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Transgender / Transformation stories in English
	Most of the year, I envy guys my age, growing up in cities 
like Omaha or Lincoln. They've got it made with concerts and big 
movie theaters - not little ones like the Rivoli here in Leeds - and 
all sorts of amusements. But every fall as the end of September rolls 
around, I start to fee a little sorry for them. That's because late 
September is when we celebrate the Carver County Fair.

	"Mr. Hall?"

	"Huh?" I looked up at Mr. Jackson, our American History 
teacher. There was a little smile under his bushy mustache. It was a 
smile of triumph, for he knew he had caught me daydreaming. 

	"Would you like to tell the class what Fremont called 
Nebraska when he first visited?"

	"The Great American Desert," I replied, proud of my recovery.

	"Explain why," he commanded, a little nonplussed that I had 
been able to answer his question. I knew why. He was new to the 
school and thought just because I was the starting quarterback on the 
Leeds High School football team, I was just a dumb jock. Well, he was 
about to find out that although I had a penchant for daydreaming, I 
was a very smart jock.

	I went on to describe Fremont's early travels in what was now 
Nebraska and how the term he had coined referred more to the western 
part of the state where a treeless prairie had once existed. The 
forests of the eastern United States gave way to the plains not far 
to the west of Leeds where the rivers became more sparse, fed by more 
infrequent rains and the melting snows of the distant Rockies. 

	And I watched with amusement as Mr. Jackson's disdain turned 
slowly to begrudging respect. "Very good, Mr. Hall," he allowed at 
last to the amusement of my classmates. They had seen the same little 
play acted out more than once in other classrooms - and not just with 
me as the hero. There were several of us in the class who were both 
talented athletes and top students.

	As Mr. Jackson moved on to a more promising victim, I was 
free to go back to my thoughts about the County Fair. As I was 
saying, guys in the city don't have county fairs - or if they do, 
they're no big thing. It's only in small towns like Leeds, Nebraska, 
that we get a couple of days off from school in late September just 
to attend the fair. For city kids, summer ends with the Labor Day 
weekend. There's not another significant long weekend until 
Thanksgiving, and in Nebraska that means mostly cold, dreary weather. 
But for kids in towns like Leeds, summer goes on all through 
September until after the County Fair. 

	And this was going to be the best County Fair of all, I 
thought to myself. First, it was unusually warm for late September, 
so it would be like summer even at night and all the girls would be 
strolling around in shorts and tee-tops. And the other reason it 
would be the best County Fair was that this year, we were seniors! 
This would be the last great high school blast before the weather 
turned cold.

	Safe for the moment from Mr. Jackson's scrutiny, I though 
about how great the whole week would be. It was already Tuesday, and 
the rides were already being set up down at the new Carver County 
Fairgrounds. By the next day, they would be operating. Ron Cook, 
Kevin Foster, Andy O'Connor and I had all agreed to hang out together 
Wednesday night and take in the rides. We were all on the football 
team together and had grown up together. It would be a wild night. 

	Then, Thursday night, we'd all take in the judging. That was 
the night all the art projects got judged for award ribbons. It 
wasn't that we were into amateur art, but several of the girls in our 
class had projects being judged, and it was a good idea to show up to 
stay on their good side. The hardest part was to pretend to be 
interested in their projects when we'd rather be on the rides.

	Friday night would be a big group date. Oh sure, some of the 
guys had steady girls, but most of us were a little more casual about 
that sort of thing. I had been dating Jennifer Doyle, a junior and a 
cheerleader over the summer, but it just hadn't worked out. We had 
split up three weeks before school. She wasn't real happy about it, 
but I wasn't ready to get serious about any girl just yet, with 
college and all just around the corner. The other guys I chummed 
around with were the same way, as were a number of the girls in our 
class.

	But Saturday night for the dance that marked the end of the 
County Fair, we'd all manage to pair off. Judy Castle wasn't exactly 
the girl next door - she lived about two blocks away and a couple of 
houses away from Ron. But she and I had been friends since the first 
grade, and we'd be going together. Judy and I dated every now and 
then when we were between steadies. We'd even do a little innocent 
necking whenever we did, but we both knew we'd always just be 
friends. That was by mutual agreement, I might add.

	So there it was, I thought as the class bell rang ending the 
period and announcing lunchtime. The next few days were all planned 
out - or so I thought. I had no way of knowing it, but the wheels 
were about to come off my plans as well as the plans of several of my 
friends. Unbeknownst to any of us, this would really be a County Fair 
we would never forget - but not for the reasons we thought.

