OTHER STORIES

Joe’s Stories at TGSTORIES.COM

I've also written for the pay site tgstories.com, and have many more stories available there. The price is very reasonable at $21.95/month which gives you full access to not only these stories below, but to hundreds and hundreds of others as well. 

Mandate of the People

Two school boys jokingly enter each other in the vote for prom queen. And thanks to a little bit of magic, they start to get more and more votes. Now available from Sick Puppy Press!

On A Bender

An alcoholic man keeps blacking out, finding his world revised a little bit every time.

Reclamation Project

The new headmaster at a girls' school is deemed beyond hope by a long-time teacher, so she makes him start life over as a reclamation project.

Quality Health Care

Trying to help out his old buddy, a doctor fills in as a nurse in a small town. But his buddy is looking for more than just a temporary solution. Now available from Sick Puppy Press!

Magic Kingdom

Finding himself working a summer job as a female character at a theme park, a teenager starts to assume more and more of his role. Re-written and available from Sick Puppy Press!

Born Leaders

Trying to sneak into cheerleading camp turns into brand new lives for two guys.

Another One of The Girls Re-written and available from Sick Puppy Press!

Chased by a bully, a guy disguises himself as a girl, then he finds himself unable to escape. Three parts.

Birthday Girl

A foolhardy man wishes he could live the carefree life of his fantasy woman.

Chocolate Milk

Haggard and tired, an office worker is envious of the life his female managers live.

The Coolness Factor 

A frat initiation makes an irritable young man assume a new role.

The Projectionist

Moving back in with his parents, a man becomes fascinated with a dress mannequin that shares his room. Soon, the mannequin takes on a life of it's own.

Business Travel Playboy 

A business meeting starts to get very strange.

Living in a Service Economy

A roommate can't come up with enough money for rent. Fortunately, his friend has a job lined up for him. But it's not what he thinks it is.

Art for Arts Sake 

A sculptor doesn't sculpt clay, he sculpts people.

Double Transition

A transgendered man becomes so envious of the life of a real woman, he decides to take it.

The Role of a Lifetime 

An actor is given a gender-bending role. And a true actor gets to the heart of the character.

Sister's Closet 

A curious brother breaks into his sister's closet to try and get a closer look at her secrets. He's very successful.

Two's a Crowd

After a burglary, a secretary's boss is hiding from the law. But he's not very convincing as a girl. So they just keep trying harder until they get it right.

The Spice Trade 

An obsessed boyfriend gets on the bad side of his mysterious Asian girlfriend


Also check out stories by James J. Craft!

Quality Health Care

"You can crash at my place. It'll be like back in med school."

Great. He only had been arrested twice in med school. Graduating probably had saved his life.

"I just need a little help for a couple of months. That's all."

It was a perfectly reasonable request - a perfectly sensible proposal his old friend had made. Except for one detail.

"No one will ever suspect you. You're never gonna get caught."

The catch. Dane Thompkins was having trouble with the catch.

"What do you say? I'll even buy you a plane ticket."

Dane had to think. He really had to think. His friend, Jimmy Lynch, had called him up and made a job offer to him. Jimmy was opening his first office, a small general practice in the Midwest. It was a tremendous achievement for such a young doctor to open an office just three years after getting his degree. But it had been Jimmy's dream to "hang a shingle" and practice medicine like his grandfather had. In fact, Dane was deeply envious of the idea. It reminded him of his childhood, when he used to play doctor in his backyard.

But Dane had taken a different route after medical school, trying to get grants for his studies. He wanted to follow his ideas and experiments, yet he had found the actual process of getting money more troublesome than he ever thought. He had been totally unsuccessful in his attempts so far, and he was in a deep financial rut. Dane had been living with his uncle for the past year, unable to find work and unable to break down and accept some "lesser" job at some chain hospital or nonprofit clinic. He had his pride at stake.

What he needed was a temporary thing. He just needed to earn a few bucks to pay off the bills and get a head start again. Once he had some money, he could go after the grants without worrying about the short-term.

And here was his med school roommate, Jimmy, offering him just that. Quick money for a few months' work, free room & board and some good times on the side. It was very tempting, but there was one big problem.

Jimmy had to cut corners on expenses to open his office, and was running it by himself. The load was too much, and he needed a nurse. The nurses' union was very strong in his state, and just meeting the mandatory minimum salary was impossible on his meager budget. So he had offered Dane the opportunity to be his "medical assistant" for a few months until he could get enough patients to afford a full-time, accredited nurse. However this arrangement was very, very illegal.

It's against the law to hire non-union nurses in most states, and it is certainly illegal to hire non-accredited nurses, even if they had medical doctorates. And this was nothing compared to the financial threat of the large HMOs who would never reimburse Jimmy a cent if they knew what was going on. But Jimmy was desperate. And Dane was even more desperate.

"Yeah, okay, Jimmy. I'll do it." Dane said, knowing it was already a bad idea.

---

Dane's first day of work was a whirlwind of activity. He was filling out forms, filing papers, answering the phone, tracking appointments and - when time allowed - doing some medical stuff on the side. He had flown out just the previous night, dumped his duffel bag at Jimmy's place, and grabbed about four hours' sleep before getting to his new job bright and early.

"Jimmy!" Dane called aloud down the office hall. "We're outta envelopes!"

It was a large enough office, with a reception area, Dane's little office for paperwork, Jimmy's office, three exam rooms, and four rooms full of equipment. It was obvious to Dane that whoever was selling medical equipment in this area had made a mint with Jimmy. And it was also obvious that's why he was short on cash. And envelopes.

"Jimmy! Envelopes!" He yelled again.

Dressed impressively in a three piece suit and white coat that made him look years older and far more professional that he deserved, Jimmy slinked down the hall to stick his head in the office window. "Doctor James R. Lynch, M.D." He whispered.

"Envelopes." Dane responded. He had shown up to work in jeans and a polo shirt, and Jimmy was obviously put off by his appearance. But Dane really didn't care. If Jimmy gave him trouble, he'd just bring up that trip to Vegas in '97. That always shut him up.

"There's petty cash in the safe." Jimmy said, pointing to it. "Get some."

Dane held up a sandwich and a coke. He had already discovered the petty cash. Jimmy growled and dug into his pockets for a five dollar bill. "Go get them now, before the next appointment." Dane immediately sat up in a rush, spilling the coke all over the heaping disorganized pile of forms on his desk.

Jimmy's head dipped in defeat. Dane knew he was a walking disaster, losing files, canceling uncancelled appointments and scheduling eight patients in the same half hour. He had already alienated one half of the clients and had insulted the other. And he wasn't going to bring up what he had done to the microwave earlier this morning. Maybe it would come off with a stronger solvent.

"I'll take care of it." Dane said, dejectedly. "Don't worry about it." he stepped back from the desk and brushed off the splatters of soda on his shirt. "Paper towels?" He asked Jimmy. Jimmy dug into his pockets again.

--- It was at the end of a very long, very frustrating first day of work that Dane had finally gotten everything squared away. It was eight o'clock at night, but now he had at least taken care of his responsibilities. Except for the ones that he had pushed off until tomorrow.

Jimmy strolled back into the reception area, stretching. He started to remove his white coat and fold it over his arm. He looked through the office window to see Dane massaging his temples. "Tough first day, huh?"

"I thought there'd be more, you know, medical stuff." Dane said. "But it was phones, forms and filing. The three F's."

"Two F's and a P." Jimmy corrected. He stretched out his back as he talked. "I know it was difficult, and I guess I didn't prepare you enough for the administration side of this job... Sorry, man."

"I'll get the hang of it, Jimmy." Dane said. Earlier in the day, he had been seriously thinking about skipping out on his friend, but he couldn't do it. He had to pull it together. "It just may take a while."

"You know.." Jimmy said, suddenly getting an idea in his eyes. "I did get this thing off the internet..." With that, he was off like a shot, heading down the hall. Dane heard some rustling in his office, and a minute later he reappeared with a small box. "Here we go." He tossed it to Dane.

Dane caught the box and flipped it around so he could read it. "Teach Yourself Medical Office Management And Procedure." He read further. "Includes CD-ROM."

"I bought that for help in running the office, but I never got around to using it." Jimmy said. "If you want to check it out, it might help." Dane opened the box and a small manual and CD slipped out.

"Yeah, yeah. this could help a lot." Dane said. he was ready for any assistance whatsoever. "Lemme run it now."

"Take it home. I've got a PC back at the house."

"Good deal."

The two took the short drive back to Jimmy's house as the summer sun set for the night. As Jimmy had promised, there was a nice, new PC in his house. In fact, it was in the "den," which was now Dane's temporary room. After downing most of a pizza and some channel surfing, he sat down to check out the CD before he went to bed. It had several different sections, and at least on the surface, it looked to be exactly what Dane needed to know for running the office. Although it was almost midnight, he clicked on the opening tutorial to see what it held.

---

"Jimmy? Hey Jimmy!?"

"Yeah?" Jimmy replied, as he strolled down the hall.

"Mr. Shearer is on the phone and wants to talk to you about her dialysis." Dane said. "He's on line two."

"I'm expecting..."

Dane interrupted. "The Willard boy has been bumped back to 9:30, so you have fifteen minutes before Mr. Parker's chest x-ray session. And I need your signature on the release forms in your 'in' pile before the post office picks up at two."

"Oh." Jimmy said, taking a moment to digest everything. "All right then." And he walked off.

As Dane flipped through the appointment book, he was astonished at how easy it really was to run the office smoothly. Just yesterday he was lost in a mess of mistakes, but the CD-ROM had been an amazing help. The system for running the office was easy. A child could do it. It was painfully simple to him now. It was just a matter of priorities and time management.

