|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
I had been planning on this for nearly a month now. I wasn't going to drop it and I certainly wasn't going to forget about it. Before I get into all of this, let me introduce myself.
My name is Bud and if you saw me on the street, you would see someone who looks completely and utterly normal, excluding his tendency to wear blue clothing and to walk around in a slightly worn-out jacket. Although, what goes on inside my mind is quite a different story. I consider myself a very unique individual in a lot of regards. One of these regards is the transformation story archive.
The transformation story archive (Or what we like to call the TSA) isn't just an archive. It's a social club. It's a subsociety within many different sub-societies on the internet. What sorts of sub-societies? There are many of them. Some of which would completely freak people out and have the Christians shrieking "BLASPHEMER!! HEATHEN!!" and other such unfriendly words.
My internet life is somewhat secret. My boss doesn't know about it and if he did, he wouldn't look at me in the same way twice, even though I do work for an internet service provider. However secret my internet life is, it is my complete social life as well.
My social life outside of the internet is practically nil, excluding the rare function with the rest of the company which I go to. Perhaps it's bowling or a comedy club. My co-workers only know me on a professional level and I know them on a professional level. However sometimes it seems like they take pity on me at times. As if, they know I'll be single forever.
I've been on the internet ever since I was 19. Since then, I've lost friends and gained friends. That's beside the point. When I was 13 years old, I had my very first user meet as a result of being online for the first year I ever had a modem. I was thrown into a nearby river during the usermeet.
It was then and there that I vowed never to set foot into another usermeet again for as long as I lived. It turned out that that simply wasn't going to be the case.
On the internet, there is something called "Internet Relay Chat". Internet relay chat, otherwise known as IRC is a way for people to get together and chat. A typical conversation might look something like this:
<Bud> What do you want to do today?
<Someone> I dunno. What do you want to do today?
<Bud> I dunno. What do you want to do today?
..... and so forth..
Although, I really don't use my real life name on IRC. It's just too boring. I like to use a sort of thin persona. Someone who is an avatar out to the rest of the internet. His name is Qualin. Now, he's not a separate identity. He is me. Just just happens to be a dragon. A dragon you say?
Not in real life. Just something inside of my mind which everyone else can relate to. Having a room full of humans can be somewhat boring online, so I like to spice things up a little bit, even if it is as pointless as spice in food. Only there to change the taste of it and nothing more.
Over time, I have met a lot of people. I never guessed that at some point in time, they would actually be sitting here, in my apartment. In front of me, from another part of the world which I may never see in my entire life. This was my first "Usermeet" that I have had in the past 11 years of my life. Albeit, it was only two people, but it was a start.
Perhaps I should introduce the people on the TSA to you... Allright, that's really not possible. There are tens if not hundreds of them out there that I could not even being to describe to you. So, let me explain the events that led up to my very first kind, friendly and dry usermeet.
William Holloway, mostly known as Lance Holloway is a typical American Southerner, appearence wise. In his mind, he shares some of my interests and at times we even sometimes think alike. Then again, that always happens within a social group. He lives in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. For anyone who cares, that's nearly 1500 Kilometres away from where I live. It would take him the next six months to get here if he walked. Even though, he might look like a typical Canadian, his accent is what gives his American citizenship away. There's nothing really special about any of his looks, in the same way there's nothing special about mine.
If I had met him on the street and said "Hi" to him, we probably would have just continued on our ways, but there was one thing that brought us together and that was our interest in... Transformations.
While my online persona is a dragon, his is either a moose or a kangaroo. Why two? I'm not sure. Maybe it's indecisiveness, like I have sometimes or perhaps he feels a kinship between those animals, I'm not sure. I guess I never got a straight answer from him. I never really bothered.
Anyway, we got to know each other over IRC in the same way that I got to know many other people over IRC. Since IRC is somewhat unreadable for long conversations, I'm going to just translate a bit for you how our conversation went.
It was around 6 PM on a Thursday night when I saw Lance hop into the IRC channel. (Literally?) His nickname is "Weremoose", as in werewolf, but a lot bigger and with cool-looking antlers.
We got into discussing various topics when he mentioned he could "Jumpseat" to anywhere in North America. I asked him what it meant. Apparently, his employer is a massive shipping company and they use jets to fly packages from one area of the country to another. Since these jets have to fly to point a to point b, the employees of that company are given an option to fly along with the packages, so they have somewhere to go on vacation.
Don't get me wrong. I can see you are probably imagining him in the back of the plane, getting tossed around, yelling out "OW!!" as a package hits him on the head, while trying frantically to find a place to sit. That simply isn't the case. He actually got to sit up in the cockpit! A rare treat whenever I flew.
Details aside, it was due to this incredible development that I absolutely had to persuade him to come to Calgary.
"Come to the Calgary Stampede! It's the best show on Earth!", I said to him. I didn't think he would take me seriously.
The Stampede is a miraculous event that causes the whole entire city to mysteriously transform into a wild-west town, minus the guns and the bank robberies. There are horses, rodeos, trade shows, you name it! Every major city seems to have it's exhibition time, usually sometime during the summertime.
All Lance could say to me was, "Uhmm.. OK.. Sure!"
That was a surprising but joyfull answer for me. Through other conversations there was another person who I met on the channel. His name is Bryan Derksen. He takes Genetics at a University. His human form is just as similar as mine, except he has an interesting glint in his eyes, a nearly square set of wire-rimmed glasses and a hairstyle with an odd blonde swirl in it. It was if it was his callsign.
