A short story about fashion where two hipster brothers have found the secret to making their apparel truly transformative.
Last time Sean graced our pages it was with his winning entry Blanket Rules. Returning with something a little more comical, but still packing that trademark wit, Crawley takes us to contemporary Sydney with a twist. Enjoy The Out-Shirts Of Town by Sean Crawley.
THE OUT-SHIRTS OF TOWN
A Short Story About Fashion
by Sean Crawley
“How’s that Paleo print progressing…Pauly?”
“Perfectly proper…poo pants.”
The two friends looked at each other and chuckled. With the deadline for the big show looming they held back from carrying on the usual word play repartee that could go for hours, or even days.
Damon was the brains of the business and Pauly was the creative one, and the one who was always right on trend. His paleo print, a bespoke cave painting design featuring antelope and men with spears, would no doubt be a winner from Blacktown to Bondi. It was the final design for their new collection which was being assembled out the back amongst the buzz of sewing machines and hiss of steam irons.
The Out-Shirts of Town had evolved out of the synergy of this energetic duo who’d dabbled in anything and everything since leaving high school together. They had formed hip hop bands, opened up op-shop coffee shops, they’d wheeled and dealed in retro vinyl records, had had a shot at guerilla art installations and they had even conducted a makeshift travel company that ran zany adventure tours in obscure suburbs. For a short while, until the local council got wind of it, billycart tours around the back streets of Zetland became the thing to do in Sydney town.
The shirts themselves attracted good coin for their beauty and prestige, but most of all for their transformative powers – no other shirts came close. When you slipped on the Ocean Blue Guayabera number your hair would turn into the tentacles of a sea anemone and clown fish would swim around in it. The Vegan Vee-Neck would transform your ears into cauliflowers and your fingers into carrots. The New Wave Hawaiian ¾ Placket literally hula danced upon the wearer while emitting the aroma of frangipani and coconut. Indisputably they were the must have shirts of the day.
“It’s the love you make them with Pauly,” was Damon’s explanation for their unique powers.
“You sure it’s not that hemp and mushroom fibre we use Damo?”
“It doesn’t matter, here we are at the opening of the biggest fashion event of the year my friend. This will be the pinnacle of our prosperous partnership.” Damon hugged Pauly. “Will the Paleo shirts arrive on time?”
“The courier just called, he’s on his way but there’s a bit of traffic.”
Seamus the model was bare topped and waiting. Tyson was out on stage modelling one of the highlights of the collection, the Dear Deer Long Sleeve Tee. Its wearer would sprout antlers and hooves for hands, a real crowd pleaser. Tyson had already done a few laps of the cat walk when Damon beckoned him to strut his stuff once more while Seamus was pulling the very first Paleo Power Polo over his waxed upper body.
“Get out there, boy.” Damon slapped Seamus on the bum. He and Pauly watched from the wings.
Tyson was doing his ruminant ranging right out at the end of the catwalk as Seamus stepped out from the scrim. In all the rush, no trial of the newest shirt had been possible. Seamus began to stoop, hair grew on his arms and face, and he began to grunt. The crowd stopped clapping and stared at the metamorphosed male model who by now had spotted the antlers upfront. Instinctively he crouched, sniffed the air and looked around at the tables of gaping guests who had stopped eating and drinking. A frightening chill and mist filled the air. Seamus; primitive, primal, and paleo as anything began stalking forward. The audio guy stopped the soundtrack. A scream rang out from the auditorium. Tyson the Deer turned in fright, snorted and let out a bellow to warn his invisible herd. He bolted off the end of the catwalk bounding through the crowded room. Seamus took off in pursuit.
Pauly, the creator of this mayhem and horror, sprang into action. He grabbed a White Wizard Button Down from the nearby rack of shirts and bolted out onto centre stage. As his hair grew long and white, he lifted both arms high above his head and pointed towards the cave man now riding upon the deer’s back. A flash of lightning bolted down from a mirror ball suspended from the ceiling and vaporised the shirt right off Seamus’s back just as he was about to bite into Tyson’s neck.
Seamus was left bare topped and hairless, his taste for deer gone.
The crowd erupted into a rapturous applause, there had never been a fashion show like this before. Pauly looked sideways to Damon and winked. But without a word both men knew that their shirt making days had come to an end.
Blanket Rules – A Short Story About Fashion first appeared in the Shirt Story Contest short list.