Description This story is set in the Sk8r Dreams universe, but is intended to stand alone. It's a little like the “Spells 'R Us” (SRU) stories, but with hopefully a slightly different slant to it.
|Updated||01 Oct 2003|
Boarding slowly though a back alley, James was thinking about how much control he had over his immediate world. He loved the power, but there were few surprises. He decided that he should go out on a limb some time soon, otherwise he knew he risked getting as boring as some of those damn oldies. He rolled himself to a stop, and looked at a non-descript shop front. James had a wicked idea. The place was called “Odds and Ends”, according to the faded old sign. He peered through the window to see a dark, cluttered interior. He picked up his board and walked inside.
James spent some time looking at all the junk surrounding him. Oddments, curios and antiques. He smiled, then turned to face the middle aged man sitting behind the counter. He was a tallish distinguished man, wearing a green shirt and drinking coffee, while reading a paper.
The man sensed James approaching and looked up. His eyes told James that he was uncomfortable with a skater like James being in his store. James could tell the man figured him for some sort of hood, and probably had his finger hovering over a silent alarm by now. The man managed to suppress his suspicion sufficiently to try and determine if James was a legitimate customer.
“Can I help you?” the man asked, clearly hoping to get the exchange over with quickly.
“Yes, I'm rather interested in your store,” said James, pulling his palmtop from a pocket…
Mike was a fairly well adjusted 20 year old, with light skin and red hair. He wore a rather casual outfit, with cream linen cargo shorts and an faded old polo shirt, and a pair of hiking-style shoes. He looked over at the counter to see a young man of around 16 in a green shirt sitting behind the counter reading a paper and drinking a cup of coffee. The boy looked up and smiled sweetly and shyly at him. “Can I help you?” he asked. Mike smiled back. “Thanks, I'm just looking.” He started to look around, exploring the store's rather large stock of unusual items. On one small shelf of small items, one thing in particular caught his eye. It was a small decorative clip, connected to several centimeters of fine, delicate chain. He picked it up and looked at it. At the end of the chain was a tiny round link, different from the oblong thing wire links that made up the rest of the chain. Mike thought it looked like it had been attached to something at one time. He turned and walked over to the counter.
The boy sat up and closed the paper. “Find something you like?”
Mike smiled at him. “Maybe. I was curious about this thing. I have no idea what it's supposed to be but it's rather intriguing. It's pretty unusual looking, and the chain is stronger than it looks.” Mike demonstrated by tugging it, the links not giving.
The boy took the chain in his hands and studied it. “It's a clip sir.”
“Yes, obviously. What's it for though? Keys? Ornaments. It looks like it's supposed to attach to something.” He pointed out the circle link at the opposite end of the chain from the clip. “Like maybe a small toy or label?”
The boy looked embarrassed. “Sorry sir. Actually yes I remember now. It was received without anything attached, but you can clip anything you want to it. It's actually just meant to be worn.”
Mike looked at the boy. “Worn? How?”
The young man leant forward and clipped it onto his front belt loop. The short length of chain swung freely. “Like that, sir.”
“Interesting. How much?” Mike asked. It seemed useful enough.
“Wow, that's pretty hard to pass up” Mike responded. “Ill take it, I'm sure I'll find some use for it.”
The boy smiled shyly. “Well, it's always nice to help to the customer try something new.” He rung the sale up.
Mike got out his wallet, and opened it up and grabbed out a dollar. He handed it over to the boy. The teen seemed happy to make the sale, small though it was, and that made Mike feel happier. He closed his wallet, and went to put it away. As he reached around to tuck the leather wallet in his back pocket he felt something tugging at it. He pulled it back and look down to see that the fine chain was now attached to his wallet. The chain seemed to have lengthened to just enough to allow him to put away his wallet in his back pocket.
He laughed. “Ahhh, so thats what its for. Neat trick.” He tugged at the chain to see is any more would come out. It seemed to have expanded fully. He assumed the clip had a compartment for hiding unwanted length. He was amazed at how the boy must have attached the chain to his wallet when he wasn't looking.
“Do you do magic tricks?” he asked. He put away the wallet, leaving the chain attached.
The 16 year old… shop hand… smiled, and cocked his head. “Yes, I 'spose so sir.”
“Very cool.” He shifted slightly, and stopped, when a faint rattling caught his attention. “Do you hear that?”
Mike looked down at the chain, and watched as it sagged. The length increased and the middle got lower and lower, until it hung almost to his knees. He reached down and looked at the clip, expecting to see a receptacle where all this extra length came from. However it was just attached to the clip plainly. He gaped in amazement.
As he continued to gape, the delicate chain got thicker, links fusing together to form larger, thicker links. He grabbed at the chain to get a better look at the seemingly impossible change. The once fine chain was now thicker then his finger, chunky big links forming a heavy duty chain, the clip had gotten bigger as well. It was a chunky new wallet chain.
