The Transformation Story Archive Mythical Beings


by Wanderer

It was 8:30 AM, and Lou Warden was desperately searching for that most elusive of treasures, more precious than emeralds...

A good photo-retouch place.

The old places did the best work, of course, even the ones that still thought computers had nothing to do with picture-taking. Unfortunately, they also had the longest waiting lists. And Lou needed this job done before...

Suddenly, at the bottom of the page in the directory he'd been tearing through so quickly, one name stood out: "HM STUDIOS... WHEN REALITY JUST WON'T DO"

Then, in smaller letters: "Seamless photo-alterations in minutes... walk-ins welcome."

Minutes later, he pushed open the door of his final hope...

"May I help you, sir?"

The man... or boy, with those looks... behind the counter seemed a little young to handle the job, but...

"Yes, I need you to take this...", here he handed over his picture, "and make a werewolf out of it."

"A werewolf, sir?"

Oh, boy, an explanation... just what he didn't have time for...

"It's for a business presentation... "

"Oh", said the boy, cutting him off with a smile. "I see, sir.

If you'll just have a seat in our waiting area..."

His sweeping gesture promised a good deal more than it could deliver. The waiting area, as with most such places, was nothing more than a handful of chairs with a coffee table and a magazine rack thrown in to carry the magazines... out of date, from the looks of them.

"Will this take long? I really need... "

"Oh, no, sir, not long at all. Say... one, two minutes, tops."

Lou could hardly speak. "But..."

"Oh, I know, sir, I know. But you'd be surprised what we can do with the modern techniques these days. Why, the savings in ingredients alone... but I should get started."

With that, the young man vanished into the depths of the shop, Lou staring after him, dumbstruck. Then, with the air of a hacker waiting for the FBI to show up, he turned to the reading material and sat down.

Well, at least he could sit down for a bit... and try to ignore the churning in his stomach. He could hear some machine starting up in the back of the shop... probably an airbrush or something... as he reached for the top magazine.

<FLICKER> Lou sat down slowly, careful to keep his tail in the space between the seat and the chair back. He'd had enough trouble learning that trick when he was little, he wasn't about to forget it now. Checking the cover, he saw...

<FLICKER> ...that the usual Dem-Rep crossfire had been going on when the issue was new. Sliding down in his seat, he crossed his legs just above the pad area.

<FLICKER> He read the cover carefully, flexing his elbows to move his arm fur out of the way. Not much had changed since... he checked the date...

<FLICKER> ...March 9, 1982. He cautiously moved the page back and his muzzle down, bringing the page into sharper focus, and silently thanked the optometrist who designed his trifocals. Running a cold, wet nose into your magazine was no way to start the day...

especially if you were on the other end of it.


He looked up and saw the young human behind the counter again.

"Your pictures are ready, sir."

Lou picked up his voder where it hung at his wrist and typed, "That was fast." A moment later, the same words sounded in the cold, metallic voice he'd accepted as part of doing business with these furless ones.

"It wasn't as involved as we thought, sir. A minor touch here and there .. that will be $19.95, sir."

Lou handed over the money grimly. Expensive, but the old saying was true. A good, fast job is never cheap.

"Thank you, sir. I hope to see you again sometime."

With that, Lou nodded to the clerk and left. He just had time to make the meeting. He still had no clue why the higher-ups had decided to use his picture for the new ISP's ad campaign, but at least the mockups in the folder would net him some extra funds.

Driving off, the smell of exhaust strong in his nostrils, Lou watched the humans staring after him in the rearview. Since the discovery of his people, things hadn't improved much. Sometimes he had to wonder if things would ever change.


Seamless copyright 1996 by Wanderer.

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