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(Friday Fiction) Mr. Roovum Goes to Washington

Fandom 150Hurley was not expecting to be greeted by the sight of a giant Kangaroo in a tailored three-piece suit when he opened the door to the roof of his newspaper’s headquarters, but here he was. The Raccoon had rushed back from lunch when he first felt the tremors rocking the street, and by the time he had gotten back to the office and checked to make sure everyone was OK he knew something really strange had to be going on. The building was fine, if slightly messy, and his receptionist had the stare of someone who had seen far too much in a very short amount of time.

“Your two o’clock is here,” was all she said, and directed him to the roof with his interview packet.

Now, even with the final piece of the puzzle looming over him, he found he had significant trouble making sense of the situation. This…giant…should have been impossible for a number of reasons. Besides the usual laws of physics, he was positive he would have heard about an Animal like this existing well before now. There’s no way you could keep something like this hidden, not from people like him — it was his business to uncover anything that would be of interest to his readers, the larger than life, the better.

And if this didn’t fit the description, nothing would.

“Good afternoon,” the Kangaroo said as he bent down. The sky above Hurley was replaced by an overwhelmingly large, smiling muzzle with sharp but friendly brown eyes staring right down at him. “You are Mr. Coor, yes? It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

A hand big enough to flatten a car lowered down, one finger extended. The digit alone was roughly as thick as his chest, capped with a claw as long as his leg.

“I…uh….” Hurley said, clutching the interview packet a little tighter. He took a step or two back away from the finger, unsure what he was meant to do with it. “I’m sorry, who are you?”

A shadow passed over those immense brown eyes. The Kangaroo lifted his hand and laced it with his other one, crossing them over his buttoned-down vest. “I’m sorry; your receptionist told me that you’d be expecting me. I am Roovumbidgee, here to apply for the advice columnist position. We’ve been corresponding.”

Hurley’s mental filing system plucked the name from memory in moments. Roovumbidgee was not a name you forgot in a hurry. He felt a flush rise in his cheeks when he realized he was holding the giant’s resume in his hands, along with printed copies of the emails they’d exchanged and several sample columns the Kangaroo had written. Even then, his brain refused to accept it. There was no way the curious, enthusiastic, endearingly eccentric Animal he had been talking to for the past three weeks was this…monster.

Giants were supposed to be dim, selfish brutes, weren’t they? All muscle and no brains, dressed in nothing but a filthy loincloth and sandals, carrying a tree for a club, chasing little people who had stolen their riches. Hurley didn’t consider himself an expert in the matter at all, but he was fairly certain all the giants he had met in fairy tales were primitive, barely sapient beings — not learned Animals who looked like they were dressing up for an Agatha Christie murder mystery party.

“Oh! Uh…yes, of course!” Hurley realized he had been staring dumbly for far too long to have possibly been considered polite. “I’m sorry, it’s just…when you told me you were a taller gentlebeing, I hadn’t realized you were, uh, making an understatement.”

Roovumbidgee’s chuckle rumbled the building. “I apologize for not being forthright with you. It’s been my experience that most prospective employers assume I’m lying or delusional when I tell them the truth.”

“But they figure it out pretty quickly during the on-site interview, right?”

“I wouldn’t know. This is the first one I’ve been invited to.”

Hurley had too many questions racing through his head and no idea which one would be the least offensive, so he pressed on. “Well, let’s make sure it’s a good one.”

He managed to take his eyes off the Kangaroo for long enough to put on his glasses and open the interview packet. “Now, Mister…uhm….is Roovumbidgee your first name or your last name?”

“It’s my only name, Mr. Coor. Like Prince. Or Madonna.”

“I, uh, see. So would you prefer Mr. Roovum?”

Roovumbidgee lifted a brow. “Is that what you prefer?”

“Just whatever would make you most comfortable.” Hurley felt himself flush again, though he wasn’t entirely sure why.

“Roovum is just fine, then.” There was a localized earthquake as the Kangaroo shifted his weight, leaning back on a tail that must have been as long as a couple of city busses.

“All right then. Roovum.” Hurley stared up at the giant, measuring his back against the taller office building across the street. He had to be over 100 feet tall. How in the world could he fit on a city street like that? Where was he going to put him if he hired him? How could he even pay him? “I have to say, I’m quite impressed with your writing.”

“Thank you.” The Kangaroo was obviously pleased.

“I’m just not sure about your idea for a column. Mighty Manners has a nice ring to it, but I don’t think we have a large-enough audience for the subject. Er…if you’ll forgive the choice of words.” Hurley’s tail lashed behind him as he leaned back against the door. He was starting to get a stitch in his neck.

“There is nothing to forgive. It’s a quite clever turn of phrase.” Roovum smiled, his tree-thick fingers drumming along the fabric of his jacket. “And I believe you shall find that I already have an established audience.”

“What’s that?”

