a story by

with David Shoulder

Story and Disclaimer (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Chris Yost, Chapter 55 (c) Chris Yost and David Shoulder.. 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, Wanda, Mrs. Sharon Skunk, Marci Pardalis, and Dawne   (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) her player. Character Tina (c) Tina Amberg. Character Elmer Foxx (c) Elmer Yost. Character BondoFox (c) his player. Character Vikki Vixen (c) her player. Cirrel Concolor (c) his player. Bob and Sue Logan (c) Bob and Sue Logan. Ginger Mainecoon (c) Natalie Johnson. 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 and Pikachu are registered trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. WBUT is owned by Brandon Communications.  "Extinctioners" (c) Shantae Howard. Pixie Stix is a registered trademark of Willy Wonka Candy Company.

Reproduction or altering of this story by any means or any unauthorized use without the expressed written permission of Chris Yost is strictly prohibited.


Chapter 55

Sabrina’s movements that night kept Chris awake on a Christmas Eve for the first time since he was nine. Her own excitement showed in her inability to stay still, made even worse because of the waterbed.  Chris had never made love on Christmas Eve before … well technically, Christmas Eve into Christmas morning … it was a special kind of feeling, that and Sabrina’s excitement showed and made the situation more pleasurable than it already was.  As he looked over at his fiancée, he could swear she was smiling as she finally looked like she was going to settle.

            To be honest, Chris was smiling too.  For tomorrow was the first of many Christmases with Sabrina. “That’s the greatest gift I could ask for,” he tenderly told the back of Sabrina’s head as she began to softly snore.

            He looked at the headboard clock; 3:15 shone its green digits at him.  “I wonder if Santa will bring me the gift of a good nights sleep too?” he yawned and rested his head on the pillow and closed his eyes just as one of Sabrina’s feet kicked him on the knee.


            The sun rose that morning unnoticed by Chris, who two hours before had finally gotten to sleep.  Sabrina was up and dressed sitting on the end of the bed watching him like a cat, which was a good trick for a skunk.  She was willing him to wake up but was so far only kept amused by the site of Chris’ open jaw with his tongue poking out the right side.

            Should I?  Sabrina had contemplated poking him awake but didn’t know if it was a wise course of action.  She looked at the clock again, it was seven thirty.  “He did say he would get up at seven.”  She looked back at him and sighed.  “Okay … time to implement Operation:  Wake Up Lazy Fox!” She got off the bed and sauntered her way to the happily-sleeping Chris, her hips and tail swaying as if to tempt him away from his dreams and to focus himself to her.

She poked him on the arm ever so much harder than she had intended … nothing, Sabrina raised an eyebrow at him.  “Chris?” she said in a whisper.  “Oh, this is silly, I’m trying to wake him up!”  She thought for a moment, and leaned in again.  “CHRIS, FIRE!”  She jumped out of the way just in time.

He bolted upright!  “Humpgh -- fire??!”  He rolled and jumped out of the bed half asleep and pulled on his pants … backwards; in doing so his hindpaw found yesterday’s shirt and he flew backwards into the air, landing prostate on the floor with a skunkette bent over his face.

            “Merry Christmas, honey,” she said innocently.  “Breakfast is ready.”

            Still coming back from Sabrina’s little “joke”, Chris forced his eyelids to open more and look into his own reflections in Sabrina’s lenses.  “Y’mean the donuts we bought?” he asked.

            “Not ‘donuts’,” Sabrina countered.  “Morning pastries!  Plus I made coffee and plugged in the tree.  C’mon, it’s Christmas!”

            Sabrina held Chris’ paw and helped pull him up into a sitting position on the floor.  Now Chris could smell her coffee wafting through from the kitchen.  “Well, if it’s your coffee … ” Chris said, and slipped his feet into the jeans he wore all day yesterday which were parked right where he’d left them the night before.  He reached to the floor to pull them up to his knees.  “One thing you make good is a pot of coffee,” he said as he stood up.

            “Oh?” Sabrina asked as she balled her paws and placed them on her hips.  “You saying you don’t like my cooking??”

            The tone in Sabrina’s voice said she was kidding, or at least half-kidding.  How do I answer her without lying??  Quickly Chris donned a completely surprised open-muzzle appearance.  “I never said that!” he said with the same tone Sabrina used on him.  “You make good coffee, that’s all I said.”

            “Wellllll,”  Sabrina lowered her arms and dropped her shields.  “You implied it.”  She picked up a mostly-buttoned green plaid flannel shirt and handed it to her fox.

            “I implied nothing of the kind,” Chris lied through his teeth.  In fairness, he had to admit that Sabrina was slowly getting better at her cooking, “slowly” being the operative word; who knew Spam could be served in so many ways?  Especially in the Jell-O.  He pulled the shirt on over his head and buttoned the undone buttons on its upper half as quickly as he could so he could get her off of the subject of being a lousy cook.  He grabbed her paw and yanked her up to him, and planted one on her moosh that made them both have to come up for air.

            “Merry Christmas, Kitten, I love you,” he told her.

            “Mmmm, Merry Christmas, Foxy.”  She led him out of the bedroom, which was only right considering Chris had led her into the bedroom last night.

            In the kitchen the floor was cold under the fox’s footpads, but it sure smelled good.  Returning with two cups of coffee Sabrina held up a chocolate glazed don -- pastry -- and stuck it in Chris’ mouth, munching on her own as she led the way into the living room.

            The drapes were still drawn and the lights off, except for the light of the tree itself.  Sabrina’s extremely generous use of icicle did not make the tree look gaudy as Chris had feared, instead a tree in his house never looked better.  It twinkled and sparkled and with the presents under the tree, it looked like Christmas.

            Handing Sabrina her coffee cup, Chris removed the donut from his mouth, sans one large bite.  “I can’t believe how full it looks down there,” he said.

            “I know!”  Sabrina dropped to her knees and bounced on her legs, coffee in one paw and breakfast in the other.  “C’mon, get down here,” she coaxed.

            “I’m comin’, I’m comin’!”  Chris dropped down beside her, but somehow lacked the same grace and slopped several drips of coffee on his knee.  Sabrina quickly brushed over them and handed Chris a present wrapped with red paper adorned with a mosaic of reindeer and Santas.  Not to be outdone, Chris handed her a gift covered in white paper with Christmassy scenes scattered over it and set his coffee to the side.

            Claws were unsheathed, tearing commenced.

            “Woah!” Chris exclaimed as he held it up with both paws.  “I needed a new one too, thank you, Kitten!”

            “Did I get the size right?” she asked as she pulled the paper off of her gift.

            “Sure did!”

            “Oh, I love his work!” Sabrina looked at both sides.  “Thank you!”

            “I’ll confess Kitten, I wasn’t sure, I just remember you mentioning him.”

            “Awwww!”  Sabrina tore the wrapping away from the little package.  They’re precious!”  She scooted over on her behind and kissed him.

            Chris tore the paper from his next gift, then laughed out loud.  “You really think I needed a new one, huh?”

            Sabrina pretended to think before she replied with, “Uhhhh, uh-huh!”

            “Well, thank you.”

            “I just had to,” Sabrina confessed.  “You’ve been trying to make do with that broken one.”

            “I was going to get a new one,” Chris told her as he turned it over and over.  “I like this one better though, it’s free.”  He slid her over her next present.

