Here’s part 1 of a quick story I wrote to the prompt: “Start a story with: ‘The night max wore his wolf suit …'”
Animal Livery – Part 1
The night Max wore his wolf suit he struggled to dial Scout Masters’ phone number three times in a panic because he couldn’t get the paws off and claws are clumsy on small keypads.
“Scout, buddy,” Max practically squeaked trying to sound calm, “do you think you could swing by my place? There’s something I really, really need your help with.”
“Uh, oh,” Scout’s voice came leerily to Max’s head through the wolf ears. “You only call me ‘buddy’ when it’s really serious. Are you still upset with me for convincing you to buy that old fixer-upper you’re living in?”
“No. Yes. Not right now. That’s not the reason I called.”
“Shoo. Good. So, what’s wrong?”
“Well … I can’t explain it on the phone. Can you please just come over?”
Scout sighed, “OK, be there in a bit.”
Twenty minutes later there was a rapping at Max’s door because Scout knocked on it. Max took a deep breath and quickly swung it wide and stood straight and still.
“Dude!” Scout’s eyes practically sparkled. “That is the most awesome fursuit I have ever laid eyes on! Even the wolves would be envious!”
“Just get in here,” Max replied despondently and turned down the hall. Scout followed, closing the door behind him, shaking his head admiringly at the uncannily natural undulation of flexing muscle beneath the fur and bounce of the tail.
“That suit looks to real!” he commented. Max stopped in the center of his living room and turned around to face his friend. Scout was wearing one of his animal ear hats as usual and standing there, the two of them alone, facing one another, wolf to fox as it were, Max felt suddenly incredibly foolish.
“Where did you get it?” Scout asked, the admiration still thick in his voice.
“Under my floor,” Max replied flatly.
Scout was clearly intrigued. “Really?” he whispered.
“Yes, I was working on that room off the kitchen I want to turn into a small study and I took up a floor board that was warped. Underneath was this box, like a trunk, and in it this wolf costume. But the suit isn’t the reason I asked you to come over… I mean it is, but it isn’t. Oh, dang…” He cocked his wolfish head toward Scout. “I can’t take it off.”
“I don’t blame you! If I had a suit like that, I’d never take it off!”
“No! I mean I can’t take it off, as in, I can’t remove it. It’s like it’s stuck to my skin or something.”
“Nnoh! That is so cool!”
“Scout!” Max’s shout was almost a growl. “This isn’t cool! I can’t go around like this! I’ll lose my job, and I … I don’t know.”
Scout looked sympathetic. “It’ll be OK,” he said. “Losing your job will be good for you. Selling shoes is a terribly crooked business to be in — it’s based on a self-perpetuating lie.”
“I don’t want to lose my job! I like selling shoes, and I like shoes, even if you don’t and never wear them. I need you to help me get out of this suit.”
Scout looked a little disappointed. “Oh, all right, if you insist. You said you found it in a trunk under your floor. Was there anything else in the trunk?”
“Well, there was this note, see, and it had my name on it and said I should wear the suit well.”
“Ah, the power of the pen! So, you read a mysterious note that said put this suit on and so you, in your wisdom, determined it would be a good idea to just put the suit on because it told you to?”
“Well, what would you do?”
“I’d put it on,” Scout said, intensely distracted by Max’s snout.
“What?” Max asked.
“The animatronics in that suit…. Say something else.”
“What should I say?”
“Dude. The lips sync perfectly with the words. That is amazing!”
“I don’t care about the lips! Just get this thing off me!”
“OK, OK. There was a note. Did it say anything else?”
“Was there anything else in the trunk, or maybe under the trunk.”
“There was just this pair of pants.” Max hooked an old pair of brown knee breeches lumped over the back of his couch with a claw. “But they’re old and ripped in the back. I don’t think they’re important.”
Scout looked sheepish. “Actually, I think they are.”
“Why? What do you mean?”
“The suit is, well,” Scout crossed his arm over his chest and rested his other elbow on it and his chin on his hand. He pointed discretely at Max’s mid-section. “detailed.”
Max looked down sharply at his groin and then back up at Scout. The ears on his wolf suit seemed to droop with embarrassment, or maybe it was just the light. Scout couldn’t tell. “What’s that there for?” Max barked.