The giant shrugged. “I have a fairly large readership already, Mr. Coor. My column is syndicated across several thousand different outlets on hundreds of worlds in…eight realms, by my last count. Or rather, it was until my relationship with my former editor ended rather suddenly.”

Hurley swallowed hard to keep down the question he wanted to ask. “And you’re looking for a new home newspaper for your syndicated column.”


“So in a way you’re interviewing me.” Hurley’s tail thumped against the brickwork.

Roovumbidgee smiled. “I suppose that’s true, yes.”

Hurley chuckled. “Well, how am I doing so far?”

“Quite well. I think we could have a long and fruitful partnership.”

“Mmm, I think so.” Hurley snapped his interview packet closed and held out a hand. Roovumbidgee lowered his finger, and they shook.

“I…won’t be able to pay you much.” The Raccoon said sheepishly.

“I understand. I won’t ask for much. Just access to your newsroom and reporters for their perspective.”

“I think I can do that. Will you need an office?” Hurley wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to that.

“That is very kind of you to offer, but no, that won’t be necessary. A coffee shop nearby has graciously offered their roof for my typewriter.” Roovumbidgee’s nose twitched, and Hurley had him immediately pegged as a caffeine addict. Gods help that coffee shop.

“Oh, well, let us know what your office hours are and I’ll send my guys down there for coffee or something. They’ll, uh, they’ll certainly want to meet you.” Hurley’s ears flicked as he rubbed the back of his head. He was already planning the staff meeting he’d need to have about this.

“And I look forward to meeting them. I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity, Mr. Coor. I’ll do my best to make sure it’s of benefit to you.”

Hurley looked up at the towering marsupial in his stuffy three-piece suit, wedged in a two-lane side street between buildings he could effortlessly bring down. He was sure this would be the strangest hire he’d ever make.

“Oh, I assure you, you already have.”

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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Furries, Thursday Prompt, Writing


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Friday Fiction: Meet Ugly

Fandom 150(This is for a serial I’m hoping to write a little later this year and post on relevant furry sites. I wanted to take the time to get to know the principal couple for the whole thing, and what better way to do that then write about how they first met? I didn’t want to do anything fancy here. I just wanted to write dialog that established a good sense of character, that pointed to the hidden things in someone’s mind, and establish a good, strong sense of place.)


Abernathy Jones looked at the five barrels of apples he had just bought and thought about all the work he would have to do to make sure they didn’t go to waste. Some of them he would dry, some of them he would sauce, some would be canned and some mashed into pulp and mixed with hay for the horses. For most people, five barrels of apples conjured images of piping hot pieces of pie and cups of cider. For Abe, they brought to mind hard labor for at least two or three days.

The rabbit put his hands on his hips and took a deep breath. The work started with loading the barrels onto the cart, something Barnaby, the store clerk on shift, swore he was too busy to do. It was a short trip from the raised wooden porch to the horse-drawn cart right in front, but it was still a two-man job. He looked around at the bustling streets. Students from the nearby university were out for long lunches between classes, and the few farmers there were dealing with their own burdens. Abe would have to find a way to do this alone. As long as he was careful with his back and took frequent breaks, it wouldn’t be so bad.

His horse watched him placidly from the post she was tied to. He had named her Crystal, because she was a beautiful mare but far stronger than anyone gave her credit for. She flicked one ear behind her, swiveled the other one towards him, then bent her neck towards the water trough. Before she took a drink, she spoke.

“Tiger across the street’s been eyeing you ever since you got out here. Think he’s gonna come over.” She kept one ear focused on him while she took a drink.

Abe glanced over. Sure enough, there he was. A rather tall Tiger, broad in the shoulders, wearing the khaki uniform of the sheriff’s department. He was nominally keeping an eye on the entire street, but his gaze kept drawing back to the Rabbit far too frequently for it not to be a coincidence. The deputy saw him looking, pushed himself off the post he was leaning on, and started walking his way.

The Tiger’s physicality was impressive; he was big, but graceful. He had a dancer’s talent of putting his bulk exactly where he wanted it. As he stalked across the wide dirt avenue that separated the rows of buildings that made up Oleander’s main thoroughfare, he accentuated his barreled chest, his heavy arms, the casual power he possessed. Abe didn’t know if he should be annoyed at the stranger for showing off so shamelessly, or annoyed at himself for being swayed by it.

“Hey there.” The Tiger grinned, without showing his teeth. “Looks like you could use some help.”

Abe forced himself to smile, lifted the brim of his hat. “Maybe a little. I think I might have overdid it with the apples.”

The Tiger chuckled. “Not if you want to have ’em last through the winter. Here, I can put them on your cart for you.” He lifted the first barrel before Abe could stop him. His shoulders and arms bulged through his shirt.

The Rabbit blinked. “Ho, there, don’t hurt yourself.”

“It’s no trouble. I’m happy to help.” The deputy huffed once and thumped the barrel on the wagon.

What a fucking Cub Scout, Abe thought to himself. He hopped from the porch to the cart and wiggled the barrel towards the edge closest to the seat. “Well, thanks, stranger. I appreciate it. What’s your name?”

