Mission of Mercy

Story by Digitaltf on SoFurry

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Jim leads Julie through a strange world of his past... and likely future given her companionship.

"Well, now that you explained those things to me, it doesn't really seem all that bad at all, really..." Julie smiled at me over her plate of Parmesian angel-hair pasta.

I shrugged a bit. "We'll just have to see what this John Cassock has to say, and his boss Lyle Ericsson will likely sit in on the first meeting if John's terribly new to the firm. They may not think it so rosy as I have, but... it's worth a valid shot, so to speak. Even though you really don't have to worry about much since you've gotten to living with me and all. I'm sure your personal budgetary outlay has decreased a lot."

Julie giggled and gave my hand a squeeze. "Well, I still want to help out as much as I can. Especially with two more mouths to feed..." she looked down at the dogs, snoozing after their evening meal of dry kibble.

"Don't you mean four? Or would that be 9? 13?" I chuckled and Julie just slapped my arm.

"So... what's this all you got going tonight?" Julie asked, and I smiled at the swift subject change.

"Do you still have your Gun Moll outfit from Halloween?" I asked. Julie mutely nodded. "Well, we're going to head down to The Masquerade Club tonight for a bit of fun and excitement."

Julie looked at me as though I spoke Swahili again. "But... Jim... that's like... weirdos and rich folks and... the kind of people you don't like." Confusion was spread across her face so clearly it may as well have been written in bright neon. "Isn't it? I know you don't care for "house music", you've told me that yourself."

I chuckled. "In some ways, yes. In others... it might be more to your liking than you may think, even though I don't care for the main club's choices for DJs... but that's what brings in the general clientele. But..." Now it was my turn to furrow my brow and ponder, then smile. "Yeah... you'll like tonight. Just how much... that'll be seen. But we have to look the part to even get in the door. At least in the front door." This time it was Julie's turn to look confused.

* * * * *

"I jus' tol' ya. Ya CAN'T go in. Yous ain't on da list, an' I ain't gonna let ya in, so BLOW!" The tall, heavily-muscled bouncer at the door was yelling at some goth-punk-looking youths bouncing a bit like they were the Energizer bunny.

"C'mon maaaan... Jimmy's folks are inside and they'll KILL us if we didn't show up." the taller one whined, through the piercings in his upper lip.

"I don' give a flying fuck if'n your pappy tans your ass until yous can use it as a Chinese flag. Git. Out. Now. So's the folks what's should be here can get in. Now, for the last time, GIT, or do I gots ta make ya git myself?" he intoned that last part in a rather gravelly growl getting a substantially mean look on his face.

"C'mon, Eli... Come. On." Jimmy apparently wanted to have no more of the bouncer and was tugging on Eli's coat sleeve as the third youth already stood more in the alley than on the walk.

"We should go, Jim. They're not gonna let us in! I've never been here and I'm sure you're not on the guest list. This is SO not your kind of place." Julie was practically shaking in my arms, which helped our masquerade. I had gotten into my old security officer's uniform, and her as a handcuffed Gun Moll, complete with the mop-top wig, made for quite an interesting appearance.

"Yous on the list?!?" the tall bouncer inquired.

"Nope... but we've got a special pass." I smiled up at him. Julie was still shaking.

The big bouncer crossed his arms across his muscled chest. "An' why should I believe you?"

I gestured with my finger for him to lean down and I whispered something into his ear.

"Uh...." his expression changed dramatically as he stood back up. "Uh... Go right on in! I'm sure da boss won't mind yous visitin' him if'n he's here! An' sorry if I gave your lady a fright... I didn't mean it, I swear!"

I chuckled "No worries, my good man. We've not met before and you're only doing your job keeping the rabble out, and for that, I thank you." I nodded as I ushered Julie in through the door which the bouncer properly held open for us.

"What did you say to him?!?" Julie hollered in my ear over the dance-floor music. I just shook my head and walked around the bar towards the back.

"Hey, waitaminute Mister!" one of the bar backs yelled at me as I was heading behind the curtain. "You can't..."

Again, a whispered word in the ear of the worker and he looked at me. "Fuck you," came his undignified response before turning to his colleagues. "Hey! Eric! Getta loada this! This fellow said he knows Q..."

Eric, for his part, bolted over and put his hand over the bar back's mouth before he could finish his sentence and growled something in his ear neither of us heard, then shoved the worker towards the other end of the bar before coming our way.

"Please accept my sincerest apologies for my misguided colleague here," the bartender said quietly. "I hope it doesn't cost him his job!" he yelled in the bar back's general direction before turning once again to Julie and I. "By all means, sir, if you know the way."

I smiled "I know the way, and thank you. Please, just instruct him as to proper etiquette regarding the use of celebrity names around here... I'm sure he will take such advice to heart should he encounter someone far less..." I took a deep breath "... accepting than I."

The bartender nodded and we proceeded through the curtain and the din lessened considerably as we walked past the kitchen area.

"Why the big words, Jim?" Julie asked. "And how do you know where everything is in the club if you've never been here?" We started ascending a steel staircase in the old warehouse the club occupied space in.

"I never said I'd never been here. In fact, some of the previous waitstaff knew my pseudondym QUITE well... that bartender may have been one of them. However, that was before we started going out... almost before you even knew me apart from some sporadic visits now and again." I answered as we climbed past the club's mezzanine level and up to the next floor of the huge warehouse.

"What's the password?" the bouncer at that door asked me.

"If I were to speak it aloud, then others may learn it too." I smiled. "Suffice it to say, one or two others are waiting inside for my pending arrival so tonight's activities can properly commence."

The bouncer looked me up and down. "Reasonable answer," was his sole response as he unbolted the door and held it open to let us through. I uncuffed Julie once we were on the other side.

"Jim, just what IS going on?" Julie asked and I put my finger to her lips. "Here, we only use pseudonyms, as, apart from folks that know each other outside, what you're about to see stays here and here alone. There are important people in the world that indulge in certain... habits... like what you did the evening of that first movie night, and have learned about with me over the intervening weeks. If the outside world were to know about those habits, life would become difficult if not impossible for them in their day-to-day lives. There's more, but... I know you'll catch on in a hurry, MOLLY," I said with heavy inflection on the name, "just as it does for THE PROFESSOR." The last part I said with a wink, and she caught on in a hurry, getting back into character. "Well, Perfessor... whutever shall we do?" she smirked with a Betty Boop hip-wiggle.

