I wrote this story as a submission for SLF South Fur Lands an Australian Furry 'zine. I have yet to hear back, but if it gets published, I'll pull this story for a while to be fair.

Its something that has always bothered me. Read on if you want to know what exactly. I mean, they must be around, but you never see anyone talking about them, sort of like BO I suppose.



The Horrors of Fur.
By Wolphin 

I awoke at dusk and groaned.  That was it.  I had had it.  Tonight 
I was seeing the doctor.  

Reluctantly I uncurled myself and stuck my head out of my nest, 
eyes wincing at the descending sun.  Making the disliked decision 
I squeezed out of my bed and stumbled to my feet, tail fluffing 
itself behind me, seemingly in anger.  Not for the first time I 
wondered if my tail was possessed, sometimes it seemed as if it 
had a life of its own.

Drawing the curtains, I stretched and peered at the mirror, 
shuddering at what I saw.  I was definitely not an evening person.  
My fur was a mess, pupils small and I felt like I could do with 
another three hours sleep.  Fourteen hours was just not enough for 
a glider.

Pulling out a comb, I began to tease out the knots in my fur, 
slowly working it back into place.  It took me a good fifteen 
minutes to get what I thought was respectable.  Lord only knows 
what my back looked like.  

As I plodded into the kitchen, I found myself scratching again.  I 
could not live like this anymore.  I rummaged in the fridge, 
pulled out a slice of mango and a rather sorry looking banana, 
this was topped off with some blossoms from the vase by the door.  
Moving back to the phone, I called up work and told my supervisor 
I was taking a half night sickie and would not be in until 
midnight.

Finishing breakfast I walked to the window and opened the 
curtains.  In the west only an orange glow remained in the sky.  A 
few solid thumps on the window and it opened.  I made a mental 
note to have it looked at when I came home.  Climbing out on to 
the ledge I braced myself, then pushed out.

For a moment I was plummeting to earth at a frightening speed.  I 
opened my arms, my skin flaps caught and I was gliding.  I always 
liked a nice glide.  Especially on a still summer night, the 
easing thermals still enough to provide a little lift.  My tail 
streamed out behind me, making small adjustments as I headed for 
my usual clearing in the park.

A few seconds before I hit, I pivoted my legs down, bending them 
slightly and made an almost perfect touchdown, my flaps retreating 
besides me. I smiled, that adrenaline rush always woke me up.  

Jumping the fence in a graceful move, I ambled along to the 
hospital, still occasionally scratching at my chest.  There were a 
few advantages to being nocturnal, firstly you got to sleep 
through the day.  For me this was a big plus.  Secondly, when you 
did get out, there was not much of a crowd.  However, this also 
meant that there were not many places open.  So when ever I got 
sick I found myself at the hospital emergency room.

Feeling a little embarrassed I strolled to the triage nurse.  
Luckily the room was mostly empty, with the exception of two 
canines sleeping off that afternoon's celebrations.

The nurse looked up.  A pretty wallaby of some description, 
probably a rock wallaby judging by the stripe running down her 
nose.

"Can I help you?" she asked over an almost cute pair of steel 
rimmed glasses.

"Ummm," I almost whispered.  "I'd like to see a doctor please."

She nodded, pulling out a clipboard.

"And what are your symptoms?"

"Ummm," I hesitated again.  "I itch.  I scratch and scratch, but 
nothing seems to help.  I've tried a few lotions and powders, but 
they didn't make any difference."

She wrote something down on her sheet of paper.

"These things you used, do you have their names?" she asked.

I nodded and opened one of the pouches strapped to my arm, pulling 
out a list.  She carefully itemised them and asked me if there was 
any other symptoms.  I shook my head, she nodded and asked me to 
take a seat.

I always wondered why they said that.  I mean, what was the point?  
There was no way I was going to sit in one of those plastic 
things.  Not with this tail.  Instead I found myself lying on one 
of the diagonal support braces as I flipped through a magazine 
showing off the latest vixen to make it big in the US.

After about ten minutes an owl morph stuck a feathered head 
through the double doors.

"Mr Norfolce?" they stumbled over my last name. 

"Just Peter will do," I replied lightly jumping down from my 
perch.

They nodded, holding open the door for me.

"I'm Dr Morpore," they said leading my towards an examination 
cubical.  "You say you are itching?"

I assume it was a female doctor, but with some of these birds it 
was so hard to tell.

"That's right," I nodded.  "Its silly really, just seem to have 
this urge to scratch and I can't seem to shake it."

She asked me a few more questions as I obedient spread myself over 
the bed.  Then she make little crooning noises to herself and 
pulled out one of those magnifying glasses with a torch on the 
end.  She gave me all of half a second notice.

"I'm just going to have a quick look..." she said before diving 
in.

