a story by
(c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Chris Yost. All rights to story content reserved. Characters Sabrina the Skunkette, Amy the Squirrel, Tabitha, Carli, Tammy Vixen, Sheila Vixen, Clarisse, Timothy Squirrel-Woolfe, and Carrie Squirrel (c) Eric W. Schwartz. Character Roxikat (c) John Barrett. Character Thomas Woolfe (c) Michael Higgs. Characters Chris Foxx, Susan Felin, Cindy Lapine, Debbye Squirrel, Clarence Skunk, Dexter Collie, Angel Collie, Wendy Vixxen, Sarge and Endora Mustelidae, and Wanda (c) Chris Yost. Character Florence Ambrose (c) Mark Stanley. Character ZigZag (c) Max BlackRabbit. Character Cyberhorn (c) William Morris. Character Terl Skunk (c) Rodney Stringwell. Character James Sheppard, Marvin Badger, and Chrissy the Bondo Vixen (c) James Bruner. Characters Kittiara and Katja (c) "Kittiara". Character Mark the "cheetaur" (c) Mark White. Character Tyler Leone (c) Michael Mullig. Characters Kevin and Kell Dewclaw (c) Bill Holbrook. Character Stacy (c) Jeffrey Darlington. Characters Chatin and Cilke (c) Tiffany Ross. Characters Jack Black and Cecil Stewart (c) Scott Kellogg. Character Packard Melan (c) S. Adam Tindall. Character Ricky Boone (c) Ricky Boone. Character Portia (c) Matt Trepal. Eric Schwartz (c) Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz. 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, Amino Systems, or whoever the heck owns them now. "Cooking for Dummies" (c) 1999 IDG Books Worldwide. Chalupa is a registered trademark of Taco Bell. Mercury (TM) Ford Motor Corp. Honda and Honda Civic (TM) Honda Motors.
Chris and Sabrina said goodbye to Wendy as she walked into the stairwell; Chris placed a paw discreetly on her back and stepped behind her as another employee walked past them going the other direction.
“That lunch break sure went fast,” Sabrina said as they approached her area.
Chris nodded. “A half-hour pays off though; we get out at 4:30 and that gets us home when everyone else is just leaving. Gives you a sense of smugness.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Sabrina said as she walked into her cubicle and pulled her chair out. “At Zig Zag’s, we took our lunch when we were hungry. And if we cut it short or took a little longer, it never seemed to matter.”
“Sometimes,” Chris said, “I envy an informal setting like that.” He laughed and lowered his voice. “Not to mention the obvious benefits of hanging around everybody naked.”
Sabrina laughed as she sat down. “I think you’d be disappointed with that fantaOUCH!” She stood up suddenly and turned around; sighing, she picked up a box of diskettes and 5 wrinkled sheets of paper. “I see you guys put your memos and packages on the chairs here, too.”
“How else are you going to know you have them?” Chris kidded her, not paying attention to the unhappy look on Sabrina’s muzzle as she rubbed her bottom before attempting to sit down again and firmly placed the objects on her desk, informing them she was displeased with them as well. “Meanwhile,” Chris continued, “how are you and Windows getting along? Anything come up since the training room you wanted to ask me other than no, you can’t reformat the hard drive?”
“Can I reform -- uh, no.” Sabrina grinned. Evilly, but it was still a grin.
Chris grinned back and squeezed her shoulder. “Maybe I can talk Dex into giving you Linux.”
Sabrina shook her head. “I dunno,” she told Chris, “I hear a lot of stuff against that.”
“Yeah, they’re called ‘FUDs’ -- Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. That’s the way the opposition always tries to kill a good thing.” Chris shook a finger at Sabrina. “You watch,” he said, “that op-system is going to be a growing thing by next century.” Chris put one paw on her desk and leaned in close. “I’ll see you later, Kitten.” They gave each other a peck on the lips, and Chris turned to leave when Dexter came through escorting an orange and white cat wearing business casual and an orange ball cap.
“There you are!” Dexter walked up to Chris and Sabrina. “Chris, you remember Maxx from your many phone conversations.”
“Hello, you fox, you!” Maxx said, taking a firm pawshake from Chris. “I have been for ages wanting to be meeting you.”
“Yeah, and high time you got here,” Chris kidded. “Good to finally place a face with the voice.”
“Yes, the same is here.” Maxx’ Central American accent wasn’t thick, but it was definitely there; thankfully, Dexter and Chris were used to it from their regular phone conversations. “Dexter has been for showing me around, and it is very nice facility you have here in this place.”
