The FOXX Den -- Sabrina Chapter 27


a story by


(c) 1998 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, 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, Angel Collie, and Wendy Vixxen (c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. All rights to additional characters reserved by their respective owners. Story based on characters and situations created by Eric W. Schwartz.

Windows95 (TM) Microsoft Corp. Amiga (TM) Gateway Computers.


Chapter 27

Chris stirred, his cuddle with Sabrina was broken over an hour ago.

"Chri -- is!"

Chris grunted into his pillow, and rolled onto his side.

"Chri -- is!"

Chris opened one eyeball and rolled up and over. He stared into the large eyes of the dragon hovering over him, his wings barely making a breeze as they silently flapped.

"Good morning, Chris," the dragon spoke with a touch of a Texan accent.

"Oh, God, here we go," Chris muttered. "And you are ... ?"

The dragon smiled. "I'm Cyberhorn," he told him. "I've come back to visit you."

Chris used his peripheral vision to glance at his sleeping fiancée. "How, and I have to ask you this, can you come back to visit me, when you've never visited me before?"

"Ah, but I have," Cyberhorn told him. "This time however, I thought it might be good to meet you."

Chris furrowed his eyebrows.

The hovering dragon smiled. "You had to impress her and eat those last three atomic chicken wings, didn't you?" he asked.

"Hey," Chris said indignantly, "I like atomic chicken wings, and I have three 'Atomic Wing Survivor' bumper stickers to prove it."

" ... and you never have learned, have you?" Cyberhorn lifted his forearms, and Chris felt himself float several inches above the bed. He rotated his arms, and Chris' body rolled so he was face-down again.

Chris felt the rumbling in his abdomen. "You wouldn't dare," he said.

Cyberhorn grinned as he lifted Chris' tail. "Some things are as predictable as the rising of the sun." And he exhaled through his nostrils.

Sabrina awoke a moment after Chris did, the room still dark, Chris flapping the bed sheet. She sniffed and rolled to her side, and in her best groggy voice she asked, "Did I do that?"

Chris shook his head and turned the sheet back. "Nope, I did." He stepped out of bed and ran out of the room.

Sabrina heard the bathroom door close, then sniffed again. "I hope tomato juice is good for that," she mumbled to herself as she fell back to sleep.


Sunday morning, the sun was shining and the birds were giving everyone the reason they needed to wash the car. You'd never even know it had been raining if it weren't for the heavy dew on the grass, but the morning sun was making short work of it.

Clarence lay in bed, feigning sleep when his mother poked her muzzle in his room. He was barely to sleep at all last night, his mind reliving his dinner and evening with Cindy, and her family ... and meeting her father ..........

.......... They had stared unblinking, he and her father; his grip on the camera case starting to loosen again. Cindy and her mom exchanged glances, then Cindy opened her hand and waved it up and down between them.

Rodney cleared his throat and offered his right hand. "Cindy, ah, says some nice things about you, Clarence. Good to meet you."

Clarence was beginning to sweat; his hand clammy when he shook Rodney's. "N-n-n-n-nice to m-m-meet you, Sir."

Rodney handed the case to Cindy. "Cindy, why don't you run this down to Daddy's workshop." He put an arm around her boyfriend. "I'd like to get acquainted with Clarence, here."

Cindy took the case as Mom returned to the kitchen and Rodney steered Clarence into the living room. Clarence was scared stiff! What do I say if he ... maybe he won't ask!

He was led in to the middle of the Lapine living room. He allowed his attention to wander to family pictures, the fireplace, the mirror over the mantle, the ottoman ... anyplace but to Cindy's father!

But Clarence couldn't see Rodney's tail nervously twitching, let alone read his thoughts! This was one classic situation.

"So, Clarence ... " Rodney finally began, "how long have you and Cindy known each other?"

"Since the last semester of last year," Clarence said, hoping his relief didn't come out in his answer. "I dated one of her girlfriends once, I sort of met Cindy through her."

"I see."

Another classic embarrassed silence.

"And you?" Clarence asked.

"I've known her most of her life."

Clarence felt his face burn slightly, now realizing what he just asked. So he thought maybe he could make up for it by asking a better question.

"Have you worked for ZigZag long?"

