Description Returning from a Mexican vacation, a gay couple bring back a mysterious drink for their friends to try, bringing on some changes for the group of friends that require a great deal of getting used to.
What kinda faggy beer did you bring this time?”, Seth asked at the front door of his apartment, noticing the unfamiliar-looking six-pack which Nick had brought to the poker game.
“It’s not beer,” Nick corrected Seth. “In fact, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any liquor in it at all.”
“Then what’s the fuckin’ point?”, Seth demanded to know, taking the package from Nick and inspecting it closely. He’d never heard of the brand, Mariposa, and was unimpressed by the multi-colored butterfly that dominated the graphics or by the rainbow of brightly-colored liquids in the sextet of bottles. “I’m not gonna drink something if it’s not gonna fuck me up.”
“Oh, it’ll fuck you up, all right,” chimed in Nick’s boyfriend, Dalton.
Until that moment, Seth had not noticed the slight young man lurking behind the taller, more well-built Nick. Seth gave him a indifferent nod and uttered a perfunctorily polite, “Oh, hey. Didn’t see ya there.”
Seth was still adjusting to the new world order that had been ushered in a year ago when his longtime buddy Nick had confessed at the start of one night’s poker game that he “preferred guys”. Seth’s initial reaction was to laugh and say, “Who the fuck doesn’t?”, until Nick clarified that he meant in a sexual way. Seth had been blindsided by the revelation, as Nick was a laidback jock without any of the stereotypical traits Seth associated with gayness. Even fully out of the closet, little about Nick screamed “gay”. For Seth, a guy like Nick, who liked sports and video games and had terrible fashion sense, simply did not compute as queer.
When Nick asked if he could start bringing his boyfriend to the gang’s weekly poker games, Seth had anticipated that the boyfriend would be similar to Nick, just a regular bro with whom you’d like to hang and whose sexuality was incidental and, preferably, kept private. Seth wasn’t prepared for Dalton, a short and wiry bundle of attitude who was in-your-face and militantly “out”, who seemed to dye his hair a new unnatural color every week or two, and who seemed to draw endless delight from challenging Seth on his “neanderthal alpha-male bullshit”. Nick frequently had to play peacemaker between his old pal and his new love, calming them both down when their taunting banter threatened to boil into something more physical.
Seth placed the six-pack alongside the other drinks and snacks on the battered sideboard next to the poker table and pulled out one of the bottles, its contents dark blue. Squinting at the label, he declared, “What the fuck’s in it? All the ingredients are in Mexican!”
“Well, supposedly,” Dalton said in the clipped, lecturing tone that particularly grated on Seth, “it’s derived from an ancient recipe of the Aztec warriors. They called it ‘the nectar of the gods’.”
“Or whatever the words were in Aztec. It pretty incredible stuff, actually, It was all they were serving at the parties we went to in Cancun,” Nick added.
“Oh, that’s right, how was that?”, asked Jeffrey, who was already seated at the table, counting out the poker chips into equal stacks. The core five players in this long-running poker tradition had met on the college football team six years ago, but while the others had been players of varying abilities, Jeffrey was the affable equipment manager who had been brought into their orbit by Seth more like a mascot than as an equal. He was unfailingly loyal and could always be relied upon for a lift to the airport at the last minute or an extra twenty when you ran out of cash or a spare condom if you scored a hot chick but were unprepared. Shy and awkward around women, the red-haired and pale Jeffrey never seemed to have the need for condoms himself, but he always carried a few in his wallet, just in case his friends needed them.
“Cancun was FAB-ulous,” Dalton pronounced, sliding into his preferred seat directly across the table from Seth. Facing the other direction, Seth rolled his eyes and mouthed “FAB-ulous” so that only Jeffrey could see it. Jeffrey stifled a chuckle, remaining sober-faced to keep from revealing to Dalton that he was being mocked.
“I bet,” said Jeffrey, a hint of envy in his voice. “God, look how tan both of you are.”
It was true that Nick and Dalton sported rich dark tans, although it was particularly dramatic in Nick’s case, his sun-kissed blond hair contrasting nicely with his bronzed skin. Dalton’s change was less stark, as he frequented tanning parlors year-round, but he had also returned from the Yucatan with a freshly bleached platinum fade with magenta highlights as well as several new piercings, a few of which were visible to the public.
“Fifty bucks says neither of these guys has tan lines,” Seth sneered.
“I’ll let you look for free,” shot back Dalton with an impish wink.
Seth shook his head and furiously waved off the offer. “I’ll take your word for it.”
Lanky, buzz-cut blond Brendan loped into the room, casually zipping up the fly of his cargo shorts, the sound of a recently-flushed toilet echoing from down the hallway. “Am I hearing you guys went to a nude beach?”, he asked, instantly joining in the conversation.
Nick grinned, a bit embarrassed. “Maybe. A little.” He reflexively looked away toward the chips table, a habit he had unconsciously developed over the years to keep himself from gawking at Brendan. Ever since their college days, Nick had harbored a major crush on Brendan but was petrified that anyone—particularly Brendan—would notice. Even after coming out, Nick had never confessed to this attraction, for fear of making Brendan uncomfortable. Nick found it particularly torturous to be around Brendan because he was the only one of the group to maintain an athlete’s physique post-college and had no shyness about displaying the results of his efforts in the gym. Dalton had no such hang-ups, his eyes lingering on Brendan’s sculpted torso, which was tonight seemingly vacuum-sealed into a form-fitting ribbed white tank-top.
“So what is it you gay guys are lookin’ at, at a gay beach, anyway?”, Seth inquired.
“Come along with us next time and you’ll find out,” Dalton shot back.
“No, I’m serious,” Seth said, directing his attention toward Nick. “Are you like ‘Check out that butt’? Or ‘Look at the big floppin’ dick on that one’? Or ‘I wonder what the inside of that guy’s ass feels like’?”
Dalton stared defiantly across the table, locking eyes with Seth. “You really are obsessed with gays, aren’t you? I swear, you talk about gays more than any gay guy I’ve ever met.”
Seth pressed the knuckles of both hands onto the felt of the poker table and leaned toward Dalton. “What in the exact fuck are you trying to say?”
Dalton said nothing, his unblinking eyes remaining riveted on Seth’s, a sly grin curling his lip ever so slightly.
The tension of the moment was broken by heavy pounding on the front door. Without looking away from Dalton, Seth shouted, “It’s open, Ox!”
The person outside fumbled with the knob and swung open the door. There, at six-four and north of 300 pounds, stood Ox, short for “Mad Ox”, derived from his surname Maddox. If the guys had ever known his real first name, they had long ago forgotten it, for Ox seemed like such a fitting name for the man. He had been the fiercest defensive lineman on their college team, his enormous head looking even more immense shorn of its hair, his beefy face bearing so many scars that it seemed he must have played his high-school years sans helmet. Flustered and breathless, Ox apologized to the group. “Sorry, I’m late, guys. You started already?”
“No, Ox,” Nick said with a welcoming smile. “Dalt and I just got here a couple minutes ago. No sweat.”
Seth turned and pointed toward Ox. “You heard the man: no sweat. Look at you, you’re dripping all over my carpet.” Ox’s XXXL grey sweatshirt was indeed living up to its name, drenched in Ox’s perspiration. “I’m gonna have to roll a tarp under your chair to catch that shit.”
Ox raised a stubby middle finger in Seth’s direction, knowing he could easily crush the former third-string quarterback if he ever felt the need. He set his two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi and family-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos on the snack table and noticed the six-pack of colorful beverages. “Hey, what’s this weird stuff?”
“Some fruity shit from Nick and…”, Seth said, jerking a thumb in Dalton’s direction. Nick was never sure if Seth actually couldn’t remember Dalton’s name or if he just always refused to say Dalton’s name in order to maintain his reputation as a total prick.
“Some elixir from Jalisco,” Jeffrey offered, pleased with himself by the near-rhyme. He sometimes felt like he was the only one who appreciated his rare contributions to the conversation.
“Actually, Oaxaca,” Dalton corrected him.
“‘Zit any good?”, Ox asked.
“It’ll blow your fuckin’ mind,” Dalton assured him with a wicked grin.
“Oh. Cool.” Ox selected a bottle with green liquid and wrapped a beefy mitt around the cap.
“It’s not actually a twist…”, Nick said, declining to complete his thought when the non-twist-off bottle cap was successfully removed via Ox’s brute strength.
Ox guzzled down half of the contents in a single swallow, followed by a satisfied belch that vibrated the apartment’s Venetian blinds. He rolled his tongue around his mouth and nodded approvingly. “That’s fuckin’ tasty.”
“I gotta try this shit,” declared Brendan, stretching his long well-muscled arm toward the refreshments and extracting an orange bottle from the package. His impressive biceps bulged as he strained to twist off the cap. Nick came to his rescue by tossing a church key across the table. Brendan smiled gratefully, unleashing the dimples in his cheeks that had always been like kryptonite to Nick, weakening his knees (but never his inhibitions). Brendan flipped off the cap and took a swig. He took his lips away from the bottle and smiled, declaring, “Man, that’s good. It goes down so smooth.”
“Just wait a few,” Nick said. “It’s got a hell of a kick.”
“All right, lemme try this fuckin’ soda pop,” Seth said irritably, grabbing the dark blue bottle.
“Uh, I think you’d really like the yellow one,” Dalton insisted. Nick shot a glance at Dalton, whose attention remained fixed on Seth.
Seth seemed suspicious. “Yellow, huh? Why, did you take a leak in it or something?”
“No,” replied Dalton. “I just think it’d suit you.”
Feeling he was being challenged, Seth snatched the yellow bottle and placed the blue one on the table in front of Jeffrey, who was in the midst of sliding each player their poker chips. “Oh, none for me, thanks,” Jeffrey said politely.
“Aw, c’mon, Jeffrey,” Dalton said. “It’ll be more fun if everyone has some.”
“It’s okay,” Nick said. “He doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want…”
An insistent look from Dalton shut Nick down. Dalton turned back to Jeffrey. “Trust me, Jeffrey. I really think you’ll enjoy it.”
Brendan softly began to chant “Peer pressure, peer pressure…”, soon joined by Dalton, then Ox, then Seth and finally Nick. Jeffrey’s narrow shoulders slumped and he caved, grabbing the bottle opener from Seth.
Seth chugged the entire contents of his bottle and slammed the empty on the table. He became woozy and steadied himself, clutching the edge of the poker table. “Whoa, that IS fucking good,” he said with a conciliatory nod toward Nick and Dalton. “Sorry I doubted you boys.”
Nick looked a bit nervous, but Dalton was practically giddy, declaring, “Let the games begin.”
As the guys began playing poker, Nick could barely concentrate on his own cards, his eyes shifting from one friend to another, watching for any signs that the Mariposa was kicking in. Dalton was also paying close attention to the faces of Jeffrey, Brendan, Ox and, particularly, Seth, who was noticeably impaired by the time it came his turn to deal. As he clumsily attempted to shuffle the cards, he counted the five chips in the pot and snapped, “Okay, who’th light?”
Nick’s pulse quickened and Dalton choked back a snicker. The others simply looked at Seth with amusement. “‘Who’th light?’”, Brendan repeated in disbelief.
Seth was perturbed, snapping back at Brendan, “That’th right. Thomeone’th light, dumb-ath.”
“What’s wrong with your voice, Seth?”, Jeffrey asked.
“NOTHing’th wrong…”, Seth answered irritably, the first syllable shooting an octave above his usual range. Now Seth was aware of what the others had noticed. He glanced at the empty bottle in front of him, then glared across the table at Dalton. “What’th in thith thit?”, he barked before repeating, “Thit. thit!”, his frustration escalating as he seemed unable to say the “s” sound, no matter how much he concentrated. The laughter around the table only increased his mounting anger. “It’th not funny, guyth!”
“Oh, it’s a little funny,” Brendan said, slapping Seth on the shoulder. Brendan looked over at Nick. “What’s the gag. You put novocaine in his drink or something?”
Nick shook his head, his lips tight, while Dalton replied, “Not novocaine. It’s just the first sign of the transformation.”
The laughter subsided as Seth leaned forward, his fury simmering. “Tranth-for-mathion?”
As Dalton leaned back in his chair, arms folded, grinning with satisfaction, Nick tried to sound lighthearted, but the tremor in his voice indicated his nervousness. “Okay, guys, now don’t freak out. It’s going to be fine.”
“What’th going to be fine?”, Seth asked, eyes riveted on Dalton, who he knew must have been the instigator for whatever prank was causing him to lisp incessantly.
Trying to stay calm, Nick said, “Like we already told you, this is real powerful stuff, okay? Like, inCREDibly, unbeLIEVably, inconCEIVably powerful. But if you just go with the flow, it’s totally safe.”
Ox, who rarely caught a buzz from even the heaviest drinking due to his massive size, tugged at his lip and said, “Hey, I think I’m feeling something too.”
Worried, Jeffrey looked at the mostly full bottle before him, having only taken a few sips. “What’s in it? LSD?”
Brendan offered, “I bet it’s magic mushrooms. Or something from a cactus.”
Ox said, “Maybe it’s like that worm they drown in tequila.”
“We don’t know what’s in it,” Nick said firmly. “We just know what it does.”
“So, what, are we all gonna start lisping?”, Brendan asked, amused by the whole idea.
“No,” Nick explained. “That’s just one possibility. Every color has its own different…side effects.”
“Well, they’re not exactly side effects,” Dalton interjected. “They’re just…the effects. The main one being, you’re all gonna be gay.”
While all four guys reacted with degrees of surprise, Seth gave the most vehement response, rising from his chair as his voice became a shrill shout: “Whaaaaat?!”
Nick held his palms parallel to the tabletop in a “settle down” gesture, giving his boyfriend the stink-eye for lobbing a grenade into his careful, deliberate explanation. “Chill, guys. You’re not gonna be gay…exactly. It’s more like you’ll lose your inhibitions, and one of them is that you’ll be more…receptive.”
“Retheptive to fucking guyth?”, Seth shouted, irate.
Nick kept his voice low. “To pretty much anything.”
“But especially fucking guys,” Dalton said, not helping.
Nick retook the floor, trying to be the voice of reason. “But don’t worry, it’s only temporary. You’ll be right back to your old selves once the drink wears off.”
Ox asked, “How long’s that take?”
“Varies. One bottle usually lasts anywhere between twelve and eighteen hours, although I had it go on for a whole day once,” said Dalton, non-chalant.
Seth gasped, horrified. “You’re thitting me. I could be like thith for a day?”
“Hey, on the plus side, there’s no hangover,” Nick said reassuringly.
“Plus thide??? Thith ith jutht outrageouth!”, declared Seth, propping a hand on his thrust-out hip. “I’ll thue you ath-holeth for athault!” Seth realized what he had done and shook his body violently, as if he could rid his body by force of whatever was possessing it.
“This is totally not cool, guys, sneaking this on us.” Brendan said.
“I wanted to be up front about it,” Nick said apologetically, “but Dalt thought it’d be more fun as a surprise.”
“Thome thurprithe!”, said Seth, growing increasingly apoplectic at his inability to speak normally. “It’th worth than thlipping uth roofieth!”
Dalton stood, leaning across the table, speaking to everyone but directing his words straight towards Seth. “If we’d told you what was going to happen, I bet none of you would have agreed to do it. You always seem to be so curious about how it feels to be gay, but none of you seem to have the slightest clue what it’s really like for Nick and me. We wanted to see how you’d all react to having strange impulses for the first time, deep feelings that you felt you couldn’t mention to anyone. To experience what it’s like to realize you’re gay and wonder what your friends will think of you if you dare to admit it. I thought you’d all go through it simultaneously, but Seth just had to chug his and start changing before the rest of you.”
The room fell silent as the guys contemplated the magnitude of this news. Nick tried to lighten the mood with an anemic “Surprise!”
“Well, guys”, Brendan said to the others philosophically, “there ARE worse things than being gay for a day.”
“Thpeak for yourthelf,” Seth harrumphed, frustrated that it seemed impossible to summon up words without esses.
“Dude,” Ox asked Seth, tilting his head to contemplate what he was seeing. “Did you dye your hair?”
“Fuck no”, Seth said dismissively. Then his face slackened and he rushed toward the bathroom where he let out a bloodcurdling shriek. The other five guys rushed down the hall and looked through the doorway, discovering Seth staring at his reflection in the mirror, clutching his hair with both hands. It had been more subtle in the dining room, but under the glare of the fluorescents, it was clear that Seth’s usually dark brown locks had lightened considerably. Less immediately obvious from a distance was the increased waviness of his previously straight hair. “Thith ithn’t pothible,” Seth said softly, his macho bark tamped down into a shell-shocked whisper.
“That’s what I thought too,” Nick said. “The first time, I was sure it was just a hallucination, but it was too real to be fake. Somehow this stuff has the power to change literally everything about you, mentally and physically.”
Dalton piped up. “The legend they told us was that it was handed down from the gods to the Aztec warriors, who used the stuff to disguise themselves so they could infiltrate their enemies. But it proved to be more powerful as an aphrodisiac than an espionage tool. They started losing battles because all the soldiers wanted to do was stop fighting and start fucking each other. The recipe was supposed to be destroyed, but people secretly kept handing it down through the generations. Now someone’s figured out how to tweak the formula, with every different flavor designed to bring out a specific array of traits.”
Nick continued, “They say the Mexican government’s trying to crack down on it, but when word gets around, I think it’s gonna be bigger than pot, bigger than meth, bigger than heroin. I was amazed we managed to smuggle this six-pack back with us across the border.”
A low voice rumbled through the tight hallway. “This can’t be safe.” Everyone was puzzled by the unrecognizable voice, including the person who had said the words. The others’ heads swiveled, practically in unison, toward Jeffrey, who stood at the back of the group, his eyes wide, his hands over his lips. “Is that me?”, he said, shocked to hear a baritone burbling up from his throat.
“Uh…why don’t we all go to the living room and sit down?”, Nick suggested. It seemed like a reasonable suggestion, so they straggled toward the living room.
“See, this is why I suggested we do it here,” Nick said, trying to keep an upbeat tone. “We can let the transformations take their course in a controlled setting. It’s Saturday night. None of us have to be anywhere tomorrow. We got plenty of drinks and snacks. We’ll order some pizzas, play some poker, see what’s on Netflix…”
“Watch some porn,” Dalton added with a smirk.
“No fucking gay porn,” Seth shouted adamantly in a lilting effeminate voice that may as well have been demanding that they “Leave Britney alone!” The others turned toward him and discovered that Seth had shrunk a good four inches and was engulfed within the t-shirt and sweats which had formerly been filled out by Seth’s stocky, out-of-shape body.
Nick tried to place a comforting hand on Seth’s shoulder, but Seth pulled away, a fury in his eyes from his friend’s betrayal. Nick felt guilty for tricking his friends and now felt it was his responsibility to guide them through what he knew would be a rollercoaster of strange new emotions. “I apologize for not warning you guys, but trust me, I wouldn’t have agreed to do this if I didn’t think it would be a great learning experience for all of us, something that’s gonna bring us all closer as friends. I promise, we’re gonna get through this together.”
Nick felt a gentle tap on his back. He turned around to see Brendan standing behind him. He couldn’t help but notice that Brendan’s blond buzz-cut had grown out slightly and darkened, and that his skin had taken on a slightly browner tint as well. He was holding the final two unopened bottles, along with the bottle opener. “Seems only fair that you and Dalton have the last two.”
“They’re already fucking gay!”, Seth yelled with exasperation, flopping onto the living room couch. “What’re you tryin’ to do, make ‘em thuper-gay?”
Nick took a step back from Brendan. “No, ya see, the idea was that Dalt and I were just planning to be monitors. Kinda like, ya know, designated drivers?”
Dalton backed up his partner, standing directly behind him. “We’re staying ‘sober’, if you will, so we can talk the rest of you through it.”
Ox stepped forward next to Brendan, stubble now populating his shaved scalp. “I agree with Brendan,” Ox said in a firm tone, the shadow of his shrinking but still impressive bulk falling over Nick and Dalton.
Jeffrey took up position on the other side of Brendan, crossing newly sinewy arms, the fabric of his polo shirt stretched tight across his pecs and around his biceps. “Come on, Dalton,” he said commandingly. “Like you said, it’ll be more fun if everyone has some.”
Brendan held out the two remaining bottles, one purple and one red, and told Nick and Dalton, “Pick your poison.”
Nick and Dalton looked at each other uneasily, afraid they would have a mutiny on their hands unless they joined the others and downed a Mariposa. Dalton shrugged and said, “Okay, gimme the red one.”
“Oh no,” called Seth from the couch where he was squirming to get comfortable in his still-shrinking body. “You don’t get to pick. You know too much. You’re the one who inthithted I drink that yellow pith, and look at me now.”
Jeffrey said, “Yeah, and you told me I’d really enjoy the blue one. What’d you mean by that, anyway?”
For once, Dalton was not the aggressor, and it was making him uncomfortable. “I just figured, of all the guys, you’d be the most…receptive.”
Jeffrey’s fists clenched, flexing the muscles in his developing arms. “What are you trying to say, receptive’? Why would you think I’d be receptive to being turned gay?”
“Well, I don’t wanna come right out and say it, but… I mean, you are gay, right?”
Jeffrey sneered at the thought. “Me? Gay? You gotta be kidding.” He looked around the room for backup. “Hang on. You guys don’t think I’m gay, do you?” He got his answer from the ensuing silence and averted glances.
Seth chimed in from his prone position on the sofa. “I totally would’ve ekthpected you to come out of the clothet inthtead of Nicky.”
Jeffrey was stunned to learn this. He knew he wasn’t exactly anyone’s idea of an alpha, but… His attention zeroed in on Nick. “Even you, Nick?”
Nick winced but saw no reason not to be honest. “I always kinda assumed. I mean, you’re quiet, you’re nice, you’re cute.”
Jeffrey’s pale freckled skin became flushed. “You think I’m cute?” He wasn’t used to getting compliments…or even noticed.
“Sure, I do. I always thought you were an untapped hottie. Maybe you could stand to put on a little muscle, grow out a little scruff, but you had all the raw ingredients. And from the looks of you now, I’d say I was right.” Nick wasn’t just saying that to be nice. Having sprouted a bit of facial hair in addition to some impressive muscles, Jeffrey would definitely turn heads now. Jeffrey blushed again, sincerely flattered.
“Okay, is it me, or did things just get weird?”, Ox asked, absent-mindedly scratching the bristles that now covered the top of his head.
“Wait, NOW it’th getting weird?”, Seth shouted sarcastically. “Ekthcuthe me, but did you not notithe when I developed a lithp and grew thith thweet, thweet ath?” Seth rubbed his palm seductively around the pronounced curve of his accentuated butt.
“You’re right, things were already weird,” Ox agreed, finding it particularly odd that Seth would be so proud of his “thweet ath”.
“All right, no more stalling,” Brendan said as he pointed the two open bottles Nick’s direction. “You pick, Nick. No consulting with Dalton.”
Nick was wracking his brain, trying to remember what traits were conferred by the purple and the red versions of the magical elixir, but they had experimented with so many different variations in Cancun that it was hard to keep them straight. “Gimme the purple,” he said at last, figuring there must have been some reason why Dalton had chosen red for himself. They each took their respective bottles and gave each other a look. “Chug it?”, Nick asked.
“Guess so,” Dalton replied. “We got some catching up to do.”
