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Peggy, and The Dream
by Jack deMule
Jack deMule -- all rights reserved

Before the Martian flu my life was tolerable. I'd lie down under the aspens and watch the horses graze. I wanted to be a horse.

As a child did you ever want a special toy, a Christmas gift perhaps? Can you remember laying awake at night, wishing for it, the thought of it causing a pain in your chest? Or maybe it was your first love at caused you such heartache. It comes to everyone at some time in their life.

I wanted to be a horse. Only the realization that it was impossible tempered the pain. No one can

be a horse. It's just a silly day dream, something to while away the time, I told myself. Then came the plague they called the Martian flu, and with it came it scabs.

Only a relatively few people who contracted the flu developed scabs, but their influence is pervasive. I notice them everywhere. A man with the head of a wolf in the check-out line of grocery store. The cat lady waiting for a buss. They are nothing when compared to the centaur on the six o'clock news, trying to reassure me that I don't have to worry about developing scabs if I've already had the flu.

I hated them and I wanted them gone from my life, from this world. You see, I'm normal. What a cruel twist of fate it is, to rob me of my one chance to realize my dream, and leave me with constant reminders to break down the insulation of forgetfulness.

Then I saw the horse-girl in the park. She was wandering aimlessly, talking to herself between bouts of crying. Despite her disheveled appearance, and tear streaked face, I was astounded by her beauty. She looked like Bettie Page from the waist up. The most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, grafted atop the hindquarters of a black Arabian mare. She could have been the daughter of Silenus, but she lacked the ears of a horse.

I walked right up to her and without any hesitation demanded to know why she was crying. She recoiled from me in fear. I suppose we normals had been rough on someone who was so obviously a scab. Then she screamed at me. "Look at me! How can you ask me that? Why is everyone so mean?" I could feel my anger rise, then to my surprise it was replaced by a deep sadness.

I almost smiled. Then, in a weary voice, I tried to explain. "I'm trying to be mean. You just don't understand. More than anything in the world I want to be a horse. But the flu left me as a normal, and without hope. For being even part horse I envy you more than you can imagine." She looked confused, maybe shocked. I guess the thought that someone might want to be a scab had never occurred to her.

My anger at the scabs was spent. Their longing to be normal was obscured by my desire to be transformed. At that moment I felt a growing kinship with the scabs. I had more in common with them than the normals that I associated with. I was pondering that uncomfortable thought as I turned to leave. "Wait, don't go" she sighed. "You really want to be a horse? You don't know what your asking for. A couple of minutes ago some school children spit on me as I was walking home. Then they chased me into the park. "

"I want to be a horse more than anything" I replied with a sheepish grin. "Please, if you don't mind, tell me what it's like. How does it feel to be part horse?" For a second she looked as if she might smile. "Well it's not all bad, but how about you telling me your name first?" I hesitated. "Randall, but I prefer Randy." She stepped forward and extended her hand. Randy, my name's Peggy."

Peggy scrutinized me. Wondering what my intentions were. Was this just an elaborate joke?

"You really want to know what it's like to be a scab? You know, you're the first normal that's asked. Even my own family doesn't want to talk about it."

I looked down at me feet, and muttered something about my family being embarassed by my horse obsession. When I looked up I noticed she had moved a step closer. She put her hand on my shoulder.

"Let's go somewhere where we can talk. I know a bar on the next block, a scab bar called The Blind Pig. Have you eaten lunch yet?"

A scab bar, I thought, they can be pretty rough on normals sometimes. There's a lot of resentment on both sides. The though of going to a scab bar made me more than a bit uncomfortable. Still, I didn't want to miss a chance to find out what an being an equine morph feels like.

"Uh, a bar? Are you propositioning me?" I joked. She finally smiled for the first time. "Hmm...maybe, we'll see. Well, what do you say, going?" I took her hand. "Sure, what could happen, I've already had the flu. Besides, I'd have to be a fool to turn down a luncheon date with a beautiful woman."

