|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
To Shape One's LifeScientists are the easiest to fool. They think in straight, predictable, directable, and therefore misdirectable, lines. The only world they know is the one where everything has a logical explanation and things are what they appear to be. Children and conjurors - they terrify me. Scientists are no problem; against them I feel quite confident. -- James P. Hogan (Code of the Lifemaker)
"He's not a wicked or immoral person, but I do grant he can be intense."
"Intense is an understatement Josef. Have you ever challenged one of his opinions?"
"Yes Virginia, there is a god," Josef paused for effect, "... and his name is Richard Boatman." The two chuckled as they resumed their lunch. The faculty cafeteria in the Clarke College student union was gradually emptying as the various administrators departed through the huge, glass and metal archway leading to the student infested areas of the union for their paper empires. The few other members of the teaching staff had already departed for committee meetings or other essential activities although the milling throngs of students seemed to be increasing. While many found it distasteful to see youth wasting it time on pizza, pinball, and pool, Josef found great joy in observing and, when permitted, touching at least half of that mass of humanity.
Virginia Hancock delicately played with the cubes of her gelatinous desert for a few moments while Josef surreptitiously fondled her rather pleasing breasts with his eyes. "But seriously Josef. He will listen to no one else. For what ever reason he cares about your opinion. He might listen to you."
"And that is the operant word, 'might.' Considering his fanatical devotion to his current flight of fancy."
"I know, I know." A deep sigh. "But Dean Johnson is threatening administrative action if he does not start paying more attention to his students." The uneaten cubes had been mashed into a red slurry. "I better get going or Dean Johnson will be trying to dock my pay, the dirty old bastard." With a frown she gathered her dishes and left. Josef took the opportunity to enjoy the plutritudinous scenery.
"It's all in your mind."
"What?" His pleasurable reveries shattered by the bellow Josef looked up from his chocolate mousse to see Richard Boatman pushing past the co-ed he had been admiring as he stormed into the nearly empty cafeteria. The wild hair and beard did little to convince the onlookers of his reason or stability and the thick manuscript he slammed on the table in front of Josef sent the last three stragglers scurrying.
"Would you please stop shouting, my mousse is quivering in fear. Why don't you get a cup of coffee and join me." Josef pushed his empty cup towards Richard, "I'd appreciate a refill. Cream and one sugar please."
If it was possible for a coffeepot to show fear the tentative gurgles of this one would have made you wonder. Richard danced from foot to foot in his impatience as he prepared two coffees. Finally, coffee in hand he was back at Josef's table. Cups slapped ceramic against the plastic of the table top jolting Josef from the pleasurable visions beyond the cafeteria doors and Richard was seated.
"I said 'the answer is that it's all in your mind.'"
"Yes, I heard you, but if you don't mind, I'd prefer to discuss this variant of the greatest scientific discovery of the ages on a full stomach. By the way, the mousse is excellent."
Richard was staring at the pudding cup, brow furrowed as he concentrated. Josef glanced up from his coffee and set it back down untouched. The mousse seemed to blur and loose definition. It crumpled up into a small lumpy ball. It seemed to become furry. A whisker twitched, a hairless tail appeared, there was a faint squeak and it was a small brown mouse that scurried off.
Josef watched the mouse as it made a beeline for one of the snack machines. "Great." He muttered. "You can take the mouse out of the mousse but you can't take the chocolate out of the mouse." Looking back to Richard he continued more audibly, "That was very impressive. How did you do it?"
"I told you, it's all in the mind."
"Well, I was ... Hey, wait a minute. How come you're so calm. I just changed some chocolate pudding into a mouse. You should be astounded."
"Impressed, not astounded." Josef sipped at his coffee. "It was an impressive bit of legerdemain, I grant you."
"Legerdemain? You think that was some magic trick?"
"Of course, albeit quite a good one."
"I expected better from you." The hurt in his voice as Richard picked up the bound papers and prepared to leave was apparent.
"Are you suggesting otherwise, Richard?"
"Of course I'm 'suggesting otherwise' and I'm amazed you cannot distinguish a scientific breakthrough from a parlor trick." He was standing now, fists clenched and scowling.
"Let's maintain our civility Richard. If I have in some way maligned your accomplishments I apologize. Why don't you sit down again and educate me." Richard wavered as conflicting emotions flashed across his face. Finally, he sat.
"Thank you Richard. Now please tell me how you apparently transformed a mousse into a mouse."
"Well, you know how there are discrepancies in Einsteinian Relativity Theory such as quarks that can travel faster than the speed of light?" Josef nodded but said nothing, surreptitiously stealing glances at some of the prettier coeds to pass.
"Physicists have been trying for years to explain these discrepancies by creating unified field theories. Always there has been the assumption that order can be made out of the chaos of the universe." Josef nodded affably again.
"I approached this from the other direction. I assumed that there was no order."
"Many have done that Richard. Look at Kafka for example."
"Correct. But they were philosophers. They made the assumption and then stopped."
"Once you've stated that there is only chaos where is there to go?" Josef took another sip of coffee.
"Exactly the question I was facing, and then I remembered Chaos Theory. In large enough groupings even random events can be described in terms of systems. Chaos theorists routinely think in terms of mega systems. I hypothesized that when considered on the atomic level even microscopic events are mega systems. What we see around us are those mega systems, the billions and billions of atoms we see as systems called people, tables, and even a mouse ... one 's' or two."
Josef pulled his attention back from a truly gorgeous redhead. "I fail to see where this is going Richard."
"But it is so obvious. Chaos Theory will relate the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Asia to a hurricane in Kansas. I needed to find a way to effect the systems around me. It was just a matter of finding the key and that key is the mind."
"I'm sorry Richard, I still fail to grasp your point."
"Josef, you disappoint me. Put it all together. Point one, from examining the failures of the various attempts at a unified field theory, there is no order. Point two, from extrapolation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the mere act of examining something can change it. Point three, from Chaos Theory, the smallest, apparently insignificant thing can effect massive temporary systems. Now take each to the extreme. Nothing is stable and the smallest thing can effect massive change in the temporary groupings we call the systems that make up our reality. I think of something as different and the thought impacts on the thing changing it. It's merely a matter of overcoming inertia. If I think about it with sufficient certainty the changing thing can become what I think it is." Richard beamed at Josef with satisfaction.
"That seems like quite a stretch Richard. If I understand you correctly, I could look at this cup of coffee and merely by thinking at it change it into something else, oh, say like a candy bar."
"Absolutely." If possible he beamed even more. "That's exactly it Josef."
"But it's still a cup of coffee." Josef turned the cup about in his hand as if to find some small portion that had turned to chocolate.
"Of course not. Josef it is not enough to think about something, you must think at it."
"And how would I accomplish this feat?" Josef placed the cup back on the table and delicately wiped his hands and face with a napkin.
"That's what my manuscript describes, the final component to my discovery." He waved the thick sheaf of papers in the air.
Standing Josef picked up and stacked the remains of his meal. "Richard this has been most amusing but I have a class in a few minutes and I would not wish to keep our lovely coeds waiting."
"How dare you." Face contorted in rage, Richard almost screamed. "You think I am but a moment's entertainment, that I have concocted this tale out of whole cloth, that I have attempted to trick you with prestidigitation and persiflage."
Josef's attempts to calm Richard were fruitless.
"I shall prove my words by changing you. What would you like to become? ... a Dodo? ... a Hyena?" Josef's eyes had wandered from the irate Richard to a passing coed.
Richard was reduced to sputtering at Josef's lack of attention to his tirade. Taking a deep breath to at least slightly reign in his anger he continued in the cold calm voice of one who has made the ultimate decision as he passed sentence. "Very well Richard become that which you so dearly covet."
Once again Richard's brow furrowed as he concentrated. Josef dragged his attention away from the pretty young woman and noted Richard's concentration with concern. "Richard, what are you doing?"
"Tell me Josef, what is the woman of your dreams? Is she a blonde or a brunette?" Josef failed to notice the cunning smile on Richard's face. Bemused he found himself answering.
"Blonde, golden or honey blonde, almost approaching a light brown." Richard answered without questioning why he did.
"Describe her to me. Is her hair long or short? Is it curly, wavy, or straight? Tell me what she looks like."
"Wavy hair, down to the shoulder blades. A model's face, slightly asymmetrical, with arching blonde eyebrows, a straight, slightly pug nose, full lips ..." Josef found him describing his dream girl in excruciating detail prompted infrequently for additional details. He didn't understand why he was doing this or why he could not seem to stop, wondering if he had somehow been hypnotised as he calmly watched his words become his reality.
"Look at yourself Josef. You are your dream girl. Examine yourself. Do you still consider this some type of deception?" He waited impatiently while his colleague examined herself.
Eventually Josef tore himself from his inventory. "Amazing. Richard, I commend you. I do appear to be my 'dream girl.' Touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell. They all give the same message. This is excellent Richard. I wasn't aware that you were such an accomplished hypnotist." Josef beamed with joy, clearly impressed.
Richard stared in shock. "Hypnotist? You jest. You can't possibly be so limited, so narrow minded. Is there nothing I can do to convince you of the veracity of my claims? perhaps I should give you the enfeebled brain most would expect to go with that body ... no there is no retribution without awareness." He mulled his options aloud before continuing in tones more appropriate to a preacher speaking of hell and damnation. "I know, Josef listen to me. This is your curse and your salvation. Your curse is to have to act like the sexual plaything you seek. Your behavior will always be that of a sex hungry female to those about you. However, trapped behind the facade of a nymphomaniac, your mind will still be totally aware of who you are and who you use to be. Your salvation I leave you in this manuscript. Read it and believe the truth of what I have discovered and you may learn how to regain your past."
With those words Richard faded away leaving his laughing lips and teeth to disappear last.
Part Two: Immortal ActsIt is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive. -- W. Somerset Maugham (Moon and Sixpence)
Assistant Professor Richard Boatman faded back into view in his cramped and cluttered cubbyhole of an office. The smile he had as he departed from the cafeteria and Josef, now Josette, Rimsky turned to a scowl as he surveyed his alleged domain.
"This is NOT the office of the 'Master of Reality.' A god needs his own secretary and an office befitting his new station." He closed his eyes and began to concentrate. The world blurred again when he opened his eyes he was standing in the entry to an office complex with plush white carpet and royal blue walls trimmed with oak wainscoting and covered in art work that would have made the curators of the Lourve drool except for the ornate gilded plaster frames. About twenty feet away sat what looked like a playboy bunny behind a huge oak and glass desk that hid nothing of her beauty. Behind her was a raised gold sign reading
Offices of Richard Boatman
Richard glanced behind him. Where the battered wooden door to his office had been there was now a pair of glass doors leading into the hallway he had just left. The woman put down her telephone and glanced up, doing a double take when she saw Richard. She quickly pushed a button and came running around the desk towards Richard to be joined by a half dozen more women equally as beautiful. As they reached him they fell to the floor and prostrated themselves before Richard. "Welcome master. How may we serve you today?"
"Take me to my office."
"Yes sir. They jumped as one, each trying to out do the others to win his favor as they escorted him to a huge set of elaborately embellished oak doors as Richard thought how close this was to what he assumed was Josef's dream of perfection. Beyond the doors was a room the size of a small gymnasium decorated much like the hallway with a range of entertainment devices from pinball and video games to a small pool and hot tub. There was also a western style bar, brass rail and all behind which was a set of swinging doors leading to a professional kitchen if his nose was any judge, and a huge heart shaped bed with white silk sheets and about a dozen similarly clad silk pillows. At the far end of the room was the largest oak desk Richard could imagine and several plush chairs. Between the desk and the bed was another door with a sign over it that read "library." When Richard peeked in there were more than a dozen more beautiful, scantily clad women rushing about sorting, cataloging, and shelving books and other media. There were more labeled door along the remainder of the wall but Richard ignored them for now instead turning toward the back wall. The back wall was a window looking out onto a azure blue lake surrounded by a lush forest framed by snow capped mountains and a sky with fluffy blue clouds scattered about.
The women continued to faun over him as he surveyed his new domain until he picked one, a blonde looking much like Josef when he had left her last, to show him around. The tour took more than an hour as Richard tried out each game. When he approached the bar another woman, this one a redhead, came out the swinging doors carrying several trays of hors d'oeuvres and began mixing drinks for the three of them. He skipped the library for the moment and was trying to choose between the bed and the pool and hot tub combination when he noticed a shipping palette stacked head high with paper. Walking over to it he grabbed a handful and discovered they were assorted denominations of United States currency, none smaller than a twenty dollar bill. Giving each a hundred that they immediately stuffed down their skimpy G-strings he walked back to the hot tub.
"May we help you into the hot tub master?"
"Ooh master, may I scrub your back please?"
"No master, let me. Let me scrub your back please."
"I asked first." The blonde shot at the redhead before turning pleadingly back to Richard. "I did ask first, didn't I master. Didn't I?"
"But I rub better master." The redhead pleaded pushing the blonde away.
The blonde fell back a step before recovering and then yanked the redhead's hair. "I was here first. You leave him alone." In seconds they were rolling about on the ground at Richard's feet.