            “Oh!  Big box!”  Sabrina swung around and got up on her knees and pulled the big red bow from the top.  With unceremonious rips and tears she worked her way to the cardboard exterior and was stopped by the cellophane-taped top.  This offered little resistance to one of her quickly-unsheathed claws and flung the flaps open!

            “What a sneaky trick!”  Lifting herself a little higher she reached down into the box to the bottom to retrieve the small unboxed wrapped package inside.

            “I’ve waited years to do that again to somebody,” Chris said giggling.  Playfully Sabrina batted him on the arm and tossed him another gift she’d gotten for him.

            Chris shook it vigorously.  “Oooohhhh, I’ll bet it’s a book!  I’ll bet it’s a book!”

            “Yeah,” Sabrina told him in reply to his dirty trick, “It’s a copy of Final Exit.”  She pushed the box over.  “Now, does this have something smaller wrapped inside it, too?” she asked and opened it up.  “Ah, let’s go Pens, huh?”

            “Yep, welcome to hockey!”  Chris said and peeled away the paper.  “And speaking of Pens …”

            “I saw your collection was missing one.”

            “Not anymore, thanks Kitten!”

            Sabrina took a quick bite of her donut.

            “What’s left?” she asked as she poked around in the discarded wrapping.

            “Oh more Kitten, there’s more.”

            She held out both arms at least two feet apart.  “Well c’mon, give!”


Getting toward the end of the next week, or rather, the end of the nineteen-hundreds, Chris sped down the Ohio freeway on Interstate 71, hoping to make up for the lost time after having been stuck in a traffic jam from a three-car pile-up for around half an hour.  He looked over at Sabrina.  He was amazed that with all her excitement she’d been able to sleep.

            “I’m not asleep, I’m resting my eyes,” she said like someone who had just woken up.

            “Oh I believe you, Kitten, I just guess the snoring was you breathing heavily then?”  He was not answered, just swatted with the back of her paw.

“You really think Jim doesn’t mind us taking a few days off so soon after Thanksgiving?”  Sabrina had asked this question ever since Chris booked her days off with her for this trip.

“Do I really have to say this again?” Chris asked.  “He doesn’t really have a choice, we have these days off for a reason remember, and a reason I don’t take them off over the year is just for such holidays.”  He negotiated a lane change and passed a lumbering truck.  “You already know you’ll lose a day or two pay, but you worked hard enough to make sure your work was caught up.”

Sabrina watched the scenery go by.  “I know,” she said, “I just don’t like taking advantage, it is my first year after all.”  As she looked out of the window, she felt it was nice to see familiar sights after a long time away.

“Look at it this way,” Chris suggested, “would you rather be on the way to see your friends, or doing what ever you do in that huge office space they gave you.”  He glanced over at her and she stuck out her tongue.  “I’ve said it before, don’t poke it out unless you are going to use it, Kitten.”

She smiled slyly, leaned over to him, and licked his cheek.  “Better?”

Chris’ grin was uncontrollable.  “Much,” he said, taking the turnoff for Columbus and the way to an apartment building Sabrina and Chris knew with great fondness.  That was when Sabrina had noticed the CD had started over some minutes ago.

“Chris,” she asked, “do we really have to listen to Passion Play again?  I already know Owl had a spare pair.”  Sabrina was looking at the CD jewel case slide from side to side when he turned the car. 

Chris laughed out loud.  “It looks like we do need to, it was Hare who had a spare pair, not Owl!”

“I said Hare.”  Didn’t I?  “And in any case what kind of record has a story on it!”  she obviously didn’t like Passion Play very much

“It’s called ‘innovation’, Kitten, it was unique and cool when it came out!”

“Yeah, when it first came out though, bellbottoms were ‘cool’, and my parents hadn’t even met!”  She made a gesture to try and make Chris see sense … he ignored her.

“In any case we will be at Thomas and Amy’s apartment very soon.”

Sabrina crossed her arms and sat into her seat.  “Before or after I become the world record holder for the furthest throw of a Jethro Tull CD?”

Chris laughed.  “Before.”  Then he had visions of Sabrina flinging the CD out of the car, lost somewhere in downtown Columbus.  “At least I hope so, anyway!”

Sabrina was still complaining to herself.  “… I don’t even know where Fulham Road is!”


In the Woolfe’s apartment there was a feverish bustle of activity.  This activity was mainly cleaning.  Amy was wiping down the countertops in the kitchen while Thomas was sitting on the couch shaking his head at the noises emanating from Amy’s location.

“Thomas, have you cleaned the coffee table?”  She didn’t even bother to stop her own cleaning.

Thomas looked at the table with the coffee rings and three day old magazines lying on top of what he remembered was his late night snack.  “Yeah, sure have, honey!”  He looked at Timmy and put his finger to his lips.

“I don’t want Sabrina coming home to a mess; I want everything to be just right!”

Thomas scratched his head and sat up.  “You really think she’ll care what the place looks like?  I seem to remember she wasn’t the tidiest person here!”  Thomas then thought about Sabrina; it was going to be great to see the skunkette he shared a house with for so long.  Amy said when she comes home … She’s going to find it even harder this time to say goodbye, I just know it.

“I know, but I want her to come home to a well-kept and tidy place.”

Thomas heard that word again, “home”.  He needed to say something before his wife got hurt.  “But Amy,” he reminded her, “her home is a long way away now.  Stop saying she’s coming home; she’s coming to our home, not hers.”  He cringed; it hurt for even him to feel it, he also didn’t want her shouting at him.  But it didn’t come.  “You there, Amy?”

In the kitchen Amy was drying some sudden dampness from the corners of her eyes with her paw-cloth.  She knew what Thomas said was right, she just didn’t like admitting to it.  After all, they’d been roommates and friends for five or six years, you don’t just dismiss that.  When Thomas came to the kitchen and put an arm around her, she turned into his hug.  “I just want her back, Thomas.  I miss her.  I want it like it was before she went away.”

            Thomas squeezed his arm tighter around her.  “So do I,” he said in something of a half-truth.  He loved Sabrina too, but there was something to a guy about being able to walk out into the living room nude if he wanted to, and when Timmy starts growing that luxury will be denied him for a long, long time to come.  “But we can’t.  It’s her life, not ours.”  He kissed her forehead and left to clean the coffee table as he promised.

            Amy dried her eyes on the back of her arm.  “Could you make Sabrina and Chris’ bed up?  I don’t think I can do it.”  He turned back and nodded; Amy turned off the light, standing alone in the dark feeling her close again, she could hear Sabrina and her making coffee and having breakfast she smiled to herself even if it’s only a day, I will be so happy I have my best friend back.

            The ticking of the clock reminded her that they would arrive soon and she was no where near as happy with the apartment as she’d hoped.


            Amy opened her front door and there she stood, Sabrina, after all this time.  A tear ran down the squirrel’s cheek, then another came and then another, and after awhile all she could see was a blurry form of a skunk, one that for the time being had not said or done anything.

            “Are … are you not going to come in?” she said quietly.

            “Can’t, Amy.  Places to go, people to see, just thought I’d drop my things off and get going.  Can’t stand here and chat, gotta meet some deadlines.  Chris says ‘Hi’, he’s still in the car.”  Sabrina plonked down a handbag and a suitcase.  “Isn’t he just great!”

            “Oh, okay, yeah, I bet he is … we’ll chat later then.”  She gave her a hug, still hoping Sabrina would break down in laughter with one of her jokes.

            “Yes, I’m sure that will be nice.  Well as I said, places to go, people to see. Kiss-kiss.”

