrina said, rolling onto her back. "That was a long time ago."
"I bet you could still do it," Chris told her. "You've got the figure for one of those tight skating outfits with the tiny little skirt."
Before Sabrina spoke, she thought back to a dim and distant conversation at the mall with Susan. She rolled onto her tummy and propped herself up on her elbows. "What about a cheerleader's uniform?" she asked.
The line was silent.
Sabrina's eyebrows popped up. "No way!"
"Don't tease your boyfriend," Chris warned.
Gotta talk to Susan! "Tease you, huh? It might be worth it." She grinned big.
"Be careful, you might get to find out!" Chris taunted.
"Mmmmm!" Sabrina jumped up, peeked out the crack at the door, and ran back to the bed and lay back, tucking her tail under one leg and getting comfortable. "Tell me," she said.