“Hey guys, I got a great surprise for the party tonight.”
Brody had to outdo himself this time. He’d been let into Alpha Sigma on the strength of Tanner’s recommendation, as the frat was “presently in need of a solid bro for setting up chill hangs and good parties” according to Chapter President Bryce “Python” VanDemere, who Brody needed to impress tonight. It has been made clear that the recommendation got him in the door, but the audition is all on him. This is the first party he’s set up for the Brothers on his own, so he needs to knock it out of the park.
Bryce sneers a bit too hard at the promise of a surprise. "Oh, is that so?" Brody bristled, but led them into the den in the celler of the frat house. It’s a bare foundation with concrete floors and old furniture strewn about. There’s a big crt tv hooked up to an old Gamecube and an honest to god HD DVD player, and most of the nicer couches and chairs are around it with a coffee table in the middle. On the table is a fluffy wearing a festive party hat, an applecheeked grin, and a disposition so sunny one could forget he was in a basement.
He perked up as he saw them entering the room, but unlike what one would expect from a fluffy, he doesn’t trip over himself running to the small collection of very chill bros that was approaching. He doesn’t even call out to them. He just stands excitedly, occasionally being so elated that he’s going to get to do his job that he starts making “happiest tippy tappies wif hoofsies.”
Gregory is two years old. He’s a grown fluffy, but in many ways still young. He’s part of a growing trend amongst fluffy breeders who train fluffies to specialize in specific jobs they can be useful for.
No, not just clearing minefields. As Full Throttle teaches us, that’s still best done by small mechanical rabbits.
Gregory was a fluffy who was specifically trained to party. He was raised by the trainers and nurse mares at “Ralphs Quick Party Foals,” a local business that trained fluffies small enough to be passed off as “big babbehs” to party. Party how?
Party the fuck down.
As the boys entered the space, the excited young fluffy cleared his throat and began. “Hewwo nicey mistuh! Am Gwegowy da pawty babbeh! Am hewe fwom Wawph’s Pawty Babbeh Pwace, whewe aww da bestest pawty foaws an’ dancie babbehs wibe!” Blaine and Skyler were chuckling pretty good at the antics of the fluffy who, upon finishing his opening spiel, began doing a series of crude dances and singing at least two different songs, though he seemed to be losing track of which and swapping to and fro.
Bryce, less so. "Brody, a word?" He drug the freshman off to a side alcove and got uncomfortably close to his face. “This is your idea for a party? You went out and rented a fluffy that someone taught to play fucking beer pong? Fuck man, it’s a rental so we can’t even do anything to it or they fuck us.” Bryce stopped. Normally Brody was the kind of weasel who’d try to interject when he forgot his place, but he was just smiling. Grinning, even.
“What’s got you so happy?” Bryce asked, still gruff but softened by his confusion. Brody laughed. “Because the rental fluffy isn’t all I bought.”
Bryce backed away a bit and gave him some space. "Okay, now you have my attention. But you have about ten words to explain what it is or I’m vetoing your ass out of the frat entirely." Once again, Brody responded with a dry chuckle and a shake of his head.
“I also bought the stupidly overpriced Damage Insurance on him.”
Now Bryce was starting to smile. “Well I can’t fucking argue with that, how far can we go?” Brody clapped his hand onto Bryce’s shoulder in the sort of masculine power play that guys like him and Bryce think are important to anyone else. "Bryce, I don’t even need a body. I paid the full deposit, in cash, and bought the insurance package. It cost a pretty penny but it won’t link back to the frat. Little guy was officially rented for a pit Barbecue halfway across Boone County. All I gotta do is call tomorrow and be all bashful and shy and shit while I admit that maybe I shouldn’t have been so flippant vis a vis having the fluffy near open flame. I paid the insurance, he files, I sign a boilerplate document stating that the fluffy is indeed dead and has not been released. With all due respect, I got this shit covered."
After a brief discussion upstairs, the guys worked out the plan. They’d pal around with Gregory for a while and do the party games like they’re supposed to. Brody explained that he read about how fluffies like this are trained, and that the act of playing party games and energetically interacting with people is like a burst of Ketracel-white directly to the bloodstream.
