Friday, January 17th
The music was faded out by the constant murmur of all the high class minglers
at the party. Caterers zigzagged around the room, refilling champagne glasses
and keeping the guests’ satiated with expensive but low-fat delicacies. Caviar
and soy cheese in abundance. All around, the rich pricks shuffled, marveling at
the extravagance of the hall he had rented.
Dominique Denalgh surveyed his potential investors. Actors, wealthy businessfurs, judges, senators, the occasional mayor sprinkled here and there. This was a party of importance; none who did not matter were here. He couldn’t stand any of them. They were all too pompous for their own good. But this was who he had to placate tonight. This was part fundraiser, part showing off. And nothing brought money faster than showing you had plenty of it. Denalgh could smell a billion dollars soon. Maybe two or three.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a massive lion, standing in the corner, pretending to be having a good time. The slim Dalmatian gritted his teeth and drew the lovely cat beside him closer. That damn Sergei had been a pain in his rear for nearly a year- he flatly refused to sell him real estate in the years past, while Dominique had built his empire from the ground up. He gave him a line of shit about how bad his work was, trying to help furs lose weight. Losing weight was a bad thing in that crazy porker’s mind! Making them feel bad about themselves, indeed- that lion weighed nearly a ton, and Dominique thought he of all people needed to hit the gym and get off his wide rear.
Laurana pulled him a bit closer. He had other things to worry about at the moment. But he was going to make sure the lion paid for his insolence- he’d put ALL his business out, every last penny, and the tub of lard would lose weight when he couldn’t afford to feed himself.
Sergei watched. That was what he was here for. To watch, Tamara hated this
kind of thing, but he had put a lot of money into tonight, and he had to see it
for his own eyes. He trusted them all, every last one of them was damn good at
“Sergei, honey- how much longer do we have to stay here? Neither of us are having a good time- I’d much rather go home and cook you up some dinner. You’re looking a bit slim lately.” Tamara said, squeezing her gainerlion’s love handle.
Sergei grinned slightly and placed a chubby paw on her shoulder; He was anything but slimmer lately- she’d fattened him up quite a bit as of late. It had been quite a struggle to get him into the suit he wore at the moment. All his squishy fat was somehow stuffed into it, and he felt like an overstuffed sausage. “I kind of have to, hon. a fur of my stature need to keep up his contacts.” He brushed her cheek “You know there’s nothing I’d rather do than just that.” Tamara smiled weakly and turned back to the party. She hated this too- the dress she had on was less than flattering. She was a bit plump for it, and to find one that worked well on her was difficult. Sergei, of course, would have her no other way. His thoughts were interrupted as a fur tapped him on the shoulder.
“Is there something I can help you with, sir?” It was a portly lemur, dressed in the uniform of a technical person, someone who was responsible for the music in the room or something. Like Tamara’s ball gown, it fit too snugly. He gritted his teeth and asked again. “Anything at all sir?”
The tubby lion gave a small grin. “No, I’m fine just watching everything from here.”
“We got a problem.”
Reggie dropped his bag of Doritos on the floor and stared at the computer screens. “What now?”
“Sergei is here.” Keith Richards was in the walk-in fridge in the kitchens, the only private spot he could find. He spoke into his wrist, much like an undercover cop might.
Back in the hotel room, crowded with various pieces of computer equipment, the rotund fox swiveled his chair towards one of the larger computer screens, which was divided into sixteen panels, each monitoring a different part of the ballroom. “Where?”
“North corner, behind the table of organic cheeses.”
Reggie found the right panel, and then wondered how he could have missed him. There he was, plain as day, the fattest in the party. He stood with Tamara, making small talk with other guests. A few clicks of the keyboard made the picture zoom in, as well as mark the keys with a layer of Dorito cheese. “Oz, can you hear me?”
Oz’s voice sounded in Reggie’s headset. “What?”
“Sergei’s turned up.”
“What did you expect? He poured everything he had into this. Besides, none of us want to miss it. Continue as planned.” Oz was always cool.
Sunday, December 29th
Oz was always cool. Sergei sat across from his at the table and regarded him
with respect, but caution. “Thanks for the snack, Tamara.” The pudgy tiger
leaned down and kissed the lion’s cheek, and then walked back into the house to
give the male furs time to talk.
“Now, after I’ve fed you two, which cost me a pretty penny. Why don’t you tell me what you are up to?”
Stymie smiled and took a drink of his pina colada. “We need money.”
