||The Kissing Booth
Dan squirmed, trying to sink back into that infinitely comfortable
black void of sleep. Tried to catch the fragments of dream, something
"Hey." The hand prodded his shoulder again, and he blinked his
eyes open. A ray of sunlight lit the room, and he closed them again,
groaning. "Aw. Go ‘way."
"It’s almost eight. Class at nine, right?" He opened his
eyes again, found Sean standing next to his bed. The black fox looked
"All right." Rubbing his eyes, he rolled over and stuck out his
legs, sitting up in bed. There was something off. "What the
"That’s what I said." Sean grinned at him. "Sleeping Au
Naturale, eh?" Dan shook his head. Not only was he sleeping
on top of the coverlet, the bed still made, but he was naked. As
naked as a furry gets, anyway. "Weird."
"Got drunk, huh?" Sean chuckled. "Again?" Dan half-snarled
"No, damn it. You know I get drunk about once a semester.
Last time was enough…" His voice trailed off. Pulling open
the drawer under his bed, he dug out a pair of shorts. But… "Where
are my clothes from last night?" He stole a glance at the laundry
basket in his open locker. No black T-shirt there, no white shorts,
and no sneakers.
"Dunno. I woke up and saw you sleeping like that. Didn’t
think to ask dumb questions." Sean grinned again. "So, want
to talk about it?"
"Bah." Dan pulled the shorts on, button-fly in back for his short
tail and in front for necessities. "I want to know where my…wallet."
He put his hand on it, right there next to the TV on the counter that ran
along the window side of the room. Next to the wallet, his car keys.
Three dollars and some coins in his wallet, he saw. He’d had twenty....
Sean was poking him in the shoulder, then patting it. "Stop that."
"No, man." Dan turned to look, and found the fox goggling at
him. "It’s your fur." He kept right on patting until Dan brushed
his hand away. "Fur?" He turned, looked in the mirror.
A badger looked back at him. Shorter than the fox behind him,
yellow-gray fur, broad body, shoulders so sloped he didn’t have much of
a neck. Like a wrestler, which he’d been in high school.
Black facefur with those bold white stripes. Not as morphic as a
lot of furs...sheathtip poked out of his shorts, and he buttoned them,
a blush reddening the fur inside his ears. "What?"
"I don’t know where you were last night, but you are sure clean."
Sean leaned in, sniffed his shoulder now. "I mean, you are CLEAN.
You aren’t this clean when you get out of the shower."
Dan looked at his forearm, sniffed it. Like all mustelids, his
skin secreted oil that kept his fur healthy, incidentally giving him a
lot of his personal body odor. As long as he showered every day,
he wasn’t too bad to be around. But now, his fur was almost odorless.
No scent of shampoo or soap, and plain water didn’t take out the oil like
that. He sniffed…"Holy shit."
"What?" Sean blinked. "Problem?"
Dan help up his hand wordlessly, pads toward the fox. It took
Sean a minute.
"What happened to the scar?" The fox peered at his palm.
Two weeks ago, Dan had been at an illicit poker party down the hall, and
had drunk rather more than a badger should. Despite his strong constitution,
he had rapidly become tipsy, finally toppling off the chair and landing
on his beer bottle. Which had incontinently shattered, giving him
a cut the nurse had needed eight stitches to close. The still-pinkish
scar had reminded him that badgers’ rapid digestion soaked up alcohol fast.
It was gone, now. Dan just blinked.
"Hey, where were you last night? It has to have something to
do with that."
Dan found himself sitting, again. Just looking at his hand.
His hand, and his clean, clean fur. "What the fuck is going on…."
"Man, where were you last night?"
"I went to the carnival with Randy and Mike…."
* * *
University of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, was not the most prestigious
college Dan had applied to. But the engineering program was well-regarded,
and Dan liked the fact that it was a lot closer to home than the state
U in Arizona, the other interested school. Downside: Mostly small-town
sorts of entertainments. That wasn’t so bad; Dan was a country badger
at heart. So his friends the stoat and ram hadn’t had any trouble
getting him to go to the traveling carnival on Sunday night.
It was a loud place. Music blared, a local band playing in the
beer tent, and the rides and barkers added to the din. Hundreds of
furries crowded the grassy aisles between the rides, the booths with food
and drink and games, the ice cream stand he stopped at. He lost track
of his friends quickly, seeing them last when they vanished into the little
arcade with handfuls of tokens. Lots of children, and teenagers,
and local girls. Eyeing them casually made the evening go by quickly
He found himself in a line, forced willy-nilly there by a press of
people exiting the beer tent. Crowded in next to a half-drunken goat,
he went with the flow, and as the crowd parted, he stepped away.