Bryce thinks he managed to conceal the fact he got that reference. Nobody else would agree, but they all decide there’s no point in dwelling on the Freshman’s poorly picked metaphors.
“The point is, they live for this shit.” Brody told the group. “They get so hopped up on dopamine and huggies and wub and shit that anything bad happening throws them like a rollercoaster missing a piece of track. It’s wildly unpredictable, but the fun part” he says as he makes direct eye contact with Bryce, “is in all the leadup to that. See, fluffies like him are well trained. They’re honestly kind of impressive, and they’re conditioned to read the room and respond with more varied party activities and antics.”
Brody saw that he’d gotten off topic.
“My core point is he thinks that because of all his training, everyone will always love him unless he’s doing something wrong. So his response to negativity is to go all Andrew W.K. and party harder. And that means-” He was cut off by Bryce, now fully on board.
“It means that instead of just begging for mercy he’s going to be trying to play games and entertain us in a desperate bid to regain our favor.”
Brody noddend enthusiastically. “And all we have to do first is party with this little dude for a few hours first. Remember, they’re trained to juggle the preferences and shit for a bunch of people. That means if you want him to try to do anything specific later, you have to make sure he connects it with you before we get weird.” The boys all agreed and went downstairs.
They spent about two hours playing with Gregory, and by the halfway point even Bryce was getting into it.
“Holy shit I’m gonna be honest,” he slurred through a combination of bourbon and Strawberry Cough, “maybe we should just keep him. Like fuck it, maybe you call the guy but instead of…” He swirls his hands around denoting an unspoken but obvious idea. “He just lives here in the basement. Whaddaya say, Greg?” He clumsily ruffled the front of the fluffy’s mane. “You wanna live in this ‘big warm howsie’ of ours?”
Gregory got a sour look on his face. “Nu, dat nu am awwowed. Gwegowy wub aww nyu hoomin fwends, but hafta gu back fow daddeh Wawph! Gwegowy am bewy gud fwuffy an daddeh awways say ‘nu wet dummeh hoomins take fwuffy fwum daddeh Wawph’ su Gwegowy wiwe hafta powitewy decwine ou genowuss offew.” It was a speech he’d given more than once. Most parties have at least one attendee who asks this question, but Ralph doesn’t run a pet shop, he runs an entertainment service. Truth be told, Brody had attempted to purchase one outright, but Ralph wasn’t having it and neither is Gregory. He’d been specifically instructed not to get adopted and to always find a way home. He even knew how to read numbers so he could dial Daddy Ralph’s phone and tell him what street number he’s on.
Gregory really was well trained, something of a prodigy. Brody had asked for the best, and the best was given. Gregory was born to party, and after he rejected Bryce’s advances everyone had a good laugh about it. Eeeeeveryone but Bryce. He was uncharacteristically quiet and wouldn’t stop staring at the fluffy.
It told him no. It doesn’t get to do that, and it was insulting that some rough handed peon like this “Ralph” had put his words in the mouth of this glorified Furby to begin with. Being admonished by someone who doesn’t have a Summer and Winter home was ridiculous, and it made him angry.
“Oooh uh huh! Fwuffy knu dat one!”
“OOOOOU! OU HAB WAT FWAFFY NEEEEEEED! BUT OU SAY HE JUST A FWEND! BUT OU SAY HE JUST A FWEND!” The other three were having a genuinely good time getting stoned with this small horse, and within twenty minutes they’d decide not to go through with the rest of the plan.
Unfortunately for Gregory, Bryce only gave them fifteen.
“Alright boys, I’ve had an excellent time tonight, but it’s time to turn in. Gregory, would you like me to show you to your new room?” He squatted in front of the blue and gold unicorn and ruffled his back fluff, but the fluffy started to pull away. “Nu Bwyce, wemembew? Gwegowy wub ou but nu can stay hewe! Hafta gu back tu Dadde Wawph an-” He was interrupted by Bryce grabbing about 2/3rds of the way down his tail and lifting him up with a wet “crack” from the base of it.
