What’s in a name?
Dustin sat on his couch staring at a brown and red fluffy, both did not look happy. Dustin’s daughter bought this abomination into his home, for him, as a gift. More so this was a punishment for him, as she knew he hated them. It was a fluffy from a shelter, young, about four months old. Fully grown, but still full of love and hopefulness, the opposite of Dustin.
Dustin was bitter, and grumpy, especially since the divorce, and now with a gift like this, his daughter was clearly taking after her mother.
“So, what’s your name?”
“Fwuffy nu hab name. Daddeh nee gib fwuffy name su fwuffy can be bes fwuffy fow daddeh.” The red tail twitching, as he clearly wanted to be excited but the man looked very unapproachable.
He slapped his hands on his knees. “I don’t like you.”
The fluffy’s ears drooped. “Buh… Yu am nyu daddeh, su… Fwuffy wub yu!” His ears perked up, “fwuffy gib bes huggies, wiww gib daddeh heawt happies!”
Dustin grumbled and scratched at his bald spot, “yeah, whatever. Fine. Imma call you… Hmm… How about I call you Chocolate Starfish?”
The fluffy tilted his head, a confused look on his face, “fwuffy am Chokowate Stawfiss?” He didn’t understand what that meant, but a name was a name, and being named by his daddeh felt pretty good. “Dat am gud name. Chokowate Stawfiss wub name!”
It wasn’t, and Dustin knew that, but the fluffy clearly didn’t. “Great. Now some ground rules. You shit and piss in the litter box. Anywhere else and I’ll beat you.”
“Sowwy daddeh, Chokowate Stawfiss onwy make gud poopies.”
“I will fucking end you, shut up.” The glare made Chocolate shut his muzzle with a snap. “You sleep out here, there isnt a special place for you. You eat whatever food I give you. Got it?”
Chocolate nodded. “Chokowate sweepies in dis woom, an eat nummies dat daddeh gib.”
“Good.” His daughter had set up the litter, food bowl, and water bowl for the fluffy.
Dustin leaned back in his couch and turned the TV back on. He had already forgotten about the fluffy, until he felt a tapping on his leg. “What do you want?”
“Weww, Chokowate wuz tinkin’ dat since Chokowate am gud fwuffy, dat Chokowate wan gib daddeh huggies.” He sat on his rump, waving his legs up at Dustin.
This only gave the fluffy a scowl, “fuck that, you aren’t getting a hug.” Roughly he pushed over the fluffy with his foot.
“Eep! Buh, daddeh,” Chocolate Starfish whined, “am gud fwuffy, nu gib owies. Since daddeh nu wan a huggie, wan pway? Am gud at taggies and huggies taggies. Wan pway hidies and findies?”
“You know what, sure. Let’s play hide and seek. You go hide, I’ll find you.” Dustin watched Chocolate scramble to his hooves and start running, “oh man, you’re gonna be such a good hider.”
He counted loudly to ten, then got up to head to the kitchen. “Gosh, where ever could he be?” Dustin asked no on in particular as he walked over the fluffy.
Chocolate had his head under a kitchen chair, his hooves covering his eyes, his entire body sticking out. Dustin could hear the not so soft whispers, “daddeh nu fin Chokowate Stawfiss unna hewe. Am bestest at hidies!”
Dustin grunted and shut the fridge door, beer in hand. “Oh, how ever will I find him,” his words bland and unenthusiastic. Walking back to the living room he purposely kicked Chocolate hard in the side sending the fluffy chirping and tumbling." Oh gosh, I didn’t see you there with your lumpy body and ugly tail sticking out from under that chair."
Chocolate ended up on his back and stared up at Dustin, “dat… dat otay daddeh, uh…” He winced as he righted himself, “Chokowate Stawfiss am weawwy gud at hidies, su dat make sense… Daddeh wan hidies nao?”
“Let’s do that.” He sat back down on the couch opening his beer, “you go down the hall and start counting. I’ll hide and you try to find me.”
