That will be revealed eventually. :)
Yes, are you inquiring about Kevin’s ISP or Kell’s Dewclaw’s Fine Meats? :)
Another eventful year is in the books for the family, and we’re looking forward to 2014. Kell is showing her appreciation to her staff for all their hard work in keeping Dewclaw’s Fine Meats alive during its challenging startup phase, buy holding a special New Year’s Eve party at the office. You’re all invited! (And don’t worry, a strict No Predation policy will be in force.)
As noted before, this is the first year the Ursals haven’t practiced the bear tradition of hibernating throughout the winter. As a result, little Harcourt is getting a crash course on all the holidays that he’s been missing. Halloween first, then Thanksgiving and now the Big One, Christmas.
True, he’d celebrated Christmas before when the family awoke in the Spring. At that time they’d staged an odd mashup of Christmas and Easter, which is theologically mutually exclusive. To kids, however, it means double the candy.
Coney and Lin their best to get him up to speed, not realizing that most families use the general cultural holiday traditions as a springboard for their own specific uses. As anyone who has gotten married can confirm, a new addition to a family has to learn them in due haste. (Fortunately Fenton and I dated for a great length of time, given us the opportunity to acclimate to each other’s December festivities.)
The fallout continued from the revelation over Dip’s hiding spot.
Fenton and I drove up that night, and talked to him after he woke at dawn and had breakfast before going to work at Dewclaw’s. (Caniche Chien would pick him up and drive them over together. They seem like a cute couple, and her sheep disguise is visually convincing.)
Our talk with Dip started off on a somewhat awkward note. There was an imbalance, as he had observed us for years without us knowing anything about his presence. He wasn’t actively spying as his hiding spot didn’t afford a view of any private areas, but he couldn’t help but be aware of the normal household activities. (There were times when I was at Fenton’s house more often than my own.)
He did apologize, and tried to make amends by answering all of our questions about his life under the stairs. Scared, isolated, with no one to talk to… He’d found a happy family, but couldn’t share in their togetherness. The more we heard, the more we felt sorry for him.
I asked how he kept up with personal hygiene. He sheared himself, and would dump the excess wool in the garbage after it was out at the curb. On the subject of even more intimate details, he trained himself to take care of bodily functions before and after he came inside. There were a few close calls, though, necessitating a quick trip to the bathroom while the Fuscus family was awake. His luck held, and the Fuscuses are too polite to mention a smell they assumed came from another family member.
We ended cordially, and will talk more over Christmas.
It’s been an exciting few weeks here at Beige University. Rhonda, who graduated last year, is no longer on the hunting team but of course she still knows most of the squad. She was on the sidelines at tonight’s championship match and celebrated their astonishing title with them.
Back home, the main news was the revelation that Dip the sheep had been hiding in Fenton’s tree for years without anyone knowing. Rudy on his Facebook page remarked that if he or Kell or any canine had come into the house they would’ve smelled him immediately. However, the sound of bat sonar is ear-splitting to them, so they’ve always avoided the Fuscus place, even now with the family connection and with Desdemona serving as Kell’s right-hand woman.
I didn’t sense Dip’s presence during all that time, and Fenton didn’t either. Fenton feels weird and a little violated, but realizes that no harm came from Dip’s hiding out. It also more fully explains why Dip ultimately couldn’t bring himself to betray Desdemona and the company she worked for, even though he felt he was signing his death warrant with Herd Thinners.
Fenton’s parents even extended an offer for him to stay, and not under the stairs anymore, either. They have a guest room that they’ll convert for him, keeping Fenton’s old room free for the two of us when we visit.
This also provides an extra level of protection for Dip. Everyone know Des is a vampire bat, which are universally (and irrationally) feared. He’ll be safe there.
We always have a big crowd at the house for Thanksgiving. There are the five members of our nuclear family, plus the two grandmothers, and Fenton, of course. That encapsulates an enormously varied range of diets, resulting in a groaning table of food. Therefore, we try to find others to help finish off the meal before the scavenging crew cleans up the remainders afterwards.
When Coney requested that Lin attend dinner as her guest, Kell asked if Mr. and Ms. Lee could come, too. They accepted the invitation, probably seeing it as a cultural study of local traditions for Lin.
Fenton and I drove in from Beige U. the previous night and we were first in the kitchen, cooking insects until dawn. Our work done, we put our prepared dishes in the fridge and slept until everyone began arriving in the late afternoon of Thursday. Our cuisine was heated in the microwave.
A good time was had by all, even the scavengers.
Fenton and I drove back to the university in time for a momentous hunting competition.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to throw some celebratory toilet paper.
I’ve been doing more research on Caniche Chien, just to make sure that she has no ties to Herd Thinners. I’m satisfied that she does not, and that Frank Mangle made a wise choice in hiring her.
Still, I question the circumstances that brought her over here. She was raised on a farm in the southern provinces of her country, and joined the military upon graduation from their version of public high school. She found a home in the military police, and served five years with distinction until she received a discharge with glowing commendations. She won several awards in competitions of paw-to-paw combat.
She was hired by company in Paris at age 24 as a security guard, and here’s where it gets odd. After just five months she abruptly began sending out resumes for jobs outside of France. Any security position, anywhere, she applied for it. That’s how Frank found her.
There are some additional sources of information, but they’re so heavily redacted that it’s impossible to glean anything useful from them.
While I wasn’t looking for personal details, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of anything regarding romantic relationships. She appears to be very career-oriented, and Dip the sheep may be the first individual for whom she’s allowed herself to experience affection.
A lot of the staff at Dewclaw’s think she could do better, but heck. She could do a lot worse, too.
Thanks to Caniche’s quick thinking, rope skills and canine fangs, she not only saved herself from two Herd Thinners assassins but also rescued an overly-protective Dip in the process. Throw in a Herd Thinners company car, and the day was a total win/win/win for Dewclaw’s.
When Caniche didn’t answer her cell, Dip took off out of the building. Traffic was still heavy due to the morning rush hour, and Dip caught up to them three blocks away. That was right in front of a nesting structure for non-wild eagles.
We’ll see if R.L. keeps his word about taking Dip off the menu. Kell did keep hers about returning the car unsearched.
I’m wondering; the quality of predators that R.L. keeps sending after Dip is staggeringly low. Bottom of the barrel, in fact. It makes me think that maybe R.L. doesn’t really want Dip caught…That the whole revenge thing is someone else’s idea. I, of course, have a unique perspective on who that might be
Trouble at Kell’s company. We’d long known that the Herd Thinners predators were targeting Dip the sheep, as revenge against him turning from their spy to Kell’s double agent. They’d seen through his poodle disguise, which became moot when his horns grew in.
Apparently his assailants didn’t know that, and were still looking for a hornless sheep. Spotting Caniche, the security guard who’d disguised herself as an ovine to protect Dip, they jumped to the wrong conclusion.
Side note: Corrie was lucky she was already in the building. It could have been her.
Caniche is well-trained in self-defense, but she was apparently taken completely by surprise by two predators much larger than her. The company has security cameras in the parking lot, and video showed her being overwhelmed, tied up and thrown in the back on the vehicle.
I did an immediate search of the license plate. Yep, it’s Herd Thinners company car.
More next week!