A large audience gathered in front of a fairly impressive stage. At last, the lights began to dim and a spotlight shone at the top of the stage.
The light followed a 3-foot simian with shaggy, brown fur wearing an unbuttoned lab coat as he swooped down on a rope holding a sandbag. He was grasping it with a long, prehensile tail. The crowd cheered loudly.
``Thank you, thank you. No really, thank you,'' said the monkey, waving back. He landed on stage and pulled the rope twice for it to be sent back up.
``Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,'' he announced as the cheers died down, ``and welcome to tonight's tap dancing finals!'' The crowd cheered again and Jam raised his hand for silence. ``And now,'' he said, ``without further ado, our first contestant: Liam!'' He gestured to the middle of the stage but nothing happened. The monkey coughed, ``Ahem, Liam!''
From behind the curtain, someone pushed a non-anthro llama with white fur on to the stage. He stared out into the audience with a blank expression and glazed-over eyes. He looked depressed. Suddenly, he snored and the audience stared at each other in bewilderment.
``LIAM!'' Jam shouted through a random megaphone.
The llama snapped out of it. ``Huh, what?'' He looked out to the audience. ``Oh, yes! Hello.'' The audience was still confused but still gave him a welcome. He bowed his long neck, gracefully before moving off to the side.
``And now,'' exclaimed Jam, ``please welcome our next contestant, Oliver!''
An anthro shiba inu wearing a red tee-shirt and black athletic pants shuffled nervously onto the stage, as the audience welcomed him. He waved nervously, unable to form a word. He began to sweat, his pupils shrank and, still waving, he fainted, falling right on his back.
The audience burst into laughter. Jam laughed along with them though he did glance to the canine to see if he looked alright.
Out of nowhere, a smoke cloud erupted around Oliver. The audience's amusement turned to intrigue. As the smoke disappeared, in Oliver's place stood a confident fox in a black robe.
``Well, it seems I was mistaken,'' Jam announced with mock-surprise, ``It seems our second contestant is Vulpineck, instead!''
The audience cheered again and Vulpineck and Liam eyed each other up and down.
The fox spoke first, ``No shoes.''
``Of course not!'' said Liam proudly, ``Who needs shoes...'' He did a quick yet intricate dance with his four legs. ``...when you got these hooves?''
The audience was impressed. Vulpineck just stared. ``That sounded better in your head, didn't it?'' he asked.
``Well... yes,'' Liam admitted.
``You may have gotten this far but your fancy hooves...'' Vulpineck too preformed a quick dance. His legs flailed impressively while everything from the waist up hardly moved at all. ``...are clearly outmatched.'' Once again, the audience was impressed. Liam rolled his eyes with a smirk.
``Anyway, are the contests ready?'' asked Jam. The llama and fox both nodded. ``Well, that's too bad,'' Everyone stopped and looked at the simian, ``because you forgot this!'' He pulled out a small ray gun.
Some were nervous, some were intrigued and others that knew of Jam weren't surprised at all. Liam and Vulpineck stared at the device, unsure of what to think.
``I'm not crazy, right?'' said Vulpineck, ``This wasn't in the contract.''
``You signed a contract?'' Liam asked.
Before the fox could reply, Jam zapped both contestants. Immediately, their legs (specifically, the hind legs for Liam) went numb. Miraculously staying up right, their legs turned to shapeless blobs before reforming. When the feeling finally returned, Vulpineck now had Liam's hind legs and Liam's hind legs were replaced with Vulpineck's. Both just stared at each other while they tried to comprehend what had just happened (and keep themselves from falling over).
``Now let's see how you'll do with the other's skills,'' finished Jam, simply. The audience oohed and ahhed. Tap dancing was all well and good but things were now much more interesting. Jam sat back, eager to watch.
Both contestants were still speechless. Liam gestured for Vulpineck to go first. Secretly, he wanted the extra time to get used to his new legs.
The fox awkwardly moved to center-stage. ``Um, right...'' he said as the music started up. He tapped his hoof lightly. Usually, he had no trouble moving his legs individually from his body but now, with these new legs, he found himself jerking his body just to stay upright. Jam and the audience laughed.
Eventually, Vulpineck got used to his new legs. While still needing his body for balance, he was getting into the groove. He even tried to incorporate his jerking body into the routine. It was improvised (Very improvised!) but he was pulling it off with mild success. The laughs began to subside as everyone became entranced.
Vulpineck grew more and more confidante and began to move around the stage. One thing he never thought about was how powerful his hooves were. He hit a particularly weak spot on the stage and fell right through! The music stopped abruptly and everyone stared. The fox was stuck with his upper half sticking out of the stage floor. He tried to push himself up but with little success.
``Alright, then!'' exclaimed Jam, clapping his hands, ``thank you, Vulpineck!'' The audience joined in the applause as the fox smiled awkwardly. ``Liam, if you'll please,'' the monkey continued, gesturing the stage.
Liam made his way around Vulpineck and to the middle of the stage. He had gotten used to his new legs enough to keep his balance but he couldn't move very fast.
He looked out into the audience and took a deep breath as the music started. He tried to move his legs and suddenly, his fox legs just took off. They moved in all sorts of directions, as if they had a mind of their own. He tried to keep up with his fore legs but it was no use. No one knew exactly what to make of it. Then Liam lost control of legs completely; they moved him all around the stage, just barely avoiding Vulpineck. Liam couldn't stop himself and got himself tangled in the ropes of the curtain's pully system. The ropes did stop him but not before the whole pully system was pulled down, practically destroying the whole stage. The audience all ran from the scene, screaming.
For the first time that night, Jam was speechless. When at last he found his voice, all he could say was, ``Uh... oops.''
Liam became untangled when the whole thing came down. He came up to Vulpineck and pulled him out of the hole with his teeth.
``Thanks,'' said the fox. For a while, they didn't say anything and just watched the chaos around them.
At last, Liam casually asked, ``You wanna get a coffee or something?''
``Yeah, sure,'' Vulpineck replied. ``But first...'' Liam blinked and suddenly Vulpineck was standing right next to him, holding Jam's ray gun. He zapped both of their legs and they were back to normal.
Liam's jaw dropped. ``What? How? You? Why?''
``Oh well...'' said Vulpineck as a smoke screen formed around him. When it disappeared, he had turned back to Oliver. ``...it's a fox thing,'' he finished.
As the shiba inu and llama walked off, Liam smirked. ``That sounded better in your head, didn't it?''
Oliver nudged him with his elbow. ``S-shut up!''
``Hey,'' Jam suddenly exclaimed, ``Where did my ray gun go?''
The duo stopped. Oliver realized he still had it in his hand. A knowing smirk crossed his and Liam's faces.
``You see, I could drink this without any hands,'' said Liam, taking a sip coffee, ``but there's something so satisfying to me about holding it.''
``I don't know,'' said Oliver, ``Should I have more guilt for what we did to Jam than I do?''
``Why? We'll give it back to him. Besides, he can still function.''
At that moment, Jam himself walked into the coffee shop. He was missing his torso and was essentially a walking head with a tail. He went up to the counter. ``I'll have a coffee, please,'' he said casually.
The cashier was taken aback. ``Uhh... sure.''
She placed the cup on the counter and using his tail, Jam carried over to a vacant table while a certain shiba inu and llama-taur watched the whole transaction.