by Wayne Sheeler

  "I am so screwed. I hate this class," I said as I walked back to the dorms with Tony.
  "Well, she's really not that bad. At least she gives a damn, unlike Adewusi," Tony said in a voice filled with semi-synthetic anger.
  "True, but at least you're going to pass that class," I mumbled, feeling sorry for myself once again. Another week of studying, another quiz failed. Somehow, it just didn't seem fair.
  Lately, I'd been stopping off at Tony's room after class to just sit around. He was playing Carmageddon. Evil little game. People were splattered everywhere as Tony went and knocked out other cars. Good graphics, but a bit shallow compared to most of the car combat games I'd seen. Of course, car combat wasn't really supposed to have depth, so I guess it really didn't matter.
  I was getting bored of watching him play the demented little game and it was almost 2, so I decided to get up and leave.
  "Well, I figure I should get to my chemistry. I'll see ya at dinner," I said as I opened Tony's door.
  "Five thirty right? Wayne... " I heard him say as I felt some sort of muscle spasm over my entire body, like some body wide Charlie horse. Next, it felt kind of like when you tighten up a muscle, then let it relax. Except my body just kept on relaxing from where it usually settled.
  I pitched over from a mid-walk weight imbalance and banged my head into the door.
  "Ow," was all I said as I looked up at Tony. His face looked twisted with shock.
  "Wayne?" I heard his voice ask.
  "Yes?" I replied. His mouth was agape. He had that look like he was going to rant irately for a few minutes. His arms teetered slightly then went to the sides of his face.
  "Holy shit! Holy shit! Holyshitshitshitshit... "he mumbled on. I was sick of lying on the floor, so I hoisted myself up. When I felt my torso shift as if gravity had decided to throw it to the ground, I steadied myself for a huge shock. Gravity doesn't bounce.
  Looking down at myself, I saw something I hadn't ever seen from this angle. Jutting out from my old techno-Superman shirt were two breasts, stretching it out to capacity. I sat down on the edge of Tony's bed and let my mind race.
  Was it one of the spells I had cast working on an odd interpretation? Was it some really unlikely thing caused by science gone wrong? Scratch that one, this is Ferris State, I told myself. Our science department would have a hard time giving someone cancer let alone transform them entirely...
  My musings ended quickly when Tony was only breathing rapidly and not frantically.
  "What the hell is going on Wayne?" he asked me honestly.
  "I don't really know. Just, calm down," I said as honestly as I could. The new feminine voice was starting to distract me, but I did my best to shake it off.
  "I look different, but I think I'm okay," I explained, "I've been waiting for years for ordinary reality to hit a speed bump, and it finally did. Call Mike over and tell Jason if you want, but don't get anyone else involved just yet." He looked just about ready to go into hysterics...
  "Let me get this straight: you turn into some Chinese chick with bright red hair and act as if everything is just fine and dandy. How the hell can you be so calm!!!" he asked me with his eyes nearly bulging out of his skull. I faltered a moment at that comment and took a moment to try and get a grip.
  "I'm actually not that calm, but I'm a good actor and I figure freaking out isn't going to help things any, okay?" I said as slowly as I could. Tony started dialing the number furiously.
  As he did, I got up slowly and headed to the mirror. I had been hoping that what Tony said wasn't what I thought and I was merely a female version of myself. That wouldn't be too bad. Instead, I saw Amoeba. Not quite exactly the same as the original model, but very close. Taller, a little more Americanized, but close. What the hell was going on? Was my writing changing reality itself? Or was all my writing based on predictions for a future I hadn't realized?
  Just when I got calm enough to realize how uncomfortable my clothes were, Jason and Mike entered the room.
  "Okay, guys, this is Wayne. We don't know what happened, but he ended up turning into this," Tony said as seriously as he could manage. I tried to look serious as well, but they were just giving Tony and me strange looks.
  "You play Whitefire, your parents hate D&D, your sisters have hamsters, and your major is business. You play Tyro, your sister died in a car accident when you were young, you didn't have a major in the beginning of the year but are going to teach people now. Uhh, give me a break guys, I didn't really get to know you all so well I can do the whole 'only you would know' thing. We've been playing D&D all year, you guys can't stand Alex, we just added his best friend Dave into the party, even though I really didn't want to. 'I hate the undead because they're unnatural.' They really had better not try to kill Fred again... "
  "Oh my god, you weren't kidding, it is Wayne. What the hell happened?" Jason asked, sending me into a minute review of the event. They just couldn't understand.