As we walked hand in hand, I wondered if it were possible, could I fall in love with a scab? Being a horse wasn't as important anymore. An old love ballad from the 1900's, Elvis Costello's 'Sweet Pear,' was playing in my head. I was about to make some new friends, but I didn't know that yet.

As we started in the direction of the scab bar I started having second thoughts. The change of scenery is gradual, but you couldn't help noticing it. Buildings with boarded up windows, trash in the gutters, the usual decay of the inner-city, but no one was even trying to clean it up. The city fathers had washed their hands of the problem long ago. The scabs are left to fend for themselves.

The Blind Pig appeared to be just another neighborhood bar from the outside. It was better maintained than the buildings around it, that was reassuring, but not reassuring enough.

I stopped when Peggy was just past the threshold. She turned to see what was the matter, a searching expression on her face.

"I'm sorry Peggy, really...I just can't. I..." My voice trailed off. How could I explain?

"It's because it's a scab bar, isn't it? I knew better than to get my hopes up. You're just like all the rest of the normals. At least the humans first crowd are honest about how they feel!"

"That hurt." I tried not to show how much her words had stung me, but I knew she could see it in my face. "You have no right to say that to me, to compare me to those thugs." I was turning to leave when she stopped me. I forgot that we were still holding hands, and she pulled me back.

With a sigh, she started to apologize. "I didn't mean that. Look, thanks for walking with me. Maybe..." I stopped her before she gave me the brush off.

"Peggy, it's not because it's a scab bar. I just don't like crowds. Normals or scabs, it doesn't matter, I can't stand being in a crowd. I haven't been to a movie in years, really, that's the truth."

Peggy tightened her grip on my hand. "Well it's noon, and the bar will be almost empty." Having said that, she gave my arm a yank and I nearly flew into the bar. It was dark inside. By the time my eyes had adjusted well enough so that I could see, we were already seated at a table.

The crowd was sparse, and most of the patrons were eating lunch at the bar. Peggy smiled and waived at the only other person seated at a table. An ugly scab whose head was a cross of human and donkey. "Jack! You're up before noon and eating? Job hunting again?" He mumbled something like "a mule doesn't live by gin alone," and returned to picking at his salad.

A collie morph took our order. Peggy introduced me to Colleen, who nodded in response. Then Peggy ordered a fish sandwich and I decided to have the same.

The waitress held up a card, 'drinks?' "Gee...I dunno, it is rather early for me..." Peggy was pouting. "Yeah, sure, a drink would be nice. What would you like Peggy?" She put her finger to her forehead and pretended to be concentrating. "I'd like a gimlet."

I knew equine morphs would like gin, I thought, while remembering how the horses relished the pine trees back on the farm. "Make that two gimlets please." The waitress nodded her head then left.

We made small talk until the waitress returned with our drinks. Peggy excused herself saying she had to go to the powder room. I noticed that the colleen and Peggy both had to use the facilities at the same time. I was musing on the subjects of the synchronized bladder, and what does a scab bathroom look like, when I heard the piano. Jack was playing.

"Sweet pear, sweet pear Those that say they love you would never dare I'll watch out for you, I'll always be there In the hour of your distress you need not fear"

"In all the world there's only one true love And finding it's hard enough I bless whatever's in the sky above For bringing you to me"

Strange coincidence, I thought. I hadn't heard that song in years, but when I met Peggy it started playing in my head. Hearing it, drifting across the room from an out of tune piano, sung by a gravely voiced scab, was eerie.

I watched Peggy slowly cross the room as the last stanza played out.

"I swear this is my prayer 'till we're burned and scattered in the atmosphere Or lost in the world across a crowded room I am your stupid lover, your wretched groom"

As Peggy sat down, I was about to spill my guts, tell her how much I wanted her. Just in time to stop me, the waitress returned with our sandwiches.

The small talk turned personal. Peggy's brother also had the Martian flu, but he was a normal. He recently joined the humans first movement started by congressman Barnes.