“I figured as much. Up to your old tricks again, Oz.”
Oz never spoke unless he had to. It was obvious that whatever they had in store was trouble, and Oz let Stymie do the talking. The massive coyote kept a smug smile on his face, even in the warm sun of the afternoon.
“We’re trying to put together a crew. We have a difficult job that needs doing- and you’ve got money to burn and everything to be had.”
“Don’t give me that shit. You’re not talking like an Amway salesman- you’re talking like a criminal. If you think I’m going to get in on your insane plans, you can think again. I think you can see yourself out.” Sergei looked away, directly into the sun, but he dared not squint to diminish his composure.
“I told you it was a stupid idea, Stymie. Sergei doesn’t rob furs.” Oz said, getting up. “Sorry to have wasted your time.”
Damn him- he’s trying to peak my curiosity, and he’s succeeding. Sergei gritted his teeth. “Just out of curiosity- who exactly are you planning on robbing?”
Oz stopped and turned to Stymie, still leaving his back to Sergei. “What’s that guy’s name?”
“Danall? I don’t remember.”
Sergei leapt out of his lawn chair with speed that shouldn’t have been possible for somefur his size. His extra blubber continued moving as he yelled at the two fat furs in front of him. “You mean Dominique Denalgh?”
Stymie snapped his plump fingers. “That’s the one.”
Sergei growled, despite himself. “That son of a bitch cost me thousands last year, and he’ll do more damage. What exactly did you two have planned?”
Everyone noticed the dragon and the wolf entering. They looked impossibly
regal. The wolf was tall and attractive in the generally accepted form of the
word. A silk dress hugged her coke-bottle figure, unbelievably low cut and
dangerously close to being indecent. She walked with a swing in her hips, and
every male eye fell on her with admiration and lust, every female with jealousy.
She had her arm wrapped around that of a VERY portly dragon. Long white hair
fell from the top of his head, covering his cheeks. Shades hid his eyes. A
bright red shirt covered his pudgy chest, his black scales spilling out on the
sides, silver bellyscales beneath the shirt. He was immensely overweight,
nearing 500 pounds, but somehow he still looked impressive and suave.
Dominique sighted them across the room and sized them up. He was getting used to doing this. From across the room, he estimated their collective worth. The wolf was probably a money-grubber. She walked like she owned the place, and her dress was well into the 15,000 dollar range. But the dragon had on a nicely tailored coat that looked well even on someone as overweight as he was. Worth much more. The lardass could probably benefit from his weight-loss program, and he was a potential investor. Time to do some serious brown nosing.
Aurelina noticed the Dalmatian approaching them, and immediately whispered something in Val’s ear. Then she pulled away from him and walked over to the caterer’s table. She shot seductive looks at pretty much everyone. She played her part beautifully, but she hated every minute of it. She hated being so thin. She hated all the looks. And she hated working with that bastard Valentin.
But now was not the time to think about that. She had a job to do, and she’d be damned if she was going to let her misgivings screw this up. This was worth it.
Wednesday, January 1st
Aurelina heard a knock on her door and heaved herself off the couch in three tries. The wolfess was closing in on yet another ton beneath her belt, and it was becoming ever so difficult to move. She was enjoying her retirement immensely.
A tubby coyote stood at her door. She recognized him instantly. “Stymie! It’s been ages! What brings you here?”
“You do, my dear.” He said, kissing her on the cheek. “My, my, have you ever gained weight!” He put his paw on her bulging, shaking gut, rubbing it through the fabric, her fat spilling over his paw.
Aurelina giggled and pointed to Stymie’s naked, sagging gut. “You’ve put on weight over the years as well.” The canine patted his own belly and stepped inside. “That I have. Mind if I step in?”
Aurelina led him to her large living room, the coffee table covered in empty bags of various snacks. “I’d offer you something, but I’ve made quite a pig of myself lately.”
Stymie snickered. “I’ve noticed. It looks good on you.”
She smiled, her cheeks forming deep dimples. “So, what brings you here, old friend?”
“I was going to offer you a job.”
Aurelina’s smile vanished. “I’m retired.”
“I thought you might make an exception this time.”
“Why would I do that?”
“You’ve heard of Denalgh health foods?” Aurelina’s pupil’s constricted. “Well, we were going to knock it over. Oz has a little something that might put that prick in his place, as well.”
“It’s never that simple. What’s the catch?”
“You’re going to have to lose a bit of weight, albeit temporarily.”