"Stop." The word was spoken barely above a whisper but both stopped, frozen in mid cat fight. "Don't fight. If you want the hot tub that badly we'll all get in." They quickly scampered to their feet, undressed him, and helped him into the tub before joining him.
"May we undress also master?"
"Very well." Soaking wet bikini tops and bottoms went flying as Richard adjusted himself comfortably on the padded seat situated in the center of the tub.
"So where's the rubbing?" They giggled and began rubbing. The redhead at his back and the blonde at his front.
Richard luxuriated in the bubbly warmth of the hot tub and the gentle ministrations of the two lovelies who had joined him. He quickly felt himself relaxing more and more except for areas of his groin. Down there he was feeling tense, albeit of a highly pleasurable nature.
As if sensing his beginning arousal the blonde began rubbing closer and closer to his crotch while the redhead began pressing closer so she could rub her breasts against his back while her hands reached around to gently fondle his chest.
"Tell me something." They instantly stopped and were totally attentive. "No. don't stop." The pleasurable rubbing began again. "I was just wondering what your names were."
"Master, you have not yet named us. What would you like to call us."
"what were your names before?"
The redhead was first this time followed immediately by the blonde. "My name was Colin McCready, Master."
"And I was Professor Ivan Issaksen, Master."
Nonplussed, Richard's nicely full erection began to shrink as he realized that these were actually men attending to him.
Seeing the erection fading Ivan spoke fearfully, tears beginning to well up in her eyes, "Oh Master, have we offended. Please tell us what you wish so we may better please you. Please Master."
"You were my Department Chairman?" Richard held Ivan by her shoulders examining her. He could see nothing of the fat, balding, constantly grumbling septuagenarian that had been Ivan Issaksen.
Sobbing in fear, she could only nod her affirmation. Colin had also stopped rubbing and was cowering as far from him as she could get in the hot tub. Richard considered for several long seconds unmindful of the others' fear. Eventually, a smile crept back into his face.
"Relax. both of you and come here before me." They quickly moved to stand side by side in front of him heads bowed in submission as they awaited his next words.
Raising his hand he gently tapped each on the head and sprinkled water on their faces. "Ivan I dub thee Inga. Colin I dub thee Colleen. You shall be my favorites and shall serve me in all ways. Now return to your ministrations." They beamed with joy as they began rubbing again, more enticingly than before. It was but a matter of a few strokes before Richard was back to full erection and only a minute or so more before Richard was stroking and fondling them also.
"Let's move this to the bed." Colleen scrambled to obtain several large towels, also color coordinated with the room, while Inga remained to keep him aroused. As he stepped out of the hot tub they both began drying him while never once forgetting the reason for leaving the tub. By the time he had reached the huge heart shaped bed he was unsure how much longer he would be able to contain himself.
They slid onto the bed not bothering to move under the sheets. Richard was in the center while the two women positioned themselves on each side pressing their bodies against his as they continued to rub, tweak, and lick.
"Inga, you first. I want to do to you what you've done to me so many times before over the years." Colleen pouted for a moment but then returned to licking and nipping at his nipples while Inga immediately positioned herself over his erect penis and gently slid onto it with a satisfied sigh before rhythmically raising and lowering herself.
In less than a minute Richard was racked with the intense pleasure of the best orgasm he had ever achieved. As his erection faded Inga stopped moving in order to hold him within her for as long as possible but shortly the inevitable soft popping sound came and with a smug glance at Colleen Inga slid off.
"Me too Master?" Colleen begged.
Richard considered before smiling. "Certainly, my dear. After all, I am a god." Inga, would you be a good girl and bring me Dean Johnson? Screwing the one's that have screwed me in the past feels verrry good."
Inga was instantly up and running for the door. "Don't forget to put on some clothes. You wouldn't want to cause a spectacle." Suddenly she was dressed in a conservative lavender business suit with matching heels and her hair was tied in a conservative bun. A pair of delicate gold wire rimmed glasses adorned her nose. He chuckled at the thought of the phenomenally beautiful woman not causing a spectacle dressed or undressed and turned back to Colleen.
"Let's see. Where were we?" Instantly his penis was erect again and, if anything, a larger than before. Colleen's eyes grew round with wonder at the miracles she had just witnessed, but her amazement quickly changed to lust as she examined the little miracle of his newly risen penis.
"How about some music?" In response to her Master's request Colleen clapped twice and called out, "Library."
"Yes." A soft soprano answered from speakers on the walls at the corners of the room.
"Music. Revelle's Bolero." She glanced back to Richard. "Is that satisfactory Master?" He nodded.
They were relaxing in the glow of Richard's second orgasm when Inga returned. "Dean Johnson is waiting in the vestibule. Would you like to see him in the Throne Room, Master?"
"That sounds like an excellent idea. Lead me there?"
"Yes Master. Do you wish raiments Master?"
"Why not. You two should ne dressed also. Something formal but revealing." He thought a moment and he was covered in a floor length royal blue silk gown with a white fur collar that traced a deep vee to just above his navel and a blue and white bejeweled crown sat regally upon his head. The women were similarly dressed, but with more delicate tiaras.
"I think we're ready now. Let's go." The women followed a step behind him, leaping ahead to open doors. He realized he knew without thinking where he was going and smiled smugly at his intelligence and forethought.
Unsurprisingly, the Throne Room was exactly as he expected it to be. Easily the size of a football field, enclosed with gracefully arching oaken supports meeting in an arch at least a hundred feet above the marbled floor. Hundreds of women were lined up in two columns about twenty feet apart with the columns facing each other from the huge, elaborately carved door to his throne at the far end. Richard came out a smaller door just behind the throne. Sweeping around he went directly to it and sat while the women bowed.
"Bring him in." He spoke with a booming voice that seemed to clearly reach every corner of the room.
The far door opened and Dean Johnson entered bracketed by a half dozen more of his women. Richard watched solemnly as they approached, and approached, and approached. Finally the Dean was at the base of the throne and one of his escort whispered, "Bow to they Lord and Master."
The Dean glared at Richard ignoring the command until two of them forced him to his knees and held his head down. Sputtering in anger he rose to his feet. "What is the meaning of this? I don't know how you've created this illusion but I demand you stop it immediately. His foot tapped impatiently as he waited.
"Greetings Dean Johnson."
Part Three: Beginning Catechism
A tree cannot grow in the sky, nor clouds be in the sea, nor fish live in the fields, nor can blood be in sticks nor sap in rocks. -- Titus Lucretius Carus
Editorial Note: Material in parentheses () indicate unspoken thoughts.
"Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you ..." Josef half hummed, half mumbled as he sat in the Faculty Cafeteria of the Clarke College Student Union patiently waiting for Richard's magical reappearance and the end of his rather impressive parlor trick. After about five minutes it became clear that Richard was not returning.
"Well, enough time wasted. I better get back to my office." With that Josef stacked his dishes, stood up and smoothed the collar of his blouse and skirt.
"Damn," he chuckled, "he's one good hypnotist. I should be mad, but he's created such a beautiful illusion it's more fun to enjoy the view." He briefly pulled the blouse top apart and admired the soft flesh revealed. (Besides, whatever he's done is bound to wear off shortly and scoring that last batch of quizzes isn't going to happen by itself, is it?)
Dropping off his dishes and remembering to bring the manuscript, Josef took his usual short cut and headed out the back door to his office. (Amazing. The hips seem to be swaying. The breasts seem to be jiggling. I even imagine I can smell perfume.)
The walkways were crowded and she almost made it to the Arts and Sciences Building where her office was located before being stopped by a cute looking guy with dark hair and eyes wearing a letter shirt. She looked up at him. (Up? I'm 5'10" and I'm looking up. How tall is this guy?)
"Excuse me. Would you please tell me where the Registrar's Office is?"
"Oh my, you're a tall one aren't you." She thrust out her chest, batted her eyelashes at him, and chewed daintily on her lip for several seconds. (Why the hell did I say that?) "It's two buildings down on your left." A pause for a deep breath, a finger to the lip, and a bit of a pout before continuing. "You're cute. Are you new here?" (Why do I care about new meat for the college's grist mill? What's going on here?)
"Yes. My name's Jack Dawson and I'm an exchange student from Northern State Community College. I've got a 2:30 appointment at the Registrar's Office and I'm already five minutes late so I really better run. It was nice to meet you."
"The name's Josette. Josette Rimsky. Room 231 in this building here, the Arts and Sciences Building. Come up and see me some time." She vamped as he waved and ran off. (That's not what I wanted to say. What the hell is going on here?)
Angry and bewildered she headed into the building and to her office, not even noticing the fetching sway of her hips as she climbed the stairs.
The secretary for the Psychology Department, Mrs. Grimley, was busy with another coed and didn't notice her walk past until Josette was at the door to room 231, her office.
"Excuse me Miss, Dr. Rimsky isn't in. Can I help you?" She peered over the tops of her reading glasses.
"Miss," a bit louder and more imperious, "I said Dr. Rimsky isn't in. Can I help you?"
Josef turned about, prepared to advise her that her comments were less than humorous. Instead he found himself smiling and answering politely, "I'm sorry Mrs. Grimley, I wasn't paying attention, silly me. Dr. Rimsky asked me to stop by to see him." (Huh? That's not what I wanted to say.)
"That's alright child. He should be here according to his schedule and I'm rather surprised he's not. He's rarely late. Can I help you with something in the meantime?" Mrs. Grimley smiled back.
"Thank you, no. I'll come back some other time. By the way that's a beautiful shade of nail polish. What is it?" (Stop this. Go into the office. Why can't I go into my office? This is crazy.)
"Thank you. It's called bright crimson from the Mystique collection."
Their conversation was interrupted as a short, balding nebbish going by the name of Howard Emerson, Dr. Rimsky's teaching assistant, came into the Department office. "Hi Mrs. Grimley, is Dr. Rimsky in?"
"Hello Howard ..."
"No he's not." Josette pouted prettily. "I was just looking for him to." The pout changed to an enticing smile. "My name's Josette what's yours?" (This is insane. This is insane. What's happening here. Why can't they see who I am? Why can't I say what I want to say? What's happening here. Nobody can do hypnosis this good.) The frantic thoughts continued as Howard hesitantly took her daintily proffered hand and tried to decide whether to shake it or kiss it.
"It's O.K. silly. I won't bite," she giggled, "that is unless you want me to."
"Uh-Humm." Mrs. Grimley loudly cleared her voice. "Mr. Emerson, don't you have a class to teach.?" No response. The chill in her voice grew more pronounced. "NOW."
"Oh, uh, yes. Thank you Mrs. Grimley." He regretfully released Josette's hand, gave a last wistful look and dashed off.
"I'm sure you have somewhere you need to be now also." Mrs. Grimley's voice was still frigid as she returned to her work studiously ignoring the distasteful harlot before her.
"O.K. I'll come back later." Josette flipped her hair and smiled brightly as she sashayed out of the office and into an empty hallway.
"Oh my god. What the hell am I going to ..." She stopped abruptly. "I said that." Her hands went to her mouth in joy. "I said that too. I'm in control of my self again." She turned around and started back into the Department office growling, "It's time to let that old bag know who's boss."
"Back so soon?" Mrs. Grimley's voice was only slightly warmer.
(Here goes you old battle ax.) Josette smiled, "I'm sorry. I seem to have lost my purse." (No. No. Say 'I'm Dr. Rimsky you withered old prune. How dare you be so rude.')
"What's that in your hand?" The smile would have made a polar bear shiver.
"What?" Josette glanced at the purse in her hand. "Oh, thank you." She giggled. (Stop it. Say the words. Say help. Say something I want to say.) "Silly me. I'd loose my head if it weren't glued on." She again glided out of the office into the still empty hallway."
"Damn. Damn. Damn." Mouth open she stopped again. "I can talk again." Her voice sounded frantic. "What's going on? I can talk again." She raised her hand and snapped her fingers. "I can control my body again."
Grabbing an empty bench she slumped down head back fighting back tears of frustration. "This is crazy. Whenever I'm around people I can't seem to do anything but act like a simpering sex kitten."
She slapped her hand hard on the bench. "Ow. Damn it." She punched herself in the chest and almost buckled over in pain. When she finally recovered she delicately touched the still sore breast. It felt like ... a breast.
"This is insane. I've got to find Richard. What ever he's done he can undo. That's it ... Richard." With a new purpose she picked up the manuscript and her purse and headed off down the hallway toward Richard's cubbyhole.
Three doors down Josette stopped perplexed looking at the space where the door to Richard's office was supposed to be. There was a large arched opening with a set of glass double doors. Before he could enter the doors opened and several ravishing women exited. They glanced vapidly at Josette and quickly headed off.
Taking a deep breathe and squaring her shoulders Josette entered. Hesitantly approaching the bikini clad woman behind the large oak desk, afraid of what might come out of her mouth she waited to be seen.
"Yes? May I help you?"
"Hello. My name is ... J ... Jo ... Josef." She signed in relief. "Josef Rimsky. Dr. Josef Rimsky." Confidence grew with every word. "I'd like to see Richard Boatman please."
"Certainly Miss." She gestured and another beautiful bikini babe came forward and escorted Josette nee Josef to the back of the Throne Room.