The strain on her parents was tremendous. They never admitted that there was anything different about Peggy, and refused to discuss anything to do with the subject.

Her brother had taken a similar approach. He ignored the fact his sister was a scab.

Finally, Peggy was forced to move away from home, and had recently rented a room close to the park. I was delighted to hear that she lived on my block, and she didn't have fiance.

By the time I'd told her my life's story it was getting dark. The bar was starting to fill up, and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. A pack of wolf morphs had gathered at some nearby tables, and was becoming quite rowdy. After a few loud comments regarding their feelings for normals, I was ready to leave.

Peggy heard them too. "It's nothing Randy. Don't take it personally. One of the waitresses was shot last week, by a normal, and their still a little hot about the whole affair."

Peggy began to tell me about her life as an equine morph. Learning how to walk, again, at seventeen. Adjusting to life after growing to near seven feet tall, and weighing four hundred pounds. Keeping her tail under control, to preserve her modesty, and so she didn't swat people when they bumped into her rump, when riding on the bus. Learning to trim her hooves by herself, and finding clothes to fit her huge upper torso.

I hadn't imagined all the little things she had to go through every day. The thought that she could struggle through all that, and still keep a positive outlook on life, put me in awe. I forgot all about the other people in the bar. I was oblivious to the passing of time, until Peggy looked at her watch.

"Oh, the time! I have to work tomorrow. Gee...Randy, I've had a wonderful time, really! But I have to go. I hope we can do it again sometime." She was leading me, and I jumped at the chance.

"Oh I hope so too. Uh, what are your plans for the weekend? I'm going out to the farm. I really like it if you'd go with me. There's plenty of room, it's an old house with lots of bedrooms, and there's just me and my parents. You could take your pick." Was this a mistake? Was I acting too anxious, I thought, maybe I was pushing her too hard?

Peggy leaned across the table. "I've never been out of the city!" She said excitedly. "A farm? I've never seen one, except on the T-V, that would wonderful! Except, I usually have supper with my family on the weekends. Maybe next weekend if that's OK. I'll need to talk with them first. "

I took her answer for a yes, and was ecstatic as we left the bar. As I stepped out onto the sidewalk, I never saw it coming.

I felt a crunch as a fist smashed me in the face, then I hit the ground. I could feel the blood beginning to flow from my nose as I sat up, and tried to see who had hit me through my now bleary eyes. It was a humans first goon, I recognized the get up. Peggy was yelling at him.

"I can't believe you did that! Richard, what's the matter with you?" She gave him a shove that bounced him off the wall of the bar. He seemed surprised.

"Peggy, I've been looking for you all day! When they said you didn't come back to work, I got worried something had happened to you. Mom and Dad called, they wanted me to see if you'd come over for supper on Saturday."

Peggy gave him another shove. "You're worried something happened to me? So you beat up my friend? No, I have plans for the weekend. I'm going away, and I won't be back until Sunday evening. Say hi to Mom and Dad when you see them."

So, the goon was Peggy's brother, that's just great. I had pulled myself to my feet, and was leaning against the wall while trying to stanch my bleeding nose, when he grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. Wagging a fist in my face, he began to threaten me.

"If I ever catch you taking my sister into a scab bar again your gonna be real sorry. In fact if I catch you with my sister again, anywhere, I'm going to make you wish you were dead."

I though about how easy it'd be to kick his testicles up to the vicinity of his chin. He'd never expect it. He thought I was whipped. I really wanted to hurt him, and I don't get nasty like that very often. It was only the knowledge that he was Peggy's brother that stopped me.

Peggy pushed Richard out of the way and began fussing with my now swelling face. "Oh hell! I'm sorry Randy. My brother is such a jerk sometimes. Now you're face is a mess."

Richard made a few more threats, said he'd be watching me very closely. Then he headed back down the block towards the normal's neighborhoods.