“I’ve done that before. What’s the real catch?”
“You’ll be working with Val.”
She gritted her teeth. “What’s the payoff?”
Two outrageously overweight pachyderms stood at the elevator. They were in
the parking garage beneath the hotel, dressed in the garb of room service
personnel. They wouldn’t be noticed at such a pricy place. But the penthouse at
the top was being rented by someone very important, and they had to get in.
Aurelina flipped her perfectly styled pink hair behind her head and raised the
keycard. They didn’t have long. Rocky pushed the elevator button, and the doors
opened. Hubert pushed the cart into the elevator, and Aurelina and Rocky
As soon as the doors shut, Aurelina lifted the cloth lying over the cart. Beneath the top shelf was an empty space, and she crawled in. Her beautiful silk dress was wrinkled and she hated to see such a great dress ruined, even though she knew it wouldn’t fit her in the next couple of days. The slimming potion would wear off.
Rocky nodded to Hubert, who pulled the cloth back down, hiding the wolfess beneath the white linen. Both of them straightened their ties and coats, and pushed the cart out the elevator as it came to a stop.
The concierge stopped them as they came out of the kitchens. The top of the cart was loaded with extravagant foods, but it was strange for food to be delivered on this night, the party in the ball room had attracted most of the hotel’s guests, so it was a bit off for someone to order room service.
“Hey guys, need to see your pass.” Security here required everyone to have a security badge at all times. Not surprisingly, neither of them had the required talismans.
“What did you do with my badge? I told you to hold it when I went to the bathroom.” Rocky’s voice seemed irate, and Hubert patted his pockets.
“That was at the buffet, I put it with mine on the table next to my elbow . . .”
“You ridiculous jerk! You left our badges there?! What’s wrong with you?”
Hubert narrowed his eyes. “Shut up! It’s not like you never leave anything behind! Last week you lost the car keys!”
Rocky gritted his teeth and pushed Hubert back a step. “I didn’t leave them in a restaurant! They fell out of my pocket into the couch!”
The concierge, sensed that this was about to get messy. “Guys, guys, calm down. I’ll take it upstairs, you just go find your badges before they get thrown away or stolen.”
Both of the tubby pachyderms fell silent and lowered their heads. “Now, what room is this going to?”
“1041.” Rocky said, defeated. He and Hubert sheepishly shuffled out the front doors of the hotel. The slim gecko noticed Hubert punch rocky in the arm as they walked out, much of his jiggling fat responding by gyrating wildly.
Monday, December 30th
“Look, Rocky, the dents I’m making are bigger than yours!”
The corpulent rhino responded by hoisting his ample waist in both hands and dropping it, letting it flop. “Oh yeah? Watch this.”
The two very corpulent furs were busy crushing scrapped cars. They both needed a little extra cash to get Fanimal a birthday present, and the junkyard a mile from home had broken its crusher- they needed a quick way to get a few cars down to the scrap metal. Luckily, there were two very fat pachyderms that just happened to walk in.
Oz watched them silently, keeping his coat around his pudgy frame. He was amused by their plucky competitive nature, especially when it came to their weight. They’d be perfect.
“Hey boys!” He called, down from below the cars being crushed. The hippo and rhinostopped their relentless stomping and jumping long enough to notice him.
“Oz, old friend, what are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.”
Hubert giggled. “Just making a few extra bucks.”
“Hey, maybe you’d be interested in what I’ve got to say, then.”
The concierge knocked on the door several times, but he got no answer. That
was what he expected. He knew for a fact that Denalgh was hosting the party
downstairs and couldn’t very well order room service. He rapped on the door
again, and then turned to the food on the cart. He picked up the card sitting
next to a silver platter, and turned it over.
“Room 914! They just told me the wrong one. Duh.” He said to himself. The wolfess and the fox heard him.
Reggie’s voice came in her ear. “Okay, he’s turned away now . . . Go, now!” Her earpiece screamed at her. With all the dexterity a thief of her caliber should have, she silently slipped out of the cart, crouched next to it. The concierge was on the other side, muttering to himself, when they heard a noise from the opposite direction.
A fat coyote was carrying a stack of books, and had spilled them all over the floor outside the elevator. The concierge rushed over to help him, and Aurelina inserted the key card.
Stymie held off the concierge just long enough. “Thanks for the help, man, they’re just too much too carry.” Aurelina was opening the door. “I’m just heading downstairs . . . thought I might catch some fresh air on the roof while I read some of these.” She was putting the key card back on the tray, beneath one of the silver trays. “Thanks for your help.”
