Calvin finds himself lost in his own neighborhood… But it’s almost like it’s a completely different neighborhood. Then suddenly, he comes along a lemonade stand being run by two catboys.
Little Beastly Lemonade
Calvin had made a wrong turn somewhere. He wasn’t even 100% sure how. He had just gone outside to get the mail. But, he had sworn he saw two small cats, a brown and an orange one watching him. They had to be kittens from how small they were… But they hadn’t stuck around long enough for Calvin to get a good look. So, he had walked after them in the direction he saw them take off and well… Now he had no idea where he was.
He couldn’t have been more than two blocks from his house. And he was certain he had only turned around the corner but… The area wasn’t right. He didn’t know ever corner of his neighborhood perfectly, but it wasn’t very big. So, he might not have noticed small changes, but the fact completely different houses in both color and design were where other houses should have been did come off as extremely odd.
He tried to retrace his steps and just get home. But, his apartment complex wasn’t there. Just more suburban houses. He kept thinking maybe he just overestimated how far he walked and if he walked far enough he would find familiar looking buildings. But no luck.
Okay, whatever, he somehow got lost. He had no idea how it happened, but it happened. However, there was no reason to freak out. He had tools that could resolve this. He quickly pulled out his cell phone. He’d just use the GPS navigator to find the way home and… He had no bars. Why did he have no bars? Even if he was in some other neighborhood there should still be phone coverage. It’s not like he was out in the boonies. This was weird. Something felt really off and-
“Hey!” A child’s voice called. “Mister! You look troubled.”
“What? Oh! I!” Calvin stammered as he looked over to the source of the voice. Then he froze. There were two children running a lemonade stand. Both children were also completely naked. And if that was the only strange thing Calvin might have just dismissed it as some dumb kids doing weird things. But…. They weren’t completely human. Both of them had the ears and tails of a cat. Then they had pawlike hands and feet with fur running up to their knees and elbows.
The little kids, or maybe he should call them kittens were catboys.
“What?” Calvin stared blankly. Well, clearly everything made sense now. This was a dream. It had to be. Cat people weren’t real. So he had to have somehow-
No even he didn’t believe the dream excuse. He could recall everything too well. This was definitely happening. But… How was it happening!? Catboys weren’t real! But, the lack of any clothing made it fairly obvious they weren’t wearing costumes. The ears and tails moved. They were real. So, these kids really were part cat. And also naked. Were both of those things normal here? Wherever here was? He didn’t know. At this point he felt like he had walked into another universe instead of simply getting a little lost.
But… wait a second. The two children. One of them had orange fur and hair, the other had brown. The same colors as the two kittens he had seen earlier. That couldn’t be a coincidence. Could it?
“Were you two… like… cats earlier and for some reason in my neighborhood?” Calvin asked.
“We’re always cats!” The brown haired catboy replied happily.
“And we’re in my neighborhood!” The orange catboy chirped up. “Of course, it kind of connects with a lot of neighborhoods.”
“Uh huh.” Calvin stared blankly. That had gotten him no information at all.
“You look like you’re a little worn out!” The brown haired catboy spoke up. “Maybe… You need a relaxing drink?”
“I guarantee it’ll put some energy in your step and a pounce in your walk!” The orange one said. “Because this is Calex”
“And Zeelo’s!” The brown haired catboy spoke up.
“Lil Beastly Lemonade!” They shouted at the same time.
“Right…” Calvin could figure their names out at least. The orange one was Calex and brown Zeelo based on their little introduction.
“I’m not sure if I can afford a cup and-“ Calvin started.
“Ah I bet you can! We’re super cheap!” Calex interrupted. “We’re only five cents a cup mister!”
“Five cents a cup?” Had Calvin somehow traveled back in time. That couldn’t be right. That or they were two kids just playing at this and had no idea how much things actually costed these days.
“That’s right mister!” Zeelo nodded eagerly.
“Hey… Could you cut it out with the mister thing?” Calvin spoke up. It’s… Making me feel really old.” Which was not helped by how confused he was right now. “You can just call me Calvin. But anyway… I don’t carry cash on me, and I’m kind of… maybe freaking out right now.”
“Huh.” Calex looked at Zeelo.
“Mm-hmmmm.” Zeelo nodded to Calex.
“Calvin!” Calex called out. “How about we give you one on the house! And maybe we can help you with whatever problem you’re having.”
“That’s nice of you kids…” Calvin felt uncertain.
“Just remember! This stuff will make you a lil’ beasty!” Zeelo was already pouring a glass and offering Calvin a plastic cup.
“Uh, thanks.” At this point it’d be rude to refuse. He sipped it. The lemonade was probably sweeter than it needed to be but it was good. He quickly drank the rest of it before returning his attention to the problem at hand. “Maybe you can help. One of you said his was your neighborhood do you-“ Calvin paused as he suddenly felt very strange.
It was a good kind of strange. Like he was suddenly full of energy. But it also caught him off guard. And… Wait! Were the kids getting taller? Or… No! His clothes were looser on him! He was getting smaller!
