by B. L. Smith
part 2

  I didn't want to change. I had to change. Only this time it was just my hospital gown. At least, like a good little bat-winged uber-Nazi wannabe, I could claim I was following orders -- the Megabeast's orders. But I still couldn't figure out why I wasn't allowed to show up for my appointment with a pudding stain on my left breast.
  I didn't think it was such a big deal. I didn't even think of it as a stain. It was more like a badge of courage proving I'd survived yet another glorious hospital meal. Better yet, the stain was nipple camouflage! Yeah, that's it! Pudding, breasts, they both jiggled about the same. Who would know?
  The megabeast that's who!
  "Anyone here?"
  I definitely could have gone for a second helping of pudding; the chocolate was yummy. It was the second, third, and fourth helping of breast I didn't need. Did the twins (I'd decided they were twins) really have to cast their own shadows? Mons fucking Olympus! The cleavage had to be deeper than the Marianas Trench. I was even contemplating giving them names. It seemed only proper; major geographic features always had names.
  Yeah. Twin Peaks, and looking down I noted my very own Bat Cave. Lucky me.
  "Mr. Smith? "
  If my worst fears were realized, if I lost my identity, my money, everything, I knew that with these perky puppies I would always be able to earn a living. I wasn't thinking stripper either. No, I was sure I could find work as a high school science instructional aid. With me in the classroom, science would never be the same. With these breasts and a flashlight I could teach the kids all about umbra's and penumbras. I'm sure we could even throw in a lecture or two on the ability of sufficiently massive bodies to bend light.
  "Ah, excuse me, Mr. Smith?"
  The male voice startled me; the bastard really should have knocked. I poked my head around the privacy curtain. "Umm, yeah?"
  Despite or perhaps because of the chubby pallid face, the orderly looked to be in his early thirties. A slick buzz cut served to disguise the receding hairline and his goatee was either in the early stages of growth or suffering from a severe case of testosterone deficiency. "Ah, Mr. I mean umm." A quick rub of pudgy fingers over his nearly baldpate, a glance at the clipboard on the gurney, then a deep crimson spread across his puffy cheeks. "Err, I'm sorry, Miss Smith?"
  "Yes?" Irked, my voice danced across two or three octaves.
  "I'm ah... I'm here to take you to your appointment with Doctor Douglas?" He didn't sound so certain. "Umm, my name's David?" He didn't sound so sure of that either. His puppy dog eyes, the color of something I'd recently deposited in the toilet, flicked to the clipboard seeking an answer to the chaos I'd injected into his ordered little world.
  Ducking behind the curtain, I finished wiggling and jiggling into the hospital gown. At least this one was blue, but like the pink ones, it still tied in the back and left my girly ass hanging out.
  If he was confused when he heard my voice and saw my face, he was apoplectic when I finally stepped out from behind the curtain. I watched his eyes slide from my breasts to my hips then back again. REM was only supposed to occur when sleeping, but the putz wasn't asleep. So, I guess since he was obviously wide awake I was either wrong about that or he was having a stroke. The way he was looking at me, I was rooting for the stroke.
  David seemed to lose focus. He swayed precariously, and then with a half step, caught himself. He was back. Yeah, back and fixated on my chest.
  The way his eyes rolled, I figured he had to be an amateur cartographer or geometry major. Either that or we both thought the headlights on a 57 Chevy Bel-Air were cool. I didn't like the way he was leering. It was degrading, dehumanizing. But I consoled myself with the fact that he didn't make me feel like a monster or a freak. He made me feel like an object -- a sex object. My cute little hooker's panties didn't know whether to go up or down so they just flopped uselessly around my ankles.
  Yeah, right around my ankles. Right where I was bound to trip over them later.
  I knew somewhere in that thick male skull of his he was using his imagination to picture me naked. Guys do that. Hell! I did it with Jenny and I wasn't even a guy anymore! At least I'd like to think I wasn't so blatant about it. From his glazed stare and vapid expression, I could tell he was shutting down non-essential systems and using every ounce of his limited imagination. I figured him for an older model CPU too.
  Thanks to my headlights, he didn't notice the wings, the horns, or the sexy little tail right away, but when he did, his jaw fell open, his breath came in short sharp wheezing gasps, and he clutched at whatever was hanging from the little gold chain around his neck. I wasn't sure if he was going to rip his clothes off and assault me, have a coronary, or run screaming from the room.
