By Vic James

Copyright 2013 by Vic James



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This story is fiction. None of the characters are based on real people.

You can see a list of my stories at


About Beasts

Beasts are transgenic creations. They are artificial animal-human hybrids, created through genetic manipulation. A Beast is normally identified as its animal half, capitalized. A human-dog hybrid is a Dog and a human-bear hybrid is a Bear. All of them have human brains, although their physiology does affect their psychology. They are now legally humans, although it took decades for laws to be changed. The first of them were created illegally. There were almost two thousand of them when their existence was made public. Those first Beasts had been created with artistry and care by a self-proclaimed mad scientist. And that was his plea at his trial. He was a scientist and he was mad. Dr. Rosenbloom's tongue-in-cheek behavior fascinated and infuriated in equal doses. His creations were attractive and erudite. They were also quite happy to be what they were. They were created ethically, for what they were. Virtual versions were grown and evaluated by Dr. Rosenbloom, both physically as well as psychologically before he began producing a line. He sold the psychological modeling software he developed for thirteen billion dollars. It is still used to evaluate the effect of psychiatric therapies and drugs before they are administered to patients. Rosenbloom's Beasts became media darlings. It was as though humans had finally contacted aliens, and they were us. Their faces were more human than animal. Gorillas and Chimps who shaved their faces and shaved or wore clothing over the hairier parts of their bodies could pass for humans. Beast faces had suggestions of the respective animal, but could never be confused with the animal. Dogs, for example had suggestions of snouts, rather than snouts. Their snouts were raised no more than a few millimeters above than the rest of the face. Rather than the typical black dog nose, their noses were flesh colored, but the skin had a different texture than the rest of their faces. All the animal facial cues were subtle. While all Beasts had hair on their faces, with most of them the facial hair was short and fine and barely visible from more than a meter away. Gorillas, for example had dark brown skin on their faces. The parts of a normal gorilla's face that would have hair, in Gorillas was covered with fine, short dark brown hair. The hair thickened and lengthened on their heads where hair would be on a human. Generally, Beast bodies were furred, although not completely. Gorillas and Chimps had hair on their bodies in mostly the same places as gorillas and chimps, but the body hair was much shorter. Dogs' and Wolves' chests and bellies were not furred, nor were Cheetahs, Tigers, and Lions. Most, but not all Beasts are bipeds, even when the animal half would not have been. A human-dog hybrid is capable of walking upright, as well as on all fours. All Apes are upright walkers and do not have physical features that helped their animal ancestors to climb. Chimps' feet look human. All Beasts have arms and hands, although many times they are not as functional as human hands. Dogs, for example have very short fingers. Even Horses have arms, which makes them look like mythological centaurs.

Initially, the legal status of Beasts was confused. Laws were be passed only to be revoked months later. Restrictive laws were passed in response to large-scale religious protests. After that, laws slowly loosened, and almost twenty years later, and two years after he was released from prison, Dr. Rosenbloom resumed what he called giving birth, and more Beasts were created. It is possible for a Beast to convert into a normal human through gene surgery. Dr. Rosenbloom perfected the process before he began producing Beasts. The animal DNA is removed and replaced with human DNA. However it is a very lengthy process and the Beast must remain unconscious and on life-support until it is completed. He revealed the process only after he was released from prison. He did not wish for his Beasts to be forcibly converted into humans. It is also possible, although just as difficult, for a human to become a Beast. Dr. Rosenbloom is still alive. He is almost four hundred years old. He changes himself every few years into one of his Beasts. He is now an Eagle, living in an aerie atop Mount McKinley.



I carried the box with my things out of the building. I held the door open for Vicky, another woman from my department who had gotten fired. The whole department was let go. I was used to it.

"You'd think they would be kind enough to dump our things out in the street!" she said. I couldn't see her. She was carrying two boxes. I wasn't exactly sure how she was seeing where she was going.

"I was so sure my plan would work," she said. Vicky thought if she volunteered to run the corporate charity, they wouldn't dare fire her. It sounded like a good idea to me, only it didn't work.