Back in the room, Reggie sighed with relief. She was inside the room, and the key was on its way back.
Saturday, January 4th
Stymie ordered several burgers for himself, and Reggie did the same. They sat
in the booth at the greasy spoon diner, much to the dismay of Stymie, who had a
world of trouble fitting himself into it. He ignored his discomfort and shared
jokes with his friend.
“So, Stymie, you said you had a job for me.”
“That I do- I need a fur who is good with computers and reroute camera footage.”
Reggie chewed on a mozzarella stick. “Okay, that sounds . . . odd. How much does it pay?”
Vanilla Coke was spewed all over Stymie, as the rotund fox was obviously stunned. “What?”
“Me and Oz need someone to monitor Security footage while we get some work done.”
“You want me to join you in a heist? I’m sorry, Stymie, I’m not that kind of fur.”
“Even if it meant destroying the Denalgh Empire?”
Valentin scoped out the party, with Aurelina hanging on his arm. “You’re a
son of a bitch. Why on earth did I ever sign up to work with you?” she said, her
teeth clenched as she politely smiled at everyone else at the party.
“Because this is for a good cause. And you really should learn to bury the hatchet. You’re still mad over a five-year-old misunderstanding. Shut up and do your job.”
“I’ll do my job, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to take orders from you.”
He was approaching now, and the two quit their bickering. “I’m Dominique Denalgh, but you can call me Dom. And you might be?”
Val extended his hand, which was adorned with several rings with enormous gems on them. “Boris, Boris Nitrovich.” His Russian accent came out perfectly, intriguing the Dalmatian. Sharp claws grazed Denalgh’s soft paw as they shook, causing him to wince a tiny bit. The slim dog did his best to hide it.
“I ahm- interested in your program. I told it vorks miracles, helping furs slim down very quickly. I might be interested een trying eet out myself.”
The Dalmatian nodded. “I think we can help you, friend, let me just refer you to one of our specialists . . .”
Val cut him off- Aurelina was about to make her move. “Actually, if eet does vork, vell, I have a rather successful chain of restaurants; I thought I might recommend it to zome of my staff who need to shed ze pounds. I might be villing to pay for it, too, if it works very vell indeed. Not to mention I’ve heard it involves some foods of your own creation- which might make an addition to our menus. Vhat do you think?”
Denalgh was in shock. “Let me just tell you more about it, we are to have a promotional show soon, but I think I’d like to tell you about it myself.” He didn’t notice Aurelina slip her hand in the pocket of his slacks and steal his keycard to his room upstairs.
“Zat sounds vonderful. Shall I follow you?”
Tuesday, December 31st
Valentin locked the door to his store and slipped the keys into his pocket,
just as he was met with a tap on the shoulder. He tried to spin around, but he
was much too fat to do it with any speed.
“Stymie? What are you doing here?”
Stymie smiled and hugged his old friend. “Just came for a visit. How’s business?”
Val managed a weak smile. “Not so good.”
The coyote gave a sympathetic chuck on the chin. “Maybe you could use some extra cash to prop it up?”
Val looked at him strangely. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m putting together a crew; I think we could use your help.”
“I don’t do that anymore, I’m a legitimate businessfur now.”
“Whose profits are hurting- thanks to a weight-loss guru. Come on board with me, and I guarantee you will have plenty of money to retire on; you won’t have to worry about your business. You’ll have more than you’ll ever need, maybe you can widen that door.” Stymie patted Valentin’s belly lightly, making ripples.
“I have a family.”
“Who will benefit from this? I give you my word, this will improve your business, not to mention make you into a very rich fur. Come on, Val, one for old times sake?”
A rap sounded at the door of Room 941. Meph answered the door, receiving the
room service from the concierge, giving him a very niggardly tip. The concierge
left then, just as Meph wheeled the cart inside the room and removed the card
from where Aurelina had left it.
Reggie spun in his chair, having gone back to snacking constantly. “Okay, she’s in, we still have contact through her earpiece, but there’s no camera in that room.” The fat red fox said. Meph nodded. A second knock on the door came, and he let Stymie into their base.
Stymie removed his coat and promptly began to get dressed. “Meph, Dameon, she’s going to be in that computer soon, and you two are going to have to take over from there. I’m going to get that damn key back in his pocket.” The fat skunk and corpulent chipmunk both nodded. Stymie turned to Reggie. “Let’s run a check- where is everyone?”