But the goat grabbed his shoulder.
"What, na’ gonna buy a kiss?" The goat leered at him, cackling.
Dan flicked an ear at the weirdo…then saw where the line led. ‘Kissing
Booth – Kisses, $1.’ The sign said. Dan had to smile.
"Nah, man. Not tonight…" He paused. A cougar and
a wolf were in line ahead of him, both almost fully anthro and broad shouldered,
too tall to see past. But he got a glimpse of one of the women in
the booth. A white-furred vixen, shapely and athletic-looking.
He’d always liked the look of a vixen’s face, and the rest of her was just
as appealing. With no real goal for the next few minutes, he idled
in line, sneaking glances at her.
* * *
"We were at the carnival…I was, anyway. I don’t know where the
others got to. There was a kissing booth, so I stood in line – Don’t
grin like that, a lot of carnivals have those, it’s nothing dirty.
Anyway, I was looking at the vixen in the booth…."
* * *
And then he was to the head of the line, and eyeing the vixen anything
but casually. She leaned against the counter with a grin, tapping
the box she’d been sticking dollar bills into, and waved away the cougar
she’d just kissed. Dan had to admit, she had made the cat stagger.
He reached for his wallet…and saw the sheathtip there, almost hidden in
her belly fur.
She…shi…read his expression at once. "It’s all right. I
get that a lot. Have a fun evening." Shi giggled, and showed
him the little paper tag he’d have had for a dollar along with his kiss:
‘Kissed by Shirra’. Shi was so cheerful, Dan almost had to lean in
and kiss anyway…but herms made him vaguely nervous, and shi did sport the
most amazing set of canines. He turned, found a crowd in the way,
made to sidle past the other way along the front of the booth…and met the
eyes of the other woman in the booth.
Black and white fur, something like a skunkette…but not quite.
Her muzzle was pointed, cheeks broad, muscles standing out of her jaws
as though she chewed bones for her entertainment. Thick neck, sloped
shoulders, and, as he looked lower, four small breasts on a slinky, black-furred
torso. Four arms as well, wrapped in fur so black it shone, blue
highlights from the lights glossing the curves. For white, an almost
raccoon-like mask, though the colors inverted, white around and below her
eyes and trailing back in stripes to run beneath her ears. And such
eyes: Black, so black, utterly unreadable, like polished obsidian.
She…smiled…back, lifting long, white whiskers, and Dan saw her tail move,
fluffy and doublestriped as a skunkette’s.
"Um." Dan fidgeted, glancing at the strong arms, still somehow
feminine, the musteline flexibility of her body, as she turned to giggle
at the vixen. ‘Shirra’ giggled back, and they both stared at him.
"Hi." She smiled again, not with her lips, which hardly moved,
but with a lift of white whiskers on chops and above her eyes. There
was a touch of color to her, after all, a pink nose just about the size
of his thumbpad. He resisted the urge to touch one to the other,
and glanced down to make sure no male bits were hiding. But she seemed
female enough…if alien.
"Well, O badger…" She tapped one of four clawed fingers on the
counter, making six digits with the two opposing clawless thumbs, and leaned
forward. "Will it be a kiss?"
Dan hesitated, then turned away. "Um, thank you anyway."
He padded off, hearing giggles above the music.
* * *
"…And there was this skunkette, well, not really, but close.
She and the vixen giggled at me, but I didn’t want to kiss either…the skunkette
was really strange looking. So I went looking for Mike and Randy…."
* * *
But, somehow, he was back in the line again. This time, next
to a raccoon even shorter than himself.
"Isn’t she gorgeous?" The raccoon sighed. "She’s so…exotic."
"Gorgeous." Dan tasted the word. He wouldn’t have picked
it. "She’s…menacing. Did you see how muscular her jaws were?
I half expected her to try to take a bite out of me."
"Or a kiss." The little coon giggled. "She and the vixen
both nibble on you. I think my nose is scratched from last time."
He rubbed the black pad. "They’re both knockouts."
Dan shook his head. "I was looking at the vixen, till I saw it
was a shi. And then, that skunkette…thing." He waved a long-clawed
"OK, they are weird." She coon chuckled. "So why are you
Dan had to think about that. And, next thing he knew, the coon
was locking muzzles with the vixen, and he was staring the ‘exotic’ skunk
in the eyes. Not wavering, he plunked a bill on the counter.
And she reached for him.
