I wish she wouldn’t keep calling me that, I thought. I’m not eight anymore. I got off the couch and looked down the balcony. “What?”
“I’m going out with Sheila this morning, can you take your father to his appointment? Thank you!”
I recognized the ‘thank you’ that meant there was no choice involved. If I’d had an interview or scheduled hours she might’ve taken that as an excuse, but I didn’t have those cards to play. “All right.”
Mother and aunt left. I went back to the couch.
I got a couple of applications in before I had to go downstairs and get my dad.
Everyone said I’d look like my dad when he got older — mostly ’cause he looked so much like me already: a short red panda a few hundred pounds overweight, thick-tailed, not too much white around the face, eyes like — well, his eyes were friendly; me, I always thought mine were kind of sleepy-dopey.
He couldn’t get around much anymore, though, and he was at the doctors’ more days than not.
I’m not telling you all this for you to feel sorry for me or anything — just to let you know how I ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The hospital was in a well-off part of town, new-built last year and always smelling of sanitizer — we’d been to a few places that were more run down, and Dad said they didn’t really feel like they kept the place clean, so we ended up with a long drive so he could be seen at a place he didn’t feel uncomfortable patronizing.
Don’t ask me, I’m just the driver.
Myself I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out in waiting rooms anywhere — honestly, “let’s put all these maybe-contagious people in a room together” is just a bad idea in my book — so I stayed in the car and pulled out my phone. Maybe I can grab a quick hookup, I thought. I brought up the Chub911 app to see if anyone who thought I’d be their type was around.
I usually checked out the chasers first; I love my fellow big guys, don’t get me wrong, but smaller dudes in this scene are more likely to have an appreciation for the body type they don’t see in the mirror every day.
It seemed to be a good day though — I already had a couple of messages even before I could bring up anyone’s profile, and one of them actually wasn’t spam!
The message came from a fox with the audacity to style himself ‘The Great Reynard,’ which certainly looked like a sign of a runaway ego at first, until you saw the magician’s costume he was wearing in his profile pic.
We arranged to meet at a nearby strip mall, where there might be options to have a meal if the original plan didn’t work out — but I was hoping I’d be getting my ass plowed.
He knew the place better than I did, so I wasn’t surprised to find him there ahead of me — though I was a bit surprised to find him in the same silly magician’s costume, top hat and all.
His paw was on my belly immediately — which wasn’t unwelcome in itself, but certainly very forward. Either he was used to getting his way a lot, or he didn’t have much experience at all; I was hoping for the former. In his other paw he lifted a greasy paper bag with the logo of La Hamburgeisha. “You said you might be hungry — so I bought you some salsayaki burgers,” he said. “I’d love to see you eat — or maybe feed you?”
Well, he’s guessed my weak spot, I thought. Even if I was a little shy of hanging out with a guy in a cape — lined with purple, even — and even though I’d been trying to give up meat lately, I just couldn’t resist the siren song of Asian fusion in fast food form.
So we sat in the back of our van and I let him slide his paws up my shirt while he fed the sweet and spicy burgers into my mouth, watching with what looked like fascination as I chewed them down. Sometimes his free paw would stroke the underside of my double chin before I swallowed a mouthful, then he’d let his finger slide down my throat and the dark fur of my chest, then he’d palm my belly as if he’d be able to feel it swell.
“You’re really cute,” he said, making me blush a little — I didn’t hear kind words like that all that often. “I bet you’re even cuter when you’re asleep.”
What a strange thing to say, I thought, before a wave of drowsiness knocked me out.
When I came back to my senses, I was still in our van, but the van was not in a place I recognized. Reynard was not in sight; there was, however, a mouse sitting beside me — strong arms under brown fur, probably taller than me, with a bit of anger or maybe sadness behind his eyes that didn’t come out when he spoke. “Master Reynard will finish working with you now,” he said. His voice was deep and had a warmth that in better circumstances might have felt comfortable enough to fall asleep to — but there was no way I’d dare to fall asleep again at this point. “Come with me.”
I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t really have a choice — the van keys were no longer in my pocket. I followed the mouse through an underground parking garage and he led me into an elevator.
I wish I knew how to fight, I thought. Or that I had some kind of useful power…
The mouse pushed the button for the lowest basement floor and said nothing for the whole ride down, though he was humming a song that made me feel — well, I should have felt nervous, but somehow that sensation was inverted, and I had a strange knot of something like comfort deep in my stomach, though I did know I ought to be wary.
I was led through an apartment lined with shelves full of life-sized plush toys to a bedroom that was not much larger than the bed it contained.
“You may want to get undressed,” the mouse said, and left.
I sat on the bed and kept my clothes on.
The fox arrived a few moments later with a flourish of his cape, looking disappointed when he saw me still clothed. “Awwh… I thought we were going to have fun.”