Dave came out of the building next. He wasn't carrying anything.

"Lucky me!" Dave said.

"The only personal thing I had at my desk when I left was a piece of toilet paper. Used."

I laughed. "You didn't!"

"I did! And it was hard to produce. I'd already been!"

Vicky screamed with laughter. We were all overcompensating, forcing ourselves to be cheerful.

We all agreed to stay in touch. I knew I would never speak to any of them again.

I put my box in my zapper. Then I sat.

"Home," I said.

I looked out the window and watched the other vehicles as the zipper slowly floated away

I didn't know what I was going to do about a job. I worked in financial services, and the companies were continuously buying each other. I think I had completed the entire cycle three times. It went something like this. I would get hired, then the company would be bought. I would be made redundant, and fired. Someone would quit or someone I used to work with would recommend me and I would get hired. The company would get bought by someone else and I would get fired. It was a little like a game, played by executives. I wasn't even a pawn. I was irrelevant.

I really wanted to do something different. Really different. Unfortunately, really different things didn't pay well, if they were fun. My rent was high because I lived in the Zone and I was human. As much as I hated it, I was afraid I was going to keep playing the job game.

I had moved into the Zone six months earlier, because of my fascination with Beasts, and also to annoy my father. My father suffered from what I called excessive-obsessive religiousness. He found everything sinful. He made me memorize the seven deadly sins before I learned to read. He particularly hated Bestiality. He thought it was the same thing as bestiality, despite the obvious differences. I had argued the subject with him before. "How is having sex with a Chimp with a medical degree the same as sex with a chimp who can't speak and licks his fingers after playing with his butt?" His responses were all variations on 'humans for humans'. To him, humans were made by God and Beasts by man. That made Beasts automatically corrupt, for some reason I never understood. About ten years earlier, Dad became a Neo-Puritan and my mother left him. He led a group called MOB, which stood for Men Opposed to Bestiality. Its purpose was to end Bestiality. It was not accomplishing its goal, according to government statistics, despite the fact that wealthy donors pumped huge amounts of money into the organization. A few months earlier, he had told me that due to the lack of success of the expensive stunts they had been performing to sway the public, that they were changing their focus to prayer. I was certain many would be happy about that.

I was twenty-four. I has less and less contact with my father. Like anyone, I wanted to live my own life. His weirdness made it a necessity. The saddest part of our relationship was that I knew how much he loved me. I wished I could love him as much in return, but we were too different. He thought I was still a virgin!

As the zapper entered the Zone, I thought about how much I would hate leaving it, if I had to. As everyone knows, the Zones were originally ghettos for Beasts. They were created to segregate Beasts from humans and Beasts were able to live there for very little money. For almost seventy years, they could live nowhere else. Laws and people (except for my father and a few other relics) change, though and Beasts were free to live anywhere. The Zones were beautiful places, and mine was no different. Zones didn't develop randomly, like human cities. They, like the Beasts themselves, were designed. And they were designed by people who probably felt guilty about forcing them to live there in the first place. The land was heavily wooded and the trees that were planted when the Zones were created had grown enormous. There were parks on every street and ponds full of wildlife every few blocks. I looked out on a beautiful pond from the balcony of my apartment. I could watch it for hours. During the day, I could watch long-legged herons walking slowly, looking for fish. At night, the sound of frogs put me to sleep. The same reasons that brought me to the Zone, kept many Beasts living there after the laws changed. And the subsidies for Beasts living there still remained. Why move to a more expensive, uglier part of town? I loved it—the Zone. But while the subsidies made it inexpensive for Beasts to live there, it was expensive for humans. My rent was many times what it would have been outside the zone. Of course there, my next door neighbor wouldn't be a talking Dog who teaches comparative theology at the local college. Em was a fascinating female. We had become good friends. Not long after we met, she asked me out on a date. I froze when she asked and she decided I was a bigot. I could see the hurt in her face. I hurriedly told her I was gay. Then we had an interesting talk about gay Beasts.

