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Book 1 – Chapter 2 – Summoning – Part 3

Trisha was lightening up by the time I left. She had a shift at the bookstore on Sunday, so she had to shoo me out early. Out of all the pictures she had taken, I was satisfied with three. We were relieved that we agreed on those.

For the first time I walked the streets of Boston with my tail behind me, scared stiff I would be assaulted. I had one more limb to grab, and the drunks were already out. I calmed down when I crossed the road into the T station and passed through the turnstile with as little fuss as I could make. Nothing was wrong. Some people had fully functional tails growing from their backs, which curled perfectly to avoid the skin.

I was lucky enough to find a row of empty seats on the next train. I put my feet up to rest them, and coaxed the tail to spread beside me.

My neck burned as two grizzled old men gawked at me across the aisle. “Hey, honey,” the fat one said to me. “Nice boots. Mrr. Rawr.” They had shrunken jeans jackets which barely covered their chests. Their sweatshirts had the image of a black dog squatting. Their sneakers had an extra layer of filth mixed with the snow. They didn’t seem to care how gross they had become. I took out my cell phone and pretended to hunt for a number.

The thinner one wasn’t fazed at all. “Show us your boobs,” he said. They did not try to stand up. I didn’t know if they could.

At the next stop, two teenage girls rushed in, wearing PVC and chains. They collapsed on the other side of the door from the men, who turned to drool at them. I watched idly, in case of trouble.

“Hey, cuties,” the fat man said, “you girls together? Hot lesbo love?”

The girls glanced at each other. The one with the pink wig said, “She’s my sister, asshole.”

“Oh,” the man said. He looked at his friend and back. “Will you and her make out for us?” he said.

The girls whispered to each other, and the pink one stared at him. “Okay,” she said. “We’ll do it for fifty bucks. Cash. Right now.”

The men took ten seconds to react, which must have been ten years in drunken space. They pulled out every crumpled bill they had. The thin man shook his head.

The fat man shouted at me, “Hey, can I borrow some money? Twenty bucks? I’ll pay you right back.”

I glared at him. My tail twitched slowly.

The two men heaved themselves up and walked to every rider in our cab. They asked the same question, and came away with nothing. They had gold watches on their wrists and gold rings on their fingers, and didn’t even think to take them off.

“You won’t take thirty?” the fat man said to the girls. They raised their price to sixty. The blood rushed out of the men’s faces. They sat down and drooped their heads.

I lost them in the crowd at Downtown Crossing, and then I laughed.

The usual neighbors had their trance music cranked up when I came home. I twitched when I turned on the lights. My painting “Foxdykes in Space” hung over the futon. I had forgotten I put it up.

My answering machine flashed. Simon’s voice warbled when I hit the button.

“Hi, how did it go?” he said. “Call me when you have a chance.”

I dialed him immediately before he had the chance to stew more. He picked up quickly. “Hey, it’s me,” I said. “You should have come. It was intense. I could have used your help. It actually worked. The tail’s pretty calm now.”

He would have run screaming if he had actually watched us, but I wouldn’t rub it in.

“Really?” he said. “I really want to see it now. You guys did a scene to make it work?”

“Not really,” I said. “We didn’t do any power play. We did a little caning, that’s all. It still stings.”

“Oh,” he said.

“I did want you there,” I said. “What’s the matter?”

“Did you sleep with her?” he said.

I almost yelled at him. “No, and what do you care? You’ve never been into girls.”

“I know,” he said. “But I haven’t seen Chet for so long. I guess I don’t like to hear about other people, you know, getting it on.”

I snatched a peanut butter ball from the cabinet and unwrapped it slowly. My tail rested against my leg. “Was I bad when I was with Della?”

“A little.”

I leaned against the counter. “Tell me about it,” I said.

I wanted to hear it all, so I could get good and pissy at him and be done with it. I chewed loud enough so he would hear, and waited for my day’s hazing to end.

Categories: Book 1 - How Cheryl Got Her Tail, Chapter 2 - Summoning.

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