Mrs Gideon’s First Day at Work

Howard/Mrs Gideon. Why Mrs Gideon never recognises Howard Moon. The whole, sex-drenched story. Read on!

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Chapter Notes: Warning for references to Howard/Jack Cooper the fox and a tiny bit of slash/femslash at the end.

Howard Moon sauntered through the zoo gates, whistling ‘Jazz Voodoo’ by the Bongo Brothers under his breath. He thought of all the tasks he had lined up for that morning. First of all he had to muck out the snapdragons; the dirty little beasts. Then he should really check that techno-mouse was properly hydrated. Recently, his tiny little rodent raves had been lasting until 5 am each morning—that could really take it out of a mouse. Finally, and most importantly, he had to comb all the rat’s tails out of Vince’s spare wig. Howard wasn’t quite sure how he’d got lumbered with that last job.

Suddenly an announcement blared out from the loudspeakers. It was Bob Fossil, zoo dictator.

“Attention. Stop fiddling with my crabs! And yes, that means you, Moon! You timewasting crab-fiddler. What am I paying you for, crustacean abuse? So anyhow, this is an announcement. Everyone get their asses over to the main office right away. And I mean now!”

Howard winced. Why did Fossil keep telling everyone he abused crabs? They were going to get entirely the wrong impression of Howard T J Moon. That wasn’t what he was about. He was a jazz maverick, a poet—a visionary if you like. He spanned the genres. Not that it mattered. He wasn’t going to let tawdry allegations of crab fumbling distract him from his goal of jazz trance perfection.

Anyway, it had only been the once—and you could hardly have called it crustacean abuse. More like consensual interspecies fondling. Why did that twat Fossil have to appear just as he and Crusty were finally reaching an understanding? There went another potential relationship, doomed forever.

Howard shuffled off to the front of the main office where there was a hubbub of fellow zoo workers forming.

“… and then I stuck it in his tiny, tiny blowhole!” yelled Bob Fossil. He was standing on a box and shouting through a big shiny loudhailer. “Okay, enough of my adventures with Moby Dick. I’d like you to meet the new head of the Reptile House, Mrs Gideon.”

A sleek lady in dark-rimmed glasses gave a little wave. Howard perked up infinitesimally. She looked nice. Intelligent. Stylish. Perhaps he’d get to talk to her later on—he was already trying to think of a good opening line. Should he start with that novel he was writing? Or perhaps cut straight to the chase and wow her with his mastery and insight into the wonders of jazz fusion?

“Everyone back to work!” bellowed Mr Fossil. “And Moon!” Fossil swung the loudhailer round in Howard’s direction. “No more crab fiddling from you!”

Howard ducked behind the large shaggy mullet of Joey Moose, reptile house assistant. Perhaps the new lady keeper hadn’t heard that last remark, or didn’t know who he was yet. Perhaps. If he was very lucky. There was still hope.

Howard was working with the snapdragons when he heard a cool female voice above his head.

“It’s my first day here. I thought I would come around and introduce myself to the rest of the keepers. I’m Mrs Gideon.”

Howard straightened up quickly and tried to brush the snapdragon dung off onto the legs of his trousers. He hadn’t expected to meet her so soon; he was completely unprepared. He hadn’t even decided on the perfect chat-up line yet. His heart started to race.

Mrs Gideon held out one hand. Howard had taken it before he even realised what he was doing. Her fingers were warm and held him lightly but firmly. The handshake was over all too soon.

I touched her, he thought. I touched her already. He felt the palm of his hand buzz slightly where her fingers had brushed it. She’s even better looking close up, he thought. I really dig those glasses she’s wearing. Oh no. She’s way out of my league.

“So, yeah, you know, yeah?” he heard himself saying.

“Sorry—and you are?” prompted Mrs Gideon.

You idiot, you papoose, you tiny brained orang-utan, he told himself. Get a grip!

“Oh yeah. I’m Howard Moon, Head Keeper, Small Mammals and Inconspicuous Invertebrates.” Right, time to get impressing. “But I’m actually working on a whole host of other projects. I’m writing a novel…”

“You are a writer?” asked Mrs Gideon. She had a slight accent, Howard realised, rich and mysterious. Was there no end to her attractive qualities?