They clinked the necks of the bottles, then put them to their lips and swallowed as much as they could in one gulp. Nick had almost forgotten how amazing the Miraposa felt as it went down your throat and immediately spread its energy throughout your body. The closest description he could come up with was like warm fingers giving you a deep tissue massage from the inside out. The specific sensations were different with each color, determined by which parts of the body were going to be most radically altered, but without fail, the heat would eventually zero in on his crotch, cranking his libido up to eleven before snapping off the knob. He’d never been particularly sex obsessed, which is one reason he’d stayed in the closet so long, but under the influence of Mariposa, Nick was constantly down to fuck.
“Oh, shit,” Dalton blurted out. “We forgot to bring in the suitcase! I better get it before I start to change.” He fished the car keys from his pocket and dashed toward the door. “I’ll be right back, guys.”
Seth, now cupping a hand around his crotch, asked somewhat distractedly, “So, what’th in the thuitcathe?”
“Clothes,” replied Nick. “What you’re wearing isn’t going to fit you once the transformation’s over, so we brought all the extra clothes we had to buy in Cancun. We went through a lot of changes there.”
“Jesus, how many times have you guys done this?”, Ox wanted to know.
Nick tried to think, although his powers of concentration were already being overwhelmed by the ecstatic feelings overtaking his body. “I think we did it four different times in Cancun. It was so awesome. Every night, I got to be a totally different person…and I got to take home a new boy every night without any guilt because I knew, deep down, he was actually Dalt.”
“Wow,” said Brendan, his mind blown. “Screwing around monogamously. What’ll they think of next?”
Ox was still grappling with the basics of their current situation. “So I just figured the Mariposa was gonna change our clothes too.”
Nick scoffed. “For reals? No! Like, how would that work exactly?”
“How am I supposed to know what the rules are?”, Ox barked back. “A hundred pounds just evaporated from my body and my head’s turning into a fuckin’ Chia Pet!”
“I’m sorry, Ox,” Nick said. “I guess I’ve done this enough, I forgot how disorienting it is the first time.” Nick’s knees buckled and he braced himself against the wall. “Whoa, it’s kicking in. I think it’s best if we all sit down and ride it out.”
Jeffrey returned to his chair at the poker table. Ox lowered himself to the floor, astonished that his legs were now thin enough to sit cross-legged for perhaps the first time since kindergarten. Brendan moved toward the sofa, but it was fully occupied by Seth’s squirming body, moaning as he stroked his right hand beneath the waistband of his oversized sweats. “Jesus, dude, are you whackin’ off in front of all of us?”
“Can’t…help…it,” Seth gasped. “Feelth…tho…awethome.” Seth rubbed his left hand against his cheek as curls of his increasingly blond hair clung against his sweat-drenched skin.
“Get used to it, Brendan. Once the Mariposa starts to kick in, we’re all gonna feel the urge to jerk.”
“Fuck, I do not wanna see that,” Brendan said with a grimace, returning to the poker table and sitting backwards on his chair. Aside from his darkening skin, which was now even more tanned than Nick’s, Brendan didn’t feel like he had changed much so far. He sure hoped he wouldn’t turn into a mindless masturbator like Seth.
“Looks like old Seth’s not resisting the change any more,” Dalton remarked as he re-entered the apartment, closing the door and chaining the lock. He placed the suitcase on the floor in the middle of the living room and opened it, revealing a wide array of clothing options stuffed inside. He walked over to Nick and said, “Hon, you might wanna give me that chair. I’m gonna need it more than you.”
Nick looked concerned. “Why? What’s the red one gonna do to you?”
“Remember the night we went salsa dancing on the beach?”
The memory came back to Nick immediately. He gasped. “Oh, my. Really?” He rose and ceded the chair to Dalton, curling up on the floor at his feet.
The apartment fell silent – except, that is, for Seth’s increasingly heavy panting and ecstatic yowls as he furiously pumped his cock. By now, he had yanked it out of his sweats and it was barely long enough to extend outside of his fist. Even knowing how much a person could change under the influence of Mariposa, it still caught Nick by surprise to see Seth sporting such a small unit. He’d always been very impressed and a bit envious whenever he’d caught a furtive glance of Seth’s cock in the showers after football practice. Still, at the moment, Seth seemed perfectly satisfied with the quality of his penis, even if it was lacking in quantity.
Ox felt his own cock stiffening. He lifted the waistband of his voluminous jeans and peeked inside. WIth his gut having receded, he was able to see his own penis directly for the first time since puberty. For the past decade, he’d known his cock almost exclusively by feel, but what currently lurked in his Levi’s bore little resemblance to what Ox usually was packing. He’d always nervously joked that his dick just looked small compared to the rest of him, but in fact it was objectively on the micro side. Now, however, with his body miraculously slimmed down, he was sporting an uncut monster that looked disproportionately huge, easily nine inches and still far from rigid. It lurched into action as his fingers brushed against the shaft, and any inhibitions he might have had about fondling himself in front of his friends vanished in the intense rush of his arousal.
“Holy fuck!”, shouted Brendan as a wave of energy rippled through his body. He gripped the back of his chair tightly, braced his feet flat against the floor, closed his eyes and grit his teeth as he felt his muscles inflate in a rush from his shoulders to his calves. His wife-beater seemed to be shrinking, its hem inching upward along his abs, while his cargo shorts constricted around his expanding waist and thighs. Already a tall and strapping man, Brendan could feel himself becoming even bigger, and the thought of growing massive aroused him so much that the pressure from his expanding cock was beginning to unzip his fly. The wooden back of the chair cracked under the strain of being clutched in his fists.
Across the room, Dalton was wriggling free from his clothes in preparation for what he knew was coming. Although he didn’t know what his transformation would encompass, Nick stripped down as well. In Cancun, between the two of them, Nick and Dalton had shredded a favorite silk shirt, split the seat of a brand-new pair of linen slacks, destroyed two tuxedoes, and violently burst a couple of Speedo into bits during their changes, so they now preferred to go through the metamorphosis in the nude. Once naked, they squeezed each other’s hands and braced themselves as the familiar tremors began to pulsate through their bodies.
Nick’s unfettered cock sprang to attention as his transformation built momentum. The pinprick tingling across his scalp and down his arms was familiar from his first night in Cancun, but from the buzzing he felt in his brain, he could already tell this would be as much of a mental change as a physical one. At first, he fought against this sensation, but he quickly surrendered, knowing from experience how futile it was to rebel against the inevitable, and that the changes would only deepen as the night went on. With surrender came serenity, as he allowed his body to become the plaything of whatever mystical forces lurked inside the Mariposa. Normally affable, Nick could sense himself getting more agitated, his attitude growing generally more pissed-off. He could feel his upper lip curling into a permanent sneer, and his left hand drifted downward so his fingers could wrap around his stiffy.
At the same time, Dalton was experiencing something like deja vu. He recognized all the stages of this transformation from the first time he drank the red Miraposa in Mexico. When Brendan had offered the choice between red and purple, Dalton had intentionally volunteered for the red, not wanting to subject Nick to the intense aches which were now buffeting his body like crashing ocean waves. He sagged in his chair as fat cells multiplied exponentially beneath his skin. He felt the cool air of the room against his scalp as most of his hair fell loose and drifted into the ether. Even sitting totally still, Dalton felt sluggish. He felt the desire to join the others in milking his cock, but he lacked the energy to do it with such vigor.
From the poker table, Jeffrey watched the tableau before him with fascination and a touch of nausea. It was bizarre to see all five of his friends ceding control of their bodies and minds to the Mariposa, and he certainly never would have expected the weekly poker game to be preempted in favor of a group jerk-off party. In contrast, he looked down at his own body, which remained mostly unaltered. He was unquestionably jacked, his arms seriously veiny, which gave him a degree of self-confidence to which he was unaccustomed, and his voice had sunk into a macho growl, but he hadn’t experienced any further spurts for more than five minutes. His skin retained its customary pallor and the stubble on his cheeks had stalled at two-days’ growth. He pondered the Mariposa bottle in front of him. Unlike the others, who had consumed an entire bottle each, Jeffrey had only downed about a third of his. Maybe that’s why he was the only one in the apartment who wasn’t feeling the overwhelming urge to spank the monkey right now. He felt a little bit horny, but that was about it. Part of him felt an impulse to grab the bottle and toss down the rest so he could have the complete experience like his friends, but his rational mind and cautious nature were holding him back. He didn’t like losing control and, deep down, he feared what he might become in a total transformation. After hearing that all of his friends already erroneously assumed he was gay, he felt no need to weaken his shaky grip on heterosexuality by allowing some strange Mexican concoction to move him any further along the Kinsey scale. He bent his forearm back and squeezed his rock-hard biceps, contenting himself that becoming moderately studly was more than enough of a change for him.
Jeffrey watched one-by-one as his friends reached climax and then slumped with exhaustion as their transformations became complete. He realized he was looking at a room full of strangers, none of whom looked remotely like they had at the beginning of the night. Such changes were unexplainable by any of the rational beliefs which had guided Jeffrey through his previous twenty-five years. He was now forced to trust his eyes and concede the existence of the mystical and the magical.
Seth was the first to stir, spreading his arms wide like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, just as depicted in the illustration on the Mariposa package. The belligerent ex-jock in whose messy apartment they were all trapped for the duration of this curious experiment was scarcely recognizable in the slight pixie who energetically hopped up from the couch, bouncing on the balls of his feet. Jeffrey estimated that Seth had lost a third of his weight, eight inches in height and easily half a dozen years. Even pre-transformation Jeffrey would have seemed substantial beside the new twinkish Seth with his wavy blond curls, upturned nose and broad grin. His t-shirt looked like a Dickensian nightgown draped over Seth’s slender frame, his bare, toned legs extending downward to delicate ankles, his feet surrounded by the folds of his now useless sweat pants. Spotting the opened suitcase on the floor, Seth dropped giddily to his knees and rummaged among the clothes, his eyes gravitating toward the brightest colors and tiniest scraps of fabric.
Ox was the next to emerge from his post-orgasmic slumber. As dramatic as Seth’s change had been, Ox must have lost as much mass as Seth currently weighed. His double chin, man-boobs and distended beer gut had been stripped away, whittling Ox down to the lean muscular physique of a competitive swimmer. His intimidating bald dome was now concealed by a half-inch crop of brown hair, and his rugged skin had seemingly been ironed smooth and wrapped tightly across a flawless bone structure which Jeffrey still recognized as Ox’s, minus the usual layers of fat. As Ox inspected his new features, confusion quickly gave way to delight. If I were Ox, Jeffrey thought, I don’t think I could face going back to my old self after this.
All of the mass that Seth and Ox had lost seemed to have migrated across the room to Dalton, whose obese body was squeezed into the chair. The scrappy upstart from earlier in the evening had aged twenty years in five minutes, his face cloaked in wrinkles and cellulite, his radical platinum/magenta fade having faded into male pattern baldness. What the top of his head lacked in hair was more than compensated for by the carpet covering his torso, arms and legs. Lost within this thicket of new growth was all of Dalton’s body jewelry, and his ear piercings were now accompanied by long hairs poking out from his ear canals. His man-boobs rose and fell with each wheezing breath, and he looked so exhausted that even raising his eyelids required effort. Jeffrey felt grateful that he hadn’t been handed the red bottle, as he wasn’t sure his heart could have handled the strain of carting around that body for even a day.
Nick stirred to life, rubbing his cheek against one of Dalton’s enormous thighs. The two men’s hands remained clasped together, but Jeffrey couldn’t imagine a less likely couple. The amiable Nick had shape-shifted into the form of a skin-and-bones emo punk and his hair had turned a deep black with bangs that sloped down over his right eye. The skin on his naked body had lost all of its vacation-acquired melanin and was now an almost blinding translucent white. Jeffrey had watched in amazement as unseen forces had spread an elaborate pattern from his shoulders down to his wrists on both arms, intricate gothic tattoos forming out of thin air. But even with such wholesale changes, Jeffrey could still honestly say that Nick was recognizable in there somewhere.
He could not say the same for the version of Brendan who was slumped over the back of a chair across from him. It was as if he had packed an extra set of muscle atop his already enviable form. Although he was seated, Jeffrey made a rough estimate that Brendan would have to be approaching seven feet tall when he stood up. His cargo shorts were hanging together by threads, blasted to smithereens by his enlarged quads and his ass, while only tatters of his tank top were draped comically around his neck and shoulders, showing off the broad expanse of his back. A halo of dark kinky hair surrounded his head, and his skull had grown larger, stretching his features wider in every direction. All of these changes were contained within deep brown skin, turning the buzz-cut blond dude-bro into an imposing, intimidating African-American man. As he raised his head, Brendan looked at his powerful black arms with astonishment, reacting with disbelief when they responded perfectly to the commands his brain sent them. He then scanned the living room, struggling to register the impish figure admiringly inspecting a neon-pink thong, the lean young jock seemingly transfixed by his perfect abs, the incongruously naked bear of a man swallowed up in a chair, and the seemingly subservient dull-eyed punk waif kneeling at his feet.
“Dudes,” Brendan said shakily, “what in the fuck has happened to us?”
In the middle of the living room, Seth the newly minted twink struggled to extricate himself from the size-XL t-shirt which hung down to his knees. With some difficulty, he finally pulled it over his head and flung it aside, leaving his skinny body now buck naked for the rest of the group to see.
A wheezing overweight man seated in the overstuffed armchair grumbled, “Seth, you do realize we can all see you naked, right?”
“Do I look like I give a fuck?”, Seth said as he looked for the source of the comment. He flinched when he saw a hairy, middle-aged, out-of-shape bald guy. “Holy thit, ith that you, Okth?”
“No, I’m Dalton. Ox is over there.” He pointed to the trim new Ox, still inspecting himself.
Seth glanced over at Ox, pursing his lips with approval, before looking back to Dalton and letting out a high-pitched giggle at the incongruous sight of Dalton’s numerous piercings on this new body. “Oh my, you look like an overthized pincuthion. Hate to break it to you, but you got royally thcrewed on your tranthformathion. Ith that theriouthly your fantathy?”
“Not my fantasy, just the luck of the draw. This could’ve been you if you’d grabbed the red bottle. If I’d been thinking straight, I’d have made sure that was the one you drank. You seem to be enjoying being a twink a little too much.”
“Yeah,” snarled Nick, his scrawny tattooed arms wrapped around one of Dalton’s tree-trunk legs, “maybe that really IS Seth’s secret fantasy.”
Seth turned his focus to Nick. “Nithe ink, Amy Winehouthe,” he said, waving his fingers toward Nick’s tattoo sleeves. “Or are thothe bruitheth from getting beaten up by your Thugar Daddy? I think Dalton’s jutht jealouth, becauthe now I’m eye candy…and he’th eye diabeteth.” He laughed brashly and bent over at the waist to pick up a hot pink thong, intentionally mooning Dalton in the process. Seth slid the thong up his slim hairless legs, adjusted its tiny pouch around his nub of a cock and appeared thoroughly delighted by the feel of the string at the back digging into his butt crack.
“What a surprise,” Brendan said, “Seth still manages to be a colossal prick, even when he’s barely got one.”
Seth spun on his heel and stopped cold in his tracks as he caught his first glimpse of the dark-skinned giant at the poker table. “Omigod! Brendan? Ith that you?”
“In the flesh, baby.” Brendan spread his arms wide to his sides, showing off his remarkable wingspan, and grinned his similarly broad smile. He pointed toward Seth’s thong. “What you got stuffed in there, boy? A marble and a couple of Tic Tacs?”
“Oh, honey, I got thomeplathe where you can thtuff whatever you want,” Seth responded, spinning around to waggle his pert ass in Brendan’s direction.
From the poker table, Jeffrey said, “I gotta say, Seth, you sure are adapting to this very easily.”
Seth turned and took a long gander at Jeffrey. “Why, Jeffrey, don’t you look…like regular old Jeffrey with thome halfway dethent gunth. Thubtle, but thekthy.” Seth noticed the mostly full bottle of blue liquid on the table in front of Jeffrey. “What’re you thaving that for, Jeffrey? A rainy day? Don’t you realithe…it’th raining men! Hallelujah!” Seth scampered toward Jeffrey and invaded his personal space with a shockingly agile lap dance. Jeffey stiffened in position, aghast at having Seth’s naked ass gyrating so close to his body.
Nick, rummaging through the suitcase in search of something appropriate for his new self, paused to watch Seth’s performance, finding it arousing despite himself.
Twisting his neck to get a better view, Dalton said, “Seth, I do have to admit, I’m impressed. I’ve been gay my whole life and I’ve never acted half as gay as you are right now.
Brendan piled on. “Yeah, who knew that beneath your gruff exterior lurked a twink just bursting with show tunes?”
Seth raised both middle fingers and waved them in Dalton and Brendan’s direction. “What you thee ith what you get, baby. Thee, I know that it’th just your goddamn Mekthican joy juithe that’th making me behave thith way, tho I thay fuck it, why not enjoy the ekthperienth? Walk a mile in another man’th thong! Thpeaking of which, I gotta thower off a thitload of dried themen. Anyone wanna help thcrub me?”
“I will!”, shouted Ox, leaping to his feet eagerly, kicking his legs free from his jeans. Unburdened by his old weight, he bounded toward the poker table as if he was flying, his flaccid cock flopping wildly with each step. Brendan leaned away to avoid getting slapped by it.
“Whoa, there, Ox. You’re gonna put somebody’s eye out with that.”
Ox paused and turned back to Brendan, feeling…well, cocky. “I suppose yours is bigger.”
“Well, I don’t wanna brag, but…I’ll just pull out enough of mine to beat you.” Brendan fumbled with his zipper, unaccustomed to his large unwieldy hands. Frustrated, he finally yanked at the tattered material of his shorts, sending his foot-long semi-hard cock tumbling out. The others stared in awe while Brendan leaned back, hands clasped behind his head, allowing them as much gawking time as they needed.
Finally, Seth spoke up. “Well, tho much for white thupremathy.” He paused a moment to let the remark land, then grabbed Ox by the hand and pulled him toward the bathroom.
A few minutes later, Seth and Ox stood face to face in the shower, pelted by hot water as they lathered themselves up.
“This is pretty wild, huh?”, Ox said. “I keep thinking it’s a dream, but it feels too real.”
Seth leveled Ox with a condescending look. “You have a lot of dreamth about thowering with a thkinny little faggot?”
Ox looked puzzled. “Huh?”
“Lithen, their little voodoo drink obviouthly can do thome pretty craythy thit, but it’ll take more than a bottle of imported thnake oil to turn me into thome pathetic little cock-gobbler.”
Ox tilted his head like a puzzled spaniel. “You mean, you’re not feeling kinda…different?”
“Thame old Theth,” Seth said, frustrated that he couldn’t even say his own name properly. “Fuck thith fuckin’ numb tongue.”
“So what about all of that out in the living room? Prancing around in a thong and shit? Asking someone to help…scrub you down.”
“All an act, thweetie…I mean, Okth. I’m just fuckin’ with that ath-hole Dalton. Jabba the Hutt out there thinkth he can come into my houthe and turn UTH queer? I’m just layin’ the trap. By the time thith ith over, I’m gonna totally thcrew with him.”
Ox fell silent. Seth wiped the soap suds from his eyes and noted Ox’s confused expression. Glancing down, he saw that Ox’s cock had grown rigid, rising at a steep angle from his body. “Oh, thit, man,” Seth said with a chuckle. “Don’t tell me you’re really gettin’ into thith!”
“No, of course not,” Ox said, not too convincingly. “I was just playing along too.” He turned away from Seth in embarrassment, snuffling back a tear.
“Are you cryin’, dude?”
“Uh-uh,” Ox insisted, wiping drops of water away from his eyes. “Must just be like hormones or something, from all the changes to my body.”
Seth’s heart went out to the not-so-big lug. “Hey, man, I’m tho thorry. Jutht ‘cauthe it didn’t turn ME gay doethn’t mean it doethn’t affect other people differently.” Seth had to admit, it was astounding that the ripped dude standing beside him was morbidly obese when he arrived at the apartment tonight. Something like that had to have a major impact on a guy’s psyche. “But I gotta thay, you’re lookin’ amaythingly good, Okth.”
Ox turned around, grinning. “You really like how I look?”
Seth noticed Ox’s dick stiffening further, tilting even further upward. “Not like that, man. Holthter that thing, will ya? I’m jutht thayin’, from a purely heterothekthual perthpective, you look pretty thpectacular.”
Ox smiled sweetly. He couldn’t remember the last time Seth had given him anything resembling a compliment. He felt the urge to give Seth a big hug, but decided that would be inappropriate. Instead, he gave him a playful punch in the shoulder, which knocked flimsy Seth off-balance and sent him tumbling to the floor of the shower. “Omigod, I am so sorry, Seth!” Ox bent down and grabbed Seth’s hands, pulling him back to his feet. Seth slipped on the wet tiles and his face slammed into Ox’s firm chest. Ox wrapped his arms around Seth to keep him from sliding back down.
When Seth regained his footing, he said, “You can let me go now, Okth.”
“Oh. Sorry. Are you okay?”
“Of courthe I am. Don’t be thilly.” Seth cleared his throat and straightened himself up. “Tell you what. Let’th dry off and get dretheed, and then I’m gonna take you out and get your thkinny ass laid.”
“You mean it?”, Ox asked, suspicious of Seth’s sincerity.
“Honest to god.”
Still not convinced. “Laid by who?”
“Anybody! Lookin’ the way you do now, I guarantee we can wrangle you a fine piethe of ath.”
Ox looked hesitant. “We talkin’ a chick? Or a guy?”
“Whatever floath your boat, my man. Dealer’th choithe.”
A huge dopey grin spread across Ox’s face. “Oh, man, I gotta find something to wear,” he declared, hopping out of the shower and wrapping a towel around his waist.
Seth lingered behind in the shower, cranking the water full blast and the faucet all the way to cold. Standing fully under the spray, Seth felt grateful that his dick was so small now, as it meant that Ox hadn’t noticed how hard Seth had gotten when Ox was holding him in his arms. When he was in the living room, Seth had felt as if his body had been possessed, so when he found himself one-on-one in the shower with Ox, he struggled desperately to reassert his usual personality and regain control of behavior. No way would straight Seth ever have suggested sharing a shower with a guy, so to preserve his image, he had to appear repulsed by the situation, even if he had the excuse of being under the influence of powerful whatever-this-shit-was. He realized that, while he may have managed to bullshit Ox for a few minutes, but there was no way he could pull off that act all the way until tomorrow night. The impulses he was feeling were too strong, and it was freaking him out. When he’d found himself on the floor of the shower, looking up at Ox’s Greek-statue physique, it had taken every last drop of his will power to resist wrapping his lips around Ox’s gorgeous big cock. The string of that thong had really stimulated him and he couldn’t stop thinking about letting some hot guy pound his ass – and hard. Even though he knew the Mariposa was to blame for all of this, it felt so genuine…and so hot. And all those catty remarks he’d been making in the living room? They all felt so natural, like that was the real Seth and his usual annoying macho shithead persona had been the act.