            Did she just say “Kiss-kiss”“Yyyyyeahhh, that will be …”  And with that Sabrina closed the door with a thump.
            This woke Amy up.  “Oh God, I gotta stop eating cheese!”  She was sprawled on the couch with her TV Guide barely fighting a battle to stay on her leg.  “What in my mind would make Sabrina act so …”  The word “bitchy” sprang to mind, and stuck in her mouth, but she realized it was she who was being it.  “I must be a horrible friend to think of her like that.”


            She recognized that voice! She jumped up from the table knocking off the remote and banging her knee against the coffee table.  “Oh no, not today!  I have better things to do than go to the hospital.”  She practically ran to the front door, and there Sabrina was hugging Thomas with one leg bent at the knee, who was also shaking Chris’ paw trying his hardest to breathe.

            “Get your paws off my husband!” she said in a put-on mighty voice.

            “Never!” Sabrina said smiling and crying.

            “Alright then!”  She came over and hugged Sabrina and Thomas as a unit, they were a trio again.

            A trio plus one.  Chris was standing there trying his hardest not to feel out of place … which he did, profusely.  He looked at his watch, then with a sigh he decided he would leave them and get the multitude of bags that had filled the back of his Mercury.

            “Uhm, I’ll leave you guys alone and get all your bags, Sabrina.”  No answer.  “You’re welcome.”  With that, the slightly annoyed fox left the hallway and walked down the stairs to the car.

            Sabrina lifted her head.  “Where’s Chris?” she asked.

            The group broke and looked around.  Amy poked her head through the door.  “I think he said something about bags.”

            “Isn’t he just great?” Sabrina asked walking to the kitchen as if she still lived here.  “I’ll put on the kettle.”

            Amy stood and watched her walk into the kitchenette.  As long as she doesn’t say “kiss kiss”, I’ll be okay.  Then slowly her wits caught up to her.  “Oh … Oh no you don’t Sabrina!  Thomas can do all that, we have got a lot of catching up to do!”

            Thomas stood there and opened his mouth to protest, but somehow he didn’t think it would get him anywhere.  Sighing and slumping his shoulders, he walked on over to put on the kettle for tea and coffee.


            “Can you believe it!?”  Chris was pulling out all of the bags and making a pile on the sidewalk.  “Not even a glimpse in my direction, I may as well have not even been there!”

            He threw one of the bags out of the car and it landed with a CRACK!  “Oh great, just great.”  Cursing he got out and looked at the travel bag, luckily what sounded like something breaking wasn’t … this time.

            He started to become irrational with the building self anger.  “If it wasn’t for me, she wouldn’t be here!”  He sat on the now-empty back seat and closed his eyes.  “I knew I was going to hate coming here,” he reminded himself from this discussion he had with himself last week.  “She’s going to be with them and what the heck am I gonna do?  Just smile and play second fiddle to these people.”

            “But think of it from her view, Chris.”  Chris eyes snapped open, he turned his head to see Thomas sticking his head through the open car door.  “She had to leave all this behind for you, how can anyone realize how that must feel?”

            Chris sat there and took off his glasses, pinching the corners of his eyes against the bridge of his nose.  “I know it must be hard on her,” he said to him, “but what would you feel in my situation?”

            “Exactly the same.”  Thomas pulled his head out and bent over to pick up one of the bags that had ended up on end on the sidewalk, then lifted one of the bigger bags with a heave.  “I’m not a saint, Chris.”

            “But I should think of her more?” Chris said getting out of the car.

            “I think you think of her just fine,” Thomas said, feeling a sudden December breeze waft through his hair.  “And if you didn’t respect her you would have said something in front of all of us.  But you didn’t; you can’t help the way you feel, but at least you’re man enough to realize it was wrong.”

            “Never thought of you as a philosopher Thomas,” Chris said with a grin.

            Thomas shook his head.  “I’m not, I’m just stating the obvious.” he smiled.  “But maybe you and Sabrina should have a little discussion.”

            “Yeah, maybe.”  They looked at their handiwork.  Two piles lay next to the car, one considerably bigger than the other.

            “What was Sabrina thinking when she packed, Chris?” Thomas was scratching the back of his head.

            Chris shrugged.  “How would I know?”  He looked at the piles then his car.  “What I didn’t expect was it all fitting in the car … I must have a TARDIS.”

            Thomas didn’t know what a “TARDIS” was, but he thought if he asked he would have regretted it.  They began to take the bags and suitcases into the apartment block. Between the pair of them it only took two trips.


            Finally all were sitting down with coffees, tea, and a can of pop in the living area.  Chris had cooled down to the point of actually enjoying his stay and the four of them were chatting and preparing to pull the gaily-wrapped paper away from the belated Christmas presents they’d given each other.  All friends together, one pair of friends that until now had a son who hadn’t made himself known to them.

            That changed with a loud cry emanating from Sabrina’s old room, Timmy had awoken and he wanted to have attention.

            Amy looked at Sabrina and then at Thomas, he looked back and forth between them and sighed.  “Okay, I’ll go and see what he wants.”

            “Thank you dear, you’re so good to me,” Amy said with only a slight mocking tone.

            Chris sat back with his coffee and began laughing quietly to himself.  Sabrina saw him.  “Hey don’t just sit there, go and help him!”

            He quickly sat up in shock!  “What do I … I mean, what would I …?”  Sabrina shrugged her shoulders and jutted her head in the direction Thomas was taking.

            “Yes of course,” he said as he set his coffee mug down.  “Come on Thomas, I may be able to help.  Haven’t seen the little guy in ages, anyway.”  He got up and leaned over Sabrina.  He kissed her on the cheek and with a low tone whispered in her ear, “Oh, I won’t forget this kitten, when you least expect it I will have my revenge.”

            Sabrina turned and smiled, and then when he turned away she swallowed hard with the word ‘revenge’ ringing in her ears.


            Sabrina’s old room brought back so many good memories for Chris; the biggest one of all was that night she offered herself to him and how he later ended up nearly choking to death … a smile crept over him slowly and true to his original words back then, it was one of those memories you do look back on fondly, if only in retrospect.

            “Wow … Heh, the joys of parenthood!”  Chris watched Thomas lay Timmy on the changing table and peel back the little tapes holding the diaper closed.

            “I guess,” Thomas said, now such an old paw at this sort of thing that it didn’t faze him anymore.  “But it’s only a small negative of so many positives.  I have to admit though, after it all, plants are much easier to look after.”  Thomas wrinkled his nose, as did Chris; when Thomas wasn’t looking he turned away and stuck out his tongue in disgust at the smell.

            Thinking on it though and seeing Timmy so small, flailing his arms and legs, he didn’t dislike the idea of some day having his own son, “I wouldn’t say no, to be honest but Sabrina on the other paw … well.”

            “Chris doesn’t want children, I can tell,” Sabrina confided in Amy, having moved up and over to occupy the seat on the couch Thomas had abandoned.  “He just likes it him and me.  Every time I try and broach the subject he steers it away or we end up doing other things.”  Sabrina sipped her coffee then tried to dunk her cookie into it but it broke and fell in.  “Damn, that always happens to me!” 

            Amy nodded, “How are you settling in, Sabby?  It can’t be easy doing what you did in such a small amount of time.”

            Sabrina tilted her head and sighed a little.  “Well job wise the company is great, I will say that without doubt … but …”

            “There’s a ‘but’?” Amy wasn’t so sure she was as happy as first impressions gave.

            “There’s always a ‘but’.  One problem is in the city; I’m only now getting used to the accent.”

