Jan 26, 8:45am
Based upon requests of various interested persons, I've started a diary of my experiences
after the EVENT. Hopefully they well 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 both to keep true to my experiences, and
make it at least a little enjoyable to read.
Oh, and (of course) places and names of others have been changed to protect the innocent
and all that. So let's get started and complete an entire day! Unfortunately, things
aren't really going faster as this day is slightly longer than the previous day...
No. I successfully disbelieve.
BZZZZZZZ! BZZZZZZZZZ! BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
Usually forced disbelief works for an absurd event, but not this time.
I stumbled upwards and yawned and stretched, arching my back and my tail so that they
I'm going to rip the stupid thing out of the wall if this keeps up.
BZZZZZZZZ! BZZZ! BZZZ! BZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
I backed up, slipping on the cushions, rotated around when I had room, and walked over and
pressed the talk button: "Yes!?"
Ok, so I probably should have been a bit more polite. I wasn't all the way awake yet.
Pressed listen: "Mr. Bard, I'm sorry..."
Pressed talk: "Can't it be later? Centaurs do have to sleep."
Pressed listen: "I'm Thomas Extansor from the Globe, we met on the TTC
yesterday." He sounded desperate.
TTC? Was he the person who helped me get on. I turned on the entrance hall (well, more of
a cubicle) light and stared into it for about fifteen seconds to try and wake up a bit
before I twisted back to face the panel. Pressed talk: "Sorry, I'm not at the best in
the morning. Do you just want to ask some..." I yawned. "Sorry. Oh, and Thank
you for yesterday."
Pressed listen: "I really need to talk to you - it seems, well I wrote up an article
about your problems with the TTC and it made the front page of this morning's Metro and
the back page of the first section of the Globe, and there has been reaction."
Pressed talk: "Good or bad."
Pressed listen: "Lots."
A pause. Then I pressed talk: "Lots?"
Pressed listen: "I dropped by after the first reactions started pouring in to talk to
you. I think you're going to need some encouragement."
Pressed talk: "Ooookaaay. You're alone, right?"
Pressed listen: "Just me. No cameras, no interview, just a talk."
Pressed talk: "Ok, I'll let you in, but it'll be a few minutes before I'm ready - I
just want to put something on."
Pressed listen:"I'll be up there momentarily and waiting."
Pressed talk: "Ok." Then I pressed the button to let him in.
After backing into the living room, I rotated around and made my way into the washroom. I
skipped shaving and combing my hair, but I did use mouthwash. Then I backed out, rotated,
and squeezed into my bedroom, or former bedroom, and grabbed my other sweater (which was
an off tan colour and would probably go better with my cream hide). Then I grabbed my
glasses and put them on and then I squeezed back into the living room and walked to the
door, making a quick check to make sure I'd thrown the other sweater in the hamper since
it had certainly needed it, and it looked like I had.
A quick check through the peephole, and it was indeed the person from yesterday, and then
a couple of steps back so that I could open the door. "Come in, Mr..."
"Extansor, Thomas Extansor. And thank you."
"Unfortunately I can't hold the door for you if I want to make room for you to get
in." As he just nodded, I backed up into the living room and he followed, letting the
door thud shut behind him. When I felt my hind legs step on one of the couch cushions, I
stopped. "Would you like to sit down?" I pointed at the chair. "I apologize
for the little bit of mess, but I'm still trying to adjust things."
"Not a problem, Thanks." And he sat down. "Can you sit, or..."
"I consider it as laying down." I stepped backward until I was on the far side
of the cushions and then I leaned down and straightened them before stepping back forward
and letting myself collapse downward. "Thank you." I wiggled a bit to get
comfortable, forcing my tail to remain still, and then asked, "So why did you want to
He sighed, moved around a little, and than began, "I thought that I should at least
warn you of what was coming. After I ran into you yesterday, I wrote up what you'd gone
through with the TTC for the Column - you know what I mean?"