Even the blast of freezing water wasn’t dampening his arousal. Seth closed his eyes and muttered to himself, “Pull it together, pull it together, pull it together…” But as he repeated this mantra, his hand drifted toward his puny dick and pulled it, pulled it, pulled it, as he envisioned Ox’s abs, Jeffrey’s arms, Brendan’s cock…
Back in the living room, Nick had donned a pair of black cutoffs he’d found in the suitcase and was now scrounging around for the white t-shirt he remembered he’d bought in Cancun on the night when a bottle of Mariposa had turned him into the spitting image of James Dean, part of Mariposa’s celebrity line for which the makers were, rumor had it, being sued for copyright infringement. Nick wasn’t entirely sure he still had that shirt when the effects of the drink wore off. He dimly recalled doing a public strip tease that night which somehow involved a burro, an accordion player, and jumper cables. The later you went into a Mariposa binge, memories tended to grow fuzzier and fuzzier, and right now, his head already seemed stuffed with cotton candy.
Brendan finally stood up, rising for the first time to his full new height, the top of his afro grazing the ceiling. He bent down and grabbed a fistful of clothes from the suitcase, searching fruitlessly for anything large enough for him to wear. Shrugging it off, he sat down on the couch, arms stretched across the full length of the sofa, legs spread, schlong on full display. He looked pityingly at Nick and Dalton. “Gotta say, guys, it looks to me like your little morality lesson blew up in your faces. You tried to be sneaky and turn us all gay, but, guess what, we all seem just fine with it. So much for your self pity, Dalton.”
“Maybe”, Dalton shot back. “Or maybe I was right that you were all homophobes deep down, and the Mariposa’s just exposing it. Look at how you’re all behaving now. You suddenly feel things for other men and what happens? You resort to nothing but gay stereotypes. To you guys, being gay is all just dick jokes and comparing cocks and…whatever the fuck Seth was doing. I guess it’s easy for you laugh if off because you figure you’re just playing around. You know those feelings are going to wear off tomorrow, so no biggie. It’s not like they’re your real identity.”
“Shows how much you know, you arrogant douche,” Brendan said.
“What do you mean by that?”, Dalton asked.
“By that, I mean…” Brandon leaned forward for emphasis, his elbows resting on his knees. “I’m gay.”
Jeffrey toppled backwards in his chair at the poker table.
Dalton declared, “Bullshit!”
Nick froze in position and stared at Brendan. “Fuck you, you are not.”
“Oh, really? How would you know? Just ‘cause I don’t run around yappin’ about it. I keep my personal life personal. I don’t gotta walk around bragging every time I get laid like fuckin’ Seth.”
Nick studied Brendan, trying to evaluate if his chain was being yanked. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Brendan looked sincerely into Nick’s eyes. “Why didn’t you ask? All these years of you being too bashful to make fuckin’ eye contact? Think I didn’t notice that? If you didn’t always look away like a pussy, maybe you’da noticed me starin’ back at you. Why do I gotta be the one to man up and ask you what’s the deal? Even after you came out, you still weren’t brave enough to fuckin’ talk to me like a human being instead of throwin’ all these fuckin’ furtive glances, treating me like your own personal walkin’, talkin’ fireman-of-the-month calendar? I kept waiting for you to show some balls.” He gestured toward his scrotum and a chuckle rumbled deep in his chest. “Now I guess I’m finally showin’ you mine.”
Nick looked shellshocked by this revelation, while the bulge in his shorts began to expand. His voice trembled as he asked, “What would you have said? I mean, if I’d asked you.”
Brendan smiled and said, with tenderness, “I’da said ‘yes’, bro. I love you, man.”
Nick’s heart melted. Despite his current rebellious appearance, Nick himself was a softie, and that hadn’t changed deep down. He ran to the sofa and leapt into Brendan’s lap, wrapping his hands around Brendan’s neck and straining to reach Brendan’s lips with his. Brendan bent down to meet him halfway.
Dalton squirmed in his chair, struggling to hoist his carcass out of it. “What the hell are you doing, Nick? You’re just gonna make out with another guy in front of me?”
Nick pulled his mouth away from the kiss just long enough to blurt out, “Fuck you, Dalton. This whole thing was all your dumbass idea. The way I see it, nothing really counts for the next 23 hours! It’s all just a fantasy. And I’m gonna live it!” He stuck out his tongue, then resumed kissing Brendan, who adjusted his position to allow Nick to lean back on the sofa.
Dalton stared across the room, open-mouthed, his face growing purple with rage. As Jeffrey walked over to him and placed a sympathetic hand on Dalton’s shoulder, Ox rushed out of the bathroom, dripping wet in his towel, shouting “Hey, guys, Seth’s gonna get me laid!”
Jeffrey shook his head with a grin at the craziness surrounding him and bent down toward Dalton’s ear.
“So, how’s this working out for you so far?”
It said something about the strength of Mariposa’s aphrodisiac effect that Dalton was getting turned on as his boyfriend betrayed him right before his eyes. Sure, it didn’t look like his boyfriend – the mismatched guys making out awkwardly on the couch basically resembled an NBA center attempting to suffocate a clerk from Hot Topic – but he still knew that was actually Nick over there, swapping spit with goddamn Brendan.
Dalton had used Mariposa enough times by now to know how tough it was to resist the impulses that developed under its influence. Hell, in Cancun, Dalton had snuck off and fucked two guys after Nick had conked out in their hotel room. At least two that Dalton remembered. Could’ve been more. Events tended to disappear into a black hole the deeper you went in a Mariposa buzz, like getting blackout drunk. Dalton had conveniently neglected to mention his infidelities to Nick when they regained their identities and compared notes on what they could recall from their experiences of the previous day. If he had been caught, Dalton probably would have argued that any cheating during a Mariposa high shouldn’t technically count, although he found that defense not particularly persuasive coming out of Nick’s mouth as a justification for jumping Brendan’s bones.
Dalton remained skeptical of Brendan’s claim that he had been gay all along. People said a lot of strange things once Mariposa had transformed their bodies and personalities. Some people started to believe that their transformed self was the real one, and their previous existence little more than a hallucination. Although most of the people he’d seen using Mariposa had been gay already, there were plenty of straights in Cancun who had indulged as a bit of a vacation within a vacation, not unlike otherwise square tourists in Colorado deciding to spice up their visit by partaking of some legal weed. Many of those queers-for-a-day (in the local vernacular, “Mariposa Maricones” or, since most of them were Yankees, “Americones”) had struck Dalton as incredibly authentic, adapting to their 24-hour temporary lifestyle con mucho gusto, some far more comfortable publicly flaunting their sexuality than Nick was after a year out of the closet.
As a prime example, Dalton was amazed how quickly and easily Seth had embraced his new identity as a flaming swish. Of all of these guys, Dalton had been sure Seth would put up the strongest resistance, which was why he had steered Seth toward the yellow Mariposa. Through both observation and personal experience, Dalton had determined that the yellow packed the biggest wallop, so he figured it had the best shot of working on someone as stubbornly straight as Seth, but the results had exceeded Dalton’s wildest expectations.
When they smuggled the six pack past customs, Dalton and Nick had originally planned to save the bottles for their personal use, to spice up their love lives when they could safely block out twenty-four hours to become other people. But when Nick insisted that they play poker with his old buddies this Saturday night rather than indulging in a private “lost weekend” getting blitzed on Mariposa, Dalton had the impish thought that it would be fun for Mariposa to be their BYOB offering and watch as the others succumbed to its effects.
At first, Nick was totally against the idea, feeling it would be a complete betrayal of trust with his buddies, whom he had known far longer than he’d known Dalton. But Dalton was nothing if not persuasive and tenacious, and he persuaded Nick that it would be a harmless prank, theoretically no worse than spiking a punch bowl if somewhat grander in scale. Privately, Dalton hoped it might serve to open Nick’s friends’ minds. Dalton could tell that, despite their statements to the contrary, some of the guys were still having trouble fully accepting that Nick was gay, and Dalton felt that reactions to his own presence at the poker games had ranged from grudging tolerance to, in Seth’s case, scarcely-disguised contempt. What eventually tipped the scales was reminding Nick how much the Americones they’d met in Cancun had enjoyed their “holidays from heterosexuality” with few apparent negative after-effects – although Dalton was certain a fair chunk of them would be so eager to recapture the experience when they got back home that they would eventually “relapse”, either with or without the help of Mariposa. Nick signed on to the plan, with the caveat that he and Dalton remain “straight”, as it were, to ensure that the transformed poker pals didn’t get too out of hand.
Ever since he hatched this scheme, Dalton had been itching to observe how the poker boys dealt with the changes that Mariposa wrought. But now that plan had been blown to bits by the others’ insistence that Nick and Dalton participate in the fun. Instead of helping to prevent things from going off the rails, Nick was actively stirring the pot through his behavior with Brendan. Despite his own indiscretions behind Nick’s back, Dalton had expected greater loyalty from his boyfriend, especially after volunteering to take the bottle that Dalton knew would turn him into a balding blob of blubber. Sure, he knew some people had a fetish for chubby men – enough for Mariposa to devote one of their “flavors” to it – but Dalton had never been one of them. And, since Nick never seemed to connect which colors corresponded to the various potential incarnations, Dalton could easily have fobbed off the red bottle on his unsuspecting boyfriend. Then Nick would’ve been the poor sap stuck in this armchair like a slug, forced to watch Dalton flouncing around looking like the would-be Pete Wentz in a Fall Out Boy tribute band.
Frankly, Dalton would happily have taken any of the other bottles instead. From what he could remember of it, his experiences in Cancun as an outrageously flamboyant party boi like Seth had become had been a liberating if exhausting blast. His metamorphosis into an Asian muscleman had certainly been eye-opening, so Dalton knew a racial change like Brendan’s could be a thrilling adventure. He certainly envied Ox’s lean swimmer’s build, although he had to admit that Ox seemed delighted to be unburdened by his usual tonnage. Dalton shuddered as he imagined the result if Ox had downed the red bottle and added a couple hundred extra pounds to his enormous frame. At best, the floor might have collapsed. At worst, Ox’s overstressed heart might not have been able to cope with it.
Dalton was disappointed by Jeffrey, though. If Jeffrey truly was straight as he claimed, and if Brendan had honestly been gay all along, Dalton was going to need to take his gaydar into the shop for a serious tune-up. When he successfully diverted the blue Mariposa in Jeffrey’s direction, Dalton had gotten hard at just the thought of seeing meek Jeffrey hulk out into a ginger giant, a shredded lumberjack of a man, just like Nick had on their final night in Mexico. But only having consumed a third of the bottle, Jeffrey’s change was incomplete, turning him into a modestly muscled and slightly more rugged version of his usual self. An improvement, to be sure, but a five-o’clock shadow of the full-bearded beast that might have been. Noticing the mostly-full bottle still on the poker table, Dalton pointed to it and turned to Jeffrey. “Hey, Jeffrey, aren’t you gonna finish your drink?”
Jeffrey shrugged the broad shoulders which were taxing the seams of his polo shirt. “Nah, I’m good.”
Jeffrey felt better than good. Suddenly possessing an athlete’s body was amazing, almost amazing enough to persuade him that he should start going to the gym once he reverted back to his usual self, although he doubted the results would be nearly as impressive. But as he watched his best friends being overwhelmed by the Mariposa, their bodies and personalities reshaped unrecognizably, their behavior becoming wildly uncharacteristic, Jeffrey was relieved he had the sense to nurse his drink.
Even though Nick and Dalton said they had already done this four times each and didn’t appear to have suffered any major permanent repercussions, Jeffrey couldn’t believe that any substance which could induce such profound and instantaneous changes was anything close to safe. He walked toward the refreshment table and inspected the empty Mariposa six-pack box. Calling upon his shaky half-remembered middle-school Spanish, Jeffrey perused the minimal text on the packaging, but found nothing which described the proper usage of the product or its potential side effects. Then again, Jeffrey realized, it’s not like they put a warning label on crack either. Let the buyer beware. Or, in this case, be gay.
“Mith me, boyth?” Seth returned from the bathroom, his skin still damp from the shower. He was totally naked, twirling the pink thong in circles around his right index finger. To Jeffrey, it looked like Seth had changed even further while he was in the bathroom. His hair looked even more tightly curled, more white than blond, and his facial features seemed even more delicate and effeminate. Any remaining traces of body hair had vanished completely, even around his cock, and he had even less muscle now than the emaciated Nick. Only his ass seemed to have grown plumper, jutting out obscenely, disproportionate with his stick-figure body.
“Like what you thee?”, Seth asked Jeffrey teasingly.
Flustered, Jeffrey shook his head and looked away, laughing nervously. Maybe the Mariposa was having more of an effect on his mental state than he realized, as he had never given any man’s body such a lingering gaze. Although, to be honest, he rarely stared at women either, as it would be too embarrassing to be caught blatantly checking them out. In public spaces, he found it safest to focus his attention on the ceiling, his shoes, any nearby television set, or, most frequently, his smart phone. As Jeffrey pulled out his iPhone, it occurred to him that there must be information on Mariposa on the web. He clicked open a browser and typed “Mariposa”.
Seth continued into the living room, but stopped, startled, when he saw what was happening on the sofa, declaring, “Lookth like I mithed a major plot twitht!” Brendan’s body was so huge that everything past the knees dangled over the arm rest, and little of Nick was visible other than the heavily-tatted arms which were clawing at the tapering V of Brendan’s broad back. “Careful, Brendan. We don’t want you cruthing our little Nicky!”
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t hurt little Nicky,” Brendan said in his deep sultry voice.
“I won’t mind,” responded Nick with a titter, getting a kick out of being called Little Nicky.
Having seen enough, Dalton hoisted himself free of his chair and stood up, taking a few moments to acclimate to his new center of gravity. He trundled over to Ox, who remained in the middle of the room with a towel around his waist, gawking shamelessly at the make-out session on the couch. Dalton cleared his throat, a scratchy guttural rumble, but when that didn’t get Ox’s attention, Dalton gave Ox’s firm ass a brisk swat.
“Hey!”, Ox said with irritation as he turned toward Dalton. “What’s the big idea?”
“Just wanted to ask if I could use your old clothes for the duration. They seem like the only ones that’ll fit me now.”
“Oh, sure. Knock yourself out.” Ox noticed Seth searching through the suitcase. “Anything in there that’d look good on me?”
“I looove what you’re wearing now,” Seth said with a wink. A tiny voice in his head screamed with frustration at his inability to stop himself from saying or doing the gayest thing possible, but that inner voice was growing fainter by the second.
“Yeah,” Ox said, chuckling, “but I can’t exactly go out dressed like this.”
Dalton froze in position, having barely inched one leg of Ox’s jeans past his ankle. “Out? Oh, no, no, no, none of us are going anywhere. We’re staying right here. Remember the plan?”
“Ekthcuthe me, fat-tho, but none of uth were conthulted on thith plan of yourth,” Seth said, hands posed defiantly on his slim hips. “After your little thneak attack, I’d thay you lotht the right to tell uth what to do.”
“Yeah,” Ox agreed. “I don’t wanna just sit around here. I wanna show this shit off!” He hoisted his arms upward and flexed, admiring the incredible definition in his arms and torso.
Dalton remained calm and focused. “Trust me on this, guys. You’ve already got enough weirdness percolating inside of you without adding the variables of the outside world. Down in Cancun, when Nick and I were on this stuff, we made sure we were only at carefully controlled parties or holed up in our hotel room.”
“Riiight,” said Nick, leaning his head out from under Brendan, looking peeved, his attitude matching his outward appearance. “Except, of course, for those times when you snuck out of the room after you thought I’d passed out.” Dalton tried his best to look like he had no idea what Nick was talking about, but he was betrayed by the blood draining from his face. “Thought I hadn’t noticed, didn’t you? Well, now you know how I felt.” Up until now, Nick had opted not to confront Dalton about his extra-curricular activities in Cancun, but the Mariposa had made Nick more confrontational, and he wasn’t about to listen to any of Dalton’s shit. Just to rub it in, Nick made sure Dalton was watching as he grabbed Brendan by the chin and pulled him down into a passionate French kiss.
Dalton sagged defeatedly in his chair, jeans still hanging off his leg. Ox turned uncomfortably toward Seth, who looked delighted by the scene they had just witnessed. “Ooh, did my apartment jutht get frothty! I think my little dinky thriveled up from the cold.”
Ox was thoroughly impressed by Seth’s commitment to this act. If Seth hadn’t told him otherwise, he’d be positive Seth was totally gay.
“Come on, you lovebirdth,” Seth said to Nick and Brendan. “Get drethed. We’re goin’ clubbing!”
Nick extracted his tongue from Brendan’s mouth, looking torn. “I’m not sure I feel up for clubbing. Although I definitely don’t want to stay here.” He shot a pointed look in Dalton’s direction.
An idea struck Brendan. “Why don’t the two of us go to my place? Have a little privacy. Sound good, Little Nicky?”
A smile lit up Nick’s face. “I like the way you think, Big Brendan.”
Brendan hoisted himself off Nick, revealing a fifteen-inch erection that took Seth and Ox’s breath away. Brendan pointed toward the suitcase and asked, “Anything in there that might fit me?”
“Not unleth you do thomething to thrink down that monthter,” Seth said, pointing to the flagpole rising from Brendan’s groin.
Brendan grinned. “Sure thing,” he said, wrapping his enormous hand around the base of his cock and sliding it up the shaft.
“Jesus! What is this, the Public Jack-Off Club?”, Jeffrey shouted with irritation from the poker table. “I realize we’re all under the influence here, but can we have a little decorum and not be acting like a bunch of savages?”
Brendan glared accusingly across the room at Jeffrey. “You calling me a savage?”
Seth stepped in between them, taking on the unfamiliar role of peacemaker. “Jeffy’th right, Brendan. We don’t have to be doing our buthineth out here in front of everyone. Why don’tcha take care of that in the bathroom?”
Brendan thought for a second and nodded. He rose to his feet and walked toward the hallway, stopping en route to apologize to Jeffrey. “Sorry, homeboy. Just got carried away is all.”
Jeffrey turned his eyes toward the ceiling, desperate to avoid eye-contact with Brendan’s trouser snake as it waggled in the air near his face. “No problem, man. It’s a…stressful time for all of us.”
Brendan held out a fist, and Jeffrey balled up his hand to give it a gentle fist-bump, his hand looking miniscule beside Brendan’s massive mitt.
Brendan continued toward the bathroom, pausing in the doorway to call back to the living room. “Nicky, you gonna help me with this?”
Nick leapt from the couch, and his pale white blur sped through the apartment to join Brendan. As the bathroom door closed, Dalton shook his head and lowered it into his hands.
Brendan stepped into the shower, leaned his back against the wall and spread out his arms. Nick paused to evaluate the situation. He’d never been with anyone so tall. If he kneeled, his mouth would be far too low to reach Brendan’s cock. If he stood, it was a little too high. As he awkwardly assumed a squatting position, Brendan said, “Hold on,” and moved toward the toilet, lowering the seat before sitting down. The ceramic creaked beneath him.
Nick scooted excitedly across the floor on his knees and looked up at Brendan, smiling with amazement. “Are we actually doing this?”
“Oh, yeah,” Brendan said, sliding a giant hand through Nick’s pitch-black hair and guiding his mouth toward the mushroom head of his cock. Nick stretched his jaw as far as he could and still barely fit the tip inside of his mouth. Not only was Brendan’s height a new experience, Nick had never been with a black guy before, and he had to wonder whether this was standard or whether whoever designed the Mariposa formula had exaggerated this aspect of the transformation purely to conform to stereotypical expectations. “This would be a lot easier with your real cock,” Nick said, surprising himself that he was already allowing himself to envision doing this with Brendan after the spell of the Mariposa had worn off and they were back to their actual bodies.
“What’choo talkin’ about, Nicky? This IS my real cock!” Brendan’s voice had developed a husky rasp, and his usual casual surfer-bro cadence had given way to something with more sass to it. Nick couldn’t be sure if the Mariposa was doing that on its own or if Brendan was actively trying to slip into character. Even after doing this four times before, the nuances of the Mariposa effect remained largely mysterious to Nick.
All such philosophical pondering stopped the moment Nick returned his attention and his lips to Brendan’s cock. He knew he’d never get much of this sucker down his throat, so he concentrated his attention on the head, running his tongue around the rim, licking away the pre-cum as it oozed from the slit. Brendan aided the process along by continuing to stroke his shaft with one hand and stretching an arm down Nick’s back in order to finger his ass crack. The digital stimulation made Nick dizzy, and he felt his own dick hardening rapidly.
As the action intensified, Brendan began to moan, a deafening wail that bounced off the bathroom walls and echoed through the apartment. Seth and Ox paused trying on clothes in order to listen. Dalton pressed his fingers tightly into his ears. Jeffrey redoubled his focus on the screen of his phone where Google was being surprisingly unhelpful on the topic of Mariposa, although his search had turned up a lifetime supply of JPEGs of butterflies.
Brendan howled as he felt the inevitable climax arrive. A blast of hot cum filled Nick’s mouth, quickly overwhelming him. As he pulled his lips free, his face and hair were pelted with globs of jizz. He tumbled backwards onto his ass, letting the cum in his mouth seep down to his throat, while his own cock began to volley white splotches onto his even whiter chest. Brendan grappled with his still-surging python, unaccustomed to wrangling such a big dick. He heard the splat of puddles forming on the floor. For ten seconds, it sounded like a raging paint-gun battle before the firing slowly ceased. Brendan eased back, resting his head against the wall. The two men smiled at each other, their heads buzzing as another pleasant wave of Mariposa-fueled tingling rippled through their bodies.
After showering themselves and sponging clean the floor, walls, mirror and even a spot on the ceiling, Nick and Brendan returned to the living room, Brendan’s arm wrapped possessively around Nick’s shoulders. Nick had slipped back into his black cutoffs, and his emo sulk had been replaced by a wide smile.
“Look at that shit-eating grin,” Ox said jealously.
“Didn’t thound like he wath eating thit to me,” Seth countered. He tossed a pair of black bicycle shorts toward Brendan, who snatched them out of midair one-handed. “That’th the betht I could find for you, thweetie. At leatht they thtretch.”
Jeffrey glanced up from his phone as Brendan slid the Spandex up his legs, laboriously adjusting his cock inside of them. Jeffrey could swear Brendan’s muscles looked like they had grown even larger, and he noticed a tribal tramp stamp on Nick’s lower back that hadn’t been there when he entered the bathroom. Clearly the changes were continuing, which made Jeffrey feel even better about not drinking his full bottle. If his friends hadn’t stopped evolving after an hour, he shuddered to think what they would be like after a full day.
From the suitcase, Seth had chosen a sleeveless crimson crop-top with rhinestones spelling “Muy Caliente” and black-leather booty shorts that exposed the straps of his pink thong. Ox had found some white jeans that caressed his muscular thighs and a pair of checkered Vans slip-ons, but was still dithering over a shirt. He held up three choices and studied them in the mirror. “I can’t decide which of these would look best on me.”
“Tonight, you’d look good in anything, Ox,” Nick said reassuringly as he finally located the white t-shirt he’d been searching for.
Seth cringed. “Oh, thweetie, we can’t keep calling a pretty young thing like you ‘Okth’. Let’th thee, what would be a better name for you? How about Haywood?”
Now it was Ox’s turn to cringe. “Haywood?”
“Yeah,” Seth said, “as in Haywood Jablowme?” Seth laughed his little ass off.
Nick evaluated Ox. “I dunno. To me, he looks more like a Kurt.
Brendan offered, “Yeah. Or a Chad.”