Rodney jumped! He looked quickly over his shoulder toward the doorway, then pulled Clarence further into the room. "Don't get the wrong idea here, young man," Rodney told him. "I don't ... act ... in there. Nothing like that."

A look of nervous confusion crossed Clarence's face. Rodney went on. "I'm a corporate department head. I make a decent living at what I do. I'm also good at electronics and repairing VCR's and video equipment, and I can do some editing. A friend at work put me onto ZigZag ... rather, he put me in touch with ZigZag, and I make some extra money for Cindy's education, and I'm able to give my wife a little more than I would otherwise."

Clarence listened. "And is that why she pays you in cash?" he asked.

Rodney nodded. "Personally Ellen and I have no use for what she produces," he explained. "But she takes care of the people who work for her, and if Ellen knew where the extra money came from, she'd ... well, I'd hate for her to get the wrong idea. That's the last thing I'd ever want."

Cindy's head poked in through the doorway. "Mom says 'dinner in five minutes'."

"Okay." When she disappeared, Rodney lowered his voice. "How long have you worked for her?" he asked him.

"Oh! Uh, I don't -- yet!" Try as he might, Clarence could not keep eye contact with Cindy's father. "She, well, offered me a small summer job, just being a go-fer; running errands and things like that. I accepted it but I can always call her on Monday and turn it down."

Finally, finally, Rodney smiled. "Oh, you'll be doing a lot more than go-fering, m'boy," he said. "You'll be getting drinks, holding lights, setting up sets and tearing them down ... no clean-up though, she has someone else to do that."

Clarence squinted. "Euuww."

"Don't turn the job down of account of me; it might do you some good! And you'll make some money." He leaned in closer. "But as long as you're going to be dating my Cindy, don't touch the other models and everything'll be fine, okay?"

Gulp! "Yes, Sir, no problem."

Rodney smiled and started walking them back toward the dining room.

"Nothing like that would ever happen ... but if it did, couldn't you're working there get back to Mrs. Lapine, too?"

They stopped in front of the doorway. Rodney thought for a moment. He looked at Clarence again, paused again, and nodded. "You're very bright for your age," he told him. Then, lowering his voice, "maybe we should both keep this to ourselves, hmm?"


Sabrina drove to the restaurant and Chris took her to breakfast. "It feels weird driving you around in my own town," Sabrina kidded. "I never realized how used I could get to being chauffeured."

Chris put his hands behind his head. "Yeah," he kidded, "and it feels really weird being driven around in the front seat." He reached across and gave Sabrina's leg a gentle squeeze. "Of course, with Ohio drivers and all … "

"Hey!" Sabrina took her eyes off the road long enough to look at Chris and make the driver of the blue car lay on his brakes as she missed the stop sign near her college. "What's wrong with Ohio drivers?" she asked.

Chris shrugged. "They all have this reputation for being bad drivers," he said. "You're in a minority, you're one of the good ones."

"Listen, you ... !" Sabrina said as she turned the corner.

"I thought it was a good idea when the state started vehicle inspections. I hear duct tape's not legal anymore."

The car lurched when Sabrina pressed too hard on the brake pedal to slow down for the intersection.

"I hear they released a bulletin that says that little stick behind the steering wheel is a turn signal."

"Let's talk about Pennsylvania, shall we?" Sabrina countered. "I never went out on a back porch and heard cows mooing before."

"Yeah, two doors down," Chris said. "He's from Cleveland."

Sabrina felt some of the burn move away. "Well," she said, "even we make fun of Cleveland."

They looked at each other, and laughed as they said it together -- "The Mistake on the Lake!"

Chris made a square in the air with his index fingers. "Cleveland Browns 1998-1999 team photo."

Sabrina made a low "Ooooo!" sound. "I know just the guy to do that joke to Monday!" She looked out her window. "Ah, no one there yet."


Sabrina pointed out the window. "That's where I work now, ZZ Productions. The people you buy your dirty tapes from." Chris snickered. "I thought you might get a kick out of meeting the star," she finished.

Chris leaned back and gave her a grin. "I want to know what's kept her from making you a star," he said, refusing to release the grin even under Sabrina's best mean look.