“Yes, I am,” said Howard, striking a pose with one hand on a hip.

“How very interesting,” said Mrs Gideon, pushing her glasses further up her nose. Howard was still trying to place her accent. The way she rolled her rrrr’s when she said ‘interesting’ made his head swim. “My brother, he is also a writer. He has a fine collection of bookmarks. I also have such a collection, not so good, but still I have been collecting them for many years.”

Howard could hardly believe his luck. What an opening! Now, if he only didn’t muck this up…

“I have quite a considerable bookmark collection of my own,” he said. “Perhaps you’d like to have lunch with me later?” He lifted one eyebrow suggestively. “We could talk about bookmarks.”

“That would be very nice…”

“… Howard.” Damn, she hadn’t forgotten already, had she?

“Howard. That would be lovely. I look forward to it very much.”

Yes—result! Now all he had to do was acquire a wide-ranging and comprehensive knowledge of bookmarks by lunchtime and he was definitely in there.

They shook hands again, transferring even more snapdragon dung across to Mrs Gideon in the process. However, she didn’t even seem to mind that. She just gave Howard a sparkling smile and a little tilt to the head as she disappeared around the corner towards the Ape Enclosure.

For about two seconds, Howard was bouncing for joy. Then a deep depression like a massive inky octopus settled around him. Oh sure, Mrs Gideon seemed to like him now, but how long would that last? Something was bound to go disastrously wrong. It was simply inevitable; bitter experience had taught him that.

Sighing, he twisted his mouth to the side and went in search of a reference work on the role of bookmarks in a post-modern jazz culture.

Howard was checking the techno-mouse’s resting pulse rate and whistling a scat version of ‘Monty Skips the Pellet’ when Naboo the shaman came screeching into view, carrying the dead weight of Mrs Gideon sprawled across his shoulders.

Shocked, Howard ran over. “What’s happened to Mrs Gideon?”

“Never mind all that,” panted Naboo. “Just help me to get her inside my booth.”

Between them they dragged her to the shaman’s shadowy back room and laid her out on his large purple sofa. Little stars of light twinkled across them, shining from a copper lantern and a dozen incense burners in the corner were flooding the air with exotic smoke.

“I was on my way to meditate with the cobras when I heard her shrieking.” Naboo’s usually serene face was showing signs of concern. “It’s Bainbridge. He was trying to harvest her woman-eggs.”

“Her woman-eggs?”

“Yes. He stole my Potion of Blue Ruin and dosed her up with it. She’s completely off her tits.”

As if to prove his point, Naboo grabbed Mrs Gideon by the shoulders and gave her a shake. She giggled and squirmed and started singing a song about turtles.

“Hey!” said Howard. “Leave her alone!”

“Bainbridge has been trying to create a mutant race of super-keepers for years.” Naboo shook his head sadly. His turban wobbled. “I never thought he’d go this far. Not after he got that sample from Vince and crossed it with the eggs of a baboon.”

This was all going way too fast for Howard. “Sample? Vince? Baboon eggs?”

Naboo leaned forward and looked deep into the other man’s eyes. Howard forced himself not to flinch; shaman eyes were powerful stuff.

“But it’s worse than that. Much, much worse. Unless we treat her for the side effects of the Blue Ruin, Mrs Gideon will be dead within an hour.”

“Dead? But… no! Can’t we do anything? Work a magic spell or whatever? Use your shamanistic voodoo on her?”

“Firstly her ears will swell to the consistency of a ripe potato. Then her pelvis will turn purple and she’ll only be able to say the word ‘pencil’. Finally, and without any further warning, her head will fall off.” Naboo leaned even further in towards Howard. “In one hour.”

“No! That’s terrible!” Howard clutched at his hair in horror.

Naboo sat back calmly onto his heels. “Of course, I could tell you how you to save her.”

“How?” asked Howard desperately.

“Insertion of man-seed,” replied Naboo.

“Man-se… are you having me on?”

“Howard,” asked Naboo, his eyes wide and serious. “Would I joke about something like that?”

“Well. But do you mean that someone has to… put their… inside of her…” Howard’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Has to have sex with Mrs Gideon?”