I walked along the corridor until we hit a door with a mail slot and knocked on it. "Who's there?" came the muffled inquiry.

"The Professor and Molly," was my curt response.

"Prove it!" came a reply, which also caused a bit of laughter in the background.

"Plug your ears, hon. This part I can't let you in on just yet." I murmured softly, at which she did.

"Quasimodo knows me well, and the Ace of Diamonds should be here waiting for me." I answered, then tugged Julie's arm, unplugging her one ear.

The door cracked open a tiny bit revealing a dimly-lit room with two eyes and brown hair poking around the edge of the door. "Fuck, if it AIN'T the Professor. It's been so long since you've been down here! Your ass been in jail or something?" the door swung wider and I smiled.

"No Spandex... the "or something" is more correct. Though I see you've put on weight." I gently backhanded the door guardian's beer gut. "Where's the Ace of Diamonds? Gotta get some fresh fish before they go bad."

"He's over in the costume department... You remember the way?" Spandex asked, then belched. Julie wrinkled her nose and I chuckled.

"Yeah, I remember the way. How's the private-club set been? Any of the old crew around visiting much?" I asked as we walked a different corridor past numerous other doors towards the end of the building.

"Some have been. Some new folks. Screening isn't as easy as it used to be what with privacy shit here and there, and you know how indiscreet some folks tend to be. Cops tried to bust us last fall so we thought about moving locations. Business downstairs has been good enough to open a second location so we might do just that. It's all up to the triumverate whether we do or not, and Aces hasn't said anything so... we'll see. Would really hate to get busted, though. I wouldn't do well in prison anymore." Spandex smiled.

"None of us would, Spandex. We're all getting older. Besides... they'd be cutting off your beer supply then if you did!" I winked and we all laughed.

"Good luck Professor, you know some of us will be riding with you tonight if only in spirit." I nodded and opened the door, letting Julie through.

The bright fluorescent illumination beyond the second door contrasted greatly with the dimly-lit halls of the service area of the Club and the guarded sections. To the right was visible a huge amount of movie props, costumes, and other detritus, and to the left was what appeared to be a small locker and shower room belonging to another company sharing space in the massive building. I opened the door to the locker room and walked in, followed by Julie.

"Aces? You in here somewhere?" I hollered out in the empty tiled room.

"Yes, I am... just hold on. What locker were you again? I can't remember," came the response from around the corner.

"26, you daffy bastard. I guess today's to-do got you more flustered than you expected. Or has it been just that long since I've been here?" I replied, fishing out a key and unlocking my locker. "Brought a guest along... um... hold on." I turned to Julie and looked her up and down. "26 waist, 30 inseem, 5'2", medium coverall. And a ballcap." I yodeled back.

"Got it. I'll send Guenivere in a second to get everything. What name on the ID?" came the inquiry as the voice stopped echoing as it drew nearer.

"Molly A. Brown, DOB 2/23/1987, 5'2", 120, brown over blue, Uncle Jesse can make up the rest. He knows more vacant lots in town than any of us." I smiled and set about changing into the jeans, shirt, coverall and work boots that were in the locker.

"Guen heard and jotted it down. She'll be down in a bit..." the voice rounded the corner from the shower rooms, "and then Molly will be set up. The locker next to yours is open so I guess we can give that to her."

Julie's jaw dropped. "An..."

I immediately clapped my hand over her mouth, and Chairman Andrew L. Trevino smiled back at her from under his ballcap and blue work coverall. "Ace of Diamonds, at your service, Miss Molly." He bowed low and kissed her hand, winking as I just laughed and smiled after letting go of "Molly"'s mouth. "She know what's what, or hadn't explained that part of things to her yet?" he asked.

Just then a woman dressed as a medieval queen rounded the corner bearing a stack of clothing. "Here you are Aces... and this must be Molly. Nice to meet you. My name is Guenivere... as in King Arthur's companion," she curtsied, then turned to Aces "You sure she's alright? We didn't run a check on her...."

"The Professor here has had her living with him for awhile, and I know just how far out HIS neck is... well beyond anyone here. If he says she's good, she's golden." Aces smiled to Guenivere, at which she thought for a moment as I finished changing. "Well... it's not protocol, but I can understand the skip, especially since this whole run is last-minute anyway." She smiled politely to Julie. "I'm sure you understand... there's much we do for our own safety here. That and Qua..." Aces quickly shook his head and Guen stopped short. "... our benefactor wouldn't appreciate us if we didn't uphold his trust in our security of the facility."

Julie looked at me as she took the proffered clothing. "I don't quite understand... J... Professor," she stammered.

Aces spoke up before I had a chance. "It's easy... head around this corner and there's changing stalls. There's also shower stalls in case something craps on you while we're out and about." Guenivere curtsied again and left wordlessly as I waved to her with a smile. "Once you're changed put all your stuff in the locker and take the key. Make sure there's nothing on you other than what we give you." Aces continued.

"Apart from your socks and undies. We're not Walt Dizzy World making you wear our own used skivvies," I winked and Aces laughed. Molly, for her part, spun her head to look at me, then back at Aces.

"Once you're dressed, Professor and I will explain things to you on the way. I already got the truck rigged. How many did we need?" Aces looked past Molly to me.

"He gave me 13 numbers, but we'll see whether he leaves a revised list for me or not once we're there. Knowing him, and knowing it'll be me coming, he might even include the packets. It's been awhile since I've done one of these, but it's been about time we helped him out." I commented freely.

"Help who out, Jim? I don't understand..." Molly was almost at wit's end.

"Professor..." I corrected her and gave her a hug. "You'll see, and once we're on the road you'll understand some other things too, hon. Now get changed... time's a-wastin'!" I winked and she smiled, heading around the corner to the changing area.

Once she was out of earshot, Aces said to me. "Are you NUTS? Bringing her to enjoy stuff at the Club, that I can kind of see, but... bringing her on a RUN? Without any previous ANYTHING?" He was speaking quietly but quite animatedly.

I just chuckled. "We all started somewhere. In fact, you KNOW how I started, and how I drug you into it. You weren't exactly kicking and screaming, were you?" I smiled broadly. "She'll be fine. In fact, I can almost bet we'll have to stuff her in the back before the night's over. I'm a sucker for a pretty face myself, and you know that, but she'll be the whole damned candy store, I'll bet. Especially after we get back."