"Yes. Please go on." For those of you who aren't in Toronto, 'The Column' is a
section in the Metro where various people spout out about various things. Some serious,
some humourous. Usually it's the most interesting bit of the paper. But I digress...
"It seems that the heads liked it so much that they moved it to the front page and
even placed it on the back page of the Globe and Mail. I had to add a little bit, but that
"Hmm. What did you say?"
"No, no, nothing bad about you. Just a brief description of what happened, and then a
bit about what this means to Toronto and to civilization. You're a person, and the TTC
eventually recognized that, and I stated that it was important that everybody recognized
"Do you have a copy?"
He opened his coat and pulled a neatly folded Metro from the inner pocket and handed it to
me. "The Globe and Mail is identical, although the picture is black and white instead
I nodded as I unfolded it and then just stared in shocked silence. There I was, or at
least a picture of myself in glorious printed colour, gracing the front page. Apparently
somebody had taken a picture of my discussion with the TTC attendant and the picture
showed me from behind with my right fore hoof on the booth and my one hand raised to make
I hadn't even realized I was moving my hand - I'd been having too much fun.
Then a sudden fear struck me and I looked more carefully at the picture. Thank God, my
tail had covered certain embarrassing parts.
Finally I read through the article. The first half of the article was a paraphrased
version of the debate that was essentially correct. Had I really said that much?
From the chair I heard a shuffling of feet and then, "I had a mini tape recorder with
And the rest was also as he'd said, a general note about what being a person means, and a
comment that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms didn't define a person as human
in anyway, but did specify that any individual regardless of race had rights. For your
information I've included the appropriate bit that he quoted from the Equality Rights
"15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the
equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular,
without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex,
age or mental or physical disability."
Note: For those interested in a complete copy of this document, go to:
http://www.laurentia.com/ccrf/ccrf.htm. Now back to the diary.
When I was finished I lowered the paper and looked back at him. "I don't see anything
wrong with this."
"Look at the letters section."
Lifting the paper back up I went to inside the back page (the back page is always an ad).
The first thing I noticed wasn't the letters but the comics. There aren't many, but there
is always a one panel piece of transit humour. This time it showed a street car with the
usual driver. Behind the driver I could see that the street care was full of centaurs, and
the caption (said by the driver) stated, 'I thought horse carriages went out years ago' I
"You read the Transit Tickler?"
I looked up and nodded.
"I'm glad you find it funny, because other's won't"
"What do you mean?"
"Other's may make the connection that you'll be kicking them off the system because
of the room you need."
"You'd think. Read the letters."
I turned back to the paper. Usually there are just three letters, but this time the entire
previous page was full of them. I started reading them. A lot were from university
students supporting me, but a few were openly hostile. I frowned.
"And those were from last night. With the country-wide exposure it's just going to
get worst. Almost all of the rest of those who've changed have been keeping a low profile.
I looked up at him as he continued.
"Most of the US papers have already asked permission to run this and we didn't say
no. Tomorrow it'll be all over the continent."
"Good? You haven't seen the letters that have been coming in this morning. True, most
of them support you, and that seemed to be a positive sign, until one of the secretaries
pointed out the general source negative letters."
"Some background first. Most letters are written by the educated middle class.
University students, teachers, professionals, etc. That's because they have the skills,
the time, and the intellectual environment to express their opinions. But almost all of
the negative letters were written by what could be called the wage earners. Truck drivers,
fast food restaurant servers, taxi drivers, that kind of thing. Now it isn't an absolute
dichotomy, and this is a bit of a generalization, but there is a large bias for the
intellectuals to support you, and for the wager earners no to."
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion."
"And that's going to be the problem. Yes, legally you have your rights. You are a
citizen. You have birth records, you have voted, you've paid taxes. This means that you
have a legal paper trail. But, almost all of law is based upon the unwritten assumption
that it applies to humans, not animals. Until this week that wasn't a problem. There has
been debate about dolphins, for example, but never any argument over whether they were
humans or animals. They were animals. And now there are those who have changed like
"So, what's the problem?"