  Slender fingers balled themselves into a fist. Mine not his. His were short and fat. The word pudgy leapt into my brain. I seethed. Frustration and anger bled into my voice. I tried for a low menacing growl; I got an agitated dolphin breathing helium. "Okay, do you want to do some more drooling or are we going to go see Doctor Douglas?" My fist thumped against my thigh. It should have been the fat pig's face.
  I'd got smart and given up trying to walk like a trucker; it was a fight I knew I was never going to win. It was also a fight I wasn't prepared to lose either. There was no way I was prepared to give in to those girly hips and wiggle and sashay like some cheap strumpet. Instead, my brain and body worked out a compromise -- sort of. My new walk was an eclectic mix, one part gangster's casual shoulder roll, two parts seductive strut, and three parts imperious pixie. It worked. It got me from A to B. I especially liked the way my tail beat a counterpoint to the sway of my hips.
  As I approached the disordered orderly, I was trying to decide whether to punch him, slap him, climb onto the gurney, or just leave and try and find Doctor Douglas on my own. I wasn't looking for it, but as I got closer I couldn't help but notice the bulge in his pants. Suddenly, it was a toss-up between a hissy fit, a crying jag, or a swift kick to his engorged member. I don't know what it said about my mental state, but I settled for a girly slap.
  "Sorry, what?"
  I cocked a hip, pulled my bee-stung lips back into what I hoped was a snarl, and glared at him.
  "Ah, yes. Yes of course." His cheeks flushed and he looked away. The left, the one I slapped, was a little darker than the right. I could almost see the imprint of my hand starting to form on his face. I fought the smirk, but the smirk won.
  That was until I took a step towards the gurney and tripped over my imaginary hooker's panties. How retarded could I be? Apparently extremely! I shoved the thought aside. It pushed back. With a triple nipple lock, I got the little bitch under control and shoved her into a dark little corner of my mind. It was a crowded corner, but I had enough to dwell on. I didn't need to think about the ramifications of a simple slap and how others, particularly the media, might portray it.
  Instead, I gave in to my imperious pixie genes, harrumphed, and flopped onto the gurney. On my tummy, I settled in for the ride. Damn wings. Stupid hospital rules. Damned pig! I could have fucking well walked!
  The thought wasn't so easy to banish. She was tricky. I could see her there, in the dark corner, like some recalcitrant child. The little bitch must have seen me looking because she donned a dunce cap and started blowing raspberries.
  I wanted to ask if the little girl was talking to me, but in my new helium induced voice I knew my Travis Bickle impression wouldn't have gone over well. Besides, someone might figure out I was starting to lose it.
  I dismissed the slap as another one of the body's programmed reactions. I didn't slap him, the body did. It wasn't me! It was the little girl with the dunce cap. Honest officer! Would I lie to you? If I hit him it would have been with a balled fist. I would have hit him as hard as I could too. If I had officer, you'd be looking for his head somewhere back east -- say around Toronto.
  Hey, just because I failed the polygraph doesn't mean it's admissible in court.
  I don't know why, but I guess I had to be grateful that the body's timing hadn't been off. If it had, I could have been in serious trouble; my claws would have done horrific damage.
  The little girl waved the dunce cap in my direction, "Idiot! Its called assault! Dumbass!" With a final raspberry, she vanished.
  What is it with men? Sure, I stole a surreptitious glance or two, but I never acted like that. I didn't know if I should have been flattered or disgusted. Yeah, I did. I glanced at his crotch and shook my head in disgust. I seemed to be having that effect on most men. Fucking pigs!
  It also seemed to be getting worse. I wrote it off as another girl thing I was going to have to learn to deal with and fluffed my own pillow. Where was Jenny when I needed her most?
  I ignored the brush of the orderly's cold clammy hand against my bum as he reached for the sheet. I flinched when his fingers caressed the back of my calf. Sure, I believe you. You were just unfolding the sheet right? I tuned and gave him the look again. I suppose he got the message because he kept his grubby mitts off me as he spread the sheet over my back. Besides, I probably deserved it for the slap.
  "Rrready to roll?"