Aces thought about it a bit, then nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right, Professor." He chuckled. "And here _I'm_ supposed to be the consummate professional - college and all."

We both laughed and Molly made her reappearance. "I'll go up and check on the ID for Molly." Aces volunteered. "Dr. Donothing said to give him a call once we're out the door and on the way back and he'll meet us here so everything could get wrapped up in one night rather than dragging it out a bit. He said his wife hasn't whined about... stuff in awhile and he was getting plenty of sleep."

"We'll make sure she doesn't get suspicious, then. Gotta keep him out late at night sometimes!" I called back and headed out one of the other doors of the locker room and out onto a mezzanine over a loading dock. I then headed down the long staircase to the loading dock itself. There was a fellow standing next to one of the rigs. "Evenin' Professor. Haven't had you with us in quite some time, have we?" he inquired. "Well... Gorgeous George," I proffered my hand. "Been off... well.. having fun. But you know you can't have all fun and no business so... something told me it was time to come back and help out some. This is miss Molly Brown."

Gorgeous George shook my hand heartily and offered it to Molly. "Like "The Unsinkable Molly Brown"?" he inquired, shaking Molly's hand.

She shot me a confused look and I laughed, replying for her. "None other, my good man. All set and ready to roll?" I inquired.

"Check, boss. Tank's full, waybills and timesheet inside for the entire run, itinerary is on top. Don't worry about logging the mileage, I'll do that later, and naturally we made sure it was clean before you took off, just in case. Insurance and registration is in the glovebox, as always, and you know how creative Uncle Jesse can get if we need to do any dancing for a cover story," Gorgeous George rattled off, as if it were nothing more than an inventory list.

"Very good, my good man. Quite good indeed." I smiled and he just laughed.

"You always get me with that "my good man" stuff... but, gotta admit, you're damned good. DAMNED good. Safe travels." George waved as I opened the cab door and let Molly climb up the rig's cab.

I waved back then turned to Molly "Scoot over so I can get up. I ain't as young as you, y'know!" At that she just stuck out her tongue at me as I ascended and shut the cab door. I started the engine and we sat there idling waiting for Aces.

"So what was all that about?" Molly asked.

"Well... this is a company truck. Right now we all are working for Sirius Biohazard Management. Basically a medical-waste company. Glorified garbagemen. He just told me about the truck... that should we get pulled over or questioned, there's freight waybills for various locations, an itinerary run sheet for stops at those locations, in addition to our special cargo, and that I won't have to worry about putting in the mileage on the run sheet as he'll do that later. This truck is equipped with a GPS relay system for running paperless logs, but on this rig it's been deactivated for this run so the extra stop isn't tracked. He made sure there were no listening or recording devices lest what we say be recorded somehow, and that all the DOT essentials are present, where they are located, and that Uncle Jesse can give some creative answers to authorities should something go way bad involving the vehicle." I rattled off. "We have a narrow window during the run for us to pick up the special cargo, as our run is mirroring that of another actual truck, so the paperwork can get muddled if there were any real investigation. That way no one can say for certain who was where, and The Professor, Molly, nor Ace of Diamonds actually exist on the payroll... even though we have company ID." I reached into my back pocket and showed her my phony driver's license, DOT Hazmat card, and company work ID. "Accordingly, you're just a trainee tonight, learning the ropes and some of the pickup points." I smiled.

Molly looked completely confused, but simply nodded. "So... what's our "special cargo"?" she asked.

"You'll find out in... 23 minutes exactly." Aces said as he swung up into the cab, shutting his door, then handed Molly her ID cards. "Tuck these in your inner pockets somewhere. Just in case," he said as I put the truck in gear, hit the lights, and headed out into the darkness.

We hit the State Highway heading out of town over to the next county, and then up a US Highway towards the county seat. "So where are we going exactly?" Molly inquired.

"County Dog Pound to pick up some dead meat." Aces answered curtly as we bounced across the river bridge.

"Dead meat as in.... dogs?" Molly looked at me in horror. "We're going to be hauling dead dogs?!?"

I smiled reassuringly at her. "Yep. We are. You'll see." I said as I turned my head back towards the windshield to navigate the minorly-busy highway.

"He's joking, right? I mean... dead dogs? Why would you drag me along for that?" she asked Aces, her disgust palpable.

"Wait and see, Molly. He's got a surprise in store for you, to be sure. Just... trust in him, ok? From what I know, he's not steered you wrong yet," Aces answered softly. Molly, for her part, seemed confused and concerned.

Another 10 minutes out, in the center of the next city up I hung a right onto yet another State Highway, finally heading the last stretch towards the county seat, as once again we crossed over a river which acted as the county line.

"Almost there you two." I smiled and patted Molly's leg. "Don't worry, hon... it's not quite what you fear."

"Got the keys and the code?" Aces asked.

I patted my pocket. "He said everything was the same, so should be good to go." I smiled as I slowed and turned into a gravel parking lot, passing the sign reading "County Animal Shelter" with the big arrow. The light was out over the back door, which was indeed was a good sign since it was usually lit at night. The backup alarm sounded as I shifted into reverse and swung the truck around and stopped with the rear just kissing the rubber safety bumpers at the dock.

"All ashore who's going ashore," Aces called out and got out of the cab. Molly decided to drop down on my side and I ascended the steps to the dock and unlocked the exterior door. I propped it open with the rubber chock there, and punched the number in on the keypad just inside. A green light showed on the display. "We're in, folks."

With that, Aces opened the thick doors to the refrigerated cargo compartment of the truck. There were barrels with the biohazard symbol on them stacked three high to the ceiling, with a narrow corridor down one side. He pressed a hidden button and a couple lights came on in the cargo compartment. Molly stepped in and saw cages "hidden" behind the barrels.

"Why would..." she turned to me as I started walking down the corridor.

Aces smiled broadly as he gently nudged her to enter, then whispered. "Dead dogs don't need cages, but ones that aren't dead yet.... might." With that, the din of barking sliced through the quiet of the evening as I entered the kennel area, propping that door open too.

"We've got only 12 minutes, but that should be enough with three of us." I checked the list Pete had given me. "Leashes are by this door, make sure they get back." I pointed out to the others."

