a story by
Story and Disclaimer (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 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, Stacy, 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 Trudy (c) Jeffrey Darlington. Characters Chatin and Cilke (c) Tiffany Ross. Characters Jack Black and Cecil Stewart (c) Scott Kellogg. Characters Packard Melan and DJ Gabe (c) S. Adam Tindall. Character Ricky Boone (c) Ricky Boone. Character Portia (c) Matt Trepal. Character Josh Fox (c) his player. Character Hikaru Katayamma (c) Keith Dickinson. Character CottonLop (c) Jenifer Taylor. Character Tina (c) Tina Amberg. Character Elmer Foxx (c) Elmer Yost. Character BondoFox (c) his player. Character Vikki Vixen (c) her player. 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 (I think it's Amiga, Inc as of the time of this chapter's writing). "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. BeastWars is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc. WBUT is owned by Brandon Communications.
Reproduction or altering of this story by any means
or any unauthorized use without the expressed written permission of Chris
Yost is strictly prohibited.
Chris found a parking space right behind his father’s Oldsmobile in front of the Butler Coffee Shop, a hole in the wall that had been a local eatery run by husband and wife Greek immigrants since before he was born. On the outside it wasn’t much, on the inside it wasn’t much more, but one couldn’t knock the food or the prices.
“Where’s yer woman, son?” asked a faked hillbilly voice from his dark ugly yellow-cushioned destination booth.
Chris inwardly shook his head. He’s loved that joke since before I was a cub. He walked over to the booth and sat opposite the distinguished brown fox, grey overtaking hair that was once almost bright red in the dim and distant past. “I done shot her, Paw,” he answered.
“Shot her!?” he replied! “Why in tarnation did you do that??”
“’cause Paw, she said she was a ver-jin.”
Elmer Foxx lifted his eyes, then nodded. “Boy, y’done right. If she ain’t good enough for her own kinfolk, she ain’t good enough for us.”
Chris dropped the bad hayseed accent. “I can’t believe we’re still doing that dumb joke after all these years,” he said as he accepted the menu from the older margay and opened it, “It’s older than you are.” Shifting the subject, “I was listening on the way in,” he said as he scanned the lunches, although he already knew what he was going to order. “Who’s the new deejay?”
“DJ Gabe?” his father asked him. “Freshly married, moved here from Louisville, Kentucky. Seems like a likable feline. I put him on weekend afternoon drive.” He closed his menu. “I’m getting the veal cutlet,” he told his son, and took a sip of his coffee.”
A nod was his reply. “We’re both in the same rut at this place, veal cutlet and home fries. Good thing it’s a good rut to be in.” Which it was; the gravy was homemade and the portions were beyond what the brighter non-hole-in-the-wall places served. He closed his menu, as much admitting that was going to be his order before he ever got there.
“So, I barely see you anymore,” Elmer said. “How are the wedding plans going?”
“Slow but sure,” Chris admitted. “When I finally talked to Sabrina, she said she and her girlfriends may go wedding gown shopping.”
“And that answers my next question,” his dad said, “Where is Sabrina? Out shopping, eh?”
The margay returned and they gave their food orders, and Chris asked for an iced tea and extra gravy on his meal. “She had some art to show her boss in Columbus; remember I told you she telecommutes for the adult studio?” Nod. “Well, we had a small disaster at work, yesterday, so obviously I get cheated out of going along with her, time off already scheduled notwithstanding. Pros and cons of the I.S. biz. Means I get to ‘batch’ it this weekend.”
Elmer set down his coffee cup. “You’re not sliding into the living room in your underwear lip-syncing Bob See -- ”
“No, Dad, nothing like that,” Chris interrupted. His iced tea arrived and he began pouring sugar into it. “Tell you this though,” he said as he poured, “Sabrina’s only been with me about a month and a half, and it’s amazing how empty the house is now without her being there.”
“You’re learning more about relationships than you expected, aren’t you?” Dad asked.
Chris nodded. “More than I ever either expected to learn or was afraid to ask.” He set the empty sugar container down and stirred his tea, a faraway look appearing in one eye. “I just wish she’d call more than once.”
“She’s only been gone one day,” his dad reminded him with an amused laugh. “Good Lord, what’ll you be like by tomorrow??”
Good question. He thought about that for a long moment, then shook his head in resignation before it finally hit what was bothering him. “I wish I could’ve gone with her,” he confessed. “It was one of those things; wrench in the works. Pros and cons of being me. Can’t help it, I’m lonely, dammit.”
“Like the bumper sticker says,” Elmer told him, and paraphrased, “Stuff happens. You’ll go with her next time.”