“What’s wrong with Ford?”, Jeffrey suggested. Seth looked at him, wondering where the hell that came from. “It IS his real name. Ford Maddox.”
Seth, Nick and Brendan looked to Ox for confirmation. Ox nodded, smiling in Jeffrey’s direction. He didn’t think any of the guys even knew his name, but Jeffrey had remembered it from way back when he was their equipment manager in college.
Seth rolled it around in his head, and quickly approved. “Ford Maddokth, thuper-thud.” He then abruptly yanked away two of the shirts, leaving Ox holding a navy blue stringer tank. “There! Now, let’th get movin’. We’re waythting valuable fucking time. Jeffy, why are you jutht thitting there?”
Jeffrey looked up from his phone again. “Huh? Oh, you guys go ahead. I’m fine.”
Seth strutted across the room and yanked the phone from Jeffrey’s hands. “You are not thitting home with your fucking iPhone tonight, mithter! You are going to be thothiable if it fucking killth you!” He paused. “Pluth I don’t think Okth or I ith in any thape to drive.”
“Ford,” Ox corrected him, smoothing down the tank top, pleased with how it showed off the shelf of his solid pecs.
Jeffrey begrudgingly stood up. Truthfully, he was curious to see how things played out. Besides, it probably was wise for them to have someone level-headed around, just in case things went south.
Ox, Brendan, and Nick headed out the door, with Nick casting a quick glance back at Dalton, who continued to sulk in his chair. When Seth and Jeffrey reached the doorway, Jeffrey turned back toward Dalton. “Dalton, aren’t you coming?”
“Leave him here,” Seth said sharply. “Let him thit here and thtew in hith own jootheth.” Seth grabbed Jeffrey by the elbow and dragged him out of the apartment, swinging the door shut with a loud slam.
Dalton shouted toward the closed door, “You’re all making a mistake!” But as he sat alone in Seth’s silent apartment, Dalton was pretty sure he was the one who had made the mistake by setting all of this in motion in the first place. He figured it probably served him right that Nick was carrying on with Brendan, given how promiscuous Dalton had been behind Nick’s back in Cancun. Even so, he loved Nick and wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
Then he looked down at himself gloomily. How could he stand up for himself when he could barely stand up at all? How could he make a case for himself in his current state? How could he blame Nick for choosing to go off with a towering, well-endowed athlete instead? Dalton simply couldn’t compete.
He realized he could use a drink. He noticed a six pack of Budweiser in the dining room. That seemed about right for this body. And the fact that he knew Brendan was always the one who brought Bud to the poker games just added a healthy dose of irony to the situation. He clambered out of the chair and shuffled his way toward the sideboard, prepared to drink himself into a stupor.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a flash of blue. He turned to see Jeffrey’s Miraposa bottle, still two-thirds full, resting among the abandoned poker chips on the table.
Dalton’s dull eyes brightened, and the corners of his mouth curled upward.
As soon as they had left Seth’s apartment, Seth shouted “Thotgun!” and skipped – literally skipped – down the street toward Jeffrey’s car. Of all of the evening’s changes, Jeffrey found Seth’s rebirth as a lisping pretty boy the toughest to get his head around. Even more than Nick the tattooed emo kid and Brendan the gargantuan black dude, who were on their way to Brendan’s place to take their ninety-minute-old relationship to the next level. More than Ox, who was now stretched out across Jeffrey’s back seat in the form of a sleek, muscular stud who preferred to be called by his given name, Ford. More than Dalton, left wallowing in Seth’s apartment, aging and grotesquely overweight. Nope, nothing compared to the sight of Seth’s limber little body scrunched in the passenger seat, bare feet pressed against the glove compartment, tapping enthusiastically in time to the beat of an energetic new Calvin Harris track which he’d located on Jeffrey’s car radio.
“You really like this electronica stuff, Seth?”, Jeffrey asked with a grin, knowing that until tonight, Seth’s musical taste pretty much started and ended with bands you’d find in the lineup at Ozzfest.
“Abtholutely! It thpeakth to me!”, Seth said, waving his hands in the air like he just didn’t care.
Ox leaned forward between the front seats, asking, “So where are we going?”
Jeffrey looked to Seth, awaiting instructions, finally having to switch off the radio to get Seth’s attention. Seth turned to Jeffrey, irritated. “Hey, I wath lithening to that!”
“Where am I supposed to be driving us?”, Jeffrey asked Seth.
“How am I thuppothed to know? Jutht take uth wherever the gay barth are!”
Jeffrey was getting annoyed. “Oh, and like I’m supposed to automatically know where those are? Because I’ve been secretly gay all this time, is that it?”
Seth placed a delicate hand on Jeffrey’s shoulder and spoke with uncharacteristic gentility. “No, thweetie, becauthe you’re the thmart one who knowth everything about everything.”
That was certainly novel: Seth giving Jeffrey a compliment. And, actually, he realized he did know what part of town had all the gay clubs because he drove through that area every day on his way to work. He hit the turn signal and hung a left onto a major north-south road.
“Thee?”, said Seth, “I knew we could count on you.” He reached over and turned the radio on full blast.
“Sorry if I’m a little sensitive, you guys,” Jeffrey said, trying to be heard over the incessant synthesized beats. “I mean, I’ve never had the most confidence when it comes to, ya know, sex and shit.” He chuckled in his new deeper voice and looked down at his ripped arms that gripped the steering wheel. “Although I don’t know why I’m worried tonight. I am definitely the straightest guy in this car.”
“Oh, no, Seth’s still straight,” Ox informed Jeffrey, who looked over his shoulder, incredulous. “Seriously, he told me back at the apartment. He’s just acting like this to get back at Dalton.”
Jeffrey was skeptical, especially because, at that moment, Seth was leaning his head out the window and wolf-whistling a couple of guys shooting hoops shirtless. No way was Seth that good an actor.
Seth spotted something up ahead, leaned back into the car and clutched Jeffrey’s arm. “Pull over at that drug thtore. I need to get thome makeup!”
Yup, thought Jeffrey, the old Seth is truly gone.
Brendan and Nick had made the short drive to Brendan’s apartment and were crossing the parking lot toward his building. Brendan was barefoot, wearing nothing but the black spandex bicycle shorts from the suitcase, the clothes he had worn to the poker game wadded up and tucked tightly under his arm. His other arm was wrapped around Nick’s shoulders. Nick was having trouble keeping up stride for stride with his seven-foot-tall companion. On the drive over, his train of thought had slowed to a sluggish crawl, and he could think of little besides Brendan’s bod and what he planned to do to it when they got inside.
Brendan’s feet landed heavily as they hit each step on the way up to his apartment. When he reached the door, his thick fingers fumbled with the keys, dropping to the floor, so Nick squatted down to pick them up. Hearing the squeak of a hinge next door, he and Brendan turned to see a thatch of gray hair and one wide eye peering through the crack between the door and the sill. “Who are you?”, called a frail trembling woman’s voice from inside.
Brendan flashed a toothy grin and said, “Oh, hey, Miz McHenry, it’s…” He was about to tell his usually sweet and friendly neighbor that he was Brendan, when he realized she would never believe him.
“How do you know my name?”, she said, her voice growing shakier and more frightened.
Brendan assured her, “I’m a…friend of Brendan’s. I heard him talk about you.”
The woman asked, “What did he say about me?”
“Only good things,” Brendan said. “He said you sometimes make him chocolate chip cookies.”
“He’s letting us use his apartment,” added Nick, trying to be helpful.
The old woman now noticed the scrawny tattooed white boy kneeling down, his head near the large black man’s waist. “What for? So you can do m-m-mouth sex?”
A hearty laugh bellowed from deep in Brendan’s chest, as he realized that Nick did appear perfectly positioned for mouth sex. With a friendly smile, Brendan took a few steps toward Miss McHenry’s apartment, but she slammed her door immediately. He could hear her muffled voice shouting, “Don’t you try to get in here! I…I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it!”
Startled, Brendan raised his hands to his sides and backed away, Brendan spoke in the kindest possible tone, “Don’t worry, Miz McHenry. We’re just gonna go into my…Brendan’s apartment. Sorry to bother you, Miz McHenry. You have a nice night, ‘kay?” He snatched the keys from Nick’s hand, opened the door, and flipped on a light. Nick obediently followed him inside.
Brendan paced the apartment, agitated by the incident. “This is bullshit! Miz McHenry’s the kindest old lady you ever met. But the second I show up lookin’ like this, bitch starts racial profiling!”
Nick was kneeling on the floor in Brendan’s shadow. Gazing at Brendan’s silhouette, Nick cooed, “I like your racial profile.” Brendan bent down and lifted Nick into the air until their faces met. Nick slung his arms around Brendan’s neck and wrapped his legs around Brendan’s torso, giving him a deep, lingering kiss. Brendan relaxed a bit and, without interrupting the kiss, carried Nick into the bedroom and laid him down gently on his now inadequately short queen-size mattress.
Dalton returned to Seth’s dining room, having spent the past ten minutes in the bathroom, forcing himself to throw up any red Mariposa that was still in his stomach. He had never mixed two different varieties of Mariposa, but it seemed wise to purge as much as he could before proceeding with his plan. Just getting the excess red out of his guts made Dalton feel somewhat better. Anything that could instantly turn you grossly obese had to be toxic. But he didn’t think of the blue Mariposa as toxic; he thought of it as the antidote.
He picked up Jeffrey’s bottle from the poker table and placed it to his lips, tilting back his head to make sure he got every drop. A cool numbing sensation trickled down his throat before spreading like tendrils throughout his body. He walked over to the sofa to lie down, knowing it usually took a few minutes to begin to feel the effects. He closed his eyes and smiled, envisioning the fat melting away from his body and being replaced by rock-hard muscles.
The first indication that something was happening was a gurgle from his abdomen, louder and fiercer than a typical growling stomach. It sounded like two cats snarling at each other, and was accompanied by a sharp heartburn-like pang. Almost immediately, an inferno spread from his belly out to his extremities and a bolt of electricity shot down the length of his left arm, which he hoped was not a sign that he was suffering a heart attack. As radical as a Mariposa transformation can be, Dalton had never experienced turmoil quite this fierce before. It was if the red and the blue were waging all-out war for dominance of his body, with neither willing to surrender. Still, Dalton remained confident that the end result would be worth a few minutes of agony.
He could hear his joints squeaking as his bones crackled, reshaping themselves and fusing back together. His bloated stomach undulated like a storm-tossed sea, the skin rippling outward from his belly button. His pecs felt like they were being kneaded by unseen hands, molding them from formless blobs into a powerful wall of tissue. The flab of his arms was reshaping itself into muscle, losing none of its bulk but gaining definition, and blood vessels squirmed like worms just below the surface of his skin.
Something zinged behind his eyes, like the instananeous arrival of a massive migraine. This fire burst into a raging inferno that engulfed his brain, and a tidal wave of euphoria flooded his system, like his entire body was having an orgasm ten times stronger than any he had ever experienced.
Then, as the sensory overload reached its zenith, Dalton blacked out.
“Drive thlower,” Seth whined, “I’m mething up my mathcara.”
Jeffrey eased back on the gas, unable to mask the irritation in his voice. “Christ, Seth, why don’t you wait and put on your makeup when we get there?” He could hardly believe he had asked that question of Seth, but this had been a night of many firsts.
“What-ever,” Seth huffed, flipping shut the lighted mirror on his sun visor and leaning back in his seat, arms crossed petulantly like a tween girl. His skin sparkled under the passing street lights, thanks to the body glitter he had sprinkled liberally on his arms, face and exposed “tummy”. Seth’s pit stop at the pharmacy had also resulted in the purchase of a bottle of steel-blue nail polish, a tube of pink lip gloss, a pair of bedazzled turquoise flip-flops, and a dozen plastic bracelets of different colors and styles which clacked as they slid up and down his slender forearms. Only when he reached the register did he realize he had neglected to bring along his wallet, so good old reliable Jeffrey ended up footing the bill. Seth thanked Jeffrey with a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, a public dispay of affection which greatly amused the check-out clerk and thoroughly mortified Jeffrey.
“I hope you’re not expecting me to pay for all your drinks tonight, too,” Jeffrey fumed as they got back into the car.
“Not if I can get thome thekthy boyth to buy them for me,” Seth replied, giggling with anticipation at the thought of being the center of attention. Seth’s personality overhaul was by now so complete that he did not remember ever behaving any differently. If you had asked him how he had met his poker buddies, or even where they had been just an hour before, Seth would have come up blank. He was acting on impulse, living solely in the moment, craving constant stimulation. His life was NOW.
Seth rested his chin on the window frame, watching like an eager puppy as the city scrolled past him from left to right. He became bored as they passed through residential neighborhoods and business districts, but perked up when he realized the composition of the pedestrians was growing more and more male and less and less clothed. He kneeled on the car seat and hung his head and arms out the window, shrieking, “Hey, boyth where’th the party at?”
On the sidewalk, many people ignored Seth, some laughed, a few checked him out, and one fresh-faced kid waved back, yelling, “Half-price martinis until nine at the Rusty Nail!”
“Thoundth like a good plathe to get hammered!”, Seth called back. “Where ith it?”
The kid crinkled his nose to think and pointed down the street. “Ya go up three blocks, hang a left ‘til you get to the roundabout, then it’s two…no, wait, three..”
Seth flapped his arms beckoningly. “Oh, jutht hop in and lead uth there!” The kid gave it a moment of thought, then jogged toward the car. Seth stretched an arm inside the car and gave Jeffrey a swat. “Thop, will ya? We’ve got a navigator.”
Jeffrey hit the brakes and Seth instructed Ox to open the door for their new passenger. Ox slid over until he was seated behind Jeffrey, and the young man leaned in through the back door, making sure no one inside looked too creepy or dangerous. Satisfied, he took a seat and climbed in. “Hey, guys,” he said with a wholesome friendly grin. He was green-eyed with shaggy dirty-blond hair, five-nine, college age, with a trim tennis-player’s build. A real boy-next-door-type, if you were lucky enough to live in that kind of neighborhood.
“You’re a life-thaver,” Seth said, squatting on his seat and facing backwards. He stretched out his arm toward the newcomer. “I’m Theth.”
“Beth?”, the kid asked, realizing it was unlikely but honestly not able to make out what Seth was saying.
Seth tried to enunciate. “No, thilly. THETH.”
“Jeff?”, the kid said with an embarrassed grin.
“No, that’s me,” said Jeffrey, glancing in the rear-view mirror. He thought how cute the new guy looked – then wondering what made him think that. Before tonight, he would have thought nothing of acknowledging that some guy was good-looking, on a purely objective aesthetic basis. Now he was hyperaware of anything even remotely sexual.
Seth was about to scream his name again, but it seemed pointless. “Jutht call me Haywood,” he said with resignation and a roll of the eyes.
The kid was surprised by the uncommon name. “Haywood? That’s unusual.”
“Yeah, it’th thort for Haywood Jablowme!”, Seth said with a cackle.
The young man looked dubious as he shook Seth’s hand, causing Seth’s bracelets to rattle. “Okay, there, Haywood. I’m…Randy.”
“I thure hope you are,” Seth purred.
Jeffrey shook his head. He realized that Seth hadn’t changed entirely. Seth had always been obsessed with sex and a certain strain of single-entendre humor, but the Mariposa had definitely steered him in the opposite direction and floored the accelerator. “Nice to meet you, Randy,” Jeffrey said with a brisk wave.
“You too, Jeff.” Randy turned toward the well-built guy with whom he was sharing the back seat, unaware that his widening eyes and instant smile betrayed an immediate attraction. “And who are you?”, Randy asked with more than polite curiosity.
Suddenly feeling very shy in Randy’s presence, Ox grinned awkwardly and was on the verge of blurting out “Ox” when Seth interrupted. “Oh, that’th jutht Ford,” he said dismissively, trying to divert Randy’s attention back in his direction. “Tho, what kind of martinith do they have at thith plathe?”
Randy answered Seth’s question, but never took his eyes away from Ox. Ox looked back out of the corner of his eye, his smile growing wider as his heart beat double-time. He felt his skin grow warm and was relieved that it was too dim in the car for Randy to notice him blushing.
WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!
“YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!”
Brendan gripped his headboard tightly as it thwacked against the bedroom wall, each thrust of his cock into Nick accompanied by his enthusiastic bellow.
Nick dug his fingernails into Brendan’s back muscles as he yowled with pain. Brendan plunged deeper and deeper, remodeling the inside of Nick’s scrawny ass to make more room, and Nick’s eyes were welling up from the pain of tearing flesh. Finally, he couldn’t take it any more and began to scream “Stop!”, but Brendan was lost in a pre-orgasmic haze. He didn’t notice any protestations until he felt Nick’s balled-up fists pummeling at Brendan’s pecs, and even then he thought it was encouragement to keep going.
Nick finally summoned all of his strength and pushed his palms against Brendan’s chest. Brendan’s bulk made Nick feel like an ant trying to dead-lift a refrigerator. Brendan finally comprehended that he was being pushed away and quickly slid out just as he reached climax, dousing Nick in a baptism of cum. Nick sprawled in bed, still aching but relieved that the torture had ceased.
Brendan rolled over, his legs hanging off the bed, feet thudding onto the floor. He could swear that each orgasm since he’d taken the Miraposa had been more intense than the one before, and this one had left his entire body super-charged.
“I don’t think I can do that again,” Nick said weakly.
“What’s the matter?”, Brendan asked. Personally, he felt like he’d be ready for another round in a minute or two. His libido had never been cranked this high.
“These two bodies,” Nick said. “I just don’t think they were designed to fit together.”
Brendan couldn’t totally disagree. It was definitely a struggle to wedge his enormous cock inside Nick’s tight little ass. “I know what you mean. Don’t take this the wrong way, but this whole goth skeletong thing with all these tattoos and shit…not exactly my usual type.”
Nick laughed. “I bet.” Although he definitely felt Brendan’s current incarnation was hot as hell, Nick felt a bit ashamed of how whitebread his own tastes were in everyday life. True, there had been that one Asian guy…but Nick quickly remembered that was actually Dalton under the influence of Mariposa. He sighed, “Well, the good thing is, we won’t be like this forever.”
Brendan stared at the ceiling. “I can’t wait ‘til we’re back to our old bodies.”
Nick’s fingers toyed with the puddle of jizz on his abs as he thought about what Brendan had said. He smiled at the thought of the two of them making love in their more proportionately compatible original bodies. He realized he couldn’t wait for that moment either, although in the haze of Miraposa, he was finding it hard to picture Brendan’s real body, the one that had tormented Nick for so long. Things were bound to get complicated once everything returned to normal, since Dalton would be himself again too. For tonight, Nick had tried to put Dalton out of his mind and focus on the moment, get lost in the fantasy, but he knew that life got tricky again once the spell of the Mariposa wore off.
Then Nick realized that what Brendan may have meant was that he wouldn’t be ABLE to wait until they were back in their own bodies, that he would still need to do a lot more fucking tonight and tomorrow. As horny as he felt and as deeply in love with Brendan as he was at this moment, he was afraid his frail punk-ass body couldn’t endure much more.
Maybe, Nick thought as he closed his eyes, if I just doze off, he can find somebody else to fuck.
When Dalton regained consciousness, his face was pressed flat against the carpet and he felt stabbing pains in his chest. He realized he must have rolled off the couch and landed on something. With effort, he lifted his elbows and pressed his hands against the floor, surprised by how much resistance he felt. He growled and pushed himself up to his knees, seeing the remnants of Seth’s coffee table in smithereens on the floor beneath him.
Dalton looked down at his massive chest, surprised to see it even more thickly coated with gray hair than before. He raised a hand to brush away the sawdust and splinters that were snarled in his chest hair and saw that his hand and arm had also grown larger. Fear raced through Dalton’s brain, worrying that mixing the red and blue Mariposa had only amplified the effects of the red. Yet he definitely felt stronger, and despite the gray body hair, his arms and chest looked pumped and youthful. He had to see what he looked like now.
He grabbed the sofa’s armrest and leveraged himself to his feet, hearing the innards of the sofa strain and eventually collapse under his weight. Dalton steadied himself, unable to see his legs past his still distended gut. He swung his body in the direction of the hallway, feet thudding with each step as he made his way toward the bathroom. When he attempted to enter, his shoulders struck the wall on both sides of the door and his forehead collided with the upper sill. He stumbled backwards into the wall and shakly regained his balance. Once he was steady, he reached over to switch on the hall light and looked through the open bathroom door to check out his reflection in the mirror.
Dalton had grown into a barrel-bodied behemoth, seven-feet-tall and easily four hundred pounds, with enormous arms and gargantuan legs branching off from a massive torso. He still sported a huge gut, but the broad chest that hovered above it was pure muscle, rising and falling noticeably as he caught his breath. All of his original body piercings were still in place, but looking notably more bad-ass on this physique than they had dangling from his flabby carcass before this latest metamorphosis. He found himself wishing for some tattoos.
Although the top of his head was still bald, he’d grown a shoulder-length mane and matching bushy beard, all gray verging on white. Beneath all that hair, he seemed much closer to his real age than he had before, with healthy tight skin and only a few wrinkles around his close-set eyes. The blue Mariposa had not turned him into Paul Bunyan as he had hoped, but it had definitely had an effect. Maybe if he’d had a full bottle, the battling formulas would have been a fairer fight.
Dalton squinted at the mirror, assessing this new version of himself. From the neck down, he was a beast, looking like the toughest bouncer in the roughest gay biker bar in the known universe. From the neck up, he looked like a prematurely gray thirty-year-old who had been roped into playing the office Santa Claus. He broke into a grin as he realized that he loved this new body.
All of his life, he had been on the defensive, picked on, teased, looked down upon. He had defined himself by how different he was from other people. It had given him attitude and a major chip on his shoulder. But now, he felt powerful, confident, invincible. No one would dare mess with him now. He would command respect from anyone who defied him. No one would dare to take anything away from this Dalton.
For the first time in his life, he felt totally comfortable in his own skin. And he knew just what he needed to do first.
He was going to get his boyfriend back.
I.D.?”, asked the bouncer at the entrance to the Rusty Nail.
“Forgot it at home,” Seth informed him with sad eyes and a pouty mouth. “If you don’t believe me, you can frithk me.”
“Nah, that’s okay,” said the bouncer, studying the effeminate waif, unable to get a bead on his age. “How old are you?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”, Seth said coyly. “I’ll let you in on a thecret. My cock growth a new ring every year, and if you’re really nithe to me, I’ll let you count ‘em.”
The bouncer was growing weary. He shook his head and waved Seth through. “Next.”
Jeffrey flashed his driver’s license. The guy in the photo looked like a baby compared to the Mariposa-enhanced scruffily handsome man standing in line, but the bouncer was satisfied. “Next!”
Randy, the youthful newcomer to the group, handed over his I.D. confidently. “Oh, I see the birthday boy’s back again,” the bouncer said with a friendly smile.
“Birthday boy? Is today your birthday?”, Ox asked Randy.
“Four days ago. I just turned 21.” Randy chuckled nervously, studying Ox’s expression for any indication that he found 21 too young…or too old.
“And he’s been back every night,” the bouncer declared. “After lookin’ at all the same tired-ass regulars for years, it’s always good to see a fresh new face around here. So, who’s your friend?”, he asked, nodding in Ox’s direction.
“This is Ford,” Randy said. Ox shuffled ahead. His hand hovered over his back pocket, but hoped he wouldn’t have to show his I.D. and reveal his current appearance to be a complete sham.