Reggie clicked a few keys and did something with the mouse. “Val’s keeping Denalgh’s attention, us four are in here, obviously, Sergei hasn’t made a move that could jeopardize us. Keith is still in the kitchen, he’s waiting for me to contact him. Aurelina’s, in the room, Rocky and Hubert have the van ready, and Oz . . . “
“Yes, Reggie, where is our fearless leader?”
“I think he . . . he’s talking to someone . . . oh shit.”
“It’s Denalgh’s girlfriend.”
Stymie squinted at the screen. “You have got to be kidding me. That’s her?”
Reggie nodded. “Why? Who is she?”
“She’s his ex.”
Friday, December 27th
Oz and Stymie carried the boxes of donuts back to the table. The both had
ordered a dozen, as well as a gallon of chocolate milk to share between them.
They had just had lunch an hour ago, so they were eating lightly.
“So, what was the project you told me about on the phone?” Stymie asked.
Oz thought for a moment. “Ever heard of Dominique Denalgh?”
“Yeah, the bastard is convincing the entire country to lose weight. Probably why this Krispy Kreme is getting ready to fold.”
“What do you say to making him suffer?”
“I’m listening.” The coyote said, bits of donut flying out of his mouth.
Oz held up a cassette. “This cost me a pretty penny, but I think it might do the trick. Plus, I’d like to make us rich in the process.”
Stymie nodded his head thoughtfully. “Glad to see your up to your old tricks, its been a hard year for you, hasn’t it. She really broke your heart, didn’t she?” Stymie knew how to cut to the meat, both at a conversation and at the dinner table.
“Maybe, but I like the idea of retiring soon. Are you on board?”
Stymie just grinned.
Stymie entered the ball room, scanning it for his partners. Valentin was
still distracting Denalgh, but the demonstration was to start soon. He spotted
Keith off to his right, and made his way to him through the crowd. Keith was the
inside man- his job was to set up and make sure the promotion ran smoothly. At
least that is what Denalgh hired him to do. The two bumped into each other, and
to every partygoer, it looked like an accident, but the keycard traded hands.
Keith made his way towards Denalgh, Stymie following a few steps behind. This
was a crucial moment.
Keith heard Reggie’s voice over in his earpiece. “Okay, Keith, Stymie, get into positions. Val, they are both at three o’clock, maybe thirty feet away.”
Keith was a few steps away now. He had to talk to Denalgh about the presentation, but he was worried. He’d heard the comment over the airwaves, and he was panicking. Oz wasn’t acting according to plan, and it was freaking him out. Keith normally did not do well under such pressure. He reached the Dalmatian and tapped him on the shoulder.
Denalgh did not look pleased to be interrupted from finessing Boris. “I’m sorry, sir, but I need a few more minutes . . . someone didn’t hook up the cables correctly.” He whispered in the rich dog’s ear. The fat lemur was met with a gaze that could kill flowers. “Fix it, I don’t want another delay, this night is very important . . .” Denalgh stared directly in Keith’s eyes, daring him to bring up a problem. “Do it now, Val!” Reggie’s voice whispered in his ear.
Valentin made a sound that did not sound pleasant at all. He had just been trying a piece of Denalgh’s original low-cal cheese, and now he was pretending to choke. He waved his flabby arms frantically, gasping for air. Keith was almost convinced himself.
Stymie was standing next to him, acting as just another partygoer, but he recognized the sound and turned. It all happened so quickly, Stymie giving the tubby dragon a Heimlich maneuver. Keith barely had time to replace the card in the mogul’s pocket.
Chaos ensued, and finally the offending bit of cheese was coughed out of the fat dragon’s mouth. Stymie helped him sit on the floor, just playing his part of a Good Samaritan. Denalgh was worried as well, he’d nearly lost a great investor.
“I fine, I’s okay . . . I yust eat it so fast . . .” He panted on the floor.
Stymie patted Val on the back. “You’ve got to learn to chew your food.”
The gathering of rubberneckers snickered, and Val let out a hearty guffaw. “I tink perhaps your right!”
Keith left the spectacle, as Denalgh tried to comfort the obese dragon. He walked to the back of the room and fiddled with the cables, as well as replacing the tape that was in the player with the one Oz had provided. It was almost time- their fate lay in the hands of the two furs upstairs- he prayed they knew the stock market well.