“Johnathan Danvers. I’m new here.”

“I can tell that; haven’t seen you around here before. What brings you all the way out here to Oleander?”

Johnathan made sure that Abe had secured the first barrel before bringing the second one. “Would you believe I came all the way out here looking for work?”

Abe studied him for a moment. “No. No, I wouldn’t. Where are you from?”

“Oh, I’m from Firenze.”

Abe’s ears perked. “The capital?” He saw Johnathan nod once he put the second barrel down. “Well now I really don’t believe you. What on Earth would you want to move here from the city for?”

Johnathan shrugged and grinned. This time, Abe could see the full set of carnivore’s fangs between black lips. “Just wasn’t sure that the city was for me any more. I thought I’d give small-town living a try. My sister moved out to Brackers five years ago, swears she’ll never live in a city again.”

It was common for the Animals to migrate out to small towns near a lot of wilderness if they didn’t have to be in the cities for whatever reason. The crush of people, the endless mazes of asphalt and concrete — it didn’t sit well with whatever instincts hadn’t been engineered out of them when they were created. It had been several generations now since man had essentially created a new race, and a natural separation had been occurring over that time. Cities were where humanity wanted to live, and the Animals were more than happy to leave them to it. The further away from the urban centers you got, the less humans you found, until, in a place like Oleander, they made up about ten percent of the population.

“I hear you there. I only ever visited the city once, when I was a leveret. I don’t know how anyone could stand it. So how’re you liking the town so far?” Abe grinned again, and this time he was surprised to find it was genuine.
“There’s a lot less humans around, that’s for sure.” Johnathan grunted as he thumped the third barrel down on the cart.

“Is that a good thing?”

The Tiger shrugged. “It’s just a thing. I guess I’m used to the human way of doing things. They’re really big on scent neutralization and keeping shed fur under control and all of that. It’s…strange being in a place where it’s not that big a deal.”

Abe’s nose twitched. He had gotten so used to the riot of scents that assaulted his senses when he came to town he practically didn’t notice them. But the wind carried currents of fox and beaver, otter, skunk, wolf and deer, horse and rabbit, tiger, bear, coyote, squirrel. There was the scent of lacquered wood and standing water, too; of hot metal that had been standing in the sun for a while; of freshly-pressed clothing and the subtle cologne the Tiger wore. Abe suddenly realized that he had last taken a proper bath three days ago, and that his overalls were filthy with the muck of the farm.

He felt his temper flare at being made to feel self-conscious. “Well, we’ve got more important things to do around here than make sure someone’s delicate nose isn’t offended.”

Johnathan threw his paws up and backed away from the cart. “Hey, I wasn’t complaining. Just saying, it’s an adjustment. It’s…nice, really. I don’t know, it feels more honest.”

And just like that, the anger bled out of him. “Eh, I wouldn’t go ascribing some noble spirit to it. Most of us just don’t care all that much if our neighbors go a few days without showering.”

“Nothing wrong with that. I just haven’t, uhm, broken the habit yet.” Johnathan returned with the fourth barrel, and Abe noticed the dark pink of his ears.

“We’re almost done,” he said. “And that’s a nice scent.”

Johnathan’s ears perked. He beamed. “Thanks! My dad used to wear it all the time. I get crap from my sister all the time because she thinks it’s old-fashioned. But I like it.”

“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with doing the traditional thing. Traditions last because they work. And that works for you.” Abe saw a flash in Johnathan’s eyes that gave him pause. He just realized what he said and how it could look; he let his smile drop and he quickly turned to secure the fourth barrel.

They were silent for the loading and securing of the fifth barrel, and Abe hopped down to offer his paw. Johnathan took it and smiled. The Rabbit tried not to notice the way the Tiger’s paw enveloped his own, or how he was well over a foot shorter.

There was a spark there that neither of them commented on, a jump in their breaths when their eyes met. Abe looked away first. He wiped his paws on his overalls. “Well, thanks for the help John. I hope you enjoy your stay here.”

“It’s been great so far; I don’t think I’ll have too much excitement to worry about around here.”

Abe laughed as he climbed up into the seat of his cart. “Oh, just you wait. Oleander’ll show you a thing or two before too long. Take care.”

The Rabbit flicked Crystal’s reigns lightly and the horse settled into an easy trot. When she was sure they were out of earshot, she looked back. “Pretty sure you guys are going to jump into bed together soon.”

“Shut up,” Abe said.

“I’m just saying. I can smell pheromones, and you guys had a cloud of ’em around you.” Crystal turned her attention back to the road. Abe only responded with a small slap of the reigns.

Over the next several days, as he juiced and mashed and dried the apples, all he could think about was the big tiger in his fresh deputy’s uniform. When he tasted the cider, he thought of Johnathan’s cologne. It made the tasting sweeter somehow. And that suited Abe just fine.

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Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Furries, Writing


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