“Howway!” Chocolate exclaimed and ran down the hall. He covered his eyes with his hooves and started loudly counting to three, getting confused and starting over.
“You gotta count to five!” Dustin yelled out. He turned up the TV to drown out the fluffy.
Chocolate loudly proclaimed that he made it to 5, it only took ten minutes. He trotted down the hall giggling, “gunna find yu daddeh! Gasp! Dewe yu awe! Chocowate find daddeh!” He ran up to Dustin hugging his calf, only to receive another kick.
“Heh, good job, dumbass. Now go hide again.”
Chocolate frowned, this wasn’t the type of daddeh he was wanted nor expected. He skittered away hiding down the hall with his head in the corner. In his tiny fluffy head he imagined a daddeh that would hug him and let him and love him. Not kick him and yell at him.
Dustin was taking to the fluffy as well as… well as a drunk asshole took to an annoying fluffy. Even a few days later he still tolerated the fluffy at best. Maybe, Dustin thought, he could make Chocolate useful.
“Now look, see this? This is a plastic set of stairs. And this is a rope on the door of the fridge. What you are gonna do is grab onto the rope to open the door. Then you are gonna push the steps against the fridge. You then gotta climb the steps, that’s why they are there… Hey, are you listening to me?”
Chocolate blinked, “ummm… Chocowate nu unnastan.”
Dustin sighed. “Of course you don’t,” he pinched the fluffy’s ear causing him to chirp, “pay attention. Open the door, push the steps over, climb the steps. Get me a beer. Bring me the beer. Then move the steps away and close the door.”
“Chocowate puww on wope, gib daddeh beew, den cwose doow?”
“I thought you things were supposed to be smart? Why don’t you try it out. Open the door, move the steps, grab a beer, bring me the delicious beer, move the stops, and close the door.”
Chocolate’s brows furrowed in thought. “Otay…”
The first thing Chocolate did was push the steps in front of the door. He bit onto the rope as hard as he could, as he started to yank, -smack- the sorry stick went across his rump.
“Wrong move, dumbass. Open the door then move the steps.” Chocolate yelped and jumped, his backside stinging.
It took three more attempts, and three very painful strikes before Chocolate Starfish managed to get the beer out of the fridge. He carefully went down the steps backwards, the can of beer chilling his mouth.
Chocolate was so proud of himself, he branced back to daddeh, finally doing it right and making him happy! Dustin took the can, wiped off the drool, and cracked it open.
“Hooray! Chocowate Stawfiss su happie! Huggies? Daddeh gib Chocowate huggies fow doin wite?” He stood on his hind legs, maybe this time he’ll get daddeh to hug him.
“Did you forget something?” Dustin following the question with a loud slurp from the can.
Chocolate sat back down on his rump, the stinging subsiding. “Nu?”
“You didn’t move the steps and close the door.” -smack- this one going chocolate’s nose. He kicked the steps out of the way and closed the door. “Do it again, shitheel. We gonna do this again and again till you get it right, my arm gets tired, or I get too drunk.”
Chocolate wiped the booboo juice from his nose, tears forming in his eyes, this wasn’t the type of daddeh he wanted at all.
An hour later Chocolate limped and wimpered all the way to his bed, which was just a dirty towel bunched up in the corner.
Chocolate didn’t stop trying, that angry mean man is his daddeh, and all daddeh’s needed love. The agony of “wowk time” was twofold - being a fluffy he desired being around his human and missed his daddeh terribly. On the other hand, every time daddeh came home he got a kick to the ribs.
“Hewwo, daddeh, Chocowate Stawfiss hab heawt happies naondat yu am home. Wan pway? Mebbe daddeh wan gib huggies?” He shyly looked down, hoping this chang of tactics would work.
“Heh, love that name. But no, you shit machine. You aren’t for love and hugs or any of that shit. Now, get me a beer, shit for brains.”