  "So it 'just happened'? That's pretty fucked up," Jason stated.
  "No, it's really fucked up. I'm just getting you guys to know this now so I can use my computer to e-mail some people without you guys freaking out," I said.
  After a few questions on whether I felt okay, they let me get to my room.
  I was alone. Okay, there were a few tasks now at hand. First, I had to take some clothes out that were gender neutral. Some sweatpants and... well the shirt I wore wasn't working. My breasts were really big. The nipples were pretty big too. My own fault I guess, but that was the problem of becoming a character you had created who had gained the body of a porn star. They were bigger than my old girlfriend's, meaning they were a D cup or more. So my shirt was fairly full, lifting it up a little too much for comfort. At least they didn't sag or anything.
  After donning a large sweater, I sent some e-mail and hoped for some kind of responses. That's when I saw the sheer bulk of e-mail that had come in, all following the same kind of line. So I wasn't the only one. Had everyone who wished to be transformed been changed? I didn't know anyone who wanted to become something outside of the list, so there was no way to really test the theory other than e-mailing someone on it. But if I did, they probably had the same bulk of e-mail I did, meaning they likely wouldn't read it all, especially if they were busy with their new form.
  The whole situation kind of aggravated me, because the timing couldn't have been worse. Before I came to Ferris, I had everything planned out really easily. I would wake up transformed, or in front of friends and family, and it would be really easy to convince them of who I was from there. But out here, all I could do is send an e-mail, hope for a phone call, and try my best to convince my mother of who I was.
  I also sent e-mail to my best friend Dave with all the details. He was one of the few people who knew of my interest in TG and TF, and he didn't have a problem with it. He thought it was freaky sometimes, but he could understand it and accept it well enough. The only problem was that it was more likely he would end up calling me before he found the e-mail.
  I looked at myself in the mirror for a while and then decided I might as well take off my clothes and see all of it. My hair was full of volume, with a red like Kool Aid and my eyes had become green. My breasts were huge, my ass was nice and curvy, my waist was thin, and my skin had taken on a coppery Asian tone. I was incredibly attractive, but the thought that somehow I had turned into Amoeba disturbed me too much to really enjoy it. There was also the whole genitalia change. It just felt so... different. The feeling of a swinging, rubbing tube versus that of a flat internalized hole? Weird. It would be very hard to convince anyone who physically looked at me that I was actually a former male Caucasian college student. Amoeba's form was freaky enough, but scarier still was the physiology.
  I had to see how far it had gone. Was I merely a woman, or was I truly Amoeba? Retrieving some fruit snacks from my fridge, I laid them in my hand. I concentrated for a moment, tried to feel my hand kind of sweat, staring into my palm at the sugary victims within my grasp. I squeezed my hand shut and a greenish liquid almost immediately started to leak out the cracks between my fingers. When my hand opened, a red-green stew covered my palm. The glop dropped to the floor as I opened my hand, destroying and partially digesting my carpet.
  I nearly stumbled backwards. If everything worked the way I thought it did, I was immortal. Truly immortal. The colony that was my body would continue to adapt and reproduce until the end of time. I was trapped in a body that I would have forever, with no after life of any kind to await...
  I figured I had to be kidding myself. Just because I could project digestive juices and acids didn't mean I was really exactly like Amoeba. The system would have to be amazingly complex. There were a few hours before dinner, so I merely had to wait in my room. I walked around a bit, just to feel the difference. My butt wiggled sort of funny. I laughed at all the times I had self consciously tried to make sure I wasn't walking 'girly' or talking 'girly'. The way my legs moved in a female pelvis was much different than what I thought it would be like. In fact, it almost came naturally. I paid attention and found that the less I thought about how I was moving, the 'girlier' I managed to walk. The breasts bounced quite a bit, but not to the point of discomfort. I spoke aloud to myself a few times, to try and see how I sounded. It wasn't like the impressions of squeaky anime girls I did or even my more serious female ones. It just didn't sound like it belonged to me in any way.
