by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
"Let me down!"
The pool was empty except for a lone horsemorph. He was high-D with only a bipedal stance and three fingers on his fore hooves differentiating him from a normal horse. Standing at the side of the pool and looking down - and definitely not looking impressed - was a campus security officer.
"I'm sorry officer, I really am, but...," the horsemorph began.
"What happened here?"
"It's a long story..."
"Can't you at least...?" The officer pointed upward.
"I don't know how!"
"Hey! It's cold up here!" another voice interrupted.
"You've tried closing your eyes and going through a wall and tried some kind of switch and tried shifting to norm?"
"Yes, of course I have! Or at least everything except for the normshift - I can't do that. And let me tell you..."
The officer sighed. "Well start at the beginning, and let's see if we can figure out what happened and maybe we can figure how to fix this before the nullifier arrives."
"Fine." The horse snorted and removed the swim goggles from his eyes. "After the Change last week I decided to come for a swim. I like swimming, it's always helped me relax..."
He was interrupted by the squawking of the police radio carried by the officer. "Sorry, excuse me a minute."
The horsemorph nodded.
A voice from the radio that only the officer could hear spoke in a static filled voice, "The nullifier's on her way but she may be needed elsewhere. How urgent is your problem?"
Then the officer responded, "Well hurry it up - I've got a situation here with over 50 people!" The radio squawked again and then was silent. "Sorry, would you continue?"
"As I was saying, I decided to swim and relax, relive the pressures of yesterday. You know."
"I don't need all the details, just why they're..."
"Well! Anyway, fortunately my roommate was able to transform my goggles and swimsuit into something that I could wear so I thought I was fully prepared before I came. I like to be organized..."
"But, when I arrived, it seems that the university had hired a transformer TA to modify swimsuits as required. A TA's a teaching assistant."
The officer choked back a response.
"I asked and I was told that it was because of fears of hair clogging up the filters. That's..."
"Let me down!"
The officer looked and examined the horsemorph's bathing suit. It covered his entire body in bright blue except for his hooves and tail. Two holes let the morph's ears poke through. "That's all very nice, but when did you...?" and he pointed up.
"I'll get to that."
The officer just shook his head and remained silent. He couldn't really do anything until the nullifier arrived anyway.
"Anyway, apparently at first they were also enclosing tails but somebody almost drowned because of the water that got trapped. Also, I had my roommate transform my exercise fins so that I could wear them - I was afraid of problems having hooves instead of..."
"Just shoot him!"
The officer looked up and shouted. "Please be quiet. The situation is being worked on - an officer who can cancel his power is on the way." The officer turned his attention back to the horsemorph and glared.
"That's all...' The horsemorph closed his eyes and winced and then started massaging his forehead with one hand-hoof.
"Are you all right?"
Opening his eyes the horsemorph looked back at the officer. "My head feels like it's going to explode."
The officer nodded. "Probably because of what you're doing," and he pointed upward. "If you stop you'll feel better."
"How?!" The horsemorph was almost begging. "Don't you think I've tried?!"
The officer sighed and shook his head. Maybe if he got the horsemorph's mind off of what he was doing the power would end. And that meant listening to more of his rambling. "You were saying..."
"So I arrived, and survived the suit reshaping, and then made my way to the pool. There used to be just four lanes. One for starting swimmers; one for fast swimmers; and two for medium swimmers. I expected the same but the situation had been changed. When I asked one of the lifeguards why I was told that one of the medium lanes had been changed into a 'weird' lane for those who swam in unusual ways. That lane was empty except for a 40' snake who took up almost half of it. They'd also added a new lane at right angles to the rest along the bottom of the deep end, for the aquatic morphs."
Fighting down the urge to just drag the horsemorph out and take him away, the officer just nodded.
"Being cautious, I tried the slow lane first since I wasn't sure how well I could swim, even with the fins. Thus I sat down on the edge and carefully wiggled the fins on and lowered myself into the water. The lane was almost empty, except for a rabbitmorph. Without too much effort I managed a semblance of the crawl which wasn't too difficult except for the breathing. I had to turn my head almost completely around, and extend my stroke out to the side so I didn't hit my snout. I'd just figuring that out when the rabbit morph slammed into me."
"And that was...?"