Monday, January 6th
Oz knocked on the door, and Keith answered after a few seconds. They didn’t
know each other very well, but Oz had requested a meeting, and Keith knew who he
was and what he did. Under normal circumstances, he never would have considered
“What can I do for you, Oz?”
Oz gave a condescending smile. “You’re a camera man, correct?”
Keith nodded. “Theoretically.”
“And you recently we hired by Dominique Denalgh?”
“What business is that of yours?”
“I pay very well for information. I know you have a liking for the ponies.”
“You can leave now.” Keith opened the door, indicating he was not pleased.
“Eight million, at least.”
“If this goes off correctly, you get eight million dollars. If not, you’ve lost nothing. I need someone on the inside to help me take that bastard down. I think you are just the man. You owe nearly two hundred thousand in gambling debts- I’m your way out. You’ve done a lot of stupid things in your life- let’s fix that, shall we?”
Saturday, January 18th
“Aurelina, give me the numbers.” Reggie said.
They could hear her tapping the keyboard of Denalgh’s laptop, searching for the information. She relayed it to the fat fox, who in turn gave it to Dameon.
The tubby chipmunk took a deep breath and took out his cell phone. He called a bank, inquiring about his balance. And then he put his chubby paw over the mouthpiece of the phone. “Good god.”
“Meph turned to him. “How much does he have?”
“Over 600 million.”
The room was silent, all three in shock at the insane number they had to work with.
“How much do we need?” Meph inquired.
Reggie looked at the paper next to him. He still hadn’t returned to his snacking. “88.”
Meph nodded solemnly. “I can do that.”
Dameon put the phone back into his ear. “Yes, I would like to make a transfer . . . all of it. Well, I need 200 million 65 thousand in a bank in Tottori by the name of . . .”
Tuesday, January 7th
Dameon sat at the table, nursing his beer. He stared into space and thought
about what exactly he was going to do with his life. He was the only one in the
bar- so Oz had no trouble finding him.
“We have a mutual friend, name of Jack Ashcroft.”
Daemon’s hostility melted. He offered the round roo a seat. “What brings you here, friend?”
“Call me Oz.”
Dameon nodded, motioning for the waitress. “And, what has Jack said about me?”
“He said you are a stunning linguist who knows how to think on his feet. He said once you convinced a Pakistani military squad that you were photographers for National Geographic, when in fact you were there to steal historic treasures.”
“Jack is loose with his tongue and not always right.”
“I trust him. I’m also told you were very disappointed that all you got for your troubles was a scarred knee and a wasted week.”
“So what if I did?”
“I need someone who speaks some rather exotic languages fluently, someone who can successfully mimic an accent as to dodge suspicion. Someone who knows how the world works- he said you were perfect for the job, And this time, you will be well compensated for your efforts.”
Dameon took a drink of beer. “This isn’t kosher, is it.”
Oz grinned. “Nope. But would you do it if it was?”
The party has been silenced, Denalgh was about to unveil his newest feature.
The news crews had their cameras ready. Keith stood at the back of the ballroom,
setting up the microphones. The speakers were ready. He could see Valentin and
Stymie, standing very close to the cleared space next to Denalgh. The man’s
stock was supposed to skyrocket tonight, after he shows the world his great
results. The weight-loss king was to become even richer tonight.
Aurelina had finished her work, and was now preparing to leave the hotel room. She had a sudden flash of inspiration, and picked a lipstick out of the female belongings in the room. She wrote on the mirror. “Gotcha.” In bright red letters.
Reggie and Meph were crowed around the one computer screen, staring at the balances of the dozen accounts Dameon had just set up all over the world, in various pseudonyms. The money had to be very liquid- it would make many a journey tonight. They only had a few minutes to turn that load of cash into much more.
“Ladies and Gentlefurs, welcome. My name is Dom Denalgh, and I am the founder and CEO of Look Right enterprises, where anyone can look how they’ve always wanted. I just wanted to show you a picture of me before I came up with my program.”
On the back wall behind him, a projection of an old photo of Denalgh appeared. He’d been quite a porker back then- his tummy protruding half a foot in front of him, his clothes too loose to try and hide some of it. Round cheeks, a giant rear, spots stretched to twice their normal size.
“I’m showing you this to prove that anyone can be fit and trim- but you’ve all heard this before. I’m not here to try and sell you my product, well, not totally. I’m here to show you my latest innovation.” He made a signal to Keith, and Keith pressed play on the cassette in the player.
Over the intercom, they all heard it. In a corner, Sergei cracked his knuckles in anticipation.
