A little written piece to go along with @infraredturbine’s Folly Of Hope series. While this is canonically what happened to my entry Cookie, any references to other Folly Fluffies are purely for flavour text.
It’ll help if you’ve read Home Is Where The Sweetheart is to understand some of the callbacks in this story.
Kathy Parker should’ve been a lot happier than she was.
Ever since her manager Burt Howard implemented the new “About Me” descriptions on the – for lack of a better term – lower caste Fluffies, the store had never seen so many adoptions. At first Kathy was pleased, she’d spent weeks working on those saccharine sweet descriptions and was happy that her hard work was paying off.
But then she started seeing the types of people who were adopting the troubled stock and she didn’t like the look of them. Young colt Freddy who was born with Sensitive Baby Syndrome and in need of a lot of love and patience was picked up by a couple of frat bros, new mother Crystal who loved her foals so much was taken by a man who spent more time examining the health of the foals than actually paying any attention to Crystal, and Billy… well Billy was already showing Smarty Syndrome at a young age but his new owner had WAY too many snake tattoos for Kathy to be comfortable with.
Kathy wanted to believe she was being prejudice, that she couldn’t judge people on what she perceived, but Kathy wasn’t naive, she knew how cruel the world was to Fluffies. And while she’d never care to love them like her parents did, she didn’t like the thought of them getting hurt, especially when she had the power to save them.
But she couldn’t save them now, she could only look after the ones she had in store right now. One such Fluffy was Cookie, a former feral who had been picked up the city council along with the rest of her herd and repurposed for domestication. Cookie’s smarty had been sent to the incinerator fairly quickly after trying to break into the foal pen with his erection telling of his intentions but the others had been sold in time, a couple of the Toughies and Bitch-mares even sold twice when they were returned for being problematic. And yet, Cookie still hadn’t found an owner.
It broke Kathy’s heart as she rounded the corner to Cookie’s pen, the poor girl had easily been the best student at retraining and yet she was the only one of her herd not to find a new home. And the reason why was all too easy to see, alongside her dull brown coat and burnt black mane, Cookie’s body was littered with scars, the worst of which being her front right leg which was entirely missing.
Due to Fluffy racism, Cookie had been titled a ‘poopie mare’ and forced to endure insults, shit-eating and a constant stream of abuse born from anger, boredom and even sexual frustration.
That last one hurt Cookie the most, an examination when she was brought in told the store that several assaults when she was still far too young, most likely from the Smarty and his Toughies, had annihilated her reproductive organs, she would never be able to have foals of her own. Worst still, some fucking knucklehead had told her this and now Cookie couldn’t even be in the same room as foals or she’d go into a panic attack, wailing about how she’d never be a mummah herself.
Kathy had her suspicions it was Burt that told her, given how defensive he got whenever her depression flared up, but she had no proof.
Cookie stirred awake just as Kathy opened her lid to pour in her morning kibble. “Hewwo Kath-ee, gud bwite-time?”
Kathy smiled. “It is so far Cookie, how are you doing?”
“Coo-kee am ok, nu hab bad sweepy-pictas wast dawk-time.”
“I’m glad to hear that, maybe that means it’s you’re lucky day, you might meet your new mummy or daddy today.”
“WEAWWY? Kath-ee mean dat?”
“Hold on now Cookie, let’s not get too excited. We can hope, but if nothing happens I don’t want you getting upset. We still have a lot of time to find you the perfect home.”
Cookie looked upset but thankfully didn’t start crying, she just dropped her head and hobbled over to her food bowl.
“Dat ok Kath-ee, Coo-kee undastan.”
Kathy watched Cookie dejectedly nibble her food for a moment before shutting the lid and leaving, feeling like a piece of shit as she did.
“It breaks my fucking heart Liz, I can’t bear it”
Kathy was on her lunch break with her best friend Lizzie Harper, the two girls having known each other since they were toddlers. Given the summer day, Kathy took her lunch outside and sat with Lizzie at a nearby bench, Lizzie was well-aware of Cookie’s predicament and how helpless Kathy felt about her.
“I take it there’s no way you can adopt her yourself?”
“No, store policy says you can’t take ‘the products’ home with you, I think it’s to stop hugboxers bleeding their hearts over the sob-stories. And no, before you ask, I can’t have you or my parents or any other friend or family member adopt her for me, she needs a permanent address and my one will flag up on the system.”