Without even thinking about it, he dialed in a phone number. "Mr. Janson?" Dane said into the phone. "This is Dr. Lynch's office. I just wanted to confirm your appointment today at 4:00." Why did people even get paid for this sort of work? It seemed unfair, really. He could sleep through this. "Very good, Mr. Janson. We'll be expecting you." He answered.

A patient then handed in a clipboard and completed form. "All right, Mr. Totale. If you'll follow me, I'll take you an examination room."

Dane had already decided to skip the tube for the night and go straight to his CD-ROM when he got home. If the opening tutorial had been this helpful, he was looking forward to what the next lessons could do for him.

---

Dane had returned from his lunch break looking a little different from when he left. "New look?" Jimmy asked him as he stepped back behind the office window.

"Just presenting a more professional appearance." Dane said. Gone were his jeans and polo shirt, now he had outfitted himself in more traditional attire: white pants, white shoes & socks, and a white "scrub" shirt. "It's important for patients to feel they're in a competent medical facility."

"Right. Sure." Jimmy said. "Lemme guess the title of the last CD-ROM chapter: 'Professionalism.'"

"Could be." Dane answered.

"Well, it's probably is the right thing to do. Can't look too professional."

As Jimmy started to retreat to his office, Dane stopped him. "There's also something else we could do." He suggested. "What we call each other."

"Huh?" Jimmy quizzed.

"Just for the office, maybe we should keep it a little more..."

"Professional?" Jimmy finished his sentence.

"Yeah. It couldn't hurt. For here at the office, you're Doctor Lynch and I'll be Nurse Thompkins."

Jimmy smiled. "Uhhh... I...." He waved his hands in a gesture of amazement. "If you're okay with that, sure. I guess."

"All right then, Doctor Lynch."

"Send in the next patient, Nurse Thompkins."

After another long, busy day, it was five thirty that evening when the two closed the office. The second the door was locked, Dane let out a loud sigh of relief as he popped open the top button on his pants. "Ohhhh yeeeaaah." He said.

"Problem?" Jimmy asked, seeing his friend's face show a momentary expression of bliss.

"Pants." Dane said. "I bought 'em too small. I don't know why. I haven't been a 32 waist since high school."

"Wishful thinking."

"Yeah. You know, I really should lose some weight. It's beginning to pile up on me." He patted his belly.

"Well, if you're serious, I'm sure I've got something to help." Jimmy rubbed his chin in thought. "I got some Orlistat and some Mazindol... And I got this new thing, Melanotan. A clinical trial thing."

"Gimme the trial stuff. I always like being ahead of the curve." Jimmy fetched the box and tossed it to Dane who promptly downed two pills with a swig of water.

"Web surfing on company time?" Jimmy asked Dane, who peered over his shoulder at the computer screen.

"Just looking for porn." Dane said, sarcastically. "It's a nursing uniform site. I need to get some new stuff for around here. New pants, at least. Plus these shoes are killing me anyway." He clicked on a button. "You need any stethoscopes, otoscopes, sphygmomanometers or labcoats while I'm ordering?"

"No, that's okay. I've got plenty. I buy my sphygmomanometers in bulk."

That night, Dane skipped the pizza, trying to at least believe the diet pills were working. He hopped right on the PC, ready to get into the next tutorial. As usual, the screen was producing an awful flickering, but after a few minutes, he hardly noticed a thing.

---

It was later that week when the package from the nursing uniform suppliers' arrived, and Dane immediately took a break to get out of the clothes he had been wearing all week. He took over an exam room for himself as he changed, and then made a display of his new outfit.

"Hey, Doc. Pretty snazzy, huh?" Dane said, posing for Jimmy.

"Are you wearing mules?" Jimmy asked his friend.

"Clogs." Dane corrected. "Unisex Nursing Clogs. And they're very comfortable, thank you for asking."

"I suppose. You know, you're turning blue."

"Just a little." Dane popped the button on his new pants. "Wheeeew!" He let out the air he had been sucking in.

"Did you order 32 waist again?" Jimmy asked.

Dane looked at him incredulously. "No. I'm not an idiot." He flipped open his fly to check the label. "28's." He then buttoned them back up and headed to his desk. "Where did I put the pills?" He heard Jimmy snicker behind him.

---

"What's tonight's lesson?" Jimmy asked as he entered his friend's room, leaving a glass of soda on the desk for him. He noticed that Dane was already dressed for bed, in his sweat shorts and frayed t-shirt.

Dane shook his head as if he has dozed off. "Huh?" He looked over his shoulder at Jimmy. "Oh. It's titled Work Delegation and Rules of Authority."

"Sounds dull. I just got some lasagna delivered. Want any?"

"No thanks, I'll pass. The diet is starting to pay off finally. I don't want to ruin it now." He sipped the drink.

"Your choice." Dane said. "Just don't smell it. You'll be in trouble."

"Maybe I should just take a look at it." Dane said, getting up out of his chair. Immediately, he started to lose his balance.

"You okay there, Dane?" Jimmy asked.

"Yeah.. I'm just..." He then grabbed his head in pain. "Oh, man..." He said faintly, just before he collapsed on the floor.

"Dane! You okay!?" Jimmy yelled. "DANE! CAN YOU HEAR ME?" Blackness took over Dane's world.

---

He awoke in a familiar place, the largest of the three examination rooms back at Jimmy's office. "Bud, you there?" Jimmy's voice asked. His blurry visage then came into Dane's view.

Dane croaked out some words. "Yeeah... What..."

"You collapsed at home, now you're in my office. How are you feeling?"

"A little out of it. What happened?"

"Aneurysm. On your left leg at the pelvis. There wasn't enough time to get you to the county hospital, so I did the stuff here."

"You operated on me?" Dane was alarmed.

"Just a little incision. Did it with a local." Jimmy patted him on the shoulder. Dane felt the scar just in his abdomen. If that had gone unchecked, the muscle would have died, and he could have lost his legs to amputation. He notice that he was wearing some tight pants.

"You've got a compressive garment on your legs to keep blood flow normal. You'll need to keep those on for a while." Jimmy said. "But no problems. You'll be up and good real soon."

---

It was four days later when Dane got back to work the next Monday. Jimmy had told him to take it easy in recovery, and when you're recovering under the care of a doctor in his own house, that meant that you had access to as many sedatives as you pleased. Dane had indeed taken it very, very easy.

But being back to work was a slight relief to him, getting back into the swing of things felt good.

"You ready to go back to the grindstone, Nurse Thompkins?"

"Bring it on, Doctor Lynch." Dane smiled. Jimmy tossed him the office keys. As he trotted over to unlock the front door, Dane felt a little odd. He noticed that his pants were too large on his waist, and he needed a belt badly. He tugged them up and tried to keep them in place. The diet, he decided, was working even better than he had hoped. Time to order yet more pants.

The day was hectic, as Dane had to undo all the organizing Jimmy had done during his absence. The office was a mess, but by the time they had gotten to lunch, he had it all back in working order.

"You feeling okay?" Jimmy asked him after the lunch break.

"Well, I am now. You left this place in shambles. Remind me never to let doctors do the work of nurses again."

"I did my best." Jimmy said defensively.

"You leave the administration to a professional like me, Doctor Lynch. You cure the sick, and I'll file the papers - thank you very much."

"Yes, Nurse Thompkins." Jimmy capitulated.

"Oh Doctor, here's some more papers for you to sign." Dane said with a malicious grin. He plopped a two-inch high stack on the windowsill. "Need that by two."

"I saved your legs you know."

"Thank you very much. But papers still need to be signed." And he made a 'shoo' motion with his hands. Jimmy sighed and hauled the papers back into his office. And Dane smugly smiled to himself.

He still had that same goofy grin on his face when the two got back to the house for the night. Jimmy had picked up some calzone on the way back, but Dane had limited himself to the green salad. But to make up for it, he took a few bites from Jimmy's meal.

"Doctor, I was..." Dane laughed at himself for a second. "I mean Jimmy, I was wondering if you've ever, you know, thought about settling down and raising a family."

"What brings this on?" Jimmy asked.

"It's just this town, I guess. A lot of families that seem to be happy just to live out life without a lot of complication or misplaced ambition. It's kind of... charming in a way."

Dane finished his chewing. "Well, yeah. I've thought about it, but I've been pretty busy with the practice and all. Once it's on it's feet, I think I can start to worry about my quality of life again." He looked up at Dane accusingly. "What about you?"

"I don't know. I thought I knew what I wanted out of life, but now I'm not so sure."

"The town growing on you, huh?"

"Maybe. A little." Dane said. "C'mon. Finish up so I can do the dishes."

"You've worked hard enough already. And you're recovering."

"Pshh." Dane said, carrying his plate into the kitchen. "You're the one who saved my legs. It's the least I can do."

"And don't you forget it." Jimmy joked.

---

"We're gonna be late!" Jimmy yelled into the house. He had already started the car, waiting on his friend to get a move on. Dane, for his part, was still messing around with his clothes, showing an uncharacteristic indecisiveness this morning. He didn't want to wear one of those stupid scrubs anymore, but that's all he had. Nothing but scrubs for work. He decided he was going to have to make another visit to the uniform website when he got to work. Rushing, he pulled a white scrub shirt on and slipped into his clogs before running to the car. Once he had his first break in the day, Dane was browsing for uniforms and trying to figure out exactly what his waist size was these days.

"You're paying someone's kid through college, Nurse." Jimmy said, dropping by the desk to chat.

Dane's attention turned to Jimmy. "Don't you have a boil to lance or something, Doctor?"

