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Deerman, Episode 12: The Furries of the Food Court
“All right,” Bolognanon said with a thread and needle hanging from his pursed lips. “You’re no longer burdened with a penis.” Bolognanon punched Warning a few times on the mound where his penis would have been. “You might still get aroused but I rerouted all hormonal secretions to come out of your anus. You won’t have to walk around like you’re carrying a snubnose pistol around in your pants anymore.”
“He doesn’t wear pants,” I said.
“Well, now you won’t get turned away from literally everywhere you go,” Bolognanon said as he discarded Warning’s former lower half.
I examined Warning. He was still giggly from the drugs. He was farting a lot. He had his regular human upper body and powerful tiger legs and tail.
“How you feeling, bud?”
“Meow,” Warning said as he nuzzled his head into his armpit and closed his eyes.
“He needs rest,” Bolognanon said. “You need a break, too. Go out into the world. Discover yourself.”
Bolognanon was up to something but it didn’t matter. I did need a break. I tipped my antlers at Warning and Bolognanon and pranced on out of there.
It’d been too long. I’d been roaming around with a naked man so long that I didn’t have any time to stop and think about just who I was anymore. I used to always say that having a job helped me cope with myself but the older I got, the job was just another way of avoiding myself.
Who would hire a deer anyways?
I was walking on my hind legs aimlessly. I went to the mall and peered through shop windows. Whole families holding hands and pointing at things they wanted or things they were saving for. Little kids throwing tantrums. Husbands and wives stood in pained silence. Nobody noticed me.
Maybe that was my problem.
For too long I thought people cared about me and that affected everything. Nobody cared. Everybody was too busy with their own lives spent wondering if anyone cared about them. It was a liberating feeling. I felt like rewarding myself with Hot Dog On A Stick.
But what would Brenda think? I was packing on the pounds with beer right before… the accident.
Brenda’s not around and besides, she wouldn’t want any of this buck.
I shrugged and walked over to Hot Dog On A Stick.
A young man, face full of acne and a mouthful of braces smiled. I swear I thought his skin was going to crack as his lips slimed across his braces.
“How can I help you, sir? Nice costume. Where’d you get it?”
“Uh…” I fumbled around with my hooves and remembered that I didn’t have any money. “I… uh… I made this costume. In fact, I forgot my money in my other pants. Any chance you could slide me a corn dog?”
“Don’t your friends have money?”
The teenager pointed to about ten people dressed in ornate costumes of foxes, bears, cats… the entire animal kingdom! They were beautiful.
“Yeah, your friends! The furries! They come here all the time. Some of them like Chick Fil A more but Chick Fil A doesn’t sell an orange julius like we do!”
“Let me go ask one of them.”
That twerp thought I was human enough to wear a costume. Maybe being a deer wasn’t so bad. Maybe I had finally found my people.
I cleared my throat and tapped the most colorful one on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” I said.
“Hai! You are muy kawaii! Watashi wa Hirubaato-san!” Hirubaato-san got up and gave me a little curtsey.
“You’re pretty realistic looking,” a man in a latex, black and gray cat suit said as he sniffed me. “And smelling.”
“Hee-hee!” Hirubaato-san giggled into its fluffy hand-hooves. “So realistic! So magical! Are you otaku?”
“What?” I asked. I was confused. “What language are you speaking?”
“Hee-hee! Yipeee! I speak the language of everyday! I speak in rainbow and poetry! Forgive the haiku! Pikachu!”
“Uh… okay. I was just wondering if I could borrow a few bucks for a hot dog.”
They huddled for a bit, murmuring to themselves. I could make out a few words. Things like “Super Friend Club” and “destroy the enemy,” but aside from all that, I couldn’t understand a damn word between all the giggling.
The man with the latex cat suit stood up. I presumed he was their leader.
“Listen, guy, we’ll give you a few bucks for a corn dog but you must sit and eat it with us. You must tell tale of your life. And you must do it in song.”
“Oh, baka! He’s just joking! Of course you can have some dinero!” Hirubaatu-san pulled out a pouch and threw me a twenty.
I tried to catch it with my hooves but without fingers, I couldn’t grasp it. It fell to the floor. Latex cat suit guy grabbed it for me.
“My name is Xenith,” he said. “I’m the leader of this crew. I’ll accompany you to Hot Dog On A Stick.”
“Thanks,” I said.
“We have a little meeting down at Steampunk Saloon in the King William’s district. A few fuddy-duds come by and try to break up our meetings. They say we’re freaks. We need a guy like you to be our muscle,” Xenith said as I ordered.
“Okay,” I said.
“I mean, just look at us. We’re a group of people so in love with nature’s aesthetic that we pursue the ultranature.”
“We’re trying to get back to animism through costume,” Xenith said. “We worship the soil.”
“Oh,” I said, taking bites of my hot dog on a stick. “I get it.” But I didn’t get it. Maybe I hadn’t found my people.
“You’ve heard of the deer crime running rampant around town, have you not?”
“Uh huh,” I said.
“I figured that’s what spurred on your costume. It looks so realistic that I’m sure you’d be able to teach us some stitching tricks. But anyways, the time of the deer has come. No longer will it be hunted. It will be worshipped for it will consume us in a fire of glory.”
“The deer crime,” I said. The hot dog was still too hot but I was impatient and bit too soon. “The deer crime is me.”
“Ha! Ha!” Xenith slapped me on the back. “You crack me up. Often we become one with our costumes but it is blasphemy for us to claim to be that of which we seek to be. We are merely apostles of the nobler creatures.”
“There’s just one rule we live by,” Xenith whispered. “No outsiders!”
Xenith pushed me into the furry congregation. The sound of the laughter was demonic, intoxicating, horrifying.
“You must get tickle-jumped to join our group, silly!” Hirubaatu started to tickle me.
But I lay there, frozen; unbothered by their tickling because deer cannot be tickled. I was baptized in their fire.
“He does not laugh!” screamed some of them.
“He must be the one long prophesied!” said some others.
“Nonsense!” Xenith screamed and dug his fingers further into my armpits.
It was time to pretend. I let out a laugh. Thus, I became one of them.