I again used the same argument against Bryan as I did against Lance in order to convince him to come to Calgary. The Stampede. Fortunately, for him, it was only a 3.5 hour bus ride from where he lived to where I lived so he agreed.
So, now, two people were coming to my place to spend the weekend here. My excitement built to a crescendo momentarily. I decided to take some vacation time off of work. 3 days. Friday, Monday and Tuesday. My boss seemed happy that I was finally asking for days off, since I had already worked for my ISP for a year and I didn't take one day off yet. In our company, it was 10 days off, per year, otherwise it's frowned upon if you don't take those days. Administrative hassles and all of that.
So, here I was, with a month remaining in my "I can't wait!" mode waiting for the beginning of the month so I could finally see what these two people looked like in real life. Sending pictures back and forth on the Internet really didn't seem like enough.
I decided the first thing to do was clean the apartment. You wouldn't not believe just how much gunk can build up behind a toilet! Not to mention, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, etc. Mundane tasks that would hopefully, as a result, convince Lance and Bryan that I wasn't some sort of a slob.
I had a nightmare that night of Bryan and Lance paying me a visit, where one of them shouted, "YOU FREAKING PIG!" .. waking me up right away. Perhaps that's just normal paranoia when you have your first usermeet in nearly 11 years. First impressions only happen once.
Finally, the day approached. I had goaded my mother into letting me borrow her expensive van for the day in order to pick Bryan and Lance up. Knowing that I hadn't driven in a while (Nearly 3 months) made me nervous. Mostly because practice makes perfect and I was driving into a unknown part of the city I had never driven in before.
The bus ride after work to my parents place was somewhat normal but it was when my mother gave me the key to her van, was when I was getting nervous. Walking out to the van, I stuck the key in the ignition and drove the familiar route from where my parents lived to where my own place was. I had driven the route many times so it was familiar to me. Piece of cake.
I carefully parked the van in front of my apartment building and remembered to leave the city map inside to plan my route. Locking the door, I thought to myself, "Allright Bud. This is it. In 10 hours, it's going to happen."
I woke up slowly and turned slowly towards my alarm clock. 6:15 AM. I let out a loud, drawn out groan. Throwing on my freshly-washed clothes, I pivoted myself out of my bedroom. Already, my heart was pounding with excitement. It was amazing that I even managed to get any sleep that night.
I threw on my coat and pulled my keys out of my pocket and stared at the ignition key for the van. Walking slowly out the door of my apartment and locking it, I made my way to the front of my apartment building where I walked towards the van.
I placed the key into the door and opened it like if the van itself had belonged to me. Knowing that it would be a bad idea to aimlessly drive around, I reached down and grabbed the city map.
"Lessee here...", I said to myself.
"Take.. uhm.. OK.. Macleod Trail until you get to Fifth Avenue.. Then burn a right.. lessee.. Then drive all the way up Edmonton Trail until I get to McKnight Boulevard.. Turn right and keep driving until I get to the Port O' Call inn and then turn left.. Go up to Palmer way and keep driving until I get to the last building on the right."
I sighed deeply and placed the map between the seats. I turned the key and the engine roared to life. I stared at the tachometre. Sitting at 1500 RPM and waiting. I stared at the fuel gauge. Half a tank.
The near immortal words of my mother rang inside of my head, "Don't bring it back empty!". I tapped the gas pedal again and shivered. "Allright. I can do this. No sweat.", I thought to myself. I grabbed the shift lever and threw the van into drive. (Yes, I can't drive a standard.) The whole entire van shuddered and I pressed down on the gas. The van lurched forward and within seconds the van blew up!
No, I'm just kidding. Actually, the van just seemed to hobble down the road, which was in horrid need of repair. To my right, there was a police van sitting there, at the end of the street. One cockup and I could get a ticket. Wouldn't my parents love that? I imagined a massive car chase inside of my head, where half the police force were in hot pursuit of me while I was freaking out behind the wheel. Of course, this was only for a brief moment in time.
I carefully turned a left and headed towards the gas station. The rest of the details are boring. $15 worth of gas and $5 worth of windshield washer fluid and again I was on my way. I was later to learn that my father had a whole entire bottle of washer fluid stashed away in the garage. Oh well, might as well consider it a rental fee if anything else.
Slowly and carefully I managed my way through the early morning traffic. The air was cold and damp, not to mention an overcast sky. I said to myself, "Man, this is a good sign." sarcastically. The very first day on our wonderfull adventure and mother nature wasn't co-operating.
I missed my turn onto Edmonton Trail and cursed. Downtown Calgary is a plethora of one-way streets so if you miss your turn, you end up going around in circles. Fortunately, when I circled around, it got me right onto Edmonton trail. I continued driving up the road, my hands sweating on the steering wheel, nervously shaking. The scenery passed by, some familiar, some unfamiliar.
Finally, I reached McKnight Boulevard. I passed under the signal light and kept driving. (Making sure it was green.) This time, putting my foot closer to the floor as the speedometre reached 70.. 80 Kilometres an hour. The fastest I had ever gone in this van. I had gone faster, but only in cheaper automobiles. The faster I went, the easier I could total this thing and end up having to spend the next 6 months worth of pay trying to pay my parents back for the damage.
The Port O' Call in crept up and suddenly I got into the left hand lane. I didn't want to miss this turn, no matter what! I turned onto Palmer road and kept driving. Was it this turn? No..
Uhh... "BITE ME!!", I yelled. Damn left hand turn bays. Make one mistake and you end up doing some creative driving.
