Patreon reward for Kickaha. In this story, his foxyote character is visited by a door to door vacuum salesman… In the middle of the woods. It doesn’t take long before Kickaha feels the need to be an agent of karma.
Door to Door
Rob had a job to do and he was determined to do it. It wasn’t his fault that his job was universally hated by all members of society. It was his role to play, and he was good at it. Or at least he liked to think so. But still, anytime he told anyone what he did for a living, people recoiled in horror. For Rob was the thing of nightmares. He was a door to door salesman.
Rob was given a list of addresses each day and he spoke to the owner of the home at each address… no matter what. It didn’t matter if you were asleep, in the shower, having dinner, or quietly pretending to be out of town with all the lights off. Rob would find you, and he would make his pitch. He once waited underneath a man’s car for several hours before ambushing them when they thought it was safe to go to work. He sold that man three VCRs. In 2015.
Rob had sold a lot of things to a lot of people in a lot of strange situations. He never asked his bosses a lot of questions. This was probably for the best, because his bosses changed a lot. It wasn’t uncommon for his company to be bought out three times in the same week. Once, right as he was about to close the sale on a DVR bundle, he had been called from work and informed that he now sold water boilers and only water boilers. He still managed to seal the deal.
The point was this. Rob had had a lot of strange days, been to a lot of strange places and met a lot of strange people. And that was why the gravity of this next sentence cannot be stressed enough.
Rob had what he would consider a weird day.
It started once he received his list of addresses for the day’s sales. There was a problem. The top address on the list wasn’t a street or even an old country road. It wasn’t even a proper address. It was simply a set of latitude and longitude coordinates. Now, if Rob was the type to ask questions, he might have asked for clarification. He might have learned that there was just a mistake. But he never asked questions. He went to where he was told, and he sold.
And so, when those coordinates turned out to be in the middle of the woods, he didn’t hesitate for a second. He drove his car as far through the forest trail as he could. When it was impossible to go further, he got out of his car, fetched his product from his trunk, and continued on foot through the woods in business attire.
As luck would have it, Rob did come across a home in the middle of the woods. It was in a small section of the forest next to a large oak tree. It wasn’t a house or a cottage, but instead a hole in the ground, a burrow. But it had a mailbox outside of it! And that meant it was a valid address for all solicitors! Well… It would have… But a large wooden sign had been mounted next to the hole. It read:
A second sign had been shoddily erected next to the first. In very rushed and hurried handwriting was a second message.
‘Beware of fox-thing.’
Someone had scratched out the word ‘fox-thing’ and neatly printed ‘foxyote’ in its place.
Rob ignored the signs. You didn’t get sales figures like his by respecting people’s wishes! Instead he strode up confidently to the hole in the ground, reached out a hand and paused in mild confusion. There was no doorbell to ring, no door to knock on. This presented a problem. He couldn’t just shout and hope to alert whoever lived here. That wasn’t how things were done! Luckily he always came prepared! Rob reached into his pocket and pulled out a small white button attached to a speaker. He set the speaker down next to the hole then pressed the button. A doorbell chime then played loud enough to echo throughout the entire forest, silencing the chirping birds in the process.
“Excuse me.” The head of a fox-like creature slowly rose out of the hole. His fur was mostly orange and white, with a brown patch upon his chest and tips on his ears and tail. “Did you just install a doorbell upon my burrow?”
“Pocket doorbells! One of the many valuable products I’ve been tasked with selling!” Rob smiled and held out a hand to what he assumed was the foxyote in the warning sign. “Rob Roberts Robertson of the Antediluvian Company at your service!”
“Kickaha of the being-woken-from-bed-unfairly,” the foxyote groaned and reached up a paw to shake Rob’s hand. “Feeling very disserviced. By the way, Rob Roberts Robertson? Did your parents hate you?”
“I apologize to wake you in the morning so early!” Rob completely ignored the last remark. “But you see I have an absolutely life-changing opportunity for you that I guarantee you was worth getting out of bed for! Trust me, what I have today will knock your socks off.”
