by Michael Bard
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Based upon requests of various interested persons, I've started a diary of my experiences after the EVENT. Hopefully they will help other centaurs with problems. And, of course, any others who have other problems that need solutions or have alternate suggestions should feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
And, since I at least try to write, I've tried to keep true to my experiences, and make it at least a little enjoyable to read.
Oh, and (of course) names and places of others have been changed to protect the innocent and all that.
#2 -- squeezing through the workplace
Jan 24, 10:00am
My manager just stared as I walked out from behind my desk and showed her the true grace of my new form. What can I say, I was, at least currently, happy with it. She just stared for a few seconds before she finally was able to close her mouth and continue.
"You hoofed it all the way here?"
She shook her head. "Well, how goes the latest import."
I guess she was trying to use routine to keep sane, just like I currently was. "The zipping is done, and I managed to complete it before anybody logged on. We've really got to figure out a way to automate it."
"Well then, talk to Mr Galmar."
"He's tried, I've tried. For whatever reason... But, I've thought of another approach."
"The import is running through the conversions and cross checking now, and I should be able to start printing in about an hour."
"Good. Maybe we'll finally get the budget finished."
She turned to leave.
She stopped and turned back.
"Assuming I get the budget done and copied today, may I have Thursday and Friday off? It is short notice but, well, I've got to figure out some things."
She nodded and then frowned. "Do you want to take sick leave, or vacation?"
"Well, it could be considered sickness -- I don't even know what I can eat yet."
"Sick leave it is then. You'll be back Monday then, as long as you're not catching. None of the others are."
Others? Well I knew of at least one from my quick glance at the TSA list, and from the volume of messages there were probably more. But how many? And... "I'll do my best."
She turned and left.
Others. And why me? Was it permanent, or would I eventually collapse into a pile of goo? Could I be infectious, could..? I stopped and shook my head and stomped my left forefoot. One thing at a time. First, my own care. I was still hot from my trip and thirsty, not to mention starving, so I walked down to the kitchen, squeezing around corners. At least here the door to my office was high enough that I didn't have to duck, but that meant that the door to the kitchen got me. This time it wasn't too hard, as I almost remembered in time. Rubbing my head yet again, I turned and grabbed a paper cup and went to the cooler.
I filled the cup and swallowed. And filled another, and then another, and another, until I reached nine. At that point I forced myself to stop, even though I was still thirsty, based on memories of horses and others gorging themselves on water and running into problems. Still, nine cups and wanting more suggested other potential problems with intake quantities.
The first immediate problem solved I went to the cupboard and picked up an entire bag of oatmeal cookies from the small stash of provided snacks. Normally I wouldn't take anywhere near that much, but I was desperate, and I figured that oatmeal shouldn't cause any problems to either my old body, or hopefully this one. Of course the cooking fat...
Enough. I had to eat and the oatmeal was my best safest guess.
Carrying the entire bag, and mentally promising to replace it on my way in next week, I rotated myself around and made my way to the washroom to take care of another pressing problem. No, it wasn't the call of nature -- either one -- (although I was dreading the second when it came) but instead the sweat and dampness on my lower body, particularly the rear. I knew with my limited base of knowledge that it should be wiped off or brushed or something. After maneuvering around the narrow corner (god I was starting to hate corners, and stairs, and doors, and...), I got through the entrance (remembering to duck) and rotated around until I faced the paper towel dispenser. I put the bag of cookies down on the counter and starting pulling paper off of the roll. After a couple of metres, I glanced at my hind legs and then pulled off a lot more. Then I started giving myself a quick rubdown.
For practice, I started with my forequarters and found that brushing down helped. The damp towels were discarded and I kept on. My chest was next, and then, turning as much as I could at my waist I got as much of my left hindquarter as I could, and then twisted around the other way to get at my right hindquarter. I couldn't get the lower portions, but the rubbing took off most of the chill and felt good. Done, or at least as done as I could be, I stepped forward and rotated and washed and dried my hands with the last of the paper towel. Then I rotated around some more (refusing to stop when I saw the washroom stalls and felt a cold dread go down my spine which was much longer than it use to be) and then made my way out, ducking this time, forced the cleaning lady to backstep before me as there was no way to pass (and I did apologize) and finally made my way back.
The conversion was still going and I would normally have done some other work, but there was nothing else job related that was immediately time critical, so I turned my attention to more personal things. Whilst gorging my way through the bag of cookies, I first called the secretary at the door. There had been a couple of people, but she'd denied seeing anything which had worked so far. I thanked her and suggested she try that, or if they got persistent she could have them call on my line. Next I called Bell and arranged to make my number unlisted. They said it would take two or three hours, and I hoped that nobody would track me down before that. Next was a quick call to my parents to let them know that I was fine but had -- well -- changed and that I would call when I knew more.
I didn't know what else to say and barely managed to get that out.