I let out a meep of surprise as her feathered fingers parted my 
chest fur and she began probing.  Suddenly she sat bolt upright 
again looking as if she had seen a ghost.

"I don't believe it," she murmured to no-one in particular before 
pulling out a pair of tweezers and descending into my fur once 
again.  

I felt little twinges as she pulled at something, unfortunately 
her wing was in the way and I could not see what she was doing.  
She kept tapping the tweezers against a specimen jar, making a 
clicking noise.  Standing upright again, she looked at me.

"Don't move," she ordered and left the cubical, pulling the 
curtain back behind her.

I heard her whispering something to someone else in the room and I 
saw two furry feet take up guard outside my space.  Swallowing 
deeply I wonder what she had found.

Fidgeting nervously I waited for her to return.  I had no idea 
what she said to them out there, but they were scared of 
something.  More feet joined the ones showing under the curtain 
and I grew more nervous.  After what seemed like an eternity Dr 
Morpore returned, poking her head through the curtain with a 
feigned relaxed smile.

"Mr Norfolce," she said with that voice specially reserved for 
terminal patients.  "I have some rather bad news."

I had gathered that already.

"Go on," I whispered.

"It would seem you are harbouring quite a colony of something 
called fleas," she paused for effect.  "Have you heard of them 
before?"

I shook my head slowly.

"I didn't think so," she continued.  "We had thought we had got 
rid of them all.  Your particular variety are called Spanish Fleas 
and come, naturally, from Spain where they still have a few 
outbreaks, obviously you have some in contact with someone from 
there and hence..."

Her voice trailed off as my head hung low.

Fleas.  I had fleas.  Me.  The spotlessly clean me.  Little 
parasitic blood sucking blighters.  How could I get fleas?  There 
must be some mistake.  I looked up again.  She read me perfectly.

"No mistake Mr Norfolce," she said consolingly.  "But don't worry, 
we should be able to fix the problem."

With that I was wheeled off into an isolation chamber to begin my 
treatment.  

It was the beginning of the worst two weeks of my life.  Yes, 
that's right.  Two whole weeks it took.  And you should see what I 
look like.  They gave me injections of this, pills for that.  The 
entire time being treated by reptiles, with the exception of a 
dolphin morph who was researching fleas.  Apparently the fleas 
only like those with fur or feathers.

And they shaved me!  I will never be able to go out in public 
again.  My beautiful creamy chest fur, gone.  My grey back, shaved 
down to wrinkled skin.  Even now, after two weeks, it is a barely 
recognisable fuzz.

They fumigated my house and tested all my workmates.  They even 
traced the fleas back to their source.  A mule from management who 
visited his family in Spain for his holidays.  I hope he got it 
good.

After the two weeks Dr Morpore poked her head through the sealed 
door.

"Good news," she said smiling.  "We've conducted our preliminary 
tests and you're clear.  You can leave when you want."

I needed no further invitation and had myself signed out of there 
in under ten minutes.  

It was a long walk back to my house.  I had borrowed a hooded robe 
from the hospital.  It was bad enough with my shaven legs and 
pathetic tail, but covered with clothes as well?   The shame of 
it.  Shuffling alone, I could feel the stares from the passers-by.  
The walk made even worse by the sun shining down miserably on my 
back. 

Eventually I reached my building and took the elevator to the 
eight floor.  I could smell my room before I got near it.  It 
stunk of disinfectant, pesticides and various other chemicals.  
Opening the door I was greeted by shambles.  Everything had been 
moved, dragged or shifted.  On the bench was a card saying 
"Lovingly fumigated by Acme Pest Control."  I wanted to kill them

Moving to the bedroom I shuffled out of the robe, leaving it on a 
heap on the floor.  I just wanted to curl up and sleep in a 
familiar bed.  Then my eyes fell on my nest.  

It was ruined.  Pulled apart and scattered across the room.  It 
took me four months to get that just right!  Sleepless nights I 
spent, moving scraps of cloth from one side to another.  And do 
you know how hard it is to find a good supply of sticks this close 
to the CBD.  I was going to murder someone!

Suddenly the doorbell rang.

I stormed across, wrenched it open and glared out.

"What d'ya what!" I shouted.  I must have been impressive.  It is 
not everyday you see an emergency doctor and two wombat orderlies 
back away.

When I saw Dr Morpore I softened.

"Sorry," I muttered.  "I'm just feeling a little peeved at the 
world today."

She nodded.

"Err, Mr Norfolce," she said softly.  "...Peter."

I heard warning bells begin to sound.  I began shaking my head.

"I'm afraid there is some bad news," she continued.  "You're going 
to have to come back to the hospital with us.  The lab results 
turned up evidence of Brazilian lice..."

They say my scream could be heard over most of town...