Finally, I reached the turn off and made my way onto Palmer drive and kept going. Carefully driving down the road, I spotted the EdFex depot which Lance would be waiting at. My heart pounded as I pulled into the parking lot and pulled up slowly to the building.
There he was. Smiling at me, waving, with a duffel bag and a large carryon bag. I somehow half expected a kangaroo waiting there for me. I mean, it was 7:00 AM in the morning right? Who would notice? Anyway, real life did it's anti-magic and there was a human there, smiling and waving at me. I wasn't dissipointed. Knowing someone for a long time makes you half expect things if you only see them in virtual reality. I remember seeing his picture on the internet. Looking through the windsheild I knew this must be him and not some axe murderer which the FBI is currently looking for.
I placed the van into park and opened the door. "Lance?", I asked.
He nodded, "Yup!"
"Get in!", I ordered cheerfully.
I hit the power locks and he bounded into the front seat. (Again, there I go with the analogies!)
Throwing his bags into the back he looked at me and smiled.
"You wouldn't believe the clouds I saw coming into Calgary! I couldn't even see the ground until it was too late.", he shrugged.
"Yeah, it's pretty bad, isn't it.. you didn't crash did you?", I asked.
Lance smiled at me, "No, silly. However, it does look like there's a storm coming in."
I shrugged, "Well, I'm glad you made it here in one piece. Lets go!"
His southern accent made it very clear to me he was from Memphis and not from the depot at which I picked him up from. Stupid thing to think about, but one can never be too sure.
Anyway, we were on our way back home and we started discussing various topics.
"Please forgive me Lance, if I don't talk much or pause while I'm driving. I'm just afraid if I talk while I'm driving I'll lose my concentration and start running over old ladies and hitting telephone poles."
He looked at me and grinned, "That's OK Bud. I understand."
The rest of the trip was spent trying to remember how on Earth I would get back to the apartment in one piece. We had approximately an hour to pick Bryan up so I had some time to kill.
Finally, we reached my apartment and I parked the van. I flipped the power locks and we headed inside.
I fumbled with the doors and we finally made it inside.
"Nice place you have here Bud!"
I grinned at him, "Thanks. It's small but it works for me."
I can't remember precisely what we talked about but it was general, misc stuff about how his trip went, the food they served on the plane, etc. The typical mundane social introduction kind of chat.
Then, I remembered the Stampede Breakfast. During the Calgary Stampede, there are free breakfasts consisting of pork sausages, pancakes and orange juice. Country music is mandatory.
We walked a couple of blocks from my place, trying to navigate through the people who were building up slowly along the sidewalks of Ninth Avenue to see the parade.
"There it is!", I pointed to the parking lot which had the grilles. After making our way through the people and dodging piles of horse manure on the street left by the passing horses, we finally got into the parking lot. Where we were doused with highly amplified music coming from a live performer who was singing, yes.. You guessed it.. Country songs.
Of course, the speakers were aimed at both of us during the entire time we were waiting in line. I had to shout at Lance to make my way over the music.
"So whuddya think, eh?", I asked him loudly.
"Loud!!", he screamed back.
"Think you can stand it?", I yelled back.
"Yeah. I think I can.", he replied.
We finally made our way to the front of the line, where we grabbed our grub and managed to work ourselves away from the country music. Walking down the sidewalk, we finally found a place to sit, a set of steps that led up to the building which was adjacent to the lot. Shielded by the brick building, we could resume normal conversation.
"So, Lance, what do you think of Calgary so far?", I asked him while munching on my sausages.
"Uhm.. Moist.. Loud.. Not bad.. These pancakes are good. You don't put syrup on yours?"
"No.. Not really. I'm not fond of syrup on my pancakes."
He nodded and continued munching on them. We began to discuss various issues about transformations and the like. By the time we had finished our breakfast, the parade started.
We slowly worked our way across the sidewalk, butting into the hoards of people slowly congealing up against the curbs of Ninth avenue, dumping our Styrofoam plates and cups into the nearest garbage bin and continued walking back to our place. On the way, we came across a railroad bridge, where the road ran underneath it.
I looked up at the rusting columns and grinned at Lance. A train was passing over us, causing the beams to creak.
"Isn't it nice to know that there's 40 tons of weight right above us right now? Wouldn't it be horrible if this bridge collapsed?", I asked him.
Lance shuddered and said, "Uhm.. yeah.. Thanks for putting that idea in my head, Bud."
With that, we passed under the bridge and onto the next street. We both immediately walked right towards my Mothers van.
I hopped in and Lance did the same. Not planning that the parade would start so soon, I picked up the map.
"Hurm.. I'm going to have to take Fourteenth Street right up to 16Th Avenue, then across to Edmonton trail."
Lance nodded at me, but gave me a look like, "Yeah, right.. whatever."
The drive was an uneventful one. Since I had to drive around downtown, it made the drive longer and a little bit stressfull for me. I showed him where the Bow river was and I cursed at Merge signs. While we were sitting at a light, Lance looked down at the road and grinned, "We don't have those X's where I live."
"X's?", I looked at him in wonder.
"Yeah, I wonder what they are for?", he asked.
Then I looked down at the road. In front of us was a huge "X" painted on the road. These were to give cars making left turns plenty of room to turn. Suddenly, a car passed in front of us, running over the x, making a left turn.
"Ahh.. I see. You Canadians like to cut corners!"
I nodded and grinned, "Yeah.. Pretty much.."