"There is a human and Beast gay bar just a few blocks down Central V. It's called The Wild Life."


"That sounds interesting. I've never met a gay Beast."

She laughed. "You have met some. But they don't wear signs like gay humans."

"Touche! My luck with romance is worse than my luck with jobs."

"Tell me about your ideal male," she asked me. "Is he human?"

"I've seen Beasts I really like. So no, he doesn't have to be human."

I tried to picture him. My mind was blank. I used to have a type: tall, dark, and handsome. Clichéd, but it was a type. I had begun jacking off thinking of a Chimp that worked in the market nearest my apartment. The hefty, soft lump in his pants made me think he must be enormous when he was stiff. But I didn't picture him, either. I had nothing.

"That's the strangest thing," I said.


"I don't seem to have one."

"Don't you ever have fantasies?"

"Yes. Sometimes it's a man, sometimes a Beast."

"Now were are getting somewhere! Go to The Wild Life, Eric. There are humans and Beasts there."


"You sound really enthused."


"That's better," she said.

"I know I'm really not the best person to give you gay matchmaking advice, but you seem lonely to me. Religion is my specialty. I can really help if you want to choose a new one."

"I've never used the one I have."

She laughed.

"Go to the bar. Success is guaranteed, because it's also a sex club. And do you know how sad you are when your straight neighbor has been there and you haven't?"

"Yes, it's sad. But I tried anonymous sex. Well, it was our second date, anyway..." She laughed. "I guess I want a relationship."

"Well, you need to decide what you want first. Then you can look for it. You know, if you were a straight female like me, every male you asked out would turn out to be gay. I speak from experience. You are the third."

"Wow! Why do they run away when I come around?"

"They don't. You don't ask, you don't suggest. I bet you don't even flirt. And you're good looking, Eric."

"I'm not that good looking."

"No, but you are...intriguing and you put out very good vibes."

I rolled my eyes. Good karma is what she meant. I had none. No one who gets fired twice a year has a speck of it.

"You are the only person I know that feeds frogs."

"Oh, I wasn't really feeding them."

"Uh huh. I saw and smelled the rotting chuck roast. I saw the maggots. I wish I hadn't, but I did."

I was embarrassed, but I saw this really skinny frog in the pond, and I just had to help. I tried a hamburger patty first, but birds ate it in about thirty seconds. So I tried a whole roast. It lasted too long.

"I really can't picture myself in a sex club. And I definitely can't picture you in one."

She laughed.

"Then try shopping in Realissmo. A lot of gays shop there."

That sounded doable. I nodded. I never went.


The zapper pulled up next to my apartment. After my zapper parked, I got out and saw Em heading for her zapper.

I put my box down and waved.

"What's up?" she asked.

"I lost my job."

"Oh, Eric! I'm sorry."

I shrugged.

"I'm used to it. I've been fired ninety-eleven times in the last four years."

She shook her head. "I'm running late. I'll talk to you later."


I picked my box up and took the lift to my apartment.

I put the box down and sat.

My savings was dwindling and I was spending a lot of money to live in the Zone. The job I just lost paid less than the one before. I hadn't built up any reserve. Was it worth it? I decided to talk a walk, to think. I left my apartment and headed for the shops.

I looked around as I walked. I saw a rabbit peek out from under a shrub. I passed the pond that was visible from my balcony. Five or six ducks were swimming in it, and hopefully a fat frog. I just loved the Zone. It was like living in the middle of a park. But I was paying four thousand a month for my apartment at the Elphena. Em paid eight-fifty for the same sized apartment. I felt like the Zone was kicking me out. And why not? I wasn't a Beast.

I passed another apartment complex and then was in the shopping area. I passed Realissmo. I remembered what Em said. I decided I had to go in at least once. I went inside. A good-looking Chimp asked if he could help me.

"I'm just browsing."