"64, 58, 47, 35...." I started calling out.

"Hold on there, boss..." Aces said as he reached #64. I started double-checking the cage numbers with the general descriptions written on the notepad slip.

"Yep, 64. Molly, 58." I called out.

I grabbed #47... a worthwhile-looking female Rottweiler who ambled after me fairly readily. I looked down the aisle to the next one. "35, Aces." I responded as I walked the Rotty girl into the truck. She loaded well into one of the cages and soon I was back in the kennel section.

"Who's next?" Molly asked. "33, 31... brother and sister, apparently..." I said as I looked at the tags.

"Aces, Molly... 28, 24, 16, 8, and 3. I'll go after our special guest." They both nodded and I navigated further into the animal shelter.

"Quarantine - Authorized Access Only" was written on the steel door with large red letters. I only chuckled and fished the keys out of my pocket once again. I unlocked the door and flicked on the light to the restricted section. Kennel run Q-7 contained a rather amiable looking Saint Bernard... I opened the gate and he placidly walked out amid the barking of the other occupants. I clipped a leash onto his collar. "Want to come with me, fellow?" I asked. "Woof!" his baritone voice answered in reply. I started for the door then I saw a stack of manila envelopes on the writing desk with a card propped on top. "For the Professor." I grabbed the card and the stack, looking as I checked... hm... all the numbers seemed to match what I remembered from the kennel runs. I grabbed them, and then remembered to grab the white staff card for Q-7, as I looked at a few others, making a mental note to inquire about later. I walked slowly with Q-7 down the kennel runs, after shutting the lights out in the quarantine area, the door automatically locking behind me. I collected the other white cards from the vacated runs as Q-7 paced alongside, heeling quite properly. On reaching the other end I checked to make sure the leashes were properly returned, and switched the placement of one for the other, returning them to exactly the way they had been when I entered. The leash that held Q-7 was my own, and a special one at that, which rode around in the pocket of this coverall otherwise. I led Q-7 to the truck, and helped him into one of the higher cages, groaning a bit. I dropped the paperwork on the floor to hoist his heavy ass up but he went into the cage like a champ, and I shut the door behind him.

Grabbing the envelopes and cards, I stuffed the cards in my pocket and helped Aces shut and latch the doors. "Won't they suffocate in there without any air?" Molly asked. I shook my head. "Slow-exhaust oxygen cylinder. Easily obtained by a medical-waste company. It just "happens" to have a leaky valve," I responded. "Mind driving back, Aces? Got some reading materials I should probably go over." I waved the envelopes in the air.

"Sure thing, Boss. No sweat." Aces climbed up on the driver's side, after Molly, and I swung into the passenger's seat and clicked on the reading light.

"#13036388 Q-7" was the label on the envelope's front, the "Q-7" sticker sitting over top of a couple others, likely other quarantine cages. I pulled the wad of paperwork out and started reading.

"Is that for the Saint Bernard, Professor?" Molly asked, and I nodded absently as I read, flipping to the next sheet, then the next. I rapidly saw why Pete wanted me to nab this one.

"So what's his story, Professor?" Aces asked as I re-folded the paperwork and stuffed it back into the envelope.

"Zoodog. Bit someone. Confiscated. Owner now under psychiatric evaluation up at Spring Meadows, tried to off himself with pills after the dog was taken. Ordered destroyed by Judge Clemens because of the bite injury and it being a "suspect breed". Vet eval showed potential activity, though not confirmed as no DNA was found." I rattled off succinctly.

Aces grunted at that "More and more from Clemens... like he's on a crusade or something."

I chuckled. "Well... yes and no. I know some things there so you might be spot-on that he could be on a crusade." Molly and Aces just looked askance at me, wanting me to continue.

"Privacy, you two. You know how it goes..." I responded, at which Aces chuckled. "Club privacy?" he inquired.

"Perhaps." I replied, leaving it somewhat enigmatic but apparently halfway satisfying Aces.

"What do you mean by "potential activity", J... Professor?" Molly asked.

"Zoophilia, my dear," Aces responded in my stead. "He's using the legal terms, but in short the guy had been mating the dog, though they can't legally prove it."

"Or being mated by it, or both." I half-corrected. "But yeah... which is why he's not in Newhaven's prison ward rather than up at Spring Meadows."

"They'd have to prove it, or... well... if he was in a fragile state he might have admitted to it right out." Aces sidestepped his original comment.

"You mean he tried to kill himself over... Oh my...." Molly frowned some. "I thought it was just taboo and not illegal...."

I chuckled. "Everything's illegal if the prosecutor wants to pursue it that way, and the number of states that are banning bestiality and zoophilia are growing about as fast as those banning private ownership of big cats."

"Only there's more zoophiles than big cat owners out there. The difference is it's so taboo that if you're outed, and you're even halfway important, your life is screwed in a majorly profound way, even if the prosecutor can't prove his case. Just the accusation is enough to make trouble in most circumstances," Aces continued.

I just tucked the paperwork away for the short remainder of the ride to the Club. "Think you can back it in yourself or you need me to?" I asked Aces as we drove up the ramp to the loading dock.

"I've been getting better in your absence. Made a few runs without you," he chuckled and backed the truck up decently, amid the beeps of the alarm.

"Glad to see you made it back." Gorgeous George called to me as I stepped out of the cab, and let Molly out.

"No worries. Oh... bother. I forgot to give Dr. Donothing a call so he could be down here when we pulled in." I reached into my pocket for an older-style candystick cellphone and rolled through the contact list, then selected one and put the phone to my ear.

"Hello..." came the sleepy response at the other end of the line.

"Hi. I forgot to call when we were en route, so we're at the shop now." I spoke slowly.

"So it's down and breathing heavy? What's its temp?" came the non-sequeteur reply.

"an even dozen, including a special." I responded after counting on my fingers.

"I'll be right there," came his reply and the line disconnected.

I turned to Gorgeous George and smiled. "He said he'll be here right away. Probably 10 minutes. Anything good going on in the playrooms or not really tonight?"

Gorgeous George shrugged a bit. "Some stuff. Mostly mundane. I can take care of these for when Dr. Donothing gets here if you want to take your lady on a bit of a tour."

Molly looked at me curiously, and I smiled "Sounds like a wonderful idea, George. Thanks."