"Peggy, please, stop. I'll be OK. It doesn't even hurt." I didn't lie, it would probably hurt awhile later though. "I'll stop by Friday night at your place, and we can head out to the farm."

She kept dabbing at my face with some tissues, her maternal instincts had kicked into high gear.

"OK, I'll have my bags packed and I'll be ready to go. Oh, you're face is going to look awful, what will your parents think?" I winced as she hit a tender spot. "I'll think of something. Maybe we'll just tell them the truth, but leave out the part about Richard being your brother. Yeah, that works for me."

We talked about the farm as she walked me home. "Do you want to come in for a minute?" I asked when we arrived at my door. She handed me some more tissues. "I'd like to, but I do have to work tomorrow. Thanks for a wonderful evening. I haven't had anyone to talk to in a long time. I'm so sorry that you met Richard that way, he's not all bad."

It was an awkward moment. "Yeah well, we all have our off days. It's no big deal. See you on Friday." We embraced for a long minute. I would have attempted a kiss, but I hadn't considered that she was so tall. Unless she bent down a bit, all I'd be able reach was her shoulder. By the time I'd decided to chance planting a smooch on her shoulder, the moment was passed.

So our first date ended with me laying in bed alone, staring up at the ceiling, with an ice pack on my face. Not how I had envisioned it, but I didn't care. All I could think of was the weekend.

It had been a hectic couple of days since Peggy agreed to spend the weekend at the farm. I bought a used step van and modified it for the task at hand. After welding up the front door, and adding a padded interior, the love boat was ready to set sail.

It was Friday afternoon when I heard a knock on the door.

"Oh, Hi Peggy! I was going to stop over to pick you up in a little while. Is there something wrong?"

"Hi Randy. No, nothing wrong. I noticed you were home, and I'm a little anxious I guess. Can I come in?"

"Uh, sure! It's sort of a mess, but make yourself at home." I looked around the apartment, a pile of dirty clothes in the middle of the floor, bits and pieces of stuff from work everywhere. Ugh, what an impression this was going to make.

Strike one I thought.

Peggy delicately picked her way through the debris making her way to the large table in the middle of the otherwise unfurnished room. "My, you have quite a collection. I knew you liked horses, but minotaurs, and robots?" She picked up a centaur figure and carefully flexed the limbs. "Do you play with these or just collect them?"

"Actually Peggy, I design them." The somewhat smirkey look on her face turned into surprise.

I took the centaur from her and showed her how it could be twisted into a horse and rider. "There's more to it than you might think. A lot of engineering time is spent making it durable, cheap, and of course it has to be fun too." Peggy stifled a chuckle. She wasn't taking this conversation very serious, and my ego was a bit bruised. "Well we'd better get going if we want to be there before dark."

Peggy had left her suit cases, yes cases, in the hall. I grabbed the two of them planning on carrying them downstairs to the van. I could barely lift them. An involuntary grunt escaped me, and Peggy came to my aid. "Oh let me carry these. I know, I've over packed. But the weather can change so quickly." She slipped the cases from my grasp, lifting them as if they were empty.

Strike two, I thought.

Well, at least she loved the van. For the first twenty minutes she never stopped raving about it, The ability to sit up front, as a passenger, instead of being confined to the back like cargo, really impressed her. We were about half-way through our trip when I gave her my surprise gift.

The paper crinkled as she tried to figure out what it was before unwrapping it. "It's one of your toys! Isn't it?" She started to laugh. "No one has given me a doll since I was a little girl." She tore the paper away and stopped laughing. She slowly turned the figurine over, examining every minute detail. I thought she was going to cry. "It's me!" she gasped. "Oh Randy! It's lovely!"

Peggy threw her arms around me, hugging me so hard that I nearly drove off the road.

I pulled over and stopped the van. "And look, Peggy , if you twist it like so, it changes!" I twisted the Peggy figurine and it became a centaur, then a horse and rider. "There isn't another one like it on the world. I started working on it that day when we first met."

Peggy leaned over, giving me a quick peck on the cheek. "It's silly, but I love it. Thank you. Is your company going to sell these?"