“Ford, huh?” The bouncer squinted at Ox threateningly. “You be nice to the kid here, or I promise I’ll come lookin’ for you.”
Ox gulped, intimidated. “Oh, don’t worry, I wouldn’t do anything…”
The bouncer cracked up. “I’m just fuckin’ with you, man. You two have fun.” Ox breathed a sigh of relief as the bouncer motioned him and Randy inside.
Ox paused in the entry way, never having been to a gay bar before and not knowing what to expect. Drag queens and a Village People cover band, maybe? Naked dudes fucking on trapeze swings? Leather-clad oil wrestlers being whipped by creepy, sadistic spectators in Nazi uniforms? He was relieved to discover that the Rusty Nail was not much different from any other loud club he’d been to. True, all the customers were guys, but this front room might have passed for your average sports bar if it weren’t for the fact that some of the guys were dressed in Daisy Dukes or vinyl unitards or assless chaps. Or the fact that, instead of ESPN, the flat-screen TVs were all showing some hokey, grainy ‘80s workout video with some sweaty, mustachioed lech doing aerobics in shorty shorts and leg warmers.
Randy grabbed Ox’s hand and dragged him toward the bar where Seth already looked totally at home, studying both the martini menu and the other patrons. “Mmm, the lemon drop thoundth yummy. Order me one, will ya, Jeffy? I thwear I’ll pay you back.” Seth handed Jeffrey the menu dramatically and announced,”I gotta take a tinkle.”
Seth spun on his heel and slinked slowly toward the men’s room, exaggeratedly waggling his hips and smiling at every man he passed. Jeffrey shook his head at the caricature his old friend had become, then glanced at the menu and gagged when he saw the prices.
“The prices ARE a little stiff,” Randy admitted, “but the good thing is, so are the drinks.” He tapped a finger on Ox’s chest and advised, “You should try the pineapple upside-down-cake martini. It’s my absolute favorite.”
“Sounds good,” Ox said, pulling out his wallet. “What you want, J? First round’s on me.” When Jeffrey said a Pepsi would be fine, Ox gave him the stinkeye. “C’mon, buddy, live a little. This is a special night!” Ox ordered three upside-down cake martinis and “one of those lemon drops for my little buddy.”
Randy waved over a couple of guys, roughly his same age and body type. “TJ and Bucky, these are my new friends Jeff and Ford.” As Ox shook hands with them, he was acutely aware of how warmly and nonjudgmentally they were greeting him. It was a far cry from how people usually reacted when meeting him in his overweight body; most either averted their eyes quickly or unconsciously gawked. It felt good to be instantly accepted, and he was pretty sure they were even checking him out. Rarely had Ox been ogled. His cock grew semi-hard in his tight white jeans. He casually draped his left hand over his crotch, so his bulge wouldn’t be too noticeable.
Randy told Ox and Jeffrey that he, TJ and Bucky were all on the college track team, but that he hadn’t even known they were gay – let alone a couple – until he spotted them here on his birthday night. It had been a cathartic and bonding experience for the three teammates. It made Ox realize that he had been self-consciously keeping his head down, afraid that he would spot someone he knew or, worse, that they would spot him. When it suddenly struck Ox that he was currently unrecognizable, his anxiety abated and he raised his head, scanning the room for familiar faces. Truth was, Ox didn’t have many friends beyond his longtime poker pals anyway, and one of them was currently chatting it up with some guy in a mesh tank top, wrapping his fingers around the dude’s arm to feel how solid his biceps were. Ox had to hand it to Seth: he was going all-in on this whole pretending-to-be-gay thing.
The bartender brought the martinis and Ox suggested they should drink a toast. Randy asked, “Shouldn’t we wait until Haywood gets back?”
Jeffrey spotted Seth and the tank top guy heading into the men’s room together. “I think ‘Haywood’ might be a while.”
Brendan was stretched out on his bed, bare foot tapping restlessly on the floor. He was bursting with energy since his last orgasm, and his muscles felt more pumped than ever. Yet Nick had dozed off, their vigorous fuck session seemingly having tuckered out the little dude. Brendan’s stomach rumbled, loud enough he thought it might wake Nick. Brendan realized that he hadn’t eaten anything at the poker game, and it seemed likely that this new body must require a lot more fuel to keep going than his old one. He gently patted Nick’s ivory ass cheeks and climbed slowly out of bed, the mattress springs sighing with relief. He pulled on a pair of baggy basketball shorts, which only stretched halfway down the thigh of his new body and no longer qualified as baggy. He tiptoed into the living room, softly closing the door behind him.
Feeling ravenous, Brendan raided the fridge, lugging armloads of munchies toward the couch. He fired up his video game system, lowering the volume so it wouldn’t disturb Nick, and booted up NBA Live. He played for a while, but his enormous hands felt clumsy on the controls and he was disappointed that the Mariposa had not improved his skill at the game.
He decided that some porn would better relieve his growing stress, but before he could access any, he heard a fierce pounding on his front door. He walked slowly to the entranceway bending down to peek through the peephole. What he saw startled him: a mountainous man with long white hair and a snowy beard, scowling with rage and wearing nothing but a bedsheet tied loosely around his waist to preserve his decency.
“Nick? Brendan? Open up!” Hearing a squeak, he looked over to see a tiny woman peeking out of the adjacent apartment. His furious glare was enough to make her gasp and slam her door in terror. He resumed pummeling the door, his fists forming dents in the wood.
Brendan backed away from the door, knowing that the intruder could only be one person. “Dalton?”
“Damn fuckin’ right,” Dalton bellowed in his rumbling basso profondo.
Brendan was shocked to see the new Dalton, and knew that Mariposa must be involved. The depressed blob they had left back at Seth’s place had somehow mutated into a seven-foot Santa-On-Roids, and when he spoke, he sounded like Groot with a slightly larger vocabulary. “What the fuck happened to you?”
“I improved,” Dalton said with an arrogant grin and an ominous chuckle. “Lemme in. I’m takin’ Nick home.”
“Fuck off! Nicky doesn’t want to go with you.” Brendan dug into his hall closet and returned with a metal baseball bat, choking up on it defensively.
Dalton relentlessly battered the door, which grew a little less sturdy with every punch. He summoned all of his anger and smashed both fists against the door simultaneously, splintering the wood and sending the door flying off its hinges. Swatting aside the debris, Dalton squeezed his way into the apartment and lumbered toward Brendan. Although they were of similar heights, Dalton’s bulk made Brendan seem like a lightweight in comparison.
Brendan swung the bat toward Dalton in wide whooshing arcs, trying to keep him at bay. “Stay back, Dalton, I’m warning you.”
Dalton merely laughed, unintimidated. “I’m not afraid of you, Brendan. I’m not afraid of anything.”
That’s what Brendan was afraid of.
Dalton continued relentlessly forward, backing Brendan further and further into the room until his legs hit the couch. His knees buckled, but he regained his balance and stepped onto the couch, never taking his eyes away from Dalton as he continued to take swipes with the bat. Dalton stretched out an monstrous arm to grab the bat, barely flinching when the aluminum rod connected with bone. A dull metallic twang sang out through the apartment. Dalton wrested the bat out of Brendan’s grip and flung it to the floor. He had Brendan pinned in the corner and was raising a fist when he felt something land upon his back.
“Leave him alone!”, Nick screamed, digging his fingers through the abundant body hair into Dalton’s neck muscles and hanging on for dear life. Dalton stretched his arms behind his head, attempting to grab Nick, but his thick muscles made it impossible to reach far enough. He spun violently, hoping to shake Nick loose, then lost his balance, backpedaling swiftly, toward the opposite wall. Nick had no time to leap free before impact and was crushed between Dalton’s gargantuan body and the shattered stucco.
“You motherfucker!”, Brendan shouted, charging toward Dalton and launching a flurry of punches toward his face. Dalton was dazed. Blood spurted from his nose, forming red splotches on his snowy beard. Brendan grabbed Dalton’s arm and yanked him toward the middle of the room, freeing Nick, who slid down the wall and crumpled into a heap on the floor.
Dalton staggered in the middle of the room like a wounded beast, gathering his strength while Brendan continued to rain blows on him. Dalton crouched into fighting stance, nostrils flaring with rage, and bounded in Brendan’s direction. Dalton backpedaled away quickly, but soon found himself trapped against the kitchen wall. He saw Dalton’s fist zooming his direction, but used his superior agility to duck out of the way in time. Dalton punched through the wall like tissue paper, his entire forearm disappearing into the neighbor’s place. As he yanked his arm back in a cloud of powdered plaster and wood fragments, a jagged two-foot portal opened onto the next-door apartment.
“Miz McHenry, you okay?”, Brendan yelled through the hole, genuinely concerned for his elderly neighbor. That brief show of compassion came at a price, as Dalton used that moment to hoist Brendan’s microwave oven off the counter and smash it against Brendan’s head.
Brendan reeled, dropping to his knees. Dalton raised the microwave toward the ceiling again, ready to administer the coup de gr… on his weakened foe, when he heard Nick’s trembling voice pleading from behind him. “Stop, Dalton. Please?”
Dalton looked down. Tears filled the tattooed waif’s eyes as he spoke softly. “I’ll come with you. Just don’t hurt Brendan.”
Dalton’s rage abated slightly. He looked back at Brendan, cowering on the floor, and felt satisfied that he had made his point. He tossed the microwave away like it was made of Nerf, but it hit the linoleum with a deafening clatter. Dalton grinned victoriously, then turned back toward Nick and demanded, “Get your clothes.”
Dalton felt a tug as Brendan yanked on one corner of the bedsheet that served as Dalton’s makeshift toga. It was just enough to throw Dalton’s gargantuan body off balance. Dalton’s arms flailed, searching for something to grab for support but finding nothing but air. He toppled forward, stumbling furiously through the living room like a gored bull, his momentum growing greater with each off-kilter step. Nick scampered safely to the side as Dalton braced himself for what was now inevitable.
Dalton crashed through the sliding glass door, entangled in its curtains, and staggered onto Brendan’s tiny balcony which creaked with strain under his weight. The wooden railing put up little resistance against the force of Dalton’s colossal body, splitting into toothpicks and sending Dalton plummeting to earth. When he landed on the sloping lawn, the impact formed a meteor crater beneath him and activated a nearby car alarm. His agonized moan could be heard for half a mile.
Brendan crawled across the living room on his knees, clutching his hand to his throbbing skull. He reached Nick’s side and looked through the broken window at Dalton, sprawled on the grass, the curtains wrapped like a sash around his titanic naked body.
Nick placed a hand gently on Brendan’s shoulder and sighed with relief, then detected a faint sound in the distance. “Is that a siren?”
When Seth eventually emerged from the men’s room, he was shirtless and shiny, the glow of the neon bar signs reflected in the perspiration on his skinny torso which commingled with his body glitter. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, then licked his lips, still tasting the salty cum of the man he had just blown. For someone who had received his share of fellatio over the years but had never performed the act – or even considered the possibility – before tonight, Seth had developed an instant and instinctive knack for its nuances, eagerly accepting the guy’s on-the-short-side cock into his mouth and lapping up ejaculate like a puppy slobber-licking an ice-cream cone. As he swallowed down the man’s hot load, Seth had shot his own wad into his thong, and the feel of sticky jizz pooling around his ballsack was only increasing his insatiable horniness. He knew he was going to need to get his aching hole filled, and soon.
Reaching the bar, Seth grabbed his lemon-drop martini and guzzled it down greedily. He leaned back against the bar, tangling his fingers through the sweat-drenched curls of his platinum ‘do as he sized up the two hot young jocks who had joined their group. “Haywood,” said Randy, “these are my friends TJ and Bucky.”
“Nithe to meet you, BJ and Fucky,” Seth said with a high-pitched cackle as he leered at them out of the corners of his eyes. Jeffrey hadn’t thought it possible, but Seth seemed to have grown even swishier in the bathroom, his arms now flailing like an inflatable noodle man beckoning customers to the grand opening of a car wash. His lips had plumped to a size that rivaled Angelina Jolie, and maybe it was just the lighting in here, but Jeffrey could swear Seth’s eye color had shifted to an unworldly baby blue.
Ox barely noticed Seth’s changes, as he was preoccupied with unfamiliar sensations of his own. He hadn’t truly felt drunk in years, as it took a good six beers to give his enormous body even a slight buzz, but the trim physique he currently inhabited had a completely different metabolism. His head was swimming from the effects of his first martini, and he was already halfway through a second one which Randy had insisted on buying for him. This was only compounding the inhibition-lowering and libido-enhancing effects of the Mariposa, which were wreaking havoc on his hormones and making it impossible for him to take his eyes off Randy.
As someone who had repeatedly tried but failed to reshape his flab into muscle, Ox had long harbored a mild streak of jealousy when it came to seemingly effortlessly-fit guys like Randy and his buddies, but tonight he felt nothing but admiration and lust for their taut, firm bodies. No, what he found himself envying was their nonchalance about their sexuality. Ox had never socialized with gay people. Nick was the first he had ever spent significant time around and, while he had remained basically the same affable guy he had always been, he never seemed 100% comfortable with himself since coming out, at least not when he was around the rest of the poker guys. When Nick started bringing Dalton to the games, Ox had taken an immediate dislike to him, but he was pretty sure that wasn’t homophobia. Dalton just seemed to be a world-class dick. But Randy, Bucky and TJ appeared to be so easygoing and at peace with themselves, just like, ya know, regular guys. Ox found himself desperately wishing he could be more like them…well, at least for tonight.
Seth’s eyes popped wide as a particularly sick beat reverberated its way from the dance floor straight to his crotch. His body automatically undulated to the rhythm, his pelvis thrusting provocatively in tempo. “Who wanth to danth?”, he screamed, wrapping his fingers around TJ’s wrist and dragging him helplessly toward the main room of the club.
As Bucky chased after them, Randy polished off his drink and slipped his hand in Ox’s palm. Ox looked baffled. “C’mon and dance,” Randy said enticingly.
Randy begged off, clutching the bar rail with his other hand. “I don’t really dance.”
“Tonight you do,” Randy insisted, peeling Ox’s fingers off the rail one by one until he could no longer resist.
As he passed Jeffrey, Ox shrugged and muttered, “Here goes nothin’.”
Jeffrey picked up his half-full martini glass and strolled casually into the dance hall, curious to watch what happened next.
Rounding the corner, Jeffrey felt physically buffeted by the sound vibrations blasting from the speakers and was dazzled by the strobes and lasers that were synched with the music. He watched as Randy hauled Ox onto the fringe of the dance floor, yanking Ox’s arms like taffy in hopes that the rest of his body would be forced to move. At first, Ox was embarrassed and self-conscious but he didn’t want to disappoint Randy. Gradually, he began to get into it, and Jeffrey was impressed to witness the increasingly supple movements of Ox’s lithe body.
Deeper into the crowd, Bucky had already reclaimed TJ, but Seth seemed unfazed. He was gyrating happily on his own, arms swaying in the air, head on permanent swivel as he ogled the bodies that surrounded him. It suddenly occurred to Jeffrey that he should be capturing some of Seth’s behavior on video, as future blackmail material once the Mariposa ran its course, but when he patted his pockets, he remembered that Seth had tossed Jeffrey’s phone into the glove compartment when they’d gotten in the car, declaring if off-limits for the night so that Jeffrey would be “forthed to ekthperienth life for oneth.” Despite Seth’s intentions, Jeffrey found himself, as usual, hovering on the sidelines quietly, observing as his friends enjoyed themselves rather than “exthperienthing” life for himself.
Jeffrey grabbed a stool at the bar overlooking the dance floor. He wondered how he would kill the time until the others were ready to leave. He felt naked without his phone, although not nearly as naked as Seth, who was at that moment slipping his shorts down to offer the other dancers a peek at his bulging, bethonged buttocks.
As Ox noticed Seth’s strip tease, it finally dawned on him that maybe Seth wasn’t faking after all. He seemed to be having way too much fun for this not to be genuine. Knowing first-hand how liberating Mariposa was, Ox was pleased to see his typically surly friend giving into it and having such a blast. If it weren’t for that little bottle, Ox wouldn’t be out here, relishing how limber he had become as he pressed himself closer and closer to Randy’s sexy body.
“So, your friend, Haywood,” Randy asked, shouting into Ox’s ear, “is he ALWAYS like this?”
Ox shook his head. “Actually, I’ve never seen him like this before,” he assured Randy. Ox felt the urge to confess that he wasn’t always like this either, but he couldn’t bear the thought of spoiling this magical feeling with something stupid like the truth. Instead, he gazed into Randy’s hazel eyes and impulsively gave him a kiss. He immediately feared he had made a tremendous mistake and attempted to pull back, but he felt Randy’s arms wrap around his torso and pull him tight as Randy’s tongue exuberantly slipped its way between Ox’s lips.
Jeffrey nearly fell off his stool. He was coming to regret that he hadn’t finished his bottle of blue Mariposa. Up until now, he’d been satisfied by the way it had modestly hunkified him, but maybe he could have used a total overhaul like the rest of the gang. He wouldn’t have wanted anything as drastic as what had happened to Seth, but Ox sure seemed to be having the time of his life. In one evening, Jeffrey had gone from vigorously asserting his heterosexuality to wondering if a little gayness might not be just what he needed. But neither the Mariposa nor the martini had sufficiently loosened Jeffrey’s inhibitions enough to motivate him to join the dancing throng. He stared wistfully into space and idly drummed his fingers on the bar in time with the music.
“Not your kind of place?”
Jeffrey was surprised to hear a female voice, and even more surprised to hear it directed at him. He shook himself out of his stupor and spotted a petite brunette sitting three stools down, regarding him with a friendly smirk.
“Yeah, no, not exactly,” Jeffrey said, surprised by how smoothly and confidently his Mariposa-lowered voice slid out of his throat. He was usually horribly tongue-tied when starting a conversation with any stranger, let alone one this cute. “Doesn’t seem like your sort of place either.”
“I dunno, it’s kinda nice to go to a club where absolutely no guys are hitting on me,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m here for my brother’s bachelor party.”
Jeffrey mulled that over. “Unusual place for a bachelor party.”
“Well, my brother’s a bartender here,” she explained. Then she pointed toward the stage. “And the oiled-up guy hanging upside down on the stripper pole is his fiance.”
“Ah…” Jeffrey nodded. The woman hopped down from her stool and walked toward Jeffrey with her nearly empty martini glass. “You saving this for somebody?”, she asked, pointing to the stool beside Jeffrey.
While he would typically have stammered out a “no” and looked away nervously, Jeffrey found himself saying, “Apparently so,” with all the suaveness of James Bond. He stood and pulled out the stool for her.
She grinned, surprised. “Oh, so you’re one of those gentlemen I’ve heard about. I thought they were an urban legend.”
“I wouldn’t call myself a legend, but I do okay,” Jeffrey said casually. Where was this coming from?, he wondered as a pleasant tingle flooded his mind. He knew he was acting uncharacteristically, but something deep inside him was telling him not to resist. “Can I get you a martini? The upside-down cake ones are amazingly good.”
“I’d love one,” the woman said with a friendly smile. She extended her hand. “I’m Tina.”
He grabbed it and squeezed, making sure it felt firm but not overbearing. “Jeff,” he said, confidently. For the first time ever, he knew he was the straightest guy in the room.
By the time Brendan and Nick had reached the ground floor to check on Dalton, a police car had arrived and one officer was already kneeling over Dalton.
“How is he?”, Nick asked, still concerned about Dalton’s well-being despite the evening’s events.
“We’re gonna need an ambulance,” the kneeling cop concluded, rising to go back to his cruiser.
The other officer observed the scene cautiously, not knowing what to make of this odd threesome: the gargantuan naked man spread-eagled on the grass, the bony kid covered in tattoos, and the towering black guy clutching a hand to his head. When he saw Brendan walking toward Dalton, the cop stepped forward with a stern warning. “Stay where you are, sir.”
“I just wanna see how he’s doing,” Brendan said.
“You keep that fucker away from me,” Dalton demanded, his face mashed against the grass. “He chucked me out the fuckin’ window!”
“You tripped, you goddamn clumsy-ass liar,” Brendan shouted back, his muscles tensing.
The cop stepped forward, blocking Brendan’s path. “Just chill, okay? All of you! I need you to tell me what happened here.”
Brendan said, “What happened is this motherfucker broke into my house!”
“You saying this is your place?”, the cop asked.
“Damn right it is!”
“Uhhh…huh,” the cop said skeptically. “The caller said she didn’t recognize anyone who entered the apartment.”
“Aw, shit, that’s Miz McHenry. See, she didn’t reckonize me…”
Consulting a notepad, the officer said flatly, “She said this apartment is rented to a young caucasian by the name of Brendan…”
“No shit, Sherlock, that’s me!”, Brendan said, slapping his palm against his chest.
The cop gave him a seen-it-all stare. “Uh…huh.”
Brendan grew insistent, pointing toward Dalton. “Only this HERE motherfucker slipped me some crazy shit tonight to turn me into this. He made us ALL drink it. And then he breaks into my house, tryin’ to kill me?” He took an angry step in Dalton’s direction, on the verge of losing his shit.
The officer drew his handgun and aimed at Brendan. “Don’t move another inch.”
Brendan froze in position. “Oh, you gotta be kiddin’ me.”
“Do I look like I’m kidding? Place your hands above your head.”
The second officer hustled over from the squad car, standing behind his partner and sizing up the situation. By this point, residents had begun to filter out of the nearby apartment buildings. The second officer asked everyone to stay back.
Brendan glanced toward Nick. “Nicky, can you believe this shit?”
Nick looked scared. “Just do what he says, okay? Don’t be stupid.”
The cop aiming the gun said, “Listen to your little pal, there. PLACE YOUR HANDS OVER YOUR HEAD. NOW.”
Brendan shook his head and slowly stretched his long arms high into the air. “Man, you hear about this shit on the news, but ‘til it happens to you…” He pointed his chin in Dalton’s direction. “Why ain’t you pointin’ your gun at HIM? He’s the motherfucker who broke in and attacked me!”
The second officer attempted to be the voice of reason. “You’re saying that old man attacked you?”
“He ain’t no old man! He’s usually a weasely little asshole.”
“He stole my boyfriend!”, Dalton’s voice boomed.
Brendan unleashed a harsh cackle. “Your boyfriend wised the fuck UP and dumped your sorry white ass!” For emphasis, he leaned slightly in Dalton’s direction. The officer with a gun moved toward Brendan and ordered him to freeze.
Seeing this, Nick leapt forward, swatting at the cop’s arm to keep him from shooting Brendan.
The other cop snapped into action, pulling out a taser and zapping Nick, who fell to the ground twitching.
Brendan lunged protectively toward Nick and was tackled by both of the cops, who struggled mightily to pin him down. In the midst of the melee, one of the officers managed to grab a walkie-talkie to call for backup.
And Dalton lay on the grass nearby, taking in the chaos he had unleashed and laughing his head off.
Jeffrey and Tina were each on their fourth martini of the night, including sample tastes from each other’s selections. Neither had moved from their stool in over an hour, so engrossed in each other that they largely ignored the cacophony and frenzy surrounding them. When Jeffrey finally suggested that they move their conversation someplace more intimate, Tina suggested her brother’s apartment where she was staying as a guest. “It’s only two blocks away.” That sounded good to Jeffrey, who was in no shape to drive and whose own apartment was in no shape to be seen.