	It was cool to be me. When I thought about it, I realized I 
had it all. I was one of the top athletes and one of the top students 
in my class. I was tall - about six-two - and well built, and the 
girls seemed to think I was reasonably good looking with my fair skin 
and well-trimmed brown hair and friendly blue eyes. And it didn't 
hurt that I was from good stock, too. My parents were comfortably 
well off. My father was a respected attorney and on the Leeds City 
Council and my mother was well-liked and came from a family that had 
settled in Leeds so long ago that one of the streets in town was 
named for them. She was involved in so many civic groups I couldn't 
keep count of them all. All I knew is that she was president of two 
of them.

	As I walked through the cafeteria, it was to a chorus of "Hi, 
Steve!" I smiled and acknowledged each of them. Yeah, I was popular, 
but I'm happy to say I didn't take advantage of it. I was just one of 
the guys. I've read stuff and watched TV shows where the jocks are 
real weenies who seem to split their time between ripping off girls' 
clothes and beating up on the shrimpy guys, but that's a real crock - 
at least from my experience. Maybe it's because schools in the cities 
are a little more stratified, with rich kids in one school and poor 
ones in another. Little towns like Leeds, where the population barely 
reaches seven thousand, aren't like that, though. We had rich kids, 
poor kids, and everything in between all attending the town's one 
high school. And for the most part, we all got along with each other -
 with a few exceptions.

	I plopped down with my heavily-laden lunch tray right next to 
Ron and across from Kevin and Andy. We greeted each other with the 
usual "heys" and gentle punches on the shoulder and slaps of the 
hands.

	"I hear you really steamed Mr. Jackson this morning," Andy 
chuckled. 

	"What?" I said with a grin as I opened my milk carton.. "I 
just answered his question."

	"I'll probably get the same treatment this afternoon in his 
class," Kevin commented while stuffing another French fry into his 
mouth. "He just doesn't like jocks."

	And he'd get the same response he got from me, I thought 
watching Kevin's intelligent face. He was our starting tailback 
although with his unruly blonde hair, he looked more like a surfer. 
But he was the only guy in the class who had a chance of catching 
Becky Marshall for valedictorian. Well, I guess I had a chance, but 
Kevin was a little above me in grade point. 

	"I would have loved to have seen that," Andy said wistfully, 
pushing a shock of unruly red hair out of his face. Andy was 
the "dumb" one of our group. He only carried an A minus grade point. 

	"Yeah," Ron agreed as he opened a third carton of milk next 
to me. "Steve got him good. I just wish he'd called on me."

	I was a little surprised he hadn't. If anybody in our group 
looked like the ultimate jock, it was Ron. Well muscled and six-four, 
with his light brown hair cut very short, Ron looked exactly like the 
wide receiver he was. But Ron was bright, too, just like Andy, Kevin 
and I.  I think that - and a love of sports - was what initially 
attracted the four of us to each other. All of us planned on going to 
college together at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. And all of 
us wanted to be good enough to play for the Cornhuskers, but I 
suspected only Ron would be good enough to get very far. He was 
easily the best athlete of our group, and probably the best one in 
the school. 

	Suddenly Andy's eyes got wide as he looked behind me. "Don't 
look now, Steve, but here comes Lucas."

	"Oh shit!" I mumbled. Into each life a little rain must fall. 
Lucas was my brother. More to the point, he was my asshole brother. 
Oh, Lucas was bright enough and personable enough - for a freshman - 
but he had a bit of a reckless streak in him. When he was in eighth 
grade, he managed to get thrown off the basketball team for painting 
the windows on the coach's car black. He nearly got thrown out of 
school entirely when he tried to hack into the school computer and 
wipe out everyone's grades. If my father hadn't promised to remove 
the modem from Lucas's computer, I think he would have been kicked 
out of school. But he did well in school and always made sure his 
pranks didn't hurt anyone, so nobody came down on him too hard - most 
of the time. 

	It had been okay when we were in separate schools. The junior 
high was four blocks away from the high school, so I didn't have to 
associate with Lucas when he was in eighth grade. Now, though, he was 
in the same school with me, and there's such a thing as guilt by 
association. Now every time Lucas pulled one of his stunts, everyone 
would be looking at me with suspicion - especially since Lucas 
depended upon me for mobility. I had worked the past two summers 
saving up enough money to have a clunker - a ten year old Ford Tempo -
 to drive around in. Now Lucas wanted me to be his wheels whenever he 
wanted to pull a stunt. Even though I always refused, I was quickly 
becoming an implied accomplice. 

