This story is by Jack Daniel Stanley and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Small. He’d always felt small. He’d always been small, even though he was of average size.
Now, sitting in a cavernous executive office, Marty Williams had never felt smaller.
His boss stood in front of a floor-to-ceiling window, silhouetted in blinding sunlight. “Listen Marty, it’s just because you’re, you know … ”
Marty did know. He know exactly what Bill was about to say. Don’t. Pease don’t.
“ … such a nice guy.”
At forty-five, those two fucking words still chiseled a part of his soul away every time he heard them. “Aw thanks, Bill.”
“Call ‘em like I see ‘em, tiger.” Even enveloped in sunlight, one could tell the cloth from which Bill Evers was cut. He was blessed with Clark Kent shoulders, George Clooney charm, and a jawline only achievable through generations of old money breeding with supermodels.
The office door creaked open. Evelyn Chambers peeked in. “Sorry to interrupt.”
Bill walked out of the light and flashed his pearlies. “Sweetheart, you can interrupt anytime.”
She blushed, then stepped out from behind the door, revealing her full figure.
Marty didn’t have to wonder why his secretary had interrupted them in Bill’s office. Evelyn wore a neon sign that said “high school band geek” and she had come to see the varsity quarterback, the homecoming king.
She handed Marty a file, barely taking her eyes off Bill. “You wanted Mr. Bellfrog’s file.”
“Oh great. Thanks a bunch, Evelyn.” But not in the middle of a meeting for Pete’s sake.
When she turned to go, Marty’s eyes lingered.
“You old dog,” Bill said. “You like her.”
“What? Oh, no. She’s great but with the workplace and all — ”
“Don’t buy into that crap. It’ll shrivel your balls. Sometimes you gotta grab ‘em and stick your tongue down their throat. Life’s too short otherwise. But get yourself a decent suit first — on the company’s dime. You look like a realtor moonlighting as a used car salesman. I’ll give Evelyn my guy’s info.”
“And look. Nobody likes doing your new gig. But you’re the right man. You’ll make it sting a little less.”
That afternoon, Mr. Bellfrog sat across from Marty, weeping and taking tissues from the box on the Marty’s desk. He didn’t care that the company had “made a bad investment in a Chilean communications company” and they now had to “make some hard choices.”
Marty didn’t know what to say to the man, fifty years old and two years away from full pension, except, “I’m sorry.” He tried to be the unemotional business man, but he couldn’t. Those
two little words wouldn’t let him. Now Mr. Bellfrog wasn’t the only one crying.
Bellfrog’s sobs subsided to sniffles. “Mr. Williams … Mr. Williams, you all right?
“No. Yes. No.”
“Come on now. It’ll be okay. Truth is, I never really liked it here anyway.” He pushed the tissue box closer to Marty.
At the end of the day he stopped by Evelyn’s desk for the corporate card and the tailor’s information. Maybe he would tell her that he loved her. And why not? The day couldn’t get any worse. He hoped she couldn’t tell he’d been crying.
She could and she made no effort to conceal her contempt. Marty loving her made as much sense as Evelyn finding a lech like Bill to be dreamy. He couldn’t help it.
He did not tell her he loved her.
On the elevator ride down, his mind circled back over the events of the day. Bill’s mock friendship. Mr. Belfrog’s tears. Evelyn’s disdain. He began to feel something strange, something he didn’t recognize: anger. Now he knew exactly what he was going to say when he arrived at the tailor’s.
“I want a suit that’s better than Bill Evers’.” It felt good when the words actually left his lips. “Do you have one?”
The slight, elderly Taylor hesitated. “We do sir. But the cost is great.”
Marty didn’t care. He hoped Bill’s eyes popped out when he saw the receipt.
The tailor began measuring the garment on Marty before a triptych of mirrors. A sign above them read: “The Suit Makes the Man”. Marty wondered what, exactly, the suit made the man do — other than spend thousands of dollars on a suit.
“Does sir dress left or right?”
“Uh, left I think.” Right?
Tailor moved the measuring tape accordingly. He seemed … smaller somehow. Each time Marty looked down the man seemed more diminutive. Or was Marty growing with every chalk mark and pin? Now I’m imagining things. Working too hard.
In the mirror Marty looked better than good. And, he was getting an erection. God no. He willed it down to a half-chub. The microscopic man looked up at him. Had he noticed? And why had he become erect? It wasn’t the accidental brushing munchkin doll hands. It was how the suit felt, how it cradled every part of him, how it made him feel expansive.
The mirrors at home proved no less generous. He had no idea how much the suit cost. He had asked the tailor not to tell him. He did know that he’d never had a suit this nice or this expensive. They didn’t carry them at JCPennys.
“So Evelyn,” he practiced “you, me, martinis. See you at eight.”
He carefully removed the suit to avoid staining it with toothpaste.
Marty stopped mid-brush. There was something on his neck. Two somethings under his jawline on each side. Two pointy boils. He pushed on them. They were rigid as rocks. He desperately wanted to put the suit back on. Maybe he could sleep in it. Don’t be silly. I’ll just lay it out neatly next to me.
When he lay down next to it and felt better. He held one cuff as if holding hands then drifted off in a deep slumber
In the morning the two stony boils had grown into monstrous tusks. It doesn’t matter. Put the suit on and everything will be fine. Everything.
His anxiety vanished when he slipped the jacket over his shoulders. The tusks immediately receded back into him. He slid the jacket off his shoulders. The tusks grew outward. Off, out. On, in. He smiled, straightened his cufflinks, and got an erection.
His day at work started less skippingly. Marty spent 10 minutes searching his desk for a pen. Where the fuck is Evelyn? Bad enough he was supposed to fire dear old Mrs. Whitherbean today, now the damn supply closet was locked.
When he retrieved the key from its break room peg and finally opened the door, he found much more than a pen. Evelyn’s skirt was up with her legs wrapped around Bill. His hands pawed her ass. They stopped.
Evelyn almost looked ashamed. But Bill prick, just smiled. He fucking smiled.
Mart slammed the door of the executive bathroom shut, locked it, hung up his jacket carefully, and splashed cold water on his face. That asshole. That fucking cunt.
The tusks had doubled in size. His nose was gnarled and boar-like. His brow, Cro-Magnon. And — was that fur sticking up from his collar? Yes, orange tufts of fur.
He ran for his jacket, put it on, and all appeared, at least, to be normal once again. Marty felt around his face. He could still feel the tusks, he just couldn’t see them. A sniggering grin tickled across his lips and turned into laughter. He stroked his tusks and got another hard-on.
That afternoon he fired Mrs. Whitherbean and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the part where he’d called her a “bitch” and told her to “get her shit and get the fuck out.”
The after-work subway home seemed to take forever. A thousand flies buzzed in his stomach. He couldn’t wait to get home and disrobe.
What he saw in his bathroom mirror amused him to no end. The orange fur all but covered him from head to toe and framed his pig-face in a simian fashion. Then there was the delightful matter of the tail.
He snuggled up in bed with the suit. He couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
Bill’s office seemed smaller. The letter opener slid into Bill’s neck much easier than Marty had anticipated. Bill’s charming blue eyes looked up at Marty, more confused than terrified. Marty stepped back to avoid the arterial spurts. Mustn’t get the suit dirty. He waited until Bill stopped making wet gurgling noises and his eyes glazed over.
Now it was time for Evelyn. He would take her. He would grab her and take her. Then he would rip her to pieces.
They would call him a monster. But it wouldn’t matter. Marty had seen the men with expensive suits on TV just like his and they had taught him something — the right monster, in the right suit, can get away with murder.
Marty got an erection.