"I'll just help George unload, Professor." Aces volunteered "You two have a good time looking in at things. I'll call you when Dr. Donothing gets in. We all know you'd like to help with that, and Molly might too, if you're right."

"I'm sure she will, Aces. And thanks for your help tonight. Make sure he starts with Q-7, ok?" I called back.

"Will do, Boss, since I see you have a special interest in him. Have a good night if I don't see you before you leave." Aces waved.

* * * * *

"How come he calls you "Boss" when he's the chairman?" Molly asked once we were well beyond earshot inside, and I smiled.

"Well, here I sort of am his boss... or at least someone..." I pondered. "It's sort of difficult to explain, since you're seeing us as we are currently and not as high school students. Things have sort of changed dynamics in some ways since we were kids, and in others... it hasn't. Like here. There's a reason I got the pseudonym "The Professor"... and I think you can guess why." I smiled and she giggled a little as we walked the corridors in a different part of the building, this end set up like either offices, storage rooms or something similar. Some had lights on over the doors, others didn't.

"So what's this part of the Club?" Molly asked.

"Well... this is sort of a private... well... sex club, hon. Since not everyone has the ability to have space like my playroom, nor the access to the kind of species I have around at home." Molly blushed and smiled sheepishly.

"So this place is where people can...." she inquired.

"Enjoy sex with others, whether it be someone they already know, someone they choose to meet here, or someone from a select group of attendants like Gorgeous George. Then there's the companionship of their personal animals, or perhaps select some others from the kennels here or nearby stables, if they're good enough members. Usually for varying fees, but... sometimes not. Depends on the person or the circumstances. Folks like Aces and I can have rooms for free... mostly because of who we are but to some degree from supporting "the community" in various ways and helping out here. Or... having helped out here in the past. Various sections here also operate as a selective boarding kennel - which is why it's not questioned the number of animals here - with grooming services and other... things. Like breeding services and such." I smiled.

"I see... so the dogs that we rescued from the pound...?" she inquired.

"Will likely go to families that will really love them, yes. Like how we love our pets." I smiled, and she did too. I wrapped an arm around her. "So see why I figured I'd ask you along and said that you'd like it, even amid all the clandestine activities?"

She nodded and snuggled into my arm. "I'm glad. I saw a nice really big fluffy Husky there tonight... he looked so sad."

"Run 22? That's a Malamute, hon... like a husky but heavier. I saw him too. I'll inquire. Know someone who'd want him?" I asked.

Molly shrugged. "I.... was kinda curious about him, J... Professor. Wondered what his.... stuff.... looked like. Since you said that Larry's and Terry's was like canines and I never really saw Max's when we..."

"You never looked through the wolf and dog stuff in my collection?" I asked, rather surprised.

She shook her head. "Not yet. I'd been so... interested... in lions and all that I never really thought about it until that night with Max and now having the other Shepherds there and tonight..."

"Think you'd like to help with that Saint Bernard I led out at last?" I asked, looking at her amid showing her some of the playrooms that weren't in use. One with medical equipment like a human exam room, another with a sex swing. Some with various padded benches and chairs. One with an over sized changing table and crib. "For A-Bs..." I answered her inquiring expression.

"What's an A-B?" Molly asked curiously.

"It's short for Adult Baby... it's sort of roleplay where one of the couple plays as an infant... diapers, pacifier maybe, nursing on a woman's breasts... stuff like that. Sex club material isn't just bondage, leather, and a dominatrix doing a bound guy with a huge strap-on." I smiled at her and she just stuck her tongue out and rolled her eyes. "So think you'd like helping Dr. Donothing with that Saint? He should be here by now."

"I... don't know." Molly looked up at me as we arrived at a different section of the building, my key letting us through the safety-glass door and into a dimly-lit kennel section, then through other similar doors to a tiled corridor, then behind a steel door with a blue light on in its fixture beside the door.

"About time you got here... been waiting a little bit. Did #64 since you weren't here. There'll be a full report but she wasn't chipped anywhere I could find," came the familiar voice.

Molly looked in and then flashed a startled look at me. "How..... Isn't....?"

Both Dr. Donothing and I laughed at Molly's consternation. "Ask me no questions I'll tell you no lies..." I started.

"But one of these mornings HE'll get surprise." Jim Bridger finished, adding his own little twist to it. "It wasn't just Aces that The Professor dragged into this palace of weirdoism. And while I don't necessarily participate in some of the.... more.... heck, the weird stuff, someone has to keep critters healthy, so... guess that's me. Dr. Donothing. Because I'm not Dr. Doolittle. I can't talk with them... at least not any moreso than The Professor here. I guess Cleo's the exception to that all, now."

I chuckled. "The Doc here used to be really against loving one's pet... and I guess I slowly convinced him that it wasn't such a bad thing."

"Nibbled away at my defenses, more like." Dr. Donothing sniped, running his stethoscope over the chest of the big Saint sitting on the stainless steel exam table. "I still don't wanna hear much of what goes on in these rooms, and REALLY don't wanna know what you two do at home. What you two enjoy... I don't need to know unless it pertains to the health of an animal, and The Professor here knows a lot about that himself, so I don't think there'd ever be much of a problem."

"Oh... I know you can't help but smile when a mare winks at you... or one of my cats twitches itself on your hand as you examine them." I tease back.

"Bastard..." was all that Dr. Donothing could respond, with a wink as he pulls on a pair of latex gloves. "This one's the special, right?" he inquired.

"Yeah... thought you'd have looked through the paperwork already, since you started in with them," I responded.

"I glanced through it, but didn't really read. At least Pete's good about marking down chip numbers even though he only has a two-way instead of univesal reader." Dr. Donothing commented as he put a squidge of gel lube on the fingertips of his right hand.

"Can I...." Molly really blushed and looked down. I couldn't help but laugh and Dr. Donothing looked confused.

"There should be some collection sleeves and the special geltube here, if I remember right, and Molly here wanted to see what a male canine looks like fully hard," I commented, and Molly blushed all the more.

Dr. Donothing laughed. "You've corrupted her, Professor. But... at least the contagion isn't too problematic." He fished around through a couple drawers and found the articles and lubricated the inside of the clear plastic sleeve as he used his fingers to shove it into the "ice" gel tube.

