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.:  How Dinner Went Astray :.
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Pattarchus
Pattarchus' Gallery (209)

Story: Fact Checker and the Maw

.: Thoughts :.
factchecker_and_the_maw.rtf
Gift. 2022.

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A journalist shows up at Gromsr's place and is quite interested in certain rumors that have been developed about the grumpy badger.


Written by Dovahquill
Gromsr (Badger) (c) by Pattarchus

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Fact-checker and the Maw
Written by Dovahquill

The sound of knocking caused the badger to fall from his bed, a half-conscious attempt at getting out of bed failing utterly. Gromsr groaned in mild pain and not-so-mild annoyance as his mind tried to conceive of who would bother his sleep. A quick glance at the clock informed him the neighborhood’s school buses had passed at least an hour ago, and the traffic for those leaving for work too would’ve already departed.

*Knock**knock**knock* The loud, insistent knocking struck the badger as closer to banging, and his mounting frustration brought to consciousness another thorn in his rear. Truth be told it was just above his rear and inviolably attached to him. A broad mouth greeted him as his tail separated in two, revealing the great mouth it hid. The thing then latched onto Gromsr’s head.

You’re attached to me, it quipped, reading Gromsr’s thoughts, besides, if you got rid of me, then you would have to eat the unwelcomed guests by yourself. The rumors that his tail-maw had started with the antics from the Halloween prior still hadn’t waned entirely. Sure, no one stared at him when he went out in public anymore, but his house was definitely a taboo place in the neighborhood. He’d accepted, maybe even embraced the solace (annoying as the tail-maw could be), so the fact someone was banging on his door at all left him almost dazed as his mind tried to process these different details. Come on! Just let me deal with the annoyance, you’re hungry anyway.

This statement undid the persuasiveness of his other arguments, considering that his tail-maw was to blame for his unsated hunger. His stomach rumbled as another wave of knocks interrupted his internal conversation. With this, he shouted, “Coming! A few moments please!” He began to scramble to dress himself as he readied to meet this intrusion. Then, the tail-maw tried again to broach the subject again, but Gromsr snapped.

Duct-tape! He said with all the malevolence he could muster, cause me an issue again today, and I swear you’ll be under three roles of it. This silenced the tail-maw as images of the past stirred in their shared mind-space. A pair of car-keys, swallowed as a joke, ended in Gromsr prying its maw open and diving his arm inside to retrieve them. Considering he was already on thin ice for swiping the badger’s dinner the night prior, the eldritch appendage acquiesced, closing itself up until it almost looked like a normal tail… almost.

With little other delays, Gromsr finished his quick dressing and headed downstairs. Only the detection of a delectable, savory smell gave him pause. His stomach rumbled audibly at the succulent aroma. He followed the scent almost instinctively, feeling his tail-maw encouraging his desire to find what had to be the delicious source. His eyes settled on the door, and his approach slowed. Suspicion paired with the memory of being rudely awoken and prompted him to look through the peep whole.

He had seen many strange things in his life, given his unwilling companion, but what he saw almost made him laugh from the absurdity. Gromsr had no preconceptions for who or what he would see, this delicious smell now drawing him closer. However, he never would’ve thought to see someone setting up a table, complete with a steaming hot lunch. In sheer confusion, the badger watched the stranger. The newcomer looked like some kind of feline. However, when the stranger pulled two unfolding chairs from behind his porch wall, he’d had enough.

“What are you doing?!” Gromsr demanded, his tone a mix of anger and incredulity. The raised voice broke the stranger’s nervous reverie. The fossa, Gromsr could recognize the species now that he was closer, jumped with something resembling a yelp.

“You startled me!” the fossa, male by the lower register of his tone, protested. Gromsr didn’t feel angry at the rebuttal, only more confused. It took him a moment to shrug off the effect of the stranger’s odd action. Pretending like one belonged somewhere didn’t remove the fact he was an unwelcome trespasser.

“This is my house,” Gromsr explained in frustration, pointing back, “What are you doing on my porch? Why are you… setting up a meal?” The strangeness again slowed Gromsr’s words as his curiosity surfaced. Talking with this stranger felt almost like talking to his tail, and the badger’s brow furrowed in annoyance that this feeling was so common.