"Oh no, I made that just for you. No one else even knows of it!

Peggy made a show of mock surprise. "Well they should! Just think how many children would be helped when the change kicked in. The idea of having a different form wouldn't be so shocking." She was right. When I returned to work I'd take the idea up with the president.

For the remainder of the ride Peggy was occupied with twisting the figurine into it's various forms. We were almost at the farm when she looked over at me, and said with a some what reproachful look, "You didn't make it so it could be twisted into a normal human form. Can't you do that?"

I was glad I was driving. I had a reason not to look at her when I answered. "Gee..I hadn't thought of that. It would be kind of hard, but maybe it can be done." Oh course I had thought of a Peggy figurine that would transform into a normal, but I didn't want to make one.

We arrived at the farm near dusk. We had just got The luggage out of the van when my parents met us on the porch.

"Mom, Dad, I want you to meet my friend Peggy. She's staying for the weekend. She's never been out of the city before, and I promised I'd show her around the farm."

For a minute they just stood there, saying nothing. Then Dad slowly extended his hand. "Pleased to make your acquaintance Peggy. Any friend of Randy's is welcome in our house." Dad had spoken. At least I now knew they would be civil to Peggy. I probably should have called and prepared them for the visit. But all they knew of scabs was what they read in the papers, or saw on TV. There was a lot of bias to overcome, but I felt like a heel, putting them in a bind like that.

Mom came out of her trance. "Oh, yes, please come in, I've made some supper." No one seemed able to move at first, so I motioned for Peggy follow me to the kitchen. She stopped in the middle of the front room. Looking around in wonder she blurted out. "It's so big! The ceilings must be over ten feet high!"

"Yeah, they used to build houses this way. This house was built in the late 1800's. Gee...you know, it looks like it was made for you. Come on, the kitchen is through here. I'm starved."

After a huge supper I showed Peggy around the house. She picked out a bedroom on the ground floor, near the back of the house. That was fine with me as my parents slept on the second floor, and if Peggy had to get up in the middle of the night she was less likely to wake them up clomping around.

The next morning, after breakfast, my parents shocked me with an announcement that they were going away for the weekend. A long involved story about visiting relatives, planned for months in advance. No way to cancel it, and they were oh, so sorry. What a great act. I doubted that Peggy realized what was going on. Dad had said she was welcome. Mom didn't want a scab in the house, she was scared. So they made up this story and would probably be staying at a friend or relatives house until Peggy left. If Peggy noticed anything, it was a subtle change in my attitude. I was disappointed. I didn't have time to dwell on that as the grand tour was scheduled to begin.

We started with the barns. Peggy was amused by the cattle. She said she had some friends that looked a lot like them, kept calling the Angus bull "Donnie." After lunch, I took her to my favorite place, the knoll that overlooked the horse pasture.

We both lie down in the grass and watched the herd. There were a dozen Arabian mares, and a stallion. They paid no attention to us. Everything of any importance to them was in the pasture.

"They're beautiful." She whispered, as if she might scare them away.

I ran my hand over Peggy's waist, and up her back. "Can you see now what I want to be a horse?" She turned her back towards me and leaned closer. I rubbed her shoulder. She turned to looked me in the eye. "You know you're being foolish, we can never really be a couple." I felt a lump forming in my throat. She had known all along, of course she did. "Why not? Who's going to stop us?"

Peggy got up, and staring out across the pasture, she began to sob. "I just can't. It's not right." I Felt rejected, angry, and I wanted to hurt her. "Well, If I'm not good enough for you, I'm sure that Sultan down there will be glad to cover you. I'll see you back at the house when you're finished." She slapped me, She slapped me so hard my teeth would be loose for weeks afterwards, and I deserved it.

As we walked back to the house my mind was in turmoil. How could I possibly undo the damage I had done. We were sitting in the living room for hours, still unable to break the barrier of silence that had formed between us, when I noticed our reflections in the large mirror over the opposite couch. There was a normal looking couple in the mirror, just a view from the waist up, and I knew what I wanted to say.

