The Sound and the Fur(r)y Part 2: What the Hell Happens on the Third Floor?
Because Hayley had had the foresight to prepare for this mission with the appropriate amount of subterfuge in the form of her furry-esque attire and mask, she cautioned me against pursuing our mission in the absence of anything even remotely furry in appearance.
“You don’t head into the jungles of Vietnam wearing a pink leisure suit unless you want to be the first one shot,” she said. “No, you smear camouflage paint on your face and don fatigues. These furries can smell an impostor. Wear this,” she said, and handed me a headband with small leather cat ears and a small tuft of fur in the middle. It was exactly what a woman would wear on Halloween as part of her slutty Cat Woman outfit, and I was reluctant to ingratiate myself to a convention center populated with mostly grown men dressed as stuffed animals, but Hayley was right: Desperate times call for desperate measures, and there was no telling how they might react to an outsider in their midst on what amounted to their holiest of days.
With no better options, I placed the headband on my head and kept it there for the duration of our mission together. As Hayley had foretold, it suitably cloaked my civilian appearance so that our subjects regarded me as one of their own.
Our glasses now emptied, we headed toward the elevators. Because no badges or passkeys were needed to access the elevators or pass between floors, our mission seemed disappointingly, though deceptively easy.
We boarded the elevator with a six-and-a-half-foot tall mouse who gave us a scrutinizing, accusatory look. At least, I imagined that it was a scrutinizing, accusatory look. It’s difficult to say with any certainty exactly what sort of look a face frozen into an unnatural state of enthusiasm may be directing toward you, but when a six-foot-plus tall mouse looks your way for any measure of time in a crowded elevator, you begin to feel uneasy.
When we disembarked at the third floor, we were greeted with a surprising stillness. Turning to our left, we saw a row of conference rooms, and we approached them with cautious anticipation, hoping to find untold debaucheries just beyond their doors.
In the first room we found only a shabbily dressed speaker standing at a podium and addressing a small and relatively disinterested audience that sat scattered among uncomfortable hotel conference room chairs. We found a similar scene in each of the other three conference rooms, and it was difficult to conceal our disappointment.
“This feels more like an Alcoholics Anonymous conference than it does my idea of a furry convention,” Hayley remarked, mostly to herself.
“Maybe it’s too early to tell?” I said. “Maybe the speakers at the podiums are pantsless?”
Hayley stopped three young men walking from one of the rooms in the direction of the elevators and asked them where the excitement was. They looked startled and confused at her approach, and it was then that I realized just how invaluable Hayley would prove to this mission, not only because she spoke with anyone and everyone as though they were longtime friends reuniting in the lobby of a Denny’s at 3 a.m. but also because male furry enthusiasts were not the most accustomed of populations to speaking with attractive women.
Hayley might just as well have been a visiting Martian for all of their familiarity with her kind, and her tits alone would prove better than any amount of Sodium Pentothol in securing answers along our journey. I myself would willingly have told her my social security number and mother’s maiden name if she’d only had occasion to ask.
As though in a sort of daze, the young men told us of raves and parties and dance competitions in the conference center, all while trying and ultimately failing to avoid eye contact with Hayley’s chest. With their information fresh in our minds, we abandoned the third floor banality for the more promising excitement of the Conference Center.