“You should come on out to the house,” Chris said. “Come see our new living room suite.” He poked his finger randomly, dotting the air and punctuating each word. “White with little-tiny-red-flowers-with-green-stems-all-over-the-cushions.”
Elmer leaned in. “Are you putting those pre-fitted clear vinyl covers over them?” he asked, smiling.
Chris thought about that and grinned. “I should suggest that to her,” he answered. “She probably hates those as much as I do.” He took a drink of his tea. “I had friends whose parents had those on their furniture. When they came over to our house to play, I had to convince them we weren’t really poor and our couch hadn’t worn through to the fuzz.”
Now that you’re making up,” Dad told him.
“Eh, true,” Chris shrugged. “But it makes a good story.” He looked at his watch. “What’s taking so long?” he asked in an irritated voice.
“They need to cook it,” his father reminded him.
“Aw, that’s always their excuse.”
“And speaking of excuses,” Elmer said, “you were supposed to come over to the house and look at my computer. The pictures I download still don’t look right.”
The heel of Chris’ open paw connected with his forehead accompanied with a resounding “D’oh!”. “I’m sorry Dad, I forgot … again.”
The elder Foxx smiled. “Don’t worry too much about it,” he said, “You’re a victim of typical male Foxx absent-mindedness. When you’re free, you’ll come over and do it.”
“Well, as it happens,” Chris stated, “I happen to be free for most of this weekend. How’s after lunch, good?”
Elmer nodded. “Sounds good.”
Sabrina pulled into ZZ Production’s lot and parked between Marvin’s SUV and an unfamiliar red minivan. She set the emergency brake and shut off the engine. “Sure you don’t wanna come in and meet her?” she asked her friend.
Susan shook her head. “Not this time, thanks,” she said, staring up and through the windshield at the 2 Z’s and 3 X’s sign. “From the way you talk, I need to be better prepared.”
“How better prepared?” Sabrina asked, eyebrow raised.
“Mace,” Susan answered.
Sabrina waved a paw. “She’s behaved herself the past few times I’ve been here. She even treated me to lunch yesterday.”
“And expected dessert, I’ll bet.” She shook her head as Sabrina wrinkled her nose at her. “Thanks all the same, I’ll wait.”
“Okay,” Sabrina shrugged. “I won’t be long.” She stepped out of her car and ran inside.
And once inside, she walked past the empty receptionist and security desks through the small corridor, and knocked on Zig Zag’s open office door. When it drifted open she let herself inside.
Wonder where she is? she thought. Stepping back out she wandered down toward Studio B; seeing the red light on answered her question. Walking up she debated for a moment whether or not to venture inside … “C’mon, I’ve either seen pictures of this stuff or draw something about it almost every day,” she told herself, “I think I’m prepared enough by now. Besides, I’ll only be a minute.” And she pulled the door open.
She spied Zig Zag’s tail from a director’s chair next to a cameraman and videographer. In another director’s chair next to her she spied an unfamiliar brown-furred male fox in an open black jacket, polo shirt and blue jeans, something shiny on his belt catching her attention. Mark and another photographer with still cameras were waiting for the cameras to stop so they could take the still pictures she’d probably end up with for an advertising brochure.
She ventured quietly closer, now making out the details of the stage set as a disheveled living room. Instantly she knew the video they were shooting when she coupled that with the manner of female sounds coming from the set, then again when she saw the shiny something on the todd’s belt was a pair of chrome-plated pawcuffs. At first, Sabrina thought the vixen on the floor of the set wrapped shoulder-to-foot-and-muzzle in Ace bandages was Wanda in a silvery-white wig, but then she saw her silvery bushy tail and recognized the model from a brochure from last year as a vixen who’s made appearances in a few of the latex videos from Zig Zag’s fetish line..
Okay, and from the picture on one of Chris’ videocassette boxes, too.
The todd was studying his watch, then looked up at the model squirming on the floor, then his watch, and finally called “Cut it!” As soon as the camera stopped, the still cameras started going off, Mark and the other photographer changing positions as the vixen squirmed and writhed, something Sabrina’d seen done a dozen times.
Since the cameras and sound were no longer running, Sabrina trotted over to Zig Zag just as she was getting down from her chair.
“Hi, Zig,” Sabrina answered. “I picked up those tapes from the distributor for you; they’re in a couple of boxes in my trunk.” She shook her head. “A couple of mouse sisters thought I was you. That was embarrassing!”
Zig Zag smiled. “You’re a doll, Sabrina,” she said, giving her a one-armed hug that Sabrina would’ve cringed at a mere few months ago, and it was lingering enough that she did. “This is Sabrina, my webmaster,” she told the fox as he turned in their direction. “Sabrina, this is BondoFox, he directs some of the fetish videos.” She accompanied the end of her sentence with a private, knowing wink.