“I might’ve changed my mind on that with the drugging and the kidnapping.”
He scratched his chin and looked me over. “No… In you I found someone who wouldn’t mind my methods. I imagine, as you think of them, that your dick will get hard and you’ll soon be begging for me to play with you. But I respect your reluctance — maybe something else is wrong?”
He was right — since I’d heard the mouse’s song, I really hadn’t been upset about it. It was…kind of exciting. But there was something I’d forgotten…
“My dad’s at Western Hills Hospital and needs a ride home. I don’t know what time it is — I hope he hasn’t been waiting long — ”
“I’ll send ’Rino out to pick him up.”
After we’d arranged a cover story and sent the mouse to take my dad home, Reynard joined me again in the little room.
“Sorry to be difficult,” I said, pulling off my ‘don’t eat NPCs’ shirt.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m used to considerably more struggling.” Before I could ponder the possibilities of what that meant, he moved to a little end table wedged between the bed and the wall and pulled out a rolling pin. “Would you care to lie down for me?”
I eyed the rolling pin and frowned. “And just what were you going to do with that?”
“They’re very good for giving massages,” he said.
I wondered if I should let the answer slide, or call out that I noticed it was an evasion of the question. I shook my head. Maybe I was just imagining it.
“All right,” I said, sprawling out on my belly. “Show me.”
I was skeptical that the wooden roll could do any good — I’d seen old-fashioned massagers before, but they tended to be a little more…contoured. Yet as the fox straddled my rump and leaned his weight into rolling it over my back, the pressure cut through all resistance and left me with a sense of loose relaxation like I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Reynard laughed at my moan of appreciation, and continued rolling out my back, forcing through tensions I didn’t even know I had. “Good, isn’t it?”
“Good. Just close your eyes there and think about how nice and relaxing that is.” The pin rolled over each of my shoulders in turn. “Some find it helpful to count out the strokes, as a kind of meditation…like counting sheep. Think about that — one, two, three…”
He trailed off, and I continued the counting on my own. Slow, sensuous movements worked over every part of my back, and somewhere around the count of a hundred he moved to straddle my shoulders and started rolling out my rump and thighs. “Let’s count downwards now,” he said, “Feeling all good and relaxed. Counting down like an elevator going into a deep, deep basement.”
I wasn’t so sure about that metaphor, nor exactly why he was so obviously trying to hypnotize me — well, it was probably more of that magician nonsense — but I was feeling pretty good so I went on playing along.
By the time I had counted back down towards zero, I actually was starting to get pretty drowsy, the fox sliding off my back to murmur words of sleep and restfulness and trance in my ear before rolling over my limbs and tail.
“Just about done… How do you feel?”
I mumbled something about how deeply relaxed I felt, but added that I didn’t feel like I was actually hypnotized or anything.
Reynard laughed — and went on laughing for probably a little too long.
“What’s so funny?”
“If you think that’s all I was doing to you, then the distraction was effective. Go on, try and sit up.”
My body was so loose and relaxed that I didn’t really want to, but I was starting to mistrust the fox.
I couldn’t move anything below my face.
“I’ve always been interested in new ways of fattening people up, and I thought — why not start with someone absolutely thin? Not like a regular skinny person — I’d make someone paper-thin and be responsible for every last inch of their thickness. It’s a really incredible process, and yet so simple. Look!”
I couldn’t turn my head to look, but he took hold of my feet, which felt wrong in a way I couldn’t describe, and moved them, which felt wrong in a different way — like each inch was being pressed against itself.
“See how easy it is to just roll you up like a rug? Heck — you’d make a great blanket till we get some meat back on your bones — well, not that you’ll actually have bones anymore, but you know what I mean.”
“What the hell, man! I can’t — ”
“You can’t resist,” he interposed. “You’re so intrigued by the idea that you can’t even be properly angry. You can’t help but want to go along with everything I have in mind for you.”
I ought to be resisting harder, but I just couldn’t bring myself to disagree with the fox. “What… What happens to me afterwards? And…what about my family?”
It took a moment for the fox to come up with an answer: “They’ll be told you have a new job. And I’ll be compensating you for the time I take away from you, so it won’t even be a lie. All you have to do is agree.”
I didn’t have to think hard to realize that it was already too late for me — “agreeing” needn’t have any effect on what he was going to do to me — and disagreeing might make it worse. Better to have the promise of a paycheck out of it than end up as curtains or something, I thought.
“All right,” I said.
The rolling pin pressed hard against the back of my head, and with only a couple of firm strokes the weight of him was flattening my skull under it, all the way out to the tip of my muzzle. It was a lot harder to make out what was going on with my brain reduced to a single layer, but I could still feel the warmth of his paws and the drape of my body over his shoulder as he carried me off to start my new life.