"No. I knew it was a trying time. I stopped and treaded water as the rabbitmorph apologized. Then, as I watched, she started a kind of dogpaddle for a few metres and then suddenly took off like a missile. I was able to swim another two lengths, until once again collided the rabbitmorph collided with me - she drove right over me and I almost drowned!"
"No, that came later. How can you be angry at a cute rabbitmorph? But I did decide at that point to give up on the slow lane and move into the medium lane. As I mentioned earlier there was only one medium lane so it was exceptionally crowded. First, being polite and wanting to relax a bit after being swam over by the rabbitmorph I waited for a gap. There wasn't one. And, while I waited, this stupid lionmorph jumped in almost right on top of me!"
"And that was what...?"
"No, I've gotten use to it in the past on busy evenings. The purpose of a swimmer is to do lengths. You must do full lengths, and each flip at the end cannot be interrupted in anyway or the set of lengths doesn't count and you have to start over. I thought everybody knew that!"
The officer just nodded. He prayed that the nullifier would come soon.
"Sorry..." a lionmorph echoed from above.
"Anyway, so I finally just ducked under and entered the lane, right after somebody (who was in the full norm shape of a llama (and completely covered in a green bathing suit)) paddled by. Then I started swimming but soon ran into a problem. The bloody llama was too slow and shouldn't have been in the fast lane in the first place. It's amazing how inconsiderate some people are."
The officer just nodded, thinking of the horsemorph.
"So, wanting to be polite, I approached behind the llama and lightly touched him just beside his tail. Normally you signal the swimmer in front of you that you want to pass by touching their kicking legs with your hand, but since I couldn't do that I had to do the best I could. And, unfortunately, almost nobody realizes this courtesy. So, as I should have expected, the llama panicked and swam harder, kicking me on the edge of my nose!"
"And that was..."
"No it wasn't!" The horsemorph winced for a second before continuing. "Based on past experience I'd expected that kind of reaction and had tried to back away but hadn't quite made it. And, hooves hurt a LOT more than feet. But I survived. So I slowed down a bit and snorted the water out of my nose and then tried to pass him on the side. Of course the llama had sped up so I had to swim hard and didn't notice as another swimmer, a falconmorph of some kind, was passing somebody else on his return lap and clawed me in the face."
"And when you were startled you..."
"But that wasn't all!" The horsemorph's eyes flashed. "Some idiot in the new aquatic lanes underneath for some bloody stupid reason decided to leave his lane and go between my legs, grabbing my tail!"
"And that was..."
"Yes. I've never been angry before, but that was just too bloody much! I screamed something out, and then there was a boil of moving water, and then I was alone in the pool."
"And they were...?"
The horse morph looked up and pointed at the fifty or so morphs of various kinds hovering in the air above the pool. "And then they were all up there."
"So why don't you let them down?"
"I don't know how!" The horsemorph looked a little angry, a little embarrassed, but mostly he looked in pain. Stopping his massaging of his forehead, he turned away, pulled his goggles back over his eyes, and ducked down and pulled the fins off of his hooves. They'd been changed into what were essentially cylinders of rubber that slid over his hooves and were then strapped further up on his legs. A moment later they were off and the horsemorph surfaced and threw them on the deck. "I've got to get out of here and get some bloody painkiller - maybe that'll help my splitting head."
"But what about everybody else?"
"I don't care!" He paused. "Sorry, it's just my head. Maybe if I leave they'll be out of range or something." And then he ducked under and crouched on the bottom and then shot up and onto the deck, drenching the officer with water.
Splutter... That does it - I'm going to charge this idiot with something!
"Sorry about that," and then the horsemorph turned and fled from the pool, with the officer in pursuit. The horsemorph had just reached the entrance to the men's change room when the door beside it opened and a uniformed deermorph came out.
"Is this person the problem?"
The first officer nodded and then, as the newcomer reached out to touch the horsemorph, realized what was going to happen and screamed out, "No, wait..."
But he was too late as she cancelled the horsemorph's telekinesis.
Behind the horsemorph the swimmers floating in the air started screaming.
The horsemorph grabbed the female officer's hand and started shaking it frantically. "Thank you, oh thank you! My headache is gone!"
And from behind...SPLOOSH!
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org