The fox smiled wide when he saw Sabrina; like her fiancé, he also wore glasses, and looked to Sabrina to be the same species of fox. “Hey, new model!” he said as he shook her paw. “Ooooh, and she wears glasses, too!” He called, “Hey, is Vikki unwrapped? If not, maybe we can squeeze one more set with her and the new girl!”
As Sabrina felt herself tense up, Zig Zag put a protective arm in front of her. “No way Fox, she’s not an actress,” and she made it clear in no uncertain terms, causing Sabrina to sigh in no uncertain terms of relief.
BondoFox pointed to Sabrina. “You sure?” he asked. “I’ve seen her before, I’m sure. In your office, you showed me some pic -- ”
“Bondo, honey,” Zig said quickly while placing a paw on his shoulder, “She’s engaged, and around here, definitely no-touchy.”
Sabrina smiled a thankful smile, tensed the second time, then reached behind and slid Zig’s paw away from her backside.
“And that’s not from a lack of trying,” Zig Zag finished.
BondoFox looked up at Clarence when he came by and whispered something into Zig Zag’s ear. “Hey, Clarence, right?” he interrupted, “Get Vikki some bottled water, would ya? Cold; she’ll need it.”
“And while he’s doing that,” Zig Zag said when Clarence ran to the cooler, “you can go untie my bookkeeper; she’s got work to do.”
“Now,” BondoFox said, leaning in to Zig Zag and balling his paws onto his hips, “if I do that, how is she supposed to get any overtime?”
Sabrina looked over toward the studio door. “I didn’t know Cotton meant that seriously when she said that at the restaurant,” she said to herself.
“If she does … ” Zig poked a finger in his chest. “ … I’m billing you for it.”
BondoFox feigned a pout. “Boy, talk about spoilsports.”
Zig Zag stuck her tongue out at him.
“Don’t stick that out unless you intend to use it.” He kissed Zig Zag on the cheek and headed for the door.
“And another thing!” Zig raised her other paw to call to him, and Sabrina yelped when her paw went up as well, connected to hers by the three chain links of the pawcuffs that weren’t on the todd’s belt anymore.
“HEY!” she called as the studio door closed behind him. Zig Zag looked at Sabrina, then at their paws cuffed together at the wrist. “How the hell did he do that?” she asked.
Looking over her shoulder, Sabrina waved at Zig Zag as she walked to her car and opened the driver’s door. “Y’know,” she said as she sat behind her steering wheel. “In a weird way, I miss this place more than I thought I would. You can say what you want about them and their quote ‘career’, but they’re really good people once you get to know them.”
Sabrina turned quickly and felt her jaw drop into her lap! Susan lifted her paws as far as they’d go and Sabrina picked at the knot while Susan tried to shake the gag loose.
“How in the world did he do that?”
Chris waited for his dad at the station. He wandered to the glass of the broadcast studio and watched the cat on the other side, listening to him over the speaker outside in the hall. He looked around, unable to believe the station had changed so little since he was a cub and his dad was the on-air talent. Now the station manager and vice-president … a far cry from his days as a record plugger in Pittsburgh.
Gabe was reading a news brief, and Chris watched, and as he watched he remembered … and smiled … and the smile became broader … more evil …
Looking one way then the other, he dashed to one of the PC’s in the front office and turned on the monitor. The studio had no network, therefore no logins for the computers. He opened the word processing program and began typing, grinning and typing, smirking and typing, squelching a laugh as he fed a sheet of station letterhead into the printer and printed out his work. As the music played he wrinkled the paper and dog-eared two corners, and rubbed it briefly on the carpet, making it look like a piece of copy that had been handled by several paws. He dashed to the bins near the filing cabinets and stuck the paper between two others near the top of the stack, and leapt to the center of the room, adopting a sudden pace as a tall white angora cat in relaxed khaki pants and long-sleeved shirt came out from the broadcast booth.
“Hi,” he said, “Are you being helped?”
Chris feigned a start and smiled. “No, I’m waiting for my dad, we’re heading over to his place.” He walked over and extended a paw. “I’m Chris, Elmer Foxx’s favorite and only son.”
“Kristain Gabriel, call me Gabe.” They shook paws, then Gabe took the stack of copy from the bin, pushing the small rectangular glasses up the bridge of his nose closer to his mismatched eyes; one green, but the other blue.
“Like the place so far?” Chris asked, being friendly.