  I heard a knock at my door and nearly jumped. I felt a little paranoid that someone in my hall would see this strange girl in Wayne's room and would throw me out, asking why I was there, leading to all sorts of troubles. The knock continued and I realized it was from my bathroom door. I opened it and Mike looked in at me. He had a look on his face like somebody had farted.
  "What is it Mike?" I asked as casually as I could.
  "I wanted to talk about my character," he said in his grating voice. It was then that I realized that Mike quickly forgot anything in favor of talking about role-playing games. Not anything useful, just about how powerful he could make his character.
  "Mike, I'm a little distressed right now and don't want to talk about your fucking character," I said in only slightly hidden disgust. Then I really thought about the way my voice sounded when I said 'fucking'. It was... creepy.
  "Mike, I'm going to wait here until my phone rings. Dinner at 5:30 after Dragonball Z, okay?" that voice I happened to have crooned as I tried to kill the conversation before it began. Luckily, that's when the phone rang and Mike excused himself. I picked it up, wondering whether Dave or my mother was faster on the draw.
  "Uh, is Wayne there?"
  "Could you get him?"
  "This err, uh, is him."
  "What's with the voice?"
  "Nothing. That's why I wanted to call you?"
  "Wayne, seriously, knock it off."
  "I can't. I... well, I just a few hours ago, I transformed. Really."
  "Wayne, this is stupid. I'm not going to fall for this. Give up."
  Now, this was a problem. Proving that I am myself is pretty easy. Proving that I'm not just imitating a voice over the phone is much more difficult.
  "Dave, I'm not fooling around. I really can't change my voice."
  "Okay... "
  "Because I turned into a girl."
  "So what? Why did you e-mail me?"
  "Well, you're my best friend... "
  "And? What do you want from me, to say, hey Wayne, even though I can't see you I believe you're really a girl and stuff?"
  "How about, since I'm a girl and a little shocked I plan on coming home soon and thought you might want to know?"
  "How are you going to get home... covered in scorpions?"
  "From de S'barro... " I answered correctly in a horribly faked Italian accent.
  Dave didn't speak for a few seconds.
  "You better be a girl when you get home or I'm going to be seriously pissed off at you."
  "Okay. So, what are you playing on Wednesday?"
  We then went into our usual hour-long discussion about role playing games that we played at the local comic book store and where everything would be.
  The conversation finally ended around 5:30. It was time to eat, and I was really, really hungry. I was about to head to Westview when I realized I couldn't get in. My Ferris State ID had my meals on it, but the face on the card and the one I had did not match in any way. So I opted to go to Mascar to avoid the hassle and just pay some cash.
  I snuck out of my room and locked the door, being thankful that nobody in the hall saw me exit.
  After gathering a few of my friends, we traveled down to Mascar and, with a little difficulty, managed to gather a fairly large meal consisting of spaghetti, salad, and some Surge to balance on a tray with an unfamiliar and weaker body.
  We sat down after paying and the one person I didn't want to see sat down next to us. Albert.
  It's not that Al is a bad guy or even mean to people. He was, however, an annoying zealous hypocrite. Praise God today, steal tomorrow, and try to denounce my beliefs at every turn he could.
  "Hey guys, you been watching the TV? I think... who's your friend?" Al said with his usual elephant-like subtlety.
  "Uhh, Al... " Tony began.
  "Sit down Al. It might be a little... " I began, when someone turned up the TV a few decibels.
  "There are a few other people who have been transformed, across the globe. Is there a connection?" some reporter I don't remember asked with a concerned expression. That was when the camera shifted to the lizardman.
  "I've been told that everyone started transforming at noon, Mountain Time, and that some people are still changing as we speak. Every one of them seems to have been on the email list I send my stories to. If there is a reason behind this change, it had access to the listing of members of the Transformation Stories Archive discussion email list. This means if you weren't on the list, you'll probably not transform. I know some... "
  The list? What the fuck!?! THAT was the only people transformed? Why? What the hell just made reality up and decide to randomly grant the wishes of some e-mail list?
  It was then that I realized that after what the fuck I was talking out loud. It drew a few stares. I tried to sink into my seat and act as if it never happened.
  "Al, that's Wayne," Mike said in his curt, rude little way pointing with one of his fingers. Al blinked twice and just sort of half whispered, half talked something.