Chocolate still ended up with a foot to the ribs, but it felt softer. As if there was more love behind that kick. After bringing Dustin his can of beer, he returned to sit patiently at Dustin’s feet. “Daddeh wan pway game?”
“Huh?” Another swig from the can. “Yeah, let’s play ‘get yo daddy another can of beer before he decides you’re pissing him off’ game.”
Chocolate’s ears lowered and he trotted back to the kitchen. Moments later he returned with the beer.
“Look at that, you’re in first place! Better get me another one if you want the high score!”
Upon retrieving beer number six, things went sideways. The steps slid and tumbled from under his hooves, chocolates hooves flailed and scraped against the shelf trying not to fall. His soft hooves finding purchase and he squeezed into the shelf. Then, everything went dark, the shaking causing the door to close.
The light turned on and Chocolate covered his eyes with his hoofs. “Eep!” Next thing he knew he was being held aloft by his mane. “Uh… hewwo daddeh. Wat brings yu hewe? Daddeh wan huggies nao?”
“Nah, you little ball of shit and fur, I just thought ‘gosh, I am so thirsty, I hope my fluffy is going to get me a nice cold beer,’ only to find him taking a nap in my refrigerator.”
“Weww, dat was assident, Chocowate twied tu get daddeh anuddah beew, an cowd box wan fwuffy inside.”
“Huh, I get that, things, like women, want me inside them too.” He carefully returned Chocolate back to the floor. “Maybe you ain’t so bad after all.”
Chocolate looked up with hope in his eyes, was this finally the moment, when his daddeh would give him a hug? He stood holding his front legs up in the universal sign for “pick me up and love me, I am a cute and huggable fluffy.”
Dustin’s foot connected with Chocolate’s chest, “yeah, I’m not into that shit.”
Unfortunately for Chocolate things weren’t getting much better. The stress and lack of affection giving Chocolate nervous tendencies. The fur around his hooves have been gnawed off, the flesh raw and red. That didn’t stop him from wanting to be near his daddeh.
Dustin ignored the fluffy when he got in, walking past him, not even giving the fluffy a courtesy kick. He stormed out of the bedroom in his usual sweat pants and tank top, both stained from years of use.
“Look, shit machine, my daughter is coming over. You must be on your best behavior. If not, I’m going to shave you l, smother you in honey, and leave you on top of an ants nest. Comprende?”
Chocolate tilted his head in confusion.
“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
"Chocowate unnastan, be gud fwuffy fow daddeh’s babbeh.
“For one, do not call her baby. She is a lady and you will treat her as such. Donna takes after my shitty ex wife, god rest her soul. Oh, she ain’t dead… Yet. But, no arguing. No shitting. No nothing. You be good and do what I tell you, got it?”
Donna, Dustin’s daughter, let her self in. “Hey pops, how you liking the fluffy I got you?” When she laid eyes on the fluffy, they narrowed.
“Donna, sweetheart, darling. What a pleasant surprise. What brings you here to my humble abode?”
As if channeling her mother, she shot him ‘the look.’ “How is the fluffy? What’s your name little guy?”
Shyly, and afraid to look at her face, “hewwo… Fwuffy am Chocowate St-”
“Hey hey hey there fluffy guy. Buddy. Chocolate. Isn’t he just so cute, reminded me of one of those candy bars…” Dustin quickly interrupting and stumbling over Chocolate’s introduction.
“What was he going to say?”. Donna knelt down next to Chocolate, scratching under his chin.
“Fwuffy am Chokowate St-”
“His name is Chocolate and boy is he a delight! Always asking for huggies and love and shit.” He shot the fluffy and angry look, through clenched teeth, “isn’t that right?”
“Yus?” Chocolate looked between Donna and Dustin, confused and slightly scared
“Yeah?” Donna became even more suspicious. “So you love this little guy?”
“Do I ever! He brings such light into my life!”
“Does he? Then give him a hug. Give him a hug right now.”
“Chocowate Stawfiss finnawy get huggies?!” His eyes went wide and he hopped up holding his legs up to Dustin.