“Is everything ok sir?” the teen salesman asked.
“Im not sure…,” Mike replied stunned. “Do you see that?”
“Yes sir? Um, its the thickest strongest wallet chain we had. Just like you asked for,” the boy replied quietly.
“Is there a problem? I threw in that new wallet. I know it was cheap, but I thought it would help offset the cost. Thats a really good quality chain sir.”
Mike pulled out his wallet. To his further surprise, it had changed from a plain leather wallet to a tough, para-cloth wrap around one. It had the letters “SMP” emblazoned with on it with a picture or marijuana leaf behind it. The small ring link was now a huge, thick ring that attached the wallet to the chain.
“Ive never see this before,” said Mike. He looked around the shop for someone to confirm or deny these strange events, but the store was empty save for him and the shop hand.
Mike began to feel strange. “Um… yeah….”
“Are you sure?”
He looked at the teenager… eye to eye. Wait, he thought, I am sure I was much taller then him.
“Pretty sure.” He grasped the counter, feeling not dizzy, but definitely very weird.
He reached around to put the strange wallet back, but as his hand slid around he noticed his cargo shorts had become coarser, and that his back pocket was nowhere to be found. He kept feeling around, not wanting to look, still in slight shock. He moved his hand further and further down, until he managed to find some sort of opening on the back of his shorts. Mike pushed the wallet in, and felt it drop. He could feel the weight of it sitting low on his thigh, just above the knee. He heard that rattling again, and looked down to see the chain extend again to adjust to the extra chain need for the wallets new position. He continued to look around. He saw the material had changed from linen to a cream… denim? He looked around at the pocket. The opening sat just below his ass, and the actual pocket was a long, deep affair. He looked at the other, similar back pocket and saw brand name “South Pole” written in large letters half way down. Suddenly, the material changed to a dark blue color as he watched.
“This cant be happening,” he muttered as he started to back away from the counter.
Mike heard the chain rattling again with his movement. This time, however, it's accompanied by a slight, gentle, regular beating against the material of his shorts. He looked down to see what was hitting him, and discovered he was now wearing a tan, canvas belt around his waist. The excess length of the belt was hanging loose and bouncing against him as he walked.
He just looked at it, finding he'd hit a limit to just how surprised he could be at his clothing changing before his eyes.
“Whats happening to me?” he asked aloud to the cosmos in general. He watched his shorts become longer and baggier, the cargo pockets getting lower as the material expanded. Suddenly he realized that wasn't the only reason they were lower, as the shorts started to slip down his waist. A note of panic managed to slip in. He didn't want to end up dropping his pants in addition to all these strange changes. However, the belt was tight enough that it stopped long before that happened. His underwear exposed, he realized that his white briefs had at some point become a pair of red boxers.
Mikes shirt caught his eye next, and saw his polo shirt start to change. He felt the collar recede, replaced by a crew neck style. The faded blue material brightened, the material becoming richer and smoother as it changed from an obvious weave into tee-shirt material, then lightened to a khaki color. Several cartoon characters in baggy pants became emblazoned on the front, accompanied by the words “Limp Bizkit”.
“Sorry sir?” the young clerk asked.
“Cant you see it?” Mike asked, his voice now a fairly calm, even tone. He had, for the moment, transcended his panic.
Mike gestured at himself, annoyed. “This!” he exclaimed, looking back up at the clerk.
Up? Yes, he was definitely now looking up to meet the kid's gaze.
He looked back down at himself and something began to dawn on him. This wasnt his body! It was very slim… slim and hard. He could feel a six pack, hard tight pecs, and a firm bubble butt that pushed firmly against his snug jocks and the tight belt. He looked down to see his hands travel over his torso… they definitely werent HIS hands. They were a yellowish tan, with delicate, long fingers. His forearms were totally hairless. Panic started to rise again, and he looked around the room for a mirror. He turned toward the ornate full-length on hanging off to his side.
“Oh my g…,” started Mike, but he was floored by what he saw.
In the mirror, he saw that his calves were now that same shade of yellow, with no hair to be found. He looked at his new rounder, smooth face. It was yellow-brown too, with slanted eyes, and tight lips. His hair was an almost blue black, shiny and thick, and cut short. He begun go to feel his face, trying to confirm that this was all an illusion.
As he watched, his shoes began to change, his dark brown hiking shoes changing into what he could only describe as a pair of skate sneakers. He looked at the symbol on the tongue, a blue crescent with a small circle fitted snugly inside the cut out. The same symbol was embossed on his belt buckle, he realized. It looked vaguely mystical, and he wondered if it might be somehow connected to the change. He was distracted from his pondering by a cold sensation around his neck. He looked back to the mirror and saw a thick ball chain necklace around his neck, tightly fitted. He looked back to the clerk for a reaction, but turned back to the mirror when he felt a strange sensation on his head. On his blue-black head he now sported a red Nike cap, worn backwards. He felt a sting in his left earlobe, and realized a small stud earring had appeared there.
