“Okay, there’s the breakers in that locker behind the bedroom door, and there’s the last closet, and the bathroom’s right handy here,” Emma said. She rummaged in her purse. “I’ve got the name of the service here where you call them and they come empty the sewage from the tank underneath between the boat pontoons–”
“We’re good,” Keisha said. “Let me go get Seung settled here, get him comfortable, and then I’ll be ready to fall over too.”
Emma looked up at her. “Do you need help pushing him up from the clinic?”
“Nope, me and Peach got it, but thanks. We got plenty left from lunch, thanks to you, so we don’t need to work on dinner.”
“Is that enough meat for Peach? I wasn’t sure if she liked crawfish–”
“Oh yeah, she’s fine with it, she gets hungry she eats,” Keisha said firmly. “You go on home and get your boys settled down, you’ll need some rest, from all I heard.”
Emma looked up at her, surprised.
“Goin’ in to heat,” Keisha said. “Dance told me some. I think I got some idea what we’re lookin’ at, over here, and I guess sleep don’t come into it that much.”
Emma sighed, and nodded “You call if you need anything.”
“I will,” Keisha said, and closed the front door.
“Nice lady,” Peach said, munching on something from a carton of leftover Vietnamese takeout food. “Smell good.”
Trust Emma to know where to find a grungy little shack in town where they sold pho and heart-attack-hot stir fry and weird shellfish–the kind of place that was only open when the guy got back from fishing.
“Yeah,” Keisha said.
“Smell like lots of petting Dance,” Peach said. “And Drin. Smell good. Oooh, lots petting.” And she ran her hand up her thigh, smiling up at Keisha.
“Oh, like her boys are really happy getting petted?” Keisha said.
“Yeah.” She nodded, grinning. “Lots washing, lots fucking, lots latex.”
“Do you like getting petted too, mama?”
“Mmm,” Peach said, and offers her sticky mouth up for kissing, too. They knew Seung was waiting impatiently at the clinic to be hauled back to a proper bed, but it didn’t, for a few moments, matter. Not when Peach’s legs were sliding along Keisha’s hand, and Peach was rubbing herself ecstatically into Keisha’s thigh. “Like you fucking me so much,” Peach whispered, licking at Keisha’s mouth and jaw and neck and downward. Keisha was suddenly not tired at all.
Keisha lifted Peach’s pert furry little fanny up onto the bare kitchen counter, yanked those cute pink new panties down in about ten seconds flat, and her kitty gal was squirming happily out of her bra, yowling, when Keisha stopped and blinked.
“Christ, what am I thinking? We got Seung waiting for us. Drive him nuts, smelling this when he wasn’t there. No, no, stop. Get dressed. I’m gonna make you very happy, little miss, but you get the clothes on right now, and we’ll see about making Seung like petting too.”
She grinned, and squirmed. Her tail thumped the counter emphatically, all five inches of it.
“You know Seung loves petting you,” Keisha reminded her, and Peach brightened up.
“I like petting Seung’s pussy,” she said.
“Yeah?” Keisha grinned at her. “Does he like you petting his stuff?”
“Lots! He show me, he gets pussy like us too,” Peach nodded. “He say his stuff stay inside pussy. Do cock grow inside my pussy?”
“I don’t think so, mama. I think you’ll just have that nice woman-button in front of your vagina, like I showed you. Hop down.”
Peach sighed, and shoved her feet in the new sandals, and pulled up her clothes again. Her tail wiggled around in her pants. It was enough to make anybody long to get them all off again instantly. “I like kissing pussy and button,” Peach said. “And Seung’s cock. Smell good.”
Keisha grunted, and locked the front door with the keys Emma gave them. Those keys, and accepting the credit card from them–from Drin–that was one of the hardest things she’d ever done. Drin assured her that the card was safer to avoid drawing attention from Seung’s ex-bosses, so they couldn’t track where Seung was. When she argued for leaving as soon as Seung can sit up for four or five hours, to widen their search radius, Drin agreed, looking worried. He said they’d work on finding some other places that might be safe for them to visit for awhile. Maybe the horse farm, to start off. Like everybody else, he was convinced that Fozzie’s outrageous wife was her aunt Lacey. Ridiculous.
“Okay, enough kissing, time to walk now,” Keisha said, and tugged Peach’s clothes back into order.