“Screeeeee! Nuuuu! Owwies, nu Bwyce, nu awwowed! Nu am awwowed tu pway wif Gwegowy dis way ow Daddeh Wawph gib huwties tu hoomins! Nu 'posed tu howd Gwegowy by pwetty taiw, gibbin huwties tu Gwegowy!” Bryce stood as he raised the nervous fluffy to chest level and looked at Brody. “Got the bucket?” Bryce nodded, producing a large paint bucket with a strong smelling blue chemical in the bottom, like the stuff in porta johns but on steroids. Bryce holds Gregory above it. “Alright little fella, we’ve got to make sure you only shit in the bucket. I’ll even hold you in it.” Gregory, still intermittently whining about his tail and the worstest upsies it was presently suffering, responded immediately. “Nu! Gwegowy nu hab poopies! Aww *huhuhu…*aww ub Daddeh Wawph’s P…pawty fwuffs hab poopy pwuggies! Nu gon make poopies untiw daddeh take poopy pwace pwug out of gud fwuffy Gwegowy hu daddeh wub bewy muchies!” He was desperately trying not to violate one of the big rules: No pooping at work. Bryce was less concerned with protocol.
“Oh hey, would you look at that. Here, I’ll just…” Bryce grabbed the small rubber ring sticking out from under Gregory’s tail and pulled. “Owwies! Nu huwt poopie pwace, den Gwegowy make bad poopies an daddeh nu wike Gwegowy nu mowe!” His panic gave way to sadness, all an act meant to avoid plug removal. Ralph found that most folks wouldn’t fight a fluffy to make sure it could shit, so training them to zealously protect the merchandise makes sense.
“Huuuu daddeh gunna be bigges maddies fow poow babbeh Gwegowy. Gwegowy nu wan hab huwties, pwease wet gu…” Bryce held him above the bucket by his mane and wrapping an itchy thick scarf around his belly. Then he pulled the ends in opposite directions.
Gregory filled maybe a quarter of the bucket, he doesn’t eat well until after parties so there’s not much in him. He’s in shock from the sudden pain when Bryce removes the scarf and tosses him into a small bucket of water that Brody had mixed with various air fresheners, shampoos, and industrial solvents. Smelled great, was only kinda caustic, and was thick like warm molasses when Gregory was dropped into it. The first sensation was like wetness, but a sticky wetness. This puzzled Gregory, wawa nu can be sticky! Silly Gregory. But it’s what he felt.
He stopped thinking about that as he felt it soak his fluff down to his skin. It started as an itch but over a minute of begging to be “wet out of sowwy cuppie pwease an fankyu” it had become more painful. Bryce lifted him again and was satisfied that the shit had been removed. Of course his formerly luscious dark blue fluff from his belly to his ass was now faded and the hair looked like it was withering when they set him down on the coffee table and gathered around him.
Gregory was heartbroken. Standing there on his four little hoofsies, he just looked at the ground in front of him. Or rather, the table. He could see some of the remnants of the games they’d played! Like charades! And Simon Says! He even gave everyone happies with his “I’m so happy” dance! Why were his new hoomin friends hurting him? He figures he must not be good enough, and that means only one course of action: Party.
“Huuuhuhuhu owwies… Pwease nu huwt, hewe! Fwuffy du happy dancie fow ou?” He reared up on his hind legs and did the Dancie Babbeh Shuffle for a few seconds before he had to get weight off his back hooves. Brody was disappointed. "Come on Greg, you danced so long earlier! This isn’t fun at all." Oh no! His dancing wasn’t good enough because the meanie smeww-pwetty-but-awso-nu-smeww-pwetty wawa had given worstest hurties to his poor hoofsies! He’d have to change approaches.
“Otay, fwends wan pway Stowy Circwe 'gain? Aww ou wubbed dat game eawiew, wan pway again an be nice tu gud fwuffy Gwegowy?” Bryce shook his head. “No, I want to play Tic Tac Toe.”