The light turned green and I jammed the accelerator pedal down. The van lurched forward and we were on our way.
Finally, we made it to Edmonton trail.
"What was that address again? Can you take a look at that piece of paper for me, Lance?"
"Yeah Sure... 4804 Edmonton Trail En-E"
"Northeast? Oh.. OK.."
We drove up until we got to the Marriot Hotel, "Well, I don't know where this is so I'm going to turn in here."
"No wait.. It says 4804 on the hotel there!"
"Uhm.. where? Oh.. There it is!"
Sure enough, there was Bryan, standing in the parking lot with his sleeping bag and a backpack waving at us. Again, I half expected a huge cockroach, but then reality kicked in once again. "He doesn't look like a mad scientist", I thought to myself. Then again, real mad scientists don't look anything like the way they do in the movies. Even in human form, there was no frizzy hair, stained white labcoat or the insane look in his eyes.
Just to be sure, I opened the drivers side door and asked, "Bryan?"
His frame was smaller than mine. His face seemed to say "Amiga User!" to me for some reason. Perhaps it was because I knew two people who had similar facial features that were diehard Amiga users, I'm not sure.
He hopped into the van and we headed back downtown. I looked back at Bryan briefly and commented, "You look pretty normal to me, Bryan!"
He smiled and said, "Yeah, real life tends to do that to people."
We began to talk about the various events of his trip. The busride and other such things. Not very exciting. I repeated my speech about driving over old ladies and the like if my concentration were to be lost.
Eventually, after taking a roundabout way, we finally drove up to my parents house. A modest house in the middle of a high-priced (Was a slum when they bought the house) neighborhood.
I shut the ignition off and hit the power locks. "Come on in!" I motioned to them. I ran up to the front door and stuck in my old housekey.
Twisting the key in the lock, my mothers dogs immediately recognized there was an intruder and started barking.
I turned towards Lance and Bryan and grinned at them, "Don't worry.. They don't bite. If they do, well.. trust me, they won't do much harm."
I walked into the house and was greeted by a bunch of Shih Tzu dogs all pawing at the children's gate. My parents house has a small foyer in the front door, leading into the living room, which then leads into the kitchen. A children's gate separates the living room from the kitchen, so the dogs don't muck up the carpet.
I walked up to the children's gate and started petting the Shih Tzu's.
"Oh, don't worry about your shoes guys.. We'll be here a minute."
Lance and Bryan nodded and walked over to the children's gate with me.
"Lessee.. That's Shoja.. Bodie.. Missy.. Chicklet...", I pointed down to the hopping dogs, all wanting a piece of my attention.
Lance giggled as Chicklet licked his hand. Bryan looked somewhat embarrassed as he reached down and rubbed Shoja on the head.
I gave the van key to my mother and sighed in relief. "Here ya go maw.", I looked at her. "Can you drive us up to the LRT station?"
"Sure!", she replied.
We quickly left the Shih Tzu's and my parents house and we all got into the back of the van. Both Lance and Bryan gave me a look that would have said, "Phew!". She started the van and I exclaimed, "Mom. Look at the gas gauge.."
"Awww.. That's so niiiiiiiiice of you!! Awwww.. How SwEeeeEEeeeEeeEEEeeet!", she exclaimed in a very high voice.
Lance and Bryan looked at me like, "Is this your mother?"
I gave them a look like, "Yes.. she is.. with all her faults and everything." (I seem to have a talent for reading facial expressions for some reason.)
I nodded slowly and we took off towards the LRT station.
Finally after dodging traffic and pointing out landmarks, we finally arrived.
"Have a good time you three! See you later! Enjoy yourselves!", my mother yelled as the van took off.
"Well, that was exciting.", I grinned.
I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out three LRT tickets. "You have to validate these before you can go onto the train."
Bryan nodded and we headed towards the validation machine. An LRT train was leaving so I cursed, but immediately shrugged as it took off in the wrong direction. "Sometimes you have to wait 15 minutes for these trains to come."
We stood around the LRT station, waiting for our train to come, talking about the differences between transit systems (Memphis has one street car!) and finally the train came.
We hopped on. I pointed out the Bow River to them as the train crossed over it. "This is Sunnyside..".. "That's the Bow River.. Nice, eh?"
They nodded and looked around. The train came to a stop, at Ninth Avenue where the parade was crossing. There was a team of horses waiting at the stop.
I joked, "Squish the horsies.. Squish the Horsies..", thinking of what massive damage a 40 ton train could do to a team of horses if we just kept going through.
"Don't let Bob hear you say that!", Bryan joked.
"You are right. I don't know what got into me.", I shrugged.
The train driver announced that we were waiting for the parade, while we anxiously stood around, waiting for the parade to pass by. Finally the parade stopped and we crossed it, turning into the 8Th avenue strip which the LRT runs along.
"This is the road which the LRT runs along, that's a car trap. There's been a couple of cars which have driven into there and halted train service.", I paused and then continued, "Yes.. Only in Calgary."
They both shrugged and we continued on our way to Centre Street Station.
"Do you guys want to see the parade?"
They both nodded and the train came to a stop. We finally got out of the train and walked towards 9Th Avenue. It was clogged full of people! I sighed, realizing that there was no way to cross it.. unless.. Yeah! The Plus 15!
The Plus 15 was a network of pathways which were all 15 metres above ground. There we would be able to cross 9Th avenue to get to the other side of the parade. "Do you guys mind if we have to cross via the plus 15?"