  I shrugged slender shoulders, my wings moved, and the sheet slid askew. Plucking at the sheet, I pulled it free. I figured I'd be more comfortable with nothing tangling my wings. Finally settled, I heard a little girl's voice say, "Yeah, let's go." Only it was my little girl voice.
  I wanted to beat my head on the pillow, or maybe into a wall, or better yet, the front end of a speeding bus. Instead, I folded one arm flat. The hand, black nails gleaming like ten slices of midnight, fingers outstretched and dangling just so, slid seductively under my chin.
  It may have been a pose worthy of a girly magazine, but at least propped up I could see where we were going. Unfortunately, it also meant I was lucky enough to see the Megabeast smile and wave as we rolled past the nurse's station.
  Where the hell was that bus?
  The ride could have been worse. At least on my tummy, facing forward, and the creep pushing from behind, I didn't have to acknowledge his existence. Best of all, my breasts weren't trapped beneath me and mashed into the gurney's mattress pad. Sure, it gave him an unobstructed view of my round girly ass, but the alternative was worse.
  I silently cursed myself as we idled waiting for the elevator. Dumbass! I shuffled and repositioned my wings. With nothing left to ogle, David finally decided to break the silence and talk. "So you're the changeling?"
  "The what?"
  "Changeling. You know? The transformee." I hated how he tacked on about fourteen E's to the end of transformee.
  "Is that what they are calling us?"
  "Uh, yeah. At least on CNN they are. So like, umm, what are you? Some sort of bat girl?"
  I'm an evil-assed bat-winged bitch and if you grope me again, I'll rip your fucking heart out! That was what I thought. Only the filter between my brain and mouth translated it into a less malignant, "Something like that." I still couldn't bring myself to say the word -- Succubus. Though even that wasn't exactly true, if the theory was right I wasn't just a Succubus, I was a. not something I wanted to think about.
  "Wow, that is like so cool. So like, umm, do they work?"
  "Does what work?" My voice didn't do hostility well, and he went on as if I'd merely asked him to pass the milk. Sure I wasn't' really a girl and my breasts were huge, but the nerve!
  "The wings, you know? Like have you, umm. tried to fly yet."
  "Oh. Ah, no I haven't."
  "Man, like that would be so cool. You know? To be able to fly."
  No, cool would be able to walk into a mall and not get stoned to death by an angry mob of frightened, hysterical villagers. Mental moron. Village fucking idiot. Unfortunately, the filter kicked in again. I managed to void my voice of any enthusiasm, "Yeah, like you know," I parroted, "I can hardly wait."
  "Off to see Doctor Douglas at long last. You know she's been anxious to get a look at you."
  "She?" New's flash. Doctor Douglas was a woman. I don't know why I was surprised. Residual sexist pig genes probably. I opened my mouth, the filter kicked in again and I closed it before uttering, "and how do you know she's anxious to see me? Are you psychic as well as a big fat pervert?"
  "Yeah, she's cool though. You'll like her. Tops in her field." He chuckled, and added as an afterthought. "Not that I'd know."
  We rolled into the elevator. Except for the odd bounce and squeak (not from me, from the wheels) it was mercifully silent.
  Every specialist I was seeing 'came highly recommended', 'Was well thought of by his peers', or was, as David suggested, 'tops in his or her field'. I had to give Doctor Williams credit; he had access to a lot of strings and knew how to pull them.
  I guess dad's membership to that posh snooty golf club was worth it after all. I figured it was maybe time to forgive him for all the weekends he spent on the golf course and not playing with us when we were kids. Unbidden, his handicap of four popped into my head. I also made a mental note to ask him if Doc Williams still had the '72 E-type. If he did, I wondered if he would let me drive it on Sunday's. Not only was the Jag a classic, but also she had flush mounted headlights. And that was definitely a huge plus in my new estrogen bound book.
  I decided to end the cold war. "So what's Douglas's specialty?"
  I'd seen so many doctors in such a short period that I'd stopped caring. After the joyous hour and a half with the proctologist, coupled with his assurances that it was impossible for his ministrations to prove fatal, I'd blotted them all out. I mean, what was the point? If it wasn't going to kill me, I didn't want to know about it.
  Life was full of difficult choices. Some harder than others -- specialists, hospital food, or a tack hammer to the forehead.
  I'll take large blunt objects to the forehead for a thousand, Alex.
  "She's an O B G Y N."