Gregory gasped. Tic Tac Toe was the single hardest game he’d learned to play. Most fluffies never reach a point where they can follow all the moves and options available in the gargantuan 3x3 playing space.
But this might just work. Gregory only had to believe in himself and he could make the party come back! The party can save Bestest Party Babbeh Gregory!
“O-otay! Gwegowy knu how pway Ticky Tactow, wiww pway game wif Bwyce?” Bryce nodded. “That’s right. We’re playing first to ten. That means whoever wins 10 games first wins…” He paused thinking of what might speak to this fluffy.
“Wins the party. Now whenever I lose I’ll drink a shot of 151. But you were a little fucking PUSSY and didn’t wanna drink any!” He punctuates by throwing an empty beer bottle past Gregory’s head, shouting while he does it.
"Am…am sowwy mistew Bwyce, bu babbeh nu can hab siwwy wawa, am onwy wittwe babbeh!" He was quivering and letting his eyes water to draw sympathy. Bryce offered none. "Anyway since you can’t drink I’ll remove something from you every time you lose. I’ll start with this." He says as he flicks the party hat, denting the middle and causing it to flop back a bit. “Nu! Pwease nu take Pawty Hat! Gwegowy need Pawty Hat su ebbybuddy knu Gwegowy am pawty babbeh! Daddeh Wawph say dat ebbywun hafta be nice cuz am bewwy speciaw!” Bryce snorted in contempt.
“Yeah, well, prove it.”
Gregory was in trouble.
He’d mastered Tic Tac Toe, but he’d never had to perform under this kind of pressure. If he loses, this scary human is gonna take away his pretty hat! The human had put down an “x” in the middle, which scared Gregory because no matter where he put his pretty circle it would be touching the meanie “X!”
He put it in the center on the top row and braced to see what happened. To his dismay, Bryce drew another “x” shape! This one on the middle of the right side! In a panic, Gregory drew another circle down in the bottom right corner, because that’s the corner he’s sitting by and he’s hoping the pretty circle will help him be brave. Bryce drew a third x in the center on the left side, and declared victory.
Gregory was stunned. He had been completely off guard, too stressed by his environment to remember that tic tac toe is all about making stackies! Now…
Bryce was pulling the hat straight up, causing the chinstrap to catch under Gregory’s jaw and come to rest on his throat. Bryce kept pulling until Gregory couldn’t touch the ground with his front hoofsies anymore! Only with his back hoofsies, and those had burnie owwies still!
"Kaf! Kaf! Pw…pwease Bwycie fwend, wet Gwegowy downies nao! Nu…nu can bweef wike dis!" Bryce laughed a little too hard, grabbed the elastic chinstrap in each hand, and yanked it apart. This pulled Gregory up sharply before immediately dropping him as the cord snapped. He landed on his tail, giving it even worse hurties. He righted himself, but his tail had flopped up onto his back. That meant his poopie and speciaw pwace were showing! Oh no! Gregory hates when people can see his nunus! He tried to move his tail, but he found he couldn’t. Moving those muscles gave him worstest hurties, and his tail didn’t make good waggies like normal!
Maybe pwetty taiw am saddies too…
“Alright little buddy, you lose today’s game. That means no hat. Now that you don’t have your hat, you’re just some fluffy. So we’re gonna keep you down here, and every day I’m going to play a game with you. And every time I win, I’m going to take something.” Gregory was huuhuuing loudly by now.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The next day brought a predictable result. Gregory lost badly due to his unfortunate habit of being easily flustered. Now he stood, quaking, on top of the coffee table awaiting his fate.
“Alright. Yesterday I took your dumb fucking hat away.” The insult causes Gregory to literally fall back on his haunches and slump over with sadness. “Nuuu, dat am Gwegowy pwetty pawty hat! Nu am dummeh! Daddeh Wawph say-” He was interrupted by Bryce slamming his fist on the table. He pissed himself and looked at Bryce, terrified of the punishment his bad peepees would bring. Bryce, however, just spoke.