            Amy sipped her tea.  “I always thought I noticed one,” she told Sabrina.

            “It’s not just Chris, everyone has a strange way of speaking.  ‘Yunz gow dahn tawhn’ then you’ll see what I mean.”

            “Oh that’s horrible!”  Amy could only imagine what an entire conversation of ‘Yunz’, ‘Dats’, and ‘Dahns’ would sound like, then thinking on it for a second she decided she didn’t want to!  “And the job itself?”

            Sabrina sighed, a little on the heavier side than she meant to.  “Oh that’s great, having two isn’t!  Finding time to finish one thing for one of them then having to get into another frame of mind totally is hard, going from a pure business-like attitude to a porn -- well, adult one … but the pay is great and, well, I have Chris … maybe soon I can transfer internally so I can get a job that I went to college for.  After all I’m an artist, not a writer.  Then there’s the radio on the way in; he likes to listen to this ‘Quinn’ guy and his talk show, and I like Flap Jackson’s morning show … ”  She leaned her head in her paw idly stirring her coffee.

            “She’s loving it!” Chris answered Thomas.  “I haven’t heard her complain, and all she ever does is say how happy she is, can’t get better than that I guess.”

            Thomas, who was just finishing Timmy again after he decided to pee as he was changing him the first time, nodded at Chris’ statement.  “Sounds like a perfect situation you have going for you.”

            “Well,” Chris started, “I guess it is.  Sabrina and I are in a perfect situation.”  He smiled to himself with self-satisfaction.  “You know what’s even better?  Sabrina feels the same way; it would be very hard if we disagreed on even the smallest of subjects.”

            “Oh, it’s not perfect,” Sabrina admitted, “there are a lot of things that we need to improve on, even that’s an understatement.  But we’re getting there, one day at a time.  I’m just glad Chris feels the same way.”

            Amy smiled at Sabrina.  She was glad to see that her best friend was happy in her new life, even with the occasional uphill struggle.  She placed her paw on her knee.  “It’s great to see that you and Chris communicate so well.”


            Chris pulled into ZZ Productions’ overstuffed parking lot and looked for a place he could wedge his Mercury into.  Sabrina caught a gasp in her throat -- there was a familiar red minivan parked on the end that brought back memories of her visit here with Susan.

            “You’re gonna stay close to me, right?” Sabrina asked, trying to hide the now-nervous edge to her voice.

            Chris parked next to a small car and pulled on the parking brake.  “What’s the matter Kitten, you don’t trust me around a bevy of porn starlets?” he ribbed her back.

            Sabrina shook her head.  “Just promise me you’ll stay close.”

            For the sake of keeping peace, Chris nodded his head.  “Sure Kitten.”  Then, “Maybe it’d be a good thing if I did, I don’t like the idea of you around the male porn stars!”

            Sabrina smirked.  “They know to keep their distance,” she said with a wry grin.

            “Heh, big talker,” Chris chortled and let himself out of the car.  He held Sabrina’s door and she stepped out with her gift for Zig Zag.  They walked across the parking lot to the building where Chris then held open the door to the business itself.  They stepped inside and were met with the muffled sound of rock music coming from an open studio door, and also with the muffled sounds of …

            “Hllffph phftll!” Wanda was telling Cottonlop.

            “Mm mmmm hlldnn slll!” Cotton yelled back and looked up suddenly when the security beeper beeped when Chris opened the door.

            “Oh good God, he is here,” Sabrina moaned.

            She didn’t notice Chris’ rapt attention to the red vixen and the lop-eared rabbit doe trussed and gagged and squirming back against each other behind the receptionist’s desk.

            “You, uhm … coff … you two girls okay?” he asked, trying to decide if they were in any serious distress or not.

            Cotton and Wanda twisted themselves around to look at him and both nodded their heads, the golden jinglebell on Cotton’s choker jingling merrily.

            Chris waggled his finger back and forth between them.  “You … you don’t want let go, do you?”

            Both girls shook their heads.  And now Sabrina saw Chris’ reaction to what he saw, including his sigh of relief; she took his paw and with a short, “C’mon” led him back the hallway to leave the two behind them.

            “The things you see when you don’t have your camera,” Chris lamented.

            “I have a feeling you’ll see a lot more if I’m right,” Sabrina said irritated.  “It looks like your hero’s here.”

            Chris stopped outside the studio door where the music blared out from and pointed back the way they came.  “You don’t mean … ”

            Sabrina nodded her head and gave an emphatic “Yup.  Like I told you, he’s a friend of Zig Zag’s.”

            A well-endowed jennet on her way past turned and smiled a wide smile.  “Sabrina!” she exclaimed, “You made it after all!”

            Chris looked her over.  She wore a shimmery green and red minidress that was held on by a single clasp on the two shoulder pieces that met behind her neck, where she also wore a black leather collar with the name DAWNE in gold friendly letters.

            Here less than five minutes and already I can tell this is gonna be trouble, Chris thought, accurately.  A good kind of trouble, but still …

            “Hi Dawne,” Sabrina replied.  “This is my fiancé Chris; Chris, Dawne.”

            Chris nodded, trying his best not to fix his eyes on her chest.  “Hi!” was all he could manage, figuring this wasn’t the kind of place a pawshake would fit in.

            Dawne shook her head quickly in a double-take.  “Wow, you two look so much alike!”  Before Chris could ask who she meant, she asked Sabrina, “Say, are those two still at it out front?”

            Sabrina nodded as if it were an everyday event.

            “Are they gonna be okay?” Chris asked.

            Dawne laughed.  “Oh, yeah,” she said, waving a paw and leading them into the party.  Everyone who worked there had turned up, most had brought a mate or a playmate.  “Master told Cotton she needed a timeout, and when Wanda wandered behind to watch, he made a contest out of it.  First to get free gets a prize!  You guys missed Rhonda and me, she won, cheater.”

            Chris’ eyes were wide as his brain pieced together the events Dawne had described, his vision blurring as the lenses of his glasses steamed up.

            “And where’s Zig?” Sabrina asked.

            Dawne shrugged.  “She had a phone call, she’ll be back.”  She pointed to a chair in the middle of the room surrounded by gifts on both sides.  “She better, she’s got presents to hand out!”  Then, “Oh, I’m sorry!  You can hang your coats up over there on the wardrobe rack.”

            “Good, it’s starting to get hot in here,” Chris said and shrugged out of his.  He helped Sabrina off with hers as Dawne walked past a brass pole off to one side.  She pulled one leg up and twirled around it twice on her way over to talk to someone.  As he looked around, Chris also noticed that among all of the females present, Sabrina had the smallest pair of --

            “Mind your own business.”

            “I didn’t say nuthin’!”  Chris nuzzled behind her ear, one thing Sabrina found hard to resist when he did it, then as he turned she gripped his arm.  “You promised, don’t leave me alone here!”

            Chris gave Sabrina a slightly surprised look.  “Kitten, I’m just hanging our coats up.”  He slipped free of her loosening grasp and walked to the other side of the studio.

            “I guess he’s right,” Sabrina convinced herself.  Spying the buffet her stomach reminded her why she hadn’t eaten today.  Double-Z Catering, no relation to the studio, did put on a nice-looking spread, to be sure!  But first, something to take the dryness out of her mouth, with all of the bodies and all of the fur it really was warm.  She poured herself a cup of punch, and something about the taste of it told her it was a lot more than fruit juice and vanilla ice cream, and she quickly refilled her cup.  She smiled as the fox returned and stood two steps away from her.