  "A WHAT? No way. No Fucking way! I'm not." Like an illegal shipment of Mexicans being pursued by the INS, I started to climb off the moving gurney. Limbs and wings went one way. I went the other. The elevator doors began to close. Abandon ship! Abandon ship! An imaginary or maybe not so imaginary klaxon sounded. I wasn't ready to face that. I wasn't above begging and pleading or just plain blubbering. I have more blood. See? Here's a vein. Urine sample? Sure, no problem. Gimme the cup! Send me back to the proctologist, please!
  My heart hammered. The earth shook. I was sure I was about to blow a gasket. What was high blood pressure for a demon anyway? I felt dizzy. I tasted pudding. My vision went funny, though not splotchy, red fade out, crashing to the floor twitching funny. That would have been a kindness.
  Instead, my perspective shifted, almost like looking through one eye then the other. Only instead of moving to the left or right, everything moved down. I scrunched my nose up and blinked a few times.
  God, that expression probably looked cute!
  The world shook again, and then stabilized itself. The vertigo subsided.
  Did reality just do another flip-flop? Did I spontaneously combust into something new and even more freakish? What was I now? An eight breasted octopus? A quick mental inventory: two tits, a tail, a jiggly-wiggly ass, and a collapsible hang glider on my back.
  No such luck. I was still me, the same demon chick in the same messed up world. Only. I gazed around in disbelief. It wasn't the same messed up world. Not really.
  This time I didn't change, the world did. Only that wasn't possible. Was it? Reality wasn't supposed to be malleable, but it was. Everything was different and yet the same. Everywhere I looked everything I saw seemed to glow and shimmer; my hands, the lights, David's retreating fat butt. Everything. Shades of blue, yellow, orange, and red danced in my head. I felt like Lucy, in the sky with diamonds.
  Had someone spiked my pudding?
  I stopped trying to get off the gurney and instead, sat down hard.
  I whimpered. My tail again. It wasn't a headache coming on; it felt more like a catatonic fetal ball. I fought it. I heard voices. My head swiveled left then right. Hair dragged across my back and shoulders.
  "Like, I didn't do anything. She just went all spacey-freaky like. You know? Then she started shaking."
  "Now what? Is everything okay here?"
  The elevator doors slid open and shut banging into the sides of the gurney. I recognized that voice.
  Megabeast alert! Megabeast alert! Condition red. Whoop! Whoop! I really hoped the filter caught that one. From Mary's look, I wasn't so sure.
  Like everything else, when I looked at her, Mary glowed too. Confusion, fear, and uncertainty congealed into a sickly smelly glop of anger. It was completely irrational. I knew that. I sat up a little straighter and adjusted my gown. Shoulders back, chest out -- way out in fact -- a quick, almost expert, flick of my head and the wayward lock of hair was tamed and back in its proper place. I didn't even stop to wonder how I knew that sexy little trick would work.
  I was determined. I wasn't going to show weakness or fear in front of the Megabeast. I tried for imperious. I got distressed pixie. "Fine. Everything's fine." Mary scowled; my lips curled up into what I hoped was a winning smile. I embellished further, "Just pixie. I mean peachy."
  "What happened?"
  Fine! Don't believe me, bloody skeptic!
  "I just got ditzy, I mean dizzy for a second then my vision went all goofy. Everything's okay now. Everything's under control." Except for the shaking I added silently and crossed my arms.
  "It's only a pelvic exam dear." I knew the megabeast was on the list, how else could she be an evil psychic monster.
  "Yeah well, I wasn't told that!" I berated myself for sounding like a petulant child or worse, like a weenie. "I mean, I thought." Don't lose it now; remember the size of the syringe. "I thought I was going for a, a. You know? A physical."
  When I needed to hate her most, the Megabeast pulled off an awesome little mind fuck. Sympathy! Compassion! She oozed it, the tricky devious bitch! Definitely on the list! My shit list for sure, I suppose the jury was still out on the other. I swore I'd figure out a way to get her back.
  "Well dear, I doubt you've had a physical quite like it before. The Doctor's going to do a full pelvic. Then you're scheduled for an ultrasound and a mammogram."
  Was that glee in her voice? Did she really just cackle?
  She even had the gall to lay her pudgy fingers on my shoulder. It felt like five big gooey banana slugs had latched on to me. I did a double take. They weren't the Megabeast's fingers. I shrugged off his hand and leaned away from the orderly's touch.