“No,” said Naboo.

Howard didn’t know whether he was relieved or disappointed.

“I’m saying that you have to have sex with her. To give her your seed. That will reverse all the ill effects, as long you do it before her head drops off.”

“What?” Howard’s eyes goggled.

“My shamanistic energies are much too strong for her, and Bollo is the wrong species entirely. If you’re having a problem with it, I could ask Vince. He’s off sailing with Chi Chi the panda, but there’s a chance he might be back in time for a quick…”

“Stop right there!” protested Howard.

Damn Vince. Why was it always Vince? So Bainbridge thought only Vince’s man-seed was good for his mutant super-keepers? So Howard Moon was passed over yet again? Welcome to the story of his life. Howard looked towards Mrs Gideon laid out on the sofa. She looked so beautiful and vulnerable. Although they’d only just met, the thought of Vince going anywhere near her sent a hot jealous rage flushing through him. He turned to Naboo. “No, I’ll do it.”

“Are you sure?” asked Naboo. “What about Jack Cooper the fox? I thought you and he were…”

“That was all over a long time ago,” interrupted Howard, tersely, before Naboo could finish. “Actually, he’s just put out another restraining order on me…” His words tailed off quietly.

Naboo stood up. “I’ll leave you to it, then.” His round shaman’s eyes bored into Howard’s. “Remember—one hour. Then her head falls off.” Naboo got up to leave, but before he had completely disappeared behind the curtain he hesitated. “And if you’re having any trouble, give me a shout and I’ll go fetch Vince so he can…”

“That won’t be necessary!” snapped Howard.

Honestly. Did no-one in this zoo believe him capable of even the simplest of tasks? Obviously not. He, Howard Moon, was a man of many talents. One day they would all see. Then the fools would be forced to sup at their soup of disdain as he waved his firey biscuits of triumph at them.

Although… now he was actually alone with Mrs Gideon, Howard had to admit to that one thing he was not strikingly gifted at was having sex with ladies.

It was one of the perks of working closely with animals, he supposed. One was bound to strike up friendships with the inmates of the zoo, and if those friendships happened to go a little further on occasion—well, why not? What with one thing and another, Howard had got to the age of twenty seven without actually ever managing to insert his dangly bits inside a human female’s undercarriage. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t tried—oh, how he’d tried—but it had never quite happened. He’d always put it down to a run of bad luck; over a decade of bad luck, so far.

Well, that was about to change.

On the sofa, Mrs Gideon gave a long groan. She peered through her dark lashes, squinting into the gloom. “Howard? Is that you?” She turned her head slightly and looked around Naboo’s tented boudoir. “What is this place?” she asked woozily. Then she closed her eyes again and within seconds was back inside her dreamy haze. Her breathing was deep and languorous.

Howard moved his hand towards her, changed his mind and drew back, changed his mind again and finally settled for patting her on the arm. “There, there,” he said.

Great. What a magnificent sex god he was. What was his next erotic move going to be? To try to touch her name badge without her noticing? But on the other hand—what was he supposed to do? Just rip her clothes off, get out his tackle and plunge right into her knicker area?

Howard started to panic. He really didn’t know if he could do this. He knew the theory of what was supposed to happen next, but he would have appreciated a little help on the matter, preferably from Mrs Gideon. Another idea struck him. Perhaps Mrs Gideon would be annoyed when she found out that he’d shagged her while she was unconscious. She might never want to see him again. They’d been getting on so well.

Howard started to wring his hands. Then he thought of something. He would just explain that he’d done it to save her life. In fact, Mrs Gideon would probably offer to do the sex again, just to say thank you, when she found out how very heroic he’d been. Yes. That would be nice.

That was, if he ever managed to do it the first time.

Howard was now pacing nervously back and forth in the tiny room. Drapery, magical masks and bongo sticks kept tripping him sideways into the low-lying furniture. After his third tumble he picked himself up and rubbed his bruised elbow. He had made his decision.

“Naboo?” he whispered. “Naboo?”

“Yes?” The serene face of the shaman appeared like magic through a gap in the curtains. “Shall I call Vince now? I could send a mental projection to his boat in the form of an otter.”