"Nobody's really gotten into this debate yet, but it's going to start. It has to now
that there are a group of people who are trapped halfway between. And that's going to
bring the extremists out. You might be in danger."
"Danger? Why would anybody want to hurt me? This is Canada, not the US. We're
He smiled. "But you have become a center. All the others that were changed have
stayed low. Most are in hiding, a few are known but they have surrounded themselves with
supporters and stayed out of the public at large. As an example, there's a dragon that has
become the official mascot for a university in the US. He's known about, but it isn't
walking the streets of New York figuratively rubbing people's noses in his existence. You
are." He sighed. "I think you should go into hiding for a while."
"Just until it cools down a little and people have more time to get use to your
existence. Right now it's too new, too sudden. People are afraid..."
"Why. It's been proven that we're not catching..."
"Not in three days. Sure, there is no biological agent that could do this, and it has
been stated as such, but nobody has had enough time to scientifically prove
"And they never will. You can't prove a negative."
"But you can prove it to a reasonable point, and that will take time. And until that
happens, public opinion is going to become more and more polarized."
I sighed through my slits. "I'm not going to hide."
"The first day I experienced this new form I resolved that I would not let it control
me. That I would keep doing what I wanted to do as much as I could. I refuse to flee and
hide just because I'm different."
"It would only be temporary."
"Like income taxes?" Note that in Canada (at least) income taxes were introduced
as a temporary measure to help fund World War I.
He smiled. "Not that long." Then his face straightened. "But I am serious.
Consider this - you've heard about the fight that woman had to make to get the right to
I started to nod and then stopped.
I was starting to realize what he was getting at.
"You've realized it, haven't you?"
"It's not going to be easy is it?"
"And this is just the beginning. I don't know who's realized this yet, but if your
kind are accepted as 'humans' under the law, then the animal activists are going to start
bringing dolphins, whales, gorillas, and who knows what else into it. Eventually either
there will be slavery, or an entire new definition for legal purposes of sentience."
"And that has it's own meaning."
He nodded. "I almost wonder if some kind of alien race did this to force us to grow
as a civilization and come to grips with this before they introduce themselves."
I didn't smile as I asked, "Do you really believe that?"
"I don't know. Nobody knows, so it's as good an explanation as any." He smiled
for a bit, then frowned and leaned back, embarrassed. "I do, sort of, have an apology
and a request to make to and of you."
He pulled out a miniature tape recorder. "I've been recording this..."
"Wait and let me finish, please."
"I recorded our conversation in case you did decide to stay. I would like to
transcribe it and publish it as an interview."
"I think it will be helpful if you're going to continue on. I didn't want to mention
it at first because I didn't want to force you into the course you're taking. I don't
think I could do it. But, you convinced me earlier, and confirmed it now - I bet the pool
at the office that you would."
"A pool at the office, eh?"
"Ok, then yes you can use it..."
"A couple of things. First, I don't want anything put in about how you approached me,
or how I reacted. Just the points we talked about describing what I was going to do and
how I was going to do it. Yes, you can repeat the last bit when you made me realize what I
was getting into verbatim. I think it might sound better from you."
"Anything else then?"
"A couple things you might find useful. About fifteen years ago while I was in
university I worked at cleaning an RCMP office over the summer. I think it was in '85.
Anyway, they had to run a security check and everything, and my fingerprints were on file
because of that and probably still are. That might be useful as more official
documentation for the proper side."
"Good thought. You had the same name."
"Anything else then?"
"Not for now. However, I want you to know that I truly admire you for what you are
about to do."
I didn't know what to say so I just let him continue.
"And I have this for you." He pulled out a cell phone.
I hate the stupid things. I had one for a while and then I got rid of it. In fact I still
wince whenever the stupid things ring on the bus or the subway, and I guess my reaction
must have shown.
"No, nothing like that. It's not a gift, it's more like insurance. I've keyed in a
direct line to my cell, to the Globe's answering desk (with the number I keyed in you'll
be put right through) and 911 just in case."
My voice changed to a whisper. "Just in case."
"I want you to keep it just in case the worse happens."