  "Yeah it's me. Guess I signed up for just the wrong list huh?" I said trying not to be too emotional. I was actually starting to feel very emotional, but decided against acting on any of it. The rest of the meal was eaten in almost absolute silence. The atmosphere seemed to have changed quite drastically on that note.
  When we were done, we left the room and decided to chat about it. I told them about the list, the story, and anything else that seemed pertinent at the time. The reactions varied: Jason seemed only slightly affected, Al glowered at me as if I were some hellspawn, Tony remembered me telling a tiny bit of that story to him, and Mike just looked disgusted by the fact I was female. Tony eventually piped up and told me to go to the Masselink building and get my id card changed. I asked for a few of them to go with me to vouch for who I was. I was given a little trouble, I provided all the proper identification, info, etc and then we turned on a TV and eventually found something dealing with the incident. I handed her the ID partially melted after a quick demonstration. An uphill battle, but eventually, she consented.
  Afterwards, everyone scattered. Homework, registered student organizations, and stuff like that. Some of it was heartfelt, but I think some of them just wanted to be able to talk about me without me being around. Yeah, I'm paranoid and I also have low self esteem.
  So I sat around in my room. I had my Playstation, but didn't feel like killing anything that badly. I had my computer, but writing a story at this point seemed more stressful then rewarding. I had a lot of books I did not want to read. My friends at Earth Spirit had moved too far away to walk to easily. So I sat staring at the ceiling until I started crying. Not loud, not great streaming bursts of emotion, just a slow swelling of tears in my eyes. My year was going to hell. My grades sucked after the first tests, my new teachers were worse than the old, I was going to end up being kicked out of the honors program, my best friend was back at home, and...
  I stopped my pity party briefly when the phone rang.
  "Hello?" I said as calmly as I could. My face was still moist with tears.
  "Wayne? Is this Wayne?" my mom said in her usual slightly, nagging pitch.
  "Yeah, it is," I said as I heaved a gulping sigh.
  'Wayne, are you all right?" she asked in genuine concern. "On the news there was something you'd probably want to see..."
  "... Mom, I am news," I said in a choking half sob, half laughter.
  "What do you mean?" she said angrily.
  "You're talking about the whole lizard guy news thingy, right?" I asked quickly while trying my best to keep a grip.
  "Well, I was on that list."
  I realized with hindsight she hadn't been angry, but shocked. She was probably very worried, between the e-mail and this.
  "So... "
  "Well, as far as I can tell, I'm one of my superhero characters... she can spray acid and stuff."
  "Okay... "
  I actually have no idea what my mom did on the other side of the phone, but I heard it drop a few moments later. I waited, since it didn't hang up and I heard some talking in the background.
  "Hello there."
  "Hi Dad."
  "So... what are you planning on doing son."
  "Well, I kind of want to come home."
  "So you're just going to come home right in the beginning of the semester?"
  "Well, I thought that... "
  "You know your classes are already paid up for this entire semester."
  "But... "
  "You're not coming home right now. We're going to come up and see you tomorrow and try to get everything straightened out."
  "Okay Dad."
  "Talk to you later."
  "Bye Dad."
  'Bye Wayne."
  "I love you," I added hesitantly.
  "I love you too son."
  I hung up the phone and just sat staring at the wall.
  Then I was laughing. It just figured. Of all the people I knew, my Dad seemed to keep a cool head no matter what. Well, unless he was driving on the freeway.
  Mike came into the room when he heard me laughing. Once again, there was that look on his face like he'd smelled a bad fart.
  "I just came in to see what you were laughing about," Mike said gesturing with his hands. I wiped my eyes a bit.
  "I was laughing about my Dad and how he'd talked to me over the phone. Kind of 'Well, it's okay that you've been transformed for now, but we better worry about your schooling'," I laughed a bit more.
  "Oh," was all Mike said before he left my room.
  "Good old dependable Mike, never willing to listen, even for a minute," I said to myself still laughing a little.
  I got into bed around 11pm and didn't sleep for the rest of my life. My eyes were shut, my body snuggled comfortably into my bed, but no matter how I tried, I wasn't even tired. Damn the thoroughness of whatever happened. Try as I might, escape from myself was completely impossible.