“Today I’m not taking anything physical from you. Today, I’m taking this ‘Daddy Ralph’ from you. If I ever hear you mention him again, I’m gonna make you eat your ugly hat.” He pulled the crumpled hat out of his jacket pocket and the fluffy started sobbing. “Nuuuu! Nu wan! Pawty hat nu am nummies, am pwetty pawty hat fow speciaw pawty fwaffy!”
Brody scoffed from behind the couch. “Hear how he said that? Really leaned on that ‘a’ he put in ‘fwaffy?’ That means he’s trying to manipulate you. Probably thinks he’s clever or some shit.” Bryce scowled at Gregory, whose face had become contorted with confusion and terror. “Wat? Nu knu wat dat meen! Gwegowy nebba du nuffin wong tu nice mistuh Bwyce! Nu pway meanie twickies ow gif huwties ebba!” Bryce rolled his eyes. “Come on Gregory, don’t lie to your daddy. Tell bestest daddy Bryce the truth.”
Gregory winced like he was holding in shit. This was impossible, since Bryce had forgotten to feed him this morning. He wasn’t even being a dick, he’s just negligent and not very smart.
Gregory on the other hand wasn’t negligent. Well, not very. He was dumb as a stump though and this new information pushed out the old stuff as per usual.
“Nu mistah Bwyce, wemembew? Nu am Gwegowy daddeh, Gwegowy wib wif Daddeh Wawph an-” Bryce’s right hand shot out and grabbed Gregory by the snout. He squeezed down hard and his fingernails were starting to draw blood.
“What did I fucking tell you?” Gregory tried in vain to escape, his back legs scrambling around desperately searching for something to kick off from. His front legs were busy impotently swatting at Bryce’s hand and forearm. Tears were streaming freely down his face by now, and when Bryce lifted him up and set him down on his lap, Gregory let himself believe maybe the worst was over. As Bryce let go of his snout, Gregory whimpered but did not complain. He was afraid of reprisal, and was scared because so many things made Bryce have maddies! He couldn’t keep them straight!
Bryce started petting him gently and Gregory, still whimpering and quivering with fear, let himself lay down in Bryce’s lap, hoping this show of huggability would spare him more hurties.
Bryce continued stroking him, and Gregory started to coo involuntarily, and even closed his eyes. But he was soon startled by something poking at his mouth. Something…cardboard.
Gregory opened his eyes in horror to see his pretty hat! Bryce was trying to put it in his mouthie! Oh no, pretty hats aren’t for nummies, they’re for making fluffies feel special!
He tries to object but as he opens his mouth the hat started to come through. Soon Bryce had most of his hand inside the struggling fluffy’s mouth as he wriggled and bucked trying to escape the human’s clutches to no avail. After a bit more struggle, it was done. His pretty party hat was gone. Daddy Ralph had given it to him special! It was Orange like Gregory’s best friend Peter! Gregory moaned in despair. He was never going to get to go home! Daddy Ralph probably won’t even recognize him now! Peter wanted to be Gregory’s special friend. Gregory like Peter a whole whole lot, but it’s a big decision for a young fluffy! He told Peter he loved him very much, but that he wanted to think about it.
Then he was picked up by Brody and brought here. Now Peter is so far away and may never even know how happy he makes Gregory.
Oh, how he wishes he’d been more brave and just said ‘yes’ to Peter. At least then he’d know Peter knew how much he cared. Instead he’s just going to be…gone.
The next day Bryce didn’t even come downstairs. He left Gregory out of his kennel, but he had a thick belt around his midsection that was tied to a heavy weight on the ground. He had full run of the basement, but when he tried to go up the stairs, he found that lifting the weight was a lot harder than just pulling it. After he tried for a good solid hour, he tearfully and exhaustedly gave up. He drug the weight the seven inches he needed to get to the pile of dirty laundry that served as the only comfortable place to sleep. Bryce hadn’t shut Gregory in his kennel, but he still shut it. Gregory’s bed was inside.