“I don’t wear socks…” Kickaha rolled his eyes. “Or much of anything right now! You woke me up so early I’m not even decent! If we’re doing this let me at least get dressed first.” With that Kickaha’s head lowered back into the hole. A few minutes later he returned and crawled completely out of the hole. As the foxyote stood to his full height he was almost exactly half of Rob’s height. He had also gotten to what he considered fully dressed now. That was to say wearing a green cloak and nothing else. A practical outfit, unlike that ridiculous suit Rob was wearing.
“Right then so glad you’ve decided to hear me out!” Rob flashed his biggest smile.
“I’m going to mostly smile and nod while I wish something unfortunate would happen to you.” Kickaha let out a yawn. It was clear he wasn’t fully awake yet.
“As a professional door to door salesman I am used to such things.” Rob nodded. “And am happy to say we can work through any levels of hostility to make sure you get the product you can’t live without today! Allow me to present to you the revolutionary new item that no home can be without!” With this Rob pushed the product he had carried from his car between him and Kickaha. It was taller than Kickaha, made of shiny metal, and had a large red bag attached to it.
“A vacuum cleaner.” Kickaha said in disbelief.
“A state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner!” Rob continued. “This baby can be used on both carpet and wood! There’s no need to buy two separate vacuums!”
“Was that even a thing?” Kickaha tried to interrupt but was ignored.
“And check out the easy-empty bag!” Rob turned the vacuum around so the bag was near Kickaha. “All the dirt you suck up goes in here making it super easy to empty into your trash! No messes!”
“Well yes that’s how vacuums work…” Kickaha felt his eye twitch.
“Not to mention our vacuums come with an extra long power cord!” Rob gestured to the black wire coming out of the vacuum. “So you won’t have to plug it into a different outlet every time you change rooms!”
“Okay, okay, I think that’s enough.” Kickaha held up his paws. “I’m going to stop you right there as I think I need to remind you of a few things. First… You do see that my home is in fact a burrow and not a house. Yes?”
“And it’s a very nice burrow at that!” Rob tried to add.
“No, no fake compliments from you please.” Kickaha held a paw over his head. “Just… You may notice that as a burrow, it does not in fact have electrical outlets inside of it. That is because it is a literal hole in the ground. There is no electricity to run the vacuum on.”
“Yes, but with the extra long power cord you could simply run it to a neighbor’s-“ Rob tried.
“I live in the forest!” Kickaha threw his paws up. “My neighbor is a squirrel who lives in a tree! Who by the way can never remember to take in my mail when I’m out of town even when they promise they will! Which is a different story mind you! But there is nowhere to plug this in! AND THAT’S NOT EVEN THE BIGGEST PROBLEM!”
“I get it!” Rob shaped his hand into a gun-like gesture and pointed at Kickaha. “This is a very specially constructed home and you’re afraid the vacuum will damage your floors. Well worry not, this will get the dirt off any floor!”
“Well, see, there’s the problem!” Kickaha was clearly becoming exasperated. “My floor is literally made of dirt! Because… Again! I live in a burrow! As in I dug a hole in the dirt! It’s a very comfy burrow… But if I cleaned up all the dirt it would literally cease to exist! And then there would I hang my lovely pictures of family and friends?”
“Um well… Hmmmm.” Rob paused as he tried to consider. “Aha! Even a dirt floor is going to need cleaning up sometimes! What if you are expecting guests?”
“Okay, this here?” Kickaha gestured his paws between himself and Rob. “This is over now. Done. Kaput. Complete. We’re not doing this anymore. Usually, I give more people time to tie the metaphorical noose around their neck tighter before going on. But I am just not dealing with this right now. So we’re just going to jump to jump to the karma part of our little tale right now. I’m pretty sure at this point no jury on Earth would convict me anyway.”
“I don’t really understand…” Rob replied with a shrug. “But I’m sure that your new vacuum cleaner will somehow help remedy the situation.”