“You named him Chocolate Starfish? You literally named your fluffy after a sphincter?!”
Dustin started laughing and Chocolate’s face dropped, “Chocowate named afta poopies pwace?”
“Bwhahahaha! That’s right, I named you after your turd cutter! Because you’re brown and red, like my poop!”
“And what the fuck happened to his hooves? Why does he have all these bald spots? Jesus Christ, you just keep proving mom right. Fuck you, old man!” Donna stormed out, slamming the door behind her.
Chocolate sniffled and walked over to his ‘bed’, plopping down with his back to Dustin.
“Aww, don’t be like that, it’s not that shitty of a name! Get it?!”
Chocolate ignored him for the rest of the evening.
It hadn’t even been a month before things got worse for poor Chocolate Starfish. He stopped waiting for Dustin to get home, and both front legs were fluffless from hoof up to the joint. Even worse, he was five months old and still hadn’t tasted spaghetti, a tragedy for any fluffy. This indignity was prompted by Dustin’s dinner of pizza rolls.
The smell wafted from the kitchen, “wats dat, daddeh?” Chocolate wandered about the kitchen, unable to pinpoint the source or just want it was.
“That, my ignorant ball of fluff is the smell of the best food ever, pizza rolls.” Dustin pulled the tray from the oven.
“Chocowate knu day smeww… Dat sketti?” He began dancing around Dustin’s feet, “gib Chocowate sketti tweats?”
“You know what my favorite thing in the world is? You begging for my food. So you know what imma do, shit for brains? Imma give you some.”
“Weawwy?!” Chocolate’s eyes went wide, they sparkled with happiness.
“Maybe! Have you been a good fluffy?”
“Chokowate been da bestest fwuffy ebah!” He started bouncing in place.
Dustin gingerly picked up two pizza bites fresh from the oven, “open wide, shitheel.” Both pizza bites went into Chocolate’s mouth, his free hand gripping his muzzle muzzle shut.
The screams were almost instantaneous. Chocolate flailed, unable to escape or scream. Dustin forced him to chew the lava temperature pizza rolls then swallow, burning his mouth, tongue and throat.
“SCREEEEEEEEE!” Chocolate tried running after squirming free, aiming for the water bowl. The fluffy couldn’t make it two feet before Dustin grabbed his tail and dragged him back.
“I made you a whole plate of this ‘inside sketti’ and you are eating each and every one.”
“Nuuuu! Wowstest owies! Nee wawa!”
He let Chocolate go, not out of mercy. He tossed the tray back in the oven, couldn’t let them get cold. After some rummaging around, he found Chocolate face first in the water bowl, “no swimming here, we ain’t got no life guard.”
Dustin grabbed him by the tail, leaving chocolate to swing wildly upside down back to the kitchen. With his free hand and an oven mitt he removed the pizza rolls. Chocolate started screaming again, waving his head to escape his strong grip. “Oh, fluffy man, you’re getting the treats.” Chocolate made the mistake of trying to tell him no, giving Dustin the chance to force a handful of burning hot pizza rolls into his mouth.
Chocolate’s muzzle was pinched shut, that was when Dustin pulled out the duct tape, going around his muzzle several times. His lips parted ever so slightly letting escape a muffled ‘scree.’
“That’ll teach you to stop begging me for, well… Anything.” He tossed Chocolate into the bath tub, where in his panic of trying to push off the tape, his bowels voided. Chocolate started hyperventilating through nostrils. Dustin turned off the light and closed the door.
“Hey there fluffy, you not looking so good. Lemme help with that.” Dustin roughly grabbed Chocolate and ripped off the duct tape. His muzzle had a 3" band of missing fluff all around, as the fluff ripped off leaving bloody skin. Chocolate screamed again and again, a torrent of shit left his body. “You know, you sure we’re full of shit. That’s why your eyes were brown! Ha! Get it?”