“No, no!” Howard took a deep breath. “Mrs Gideon is just lying there like a sleepy mongoose. Look at her! It’s not right. Can’t you give her something to wake her up?”

“Have you tried a glass of water?”

A glass of water immediately thrust out of the drapery on the opposite side of the room. It was held in the massively hairy hand of a gorilla.

Howard took the glass. “Thanks, Bollo.” He received a grunt in reply.

“Mrs Gideon?” Howard propped up her head with a pillow and carefully held the glass to her lips. Mrs Gideon had nearly drunk the whole glass down before her eyes began to resolve. Then she looked up and saw that Howard was right beside her.

“Thank you so much. How kind you are,” she said, looking right into his eyes. Ridiculously, Howard felt himself blushing. He turned his attention to the glass of water in his hand. Mrs Gideon began to speak again. She lifted one wavering hand in the air; her voice sounded uncertain. “I do not know why, but everything seems so strange today. Howard. May I touch your moustache? I find it so very beautiful.”

Howard could not fail to notice that his moustache was being stroked. He didn’t know what to do about it, so he continued to concentrate on the glass. It seemed safer that way. After a few seconds, Mrs Gideon’s fingers moved down, gently brushing the sensitive skin on his mouth and then touching the moist gap where his lips met. Howard took in a shaky breath. He hardly dared to look up in case it broke the spell.

“Oh, and Howard?” called Naboo’s voice from behind him. Howard jumped like a limpet that had been prised from a rock. He’d forgotten they weren’t alone. “Forty two minutes left, Howard.”

The curtains rustled and Naboo and his gorilla familiar withdrew. The sudden silence made Howard nervous.

“Mrs Gideon…” he began.

“Please, call me Viktor..”


“Yes, and my brother is Veronika. It is not important.” Mrs Gideon’s fingertips had found the corner of Howard’s mouth and were tracing supersensitive lines from it down along his jawline.

“Mrs Gideon—I mean Viktor… Ohhh…” he gasped as her hands reached the tender skin behind his ears. “Are you finished? With the water! I meant with the water. I didn’t mean with the—the rest.”

“Mmmm, “sighed Mrs Gideon. “Howard, perhaps you would like to lie beside me? I think there is enough room.”

As fast as he could, Howard put the glass on the floor and lay down beside her on the sofa.

He’d never been this close to a woman before without being slapped immediately afterwards. She pressed the side of her body into the front of his; her curved hips were squishing against his stomach and places lower. The heat of her body radiated right through his keeper’s uniform and—oh no—he was already starting to get a hard-on. That was bad. She’d feel it and then she’d realise he fancied her, be disgusted, and then the hitting and shouting would start. Howard shuffled his hips tactfully away, and then stopped. Wasn’t he supposed to be trying to, you know, sex her? Or else her head would fall off and in about forty minutes from now, she’d be dead? He froze, racked by indecision.

“This is nice,” breathed Mrs Gideon, wrapping one arm around Howard and pulling him closer. “You smell nice. Of animals, I think?”

Howard didn’t dare say anything in case it put her off. That was how it usually worked. He talked to women and they hated him.

Mrs Gideon stuck her nose into his hair and took a deep breath. “Mmmmm. Your smell reminds me so much of the forests near my home. Especially in of the valley, where there were many foxes. So wonderful. Earthy. “

Howard had a feeling this was exactly the wrong time to tell Mrs Gideon why Jack Cooper the fox had served a restraining order on him.

Then something was pushing against his forehead—something tiny, warm and wet. Oh God—it was Mrs Gideon’s tongue. She was licking him in short, appreciative bursts, and moaning as she did it. Howard felt those moans vibrate down the whole length of her body. He was getting really turned on now, just from those noises she was making, and the images they were putting in his head, of her beneath him, of him inside her, of her moaning like that, over and over again, just because of how good he was making her feel. Some part of his trousers had become really uncomfortably tight but he found he didn’t care at all.

Mrs Gideon turned her body towards Howard. Her warm breasts pushed up against his chest.

“Thirty three minutes, Howard,” came a distant voice from behind the curtain.

Mrs Gideon’s face was so close to his now. Her eyes were the most amazing shade of brown. They shone like a fox’s fur gleaming in the shadows. No, don’t think about the fox. Anyway, she smelt different to any animal he’d ever known. Sweeter. Delicious.