	"Hey, big brother!" he greeted me. At least he didn't have a 
food tray or he'd probably have wanted to sit with us. That just 
wouldn't have been cool. After all, he was a freshman.

	"Uh, this is the senior table," Ron said with mock 
seriousness. "The freshman table is over there by the garbage cans."

	"Don't worry," Lucas said with one of his patented disarming 
grins. "I'm not staying."

	"That's for sure," Ron said laconically.

	Ignoring him, Lucas looked at me. "Dave Payne and I need a 
ride over to the fairgrounds tonight. How about it?"

	"The fair doesn't open until tomorrow," I pointed out. I 
wasn't sure what Lucas and Dave had planned, but I was sure they were 
up to no good. Dave followed Lucas's lead and was about as much of a 
prankster as Lucas. I really didn't want to be a part of it, whatever 
it was.

	"But you said you might be going by there tonight," he 
pointed out.

	"Yeah," I admitted, "but that was to earn some money - not to 
get into trouble." Ron and I had talked about picking up a little 
folding money helping the carnies set up the rides. The shows were 
often a few men short, so they didn't mind hiring the older kids - 
those of us who at least looked eighteen - to help out.

	"Maybe Dave and I can get hired on, too," Lucas ventured.

	"You're too young," I replied with the smugness only an older 
brother can muster. "No ride."

	"Shit!" Lucas went storming off. "Talk about an asshole!"

The guys chuckled, as did I. It was fun to yank Lucas's chain every 
now and then. Besides, like I said, I didn't want people to think I 
had anything to do with his stunts. Well, Dave Payne had an older 
brother, too - a junior. Walt Payne was just stupid enough to give 
them the ride they wanted. I only hoped nobody with the carnival ever 
found out Lucas was my brother.

	Andy and Kevin slipped off to hang out with a couple of the 
cheerleaders while Ron and I firmed up plans to go to the fairgrounds 
and get hired on. While we were talking, Judy Castle slipped into the 
seat across from me. Her motley collection of fruit from the serving 
line and her bottle of mineral water from home were signs that she 
was back on a diet again. I could never understand women like Judy. 
She had a dynamite figure - yet she spent half her life on a diet. I 
pointed that out to her as she sat down.

	"Men!" she sighed with mock seriousness as she rolled her 
eyes. "How do you think I keep this dynamite figure?"

	"Hey, whatever makes you happy," I laughed. That was the sort 
of relationship Judy and I had enjoyed since we were little kids. "We 
still on for Saturday?"

	She shrugged, causing her long red hair to shake. "I suppose. 
Unless someone better comes along."

	I had to smile to myself at that. Judy never seemed to be 
particularly serious about any guy, although she dated regularly. 
Judy was another one of my classmates with good grades and high 
ambitions. She had her sights set on being a doctor like her father, 
and no romantic entanglements were about to slow her down. Matt 
Dillon could fly into town and ask for her hand and she'd probably 
laugh in his face. 

	I was pretty much the same way. I had plans to eventually be 
a lawyer like my father. I didn't have time for a serious 
relationship either. That was what made Judy and I just right for 
each other - in a platonic sort of way naturally. 

	"Hey, I'm better!" Ron said.

	"Yeah, and you didn't ask me out," Judy returned. Not that it 
would have done either of them any good. Judy wasn't Ron's type any 
more than Ron was Judy's type. Judy didn't care to date jocks - 
except me - and Ron had never been too fond of redheads like Judy. 
But they were friends nonetheless. 

	"Say, who are you taking to the dance?" she asked Ron.

	Ron shrugged. "Nobody. I'm not going."

	I looked at my friend in surprise. "I thought you were going 
to take April Mathers."

	"She already had a date," he replied laconically.

	It never ceased to amaze me that Ron could bully a two 
hundred plus pound linebacker into getting out of his way on the 
field but was so shy around girls. I knew several girls who would 
have gladly gone out with Ron. In a way, it was a shame Ron and Judy 
weren't attracted to each other. She was one of the few girls Ron 
accepted as just one of the guys. I guess it was because Judy, Ron 
and I had played together when we were young children and what sex 
you were didn't matter much.

	"Oops!" Judy said, gathering up her mostly uneaten lunch. "I 
forgot. I've got to see Mr. Simpson about a referral letter."

	"Referral for what?" I asked.

	"College, dummy. I've got to get my applications together." 
And with that, she was gone.

	"College?" I hadn't even started working on mine yet. 
Besides, I was planning on going to NU. With my grades, it would be 
no problem. But I guessed Judy was probably applying to a lot of out 
of state schools, so maybe she needed to get her stuff together 
sooner. Well, Judy was nothing if not organized. 