All I could do was nod as he stood up and handed me the cell phone.
"Mr. Bard, I'm honoured to have known you."
I stumbled to my feet and shook his hand, and then watched as he turned and left, unable
to speak or move as he opened the door and let it thud close behind him.
Then I just stood there staring at the closed door. I'm not sure how long I stood there,
or even how I managed to keep standing, before I finally, carefully, put the cell phone
down on the couch and then collapsed onto the cushions. Of course I'd heard about the
fight for emancipation, for the vote, but it had always been abstract. Most of the
knowledge was from Saturday morning TV bits (Schoolhouse Rock and all that). The Canadian
education establishment had never been that big on Canadian history.
And now I was in the middle of it.
What the hell was I going to do? I couldn't do this!
But then what would I do? Hide?
How could I do this?
Then I stopped, and breathed in through my mouth and out through my slits to calm down.
I remembered Wednesday. That morning I'd felt the same thing. Overwhelming panic and a
million things to think about. But then I just went and did things one at a time.
And that was what I had to do now. One thing at a time.
I stood up with new resolve. I would just keep doing what I was doing. What I wanted to
do, and what I needed to do to work and earn a living. And I would deal with things as
they came up, one at a time.
Looking at the VCR I checked the time. Just before 9:30. Well, lots of time before I had
to meet the farrier, so I pulled off the sweater and went through my morning ritual
properly, including using the washroom (both ways this time - the second was unpleasant -
I ended up using a big mixing bowel in the bath tub, rubber gloves, and lots of after
cleaning). That took until 10:40. Then I started the computer and did a quick search for
the Bill of Rights and did find a copy. A word search revealed that the word
"human" was no where within it. I was about to start looking for a copy of the
US Constitution out of curiosity when someone buzzed, so I backed up and answered and
found, with relief, that it was a courier package from Medic Alert. I let the delivery
person up and signed where indicated while he just stared. The bracelet fit on fine and
was simply labeled - 'centaur' and a number. Closing the door I got back to my computer
and continued my search, eventually finding a copy on one of the Gutenburg Project sites
(go to http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/docs/books/gutenberg/ - lots of stuff there) and it
apparently used 'person' and 'citizen' but it also did not have 'human' anywhere. Of
course, the copy I checked didn't have the amendments so the anti-slavery amendment might
have dangerous wording.
I started to look for a more complete copy and then checked the time. It was almost 11:30
- nearly time for shoeing!
Knowing my schedule, I shutdown the computer, grabbed my shoulder bag and tossed in my
roleplaying books and dice, dressed warmly, tossed my wallet in and, after a momentary
pause while I held and looked at it, tossed in the cell phone. Then it was a matter of
squeezing around to open the door and then out and into the hallway, a rotation, and then
I locked the door behind me. Then it was down the stairwell and out, and then a quick trip
north to the Coffee Time and another two dozen doughnuts (I wanted more but I had no way
to carry them). I really had to eat better, but I hadn't had time to try and figure out
some kind of affordable diet. Then it was back south down Yonge St, west on Cheritan, than
south on Duplex. Other than a few car horns on Yonge, and a few cars on Duplex who slowed
to gawk, I didn't run into anybody or have any problems.
Then I was at the park. I walked over to the field by one of the baseball diamonds and
waited whilst nibbling on doughnuts. The farrier arrived at, by my watch, 12:03. Note that
I'm not finicky about time, I just had nothing else to do while waiting.
The van she drove up in was white with the symbol of the stables she worked at cleanly
stenciled on the side. As she was stopping I finished off the last of the doughnuts and
walked over to her, coming to a stop beside the van just as she finished walking around
"Now where..." She stopped when she saw me.
"Good day. I told you I needed your help."
She looked me up and down, forwards and back. "I guess you do. Well, follow me around
to the back and let's get started."
I followed behind her, my hooves crunching in the snow, and waited while she opened up the
back. There was a forge there, but it was back out of the way. Instead at the very back of
the van where it could be reached easily was a device that looked like some kind of metal
anvil and consisted of three short metal posts in a triangle on a heavy stand.
