“Well, today I’m male, but tomorrow I might be a woman. Or a cat. Or a rhombus. Or a disassociated idea. I never know what I’ll be when I wake up.” He yawned. “It’s all very boring, really, but today I’m a man looking for a date. And you seem to be right up my alley.”
Jessica blinked. Her sarcastic answer, “Well, you’re the man,” to his asking to buy her a drink was meant to drive him off. But then he went and said that.
“Excuse me?” she asked.
“Well, you have a solid form, right? Today you’re a dumpy woman in dumpy clothes looking for love in all the wrong places, and tomorrow you’ll be a dumpy woman in dumpy clothes looking for love in all the wrong places. And you hate that life, don’t you?” The incredibly gorgeous man rubbed at something in his eye. “I can change that, if you want. See, I’m cursed to live the life of whoever I love. The basic idea the author had was that you could never love what you knew as your own life. He threw it away as preposterous, of course – who never loved themselves at some point, after all? But the basic truth is that he invented me, and then cast me aside. And so I never live the same day twice.”
“Nice. If you want me to keep listening to your story, you’ll have to actually buy me the drink you offered.” Jessica glanced at the door. When was Connie getting here?
“Of course. What’s your pleasure? Oh, wait. Let me think.” The man closed his eyes with a smile. “Ah. There we go. You want an old fashioned.”
“And I suppose you’re going to tell me you knew that because you’re already becoming me?”
He smiled. “If I wanted to just to get in your pants, sure. But I’m not here to fake you out. I only know it because I asked the bartender.” He raised his voice. “Suzanne! The lovely woman’s favorite, please!”
“I though you said I was dumpy?” Jessica flattened out her sweatshirt.
“You are. And that’s what makes you so utterly, deliciously lovely. I’ve never been a dumpy woman before. I’d love to fall in love with you, if you’d let me.”
Jessica frowned. “And once you fall in love with me and become me, it has to end, doesn’t it? Because I don’t love me, which means you won’t love me anymore either.”
“Ah, yes, but it will be such an adventure as it happens. And isn’t a little love better than no love at all? Don’t you love for that spark to light up your life? Oh, Jessica, you are such a beautiful woman. I look into your eyes and I see a poet trapped in a character that won’t let her express herself. You write poetry, don’t you, Jessica?”
She turned away. “So, who were you yesterday?”
The man looked down at the bar now. “A thirteen-year-old girl. Who fell in love with a singing sensation. Oh, don’t worry, nothing happened. Love doesn’t always have to be physical, you know. It’s all rather silly. I become whoever I love, but I don’t control who that might be. At least not in most forms.” He looked away. “I’m glad I’m not a thirteen-year-old girl, though. I don’t know how women live at that age.”
Jessica smirked. “It’s not easy. So you were a man originally?”
“I suppose in the original concept. It’s a little murky.”
Suzanna brought two old fashioneds and set them before the pair. “Never seen you in here before,” she said to the man.
“Sure you have,” he purred back. “You just don’t recognize me.”
“Don’t bother,” the bartender answered. “I’ve got a boyfriend.”
She looked down. “He stayed in the story.”
Jessica reached out across the bar. “I’m sorry! I never knew that!”
“Yeah. Well. That’s what happens, doesn’t it?” Suzanne looked beyond them. “Sorry, gotta deal with the pterrordactyls. Probably want another pitcher of something.” She moved off.
The duo were silent for a few moments.
The man spoke. “Can you imagine never finding love because your heart lies on the other side of the fiction divide?” He looked up at Jessica. “You don’t have to be like that. For one night, you could know love.” He held out his hand to her. His perfect hand. Strong, yet soft. His gorgeous face with those deep blue eyes.
Jessica reached out a shaking, doughy hand. “If you really want to be a dumpy woman in dumpy cloths looking for love in all the wrong places…”
“I would have it no other way, Jessica,” the man answered.
– – –
The sunlight battled its way through the dusty venetian blinds of Jessica’s bedroom. She nuzzled into the man’s bare shoulder. His arm around her back held her.
Dumpy women didn’t find love – or at least, that’s what Jessica told herself. But if this wasn’t love, it was close enough.
She looked up at him. His eyes were still that striking blue. “So, how long until you turn into me?” she whispered, letting her fingers graze his chest. Oh, what a perfect chest.
He shrugged, pulling her closer. “I never know when it will strike. Until then… shall we continue falling in love?”
– – –
He walked down from the apartment. She’d fallen asleep again – and about time. He didn’t like anyone seeing him like this.
In the empty stairwell, a flash of golden light enveloped him. Sparks caressed his cheek, his back, his chest. His perfect clothes became dumpy. His perfect chest became dumpy. His perfect face became dumpy.
The woman looked down at herself with a nod.
Good. She needed something nondescript for the next job. This should do nicely. And hopefully Jessica would appreciate her payment.
– – –
Jessica slumbered on her bed; the night and morning had just worn her out. She wasn’t used to exercise like that.
Just something else to hate about her life.
The golden sparks flashed around her. She thought she was dreaming. They touched her dumpy chest… which wasn’t so dumpy anymore. They invaded her wardrobe… and her clothes were all tailored suits. They changed her…
And now Jessica was a perfect, gorgeous man.
She did want to change her life.
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.
Find out what happens to one of these two in Siberian Husky on Report.