"Can I also... learn what you're doing there?" Molly asked as she stepped a little closer forward, pointing to the doctor's fingers as he was just lifting the Saint's tail again, having relubricated his gloved digits and raised the dog to a standing position.

I moved to help hold the dog up as Doc handed Molly a rubber glove. "Good thing you don't have long fingernails as that wouldn't do so well inside him," the vet commented.

"She's already diddled one of my new lions and helped electro-collect the other, so she's not wholly unfamiliar with how animals are in there." I commented as I pet the Saint's massive head.

"Oh... well then there wouldn't be much guidance needed. I don't have to..." Doc started saying and I cut him off.

"With this guy's paperwork, I'd like to know how much he can take. Four might either be a bit much, or it might be much to his liking. I'd be curious to find out which, Doc." I spoke to the wall, but knew he'd hear.

"Well, you heard the professor... gently press two fingers into him. He's big enough to start with two, but some other dogs can only start with one." Doc told Molly, holding the dog's tail up.

The Saint whined some and tensed up a bit at the penetration, but relaxed readily. "Doc... what's this fellow's name? It's probably on the paperwork somewhere."

I could see Doc move over to the counter in the reflection of my glasses and soon he replied. "Alexander the Great of Reginald's Oak Woods" is his registered name... so... Alex?... Reggie?... Shithead?..." Doc suggested... I smiled and likely Molly did too as the dog started wagging his tail enthusiastically at "Reggie".

"I think we have a winner, Doc." I said. The wagging stopped and the dog strained a bit again.

"Wow... he's stretching really wide...." Molly commented as Doc slipped his fingers overtop hers.

"He can probably stretch more, but... yeah... this is a lot bigger than most can take. Maybe not other Saints, but at least the average mutt dog," Doc commented, "Now, a fair bit inside we can... right there. Feel that bulge? That's his prostate. And he's not been emptied in quite some time, it seems. If you rub it gently you'll get him to start growing erect..." Doc said, and I turned in time to see Molly blush.

"About like how Terry liked that, and Larry enjoyed the probe. That's what we were stimulating when we got Larry to blow his load so I could check it," I smiled to Molly.

Doc just rolled his eyes. "Geez Jim... I said I didn't want to hear about your private life!" Molly and I both laughed at his faux pas with the names.

"Well... she's learning, isn't she?" I smiled. "Was worth her associating what she's doing now with what she already knows, right?"

Doc faux-grumbled. "Yeah, but you don't have to involve me..." He winked and we both chuckled.

"Next thing is... dogs have this little nerve plexus at the base of their penis, just beyond where their knot will form. Stiumulating that generally causes them to hump. Now... Oh, yes... you can leave your fingers in him, or take them out and slide them back in later. He'll probably like that since he's a zoodog and accepted our fingers in there without diddly-squat of complaint." Doc continued explaining and I let Reggie go, knowing the troublesome part was over. I sat down and started looking over the other files.

"See, if you move his sheath back and forth across the spot like this..." Doc explained "... he'll start humping. Like he just did... Then you put the collector in front, making sure the tip of his penis will slide inside the plastic pouch, and..." I looked up and Molly was holding the tube with her left hand, with Doc behind her, guiding her as her right was moving the Saint's sheath. Reggie, for his part, started humping furiously, having dropped his hips so he could hunch forward with more force.

"You can slip your fingers back in him now if you want... he'll only last about 30 seconds or so with the humping... squeeze behind the knot if you like... it'll grow to the size of a baseball or a bit more," Doc continued as Molly worked her fingers up under Reggie's tail once again, this time three pushing into the dog. "It's like he's sitting on my fingers and shoving forward both!" Molly exclaimed as she was losing ground with the collection tube.

I got back up and gently took the tube from her at the other side of the table, bracing and gently squeezing to get Reggie to fire off, which he soon did. His knot fully engorged and nearly splitting the gel sextoy tube, the lower end of the plastic pouch was filling rapidly with chalky white fluid, then it started diluting with clear ejaculatory spurts. "Fully functional here, Doc. Good sample and probably decently motile too, most likely. He HAD been penned up... with good reason. He'd been there on hold for 8 weeks. Guess things have thankfully been slow for Pete lately."

Doc wrote something down on the chart and nodded. "That would explain the enlarged prostate too... boy's been used to blowing his wad every day and then got stuck without relief for 2 whole months... and wouldn't even have gone out with a smile on his face come morning. I'm sorta glad you called me down tonight, Professor. It'd been far too long. Felt kinda weird helping out without you being around here." He clapped me on the back with his clean hand. I just smiled and nodded.

"Wow.. he's gotten... like.... HUGE!" Molly's eyes were wide as she saw just how much dogmeat was in the collector tube. Doc and I both chuckled.

"He's even bigger than the one I collected from today, so I guess today was a 2-for as far as Saints." Doc chuckled.

"Was this one chipped?" I asked.

Doc shook his head. "No identifiers as far as I can tell. No AKC paperwork in the packet, but that's par for the course since he wasn't a surrender. A couple in here have papers, like that Rott coming up and the Dal I just checked. Scoped and ultrasounded her. She looks clean but with some of this new stuff I can't tell without opening her up. No scars, though, as far as I can tell... She's CKC registered, but... at least that's something."

"There's a way to make dogs unable to... like... not have babies without scars?" Molly asked, three fingers in Reggie's rump and holding his bobbing member as he filled the plastic pouch more and more and more while his rumpring repeatedly flexed around her fingers.

Both Doc and I nodded. "There's something called PZP... Porcine Zona Pecullina... that if you inject it into the bloodstream of a female animal it'll cause them to produce antibodies to their own Zona Pecullina - the barrier surrounding the egg that the sperm has to cut through to fertilize the egg. It makes them sterile for varying lengths of time, depending on the individual animal," Doc commented. "Then there's sclerosing agents to kill off the cells of either ovaries or testes... there's a new one out using Zinc to clobber the cells that produce the sperm of male dogs... a single injection into each testicle can render the dog sterile, and cause a drop in testosterone... though as The Professor here will be the first to mention, reproductive hormones affect more than just reproduction, so... I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing yet."

I frowned and nodded. "There's plenty of people who want dogs but can't have them where they live - like apartment buildings with either no-pets policy or a weight limit on what can be there. Then there's other people who can't manage what they own, having any pets at all. Then there's folks like me and Doc who could manage to have hundreds in our care, but may live in a county or municipality that limits the number of animals to 2 to 4."