	Classes drug by that afternoon. Outside the windows, it 
looked like a warm summer day and I wanted to be out in it. The 
thought of going out to the fairgrounds and working that evening 
appealed to me. It was like a grand adventure in a new locale. 

	The old fairgrounds were at the foot of Main Street, just 
this side of the railroad tracks. They had been there for as long as 
there had been county fairs, but economics had changed all of that. 
Wheeler Foods was the largest company in Leeds. It's a small company 
that private brands vegetables and meat products liked canned stew, 
but as far as the City Fathers of Leeds were concerned, it might as 
well be General Motors. Very few people have heard of it, but nearly 
everyone in the country used one of their products without knowing 
it. 

	Anyhow, Wheeler Foods was situated next to the railroad 
tracks, and they wanted to expand. The problem was that the best 
direction to expand was right into the fairgrounds. So Dan Wheeler's 
dad, the current president of the company, bought the last tract of 
land from the old Carver farm and traded it to the county in return 
for the old fairgrounds. He even offered to build a new exhibit hall 
and set up a monument commemorating the Carver Homestead.

	The Carvers had been the first family to settle in the county 
that now bore their name. We all learned about it in Nebraska History 
back in junior high. Jebediah Carver, his wife, son and daughter, 
made the trek from Ohio just before the Civil War and set up a farm 
that eventually grew into a large agricultural operation. But like 
many families, the Carvers eventually left the farm and the county. 
Parcel by parcel, the farm was sold off by the heirs until only a few 
acres remained in family control.

	For some reason, the Carvers had always held onto the last 
few acres. Word was that when Amelia Carver, Jebediah's daughter, had 
eventually inherited the entire farm, she had always insisted that 
the few acres around a thick grove of trees near town be held by the 
family. And strangely enough, she demanded the land remain fallow. No 
crops were ever raised on the land, in spite of the presence of a 
gentle stream on the property. She didn't even allow hunting, often 
calling in the sheriff in her later years to shoo off would-be 
hunters. Her heirs always honored her request. 

	But now, the last of the Carvers were gone, and the land had 
passed on to some distant cousins back in Ohio. They had been anxious 
to sell the land, so Mr. Wheeler made an offer on the land that was 
quickly accepted. Then he proposed a land swap, offering the town the 
new land for the county fair while he expanded onto the old 
fairgrounds. It was a good deal for everyone. Since eighty percent of 
the people in the county lived in Leeds, the County Commissioners 
quickly followed the City Council's lead in approving the move, and 
the result of it all was a new venue for the county fair.

	I hadn't been out to the fairgrounds since the formal 
dedication just before Labor Day. That was when they dedicated the 
monument to the Carvers down near the grove of trees on Red Willow 
Creek. We had all enjoyed a fine celebration that day, with all the 
city and county officials and their families in attendance. Dan 
Wheeler's dad spoke and told everybody about the two hundred new jobs 
down at the plant that would be possible because of the land swap. 
And in general, a good time was had by all.

	So after school and football practice, I hurried home to grab 
a quick bite to eat so I could join Ron and try to get hired on 
setting up the rides and all. Usually, we ate as a family, but Mom 
was going to be busy with some of the fair exhibits put up by her 
various civic groups and wasn't going to be home until late. Lucas 
was eating at Dave Payne's house, so that just left Dad and me. Dad 
had a late meeting with a client, so he had come home early to eat.

	"I warmed up some extra meatloaf," he told me after I had 
changed into some work clothes for the evening. "If you want anything 
else, you're on your own."

	"Meatloaf is great," I told him, piling a couple of slabs on 
my plate. That, a couple of slices of bread, and a glass or two of 
milk were just enough to hold me. Maybe Ron and I would stop off for 
a burger after work - assuming we got work. 

	Dad was just finishing up. "I know you're trying to get work 
tonight, so just leave the dishes in the sink. I'll get them when I 
get home."

	"Going to be late?" I asked, diving into my dinner.

	"Not too late," he replied. "I need to meet with Gus Travis 
about that work injury of his, but he doesn't get off until seven."

	"It's only six now," I noted. "What's the hurry?"

	"I've got to run by Doc Winter's clinic. She took some 
pictures of the monument out at the fairgrounds. I thought I'd see 
how they came out. See you later."

	I was going to have to get my ears checked, I thought to 
myself. I knew Doc Winter had taken a few pictures out at the 
monument for the official records. Photography was Doc's second love, 
next to the veterinary clinic. The problem was I could have sworn Dad 
had said "she" had the pictures. Dr. Samuel J. Winter was many 
things, but definitely not a "she." I must have just heard him wrong, 
I told myself.