"What'cha reading there?" Jimmy asked. By the computer, a book was open, with several highlighted passages and post-it notes in between pages.

"Just studying up on the Nurse thing." Dane said, holding up the book so Jimmy could read the title. It read "Nursing and Care Giving: A Human Approach" He put it back down. "Lot's of helpful stuff on how to be a better nurse."

Jimmy was impressed. "You're really getting into this, aren't you?"

"As long as I'm doing this, I might as well learn how to do it right."

"Well, I admire your dedication."

"All nurses are dedicated, Doctor."

"Yes, Nurse." Jimmy said before escaping.

Dane turned his attention back to his computer and found that he had somehow completed his order while he was chatting with Jimmy. He had chosen new outfits and entered in the shipping and billing details without even looking at the screen. Weird.

---

"Hey, uh, Jimmy. I have a question for you." Dane asked one night at home.

Jimmy didn't break his gaze from the TV set, but answered. "Hmm?"

"The thing. The surgery. The aneurysm. Do you think it could have.. side effects?"

"What's wrong? Numbness?" Jimmy asked.

"Ah, well, in a way..." Dane said, looking very uncomfortable. "I'm not getting a... response from Mr. Happy down there."

Jimmy had at least enough professionalism not to laugh, but he did grin. He knew how funny it was to be talking with his friend about such things. "So, you're uh..."

"Revving the motor but stalling the engine." Dane said.

"Well, it's possible that a little temporary impotence might result from trauma to the genitals and various reproductive organs and glands."

"How temporary?"

"It could be a few weeks, a few months. You can never quite guess these things."

"Anything we can do?"

"Yeah. I tell you what, when we get to the office, I'll give you some hormone supplements that should help kick start... Mr. Happy."

--

Dane was picking through the box of freshly delivered uniform supplies when Jimmy happened to walk by. "Think you got the pants right this time?" he asked.

"God I hope so." Dane mumbled.

As Jimmy watched, he saw Dane pull out three or four pairs of pants, a few shirts, and a few packs of sanitary white hose. Jimmy immediately picked up the hosiery and held it up to look at. Dane swiped it away from him. "Thank you, Doctor. Like you said, I need to keep compression on my legs." He said dismissively. "I think Mr. Preston is waiting on his test results in exam 2?"

Jimmy picked up his clipboard and exited into the hall. He saw Dane rip open the stockings package, seemingly without even comprehending what he was doing. Dane took the opportunity to stop by the medical supply room, where he found the largest jar of testosterone and examined the label carefully - before spilling out its' contents and replacing them with estrogen tablets.

"Oh, Dane." Jimmy said, sticking his head back into the front office. "Before I forget - here's those hormone supplements for your.. you know..."

...Continues at tgstories.com


Born Leaders

The plan began in December.

"Check this out, dude." Matt flung an opened letter to his pal Todd. He picked it up and put the Playstation on pause.

"Are you stealing mail?" Todd asked.

"Didn't steal nuthin'" Matt replied. "It was delivered here."

It was a letter, mis-delivered to his house just yesterday. It was a form letter welcoming Nicole and Brianna Lannigan to Oak Pines Cheerleading Camp. But the Lannigans lived halfway across town, in the upper upper-class suburbs - somehow the letter had been totally misrouted and wound up in the mailbox of Matt's house.

They both knew Nicole and Brianna, they were a couple of sisters in the freshman class when they were seniors in high school. But Matt and Todd graduated three years ago, never going to college and staying home with their parents. They worked various part-time jobs to at least pretend they had a real life.

Todd started to read the letter out loud. "Congratulations! You are accepted to Oak Pines Cheerleading Camp for the Summer of 2003! Your skills as cheerleaders are among the best and we look forward to helping you realize the maximum of your cheer potential! You will find your airline tickets and acceptance certificates inside. Read our brochures and fill out your forms, and remember to bring your certificates with you - we will be seeing you in June! Call (650) 867-5309 with any questions. Once again, congratulations!"

"Huh. Great for them." Todd said, tossing it aside. "You gonna go over and give it to them?"

"No. Better idea." Matt said. "I'm gonna keep it." a sinister twinge deepened his voice. "And we're gonna use it."

That's how the plan began.

---

The initial idea was met with the same accolades that met the invention of the polio vaccine. A boon to mankind, a triumph of the spirit and a transcendent moment in the lives of... well, just Matt and Todd. They had the plane tickets, they had the acceptance letter. They had everything they needed to go there themselves.

"A whole camp of cheerleaders!" Matt enthused.

"Hundreds of teenage virgins!" Todd chimed.

"And we'll have the whole place to ourselves!" Matt concluded on the evidence.

They were beside themselves with anticipation. They believed they literally had the tickets to paradise in their hands.

But then came the problem.

"Dude," Todd said during a game of Resident Evil, some weeks later. "Think they let guys like us into an all-girls' camp?"

"Aw, fuck!" Matt realized.

And then the boys deliberated for another couple of weeks. They finally emerged from long discussions and negotiations with a new accord towards achieving a more perfect plan for the future.

"We should pretend we're cheerleaders, man." Matt said, shoveling dry Cheerios into his mouth.

"Like that movie." Todd added.

"What movie?" Matt asked.

"You know, that one."

"Oh. Yeah."

And then a few days later Todd okayed the initiative.

"What you said, about pretending to be cheerleaders?" Todd asked Matt when they waited for burgers at the drive thru, "We could do that."

"Right." Matt said, expressing his doubts with this course of action. "Like that's possible."

"You leave this to me, dude." Todd said with conviction. "I'll figure this out."

And so it was that the plan went into action.

---

By the time June rolled around, the boys were ready. They had spent the six months by concocting a diabolical plan worthy of a children's cartoon show. They had: grown out their hair to shoulder length, bought fake breasts, acquired girls clothing, waxed themselves clean, and practiced speaking in a falsetto reminiscent of Howdy Doody.

They both felt that they had come up with a fail proof plan. This from the minds of boys who grew up with not enough TLC and a far too much THC. But they showed up at the airport, flew to Scranton, Pennsylvania and met the bus sent from the camp. In their sweats and baseball cap getup, they had managed to get past every possible checkpoint, and when they presented the official letters of acceptance to the supervisor on the bus, they were warmly accepted.

Never mind that the boys were bigger, taller, uglier and harrier than any girl should be. Somehow they had snuck under the radar. As they rode aboard the old school bus into the hills, Matt and Todd were nervously anticipating the moments and hours ahead. They frankly hadn't thought as far ahead as days, or even weeks. They both figured they'd have to get out of there much quicker than that.

So they started to scan the bus for early conquests. But after only a few minutes, it became obvious that they had boarded some sort of bus designated for the freak girls. There were a lot of chubbies on board, a few horse-faced girls, some skags, a couple of pizza faces and one mutant escapee. It didn't occur to them, but the whole reason they had been able to "slip" by so far was because they weren't the ugliest ones on the bus. By a long shot. Which was quite sad.

"Hi!" One of the chubbies said to Todd. She was seated in front of them. "Do you know if they have pony rides at the camp?" She grinned. "I love ponies. I hope they have pony rides. Because I really like ponies."

"Uh..." Todd replied.

"I know the brochure said nothing about pony rides, but all camps have pony rides, and I was just thinking that this one would have pony rides, and the last camp I went to had pony rides, and the one before that had pony rides, but maybe that's because they were pony riding camps."

Todd kicked the seat. "Shut up, fatty." He groused. And the girl slowly turned to face forward again. "Dude, this is a horse trailer, not a hottie van." He said to Matt.

"It's like riding the special ed bus for cheerleaders." Matt observed. "This sucks."

It wasn't long before the bus pulled into a driveway, and the group filed out onto the woody, grassy terrain of the lakeside camp. Matt and Todd ignored the pastoral scenery and tranquil setting and just ogled chicks. At least they tried to. The place was full of snag-faced girls that were desperately trying to look good and failing spectacularly. It was even worse than the girls on the bus.

Todd had a plan. "Let's just get back on the bus and get the fuck outta here, man."

"Yeah. This is a total rip-off." Matt concluded.

And as the boys turned to see the bus pull away, it dawned on them that they were stuck hundreds of miles from home with no way back.

---

The Brambley Academy for Young Ladies was founded in 1887, by Lucretia Brambley and advertised as way for young girls to acclimate to the demands of being attentive wives. From the very beginning, the academy regarded itself as one of the finest, and held itself to a high standard of perfection. Since then, it had changed it's name a dozen times and moved it's location five times - all to periodically transform itself into the sort of place that would attract girls in need of help. It had been very successful. The camp was still in the hands of the Brambley family, and held true to it's original mission, no matter what the place was called.

And what was it's mission? To control the United States.

Lucretia Brambley was a suffragette before the term became known. She longed for the power and influence that only men held in this world, and she made it her calling in life to achieve the same level of privilege that males enjoyed. And she eventually succeeded.

'By the side of every good man is a good woman' so goes the phrase, and it was the unofficial credo of the Brambley family. For they knew that to control men, the most effective and subtle way was to control the women they loved.

And that's what the Oak Pines Cheerleading School was set up to do. Unattractive, misfit girls would arrive from all over the country and return as the perfect companion - but under the direct influence of the Brambley family. The camp had been careful to select the most promising young men in schools around the country, and they invited girls from those schools to the camp. When they returned home, they would then mate for life, and the men would unknowingly be under the control of the Brambleys, if only by proxy.

The plan had worked very well. The Brambleys controlled some of congress, the courts, the executive branch, military, Fortune 500 companies, media outlets, colleges and local authorities. And less than a dozen people knew it.

They are benevolent rulers, doing the very best to let the country rule itself just as it should. But when they need to, they can scold the country, and punish it like a naughty child.