Seung was not in any shape for anything much when they got him home and got him washed up and they finally rolled him into bed. It was impossible to avoid seeing what happened to his ass and his back. On the gurney he could only turn on his side, curled up in something like a fetal position, because he couldn’t get comfortable. There was a bandage over the ragged hole between his shoulder blades, in the meat fairly high up his spine, and from what she had seen under the dressing, Keisha could tell the scar tissue will make it look like he’d been shot. And there was that tail growing off his ass, pushing out between the round bulgy muscles of his buttocks. It was about the size of a toy snake. It glittered and twitched and curled, jerking up off the sheets as if it hurt to lay on one side too long.
“Peach, wouldja get me that lotion, we’ll try that first,” Keisha said. She had taught Peach how to put the lotion on without wasting any of it. The sigh they got from Seung was reward enough. Peach had to spend awhile washing the stuff out of her fur, and by the time she came back to the bedroom, humming like a kid, Seung had rolled happily onto his stomach, hogging most of the queen-sized bed and all of the pillows, and he’d gone right to sleep. Such a guy thing, sprawl out, arms and legs everywhere. She could tell the tail will be everywhere too.
“Okay, Peach mama, we are going to sit here on the chair and sort out where we’re putting the laundry basket and you can just put all those nice new clothes into the hamper right now. Every last stitch. No, not the sandals.”
Peach giggled at her own joke.
“C’mon, stop teasing, into the shower with you, mama,” Keisha said, with a light smack on the butt.
“Do I get my tail grow like Seung?” Peach asked her while they’re washing under the blessedly cool water.
“Well, I don’t think so,” Keisha said. “You think you’d be okay with it if you did grow more tail?”
“Oh yes! Seung’s tail so pretty, I kiss it, make tail so happy. Seung come in his clothes. Tail and him all fall asleep,” Peach said, dancing in place and singing some kind of kid-TV song. Something about a big blue bear in a big blue house.
Keisha blinked. “Kissing it made his tail feel better?”
“Pretty tail,” Peach said, nodding. “Make me so happy, Seung not hurting, sleep good.”
“Peach, you are so nice,” Keisha said, and kissed her. “You find anything that makes it stop hurting, you tell me about it, right?”
Peach hugged her. “I run tell you.”
“Do you know anything else makes him stop hurting?”
Peach stopped scrubbing soap under her breasts and thought about it. It was a very distracting sight. “No hurt when Seung come, I suck him and sit on his cock. We careful on his back.”
“When was that?” Keisha said, a little sharply.
“We careful, promise,” Peach said. “Not yesterday, before yesterday. You busy, umm, buy clothes? I use rubber, make Seung happy. Not hurt.”
“Yeah, I think he’d walk over broken glass and not notice it when he’s fucking,” Keisha agreed, wryly.
“Broken glass baaad,” Peach said, frowning, and then she cracked up into laughter at the look on Keisha’s face. “I joke you! I joke!”
“It’s a great joke,” Keisha said.
Peach dropped the liquid soap bottle and the washcloth and flung her arms extravagantly around Keisha and leaned into her. “You make me happy.”
“I know, mama, you make me so happy too,” Keisha said, and hugged a pile of wet, shedding, furry girl.
She knew it was a mistake, but she did it anyway, and paid the price. Loose fur came off on her everywhere. It was like wallowing in a horsehair blanket.
At least Peach was happy about getting washed. She couldn’t reach everything with her mouth, the way a true cat would do to groom itself, although Keisha had seen her lick her forearms to soothe herself when she was nervous. Her skin still sweated like an ape or a monkey or a human, so she needed to bathe. A bath was still a festival of hair in the towels. “Gaaaah.” Keisha rinsed off her face hastily.
Emma and Keisha both nodded in agreement over buying a hair trap for every drain in the place, but Keisha was the one who will have to keep up with it.
“I fuzz you!” Peach exclaimed, laughing, with her hair all pushed every which way, and the longer fur on her scalp pointed like a kewpie doll’s, laughing.
Keisha looked at her. “And I’m gonna towel you dry within an inch of your life!”
Peach shrieked and darted out of the bathroom, laughing. Tickling was involved. Towels were used with total abandon. But Peach proved to like the new hair dryer a lot. She pranced around singing to it as if it was a microphone, making silly echoey noises with it and striking silly poses. She was very funny. And loud. Keisha saw Seung wake up for a moment, eyes barely open, and then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep, but he was smiling.