"Wait here. You will be called." The escort left and Josef watched the events around him.
"Bring him in." Richard spoke with a booming voice that seemed to clearly reach every corner of the room.
The far door opened and Dean Johnson entered bracketed by a half dozen more skimpily dressed women who pushed Josef out of the way as they marched towards the throne.
From his position beside the entry door Josef could barely see the events unfolding before him. What he did see was the Dean standing before Richard and then two of his escort forced the Dean to his knees and held his head down.
Sputtering in anger the Dean rose to his feet. "What is the meaning of this? I don't know how you've created this travesty but I demand you stop it immediately. His foot tapped impatiently as he waited.
"Greetings Dean Johnson."
"How dare you. I'll have your job for this. You'll never work anywhere. I'll have you arrested for kidnapping. I'll, I ..." Apoplexy warred with stroke for what would be the primary cause of death before he finally began to wind down.
"Silence." I was a whisper but Josef heard it clearly from his distant vantage point. The Dean seemed to be struggling again and his face seemed to be getting red again, but Josef could hear nothing.
"Read the charges Inga." Richard turned to the blonde to his right who produced a large scroll with handles on each end and tied with a golden tassel. Untying it she scanned it briefly and then began to read.
"Raymond Jehosephat Johnson. You stand accused of crimes against our Lord and Master. These crimes include failure to offer tenure, failure to appoint to desirable committees, failure to support his research grants, and most heinous of all, failure to attend to the words of our Lord and Master."
"How dare you. You and your bitches can go to hell for all I care and I intent to see you get there." He turned to walk away.
"Stop." Again that whisper somehow audible to Josef despite the distance. The Dean stopped. He was rigid and unmoving. Josef wondered if he was even breathing.
"Rather than repent you insult me and mine. We shall see who is a bitch. From this moment on every work or act that intentionally injures another shall bring you closer to the bitch to which you allude. Take heed and learn from the lesson of your friend Josef Rimsky." A spotlight came from somewhere and highlighted Josef and he glanced around disconcertedly. Suddenly he lifted off the floor and floated rapidly forward, stopping several feet from Dean Johnson but about the same distance from the throne.
"Do you take me for a total fool. This pathetic bimbo is not my friend Josef Rimsky." The Dean's sneer lasted several seconds before he grabbed at his crotch and then quickly reached inside his pants ignoring the stares of those about him. The sneer turned to shock and then dismay as he hand withdrew and his shoulders and head slumped dejectedly. Slowly he crumpled to the floor and began to silently sob.
"And you Josef Rimsky. Speak your mind."
"Richard? Please explain. What's happening here? I now realize it is much more than some simple trickery."
"Very well. For the sake of our past friendship I will explain. I have given you the type of body you have always lusted after. Outside of my presence you act to others as you appear, a witless, libidinous young woman. Only when you are alone are you capable of acting as you were, an intelligent, supposedly open minded, academician.
"What do you want of me?" Josef was distracted as Dean Johnson muttered something and pointed ears with white curly fur suddenly appeared. Fighting a strong urge to comfort Dean Johnson who shuddered and continued returned to his quiet sobbing, Josef realized he had to seize this opportunity to find out how to regain control of his life.
"For you to recognize me and my discovery for what it is, brilliance beyond anything to have yet occurred in this sorry old world."
"I do. It is." The words stumbled off his lips in his hurry. "I apologize. I was blinded by habit and convention. Please forgive me, I beseech you."
"No my friend." Richard laughed. "Your words are laudable but they are driven by desperation, not belief." Josef sagged.
"But fear not, there is a way. You have my manuscript. You have but to read and understand. It is your key to the universe and beyond."
Dean Johnson lunged toward the throne only to be stopped after less than two steps by Richard's acolytes. He seemed to writhe and transform before them. His clothes faded away and close cropped white fur grew over portions of his body while other portions continued to grow until it was a curly white mat of hair. Arms and legs blurred as paws formed, his body hunched over and shrank, and finally a muzzle and tail appeared.
"Tsk, tsk. Naughty naughty. That kind of thinking and behavior will be the end of you." A pink collar and leash formed as well as large pink bows on the Dean's carefully trimmed tail and head. "I suggest you stop soon as you are running out of things other than your mind to transform. Richard turned from the quivering, whining mass of furry white creature back to Josef as a yellow stain began to spread from beneath its hindquarters.
"To show my mercy Josef I shall grant it the boon of human voice, but only when the two of you are alone. At other times, like you, this creature shall act as it appears, a large white pure bred poodle bitch."
Josef started to speak but Richard raised his hand and the words caught before they could leave his mouth.
"Take her. Teach her. Like you her salvation comes from the true recognition of my greatness." Richard yawned.
"Enough. Leave me now, I tire of your banality." A slight gesture and both disappeared.
Josef found himself in a woman's apartment. Looking out the window he realized that it was his apartment, but redecorated to suit the tastes of a very feminine personality. Behind him there was a low growl. Turning he saw the white poodle sitting by the couch. The tail wagged tentatively.
"Great. Now what do I do?" Josef dropped disconsolate onto the couch tossing the manuscript to the floor at his feet and closing his eyes to block out the room about him.
"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm reading this damn manuscript." Josef opened his eyes to see the dog flipping through the pages of the manuscript.
Part Four: Researching the Whichness of What
If it was so, it might be;
and if it were so, it would be;
but as it isn't it ain't.
-- Lewis Carroll
"Turn faster. This part's drivvle." The beribboned poodle growled in frustration as it sat on it's haunches beside Josette on the living room rug staring over her shoulder at the manuscript that was supposed to solve all their problems.
"I don't think we can afford to skip anything. This thing's so convoluted it would make a con artist dizzy." Josette brushed an errant strand of hair from her face and tried to get more comfortable on the floor of her apartment. "And please stop breathing on me. You have doggy breathe."
"Now how could that be? Maybe it's because I seem to have a tail and a strong urge to chew on a bone?"
"Talking about bones, are you hungry?" Josette got up. The dog pranced along with her as she walked over to the refrigerator to check out dinner options.
"Woof. Who are you, old Mother Hubbard?"
"I was a single male bachelor who ate out a lot, and watch the sarcasm, it's getting a little thick." She glared down at the poodle, hands on her hips for a few moments before snorting in anger and grabbing a telephone directory off a nearby counter.
"What are you going to do, call for a delivery?"
"I was thinking pizza, how about you?" Pages flipped.
"Do they have female delivery people?"
"Not usually ... oh. Good point." The page flipping stopped for a moment as she thought furiously. "I guess I can have him leave it by the door and slide the money out to him."
"That sounds reasonable." I wonder if dogs eat pizza? If we do, I'd like a small sausage and meatball." Sitting back he started scratching at the back of his neck.
"Ahh. He's one I've used before." Noticing the scratching she continued, "Hey. Do I need to get you flea powder?"
The dog shuddered. "Spare me. I'm just scratching an itch."
"That's what I'm worrying about." But she laughed and started dialing. Her long nails tapped on the counter top as she waited for an answer.
"Hel-loo." Her voice suddenly changed to a sexy, breathless whisper. (Oh no. It's a guy. I'm in trouble.)
"Woof?" (What's wrong. Why did your voice change?) "Grrr, woof." (Why can't I speak?)
"I'd like your cutest delivery boy to bring me two small pizzas, one just cheese and the other with sausage and meatballs. The address? Two eighty four Lincoln Park Drive, Noprthwest, Apartment 2C sweetie. Half an hour? Oooh, sounds dreamy. Remember, your cutest delivery boy. Bye-bye." She hung up the telephone and put her hands to her mouth in fear."
"Oh my god. It's not going to work. Even by telephone I couldn't help myself. I wanted to jump through the phone and start rubbing up against him." Tears were flowing freely. "What are we going to do?"
"Damned it I know. All I could do was growl and bark. It was humiliating."
"I know. I know. So what are we going to do? After what just happened I can't call them back and cancel, I might make a date with the guy on the other end of the phone."
"So what happens when you hear the man's voice as he tells you who he is or how much you owe?" Josette collapsed onto the couch with a groan and the poodle jumped onto it next to her and sat staring at her.
"I know. You can do it. I'll hide in the bedroom so I can't hear him and when he comes you can shove an envelope with instructions and the money under the door with your nose."
"Master, is all well?" Colleen looked worriedly up at Richard while he rubbed his eyes. He also seemed a bit pale.
"Yes, yes, of course. Are our next suplicants ready?"
"Well Colleen, tell us about our next contestants."
"Certainly Master. Our next contestants are the people who run Clarke University. They make the rules. They hire and fire. They make the final decisions regarding important matters like which food service to contract and which grants to provide with matching funds. Let's have a big hand for our next contestants, come on down President Schrader and Vice President Quayle."
A group of bikini clad babes began escorting the two men to the throne. About half way there Richard's impatience got the best of him and the entire group lifted off the floor and floated rapidly forward to settle just before him.
"Bow before our Lord and Master." Their guards forced them to their knees.
"What's the ..." Richard gestured and their protests stopped mid-word.
"You are here because you desire my intervention in your petty moral concerns. Speak or leave." The two men glanced uncertainly at each other and then President Schrader spoke.
"We've discussed your amazing discovery with the Board and we are here to present you with a small token of the honor and respect it is clear that you have been undeservedly kept from all these years." He tapped Quayle who looked stared blankly back at him for a second.
"Oh." He quickly reached inside his suit coat and started to pull something out. His escort instantly attacked and threw him to the floor. A blue velvet covered case fell to the floor only to be instantly covered by two more women. Schrader watched in shock before tentatively explaining. "I believe Dr. Quayle was about to hand me that case. Inside is the medalian of honor presented to those few who make it to prefessor emeritus. It was the Board's instruction and my proud duty to present that medalian and the accompanying appointment to the position of professor emeritus to you for your contribution the advancement of knowledge." He cleared his throat. Meanwhile the women of their escort had returned to their guard positions and Quayle slowly began to stand up and brush himself off.
"With your elevation to this esteemed position we would expect you to concentrate on the development of further research into this amazing phenomenon." His gesture encompassed the entire room and he took a deep breath preparatory to continuing. Ricahrd yawned and gestured himself.
"While your obeisance is fitting and pleasing your ulterior motives are transparent. The Professorship is accepted. The research is concluded. You may study my words as prepared in that self same manuscript you returned to me unopened just two weeks ago." Richard cocked his head as if listening.
"Let's eliminate the excruciating pain of your prolonged attempts to force me to reconsider. I'll make it easy and we can jup directly to that point where you finally realize the futility of your pleas." He closed his eyes and put his head back as he wearily spoke.
"How dare I. You'll fire me. I'll never work in academia again. You'll have me arrested for misappropriation of college funds and equipment. Yadda-yadda-yadda. Have I missed anything? No? Good. Now let's get on with this." Richard peered briefly at the two men.
"President Schrader. You've impressed me. I thought you to be a man in command. Someone who knew what he wanted and how to get it. Someone I was ready to offer the world, but as I examine you I find, not a man of power and command, but a sniveling weakling, afraid of people and a puppet of the Board. You're not fit to be a man. You're not even fit to be human." Richard actually sounded disappointed as he spoke.
"And you Vice President Quayle. You present yourself as a caring, compassionate, educated man, but you're nothing but a sycophant, a sniveling, power groupie who's done little more than fawn over President Schrader and cover for his ineptitude. I wonder if you even have the wit to spell a simple word larger than four or five letters ... like the word 'potato.'"
"Be what you are." Richard once more closed his eyes and slumped back into the throne. Colleen worriedly reached out to brush a loose strand of hair from his forehead. Inga too had been worshipfully watching him and almost imagined she saw the start of a tear. Uncomfortable with the thought that her Lord and Master might be unhappy she averted her eyes instead watching the two men being judged. The taller of the two, President Schrader, lofted into the air and his clothes disappeared. Next the hair on his pasty white chest fell off, each hair disappearing before it touched the floor. His bloated belly began shrinking and his skin became smooth, so smooth that Inga could no longer see any pours. In fact, the floating body didn't seem to have a navel either. Confused Inga's brow furrowed as she carefully scrutinized the floating body trying to understand the wisdom of her Lord.
More changes continued. The body took on a more rigid, posed stance as it clearly became female. The hair on Schrader's head changed from grey-white to surprisingly coarse looking ash blonde and grew rapidly to shoulder length, but no hair was forming at the crotch. In fact, no genitals at all were evident.
The changes seemed to be slowing down as lines formed at the wrists, ankles, shoulders, neck, waist, and crotch. Inga wondered if this would be the start of new clothes, jewelry, or maybe some type of bondage device, but the lines only exapnded longitudinally until each made a complete circle around a portion of the torso and stopped. The face though, that was the final answer. It became briefly less distinct and then reformed with perfectly painted makeup, but even the mouth and eyes were painted on.
President Schrader had become the puppet he had been ... sort of. To be more accurate he had become a mannequin, and a female one at that. His transformation had fascinated Inga so much she had failed to attend to Vice President Quayle. He too had been changing. His head, arms and legs were gone and he was the most unusual color, chartreuse with blotches of orange and brown. A bright yellow blotch had formed about where the blue velvet medallian case had been. As she watched he lost still more of his body mass, becoming almost two dimensional. In a final blur he reformed into a tropical looking floral print minidress with spaghetti straps and floated on to the mannequin. The medallian case was now a bright yellow scarf that positioned itself jauntily about the mannequin's neck.