---

Matt and Todd were assigned a bunk bed in a small cabin, with just six others. They left their bags there and were told that the camp would assemble soon. Meanwhile, the boys needed to find a phone. They wanted out, and pronto.

"I'm gonna take a piss." Todd said, in his goofy falsetto.

Matt relaxed on the bed. "Make it quick. Then we go call a taxi or something." Todd then wandered out to find a bathroom. Matt then turned over on his front to lie flat, but found two obtrusive pieces of latex in his way. He nearly grabbed them out of his shirt, but decided better of it, and settled for lying on his back.

"Hi!" A voice said. Matt snapped to attention. "I guess we're sharing a room. My name's Amelia." When Matt got a good look at the face the voice was coming from, he was disappointed The voice was very seductive. Kind of throaty and breathy at the same time. What he saw was a girl with braces and limp pigtails.

Matt answered. "I'm Matt." Oh oh. He forgot who he was supposed to be. And was he Nicole or was he Brianna? "I mean Nicole." He said, realizing it didn't really matter.

"Hey, Nicole." Amelia replied. "That bus ride was so long I forgot my name too."

"Two hours. No shocks on the bus, either. My ass hurts."

"I'm so wiped. I just want to get wasted." Amelia said. "You didn't bring any skunk, did you?"

"Nah. I was afraid I was gonna get searched." Matt was intrigued. This girl at least knew how to relax.

Amelia was bummed. "Shit."

All of the sudden, they were interrupted. "Hi there! I'm Carol Ann. I go to Hogansport High School, home of the fighting crawfish! Double A southern league champs seven years running!" She then ended her little introduction by bouncing. "Gooo crawfish!"

"Hey there." Amelia said, trying not to pay much attention to her. Matt barely even nodded.

"Where are you guys from?" She asked, but then didn't even wait for an answer. "You all amped? This is gonna be the best summer ever, don't you think? I can't wait!"

This Carol Ann girl, besides being an empty-headed fool, was about twenty pounds over the unspoken cheerleader weight, and thirty pounds beyond hottie status. Which in Matt's eyes made her as interesting as a tree stump.

And then Todd returned. "Matt, dude, they told me they don't have any phones..." He said before realizing his mistake. Fortunately, no one had time to digest it.

"Hi! I'm Carol Ann, I got to Hogansport High School, home of the fighting crawfish!" Carol Ann said. Again.

"Yeah." Todd replied. "I'm Nicole."

"I'M Nicole. You're Brianna." Matt interjected.

"Oh yeah." Todd realized. "Well, anyway. The counselor said that there aren't any phones here. They have a radio thing, but no phones allowed."

"Aw, that rips." Matt complained. "Now what?"

Before any more decisions could be made, though, an announcement was made for the camp to assemble in the courtyard. All four trudged off together, some anticipating with great hope, others wondering who they had to bribe to get outta here.

---

"Hoo doggie!" Cletus said, looking at the forms he had just been handed. "Got some heartbreakers here, don't we?" In a clean, bright white room located twenty feet below the camp, Dr. C. R. Fowler, Ph.D., was looking over the reports for his unwitting clients. Dr. Fowler was a genius at everything from geopolitics to brain surgery. But his position here was as the camp witch doctor. Literally.

The secret of the camp's success wasn't surgery, mind control or other technological approaches, they used good old-fashioned sorcery. Tried and true for ten of thousands of years. No need to "fool with all that modern claptrap" as Dr. Fowler would say.

Dr. Fowler, or Cletus as his coworkers called him, broke down the pile into three categories: "Needs Help," "Needs Lots of Help" and "Dawg Pound." Guess where he put Matt and Todd's reports?

He then brought them with him into the computer room. "Gots to git me some help. These girls get uglier every year," Cletus said in his southern drawl to his assembled staff. "Everybody ready now? We's gonna have our first visitor right soon."

Up top, the gathered crowd of campers was greeted and briefed. Then they were told to pick up their personalized schedules and activity list, then report to the outfitters for the camp uniform and workout wear. Then they broke by doing the camp cheer. At least most of them did.

Matt and Todd had already started to wander away. "Like a bunch of zombies." Matt observed.

"Not the brightest bunch, are they?" Amelia said, catching up to the two. "You guys gonna go get the schedules?"

"I guess." Todd said.

"Whatever." Matt enthused.

"Yeah." Amelia added. "This is gonna be one freakin' long camp."

Silently, they all agreed.

---

Clad in the camp-issued short shorts and sports bras, Matt and Todd looked at each other with equal amounts of ridicule and disgust. How had they miscalculated so badly that they wound up in this condition? How had their brilliant plan gone so wrong? Well there was little time for the deep, critical analysis the two boys were sure to engage in later. It was now time for Todd's "Individual Skills Assessment Test," the first scheduled activity, as the personalized schedule dictated. Matt's test was soon after that.

A loose line had formed outside the cabin in which the assessment was be made. Todd was let in, and Matt and Amelia waited outside for Todd to finish.

"You big into the whole cheer thing?" Matt asked her.

"My mom was way big into it, and she signed me up." Amelia admitted. "I'd much rather be home playing th' gamecube."

"Gamecube's for fags." Matt commented.

"That's what my bother says. You a gamer?"

"All the way. I got my PS2 and an XBox."

"No way!"

"Oh yeah. It's suh-weet."

Amelia was impressed. "That's so cool. I could only afford the cube."

"It's not that bad for the classic Nintendo franchise games, but..."

"Hey guys!" Carol Ann had pranced over, interrupting again. "You here for the skills test? I'm pretty good, but I'm so excited to see what an expert thinks! You guys excited too?"

Matt and Amelia were getting fed up. Amelia spoke. "Look, Trixie Joe, or whatever your name is, we're having a conversation here."

"Yeah, skankbag." Matt threw in.

Carol Ann put her hand on her hip and smiled even more. "Oh, you guys!" She said in a good-natured way that indicated she wasn't capable of interpreting an insult.

"Hey, Carol Ann!" A voice came from behind. It was Todd. "Hey guys!"

"How'd you do, Brianna?" Carol Ann asked Todd.

"Oh, I need some work, they said." He replied. "But they said I had a lot of potential!"

Matt snickered. "That's great." He stretched his neck. "Guess it's my turn. Wish me luck."

"Good luck, Nicole!" Carol Ann energetically said.

Matt let himself into the cabin, exiting the sunlit outside into the dark interior. "Hop up on the chair, sweetie," a voice said.

Matt saw a examination chair in the middle of the room and crawled up onto it. There was only one person in the room, a middle-aged woman who had a stethoscope and clipboard.

"You're Nicole Lannigan?" She asked.

"Yeah." Matt replied. He was worried that this test was going to be a little more intimate than he had first assumed. But Todd got out of it okay, so this must not be that big a deal.

"I just had your sister in here." The woman said. "My name's Patty, by the way." She hit a lever and the chair fell back even further. "Now I want you to relax and breathe deeply. What we'll be doing first is checking your blood pressure and pulse, just to make sure you're in good health. No reason to be scared."

Patty wrapped the blood pressure cuff around Matt's arm and started to pump. As she let the air out and checked her watch, twenty feet below ground, Dr. Fowler began his incantations.

"You care about your appearance, don't you?" Patty asked.

"Like anybody else." Matt replied, shrugging. He felt like he was drifting.

"Nicole, you care about your appearance. It is very important to you."

Matt thought. It was hard for him to concentrate. He felt a little high. And he had plenty of experience with that feeling. Ii was true, he did care about his appearance. And it was very important to him.

"It is important for you to look beautiful at all times." Patty continued.

Beautiful. Matt wanted to be beautiful.

"Like a lot of young women your age, you will be becoming more beautiful and more desirable. You want this, and you welcome it. But you will not be alarmed when it happens. You will accept it, and not question it."

He was maturing. Soon, he would be beautiful. How he looked forward to that.

"You love to wear make-up. You want to wear lipstick, mascara, blush and powder. Learning how to apply it and use it is something you will always work hard on. You are naked without make-up."

Make-up was crucial. How had he not understood this before? It was so important. Where could he find some? He needed it now.

"You will want to be the very picture of femininity. You will act like the delicate young lady that you are. You will be a well-behaved, considerate and docile girl."

He would be these things. Matt knew he was going to be everything Patty said he was.

"This is Nicole. This person who is a beautiful, delicate girl is Nicole. This is you."

He was Nicole. This was who he was.

"How'd it go?" Amelia asked Matt when he left the cabin.

"Hey guys! Oh, I need some work, they said." He replied. "But they said I had a lot of potential!"

Amelia looked at him a little cockeyed. "Uh, good?" She wasn't sure what this meant.

"Amelia Romero?" Patty called from inside the cabin. "You're next!" Amelia hesitatingly entered, looking at Todd and Matt with doubt. But she still went inside.

"Do you know where I can get some make-up, Carol Ann?" Matt asked.

"Make-up?" Todd asked. "What would you want with make-up?" Matt was a guy. He wouldn't need any make-up. That was pretty gay. But he needed some. "Yeah, Carol Ann? Do you have any we can borrow?" Todd begged.

Carol Ann had all the answers. "There's tons at the supply shack. They have a whole bunch of stuff, and it's all free!"

"Great!" Todd said.

"That's terrific!" Matt echoed.

---

Todd sat on the bed with Matt as they ravaged through a sack of assorted cosmetics. They were lucky to get them, as every girl in camp seemed to want some as well. Todd was trying his third shade of lipstick and considering the results in a hand mirror he held. Matt was practicing his mascara with his mirror in hand, one eye on the reflection and one eye on his friend.