Keisha had the feeling she’d be buying a lot of hair dryers in the future. Probably track her by a trail of hair dryer purchases everywhere they go. Keisha took the time to teach Peach not to leave it in a puddle of water, how to turn it off, and how to unplug it safely, and she was doing it all right so far.
Thank God that Peach remembered how to do things once she was taught.
Peach was the one who solemnly cleaned out the bathtub hair trap, who gathered up all the towels and threw them into the little apartment-sized washing machine and carefully poured in soap and set the machine to running, the way Emma showed her. She looked incredibly cute and very naked and the late afternoon light caught gorgeous tints of steel blue on her fur. There were darker gray stripes along the five-inch stub of her tail. Her head-hair was still sticking up like a kewpie-doll’s, too.
“Good,” Keisha said, and held out her arms. “Get your comb and c’mere, mama, and get a kiss for being so helpful. You remember how to run the clothes dryer too?”
Peach sat on the chair between her knees, snuggling up into Keisha’s shoulder. “I do,” she said.
Keisha started using the light plastic comb, making her wriggle with pleasure. Holding things hurt Keisha’s hands, and she did it anyway.
“Ohh, ooh, there, itch,” Peach said, presenting herself this way and that, until her fur was totally dry and gleaming and beautiful. Using conditioner for afro-hair was one of Keisha’s more inspired ideas. She suspected that Peach was getting allergic to the cheap soap they’d used on the road, and in the clinic.
“I think you came out gorgeous,” Keisha said, satisfied. By that point Peach was lolling in her arms, totally relaxed. She gave a yawn, tongue curling. Keisha sighed, and poured her into bed along with Seung, and went to dump the wads of combed shed hair in the trash. Then she threw the clean wet towels into the dryer, and threw out more wads of hair from the washer’s tiny lint trap. She was pathetically grateful to have the dryer. She’d heard people complaining how things didn’t dry out when they were hung on a line down on the bayou; they just fell apart in the dripping humidity. Emma warned her she had to to turn their clothes in the closet and wash them every few weeks and put them on open shelving or they’d mold in place.
She was beginning to believe Emma meant it when she said taking care of Dance in the early days was a full-time job by itself. Figuring out how to handle the technical problems was going to keep her asking nosy questions as long as she dared to stick around this bayou.
Keisha flopped in the chair, leant her head back, and watched her two partners sleeping. The knot in her throat ached. What was she thinking, promising them that things would be okay? She should leave them here and take off, remove her unsafe presence, go do something about hurling that damn laptop about 100 fathoms down.
The simplest things became a huge obstacle when she didn’t know who Seung’s bosses were, or what their resources were. She and Emma and Drin went round and round on whether it was safe to reveal her identity by checking into her old online resources. They said wait. They were waiting to hear from somebody else down the bayou who was gone, who’d left to go talk somewhere to some group called the Knights who could maybe bring in some medical resources to help Doctor Alexander in this place.
She could just go on the run, or she could wait and take these two with her once Seung healed up, but how smart was that? God help her if either of them got hurt out there, away from this place. How the hell did Alexander fiddle his records at the clinic so he avoided revealing this patient had a tail like an anaconda and didn’t even show up on X-rays? Or that one had retractable claws, a rough tongue like a cat, and incisors about about half the size of a baboon’s?
How in hell would she get any other doctor to do it?
But she made promises, and there they were, sleeping. Both of their tails were curled in the same curve on the sheets. There were birds calling outside and water slapping and the drone of cicadas going and the sound of somebody, distantly, singing.
The way it echoed, she wondered if the singing might even be Dance, down there at their houseboat on the other side of the clinic. Sounded like he was yodeling or singing opera or pig-calling or some damn thing. It was sure not your average folk-singing hoedown stuff. Keisha looked at Seung in alarm. Was he going to start doing noisy stuff like that?
There was absolutely no doubt whatever that Praise the Lord and pass the hosannas, somebody was getting laid, and was really truly happy about it in a big way. And he was getting louder.
People said he could get really loud, but nobody warned her that he could frighten the frogs into silence– Christ, did he do that when he was– oh shit, he does.
Keisha grinned. Oh yeah, there he goes. Push him off the cliff, and hear him howl.
Emma was just going to die when she got kidded about it later on. Keisha has an idea or two about the locals, now she’d met a few of them, and she knew the sheriff, Tee Pom, will tease them about it. Tee Pom would tease anybody about it. He’d teased Keisha about it, warning her about what to expect.
But damn, that man sounded like he was having a good time falling off that cliff.