Sock was bored.
It was a hot, muggy August day – and he’d been cooped up inside for much of the summer instead of going to, well, anything summery. No pool, no cook-outs, nothing!
It was either too hot, too rainy, or too… busy!
So, maybe that’s why he was so surprised when a package was dropped on his front porch one hot afternoon, a simple cardboard box with only his address and the curious company sender title “Summer Fun, Inc” printed on the label. Could you even send mail without a return address?
Sock, hefting the surprisingly light box, glanced around. No mailman in sight, no mysterious gifter walking off down the sidewalk that they’d surely have seen – it was if it had appeared from thin air!
What could be inside?
Carrying the box back in, the fox plopped it down on the table, digging through the nearby kitchen drawers for a box cutter or a knife; eventually one turned up, and Sock gently cut the tape holding the top flaps shut.
Inside was… yellow.
Something folded, yellow, and soft to the touch – vinyl?
Did I order inflatables and forget? Sock wondered to himself, confused. Oh, well. Might as well puff one up to see what it looked like, right?
Tugging a pump out of the closet, the fox gently unfolded the flattened toy, taking notice of the long, brown-tipped ears and little painted-on bucktooth. A bunny!
Stuffing the hose in the toy’s valve, Sock began to pump – watching with delight as the toy began to fill, little ears standing up as it began to round out to a cute, anthro bunny shape. A squeaky mop of blond hair crowned the toy’s head, along with a little star-shaped barcode on their thigh – it was, all in all, pretty cute by inflatable standards. So cute, in fact, that he forgot that he hadn’t actually even ordered it. Lucky mistake, huh?
Finally, after about ten minutes of pumping, the toy was full – and Sock was exhausted, tugging the hose free and capping the bunny’s valve. Whew.
It stood about three and a half feet tall, cute little smile and bright blue eyes seeming to stare right back.
“Well, aren’t you cute!” The fox chuckled, giving the toy’s nose a little boop, sending it rocking. The box included two more, too – what a score!
For now, though, he felt like a couch nap was the best option, yawning as he turned to head for the living room – but pausing at a quiet squeak behind him.
Glancing back, the toy was just as he’d left it – maybe a little more towards the table than he remembered, but he could’ve moved it when he’d touched it.
Shrugging, Sock wandered off to take a nap… and the toybunny set to work filling its friends, dragging them out of the box first, then filling them up with the pump Sock had left behind!
The fox woke up a little while later to… well, to a sight, certainly.
Three bunny faces were peering down at them in various states of curiosity, and as he shouted in alarm and surprise they all bounced back!
“U-Uh,” Sock stammered, coming face to face with moving… inflatables?!
Since when did they move?!
Sock got his answer when the same pump he’d used earlier was plopped down on the couch, one of the toys stuffing the hose in his mouth!
Another pressed down the handle, a hiss of air rushing down the hose and swelling out his cheeks… but this was different, seeming to quickly go down as the air went somewhere else.
The toybunny settled into a rhythm, pumping air into the bewildered fox even as their tummy began to swell, sliding their shirt upwards. Their eyes instantly darted to a bump, pressing out where a belly button was a few moments ago – and, before Sock’s very own eyes, he gained a soft, translucent plastic valve, much like the one the three rabbits sported!
The third bunny giggled, the first sound any of them had made aside from the squeaks of their movement. “Ta-da!”
No reply, that time.
Slowly, methodically, the fur around the valve began to mat down – softening, smoothing into Sock-patterned vinyl in a wave of tingling change; sweeping first over the sides of the bewildered fox’s tummy, but also spreading upwards beneath his shirt, and downwards, out of sight.
The thought occurred to him that he could’ve simply tugged the hose free; in fact, he could do it right now, but… for whatever reason, the motivation wouldn’t come. He was much more satisfied watching the change than actually stopping it.
He felt his lower body begin to lighten, plastic and seams slowly crawling the length of the fox’s tail until even the very tip solidified into a plasticine, vulpine shape; finely (if simply) detailed, flat pattern swaths modeling the fox’s usual fur patterns in expertly-sprayed lines. It squeaked slightly beneath him as he moved it, legs and footpaws following suit as he raised one to see. His toes first melded together as the plastic washed over them, vinyl digits joining into a cute, if not very useful, vinyl paw-mitt.
It was at this point that the hose was tugged out of the fox’s mouth, and gently stuffed into the valve now peeking out from beneath a shirt that didn’t quite fit anymore, inflatable rounded thighs making Sock’s poor shorts strain and groan.
Again, the puffing began – this time, forcing his arms slightly outwards as they inflated from the base outwards, chest hollowing out with a deep, satisfying tingling sensation! Testingly, he squeezed his flank, delight welling up inside as it gave beneath his grip much like one would expect air-filled vinyl to.
A new sensation from his back sent his paws searching there, too; soft, pliable squared-off hoops of plastic had emerged from the middle of his back, recognizable as handles from the feeling alone. Pooltoy handles, for… a pooltoy fox. Made sense, he supposed.
His arms continued to change, fingers starting to melt together much as his toes had. It was fascinating to watch, fur and fluff first seeming to merge together, before gaining the slight translucency and lightness of air-filled plastic. He gave his paws a testing open-and-close, listening to the quiet squirks of vinyl on vinyl.
At this point even the three rabbits were watching the fox’s changes with curiosity, as it began to crawl up his neck and onto his face! Sock felt the urge to giggle, forcing it down for a moment, before he began to smirk.
Then laugh, a long, drawn out giggle escaping his snout…
…and then, nothing, as it solidified into a plastic, painted on smile, nose flattening on as simple detail paint!
His mitts instantly flew to his face, tugging on the smile. But how will I breathe?!
Panic gripped the fox for a moment, before he realized he… wasn’t breathing. He didn’t even feel as if he needed to breathe, as his vision blurred for a moment as his eyes, too, became simple detailing paint on a Sock-shaped inflatable.
The last to change, fittingly, was the fox’s ears. His hearing swam for a moment as fur and skin turned to plastic, before returning somewhat echo-y; whether that was due to his new ears or the fact he was now hollow remained to be seen.
With a quick little tug the hose popped free, Sock’s valve quickly being capped by the three inflatable rabbits – and, as he sat up, dizzy, one saluted.
Another grabbed a piece of paper from the coffee table and a pen, scribbling something.
After a few moments, the toybunny spun around, holding out a hastily (and somewhat poorly) scribbled sign.
Sock would’ve giggled if he could. Pool day, indeed.