Brad thought to enter a men’s wear shop. Sporting shirts and shorts stood in the display window. He only needed light wear for the physical exertions of the day. Teyata had taught him to endure the cold of night by dousing him down in water.
“Ah, here,” said Teyata, tearing in another direction.
She led Brad into a theatrical costume shop. Brad cringed as she batted at a stand of body hugging unitards.
“These are good,” said Teyata.
Brad could only imagine she had no sense of fashion.
“How about I get something from the other shop?” he said.
“No! You don’t understand. You have to wear something with bright colours. Bright colours indicate danger to other animals. It’ll make them more wary of you.”
Brad nodded. That made perfect sense to him. Even in the old world, colourful snakes, spiders, and fish were usually the deadliest. He began to flip through the selection, green, yellow, orange; variations too with stripes or chevrons. These reminded him of long distance cyclists. His flipping stopped at the second unitard from the end; crimson with flames spreading across the upper half. He took it off the rack and held it up to his chin in front of the display mirror.
Teyata’s head appeared over his shoulder.
“That’s good,” she said. “I’m scared of fire. Put it on.”
Brad glanced at Teyata to see if she would respect his privacy, already knowing she wouldn’t move. He divested himself of his harness and current clothes and slipped on the unitard. It didn’t look nearly as bad as he thought. The colour suited him and the flames spanning from the centre of his chest made it appear even broader. His crotch gave off a bulge to his embarrassment, which he quickly remedied by slipping on a pair of black briefs. Studying his reflection in the mirror, he realised he had only made a semi transformation. His feet remained exposed, almost all the way to his knees as did his hands, inches from his wrists.
“I’ve got to cover my hands and feet,” he muttered just loud enough for Teyata to hear.
He looked at the shelves displaying rows of period costume gloves. Nothing seemed long enough to cover his bare wrists.
“How about these?” suggested Teyata.
She pointed at a display mannequin wearing pirate attire. It’s garish leather gauntlets flared at the wrists, making them suitable. Brad felt relieved that he had to look no further for boots. The mannequin’s footwear ended almost at the knees with the tops overturned to produce a flanged look, matching the gauntlets.
“They’ll do,” Brad blurted.
He knocked the mannequin over and tugged the gaunlets and boots free. Sitting back on the floor, he slipped the pirate clothing on, then re-buckled his harness, before looking in the mirror. The black extremities against the red unitard made him look like a figure of legend. He lowered the goggles from his head over his eyes, appraising the final product. It lacked something; his face and hair remained exposed, making him still appear all too human. He feared only a total transformation could spell the difference between life and death.
“I need a balaclava, or a mask, or something,” he said.
“Something to wear over my head; preferably black.”