|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
Oh, let me be ...
John groaned at Katie's long-practiced request. "Katie, you're supposed to be in bed ... "
"I know, but I wanna be held."
He shook his head as he looked down at his four-year-old tormentor ... and smiled. He never could refuse her when she wanted him to pick her up, and she knew it. "All right ... but when your parents come home ... "
"I go to bed."
"Right." He simply adored that gap-toothed smile. So far, she hadn't lost her front incisors, so she didn't lisp. But she was cute. Bending over with a grunt, he lifted the blonde-haired tyke and sat down, placing her atop the large, soft gut that had made him a substitute Santa the previous year. Well, that and the long beard ... brown instead of the traditional white ... that Katie's hand was tangling in even as he settled her atop his natural cushion. "Is this better?"
"Mm-hm ... "
"Would you like a story?"
"Okay ... this is the story of Snow White and Rose Red ... "
And before he'd even finished up the second appearance of the dwarf, she was fast asleep, one hand on her mouth, one in his beard, as she rested quietly atop his bay window. Quietly, he lifted her up and tucked her safely into bed. Then, his job over for the night ... hopefully ... he sat back in the easy chair to wait for her parents to get home.
And thanked the Lord for the job.
Oh, his job at the garage payed well enough. But nobody wants to crawl under a couple of tons of steel every day for the rest of your life ... especially when those same tons might come crashing down on top of you. No, he really needed a better job.
But what? He looked himself over in the glass doors of the china cabinet across from him. The untidy brown beard spilling over his chest ... that he could get rid of. He grabbed his long hair where it streamed down his back and pulled the long hank in front of him. That he could get rid of. He looked down at his gut ...
That was another story. For as long as he'd been alive, he'd wanted to look like one of those calendar guys, the ones you saw on the covers of the magazines. Unforrtunately, three gyms, five diets, and a health club later, he was still a walking "Before" picture. Nothing over the age of ten would give him the time of day unless she was into bikers, good-ol' boys, or feeders. And since he wasn't into leather, plaid, or wearing a muu-muu because he couldn't fit into anything else ... And most employers seemed to think the same way. Give a man a mustache ... no problem. Give a man a beard, especially a long one, and they subtracted 20 points from his IQ. Long hair meant another 20 gone, and being fat ... not only did they treat you like an idiot, they treated you like a sick idiot. If Katie's father hadn't been willing to talk to the guy who fixed his car, he'd never have become a baby-sitter.
Finally, he sighed and sat back, crossing his arms over his gut. No use crying over things you couldn't change.
About then, he noticed the envelope with his name on it sitting on the side table. Curious, he opened it andf took out the sheet of paper inside.
Dear John, As you may have heard from Katie, I'll be traveling a lot these next few months. Since I'll be gone for weeks at a time, I'm going to need a constant companion for Katie. And, since you have proven to be the best of all the sitters we've had, I think that companion should be you.
John was stunned ... but not as stunned as he was by what came next.
Now, since Katie will need someone there at all possible times, I will, of course, be paying you considerably more than I have been. I believe in a fair wage for a good worker. I believe the fair wage to be ... let us say four times your wage scale at the garage. I know this may seem a great deal of money ... but I feel that your quality of service merits it.
A low whistle escaped his lips as he worked the math. With that kind of money, a few weeks at a time ... he could open his own place! He read on:
If you wish to accept the offer, please sign the contract enclosed with this letter. I do caution you, however, to read it thoroughly. I do not wish to be accused of double- dealing, now or ever. And, just so that you shall not worry yourself over it, I have already made arrangements with your superiors to allow you the necessary time away. Also, all cooking, cleaning, and other household chores have already been contracted for. This should leave you with ample time to spend with Katie.
John frowned at that. With all of that taken care of, what was he supposed to do? He couldn't just sit around all day eating, sleeping, and watching Katie. He'd go nuts from boredom ... not to mention put on extra pounds he didn't need. Then he read the last paragraph:
Your entire purpose is to spend time with Katie from the moment she arrives home until the moment she leaves for school in the morning. All other tasks and duties shall and will be taken care of by others. It is my desire that you accept this offer, as it would leave me little time to break in a new sitter if you do not. Please consider it.
John shrugged. Well, he could always bring in a book or a few magazines ... maybe his old copies of Final Frontier. At least that'd give him something to do with his time. He turned to the contract. It was all in fine print, so he couldn't make it all out really well. Still, it had all the usual stuff ... including an appearance clause, concerning the way he looked. Nothing fancy, it just said that his "employer" could order him to change his appearance whenever he felt like it. And, since he hadn't complained so far ...
Coming to the X at the bottom, he quickly scribbled his name, then refolded the paper and set it on the table next to the envelope. Then he just sat back and recrossed his arms over his gut and ...
He frowned. Something felt wrong. Looking down, he noticed what it was. Where his arms crossed, they were straining, harder than before, against the curve of his belly. Growing uncomfortable, he uncrossed and then recrossed his arms.
Or tried to. Suddenly, his arms met at the wrist. Then the fingertips, straining to reach across the seemingly growing expanse of paunch between them. He shook his head and reached for the bridge of his nose.
Something hard and cold slammed into his hand with a strange softness. Looking down at his hand, he saw a dent where the whatever-it-was had hit. Looking around, he saw nothing. Then he checked the reflection in the china cabinet.
As he watched, his beard seemed to crawl up his face, the bushiness below his chin disappearing to be replaced with a wave of hair that successively swallowed his cheeks and eyes. And his nose ... his nose was long, with what looked to be a black knob at the end. His arms, meanwhile, seemed to be shrinking rapidly, while growing rounder and plumper.
Suddenly, he felt his shirt leave his pants. Looking down, he saw his belly sticking out where the shirt rode up ... or was it his belly? There, revealed by the gap, was a great curve of brown fur. Shaking his head with an oddly unbalanced sensation, he tried to get up from the chair and walk around, hoping to clear his thoughts. Yet somehow, his oddly shrunken arms lacked the strength to lift him from the cushion. As he rocked himself in an effort to work himself free, he saw his legs stretch the seams on his jeans to their fullest, even as his feet came into ... sight? The two brown cylinders he saw didn't look like his feet ... but then, the two cylinders reaching out in front of him, growing less responsive by the minute, didn't look like his arms, either.
His last, cottony thought was, /Great. I get another girl who's just looking for a great big teddy bear./
Oh, let me be ... copyright 1996 by Wanderer.
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