"President Schrader, I know you're still aware inside that plaster and paint veneer. You can hear me too Mr. Quayle. Puppet and protector, mannequin and minidress, you shall stand immobile and mute before all who enter my offices. There was a small popping sound and then they were gone instantly reappearing beside the great oak and glass desk in the front lobby artfully posed to point reverently at the sign above it.
Offices of Richard Boatman
The bedroom was just as she'd imagined it would be, ruffled canopy bed, cluttered makeup table, closets full of clothes. Josette had already played with the radio until she found her usual classic rock station. There was no television and although she had stretched out on the bed, she wasn't sleepy. The manuscript was still on the floor in the living room and the only reading materials were some glamour magazines. Bored, Josette began to skim through one thinking maybe there would be some jokes or maybe an article spouting the psycho-babble usually passed off as advice in glitzy magazines like this one at which she could laugh.
The first article was about twelve ways to make your man happy in bed, a guaranteed laugh riot. Within seconds she was engrossed and oblivious to everything else.
Twenty minutes later she had read the entire magazine, tried several of the makeup hints, and flawlessly redone her tear stained makeup. Her miniskirt and haltertop had been replaced with a low cut, lacy, black, crotchless teddy, garter belt, sheer silk stockings labeled "dark taupe," and four inch black pumps. After a minute or two of posing playfully for the full length mirror on the back of the bedroom door the need to have someone else admire her grew unbearably strong. With a shrug she opened the bedroom door and entered the living room to pose for Dean as she'd decided to call the poodle.
Dean turned at the sound of the door opening. "What the hell are you ..." The words trailed off and his jaw dropped as she stepped into sight. "M ... Ma ... My god do you know what you look like? You're beautiful, absolutely stunning." Her tongue was hanging out, and not just because she was a dog.
Suddenly her tongue snapped back into her mouth and she swallowed hard. "Get back into the bedroom. That pizza guy will be here any minute, or are you planning to proposition your first man?"
Josette hesitated. Somehow the idea of sex with a man didn't seem so bad. In fact, as she stood there it began to feel more and more desirable. Desire became need and need became craving.
Dean watched the emotions dance across Josette's face with increasing worry. She started to growl and snarl. "You want to don't you. You want to seduce that pizza boy when he gets here. Well there's no way. I'm not spending even one more minute than I have to in this accursed canine body. Now get back in that room now!" She continued snarling as she advanced on Josette forcing her back. "Oh damn. I can smell the garlic. He'll be here any second." She lunged at Josette and Josette fell back into the bedroom fearful for her life. She kicked the door, slamming it shut in Dean's face.
"Now stay there." She growled through the door. "I'll call you when you can come out." One last growl and then Josette could hear the padding of feet as she paced back to the living room and the front door.
Frustrated and needy but afraid to leave the room Josette gazed out the window at the busy street below. Glancing up at the moon the fear became even more pronounced. The moon, the face in the full moon, it was Richard's face.
Chapter Five: Hell's A Popping
There may be some doubt about hell beyond the grave
but there is no doubt about there
being one on this side of it.
"With no reports of volcanic activity, nuclear explosions, or unusually heavy meteor activity astronomers are completely baffled by the apparently miraculous transformation of the landscape of the moon. The huge landmarks that compose the features of what mankind has for aeons called 'the man in the moon' have somehow changed. Where the old landscape could be said to vaguely resemble a human face the new landscape appears to be an almost photographic quality representation of the face of a human male. Huge crowds have been quietly gathering in almost every city, town, and village to stare at the changes.
In related news today Presidential Press Secretary Bloomberg adamantly insists there is no secret government military base on the moon, that said nonexistent base does not have any nuclear materials, and that the nonexistent base's nonexistent nuclear stockpile did not detonate, however cleanup operations are underway. Also, in related news, Pope John John II has asked the College of Cardinals to investigate the moon's change to determine if it meets criteria for a miracle.
From Iraq in the Middle East, Sadam Hussein has denounced the change as an American trick claiming it is intended to undermine Moslem society by sowing the seeds of western culture. Finally, on the lighter side, Jack Seaman, Managing Editor of the Guinness Book of Records, has offered a prize of $100,000 to the person who's face most closely resembles the new lunar face with the one stipulation that plastic surgery is not acceptable.
"Please turn that garbage off and get back here. I need help turning the pages." No response.
"Josef. Turn off the television now!" Dean looked up from the manuscript in annoyance to see the very female appearing Josef staring raptly at the television where a clearly male reporter was describing events in London. She was still wearing the black Teddy and one hand was playing with an erect nipple through the thin fabric while the other hand had found the slit in the matching crotchless panty and was moving back and forth frantically. With a heart wrenching sigh the poodle got up and padded over to the television where he used his paw to turn it off. Instantly the movement of the hands began to slow. A couple of seconds later Josef's eyes blinked and the hands stopped moving.
"Did I doze off?"
"No. You were back in bimbo mode from watching the newsmen on the television."
"Why do I feel funny?" Josef looked down to see where her hands were and jerked them behind her back. "Was I doing what I think I was doing?"
"If you mean masturbating, yes." Dean said sourly while Josef blushed crimson. "Now how about some page turning?"
"Sure." Josef moved quickly to skim the page before turning. "What did I miss?"
"Not much, we've made it to the teenage years." Dean yawned. "No seriously, he's been prattling on about his hypothesis but still hasn't begun to talk methodology, and I must admit I've read better prose on the ingredient list of a tube of toothpaste."
"Maybe we better skip ahead after all."
"You've got the hands." Dean snorted. "I'm the one that wanted to do that from the beginning." Dean snapped his muzzle closed and looked hard at Josef. "What made you change your mind?"
Josef blushed brightly again.
"What shall we do now My Lord?" Colleen was gently massaging Richard's neck and shoulders as he sat in his desk chair staring out the huge window onto the lake, light by the light of the full moon and Richard's face. Inga was gently rubbing his feet.
"It's time to relax." He stretched. "What would you two like to do?" Inga looked up at him with a sultry smile and began rubbing higher up his leg. Colleen's hands moved so that she could hug him from the back and then she began unbuttoning his shirt.
"Well, that's always fun. Shall we move to the bed or do one of you have a better idea?"
Inga delicately placed her finger in her mouth and sucked it. "We could do it in the lake Master." Suddenly the three of them were standing naked but for their shoes on a sandy beach at the edge of the lake. Inga clasped her hands in front of her and jumped up and down in glee. Then she kicked off her heels and ran the last few feet to the water and charged in about three steps before turning and back running out.
"Oooh. That's cold. Would our Lord and Master consider warming it up a bit?" She danced from foot to foot while Colleen giggled.
"We could do that, but I've got a better idea." Richard laughed. Richard stared at Inga and she found herself falling, limbs askew, onto her buttocks. Colleen's giggles became guffaws until she too found herself sprawled on the sand. They sat there unable to rise staring questioningly up at Richard.
"Look to yourselves." He intoned with a smile.
The skin on their legs had turned bluish green and shiny. Rainbow colors scampered over them even in the dim glow of Richard's moon. Colleen glanced over to see the same thing happening to Inga who stared uncomprehendingly back. Their attentions snapped back to their lower torsos as they found their legs moving gently together first at the knees and then at the ankles. Only the feet remained separated. The feet and toes began to elongate and thin. The separation between the legs disappeared as it slowly fused from the crotch down.
"Oooh Master, you're making us into mermaids." They cooed in unison. Colleen wiggled her flippers and posed, hair flowing around her breasts as Inga tentatively touched her new tail.
"There are tiny scales."
"Now try the water temperature."
"Yes Master." They scooted to the edge of the lake and in. In seconds they were fifty feet out, giggling and laughing as they playfully chased and ducked each other.
"Come on in Master, the water's wonderful."
"Hello. Police? My name is Dolores Schrader and I'd like to report a missing person." The short slightly chunky woman paced back and forth in her kitchen nervously tugging at the telephone cord.
"His name? Eric Schrader. He's President of Clarke College."
"How long? He was due back home at 5:15 tonight. He called from the office at 4:15 tonight saying he had one on campus stop and that he would then be coming straight home."
"What do you mean you can't process my report? He's never been late in twenty nine years of marriage. Now he's at least five hours late."
"He walks from the college. He can't be caught up in traffic."
"If he was admitted to a hospital it would be at the college. They know him and would have called me."
"His secretary confirmed that he left on time."
"If he were going to have an affair why would he first tell me he was coming home?"
"I know people are out staring at the changes in the moon, but he could have done that here at home."
"Rioting? I haven't heard about any rioting." She reached to the portable television on the counter nearby and turned it on but left the sound off. The very first channel had pictures of rioting."
"Oh, my god." The telephone fell from her hand a she slumped to a chair.
"Let's review. What do we know so far?"
"More than we ever wanted to know about Richard's childhood." Josef slumped back onto the couch and rubbed her tired eyes.
"Be serious. We've learned that Richard believes that there is no such thing as reality, that what we perceive as reality is nothing more than a shared delusion." Josef watched the immaculately trimmed french poodle lecturing him and burst into giggles.
"Grrr. Now what's wrong?"
"I ... I'm sorry." The giggles were slowly brought under control although they weren't completely gone if the smile was any indication. "I couldn't help myself. You've got to realize that being lectured by a big white poodle with pink ribbons is at least a little bit funny." Dean just stared back.
"Or maybe not ... I apologize if I've insulted you. Please continue.
"Harumph. Where was I. Oh, yes, 'shared delusion.' He further postulates that it is the body of these shared delusions that creates the world we know." Dean's eyes unfocused for a moment. "If that's true, disagreements regarding what is true or real are merely the result of inconsistencies in the shared delusion. A classic example of this could be the psychiatric condition called 'folie-a-deux.'"
"You mean communicated insanity where if one of two people living together for long time is insane the other will tend to develop similar characteristics and seem insane also?"
"Yes, exactly." Josef barely stifled a giggle as she watched the dog's head bobbing up and down in agreement.
"Now what's wrong?" Josef swallowed hard before responding.
"I don't know. I can't seem to stop giggling. I wonder if it's one of the side effects of Richard's curse?"
"Could be. All the more reason to hurry, isn't it." Josef gulped and nodded. She tucked her legs under her and attempted with moderate success to be serious and attentive.
"Anyway, bizarre as it seems, there could be some merit to this. The real trick seems to be to impact on the 'fictons.'"
"Fictons are what Richard calls the basic building blocks of reality, like atoms are supposed to be the basic building blocks of matter. To continue the analogy, where the application of energy is what changes atomic matter, the application of thought, most specifically belief, is what changes fictons."
"You mean something is because I believe it is?" Josef excitedly closed her eyes and clapped her hands. "I'm a man. I'm a man. I'm a man."
"Are you done?"
"Sure, now that I'm back to ... I'm not back to normal am I?" Dean shook his head.
"Why not? What did I do wrong?" Josef pouted.
"Maybe you should let me finish. As I said, the primary factor is belief. You need to be able to completely believe without doubt and without reference to anything of reality."
"So what references can you use?"
"You look so pretty when you crinkle your nose." Dean laughed.
"Doggy mirth is not a pretty thing." Josef tried to look stern and angry but her laughter spoiled the effect.
"That's O.K. There's a dearth of mirth on the earth."
"I'll bet you can't say that three times fast without drooling, doggy breath." It took a while for the laughter to trail off.
"I think we're getting slap-happy. That was not an exchange worth laughing at."
"I'm forced to agree with you Josef. To continue then, reference is the next issue. Richard seems to believe that the only stable immutable reference can be yourself."
"You mean I have to be an egomaniac?"
"Basically, yes, but more so. An egomaniac feels he is the center of the universe. You must feel that you are the universe."
"Fine. What else?" Josef yawned.
"Only one more thing, belief. You must be able to extend your belief into the world around you." Josef didn't bother to prompt the poodle. Instead she waited patiently for Dean to continue.
"Much like the kind of salesman Dale Carnegie proposes in 'How to Win Friends and Influence People,' you must convince the world that you are right."
"How do I do that?"
"That's where this manuscript gets really esoteric. I'm still not sure, but it seems that it is a matter of 'force of will,' whatever that means." Josef scratched her head and thought a moment.
"So, if I understand correctly, I have to be able to do three things: I have to believe something is true, I have to believe that I am the only real thing that exists, and I have to somehow proselytize so that everything else believes me." Dean sat back on his haunches and licked his chops.
"That seems to be it. Only one more problem, the obvious and unfortunate implication of being the only real thing in the universe is that you can't change yourself."
Chapter Six: Deities to Go
It seems that I have spent my entire time
trying to make life more rational
and that it was all wasted effort.