  Eww! Boy germs! Thankfully, the filter caught that one and I stifled the giggle before it managed to burble out.
  I didn't trust my voice. I bit my lower lip and merely nodded.
  Mary smiled sweetly.
  That meant.
  Oh god, I was radiating pure cuteness, AGAIN!
  I wanted to cry. Instead, I began to wonder what it would feel like, and if it would hurt -- payback, not the exam. I was sure the physical wasn't going to be pleasant or anything like the days of yore: drop your pants, turn your head, and cough. Nope, nothing like that.
  I was right. It wasn't. It was worse -- and it didn't even have the decency to prove fatal.


   I knew I was stark raving mad. It wasn't because my recently recovered hooker's panties were dangling around my ankles again or that my vision was still messed up. It wasn't, as Doctor Douglas found out, that the filter between my mouth and brain was irreparably damaged.
  Fuck, was it any wonder I did a verbal tap dance on her head?
  I have a mirror; do you want to see it? Christ! What sort of dumbass question was that? Did I want her to show me pictures and describe all my new girlie bits to me? Fuck no, lady! If I wanted a look at girly pictures, I'd buy a freakin' magazine and jack off in private, thank you very much! Get on with it you sick sadistic old hag!
  Fucking genius that I am, I'd really called her a sadistic old hag too. Worse than calling her a hag, now, every time I thought about it, I couldn't help but giggle!
  Yeah, well the bitch got me back. Serves me right I suppose. I should have paid more attention to the latest edition of Cosmo or was it Bimbo Weekly? Yeah, Girlie magazine tip number 106: Don't piss off a lady wielding a speculum. That's followed closely by tip 107: Never piss off a Doctor with the power to send you to the booby crusher. Fuck, after what they put me through, I felt like I should have called dad and told him I'd wrecked the car again.
  Only he's dead and what the hell would I say anyway. Hey dad, the Bel-Air's been in an 'orrible accident! Her front ends been smooshed in and the headlights will never be the same. Yeah right. Better yet, what could he do about it?
  Compacted, compressed, and smooshed. Only unlike a car in a crusher, my breasts didn't have the decency to get any smaller. Fucking mammogram. Hey Doc, stick your head in here for a sec will ya? Yeah, like I was the only insane one!
  At least I knew it!
  Yup, I knew for a fact I was nuts and it wasn't because I was sitting on the throne singing. Nope. In whole or in part, it wasn't the singing or the rest of the bizarre behavior. I knew I was a raving lunatic because even with the crappy acoustics of the bathroom, I thought I sounded darn good! Almost, but not quite a cross between whale music and the chick that did that Barbie Girl song, only I sounded better.
  "Jingle bells. Bat Girl smells." I sniffed an armpit and nodded.
  "Sponge bath! Sponge bath!" chanted the silent chipmunk chorus lost somewhere in the dark corners of my mind. I sniffed the other side and wrinkled my nose in appreciation. I wasn't rank, not exactly. It was more of a musky, heady bouquet seasoned with a touch of something. That extra little something was an aroma I couldn't quite place. Three days with only a single sponge bath.
  Three long miserable days since I woke up lying in a puddle of goo, transformed, transmutated, and transmogrified. I guess my missing mass had to go somewhere, but god; it really was icky, smelly, caustic goo. I shuddered and dismissed the memory and crinkled my nose again. Three days without a real shower was a lot, goo, or no goo.
  I parted slender thighs and looked down. I rocked on; "The bimbo laid an egg." At least this time I mused, they didn't want a sample. My legs snapped shut. I looked up and bobbed my head side to side in time to the musical score only I could hear. My recently battered and much abused breasts decided to act like a bunch of overly energetic background dancers and got jiggy with it too.
  "Bat-mobile lost her wheel, and the Joker got awa-ay. Second verse, same as the first!" A deep sigh, a heavy breath, and a peek down the top of my gown and I was singing again. "Jingle bells. Bat Girl smells."
  "Doesn't anyone fucking well knock?" It was supposed to be a private room, but it really was my own fault. I should have been more careful. I should have closed the bathroom door.
  "Sorry, I'll come back later."