“Well it’s … never mind. Obviously, since the suit is anatomically correct … for a wolf,” Scout noted, “the crafter thoughtfully provided some pants. I bet that rip in the back of them is intentional — for your tail.”
“It’s not my tail!” Max retorted indignantly. “I don’t have a tail!”
“You do now.”
“No. I do not. Now get me out of this thing.”
“OK, where’s the zipper?”
“No zipper, buttons, but I can’t find them now.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re here, along the front, but I can’t seem to find the seam or the buttons under this fur.”
Scout approached him. “Let me see,” he said, and started feeling around Max’s abdomen under the fur. Max jerked back.
“Hey! Careful! That tickles!”
“Sorry,” Scout said, poking more cautiously in the fur on Max’s chest this time. “Nope,” he said after a bit. “Can’t find ’em. Are you sure the seam is on the front? Maybe you’re forgetting you put it on backwards and turned around inside it after you had it fastened up or something.”
“What are you talking about?” Max bared his suit-fangs in a snarl. “Just get me out of this thing.”
“Even the eyes move where you’re looking. How do you see anyway?”
“The eyes, I guess, I don’t know, I just know I can see just fine. Colors are a little distorted, though.”
“Huh, maybe the eyes have retina trackers in them, and little peepholes, like in a door. Or maybe cameras with little displays?”
“Scout!” Max barked. “Focus!”
“Oh, yeah. OK,” Scout stepped back and was thoughtful for a moment. “As much as it pains me, I think we’ll have to cut you out.”
“OK,” Max said, calming down. “Yes, that’s good. There’s some scissors in the kitchen. You better get them. You know where?”
“Yep. Be right back.” Scout returned shortly with the scissors. “OK,” he said, “I just need an edge, like where the head attaches, but I don’t see where that is.” And then he added, “Soup simmering on the stove in there smells terrific, by the way.”
“Oh, dinner. I forgot about that. I’ll get it in a bit. Anyway, the head isn’t attached. It’s a separate piece.”
“No, it isn’t.” Scout felt around Max’s suit-scruff. “One continuous piece.”
“That’s strange — I promise you, Scout, I never fastened the head on in any way.”
“Well, there’s a lot strange about this suit. I’ll just poke a hole and cut it that –“
“Oww! Dang! Careful, you jammed the scissors right through it!”
Scout was bewildered. “Ummm. Actually, Max, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did!” Max shot back, rubbing his side where Scout had poked him.”
“No, I didn’t. You felt it through the suit. It’s such a tight fit, I can’t pull it away from your skin.”
“Oh, swell. Now what.” Max went around and flopped down on the couch.
“I guess we’ll have to take you to the hospital.”
Max looked up sharply. The ears on the suit lay back sharply. “No way! I am not going out in public like this! I’ll be a laughing stock!”
“Actually you’re pretty impressive. But I can’t do anything for you in any case. We need doctors with equipment to look at this thing.”
Max looked chagrined. He pondered his foot paws for awhile and then looked back up at Scout. “OK,” he said. “You better drive.”
“That’s a good doggy,” Scout smiled. “Now go put your pants on.” Max growled and stood up.
“Watch it,” he warned and hurried out of the room with the pants from the trunk. He came back a couple of minutes later wearing the vintage breeches over the wolf suit, the tail protruding from the slit in the rear.
“You know,” Scout said as they walked toward Max’s front door. “Before you get that thing off, maybe we should detour around town and make a little mischief of one kind or another.”
Outside at the curb, Scout opened the passenger door of his Cadillac for Max.
“You still driving this old Caddy? This thing is a boat. What kind of mileage do you get?”
“Same kind as everyone else.” He closed the door and went around to the driver’s side.
“You really need to do something about the smell in this car,” Max commented as Scout started the engine.
“What? It’s old – so it smells a little musty.”
“‘A little musty?’ Scout, it smells like a gym bag full of sweaty socks forgotten in the trunk for three weeks in August. And how can you stand that horrible whine? What is that?”
“I don’t hear any whine,” Scout mumbled. He sounded perplexed. “And, really, it’s just a little musty in here. It isn’t that bad. Open the window if you want.” Max struggled with the window crank and got some fresh air moving through the car.