Apart from that time he’d patted her arm, he still hadn’t dared to touch her. Howard carefully placed one hand on her shoulder. He was touching a real live woman’s shoulder, and still no one had hit him. He stroked her shoulder lightly. It felt round, soft and womanly. Mrs Gideon leant against him and sighed. Their noses touched. Howard felt her breath play across his cheek. He leaned in towards her. She moved towards him. Their lips met.


She was actually kissing him. She was skimming the tip of her tongue across his lips, sucking on whatever she could reach and breathing passionately into his mouth. This was wrong. It wasn’t supposed to feel this amazing. Something terrible would happen any second to spoil it. It always did.

Howard cautiously lifted one hand against her face. Still nothing bad happened. The skin on her cheek was astonishingly soft. Then Mrs Gideon pushed into his hand, moaning deeply against his mouth. Howard felt something inside him drop about a hundred feet. He’d done that to her. All he’d done was touch her face and he’d made her moan like a polar bear on heat.

He’d known it all along! All those years, it hadn’t been him, it had been the others—they couldn’t handle his intensely sexual persona. They were just too afraid to admit it. But Mrs Gideon, she could manage the Moon magnetism. What an incredible woman.

He knew he could do this now. Howard ran a hand down her back, pushing their bodies closer together. He felt her breath deepen as she undulated with pleasure. She pressed her groin firmly against his erection.

“Yes, please,” she whispered.

Howard thought his head would explode from happiness.

“Nineteen minutes, Howard,” called a distant voice.

But that didn’t matter any more, because Mrs Gideon was already fumbling with the zip on his keeper’s jacket, and then with the buttons on his shirt underneath. She kept stopping to put her hand inside and stroke the paltry hairs on his chest as if they were something amazing.

“Seventeen minutes!”

Mrs Gideon reached his waistband. As her fingers tugged feverishly at his zip the fabric pulled against his erection and almost unbearable ripples of anticipation shot all across his skin. Howard thought he probably should be doing something as well—taking some of her clothes off, for example—but he seemed to be putty in her hands.

Then he noticed it. The something terrible had indeed happened. “Mrs Gideon!”

She stopped fumbling at his crotch for a second and looked at him dazedly.

“Your ears,” he said, aghast, before he could stop himself, “they’re huge!”

She put one hand up to feel. Her whole body tensed up as she discovered the large lumpy flaps attached to her head where her ears should be.

Howard stroked her upper arm. “It’s okay, it’s okay. We can fix it, I promise.”

“What’s happening?” she asked, frightened. “What are you talking about?”

“I mean that if we… you know… you’ll be alright again.”

“If we do what?”

“You know…”

“No, I really don’t know.” Mrs Gideon sounded frightened.

“Sixteen minutes!” called out Naboo from behind the curtains.

“And why does that strange little man keep calling out the time?” she asked, as if she’d only just noticed. There was a definite note of panic in her voice now.

“Hush now,” said Howard, once more attempting to calm her down. It really didn’t seem to be working too well.

“Please!” she insisted. “Just tell me what’s going on!”

A sudden flurry of purple drapery exploded behind them. Naboo the shaman strode back into the room, his pointy-toed trainers a blur of action. He pointed dramatically at Mrs Gideon and she shrunk back in surprise.

“I mean that in fifteen minutes your head is going to fall off if you’re not implanted with his man-seed!” Naboo turned to Howard. “So hurry up and get implanting!”

Then he departed with an impressive swish of curtains.

“Errr…” said Howard, “that’s kind of what I was trying to tell you.” There was an uncomfortable silence. “Actually, your pelvis might be turning purple already. Do you want me to check?”

“Pencils,” replied Mrs Gideon. She realised she’d just said ‘pencils’ and her eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I’m so sorry.” Howard gently took hold of her hand. “That’s another side effect of the drug you were slipped. ‘Pencils’ is the only thing you can say now. And your pelvis is about to turn purple. And the ear thing… well, you know that already. You’ll get better, I promise. We just have to get some man-seed inside you… oh, please don’t cry.”