Patient is a 30 year old Dalmatian. Height- 5’11”, weight, 181pounds. Patient is recovering quickly, especially after such a trying ordeal. This is the fourth surgery in as many months . . .
Dom’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates, and he tried desperately to signal Keith at the back of the room, but Keith gave him a thumb’s up, playing dumb.
Although personally I was reluctant to operate so many times in such a short time, I realize my efforts were not in vain. All four liposuctions had no complications . . .
That was all any of them needed to hear. The murmur rose to a roar, the Cameras and microphones still recording. Denalgh stood in everyone’s view, hearing his surgeon’s voice. Someone had gotten a hold of his doctor’s dictation and put it in the microphone.
The nanosecond the word Liposuction could be heard, Meph went to work. He
bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Look Right stock, all over the world.
Dameon verified the transactions over the phone.
“Here it is.” Meph said, the fat skunk was quite excited now, liking his chops. And then he sold, just short of the newscasters finding out and reporting it on CNN. They did have live feed, but he was one step ahead of them. He sold just a few fractions of a penny below the peak. And then every trader in the world involved in weight-loss investing heard the news. They’d all been watching the coverage, expecting their stock to go up. And they heard the little prank of the overweight crew. And they all sold at once.
Reggie, Meph and Dameon stared at the screen. Mesh’s short selling had earned them 12 million dollars. Dameon dumped it into another account by another phone call. They had already spent the rest of the money on stocks of competing health food and weight loss companies. Meph cracked his knuckles and became a blur, transferring and selling online, while Dameon closed the account verbally, in half a dozen languages. The stocks slowly climbed, first they had made 12 million, then 20, then 22 . . . the numbers slowly continued their march. But it would all crash in just a few minutes, down to its old numbers. None of them were rising very much, but a few pennies multiplied by their 700 million . . .
Meph hit 97 million in profit and bailed it all out. Dameon speed dialed to get the money back. Together they channeled all of that cash back into its original account. 797 million and change. And then they transferred the 97 million . . . first to the Caymans, then to Bangladesh, all by computer. The money hit a dozen banks before it finally landed at its destination in Canada.
Meph leaned back. It was done. There was nothing that would alarm Denalgh unless he checked his transactions . . . his balance was still intact. And anyone snooping around, wondering why so much money had changed hands, would trace the accounts back to Denalgh. Which was perfectly legal- he was allowed to shuffle his money whenever he chose to. They had done it- embarrassed the man and made money from nothing.
Dameon stared, open mouthed, at what they’d just done. Reggie crunched on a chip, just to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
Wednesday, January 4th
Meph walked home with his spirits down and his head low. It had been another
hard day at work, and he had to walk home in the rain. He’d gained weight, too,
and his raincoat no longer fit around his tubby midsection. He enjoyed being
fat, but sometimes it could put a crimp in his style.
Someone was sitting on his front stoop. It was a corpulent kangaroo. His cap was turned backwards, a few wisps of hair stuck out of the front.
“Hey, Meph, how’s school?”
“It’s tough, especially with work and all. What’s up?”
Oz gave his famous condescending smile. “My weight, but that’s to be expected. ”I actually wanted to know if you’d be interested in a change of careers- your friends tell me you do nothing but work so you can come up with your tuition.”
Meph nodded. “You’ve piqued my curiosity. What did you have in mind?”
Oz smiled and approached her. She wasn’t as attractive to him anymore, she’d
lost quite a bit of weight. But he loved her anyway.
She, on the other hand, hated him. “What the hell are you doing here, Oz?”
“That’s no way to greet your husband.” He said nonchalantly. A few other furs seemed to pay attention to the two of them, but none said anything.
“We are no longer married, asshole. I served you those divorce papers a year ago.”
For the first time since he had started his little project, Oz did not look cool. “Laurana, I didn’t come to ask for you back.”
“I came to say goodbye. I came to say I love you, but if you don’t love me, I respect that. I came here to see if you are happy with your new love. I came to wish you well in life. I came to tell you that there is no bad blood between us.”
“Get out of here.” The thin tabby cat looked ready to throw her champagne in Oz’s face.
“Goodbye, Laurana. I’m sorry for anything I’ve done to you. I hope someday you will forgive me.” Oz turned and walked away. Laurana hadn’t been moved, but he hadn’t expected her to, not yet, at least.
Dominique stood in the center of the room, still. It was quite a while before
he could bring himself to move. He had seen Keith, giving him a helpless look.
