Jackfic Fiction Archive Story

 

A Dog and His Anthropologist

by Charli Booker


 

*****

 

“The tail is a nice touch.”  Daniel grinned.  “Very . . . manly.”

 

“Really?  I’m not sure.”  Jack twisted, trying to look over his shoulder, but succeeding only in turning in a circle, his thin, whip-like tail slapping Daniel on the shin before knocking a book off the coffee table.  With an apologetic shrug, Jack looked at Daniel.  “Ya think?”

 

Daniel grimaced, trying not to laugh.  “Yeah, it definitely works for me.”

 

“So,” Jack put the book back on the coffee table, knocking an empty soda can off the end table in the process, “what’s with the shorts and the knee socks?  And the,” he frowned, pointing at Daniel’s upper lip, “the magic-marker mustache thingy?”

 

“I’m Louis Leakey.”

 

“They’ve got medicine to help with that, you know.”

 

“No.  Jack, Louis Leakey was a famous anthropologist.  He lived and worked in Africa.”  At Jack’s blank stare, Daniel continued, “He was responsible for discovering Homo Habilis in the 1960s.”

 

“I discovered something in the ‘60s, too.”

 

“Well sorry, Jack, but I was all out of tie-dyed t-shirts and home-rolled ‘herbal’ cigarettes.”

 

Jack chuckled softly.  “And yet you have knee socks.”

 

“Shouldn’t we be going?  Sam’s party started ten minutes ago.”

 

“Fine, fine.  Whatever.  But if Siler shows up wearing the same outfit as last year, I’m outta there.”

 

They stepped into the hallway, and Daniel locked his apartment door.  “What was wrong with his costume last year?”

 

“You don’t remember Elvis?”

 

“Yeah.  So?”

 

“And he kept grinding his hips and asking if anyone had seen his big wrench?”

 

“Hmmm.”

 

The elevator doors slid open and they stepped inside.  Jack pressed the ground floor button.  “Hmmm, what?”

 

“I don’t remember the big wrench part.”

 

“Lucky you.”

 

“Well, not to worry.  I heard him talking yesterday, and he said he was having trouble choosing between Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody.”

 

Jack squinted, deep in thought.  “Tough call.  Both subtle, yet each uniquely apropos.”

 

“Speaking of subtle . . .” Daniel studied his friend’s black leather jacket and tight, black t-shirt.  Black jeans and black, insulated Wolverine boots completed the ensemble.

 

Jack opened his mouth to speak when the elevator stopped and a young woman stepped in.  She looked at them, smiling softly.  Jack nodded and grinned.  “Ma’am.”

 

“Hi.”  The woman’s smile faded as she stared down at Jack’s crotch, a slight frown suddenly puckering her forehead. “Um, sir, you have a - um . . .”

 

Jack glanced down at himself.  “Oh!”  He grabbed the offending protuberance which was trapped between his thighs and pointing up at his female companion.  “Sorry.”  He pushed the tail back between his legs and pulled it to the side, holding it in one hand.  “That thing’s always getting in the way and causing me trouble.”

 

She laughed softly.  “I’m sure.”  Still grinning, she stared over at Daniel.

 

When Daniel remained silent, Jack cleared his throat.  “Daniel’s Leakey.”

 

“Oh!”  The woman’s eyes widened and she blushed.  “I’m - I’m . . .”  She turned to face the front of the elevator, obviously praying the doors would open and release her.  Either that, or that the car would plummet, putting them all out of their misery.  Daniel glared at Jack, who shrugged his shoulders.  When the doors slid open with an anticlimactic, pneumatic hiss, the woman stepped out and hurried down the hallway.  The men slowly followed.

 

“Gee, Jack.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.”

 

“What?  What’d I do?”

 

“Daniel’s Leakey?”

 

“Hey,” Jack opened the door to the underground garage, “you’re the one with the stained upper lip, my friend.”

 

“Big talk for a man walking around with his tail tucked between his legs.”

 

Jack laughed.  “That’s funny.  But, you know, it still beats knee socks.”

 

“Who or what the hell are you supposed to be anyway, Jack?  ‘James Dean Got Some Tail.’”

 

Jack’s eyes widened.  “Oh, I like that.  I hadn’t thought of that.”

 

“Well?”

 

“I’m Anubis, you idiot.  What, are you dense?”

 

“Anubis wears a cape.”

 

“I ain’t wearing no cape,” Jack declared, punctuating his sentence with a finger pointing in Daniel’s direction.

 

“Okay, then why the tail?”

 

“You said Anubis was a black dog, right?”

 

“A jackal,” Daniel corrected.

 

“Same thing.  So. . .”  Jack grabbed his long appendage, holding it up and displaying it proudly.

 

Daniel shook his head and wished he’d worn a longer coat.  His knees were freezing.  “I heard Hammond is dressing up like King Richard.”

 

“Again?  He did that last year.”  Jack unlocked his truck.  “Did you hear about Carter and Doc?”

 

“No.”  Daniel climbed into the passenger seat, snapping his seat belt in place as he watched Jack carefully arrange his tail on the seat between them.  “What about them?”

 

“Two words, Daniel:  Xena and Gabrielle.”

 

“Really?  Which is which?”

 

Jack turned the key in the ignition and looked over at Daniel.  “Does it really matter?”

 

He didn’t have to debate it.  “No.”

 

The truck roared to life.  Jack slipped the vehicle into reverse, then sat there - his foot on the brake, staring out the windshield at the drab concrete wall.

 

Daniel frowned.  “What?  What’s wrong?”

 

“I don’t know.”  Jack scrubbed a thumb across the dash, then picked up his tail and used the limp, fluffy tip of it to brush away an unseen fleck of dust.  “Teal’c’s coming as Shrek.”

 

“So?  I thought you liked Shrek.”

 

“I do.  It’s just . . . Teal’c in tights?”  Jack shrugged, gently beating his fuzzy appendage lightly against the steering wheel.  Suddenly, he smiled and glanced over at Daniel.  “When I was a kid, at Halloween, we had a neighbor who would chain his Rottweiler to the front porch.  Then, he turned on a tape recording of people screaming and a dog growling, and him and his wife would dress up in these gory outfits.  You know, arms missing, blood everywhere.  You had to want candy real bad to go there.”

 

“So, did you?”

 

“Of course, I did.”

 

Daniel smiled.  “Of course, you did.”

 

“Charlie would have loved it.”

 

Caught in the act of scratching his icy kneecap, Daniel froze and frowned over at his friend.  Jack had resumed staring out the windshield.  Not knowing what to say, Daniel said nothing.

 

Finally, the truck idling smoothly, comfortingly, around them, Jack casually tossed his tail back onto the seat.  “So . . . Hammond and Teal’c in tights, huh?”

 

“Yeah, but don’t forget Xena and Gabrielle,” Daniel grinned.

 

Jack smirked, backing the truck out of the parking spot.  “Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess.”

 

“Um, I thought it was the other way around, Jack.  The bad with the good.”

 

“Is it?”  Jack slipped the truck into first gear.

 

Daniel frowned in thought.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I’m pretty sur–”

 

“Hang onto your shorts, Leakey,” Jack laughed, and punched the accelerator.

 

<fin>