Dude, Where’s My Fox?, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Dude, Where’s My Fox?, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by BlackTeagan.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2014, trade paperback $9.95 (  + 115 pages), Kindle $7.99.
This is “A Red Velvet Cupcake”, FurPlanet’s eighth “Cupcake” novella for fiction between the short story and novel lengths. It does not have FurPlanet’s usual Adults warning for NC-17 content of a M/M erotic relationship, but it probably – no; definitely! — should. Here is FurPlanet’s back-cover blurb:
“Lonnie’s slept with exactly two guys in his life: his ex-boyfriend of three years Steven, and the fox he just hooked up with while drunk at a party. The fox didn’t leave his name, just his scent in Lonnie’s fur—but a scent is enough for a wolf to follow a trail. With his friends Derek the gym wolf and Jeremy the fashionplate rat helping him, Lonnie will learn lessons of dating, sex, and trust, and maybe he’ll find the fox whose scent is just right before the clock chimes midnight.”
Lonnie (no last names here), the narrator, is a young, slightly small (5’5”) wolf. He’s a recent college graduate and structural geologist who seems to devote more of his life to his gay proclivities than to his professional career. He is still getting over his breakup with Steven, his previous red fox boyfriend, when he gets so drunk at a party that, when he wakes up the next morning, he can’t remember much about the male fox that he had sex with the night before, except that it was so good that Lonnie is determined to find him again:
“His arms had gripped me around the chest, black fur coming almost all the way up to the elbows, russet fur from there up to his shoulders. His ivory neck ruff had been soft against my muzzle (like Steven’s) and the weight of his chest had settled between my shoulders. His long red tail had wagged, his frisky white tip flicking until he slid around behind me, and his black ears had flicked with excitement when I pulled his pants down.” (p. 2)
Oh, God. Did Lonnie just cheat on his boyfriend? But he’s broken up with Steven. Did they make up and he spent the night with Steven? No, Lonnie is in another city now; and Steven has a different scent. Did Lonnie subconsciously pick someone who was a red fox like Steven? No, Derek, his gym pal who brought him to this party/orgy, had introduced the mystery fox. What was his name again? Derek will know.
“Ten minutes of breathing with my head against the wall cleared my thinking a little bit more, and then I felt ready to go meet up with Derek. As I descended the wide marble staircase, I scanned the room. A six-four muscled wolf wasn’t hard to spot, and after about fifteen seconds I found Derek talking to a black rat in a red-fringed black lace vest and glittering red sequined pants. They stood a couple feet away from the extravagant island flower sculpture, which had already lost noticeable chunks. I passed a deer chewing on a hibiscus he’d clearly taken from the sculpture, and tapped Derek on the arm.” (p. 9)
But Derek doesn’t know. He just thought the guy looked like someone that Lonnie would appreciate. “There were a bunch of foxes at the party, probably thirty out of the three hundred guests.” (p. 8)
Dude, Where’s My Fox? is Lonnie’s quest to find the mystery fox, with the amused help of Derek and the more sympathetic help of Jeremy, the rat who “wasn’t the most extravagantly dressed person I’d seen that night, but he was probably the flamiest one I’d talked to.” (p. 9) With a red ribbon on his pink tail. They narrow down the list of red foxes at McMinaver’s party to only a half-dozen, who all deny that they spent the night in intimate relations with a wolf. One of them has to be lying, but which? Lonnie has to try them all to find out.
It’s not all foxes. Other characters whom Lonnie meets in Cottage Hill (the gay community of Port City) include Gilliam the ferret and Taylor the civet. Above all, Dude, Where’s My Fox? shows Gold’s signature mix of human civilization as adapted for animals’ sense of smell. Almost everybody online is connected through ScentBook (“‘Just post something on ScentBook and we’ll pass it around,’ Jeremy said. ‘That’s where everyone goes to catch up on party gossip.” – p. 16), and Neutra-Scent is used in public places (“Conversations were hushed and the whole lobby smelled clean, the way interior spaces do when they’re pumped full of Neutra-Scent.” – p. 54). The novella has a few names showing that it’s set in Gold’s Forester University universe, and among his more explicit stories on FurAffinity.
“Beyond a certain point, the scent of a crowd just becomes an indistinct mass, plus the two or three people closest to you with the strongest scents, but the twenty or thirty people in the Skylight hadn’t brought the air to that critical mass yet. I could pick out the three females at the table to my right: two does and a mare. I could pick out the male wolf, the female ringtail, and the male skunk at the bar.” (p. 56)
If you don’t get the title reference, rent the DVD of the 2000 movie Dude, Where’s My Car? There are five full-page illustrations by … the artist is identified as both BlackTeagan and Teagan Gavet, who also did the cover. As usual with Gold’s explicitly male homosexual stories, the writing is excellent, and full of adult bodily fluids. Read according to your tastes.