They shook their heads and followed me. We walked into Bow Valley Square and I announced what this building was to them. We took the Escalator up and crossed over into the plus 15 walkway.
"This is a good view, eh?"
They nodded. Bryan piped up, "Yeah. This is nice. In Edmonton, we don't have a plus 15, it's all underground instead."
I nodded back and we stood on the plus 15 watching the parade pass under us. When we got sick and tired of standing we finished crossing and came back down the other side.
Eventually, we managed to work our way through the thick crowds back into a clear sidewalk, passing under the same railway bridge which myself and Lance crossed under here earlier.
Eventually we got to the other side of the Bridge. Walking home, between 11Th and 12Th avenue was the trans-Canada building, which looked oddly enough, like the headquarters for Derksen Industries.
"Hey Bryan! There's the Derkson Industries building!"
He looked at me and then the building and smiled, making a "Heh!" sound.
"Yeah, that's kinda neat. I like the angles.", he commented.
"Want to take a picture Lance?", I looked at him.
Lance nodded and took his point-and-shoot out of his pocket and clicked off a shot. The overcast sky made the building seem even more evil. Suddenly, it began to spit rain. Good timing.
We made it back to my place before we got wet, opened up the door and walked in.
"So, what do you think of my humble pad, Mr. Derksen?"
"It's OK. A little small.. How's the rent?"
"Decent.", I grinned at him.
We plopped into the blue velvet plush chairs while Lance sat down on the couch. There we looked outside at the rain and decided it would be best if we had something to do.
"Well.. I have everything worked out for today. I think we'll just see most of the city today.. Eau Claire Market.. The Calgary Tower, Barclay Mall.."
They both nodded at me and grinned. We knew it was going to be an exciting day, if it wasn't for the damn rain.
Now that we were settled down and we all just had finished getting to where we wanted to go, we decided to take a small rest first. It was exciting just getting everyone inside of my place. Here was Bryan Desksen and Lance Holloway sitting in my apartment, with me, looking at me. I can hear their voices, see their faces. I couldn't believe it.
Both of them, in the flesh. In front of me. No keyboards. No lag. No splitting IRC servers, just us, with nothing in the way to prevent us from talking to each other, short of one of us going spontaneously deaf or if the apartment building suddenly blows up in a shower of fire and sparks.
"So, what do you want to do Lance?", I asked Lance.
Lance turned to Bryan, "Uh.. I don't know. What do you want to do Bryan?"
Bryan replied, "Uh.. I don't know. What do you want to do Bud?"
Actually, It really didn't go that way at all, although, I was scared to death that that's what we would end up doing. Once or twice I joked about that, each time, getting a chuckle from the both of them.
"Well, I could guess we could show each other our other forms.."
I joked about that, thinking that real life would keep reality in check.
Lance looked at me, "Oh man.. Do I have to? It's a lot of work you know. Changing into a Kangaroo isn't all that easy. I don't think there's enough room in this apartment for a moose either. How much food do you have? I have to put on some mass before I can do this."
Bryan looked at Lance like he was joking. "You can't be serious, Lance."
Lance looked at Bryan and gave him a serious look.
I looked at him oddly, I shrugged, thinking he was still joking. Lance grinned, "Allright.. I guess I'll have to show you two."
He walked towards the fridge and started raiding it, bringing out an amazing amount of food in his arms and then began to scarf it down.
"Whoa.. If you were that hungry I would have asked you earlier if you wanted a bite to eat..", I commented.
Lance turned towards me, his mouth half full of food, "Bub.. Jussa quip quession.. you are a dragon, right?"
"Well, yes but I.."
"Ahh.. Well..", he gulped, "I'd like to see that. But I suppose we should show you my form first, since you are the host here."
"My form.. but I..", my heart started to pound in my chest again. I kept telling myself, "Lance is joking, right? He's just putting me on."
In that instant, I swore I saw Lance gain 20 pounds.
My heart pounded again. I had to say something. "Wait.. You are putting me on, right? I mean, it's all on IRC.. we are all just.. you know.. roleplaying.. right?"
Lance frowned at me, fur slowly spreading across his body. I gasped.
"Damnit.. Too late now.. Oh well. No Bud. It's all true. Don't you know what would happen if the scientists got ahold of me? It always makes us feel better if.. urgh.. it makes us feel better if we have at least one person to tell."
Suddenly, he grabbed his face and I heard some popping sounds. He groaned as a muzzle slowly pushed it's way out of his face.
I backed up in the chair, "Holy shit!!"
I ran towards the curtains and closed them.
Slowly Lance's ears began to move slowly up his head, becoming more pronounced and pointed. I gasped as Lances fur took on a tawny brownish colour, covering his body completely. He quickly ripped off his clothes, showing his naked body before me. That didn't concern me as much as seeing an immensely huge tail oozing out between his buttocks, eventually reaching the floor, covering itself with fur as it lengthened.
I let out a small "eep" as he groaned, hearing a loud "SNAP!" come from his legs as his feet seemed to lengthen to incredible proportions, slowly his knees seemed to bend at an awkward angle, becoming more and more kangarooish.
His arms seemed to shorten and thin out, hands slowly reverting into paws. He huffed at me as his eyes seemed to get darker, his hair pulling into his skull, until there was a perfectly formed kangaroo, sitting in front of me, in my living room of my apartment!
Suddenly, my brain seemed to explode with Lances voice. "Are you OK, Bud?"
His snout wasn't moving. Instead the kangaroo let out a bit of a grunt. I began to speak, "Well I just.."