“To share it with you of course,” the stranger replied with the same self-assuredness his rear-minded companion often did. The fossa thankfully didn’t stop at self-assured conspicuity, “I am Hedonn Steele, and I am hear on behalf of the Two “Q” Monthly!”

“Wait, are you the person who keeps pestering me with calls and letters?” Gromsr asked as Hedonn bowed with a dramatic flourish.

“We’re a serial publication that gather’s the eccentric, the infamous, and the obscure into a growing library,” the fossa waved his hands in dramatic sweeps, ignoring the badger’s obvious frustration. Gromsr absently wondered if this is what the old vacuum cleaner salesmen were like.

“So, why are you on my porch?” the badger repeated his first demand, crossing his arms as he hung his head in exasperation.

“You’re my next story,” Hedonn announced, though his tone dropped at the end, the uncertainty in his voice surfaced as he continued, “and… food is usually a good ice-breaker… so, can I interview you?”

“So, you bang on my door and set up a random meal,” Gromsr punctuated his words with a slight chopping motion from his right hand, “in the slight chance that I might agree?” The fossa looked away, the earlier flourish and confidence gone. Silence rained as the badger waited for a response. When none came, he answered, “the last thing I want is to be startled awake and interrogated.”

“Wait,” Hedonn said with a hint of desperation, “would you at least share the meal? It’s my boss’ grandmother’s recipe. It’d be a shame to waste it.” The offer hung in the air. Gromsr’s stomach rumbled and drew the fossa’s attention who gave a nervous smile in turn.

The badger sighed, “Fine, but no interrogation…” The fossa jumped from one foot to the other in premature elation, stopping abruptly when Gromsr arched an eyebrow at the triumphal display. Much more subdued, Hedonn set about serving up two plates. With the incongruity of his circumstances ironed out, Gromsr’s hunger reasserted itself as the badger salivated at the smell of the pork shoulder. With surprisingly little concern for the heat, Hedonn grabbed the whole-cooked cut of meat by the bone, and all the meat slid off the steaming bone in a single motion, heated-vapor misting away from it.

“When was this cooked?” Gromsr asked, almost mesmerized by the display. The fossa had set up what amounted to an outside kitchen, or at least a holding area for the food. He used two large forks to then shred with pork with precise motion, not even looking at the meat as he did so.

“It finished about an hour or so ago,” Hedonn replied, turning his head to look at Gromsr who had taken a seat in one of the unfolding chairs. Soon enough, a hearty serving of shredded pork shoulder and a chick-pea Spanish rice sat before the ravenous badger. The succulence of the moistened meat bits prompted Gromsr to take a deep whiff of the food before grabbing his fork and unceremoniously devouring his portion.

The fossa ate his own portion with much more reservation, eyeing the badger. The gusto with which he ate might’ve convinced the average onlooker that he’d been starved, though he showed no signs of malnourishment. Hedonn made what mental notes he could as Gromsr promptly ignored the otherwise unusual scan from his guest.

Gromsr savored the salted juice of the meat. It rode the line between too-salty and not enough, and a blend of spices melded with the melting texture as it fell apart further in his mouth without chewing much. The pleasant heat of the food had an almost stupor-induing effect on the badger, but he effectively ate for two in order to keep the so far silent troublemaker from stirring. The badger had nearly cleared his plate in the span of five minutes.

“I need not ask to the quality of the food at least,” Hedonn quipped cautiously, “Would you mind if I asked a few questions though?” Gromsr cast an unamused glare towards the nosy visitor, but Hedonn threw his hands up in mock surrender, “I doubt I’d have enough for a story anyway.”

“I just don’t like the idea of people peering into my privacy,” Gromsr answered, “I doubt you’d want anything less.” Hedonn just smiled and held out his hand for the badger’s now empty plate.

“You’d be surprised how many people out there actually want to be recognized,” the fossa’s voice took on a note of mirth as he went on, “the potential readers of my stories often want the mundane and commonplace just as much as the extraneous and unorthodox.” He glanced back with a knowing look, “A slice of life, you know?”

“Sure,” Gromsr answered noncommittally, his own head peering back to look at his dormant companion, suspicion creeping up his spine. At least, that was until his companion responded.