  "Ah, shit!" I muttered, then louder, "Doc Williams. Sorry, give me a half a tick." I leaned forward and peeked out into the room. Doctor Williams was a gentleman. A short, stocky, bespectacled and mostly bald gentleman. I didn't catch him peeking, not yet anyway.
  I leaned back and as my tail sought the handle, one hand was reaching for more toilet paper, the other dabbing and wiping. Okay, I had to admit having a prehensile tail wasn't as bad as I first thought. That is, as long as I remembered not to sit on it.
  I peeked again; his back was still to me. A flush followed by a moment to straighten out the blue hospital gown, reposition my wings, shrug slender shoulders, and I was done.
  I peeked out again. Frankly, I was worried. What unexpected pleasure would this visit bring? The only orifice they hadn't yet plumbed was my nose. They had a sample of Demon snot, please let it be enough! Probably the sample would only serve to pique the interest of some lab geek somewhere. Fucking A! I could even hear the little fuck. 'Let's go spelunking. But doc, we just have to find Becky and Injun Joe! I know she's down there somewhere!' Now that was a promising thought. What were the odds of a fatality during a rhinoscope? My sudden elation evaporated. With my diminutive upturned pixie beak, probably slim to none.
  I didn't exactly bound out of the bathroom brimming with unbridled enthusiasm and squealing, 'Gee doc! Time for another prodding? Where do you want to stick your fingers today?' No, that wouldn't be one of my more cunning plans. I didn't exactly slink out of the bathroom either; my tail was dragging between my legs. My cocky gangster stroll gone, it's only remnant, a little nervous flick of the tip of my tail.
  As we made all polite-like and shook hands, the only thought that my muddled mind could formulate was 'did the toilet seat leave an imprint on my ass and would he notice if it did'. Now, how retarded was that?
  O rhinoscope, rhinoscope, wherefore art thou my fatal rhinoscope?
  "I'm sorry dear. Now that you're out of quarantine, I have some groupies that would like to examine you. Do you mind?" Doctors. Groupies. More like sadists in training. What did I expect? The hospital was a teaching hospital.
  My face remained impassive, or what I hoped might be mistaken for impassive. For all I knew I could have been making kissy faces or blowing raspberries.
  I wondered when, in Doc Williams's mind I had become 'dear'? I suppose that was my own fault too. The incongruity of my old name and this nubile body didn't fit so I'd ask them not to use it. I guess the staff, once they got a glimpse of my charming and bubbly personality wanted to establish a little more familiarity. Yeah right! They were probably tired of calling me Ms. Smith. Besides, 'Hey bitch', or 'Hey freakazoid' were a tad bit unprofessional.
  Still, I needed a new name. Something in the shadows tickled just out of reach.
  "Umm, no. I guess not. But..." I paused, my concentration suddenly diverted and intensely focused. I eyed the hospital bed, yet another newly acquired nemesis. For what it did to my ego, the graceful gymnastic hop and twist I did to get back up might as well have been a chin up. Shrimp! Munchkin Freak! My mind screamed and I began to wonder when I would forget about fancy cars and start thinking about my conquest of Europe. At least this time, like some twisted miracle, I managed to hop onto the edge of the bed, feet dangling off into space, without scrunching my tail.
  "But what?"
  "Huh? Oh, Umm." It was the daylight; I'd been drifting again. Another medical first; daylight attention deficit disorder. "Yeah well, I had some questions I'd like to ask. You know, in private?" Private questions, about private parts in private. With so many privates, I felt like I was in the army. I even knew who was in charge, one Major Fuckup that's who.
  "I'll suggest they grab a cup of coffee while we talk."
  I had a different suggestion, but the filter decided to act up and actually work again.
  Doc Williams poked his head out and gave his evil minions their marching orders. I think I heard him mutter something about Igor, the rack, and keeping the pokers hot, but I wasn't sure.
  Instead of worrying about it, I used the time productively. You know, productively? As in rearranging the hospital gown, plucking uselessly at the bed sheets, and praying to a god I no longer believed in. Yeah, I was praying. Only my silent prayer used a lot of words that began with the letter 'F' and ended in 'ing'. Well, except for the occasional word that sounded a lot like bastard.
  "Now, what was it you wanted to talk about?"
  He studied me intently. The silence drew itself out. It dragged on and was eventually interrupted by the wail of a distant siren. It was only a minor consolation; somewhere on the streets below, someone else was having a bad day. Finally, his somber gray eyes blinked. "What exactly did you have in mind?"