"Peggy, I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. Please, please forgive me." She looked and me, I could see she wasn't going to cry. I'd tried to hurt her, and she wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Years as a scab had hardened her. I had made her retreat behind the defensive walls she had built to stay alive. "It's OK, I understand." She said, but the sound of her voice told me otherwise.

"Look at us." I pointed at the mirror. "What do you see?" She looked, and when she finally replied, she sounded detached or bored. "I see our reflections in the mirror, nothing more." I sat down next to her, she pulled away a little. "I see two human beings that love each other. I don't care about anything else. Can't you understand how I feel about you?"

She took my hand and held it on her lap. "You just don't understand. We'll be outcasts. Neither the scabs or the normals will accept us. Your parents couldn't stand to be in the same house with me. Are you willing to loose them, and maybe your job too? I know what it's like to be shunned, and I can't let you throw your life away."

I nestled against her side, resting my head on her arm. The room was becoming dark, and as evening set in I felt a chill. "Throw away my life? Before I met you I didn't really have one. I dreamed of being a horse, and played out my fantasies by designing children's toy's. I swear to God, I'd rather live in the scab getto than be without you."

She put her arms around me, and sighed. It was a sigh of resignation, and we lie listening to our hearts beat, until we fell asleep.

Randy awoke with a start. There were strange voices in the house. As he lie in Peggy's arms, listening to them, he recognized the familiar patter. It was just his parent's clock radio, upstairs, blaring away. Geez...they must be going deaf, he thought. Well, they were old, and a lifetime of working around all the noisy farm machinery will do that.

Nearly an hour had passed when Peggy finally began to awake. She opened her eyes and looked around the room, her gaze finally coming to rest on Randy. When she saw that he too was awake, she smiled, and ran her fingers through his hair, . "Randy, I had the nicest dream, and you were in it."

"That's how it should be Peg. I don't want you having any nice dreams that don't include me! Aaah, I don't want to, but I have to get up. The chores need to be done."

Peggy relinquished her grip, a bit reluctantly. "Well, I'll get cleaned up and cook breakfast.

With the chores done, and the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast, they prepared to leave. Peggy was already in the van when Randy remembered one last item. "I'll be right there Peggy, I just want to leave a note for my parents."

' Sorry you couldn't stay longer, and really get to know Peggy. If things go as planned, I'll be announcing our engagement soon. I hope you can find time in your busy schedule for us to visit again. Love, Randy'

The ride back to the city was a quiet one. Randy and Peggy were lost in thought, they were considering what had happened. They had slept together. Sure, so far their relationship was above the waist, but neither one of them wanted to return to living alone.

Randy dropped Peggy off at her door, and drove around the block to his apartment. He found the door to his apartment open, humans first slogans spray painted across the walls, and on what little furniture he owned. His belongings were smashed, and scattered around the room. He was surprised that he didn't care. He told himself it was just stuff, things that could easily be replaced. He felt num. It was when he closed the door, and saw the word 'traitor' painted in red across its back, along with the crucified centaur figurine, that his feelings came rushing back.

Randy set the table upright. He cleaned off a chair, and sat down. Looking around the room, his eyes avoiding the door, he wondered if Peggy hadn't been right all along. As he sank into the depths of despair, he searched his thoughts for something to cling to. There was Peggy, he wasn't alone, she had lived with this hatred for half her life. Randy felt ashamed that he had let the humans first goons cause him to doubt himself, and his commitment to Peggy. When he heard the door open he jumped from his seat, half expecting the goons return. It was Peggy.

"Oh!" Was all she said as she surveyed the room. "I was going to see if you wanted to go out for supper with me, to The Blind Pig, but I guess...'

"Peggy! I'm so glad you came by! Randy smiled as he took Peggy by the elbow, turning her so she wouldn't see the back of the door. I was having a bad day, but now everything is fine. Let's go eat. I can clean up this mess later.