I don’t want duck-tape around me, the voice was… odd. Gromsr didn’t think it was subdued, but it was restrained.

I’ll make sure to eat plenty, Gromsr assured his tail maw. There was a sense of acknowledgement, but Gromsr’s caution refused to abate in its entirety. With a resigned sigh, Gromsr turned back to a steaming plate in front of him.

“Are you okay?” Hedonn asked, “You seemed frozen for a moment.” The fossa had returned to the table and even resumed eating his own meal during Gromsr’s internal discussion. The badger merely nodded and continued. Hedonn had nearly finished his rice, though his meat had barely been touched. The fossa prodding at it absent-mindedly before he asked a question, “So, perhaps, that is my question for you. What is a mundane to you? What would a written cross-section of your life look like.”

Distracted by the food and caught slightly off-guard by the question, Gromsr’s mind wandered to the short time he’d been conscious today. Arguing with his tail, he went so far as to threaten the recalcitrant appendage. His mind jumped back to the stolen chicken from the night prior, and he pleasantly swallowed another bite of the meat. His mind glossed over the darker parts his tail maw could get into, the source of the very rumors which were now indirectly responsible for the meal he enjoyed. Last of all, he recalled the unwanted attention those rumors could bring, and that brought him back again to the present.

“You must be having a whole conversation with yourself,” Hedonn replied with an awkward laugh. The badger had zoned out again, he blamed it on the fact he’d not eaten since yesterday morning before this meal, not to mention how accurate the assertion was.

“You’ve no idea,” Gromsr responded without much thought. He moved on now to the rice, consuming it in big forkfuls.

“Then enlighten me,” Hedonn suggested before finally eating his meat. The suggestion suddenly struck Gromsr about the feline’s angle. He rolled his eyes and refused to answer. This lasted only as long as his quickly depleting rice. When he’d scraped the very last few grains, he spoke again, if with reluctance.

“I said, I’m not looking to be interrogated,” Gromsr asserted, “but if you give a third plate, I can give you a short tour of my house. Rumors are just that—rumors.” Hedonn gave a sigh of defeat but nodded, taking the plate again to fill it. When the fossa’s back had turned, Gromsr finally thought he could relax when he felt a tugging around the back of his midriff.

*Slurp!* Before the badger could intervene, his tail-maw opened itself and, with surprising swiftness, the eldritch appendage made the whole plate, meat included, disappear. The noise had startled Hedonn, but by the time he turned around, the tail maw had dipped out of sight and held the food and soaked paper plate within itself.

“What was…” the question died immediately on the feline’s snout the moment he saw his plate was missing. He looked to Gromsr with silent inquiry but got no answer. Rather than press the issue, he merely loaded the badger’s plate with another full serving. When he set the plate down, he finally verbalized his question, “Is this how the rumors start? Things disappearing without explanation. Perhaps people rather than things?”

Gromsr leveled a stern gaze at the fossa. For a brief moment, the same apprehension crossed the feline’s features, but the newcomer gave a calming sigh and returned to fetch himself another plate. Gromsr just decided to continue eating. Nosy and uninvited as his guest was, he hardly wished for his companion to cause trouble. The stranger was just doing what he was paid to, and besides, the meal was delicious.
You don’t have to worry about me, came the almost gleeful response, if he offers food like this, he gives a better meal than he would make. The satisfaction of fullness notwithstanding. Gromsr growled in his mind as he swallowed his food, his tail-maw taking pleasure in both his food, the food stolen, and the irritation the badger felt. Hedonn cast an inquisitive look in the badger’s direction, making brief eye-contact.
Then, the fossa returned with a slightly different disposition. Neither defeated nor defiant, he simply at his food, a heaping portion of rice alongside the meat. However, rather than eating rice first, the meat quickly disappeared. The fossa making exaggerated noises as he enjoyed the meat. He then rose unexpectedly and went again to the table.

The tail-maw took that as an opportunity to try his antics again, but it froze mid-lunge. Hedonn hadn’t turned around, but the looming and unspoken threat of duct-tape flashed in the shared mind space. Gromsr was done contending with annoyances, whether it looked like a stranger or his eldritch tail. Reluctantly, and without a moment to spare, his tail-maw had returned to a dormant position off to the right, the appearance passable once more.