"Don't think she hasn't tried!" Sabrina said as she turned the corner. "I could never do what she does."

He still grinned. "You mean, in front of a camera."

Sabrina pursed her lips, forcing back the smile as long as she could.


... and everyone ended their weekend happy.

Everyone except Dexter, apparently. His coffee cup sat one-half full, and stone cold. He had a WAN network layout on the screen, a template and oversize paper beside him, all untouched. His mind was awash, a dozen things going through it at once. And none of them good.

Chris was finishing an e-mail message to Sabrina and clicked SEND. He was preoccupied too, but because of the weekend past. He took a sip of his coffee and went to phoning in his equipment order for the new network switch, PC cards, and cabling he was going to need next week.

"Dexter Collie, line one-oh-one"

Chris heard the page repeated. He balled up a piece of paper and threw it over the cubicle wall. "Air Mail!" he announced.

He waited. No "Return to sender" and balled-up paper flying back from Dexter. But he did hear him pick the phone up finally. What's wrong with that man? Chris tapped his pencil on the desktop.

Now voicemail. "Yes, this is Chris Foxx. Please give me a call concerning an equipment order."

As his handset connected with the cradle he heard the loudest "Woo-hoo!!" come from over the wall. People stuck their heads out, but only Chris was dumb enough to actually walk around. Dexter came running out and collided with Chris, hugging him and slapping him on the back, tail in full wag.

Chris could barely make out anything coherent as Dexter was slapping his back. Chris swished his tail down so it wouldn't get hit again. "Dexter, what's .... ?"

"She's okay!"

Chris managed to make that out, over and over. Dexter was in tears, hugging Chris and oblivious to the rest of the department. "She's okay, she's gonna be okay ... !"

Chris managed to pull his muzzle from Dexter's neck fur. "Who's gonna be -- Angel? What's wrong with Angel??"

Dexter pulled his face away and stared at Chris. "Nothing anymore!" He took a breath, then saw he had most of the department looking at him, so he spoke up. "Angel felt a lump, and she had it looked at … remember the day you and Sabrina came to the house? I left to take her to the doctor's for a biopsy."

"Hey!" Chris pointed a finger at him, "I'd told you if she wasn't up to company -- "

"She would've killed us both! You know Angel! But it's benign and she's going to have it taken out and she's gonna be all right!!"

Dexter was bouncing, practically dancing with Chris as everyone within earshot began applauding. He pulled Chris back for a bear-hug -- this time Chris was ready and hugged him back!

Others started to pry Dexter and Chris away. "I'm gonna e-mail Sabrina," he told Dexter. "She's gotta be told!" He ran over to his workstation and brought up his e-mail client.


Chris ate his lunch and returned quickly to his workstation. He sat back and drank at his cola while he brought up his e-mail In-Box.

Then he sat up at three of his new messages:


He clicked the first one:

Received: from (unverified) by
No such user (sabrina1)

He scrolled through the message:

From: "Chris Foxx"
Subject: Good morning, sexy! :*

MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Chris checked the spellings, made sure he didn't type or Sabirna again. He checked the last one:

Received: from (unverified) by
No such user (sabrina1)

From: "Chris Foxx"
Subject: New about Dexter

"Now, what in the wor -- did she forget to pay her ISP?" Chris dialed the Columbus area code and got the number for Croax Networks and pulled his wallet from his back pocket.

"Croax, how may I direct your call?" asked the feminine voice.

"Customer Service." Chris listened to their music hold for what seemed several minutes. Finally another voice came on and asked "May I help you?"

"Yes." Chris balanced the phone between his chin and his shoulder as his fished his credit card out. "I think my fiancée forgot to pay her bill, and I'd like to pay it for her."

The frog on the other end brought up his accounts screen. "User name?" he asked.

"Sabrina one"

The keyed it in and read what came up. "Nope," he said. "That account was cancelled today, late this morning."

"What??!" Chris took a breath. "That's under the name Sabrina Mustelidae?"


Chris spelled Mustelidae. The helpdesk operator verified it.

"All right, thank you." Chris hung the phone up slowly, laying his wallet on his desk. "What in the world is that all about?"

End of Chapter Twenty-Seven

This Way to Chapter Twenty-Eight