Misunderstandings and Mishaps (by Feneris)
(AN: A short story exploring the many mishaps and unintentional blunders that helped Hank reach his current understanding of the various supernatural beings that make up Portland’s supernatural community. Story came about when I was watching a documentary on elephant seals, and was struck by the idea of two male selkies beating each other outside a restaurant while their partners stand outside muttering “Goddamnit, this is why we can’t do nice things.”) I may crosspost this on my AO3 account on a latter date, but for now, enjoy.)
“I am so sorry this happened.” Hank muttered, a grimace on his face as he watched the scene play out in front of them. “I really should have known better.”
“It’s alright,” Cathy assured him. “You aren’t the one of the ones brawling in the street.”
“Besides,” Merrie added, adjusting her sealskin coat. “We really should have told you a long time ago, before something like this could happen.”
Hank was cut off as Rodger let out a loud bellow, and charged down the sidewalk, swinging a street sign, only to be cut off as Gerome nailed his across the face with a car door.
“It’s like watching sumo wrestling,” Vivi muttered, staring agape at the scene before her.
That is, if sumo wrestlers wore sealskin coats, and beat each other with sledgehammers.
Hank had known for a while that there were different kinds of selkies. Merrie and Cathy for example were elephant seal selkies. While the most obvious differences between the different types were the nature of their seal skins, other traits often carried over as well.
This had been all too apparent when Hank had met Merrie and Cathy’s respective husbands, Rodger and Gerome. While the two women were of roughly average high and weight, their husbands were both eight feet tall and easily weighed over six hundred pounds each.
It had however, never occurred to Hank that the two men might have other traits in common with their more mundane brethren. There were signs. While the two men were friendly, if a bit gruff and prone to bragging, they had never once shown up at the same Dinner Crew gathering together. Merrie and Cathy showed up together all the time, but not their husbands.
Too be fair, Hank had noticed this somewhere in the back of his mind. However, since either Merrie or Cathy always had an explanation for their husband’s absence, he had never registered it as anything more than a mere coincidence.
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Hank realized that he had never seen the two men together ever. Not even when he had observed some of the larger gatherings of the Selkie community in Oregon. He had also noticed that the two selkie women were constantly coordinating with each other. But at the time he had thought it was merely because the two were close friends, not because there was a purpose behind it.
Therefore, no warning flags had even ghosted across his mind when he had invited both Merrie’s and Cathy’s families out to dinner at a new seafood restaurant that had opened on the waterfront.
For whatever reason, both families had been unaware the other had been invited.
Rodger had just pulled out a chair for Merrie to sit down, when Gerome and Cathy walked into the restaurant. Both men froze the moment they saw each other. Before Hank could ever register what had happened, they had begun shouting accusations at each other that ranged from the deadly serious to the absolutely absurd. Then fists had started flying, and before anyone could blink there was a huge hole in the window and broken glass everywhere. Meanwhile, Gerome had torn the door off his car, and Roger had ripped the stop sign out of the sidewalk.
“Mom, is that going to be me someday?” Merrie’s wide-eyed, four year old son said, as a tooth went skipping across the pavement.
“God I hope not,” Merrie muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose.
Both men had discarded their weapons, having beat both the sign and the car door into a mangled mess on each other’s skull, and were now going at it with their bare hands. Blood was pouring down their fronts from their smashed noses, yet they were still bellowing insults and slurs at each other at the top of their lungs.
“So, are we just going to sit here till one of them beats the other unconscious?” Vivi finally asked.
“Might take a while,” Cathy muttered. “Remember when Gerome was on that construction job and had that steel girder fall on his head?”
“Barely even stunned him,” Merrie answered. “It’s just like when Roger was hit by that logging truck in Washington.”
“Truck came out of that in worse shape than him,” Cathy finished. “Don’t worry,” she added, seeing Hank and Vivi’s face. “We have a contingency plan in place in case this ever happens.” She pulled a dart pistol out of her purse. “You got the elephant tranqs?”
“Quadruple dose,” Merrie replied, producing a handful of dart from her own bag.