“It’s our home away from home.” Chris extended a paw toward Sabrina. “Maxx, this is Sabrina, my fiancée. Sabrina, Maxx, our cat from Guatemala.”
Maxx took Sabrina’s proffered paw with a bow and turned it over to kiss the back of it. “I´m very happy to meet someone that brings so much radiance to the workplace,” he said to her.
Sabrina giggled in spite of herself. “How gah-lahnt,” she said with a mock-swooning look in her eyes, then a glint of mischievousness as she captured Chris’ reaction in her peripheral vision. “Are all Guatemalan’s as polite as you?”
She was having her fun needling Chris; she slid her paw slowly from Maxx’s and slipped it behind her back with the other, slyly winking at Chris … who was looking at Maxx, who was grinning ear to pointed ear.
“We’re going to finish the tour,” Dexter broke in. “Maxx is leaving late tonight, so we’re having dinner after work. You two want to join us?”
“Oh yes, please do,” Maxx echoed. “It would be fun, you know?”
“I dunno,” he said, then looked at Sabrina. “What do you think, hon?”
Sabrina looked back at Chris and shrugged her shoulders.
“It’s on the expense account,” Dexter said.
“Okay, we’ll be there.”
“Great!” Maxx exclaimed.
“Okay, we’ll meet you at my car after work,” Dexter said, and led Maxx away.
Chris leaned on the cubicle wall and watched them leave, smiling as they walked away, Maxx waving a friendly paw. “What’s Spanish for ‘paws off’?” he said out of the corner of his muzzle.
Sabrina bumped him with her shoulder. “You’re jealous,” she said, smiling.
“You’re darned right I am!”
She shook her head. “It’s not nice to be jealous.”
“Can’t help myself,” Chris told her, turning to look into her eyes. “I’ve got something really special and I don’t wanna share her.” He winked and smiled again. “But, if there’s free food in it for us … ”
“You’re just afraid of my cooking,” Sabrina teased. “Still,” she added, “I’m not going to learn much about cooking if I don’t get to start practicing it.”
“You’ll get the chance, not to worry,” Chris promised her, giving a gentle squeeze to her slumping shoulder. “Tomorrow okay, but not Wednesday; you’re going out then, too.” He looked at his watch. “I’ve gotta get going, I have Y2K patches to install upstairs. See you after work.”
“Okay.” Sabrina kissed him while Chris glanced quickly and surreptitiously around to be sure no one was looking. They waved at each other as Chris returned to his area.
Sabrina moved her mouse to the left, dragging the four of diamonds on top of the five of clubs when the black-furred paw rested upon her shoulder and squeezed it gently. It had been an easy first day for her, but she felt drained, mentally. Her first meeting with her new boss ended up with two folders, an interview for her with one of the junior programmers, and two CD’s that she’d installed and had to make heads or tails of.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, Kitten,” Chris said with a smile, “Things always take longer when you’re missing an extra pair of paws.
“S’okay,” Sabrina smiled back, “I was losing anyway.” She hunted for the X in the upper right corner and clicked it to close out her Solitaire game the way Chris had shown her earlier today in the training room.
“How’d it go today?” Chris asked. “I see you’re coming to grips with Windows95.”
“Oh, please, don’t remind me,” Sabrina said with a hint of disgust in her voice. “You didn’t tell me about having to reboot the computer every time it gives me a problem!”
“One of the many flaws in the imperfect system,” Chris explained with a dry smile. “It’s the standard, nothing we can do about it, I’m afraid Sabrina what are you doing!??”
Sabrina looked up, her thumb still on the power switch of her PC, the monitor now dark with a blinking amber light.
“What?” she asked.
“Sabrina, remember, you have to exit Windows first! You can’t just turn the PC off!”
Sabrina shrugged. “You can with Amiga.”
“But you can’t with Windows! There’s unused data that has to be written to the hard drive … ”
“Well, if Amiga can do it,” Sabrina argued, “why can’t Windows do it?”
“Because … ” Chris sighed; even as an MCP he realized he didn’t have a good answer. “Because it can’t. You’ll fill your hard drive full of temp files if you don’t do a proper shut-down, and that’s not good.”
Who would’ve thought? “I’m sorry, I’ll try to be more careful next time.”
Chris watched as Sabrina got her purse out of the lower desk drawer, wondering by the sound of her voice if she was being sarcastic or not. “Dex and the man from Guanomala are out by the door waiting for us. Angel brought in their minivan so we can all go together; Dexter hates going to out to a nice place without her, and you two can have someone to talk to in case we begin to bore you both.”