As Tina stepped down from her stool, her legs collapsed under her, a combination of numbness from sitting so long and rubberiness from drinking so much. Fortunately, Jeffrey gallantly caught her in his strong arms and held her until she could steady herself. As she looked at Jeffrey, face to face, Tina impulsively kissed him on the lips. Jeffrey was so startled that he almost dropped her, but he quickly regained his grip and even pulled her in closer for a deeper kiss. When they finally parted, they were both breathless…and eager to get back to her place.
“I’m just gonna tell my brother I’m taking off,” Tina said.
“Good idea,” Jeffrey said. “I should tell my buddies I’m leaving too.”
Tina wobbled as she weaved her way across the club, while Jeffrey remained at the bar to settle their tab. Inside his wallet were the usual well-worn condom packages, and his heart fluttered slightly as he realized tonight might be the rare occasion when he’d actually be using one of them himself. As his pulse increased, he could feel energy tingling throughout his body. Unconsciously, he scratched at his whiskers with one hand and cupped his crotch with the other.
On the dance floor, Ox and Randy were draped on each other, slow-dancing, even though the music was relentlessly uptempo. Resting his head against Ox’s shoulder, Randy yawned with theatrical exaggeration and declared, “I think I’m ready to call it a night.”
Although his default mode in life was to be perpetually braced for disappointment, Ox found himself unprepared for this particular evening to come to such an abrupt conclusion. Still, he would have felt greedy to push for more time with Randy, and it seemed unfair to lead him on, given that his gayness was bound to wear off in the morning. He felt like Cinderella, only at the end of the ball, he was going to turn back into a pumpkin. “Oh. Well, uh, it was great to meet…”
Randy interrupted, blurting out, “You wanna come back to my place?”
His reaction time slowed by booze, Ox burbled out a few more slurred syllables before the invitation registered. “Really?”
“Sure,” Randy said. He bit his lip nervously, waiting for Ox’s reaction.
“Well, all right!”, Ox shouted, surprising himself with how enthusiastic he was.
Randy excused himself to say goodnight to TJ and Bucky, leaving Ox awkwardly stranded solo at the edge of the dance floor. Once he and Randy had paired up, Ox had barely paid attention to what was going on around him. As he waited for Randy to return, he noticed a few guys looking his direction, sizing him up, nodding approvingly. A couple even winked. To say the least, Ox was unaccustomed to this kind of attention, but he could really get used to it.
Ox felt a finger tap him on the back. He swallowed, preparing to tell whoever it was that he was flattered but he was already taken. He turned around and was relieved that it was just Jeffrey. “Hey, man!”
Jeffrey told him, “I think I’m gonna be heading out.”
“Oh, yeah? Me too.” Each of them felt sad for the other. Although they’d never had a huge amount in common, Jeffrey and Ox had established something of a bond over the years as the two poker buddies most likely to be go home alone after a night out with the guys. Now, each of them assumed that the other was the only one striking out tonight.
Jeffrey’s misconception was soon corrected as Randy sidled up to Ox and asked, “Ready to go, Ford?”
“You bet,” Ox said, before turning toward Jeffrey. “Do you mind giving us a lift to Randy’s?”
It wasn’t a question that usually needed to be asked of the group’s perennial designated driver. Even now, Jeffrey’s immediate instinct was to put helping a friend over his own selfish agenda, but just then a tipsy young woman in a black cocktail dress latched onto Jeffrey’s arm and kissed him on the cheek, asking, “All set?”
Jeffrey gave Ox a smirk and introduced Tina to Randy and “Ox…Ford!”, quickly correcting himself.
“Hello, Randy and Oxford,” Tina said with a drunken wave of her fingers before turning back to Jeffrey. “Oh my god, you should have seen this guy who was trying to hit on my brother. This total little flamer in just a pink thong.”
Ox and Jeffrey’s eyes met. They said “Seth” simultaneously.
“Who’s Seth?”, Randy asked.
“Ya know. ‘Haywood’,” Ox explained.
Randy nodded, finally realizing what name Seth had been saying when they met in the car.
“You know that guy?”, Tina asked Jeffrey. “He’s a total riot.”
Through the crowd, Jeffrey and Ox spotted their nearly naked friend dancing in a erotic frenzy, surrounded by a group of guys who seemed to be very amused by his antics. Although deep down they knew they should probably look after their out-of-control buddy, neither Ox nor Jeffrey felt the urge to derail their very promising evenings by attempting to rein in Seth.
Ox looked to Jeffrey. “I’m sure he can find his own way home. Seth’s a big boy.”
“Well, maybe not so big,” Jeffrey said, “but he’s definitely a boy.”
“Don’t worry about your friend. My brother and his buddies will keep an eye on him,” Tina said.
That was all the reassurance Jeffrey needed to abandon Seth with a relatively clear conscience.
Once outside of the club, the two couples parted, heading different directions down the sidewalk. Jeffrey and Ox looked back over their shoulders to exchange astonished “Can you believe this?” glances before going their separate ways.
Ox and Randy debated getting an Uber, but decided it was a nice night for a walk. Ox hoped the fresh air might sober him up a bit, although he wondered if he might need to be even drunker to get through whatever might transpire at Randy’s place.
“I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me,” Randy said nervously. “I’m not, like, in the habit of bringing guys home from the club.”
Ox laughed and said emphatically, “Me neither.”
Randy was surprised. He had figured that a mature stud like Ford would be something of a playa. Can’t judge a book by its cover, Randy thought. After walking silently for half a block, Randy delicately asked, “So, I was just wondering, do you prefer…the top…or the bottom?”
Naive and inexperienced, even in the world of straight dating, not to mention totally blotto, Ox honestly had no clue what he was being asked. “What, like, do you have bunk beds?”
Randy gave Ox a playful swat, assuming he was joking. “No, you doofus.” He rolled his eyes, searching for another way to ask. “Are you a pitcher…or a catcher?”
Ox still wasn’t grasping it. Football had been his sport. He hadn’t played baseball since little league, but he did still know what position he had typically played. “Usually, second base.”
Randy chuckled. “Shit, I was hoping to get further than that!” Still sure that Ox was putting him on, Randy tried again. “Okay, smart-ass, do you think it’s better to give…or to receive?”
“Well, it’s always better to give than to receive,” Ox said, regurgitating the old adage.
“Finally, I get a straight answer outta you,” Randy said with relief. “By the way, for future reference, I woulda been fine with any answer. I’m pretty flexible.”
“That’s cool,” Ox said. He shimmied his slim body and said, “I’m feeling pretty flexible tonight too.”
It’s always busy in the emergency room on Saturday night, it being alright for fighting and all. Because they had each received injuries of various degrees during their battle at the apartment, Nick, Brendan and Dalton had all been brought to the ER.
It had taken four cops to subdue Brendan, although in the end it was Nick’s gentle pleading that had calmed him down enough to surrender. They had been driven to the hospital in separate police cars. Dalton had been even more belligerent. He fought with the paramedics as they tried to get him into the ambulance. He fought them again as they tried to get him out of the ambulance. He fought with the orderlies and the doctors who were trying to tend to his injuries. He fought with the anesthesiologist who eventually managed to sedate him.
As the most seriously in need of medical help, courtesy of the shards of glass from the balcony window, Dalton had been rushed into the ER immediately upon arrival. Brendan had also been taken in to see doctors relatively promptly, since his scalp was bleeding from having a microwave oven dropped onto it. Nick’s back was killing him after being slammed between Dalton’s body and the living room wall. He was sure he must have bruises lurking beneath the garish tattoos that now covered his entire back, but not having any obvious outward signs of injury, he was still simmering in the waiting room. Seeing how many others around him were wailing in pain, clutching broken bones, or applying blood-soaked towels to active wounds, Nick had no problem giving them priority.
The air conditioning was chilly, at least if you were wearing nothing but cut-off shorts like Nick. He rubbed his hands up and down his spindly arms and looked toward the cops who had brought him here. They were casually drinking coffee and eating pastries, but always keeping one eye on Nick to ensure that he didn’t make a run for it. He stared at his hands and wondered whether the Mariposa had even changed him down to the pattern of his fingerprints. Not like he was planning on embarking on a life of crime, but if he did get his prints or mugshot taken at the police station, would he still have a clean record if they no longer matched him once the Mariposa wore off? Between the potential fingerprinting and the sudden emergence of tattoos all over his body, this was proving to be quite the night for Nick getting inked. From what Nick overheard the cops discussing, he and Brendan were both looking at potential charges for attacking the officers, while the true assailant in the incident, Dalton, would likely be brought in solely to make a statement giving his side of the story. As he was climbing into the cruiser, Brendan had shouted something about wanting to “sue Dalton’s ass”, but Nick hoped that, once they all returned to normal, cooler heads would prevail.
Having done plenty of uncharacteristic things under the influence of Mariposa, Nick knew it was tempting to blame everything on the drink, but as powerful as the stuff was, it was far from an ironclad alibi. Sure, it may push you to places you normally wouldn’t go, but Nick felt he always had some degree of awareness of and control over his behavior, no matter how extreme his changes had been. That’s why, even though he had tried for the good of their relationship to pretend it hadn’t happened, Nick ultimately couldn’t forgive Dalton for cheating on him in Cancun. He was certain some part of Dalton must have wanted to do what he did and would have been able to stop had he had chosen to. Nick was even sure that, at some level, Seth must be consciously allowing himself to behave so flamboyantly tonight.
It occurred to Nick that he hadn’t even thought about Seth or the other guys for hours. He took the fact that they weren’t also sitting here in the emergency room as a sign that their night hadn’t gone as off-the-rails as his or Dalton’s or Brendan’s. Nick felt the urge to phone or text Jeffrey for an update, but he had left his cell back at Brendan’s. If the police allowed him one phone call, it would be to good old reliable Jeffrey. You could always count on him when you needed a hand, although until tonight that had never included the possibility of bailing any of the gang out of jail.
Brendan shuffled out of the ER looking dazed, his head bandaged. Nick had managed to save the hard plastic seat next to him, although at his current size, Brendan would pretty much need two seats for himself. Nick stood up and made room for Brendan, who sat down and slouched, stretching his long legs across the linoleum floor.
“What’s the verdict?”, Nick asked, squeezing his narrow butt onto a sliver of chair beside Brendan.
“Fifteen stitches,” Brendan reported. “Possible concussion. They’re going to call me back in a bit for an MRI.”
“Man, I’m so sorry. Did you see Dalton back there?”
“No, but I heard him, rantin’ and ravin’. I think they finally dropped him with an elephant tranq.” Brendan sighed. “Shit, man, all I wanted to do tonight was hang out and play some poker.”
“I know,” Nick said, apologetically. “I’m sorry for going along with this whole mess. I should’ve stood up more to Dalt when he brought up the idea, but he’s always been…”
“An asshole?”, Brendan offered.
“I was gonna say ‘stubborn’, but if the asshole fits. Ya know, after tonight, I think my fascination with Mariposa has pretty much run its course. It’s one thing when you’re away from everything on vacation and can just indulge in your fantasies, but when you bring it into the real world, it royally fucks shit up.”
Brendan wrapped one of his massive hands around one of Nick’s. “Listen, man, I wanna apologize for what I said earlier about you bein’ a pussy and shit. I had no right criticizing you for how you came out. Hell, who am I to judge? I was too much of a coward to come out to you guys at all.”
Nick was in a forgiving mood. “Don’t beat yourself up too much. Everything happens when it’s supposed to. Or when Mariposa makes you.”
“Still no excuse for sayin’ what I said.”
“Hey, I said some things to Dalt tonight that probably needed saying for a while. Along with everything else, Mariposa’s kind of a truth serum.”
“So all that bullshit I said about loving you? I can’t just take that back in the morning when I sober up?”
“You better not, you prick.” Nick punched Brendan in the arm, hitting a solid wall of muscle that hurt Nick far more than Brendan. “Damn. I can’t wait ‘til we’re back in our real bodies. You’ll be so much more beat-up-able.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Brendan said with a cocky grin. He glanced over at the police officers, who were paying them close attention. He whispered to Nick, “Is it bad that I have this crazy urge to fuck you right here in the middle of the waiting room with the cops watching and everything?”
Nick broke out in goosebumps at the suggestion and tightened his grip on Brendan’s hand. The urges brought on by Mariposa were strong, but this was one he knew they would have to resist.
“Fix yourself whatever drink you want,” Tina said as she and Jeffrey entered her brother’s apartment. She pointed across the living room toward the most impressively stocked bar Jeffrey had ever seen in someone’s home. “He orders all kinds of exotic booze through the bar, then brings it home for his personal use. Not sure the owner of the club even knows.”
Jeffrey shuffled over to check out the stockpile. He usually wasn’t much of a drinker, but tonight he felt like he could handle pretty much anything. Unfortunately, most of the labels weren’t in English, so he had no clue what the bottles contained. Near the back of one shelf, he did spot a familiar butterfly, and a cold shiver went down his spine. A six-pack of Mariposa!
Instantly, Jeffrey found himself craving a booster shot of the strange elixir, to intensify the effects he was already experiencing, but he didn’t want to risk sabotaging how things were going with Tina. Besides, he didn’t see a blue bottle in this six-pack, and he had no idea how another color would affect him. He would hate to be in the middle of an intimate moment with Tina and start morphing into a Seth-like ninny. He opted for a Dos Equis instead, and brought another bottle for Tina. She said, “Muchas gracias,” and clinked her bottle’s neck against his, then took his hand and led him toward the guest bedroom, closing the door behind them.
Tina sat down on the bed and patted the comforter beside her. Jeffrey took the hint and took a seat. On the bedside table, he noticed a framed 8x10 photo of a stunningly handsome man. He chuckled, “Is that the picture that came with the frame?”
Tina groaned and rolled her eyes. “God, no, that’s my brother.”
“That’s your brother?” Jeffrey had trouble looking away from the photo. Whatever your orientation, you’d have to admit the man was objectively, unquestionably, certifiably gorgeous. “He could be a goddamn model.”
“He is a goddamn model.” Tina sulked. “Can you imagine what it was like, growing up with a brother who’s prettier than you?”
“Aww, come on. You’re very pretty!”
She picked up the framed photo and held it next to her face for comparison purposes. “Prettier than this?”
Jeffrey’s eyes shuttled back and forth between Tina and the photo. He knew he should be complimenting Tina, but he truly needed a moment to think about it.
“And there you have it. That pause is basically the story of my life,” Tina said, placing the picture back on the table. “For years, I hoped that maybe I was adopted and that would explain it. Now I just know he hogged all the good genes and I got whatever dregs were left over. I swear, the lucky bastard has gotten even better looking lately.”
Jeffrey brushed his hand through Tina’s hair and studied her not-at-all unattractive face. “Trust me, I know all about being overlooked, being the one nobody ever notices. In our group of poker buddies, that’s me. Well, me and Ox.”
“Wait, you two are the bad-looking ones?”, Tina said with a laugh. “Shit, why am I wasting time with a shlub like you? I gotta meet these other studs.” Giggling, she made a move to stand up.
“No way,” Jeffrey said, pulling her back down. “I saw you first.” They kissed while simultaneously struggling to undress themselves. She unzipped her dress, and Jeffrey yanked his polo shirt over his head. Wriggling free from his pants, he had the presence of mind to grab his wallet and extract a condom.
As they started to make out in earnest, Jeffrey was amazed by how confident he felt. The more turned on he became, he could feel testosterone flooding his body. Or maybe it was whatever Mariposa was still in his system making its presence known. Either way, he became more aggressive as he spread himself across Tina’s body, nibbling her neck as he cupped her breasts in his palms.
But just as his arousal should be peaking, a strange sensation came over Jeffrey. He noticed that his erection was dwindling as it rubbed between their bodies. Even worse, Tina noticed it too.
“Something the matter?”, Tina asked.
“No, I’m fine,” Jeffrey reassured her. He intensified his kisses, hoping that it would jump start his libido, but his cock grew increasingly flaccid. His brain was in total freak-out mode, as he seemed destined to blow his first chance at sex in god-knew-how-long.
Then his eyes landed on the photo of Tina’s brother on the nightstand. Instantly, Jeffrey’s cock grew an inch as a wave of euphoria swept through his him. Fuck! The Mariposa effect must finally be kicking in! “No, no, no,” Jeffrey pleaded inside his brain, “please don’t turn me gay! Not now!”
Panic battled lust and, as is often the case, lust was victorious. He snuck another glance at the photo, mesmerized by Tina’s brother’s cool blue eyes and seductive smile. As Jeffrey’s erection surged, Tina greeted it with a panted “Well, hell-o!” Jeffrey pushed onward, never taking his eyes off the photo as he inserted his cock inside her, pumping vigorously until he brought the two of them to a simultaneous climax. Jeffrey collapsed atop Tina, drenched in sweat, his eyelids sliding shut as he offered her brother a silent “thank you” for the assist.
In the afterglow, Jeffrey became dimly aware that his body felt strangely heavier. And his face and chest were itching like crazy.
When they reached Randy’s place, Ox immediately needed to sit down on the sofa, feeling incredibly woozy. He looked apologetically at Randy,”I must’ve had too much to drink. I swear, I’m usually not such a lightweight.”
“It’s okay,” Randy assured him, curling up beside him. “We don’t have to rush things.”
Ox smiled appreciatively. He’d never been with anyone who doted on him this much.
“So, back at the club,” Randy asked, “why did Jeff call you Ox? You don’t seem like much of an Ox to me.”
“You caught me on a good night,” Ox said with a nervous chuckle. “It’s nothin’, just a nickname.”
“I thought Ford was your nickname.”
“Nope, that’s really my name, but nobody ever calls me that. I like it when you do, though.” Randy smiled, looking a bit embarrassed, and Ox asked what was the matter.
Randy took a deep breath, then confessed, “My name’s not really Randy. See, I’ve had some bad experiences before, so I don’t always give guys my real name until I’m sure I can trust them. And, frankly, your friend…whatever his name is…he kinda creeped me out.”
Ox laughed. “Yeah, he wasn’t really himself tonight. He’s usually annoying in a totally different kind of way. So what is it, your name? Or don’t you trust me yet?”
Ox laughed, then noticed that Randy seemed totally serious. “Really?” The young man nodded. Ox contemplated it, concluding, “Harrison and Ford. They seem to go together well.”
“I think so,” Harrison said with a grin. “So, Ford, how are you feeling now?”
Ox paused a moment to evaluate. Whatever dizziness he had felt had faded, replaced by a warm glow suffusing his entire body. “Never better, Harrison.”
“Good,” Harrison said, pushing Ox backwards onto the couch and swiftly tearing off his shirt.
As Harrison took command of the situation, Ox felt incredibly turned on. Maybe sometimes it was better to receive.
Seth shielded his eyes as the lights in the club grew brighter and the music faded away. “Ith it clothing time already?”
“I certainly hope not. You’re already wearing far too much clothing for my tastes.” Seth felt the words reverberate against his cheek, which was pressed against the speaker’s bare chest. The voice was deep and resonant, with a trace of a British accent. Or maybe Australian.
Seth giggled and looked up at the man around whose neck his arms were currently draped. He was ruggedly handsome, deeply tanned, probably pushing forty, with a few wrinkles around the eyes and some stray gray hairs that eluded his latest Just For Men treatment.
Seth heard someone ask, “Cecil, are you coming?”
“Not yet, love,” said the man clutching Seth to his body, “but the night is young!”
The other voice said, “We’re all heading back to Trey and Dante’s to keep the party going. You and your new friend are welcome to come along.”
“What do you say, Little Woody?”, Cecil asked, knowing the sprite in his arms solely as “Haywood”. “Would you like to keep the party going?”
Seth murmured affirmatively, rubbing his face happily in the cleft of Cecil’s pecs. For Seth, the night had become nothing but a blur of colors, sounds and body parts, but he was pretty sure he’d been having a blast. The aftertaste of vodka and cum clung to his lips, but his ass was still craving some long, hard attention.
As the evening wore on, Seth wore less, discarding one piece of clothing after another until he was now clad in nothing but his pink thong. As he and Cecil stepped into the club’s parking lot, Seth yowled in pain at the feel of gravel poking his tender bare feet. Cecil kindly hoisted him up, slinging Seth over his shoulder like a duffel bag. Fishing his keys from his pocket, Cecil called out to the rest of his group, “Where do Trey and Dante live?”
“Just leave your car here and follow us,” someone informed him. “It’s only a couple blocks away.”
“I wager I can carry you that far,” Cecil informed Seth, shifting the skinny boy and palming a handful of butt-cheek to get a more solid grip on him.
“What’th your name again?”, Seth slurred as he watched the ground glide by beneath him.
“Thethil Love,” Seth repeated dreamily.
Once Tina had drifted into a drunken post-coital haze, Jeffrey carefully slipped out of bed and ducked into the guest bathroom, closing the door tightly before switching on the lights. His fluorescent-lit reflection confirmed what he already knew had happened. His muscles had beefed up substantially, with brawny arms and a barrel chest. His red hair how hung in heavy bangs over bushy eyebrows and draped down past his shoulders in an impressive Thor-like mane. His scruff had grown into a full bushy beard, and the jaw and cheek bones beneath it had broadened and become more angular, giving his entire face a more ruggedly masculine appearance. Jeffrey rubbed a hand across his massive pecs, brushing through the nap of his newly installed ginger carpeting. He flexed both arms and gazed with awe as rock-solid biceps the size of canned hams arched upward. Jeffrey’s engorged cock swelled dramatically and angled toward the celing, offering physical evidence of the sexual reorientation he already knew had occurred in his head.
All night he had been observing the effects of Mariposa intensifying in his friends, but only when a growth spurt and mental shift had hit him personally did Jeffrey realize the common thread behind each round of changes: they always accompanied an orgasm. Who knew what else would occur if Jeffrey were to come again in this condition? Part of him was desperately curious to see how much more he might evolve (or devolve?). He was tempted to start jacking off right then and there, so he could watch in the mirror as he transformed into an even more magnificent form. Fuck, that would be so hot! But rational Jeffrey was still fighting to retain control, unwilling to surrender to the urges that were staging a coup of his body.
Of one thing, he was certain. He had to sneak out before Tina noticed how he had changed. There was no rational explanation for how he could have instantaneously exploded with muscle and sprouted two months of facial hair – no explanation other than the truth, which he was sure she would never believe. It would have been difficult enough to explain why he had shrunk from the hunky dude she met at the club back into his usual meek self, but maybe he could have persuaded Tina that she had a faulty memory after too many martinis. No one could misremember the godlike body Jeffrey now inhabited. No, he figured his best bet was to slip away unseen and never attempt to contact her again. After all, she didn’t know his full name or where he lived. He could just be that mysterious one-night stand whom she might recall fondly from time to time in the future.
All of which totally sucked, because Jeffrey was completely smitten with Tina, and he was sure that the Mariposa had nothing to do with that.
Still, cowardice seemed like his safest option. Jeffrey switched off the bathroom light and returned to the darkened guest room. He lowered himself clumsily to the floor, unaccustomed to dealing with such a musclebound body, and felt around for his discarded clothes. He found his briefs first, and tugged them up his legs. The fabric was stretched to its limit, barely covering his still solid hard-on and feeling like a rubber band around his waist. Next, he located his pants, but as he attempted to put them on, his powerful new thighs proved far too massive, splitting the seams with a loud rrrrrip!