  "Everything! The tits. The, the. thing down there. The wings!" I managed not to break down and cry like a weenie or wail like the siren. My hands went into the air, my voice trailed off into a whisper, "Everything."
  "Let me ask you a few questions first. Hmm?" His left eyebrow did an impression of Spock or that hulking wrestling guy.
  I nodded.
  "How are you holding up?"
  "Mentally you mean?"
  It was his turn to nod.
  "Off the record? As a friend?"
  "I'm not a Shrink." Another time and another place his wry grin might have been infectious. Instead, I noted his comment for what it was -- a non-answer. Two angry slashes of crimson against my porcelain skin, I pursed my lips.
  Off the record, I would have been my glib and flippant self. On the record was a different matter entirely. I could only wonder at the pressures and the microscope they had him under -- whoever 'they' were. I also wondered if 'they' were reading my charts too. Somewhere a self-preservation gene acted up and I entered lie and obfuscation mode.
  "Well, I'm pretty sure I'm done with denial." I looked down glumly. As an afterthought, I groped my own breasts angrily. Pressing them together none to gently, I peeked down the top of the gown and got a good look at my cleavage. "Yup, they're real. Doc, I got a handle on anger earlier today. Feel free to ask Doctor Douglas about that though." I smirked. "I guess we're at bargaining. I'll try for depression later tonight. Tomorrow, tomorrow."
  "What Acceptance?" Not a shrink, my left testicle -- wherever it might be.
  "Fuck no, I'll be back at Anger. Anger was a lot of fun." I chuckled, only it sounded like more like a girlish giggle. "Then I was thinking about taking some time for..." For what? Revenge? Only I couldn't say that, could I? Lock me up for sure. Bastards!
  "For what?"
  "More denial." I finished lamely.
  He nodded sagely as if my comments had some great meaning. As if what I'd said actually meant something. "With all the testing I would imagine it's been a rough day. I heard about the little blow out with Doctor Douglas. She was quite upset."
  "Yeah well, it's not every day someone sticks a thingy up your thingy, pokes, prods and then takes a few cells from all the way up around here." I pointed at my throat, right where my Adam's apple used to be.
  In stern silence, he looked at me skeptically.
  "Well that's what it felt like anyway! Shit Doc, to further complicate my life she had the temerity to tell me that I'm probably going to start menstruating. Maybe even soon! Then.Then Christ! She sent me off to the crusher. To the booby press! Fuck! I would have been happier if she'd sent me to a Chinese laundry! At least there I wouldn't have to keep hopping in and out of this stupid gown!"
  "Is that what's bothering you? Menstruating?"
  "Yes! No! I mean." My hesitation was proof that I didn't really know what I meant anymore. "Fuck, I don't know." I relaxed my white-knuckled deathgrip on the mattress. Looking down, five little holes stared back.
  Okay, so I was still doing anger.
  I hoped they didn't bill me for a new mattress. Bargaining? Slender fingers tugged at the sheet in a vain attempt to hide the holes. Denial? It didn't work. Which of the five stages of coping was I really at? "Fuck it Doc!" My hands flew back into my lap and I looked up, "I keep running everything though the old brain box, you know all the plusses and minuses? Only I don't like the answers I keep getting."
  "What's the answer? Better yet, why don't you give me a peek at the score card?" He shifted in the chair and pulled his lab coat across his lap. He tried to make it look like he was settling in for a long chat.
  I could see differently. I could also see that the conversation was taking us to a place I wasn't ready to go. Right now, I didn't need facts cluttering up my muddled mental state or making their way onto my chart. It was my turn to change the topic.
  Some emerging evil gene overrode my mental filter, "Hiding a boner doc?" I said it softly. I didn't mean to say it at all. His bedside manner dissolved and his cheeks flushed.
  Before he could deny it, I recovered smoothly, "That's one of the things doc. You're not the only one. It's everyone! Even the implacable Doctor Douglas was starting to lose her professional demeanor before I blew up."
  "Surely you're exaggerating things?"
  I shook my head.
  "A little?"
  I shook my head again. "You tell me." I looked him right in the lap and waited for a response. I got one too.
  He shifted uncomfortably and changed the topic. "Surgery was it? What were you thinking?"