I looked around. I saw a Chimp shopping who was looking at me. Was he interested, or did he hate humans? Or maybe my hair was mussed or my fly was open. I looked. It wasn't. I looked around some more as I walked slowly around the shop. I saw a Gorilla. He was looking at me, too. He was attractive, but he wasn't smiling. He wasn't wearing a shirt and his chest was enormous. He had a big lump in his shorts. I wondered how big he got hard. But that many muscles and no smile meant 'scary' to me. I realized there were no women in the shop. Were they all gay? I decided this was better than a gay bar. They sold...soap. The shop sold a lot of different things. Randomly. I wasn't sure what it was supposed to be. A micro-department store, maybe? A gift shop with groceries? A florist that sold...really skimpy bathing suits. I walked slowly around. I looked at a pile of rings. Big rings. I stared at them until I realized what they were. Cock rings. I probably blushed. They all said Realissmo on them and there was a sign saying, "Take one."

"Hello," a deep voice said from right behind me. Don't ask me why but I screamed. Or yelped. But I jumped, too. And Em didn't understand why I didn't date...

I turned around and saw it was the Gorilla. He looked alarmed. I was just humiliated. Completely and totally.

"Oh, god! I'm sorry. You startled me."

He looked like he was trying not to laugh.

"Bad day?"

I closed my eyes and fought back tears. I nodded. I felt his warm hand on my arm. I opened my eyes.

"Very, very bad."

"Um...I'm about to have lunch. Would you join me?"

I stared into his golden brown eyes and nodded my head. He headed for the exit and I followed.

Digger was wearing a pair of brown and black striped shorts. They looked very good against his jet black body hair, which was trimmed very short. His enormous chest was bare. The top was mostly bare skin. It grew hairier as it went down. He had a large lump in his crotch. I wondered how big he was.

"Is Sampson's OK?"

"Sure." It was a sandwich eatery.

We walked in and the greeter smiled at the Gorilla. He was a human. He looked about thirty. He was OK looking.

"Hey, Digger."

"Hi, Lem. Table for two."

Then Lem looked at me. Or I should say, he turned his attention to me. Suddenly I was being noticed and evaluated by a queen. I had been around enough human queens to know it.

"Yes, of course."

He accented the word 'course'. Of course.

We sat and Digger smiled at me.

"What happened?" he asked me.

I was still thinking about Lem.

"Excuse me?"

"Your bad day."

"Oh. I lost my job."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"I live at the Elphena, and even if I get another job right away, paying next month's rent will be tough. I'm afraid I will have to move somewhere cheaper, and that means leaving the Zone. I love the Zone. I really do."

"Why do you like the Zone so much?"

I looked at him and it was like a lightning bolt hit me. His eyes drew me in. He was the most gorgeous creature I had ever seen.


He grinned at me.

"Oh. My father hates it. He told me to not expect me to visit him here. That's a good thing. You'd agree if you knew him."

"Why? What's he like?"

"He's anti-Beast and especially anti-Bestiality."

"And you're not?"

"No. Not at all. And I love the scenery in the Zone. The balcony of my apartment looks out on Miller's Pond. I can just sit out there and feel at peace."

"I heard a funny story about Miller's Pond," Digger said.

"Is there beef in the story?"

"Oh. You've heard it."


I sighed.

"I felt sorry for him. That's all," I said.

"Your father?"

"No! The frog."

"What frog?"

"The frog who owned his own chuck roast."

Digger smiled.

"Why did you feel sorry for a frog?"

"He looked thin and sickly. I knew frogs ate flies. I put out bread first to attract flies. Ducks and other birds loved it and finished it off before any flies heard about it. Then I put a hamburger patty. Crows and grackles ate it in about ten seconds." Digger laughed. "They all agreed it was the best hamburger they'd eaten. I had a chuck roast that was on the verge of going bad. I thought that it would stick around long enough to attract a few flies." I looked at Digger. He seemed interested and not repulsed by the story. "It not only attracted flies, they laid eggs on it and soon it was smelling and covered with..." We were in a restaurant and I didn't think I should mention maggots. "" Digger laughed. "It was a small roast. Two pounds. I figured the crows and grackles would finish it off by the end of the day. Evidently, they prefer hamburgers."