“Christ, it’s like they’re trying to make it difficult.”
“Again I understand it, you could go mad or broke trying to help every Fluffy you see in there, but for extreme cases like Cookie, I don’t see the problem in doing something. Fuck it, maybe I need to rewrite her biography, take out the part about her being a rape victim so people don’t see her as ‘damaged goods’. Not that it fucking matters, nobody would want to breed her anyway cause of something she has no control over.”
“Hey, hey, hey, settle down Kay.” Lizzie reached out and held her friends arm. “Don’t get yourself worked up, look I’ll talk around, I’m sure one of my college dorm-mates will take pity on her. I’m not promising anything, but I’ll try to help.”
Kathy felt her heart-rate go back to normal. “Thanks Liz, that’s means a lot.”
The heartfelt moment was interrupted by the store door being kicked open and Burt Howard standing in its place. Burt was as typical as it got, his bad comb-over did nothing to hide his increasing bald-spot, his pot-belly betrayed years of fast-food abuse and his 5 foot 3 height gave him the worst case of Small Man Syndrome that he was all too happy to take out on Kathy.
“PARKER!” He barked at her. “Your break was over three minutes ago, back to work.”
Kathy and Lizzie sneered at him as he stomped back inside, Lizzie’s glare being damn near poisonous.
“Fucking hate that prick, he’s like three times my age and hit on me last Halloween.”
Kathy didn’t even bother hiding her disgust. “Gross, did you tell him you’re a lesbian?”
“Yeah. He said ‘That’s hot’. I swear if he didn’t work here, I’d happily pick up an application and come work with you.”
“Trust me Lizzie, Burt’s not the only problem, the whole store system needs a reboot from the ground up.”
“Why don’t you apply for the manager’s course, you could start making changes yourself.”
Kathy smiled but Lizzie still saw some trepidation. “I actually have the manager’s booklet in my locker, had it for over a month now. I’m honestly too scared to start filling it out.”
“I say go for it, even if you’re shit, it’ll still be an improvement over that prick.”
Kathy laughed, Lizzie might have oversimplified things, but she did have a point.
Back from her break, Kathy went to get started moving stock around when she noticed a man by the adoption pens, more specifically in front of Cookie’s pen.
Kathy held her breath, hoping to get a good read off this guy. As she approached she put on her best fake smile and held out her hand.
“Hi there, can I help you with anything today?”
The man looked over at her and returned the smile, almost instantly Kathy felt uneasy about him, the glint in his eyes when he smiled at her would’ve been enough to put her on edge but everything about him just made her feel off. His ruffled and un-ironed shirt still fit like perfectly, his trousers specked with dirt and… hopefully ketchup, were still made from the finest materials. Even the dark blonde stubble on his face looked to be expertly trimmed.
This man had spent a lot of money to look cheap, and people with that kind of money to spend didn’t come to places like this.
The man took Kathy’s hand and shook it. “Yes, I was looking at this girl here, seems like she’s had a hard life.”
“Yes, Cookie here is our little miracle, she’s a former feral but we’ve trained her right, full knowledge of litter-box and manners.”
“Any family? Wouldn’t want an angry mummah missing their little angel now would we?”
Cookie giggled at the compliment but Kathy still thought him strange. “No, as far as we know her mother wasn’t in the herd when they were brought here. May I ask what your interest is in her Mister…?”
“Call me Josef, and I’m looking for a friend for my Fluffy Crimson, he lost his mate a few months back so I’d like to get him some company while I’m at work.”
“Oh well if it’s mares you’re after we have a fine selection of…”
“No, no, this isn’t a breeding thing. Crimson lost his libido once Sweetheart died, Little Miss Cookie here being barren is absolutely perfect for what I need, someone sweet enough to help bring Crimson out of his funk, but without the risk of unplanned foals. Besides, I think Cookie here deserves a little bit of happiness in her life again.”
Cookie nodded her head up and down with such ferocity her whole body was almost jumping. “Yeh, Cookie wan biggesh heawt-happies wiv yu daddeh.”
Something inside Kathy lurched at the name Sweetheart but she couldn’t place why. Still, she was adamant about not letting this guy take Cookie.