“See that?” Kickaha gestured slightly above Rob as if pointing at an invisible word bubble. “That was you squandering your chance to back out of this. Honestly, at this point I’m not even responsible for what happens. This is all on you. I’m just the tool the universe chose for your karmic justice.” With that Kickaha held out an outstretched paw. A green light erupted from it enveloping the salesman.
“Now there’s no need to get hostile! I assure you you’ll still want to-“ Rob paused as he heard a rather loud ripping noise come from his feet. He looked down and saw that his shoes (and by extension socks) had been shredded apart as furry paws with short claws had burst out of them. And that was only the beginning.
The fur spread upward from his legs as they slowly began to shift in shape. His pants began to rip apart at the seams from the forced change to his stature. Rips and tears were forming all over them, revealing brown and black fur growing in. As he shifted into a more animalistic gait, it seemed his pants might actually manage to stay completely on. But it was at this point that he sprouted a tail. It was long and thick, and burst out with such speed and force that it tore the literal seat of his pants right off of him. His underwear was not spared… And with its entire backside destroyed, the briefs he wore beneath his suit fell to the ground revealing he was completely fur covered from the waist down now.
The fur continued to spread over his body, climbing up his stomach and back heading for his head. As the line of fur reached his shoulders it slowly spread down his arms all the way to the tips of his fingers. Soft pads began to form on the inside of his hands while his nails turned black and grew longer. Much like his feet his hands were becoming paws, but much smaller ones. The changes were less drastic here to his body. Though his legs twisted into position and lost some range of movement it wasn’t enough to completely tear through his shirt and tie.
Meanwhile the fur had finally reached his head. Rob’s normal brown hair slowly receded as the entirety of his head was covered in her. His nose and mouth pushed outward from his face, forming a long thin muzzle with a wet black nose on the end of it. His ears began to get longer, moving to the top of his head and forming into long thin triangular shaped points. Rob now looked like kind of mutt of a dog, standing on its hind legs and wearing an ill-fitting shirt.
The changes began to slow as they finished up. Rob’s entire body began to shrink as he felt himself suddenly unstable on his legs. He wobbled back and forth and flailed what were once arms uselessly. He found up falling forward, but instead of landing on his face landed safely on all fours. From there his arms and legs slowly adjusted in length to the point that standing on all fours was a natural fit.
“A… arf?” Rob took a few steps back, stumbling out of his now way too large oversized tie. He was a small dog, probably a mix between a German shepherd and some smaller breed like a beagle. He looked around in confusion, unsure of what just happened.
“There we go! Much better!” Kickaha clapped his hands together as if clearing them in a dust. “I mean after all… If you’re going to insist on hounding me this is a much better form.”
“I see…” It would seem Rob was still capable of speech. That was intentional. But what he did next caught Kickaha off guard. Rob laughed. “That’s clever!”
“Clever!?” Kickaha’s fur bristled. “Well yes it is! I’m very clever! And it’s funny too! That’s the point! But you’re not supposed to appreciate it! I mean it is nice to be appreciated! But you’re supposed to find it groan inducing! That’s what makes it funny! And then you’re like! Oh! Woe betide me! I am a dog all for the sake of a pun!”
“But it was a good pun.” Rob interrupted.
“I know that!” Kickaha responded. “But that doesn’t change the fact your reaction to it is completely wrong!” He let out a sigh. “You know what! It doesn’t matter! You’re a dog. This conversation is over. I’m going to bed. Enjoy your karma.” With that Kickaha turned to leave, but was stopped as he felt Rob bite down on his cloak and tug on it.
“W-wait! Don’t leave yet!” Rob pleaded.
“Let me guess this is the part where you beg me to change you back?” Kickaha gave a weary sigh. What was with humans? They could be so attached to those completely unanesthetically pleasing forms sometimes.
“Oh no! Not at all!” Rob shook his head. “No! We have something much more important to discuss!”