"Do you mind if I put my bag in the back for now?" I held my shoulder bag and
then placed it in as she nodded.
Then she turned and walked a short distance from the van and I followed.
I stopped and watched as she walked around to my rear.
"Well let's see here..." she mumbled to herself as she kneeled down and grabbed
my right rear hoof.
I pulled it out of her grasp and stepped forward. "Hey!"
She looked up. "Oh my, I'm sorry. I'm just so use to shoeing, well, horses. Usually
the owner just stands by while I do my work, unless the horse doesn't like having its
I smiled. "Don't worry, it's been a learning week for me to."
"Shall we start again?"
"Just ask and you shall receive."
And then she asked, and I let her raise my right rear hoof. "Let's see. No cracks. I
see a chip here - been on the pavement I see - but nothing else. Doesn't need trimming
either." Then she pulled a little camera out from her pocket and took a picture.
"I like to document my work on new horses so that if there are any problems we can
trace back and try and figure it out."
"Can't argue with that. Maybe I should pass that on to the Medic Alert people."
"I'm getting that set up since I do have somewhat of a unique medical
She shook her head and then started working her way around the rest of my hooves, taking a
picture of each and mumbling the same kind of things. Fortunately there were no real
problems. Finally she finished her examination and she turned for a second to look for
somebody, then blushed, and turned to me.
"Well?" I asked.
"Like I said, everything's in fair shape. Your hooves are on the large side, even
though you are small as a horse goes but very long legged. It's a good thing I brought a
variety of sizes. Now, as per our discussion of yesterday, I brought primarily rubber
horseshoes. Also, since you really couldn't plan this out, as you said, and it is an
emergency, I'm not going to charge you anything for the short notice."
"That's a relief. I hadn't budgeted for owning a horse."
She laughed. "Well, let's get started then. I'll try and describe what I'm doing
while I work. Feel free to ask questions, but if I ignore you then it's not that I'm being
impolite, I'm just concentrating on something."
Then she turned and walked and jumped back into the van, fiddled around a bit, and then
jumped out carrying three rubber shoes of differing sizes. "May I see you right rear
hoof again please?"
I dutifully raised it up and twisted and watched as she first pulled out a hook and rubbed
it against the inside of my hoof - I could feel it distantly - and then a brush which she
brushed the base with. Only then did she hold the medium sized shoe against the base of
the hoof, and then she tried the larger size. "Good, the larger one'll fit quite
I watched while she held it against my hoof and then moved it around a bit. It could feel
it as a distant coolness, but I might also have been imagining the sensation. Finally she
let go of my hoof and called, "You can put your hoof down now," and I dutifully
obeyed. "And now comes the fun part. You should probably come and watch."
I rotated around, followed her back to the van, and watched while she clamped the
horseshoe between the three posts and then winced from the scraping sound as she pulled
out a two-foot metal rod which she put into a hole below one of the posts. "The
problem with shoeing is that each horse, and centaur, are individuals. There are certain
common hoof sizes, but always little differences. And if it wasn't for the little
differences..." at that point she started pushing the bar which I saw was causing the
one pole to move and hence bending the shoe, "...I wouldn't have a job."
"If it's rubber, why are you shaping it?"
Grunt, "Actually it's only a thick layer of rubber on a metal frame. It's the metal
frame that I have to bend to make the shoe bend. Fortunately hooves are generally
symmetrical so I only have to bend it inward or outward. Hoo!" She wiped her
forehead. "That should do it."
I watched as she let go of the bar and unclamped the shoe and pulled it off. Then she
reached back and got a hammer, a bunch of nails which she put in a pouch that was at her
waist, and a portable stool. Then she turned towards me.
I stared. "You're going to hammer those nails into me?"
"Of course, but you won't feel a thing."
"How do you know that?"
"Well, nobody's every complained."
"Because the human owner just stands and watches."
She stopped right beside me. "You're right. Well, now you can let me know."