            “Hey, I remember you!” BondoFox said, pointing to Sabrina, then to the choker Wendy had given her in the Secret Santa at her other job.  “Nice collar, I knew you wouldn’t last long.”

            “Eep!”  Sabrina looked both ways, Chris was nowhere to duck behind.  “And I remember you,” she said as she looked desperately for something to keep between them.  “So does my best friend.”

            “That’s my charter,” the fox explained as he lifted his drink, “‘To tie up every yiffable female on the planet’.”  He took a quick sip of the cocktail he was holding.  “And you and your friend certainly qualify.”

            “Don’t you ever get arrested?” Sabrina asked, folding her arms, trying to look intimidating with a punch cup in one paw.

            BondoFox shook his head as he sipped at his drink again.  “I use the same lawyer as Zig Zag,” he quipped.  “Worry ye not however, hot little skunkette, I’m here with my pets today, and I only have eyes for them.”  Lifting his arm he snapped his fingers twice and Dawne came scampering quickly over.

            “Hi again!” she said to Sabrina

            Sabrina smiled at her.  Now she understood the collar around her throat.  She remembered now the only time she never saw her wearing it was when she was in the middle of a shoot.  And now she understood his comment about her choker!  Subconsciously she reached up and touched it with two fingertips.  But before she could say anything to defend it …

            BondoFox looked around over one shoulder, then the other.  “Where’s Cotton?” he asked.

            “Over there, Master,” Dawne told him, pointing across the room to the studio door.  Amidst applause Wanda held up her ropes and scarf and jiggled herself back and forth with a loud “WHOOOOO-HOO!” while Cotton “Mmfph”ed and hopped along beside her.

            Sabrina looked at the familiar white-furred lop doe with the brown fur spot around her right eye and leaned forward.  “Zig’s bookkeeper??”

            “There is life after accounting,” BondoFox told her.  “We all have our vices … I’m sure even you have something you keep buried.”  He’d let his dark glasses slide down his muzzle so she could see him raise and re-raise his eyebrows quickly at her.

            Sabrina felt her ears try to flatten against her head, she had to mentally force herself and her body language not to give anything away.  BondoFox hooked a finger into the D-ring on Dawne’s collar and they walked toward the front of the studio and out of sight.  Shortly Chris walked over to Sabrina.  “Hey, your friend Clarence is here,” he said.  “No Cindy though.  That’s not her tied up with Wanda, is it?”

            “Huh?” Sabrina said, lost in thought at what she’d just experienced.  “Oh, no, Cindy couldn’t get off work,” she told him before picking up and draining her cup.  “Wow, this punch is really good,” she said, and with that she led Chris to the buffet and helped herself to a refill of the punch while Chris put heated tidbits on his small green plastic plate, and together they mingled.

            “ … ere is she -- oh!  There she is!”

            Zig Zag’s voice came closer as did Zig Zag herself, filling out a green, white, and red sleeveless mini-dress with garland-like fringes along the arm seams, overall something that looked like a cross between a party frock and a stripper’s costume.  “My favorite skunk and my second-favorite bar fighter.”  She gave Sabrina a hug that reminded her uneasily of the Strongarm Christmas party.  “And one for you too, Merry Christmas only a little late,” Zig said as she hugged Chris.

            “Lord, You can take me now, I’ve been hugged by Zig Zag!” Chris kidded, giving Sabrina a wink as she enjoyed her third glass of punch.  “Thanks for having us.”  No way are those real!

            “Always welcome,” Zig Zag told him.  “Don’t leave before I give you the grand tour, I think you’ll enjoy it.”

            “I wouldn’t miss it,” Chris grinned.

            Zig stepped up to Chris, she leaned in seductively, sure she was raising the hackles on the back of Sabrina’s neck, and brushed her muzzle across his shoulder, lifting her lips to his ear she whispered, ever so quietly, “Oh, yes they are!” and leaned back.

            Chris stammered.  “How -- how did you …”

            Zig grinned, wide and toothy, paws on hips.  “You think you’re the first guy to think that about me?”

            “So where’s James?” Sabrina interjected, not feeling jealous or anything, mind you.

            “Running late,” Zig told her.  “That’s who was on the phone, some big important customer who had to see him immediately.  So Sabrina, still wanna learn to pole dance?”

            Chris coughed on his stuffed mushroom.

            “I never said I wanted to learn to pole dance!” Sabrina shouted, which blended in with the music a number of others were dancing to.

            Zig Zag took Sabrina’s glass and handed it to Chris.  “She needs another one.”

            Chris had already had some of the spiked punch and rather than say anything, he grinned uncontrollably and walked through the party and back to the table.

            “It is really good punch,” Sabrina said to Zig Zag.

            “This has potential to be fun,” Zig Zag mused aloud.  Placing a guiding paw on her back she started leading Sabrina to one of the poles near the small stage.  “It just takes some practice mmmffph!

            “You’re next!” BondoFox said from behind with his paw over her mouth.

            Zig peeled his fingers away.  “Not today, honey,” she said as she turned to him, “It’s my party, I gotta play hostess.”

            “Play hostage?” BondoFox said with a boyish grin.

            “Host-ess, weirdo.”  She batted a paw across his chest.  “I’ve got people to greet and presents to pass out.”  She walked two fingers up his chest.  “Who knows, there might even be something in there for you.”

            “I hope so,” he said, wrapping his arms around her waist and hugging her close, “I did everything I could to be on the ‘Naughty’ list this year.”

            “I’ll vouch for him,” Sabrina said.

            “Tell you what,” Zig Zag said as an incredibly evil thought went through her mind.  She traced a claw through his hair.  “If you can get my janitor, you can get me.”

            With that, BondoFox released his hug on Zig and removed his camera phone, opened it up, clicked back three pictures and held the screen up in front of her.  Her smug look dropped immediately.

            She took the phone from his paws and stared at the picture slack-jawed.  “How … How the hell did you get her!?”

            BondoFox shrugged and took his phone back.  “It’s what I do.”  He reached into his cargo pocket.  “So your challenge was … ”

            “Hold that thought.”  And Zig Zag started toward the door.

            “Hey!” BondoFox called as he chased after her.  “Where’re you going??”

            Zig called back, “To get a three-foot cactus!”

            Everyone in the know who heard started laughing uncontrollably, and a few took off after them to see.  Chris returned with Sabrina’s punch cup and a plate of stuffed mushrooms, little meatballs, and cream-cheese-stuffed celery.  “What’d I miss?” he asked, munching something crunchy.

            Sabrina took her cup and looked at Chris, looked behind her where only the other members of the studio and their guests were partying.  “How come we never see you two in the same place at the same time?” she asked before taking another longer sip of her punch.

            “Hey, Sabrina!”  Wanda walked over to them.  “Gonna learn to pole dance, huh?”

            “Uh,” Sabrina said, shaking her head, “No, Zig was just … ”

            “Oh, you should!  It’s easy, and you’re fit enough.”  She handed her own cup to Chris.  “Here, hold this.”  She walked up behind the pole and gripped it with her right paw, her arm perfectly straight.  Pivoting on her inside foot she herself swung around, lifting her leg she hooked around the pole and twirled herself twice, her long auburn hair and her huge bushy tail billowing behind her before dismounting and remounting, this time dropping her left paw to its arm’s length and gripping the pole lower.  Wanda stepped back and turned her body sideways, and with a hard kick she was airborne.

