Newt grinned, wiping their brow. After their last little bout of troublemaking a few towns back, they’d decided to lay relatively low – and, if they were honest, it’d been a well needed break!
Tonight’s stop was in a little creek bed, water trickling down from a spring up in the hills, and providing just enough cover that it’d be relatively hard to stumble across without meaning to.
“Ah…” The varmint sighed, washing their dusty paws off in the water.
…until they noticed someone else in the reflection, the varmint casting a curious glance over their right shoulder.
On the rocks up above their little campsite, a figure stood.
A coyote? A yellow and brown coyote, garbed in a tan outfit and a blue bandana, little six point star pinned to their chest. A… sheriff?
“Well, howdy,” The coyote drawled, tipping their hat. “Nice day for camping, huh?”
“…Kinda?” Newt said warily, sizing the newcomer up. They knew most of the sheriffs in these parts – they’d never seen this one before.
“I do have to be the bearer of bad news,” The sheriff chuckled, sliding down the little incline and dusting their jacket clean.
“I’m here to take you back to town.”
“Town?” Newt intoned, glancing back at their pack near the little campfire they’d built. If they could just get across the creek…
“We can do it the easy way or the fun way,” The coyote grinned, grabbing a bit of rope from their belt. “Which’ll it be?”
Newt didn’t reply. They tried to jump up, making a run for the campfire – only to swiftly stop in their tracks as rope swiftly wrapped around their shoulders – pinning their arms to their midsection!
“Fun way it is!” The sheriff called, giving the rope a tug.
The rope itched – and then… tingled.
Fur beneath where it was tightest began to smooth over, patterns simplifying into approximations as the varmint’s fur began to change into soft, pliable vinyl.
Another tug began to swell their tummy, little plastic nub starting to press out of their rounding midsection as the coyote watched, wide grin framing their face.
“Your spree was awfully light,” The sheriff called as the varmint started to wobble on their increasingly inflatable thighs and legs, footpaws melting together into useless inflatable hooves. “So I figured a light punishment was in order! Plus, every sheriff needs a horse, right?”
“Horse?” Newt called in surprise, watching their handpaws swell up and melt together into slightly oversized inflatable hooves, just as their center of balance started to shift.
The varmint (horse?) wobbled, finally pitching over just as their posture shifted from their usual anthro bipedal shape to a more toyish quadrupedal shape! Out of the corner of their eyes they could see a vague saddle decal beginning to fill in on their back as their tail shrank down and expanded into a squeaky horse tail, rump swelling out as their shorts gave way.
Moving their head became harder and harder as their neck swelled up, cheeks filling up with air as they, too, turned to plastic.
The changes seemed to stop for a moment – just long enough for the coyote to make their way over, and give their squeaky back a pat.
“W-Wait, change me ba-!”
Just as they started to finish their sentence the coyote plopped down on the oversized inflatable almost-horse – swelling their new face out with a loud SQUIRK of protesting plastic, new equine face swelling up complete with a printed on grin and decal reins.
“Now,” The sheriff giggled, reaching under the horse and popping open their valve.
They wandered over to the camp as the horse began to go flat, rummaging through the bag before throwing it over their shoulder, scooping both it and the deflated pile of plastic up.
“Let’s get you back to town and have a little fun, huh?”
The next thing Newt knew they were gently refilling, the warm sun on their vinyl back drawing their attention first upwards – and then forwards, to the coyote pumping away on an old-timey air pump!
“Mornin’!” The coyote grinned, tipping their hat at the toy they knew couldn’t respond – just before a dusty rabbit skidded to a stop nearby, staring wide-eyed at the huge toy now adorning the front step of the sheriff’s office.
“…Wow!” The bunny exclaimed, pressing their paws to their cheeks. “Is that really the Cheyenne Critter?!”
“Sure is!” The sheriff grinned, leaning on the toy with a slight protest of fabric against vinyl. The sheriff reached down, giving the toy’s valve a nice, long squeeze between two fingers. “Ponyboy here won’t be causing any more trouble, though.”
“Wow! You’re the greatest, Sheriff!” The bunny exclaimed, before darting off into town.
Hefting a little banner and dropping it over the toy’s back, the coyote offered a quick pay. “I think you’ll make a better advertisement than you did a bandit, pal. Thanks for the help!”