“Oh yeah!” Gabe said excitedly. “I love this job, and everyone here is so nice. Like being part of a family.” He heard the music head toward the final bars. “Gotta run, gotta talk up the next tune. Nice meeting you!”
“Same here!” Chris called after the tail disappearing around the corner. He had to clamp both paws over his muzzle to hold in the laughter and worked desperately to swallow it before his father came back.
“Ready to go?”
Chris nodded. “Yep. I’ll follow.”
And he knew he was in for it when they got there. And he couldn’t wipe the grin from his muzzle.
Sabrina turned the corner.
“Will you stop moping?” Susan finally asked.
“I’m not moping,” Sabrina said flatly.
Susan sighed and raised a paw in the air. “I don’t see how you can blame me,” she said.
Sabrina cut off the pickup truck and turned to look at her friend. “You might’ve told me to look behind the seats.”
Susan’s muzzle showed her incredulity. “And how was I supposed to do that, Sabrina!”
“Well you might’ve at least nodded toward the back!”
She pulled onto a side street near Susan’s apartment building. After a long moment she finally said, “I’m sorry. It was a fun day with you guys, I don’t want to spoil it.”
It took a bit, but Susan finally smiled. “Hey, girl, it’s okay.” She laughed. “Heck, it’s something to talk about on my next date. And you looked fabulous in that gown!” When Sabrina pulled to the curb she undid her seat belt and opened the door. “You still heading to Amy’s?”
Sabrina nodded. “Uh-huh. I wouldn’t be a good godmother if I didn’t see her and the family. And mine, of course.”
“Of course.” Then, “What do you want to do for dinner?”
“Dad’s treating me out tonight,” she told her, then snickered. “Probably wants to know if he’s a grandfather yet or not.”
Susan gave Sabrina a mock-punch in the arm. “C’mon, your dad’s cooler than that.” She stepped out of the car. “See you later tonight!”
Sabrina pulled away and beeped her horn, not hearing the screeching of the tires from the station wagon. She made a right at the corner and headed her parents’ house.
“DJ Gabe with you here on WBUT, Butler’s home for music and news. Terrorist bombing in Israel, Steelers draft pick is Pittsburgh’s new hot commodity, and it’s going to be cooler tomorrow, high of fifty-two, but clear and sunny.
“And portions of this broadcast brought to you by Goldberg’s Male Clothing Store. There’s nothing like a new suit from Goldberg’s, paw-crafted and tailor made from fine cotton, the silk lining for the jackets is smooth to the touch and feels soft against your fur. Wearing a jacket from Goldberg is like sticking your arm into a wet pumpkin and getting the juice down your sleeve. As the odor of scorched fur permeates your nostrils you’ll get a real -- !!”
Chris was laughing hysterically in the driveway at the sudden dead air as his father approached his car with that look on his face …
Sunday after brunch Sabrina beeped and waved to her girlfriends as she drove out of Furry’s car park. A four-hour ride home … God, times like this, I wish we lived here instead… it was easier leaving her friends now than it was the first time, and this time Cindy got to be there to wave her off as well.
Sabrina turned the radio on. It was going to be a long drive.
As she drove up Interstate 71 she quietly thanked Thomas again for replacing the radiator hose that had been slowly leaking. It was fun seeing Amy again, and they’d caught up on so much.
“So hard to believe how different she was when I first met her,” she mused, letting her mind wander back to a few short years ago. She arrived in a strange city by herself with three suitcases, a partial scholarship to a nationally-renown art college, two hundred fifty-six dollars, and an address from the school’s housing office to rent-share an apartment in the Reynoldsville area of Columbus.
“Hi!” She was greeted with the most attractive smile, a model’s smile. “I’m Amy, c’mon in.”
“Hi, I’m Sabrina Mustelidae.” Nervously she set down one of her bags and extended a paw. “Nice to meet you.” She had all of the anxiety of a young woman out on her own for the first time, eager to make a good impression, but not so eager to have completely left the safety and security of home. Amy was a help that first day, helping her get settled in, made the rent kitchen, and telephone agreements short and sweet, and helped her put her first-day jitters away until that night when she lay in her new bed and stared at the ceiling with her butterfly collection running races in her stomach. In those days Amy was young, vivacious, unapproachable by most males, temperamental, and had taken Sabrina to her like a younger sister, going so far as to help get her a part-time job at the studio where she worked; it wasn’t graphics-related per se, but it was a hindpaw in the door while she studied. She was mannered enough to stay out of her way when she had the occasional date, but never seemed to have much use for males herself.
“I guess it’s true,” Sabrina said as she passed the exit for Ohio Wesleyan University, “Find the right guy, and everything changes.” It really was true; Amy was still vivacious, aloof, and temperamental, but she’d seen it become lower and lower-key for several months.