"You're welcome. Raise your right rear hoof please?"
I complied and then twisted to watcher her place the stood and then cradle my hoof between
her knees. Then, again, she pulled out the little brush and scraped at the hoof.
"What are you brushing?"
"I'm just making sure nothing gets between the shoe and your hoof. Now shush and let
me work. Note that I don't always hold the leg this way, but it does make it easier. Now
As I watched, trying to keep my tail still and to keep my body from shuddering, she held
the shoe over my hoof. She fiddled with it a moment more and then pulled a nail out of the
pouch and carefully placed it in a hole in the horseshoe.
I closed my eyes.
TAP. It felt like somebody had hit my foot with a piece of wood, but not hard. I could
feel the shock distantly on the base of my foot, and could feel it bounce up the bones in
my lower leg, but that was it.
"Did it hurt?"
I opened my eyes. "No. I could feel it though, but it wasn't painful."
And then she continued. TAP. TAP. TAP TAP.
"Done the first nail."
Then she went through the rest of the nails one by one.
"All done." She stood up and pulled the stool out of the way and I let my lower
leg fall to the ground. "How does it feel?"
"It feels oddly heavy and unbalanced. Like I was wearing one shoe, while one shoe
when I was still human, and had the other foot bare."
"Try tapping your leg."
I lifted it up and down and felt it thudding into the snow.
"Does it feel loose at all? Can you feel anything banging or hanging loosely?"
"No. Should I?"
"No. Raise it up and I'll double check." I did and she checked. "Looks
"How would I know if it is loose?"
"Well, I don't know. Horses just, well, do. They tend to start favouring the leg. I
would guess you would feel something out of balance or tapping against your foot as you
"I'll try to remember that."
Then, with me watching, she worked her way through two more of my hoofs, following the
same steps. For the last hoof, my right fore hoof, after brushing it she held the hammer
out towards me and asked me to do it.
"You should learn. That way if you throw a shoe you can attach it yourself."
"It's simple. Each shoe has a kind of lip at the front which you rest against the
front of the hoof. Then you center the shoe on the hoof, and tap a nail into each hole.
The hard skill to learn is the shaping of the shoe with I've already done. I'll leave you
a hammer and some nails and a spare shoe when I leave." Then she held the hammer,
nails, and shoe out to me.
Gingerly I grasped them, and ended up holding most of the nails in my teeth (not having
convenient pockets) and keeping two in my hand. Then I raised my right fore hoof as high
as it could until it was against my right flank and about half way up. Leaning and
twisting I managed to reach it and fiddle with the horseshoe.
"There you got it."
I carefully extracted a nail from my hand holding the shoe and held it in place, also
holding the shoe, and then I tapped it in.
Tap. TAP. TAP TAP.
"That's good, now the next."
A few minutes later it was done and I handed the hammer and remaining nails back to her.
"I have one more thing for you. I brought them because I knew you'd be in snow a
lot." Then she walked back to the van and brought out a cloth bag and pulled out what
looked like a golfclub cover. "This is what is known as a popper."
A popper. I'd read about those. "You slip it over the leg and shoe, centering the
ball in the middle so that it pops in and out so that snow doesn't get trapped inside the
hallow of the hoof."
"You've been studying, haven't you?"
She handed one to me and I slid it on. It wasn't tight and there was a velcro strap at the
top which I sealed.
She checked it. "A little tighter," and then she tightened it.
I put my foot down and lifted it and heard a faint pop as the ball bounced up forcing out
any snow. The popping (of course) is what gave them their name. Then I put the other three
on and just stood in place.
"How does it feel?"
"I can't even tell that either the shoes or the poppers are there."
"That's what we want. Try walking."
I took a step, hearing a faint pop as I lifted each foot. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.
"How does it feel?"
"Then let's see you go faster. Work your way up to a gallop gradually and stop
immediately if you feel anything wrong."
"Whatever you say."