Digger laughed for a long time.

"So you did it to help a frog?"

I nodded.

"I think that's great. No one else in the whole universe cared about that animal but you. That frog is probably the only one in the world with a fairy godmother."

I groaned.

"You didn't try and give up, either. You tried until you were successful. You were just a little too successful. I bet the frog got some flies."

He reached out and put his hand on mine. I looked down at the table. I could feel my heart pounding.

"Have you and your father always disagreed?"

I tried not to laugh. I tried, but I started giggling. I forced myself to stop.

"Yes, but he has no idea. He doesn't hear viewpoints that differ from his. I stopped giving them since they were ignored. He thinks we are close, but I do my best to avoid him. He's intolerant and hateful. He doesn't hate me, but I'm confident that he will someday. He's infamous. I'm sure you've heard of him."

Digger looked surprised by that.

"If you don't mind my asking, how much is your rent?"

"Four thousand a month."

He shook his head.

"How big is it?"

I told him.

"That's obscene."

"It's worth it to me. I love my apartment."

He looked thoughtful.

"You know, if you don't mind hearing music at night, I know where you could live much cheaper."


"If you like, I'll show you after we finish. It's not the roomiest place and it's noisy, but I can let you have it for say, 800 a month."

"And it's in the Zone?"

"It's close by."

"Wow! I could get a job that pays less but is more dependable!"

"I have to warn you, it's noisy. It's above a nightclub."

"What time does it close?"

"Three AM. You can always get a noise canceller, though."

I nodded.

"What's your name?"

"Eric La Roche."

"La Roche, like Martin?"

That was my father. The crusader against Bestiality and also Beasts. I wondered if I should lie. But if anything developed between us, and I suddenly hoped it did, I shouldn't start with a big lie.

"Just like him. I'm Infamous, Junior."

"He's really your father?"

I nodded.

He shook his head.

"And you are having lunch with me!"

I looked down. I was pretty sure Digger was regretting it and in a short time, I had come to like him. He put his hand on mine, though. I looked up and he grinned at me.

We ordered. Digger ordered a vegetable sandwich. I wasn't sure how he felt about meat, so I ordered the same.

"So tell me about yourself, Eric. Does your father know you are gay?"

"Yes. I wasn't going to tell him, but he kept trying to pick out potential wives for me. Female humans who were virgins. Can you imagine?" Digger shook his head no. "I can remember him discussing some woman's daughter. 'Not only is she pretty, but she's a virgin!' I kept declining dates, of course. He told me I should hurry up. That I didn't still want to be a virgin when I'm thirty." Digger chuckled. "So I told him. Not only was I gay, but I was not a virgin. He was not happy. No. No. No. He somehow failed as a parent, he said. I couldn't disagree with that."

"Does anything make him happy?"

"Yes. One thing. People agreeing with him."

Digger laughed.

"I take it you live alone." I nodded. "No lover?" he asked.

"No. I broke up with my last boyfriend about six weeks ago."

"Was he a Beast?"

"No. He was human."

"Was it a bad break?"

"No. I was bored and when I mentioned it, he agreed. We hugged each other and it was over."

"Have you ever dated a Beast?"

"No. But I've thought about it often. I'm not good at asking. I always assume the answer is no. How about you? Do you have a lover?"

"I'm single. With my line of work, it's hard to keep a lover."

"What do you do?"

"I own The Wild Life."

"Is that the sex club?"

"Sex club and bar. I've never seen you there."

"No. I've never been. I thought about it after a friend told me about it. But the sex club part sounded a little..."


"Well, that's what my father would say. Not me. I'm flattered you are even talking to me."

"You are?"


He smiled.

"I guess the idea just scared me. I was raised that way. I was told to beware of Beasts, and not to trust humans, either."