-- A. J. Ayer
"Good morning Master." Colleen was lying in the huge heart shaped bed next to Richard gently massaging him awake while Inga stood beside the bed holding a tray with steaming coffee and pastries. Richard stretched and glanced toward the window wall to see sunlight streaming in. Ignoring his servants for a moment he watched the dust motes lazily dance in the beams of light. Satisfied that there was still a randomness to their movements he sat up. Colleen immediately propped several pillows behind him and Inga gracefully slid onto the bed beside him. Colleen returned to her gentle rubbing while Inga carefully fed the Lord and Master of Creation, Richard Boatman, Godling.
"Concentrate, damn it. I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a dog." It had been a late night and an early morning. They had been attempting to replicate Richard's findings for more than four hours now.
"I am. I am. It just isn't working." Jose groaned and rubbed his aching head. "I just can't seem to do anything. Can we take a break?"
"No. We need to do this and do it now. We have no idea how long Richard is going to leave us alone."
"Alright." Jose sighed. "But we've got to try something different."
"Just one. Let's try hypnosis."
"Fine. Sit back on the couch and I'll hypnotize you. Then we'll try again." Josef started to get comfortable.
"Wait a minute here." She sat bolt upright. "Why aren't I hypnotizing you?"
"Do you have any idea how to hypnotize a dog?"
"No. I guess not." Hesitantly Jose continued. "Oh alright, I guess we should do this." She sat back and got comfortable. In the meantime Dean was quietly growling in frustration as he struggled to wrap a watch chain around one paw.
"Could you help me here." He finally gave up in frustration. Jose went to her desk and brought back some transparent tape. Dan jumped onto the coffee table and sat up while Jose knelt beside the frustrated dog and taped the watch to his paw before getting comfortable again.
"Thank you." Dean raised his paw and started the dangling watch swaying from side to side. "I want you to look at the watch. Watch the watch. See it swaying back and forth, back and forth ..." The dog continued speaking in a soft, soothing, relaxing voice for several minutes as she watched Josef's eyes slowly droop and eventually close.
"Now Josef. Open your eyes." Josef's eyes opened.
"Very good. You can hear only me. Nod if you understand me Josef." Josef nodded. Dean sat panting quietly on the coffee table as he thought for several minutes.
"Josef listen very carefully. First, no matter how I appear you will always recognize me. No matter how I sound, you will always recognize me. No matter how I communicate with you, you will always understand me. Do you understand?" A nod.
"In a few moments I'll say the phrase 'Heinlein's Hinny' and you'll wake up. If I communicate that phrase to you in any way at any time in the future you'll immediately fall asleep again. Do you understand?" Another nod.
"When I wake you up you are going to believe several things with absolute confidence. You will believe these things with every fiber of your being. Is that understood?" Another nod.
"First, you will believe that there is no such thing as reality. What you have always thought was reality is just a shared delusion. Do you understand?" Josef nodded again.
"Second, you will believe that what is perceived as reality is really a continuously changing collection of fictons, basic building blocks of everything around you, that are modified by your thoughts. Do you understand?" Yet another nod.
"Thirdly, you will believe that you are the universe. Everything that was, is, or will be is due to your will. Do you understand?" Josef nodded.
"Finally, because you are the universe and you are able to shape and form it as you wish. Your thoughts are like law. They must happen and all that surrounds you, that is you, recognizes and accepts your wishes. Your wishes are those of all around you. Do you understand?" A nod.
Oh yes, one last thing. You will always allow me to exist and retain my memories of who and what I am, and you will remember me as a human being again rather than as a dog. Heinlein's Hinny!"
The throne room was full again. Scantily clad beautiful women with long spears lined the way from the massive doors to the throne. A large group was being escorted forward, nine men and four women. Unlike all the people before them, this group immediately knelt and bowed before Richard.
"Welcome. You may speak." A distinguished, silver haired man looked up without rising.
"Greetings. My name ..."
"You are George Kingman-Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Clarke University, and these," he gestured to the others, "are the rest of the Board."
"Why yes." Only the slight widening of his eyes revealed the surprise he felt. "We are here ..."
"You are here to honor me for my unique and brilliant research."
"Right again." This time even the eyes gave back nothing. "We ..."
"Also want me to continue my research here at Clarke University with full funding." This time George said nothing, waiting.
"And you want the results of my research for yourselves." The eyes glanced downward for but an instant before once again coolly staring back at Richard.
"And of course, you want all this for the betterment of mankind." Richard sneered and clapped his hands once. Instantly the guards surrounded the group, spears shining in the light as they pointed at the hearts of the Board membersfrom just inches away.
"So transparent." He tsked. "Not one of you cares about helping the great unwashed masses. Each of you has dreams of avarice and control." He pointed to one.
"You, Dr. Bischoff, you would rid the world of disease. How noble. Isn't it a shame you plan to offer it only to those rich enough to afford the exorbitant prices you plan to charge."
"You, Mrs. Wellman." He pointed to a thin, immaculately coiffured woman of about fifty. "Your's is a much more humanitarian goal. You wish to use the power I've discovered to become young again." He smiled briefly, a cold, distant smile. "But you to have no interest in sharing with others. You expect to live forever unaging and amassing a fortune beyond that imagined by even the greediest of fools."
"Ah, here we are." He pointed to a tall, muscular, balding man with bronze skin. "You are the most humanitarian of the lot. You wish to use my power to make your son President of the United States." The smile was back. "You will then control him to make your company the biggest, most powerful in the world."
"All but two of you are money grubbers, whores of Babylon. Only you two." He pointed to a man and a woman standing at the back of the group. "Only the two of you have no ambitions. You." He jabbed a finger at the man, short, with a widow's peak of white hair. I've never met someone so enamored by the bureaucratic process. Your only ambition is to complete paperwork correctly. The phrase 'stuffed shirt' was made for one such as you. You have no conscience. You would as soon condemn someone to death as give them the moon so long as the paperwork is correct, but woe unto the person who does it wrong. It amazes me that any human being can be so inflexible."
"And you." He pointed to a woman of about forty who would have been considered beautiful were she not surrounded by a bevy of perfect specimens of femininity. "You have thoughts only for your appearance. You are a stupid jackass with no opinions but those given you by others. You are only here because the others came and you were afraid to object. You are only on the Board because your family is so wealthy."
Richard looked to the crowd. "It's time women. Shall we?" The crowd roared and Richard turned back to the Board members.
"You have been judged, so be it." Richard waved his hands dismissively and sat back in the throne while everyone waited expectantly.
"It is more fun when it happens slowly so it can be savored." Inga and Colleen enthusiastically agreed with his aside.
On the floor below the Board members cautiously milled about watching each other. "Hey, where's his jacket?"
"Hey, She's got hair on her hands."
"What's happening to my ears?"
For all but two the changes were the same. Hair grew, even where there had been none before. Nails grew and turned bright red. Lips became plumper and also bright red. Clothes flowed and molded themselves to new body forms. When it was over there were ten more women, all in varying forms of undress more than dress and all looking for the proverbial street lamp to stand under. Only the spear points prevented them from physically attacking the only man left in the room, but even they did not prevent catcalls, taunts, and propositions.
For the other two it was different. The woman Richard had called dumb stared at her fingernails as they slowly grew until the fingers were gone and only hooves were left. Coarse hair grew everywhere as the ears elongated. Teeth flattened and grew while the nose and mouth began to elongate also. Falling to all fours, clothing ripped as her torso began to grow and a tail formed. Then there was a full sized mule standing amongst the milling ladies of the evening.
For the last of the group the changes were even more peculiar. First his suit coat and pants disappeared followed immediately by his underpants. Blushing he quickly crouched and covered his genitals with his hands failing to notice that he was shrinking closer to the floor as his legs shortened. Suddenly things became two dimensional as the remainder of his body melted and flowed to form around his white shirt. Eyes, nose, ears, and mouth became buttons and flesh tones faded to white. When it was done a neatly pressed white shirt stood upright, as if on an invisible body form, until the mule accidentally kicked it over.
As the transformations ended Richard laughed maniacally and the crowd again roared its approval.
"Have you done it yet? Have you hypnotized me?" Josef blinked and rubbed her eyes.
"Yes Josef. Shall we test out your new powers? I'd like to be human again." Dean's tail wagged furiously as he jumped from the coffee table to the couch by Josef and raised his paw for Josef to remove the taped on watch. Josef reached for it but stopped short just before touching it.
"Let's start small." She put her hand back in her lap and stared fiercely at the watch.
"Nothing seems to be happening." Dean jiggled it.
"Let me try again." This time Josef closed her eyes. With a furrowed brow and pursed lips she concentrated again. Dean jiggled it again impatiently and it fell off. Dean's mouth fell open as he watched it fall to the couch cushion. The chain wriggled like a snake and was sucked into the watch which stretched and bulged a bit at each end. The silver metal lost its sheen and roughened, becoming a dull tan. The words "Doggy Treats" formed and a dog biscuit lay on the couch where the pocket watch had been.
"Ahhh, you can open your eyes now." Dean gulped and stared at Josef with a fearful look in his eyes as he slowly lowered his paw. Josef opened her eyes and looked first at Dean inquiringly. Then as her eyes slid down to the cushion and the biscuit on it the expression change to shock, fear, and then triumph.
"I did it. I did it." She clapped her hands and bounced up and down in her joy.
"So it would seem, and while I appreciate the gift, I'd really prefer to be human again." She waited expectantly.
"Would you like to eat first?" Josef giggled.
"Thank you, no."
"Oh very well." Josef shrugged her shoulders and braced herself before closing her eyes and concentrating. After several minutes she slumped back onto the soft cushions and took in several ragged breaths. She spoke without daring to open her eyes.
"Did it work?" Silence. The silence continued for several seconds while an exhausted Josef continued to breath hard. Just as she was about to open her eyes to see for herself a soft mellifluous voice spoke out.
Tentatively Josef opened one eye then both popped wide open. Sitting before her was an outrageously beautiful woman. A woman dressed exactly like she was and looking exactly like her sat where Dean had been.
Chapter Seven: Unveilings
Prove to me that you're no fool
Walk across my swimming pool.
-- Tim Rice
"What may we do to please you Lord?" Richard was standing by the picture window of his office staring petulantly at the panorama before him while Colleen gently kneaded his neck and shoulders.
"I haven't decided. No. I have decided." He smiled beatifically. "It's time for the people of the world to bow before me and show their respect."
"How shall we allow them to display their veneration Master?"
"I shall go out among them so that they may prostrate themselves before me."
"May we permit the media to record your beneficence for posterity?"
"Sure." Colleen ran back to the desk to arrange news coverage.
"How will you present yourself to the masses, Master?"
"An excellent question. We need to do something of biblical proportions. Something that will impress, that will allow my flock memories worthy of a god, that will permit them a mythology with which to revere me." Inga looked on adoringly while Colleen finished on the telephone and returned.
"I know." They were outside by the lake again.
"What is your desire Master?"
"Stand apart and watch each other." They quickly moved about ten feet apart and watched each other, wondering what would happen.
There was tingling from the waist down. Their bikini bottoms disappeared and the skin on their legs began to turn brown. A coarse coating of hair formed. They glanced quizzically at Richard but their eyes quickly returned to each other when the tingling restarted and increased to an uncomfortable tickle. Inga reached back to scratch at the itch behind her and found a lump growing out of her buttocks. Looking back at Colleen she saw a what must have been a similar brown lump forming just above her buttocks also. The lump elongated and became a tail. Then the tail began stretching backward and small lumps formed underneath. Quickly expanding, another set of brown hair covered legs formed. Once the hind legs touched the ground the entire lower portions of their bodies began to swell and grow. When the tingling finally stopped they were each about a foot and a half taller and from the lower waist down were equines. Richard had even thoughtfully shoed their hooves.
"Take a few moments to acclimate to your new bodies and we'll be off.
"Why am I a clone of you?" Dean, now Deanna, was outraged. "You were supposed to make me like I was, a man."
Josef blinked and rubbed his eyes trying to relieve the dull headache that had just appeared..
"I said what happened? I was supposed to become a man again."
"I, uh ... I ... don't know." Josef stopped rubbing. "but I need something for this headache." He got up and headed for the bathroom off the bedroom and the medicine cabinet therein.
"Stop." Not quite to the bedroom door Josef turned.
"What's the matter?"
"Josef, you are a godling." Josef looked blankly at Dean. "Make the damn headache disappear." She waited, arms crossed and frowning. Josef nodded and closed her eyes so she could concentrate better. A few seconds later she opened her eyes, smiled and returned to the couch.
"Headache gone?" Josef nodded.
"Good. Then how about turning me back into myself? I don't feel comfortable like this."
"I ... can't." Josef was trembling.
"Stop trembling." Dean's hand went out to Josef's and gently held it. "Why can't you?"
"Because ... I'm afraid." Tears were dripping down Josef's face. "If I turn you back into a man I'm going to turn into a bimbo again."
"It's all right. Try. I promise I'll make you turn me back into a woman if necessary. Remember, I can always hypnotize you again if need be. Now please give it a try." Dean pleaded, a tear welling up in his eye. "I'm not use to being a woman."
Josef looked deeply into Richard's eyes before permitting his answer to grudgingly seep out. "I guess." A deep sigh and then Josef closed his eyes frowning, head down, shoulders stooped dejectedly. He began concentrating.