	I picked up Ron and headed out to the fairgrounds. There was 
still plenty of light in the warm early evening, so the carnival 
should be pretty well set up before it got too dark. We could see the 
truck trailers emblazoned with "Midwest Rides and Attractions" 
emblazoned in bright red on the side. Most of them looked as if they 
had already been unloaded.

	We reported in at the small trailer that served as an office 
for the show. One look at our size and the manager hired us on the 
spot. We'd be paid in cash at the end of the night, so there'd be no 
annoying payroll taxes withheld. Hey, we were not quite eighteen. Why 
should we want Social Security tax and all that stuff taken out of 
our pay?

	Ron and I were assigned setting up the Tilt-a-Whirl. That's 
the ride where roundish carts open to the front twirl along on a wavy 
pathway. It's a fairly tame ride, but sometimes you can get them 
spinning fast enough to get a thrill. It's particularly fun when the 
mild g-forces spin you into a nice looking girl sitting next to you. 
It's a way to cop a feel and make it look like the spin of the cart 
made you do it.

	Marty James was working with us, and he was hurting. Marty 
was a big guy - nearly my size - but he was a little out of shape. 
What had probably appeared to the foreman to be muscle was really 
fat. He huffed and puffed, partially for effect, so Ron and I gave 
him a hand.

	"Thanks, guys," he said when we were given a short break 
before helping to set up the merry-go-round. "Man, I gotta get in 
shape!"

	"You've been saying that for years, Marty," I pointed out as 
I handed him a cold drink from the cooler provided for the crew. And 
it was true. Like most of the guys in my class, I had known Marty 
since I was a toddler. Our fathers were on City Council together, and 
we attended the same church. As long as I had known Marty, he had a 
tendency to be a little chubby. Like I said, he didn't appear fat - 
just a little on the pudgy side. He was the kind of guy who would be 
a wheezing fat man by the time he reached forty.

	"Damn!" he muttered, sniffing at one of his pits. "I'm gonna 
pit out this shirt."

	"So what's the big deal?" Ron laughed. "You have a hot date?"

	"As a matter of fact I do."

	"What?" Ron and I chorused.  Marty was one of those guys who 
didn't date much. It wasn't that he was ugly or anything. He really 
wasn't a bad looking guy in spite of his weight, and I would have 
pegged him about average in intelligence and personality. But he was 
always reaching a little too high. He couldn't understand why the 
cheerleaders and the other hot girls in the school preferred more 
toned, personable guys. 

	"So who's the unlucky girl?" I asked.

	He nodded. "Her."

	It was getting dark, so we didn't get a good look at who he 
was nodding at. Whoever she was, she must have had a dark complexion, 
for I couldn't make out her features in the evening shade of a nearby 
refreshment stand that was being built. I could make out her figure 
though - small, slim and well-shaped, framed by coils of dark hair.

	"Jeez, Marty, you hit the jackpot," Ron commented. "She looks 
okay."

	"She looks more than okay," I said, noting the gleam of white 
teeth as she smiled in the dim light. "Who is she?"

	"She works for the carnival," Marty explained. "I met her 
over by the manager's trailer. She's hot for me, too, guys. She's a 
fortuneteller."

	"So did she look in her crystal ball and tell you you were 
going to get lucky tonight?" Ron quipped. 

	"Something like that," Marty replied. "We just started 
talking and she asked me back to her trailer after work. Of course I 
said yes."

	"Of course," we agreed.

	With that, we started back to work, but as I dropped the cola 
can into the trash, I couldn't help but think she was staring at me 
from the shadows. I could almost feel her dark eyes looking all the 
way into my soul, and I could swear I saw the flash of white teeth. I 
shook my head. I had to be imagining it.

	Marty called it quits about an hour later, collecting his pay 
and heading off to meet the friendly fortuneteller. I hoped he 
wouldn't have a heart attack when he got to her. As out of shape as 
he was, he was still huffing when he left with his money. Ron and I 
were kept on for a little longer, but by nine, everything was pretty 
well set up. Both of us felt good. It had been physical work and the 
money we now shoved in our wallets would come in handy. We were about 
to leave, our money collected, when I heard a small, high voice call 
from the shadows, "S...Steve?"