  I cleaned my room at night, went to Taco Bell for food, took the time to delete and view some of my e-mail. I looked at the ones I found interesting. I was sort of tempted to read them all, but I really did not want to read over a hundred e-mails in one sitting. What did catch my eye was a posting talking about the CDC trying to examine a few of the list members. My mind muddled over the initials a few times before I remembered a report on the Center for Disease Control. A lot of Mexicans were being held indefinitely because they had some virus. I, on the other hand, was a living, walking plague. I resolved at that point that being examined by the CDC was not a good idea. I couldn't tell anyone what I really was then. All my friends knew though...
  So that's when I came up with my plan. I would make a new story, say I was the character from that, and avoid the whole living plague issue. All I needed was a quick name, an origin, and a chance to swear my friends to secrecy. Corrosive, created through an accident involving toxic waste filtering throughout her system, gained regenerative properties and an acidic touch. Armed with these powers she would right wrongs and triumph over evil!
  I could swear my friends to secrecy early in the morning. My parents couldn't get there before nine, so I wasn't too worried. However, I realized they would have to know. It was going to be hard to avoid a checkup, especially with all the new anatomy, but I figured I would manage to get my parents to agree.
  I sat around for hours until I began pacing the hall as I waited for one of my friends to wake up. One of the girls down the hall named Katie had gotten up for her morning run. I waved hello and she waved back and was off. Eventually, Tony woke up for an eight o'clock class and I tried to talk to him. He looked really tired and ended up staring at my chest for a while, but I chalked it up to sleepiness and tried not to think about it. After a short talk on not speaking to any kind of press, but saying the little story I had printed up was okay. Then he asked why and I quickly explained. He said he would tell everybody in our little group, but I wasn't sure if he was bullshitting so he could sleep again.
  I grabbed a quick breakfast and got back to my room at about 8:15. My parents were sitting outside. Figured, with my Dad's obsession of making good time. They were looking around exasperated.
  "Excuse me? I'm Wayne Sheeler's mother, I'm looking for my son. Have you by any chance seen him?" she rattled off in her usual motherly manner. I suppressed a laugh, but had to grin.
  "Well, I hear he enjoys this thing called breakfast. They have all sorts of food out real early in the morning," I said like a complete smartass. Which at times, I am.
  "How goes the work?" she asked.
  "Quack," I replied. It was an in-joke that I was supposed to use as a password if anything ever happened to me; evil twin, running from the law, etc. My mom gave me a hug, started crying, and crushed me just a bit. I could hear her whimper things between sobs. Things like 'why', 'what happened', 'my only son', and anon. I hugged her back and tried to be cheery.
  "Mom, it's okay. I mean, I'm not dead, haven't been kicked out of school, and I'm still taller than you. Overall, it could be worse," I said.
  "Well, what do you want to do? The school called and asked about interviews and staying here. They'll be giving you a private room. We think you should definitely stay in school, but for right now, you should make a decision," my mom said between tears she was trying to dry. I looked at her, at my dad standing silently. We were all trying to be very strong, but I think it just wasn't going very smoothly.
  "Okay. How about I go home for the week and leave on Sunday. It'll give us time to figure things out. None of my classes really have attendance, and in most I just take notes, so it shouldn't matter," I said hoping to convince them. My mom wiped her tears as my dad raised his eyebrows.
  In a few minutes I packed and got ready to go. My parents agreed because they were going to have to do a lot of legal changes as well as buy new clothes, etc. At first mom tried to make it sound like I'd tried to change and told me I'd have to handle all the legality -- name change, sex change, photo ids, etc. My dad told me that we'd hire a lawyer or something and just try to get things done quickly. It made me almost cringe to think that both my parents would have to spend more money on me. They were already paying for my college tuition and board, so I started to feel really guilty.
  On the drive home, I sighed when I realized that I hadn't even been changed for twenty-four hours yet. But a day is a lot longer when you don't sleep eight hours of it away. The usual nap while driving home wasn't going to happen, so I read a book.
  Upon arriving at home I sat down to rest. I didn't need it though. No aches and pains all over, no car cramping. So instead, I made myself a nice sandwich. It was really good, even better than it was when I came home normally. My mom and dad sat down in the living room and I sat down as well.
