It was on a humid July day when I went down to the store to be fitted for a suit. My cousin’s wedding was in two weeks and it had been…it had probably been a good ten years since I had last been fitted for a suit.
They place that they had down by the mall, The Perfect Tux, was a quant little shop situated in an outlet near the actual building. Although I had never set a foot in the place myself I had heard good news all around from friends and acquaintances. Besides, the only other shop in the area was out in Birch Run and that was a good half hour drive from my house. Gas was expensive enough as it was.
I drove my red Saturn into a space not too far from the entrance. Usually I would park farther away for the exercise but today was just too hot. I even had the air conditioner on in the car.
As soon as I stepped out the sun beat down upon me like a heavy rain and I knew that if I would have stayed outside longer I would begin to sweat standing in place. Luckily the cool air of the store hit my face pleasantly before I had made it even five feet. Instantly the heat outside was swept away and I breathed in the relaxing air.
“Can I help you sir?” a mousey looking woman asked me.
Except for her large body she was small in every way. Her hands could have been from a child’s, her shoes couldn’t have been more than a size seven, and even her eyes were diminutive and beady. But none of it was revolting or grotesque. Somehow all of the features blended together into something astute and amicable.
“Yes, I would like to be fitted and I’m also looking for a suit to wear to my cousin’s wedding.”
“Oh congratulations,” she said as if she hadn’t already a dozen times. I wondered how she wasn’t bored by saying that over and over again.
She led me further into the store into the back where there were two fitting rooms and a rack over which a fancy black tie was draped. I waited patiently while she went to get a measurer and whatever else she needed. A particular suit tucked in one of the dressing rooms caught my eye.
The suit as a whole wasn’t anything special; it was one of your regular run of the mill things you could get anywhere. But the color and pattern of the thing was somehow engaging. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what the color of it was. While it was mostly black it had a hint of blue blended in it making it not navy, but something else entirely. I decided that it was a blueberry color. Then I moved onto the pattern. It was hard to discern the marking from so far away but the design was easily exquisite. Intricate little swirls curved here and there followed by zigzagging lines and obscure shapes. I examined the thing closer. Was there something moving on it? I looked closer.
“Sorry about that.” The woman burst into the room, startling me almost enough to jump.
I composed myself and realized that I had gone a good two yards from my previous position, closer to the dressing room.
Immediately she began measuring my build. First she placed the measuring tape around my chest and mumbled a number to herself. She scribbled the figure onto a sheet of paper in her pocket and set to work on the rest of my proportions. All the while I made the effort not to even think about the suit. Eventually I resolved myself to trying it on for the heck of it. The thing probably wouldn’t look too great but I might as well.
When she was done she nodded. “I have the measuring done. Now is there anything in particular you’re thinking of to wear?” she asked.
I managed to glance at her nametag before I answered. “Just if you have a normal black suit and then anything else you think that might look good on me. Thanks Janine.”
She nodded again and left the room to get a few suits. Meanwhile I found my mind wandering back to that blueberry suit. That was such an intricate pattern printed on there. I wonder who had designed it. The thing was probably a fortune-which I did not have.
Janine came back into the room with three suits draped over her right arm. Slowly she handed me the suits and when I had them she motioned towards the dressing rooms.
“Just call me when you’re done,” she offered.
I smiled and entered the room where the suit was. Unconsciously I attempted to hang the other suits against the door but two of them fell. Automatically I knew that I had to try this one on first. Had to try it on first. Had to try it on first.
In an almost feverish intensity I stripped my clothes off and snatched the pants from their place on the scratched maroon bench. When I pulled them up to my waist a tingling sensation went through my body. It was chilling and addicting at the same time. I buttoned the pants and went to grab the white shirt.
What was that feeling?
The pants had a tight constricting feeling not just around my legs but around my entire lower body as well. It felt like they were pushing me, compressing me with a barely noticeable amount of pressure. They would probably have to be enlarged along the waistline. I could have sworn I wasn’t that fat.
Next was the white shirt. The texture was silky smooth and inviting and its very appearance was that of grandeur. This was a shirt that would look intimidating next to a millionaire or renowned celebrity. I put the shirt in front of the mirror, admiring the way it seemed to shape itself to my body. Somehow the shirt was a perfect fit.
I gasped out loud.
My lungs didn’t have any air in them! I pulled the shirt away from my body a bit and concentrated on breathing. Slowly the sensation of suffocation went away. What was going on here? I didn’t have asthma or anything and I was only trying on a suit. Right now it felt like I couldn’t even pick out my own suit.
Last were the tie and suit coat lying magnificently alone on the bench. They knew they were the most important items and I happily agreed with them. Both had the delectable pattern stitched onto the fabric etched this way and that. I decided to put the tie on first and then examine the suit coat up close. I lifted up the collar of my shirt and meticulously flopped the tie around in a sloppy knot. Usually someone else did my tie and it wasn’t like I was going to the wedding today.
The tie fit me perfectly. Even with my poor tying it hung down just above the waistline. It had the perfect width, perfect length, color, everything. Not matter what the cost of this suit was, I decided, I would buy it.
And now for the suit coat. I picked it up as if I was handling my own nephew and gingerly slid my right hand through its sleeve. Immediately it was comforting so I slid my left hand through the other sleeve. With a shrug the coat slid up to my shoulders and I saw that it fit me perfectly as well. The only other thing I could think of was the pattern.
Using the mirror I leaned in for a closer look.
Indeed there was something more to this miscellaneous structure of lines and shapes than I thought. If I looked closely enough I could see more complex figures in there. One of them appeared to be moving. I leaned in closer and squinted at the miniscule thing.
Yes, there was something moving and if I peered even closer I could see others moving about in the pattern. There was a strange kind of life bustling around on my coat but I couldn’t quite make out much more than that. Eagerly I leaned forward more so that my nose was almost touching the glass of the mirror. Excitedly I examined the figures to see what they were doing.
Then with a horror I realized what they were doing. With horror I saw their true faces as they turned and looked back at me through the mirror. I gaped with an open mouth at them, hoping they wouldn’t come for me. I reached for my tie.
I tugged on the tie but it wouldn’t come off and instead it only pulled itself tighter around my neck. Feebly I attempted to remove the suit coat and instead it only pulled itself closer to my body. My white shirt embedded itself in my skin and my pants shrunk to fit the shape of my legs and then squeezed.
Suddenly I began gasping for air as my lungs lost the ability to take in oxygen. My fingers tucked at any part of the suit that would come off but nothing budged. With increasing horror I stared at the figures moving around as macabre creations. Now I could see clearly what they were doing and all I wanted them to do was stop. Dimly I tried to call out but my voice was completely gone.
My knees hit the floor allowing me to utter a low gasp. Then I felt myself lose consciousness as I struggled to breathe. My last thought was a hope that they wouldn’t come to get me while I was in the room. The things they would do to me.