When Hedonn did turn around, he had another plate in his hand, and Gromsr caught the disappointed look on the fossa’s face. Hedonn now had two plates, but he looked at his other almost accusingly. Gromsr assumed his guest expected it to be gone. He huffed to himself at the foolishness of his guest. The chuff caught a briefly hopeful glance from the fossa, but the badger didn’t even grace it with response. He figured he did the fossa a favor; for the nice meal, he’d kept his tail in check. Their meal passed in a pleasant silence thereafter.

“May I still have that tour?” Hedonn asked, almost glum with his plate mostly empty. Gromsr considered himself a badger of his word and nodded. Chairs scraped against the stone of his porch as the two left their chairs. To Gromsr’s annoyance, his tail-maw decided to act again, making a much stealthier grab a the fossa’s food once the pair had turned toward the door. The badger maintained a cool air even as his heart raced. Hedonn hadn’t noticed, so he started the tour.

First the upstairs, then the down stairs, the pair went throughout the badger’s mundane residence. Gromsr even answered the odd question or two, casual and non-personal as they were. Hedonn couldn’t glean much from the books he read, or his move and cd collections. Gromsr watched with some satisfaction as the interloper looked ever more defeated. It sated the indignation at having his privacy disregarded. His tail even managed to swallow and stay silent.

“I apologize for my immense breach of courtesy,” Hedonn apologized at the tour’s end. The pair had returned outside, but the fossa’s apology stopped once he noticed his plate, “I should’ve res—what happened to my food?” Gromsr felt a novel spark of frustration at his tail-maw. They had been on the cusp of parting, and his companion’s antics delayed that again. The fossa continued, “It was here when we left, and now it’s gone. I doubt this is coincidence, and I’d like an explanation.”

Gromsr didn’t appreciate the demanding tone of his guest, “I’ll give you one, but it will be to your earlier question about my life.” This caused Hedonn to perk up significantly.

“Yeah?” he said, glee evident in his tone.

“Yeah,” Gromsr replied coolly, “a good cross-section of my life is having to deal with unexpected irritants. A good meal sounds fine, but an interrogation? No. I just live life, and strange things occur. I’ve just learned to roll with the surprises, something you apparently lack in. A rude awakening, trespassing, and accusations for things I’ve not done,” Gromsr had to keep his tone consistent while mirth radiated from his hind-end companion. “Sadly, these unwelcome surprises are my normal. Now, there’s your answer to those rumors.”

Hedonn stood there in stunned silence, the wind taken out of his sails. He glanced momentarily back from the badger to the plate and muttered an apology. Gromsr then watched as his so called guest went through the tedious process of packing up everything he’d brought. It took the better part of a half-hour, and that only annoyed Gromsr more, knowing it probably took a similar time to do all of that. More rumors would probably swirl. Then, Hedonn approached him one last time with a saran-wrapped plate heaped with shredded pork and rice.

“I apologize,” was all he said, handing the badger another plate of food. Gromsr showed tact by offering a nod of acknowledgment. He then watched Hedonn get in his car and leave. He returned inside a few minutes later, pondering his morning. It wasn’t the start to his day he would’ve planned, but then again, it was situations like this that caused him to improv more than plan. He set the food Hedonn had given to him on the counter, turning to fetch a more fitting container for it.

He only realized afterward the mistake he’d made, leaving his food unattended. He’d need to improv dinner again as he felt the tail-maw devour the leftovers whole, plate and plastic included. With a sigh of exasperation, he put the container in his hand away. He drummed his fingers idly for a minute as he mulled over what he would do, and a thought popped into his head that filled him with mirth.

That’s not necessary! His tail-maw countered, knowing the badger’s mind. Gromsr ignored him as he went in search of duct-tape. He decided that the rest of the day would be without unexpected and irritating surprises.



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Keywords
male 966,659, anthro 144,306, commission 80,050, furry 76,706, tongue 24,021, vore 23,877, monster 20,323, story 11,047, drool 7,678, fangs 5,232, badger 5,195, comedy 3,528, soft vore 3,124, mustelidae 1,254, tailmaw 697, pattarchus 201, tail maw 194, gromsr 13, dovahquill 2
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 8 months, 3 weeks ago
Rating: General

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