A tear was beginning to run down Mrs Gideon’s cheek. Howard reached up to brush it away.

“Okay?” he asked.

Mrs Gideon sniffed. “Pencils,” she whispered, and nodded defiantly.

Howard wished he knew what she was thinking. Perhaps she’d decided that death really wasn’t so bad compared to having sex with him. He’d heard that opinion a few times before, and from several different women.

Or perhaps she might prefer Vince. Most women seemed to. There might be still time to call Vince.

Howard realised that his shirt was still hanging open. It was absurd to be self-conscious in front of her now, but he couldn’t help it. He grabbed the two halves together. Then, unexpectedly, Mrs Gideon had put her hand on top of his and with a slow but sure pressure was guiding it downwards. Both of their hands came to rest on the heat of her crotch. She leant forward, laid her cheek against Howard’s, and whispered firmly into his ear, “Pencils.”

To Howard that sounded like—let’s do it. He hoped that’s what it meant, anyway.

Her cheek was still pressed snugly against his. Howard turned his head and mushed his mouth against whatever skin he could find, hesitantly at first, in case he’d got it all horribly wrong. But when in reply Mrs Gideon pushed his hand even more firmly against her crotch and even began to rub herself against him, all he could think about was that any second now he was going to get to put his cock inside her. His mouth reached her mouth. For the first time, their tongues met. It was hot and wet and obscenely intimate.

Her tongue stroked his. It was as if an electric eel had invaded Howard’s body and was thrashing wildly between his mouth and his genitals. His cock gave one massive twitch and for a second he feared he might lose control before they’d even done the act. That would be a disaster. He needed to save Mrs Gideon from horrible death. He tried to imagine Bob Fossil, prancing about in his tight blue safari suit, shouting at him for forgetting to stroke the apes; the crisis subsided. Then Mrs Gideon stuck her tongue right into his mouth and Howard came close to losing it all over again.

“Eleven minutes!” shouted a distant voice.

Mrs Gideon was now frantically fumbling with the zip on Howard’s trousers. “Pencils,” she urged, and he hurried to help, unzipping and shoving his polyester standard-issue zoo trousers all the way down to his knees. Using the toe of her foot, Mrs Gideon hooked and pushed them even further down his legs until they came to rest, bunched up all around his boots. Then her hands were in his underpants, grasping his arse. Howard breathed hard. She grabbed the sides of his kecks and with a quick flick over his erection, tugged them down. Howard felt his legs shaking as he lifted his hips to help them on their way. He still couldn’t believe this was actually happening—but then, suddenly, he was bare-arsed before her, his naked cock waving right in front of her nose, and she still hadn’t screamed with disgust.

“Pencils,” she whispered again, starting on her own clothes. Quick, thought Howard—quick before she changes her mind. Mrs Gideon was busy with her trouser zip; Howard wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be helping. He had the sudden urge to touch her breasts. He stuck his right hand out and grabbed. Even through her keeper’s uniform it felt soft and squishy and satisfyingly round. Then she moved, and he lost contact as she hitched her trousers down past her hips and wriggled right out of them. Her knickers speedily followed.

Howard realised that at this point he was probably supposed to climb on top of her and spear her like an octopus hunter, but the firey purple glow streaming out of her nether regions was rather distracting. Naboo hadn’t been kidding. That was really very purple.

“Seven minutes!” called Naboo.

Seven minutes? How had that happened? Oh no! He was really going to have to get a move on.

“Should I…?” he began, but was cut short by Mrs Gideon wrapping her naked legs around him. Their thighs pushed together. Howard felt her soft skin sliding against his. Goosebumps immediately formed all over his body.

He rolled on top. Both of them scrabbled to find a practical position. The sofa gave an ominous creak as Howard transferred his weight. He wanted to be inside her so badly now. His cock was stabbing blindly but somehow it wouldn’t go in. Why wouldn’t it go in? What was he doing wrong? Howard reached down to the mysterious place between Mrs Gideon’s legs. He knew in theory what he was looking for—you didn’t get to be Head of Small Mammals without a pretty thorough grounding in basic reproduction—but that was different to actually being in the field. It was subtly different to what he’d expected. Squishier. Moister. A brighter shade of purple.