I should mention here that one of the interesting thing's I've found about being a centaur
is that unlike a human, I have distinct foot patterns for different speeds. Thus, instead
of running I have to switch gears and change the way I move my legs. So, first I rotated
and starting walking: pop pop pop pop. Then I sped up to a trot: poppop poppop. Next a
canter: pop poppop pop. And finally I stretched into a slow gallop: poppop pop pop ...
"How is it?"
I decided to see how fast I could go so I started stretching myself. As I'd noticed
earlier as I galloped, the movement of my legs acted as a bellows with my lungs, so that
when my legs were stretched out to the front and back I would inhale, and as my legs
almost met in the middle I would exhale. As I moved faster and faster I felt my breath
come faster and faster to match my galloping, but I wasn't hard. But then, too soon, my
glasses started to fog up so I shifted down to a canter and then to a trot and then to a
walk and then, finally, I stopped.
I heard her voice in the distance behind me "What's wrong?!"
Twisting around so that I could see here, I shouted back, "Nothing! Just my
She stopped and shook her head. Then, holding the glasses in my hand, I twisted back so
that I was facing forward and then started walking, and then trotting, and then cantering,
and then galloping. Then I keep speeding up, letting myself loose, until my breath was
rapidly whoosing in and out through my gaping mouth, my nose, and my straining breathing
slits. Oddly, I did not feel short of breath, it was just that I needed to breath in and
But it was wonderful.
I could feel my whole body working together as one. My legs pounding up and down in
synchronization and their movement helping my lungs billow in and out. My hooves pounding
into the snow covered ground and sending the thud of impact up through my legs where bones
and muscles flexed and helped pump my blood through my body. My upper torso leaning about
45 degrees downward and moving slightly to the right and left to keep balance as my hands
moving slightly to help it out.
And as I rapidly sucked air in, I could begin to scent what was in it. At the back of my
neck I could feel sweat, and smell its odour through my breathing slit. I could smell the
dry brittleness of dead grass churned up from under the snow, the stinging scent of fresh
rubber flexing, the cold crispness of old snow being thrown off behind me. Below it all I
could hear a faint and almost continual popping as my hooves left the ground and for a
second I flew.
The only thing wrong was the glasses in my hand and I almost threw those away to purify
Finally, regretfully, after only a minute or two, I swung around and pounded my way back
to the street where she was waiting. I rapidly reached a gallop and after less than a
minute I popped to a stop, shifting down from gait to gait, until I was standing in front
of her. I could feel the sweat glistening on my flanks and I was taking in great gulps of
air, but nothing like the speed I'd been breathing while I was in motion, and I did not
feel the least out of breath.
In fact I wasn't even tired and felt like I could have kept going for hours.
"That was...amazing. How do you run so fast?" She started walking around me.
"And what are those things on your neck?"
"They're breathing slits so that my face can look human."
"Breathing slits? You should be able to get enough through just your nostrils, though
you might need your mouth occasionally."
"But don't horse's need lots of air?"
"Not that much. Generally they just breathe through their nostrils unless really
winded." She paused. "Maybe that's it."
"When you were at your fastest, how were you breathing?"
"I was breathing in sync with my leg movement, through my nose, mouth, and breathing
slits. The breaths were deep and rapid."
"That might be it. With the breathing slits you have an exceptionally large air
refresh rate. Maybe with the extra capacity you can afford a higher oxygen circulation
rate. A higher rate would increase your abilities and it would prevent an anabolic deficit
in your muscles."
However, I wasn't really listening to her explanation, but instead just remembering the
feeling. I tried to describe it to her, but my words then, like my words now, didn't do
the sensation justice.
Finally, for almost the first time, I silently thanked God or whomever for my
After that the rest of the day went fairly quickly. I talked with her about other things
as she brushed me down and I watched as she did it. It felt different from the mop, much
better, and it helped relieve aches I didn't even know I had. Then she gave me a pair of
brushes, a spare shoe roughly shaped (in case I threw one and couldn't find it), and a pat
on the lower back. "Sorry, habit," she apologized. Then, with very little urging
from her, I put my glasses in the van and galloped around the park about ten times as she
took pictures. By the tenth time I was starting to feel winded so I did have limits, but
it felt SOOO good. Finally, as she watched, I brushed myself and made note of her
critiques, but I had to let her do my hind quarters. I explained about the mop handle I
was going to screw to the brush and she nodded. She also suggested that I might want to
wear a helmet of some kind, like riders wore, in case I stumbled so that my skull had
extra protection. Also some kind of reflective symbol or vest so that I could be seen by
cars wouldn't hurt. I agreed.