“Did you do this? Somehow?” he demanded.
“Sir, I didnt do anything much more then sell you a chain with a clip,” the teenager replied, honestly confused.
“What?”, he exclaimed, unbelieving of the kid's apparent ignorance of what was going on. Mike's voice cracked, and he realized his voice had risen in pitch. He no longer sounded at all like himself.
He looked deep into the mirror. Somewhere, an internal voice started to tell him he looked pretty cool actually, that he should feel good. An arrogant sense awakened inside him. It was insidious, and he found it hard to fight against it. Something was telling him that he looked great, and should accept the change. He fought a smile of pleasure.
While this assault on his perception continued, something else was going on in his head. His language center began to become corrupted, swear words and harsh language moving to the forefront. The change slipped by unnoticed.
“Aw fuck, what the hells going on?”
He accepted that slip in language as the result of the stress of the situation as he continued to fight the frontal assault on his mind. The march from the rear, however, continued unchallenged. More and more harsh and simple language slipped in to his speech patterns, until his own internal voice was completely changed, the new style of speech now firmly entrenched. Slang terms like “wicked”, “dude”, and “bro” now peppered his simplified mode of speech and thought.
“Augh, geez dude… my heads gonna explode n shit,” he moaned as he grasped his head trying to fight the confusing thoughts. He screamed internally as he realized he had to fight on two fronts, mentally turning the battle to the lost cause that was his speech. With that change of focus, his mind was washed suddenly. His defenses collapsed, his mind totally regressing in nature to 14 years old. No longer remembered being 20 at all. He now only remembered that he had changed appearance, and that his speech had become harsher and simpler.
“Is everything ok mate? You seem pretty upset,” the now older teenager asked.
“Fuck man, nuthin is ok! No one's gonna recognize me like this! Not my friends, my parents. I'm totally screwed!”
“As far as I can tell, you look exactly the way you did when you came in,” said the clerk, still confused. The changes were only apparent to Mike it seemed. Not even the kid at the counter was aware of anything different. This took even more of a toll on poor Mike's battered psyche, and with his defenses crushed, he begun to forget having changed form at all.
“I can't go home dressed and acting like this! My 'rents would fucking whop my ass,” he whined.
“Why for your parents? Live for yourself,” the bigger boy said.
“Fuck, I cant do shit on my own dude!” he snapped. “I just wanna get good grades and shit. Make my 'rents happy and all.” He was almost crying. Crushed, his memories change further. He now thought of himself as a child of Korean immigrants. They wanted the best for him, thats why Mike was so worried. He had so much pressure on him to be smart and good at school… they'd never understand this.
“What wrong? Doesn't ever boy your age want to be like this?”
The shop hand shrugged. Mike lifted his shirt and looked at his torso, examining his new abs and pecs. He could see his red jocks poking up cheekily over his shorts. Something in his mind was telling him how cool and hardcore he looked. His body was pretty good now, he thought, but as far as he remembered now, it had always been like this. Though the new look though… he wasn't sure about it.
“What the fuck am I sposed to do now, huh?”
“Just relax, man,” replied the shophand.
“YOU fucking relax! You aren't the one being fucked around with, man!” Mike screamed.
“You seem to be upset about your outfit. It looks pretty comfortable to me, and the chain I sold you really goes well with it.”
“Yeah, they feel pretty sweet. So what? The 'rents would disown me if they saw me in em!”
“So? who cares what your parents think? You're your own person.”
“Dude, what world have you been living in? Parents pretty much own their kids,” said Mike, angrily.
“Maybe kids should own their parents, y'know?” responded the clerk.
Mike felt repressed rage and a need for freedom, something that was welling up inside him. He felt like rebelling.
“Damn right they should! What the fuck do piece of shit adults know anyway?”
“Heh, exactly man! You should dress this way to make a statement.”
Mike's resistance started to fade, and he started rethink his dislike of the new look.
“Screw em, maybe you're right, man,” he said. He started to feel really good about himself. “Time I stopped taking their crap, yeah!” He began to feel more aggressive and confident.
“Sounds like a plan, dude,” the kid at the counter said.
“Bro, thanks. You've been a helluva help!” said the new Mike, smiling at the cute older boy, then determinedly heading for the door.
“Glad I could help. Please come again, sir,” said the shophand, with a smile. The kid loved to help people, even the really confused ones.
Mike left the store and headed home, ready to give his new parents hell. As he left, a skater a few years older than him looked at a palmtop computer and smirked. This had been a successful test, he thought, and he'd have to make sure and stop by here again to see what else his new shop turned out. Meanwhile, James followed the new young punk home.