"Dude," he said to Todd, "why are you wearing lipstick? It makes you look so totally homo."

"Lipstick is the most crucial part of my face!" Todd declared. "But I don't understand why YOU'RE wearing make-up, Matt."

"Nicole. My name is Nicole." Matt said.

"No it's not. Your name is Matt. What the heck happened to you?"

"What happened to you, Todd?"

"Brianna." Todd replied. "If you insist that your name is Nicole, you can at least use MY real name."

"Hey!" Amelia said, joining the two boys on the bed. "Why didn't you wait for me?"

"Sorry!" Matt apologized "But I had to get some make-up, it's just too weird not to have it on."

Amelia looked at Matt with a confused expression on her face. She looked at Todd, who was nodding agreement. Then she grabbed a tube of lipstick and started to apply it herself. "I KNOW!" She said. "What was I ever thinking? I should have make-up on all the time!"

"Show me how to do this, Amelia!" Todd said, holding some powder in his hands. "I'm just so ignorant!"

Amelia picked up the brush and started to apply it to Todd's face. "You have to blend." She said. "Blend, blend, blend, and then blend some more."

The bubbly presence of Carol Ann inserted itself onto the proceedings. "Hey guys!" She said, taking an uninvited seat on the bed.

"Hi." Amelia said.

"Yeah, Hi." Matt mumbled.

"Doing make-up?" She asked. "I love make-up!" She immediately started to root through the pile of cosmetics. She picked out a tube of pink lipstick and handed it to Matt. "This is your shade."

"Huh?" Was his reply.

"You're a Light Summer." Carol Ann estimated. "I used to work a cosmetics counter at Nordstroms. It's my thing."

"What else do I need? I mean, you're the expert!" Matt had to know. Suddenly Carol Ann was a lot more intriguing to Matt.

"Okay, you have light brown hair and fair skin and blue eyes. You want to use light grays, light blues, roses, pinks, and lavender colors."

"What am I? What am I?" Todd queried. "Tell me!"

"Okay, you have reddish brown hair and some freckles. You're a Warm Spring. Peach, pumpkin, golden browns, aqua and yellow-greens for you. Like this!" She held up a glittery orangish eye shadow. Todd snatched it out of her hands.

"Me! Me too!" Amelia begged, presenting her face for analysis.

"Deep Autumn. Dark hair, dark eyes. Blacks, charcoal, rich red, purple, cream." Carol Ann said. And Amelia immediately went diving into the pile for like matches.

"Me?" Todd held up a mascara for Carol Ann's opinion.

"Too light." She answered. She picked out another one. "Here. This one. I'll put it on for you." Without further prompting, Todd stuck his face forward and waited patiently. Carol Ann quickly and expertly applied it, as the other two looked on and memorized the method.

"I still don't think you should be wearing make-up." Matt said to Todd, with offense.

"So what about nail polish?" Carol Ann asked.

"Nail polish!?" All three said simultaneously. They then went back to picking through the pile voraciously.

---

When day broke the next morning, Matt knew it was time to get up when he saw Todd's foot - with painted toenails - dangle over the side of the bed. "You awake, Matt?" He whispered.

"Nicole." He whispered back.

"We need to talk. Let's go outside."

They tiptoed outside into the dewy morning, careful not to wake anybody else. They got to a clear area where they could speak in confidence. "I don't wanna stay here, Man." Todd said. "It's time we got outta here. Strange things are goin' on."

"Like your new need for make-up. And your new name." Matt said.

Todd scoffed at that. "Me? You're the one with the girly thing going."

"But I'm supposed to be... Never mind." Matt ended that thread. "What we still gotta do is get out of here."

"I was looking on the activity thing." Todd held up his schedule. "There's a trip to the small town down the road for people who need to pick up something at the store."

"Yeah!" Matt said. "That's what we're looking for!"

"But it's not until tonight."

"Shee-it. But I guess it's better than being stuck here for the month."

Todd shrugged. "I gotta go do my face." He said, walking back to the cabin.

"Me first!" Matt said, running past him.

The two boys dressed in the shorts and camp T-shirts. Secretly, both were revolted by the bodies they had. They felt like big apes. Accordingly, they spent a lot of time on their shaving, catching every last hair they could find. And they spent even more time on the make-up, using every new skill they had to make themselves beautiful. Though not much could really help. Carol Ann lent her expertise when she woke up.

"Welcome to Cheerleading 101." The young woman at the front of the class said. "This is the class where we cover the fundamentals of being a the best of the best. We will have you performing at a championship level. And you will ALL be winners!" She was a tall blond, her hair in a pony tail and wearing a version of the camp t-shirt with a counselor designation on it. When she talked, she had a tendency to bounce and gallop back and forth, and she never spoke a word in anything but the most energetic way possible. "We'll be breaking up into groups, everyone get in line." She pointed to a half-dozen other counselors that were waiting at the sides of the class. "Line up with a counselor, no more than five people to a group."

Matt found Todd and Amelia found them, and of course so did Carol Ann. They then got to a counselor who happened to be the woman who was leading the class. She led them over to spot where they had room to work. "All right." She began. "We'll start off with something simple. I want to see you walk a straight line. This will check your balance." She marked off a line in the dirt with her shoe. "You." She pointed to Todd. "You first."

Todd walked over to the end of line, and trudged casually along it.

"Oooo-kay." The counselor said. "A few tips." She positioned herself at the end of the line. "One foot in front of the other, short steps, arms out, elbows in, fingers point out, wiggle the hips. Like this." The counselor proceeded to mince down the line smoothly, like a dancer. "Heel-toe, heel-toe. Okay, you." She pointed to Carol Ann. "You try."

Carol Ann followed the directions and imitated the walk exactly. "That's great!" The counselor enthused. "Now everyone try."

"Achoo!" Amelia sneezed.

"Bless you!" Carol Ann said. "Allergies?"

"Just something in the air."

Meanwhile, twenty feet below, Dr. Fowler had already begun to burn the offerings and chant the spell he needed to. Through the sprinkler system, an invisible smoke started to waft across the grounds of the camp.

Cletus then left his staff to continue the incantation while he got to work on the elixir that he needed ready by lunchtime. He had a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

"Okay, now I want to see how you do in the sit test." The head counselor said. She seemed satisfied with the results of the walk exercise. She walked over to a pile of folding chairs and brought one back. She set it down and started to demonstrate. "What I want you to do is walk to the chair and sit down."

"What does this have to do with cheerleading?" Amelia asked.

"EVERYTHING!" The counselor snapped. Amelia shut her mouth. "Watch me now. I walk to the chair, bend at the hips and knees, smooth the skirt under me..." She did the same as she talked. "Keeping my legs together at all times. I then swivel into position, and if I want to, cross my legs at the ankle." She added another important point. "And if there's no table, like we have here, keep you hands folded on your knees and your arms straight. Or on your lap in formal situations."

"Why don't you try." She said to Matt. He gulped.

---

Whistles blew, an announcement was made and it was time for lunch. Matt, Todd, Amelia and Carol Ann had all worked themselves to the bone, and were desperate for something to eat. They hobbled and minced across the grounds, walking with their arms pointed out, the feet going heel to toe and generally looking very swishy.

"Stop doing that!" Matt yelled at Todd.

"You stop!" Todd yelled back.

They made it eventually to the mess hall, where they got their trays and ran it down the line for delicious, delicious food. "What do you suppose that is?" Matt asked Amelia. He was pointing to a green semitransparent glob with chunks in it.

"A semitransparent green glob with chunks." She replied.

"And this?" He held up a silver goblet with an orange liquid inside that boiled despite being cold. It leaked a white mist that drifted over the rim.

"Diet shake." The lunch lady said, uninvited.

"Diet shake?" Amelia asked. She smelled the acrid odor from the mist.

"Diet shake." The lunch lady reaffirmed.

They found a table and were quickly joined by Todd, and as usual, Carol Ann. And of course, they all sat down at the table gracefully smoothing nonexistent skirts. "What kind of diet shake is this anyway?" Matt said to Todd.

"A shake?" Todd said excitedly. "Cool! I thought it was some stupid health drink." He quickly downed the whole goblet. He then plopped the empty cup down on the table and let out a dramatic "Ahhh." Matt and Amelia exchanged a look of doubt and then took tentative sips simultaneously.

As the group then started to pick at the meager, miserable meal that was laid out for them, it seemed there were no good choice. Most avoided the glob and went for something square that had chicken in it, hypothetically. When Matt stabbed at it, he found a lock of hair falling in his face. He tucked it back in place, and then just as quickly, another lock fell from the other side. After that happened a couple of more times, he finally gave up and undid the rubber band that was holding his hair in place. It then spilled out all over, almost into his food. He had to gather at all back up again and refasten it in his ponytail. It took him nearly a full minute to do so, as he had far more hair there than he was used to. This hair wasn't just to his neck, this hair was going down below his shoulders.

He was about to say something, but when he looked up, he saw that Todd, Amelia and even Carol Ann all has huge heads of hair. He then just figured he had suffered from some rare mental condition that caused him to underestimate how much hair used to be on people's heads. That was the only explanation. It couldn't be that everyone's hair had grown a foot in the last few seconds, could it? He took another sip of his diet shake to clear his mind.

And another lock of hair fell into his face.

---

For the afternoon activity, they gathered in a smaller cabin with a few other campers and took seats on benches. A VCR and TV were at the front of the room, and when they had all made it inside, a counselor steeped forward. "What we want to do is review some basic moves and show you girls how to break down any jump, kick or vault into easy to follow steps. Just watch the video." She then flicked the TV to life.