“Wh-what!?” Calvin shouted in surprised as he took a few steps back. His voice had been so high pitched. Like when he had been a little kid. Something moved against the tip of his spine and he lost his balance, falling over onto his bottom. Thankfully he landed in the grass so it was a soft landing.
And for the first time he noticed the grass was littered with clothing. Various sets of adult sized clothing were laying around the lemonade stand. As Calvin examined how much bigger his surroundings were, he was pretty sure he had figured out why. They had turned him into a little kid! As little as they were! And they couldn’t be past kindergarten or first grade.
“Hang on!” Calvin tried to stand up, but his clothes were a burden. They were heavy and he was quickly tangled up as he tried to move in them. He briefly made an attempt at holding his pants up but froze when he looked over his backside and identified the object he had felt earlier. It was an orange cat tail with a black tip. And it was coming from the tip of his spine.
“Meow!?” Calvin shouted in confusion. He let go of his pants, sitting in just his oversized shirt. That fell to the ground as he quickly reached ups his arms to his ears to test a theory. Pyramid shaped fuzzy ears. Just like a cats. And… He looked at his hands and feet. They were pawlike, with orange fur and black tips.
He was a little catboy kid too! Just like the ones running the lemonade stand.
“H-hey! You tricked me! And!” Calvin curled his tail around himself aware that he was naked.
“Tricked you? When?” Calex tilted his head.
“We told you this would make you a lil beastie and give you energy.” Zeelo spoke with concern. “It didn’t’ do anything else.”
“But…” Calvin shut his mouth for a moment and thought. Lil beastie. A little beast kid. He wasn’t sure if this was a trick or if they were being honest. Either way at least they seemed concerned over his distress.
“Well… Don’t see any other customers. Should we patrol for a new location again?” Calex asked.
“I don’t know…” Zeelo looked to Calvin. “He seems… really stressed out. Maybe we should shut down for the stand for a bit to help him out.”
“That’s probably a good idea.” Calex quickly picked up a sign from behind the stand that read ‘On Break’ and set it up on the ledge. “Hey… Do you have a favorite playground game or something you’d like to do to feel better?”
“A playground game?” Calvin looked at the two of them. Was he to just act like a normal child now? Like just accept this as if it was something that just happened? Well… Actually… Having had a moment to think about it, that didn’t sound too bad. “Uh… Tag?”
“Ohhhhhhhh, you don’t know what you started.” Calex grinned and rubbed his paws together.
“Don’t worry about him. He can get a little enthusiastic about games like this.” Zeelo waved a paw-hand. “Worry about me! Cause I’m totally gonna boop your nose when I’m It! If you can even make me It.”
“But who should be It first?” Calex asked.
“Hmmmmm.” The two almost looked like twins for a moment as they bough put their hands to their chins and tilted their heads thinking.
“Calvin!” They shouted at the same time.
“Me!?” Calvin looked confused.
“Of course! Only right. You’re clearly new to the area. You’re acting way to weirded out to be a regular around here. That means you haven’t won any of the glory and respect on the local field of tag.”
“Right!” Zeelo nodded. “Which makes you the challenger! Seeking your first chance at tagging someone else!”
“Tag is apparently a big deal around here?” Calvin tilted his head.
“You mean there’s places where it isn’t?” Calex asked. Then he shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Okay, so… Basic rules, everyone has to stay within one block. No shapeshifting.”
“Wait you can-“
“Winner will be decided whenever we get tired or too bored of the game.” Zeelo nodded. “We get a five second head start since you’re chasing us.”
“Wait… But…” Calvin remembered another problem. “I’m… Kind of naked.”
“Yes and?” Calex asked.
“Don’t you think that maybe before the match…” Calvin looked between the two. Neither one wore a sticth of clothing. Did they even understand what the idea of body modesty was? “Oh never mind.” If they were like this, it was probably fine if Calvin was too. Besides, at his current age, and the whole catboy thing, it’s not like anyone he knew could recognize him.
“Then everything is set up.” Calex beamed. “Let the game begin!” With that both of the other two catboys took off. They dropped down onto all fours as they ran, as if they were normal cats.
“Can I…” Calvin tried to run, and as he did he dropped to all fours just like them. It seemed his catboy form could walk on two legs or run on all fours. Now that he was moving, the energy that had built up inside him since he returned to childhood was released. Calex tried to avoid him by quickly clawing his way up a tree. Calvin wasted no time in climbing up after him and tagging his ankle. Then, without even thinking, Calvin jumped from the tree. He landed on two feet unharmed, perfectly balanced.
This catboy body… It was young, energetic, and really acrobatic. He could get used to this.
He looked around, Calex was chasing Zeelo at the moment, but any moment one of them could be after him. He’d better put some distance between him and them. But there was that one block limit. Needed to be careful not to put too much distance that he left himself cornered without running out of bounds.
Wasn’t there something else he should be doing though? Oh right. The whole lost thing. Well, he definitely wasn’t in his neighborhood. He wasn’t even sure he was in the same world anymore. But… He thought he liked this neighborhood more. Maybe after the game he could find out if there was a place in it for one more catboy to live.