	I looked around and saw the outline of a girl. She was young -
 no more than thirteen or fourteen - but I didn't recognize her. It 
was funny, because as she tentatively stepped from the shadows, I 
could see she was really cute and looked just a little bit familiar. 
She was probably a freshman, I thought, and I was under the 
impression that I had already taken note of all the cute freshman 
girls, but somehow I had missed her. Still, as I said, she looked a 
little familiar, with her blue eyes that sparkled once she moved out 
into the light and her long, light brown hair. She was dressed in a 
feminine pink tee with a neckline low enough to display growing 
breasts, and her legs were well displayed in a very short khaki mini. 
As she nervously approached me, she seemed to wobble a little bit, 
perched on those wedge sandals that are like a casual high heel. Her 
makeup and jewelry were as sophisticated as their equivalents on 
girls in my class, giving her a more mature look. 

	Along with the mature appearance, there was a shadow of 
something else - confusion, I thought. It was as if she knew 
something was wrong. I began to realize the sparkle in her eye was 
light reflecting tears. "Steve?" she said again, a quaver in her 
voice.

	"Yeah," I replied, a little alarmed by the look of fear and 
disorientation on her face. "I'm sorry, but I don't know your name..."

	"Oh Steve!" she exclaimed, her voice wavering. "It's me... 
Lucas!" With that, she broke into a sob and threw herself against me.

	It was probably the last thing in the world I expected to 
hear - and the most incredible. While the girl did look faintly like 
my brother, I didn't believe for an instant what she had just said. 
Still, I instinctively put an arm around me. What guy wouldn't when a 
hot looking girl wrapped herself around his body? But I knew there 
was no way this attractive creature could be my brother. I sensed one 
of Lucas's devilish pranks coming up, and I was determined not to 
fall for it.

	Ron sensed the same thing. As I stood there holding the 
sobbing girl, he calmly said, "Gee, Steve, I didn't know your brother 
was a transvestite." 

	That brought a grin to my face, but the girl had her head 
buried too far in my chest to see it. Now from past experience, I 
knew that when Lucas plans a stunt, the best thing to do is pretend 
to go along with it until I could figure out where he was going with 
it - although this particular prank seemed almost too much to use 
that tactic. Surely Lucas had to know that there was no way in the 
world that I would believe this girl's assertion that she was somehow 
my brother. I supposed I was expected to believe that my brother had 
been made up to look like a girl. If that was his expectation, I 
thought, he would soon be disappointed, because while he had 
undoubtedly chosen her because of a faint resemblance to him, there 
was no way that the person in my arms could have been a boy made up 
to look like a girl. The curves and swells of her small body - 
smaller than Lucas's I might add - were very obviously feminine, and 
I was a little embarrassed to note that she was making me hard.

	"You want to tell me what this is all about?" I asked softly.

	The sobbing stopped for a moment. She looked up at me, hope 
emerging from her tear-filled eyes. "You mean... you mean you believe 
me?"

	I gently pushed her away from me, careful not to appear to 
reject her or overbalance her on her wedges. "I didn't say I believed 
you yet," I clarified. "Tell me what this is all about first and then 
I'll decide if I believe you or not."

	She closed her eyes for a second. When she opened them, she 
nodded and said, "I guess that's fair.
Look, Steve, I've seen that look in your eyes before. I know you're 
just stringing me along. But let me tell you what happened. Then 
maybe you'll believe me."

	"I doubt it," I told her, "but you can try."

	"You know Dave and I were going to be here tonight," she 
began. "We got here a couple of hours ago. Dave's older brother 
dropped us off. Mostly, we just wanted to look around. You know - 
figure out if there were any good rides this year and look over the 
booths and figure out which games we had a chance of beating."

	That was innocent enough. I had often done the same thing 
with my friends when I was too young to work setting up the show. I 
nodded.

	"Then we spotted the fortuneteller's booth. It was already 
set up just in front of the trailers."

	Again I nodded. I had noticed it myself earlier and figured 
that was where Marty was now - trying his best to get laid. 

	Now her face reddened a little. "We suddenly though it would 
be neat to snag her crystal ball. You know, those things are neat."

	I had an uncomfortable little twinge. Lucas actually did 
think they were neat. He had a couple of crystal balls - paperweights 
actually - in his room and often liked to hold them up to the light 
to watch the colors shift along the surface.

	"There was nobody in the booth," she went on. "Or at least I 
didn't think there was. Dave was pretty nervous about the whole 
thing. He stood lookout while I scooped the ball up off a table in 
the back of the booth. Some lookout he was. She got in from the other 
side. I didn't even see an entrance there. But you should have seen 
her. She's Indian - American Indian, I mean. Long dark hair. Good 
looking."

Again, I felt a little uncomfortable. I had seen the fortuneteller 
and she did indeed look like the girl's description. Still, the best 
lies are laced with elements of the truth. Ask any politician.