President Arnold was presiding over the second joint meeting of the National Security Council and the National Science Council. The first time was when the United States was considering the possibility of dropping atomic weapons on Japan.
"I'd like an explanation and a course of action gentleman, and I'd like one now." President Arnold was not happy.
"We know that something has happened to dramatically change the surface of the moon. We know that it resembles the face of a white Caucasian male." Professor Sidney Shankar, Nobel Laureate in Physics, hesitantly raised his hand. His parents had wanted him to have an anglicized name but still wanted to honor the memory of their maternal grandfather, thus Siddartha had become Sidney Arthur.
"We've contacted the various observatories and there was no indication of unusual astronomical activity of any type. Similarly, there is no evidence of a sudden commencement of volcanic activity. There is no known scientific explanation for what has happened."
"Thank you Professor. I suppose ruling out options is better than nothing, but I had hope for more." He slumped back in his seat, taking a moment to scratch the ears of his ever present Wire Hair Terrier, Frisky, before continuing. "Does anyone have anything positive to offer?"
C. Konrad Erlich, National Security Advisor, spoke up.
"Expanding upon Dr. Shankar's comments, Sir," He wiped his brow and nervously straightened out his tie as he spoke. "That rules out both natural causes and the possibility that this was the action of a foreign power, earthly or otherwise. Using Occam's Razor we might want to consider the Vatican's position. The only thing that seems to be left is a supernatural cause."
"What is the Vatican's position?"
"Our sources say that the College of Cardinals will recommend to the Pope that this be considered a miracle."
"Is that what our position should be?"
"Sir," Paula Roberson, Chief of Staff spoke up, "Ah think it would be a good idea to assure that any position taken be reassurin'. Afta the latest round of natural disasters and the Canadian grain embargo we cain't afford to do anythin' that would upset people. You'all are too close to re-election."
"Are you saying we can't afford a miracle?"
"Ah'm afraid so Sir. Theah's already been riotin', confirmin' that somethin's happenin' that's beyond ouah control could risk even moah civil unrest."
"Great." The President sighed. "Gentlemen, thank you for your input. I guess I need some time to make a decision."
"Oh Eric, thank god you're all right. I was so worried. There was rioting. I called the police." The words rushed out between sobs as Dolores Schrader ran to her husband, hugging him and crying in her joy.
"It's all right my dear. It's all right. I'm fine. I was just delayed and couldn't get to a telephone. I'm sorry I worried you. Please calm down." Eric cooed as he held her and stroked her hair lovingly. The sobbing had almost disappeared. Eric gently held her face with both hands, looking up into her eyes. "Please stop. I'll get that cellular phone you've been begging me to get. Then this will never happen again."
"Thank you my dear." Eric lovingly patted Dolores on the fanny. "Please let me get out of these work clothes and get me a martini dear. Once I change I'll be happy to fill you in on the day's happenings." Reluctantly, Dolores released her husband and allowed him to slip off to the bedroom to change. Moving to the bar she poured two martinis from the pitcher she had been drinking from for the past two hours.
In the bedroom, after a quick face and hand washing, Eric walked over to the dresser for a change of clothing. Eric's gaze was momentarily diverted to the framed photograph of the two of them from their wedding. Memories of that wonderful day, both of them in white, a church full of friends, and that glorious evening in San Francisco flitted across Eric's mind. "I'll have to do something special to atone for what I must have just put her through."
A change of clothing in hand, Eric turned to the full length mirror. Quickly stripping off her red bikini Eric replaced it with a more relaxing, blue and white polka dot one. She checked her makeup, fluffed her hair and changed heels to match the new attire and returned to Dolores to elaborate on her day. A much more interesting day then it would have been if she had still been a garbage man like she'd started off the day.
"Oh forget it. We'll do this the easy way. Heinlein's Hinney." The damn fool was too scared to return Dean's manhood and Dean was tired of trying to persuade Josef with rationality. No matter how hard he concentrated he didn't really believe it and so it couldn't become reality.
"Thank god for the careful planning that resulted in my including this post hypnotic suggestion. Now how to word this. I've got to make sure he wants to do it or even the hypnotic state won't be enough." Dean stood up to pace while he thought unconsciously straightening his hem and checking his makeup with a glance in the mirror.
"A reason. I need a reason to give Josef so he'll want to do it and it's got to be a good reason, after all she's right. If I'm male she's going to fawn all over me and make it even easier for me to control her. She'll be the god, but I'll have the power. I know." The pacing stopped. "I'll make her love me. She'll want to please me without concern for her own needs. Yes! I like it!"
Walking back to the couch, heels clicking on the polished wood floor, Dean carefully smoothed the back of her miniskirt as she sat facing Josef. "Josef, open your eyes and look at me." Josef's eyes opened.
"Listen carefully Josef. You love me. You are madly in love with me. You would do anything to please me, anything at all. Do you understand me Josef?" Josef nodded.
"Speak to me Josef. Do you understand me?"
"Yes Dean. I love you with all of my heart. I would do anything to make you happy."
"Good. Tell me how much you love me Josef. Would you do anything I ask of you?"
"Yes Dean, anything."
"Would you do something that might hurt you for me?"
"Yes Dean. I would gladly do anything for you."
"Would you put my needs ahead of yours?"
"Yes Dean. Your needs first."
"Good. Now I need you to understand that I am very unhappy. I don't like this body. I want to be happy with my body. You want me to be happy with my body, don't you?"
"Yes Dean, I want you to be happy with your body."
"I want my old life back Josef. I want to be who I was Josef. Make me who I was Josef. Make me a man again. Do you understand?"
"Good. Do it now Josef." Dean waited while Josef concentrated. Her brow furrowed and her clenched hands trembled with the effort but nothing happened.
"Oh forget it Josef, enough." Dean hit her thigh with her hand in her anger. "It's not working. I'll bet you can't do it while you're hypnotized. After all you can't be a megalomaniac and still be subservient to my will, can you." Dean brushed an errant strand of hair from her face and continued.
"Josef, I'm going to wake you in a moment. When I do you will be madly in love with me. You will want to do anything you can to make me happy. Do you understand?"
"Good. 'Heinlein's Hinney.'" Josef blinked.
"Did I doze off?"
"You must have been daydreaming." Dean gently took Josef's hand in hers and Josef glowed with the pleasure of Dean's attention. "We need to talk."
"I want you to make me a man again." Josef's glow slowly faded into a frown as Dean spoke. "I'm not happy being a woman. You want me to be happy don't you?"
"With all my heart Dean. I love you. I'd do anything for you." Tears flowed freely on both their faces.
"Good, then please make me happy. Please change me. I want to be a man again." He waited.
Josef closed his eyes and furrowed his brow thinking furiously for several long seconds while Dean waited impatiently. Finally Josef's eyes opened and he smiled. "How do you feel now?"
Dean thought for a moment and smiled too hugging Josef. "Oh thank you Josie. Thank you so much. Those silly ideas are gone. I'm so happy. I love being me again. I love being a woman." Deanna stretched luxuriously and went back to hugging her dearest friend, Josette.
Chapter Eight: Out on the Town
As I was walking up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish he'd stay away.
-- Hughes Mearns
"Let's party." Deanna jumped up from the couch and turned on the radio. Returning to the couch she grabbed Josef's hands and tried to drag her up off the couch to dance.
"We've got to find Richard." Josef refused to get up. "He's the cause of all this. We need to either convince him to change things back to normal or find some way to stop him before he totally destroys the world."
"Then let's eat." Deanna dropped Josef's hands and continued dancing on her own. "I'm starved."
"If I feed you will you let me think?"
"No," Deanna giggled, "But I won't keep trying to make you dance."
"Alright already." Josef sighed. "What do you want to eat?"
"What have we got?"
"Nothing but this dog biscuit. You should know that. You've been through the refrigerator and the cupboards."
Deanna thought a moment and then responded with a bright smile. "Shall we eat out or have someone deliver?"
"Deanna, you know I can't be around men without trying to bed them." Josef was shocked. "Remember what happened the last time we had food delivered."
"Yup. I had to growl at you and lock you in our bedroom."
"Wait a minute. You remember being a poodle?"
"Do you also remember being Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences?"
"Sure. Why shouldn't I?" Josef ignored the question.
"And you know that you're my twin now?"
"Of course silly." Deanna giggled. "Why are you asking these silly questions and when are we going to eat?"
"One last question. Do you remember wanting to be a man?"
"You do? And you don't want to be a man now?"
"Hey, you said just one more question."
"Please humor me."
"Oh O.K." Deanna sighed. "It's a darn good thing I think you're special." The smile was back. "It's like the words of the song, 'I enjoy being a girl.'" She pouted briefly. "I also enjoy food. Can we please eat now?"
Josef didn't answer.
"Josie?" Still no answer. "Josie, sweetie." Silence. "JOSETTE RIMSKY. CALLING JOSETTE RIMSKY."
"Huh." Josef blinked. "Oh. Sorry. I guess I wasn't paying attention. I guess Richard's theory really is correct. Anyway, what were you saying?"
"I said FEED ME, before I get you a strange looking, singing, cannibalistic plant that's as hungry as me." Deanna broke out in giggles again, this time joined by Josef who reached over and hugged her girlfriend.
"So. What do you want to eat?" Josef reached for the telephone book on the coffee table and began leafing through the restaurant section. "Armenian, Barbecue, Burgers, Cajun, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Homestyle, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Pizza, Ribs, Steaks ..." Deanna's hand stopped the further turning of pages.
"Great. My choice." Josef grumped as she closed the telephone book. "Then the second question is how do we do it without bedding someone?"
"Oh Josef, you're being silly again."
"You mean 'Duh.' Poof it up. Make it appear. Use your power." Deanna sat back smugly pretending to polish her nails against her blouse.
"Enough prancing about ladies. It's time to meet our public." The two centauresses quickly trotted back to stand staring raptly down at Richard.
"Where shall we go master?" They spoke in unison.
"Well, I considered Washington D.C., but decided against there; it's too provincial. Then I considered the United Nations complex, but that's in New York City and the people there would probably ignore even us." His hand gestured to include the two centauresses and himself.
"I similarly ruled out Los Angeles as they'd just think it was a movie publicity stunt, Paris where the people would be too busy arguing about what they were seeing to honor us, Berlin where people would deny what they saw, Moscow where people would be too afraid of the KGB or whatever it's now called to admit what they saw, Calcutta where they'd worship the two of you instead of me, and London where they'd never see us in the fog."
"Yes Master, of course."
"Italy is supposed to be lovely this time of year. If anyone will recognize the miracle we represent it should be the Pope. We're going to visit the Vatican City." The two centauresses squealed in joy.
The Pope was at his balcony overlooking Vatican Square offering Mass to the crowd of faithful below when the trio appeared at the far end of the Square. It was a tribute to the intensity of the worshipers about them that they were not initially noticed. Inga lead the way parting the crowd and tossing flower petals as she paced toward the Pope. Colleen followed with Richard riding on her back and waving regally to the shocked and rapidly parting crowd.
About a third of the way to the balcony the Pope's litany stopped mid word and the only the sound was of breathing and approaching hoof beats echoing against the surrounding walls. Two thirds of the way to the balcony even the sound of hoof beats disappeared as the centauresses began to climb through the air on a gentle slope. The flower petals continued falling and were soon fluttering down onto the heads of the gawkers below. They stopped, apparently standing on nothing, with Richard head to head with the Pope and less than five feet way.
"Greetings Your Eminence." Several of the Swiss Guard assigned to protect the Vatican and its occupants tried to move between Richard and the Pope without success. It was as if an unseen wall had been placed between them and the Holy See. "How do you like the show?"
"Quite impressive my son. Your companions are remarkably lifelike."
"That's because they're real. Would you like to be one?"
"Your generous offer is appreciated my son, however the duties of my position are such that I must decline at this time. Perhaps I can instead impose upon you to assist those more needy than I?"
"Sure, why not. They always say charity begins at the home dimension. What would you like me to do?"
"The world is plagued by demons such as famine, pestilence, and poverty. Anything that can be done to lessen that burden of pain would be most charitable."
"Fine. Consider it done."
"Excuse me my son?"
Richard laughed. "I said it's done. I've done as you asked and eliminated hunger and disease. Poverty is a relative concept and I've provided a one shot resolution. At this moment everyone in the world has enough dollars, rupees, yen, or whatever for a standard of living equal to or greater than that of lower middle class in the United States of America. What they do with their money is their problem." They both turned at a tapping noise from within as a Monsignor approached the Pope walking past the Guards without striking the obstacle still preventing the guards from reaching His Eminence. The Monsignor whispered in the Pope's ear briefly before the Pope turned back to Richard.
"I have just received a report that everyone in the area seems to have received a large sum of ..." Before he could finish he was drowned out by a murmur from the crowd that rapidly grew to a roar. People were dancing about pounding each other on the back. A couple of people were waving their crutches over their heads and another group was pushing a now empty wheelchair back and forth amongst them in a bizarre variation on the game of circle toss.
"You will similarly find that the recent harvest has been so successful that the Food Pantries of the world will soon be filled to overflowing." Richard smiled at the shocked expression on the Monsignor's face. "And yes, I can hear you whisper."
