I had never seen the magazine before—but there are so many magazines coming out nowadays that there was nothing unusual about that. So I dropped myself into a corner of one of the big couches in the waiting room and looked it over. A big, broad-shouldered Nordic looking guy smiled back at me from the cover, his arms crossed on a big, comfy-looking pillow, his chin on his hands.
I looked at the title. GQ4. Never heard of it. GQ, maybe, but not this. But it looked just like GQ. GQ is pretty awesome if you're gay. The cover model's smile met mine knowingly, and his eyes had that promising twinkle.
In fact, I guessed on the spot that GQ4 was a gay version of the famous men's magazine, as if GQ isn't gay enough already. Cool, I thought. A special edition narrowcasting for a niche market. What a concept.
The cover guy had some other guy's arms around him, obviously, I noticed. His crossed arms rested on another pair of crossed arms. Kinda sexy. Both the right hands had identical Tag Heurs on their strong, lightly hairy wrists.
“Arms and the Man” called out one teaser title on the lower right of the cover.
“Begging for Leggings—the GQ4 Shopper's Guide” called out another.
In spite of myself, I felt my breath go rapid and shallow, and I squirmed, aroused in my seat. I could imagine the cover boy having four arms—a secret obsession of my fantasy life. It didn't take much imagination with this cleverly staged shot. The hands, wrists and forearms were perfectly matched, and the hands rested shamelessly on their handsome partner hands and wrists.
Mmmmm, I thought.
Remembering I was in a waiting room, I moved my position and the magazine to block anyone's view of my mounting hardon under my jeans. I flipped through the heavy, glossy magazine. There were the luxury ads—sport utility vehicles, cognac, and—odd, as I noticed—my fantasy caused me to see the whole world through a four-armed wishfulness—there was another watch ad, this a narrow column at the edge of a long political article, showing two gleaming, black- faced Movado watches, on two identical right hands, both with the sleeves of a white cable sweater pushed half way up the long-muscled forearms. How odd that the in thing was to show watches doubled like that. Well, you never knew what the trend would be. Just like the proliferation of ads about self-improvement and good resolutions that everybody seemed to have invented all at the same time—whether car companies, credit card companies or you name it.
But I liked it—the double arms and watches moved me as I stared and imagined.
Obviously, with a gay version of GQ they could be really out about guy-couples, a freedom that I found really cool. I liked the subtlety of the cover guy and the watch ad.
I flipped through. A humorous shot caught my attention—this was my lucky day! Centered in an article entitled “Cooking for Unexpected Company” was a cute special-effects picture of a really hot-looking young guy in a cotton long- sleeve shirt—the guy obviously worked out and was gay—trying to throw together a big meal. His tousled hair and wide-eyed expression of boyish panic contrasted with his big male shoulders and his long arms—four of them!—as he stir-fried dinner in a wok while adding spices, manning a spatula and mopping his forehead.
I laughed, aroused. It was really good photography. The digital stuff was getting so incredible. The early composite photos had been so easy to spot—cars that didn't reflect their backgrounds, unconvincing shadows obviously shaded in—but everything was right here. You could see his muscles brooding beneath the soft Chaps shirt, along the broad shoulders and where the four arms would sprout. The shirt itself was convincing—as though Chaps would really make a four-armed long sleeve shirt. Naturally, the sleeves were comfortably jammed up the forearms. I do have a thing for arms and hands. I would take the magazine with me, somehow. It would be great to save for later.
I would probably show it with a couple of my other friends who share the same multi-limbed obsession. But for now, it was all mine.
Then the page slipped in my hands, which I realized were trembling slightly. I guess I really was excited. A Nautica ad showed a gaggle of college guys palling around on a wave-washed catamaran, barefoot and in great-looking jackets and parkas. They were holding on to the boat and to each other as it pitched in the white-foamed waters under blazing blue skies. I almost passed out. All the feet. Four to a man. The muscular, tanned arms and big, handsome hands—four to a man. Their teeth gleamed in brilliant laughter and their hair blew in the wind, and for all the world they looked to be in love with each other.
Damn, how did my fantasy become the latest ad rage?
I held the erotic page with my thumb and flipped ahead, my pulse racing.
More big, glossy ads with big, glossy guys—relaxing in each others' intertwined arms, legs interlaced. The Abercrombie & Fitch ads of barechested hunks aroused and laughing together, arms in arms, walking four-legged, body to body. The Jeep ad that made a play on four wheel drive, showing a sexy- looking guy smiling at the camera, with all arms folded, his two front feet on the steering wheel and shifter, the back two on the pedals. I had to chuckle—he appeared to be sitting in his own lap. But all those nice legs!
And there, in the clothing articles, were the elegant and the casual, looking natural and stylish in multiple sleeves and pantlegs.
I paged madly. There were the news items, the gift ideas, the accessories, the self-help articles.
“If you have always wanted to be multi-limbed, indeed you are multi-limbed,” said the soothing prose of the columnist to the worried query of the letter writer. “Now we know, thank heaven!”
A real voice interrupted my fevered reading.
“I thought you might be one of us!”
I looked up surprised, shocked out of my reverie, and was immediately welcomed by the understanding smile of the male nurse whom I'd only glimpsed at the sign- in window when I entered. His spotless white smock seemed to reveal even as it covered, and I sensed his lithe physique within the uniform. It took a moment to register the four arms and the four legs, and he picked up on my daze as I stared, counting his four white rubber-soled canvas shoes. I slowly realized that he was real, and not another magazine photo.
“It's a new magazine, but the circulation has really picked up since the technology came out.”
“Technology?” I said.
“You know—” he said, holding his four arms out to me.
I was too stunned to say anything.
“Since we found how to unlock the body patterns that we store in our minds. The gene unzipping. Didn't you see the article in there? They always have something on it.” I wasn't catching on too well. “I came here to check on my fever,” I said.
His beautiful face beamed an encouraging smile. “You are probably ready to blossom,” he said. “So many of what we thought were fevers were kind of like the molting stage in the life of a potential multi-limber. They couldn't blossom, of course, because the knowledge wasn't there. Or was lost. Or something. But it's come out. Where have you been?”
I looked at him, feeling blank but beginning to feel an overpowering yearning.
He smiled, beatifically, the four legs padding over to me as four friendly hands took hold of me, helping me to my feet. I again almost swooned.
“Come on in. Looks like you're at the right place at the right time.” Feeling faint and very warm, I somehow entrusted my balance to him, and gave up all hope of hiding my arousal. My head shamelessly craned from the waist of my jeans. It was nice leaning against him. We were about the same height. I died with the pleasure of his arm around my waist and its mate around my shoulder. With my arm around his waist, I felt both his other hands hold and caress it and my hand. I felt I was floating as he walked me from the waiting room to the inner rooms of the clinic.
“Do you have health insurance?” he asked, giving me a gentle squeeze.