The Blind Pig was crowded, but Randy didn't care. Peggy and he found a table in a quiet corner of the room. After they had placed their orders, their conversation turned to the state of his apartment.

"You see what you're letting yourself in for Randy? If Richard had anything to do with this..."

Randy interrupted. "Peggy, doesn't everyone has trouble with their in-laws? It's a tired old joke, with a new twist. Take my brother-in-law...please." Peggy rolled her eyes. "You're never going to give up, are you?" Randy looked away. "I almost did, for just a minute, but I'm too selfish to give up. I know, I'm asking you to make your life more difficult than it already is, but I love you." He took Peggy's hand, and leaning across the table, so close that he could feel her breath on his face, he whispered. "I'm begging you to say yes."

Peggy didn't seem to hear, but as Randy started to pull away he heard her whisper. "Yes."

He sat down, the impact of what he had just done hit him with stunning force.

"Randy? I said yes!" He looked at her, his glazed expression just beginning to disappear.

"Yes, I heard." There was a long pause. "Shouldn't we make an announcement or something?"

Peggy smiled. "Oh, I can't wait to tell Colleen, and Donnie, and Jack..." Peggy was beaming, and she couldn't sit still. Randy began to catch her excitement. "Peg, we'd better tell them before you explode!"

They both jumped up in unison and made their way through the crowd. Randy spoke with Jack, who promptly slid to one side of the piano bench. Then, standing on the bench, so he could be seen throughout the bar, he called for everyone's attention. Jack accompanied him by banging on the piano. The bar became dead quiet. "Just a quick announcement. Peggy an I have decided to marry. We'd like to have the reception here. Donnie?" The bartender nodded his great bull like head. Everyone's invited! When it's been set, the date will be posted at the bar, and, well I guess that's it!" There were a few congratulations heard, but most of the patrons went back to their previous conversations without comment. Jack returned to playing where he had left off.

Randy jumped down from the bench, looked at Peggy, and shrugged. "I don't know what sort of reaction I expected, but I expected something more than that." Peggy gave him a hug. "It's hard for them to believe, I don't really believe it myself. Well, it's late, and I have to work tomorrow. You can stay at my place until we get your apartment cleaned up."

"Peggy, why don't I just stay at your apartment from now on?" Peggy laughed. "You're not being very practical, my apartment is too small for both of us. Yours is much bigger, and my lease is up at the end of the month. So I'll move in with you." Randy frowned. "Are you always this well organized? You know, organization is not one of my strong points." Peggy smiled, and took Randy by the arm shepherding him toward the door. "I'm organized enough for both of us baby, it's my job. I'm an cost accountant at city hall."

"An accountant! You never told me you were an accountant! Well, at least you're not a lawyer. I guess we can overcome our differences, but it won't be easy."

"Well, you never asked! Hmm...now that were on the subject, there are some other differences we need to overcome. Maybe I'll call in late for work tomorrow."

Peggy finally realizes that she is normal, despite her deformity, more so than her brother Richard (a humans first goon). After this watershed event, she discovers limited morphing ability. She can transform her equine portion into a nearly human shape. Although at four hundred pounds, and with hooves for feet, she is still obviously a scab.

Randy is still enamoured with the idea of becoming a horse. However with Peggy to support him, his escapist desire is muted. Through Peggy, he discovers that being human is a challenge worth facing. With the help of Peggy's organizational skills he starts his own company. Together they produce toys that educate children about scabs (and are still fun).

Randy's parents reply to the invitation is that they will not be able to attend, but they show up at the last moment. They're still unsure about having a scab as a daughter-in-law, but decide that if Randy loves her, they should at least give her the benefit of the doubt. They are old, but they are open minded, and willing to change.

Richard is still a goon. It's not a perfect world. (I was thinking of having Howard put the fear of God in him, so he'd lay off Randy.)

And they all live happily ever after, in a blind pig's eye.

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