"No.. No Bud.. Think what you want to say."
I nodded slowly and thought-spoke, "This .. this is just incredible!!"
The kangaroo seemed to grin at me and then it nodded at Bryan.
"Your turn!", the kangaroo said to Bryan.
Bryan looked at the transformed Lance and then let out a sigh. "I guess I'd better come clean too. I know this is going to be a shock but..", he paused.
Bryan began to grin evilly at me, "I really am a cockroach.. under this skin.. well, you'll see soon enough."
"A cock.. roo.. ach... ughh..", I managed to stutter out.
Bryan looked at me and grimaced, "Bud, Don't move. I won't hurt you. OK?"
"Hurt me.. but?"
Suddenly he let out a muffled scream, his face seemed to expand lengthwise. The outlines of something moving underneath his skin appeared startling me. He tore off his glasses with one hand, leaving them clattering into my kitchen floor. (He did that for dramatic effect, I know he did!)
Suddenly, Two huge antenna tore out of his head. Oddly enough, there wasn't much in the way of blood. Slowly, he reached up and grabbed at his mouth. With a sickenly tearing sound, he tore his face right in half! Like a paper bag! His eyeballs landed on the carpet with a thup-thup, as a white carapace slowly emerged out from underneath his skin.
I let a muffled scream myself as his body seemed to deflate as the massive cockroach slowly pushed itself out of his human shell. His skin fell to the floor, as if his human self was nothing more than a shirt he put on this morning.
Before me was a kangaroo and a gigantic cockroach, on my living room floor, the cockroach was waving it's antennae at me when it spoke.
"Bud? You still there? It's me.. Bryan? The big bug on the floor?"
I shivered. I suddenly had a huge compulsion to get the can of RAID out of the cupboard and go ballistic on the cockroaches butt, on the other hand, I was trying to convince myself, "That bug is Bryan!!", I stammered out.
I was shuddering, too afraid to speak. I could see on the Kangaroos snout that he could tell I was terrified. I mean, reading about transformations is one thing, but actually seeing them in real life is another!
Lance looked at me and said, "You really aren't a dragon, are you?"
"I.. I.. I.. But.. But.. But.. IR... IRC... It's all... IRC..", I wimpered.
Lance sighed loudly and looked at me, "Bud. You can't let anyone know about us. You do realize that, right?"
I nodded slowly.
"You can't tell a soul or else our lives could end!", Bryan added.
I nodded slowly.
Lance looked at me, "Well Bud.. Obviously you are not a dragon or else you would have changed into one by now."
I swore my heart was going to explode. My shirt was getting scratchy against my skin. "Well.. umm.. no.. I .. can't.. just..", I stammered.
Bryan twitched his antennae at me, "We're going to have to do something about that then. We have to place you in the situation we are in."
"What.. are you going to do?", I trembled in fear, with some panic in my voice.
"Bud..", Lance looked at me, "Since I don't know any dragons nearby I'm afraid we are going to have to give you a choice. Kangaroo or Cockroach."
My head was spinning. "Uhm.. well.. I guess.. kang-gar-roo .. .. What are you going to do?"
Being a member of the TSA list, this was pretty much a rhetorical question. Just from the sound of his voice I knew I was going to become one of them. The question was, would it be a simple bite? Or would I have to die first? Movies always had such a subjective view on the process to becoming a werecreature.
Lance looked down at me, "Until you can get a dragon to bite you Bud, I am afraid you are going to have to become a werekangaroo. These things work like that. I hope you don't mind.."
Better than being a cockroach I guess. Not that I have anything against them but the idea of eating garbage doesn't really appeal to me. I sighed and realized I could live with being a werekangaroo. Heck, I could live with being a wereanything!
The cockroach aka Bryan, hopped up on the couch, waving his antennae around, jerking me out of my thoughts, "Bud, your couch is dirty."
I looked at Bryan, "How do you know?"
"I can taste the fabric.."
I looked at the cockroach in disbelief as he walked back and forth on my couch. Lance used the distraction to his advantage.
Suddenly, the kangaroo rushed at me, opening his mouth he wrapped his snout around my arm and bit down hard.
"EEEEEEEYYYYAAAAAHHHH!!!", I screamed. Blood suddenly started dripping from my arm.
I screamed at him, "What did you do that for!!!!"
Lance looked at me, "Well, you have to be one of us now, there no other way around it."
I fell onto the chair in front of me and began to feel an odd tingling inside of me. Suddenly, my arm didn't hurt as much and I looked down at it. The injury was healing itself!
Suddenly my heart began to pound. I had mixed feelings. I knew I was going to become a werecreature.. a werekangaroo to be precise.
I looked at Lance, "Lance.. I'm not going to be a roach, right? No offense Bryan, but I don't like the idea of becoming a bug.", I just had to ensure that this was really happening.
The cockroach made an odd sound and waved it's antennae at me, "No Bud. You won't become a roach. I guarantee that."
I sighed with relief. I could deal with becoming a kangaroo for the rest of my life.
Then suddenly, my buttocks exploded. Or at least it felt like that happened. I heard my pants tear. Looking back almost immediately, I saw a thick furry tail emerge from my tailbone.
My heart began pounding again. Suddenly, something was pulling at my face, as if someone had glued my face to a car bumper and then took off down the highway. My snout!
I let out another muffled scream as I felt my skin stretch around my expanding skull. I could slowly see a snout emerge from between my eyes. I didn't know whether to be completely terrified or enthralled! I willed the change to continue.