            Chris was munching his last two stuffed mushrooms as if he were eating popcorn at the movies as he watched with rapt attention to the live impromptu dance show in front of him.  Sabrina watched too, drinking her drink, she was quite impressed at what else Wanda could do with her body.

            Never once moving either paw Wanda brought her right leg up parallel to the pole and hooked her ankle around above her and stretched her left leg out, bent the knee back in and twirled halfway around, straightened and brought her ankles together, did a final spin and dismount that brought her on both feet, bringing both arms over her head in a “ta-da!” pose with her left paw gripping the pole and a huge open-muzzle smile to anyone watching.

            Most everyone had seen Wanda pole dance before so there were minimal whoops and hollers and a few claps.  Rather than applaud, because he didn’t want to be the only one doing it, Chris slipped one paw into his pocket, walked up to Wanda, and slipped a folded dollar bill in the deep V-neck of her dress.  Still grinning Wanda gave her captivated audience of two a short curtsey.

            Sabrina was stunned at how easy Wanda made it look.

            “Wow, that looks complicated,” Sabrina said.

            “She’s done it before,” Chris said to her.  “You can tell.”

            Wanda balled her paws and put them on her hips.  “What, you think I was born able to do this?  Just takes practice, that’s all.”  She took Sabrina’s drink and placed it on Chris’ empty plate.  “Hold this a minute.”  She led Sabrina up to the pole and placed her open paw upon it.  “See?  It won’t bite back,” she told her.  “Now, c’mere behind it, that’s right.  Put your inside foot close to the bottom.”

            Sabrina hesitated.  “I don’t want everyone watching me!” she said in a hushed voice, and with lessened apprehension by this time.

            “What?” Wanda said, “It’s only me and your boyfriend, no one else is paying any attention to us.  Put your foot right there, yeah, like that.  Now grab onto it with your strong paw, right about head height.”

            “What’s my ‘strong paw’?” Sabrina asked.

            “Whichever one you write with, that’s your strong paw.  Now grab onto the pole.”

            “I feel ridiculous.”  But thanks to the punch she’d been drinking Sabrina did it anyway, hearing the band of her engagement ring click against the brass.

            “Let yourself fall back ‘till your arm straightens out and catches you.

            “Now step around.”  Wanda placed her paws on Sabrina’s hips and guided her.  “Keep your outside leg straight, good.  Now swing it out to the side and step all the way around the pole.  Pivoting on your inside foot at the same time and let your knee bend slightly as you turn.”

            Sabrina did, finding that with Wanda’s help she was now on the other side of the brass pole.  Everything came and went with a blur.

            “Well, that was kinda fun,” she admitted.

            “Don’t stop!” Wanda admonished.  “Hook with your leg, that one.  Good!  Place that foot down behind your other foot and transfer your weight to the back foot.”

            “Now it’s getting complicated.”

            “Just pay attention to what you’re doing.  Here, let’s start over.”  She returned Sabrina to her starting point and went through the moves again.  “ … hook your inside leg around the front of the pole, getting a good grip right behind the knee.  Now lower your paw and arch your back!”

            Sabrina heard a “Wee!” from herself as she swung herself around and out of Wanda’s paws.

            “See how easy?” Wanda said.  “Now, once more on your own!”

            “O-kay!”  Sabrina concentrated on her moves and didn’t notice she had garnered more onlookers than she had when she’d started.  She copied the moves letter-perfect and finished to golf-course-like applause.

            Blushing slightly, Sabrina took a step away, but she was smiling.  “That was fun!”

            “Now you have something to brag about!” Wanda said.

            Sabrina couldn’t pry the grin off.  “And I know just who to brag to,” she said, thinking of Susan.
            “Now step back to the pole, I’ll show you something else.”  Wanda noticed Clarence near Sabrina’s fiancée … a warm smile lit across her muzzle and the desire to push the young skunk away and dance for him flooded over her … Later, she promised herself, she was the instructress right now.  “Do what you just learned,” she guided Sabrina, “then grip the pole higher and as you come around grab it with your other paw and kick off, you’ll love this.”

            Sabrina followed through.  She lost her grip on the pole when she dismounted and stayed in motion to grip it again; following Wanda’s advice she executed a reverse sunwheel beautifully.

            “Wow.”  Clarence’s voice squeaked behind Chris.  “I’m g-glad I stayed.”

            “Hey there!” Chris said when he recognized him.  “Hadn’t seen you much, I almost forgot you worked here, man.  Howzit goin’, an’nat?”

            “Good, thanks … I-I n-never knew she could do that,” Clarence admitted.

            “Heh,” Chris replied, “Neither did I.”

            “Now this’ll be a little harder with your tail curled up like that but we should be okay.  It’s a little more advanced, it’s an Aerial Inverted K.  Now go into your routine, this is good practice for you.”

            As he watched, Chris said, “I’m having one of those installed in our bedroom.”

            Zig Zag overheard as she strolled by to watch and handed him a business card.  “They’re on the website.”

            “ … now turn yourself sideways, and kick!”

            Sabrina did but couldn’t get herself in the air.  Wanda looked out in the party crowd for the object of her affection.  “Clarence!  C’mere and give me a paw!”

            Clarence pointed to himself … me??  Seeing it was Sabrina he scampered up as fast as he could, not noticing the occasional laugh in his direction as he did.

            “Okay ‘brina, back to here and we’re gonna start again.  Clare, at this point when she kicks you grab her leg and lift it up while I hook her ankle around the bar, okay?  ‘kay Sabby, go!”

            The music was perfect for this too, Zig Zag had changed the track on the CD to something more appropriate, something with a lot of saxophone.  Sabrina came around and kicked, Clarence caught her leg and Sabrina screamed when Wanda double-teamed her and got her hooked up!

            “Hold on!” came from Clarence through the good-natured laughing and encouragements came from the crowd.

            “Bend your leg!  Bend your leg!” Wanda yelled.  “And spin.  Clare, help her spin that way,” he pointed.

            Clarence turned her as Sabrina bent her leg and pulled it up higher.  This made her slide against Clarence’s open paw which now rested on her bottom.  Clarence felt an intensity surge through his body at having a paw on his first serious crush’s … In a sudden embarrassed sense of arousal he pulled his paw away fast!

            But would remember that forever.

            “You did it, Sabrina!” Wanda jumped up and down and clapped!  So did Zig Zag, Chris, Clarence, and everybody else, cheers and whistles accompanied.


            Sabrina brought her right leg up to her left and almost instantly slid straight down, her arms slid behind her and her right leg fell away leaving her toes wiggling in the air.

            Zig Zag brought both of her paws up over her muzzle and unsuccessfully tried to stifle her laughing.  Chris left the drinks behind and dashed over, a few more photos were taken and Clarence tried his best to spot the skunk girl.

            “Uhm -- little help?” Sabrina said.

            Chris placed his paws in his pockets, still well aware of how he felt watching the show.  “The things you see when you don’t have your cam -- ”

            “I’m gonna be sick.”

            “Let’s get her down!” Chris said quickly.

            It took all three of them to extricate her from the dance pole.  Sabrina tumbled over Chris’ back and stood up again, holding onto the pole long enough to catch her breath while the cast and crew and guests applauded and whistled.

            “Y’okay, Kitten?” Chris asked.

            Sabrina nodded.  “Just catching my breath.  Wow, that punch was really good.”

            Wanda placed a paw on Sabrina’s shoulder.  “As long as you’re sure,” she said.  “You were doing so well, too.”