After all that, she finally packed up, thanked me for how nice I was, ran my credit card
through, and gave me her business card with her cell number written on in ink in case I
ever had an emergency. And she arranged to come back in a couple of weeks to show me how
to trim my hooves since they didn't need it yet.
And then she was gone.
Well. As it was almost 3 I turned and raced through the park with my shoulder bag banging
against my side, and then, regretfully slowed down to trot through the paths alongside of
the recreation center. I passed some people and they stared, although I wasn't sure if it
was because of me, or because of the popping sound I made as I trotted by. Then it was
across Eglinton, south to Davisville, east back to Yonge, and then to my doctor's medical
building. Well, not his, but where his office was.
I decided to avoid the revolving door and waited for the elevator in the lobby. I was NOT
going to go up six floors worth of narrow stairs. There was whispering behind me, but no
comments that I could make out, so I ignored the whisperings until the elevator came. Then
it was up to the sixth floor and then a wait. I took off my poppers, shook them dry and
put them on the boot rack, and then stood and waited.
The secretary was not amused, although I think more at the fact that I WAS a centaur, than
at what I did. I did point out that I'd told her. A few minutes later (my doctor is
actually usually on time) he came and I followed him into his examination room. There, for
the next hour, we went through all the tests. He didn't comment much (after all, what WAS
my blood pressure supposed to be?) but he did find my heart, measured my pulse (much
slower and stronger than it used to be) and confirmed that there was indeed nothing but
muscle in my upper chest. He also checked my breathing slits and confirmed that they
appeared to be structured similarly to my nostrils. It also turned out that they joined my
esophagus just below my neck. Finally he arranged blood and urine tests of various kinds
for tomorrow, and stated that he would be sure to pass the information on to Medic Alert
when he got it.
Of course the tests meant that I couldn't eat anything, and that I couldn't drink anything
other than water after 7 tonight, but I'd just make sure to have a big supper. I also got
him to promise to refer me to a veterinarian in the city in the near future, one who knew
about horses. That left him shaking his head. Then I left.
Next I went to my friend's house. I'd be a little early, but it wasn't worth it to go home
first. I really wanted to gallop across the Don Valley, but regretfully decided to be more
sedate. I didn't take the subway since I knew I'd have problems trying to squeeze into an
eastbound car to get to Broadview because all the cars would be packed from rush hour.
Thus I went east down Davisville and then along Eglinton and across the valley at a steady
popping trot, and arrived about 5:30.
The evening was fun, and my friends, although joking about my new appetite, didn't mention
anything else about my appearance. There was a lively debate about whether I could change
my race from dwarf to centaur, but after debating with them for a while, I finally decided
to play a dwarf as planned. The reason was simple - I needed all the normalcy I could get,
and playing a dwarf would get my mind off my being a centaur. Playing a centaur would
definitely NOT achieve that aim.
And then, finally, it was home. This time I did take the subway and didn't have any
problems, although the other people in the same car moved to the opposite end when I
walked aboard. I could hear them whispering but didn't want to make anything of it. I had
wanted to hoof it, but also wanted to keep my presence on the TTC to keep the ball
And then, finally after arriving home, I did one more thing before I went to bed. Using a
screwdriver, rubber gloves, a pair of scissors, and electrical tape, I unscrewed the door
buzzer panel, cut one of the wires that fed into the speaker, and then wrapped the end
with electrical tape.
Now I WOULD sleep in.
Various programs copyright their owners, particularly Microsoft. No claim or
infringement is made on any copyrights or trademarks legally held.
There, that takes care of the legal stuff.