Matt, Todd and Amelia slouched and got comfortable, while Carol Ann sat on the edge of her seat. "We're paying a thousand dollars to watch video tapes?" Amelia griped.

"A thousand dollars!?" Todd cried. "You mean a whole thousand?"

"Shhh!" a few dozen people said.

"I didn't know it was that much." Todd whispered.

Then they focused on the tape. It showed a bunch of young girls in assembled formations, jumping and kicking and screaming like cheerleaders do. Instantly, Todd and Matt started to grow bored. And then they started to lose a little bit of consciousness.

"Let's talk about the game of football," The bubbly girl on screen said. "Football is a pretty dangerous sport. Lots of people get hurt all the time. People have broken their spines and become paralyzed. Some have even died!"

Matt hadn't considered this. He had been on the JV team back in high school, but now that seemed like a crazy idea. He could have gotten killed.

"In fact, all contact sports are really, really dangerous! You never know when somebody's going to get a broken bone or a worse!"

He had played basketball, too. Why had he taken such risks with his body?

"That's why we let the boys play those sports. And that's why they need cheerleaders! We cheer them up, and lead the crowd! They need that kind of comfort when they're risking their health for your school!"

Of course. That made so much sense. That's why cheerleading was so important. Matt used to think it was just a bunch of airheads screaming on the sideline. But now he understood their place now.

"Now, football is a game where people run up and down the field and try to get the ball into the end places and through the yellow bar thing. That's all you really need to know about football. Don't even worry about anything else."

In basic terms, that was correct. That's all you really needed to know, Matt realized. And with that, all the rules of football dropped right out of his head.

"Okay! Now, most important of all, you've got to smile! Smile big and bright and be happy all the time! That's what your team wants to see, not a bunch of sad frowny faces! Smile!"

There. That was just common sense. Matt knew that. But now he knew he had to keep smiling.

"In fact, just smile for everyone! Everywhere! People like you when you're happy! Don't limit it to the field, just show your big smile to the whole world!"

Smiling. It was that easy. All he had to do was smile for everyone and people felt better. He knew it worked on him. And now he would show the world how happy they could be.

"Your energy level should be up, up, and up! Be peppy! Be chipper! Feel good about yourself! Feel good about your friends! Feel good about everything! Smile! Laugh! Giggle! You need to get people to forget all those depressing things like politics, money, death n' stuff! Just like you do! You don't worry about that stuff anymore, do you?"

Matt knew now he had been such a bring-down to everyone. He hadn't been putting his best face forward, moping around like a dumpy dumdum. He had been so wrapped up in problems and junk that he didn't do the most essential thing in the world. He hadn't made people feel good. He needed to forget about all that stuff he worried about, because life was too short not to feel great.

"Let's not be Crabby Cathies! Always like, look on the bright side of life! You know you can, you know you want to!"

He did. Matt really, really did.

"You don't need to swear or curse, or ever be angry or nasty to anyone ever again! It's so like, extra dumb!"

He felt like an idiot for being so blind, so vulgar and so surly. This would all change. It had to change. It was over. The new Matt would be a better person starting right now...

...Continues at tgstories.com


On a Bender

It wasn't that I didn't take my wife seriously, it's just that she says a lot of things. She's always telling me that she's going to leave me or go to her mother's or some other goddamn thing. She wines, she complains, and she's always claiming she's gonna do something I'll regret.

Well, I have to give it to her, the old bag finally followed through. Tonight, I get home expecting another arguement, but all I found was a note. The closets were cleaned out, some furniture was gone, along with just about anything that would indicate a woman ever lived in my apartment.

I didn't have to read the note. I knew what it was gonna say.

So it was down to the 'ol watering hole for me. Joe's pad. It was once a fashionable club at sometime in it's history, maybe the 20's, maybe the 50's. It was hard to tell. Nowadays, it was just a respectable, private place to let your troubles melt away. I got there a little earlier than usual, just before the regulars show up. Well, I guess I'm a regular, but you know what I mean. Joe was behind the bar tonight, mixing up a small drum of some sorta fancy-pants drink. My needs were much simpler.

"Whiskey" I said to Joe as a sat at the mostly empty bar.

"Yer in early, tonight, ain't ya, Charley?" Joe said back. "Wife kick you outta the house?"

Apparently, the look in my eyes said something about my condition.

"Hey, you okay, Charley?"

"Where's the whiskey, Joe?" Joe was takin' his time, now wasn't he?

"Comin' up." Joe reached under the counter for a bottle and glass. He set it down in front of me, and waited. His bartender instincts telling him that my refill wasn't going to be long in waiting.

I took it down in one gulp. Joe just set the bottle down for me and went on back to mixing. What would I do without ya, Joe?

It wasn't an hour two before the regulars were all assembled. There was 'Mike', um I think 'Earl', and um... Juh... J-something. There was... the guy who... he talked with an accent. Oh hell, the names aren't important. They were my crowd, and it was my bar. It don't get no better than this.

I toasted my new bachelorhood. I toasted my financial freedom. I toasted the napkin. I toasted the toast. And then I got down to some serious drinking.


---


The next thing I knew, I was back at my place. I was still dressed, asleep on top of my bed. A lampshade was on my head, and three discarded martini glasses were lying next to me. When I found my way to the front door, it was swung open wide. I musta had one hell of a night. I checked my watch, and it read 2:30. The light outside indicated it was daylight. I checked another clock, and sure enough it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Whew. One hell of a night.

When I got back, I found Joe's Pad even emptier than normal, but I guess that was on account of it not opening just yet.

"You look like crap, Charley." Joe says to me - like it was news. "Didja make it home okay? You were pretty far gone, you know."

"Yeh." I said. "Do you got anything for the freakin' mother of all headaches?"

Joe checked under his counter again. "My sure fire hangover cure, Charley. It'll fix you up as good as new." A small handfull of pills were dumped onto the counter in front of me. "Vitamins. High-potency."

I looked at him with doubt.

Joe put his hand on his chest. "Honest, Charley! Give 'em a shot. See if I'm lyin'."

So I swallowed one down, and God help me, the headache was gone. Just like that.

"What'd I tell ya?" Joe says. "Keep those, I've got plenty."

"Yeah. Thanks Joe. Say, you oughtta patent these little miracle workers."

Joe produced a bottle of whiskey and a glass for me. He then went down to the other end of the counter to fill up some pretzel bowls or something. "Yeah. I'll do that, Charley."

Hey, if he can't see a money-making opportunity, it's not my problem. As I'm pourin' my drink, I look around. It sure is empty. Just a couple of losers who look like they slept in their clothes. Pretty depressing. I bet they're all alcholoics or something.

That's what my wife was always accusin' me of being. An alcoholic. Hey, if she had my worries, she'd be drinikin' too. And hell, it wasn't like she was any beauty queen. If she hadn't put on all that weight, maybe I wouldn't have the time to drink, you know hat I'm saying?

But now I guess, I've got my pick of the litter. Charley's back in town, and looking for a little action. Yes sir. I look around again, but the place is still the same. Just a few winos. "Hey Joe, you know what this place neeeds?" I say.

"What's that, Charley?"

"Women. You could get some real crowds in here if you just had a few chicks come in every night."

"Workin' on it, Charley. Hey, you need another bottle?" He asked.

I look at what I've got, and it's all gone. Where did it all go? "Yeah. Thanks, Joe."


---


Next thing I know, I'm back home again, lying on my couch. Everything keeps trying to lean over to the side and fall off the edge of the Earth. An empty bottle of Jack Daniels is on my chest, and I seem to be wearing a fireman's hat. My head feels split down the center, like somebody had landed a 747 on it - and left the engines running.

I remeber about Joe's pills, and check my pokcet. They're almost all gone. I musta used 'em up or somethging. So I go and take the last one. These things will change the world, I tell you. My headache was gone instantly. But that also brought my senses back. The first thing was the smell. And it was me. I reeked of alcohol and sweat. So the first thing I did - after removing a coat I dont think I owned - was take a shower. It felt like I hadn't had one for days. I had to actually scrub stuff offa me. And I swear that the hair is falling off my arms too. Criminy.

So I look at the answering machine, and it's got forty messgaes on it. Messages from guys at the office, and bill collectors. They're all pretty angry sounding. One though, was asking me where I was, and why hadn't I been into work? Well, it was the weekend, numbnuts. that's why.

But when I checked my front door for the paper I got a bad shock. It wasn't Sunday. It was Wednesday. I had been on some kind of world-class bender for four whole days.

Yeah, well I don't have to say what came next. I was fired. Great. The job was shit, but at least it paid the bills. Most of them, at least.

Oh man. I don't beleive it, but I'm actually crying. I guess it's a lot to deal with, losing the wife and job in a few days. Whatever the stupid reasons, I just bawled like a baby. Man alive, this was no good for me.

So I got myself dressed. There wasn't any point in wearing a suit & tie anymore, so it was jeans and a sweatshirt. God they felt good. I guess I had been working too long. Maybe I wasn't going to miss wearing the suit every damn day. I probably needed this down time.

After a few hours of old crappy movies, the phone rang. I didn't bother to pick it up. It was a recptionist for some sort of medical clinic. Probably advertising or something. They said I had an appointment and just wanted to "remind" me of it.

Then they called again. This time they said I was late, but they would hold my appointment for another hour. On the off chance that they weren't trying to scam me, I checked my calendar. And yeah, wouldn't you know it, I've got it written down there. Or at least someone wrote it there - it doesn't look like my handwriting. But whatever the reason, I'm probably gonna get billed for this anyway, so I better go.

The clinic, as it turns out is right next to Joe's Pad. Convenient for me, as I was just gonna come down here later anyway. The building was a bit run-dowm. It kinda looked like a warehouse more than something medical. But inside, it was clean and white, like you'd expect.