            “She loved it,” Chris said, then added, “In retrospect she’ll have loved it up to that point.”

            “It’s my fault, you weren’t ready for that move.  If it helps,” Wanda offered, “You should’ve seen me my first time.  With practice you’ll be able to do that no problem.”

            Before Sabrina responded, Chris pulled a folded five dollar bill out of his pocket and slipped it below Sabrina’s collar and behind her bra strap.

            “Wow, you did better than I did!” Wanda kidded.  Together she and Chris helped her walk until she got her legs back.  Sabrina reached into her shirt and found the fiver.  She looked at Chris.  “Cheapskate,” she told him.

            “You really are new to this, aren’t you?” Wanda teased.

            Clarence followed close behind.  “A-Are you sure you’re okay?”

            Just then the music dropped by several hundred decibels.  “Hey everybody,” came the voice from across the studio, “Zig’s going to open her presents!”

            Zig Zag sauntered through the applause like a queen to her throne, standing in front of a chair and a small pile of gifts.

            “So, this where we genuflect?” Chris asked?  Looking to both sides he saw Sabrina was missing.  Turning around he saw her at the buffet, finally taking the chance to get something to eat.

            Zig looked at the gifts and splayed her fingers to press them against her bosom.  “Awww, all for meee?”  She took her seat and was presented with the first gift by a quite physically fit raccoon in very tight blue jeans and an open-front shirt that showed off a perfect six-pack of perfect abs as he slowly unbuttoned the front of his satin shirt to the thump-thump-thump of the dance music, the way he’d done on stage and in videos a hundred times and to pretty much the same responses from the girls and a couple of the guys.  He turned to face a wide-smiling Zig Zag and allowed gravity to pull his shirt down his arms and as he wiggled his chest he was left with a lump of shiny material at his feet and all one could see from the waist up was a white collar and black bowtie at his neck.  Stepping away from his shirt at Zig’s feet, he picked up one of the gifts, twirled, and dropped to one knee to hold it out to her.

            “This should be good,” Chris said to Clarence with an uncontrollable grin.

“G-Guys g-get-ting n-naked isn’t what I w-would call g-good,” Clarence said, completely misunderstanding what Chris had meant.  “B-but y-you g-get used to i-it.”

            Chris turned toward the stuttering voice.  “What about the girls?” Chris said with a slight knowing smile.

            Clarence said nothing, but Chris did notice him paying attention to Zig opening her presents.

            Sabrina returned with a plate of food and a fork.  “I really should’ve eaten before I tried all that,” she said.  “So what did I miss?”

            “Male stripper,” Chris said as Zig tore the wrapper from the gift.

            “Oh, darn it,” Sabrina said as she took a bite of warm rigatoni.

            Chris gave her a look, a jealous unhappy look.  Sabrina caught it and swallowed her food.  “Oh sure, like I’m okay with you drooling over Wanda and Cotton when we came in, right?” she countered.

            “I never drooled!” Chris whispered hard back as everyone else was clapping to Zig holding up the black negligee she’d opened.

            “James is going to love this!” she said with a voice that oozed mischief.

            “It’s not for him!” yelled the lion from the chapter before last.

            Hilarity ensued.

            The raccoon went into motion again, this time he straddled Zig’s lap and performed a pelvic grind that would’ve won him an award anyplace else.

            “Sorry,” Zig said, “I’m all outta singles.”

            With a never-ending smile the raccoon did a 180-degree turn on one foot, his left leg high in the air and just clearing Zig Zag’s hairdo which made him a lot more popular with the audience.  From the pile he removed a square box and lowered it to her lap.

            “Oooo!  And a card, yet!”  She opened the card and read the inside.  Then, looking up, “Where’s Clarence?” she called out.  “Clarence!  Where is he?”

            “Here!” Clarence called back, waving.

            Zig saw him in the group, and narrowed her gaze.  “Clarence!  How naughty!”

            Clarence stood frozen, his eyes wide as dinner plates and his arm still in the air as everyone around him oo’d and giggled.  Zig pulled back the festive wrapping and removed the rectangular box from within.

            “Interesting shape,” Zig said and held it up so everyone could see the picture on the side.

            “I-I hope you don’t already h-h-have one,” Clarence called up.

            “I don’t!” Zig Zag said, still trying to figure out what it was for, and whether or not it could be used for something else.  “Thank you, Clarence, how thoughtful!”  And she placed the paw-held stick blender down with the negligee.

            “Whew,” Clarence said.  “I didn’t know what to get her, I was hoping she’d like it.”

            Zig clapped her paws twice quickly.  “Dance, coon-boy!”

            Sabrina jockeyed her position to see the dancer strut around behind Zig’s chair, then back to the group.  He placed his paws behind his head and thrust then turned to Zig and did it again for her!  She was absolutely loving this.

            “Sheesh,” said Chris, “Guy could put an eye out.”

            “Well thank you, I taught him everything he knows.”  A small but distinctive English-accented voice came from behind the crowd.  “I hope you are enjoying the show.”

            “We certainly are.”  Sabrina didn’t know the feline.  She was certainly friendly, though.

As if reading their collective minds, she introduced herself.  “Ginger,” she said simply.  “Just plain ol’ Ginger.”

            Sabrina pointed to herself and Chris.  “I’m Sabrina -- ”

            “I know who you are Sabrina, I had the forethought of looking up who I’m working with.”  She turned to the fox beside her.  “And this must be your husband to be.”  She shook Chris’ paw very firmly.

            “Nice to meet you!”  Chris was enjoying this afternoon more than he thought, now he had a rather attractive feline crushing his fingers.

            Sabrina pointed to Clarence.  “Have you met Clarence?  Go-fer extraordinaire and my old college friend.”

            Ginger nodded.  “Yes, we’ve met and worked together already.”  She smiled at the young skunk who was trying not to look down her corset.  “You’re a fine worker Clarence.  I might even teach you that waltz you wanted next week.”

Clarence blushed at his secret being let out.  “Th-Thank you, Ginger; got to learn some day, and now at least it’s free.”  Ginger smiled, Clarence laughed out of his embarrassment.  The new addition to the growing Zig Zag enterprise was a short Ginger Mainecoon, her glasses made her green eyes large and welcoming.  She wore a pinstripe corset with white trim and black stretch pants not unlike what Sabrina wore on a day-to-day basis.

Sabrina smiled.  She was obviously quite eccentric, but seemed nice.  “So, are you a new actress?”  It seemed possible, it takes all sorts; if she learned anything from this job it would be anyone could be an adult film star if they put their mind to it.  After all, she just pole danced.

            Ginger shook her head quickly as everyone else was enjoying the show on the platform.  “Oh no, I don’t have the first idea about having sex on a set!”  She smiled awkwardly.  “I’ve been called in for a few months.  I put an ad in the paper for a dance teacher and voice coach ‘gun for hire’, and not in a million years would I think pornography would be my calling, but as you can see … ” she pointed to the raccoon gyrating to the love of Zig Zag and the crowd.  “ … you can’t do that without a certain ‘flare’.”  She smiled a bigger, more warm smile at the trio, obviously pleased with her ability as a teacher.

Ginger joined the three watching the fruits of her labor.  Finally, Chris asked, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but with an accent like that I take it your not from around here.”

            She never took her eyes away from the show.  “I take it’s the same for you either,” she replied.  “How is Primanti Brothers, is it still going?”  She knew she had him when he opened his muzzle but no words came at first.