"This is a truly amazing feat my son. How, may I ask, have you accomplished it?"
"Certainly your Eminence. It was a miracle." Richard was disappointed at the lack of surprise on the Pope's face. "When you've confirmed it I'll be back. Prepare to worship me." Richard and the centauresses disappeared in a rather theatric puff of smoke.
"We've got to get out of here. I'm going stir crazy." Deanna flounced over to the lime green quilted bed and propped herself up by her elbows. She was wearing nothing more than a bra and panties. Clothes were strewn everywhere.
"We haven't even figured out what to wear. We can't even leave this apartment until we figure out how to go anywhere without becoming sex crazed bimbos." An exasperated Josef, also in only bra and panties, sat backwards with legs akimbo on the chair by the makeup table. Head down resting on her arms, her wavy golden blonde hair hid her face as it cascaded over the back of the chair. Still frustrated, Josef rose flipping her hair back, and began to pace.
"We need to find a safe way to get to Richard."
"No, we need to get dressed."
"Damn it we need to get to Richard!"
"No Josette Rimsky, we need to get dressed. If we don't get dressed we'll be raped by the first man we see whether we want to be raped or not." Deanna smiled knowingly and Josef growled and blinked.
"Fine. We're dressed. Now can we move on to the problem of reaching Richard?" Josef's pacing found her back by the makeup chair.
"What?" Deanna sighed and dropped down onto the chair again. "Now what?"
"Ignoring the fact that we need to accessorize, we can't go anywhere without makeup." Deanna stood and walked over to the makeup table. "Oh, and some matching white pumps would go well with the dress. She swirled the lacy white outer material and silken under fabric of the dress' not quite knee length skirt as she examined it. Stepping carefully to avoid scattered articles of clothing Deanna moved back to the full length mirror by the closet and carefully adjusted the high back collar and plunge neckline. Suddenly she was three and a half inches taller as the requested heels appeared. She quickly reached out to the wall to stabilize herself before falling.
"And now some makeup. Tasteful please. Just a light touch of blush, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick." Another self-examination. "I think a touch of pale blue eye shadow would complete the makeup nicely."
"Now can we move on?"
"A watch, preferably silver ... gold is so splashy, would be nice. And a matching pendant necklace and bracelet." Deanna thought a moment. "You know, a thin ankle bracelet would also be nice."
Josef blinked. "There. It's done. Now I don't want to hear another word about clothes, makeup, accessories, or anything else. I need your help figuring out how to get to Richard."
"O.K. But it would be a good idea if you were dressed also." Josef growled and blinked. He was dressed identically to Deanna who immediately began to pout.
"But we're wearing the identical dress. We can't do that. It's ..." Suddenly no sound was coming from her mouth although her lips continued to move.
"There will be NO ... MORE ... DISCUSSION ... OF ... CLOTHES." Josef spoke through clenched teeth as she stood and walked over to Deanna. Taking her hand Josef led the now compliant Deanna to the living room couch.
"Sit." Deanna sat.
"Think." Deanna thought. "How do we safely get to Richard?" In the silence Josef began pacing again. After several moments, Deanna tapped on the coffee table to get Josef's attention and when he turned pointed pleadingly at her mouth.
"Oh, of course. Do you have any ideas?"
Deanna sighed then with a joyful glance at Josef she tentatively touched her mouth. "I can speak again. Oh that feels good. Thank you. Thank you."
"Answer the question," Josef growled, "or you'll have thanked me for nothing." Josef collapsed heavily onto the couch beside Deanna.
"Yes Josie. Right away." Standing, Deanna attempted to assume the intense domineering stance she had used when lecturing first year students but failed miserably as evidenced by Josef's barely stifled giggle. With an annoyed look she continued.
"To state the assumptions, we have agreed that we must get to Richard, but that we must do so without being in proximity of any men or you, and possibly we, will be side tracked by an overriding desire for sexual gratification." Josef nodded tiredly.
"The answer is obvious. First, you must use your abilities to determine where Richard is. Assuming Richard will not come to us we will have to go to Richard. Before going to him however you must determine if there are any other males around. Then you must remove all the men from Richard's presence. You can make them anything but men, I'd prefer no poodles if I have any say in this, or you can transport them to some other place, I hear the Virgin Islands are especially nice this time of year." Deanna bowed her head as if accepting the accolades of a nonexistent crowd and sauntered back over to the couch and sat, back straight, legs crossed, appearing as dignified as she could. Thunder struck Josef sat, mouth open, gaping at Deanna who merely smiled. Finally moving, Josef slapped his head in disgust.
"I must be an idiot."
"No." Deanna's hand reached out to comfort her twin. "No. Not an idiot, merely too close to the problem. It's hard to think when you're quaking in fear of seeing a man and having conjugal relations with him."
"Enough waiting, let's get Richard." Josef sprang to his feet only to be pulled back to the couch by Deanna who had not released her hand.
"Before we go, may I suggest, considering what we'll do when we reach Richard?"
"Good point." Josef dejectedly slumped back on the couch, head back, eyes closed.
"Thank you, and may I also suggest a silver chain link formal purse with shoulder strap." Josef's head shot back up in surprise as Deanna giggled.
Chapter Nine: Cavalry's ComingHeroing is one of the shortest-lived professions there is.
-- Will Rogers
"The first part of the plan is working. I can tell at all times exactly where ever he is and I can tell if he has any males around him."
"That's nice. Don't move." Deanna was polishing Josef's not quite 1" nails bright red to match the polish she'd finished putting on her own.
"I haven't tried to move up to him because he's been with large crowds and I would much prefer to speak to him alone."
"You know, some earrings to match the pendants would look fabulous."
"Whatever. Here. Do whatever you want." Josef reached his free hand out to touch Deanna's forehead. Deanna jerked back from the mild shock.
"Hey. Warn a gal." Deanna pouted. "You almost make me mess up that nail." Josef ignored the comment, instead concentrating on keeping track of Richard, and shortly Deanna went back to work on Josef's last nail with the satisfied expression of a craftsman at work.
After finishing the last nail Deanna glanced at Josef and then at the mirror. Matching earrings of silver with azure blue stones appeared on both their ears. Deanna gently felt the posts clamped behind her own ears and was impressed that it was so easy to have pierced ears.
Next Deanna thought about their clothes and how they really shouldn't be identical even if Josie and her were. As she thought the upper portion of her own dress separated from the skirt and changed into a blue tube top while the lower portion shrunk to half again as long and became more form fitting. At the same time, Josie's dress changed so that the silken under fabric separated to leave the midriff covered only by the sheer lacy outer fabric. The skirt also changed into a wrap around with an angled hem, just above the knee on the felt and bare inches below the crotch where it crossed over on the right. Finally, wide pale blue stripes, on an angle matching the hem appeared on the lacy portion of the entire dress.
Deanna critically examined her efforts and silently pronounced them "Bitchin'." Crossing her legs and lounging back on the couch she sighed to herself. "All dressed up and no where to show it off. Boy I wish Josie weren't such a prude and that some handsome hunks would come by right now to wine us, dine us, and make up feel reeeally goood."
Josef continued to concentrate, unaware of the changes taking place in both of their attire. She was equally unaware of the sounds coming from the hallway beyond the apartment door, the joyous sounds of a pair of guys returning from a win on the fields of valor, or at least a scratch game of basketball at the college gym.
Deanna smiled as strode, as silently as she could in her heels, to the front door. Josef's concentration was broken as she found herself licking her lips and gently stroking her nipples. Glancing about she saw Deanna at the open door with two guys in sweat stained shorts and tee shirts. In a panic she sucked in air to scream "NO!" but what came out was "Oh Deanna, who are your friends."
Richard and the centauresses disappeared in a puff of smoke before the Pope and several thousand astounded onlookers, but instead of reappearing back at the office as Inga and Colleen expected they were in the acre square center plaza of the college.
"What are we doing here Master?"
"George Bernard Shaw once said, 'There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.' We are merely permitting our followers to gaze upon us in adoration and recognize that we are that one true version." With that he dismounted and strode towards a group of about twenty students lounging about the fountain and statue that graced the center of the plaza. Inga and Colleen glanced worriedly at each other and quickly trotted after him.
"Greeting my worshipers." Richard stood before the scattered groupings of students hands on hips, chest puffed out, and legs spread apart; presenting for all intents and purposes a vision of a so-so superman. Unsurprisingly, except for one or two indifferent glances, he was ignored.
"I said 'GREETINGS MY WORSHIPERS.'"
Several more groups interrupted their conversations to look up questioningly. From off to one side someone asked loudly, "Who's the polyester pecan?" There was nervous laughter from a scattering of others.
"POLYESTER PECAN?" Richard's voice was loud enough to reverberate off the surrounding buildings shattering several windows. "You mean psychiatric patient in a suit? Me? I think not." He was greeted by several more nervous titters, a "Get lost!" and an attempt by one couple to walk off. Inga and Colleen uncomfortably switched from foot to foot making loud clacking noises as their shoed feet tapped the marble pavement.
"YOU MAY NOW WORSHIP ME AS YOUR GOD." Two more couples tried to walk off only to stop when they bumped into an invisible wall. Some of the next round of comments were markedly less polite. Those who had made comments suddenly began floating up into the air about three feet, limbs flailing as automatic responses to the fear of falling kicked in.
"NOW, NOW CHILDREN. PLAY NICE. NO CURSING." Richard chided which only served to double the vulgarities from the crowd. Additional bodies floated upward with each insult. Richard's face began to flush with anger, the blush growing to mottled purple as the insolence continued.
"SO, YOU WOULD MOCK YOUR LORD AND MASTER WITH CHILDISH TAUNTS. SO BE IT. EACH ACT OF CONTEMPT SHALL BRING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR CHILD-LIKE NATURE LOSE A YEAR FOR EACH TAUNT THAT LEAVES YOUR LIPS. EARN A YEAR FOR EACH ACT OF CONTRITION." With that Richard and the two centauresses disappeared. The floating students dropped to the ground crying and running to their Mommies and baby sitters. One lay crying in the swaddling that was his clothes until a young woman went over and picked him up to cuddle and coo at him.
"Ummm." Josef stretched languorously. One hand moved to shield her eyes from the sun's cheerful morning glow as her hand brushed across the covers of the bed it felt a lump. Suddenly her eyes snapped open as she rapidly sucked in a breath ready to scream. She poke the lump, this time harder.
"Waa?" The voice trailed off into a mumble as it continued. "Lemme sleep. Five more minutes Mommy." Josef slowly let the air out in a slow sigh as she heard the familiar female voice, then she remembered the preceding night. Sitting up she grabbed the covers and yanked them off the bed.
"Deanna? How could you?"
"How could I what?" Deanna rolled onto her back and rubbed her eyes.
"How could you let those ... those guys in?"
"What's the problem? They were cute, they were available, they were clean, and they were verrry verrry good." Deanna purred contentedly as she finished rubbing her eyes and smoothed her shorty nightgown before sitting up, sliding her feet to the floor, and padding off to the bathroom while Josef watched her, mouth agape. The nightgown was so short it kept bouncing up to show her pantiless crotch.
"No panties? That means ..." The thought died stillborn as she reached down and felt a sticky dampness.
Wiping toothpaste from her mouth with the back of her hand Deanna came running back into the bedroom when Josef screamed. Rushing to her sobbing friend, Deanna held her and hugged her and comforted her, eventually even crying with her as they shared the pain. Much later, still holding each other and still blubbering, Josef calmed enough to speak.
"I ... you ... those men ... we had."
"Yes, Josie. I understand. It's O.K."
"No! No, it's not O.K." Josef pulled away from Deanna. "I had sex ... as a girl ... but I'm not a girl ... I'm a guy ... a guy."
"Yes, I do understand. I was a guy too." Deanna gently pulled Josef back into her embrace. "You had sex. It was with a guy. It felt good and you can't bear to admit it." Josef tentatively nodded.
"So what's wrong? You're still human, not a dog like I was for a while. You participated in a normal, natural, and very enjoyable activity. You aren't pregnant, you may not be able to change your own shape but you control everything around you including the presence or absence of 'little Willie's wigglers.'" Josef pulled back just enough to look Deanna in the eye as a smile slowly crept back onto Josef's face. Then she hugged Deanna hard enough to draw a surprised "Oof" from her.
"You're right, I may be female, but I can't be raped and I can't get pregnant, unless I want it." She held Deanna away from her beaming before jumping up from the bed.
"Race you to the shower." She giggled and ran to the bathroom leaving a bemused Deanna staring after her.
Ablutions completed Deanna and Josef were dressed and discussing the fine points of clothes and make-up. "You know, I wish I could do this stuff myself. Don't take this wrong, I love having you around, but I really prefer being able to be independent in anything I do."
"It's O.K. Josie, I understand." Deanna smiled. "Why don't you try doing your makeup yourself?"
"O.K." Josie plodded down at the makeup table. Unerringly she began applying blush, eye shadow, and mascara while Deanna silently watched in growing amazement.
"Hey, you've been holding out on me. You knew this stuff all along, didn't you?"