Jeffrey froze in position, hoping he hadn’t awakened Tina. He heard her grumble in bed, so he waited a minute before daring to move again. He groped around until his hand fell on his polo shirt. It also seemed woefully tiny for his new physique, but he tried to pull it over his head anyway. As the fabric shredded, Jeffrey winced.
“Jeff?”, Tina said drowsily.
“Yeah?”, Jeffrey whispered, stunned to hear how much deeper his voice had become.
“What are you doing down there?”
“Just…getting dressed,” Jeffrey said, trying to approximate his old voice but failing miserably.
“What’s with your voice?” Tina flipped on the bedside lamp. Jeffrey put on an innocent expression and waited for Tina to scream in fear of the giant stranger who was now seated on the floor. Instead, she sighed with disappointment. “Fuck,” she said. “Mariposa, right?”
Jeffrey tried to play dumb. “What are you talking about?”, his new voice rumbled.
Tina gave him a withering look which conveyed that she didn’t care to be treated like a fool.
“How do you know about Mariposa?”, Jeffrey asked.
“Are you kidding? My brother and his friends do it all the time. They’re addicted to it. They call it Doing The Butterfly. I’m used to meeting one group of his friends at night, then a whole different bunch when I wake up in the morning, and it’s the same guys. Never knew it to turn anybody straight, though.”
“I am straight,” Jeffrey insisted emphatically, setting aside the temporary stirrings that kept drawing his eyes like a magnet toward the photo of her brother. “But I only drank part of a bottle, so maybe I didn’t get the full effect.”
Tina sunk back down into her pillow, sulking. “Figures. I finally meet a nice guy, and he’s not real.”
Jeffrey was thrilled to hear she thought he was a nice guy. he cantilevered himself off the floor and took a seat on the bed, placing a hand gently on Tina’s knee. “I am real. That guy you’ve been talking to all night? That was really me. Maybe artificially enhanced, but…I mean, you had four martinis. That probably changed your behavior a bit too. Are you saying that this isn’t the real you?”
“I hardly think having a few drinks is quite the same as…”, she gestured to Jeffrey’s current appearance, “…turning into the Brawny paper towel guy.”
“Not the same, obviously, but on the continuum.” He scooted closer to her, trying to recreate their earlier intimacy. “It’s not like I did this intentionally, like I was trying to trick you. These guys made us drink the stuff without even telling us what it did.”
“‘Us’? So, what, are you telling me that your buddy Oxford isn’t really…?”
Jeffrey shook his head. “He’s usually about 300 pounds.”
Tina let that sink in. “How about your flighty little friend in the thong? He’s clearly…”
“Straight, to the point of obnoxiousness.”
“Whoa, seriously?”, Tina said. “That is some powerful shit.”
“You’re telling me!”
Tina mulled this over, then cast her eyes toward Jeffrey’s face. “So, what are you really like, when you’re not…ya know, out in the woods, chopping down trees?”
Jeffrey considered describing himself, but realized he would probably not paint a very flattering picture. Instead, he reached down to the floor and pulled his wallet out of his tattered pants. He took out his driver’s license and handed it to her, bracing for her immediate revulsion.
Tina held the ID under the lamp light and studied it closely, including all of the vital statistics. “Hey, this guy’s pretty cute,” she said.
“Ha ha, give it back,” Jeffrey said, stretching his bulky arm across the bed, but Tina held the license beyond his reach.
“I’m not kidding,” she said, slightly annoyed. “I think I’d like this guy. Course, he might look even sexier with a couple days of stubble.”
“That could be arranged,” Jeffrey said, stroking his beard.
Tina checked his height and weight. “Kinda on the skinny side. Probably wouldn’t kill him to go to the gym once in a while.”
“Okay, that’s it,” Jeffrey said with a chuckle, snatching the ID out of her hand. “I don’t have to tolerate this constant criticism…”
Tina smiled and leaned against Jeffrey. “I think I’d very much like to meet that guy someday.”
Jeffrey glanced at the clock and said, “You should get your chance in a few hours.”
Tina brushed her fingers down Jeffrey’s arm, tracing along the prominent vein bulging across his biceps. “You mean until then, I’m stuck with YOU?”, she said sarcastically. “How ever will we kill the time?” She switched off the lamp and climbed on top of Jeffrey, running her hands through the body hair coating his torso.
Jeffrey’s momentary relief turned back into nervousness. Having successfully defused the awkward situation, he didn’t want to risk messing it up again by admitting to her that, right at this particular moment, he felt no physical attraction to her. Even if she intellectually understood that Mariposa was to blame, she still might get upset if he were to reject her right now.
Through the door, they could hear the commotion of a group of boisterous people barging into the apartment. Jeffrey stiffened. “Who’s that?”
“Don’t worry. It must just be my brother and his friends,” Tina said.
The knowledge that Tina’s ridiculously handsome brother was mere feet away aroused Jeffrey enough that his wilted erection sprung back to full alert. Tina took this response as a personal compliment and lowered her lips around the head of his cock, expertly coaxing it to further growth.
Jeffrey thought this just might work out after all.
On the other side of the door, Tina’s brother Trey was doing his best to shush the bachelor party guests as they straggled in from the club. “Be quiet, okay, guys? My sister’s probably trying to sleep in the next room.” Trey felt bad for his sister. He loved her, but she was always so down on herself, always felt she was so inadequate. He’d love to introduce her to one of his friends, but none of them was quite her type. No wonder she took off early from the club tonight. It’s not like she was likely to meet her soul mate in a gay bar.
Cecil entered with Seth still draped over his shoulder. Seth’s bare ass on full display earned a round of hushed cheers from the gathered revelers. “Ho ho ho! Where can I put this bundle of joy?”
“I have a few suggestions,” said Dante, Trey’s fiance, who was in the kitchen, busily setting out snacks.
Trey took a swipe at him with mock jealousy, then announced, sotto voce, “You boys help yourself to drinks from the bar. I am off duty tonight!”
Cecil lowered Seth down to the floor and gave his butt a swift pat. “Fetch me a Guinness, will you, my boy?”, he instructed Seth before flopping onto the couch, exhausted from lugging Seth from the bar. “Daddy’s totally fagged out.”
Seth crawled toward the bar on his hands and knees, delighting some of the other guests as he squeezed his way between their legs. He rummaged among the bottles, looking for something sweet and tasty, when something caught his eye. He couldn’t remember where he’d seen it before, but just the sight of it made his little dick twitch with excitement. He grabbed a bottle at random from the six pack and studied it fondly, admiring the label’s pretty little butterfly.
Dr. Ramos was allowing herself a brief break, leaning back and relaxing for a few minutes now that the early rush had subsided. The emergency room could always expect another round of incoming after bar time.
She heard a faint rapping on the open door of her office. She said, “Yes?”, with a tinge of irritation, keeping her eyelids closed.
One of the nurses on duty spoke softly. “Remember that John Doe who came in about two hours ago? The big guy with the white beard?”
“You mean Bad Santa? How could I forget?”
“I know, right? Well, remember how, when he came in, he had all those lacerations and scrapes, and we had to take the pieces of glass out of his legs?”
“Yeees,” Dr. Ramos said, growing impatient. “I trust you’re not here just to test my short-term memory.”
“No, ma’am. You see, I was just checking on him and…everything’s totally healed. There’s not a scratch on him.”
Dr. Ramos’s eyes snapped open. She rose from her desk and hustled immediately in the direction of Dalton’s bed, asking the nurse to check whether the patient’s lab results were back yet.
Under her breath, the doctor muttered, “Dear god, not another one.”
Tina was half-awake, curled up beside Jeffrey with face pressed against his cheek. As she lazily smacked her lips, she became aware of loose hairs clinging to them. She rubbed the back of her hand across her lips to wipe them away and realized that her arm was itchy. She sat up in bed and flipped on the bedside lamp. Gently nudging Jeffrey, she whispered, “Jeff, wake up. You’re molting.”
Groggy, Jeffrey opened his eyes. At first glance, he appeared to be just as hirsute as he was earlier, but a quick brush of his fingers across his chest revealed that he was buried in a coating of loose hair which had detatched itself from his body. Underneath, his impressive shelf of pecs was gone, as were his massive arms and powerful legs. From head to toe, he had reverted to his pale, hairless, skinny self. He glanced over at Tina and said, “Sorry.”
She shrugged. To be honest, Jeffrey didn’t look all that different than he had when she first spotted him at the bar, just somewhat underinflated. “No need to apologize,” she said, “but you’re vacuuming this shit up.” With a sweet grin, she got out of bed and rummaged in the closet in search of a DustBuster.
As Nick had promised at the beginning of the night, there was no negative equivalent to a hangover post-Mariposa. If anything, Jeffrey felt an unaccustomed energy and a residual sense of satisfaction and confidence, but he had no idea if those would eventually fade like his outward appearance. He felt comfortable inhabiting his old self again, kind of like returning home after a grueling but enjoyable vacation. Even so, he did feel a slight yearning for the heightened sensations and improvement to his physical features which Mariposa had provided. No wonder Nick and Dalton got so hooked on doing the stuff. As the least addiction-prone of the poker gang, Jeffrey had little doubt that he would be able to resist the urge to indulge again, but he wasn’t so sure how the group’s more extreme members would deal with that craving. Like Seth, for example…
At that moment, Jeffrey became aware of a hubbub in the living room, rising above the general chatter of Tina’s brother’s friends. Jeffrey couldn’t make out exactly what was happening, but in the sound of it, someone was growing vocally aroused. Jeffrey and Tina looked at each other, amused. Jeffrey could only guess what sort of entertainment would liven up a gay bachelor party. “You think they hired a male stripper?”, he asked.
“His fiance already IS a male stripper,” Tina said with a roll of her eyes. “Isn’t bringing in another one overkill?”
Curious, Jeffrey slipped out of bed, brushing what seemed like an entire Irish setter’s worth of hair away from his body and onto the floor. Plenty remained stuck to his skin, which he would need to shower off later. He crept across the room and pressed his ear against the door to the living room. Whatever was happening, the crowd was growing more enthusiastic, with giddy laughter and whoops of encouragement. Finally, a high-pitched voice pierced the din, proclaiming, “Thith ith thpectacular!”
Jeffrey knew that voice, or at least that lisp. Impulsively, he flung open the door and saw a dozen men scattered about, watching with varying degrees of interest as a young man in a pink thong manually pleasured himself on the floor in the center of the room. At first, only a few noted the arrival of the redheaded stranger wearing only briefs who appeared to have been rolling around in a pile of hair clippings.
Seth’s body was in constant motion, with his flesh and bone seemingly churning beneath his skin. Of all the transformations Jeffrey had witnessed tonight, this seemed to be the most erratic and violent, but the expression on Seth’s face was pure bliss. Jeffrey ran over and kneeled beside him. “Seth?”, he shouted.
Seth recognized the voice and opened his eyes. His blurred consciousness cleared momentarily as he saw Jeffrey’s familiar face floating above him. “Jeffrey?” His heart swelled with affection for his old pal, even though Seth had previously viewed Jeffrey as little more than a toady, as if his subservient role as the buddies’ equipment manager in college had simply continued indefinitely. Seth lolled his head and saw the roomful of men surrounding him, none of whom he recognized but all of whom turned him on.
“Are you all right?”, Jeffrey asked.
Building toward a climax, Seth gasped in short bursts, “I’ve…never…been…better.” As streams of jizz squirted across his chest, Seth unleashed a howl of cataclysmic proportions, then sunk back to the floor, lifeless.
Jeffrey felt the presence of another person beside him. He looked over and saw a face of near-perfect proportions, who he immediately recognized from the photo in the guest room as Tina’s brother, Trey. Even that stunning photo did not do justice to Trey’s astonishing appearance, but Jeffrey noted that he felt not even a flicker of arousal in the man’s presence, only profound inferiority.
Trey picked up the empty Mariposa bottle which had rolled from Seth’s outstretched fingers. He looked around at his guests with irritation. “I thought I asked you guys to stay away from the Mariposa. We’re saving it for our honeymoon.” He held it up to the light and examined the brown droplets which remained at the bottom of the bottle, then scrutinized Seth with the eye of an art connoisseur. “Something’s not right,” Trey said. “He should have gotten a lot buffer.”
Jeffrey thought Seth did look fairly buff, at least in contrast to the emaciated twink he had become throughout the night. His arms and chest had developed a decent pump, and his flat stomach now displayed faint abs. To Jeffrey’s eye, Seth also seemed to have regained a few inches of height and his facial features had grown more masculine. Seth’s tight new curls had faded from extreme platinum blond to a rich gold, and the beginnings of a goatee were emerging around his lips. But the biggest change was to his skin tone, which was now an even butterscotch shade. Jeffrey thought back to the start of the evening, when Seth was mocking Nick and Dalton for returning from Cancun without tan lines. Could that really have only been last night? To Jeffrey, it seemed like several lives ago.
“And why hasn’t his hair changed?”, asked Trey’s fiance, Dante, leaning in to kibitz. “When I did the brown, my hair went totally black.”
Jeffrey offered the suggestion, “Maybe it’s just averaging out with the yellow stuff he drank before?”
Trey and Dante turned Jeffrey, baffled by the presence of the unfamiliar redhead. “Yellow?”, Trey asked ominously.
As the effects of the anesthetic tapered off, Dr. Ramos leaned down to get into Dalton’s field of vision. His eyes were barely open and he clearly appreciated the joy juice they were pumping into his veins, but he finally seemed alert enough for the doctor to attempt to communicate.
“I’m Doctor Ramos,” the doctor said, speaking loudly and distinctly. “Can you hear me?”
Dalton nodded his head slightly.
“Good. It looks like you’ve had quite a night. I wanted to ask you a few questions. I wondered if you had anything unusual to drink tonight. Maybe something imported? Something with a little butterfly on the label?”
Dalton grew a dopey grin. Just thinking of that butterfly made him happy.
Dr. Ramos had expected as much. “Can you tell me what color it was?”
Between the Mariposa and whatever the doctors had him hopped up on, Dalton was having trouble thinking clearly to the beginning of the night, but he softly mumbled. “I think it was red.”
The doctor scratched her head, not surprised by his girth and his white hair but unable to account for everything she saw. As she checked Dalton’s chart, she heard him mutter, “…then blue.”
The doctor set down her paperwork. “Red AND blue? Didn’t anyone tell you never to mix two different colors together?”
Dalton did sort of remember somebody rattling off a bunch of disclaimers before he and Nick had their first Mariposa experience in Cancun, but they had both been drunk already and the guy talking had a pretty thick accent, so not much had stuck. Dalton managed a slight shrug of his enormous shoulders.
For most of a year, Dr. Ramos been hearing rumors from family members in Mexico and from doctors in bigger cities about this strange new drug that was starting to make the rounds. By all accounts, the substance induced dramatic, temporary physical and psychological changes. It appeared to be relatively harmless when taken in moderation as directed, with few lingering side effects. It was only when the different formulas were mixed into new combinations that problems tended to occur. The doctor had laughed off these stories at first, but now she was staring at the third patient in three weeks whose body had healed from an injury with unexplainable speed, as if some internal force were acting vigorously to maintain their appearance.
“Listen to me,” the doctor said, grabbing Dalton’s chin to regain his attention. “That drug you took, it’s very dangerous to take two different formulations at once.”
Dalton closed his eyes, unperturbed. “It’ll be okay,” he whispered. “Just lemme sleep it off and I’ll be fine.”
The doctor jostled Dalton, needing him to understand what she was saying. “No, sir. You won’t. These changes…they’re permanent.”
Dalton’s eyes snapped open, widening as the doctor’s message sank in.
“But how can it be permanent?”, Jeffrey asked Trey frantically. “Mine’s already worn off!”
“Yeah, ‘cause you only had the one kind,” Trey explained as he and Dante toted Seth’s limp body to the sofa. “This Mariposa is volatile shit. It’s only designed to be used one dose at a time. You start mixing different types without knowing what you’re doing, things can get gnarly. It’s like…” He searched for an analogy that Jeffey would understand. “Say you drank some Diet Coke. That would be perfectly fine. Not particularly healthy, but fine. Then, some other time, you ate a Mentos. Again, totally safe in isolation. But if you put them both together at the same time…”
Jeffrey thought back to the YouTube videos he’d seen of the explosive reaction created by the combination of Diet Coke and Mentos. “Boom,” he whispered.
Trey nodded. “Boom. Once you’ve got two different Mariposas mixed together in the cauldron of someone’s body, they start to interact in ways that weren’t intended. And there’s no way to undo them.”
Jeffrey sat down in a chair, in shock. His mind was racing as he struggled to make sense of this latest wrinkle.
Tina had emerged from the guest room in a bathrobe, surprised to discover that a hush had fallen over the room and the festivities had ground to a somber halt. She had heard enough to gather that Jeffrey’s friend Seth had dosed himself with Mariposa. She walked over to comfort Jeffrey.
“What if he drank another bottle?” Jeffrey asked. “I mean, even if wouldn’t undo everything, maybe it would get him closer to the way he used to be?” Jeffrey could scarcely believe that he was lobbying for ways to return Seth to his original obnoxious splendor.
Trey looked Jeffrey in the eyes and leveled with him. “I could give your friend another Mariposa, but without knowing precisely what is in his system, I could only guess at what adding another variable to the mix would do. I’m afraid the best we can do is let this combo settle in. You’d better get used to it, because this is your friend’s new normal.”
Jeffrey looked over at the swarthy new Seth, lying serenely on the couch with a deeply concerned Cecil crouched beside him, clasping Seth’s hands. Seth’s eyes flickered open. He looked around, confused, and asked Cecil, “¿Dónde ethtoy?”
“What the fuck?” Jeffrey couldn’t believe what he heard. “He can speak Spanish now?”
“I know,” said Trey, shaking his head in awe “isn’t it crazy? If it worked the way it’s supposed to, he should be bilingual. One time, it turned me into a guy who could only speak Swedish.”
Dante cooed enthusiastically. “Oooh, I remember him. With that chin cleft and those icy blue eyes. He was hot!”
Trey patted Dante’s hand. “If you’re a good boy, he may make a return visit on our honeymoon.”
“So how come it makes everybody gay?”, Tina asked her brother.
“No clue,” Trey said. “Probably has something to do with how testosterone acts as a catalyst. For some reason, it has the most extreme effects on the most vehemently hetero. Judging from the way your friend was mincing around at the club all night, he must have been as straight as they come.”
Tina turned to Jeffrey, “But you said you drank part of a bottle and it didn’t turn you gay.”
Trey seemed skeptical. “It didn’t? Not even a little?”
Jeffrey saw no advantage in admitting the truth in front of Tina. “Nope!”, he said. Trey and Dante looked dubious.
“So I’ve always wondered, what happens if a girl drinks this stuff?”, Tina inquired.
Trey nodded in the direction of the sofa where Cecil was doting on Seth. “Why don’t you ask Cecil? Before he downed a couple of Mariposas, she used to be Cecily.”
“I think I’ll pass.” Tina had no interest in turning into a guy, even temporarily.
Jeffrey shook his head as he watched Seth murmuring sweet nothings in Spanish to the middle-aged man who once was a woman. The more Jeffrey learned about Mariposa, the shakier his grip on reality became.
Once the realization sank in that he would not be returning to his original form, Dalton had grown agitated. Although the anesthesia had dulled his mind and slowed his agility, his immense body was still a formidable force. He hoisted himself out of the hospital bed and cornered Dr. Ramos, demanding that she find a way to reverse the effects of the Mariposa. When she informed him there was no way to do it, Dalton began to flail his powerful arms, trashing the emergency room as he hurled his man-mountain physique at anything breakable.
“Please, sir,” Dr. Ramos said soothingly. “This won’t solve anything.”
“Don’t care,” Dalton growled, “it feels good!”
Dr. Ramos did her best to remain calm in the face of this deranged hulk, her scientific detachment keeping her terror in check. Neither of the previous Mariposa patients she had examined had exhibited this kind of brute strength and fury. In fact, they had been fairly docile and accepted their fates readily, even happily. This, on the other hand, appeared to be like “roid rage” on steroids. She knew from the minimal research on the subjectthat the ability to heal quickly from injuries only lasted for the brief period that Mariposa remained active in the system. Otherwise, she feared that Dalton might prove unstoppable.
“I’m begging you to take it easy,” the doctor pleaded. “This kind of exertion isn’t healthy for someone your age.”
Dalton’s brow furrowed with confusion. “Whattaya mean, ‘my age’? I’m twenty-five.”
“Maybe you were, but from the lab results, your body is closer to fifty now.” A jacked and juiced fifty to be sure, but one whose heart might not be able to endure such strenuous activity.
Unwilling to accept that twenty-five had become the new fifty, Dalton gripped the hospital bed and hurled it on its side.
While one nurse ran to get help, another was preparing a hypodermic with enough sedative to drop a rhino.
Nick and Brendan had been dozing in the waiting room when the noisy ruckus inside the emergency room jolted them awake. They could hear Dalton’s voice booming from inside, and he sounded more furious than ever. Nick and Brendan clutched each other, frightened. A nurse raced out of the ER and beckoned the cops for help. The officers instantly dropped their coffee and raced inside.
With their departure, Nick realized that no one was watching them. He whispered urgently to Brendan. “This is our chance to make a break for it!”
Brendan was startled by the suggestion. “What, we can’t just take off?”
“Why the hell not? You want to wait for Dalt to get out here and start wailing on us again? This stuff should be wearing off soon and, once we’re back to normal, the cops won’t be able to I.D. us!”
As Brendan considered the idea, he realized his earlier dizziness and pain had dissipated to the point of nonexistence. Nick had also noticed that his back no longer ached. The two locked eyes and came to a silent agreement to split. Nick gave a quick nod and the two men rose to their feet, ambling their way slowly toward the exit.
Once they made it outside, Brendan muttered, “Where should we go? Back to my place?”
“Might still be cops there. How about Seth’s?”
“Sounds like a plan,” Brendan said, walking so briskly down the sidewalk that Nick had trouble keeping pace. “Hurry up, man,” Brendan urged.
“Maybe we oughta split up,” Nick said. “We’d be less conspicuous.”
Although it was arguable how inconspicuous they would be, together or apart, Brendan agreed. “Okay, meet you at Seth’s,” he whispered, breaking into a trot and then, as he got further away from the hospital, a full-stride sprint. Brendan felt exhilarated as his long, powerful legs propelled him briskly down the street. Even at his fittest in college, Brendan had never felt such energy.
Nick cast a cautious look toward the ER entrance, making sure no one had noticed their departure. Confident that they had escaped detection, Nick ducked down an alley, determined to find a back route to Seth’s. He knew that, if an APB went out for a short shirtless man covered in tattoos, he’d be in deep trouble, so he rummaged in trash bins along the way until he located a discarded football jersey that concealed most of his abundant ink and a tattered baseball cap under which he could hide his deep black hair. The disguise, half-assed as it might be, eased Nick’s anxiety, although he still checked over his shoulder for police cars every few seconds.
As the first rays of sunlight filtered through the drapes, Ox woke up in bed with Harrison’s naked body curled up beside him. After a moment of sheer panic, Ox hazily recalled the events of the previous night which had led him to this stranger’s apartment. Although he was having trouble with the specifics of what had occurred here, the pleasantly dull ache in his crotch attested to it having been a very good time.