Sabrina picked up her sketchbook and walked with Chris out of the empty department. “That’s okay,” she said, “I like Angel. Are the boys with her?”
Chris shook his head. “Her sister usually baby-sits. Do her good to get out; since her operation she’s kind of kept to herself and the family. And she likes you a lot, Dexter tells me.”
“I’m glad, I like her too.”
“So,” Chris asked, “hungry?”
“Famished. I’m tired; this is not like my job with ZZ Studios!”
They rounded a bend and Dexter waved to them from down the hall. “Then you’ll like this chophouse; steaks so tough you need a fork to cut ‘em.” They caught up to Dexter and Maxx, and headed out to the parking lot.
Wendy finished brushing out her hair. She turned out the light on her bedside table and lay on her bed, one foot idly pushing the blankets away. She wasn’t really tired. She knew she needed a full night’s sleep, but the plain truth was she wasn’t sleepy enough.
Her mind wandered. Idle paws are the devil’s playground, and an idle mind … right now, Wendy’s mind was anything but idle.
She thought of her. The beautiful skunk with the soft blue eyes and the demure look accented by her glasses.
“Her hair … ” Wendy murmured. “I wonder just how soft it is … ”
To her it was very soft, very silky. She envisioned her paw touching Sabrina’s white hair, gliding over it. She saw the trepidation in her eyes, and made a quiet, motherly “Sh, sh-h-h.” Her paw roamed lightly over her black and white furred cheek. “Don’t be afraid … ” Her finger traced up through her fur, leaving tiny riffles as it went along.
Wendy came closer and held Sabrina in her arms. Laying in the dark she allowed herself to enjoy her fantasy ... fully … and slept peacefully.
Zig Zag came out of her office on her way to Marvin Badger’s office when she heard a familiar voice and footfalls coming from the lobby from behind her. She turned to look over her shoulder, and said “Good morning, Clarence.”
She had to stop for a moment. Yep, that was Clarence, wearing a new green polo shirt carrying a windbreaker over his right shoulder. The smile on his muzzle made her wonder Did someone get …? naaaaaah! Zig Zag’s gait had slowed enough that Clarence caught up easily.
“Hey, boss!” Clarence matched Zig Zag’s pace and made a show of taking a deep breath of her perfume.
Zig Zag couldn’t help but giggle. “Someone’s in a very good mood this morning.”
“Yeah, nice day.” Clarence put an arm around her shoulder. “Anyone ever tell you what a nice set you have?” he asked.
Zig nodded. “Several times,” she admitted, “but never an employee.”
“Hey, that makes me your first!” Clarence pointed to the Studio A doors. “Here’s where I get off,” he said, then chuckled and pushed the door open.
Zig Zag, paws on hips, watched him disappear with the sound within as the door closed softly. “Interesting choice of words,” she said, shaking her head.
Within, Clarence walked around the cameras and equipment, the usually quiet skunk getting surprised replies as he greeted them, something he’d always done shyly in the past, and only after they’d said good morning to him.
“You’re late, Clarence!” David the director called from the edge of the set.
Wanda heard his name! She lowered her script and turned around quickly, swaying as she came to a stop.
“Couldn’t be helped,” Clarence said, the director’s comment rolling off of his back. Then he saw the nude vixen amongst the other performers. “Morning, Wanda!” he said with a wave.
Wanda smiled wider. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be his fluffer! she thought to herself. Brazenly she walked over as sexily as she did in her movies.
Clarence brought his paws in front of his chest, squeezing them together and making “honk honk” noises. Wanda giggled; I can’t believe it! What changed him so much?
“Hi, Clare.” Wanda’s voice was sultry, like heather on a spring day. “I must say, you’re in an awfully good mood this morning. Love your complexion.”
“Thanks, love yours, too.”
Wanda didn’t have to be this close to see the effect she was having on Clarence. She chanced a few extra steps and stood beside him. “Hey, c’mere, there’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Any friend of yours, Wanda,” Clarence said as she guided him to another vixen, slightly taller than Wanda, and wearing slightly more; well, as much as could be seen from the rear. Her tail was longer than Wanda’s, very full and plush, and Clarence could see the end of what looked like a riding crop held between her arm and her body. She was going over her stage directions in her copy of the script when Wanda tapped her on the shoulder.
“This is Chrissy, she plays the Mistress in this video. Chrissy, this is my friend and our go-pher, Clarence.”