"What do you mean?" Josef looked back over her shoulder and then back at the mirror Deanna was pointing towards. The face in the mirror was beautifully made up. "But I don't ..." Josef looked back into the reflection. "No, I guess I do know how to do this. I wonder how I could have learned. I didn't know how a few minutes ago." Turning back to Deanna with a confused look Josef continued.
"That must be it. I can change the way I think." Jumping up she hugged Deanna before dancing her around the room. "I can change the way I think. I can change the way I think." She stopped dancing for a moment, but still held Deanna. "I need a guy."
"You little slut." Deanna laughed. "After last night you want more already?"
"No. I need to confirm that I no longer need to be a 'little slut' around a guy." Suddenly the two guys from last night were standing in the room by the bed. laughing, Josef sashayed over and rubbed and hugged first one, then the other. Then, without a word, turned back to Deanna and began dancing again. When Josef had completed spinning Deanna enough that she could see the bed area again they guys were gone.
"I'm not a slut any more."
"Congratulations Josie. Now what?" But she raised her hand to stop Josef before she could answer. "I know. You're going to Disney World?"
"No silly, Josef giggled, "I'm going to try to change my body." Deanna stood back to watch but nothing happened.
"What's wrong, won't it work?"
"No." Josef sighed. "I guess I still stuck as a girl."
"Is that so bad? I like having a twin." Deanna hesitantly reached up to touch Josef, but stopped and returned her hand to her lap, satisfying herself with a sigh of her own as she waited the long seconds for Josef's response.
"No." Josef seemed almost surprised. "No. It's not bad." She continued as her words bubbled out in a rush. "It's not bad being a girl. It's not bad being a twin. It's actually pretty good. In fact, I think I like it. No. I know I like it. I actually LIKE being a girl."
Once again they hugged, crying in their joy. Josef pulled away just enough to see Deanna's face and worriedly bit her lip. "Deanna, I need to ask you a favor. Would ... would you call me Josie from now on?" Tears still streaming down her cheeks she warily waited for the response.
"Josie. Josie. Josie. Of course I'll call you Josie. Josie my dear Josie." They hugged again.
Fifteen minutes later it was finally time to face the rest of the world again. "We better fix our makeup again Josie." Josie smiled and it was done. Plopping back onto the bed and placing her hand behind her head to prop it up a bit more that what even the doubled up pillow provided, Deanna continued. "So what's next? Now do we go to Disney World?" Josie pulled Deanna gently to her feet, a determined look on her face. "No. Now we deal with Richard."
I shall light a candle of understanding in thine heart,
which shall not be put out,
-- The Apocrypha, 14:25
"I guess it's time." Regretfully Josie pulled away from Deanna who was still trying to hug her. "He's in his office so we'll have relative privacy."
"Are you sure I can't go with you?"
"Deanna I love you too much to let you be put in the line of fire, especially when absolutely anything could happen. I couldn't live if anything happened to you and I couldn't feel free to do whatever I had to if I thought you might be at risk." Deanna's chin quivered, but she fought back the tears.
"There's no other way?"
"No." Jose sighed resignedly. "It's got to be face to face and every minute I wait just added to the human carnage left in his wake." Josie stood up and smoothed out her flowing white gown, specially selected for her by Deanna to allow her to present a regal and pure demeanor for the meeting.
"Wait!" Deanna jumped up, hand stretched out to stop Josie.
"Please Deanna, if I delay I won't go." Josie's hand went up as if to wave Deanna back.
"Heinlein's Hinny!" Josie's gesture stopped in mid wave. Deanna continued speaking to the now immobile Josie.
"I love you too much to force you to take me, but I will not let you go without doing everything I can to help." Deanna paced around Josie as she thought furiously.
"Josie Rimsky you have amazing strength of will. Anything you believe must be. It is not possible for anyone to overcome your will even though they may try." Josie returned to her original position.
"Heinlein's Hinny." Josie finished her gesture and a grieving Deanna whispered, "Goodbye my love. I'll wait for you forever if need be."
Josef, also known as Josie, also known as Josette, Rimsky disappeared and Deanna gratefully released the flood of pent up tears.
"What is your will my Lord?" Colleen and Inga were back in human form again. All three were unclothes and lazing about in the hot tub.
"I think we've given the Pope enough time to proclaim my godhood. I guess it's time to force the issue."
"How shall this be done Master?" Richard jerked his leg backward before he could answer Colleen and glared at Inga who had been tickling the bottom of his foot.
"My apologies Lord. I meant but to serve you by rubbing your toes." Inga was chagrined.
"Never mind." He gestured dismissively at Inga and turned to Colleen. "Back to your question." Colleen beamed with pride at Richard's attention taking only a moment to turn to Inga and stick out her tongue before returning her full attention to Richard.
"Well I suppose he's just trying to be foxy and hedge his bets and I don't really want to destroy him so I was thinking that he just needed a present and perpetual reminder."
"I was thinking of giving His Eminence the gift of Ermine, then he could be His Erminence." This was greeted by giggled from the two women.
"Shall we?" They nodded.
"Wait." Josie was standing at the foot of the tub. Inga and Colleen instinctively covered their breasts while Richard continued his languid kicks to keep himself floating.
"Ah, ma petite Josette, or would you still prefer Josef?"
"Josette is fine Richard."
"And I see you've become a believer ... and you've removed my little piece of conditioning regarding men. How wonderful." Richard clapped his hands startling Inga and Colleen.
"It's nice to see you Josette, I've missed our debates." Richard floated himself out of the water. As his feet touched the ground beside Josette a matching white gown surrounded him.
"Shall we take a walk in the garden?" Richard gestured toward the office's glass wall and the greenery beyond. Josette nodded and they were by the beach.
"Very nice Richard, isn't this about where the Administration Building used to be?"
"Why yes, it seemed a much more functional use of the space. Don't you agree?"
"Well I admit I often wished it had been bulldozed thinking that management of a parking lot might be more within the grasp of the managerial skills of the people working there, but this is an oh so much more beautiful suggestion." Josie beamed.
"So let me look at you." Josie stepped back and did a brief moue as she pirouetted for Richard.
"I'm impressed. When I originally transformed you I expected you to learn so you could get you're old body back, but you seem to have grown quite accustomed to your face." Richard smiled and added a slight sing-song to his voice as he spoke the last few words.
"I am comfortable with both my inner and outer self Richard. Can you say the same?"
"How wonderful." Richard beamed with pleasure. "Than I shall take you as my wife and we shall rule together." He paced back and forth thinking aloud unmindful of the black cloud forming on Josie's face and the tapping of her foot.
"We should have His Erminence perform the ceremony. Who would you like to have give you away?" He stopped seeing Josie's expression. "What?"
"I didn't come here to get married."
"And I didn't ask." Richard returned to his pacing. "Let's see, Tahiti is wonderful this time of year, we can honeymoon there."
"You're interrupting me." He stopped pacing again.
"I'm here to stop you Richard." The words were so spoken calmly and quietly, like one was asking about the weather, that at first they weren't processed. Josie stood feet spread and arms crossed as Richard gaped. Finally he began to chuckle and then laugh. The laugh grew into a roar and he doubled over and collapsed in slow motion to the sandy beach while Josie stood unmoving and frowned.
"Are you done yet?"
"A ... almost." He had settled down to a sporadic giggling as he rose to his feet. "You want to challenge me to a duel or something?"
"To stop you from destroying the world."
"Destroy it, I'm improving it. Haven't I ended hunger, sickness, and indigence?"
"And how many people's minds, bodies, and lives have you changed without their permission. How many more people will be subjugated because you feel like it."
"As many as I wish." Richard was getting angry now. "After all, I am a god."
"A petty one, if at all."
"Fine. I accept your challenge. Anything goes. Last one standing is the winner."
"I'm sorry Richard. I'll miss you." The world blinked for a moment and when it returned to focus she was wearing a bikini and there were these new thoughts trying to settle themselves into her conscious and they were such wonderful, comforting thoughts. "I love Richard. Richard is my Lord and Master. I will do anything for Richard, anything he asks me to do."
"Hello Josette. Welcome to our happy family." Inga and Colleen stood by her hugging her with tears of joy in their eyes.
"I hope you don't mind, but I chose to eschew the usual cartoon pratfalls one would usually expect in such a situation. Richard smiled beneficently down on Josette.
Josette shook her head to clear the cobwebs that suddenly seemed to be there before smiling brightly at the two women and hugging them back. Turning back to Richard they all prostrated themselves to show their respect. Josette felt joyously happy except she couldn't shake the feeling she was forgetting something. As Richard and the women headed back to the hot tub to relax Josette was trying so hard to remember whatever she had forgotten that she tripped and fell in.
Sopping wet Josette cursed, but before one of the others could reach her to make sure she was alright Josette remembered. She remembered Deanna. She remembered all the people who had been injured by Richard's selfish rampage. She remembered the battle. She concentrated. There was a bright flash and she was is another place. Everything was a light grey and glowed dully except Richard and Josette who were still wearing their royal blue bathing suits. As Richard gazed about in confusion Josette took two quick steps on the spongy grey ground to stand in front of him as he began to concentrate. Sweat began to bead on his forehead from the strain while Josette watched apparently unconcerned. In frustration he grabbed at Josette only to have his hands pass harmlessly through her body.
"It's over Richard. Welcome to your new home." Josette shook her head sadly.
"What the hell are you talking about? Where are we?" Why can't I leave?" Richard raged in his anger.
"This is your new home. Make of it what you will. And to show that I'm not a heartless bitch as you might think, here is a mirror," a larger than usual, ornately engraved full length mirror appeared beside Josette, "onto the world you've just left. While you'll never be able to return there, this will allow you to see anywhere in that world, to watch it thrive or wither as it will now do on it's own, without either of us helping it along."
Josette began to fade away. Richard gave a roar of frustrated rage and lunged at her, once again passing through her rapidly dissipating body. When he had rolled over and turned back she was gone.
At the creak of the chair beside the couch were she was sprawled out crying Deanna looked up in amazement to see Josette sitting there with a big smile on her face.
"It's over." Josette's voice sounded ragged.
Deanna lunged out of the chair to hug Josette and both were surprised when the force of her lunge knocked the chair over backwards spilling them both to the floor with Josette on the bottom. After catching her breath Josette began laughing and was soon joined by Deanna.
"What happened? Tell me. Tell me." Deanna pleaded.
"Well ... I'm not sure your string enough to handle it." Josette smiled.
"Oh, you tease." Deanna playfully slapped Josette on the arm. "Tell me."
"Oh, alright." Josette's smile was even bigger. "Can I get up first?"
"No way. I'm not letting you move until I hear everything."
"Even if I need to go to the bathroom?"
"Even if." Deanna giggled.
"Actually, it was sort of anticlimactic. I got to Richard's office, it had grown a bit, and after a bit of polite banter her turned me into one of his bimbos."
"I thought you'd gained a bra size." Deanna gently pinched her breast through the bikini. "I'm jealous. How can I be your twin if we're not the same?" Deanna gently brushed at a loose strand of Josette's hair.
Josette gave Deanna a quick hug before continuing in a more somber tone. "If it weren't for you Richard would have won."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that the thought of losing you was what helped me fight off Richard's control. Without you, he would have won." Deanna was beatific as she listened to Josette speak.
"You gave me the will to win. So now Richard is alone in a formless void with only a mirror I gave him to let him look into this world."
"You mean he might be looking at us right now?" Deanna shuddered.
"But he can never come back?"
"Nope. If my concentration wavers and he tries to contact someone who really wants to talk to him he might, I repeat might, be able to sneak a little piece of himself like a thought, back to them. But that's about it."
"And if I don't want to have anything to do with him?" Deanna shuddered again.
"He might as well be trying to break down a stone wall with a feather." Deanna sighed in relief.
"How much more can you do if most of your time you're concentrating on keeping Richard bottled up.?"
"So what happens now?"
"Not much. You go back to your job as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. I go back to my job as full professor in the Department of Psychology. I hope you don't mind,but I gave myself a small promotion. As for Richard, I guess I'll let him have any like minded people join him after they leave this world so he's not all alone for eternity."
"And that's it, back to the grind of life as usual?"
"Pretty much." Josette nodded.
"Not even a little?" Deanna wheedled.
"Well, maybe a little." Josette smiled slyly. The smile turned into a laugh as Deanna reached down to adjust her bra as it suddenly felt tight.
Richard lay on the ground were he had fallen, head turned so that he could watch the touching reunion between Josette and her bitch twin. Growling in disgust he sat up and examined his surroundings.
"This will never do." He muttered, of necessity, to himself. Slowly the ground became solid and jagged rock began to protrude. Off in the distance mountains formed. There was still no sky, just the formless grey, but a reddish glow came form the molten cores of the newly created mountains and glowing red lava dripped down the mountainsides. Immediately before Richard a huge jagged pit opened up. Without counting Richard knew there were now seven distinct levels to the pit and a wide river of dirty brown water moved sluggishly through most of the pit.
Richard smiled in satisfaction. "I think I'm ready for business. Even if I can't get back to the Earth I'm still going to have one hell of a time." The smile grew into a deep, humorless laugh as he patiently waited.
To Shape One's Life copyright 1998 by Anonymous.
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