"Then still there's the places where an extra high fee is charged for the licensing of any non-neutered animals..." Doc chimed in. "Some folks can't keep their dogs from breeding while other folks... like you two... for whom it's no real challenge at all keeping a male and female separated while the female is in heat." He then laughed. "Unless it happens to be Jake and Pickles, and The Professor here WANTING them to have cubs."

Molly flashed a look at me. "But isn't Jake... not able to make cubs?"

Once again, Doc and I laughed. "J... The Professor here had me out to his place earlier this year when he had both Jake and Pickles there... and he had me... kinda... reverse Jake's vasectomy. His count still low there, Professor?" Doc asked as Molly let her three fingers slip out of Reggie's backside.

I nodded "He's still low and lots of white blood cells, but they're not being NASCAR sperm anymore, so I think it was just that first couple loads that were severely questionable."

"NASCAR sperm?" Molly asked, inquisitively.

"Sperm sometimes swim in circles of varying sizes... like how race drivers only turn left," Doc replied. "Normal sperm will swim straight. If you saw The Professor give one of the lions a check, he probably wrote down three different numbers - the sperm density, the total count, and an abnormal count. Sperm that swim in circles falls under the abnormal heading rather than physically-abnormal sperm. And then there's the progressive motility number - the rating of how able the sperm would be to reach an egg and penetrate it's zona."

"Wow... I never knew there was so much to know about... dog... stuff. Or lion stuff." Molly watched amazed. "I think he's getting softer, Doctor..."

"Kind of surprised he didn't want to step over, but I'm sure this setting isn't quite what he's used to," I offered and Doc nodded.

"So what's gonna happen to him and all the other dogs?" Molly asked.

"Well... once I'm done going through them, their identifier microchips will get removed in case someone's trying to find them or there's an investigation of the Pound. Those that are AKC registered... that depends on who gets them whether the registration will get fudged or not. Most of the time it doesn't really matter as someone just literally falls in love with the dog or bitch. Once I'm done examining them they go into quarrantine here, until the bloodwork comes back so there's no disease outbreak. If they HAVE something, like heartworm or whatnot, we treat it. Stuff like that. I'm sure The Professor here had a few folks asking him about specific kinds of dogs when he asked Pete earlier about what was on the chopping block, so they'd likely head off to wherever around the US via a network of friendly folks like yourselves... and... that's that. Some end up staying here as kennel rentals, so to speak, but they're cared for and rotationally have "home time" with various volunteers or some folks that are on staff that use sleeping quarters here and like certain specific dogs even though they can't have them in their apartments. Stuff like that." Doc gave a shrug, then smiled. "Did you see anyone you particularly liked?"

Molly blushed. "I... this is all so new to me... I mean... before I met J... The Professor here, I didn't even think about animals in a sexy way... but then... he invited me over for movies, and we talked and.... I.... learned a lot." She was blushing all the more by the time she finished.

"She found some of my porn and enjoyed one of Pickles' favorite toys to a special lion collection and AI video I'd made." I said.

"JIM!" she gasped, and shot me a shocked look. We both laughed.

"Hon... Doc wouldn't be here if he couldn't keep secrets. And there's a lot more secrets here than knowing that you enjoyed a sextoy." I chuckled.

Doc nodded. "Indeed, that is the case. Lots of secrets around here... and lots of secrets in my daily practice, too. If I couldn't keep them, I wouldn't only be out of a job, but I'd probably be out of a career and beaten to within an inch of my life." He chuckled. "You folks aren't the only ones I have with certain thoughts about dogs, or your Cats. Or the bears at the zoo... Yeah, I figured on that one too, though you never told me the whole story on them. But yeah... so long as the animal isn't harmed in any way... it makes no never-mind to me if you're sexing them up. Though, naturally, I can't say things like that in court if I'm on the witness stand." Doc frowned a bit.

"Like the Stevenson case... I felt bad about Mikey but... wasn't much either of us could do." I sighed.

Doc nodded. "At least you got three of the four out alive, even if they can't be with their owner. How long until he gets out again?"

I did some mental math. "I think he's still got a year and a half to go... but I'd have to check."

"What are you two talking about?" Molly asked.

Doc looked to me so I started explaining. "There was someone we both knew named Mike Stevenson... good kid. Well... at least I think of him as a kid. His dad was a rotten drunk. I mean mean-spirited, grumpy... always thumping the kid for things that weren't really that important. His mom ran off with someone else so it was just Mike and his drunken father. Wasn't really any surprise he started getting interested in animals since humanity let him down so often."

"They were always well-cared for, I could see that. And Mike spent his own money on keeping them that way. He had some huskies... purebreds but he wasn't really a breeder. At least... not the puppy-making kind. Not at the start, anyway. His first was a male, then he got a female given to him by someone... And they had a litter of pups, which he kept two from, making four dogs in all. Both genders so..." Doc took over for me.

"Plug your ears, Doc, if you don't wanna hear," I started up, which earned me a one-fingered salute from the vet. "He liked being in sandwiches with the dogs... didn't really matter which gender was on the bottom, as both males were switch. Anyway... one time his drunken father saw him, beat Mike severely, and called the cops. Well... both went to jail that night - Mike for animal abuse, and his dad for assault. Dogs were seized and examined for evidence of sexual assault... which was pretty clear... and were held at the pound in [neighboring county seat] as evidence in Mike's animal abuse trial. Now... this was during the in-between when I wasn't helping here that much, and I only heard about it through Doc, who... doesn't restrict his services to this immediate area."

"The hell I don't... you know darn well we're kissing the county lines on two sides," Doc grumped. "Anyway... one of the huskies nipped at the sheriff here one time, and so the sheriff dragged him out and shot him right then and there, just out of spite. That cost him the election later, and that's when Butch Cresspo took office. At least he's more reasonable if not more self-important." I rolled my eyes as Doc continued. "Anyway... The Professor here happened to have knowledge of that facility and just after the trial ended we both knew what would happen." Doc turned to me. "I hope he doesn't hold me too accountable for my testimony. You know I really didn't want to be there." Doc looked down a bit and frowned.

