It had taken a month and a half, and more money than Doug wanted to admit but finally the safe room was finished. After his position had been made remote he had an excuse to move away from the city and a place that wasn’t a grotesquely overpriced one bedroom apartment.
And having a place that he owned? Meant he could finally get a fluffy. Doug had always found them cute, even the ferals that seemed to occupy every alleyway in the city. Their absence was actually one of the things that was the biggest culture shock in his new rural home. But with a lack of easy access to warmth and food waste combined with predators and harsh winters? Ferals didn’t exactly survive long enough to form the “mega herds” that pundits had warned about in the aftermath of fluffies being released by PETA.
Oh, there was occasionally a yard invasion if someone wasn’t careful, or an abandoned or lost pet. But nowhere near the almost constant “nice mistuh gib nyu housie an be nyu daddeh?” that had become part of the background noise of the city like homeless begging for change and by most people just as easily ignored.
He’d selected a large room, and instead of driving to the Fluffmart 2 hours away? Had ordered online. Washable interlocking soft vinyl floor pads safe for fluffy hooves with bright colors, fluffy proof outlet locks and a litterbox were only the start, a few balls and a set of brightly colored blocks rounding out the initial purchase. And when checking out? He had clicked to enter into a random monthly drawing for “special fluffy merchandise!”. Probably a toy or a small sample pack at best of kibble. He was going to adopt a shelter fluffy, apparently the small “mummah an daddeh” fluffy products store on North Main had a deal with the shelter nearby to help make sure shelterfluffs got a new home.
Which was why Doug was quite shocked the morning after finishing the safe room to be signing for a cardboard box marked “biotoy inside”, the faint sounds of peeping and chirping coming from inside. At first he was certain it was some mistake, but the label was clearly made out to his address and his name.
Taking the peeping and chirping box inside and setting it down, he called the customer service number, navigating a menu only to be put on hold. And of COURSE the hold music was the litterbox song. At least it wasn’t the “dance remix” someone had made for “Dancie babbeh all night!”, a novelty album that had managed to actually chart before people came to their senses.
“Fluffazon customer service, this is Amber how may I assist you?” was a respite from what had to be the fifth loop of the song. Amber sounded about as worn down as any other call center employee.
“I…just got a box delivered next day air and it’s chirping.” Doug said as he was still trying to process. “It’s…invoice number 24509KT?” He read off the label on the box, listening to Amber type something in.
“Yes. You were entered into our monthly drawing and were selected to recive a blind box foalcan. Is there something wrong with the product?” Amber couldn’t sound any less interested if she tried. “No…it’s just…I was planning on adopting an adult fluffy.” Doug looked at the supplies he’d gotten, then back down at the box. “Is…there a way I can ship them back?” He asked, more than a bit shocked by the random arrival.
“Unfortunately sir, the biotoy cannot be returned to stock.” Amber was clearly imagining being anywhere other than where she was, doing just about anything else. “However, a foalcan biotoy has no unintended imprinting so it can fully imprint on you.” Meaning it had never had exposure to its mother or been shown any actual affection since the moment of birth, Doug read between the lines of the script she was reading off of.
“If you still do not wish to keep the Biotoy either as a pet or for other purposes and a shelter is not an option, place the foalcan vertically with the waste collection unit resting on a stable surface. After two days, the Biotoy will be rendered inoperable and can be easily disposed of according to local ordinance.”
Doug blinked, looking at the box, the brightly colored walls and floor of the saferoom. The toys, the things made to bring joy and comfort to a creature that was designed to love unconditionally. The very same type of creature he just got told that if he didn’t want this one? Just starve it to death and than throw it out with the trash and he could get another. His mouth moved and no words came out the first few times, till finally he could speak. “Tha…no, that won’t be necessary. Just…please remove me from any further promotions.” He finally managed once he had found words.
“Of course sir.” Amber replied with all the care of someone discussing the weather. “Is there anything else?” Doug’s no might’ve been a bit more forceful than intended but…he was still trying to process. “Alright then. Thank you for calling Fluffazon customer service and remember, fluffies are for huggies and wuv.” A click ended the call and for a few seconds there was silence, before peeping and chirping from the box drew Doug’s attention. Since for the moment, he was stuck with it, he got a boxcutter and carefully opened the box and lifted out the can within.
It was heavier than expected, covered by a peel off wrapper with a few airholes that kept the fluffy’s colors and type unknown until purchase. A way to prevent people from going for “good” colors only. Sadly, it didn’t do anything to stop people from “disposing” of colors they didn’t like, but that was something Foalcan didn’t particularly care about once they had the customer’s money.
He carefully peeled off the wrapper. Inside the clear plastic can was a fluffy, a tiny chubby pegasus resting on a soft foam pad. From her poopie place and peepee place small flexible tubes ran to the waste disposal unit, and at the other end of the can? There was a rubber nipple connected to a formula reservoir.
The canned pegasus let out a “peep!”, stretching its tiny little legs and fluttering its wings in the confines of the can as it made its way to the nipple…and with a quick glance? Making it clear that it was a she, her eyes still closed. From her size? She couldn’t be more than a day or two old, her tiny body covered in a dark green fuzz and on her head there was wisps of what would be her mane, a brown color that was…unflattering.
Which pretty much ruled out a shelter. Even at at a No-Kill, her likelihood of the little filly getting adopted as anything other than snake food or a litter-pal or enfie-pal were…fairly low. Doug took hold of the can, considering turning it waste end down and doing as the woman had said. But after the foal within gave a contented “Chirp! Peep! Peep!” after sucking down a bit of formula? Doug couldn’t bring himself to do it.
Making sure the can was set where it couldn’t roll and its occupant was comfortable on the foam pad inside, he looked up the number for the local store. It wasn’t a Fluffmart…but it also wasn’t a two hour drive and there was NO way he was shopping at the closer Fluffs R Us. He’d heard the horror stories after all.
“Hello? Do…do you carry products for taking care of chirpie foa…you do? Great! When do you clo…wonderful, I’ll be down in a few minutes.” Doug said, ending the call and looking back down at the can and its occupant.
“Well little filly, it seems like you’ve got yourself a new home.”