Slowly, I felt my hair part as my enlongnating ears slowly moved themselves up the side of my head. Fur seemed to rush all across my body, covering my skin instantly. That felt like someone was covering me with saran wrap, but even better because it was a cool feeling.
My ankles lengthened, making my socks tight against my feet. Suddenly, my feet seemed to spring out and tear my socks. I pulled my socks off right away, only to be greeted with the feet of a kangaroo. My feet!
I slowly stood up on my new legs, slowly hopping around. My joints ached and then popped loudly as they gained new strengths only a muscle builder could dream about. It's odd having elbows that look like someone stuck a small ball inside of your arm. Claws slowly pushed themselves out of my fingers while my pinkies shrank back into my hands leaving me with two pawlike hands.
The rest of the details to my transformation were somewhat trivial. Mainly, here was two kangaroos and a cockroach all in my apartment building. Actually, Bryan was in the kitchen, snacking on the bits of food leftover by Lance. Lance was laying down on the couch, relaxing, watching me change.
I looked at Lance in surprise and let out a "Waaa.. Waaa.. grrr.. orrr.." with my newly formed snout. Snouts don't work well for human speech.
"No Bud.. Think! Think!"
"Oh right.. This is.. just.. impossible!"
Lance looked at me, "If it is, then explain this?", he pointed to myself.
"How many are like me?"
"How many can change you mean?"
I nodded slowly.
"Well, some TSA members can. Bob Stein, Winc, Jack Demule. The ones who are really obsessed with what they want to become. I still can't figure out why Pascal hasn't become a porcupine yet.", Lance shrugged.
I nodded slowly, "Is this change... Permanent?"
He nodded again. "Yes. But you can change back into a human anytime you want."
He nodded again.
I concentrated and found my tail slowly shrinking back into my buttocks, my snout splitting apart back into a nose and mouth and so forth. The change back wasn't quite as exciting though. I'll never forget seeing my kangaroo feet changing back into dull, regular human feet however.
So here I was, sitting in a chair, wearing ripped clothing with two huge telepathic animals in my apartment.
"So.. uhm.. Now that we can do this.. now what?"
Bryan came out of the kitchen, munching on something. "Well, You can enjoy what we gave you.. Now, The Calgary Tower?"
I nodded slowly. "I'll have to get myself a new pair of pants.. uhmm.. Give me a sec."
Lance stopped me before I walked into the bedroom, "Bud. Listen to me carefully, I'm going to repeat this one more time, you can't tell anyone else about this. Since you are in the same boat with us, you could risk yourself and everyone else if you tell. You know how the media works, right?"
I nodded and them remembered the tabloid papers at the supermarket. Then I imagined a picture of a kangaroo staring out of an apartment window, with a huge headline, "KANGAROO LIVES IN APARTMENT PAYING RENT!"
I ran into my bedroom and quickly changed clothes. By the time I was back in the living room, the human Bryan and Lance were sitting there, as if nothing had happened.
"Allright.. Let's go!"
We exited the apartment and continued talking about transformation stuff, but all from a different viewpoint, now that I had the "Ability."
Our visit around the city was somewhat exciting. The Calgary Tower gave them a good view of the city, despite the fact that it was overcast and there was a system of clouds moving in. It was a shame they didn't get to see the Rocky Mountains. They are a sight within themselves.
We explored the plus 15 system, showing them the various malls and stuff. It's kinda nuts when you bring friends along for a tour and all you can show them is where to buy things.
That night, before we bedded down, we talked about various happening on the IRC channel. Nothing more than simple chat. However, talking in real life tends to bring a dimension into it that isn't possible. The real life interaction. The gestures, body language and so forth make the conversation so much more interesting.
We packed it in late that night, talking until 1 AM in the morning.
I woke up before the other two did that morning. Instead of going to fry something on the stove, I decided to use my "Ability". I sneaked up on Lance while he was sleeping and concentrated.
Slowly, my head slowly changed into kangaroo's head. A perfectly formed kangaroos head. Complete with muzzle, ears and the like. Slowly, I snuck around the hide-a-bed he was sleeping on. (I have a fold-out couch/bed) Quietly and carefully I placed my muzzle about two inches away from Lances face and in the loudest possible voice I could possible make for a kangaroo (Which isn't all that loud, but our ears are pretty big) I somehow managed to say "BOOOO!!"
Well.. I still have to explain the cracks in the ceiling to my landlord. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to jump that high from a sleeping state. Then again, Lance IS a kangaroo.
Bryan woke up near instantly and saw Lance coming down from the ceiling. A burst of laughter escaped his lips while Lance growled at me.
"Don't EVER do that again!", Lance shouted at me.
Bryan looked at Lance, "Hey Lance.. Take it easy! He was only kidding."
"You know how sensitive my instincts can get at times. Kangaroos are a prey animal you know!"
"I know..", I said, looking up at the cracks, "I'm one too now.."
I paused, "Now that I've got you both up, let's get ready. We have a big day ahead of us! We're going to the zoo!"
Bryan twisted around in his sheets and finally sat up. I restored my head back into my human form and we all got something to snack on while we got dressed.
We were out the door in no time and on our way to the LRT station.
"That was some prank Bud..", Lance looked at me and grinned a little, "I've got to try that on Phil. I bet he'll leave cracks in the roof too, if not he'll go right through it."
"Phil is a Rabbit?", I asked obviously.
Lance nodded. "What made you think otherwise?"
"Well, with this list.."
