This is a Tomorrowlands universe story; they are listed at http://www.tomorrowlands.org/story/stories.html.
(c) 2002, Orion SandstorrmThe Beach Incident
I was well out of sight of the shop, crouched behind a dune. I kept thinking, "I always had a feeling I'd find some loophole with that sign. I had no idea it would be this sort of thing."
You see, I wasn't having to hide all of me from the view of the shopowner. Just ... most of me. Sure, my face was normal. My hands and arms were normal, or as normal as a guy like me can be at any given time, anyway. Although I suppose I was less normal than normal right now. Or maybe more normal than ... never mind.
The shop-owner can kind of see that much; my arms and head, I mean. He probably thought I was hanging out on this dune to sunbathe, or rainbathe or something like that.
Luckily, not too many people came out on the beach today. I happen to like coming to the beach on rainy days; if not only because of how beautiful it is, in my judgment at least, but for the lack of other people. Call me a loner. Call me Jeff. God, that sounded stupid.
At any rate, something ... interesting happened today. One moment I was watching the lightning out on the ocean horizon, the next ... well, you'd understand why I was crouching behind a big grassy ol' dune.
That shop manager will freak if he sees all four of these hooves.
I'm still eyeing the sign in the beach-shop window. Because, see, much as I'd like to examine what's different with me now -- you know, along with the hooves, I've got this glossy coat and really spectacular tail -- survival comes before vanity.
Right now, the measure I need to take is get home. And a centaur can't fit inside a Volkswagen Bug.
So, what that means is that I need to get a ride home from somebody else ... maybe Vinny, he's got a blue SUV. That could probably work.
So I'd need to phone him. There's a payphone; I do have some money on me. However, it's inside of the shop.
You ought to see the shop owner. He's this really old guy, chewing a great wad of tobacco or mud or something; smells of fish. He probably was in the Navy when he was young, although from the looks of him I'd figure it was more like a Viking galley ship or something like that. If so, no wonder why he's so grouchy. Also, he's got a rifle hung on the wall next to him. I've seen him attempting to shoot seagulls with it, with minimal success. (I was rooting for the seagulls, myself.)
Payphone's behind this guy. I really don't think he's the kind of guy who'd be openminded about a centaur ... hell, I can't let myself reel at this yet. So I'm a theri, more or less a complete surprise, but I have to handle the situation before I can sit around and go "oh, wow, I have a freaking extra set of limbs."
(I used to get teased in grade school for having so many pictures and stuff of horses around; some kid said that only girls liked horses. But, see prior statement, the show must go on.)
I look at the sign in the window again. Okay, what provisions have I got? I have a shirt. Shirt still fits fine; apparently, that area of me remained quite human, as per usual centaur format. The shoes ... well, sandals ... they don't exactly fit. I guess I could stick my forehooves into them, maybe ... yeah, the ankle straps can be adjusted. They might stay on somewhat well now, so long as I'm careful not to trip over them. It seems weird now to walk around with big projections in front of my feet.
The pants, though ... they were completely destroyed. Okay, that sounds naughty, but really ... you can't fit a horse's butt, hindlegs and tail and all, inside a pair of Levi's. Kind of a pity, I guess, since I was kinda fond of those raggy old jeans, but when you get right down to it I'd prefer this nice brown furry hide to denim any day.
And, after all ... heheheh ... the sign doesn't name pants. Just ... "No shirt, no shoes, no service."
Some shops add "no brains" in there. I'm glad this one didn't, since I'm not entirely sure I could argue against that one very well.
I've got my shirt. I've got my shoes. I'm going on in there.
God, the look on that guy's face is going to be priceless.
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