  "Okay Wayne. What is the deal?" my Mom asked trying to look calm as she sipped her coffee. Her tone of voice suggested that I had better answer quickly. My dad just rocked silently in his chair.
  "Well, I was on this e-mail story writing list. It's called TSA-talk. It writes stories that are about people transforming into things. I wro... "
  "What kind of things?" my father asked cutting me off.
  "Well, all sorts of stuff. Animals, inanimate objects...
  "Girls apparently," my mother chimed in not too sweetly.
  "... yes, girls and women too. Anyways, everyone on the TSA list transformed, though I'm really not sure if it follows any rhyme or reason yet. I know that I'm a character from one of my superhero stories," I said, trying not to reveal more than I was willing yet.
  "Really? So did it involve some gay guy turning into a woman?" my dad spat out, the venom in his voice a surprising display of intolerance.
  "He wasn't gay. And it wasn't just a woman. Observe the great me in my newest magic trick -- drop of green digestive stuff!" I said as I dropped a bead of the greenish substance onto my sandwich and watched it fizzle. It wasn't very funny, but it did make my parents pay attention.
  "Anyways, I can do this because my body is made of a colony of bacteria and viruses, though they don't attack people and make them sick at random or anything. It just means I'm virtually immortal and my body can assimilate cells from anything. However, if the CDC were to realize this, it's likely I will be locked away or... exterminated," I finished, trying to give a little time to let it sink in. My parents were starting to look anxious and worried, so I decided to tell them the plan.
  "So you're going to tell this to everyone? Do you think anyone will find out?" my mom asked nervously after a quick rendition of my mock story.
  "I just won't get any checkups or anything, that's all. Avoid the doctor's office and getting cleaved in half or something and I should probably be fine," I said as calmly as I could. Talking about my demise, incarceration, and having to keep up a conspiracy made me feel just a little on edge. I barely even registered the fact I was talking about my life as if it were just a game to play, dodging all my invisible enemies who didn't even know they were after me yet. Hey, I already said I was paranoid.
  We sat and discussed the little technical details. My non-immediate family would learn exactly what I'd said and none of the real story. I was going to get the legal changes done sometime tomorrow if possible and I needed to go clothes shopping, one of the things about being a girl that did not thrill me much.
  So the day started to go by. My sisters Katie and Kelly both were freaked out, despite outward understanding. Katie looked at me really weird a few times as we discussed anime, Kelly attempted to give me hugs and tried to joke about it like she knew what it was like and that she had friends who'd been there before. I love my sisters, but sometimes Kelly oversteps her bounds a bit and says something that just makes me livid.
  Something like 'Hey, Wayne's got bigger boobs than Kate!' True, but really just a stupid comment.
  Eventually, my parents came around to the talk. Kelly and Katie went somewhere else, though I wasn't sure if it was voluntary or commanded. Either way, it was just my parents and I.
  "So are you gay?"
  "Are you insane, do you need help?"
  "When did you join the list?"
  "About two years back."
  "Why didn't you check it out with us?"
  "You wouldn't have understood or approved."
  "So you snuck it behind our backs?"
  "I guess."
  "Did you think you could hide this from us forever?"
  "Yes, I could have if reality didn't come crashing down around my head all of a sudden!"
  "So you would have lied to cover your tracks?"
  "As much as necessary. You would assume I had a problem and try to get me help, Dad would have been thoroughly disgusted, I knew how much you hated gay people, and this was even worse! I didn't even know the name for it until years later! I've been thinking this way since around sixth grade and it never went away. I'd like to be normal for you, but I can't. If will alone could have banished the way I think it would be gone. It's not like I made a decision, it just was the way I thought. I don't know why."
  This was the point I had to stop and cry. I'd built up a shelter of paranoia, hiding behind my facade of a completely heterosexual sensitive male kind of thing. Then again, I wasn't sure if I wasn't hetero either. I never thought about myself sexually as a man with another man, but as a woman? Then it seemed to make sense to me. Don't know why, it just does. Hetero or hetero, just two sides of a coin.
  We dropped the point and my mom picked up McDonalds. I ordered as much as I normally do, because I knew the digestion of this body was less energy efficient than normal and required more food, despite the smaller size. I ate with my sisters, tried to hide my tears (they were not green, thank goodness). We ate dinner, watched a movie, and then Dave came over.