"Hey... you did your job as you needed to, and...." I smirked. "I took the law into my own hands." I smiled at Molly. "Chain link fences are easy to take apart and put back together again without anyone knowing you've been there. Not quite as smooth as tonight's caper, but... I didn't have the "in" there like I do here."

"So... what happened to the dogs?" Molly asked as Reggie's red rocket finally slipped free of the collection rig.

"I'll take that..." Doc said and set about doing a count on Reggie. Molly turned around as she mindlessly held the gel tube, and then looked at me after Doc took it, hand still locked in that position.

"They're with folks I know... still intact, still alive... and perhaps going to be reunited with Mike, at the very least for conjugal visits, depending on what the Judge sets as conditions after he's done the short end of his time and gets to go on probation. If he ran the full amount it would have been five years." I replied.

Molly came over to me and hugged me, and Reggie jumped down from the table over to us and barked. Molly looked up to me. "Can we? Please?"

I pondered a bit. "He's way big for you, hon, and I don't know how he'd get along with everyone else we have there at the moment," I cautioned.

"Pleeeeease? If only just for tonight... He's... I feel like helping him out like the story you just told me," Molly had hope written all over her face.

"Doc....?" I asked.

"She's your problem, Professor. The dog's been up on his vax the whole time, as far as I can tell with these records, and it's quite possible someone will come looking for him, even here. You're off in the boonies, and I know you're quite apt to try to get a message to whoever this was that was his owner." Doc replied, tapping the relevant packet of papers.

I sighed deeply, and looked at the clock on my cellphone. "We _should_ get going... we've got to be at work in under 7 hours. It'll be a short night."

"Does that mean...?" Molly inquired.

"In for a Penny..." I started.

"... in for a Pound." they both finished for me.

I just shook my head. "G'night Doc... give my regards to the complaint department."

"Will do, Professor... and I'll let you know if anything pops on this group or your oversized throwrug there." He winked as we headed back to the changing room with Reggie in tow.

Aces was already there, having washed up and was in a superhero-esque outfit, complete with cape and belt. "I see you've got a tag-along there, huh Professor?" Aces pointed to Reggie, plodding along without a leash. I opened my locker and began undressing. Molly opened hers and got out her clothes from before.

"Yep... someone wants another throw-rug at home." I winked to Molly, and she stuck out her tongue. "Remember, dear... leave everything in your pockets here. Nothing goes home that didn't come from home, nothing stays here that didn't come from here. Ok?" Molly nodded and headed to the changing rooms.

Reggie just plopped down at my feet as I set about unlacing my boots and started shucking my coverall. "He's a good pup. Special case indeed - four fingers and not even a whine!"

"Wow... that's almost like that female Saint a patron had awhile back that we always joked could probably take a pony stallion," Aces quipped.

I smiled. "We'll see.... Doc figured he'd be safer out by me rather than here, and he's got good reason for that thought. So did Pete when he recommended him. I can pretty much figure nothing will come of it, but even if something does, nothing will happen with him at my place, so that's good. Doc's finishing up with the rest, and we'll see if anything pops on them or not. Does Captain Confetti need a ride home?" I asked.

"Naw, I'll just take the bus like how I got here..." Andy answered.

"It's nearly 2, so you better hurry if that's your plan." I showed him my watch, at which he grumped. "Dammit..." He looked at his superhero outfit. "And I can't ask Doc to drop me looking like this... he'd probably put it on YouTube. "Drunk Superhero stumbles home"."

I chuckled as I got back into my security officer uniform. "Well... we can drop you without worries from our end. Got the Blazer parked in the municipal lot. If your wife crabs about the hour, just say you were out with us and the time just got away from you. Then start telling her about how the one witch in the leather corset and nipple rings really wanted to spank you with her little kiddy-broom... and then you won't really have to say anything more."

Aces rolled his eyes and laughed. "You... how do you come up with these stories? I mean... you get some real believable whoppers in there almost every time."

I smiled as Molly came back around the corner and I locked my locker up, dropping the key in my pocket. "Easy... fertile imagination coupled with the enjoyment of manipulating other beings' emotions. It's fuuuuun to squick people when you feel like it. Also makes them shut up faster." I winked to Aces and pulled Molly into my arms. "That's how I caught this one."

"No ossifer... don't take me downtown. I just _can't_ spend a night in jail..." Moll-Julie mock cried out.

"Think we got room for Captain Confetti here? He needs a ride back to his secret lair." I asked her.

"You can ride up front... I want to ride in back with Reggie." Molly nearly bopped like a high-school cheerleader as we exited and went down the stairs towards the main club. That gave me an idea for our next visit.

"So... can I ask a question?" Julie asked as we motored towards Andy's place.

"You just did," I chuckled and Andy smiled. "What'd you want to know, hon?"

"How come when you were walking the dogs out you had a fancy chain leash and all we had were those webbing ones from the Pound that had its name stitched in them? I didn't see that one on the rack there when we walked in." Julie was petting Reggie, who was snoozing and drooling with his head in her lap.

I sighed and Andy smiled. "I didn't think you still had it, after all this time. It's been quite awhile, hasn't it?" Andy queried.

I sighed deeply as the memory of that night came rushing back like a flood. "15... almost 18 years now. Though with recent events it seems like only yesterday at times." I took a shuddering breath, then smiled broadly, thinking fondly of the Halloween adventure that Andy didn't know about, and the two Shepherds waiting for me at home now, and sighed happily. "It was Max's, hon. It was, and is, the only real thing I have left of him besides a couple pictures. At least... until now."

Andy looked at me confusedly, but didn't say a word as we pulled into the drive of his estate. The superhero was nearly home, and soon we would be too. All of us.

An Unexpected Turn of Events

I woke up a bit earlier than usual... whether it was due to concern over the new dogs or the wolves wanting out, I didn't know, but... the rain had stopped and they indeed wanted back outside, so out they went. The new dogs heard the call of nature...

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Stormy Weather

The following day dawned dark with heavy looking clouds, if one could say it dawned at all. Cleo was snuggled around her cubs at the foot of the bed, and Julie was snuggled to me IN the bed. I looked out the window for a time, thinking about the events...

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A Day Off Part 3

"Richard Leslie Mitchell, what ARE you doing up there?!? Get down from there right now!" I heard from behind me. I knew the voice could only be one person, and then I saw Paul come around the front end of the Case. "Honey, it's alright, Jim's here...

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