“Mmmm!” sighed Mrs Gideon, squirming under his fingers. “Pencils! Pencils!”

“Six minutes and counting!” echoed Naboo’s voice, as if through a tunnel.

Howard gasped in surprise; Mrs Gideon had taken hold of his cock and was rubbing it against herself. For a brief second, through his haze of amazement, Howard caught sight of her face. Her head was pushed against the back of the sofa; he thought she looked incredibly beautiful. Then the head of his cock finally found her entrance and his eyes rolled back. He gasped. He pushed; she pushed; and then he slipped right into her.

He was actually in her, and she was so wet and warm. She started to rock her hips and as he slid in and out all the little muscles inside her began to massage right along his length. Howard just knew that he wasn’t going to last long. Any second now, and he was definitely going to come.

His first time inside a woman—he didn’t want it to ever end. No. It felt too good. Why couldn’t it last forever?

But wasn’t that the point of this? To shoot his man-seed up inside her—oh no. Just the thought of shooting his seed… oh… That sent a kick through his genitals like a flood of monkey sputum after the rain. Really not very long now at all.

Mrs Gideon thrust her hips up towards his again. “Pencils!” she said. Her voice was deep and husky.

Howard shoved into her again, as forcefully as he could. He was right on the edge now. He heard Mrs Gideon moan like a gorilla being groomed, a faint satisfaction somewhere in the back of his mind that he was the one who was doing that to her, and it was all over. The first overwhelming shudders shot from the base of his balls; a few more tingling, skin-scorching thrusts and it was all over.

“Amazing,” murmured Mrs Gideon. She sounded very sleepy.

“Arrrgh,” replied Howard, knackered but happy. He sprawled across Mrs Gideon, his cock still wedged inside her. He didn’t ever want to move again.

As lay there, his face squished against her shoulder, Howard suddenly realised—this was it. He finally had a girlfriend. They’d had sex, and she’d been conscious at the time, so that must mean that Mrs Gideon was his girlfriend. A tiny smile twitched around the corners of his mouth. His mind was already buzzing with all the couple-y things they’d do together. They’d take long bicycle rides to smoky jazz clubs, both dressed in black where they would draw admiring glances. They’d share lunch every day whilst discussing some of the more obscure dairy product poets. And of course, there’d be plenty of time for plenty more loving from the Moon. Oh, yes. They’d have lots and lots more sex.

A soft whistling noise started up somewhere near Howard’s head. He turned around and saw that Mrs Gideon had fallen asleep. Howard felt a certain smugness. He’d obviously exhausted her with his mighty prowess.

Naboo came striding into the room, carrying a jar and a syringe. He caught sight of Howard’s bare arse and immediately shielded his eyes.

“Please! Howard!” he protested. “Put some clothes on!”

Howard desperately tried to cover up Mrs Gideon with his body. “Go away!” he hissed, angrily. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Naboo threw Howard a large furry white pelt. “Oh, don’t worry. She’ll be unconscious for twenty four hours. She won’t mind. And she won’t remember a thing, either.”

Busy trying to make Mrs Gideon decent with the pelt and pull his trousers up at the same time, it took a few seconds for the significance of what Naboo had just said to hit Howard. Then he almost did a double take.

“And by the way,” continued Naboo, “I found this sperm sample that we could have used. So I didn’t really need you after all.” He looked at the murky jar in his hand. “It’s Bob Fossil’s. He likes to keep some spare fluids in case of emergency.”

“No,” said Howard, approaching Naboo and trying to button up his khaki shirt at the same time, “What you just said—Mrs Gideon won’t remember?”

“Oh, no,” replied Naboo happily. “And from now on she won’t be able to remember who you are for more than an hour at a time, either.” He looked at Howard, surprised at his reaction. “Why, does it make a difference?” Naboo put his head to one side, considering. “She might think you smell of the fluff from old ladies’ handbags, as well. Hmmm. That Blue Ruin aphrodisiac does have some very strange side effects, doesn’t it?”

Howard’s face could have illustrated the entry for ‘appalled’ in the Encyclopaedia of Extreme Emotions. He dropped his mouth open, balled his hands into fists and shoved them hard against his face until his lips were pushed into the shape of an opera-loving fish. He looked at Mrs Gideon peacefully snoozing on the sofa, then back at Naboo, then back at Mrs Gideon until his neck started to blur.

