This is really the first draft of something that’s rather in the vein of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Chivalry’, if not nearly so good. Expect revisions pretty soon



Mink, both white and dark.

I don’t dare to look any closer at the labels than that; I don’t want to think how much these coats cost, in more ways than one.

“I’m sorry, little guys.” I can’t help it, it slips out and I hope the terrifying sales assistant looming near the fur section didn’t hear. “I’m so sorry,” I say to a chinchilla coat, under my breath this time.

There’s one sort of waistcoat thing that definitely stands out from the rest. I read the label in fascinated horror: shaved dyed beaver fur. I actually get up the courage to touch this one. I thought there couldn’t be anything softer than chinchilla fur. I was mistaken.

“I’m sorry, little guy,” I say. “Bad enough that you had to die for this, without getting shaved and dyed green as well.” It could be a worse shade, admittedly.

There’s another coat near the back that stands out from the dark colours around it, catching my eye. I pull it out to find it’s not so much a coat as a cape, made from oh so soft and curly fleece. It looks like Karakul pelt, the sort they kill newborn and even fetal lambs to get, but I don’t drop it at once because Karakul wool is black and this is deep yellow, almost gold.

I wonder briefly if this could be dyed as well – I’m pretty sure there’s no breed of sheep in the world that produces a fleece this colour naturally – but I do think this is truly the real thing, no dyes involved.

Right, then.

The sales assistant gives me an odd look as I make to leave the fur department, probably wondering why someone like me would even be in there in the first place. Her face goes white as she sees that I’m clutching the golden fleece, the pelt of the winged ram that became the constellation Aries, which had hung upon an oak tree in the land of Colchis until Jason and the Argonauts came to claim it, and which has somehow wound up in the fur department of Macy’s New York branch.

The assistant’s nostrils flare and she has very thin lips, almost non-existent, and tawny eyes that look almost gold as well and which don’t seem to blink. I recall that back in the day there was a dragon guarding the golden fleece as well.

This is going to be tricky.


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