The receptionist handed my the usual forms and junk, then had me go right in to see a doctor. In a small white room, a tall guy with white hair and a thick mustace comes in and introduces himself. He's the doctor, I guess, and his name was Raymond.

"But just call me Red." He drew his fingers through his colorless hair. "At least it used to be a nickname before father time caught up with me."

Everybody's got a lame joke to introduce themselves, don't they? "Yeah. Good to meet you, Red." I said. "Look, I don't want to sound funny or nothing, but why exactly am I here?"

The doc checks his clipboard and finds what he's looking for. "You're here to fix your abnormal hormone secretion levels"

Huh? My whatchamahoozits? "My what now?" I asked.

"You wanted to have your testosterone levels minimized." He said.

I thought about that for a minute, and I couldn't even recall making this appointment. And I had no idea what this guy was even talking about. This was one strange puzzle.

"You know Joe, don't you?" Red said. "From Joe's Pad?"

Hey, that rang a bell. "Yeah. Joe's my pal."

"Yeah. We go way back, me and Joe. He said that he had a friend coming in for this." The doctor smiled. "That must be you."

"Must be." I said. Well, if this guy knew Joe, than it must be all right. "So, what do I need to do?"

The doctor got up get some stuff from a drawer. "Just take your clothes off and lie on the table. It'll be a little incision around your abdomen."

What? "You're gonna cut me open?" I stood up. There was something fishy going on here. But before I could do anything there's a prick in my arm.


---


I woke up back on my couch again. And the head was really giving me trouble now. It hurt to even think. To even think about thinking. I checked my pockets for those pills Joe gave me, and I found a whole bunch of them. Thank God.

Once the headache was gone, I checked things out. Last time this happened, I was out for days. I went to get the paper, and sure enough it was Monday already. Jesus Christ. What was that? Four? Five days lost?

No sense in getting all bent out of shape over it. What's done is done. Last thing I remember, I was on my way down to Joe's Pad. I guess whatever happened after that will come back to me. And again, I sure stink. And I itch. I itch like I was smothered jelly and dropped on an anthill.

Once I got out of the shower I decided I'd better look in the mirror. God knows what this kind of lifestyle is doing to me. Yeah. Just as I suspected. I look like hell. The bags under my eyes and the five days of beard growth weren't my best look.

Once I got that squared away, it was back to the couch and some TV. But it wasn't long before I had to get another shirt. Something was screwy with the one I was wearing. I felt like it had been made of sandpaper, rubbing me raw on the 'ol nips there. And they had swollen up something awful. They had been bothering me a lot lately. I found an old fleece that felt loads better. Too much starch, probably.

Once the soaps were over, I got myself ready to go down to Joe's. I had to tighten the belt up a few notches when I got my pants on. It looked like I had lost some weight. This drinkin' is probably doing something awful like disolving the guts in my body or something. I'm still walking though, so it can't be all that bad.

"Hey, Charley!" Joe said, when I arrived. "I didn't think I'd see you for a while after what happened here last night."

"Yeah." Was all I could say. I figure if it was something bad, Joe's would have kicked me out already. "You know me."

"That's my Charley." Joe said, and I think he was laughing. "The usual?" He asked.

"Yeah." I took my seat and Joe poured me a vodka and tonic. "So uh, last night..."

"Ho boy - last night, I mean... What can you say? It was just a wild time!" Joe stuck the twist on the rim. "If I hadn't seen it all, I wouldn't have beleived it!"

I sipped my drink a little. As curious as I was, I wasn't going to ask about anything specific. After all, I don't want anyone think I can't handle my alcohol.

Not five minutes had passed before this guy in a white lab coat comes in. He's kinda tall and kinda old, with white hair. He takes a look around, and sees that I'm the only person here, so he decides to sit down right next to me. Figures.

"Hey, Red." Joe says to him. I guess he's a regular too. "What'll ya have?"

"No time to stay, Joe. Just looking for my patient here." The guy says, looking at me. "You ready, Charley?"

Now I don't know what's going on here, but I'm pretty sure I'd never seen this guy before. and when somebody comes into my bar and tells me to leave, he'd had better be playing a joke on me or certifably insane. Anything in between, and I'm gonna give you a five finger sandwich.

"Joe, you know this guy?" I ask.

"C'mon, Charley. That's the doc. From the clinic next door. Don't you remember?" Joe said. He was polishing a glass like bartenders do when they're pretending to not be listening. "Last night? You know. You made the appointment."

I look this guy over. Maybe he was a little familiar. Yeah. It was just on the fringe of my fuzzy memory. "What kind of appointment?"

The doctor smiled. "For your suregry."

"Surgery?" I said. "I'm not getting any surgery!"

"Look, Charley, you've laready had your fun. You won the bet, fair and square, and now you get your surgery."

"I won a bet?" This was all news to me. "Oh. Yeah. Sure." I caught myself. "But I was just joking, doc. You don't need to..."

"You said you'd been having some trouble with your chest." The doctor guy said. And well, that was true. So if he knew that, then maybe there was some truth behind it. "I was going to see what we could do to fix that problem."

"So refresh my memory. What kind of surgery are we talking about?" I'm desperate here. Just a clue, guys.

"He doesn't remember." Joe said.

The doc get a stupid look on his face. "You know, I don't think he does."

"Hey!" I had to stop this. "Of course I remember. It was for the problem I'm having with my chest."

"Well there you are. See, he remembers, Joe." The doc says. "Are you ready to go?"

"Just lemme finish this drink."


---


The next thing I remember is waking up on my floor, a bottle of vodka in one hand and my keys in the other. A beam of light coming through my open door knocked me awake. Once I had negotiated with the ground to let me stand on it, I slammed the damned door shut.

This time, It was the worst of all. I felt battered and bruised. Like the entire American fleet of UPS trucks had run me over three or four times. My mouth was an ashtray and my head had a beehive hiding in it somewhere. One of Joe's miracle pills and I was back in reality again.

I found the bathroom where I quickly vomited up my tonsils, and gave myself a long shower. Jesus freakin' Christ, my breasts were sore. They seemed swollen, too. I hope I don't need to start gettin' new bras. I hate shopping for those things.

I took a leak and found the 'ol bearded oyster sore. Hopefully, that won't be a story I'll hear about later. Took my birth control pills to make sure. Pain in the ass. But then that's the fun of having a vagina, isn't it?

My face in the mirror didn't look like it had taken too much damage. It looked sorta swollen as well, but the puffy lips and bedroom eyes looked kinda nice. Maybe that'll stick around. A guy can dream, can't he? A lot of people would kill for that, and I get from sleeping on my face. After I took another extended marathon leak, I got my hair out of my face with a scrunchie and looked for clothes. Sweats would do fine.

It looked like someone else had been in the apartment because some oaf had left his enormous clothes all over the place. Whoever this guy was, he was huge. I could fit both of my legs inide just one of his pant legs. Some guys just let themselves go, I suppose. Myself, I was in pretty good shape. The fast life keeps the pounds off of my 36-20-35 figure. I can't actually remember the last time I ate solid food.

I reluctantly checked the paper, and found that this time, I had lost almost a month. My brain flipped inside my skull when I figured that out. It had been at least 23 days since I last remember what day it was. Since then it was one long blackout. My life was goin' ta hell in a flaming handbasket. Did I have bills paid? Rent? There was a shitload of stuff to think about and a ton of problems to worry about.

"Hey Charlie!" Joe said, with his usual good humor.

"Hey, Joe. Gimme the usual." I said. I walked over to my stool, but for some reason I was having a hard time keeping my balance. Just simple walking was tough. It felt like I was in someone else's body. Maybe it was an inner ear thing.

"Sure thing, pal." Joe dips a glass in salt and serves up my margarita. "You're lookin' better."

I toop a sip. "What did I look like before?"

"I didn't mean it that way." Joe said through a devilish smile that made me feel a little sick...

...Continues at tgstories.com

The Spice Trade

It was just a lot like any other night. I was alone, I got to thinking... and then maybe a little fantasizing... and then... well, I came all over her dress.

I mean, it's embarrassing enough to admit it. It's just that I can get so carried away and...

Her red one. The Chinese silk dress. The really tight sexy one with the long skirt and the slit all the way up to her hip. It's red and got the embroidered pink blossoms, it has the little collar and the short sleeves... She just looks so fucking hot when she wears it...

I really can't be blamed for loving her so much, can I?

Oh God, I love her.

The dress, I bought it back when I met Lin Yao. I picked her up one night in a Chinese restaurant and we've been going out for a month or two now. I tell people she's the best take-out I've ever had.

But I guess I'm not in the mood to be very funny. Because when she came home tonight and found me lying on her dress and rubbing myself on it, she had a sharp scowl on her face that could cut diamonds.

"You pathetic." She said to me in her accent. She hadn't been in the US for more than a couple of years, but I love the way she talks. She just turned and left.

I tried to stop her. I tried to explain. But she wouldn't let me explain.

Doesn't she understand how sorry I am? I just love her so much.

---

Today I tried phoning Lin Yao all day, but she never answered any of my calls. I think she's angry with me. She never came back that night, and it's been three days. I'd kill myself if I lost her.

Working all day at my home business was something I hoped would take my mind off things, but it didn't work. I create training courses for accounting systems. I do the manuals and materials, then I test everything out and send them off to businesses all over the country. It's all done here at home and I make a decent living doing it. The work is pretty meticulous and takes a deep knowledge of computers, accountancy and how to assemble clear teaching materials. Usually, it takes all of my concentration.