The crying fluffy didn’t answer, he just softly sobbed with his hoof shoved in his mouth.
“Let’s clean you up. I don’t wanna intrude upon your shower time, I’m not into that, I prefer ladies.” Dustin turned the shower on warm and closed the curtain. Eliciting more screaming.
To his credit, he did check on Chocolate before leaving work, even if it was to just turn the shower off, leaving the soaking wet fluffy alone.
Hours later, he returned home, slightly surprised and disappointed that Chocolate didn’t greet him. “Oh, I left that shit in the tub. Oh Chocolate, daddy is home!”
Chocolate had curled up at the end of the tub, shivering from fear at the sight of Dustin, and from the cold from having to air dry all day.
“You look all clean and refreshed!”. Which the fluffy didn’t look like either. His fluff was matting from being left to air dry, the fluff around his muzzle and front legs gone for different yet equally awful reasons. “Let’s get you out of there.” Dustin grabs him and dumps him in the living room.
Chocolate weakly heads to his ‘bed’ and curls up. He was hungry but the food dish still empty and now knowing what will happen if he begs, chooses to go to sleep instead.
“Aww, cmon, you don’t wanna play, fluffy man? No hide and seek? Maybe tag?”
Chocolate just curled up tighter, shoving his hoof into his mouth.
“Your loss, shit for brains.” Any comment Chocolate could have made was drowned out by the TV.
“Something wrong with you?” If Dustin had any sympathy he might have noticed Chocolate wheezing and acting lethargic. He had none and the issue quickly fled his mind. “Hey, make yourself useful and get me a beer. Daddy is thirsty.”
Chocolate limped to the fridge, coughing as he opened the door.
“And you have returned with a beer! My man! Thank you, shit for brains.” He yanked the beer can from Chocolates mouth.
Chocolate’s eyes go wide, that was the first time he has thanked him, the nicest thing he had ever said to him. He couldn’t stop himself, maybe his daddeh finally cared. “Wub oo, daddeh.”
“The fuck did you say?!”
Dustin grabbed Chocolate before he could react, holding him up he backhanded the fluffy across the face, teeth and blood flying across the room. Through clenched teeth, “don’t you ever say that shit again.” Dustin turned up the volume on the TV and ignored the soft crying.
“Fluffy, your great and wonderful owner is home and he doesn’t see you greeting him at the door. This makes your owner very unhappy.” No response, from the door he could see Chocolate on his ‘bed,’ the same old used towel from before.
“Get over here.” Chocolate looked up, struggling to stand, starting to drag self over. “NOW!” He roars causing the fluffy to wince and stumble, falling over. Chocolate coughs, flecks of bloody spittle ending up on the floor. Dustin yanked him up by his mane, his mouth moving, softly, almost unheard over the gasps and wheezing, “fwuffy wub daddeh, nu saddies, wan daddeh hab heawt happies. Daddeh hab heawt happies when Chocowate Stawfiss gu foweba sweepies.”
Chocolate hit the wall, then the floor, leaving the drywall dented in, blood and shit splattered. Chocolate eyes closed, smiling, having finally made his daddeh happy.
“So, I was thinking of getting a fluffy.”. Dustin told the young woman behind the counter, “you see, I had one, but, he got sick, didn’t make it. I was thinking it’s time for another.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, is there anything in particular you are looking for?”
“Yeah, brown. And if it has a red tail, that’d be pretty cool too.”
The woman helped Dustin pick out a fluffy, this one just recently weaned, brown with a lighter shade of red than Chocolate, but it was close enough. On the ride home the fluffy would have made conversation about fluffy things had Carl not cranked up the radio.
“Okay, we got some stuff to go over.”
“Nyu daddeh, am fwuffy gun get nyu name?”
“Yeah, imma call you Number Two.”
“Fwuffy am Numba twoo?”. Her head tilted.
“Yeah, your full name is Chocolate Starfish Number Two, because You’re brown. It’s like a double entrende. Ha! Like poop, get it?”