Babies’ll do that to someone.
Timothy was fun to hold. He didn’t take to her at first, not having been around her for a while, but it didn’t take long for Sabrina to win him over. He was a squirmy little guy, and in the time he’d had enough of her and wanted Mommy again. Getting used to being next to Amy while she nursed him though, that’d take some getting used to.
Sabrina thought back to her last visit with her gynecologist. “I wonder what our babies are gonna look like,” she said, smiling.
As the miles passed she thought about that.
“Sort of wish we were married now, so we could find out.”
Chris had run out of interest on the Internet. This place had been his home within his home since he’d built his personal computer. There was still plenty of content at both of these websites and others that interested him, but he’d reached a point of saturation and was feeling his upper left thigh going to sleep.
He looked at his watch. “Still another week before we set the clocks back.” By the time, he guesstimated Sabrina was on her way home by now. Turning off the monitor he walked outside. There was a slight autumn nip in the air, nothing his clothing or his fur couldn’t handle. With a look out over the back yard, he decided a mowing would be in order. “Physical activity wouldn’t do me any harm, either.” Deep down he also knew it would help subliminate some of what he was feeling right now. It was stupid; he knew it, both his best friend and his own father confirmed it, but he was feeling neglected, lonely.
“I hope Sabrina doesn’t feel this way when I go see my friends,” he wondered aloud.
Chris pulled the garage door up and open and pulled out his lawn mower. He checked the fuel level and frowned. Grabbing his gas can he shook it back and forth; maybe a tablespoonful of gas sloshed over the inside.
“I guess I’ve got enough to mow the front yard, anyway.” He primed the carburetor and fired the engine up. As he pushed the mower up to the side grass toward the front he started to replay last night’s phone conversation with Sabrina in his head. It began to get intimate about halfway through … and he smiled as he mowed …
And then he scowled. He now remembered leaving his father’s house and driving through town, turning down Fulton Street. With parking on both sides the street was only wide enough for one car at a time to go through, and after about the fifth house on the right he slowed down … yes, Wendy’s car was there, she was home.
“What’s the problem with that, anyway?” he asked as he mowed around his maple tree. It wasn’t like I was going to go see her for ulterior motives; we’re still friends, after all. Can’t a guy visit a friend?” Forget the fact that it’s a female, attractive, once-intimate friend ... Chris had opted for the better side of valor and driven on, reminding himself to punch his conscience in the throat later on. That’s how lost and restless he was, without Sabrina.
“I know nothing would’ve happened outside of a friendly visit.” He shook his head. “Still, I suppose it was the right thing to do, not stopping.”
The work kept him occupied, and soon the engine died and refused to start again. “Good timing,” he said, having only another six feet to go. One pull, then another, the mower just refusing to start and finish the job. That’s when the blue Honda pulled into his driveway and around his Mercury to stop in front of the garage.
Chris nodded with a partial smile. “Well, here’s even better timing.” He walked across the yard and down to the car as Sabrina was unlocking her seatbelt. She looked up at him through the glass and smiled as he opened the door.
“Hi, handsome,” she said as she stepped out.
“Where in God’s name have y’been?” Chris asked and closed the door.
“Oh, wouldn’t you like to know!” She kissed him. “Honestly, I don’t know how you made that trip all of those times you came to see me.”
“Guess I knew what was on the other end.” Thinking of the best way to avoid a confrontation, he said, “Why didn’t you stay in touch more?”
“I was busy,” she said, walking toward the back of the car. “Plus I got to spend time with The Clique again. Good God, I can’t believe how it felt, as if I hadn’t seen them in a year, or more!” She slid her key into the trunk lock, then stopped and turned to him. “You miss me that much?” she asked with a grin.
Chris refused to admit it, until he nodded his head. “Yeah, I did. I missed you. All of those years living here by myself, and I was completely lost for the weekend.”
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Sabrina said, slipping an arm around his waist, “How fond are you now?”
“Fond?” Chris asked. “Is that as in … fondle?”
Sabrina shook her head, amused, as she turned the key in the lock. “One-track mind,” she said.
“At least it’s always on course,” Chris responded.
Sabrina laughed to herself. “Got something for you, too,” she said as she raised the trunk deck. “Zig has these new studio shirts, and I -- OH NO!”
Chris looked into the trunk at the two boxes of Zig Zag Production videocassettes.
“Uh, kitten,” he said, “I don’t think we can watch all these before they’re due back.”
And Chris didn’t realize Sabrina knew words like that!
End of Chapter 48