But today I was just distracted, hoping my phone would ring and Lin Yao would talk to me. I didn't get anything done. I hope she calls.

---

It's been a full week, but finally I got a reply. Kind of.

A guy from a moving company showed up to take all of her stuff away. There isn't a lot, just a half-rack of clothes and some little stuff. I told the guy that I'd give him fifty bucks if he just told her that he couldn't find the place. He was Chinese, obviously from Lin Yao's part of town, and I don't even know if he really understood me. But he took the money and left.

My friend Craig came over and told me that I was just moping around for nothing. He's never much liked Lin Yao, but he never got in the way. Maybe he was just trying to cheer me up, but it wasn't working.

I tried to explain it to him (leaving out the dress part) and he still didn't get it. He said I'd always had a thing for Asian girls and that Lin Yao was just another one of my obsessions. He's crazy. Sure, I've had a few Asian girlfriends, but it's just coincidence.

Once he was gone, I just drank myself to sleep. Just not before I had left a few messages on Lin Yao's phone, though. I hope I didn't sound drunk, because I really need her to call me back.

---

It didn't take her long to come back to me. She made some excuse about getting her stuff, but I knew she'd eventually talk to me again. It's been about ten days, but that's only because she's a very strong-willed person.

She was very angry, but it didn't do anything to mask her beauty. She has the most beautiful almond-shaped eyes that are just a sliver open. Her skin is incredible, golden brown and without a blemish anywhere. She's perfection.

Her hair, black and thick, was usually straight as a rail. Today, she had it tied up in a bun, with two sticks holding it place. I could have just creamed myself looking at her. And still, there was more.

Her body is so incredible. Even though she was wearing a huge oversized sweatshirt and baggy jeans, I knew that her stunning model-like figure was beneath it. Her thin, softly swept legs and her sparingly slender ass were maybe too slight for some people's tastes, but I loved them. Her waist was unbelievably lean, her upper body was so narrow and tiny that touching her was threatening to break her, like porcelain. She didn't have much in terms of breasts, though what she had was just a handful, and pert. It was like plucking fruit so fresh it had yet to ripen.

"Hi baby." I said to her at the door.

"You sad. Sad man. Sick man!" She said to me, cross. "Give me stuff back, or I go to police!"

She was angry with me, but now that she was here, I could save our relationship. I knew I could. So I talked to her, and talked to her. It took a lot of promises, and I eventually got her to come in and sit down so we could talk.

Lin Yao wasn't very responsive, though. I just begged and pleaded with her to come back, and stay with me. I knew that if we could just be together we could work everything out. I just wanted her to know how much I really, really loved her and would never do anything to ever hurt her and I would treat her like a princess and buy her everything she needed.

She never even looked at me.

I finally had to ask what I needed to do to get her back. I told her I'd do anything - anything at all.

"You do anything?" She said.

I said yes. Yes, of course I'd do anything.

"Okay." She said abruptly. "I stay if you wear this."

She handed me a ring. A ring with a fine carving on it. Gold, square-shaped bands that ended in dragon heads. It must be a family heirloom. And she was giving it to me. I felt like everything was going to be okay now. This was like an engagement ring. She did love me. I knew it all along. I slid the ring on my finger.

Then she smiled. I almost never saw her smile.

And just like that, I had her back. I'm so happy. She'll never regret it.

---

Today was the first day in our new relationship. We slept together, but she didn't want to make love. She said it was her decision now, and she'd do it only when she wanted to. That's difficult for me to accept, but I'll do it if she stays.

When she got out of the shower she pointed around and said "You get up now. You clean room. I not your maid!"

The place had gotten kinda dirty since she left. She used to pick up after me all the time, and I guess that was something that bothered her. So when I got dressed, I started to pick up all the discarded clothes that had accumulated during our breakup.

I couldn't find my shoes anywhere, so all I had were some flip-flops of Lin Yao's to put on. Which was weird. And I felt kinda silly going around my room, like Lin used to do, cleaning stuff up.

She came back into the room to watch me do it, too. I think she enjoyed watching me do the work she used to do. Then she'd point at things and say: "Dusty!" Which meant I had to dust. I think by the end, she had me dusting the whole room.

Then I got to picking up some stuff from beside the bed. I picked up her red, silk panties and she spoke up again. "You not put away! You wear!"

I wasn't sure I understood her. Sometimes her broken English is a little tough to figure out. So when I hesitated, she same up to me and pointed to my waist. "You wear!" She said again. "You wear now!"

So I guess she still had a little bit of playfulness under that angry facade she showed. I knew she wasn't really as mad with me as she appeared to be.

---

I made a mistake today. Things had been going along so well for the past few days - we were really just in the first stages of mending our relationship. And then I asked Lin Yao when she would start cleaning up again.

She was fiery mad. She threw a tantrum like you wouldn't believe. Lin was cursing in Chinese, spitting as she screamed at me. I had really hit a nerve.

"Now! I treat you like you treat me!" She yelled. "You no good! You no respect!!" So today, when I cleaned the house, she had me dress in her clothes. Just in her favorite sweatshirt and her black leggings, so it wasn't too humiliating. Because humiliating me just wasn't in her. I know she loves me too much to do that to me.

She did have me wear a black wig, with long straight black hair. I think she was just joking around. She's such a kidder. Some people don't get her sense of humor, but I do.

After I cleaned the whole house, she then had me cook dinner, too. Of course, I didn't object, to avoid another scene. I can't stand the thought that I could make her so angry. Then, when she couldn't get a rise out of me for making me cook, she then gave me a shopping list and sent me to Chinatown to pick up herbs and medicines.

And I did it, too. I went down to a corner shop she told me to go to and bought everything she asked for. And I also wore her clothes and wig. Heck, I didn't know any of these people. Whatever they thought of me was unimportant. I had to prove myself to Lin.

Going in to the shop, it was a classic old-world Chinese herb shop. All sorts of drawers, cabinets and jars filled with crazy-looking roots and dried things that could have been fruits, vegetables, flowers or lizards for all I know. I handed the list over to the old man, and he shook his head, and tried to wave me out of his store. I don't know what his problem was, but I crammed the list back into his hand and demanded that he sell me whatever it was that Lin Yao wanted. I would not fail her.

He then took a second look at me and then at the ring on my hand, and smiled with his crooked, sparse, yellow teeth.

---

"Xiao Chen!" Lin yells. She's taken to calling me that. She said it was just a term of affection. But she shouts it with a tone of anger and impatience. "Xiao Chen!" I can hear her calling me that in my dreams sometimes, I hear it so much.

The weeks that have passed since she came back have grown into a sort of pattern. I'm solely responsible for cooking and cleaning the house. When it first started to become a regular thing, I told her that I needed to spend my time on my training courses, and couldn't be doing household work all day.

So then she then decided to help out with my work. I would rather she just do the chores herself, but she didn't want to. She first started out by typing up my notes and doing some Power Point, but then she started doing whole sections of the manuals by herself.

I want to see what she's doing and how good it is, but she won't even let me look at her work. Instead, she checks my work - like she even knows how to spell check my English. I hope we work this out before Confeld Mercantile wants their materials. I don't dare send them the gibberish she must be doing.

But for now, that deadline is a long way away. Today, we're still working on our relationship. We have a lot of issues to tackle. I know, because she's dating someone else.

I think she's just trying to make me jealous or trying to teach me a lesson, because I know she loves me too much to hurt me - if this were real. She acts like nothing's going on, but then deliberately leaves clues for me to find, like a phone number and some incriminating e-mail on my computer. Maybe I should call it her computer. She seems to have it taken over from me.

His name is Josh, and he's definitely not her type. He's about six two and the all-American football homecoming hero sort. She barely even tolerates the American lifestyle I live, so I don't know how she puts up with a guy like Josh. You know, I even found a packet of ketchup from Burger King in her purse the other day. She's no more able to eat a hamburger than she is to be able to sprout wings and fly. It's just not a part of her character. I'd like to hear her try and say "Whopper." That'd be a good laugh. She must hate hanging around with this Josh character. No wonder she has me cook her egg foo yung and chow mein.

And all to teach me a lesson. Well, I know when it's my place to take my punishment, so I don't say anything. I just let her do what she wants. I deserve it. At least that's what she keeps telling me.

That's why I still wear her clothes and her wig around the house. Because I know she wants to get some satisfaction from being in control. So I wear her shirts, her skirts and flip-flops - and even that wig too. When she shouts "Xiao Chen!" I come running.

I know she does all this because she cares. She really does care for me. Even when she calls me a "lazy cunt" I know she's really just doing it from her heart.

---

When Lin Yao said she wanted to teach me how it felt to be her, I had no idea how far she would take it. She has me taking Cantonese language lessons, and making me practice talking in a Chinese accent all day long. After my first week, she then became so angry with my inability to learn, she forbade me from speaking in anything but Cantonese anymore.

And when she wasn't calling me Xiao Chen, she just referred to me as "girl." It was "Clean the kitchen, girl!" and "Do the laundry, girl!" So I do it.

Then, one day, I was home alone scrubbing the tile grout in the front door entrance when that Josh guy just walks in the door. He had a key!

He almost tripped right over me when he came in. "Fuck!" He yelled at me in a deep, booming voice. "What the hell are you DOING here!?" He yelled. The glass in the windows shook as he spoke. I had never seen anyone so angry. My self-confidence just evaporated. I didn't want to threaten him or anger him any more. He could have easily snapped my neck with two fingers. He was a huge man.

"I clean." I said, in my accent. It was an accident - I was just so used to speaking with the accent, I did it naturally.

"Oh." Josh said, looking at me funny. "You must be her girl."

...Continues at tgstories.com





Site design © Joe Six-Pack