“Please to meet you,” Chrissy said as she turned, her bustier revealing absolutely nothing but belly fur.
“Hi there,” Clarence said, “pleased to …. to … t-t-t-…. ”
Clarence began to stammer hard. “Wh-wh-wh-wh … you’ve g-g-got …. ah …”
“The word you’re looking for is ‘hermaphrodite’,” Chrissy told him.
His muzzle opened repeatedly and nothing came out.
Nothing out of his mouth, anyway.
His tail went straight up!
Outside, Zig Zag was walking back from Marvin’s empty office when the Studio A doors burst open and a combination of dressed and undressed and semi-dressed performers and stagepaws and staff streamed out in a cacophony of language that made Zig Zag scratch her head and ask, “What in the h -- ” to anyone who might’ve stopped to listen.
She caught the familiar odor. She walked into Studio A, and smelled the thick scent from her go-pher, who sat between two camera tripods with a dazed look, his tail now sagging behind him.
He saw Zig Zag and watched her turn a switch that started the two exhaust heavy fans in the back wall. He held his arms out to the sides. “I n-n-n-never s-s-s-saw one, b-b-b-b-before,” he stammered to explain, “S-s-she -- h-he -- h-h-had t-t-t-t … ”
Clarence woke in the darkness of his room, perspiring and shaking. He turned himself onto his back and pushed himself up, shaking his head to clear it. He felt -- he heard, he felt -- his heart beating against his chest. What had driven him to such behavior??
“ … only a dream,” Clarence heard himself mumble. He sniffed the air to be sure he really hadn’t sprayed.
“It was … s-s-so r-real.” Everything was so clear; every detail of the studio, Zig Zag’s stripes, Wanda’s … “I never met that Chrissy before,” he told himself, “I’ve only seen pictures … why did I dream all of that??”
Shielding his eyes he turned on his bedside lamp and picked up Cindy’s picture. He sat back against his headboard and stared at it … it was calming him, but doing nothing for his racing heartbeat.
“I love you so much, Cindy,” he told the picture. “I’m so g-glad you didn’t do w-w-what you o-o-o-o-offered … it’s n-not r-r-right, we’re not m-m-marr … ” He adjusted his pillow and stared at her picture, talking to it and holding it gently as he fell back asleep.
She should’ve been used to it after two days, but once again Sabrina’s body lurched to the rock and roll music pouring from the clock-radio on the headboard. She gripped her pillow with both arms and ground her teeth. Opening her eyes she discovered she was alone in the waterbed. Yawning wide, she reached up and a finger found the snooze bar and with a gentle click silence shot into the room.
She pulled the blankets over her shoulder and closed her eyes, yearning for those extra nine minutes she had before the blaring began again.
“Good morning, birthday girl!”
Sabrina slowly opened her eyes to the sight of her fiancé holding a cup of coffee and a plate containing foodstuffs. “What’s all this?” she said as she bounced with the water mattress on her way to sitting upright.
“Closest thing to breakfast in bed I could arrange on a workday,” Chris told her. He handed her the coffee mug, and set a plate containing a scrambled egg and two slices of bacon on her lap. “Happy birthday, Kitten,” he told her, leaning in to kiss her.
“Thank you!” She sipped her coffee and set it behind her. “But where’s yours?” she asked.
“In the kitchen still,” Chris told her. He held out a red bottle. “Ketchup?”
“Ewwww! On bacon and eggs??”
Chris lifted one shoulder in a half-shrug. “Well, yeah, on your eggs,” he explained. “It’s a Pittsburgh thing, you’d like it.”
Sabrina crinkled her nose. “Uh, no thank you, honey.” She took a bite of her bacon. “I could get used to this,” she told him teasingly.
“You deserve it,” Chris said. “And we’re gonna be slightly late for work today anyway; we have to stop and pick up your snack.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot.” Sabrina had learned that when it’s your birthday, you have the responsibility to bring in something treat-wise for the department. “Reminds me of when I was grade school and we had to bring treats in for the class,” she told Chris.
Chris nodded. “Same basic theory. Difference now is you have to pay for them yourself now instead of Mom and Dad. Be right back.”
Chris returned to the kitchen. Sabrina ate a bite of her egg, shivering at the thought of putting ketchup over it. She reached behind her, picked up her coffee and took a long sip, slopping down the front of her nightshirt when the snooze timed out and the clock radio blared at her again.
End of Chapter 45
This way to Chapter 46