“Wait really?” This gave Kickaha pause. Did this human? Well… Former human actually have some sense after all?
“We still have to discuss what it’s going to take to make you buy this vacuum right now!” Rob wagged his tail happily.
“You can’t be serious…” Kickaha’s ears flattened. It turned out this human was even less sensible than the normal members of his breed.
“Oh I absolutely am!” Rob’s tail wagged even faster. “You see, this truly state-of-the-art vacuum is simply going to improve your life that much!”
“Don’t you think you should have other priorities?” Kickaha pleaded. “Like the whole dog thing. Aren’t you even mildly concerned about that?”
“Oh I am quite alarmed.” Rob’s ears drooped slightly but his voice never changed from a friendly well meaning tone. “You could say I’m absolutely shaking in terror on the inside! Not only am I struggling to come to terms with my sudden canine shape, but the fact that magic is real and can be used to cause such life-changing effects on a whim has caused me to internally break down into an existential crisis about my previous understanding of the world itself. But none of that has anything to do with serving you by selling you this vacuum and for that reason I do not have time to address it right now.”
“I am unsure if I am impressed or terrified by your attitude at this point.” Kickaha tapped a finger to his paw. “I think I’m going to go with terripressed. Yeah, that sounds good. But the point remains I have no interest in or use in a vacuum cleaner!”
“You say that now! But I haven’t even given you a demonstration!” Rob quickly ran up to Kickaha and jumped up and pressed his forepaws against the foxyote’s stomach. The small dog wagged his tail and looked as hopeful as possible.
“Why do I suddenly feel like I’m the bad guy in this scenario!?” Kickaha groaned. “You came here to bother me! Just… It’s not like you could even show me! Because while I hate to reiterate the past! Again I must remind you. I. Live. In. The. Woods. There is no electricity!”
“That’s not a problem!” The dog dropped down from Kickaha and quickly jumped behind a bush.
“It’s not? IT’S NOT!?” Kickaha threw up his paws. “I’m fairly certain it is! You can’t plug in an appliance in the middle of the-“ He froze mid sentence as he saw the small dog drag what appeared to be a large yellow and black box shaped machine from behind the bush. “What is that?”
“A portable generator!” Rob wagged his tail as he pulled the generator over near the vacuum. He then began to use his nose to flick various switches on the generator.
“You just had that on you this entire time?” Kickaha took a few steps to look at the thing. It looked really heavy. It must have been a pain to drag out here. “Whyyyy?”
“I like to be prepared! This isn’t the first time I’ve run into this situation!” Rob continued to flip switches and the generator began to hum. “Plus I used to sell these door to door.”
“What are you?” Kickaha let his mouth hang agape.
“There we go! All powered up!” Rob quickly picked up the end of the vacuum’s cord in his mouth and carefully plugged it into generator. “Now we just press this switch on the side of the vacuum and you’ll understand right away why you need this in your life!” He leaped up onto his hind legs and pressed a red button on the side of the vacuum cleaner with his nose.
VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! The vacuum cleaner came to life with a loud noise.
“AH!” Roby’s ears folded back and his tail went between his legs. He jumped back from the vacuum cleaner as his pupils dilated. “WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” He began to bark madly at the vacuum.
“You know this exact scenario was actually the entire reason I picked dog.” Kickaha stifled a giggle. “But I really didn’t think it’d actually come up. You going to survive over there?”
“WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” Rob ignored Kickaha as he continued to bark aggressively at the vacuum.
“I’ll take that as a no.” Kickaha rolled his eyes and quickly reached a hand over and flipped the vacuum switch off.
“Ah… Sorry about that…” Rob stared down at his own paws in embarrassment. “Don’t know what came over me, it was just like instinct. Anyway, now that you’ve had a chance to see the cleaner in action I’m sure-“
Kickaha flipped the vacuum back on.
“WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!” Rob jumped back and immediately resumed his aggressive barking. After a few seconds Kickaha flipped the switch off. “It’s only one of many benefits that-“ And then the switch was flipped again. “WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!”
