The Bureau

A fox goes to the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management for a routine appointment and runs afoul of red tape. Mature.

Robin found the yellow envelope waiting in his mailbox on Thursday. It announced, in thick letters, that it was his final notice from the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, and that he needed to renew his license by Friday or it would be revoked. As well as the final notice, it was also the first notice, and the only notice, that Robin had gotten.

The thought of letting his license lapse as some sort of protest came to mind, but then Robin remembered what a nightmare his friend Nick had gone through when he'd gotten his license revoked. He didn't even get his old name back; he'd had to take a crummy public-access name like Reginald.

So shortly after noon and still a little sleepy, Robin tugged the garage door open, threaded himself between his apartment-mates' cars, and climbed into his own. It wasn't a long drive, but he didn't want to leave his license's fate to the whims of the local bus route.


The building of the Bureau of Orthomorphic Management looked like a brick of tofu. It did have windows and doors, which aren't features of tofu, but even the un-tofu parts of the Bureau building were infused with that bland simplicity. Robin imagined vandalizing its facade with spraycans of sauce and spices.

There was a short concrete walkway that led to the front door, guarded by railings made lumpy by so many re-applied coats of black paint. Beside the double doors were two plastic signs mounted to the wall. The first said, 'Bureau of Orthomorphic Management, Regional Office'. Below, next to a small intercom, was the second sign. A drawing showed a stick-figure with large tusks hunched over, trying to fit through a door too short for them. 'Persons needing assistance please press button,' it said.

Robin pulled the door open and stepped inside. The top of the doorframe cleared his ears with two feet to spare. Foxes like him weren't the tallest species, but you'd have to be a giraffe to have trouble with the front door.

Past the front doors, Robin came to the lobby. The lobby was meant to have a directory. But at some point, someone had thought to pin up a sign directing visitors to their department. Then everyone else had realized what a good idea that was, and by now, the lobby had grown into a jungle of signage. Sheets of printer paper with arrows were taped to the walls and pinned to bulletin boards and stapled on top of each other, all begging the reader to follow their directions.

If you were coming to see the Exercise and Fitness Approval Board, that was on the other end of the building. Nonstandard Locomotion Permits could be found on the sixth floor, stairwell access only. The Body Planner's Office announced that it was "on the Mezzanine", which Robin thought was likely a made-up word to trick young interns.

Striped Success

A TransCo subsidiary motel chain turns a young woman into a confident business-skunk. Explicit. A young woman staying at a hotel before a business conference turns into a confident, professional skunk-girl. Explicit.

It was the end of her New York-to-Chicago car drive. Tori just wanted to fall asleep, but every hotel near the conference center was booked up tight, and the closest hotel she'd been able to find on short notice was the one-star Come On Inn. Carrying her suit for the conference tomorrow and her backpack, she stepped into her room. It smelled like cigarette smoke. They didn't have any non-smoking; she'd asked.

'Welcome to the Come On Inn, a TransCo subsidiary!' a typo-laden note on the bedside stand began. Tori sat on the edge of the bed and read the note between groggy blinks. It offered her to 'Please make use of the complementary hair freshener.' She looked back at the stand, where a small, blank, white box sat. She popped it open, tore open the plastic wrap, and pulled out the cone-shaped air freshener.

It gave off a pleasantly clean scent, cool and almost floral. It was refreshing after the dry, tarry smell of cigarette smoke. She set the freshener down by the floor AC unit and turned the fan up to high. The fresh smell rolled through the air, starting to permeate the room. While the room freshened itself up, she grabbed the bag with her toothpaste and toothbrush from her pack.

Tori watched herself in the bathroom mirror as she brushed her teeth. She looked worn down and strung out from the car ride. Her face was bleary, eyes baggy, brown hair mussed from being pushed up against the headrest for hours on end. In her casual clothes, she looked even more young and scrawny than usual. And here she was, only a junior associate, about to represent her whole company tomorrow.

Something about her face didn't seem entirely right. Tori squinted into the mirror and pressed a finger to her nose. The skin on the tip was darkened and purple. The whole thing seemed oddly swollen, the tip broader and more bulbous. She sniffed, but didn't smell anything out of place. She tapped on the tip of her nose, then squeezed both fingers around it, trying to see if it was tender, but no. She tried rubbing at the bottom, but the color didn't come off. She twisted her mouth to one side, then the other. It looked kind of like a little snout.

The Hyena in the Honeymoon

Dick and Janet have some car trouble, so they stop for help at a mad scientist's home. Explicit.

Janice reached out one paw and switched off the radio. The inside of the car was starting to smell like radiator fluid.

"Are you all right, honey?"

Dick grasped his forehead where a bump was slowly rising against his fingers. "I'm fine—Jesus, that was some kick," he said.

Dick opened the door, climbed out of the driver's seat and popped open the hood of his car to be greeted with a plume of smoke. The tiger stepped back, eyes closed, coughing.

"Looks like the radiator blew. I could fix it, but I'd need some tools."

Janice climbed out of the car and Dick took just a moment to soak her in, lit up by the headlights. From her silky dark bob to her polka dot dress to her frankly fantastic legs, all of the beautiful skunk was his to have and to hold: his brand new wife.

"What are we going to do? We're in the middle of nowhere," Janice said.