“Why not a stallion? Less chance of a pregnancy, plus Crimson will get some friendly competition.”
Josef smiled, sending a chill down Kathy’s spine. “Yes well friendly or not, competition isn’t good for Fluffies like Crimson, he needs a woman’s touch to keep him in check, something I’m clearly not able to give him. You seem like you’re actively trying to stop me from giving Cookie here a good home, that wouldn’t be so now, would it Miss?
Kathy heard soft weeping and looked over at Cookie, fat tears rolling down her face. “Kath-ee, wai yu nu wan Coo-kee hab nyu daddeh? Yu say Coo-kee be wucky, find nyu homesie soon.”
“I did but… Cookie I only want what’s best for you…”
“Den wet nice mistah be Coo-kee nyu daddeh.”
Kathy hated this, Cookie’s desperation and naivety were blinding her to the gut feeling that this wasn’t a nice mister. But of course she couldn’t say that out loud, she needed a reason to refuse a sale, not just bad vibes.
“Alright, I just need to grab something from the backroom, I’ll be back in a moment.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep Cookie here company until you get back.”
Kathy felt another shiver down her back as Josef cooed at Cookie, as fast as she was able to walk, Kathy rushed to her locker and grabbed her mobile, that mention of Sweetheart still sticking to her gut. She needed to check something, she needed her mother.
“Come on, pick up, pick up.”
Unaware of her daughter’s anxiousness, Hannah Parker casually answered the phone. “Hey sweetie, I thought you were at…”
“No time to explain mum, I am at work but I gotta check something. What did Sparkles say her name was before she came back?”
“Why? Hun what’s going…?”
“Just tell me mum, I’ll explain everything later.”
“Um… I think it was Sweetheart or something like that.”
Kathy’s gut dropped again. “I’ll call you back mum.”
Kathy hung up the phone before her mother could object, she had him, after 4 months she had the man who’d kidnapped Sparkles and kept her prisoner. She could have justice, she could save Cookie.
But as Kathy went back to the shop-floor, Josef was nowhere to be seen, and neither was Cookie. Instead, all Kathy could see was Burt Howard at the cash register, flicking through a bundle of notes and happily whistling.
Kathy stormed over to him. “What the hell are you doing?”
Burt sneered at her. “Doing what you obviously couldn’t, making a sale.”
“Making a… Burt, did you sell Cookie to that man?”
“You’re damn right I did, and good thing too, that little bitch has been on the floor for far too long, I was a week away from incinerating her myself.”
“BURT! What were you thinking, that man is a monster, he’s the guy who held my Fluffy Sparkles as a fucking hostage for almost two years, forced her to be a breeding mare, made her life a living hell and now you’ve sent Cookie into that very same hell.”
Burt just rolled his eyes at her. “Look, I don’t know what the fuck you’re smoking but let me give you a hint. I doesn’t matter what the customer does to a Fluffy once they get them, all we have to do is get the shitrats out the door. If that cripple piece of shit is heading for hell, then so be it, it’s not our problem anymore. If you don’t think you have the stomach to handle that, then pack your things and fuck off.”
Burt shoved past Kathy, still flicking the wad of notes in his hands. Kathy watched him for a moment, feeling sick at what he’d said. She raced through to the employee toilets, feeling like she was about to throw up.
Thankfully she didn’t, but the twisted feeling in her stomach didn’t leave. She’d failed Cookie, she’d made the poor thing have hope when it was all just an act of sheer folly anyway, now that sweet, traumatised mare was being thrown to the fucking wolves, quite possibly literally, and Kathy couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Splashing some water on her face, Kathy left the toilets and headed for her locker, ready to grab her things and call it quits, but then she saw her manager’s booklet, still untouched after all these weeks.
Maybe Lizzie had a point, maybe it was up to Kathy to change things from the inside, make things better from the top down. Kathy smirked and put her things back, she wasn’t giving up that easily, she couldn’t save the Fluffies that were gone, but she could try and save the ones that were left.
Plus, she REALLY didn’t want to give Burt that win, not when the look on his face as she returned to her duties was that pissed off. She could only imagine how it would look when she took his job, if nothing else that level of spite pushed her forward.
She never saw Josef again, but she prayed he gave Cookie a quick death. If only to ease her guilty conscience more than anything.