“Ok, this is pretty fun.” Kickaha couldn’t hide his fit of laughter as he turned the vacuum off again. “I could do this all day.”
“So you admit, you do have a use for the vacuum cleaner!” Rob wagged his tail smugly. “I knew you would! That makes me so happy!”
“What? That!” Kickaha crossed his arms and huffed. “That doesn’t count! That was… Just for messing with you! Hardly a day to day activity! It’d just sit in the closet after you left!”
“Is that so?” Rob’s tail wagging intensified as he looked over to the signs outside Kickaha’s house. “So you don’t get any other salesmen coming by.”
“Well…” Kickaha avoided the dog’s gaze. “The place does get an oddly large amount of foot traffic.”
“And you’ve never turned any of them into dogs or other animals?” It was impossible for his tail to be anymore smug.
“Ugggggggh. Stop it!” Kickaha covered his ears. “This argument is making far too much sense for my personal comfort! I insist you desist at once!”
“And you know, good little doggies like me aren’t the only thing it’ll scare.” Rob slowly walked up next to Kickaha and playfully nosed him. “I mean… A-“ He looked at the sign. “A little foxyote like you! These big woods. Surely there are other animals around. And it is noisy. How many cleaning devices do you own that not only clean your house but also keep you safe from big nasty predators!”
“Ok that’s it! We’re done!” Kickaha turned away from the dog doing his best to tune him out. “I don’t care how much sense that makes there is no way I’m buying so you might as well just give up!”
“Okay, that’s fair.” Rob replied.
“No matter how you plead I won’t-“ Kickaha paused mid rant and turned to the dog. “What?”
“I understand.” Rob looked absolutely defeated. His tail was between his legs, his ears were drooping, and he was walking very slowly away from Kickaha. “I mean… I really only wanted to help make your life better. But this is just a nuisance to you.”
“Yes… That is… Correct.” Kickaha felt some strange feeling stirring in his heart. No… It couldn’t be. Was… Was he feeling pity for the poor thing?
“I’ll go ahead and get out of your way…” Rob spoke in a slow and sad voice as he pulled the vacuum’s plug out of the generator. “Thank you for your time.” He turned to give Kickaha a look and… He had the saddest looking puppy eyes the foxyote had ever seen.
It was at that moment that Kickaha felt something break inside his heart. He was barely aware of what he started saying.
“No it’s not your fault!” He found himself rushing over and patting Rob on the head trying to soothe him. “It’s mine! It’s a great product! I just… I haven’t eaten breakfast yet! I was cranky! I didn’t see the vacuum in the proper light! You know how it is, those forest trees always blocking out the sunlight!”
“No, no it’s okay…” Rob tried to pull away from Kickaha. “I appreciate you trying to cheer me up, but I could never bother you.”
“It’s no bother!” Kickaha insisted. “Look now that I see it from this angle! You’re right! I don’t know how I could possibly continue my existence without it! You’ve got yourself a deal! I’ll buy it! In fact I’ll buy two!”
“R-really?” Rob stared up at Kickaha with sad but hopeful eyes. They were enough to melt the soul.
“I’ll take two!” Kickaha felt himself blurting.
“Great!” Suddenly Rob’s tail was wagging as he kicked his hind paws against a briefcase laying in the dirt. It opened up as several papers and a pen came spiraling out before somehow landing directly in Kickaha’s hand. “Now just at the bottom, and then there, there, there, there, and initial that you approve the payment plan and of course you’ll want the extended warranty! And we’ll be done soon!”
The next few minutes were mostly a blur for Kickaha. He remembered writing his name several times… But that was about it. When he finally came too he saw Rob walking away in the distance, the dog’s tail wagging proudly as he disappeared. And he also saw that he had two new vacuum cleaners sitting inside his burrow.
A door to door salesman with sad puppy dog eyes.
“I’ve created a monster.” Kickaha stared in horror as the small dog left.