Desperately in need of a piss, Ox eased himself out of bed, careful not to awaken Harrison. Ox tiptoed through the darkened apartment, floorboards squeaking with each step, stubbing his toes and smashing his knee into unseen furniture until he eventually located the bathroom.
He cupped his right hand under his balls and aimed his dick toward the toilet bowl, while his left hand scratched his outstretched belly. The stream of urine blasting into the toilet halted abruptly as Ox drew in a sharp breath. He swiveled his attention toward the bathroom mirror where he saw that his lean swimmer’s body appeared to be melting, his pecs sagging down toward a bloated abdomen. Deposits of fat were stretching out his face, and his buzz cut was swiss-cheesed with bald patches. Every trace of Ford was in the process of vanishing. Soon, nothing but Ox would remain, and Ox was less than happy about the prospect. He grabbed a beach towel and wrapped it around his expanding waistline.
He crept back into the bedroom, acutely aware of the volume of each heavy footfall. He felt around frantically for his discarded clothing, even though he knew he had already gained back enough weight that they would be far too small for him. All he really needed to find were his pants, which he eventually located, draped on a blade of the ceiling fan in the dining room. He retrieved his keys and wallet from the pockets and took one last peek into the bedroom where Harrison was still fast asleep, looking angelic. Ox was ambivalent about sneaking away like this, but there was no way he could let Harrison see him the way he really was.
Back in the emergency room, Dalton was now surrounded by Dr. Ramos, her syringe-toting nurse, two hospital security guards, and the two police officers who had been summoned from the waiting room. One of the cops had attempted to tase Dalton, but it had only enraged him further. Dr. Ramos quickly informed the officers that, for the time being, they should consider Dalton essentially impervious to pain. They would have to come up with another way to bring him down.
Dr. Ramos had heard anecdotally that some professional football players had been experimenting with Mariposa. Its combination of instantaneous muscle growth and accelerated regenerative properties had obvious appeal, but its effects on libido and sexual orientation had proved counterproductive, as the players became so horny for their teammates that they were unable to focus on the game. Reports of excessive butt patting and huddles that turned into group gropes led the NFL to add Mariposa to their list of banned substances. Apparently the league was less worried about Mariposa’s long-term health consequences on their players than the potential damage to the sport’s staunchly red-blooded image if their games were to devolve into nothing but sixty minutes of unrestrained grab-ass.
This gave Dr. Ramos an idea. An unorthodox one, to say the least, but this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill crisis. Her attention zeroed in on the well-built cop to her immediate left. She checked his name badge and spoke softly out of the corner of her mouth. “Officer Wainwright, could you do me a huge favor?”
The cop replied, “Anything, doctor.”
“I want you to very carefully put down your gun, and then, very slowly, begin to take off your clothes.”
Wainwright’s head swiveled in the doctor’s direction, his eyes flitting between her and Dalton. “Excuse me, what?”
“I’m thinking the only thing that might distract him at this point is a strip tease. I’d offer to do it myself, but I don’t think I’m his type.”
“What’re you gabbin’ about?”, Dalton growled.
Dr. Ramos raised her eyebrows encouragingly in the cop’s direction. “Trust me on this,” she muttered.
To his own dismay, the officer found himself lowering his arms and cautiously holstering his gun. This caught Dalton’s attention, and he started watching Wainwright closely. The cop glanced at the doctor, who nodded subtly, silently urging Wainwright to continue.
The cop looked embarrassed as he undid his uniform shirt one button at a time. His partner, whose gun was still aimed at Dalton, whispered, “What the hell are you doing?”
Wainwright mumbled back, “Doctor’s orders.” He popped the final button and pulled his shirt tails free from his pants. Methodically sliding off his shirt, Wainwright revealed a sculpted torso and ripped arms.
Dalton looked confused about what was happening, but his eyes were drawn like magnets toward the sight of the cop’s body. His cock grew harder underneath his hospital gown and a lascivious sneer came to his lips.
“It’s working,” Ramos whispered. “Keep going.”
Wainwright gulped as he saw the fever growing in the monstrous man’s deep-set eyes. He loosened his buckle and slipped off his gun belt, handing it to Dr. Ramos. He hesitated to proceed further, but the doctor’s intense glare told him to keep going. He unbuttoned his pants and inched his zipper downward.
Dalton’s rage was ebbing as his attention became laser-focused on the officer’s movements. Endorphins suffused his body and he began to drool uncontrollably.
Wainwright had desperately hoped to avoid the next step, but having seen how effectively the doctor’s plan had worked so far, he saw no choice but to go the full monty. Had he known what tonight had in store, he might not have chosen to go commando.
Wainwright dropped his trousers. At the sight of the cop’s generous if flaccid endowment, Dalton instinctively took a step in the officer’s direction, overcome with lust.
Dr. Ramos shot a glance in the direction of the nurse holding the hypodermic. “Now!”
The nurse rushed forward and jabbed the needle into one of Dalton’s glutes. Dalton hardly felt the tiny sting as he teetered in the officer’s direction. He wobbled unsteadily as his pounding pulse sped the sedative into his bloodstream. He seemingly stalled in midair, arms outstretched toward Wainwright, as he felt the relaxing sensation spread through his body. His eyes rolled back in his head and he toppled toward the nearly-naked cop. His movement hampered by the pants pooled around his ankles, Wainwright was unable to get out of the way. In a split second, he found himself on the floor, crushed beneath the weight of Dalton’s body.
As hospital personnel swarmed in to lift Dalton back into bed, strapping him down securely, Wainwright scooted into a seated position, frantically pulling his pants back to his waist to regain a smidgen of dignity. Dr. Ramos offered her profuse thanks before rushing to the bed to tend to Dalton.
Wainwright’s partner helped him back to his feet, and Wainwright put the rest of his uniform back on. He was relieved that his partner was remaining silent for the moment, but he had no illusions that he could keep the lid on this particular story once they got back to the station.
Once they were satisfied that the situation was under control and Dalton was thoroughly under, Wainwright and his partner walked out of the emergency room. “Quite the concealed weapon you’re packing, Wainwright,” his partner said dryly as they exited to the waiting room. As Wainwright let out an unamused chuckle, he and his partner simultaneously realized that Nick and Brendan had disappeared.
Nick staggered toward Seth’s apartment building, exhausted. The walk from the hospital had been too much for his scrawny body to handle, and ducking into hiding whenever he suspected a police car might be near had made the journey twice as long as he had anticipated.
The door to Seth’s place dangled from one hinge, having been smashed open from the inside, presumably by Dalton when he left. Nick glanced inside and saw Brendan stretched out on the sofa, watching ESPN and chugging from a 64-ounce jug of Gatorade. Seeing Nick peering through the doorway, Brendan gestured him in and tossed a Gatorade bottle his direction. “Heads up!”
Unprepared, Nick was walloped by the bottle, which collided with his sternum and knocked him to the floor.
Brendan couldn’t help laughing as he apologized. “I’m sorry about that, man. You just looked like you needed some electrolytes.”
“So you thought you’d bury them in my chest?” Nick crawled over to the couch, dragging the Gatorade bottle along with him. “You have any trouble getting here?”
“Seven-foot-tall black dude running down the street like a maniac at six in the morning? Naw, nobody even noticed me.” Brendan took another gulp from his bottle. He had actually gotten more than his share of strange looks en route, but fortunately hadn’t encountered any police during his run. “I just want this night to be over already. What happens when this shit wears off, anyway? Do you form a cocoon or something?”
“No, it just sort of gradually fades…” Nick stopped as he looked down at his arms. “Shit, look at my tattoos! They’re fading!” He stripped off his shirt to check on the status of the rest of his tats.
Brendan sat up on the couch to get a better look. Sure enough, Nick’s abundant ink was less intense and his skin itself seemed less pale. Brendan examined his own complexion, which was still as dark as it had been all night, but he did notice that his legs now fit comfortably on the sofa, rather than being too long for it. He raised a hand to his head and came away with a wad of loose hair from his afro.
Nick climbed onto the couch and stared at Brendan. Nick had gotten so blitzed every night in Cancun, he had never been alert enough to pay attention during this final stage of the metamorphosis. His cock grew hard as he watched his old friend Brendan’s familiar features gradually reemerging. Nick straddled Brendan and pulled down the taller man’s shorts. “I can’t wait ‘til we’re back to our old bodies,” Nick said breathlessly, bending over and gliding his tongue around the head of Brendan’s still sizeable cock.
Brendan moaned with pleasure as Nick set to work. The hair on Nick’s bobbing head and the pigment of Brendan’s skin were both growing lighter before Brendan’s eyes. Brendan’s massively inflated muscles were shrinking back to their usual gym-toned bulk, and he could feel his skeletal system growing more compact as he lost inches in height and wingspan. At the same time, Nick’s limbs were regaining their usual muscle tone, and his skin was recapturing its Cancun tan. It almost looked like Nick was sucking the traits out of Brendan’s body and taking them on himself. As they settled back into their original bodies, a casual observer might assume the two men were brothers, if you ignored the fact that one was enthusiastically blowing the other.
Nick realized Brendan’s cock now fit easily inside his mouth, as if it had been custom designed to be there. He swallowed as much of Brendan’s shaft as possible, feeling the first trickle of cum dribble down his throat. He cast a quick glance upward and found Brendan staring back – charming, sexy Brendan with his blond buzzcut and his killer bod. After years of silently lusting after his old friend, Nick suddenly found himself in the midst of fellating him. Although the past several hours had been a nightmare, Nick was starting the new day with a dream come true.
Brendan swept his fingers through Nick’s own blond hair and smiled, wondering why he had never been brave enough to confess his feelings to Nick before tonight. He vowed to make up for lost time from now on. Brendan let out a satisfied moan as his cock pumped thick ropes of cum down Nick’s throat.
Although their bodies were more or less as they had been when they had entered this apartment twelve hours earlier, they would eventually discover some slight changes when they took the time to thoroughly inspect themselves. After the night’s severe weight fluctuations, Nick ended this adventure a net four pounds lighter, while Brendan’s skin would perpetually have a slightly darker tinge than it had before. Whenever its effects dissipated, Mariposa always left behind a small reminder of every transformation, although the most obvious change for Nick and Brendan was that, from now on, they were “Nick and Brendan”.
Door’s open,” Brendan shouted.
Jeffrey entered the apartment, toting a six pack of Pepsi. Ever since “that night” six weeks earlier, he had become leery of imbibing anything stronger than caffeine. He was impressed by the remodeled apartment, which still smelled slightly of fresh paint fumes. “Wow, they did a really nice job. You’d hardly know the place had been trashed by a maniac.”
Brendan sat shirtless at the poker table in his living room, practicing fancy shuffles. “Yeah, we got the repairs done pretty quickly, once Dalton offered to pay for everything.”
Nick entered from the bedroom in a tank top and running shorts. “Dalt didn’t ‘offer’ shit. I told him he was paying, and he did what I said.” While Nick and Brendan always had a passing resemblance to each other, now that they had become a couple, they were growing more and more similar. Nick’s blond hair was trimmed in a buzzcut that matched Brendan’s, and since they had started working out together, Nick was well on his way to matching Brendan’s impressive physique. They had even gotten identical tattoos of the Mariposa butterfly logo on their right shoulders, to commemorate “that night” that had forever changed all of their lives.
“I’m glad Dalton settled down,” Jeffrey said, scratching at the three days of stubble which he now fastidiously maintained. He’d emerged from “that night” with greater confidence, as well as a 20% larger cock, both of which met with his girlfriend Tina’s enthusiastic approval.
“He was pretty deranged for a while,” Nick said.
“Here’s to heavy meds,” Brendan said, raising a Corona in a toast.
Dr. Ramos had kept Dalton sedated in the hospital for nearly a week before he finally came to grips with his new persona. A couple more weeks had passed until he eventually accepted that Nick had left him for Brendan. One night, in despair, Dalton managed to track down a bottle of yellow Mariposa, hoping that it would trim him down to a less gargantuan size. He was willing to risk turning into a queeny stereotype if it meant he could fit into normal clothes again, but all it did was make him violently ill, requiring a return visit to the ER.
It turned out that the cells in the human body which were receptive to Mariposa-induced changes shut down completely once a permanent transformation had taken place, leaving Mariposa no place to go but back out the direction it came in. Dr. Ramos could have told Dalton that, if he had bothered to ask her, but as usual, Dalton had to learn his toughest life lessons through hard-won experience. Now Dr. Ramos was organizing a nationwide tour where she and Dalton planned to visit high schools, universities, gay bars, and locker rooms, both collegiate and professional, to offer first-person testimony on the dangers of Mariposa abuse. In the meantime, Dalton had been spotted at the Rusty Nail a few times, his white hair and beard dyed fuchsia and his body piercings on full display, attracting the attention of young bois desperately in search of an extreme father figure.
The front door swung open and Ox entered. “Sorry I’m late, guys! You started already?”
“No, you’re fine, Ox,” Nick assured him. Out of habit, the poker buddies still thought of him as Ox, even though there was nothing remotely Ox-like about him any more.
Ox had been heartbroken after sneaking away from Harrison early that Sunday morning. He felt like he’d had a brief glimpse of a better life, only to have it yanked away from him too soon. Once he reconnected with Jeffrey and heard of Seth’s further transformation, Ox grew excited. “Do you think that stuff could change me permanently too?”
When it became clear that Ox was deadly serious, Jeffrey took him back to Trey and Dante’s apartment for advice. Trey cautioned Ox on the hazards inherent in mixing different strains of Mariposa, but Ox couldn’t bear the thought of going back to his old existence after feeling so loved and accepted by Harrison. It wasn’t just that Ox had regained all of his excess weight. He knew there were ways to lose that if he really wanted to. What he couldn’t abide was being straight again, knowing that, while he might still think of Harrison as a great guy, he would never again feel “that way” about him.
Trey pointed out that just drinking another bottle of green Mariposa would only change Ox back temporarily. In order to lock in a new identity, they would have to mix it with another variety, and there was no way of predicting precisely how the two formulas would interact. Ox didn’t care. If it meant he had a shot at being with Harrison again, Ox was willing to take the risk.
Following lengthy debate and careful deliberation, it was decided that adding a small amount of aquamarine Mariposa to the green had the best odds of recreating something along the lines of “swimmer Ford” permanently. As the remaining guests from the bachelor party watched with intense curiosity, Ox chugged a bottle of green Mariposa, let it settle for a minute, then chased it with a shot of aquamarine. Jeffrey and Trey led Ox into the guest bedroom where he eased his bulk onto the bed and waited for his future self to kick in.
After ten minutes of violent thrashing and the inevitable orgasm, Ox’s body had once again been reduced to a sliver of its former size. He demanded to see what he looked like, so Jeffrey and Trey helped him up, supporting him as he walked on wobbly legs toward the bathroom. He braced himself to face his new identity, knowing that he was stuck with it no matter what.
Ox turned toward the mirror. For the most part, he had indeed reverted to the way he had looked the night before, but the aquamarine Mariposa had thrown in a few twists. The most obvious was his hair, which had grown back long and wavy and hung well past his shoulders. He brushed his hand through its silken strands and said, “Whoa! Radical!” Ox had been warned that uncut aquamarine created a full-blown stereotypical surfer dude, so he shouldn’t be surprised if some of those attributes crept into his new persona. Ox had insisted that he would be cool with that. Now he found it totally chill.
As he returned to scrutinizing his reflection, Ox realized how young he looked. If the green Miraposa had let him pass for 21, he now seemed barely 18. His muscles weren’t quite as jacked as the night before, and he was pretty sure he’d lost a couple inches of height as well. Breaking into a toothy smile, he proclaimed, “Sure hope Harrison digs younger dudes.”
Jeffrey drove him back to Harrison’s place, with a quick stop at Fantastic Sams along the way to have his surfer ‘do sheared off. Jeffrey had persuaded him that it would be too bizarre to arrive on Harrison’s doorstep having sprouted a lush mane in the space of a couple hours. Ox felt sad to see his blond locks go, but he figured he could always grow them back. Long hair just felt right to him now.
When Jeffrey parked in Harrison’s parking lot, Ox developed cold feet, and not just from the flip-flops that Trey had donated as part of Ox’s new wardrobe. “What if he freaks out at the changes?”, Ox fretted as he contemplated Harrison’s reaction. “Or what if he doesn’t think I’m as hot as I was last night?”
Jeffrey spoke with a tone of newfound maturity. “If that happens, you deal with it. If he’s not smart enough to see what a great guy you are, it’ll be his loss. But you can’t go through life assuming the worst. Take a chance. People may just surprise you.”
Ox took Jeffrey’s words to heart and climbed out of the car. Jeffrey watched with the anxiety of a parent as Ox walked upstairs to Harrison’s place in his coral muscle shirt and wave-patterned board shorts, flip-flops flapping with every step. When he reached the door, Ox steeled his courage and knocked, fighting the overwhelming impulse to turn and run away forever.
When the door swung open, Harrison shielded his eyes against the sunlight. He instantly recognized Ford, although he could tell something about him was different. “Hey there, stranger.”
“Hiya, Harrison,” Ox said bashfully, scuffing his sandals on the welcome mat, his hands buried deep in the pockets of his shorts.
Harrison realized he was looking slightly down at Ford. “Funny. For some reason, I thought you were taller. And older.”
“Whoa, man, how much did you drink last night?”, Ox said, hoping Harrison would chalk off any discrepancies in his memory to beer goggles.
“Too much, apparently,” Harrison said with a mild laugh before turning serious. “You know, when I woke up this morning and you were gone, I’m not gonna lie, that really hurt. I really thought you were different.”
“I am different,” Ox insisted, raising his eyes to meet Harrison’s. “I just never had a night like that, and I guess I got scared. What can I tell ya? I’m immature.” He grinned, hoping for the best.
Harrison was charmed. “You wanna come in, have some coffee, play some video games?”
“Old el passo on the java, but if you got the new ‘Call of Duty’, I’ll kick your ass!” Ox smiled, turning to give Jeffrey an “ok” signal in the parking lot before bounding into the apartment.
Harrison looked curiously down at the car. “Who was that dropping you off, your parents?”
Ox guffawed as he planted himself crosslegged on the floor by the video game controllers. “Shyeah, right. That was my straight buddy Jeff? From the club last night? Or can’t you remember him either?”
“So where’s Harrison tonight?”, Jeffrey asked as he finished his usual assignment of counting out chips.
Ox took a seat at the poker table with his six pack of Code Red. Not only had he had developed a tremendous sweet tooth lately (while miraculously never gaining an ounce), he hadn’t gotten a new driver’s license yet, so it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to convince the liquor store clerk that he was of age. He wanted to wait to get a new ID until his hair had grown long again, but that would probably take months – an eternity, especially when you had been exposed to the instant gratification of Mariposa’s changes. “Harry’s hittin’ the Rusty Nail with TJ and Bucky. I tole him I’d meet ‘em there in an hour. He’s cool with it, but he really can’t understand why I wanna spend so much time with a buncha old dudes like you.” Ox popped open a can of soda and chugged it down.
“They let a kid like you into the Rusty Nail?”, Nick asked.
“The bouncer knows me from before,” Ox explained, crushing the soda can and letting rip a belch.
“Oh, guys, I forgot to mention, I gotta leave early too,” Jeffrey said. “I kinda promised Tina we’d Netflix and chill.”
Nick, Brendan and Ox simultaneously made the whip-crack sound effect, branding Jeffrey as pussywhipped, but Jeffrey just laughed it off. He had embraced his new identity as the only heterosexual in the group and would happily endure any amount of ribbing. “So anyone heard what Seth and Cecil are up to this weekend?”
“Don’t you mean Theth and Thethil?”, Brendan asked, laughing.
“Maybe they went to Lath Vegath,” Nick offered.
Ox looked nervous. “Hey, guys…”
“Or how about Than Thimeon,” Brendan added.
Ox raised his voice. “Dudes, I forgot to mention…”
Nick, Brendan and Jeffrey turned toward the front door, stunned to see Seth standing there, his lithe figure on full display in cutoff jeans, a mesh tank top and red cowboy boots. His curly golden hair was pulled back into a ponytail and his neatly trimmed goatee had grown in fully.
Ox explained to the others, “I ran into him at the liquor store and mentioned that I was coming here. He asked if he could drop by.”
After a silence that lasted a tick too long, Nick shouted, “Of course he can! C’mon in! Pull up a chair!”
The guys hadn’t known how to deal with Seth since “that night”, since he had so fully embraced his new identity. He had immediately moved in with Cecil and taken to hanging out almost exclusively with Cecil and his friends, including Trey and Dante. He was still a party boy, but seemed to have gained a level of restraint and self respect that had been sorely lacking on that first night. It wasn’t clear how much Seth was even aware of his previous existence.
“Can I get you a beer, Seth?”, Brendan asked.
Seth waggled a finger in Brendan’s face and spoke, his lisp intertwined with an authentic-sounding Mexican accent. “I’m not Theth any more. Call me Juan.”
“Yeth. Ath in ‘Juan Nafuck?’” Seth roared his little ass off as he grabbed a seat and gently patted his firm abs, drawing attention to the ruby stud in his navel. “Thorry, boyth, no thervetha for me tonight. I’m danthing.”
“Dancing?”, Jeffrey asked, dumbfounded.
“Yeah,” Ox said. “Down at the Rusty Nail, they got him workin’ the pole.”
“And trutht me, boyth, do I know how to work the pole!” Seth stood up and rubbed his crotch against the side of his chair, waggling his tight tush at the others.
“Now this, I gotta see,” Nick said. If Dalton’s goal had been to have the other guys experience what it was like to be gay, he had succeeded far beyond Nick’s expectations. Seth and Ox were more open and relaxed about their new sexuality than Nick was a year out of the closet.
Seth retook his seat. “Tho, vamanoth, I ain’t got all night. Thethil’th waiting for me at the club. Let’th play thome fuckin’ cardth!”
Nick cut the deck and Brendan began to deal the first hand. The scene felt comfortingly familiar, yet radically altered. Jeffrey could barely concentrate on the game as he looked around the table. Purely in poker terms, Jeffrey was now a straight, while the others had become four of a kind. So much had changed since “that night”, but in some ways, the old dynamics still existed. They may be a couple now, with their sexual tension no longer hovering like a stormcloud over the table, but Nick and Brendan had always been the cool, effortlessly handsome guys of the bunch and remained so now. By gross tonnage, Ox was a fraction of his former self, but he was still sweet and slightly slow, just as he had been when they had all met him the first time he was 18. Jeffrey may have a girlfriend and a bit more self-esteem, but he had retained his status as the group’s boring but inherently decent heart. And beneath his skimpy new clothes, his glittery eyeshadow, his silver bracelets, his pierced ears, and his newfound devotion to living “la vida loca”, Seth had somehow managed to hang onto traces of his old annoying personality.
Jeffrey had to ask. “So Seth, how much do you remember about the way you used to be?” The others leaned in, all curious to hear the answer.
Seth paused to think. “Motht of the time, it doethn’t theem real. I’m tho happy now with Thethil, I can’t imagine being anything elthe. But every onthe in a while, a thtray memory from the old dayth will path acroth my mind, and I’ll find mythelf thinking…’Boy, wath he an ath-hole!’”
Description Returning from a Mexican vacation, a gay couple bring back a mysterious drink for their friends to try, bringing on some changes for the group of friends that require a great deal of getting used to.
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