He nodded.

"It must have been rough."

"Sometimes things were fine between us. But we are so different and I had to keep it completely hidden. Everything, even my thoughts. Once I was looking at a picture of a Gorilla when my father walked into my room. I was terrified that he saw it. Not because he would hit me, but because he would lecture me again on the horrors of Beasts."

"Was the Gorilla naked?"

"No. That would have been suicide when I was still living with him. I never thought about Beasts sexually before I moved to the Zone. I figured they would want other Beasts. Once I moved here and started seeing mixed couples, I felt differently."

"Well, considering where you started, I think you are doing well. Did I scare you because I'm a Gorilla?"

"No. I was upset about my job. I went into the shop because my neighbor told me gay Beasts shopped there. I felt so guilty. I was in a gay Beast shop!" I laughed. "Isn't that sad? I was afraid it was my father. Or a minion. He has minions."

Digger laughed. "It's hard to get good ones."

"I know!"

"Ever since I moved here, I've been afraid he is watching me. I hate that I'm such a coward. But I just couldn't handle a lecture today."

"If he was my father, I would hide, too."

I decided Digger was wonderful right about then. Gorgeous and wonderful. I looked at his handsome face. His skin was coffee colored. His black body hair was short. I was afraid I was falling in love with him. It was a bad idea. Not only had I just met him, but he worked in a sex club. He was probably having sex with multiple partners every evening, and I wanted sex with one person every evening.

I watched Digger's face change.

"What is it?"

"I'm thinking of you cowering from your father. That's what it amounts to. He messed you up so much that someone saying hello scares you."

I sighed.

"It is getting better, Digger. I might wish it was faster, but I'm here in the Zone. One of my best friends is a Dog. I like you very much. Maybe someday I'll work up the nerve to go to The Wild Life."

He smiled.

"What did you do at your job?"

"I was basically an accountant."

"Do you know anything about taxes?"



Our sandwiches arrived. While we were eating, I asked him about himself.

"I have a brother named Pan. Our parents live at Destine Wildlife Park."

"How did you come to open the bar?" I asked him.

"There are human bars and Beast bars. There isn't a lot of mixing. I only like sex with humans. I didn't feel comfortable being the only Beast in a human bar and I didn't see many humans in the Beast bars. I knew there were a lot of Beasts like me, so I gave it a try."

He asked about my job and I told him.

"I could use an accountant for the business."

"You don't already have one?"

"No. I've been doing everything myself. I started out small but the business is growing. I know I'm paying too much in taxes, but I don't have time to figure out how to pay less."

I nodded my head.

"Would like me to check?"

"Sure, if you are willing."

He told me about his gross sales, his net income, his property costs, and more. I went through a list of eligible deductions. Then I checked on my meme.

"How much do you pay in taxes each month?"

He told me. I had my meme calculate the taxes. The numbers appeared in my head.

"You are paying about nine hundred per month more than you need to. We may be able to get more. Once I see the place, I may be able to find more deductions. Wait a sec." I checked out how having a tenant on the property—me would affect his taxes. It didn't. "You can get a refund on the excess you paid this year, but not for prior years."

He shook his head, grinning.

"I could pay you maybe two thousand a month."

I stared at him in shock. Was he solving all my problems over lunch?

"I doubt you need a full-time accountant."

"Are you not interested?"

I laughed. "I'm extremely interested. I'm just trying to save you money."

"Don't try to save me money until you work for me. But if you get bored, you can always help out in the bar. Taking inventory, ordering alcohol. Stuff like that. If you are working for me, I'll let you have the apartment for free."

"You've just solved all my problems, Digger. I'm starting to think you are my guardian angel."

He grinned.

"To you I'm an angel, to your father a devil. You are different from him. But I'm your fairy godmother."

I laughed.

"You were in Realissmo looking for Beasts?"

"Gay Beasts or humans."

"You don't have a preference?"

Looking at Digger, who oozed masculinity answered that question in my mind.