“Nooooo!” he shouted.

Another day of work was dawning at Bob Fossil’s Funworld. Howard Moon strode purposefully through the zoo gates, waving airily to the snapdragons on his way past. They’d escaped yet again and were playing hopscotch with the cobras. He’d round up the little devils later on. At the moment, he had bigger fish to fry.

He stepped into the Reptile House. There she was—over at one of the display boards, updating the information on Tony the Python. The whole zoo was abuzz since Tony had produced that batch of eggs last Tuesday.

These days he didn’t often get the chance to stare at her. He drank in every inch, even though all that was visible was the back view of her standard green zoo uniform. Over there—that was her shoulder—the first part of her he’d ever really touched. It seemed like decades ago.

Mrs Gideon’s shoulder blades twitched, as if she’d felt him looking. She turned around. “Yes? Can I help you?”

“Mrs Gideon, how’s it going?”

A perplexed look passed across her face. “I’m sorry, have we met before?”

“Howard Moon?” Mrs Gideon looked at him blankly. “Keeper at the Small Mammals enclosure? We’ve worked together for three years.” Still no response. Howard felt something inside of him break. He told himself that he should be used to this by now. It didn’t help.

“I’m a writer—your brother’s a writer as well. I’m writing a novel?”

“Who told you that about my brother?” said Mrs Gideon, looking suspicious.

“You collect bookmarks,” he said, sidling up closer to her.

“How do you know these things about me?” Mrs Gideon was clearly alarmed now. She sniffed the air. “What is that peculiar smell? How strange. It reminds me of my grandmother’s handbag.”

“Anyway, I was thinking—perhaps you’d like to go for coffee?” Howard lifted his hand, as if about to touch her arm.

Mrs Gideon visibly recoiled. “No, I don’t think so.”

“We could just talk. About bookmarks.” Howard was trying very hard not to sound desperate.

“Really, I cannot. I am just about to meet one of the other keepers, Vince. He is a very nice boy. Do you know him? He is going to teach me about newts.”

“I know who Vince is!” cried Howard, angrily, stepping back. “I taught him everything he knows! He was just an trainee newt-dangler before I took him in hand!”

“Yes, well,” said Mrs Gideon, and hurried away as fast as she could.

Howard watched her leave with gritted teeth. Every day he looked forward to talking to her so much, and every day he got precisely nowhere.

Perhaps that brief moment with Mrs Gideon was the only time he’d ever touch a woman. He had replayed the hour they’d spent together so many times his brain was almost worn out. Would he ever get to make any new memories with her? A vision of his lonely life stretched out before him. His shoulders sagged.

Ah, well. He’d try again tomorrow.

And in the meantime, Vince had promised to hook up the scratch desk in techno-mouse’s ambient hutch. Apparently the tiny musical rodent had started to sample rare fifties jazz in his chillout sessions. Despite everything, a funky jazz glint started to shine through Howard’s gloom. He was quite looking forward to giving that a listen.

As Howard walked back towards Small Mammals he started to whistle the base line from one of his all-time favourite jazz fusion tracks, “Hunt the Mongoose and his Tiny Horns.”

The day was looking better already.


Three years later, Bainbridge was at his evil work once more. He attempted to harvest the body parts of Graham, the zoo’s security guard, but luckily Howard was again on hand to negate the effects of the Blue Ruin. Now Howard has to show his staff pass to Graham each morning because Graham won’t believe he works there. He claims he’s never seen Howard before in his life.

Eventually, Mrs Gideon got to read Howard’s novel. When she told him what she thought of it Howard was so offended that he’d smacked her in the face before he could stop himself. Howard has now given up on women entirely. He has decided to become a jazz monk like his hero, Rudi Van Disarzio of the Bongo Brothers.

As a result of Howard’s punch Mrs Gideon developed two large black eyes. As she passed the panda cages, the soulful dark eyes of Chi Chi the lady panda stared back at her. She suddenly knew that she’d discovered a twin spirit. They are both very happy together and are busy amassing a fine collection of Chinese bookmarks.

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