“Wa-aaa-iii-it,  you’re not from Pittsburgh, either,” he said with a certain hope he was right!

            Ginger shook her head, Sabrina was impressed she’d even heard of the restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  “Nope, blame my husband for that,” she said, finally making eye contact.  “He would drag me to Pittsburgh during the summer to see the Steelers play the preseason games.  But no, I’m originally from fair England, from a town you probably never heard of.

            “Anyway I shall leave you to your night, sorry for interrupting, nice meeting you Chris and Sabrina … Clarence don’t forget those dance shoes next week.”

            “Nice meeting you, Ginger,” Sabrina said.

            “Nice meeting you too, it’s still strange being the Gates McFadden of the porn biz.  Would it be okay if I ask you for help from time to time?” and with that she turned to leave.

            “Of course Ginger, we outsiders have to stick together.  And Clarence is always here.”

            “Y-yes, I’ll be here if you need my help!”  He gave her a hug and Clarence watched her walk away, hips swaying.  He blinked and so did Chris.  Sabrina was thinking as she turned.

            “Who’s Gates McFadden?” she asked.  She turned to Chris, then Clarence.  “Why are you both laughing?”

            Zig Zag opened the next box, a square white box one might get a figurine in.  She opened it, then pursed her lips in a smirk and held up a leather strap with a large red rubber ball in the center.  “Now I wonder who this could be from!” she announced.

            “You’re hard to shop for, Zig!” BondoFox called up.  “So I just got you a ‘gag-gift’.”

            That got him booed really good.  Someone leaned into him and said it’d keep the inside of her boyfriend’s car quiet, too.

            Rhonda came up behind Sabrina.  “Hey, didn’t get a chance to say ‘Hi’!  How’ve you been?”

            “Oh, fine,” Sabrina said and pulled her plate away from Chris attempting to snitch a piece of cheese.  “This is Chris, Chris, Rhonda Badger.”

            No introduction necessary.  “Nice to meet you,” Chris said, shaking paws.

            “Nice to finally meet you,” Rhonda said.  “We’ve all heard a lot about you!”

            “I only get to hear bits and pieces,” Chris said, with mock-disappointment.

            Rhonda laughed.  “It gets to be fun sometimes.  This place could tell a lot of stories.”

            Zig’s voice carried over the conversation.  “Hey, something heavy!”

            “That’s from all of us!” Wanda called up, then started to make her way through the crowd.

            “Sabrina’s great, too,” Rhonda went on.  “She can get in on the fun when she wants to.”

            “Oh?” Chris said over the sound of tearing paper, and the sudden cheers, loud cheers, from everyone!

            Sabrina choked and sprayed chewed food everywhere when she saw what she’d opened.  It was a life-sized mold of her!  Or rather, her back.  More accurately, her backside!  It was Sabrina in detail, from the back, from her shoulders to mid-thigh, her perfectly-curled tail, black and white furred, even wearing what you could see of a blue tee-shirt, all mounted to a large oval board like a prize buck head.

            Sabrina stood and stared, she honestly couldn’t move.  Wanda had slid in behind her, together she and Rhonda were working damage control, each giving Sabrina the biggest hugs they could hoping to keep her calmed down.

            “She’s always been a great sport!” Rhonda said.  “That’s why we love her.”

            Zig Zag held the trophy as high as she could, the dancer moved behind her and helped to lift it to her full arms’ length.

            Chris didn’t know how to react.  From what he’d heard that goes on here with all of the passes and teasing she puts up with, he thought it was the perfect gift!  Trouble was, from the look of his fiancée, she wasn’t in on this.

            “Hold this,” Zig told the raccoon and dashed down and over to Sabrina.  She moved in and gave her a massive hug!  “I absolutely love it, Sabrina!  Thank you!”  And she took advantage of the opportunity and kissed her squarely on the mouth before dashing back up to her throne.

            “I … knew … you … were … up … to … something,” Sabrina managed to finally say.

            “It’s a two-fold gift,” Rhonda explained.  “Sure, we did it without telling you, but we all know how uncomfortable you are when Zig flirts with you.  Now with this, she should be able to do it a lot less!”

            Sabrina had to think about that.

            For a bit.

            “I … suppose it makes some sense … ”

            Thankfully she was so lost in thought and conversation that she missed Zig Zag placing it on her lap and playfully spanking the furred gel bottom.

            “… forgive us?”

            Sabrina finally made a shrugging motion.  “I guess I can’t do anything about it now.”  She watched Zig Zag lavish attention on it before finally setting it to the side with her other opened gifts.  “… and I guess it does make sense.”

            “You’re the best, Sabrina.”  Rhonda gave her a tight friendly hug while Zig finished unwrapping her gifts.

            Chris put an arm around her after Rhonda slid away.  “You okay, Kitten?” he asked.

            Sabrina was still showing off just how well a skunk can blush.  After several moments she finally sighed quietly and nodded.  “I guess there’s no real harm done,” she said.  “I just wish they’d told me first.”

            “Would you have gone along with it if they had?”

            Sabrina shook her head.  “No.”

            Chris shrugged.  “Well, then.”

            “‘least maybe now she’ll keep her paws off me,” Sabrina said, feeling at least a little better about the whole thing.

            “Good.”  Chris kissed her on the side of her head.  “I need to find a little fox’s room, I’ll be right back.”

            “Right out of the studio and all the way back.”  Sabrina looked at what was left on her plate and couldn’t decide if she wanted it anymore.  Weaving her way to the other end of the table she dropped the plate and her cup into the trash.

            “Okay, boys and girls,” Zig Zag yelled, “Time for your presents!”

            Sabrina looked over the desserts and picked out a truffle.  Nibbling it wasn’t an option, she popped the whole thing in her mouth and the chocolate simply melted and forced her eyes to close as the taste and texture took over and she felt a calm come over her.

            “Hey there.”

            Sabrina opened her eyes as BondoFox talked to her.  “I saw your reaction when Zig opened the gift.  For what it’s worth, I can understand how you felt.  I hope it won’t spoil the rest of the party for you.”

            Sabrina shook her head.  “I won’t let it,” she said.  “It bothers me, but I’ll get over it.”

            “Good.”  BondoFox leaned in closer and jabbed a thumb toward the studio door.  “And if you ever decide you want to lose the excess baggage … ”

            “I’ll let you know,” she lied.

            With a wink and a grin BondoFox returned to the party.  Sabrina took a wide path back to see who was getting what for post-Christmas.  As she neared the front she heard the din behind her quieting.  She turned to see Chris returning to her, his shirt torn to shreds and his hair disheveled.

            “What on Earth -- ??” Sabrina asked.

            Chris shrugged and pointed back behind him.  “What is with that bitchy janitor??”

            Marvin gave Zig Zag a motion that said he was on it and ran out of the party.  After a chat with Chris he made for the door as Zig handed out the rest of the gifts and bonuses.  “Now for the prizes!” she announced.  “First, for Bondo’s game -- ”

            “Just a moment!” BondoFox raised an arm and pointed to her.  “You haven’t played yet!”

            Zig placed a paw on her hip while the rabble calmed down.  “It’s not much of a contest if I’m the only one left!” she said back.

            BondoFox turned his head.  “You’re not.”  And he stared directly at Sabrina!


            “You’re not going to tell them if you did or didn’t, are you?” Chris asked with his arms folded.

            “Nope!” Sabrina said.  “Let ‘em decide for themselves!”

End of Chapter 55