	"She grabbed me. Then she accused me of trying to take her 
crystal ball. The next thing I know, she's chanting something. It 
sounded like what the Indians are saying to each other in those 
ceremonies in the movies. You know what I mean. It's almost like a 
song. The next thing I know, my body feels weird. It didn't exactly 
hurt, but it was like the feeling you get when you have a muscle 
spasm and things start moving around without any conscious control. 
It's like your arm last spring..."

	I nodded. The previous spring I had pinched a nerve in my 
throwing arm. For a few days, I seemed to lack complete control over 
my arm. It was curious that Lucas would tell the girl that particular 
story to make her identity sound more credible. 

	"So my body started changing while she held on. God, you 
should have seen the grin on her face. It was like an animal. What's 
the word I'm looking for?"

	"Feral," I told her. 

	She thought about it for a moment. "Yeah, that's the word. It 
was a feral grin. I tried to break free, but I couldn't. She wasn't 
that big and I should have been able to break away, but I couldn't. 
It was as if she was sapping my strength as she held me. I could feel 
everything shifting inside me - bones, organs, skin hair, everything."

	"Where was Dave in all of this?" Ron asked. I looked at him 
strangely, realizing he was actually getting caught up in the story.

	"The pussy ran off," she muttered. Then, surprisingly, she 
gave a little laugh. "That's good. Who am I calling a pussy? Look at 
me."

	I had to admit, she even talked a little like Lucas. The 
inflections were similar for one thing. And Lucas had a habit of 
calling people pussies and worse. But I knew that she was just 
playing along with Lucas. She had to be. After all, it was completely 
impossible for a person's sex to be changed that way. It had to be.

	"Okay, great story," I said loudly so that Lucas could hear 
me if he was hiding in the shadows. "You've had your fun, Lucas, but 
we aren't buying it." I was talking loudly enough to be heard all 
over the place, sure that Lucas was lurking behind a tree or a parked 
car.

	"Damn it, Steve, weren't you listening?" she practically 
wailed.  "It's me! I'm your brother."

	"So okay," I laughed, "you're a great actress, whoever you 
are. Now run along."

	Her look of anger and frustration turned to one of 
fear. "You... you aren't going to leave me out here, are you?"

	I wanted to leave her there, but it wasn't a good idea. Leeds 
was a quiet little town, but bad things could happen in quiet little 
towns, too. That might be especially true if one of the rougher 
carnival workers spotted her cute little body and decided to see what 
he could get away with. "All right," I sighed. "I'll give you a ride 
back into town."

	The fairgrounds were just on the edge of town, so we didn't 
have far to go. In spite of my insistence that she tell me where she 
lived, she just wanted to be dropped off at my house. I supposed she 
was going to meet Lucas there later. Dave's older brother was 
probably picking them up.

	The girl rode silently in the back seat. I thought I heard 
her whimpering every now and then, but I wasn't sure, and I wasn't 
going to give her the satisfaction of asking her what was wrong. I 
looked over at Ron who was examining something.

	"What's that?"

	"It's a purse," Ron said. "She must have dropped it while 
getting in the car. I thought I'd find out who she was. It must be 
hers. But it's funny she didn't ask about it. It was just lying on 
the ground over by where we first saw her."

	"Give me that!" she demanded when she heard what we were 
talking about.

	"Not just yet," Ron told her as he rummaged around in her 
purse. "I want to know who you really are." He extracted an ID, 
looked at it in the light of the street lamps on Main Street, and 
began to frown.

	"What's wrong?" I asked him. Silently, he passed the ID to 
me. We were stopped at a traffic light, so I had a moment to study 
the ID. It was a standard ID issued by Leeds High School to all 
students. The picture on it was certainly the girl in the back seat. 
I froze as I looked at the name on the card: Lisa Ann Hall. 

	I handed the ID back to Ron. "It's a fake."

	"Are you sure?" Ron asked.

	"What's wrong with you? You don't really think someone 
changed my brother into a girl, do you? I'll tell you what's 
happened. Lucas and Dave probably got into the office and made up 
this ID for their little girlfriend." I looked back at the sullen 
girl in the back seat. "It isn't going to work, sweetheart."

	"Fuck you!" she said, dabbing her eyes with her hand, causing 
her makeup to run.

	"No time," I told her. "We're home - my home that is."

	Ron said goodnight and headed off for his house a couple of 
blocks away. He had said he wanted to walk or he would be stiff in 
the morning from our workout at the carnival. When he was gone, I 
looked at the girl. "This is where we part company," I told 
her. "It's not too late though. If you'll just tell me where you 
live, I'll drop you off."