And by then the entire bag of cookies was then gone. Worse, it hadn't even taken the edge off my hunger. I crumpled up the empty bag and tossed it into the waste basket -- and missed. Sighing, I started to back out to pick it up, but then decided the hell with it. I'd do that later. Twisting around at my waist, I turned to the computer and started Outlook. I had to do something to either lower me or raise up the damn desk! First I wrote up a quick little note to friends (I had told my parents so many times to get e-mail), explaining that I had changed and was fine and would give more information later. Then I checked the time on the computer -- it was after 11:00am. Well, a pizza place might be open now so...
Twisting my waist, I grabbed the phone and started dialling through the numbers I knew. The third place I tried was open. I placed an order for eight large vegetarian pizzas (like I said, I was starving and pizza should keep for a couple of days if that was too much and vegetarian should be safe) and prepared to charge it...
Futz! My wallet, which would normally be in my pocket, was in my bag. And my bag was sitting on the floor at the end of my desk. Sighing, I asked the person on the phone to wait a minute, backed out, grabbed the bag and walked back in. This time, trying to think of how to make things easier in the future, I dug out my wallet and put the bag on my desk at the near end, and then finished the order.
After hanging up I twisted back to face the computer. Finally having time to go through the e-mail and news sources, I could try to figure out what was going on. And, of course, the conversion program completed at that time. Sighing through my slits, I minimized Outlook and launched a front end that I'd created to automate mass report creation. First I ran the complete report, as a final test of the validity of what had better be the final version of the budget. Then I backed out, rotated, made it to my door, waited for one of the junior payroll people to walk towards my door, stop, stare, stumble backwards, and then scurry off, and then made my way out and down to the big printer. The printout was there and it looked good and the numbers...
Ah hell -- I'd forgotten to bring the reference copy I and my manager had made up after the last run. Closing my eyes I breathed deeply a couple of times and forced calm. When I opened my eyes I saw a couple of people standing and watching -- I think they were entry clerks from downstairs so I decided to just ignore them. Ok, what's the most efficient solution. Let's assume the printout is fine. That would mean that I would need to cram the printer full of paper before I started the output. Let's do that then. I moved my head and looked down, way down, at the big box of paper beside the printer on the opposite side of where the paper went in. Starting to lean forward to be able to reach it I stopped and wondered what lifting a heavy weight would do to my new waist. Probably nothing good. Okay... how?
I tried to gracefully kneel down and collapse my legs under me, and it worked fine until I started thinking about it. Then I gracelessly collapsed, crushing my left fore and hind legs and hooves into my chest. And, of course, breathing became much harder. Still, I had to...
"Would you like some help?"
"No!" I paused, shocked by the loudness of my voice. Then, much quieter, I turned and looked at the person who'd backed away. "Sorry, but I have to figure out how to do it myself and I'm not in the best of moods right now."
He sort of nodded and then turned and fled. A couple doors nearby clicked shut. Closing my eyes, I clenched my fists and forced myself to calm down. Then, at least a little bit more relaxed, I opened my eyes. It was still a bit of effort to breathe, but nothing that couldn't be managed. Turning my attention to the box, I first thought about dragging it, but then realized that I had no idea how I could crawl. Instead, I pulled out five packs of paper and staggered to my feet. I didn't worry about how but instead just concentrated on rising. A quick rotation, a few steps, and a kneel that wasn't quite as bad although I paid too much attention and fumbled the last portion of the landing, and then a few minutes to fill the hopper with paper. I probably should have brought one more pack, but I almost instantly decided that it wasn't worth it. A quick stagger to my feet -- I realized that there was no way I could really help myself up with my hands or by partial stages as I used to -- and then I turned and stalked back to my office, my tail waving briskly behind me.
Nobody was in the hallway, and I couldn't really blame them at this point.
I soon arrived and squeezed back in through the door (remembering to duck -- maybe I was finally getting the hang of it), and then stopped and looked at the desk. Yes I'd moved it, but I still had to back in and out. Not any more! Putting the printout down on the desk I leaned down and pushed it 90 degrees around so that it was against the far wall, leaving me room to stand in front of the table that held the computer. That way the phone was still near me, although I would have to rotate my waist and neck all the way around to get at it, but I could now comfortably lay down in front of the computer where I did almost all my work. Leaning down I picked up the empty cookie bag and tossed it in the garbage, and then picked up the printout and lay down in front of the computer.
It wasn't completely comfortable, but much better than twisting around and looking down. Much more ergonomic. Twisting a little, I shuffled through the pile of papers until I found the scribbled-on printout from the last run, and compared the adjusted numbers with the newly printed numbers. The first two matched, and then...
Slowly I put both papers down. I would not scream, I would not...
Buzz. "Michael Bard to the Front Desk."
It was the intercom on the phone. I guessed that my lunch had arrived. Standing up I rotated around, made my way to the entrance, stopped, backed my way back in and got my wallet, ducked, walked out, carefully squeezed past one of the braver souls who didn't flee away from me (and greeted them kindly) and made my way to the stairs.
Oh right, stairs. Sigh.
Grasping the railing tightly, I slowly clattered my way down to the lobby where the pizza-delivery person was waiting with a big pile of boxes. He just stared, so I pulled out my credit card and held it before him. He just stood there.
"I'm just a figment of your imagination." I couldn't resist.
After another thirty seconds or so he pulled out the card machine, took the card and slid the lever back and fourth and then I signed the slip.