  "How about a wing- and tail-ectomy for starters?"
  He rubbed at the salt and pepper stubble covering his chin. Reflexively, I rubbed my chin too. Only I didn't have any stubble. The little green monster dove into the grave where I'd buried self-esteem and beat the living crap out of its corpse. My chin was smooth, smoother than a gigolo's come on line.
  "The wings... removing the wings are a problem hon. We've figured out, or I should say we have some very good working theories about the way you're put together."
  I sat and listened to a bunch of medical crap. I even understood most of it. I wish I hadn't because what it amounted to was, no wing-ectomy for me. My wings were intricately involved in regulating my bodacious body's temperature. It was those extra two chambered heart valve thingies and the resulting blood flow. At least they figured out why I was spending so much time peeing into the porcelain throne. Sweating wasn't the mechanism for cooling my body anymore. Instead, it was those two little hearts pumping blood through my wings, just like an elephant does with its ears.
  Cool, I'm a fucking elephant. Dumbo, the bat-winged blunder. Maybe I had another career option to fall back on. Come one, come all! See the Freak fly the big top!
  It got worse. One of the bright lads in the lab theorized that, given the overall structure of the membrane and the small size of my chest cavity and lungs, the wings were helping to oxygenate my blood. I had to stifle a laugh when Doc Williams dumped that one on me. My chest small? If the lab rat that came up with that whopper thought my chest was small, he had to be a charter member of massive mammaries monthly.
  "Okay so you can't hack off the wings. What about the rest?"
  It was a 'resounding no' to the removal of the not quite vestigial horns. The reason? A large bundle of nerves from my brain to a pair of small organs of unknown function (probably sensory) at each tip. At least the CRT that turned that gem up showed I still had a brain -- even if it was unlike anything they'd ever seen before. Bottom line, I'd just have to accept having my own permanent set of deely-bobbers.
  I'm sure I would have been happier with a propeller.
  It was a 'we wouldn't consider it prudent' to the removal of the tail. More nerves, hell I wasn't a doctor and I figured that one out. Then there was a possible flight or a balance issue. Yeah right, the tail wasn't that big. My ass felt like it was though!
  The list labeling me a perma-freak seemed to go on and on. It was 'doubtful' a boob job would be in my best interests. This time something about large pectoral muscles (gee doc, ya think?) and balance issues again. Not to mention one of the few places I stored body fat. I suppose he had a point. Considering I was a girl, I was ripped. Slimfast didn't look like it was ever going to be an issue.
  It didn't stop: no to this and no to that. Finally, I'd had enough. I wasn't stupid. Bargaining wasn't working. Besides, I didn't want to bankrupt our cash strapped health system, by now the groupies were probably on their third or fourth cup of Java.
  "So what you're saying is," I held out my hand towards him, fingers outstretched in an all too feminine and dainty manner, "about the only thing you'd recommend is a manicure?"
  He was in Doctor mode; bedside manner fully engaged. He didn't even have the courtesy to laugh. "No. Not even that. It's really quite fascinating. You see there is a large blood vessel that runs through each."
  It wasn't proper doctor patient etiquette. I knew that, but I picked up the pillow and threw it at him anyway. Screw bargaining. I was back to anger!
  Despite my insincere apology and the late hour, he still summoned Eigor and the rest of his torture team. I know it wasn't my imagination, I distinctly heard someone in the hallway chortle: 'Torture time my pretties'.
  I know I didn't imagine that!
  They filed in; four little white jacketed grim reapers in a row. A fifth, the lone woman of the bunch was wearing a red power suit. They weren't what I was expecting. I expected pimply-faced overachieving medical students. These weren't. I'd been duped.
  Doctor Williams told me their names and which government agency they were with. I promptly forgot their names and gave them new ones. Besides, the names I gave them were easier to remember: Deltoid, Trapezoid, Mastoid, Mongoloid, and the hawkish brunette in the back, the one wearing the power suit, Hemorrhoid. Fair is fair. They didn't say it, but I was sure the bastards were calling me names behind my back.
  Doc Williams and the 'oid quintuplets never did get around to asking me about my fucked up vision or my sleepless nights. Gee, I wonder why that was? It sure as hell wasn't because I was asked to turn my head and cough.
  Men! Perverts, the lot!

part 2