Strong, padded hands gripped at his shoulders, his hips, sliding familiarly
under clothing to rub his fur, as her muzzle drew close. She didn’t
wait for him to invite a kiss, or accept one; she thrust it upon him, pressing
her muzzle to his own, her lips parting. Fangs scraped over his chin
and nose gently as she…enveloped…his muzzle.
He jerked back, or tried to. Her sleek pelt disguised muscles
like braided metal, and she held him to her, her tongue stroking out to
tickle his cheek and ear before she began to withdraw. And a last
tickle, of her tongue on his own, as his jaw dropped. Grinning, she
rested her muzzle on one hand, and he found himself staggering to the side
as a bear behind him pushed to the fore.
A last glimpse, as the bear slapped down his dollar, and the skunkette
had turned to say something to the vixen. They grinned at each other,
and Dan looked at the female’s black and white back, curled, intricate
stripes, like the pattern of veins on a leaf. From the back, she
didn't look intimidating at all.
* * *
"And I felt something in my hand." He grimaced at the leer Sean
gave him. "It was a tag, like the one 'Shirra' would have given me.
It read 'Kissed by Strega.'
* * *
He turned the bit of cardboard nervelessly in his fingers, and found
a number on the back. 502. Why numbered?
It was late, now. The crowds were beginning to thin. And,
again, he was in the line. He fidgeted as he waited, not even noticing
that same raccoon trying to engage him in conversation. The line
dragged on…and, finally, he saw her again. She flashed him that smile,
just as she was leaning in to kiss a rabbit. He was sure the smile
was for him, then thought it was for the rabbit, muzzle buried in the skunkette's
and tail twitching happily. He made to leave the line, stopped, began
to step away again, and couldn't. It wasn't that she was making him
horny, he thought. Though there was that, too.
She was just…what had he said earlier? Dangerous.
He stepped up to take his kiss, and she turned to whisper to Shirra.
She barely murmured, but Dan's ears were better than most anyone's he knew.
"Do you think Elly can cover for me tomorrow?"
The vixen eyed him covertly. "Only one day? He's almost
as big as you."
"I'll manage." Strega turned back to him, and Dan puzzled over
the supposedly secret conversation. Why would his size be important?
He lost the train of thought, though, as she smiled with that whisker-twitch.
"I see you're back, badgery one. Do you know, the booth closes
in a few minutes." Her chops wrinkled, an effort at a more normal
smile, and Dan found himself smiling back. "And I haven't eaten all
day. Could I prevail upon you to be my escort?"
So it was he and she padded off together, her lower left hand tracing
a fingerpad along his spine. It tickled, and she rubbed at the root
of his tail, starting a tingle that threatened to transfer itself to his
groin. He looked away, a little embarrassed, and then chuckled when
her stomach gurgled so loudly he could hear it over the music. "Hungry,
She nodded. "Oh, yes." She rubbed his tailroot again.
"We could stop somewhere, or eat at my place…" He blinked.
"How far…We've just met."
She giggled, a hoarse and growly sound. "Farther than you expect,
He shook his head just a fraction, then smiled. Her strange looks
were beginning to grow on him. "Should I take you dancing first?"
"No." The half-smile was back, and the lifted whiskers.
"I think dinner is enough."
* * *
"…And I remember going to the booth one more time. I think.
The line…I think I may have given up. I remember thinking that I
shouldn't even be in line. And then…" Dan gestured helplessly.
Sean rubbed his chin. "Well, the carnival opens at 4, I think.
I suppose we could go by tonight. Looking at you, though…well, you
sure seem OK."
Dan sighed, and dug through the drawers for another shirt. His
favorite, black with glow in the dark constellations, was still missing,
but he had class in half an hour. "I guess."
* * *
In the dark of her den, Strega lay curled, her doublestriped tail wrapped
like a cloak about herself. She woke from her doze, and slowly stroked
her fingers over the bulk of her swollen, pregnant-looking middle.
There was still a shape there, bulging through the fur heavily, but she
could feel it was softer now, further along the digestive process.
Even though she'd assumed a slightly larger shape to feed, the badger was
a heavy meal, and she settled down again to let her stomach have more energy
to work. By now the new badger had woken, and perhaps wondered how
he had lost those hours, how he had gotten home. The technology she
employed to copy her prey was very different from the magic Shirra used,
but on this world, just as mysterious. With a hiccup, she rolled
onto her side, and drifted back into her digestive torpor. Plenty
of time to absorb this one, filling her belly and needs for a few days,
until she chose the next to give her special kiss….