I shrugged. "Actually, It's a shame we couldn't get Celyle in this. I think a velociraptor would shock him more than a kangaroo."
Bryan interjected, "You are right. Prey animals work much better for making prey animals damage roofs."
By the time Bryan had ended his sentence, we were waiting for the Whitehorn LRT. (In human forms) There's two routes, a northern route and a southern route. The northern line is the Whitehorn line and the Southern line is the Anderson line.
Finally the train pulled up and we were on our way. It wasn't long before we got to the zoo. During our tour of the zoo, our feet got sore but we managed to see all sorts of animals. Dal Sheep, Kangaroos, Lemurs and so forth. We all eagerly took pictures of everything. Even myself, since it had been a while since I visited the zoo. Lance even got to see the moose, but they were tired and were just lying there.
Suddenly, Lance fixated himself on the cow and made this loud bellowing sound. Both Bryan and myself gave Lance a look of surprise. This seemed to startle the bull moose and he got up, huffing at Lance.
"Lance, what are you doing??", I asked him.
"Well, they are just lying there. I had to do something to get their attention!"
Fortunately, there was nobody around, but we did finally get to see the moose walking around. Eventually they settled back down again and went back to sleep.
The rest of the animals in the zoo were much more active. We couldn't help but comment on the different animals in the zoo and how they seemed to be related to certain list members. Even the Porcupine enclosure seemed to have a very content porcupine inside who shot us a look as if to say, "Bugger off! I'm relaxing."
Lance did something that almost got us into trouble though. While we were at the Marsupial exhibit, Lance was staring at the kangaroos. Suddenly, his ears started elongating. A zookeeper was walking by and noticed how Lance was slowly changing.
I nudged Lance. "Lance.. Your ears!"
Quickly he reached up and blushed. "Oh.. right."
They quickly returned to normal but not before the zookeeper noticed us. The zookeeper walked up to us and grinned.
"Is your friend OK? I noticed he looked a bit odd."
"Uhh.. what do you mean?"
The zookeeper winked at us. For a second, I thought her eye went catlike. She smiled and walked away, "Oh nothing. Nevermind."
It suddenly dawned on me that it wasn't just some TSA members who may be werecreatures. It made sense to me that people who worked closely with animals might perhaps become werecreatures themselves, through a mishap.
"Bryan?", I asked him.
"Whats the deal with the zookeeper.. did you see her eyes?"
"Oh.. Yeah.. I did. All the zookeepers up in Edmonton are werecreatures, but only usually into the animal they work the closest with.. and believe me, Bud.. It can take years before it happens. Maybe they get licked on the mouth, or get bitten.. who knows?"
"Then how many people might be werecreatures?"
"Hard to say. I can tell you right now that even if they did get the ability, they may not even know they even have it. It can take years for them to realize it."
I nodded. Lance turned towards me, "I remember a Dolphin trainer once. Worked with Dolphins her entire life. Then one day, she falls into a pool and hits her head on the edge, knocking her out. When she wakes up, she is beside all of the dolphins which she worked with, all of them keeping her afloat. Blown away by the fact that the animals which she worked with for so many years saving her life, she becomes a dolphin herself without realizing it. That is, until she gets out of the pool. The story is kind of legendary because she ended up furthering dolphin research by years just by her.. ability. Of course, a lot of stuff she has to keep secret.. Of course."
"Of course.", I nodded.
The rest of the zoo trip went without event really. That is until we got into the insect house. (To use laymans terms) Bryan Oooh'ed and awe'd over the various cockroach exhibits. (He seemed to get a kick out of the hissing cockroaches.) We saw the prehistoric dinosaur exhibits and the "Northern Forest" exhibit. At one point in time, while we were in the Northern Forest exhibit we could hear a fire engines siren. All the wolves howled in Unison with the siren. We couldn't help but laugh.
The rest of our trip wasn't nearly as exciting. One of the "Stop and smell the roses" types of tours. We went to the Calgary Stampede and got caught in a freak hailstorm. I shall refrain from mentioning about our experiences with tornadoes since there weren't any we could have any experience with, but I wouldn't have been surprised if there was one.
It wasn't until Monday night, the night before they were to both leave, when we were sitting around in the apartment, discussing about things that some things dawned upon me.
Lance was sitting on the couch while Bryan was sitting next to me.
"Guys. What are we going to do, with this ability?", I asked calmly.
"Well,", Bryan piped up, "I think we'll always Keep it secret. Perhaps all of humanity will someday have it. Who knows.. There already is a whole entire culture out on the internet that has it, subcultures have it. It's only a matter of time. Perhaps when everyone has the ability, we'll all get a wakeup call and we'll all get closer to nature."
I nodded slowly. Lance interjected, "By then, who knows what will happen? Just keep it under wraps, Bud. Someday everyone will know. I can't wait to see that day."
That last sentence stuck in my mind and probably will for the rest of my life. I think that I'll be looking forward to that day a lot.
It was raining (Again) when I dropped Bryan off at the Bus Depot and Lance off at the airport. The grey day seemed to reflect my mood as I had to take the van back to my parents for the last time, knowing that I'd never see their faces in real life again, or at least not for a very long time.
Perhaps we'll have another meeting, on another year. Or perhaps a larger, bigger meet. Who knows? All I know is that my meeting with them had changed my life forever, perhaps another meeting will change it yet again.
If you happen to see a six foot tall kangaroo sitting in his apartment, at his computer and you happen to be a weredragon, could you stop by for a visit?
Werevacation copyright 1999 by Anonymous.
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