"I think I prefer Beasts, but I've never been with one."

"You'll have to fix that."

I nodded.

"What Beasts excite you the most?"


Digger nodded.

"Gorillas and Chimps the most. Orangs don't do much for me."

"Are you a top or a bottom?"

"A bottom."

Digger smiled.

"You won't have any trouble at all finding a Beast. Most Beasts who chase humans are tops. A lot of the humans chasing Apes are tops, which makes you a very rare, desirable man."

By that time, Digger was the one I wanted, but he was not for me.

He frowned.

"That doesn't seem to make you happy. In fact, you seem sadder."

Don't be an idiot, Eric La Roche, I told myself. Digger runs a sex club. Even if you became his lover, how would you feel about watching him fuck other males in front of you every evening? Looking in some other guy's eyes while Digger fucked him?

"I...I don't want Apes chasing me. I want one Ape to catch me." He grinned. "I want a lover."

He nodded.

"Do you want the first one you see?"


"Describe your ideal Ape."

I smiled. I remembered Em asking. I thought about it, and this time I saw him in my mind. I saw Digger. I rubbed my forehead.

"Are you all right?"

No. I'm all fucked up, I wanted to say. I want the first male who was willing to speak to me.

"Someone like you, Digger."

He smiled.

We finished eating. Digger paid. I didn't argue. We walked towards the main shopping area. I turned and saw Digger's bicep. It had to be twenty-two centimeters across, with his arm hanging loosely. I wondered what it would look like if he flexed it. Not that I was ever going to be brave enough to ask!

We passed a Dog on the sidewalk. The Dog looked at me while he spoke to Digger. He was a little shorter than me. I couldn't tell what his fur was like. He was facing my and his chest and belly were bare skin, and they looked completely human. Like all Dogs, the fronts of his arms and legs were also bare skin. From the front, except for the hint of a snout that was more a slight bulge in his face than a snout, he looked human. He was also wearing a pair of shorts.

"Hello, Digger."

"Hi, Ed."

Ed smiled at me.

"Ed, this is Eric. Eric, Ed is a friend and a customer."

"Nice meeting you."

"Are you new in town, Eric?"

"No. I've lived in the Zone for a little while."

"Eric is going to work for me."

Ed grinned. "Will I see you tonight?"

"He's going to work during the day."

Ed finally looked at Digger.

"But the bar is dead during the day."

"We need to get going. We can talk more this evening," Digger said.


We kept walking. I looked down.

"What's wrong?"

"The way he was staring at me..."

"You are attractive."

I sighed.

"Please talk to me, Eric."

"When people stare at me, it makes me uncomfortable. I don't know what they are thinking. Whether they disapprove of me, hate me, or what?"

"Why would Ed disapprove of you or hate you?"

"Maybe because I'm walking with you. Maybe because I'm human. Maybe because he thinks I look funny. Maybe because he knows who my father is. Who in the Zone wouldn't hate me?"

Digger didn't say anything.

"I think anyone who met you would see what I saw. A handsome human who is unaccountably nervous. Did your father stare at you?"

"Yes. And I wondered what I'd done wrong when he did," I said.

Digger shook his head. "You look very good, Eric. Take my word for it from now on. The male Beasts I know will all be interested in you, one way or the other. Trust me. I will never lie to you."

I smiled at him.


"If you want me to be blunt, Ed wondered if he would be able to fuck you or whether I had already claimed you."

I gulped.

He may be wonderful, but Digger is not for you. Digger is not for you. Digger is not for you. Digger is not for you. That was going through my mind. I needed to remember it.

"You said you used to go to gay Beast bars. Are there any close by?"

"Yes. There's one next to the Elphena."

"There is?"

How was that possible?


"I thought that was a sports bar."


"Would they have been irritated if I went inside?"

Digger shook his head.

"Didn't you ever see a Beast in a human gay bar?"


Digger shrugged.

"You would have gotten hit on by at least one guy. Someone would decide to give Bestiality a try."