Keith had long since left. There were three people in the room; himself, and two
furs standing over to the side. His guests had left in disgust. He dared not
talk to anyone.
He shuffled over to the equipment Keith had been working with. After a few minutes of staring, he saw the white audio cassette in one of the dozen of black machine. It was the same tape he had given Keith- someone must have taken it apart and replaced the spool. It wasn’t Keith’s fault . . . someone had sabotaged him, probably before he had ever handed the tape over to the tubby lemur.
Someone was behind him. It was Laurana. “Dom . . . is it true?”
He turned. “Why?”
She looked at him with her bright green eyes. “Because you said you’d lost that weight using your program. You helped me lose weight; you said you could do it, so I could. Whatever you tell me, you know I’ll believe you.”
“How dare you.” His black eyes were glazed over.
“What? Honey, are you okay?”
“How dare you ask that of me, after all I’ve done for you . . . I took an obese cat and turned her into a regal princess . . .”
Laurana stared at him a while longer. She said nothing, just walking out of the ballroom. Leaving him alone.
Well, not entirely.
Two overweight cats approached him. He still stood in his trance, but he was not without reason.
“Sergei- did you have anything to do with this?”
Sergei shook his head. “No, I didn’t.”
“DON’T LIE TO ME YOU UGLY, FAT, TUB OF-“ The slim Dalmatian screamed at the top of his lungs. A furry paw whacked him across the face, cutting him short, the claws drawing blood.
Tamara shook her paw; it smarted from the smack. “Come, Sergei, you haven’t had a good dinner, this nasty health crap will kill you.” With her eyes she dared Denalgh to say anything, Sergei put a smug look on his fat face and strolled out of the hotel.
He then walked up to his hotel room, like a zombie. He unlocked the door with his keycard. He didn’t notice the message on the mirror. He just opened his suitcase and dug to the very bottom. There is was, the only candy bar he’d owned in years. After his last liposuction, he had vowed to keep it with him, just to prove to himself that he had self-control. Crying and bleeding, he tore of the wrapper and ate it in a single bite.
Valentin met Aurelina outside the door to 941.
“You did great today.” He said, looking at the floor. The now-trim wolfess gave a half a smile.
“Thanks, so did you.”
“Look, I think its high time we buried the hatchet. We’ve been angry at each other for years over nothing. You’re the damn best partner there is.”
Aurelina didn’t meet his eyes. “I’m still mad. You’re still and arrogant bastard. But I’ll do my best to get past it.”
Val nodded and turned to the door and opened it. “By the way, you looked great before you drank that potion.”
Oz stood on the roof, in the frigid darkness, staring into the night. He
hadn’t gone downstairs to see if they had done it. He was enjoying the
“Did you have anything to do with that?”
He turned, seeing Laurana approaching from inside. “I might have.”
“The day I left you . . . you promised me you weren’t going out on another job, you promised you had left it behind. Dom lied to me, he used me. Did you?”
Oz shook his head. “I was trying to find a gift for you. I thought you deserved something special for putting up with my work all those years.”
“What was it?”
Oz grinned. “This.” He reached into his coat pocket and removed a small velvet box. “You saw it in the department store, the week after we got married. I saw you staring at it- but back then we didn’t have the money.”
Laurana looked at the thing in his hands, not believing him. “I thought . . .”
“You had every reason to think that.”
“You were just gone so long . . .” She was beginning to cry.
Oz drew her in close. “I’m still single, by the way. And it looks like you might be too.”
She nodded, and burst into tears.
Sunday, January 19th
Valentin kissed his wife on the cheek and looked in the phone book for a
contractor to work on the door to his store.
Reggie sat in front of his new computer, playing a game and munching on a bag of Doritos.
Meph paid for next semester’s tuition in cash.
Aurelina ate seven pounds of gummi bears, bought at Costco.
Dameon bought a plane ticket to India, so he could see the treasure he and Jack had taken and given to a museum.
Sergei sat in the hot tub, while Tamara fed him nachos with extra cheese.
Stymie made an offer to buy the local Krispy Kreme.
Rocky and Hubert bought Fanimal a brand-new car, in cash.
Keith met a bear in a black coat in a dark alley, and handed him upwards of two hundred thousands dollars in a manila envelope. Then he walked to the Gambler’s anonymous meeting.
Oz and Laurana were married in a wedding chapel in Vegas- again.
And Dominique Denalgh gorged himself.