I gave him a big tip.
Then, as he fled out the door, I carefully picked up the boxes, rotated around, and then made my way back up the damn stairs -- very carefully, since I had no hands to grip the railing -- and squeezed through to the lunch room. It was still early, at least for this place, so I had the kitchen to myself as I consumed six pizzas and half of a seventh, along with another five cups of water. Finally the edge was off my hunger. I put the remainder into the fridge.
I made my way back to my office, and then puzzled over what had gone wrong. Four and a half hours later I'd figured it out, had started reprocessing the branch that had the typing error in the information that others had provided to me, when what I had dreaded all day occurred.
Something inside my lower chest gurgled and rumbled and then I knew I had to use the washroom.
Use it the other way.
Swallowing, I made my way through doors and around the corners and through the hallways -- with less pain and difficulty -- and into the washroom.
Which the cleaning woman was cleaning. It figured.
Apologizing, I started to back out, but she, also apologizing, scurried out the other entrance to the shower.
The gurgling became much more insistent.
OK. First, I looked in one of the mirrors where I could see my behind -- yes the hole did seem to be at my back, just below my tail. Then I opened the door to one of the stalls, and walked in and pulled the seat up.
My need was starting to become quite urgent. But, at least I did have bowel control.
Then I backed out, rotated around 180 degrees and backed in. I could almost hear the idiot alarm of a truck backing up beeping in my head. Looking over my shoulder, I carefully paced back until I could feel the bowl of the toilet on the insides of my hind legs. Then, lifting my tail, I slowly bent my hind legs until I could feel the rim of the toilet against my, you know. Finally I took a step forward, to make sure I wouldn't overshoot, and let it go.
I squeezed and clenched and then heard it plop into the water.
There, done. That wasn't so bad.
Keeping my tail raised, I stepped out of the stall and then rotated around to check my aim. It actually hadn't been too bad. I stepped in and...
Ewww! Oh well, at least it was in the washroom.
Breathing in through my mouth I flushed the toilet, praying the quantity wouldn't clog it, and then wiped the back where some crap had splashed onto. The toilet did flush, and then I dropped the paper in and grabbed some more to wipe my...
Oh oh. I twisted my waist as far as I could until it was painful, raised my tail, and stretched my arms, but I couldn't reach.
The only solution that popped into my head was asking somebody to, well, you know. But no, there was no way I would do that. Besides, if a centaur asked you, would you?
Why had nobody else ever thought of this? I'd read fiction on the internet by others who had supposedly been changed into centaurs -- or at least wrote the stories as though they had -- and none of them ever mentioned this. The one story that I'd written that might involve this had a doctor caring for the invalid centaur while he learned muscle by muscle how to move his body, so that didn't help either.
What the hell was I going to do?!
I refused to go out like this -- I could smell and feel remnants. And then when I lay down in front of my computer the shit would...
Now normally when confronted by a problem, I would pace around in a circle to help think, but there wasn't room to do that here, or probably anywhere. Based on the relaxation I felt as I trotted to work, running might help, but there was no way I was going out now. Still, in an attempt to think, I started to slowly rotate in a circle with my hand on my forehead. Could I wash it off? How..?
Then I remembered. There were showers through the door the cleaning woman had used. I had no idea if they worked, and as far as I knew they'd been installed in preparation for the exercise room that hadn't been started upon yet. If the showers worked...
I almost galloped through the door and to the edge of the shower stall. Skidding to a stop, I turned the water on. There was a gurgling sound, and then, water!
It worked, it worked!
And, of course, there wasn't room to turn around. Sighing, I adjusted the shower and then backed out into the actual washroom, rotated around, leaned and twisted and rotated until I could get the door open, backed into the shower room, turned around the corner, and backed into the shower, carefully keeping my tail raised and my head ducked the whole time.
I could feel the water washing the crap away -- this was going to work! Unfortunately the water still got my tail.
After letting the water run for about five minutes I stepped out of the shall, tried to shake my rear dry as best I could (not very well), walked dripping back into the washroom, rotated around, walked back into the shower area and turned the water off. Then I backed out again, rotated around, wiggled and twisted and pulled the door open, backed in to the stall, and shook some more whilst waving my tail as hard as I could until I finally stopped dripping.
Then, finally I could go back to work. A little damp, but at least clean. I'd have to bring a bunch of towels in or something. Maybe put them on a pole? Oh well.
I went back to work.
Fortunately the import batch run was finally complete, and I printed out another overall summary as a (hopefully) final check. Grabbing the reference sheet this time, I went to the printer and... it matched!
Yes, yes, yes!
I would have galloped back if there'd been room, and once I arrived I almost slid to a stop, then lay down and started printing the reports. The actual printing via software was quick and took about half an hour, but I would have to wait another couple of hours for the printer to catch up before I could sort the printouts, copy them, and collate them for binding by somebody else tomorrow. I had to copy and sort etc. in case any other problems cropped up so that I could quickly fix them.
It was now almost 6:00pm, and most of the others had gone home. Now I could check the e-mail and the news and figure out what the hell was happening, and take care of other problems.
Maybe this was going to work out after all.
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