After he laid down and rested for a while, he saw the sun coming down and making the whole basement look pretty with fun lights and colors. He started crying more though, because the last couple times he saw that happen were always after his daily game with Bryce. He knew he had to win to escape, but how can he win if Bryce doesn’t play?
He walked to the base of the stairs and looked up. The door was ajar and he could hear murmuring coming from beyond it in the kitchen. He started calling out, weakened due to hunger and depression.
“Hewwo? Pwease sumbuddy hewp Gwegowy, am su hungwee! Nee Bwyce tu pway gamesies wif Gwegowy su Gwegowy can weabe!” He stood for a few minutes, and hearing no response, he concluded he must not have been loud enough and started psyching himself up to yell louder.
This process repeated itself six more times before someone came down. It was Brody. “Jesus, we get it, what the fuck do you want?” Gregory had to be careful not to upset the hoomin. "Sowwy fow make yewwies, bu nubuddy hab gif nummies fow Gwegowy an nao am hab tummeh huwties aww bwite tiem!" He rubs his chubby belly for emphasis, and Brody gives him a playful poke. “Well gosh bud, I’m sorry. On the plus side, we talked to Daddy Ralph and he says you get to live with us now!” Gregory was confused. He was sure he hadn’t lost ten times, he’d only lost twice! He couldn’t count high, but he could count to three. “Wat? Nu! Nu faiw! Bwyce teww Gwegowy hab tu wose Ticky Tactow buncha mow times fiwst! Dis am nu faiw, bweak wuwes!” He was puffing his cheeks up. One thing Party Fluffies are drilled on is a zealous devotion to the rules of games, and violating those rules is as taboo as nono words.
Brody laughed in his face. “Yeah but that was before we told your daddy you’d drowned yourself. He said he wasn’t surprised, he always knew you were pretty stupid. Now you’re not his problem! Don’t worry though, you aren’t gonna drown. That was just a lie we told your daddy so you wouldn’t have to leave.” He ruffled the stunned fluffy’s mop top. “Now get ready for tonight, we need you for the party!”
Gregory perked up a bit. This situation was awful, yes. But they did need him for the party, and that’s the thing he’s best at! He started to get…well, not excited necessarily, but he was at least moderately jazzed about the prospect. Maybe tonight wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe this would all be okay, and Bryce would go back to being nice!
“Bryce, lemme say dude, great mixer. There’s chicks from all over in here. You’ve really outdone yourself this time.” Darren was aggressively networking, and that meant talking to Bryce. These parties were always half about getting seen by the right VanSomething-Or-Other and half about looking like you aren’t trying to do the first part.
“Hey, someone was saying you had a party fluffy? What’s that about? You never struck me as the type.” Bryce waved off the judgement. “Oh, I’m not. Believe me. But this little guy really grew on my when Brody booked him and we just couldn’t bear to let him go.”
Bryce led Darren out into the backyard where he finally saw Gregory.
First off, his fluff had been dyed. Before, he was a deep shimmering blue with vivid yellow mane and tail. Now his mane had been cropped into a sort of Shaferaraks bowl cut, and his pretty tail was bare. Everywhere else was dyed Black and yellow stripes with cheap shoe and furniture polish. He’d occasionally become so annoyed by the heavy, sticky feeling it gave him that he’d try to give himself licky cleanies only to retch after accidentally swallowing a little. It had stained his bright red bowtie that Brody suggested Bryce fit too tightly so it hurt a little to breathe.
He was tied to a stake that itself was at the base of the main trashcan in the backyard. He could get about ten feet closer to the house or eight feet further away, due to the side the stake was on. A sign had been erected next to him that said “Give Garbage Gregory Your Garbage!”
And people had.
They’d been throwing empty bottles and plastic cups and dropped tacos and sometimes seemingly just gross shit they’d put in a cup all night. Gregory couldn’t get far, and was frequently bullied into singing and dancing under threat of worstest bottle hurties.
The miserable fluffy was beaten down. He’d never go home. Bryce was never even going to let him finish the game. This wasn’t right! Party Fluffs are supposed to have fun and make everyone have good happies! All he could do was get hurties and cry.
So he did.