	"Fuck you."

	"You already said that."

	"Then bite my ass." Before I could think of a snappy 
comeback, she turned and headed for the house. The front door was 
unlocked, and before I could stop her, she was inside. I was right 
behind her though.

	The next few moments changed my entire view of reality. Up 
until then, I was convinced that my brother was playing an elaborate 
prank with the help of a willing and talented young actress. I had 
shown my determination to not fall for the stunt. But there are two 
people in the world I knew who hated Lucas's pranks more than I did - 
our parents. And the two of them were waiting for us when I rushed in 
the door after the strange girl.

	By chance, my mother was in the entryway when we walked in. 
She had just gotten back home herself, and my father was standing 
there talking to her. 

	"Lisa, what's wrong?" my mother asked with concern upon 
seeing the girl's makeup-streaked face. I don't know who was more 
shocked - me or the girl. She skidded to a stop in front of Mother 
and asked, "What did you just call me?"

	Mother laughed, "Why Lisa, of course. What else should I call 
you?"

	Lucas, I thought. She should call him - her - Lucas. No, that 
wasn't right. There was no way on Earth that my mother would have 
played along with a prank like the one I thought Lucas was pulling. 
My eyes tracked over to the family portrait hanging on the entryway 
wall. There were Mom and Dad, smiling in acknowledgement of their 
bountiful lives. There I was, trying to look older than the fifteen 
years I had achieved at the time the picture was taken, and there 
was...Lucas? No, there was Lisa in the picture. There was a girl, ten 
or eleven at the time, her long hair looking almost more blonde than 
brown, a smile on her face as she stood there in her pale blue 
dress...

	Oh shit.

	"Yes, what's wrong, sweetheart?" my father asked with a 
slight glance in my direction to see if she had been crying because 
of something I had said or done.

	"I...I..." she began.

	I didn't know what was going on, but enough had happened to 
convince me that the unhappy girl before me was what had become of my 
brother. Yet for some reason, our parents noticed nothing strange. I 
had to come up with an answer for them before "Lisa" said something 
wrong. "She had an argument with her boyfriend," I explained quickly.

	The girl who had been Lucas turned on me in a heartbeat, and 
I thought I was going to be subjected to another of her foul-mouthed 
tirades. But then she saw the desperate look in my eyes and realized 
that while she and I might remember a person named Lucas, our parents 
knew only of Lisa.

	"Yes, that's it," she said in a small voice as I gave a quiet 
sigh of relief.

	"Oh, Lisa," our mother said, putting a comforting arm around 
the girl. I couldn't help but note that when Lucas had left for the 
fairgrounds, he was a good three inches taller than Mom. Now, he was 
shorter by at least that same amount. "Don't worry. I'm sure you and 
Dave will work it out. He's such a nice boy."

	I saw the fear in the girl's eyes as she realized that my 
parents thought her friend Dave was now her boyfriend. The obvious 
question in her mind was how many other people thought that - and did 
Dave now think he was her boyfriend?

	"Uh...yeah, Mom," she said, gently moving away from Mom's 
comforting arm. "I need to go to bed now. I'll be fine; don't worry."

	I realized she just needed to get up to her room and away 
from our parents. They apparently had no way of knowing that they 
were freaking both of us out. Neither of us had expected what we saw 
and heard when we walked in the door.

	"I'll check up on her," I volunteered, following the girl who 
had been my brother up the stairs. I'm sure our parents thought we 
were both acting a little weird. If only they knew, but apparently 
they had no idea what had happened. As far as they were concerned, 
they had always had a daughter named Lisa. There was no Lucas - never 
had been.

	I found my new sister sitting in a nearly catatonic state on 
the bed in her room. I suppose I should have expected the room that 
had been Lucas's to be changed, but it just hadn't crossed my mind. I 
was too worried about my brother to think about that. It must have 
been mind-blowing for her to throw open the door of her room and find 
that everything she remembered - every trophy or memento - had been 
changed or removed. 

	"Holy shit!" I said softly. Everything was feminine. Every 
corner of the room announced that a girl lived there. An open closet 
door showed a rack of girl's clothing, with pair after pair of girl's 
shoes spread across the floor. Instead of a tall chest of drawers, 
there was a lower set now, supplemented by a vanity. The colors were 
soft pastels - the walls a cream color and the drapes a slightly 
lemon shade. I suppose it could have been worse. Everything could 
have been pink.

	"So now you believe me," the girl on the bed mumbled, her 
lower lip trembling as if she were about to cry again.

	"I believe you, Lucas," I replied, sitting next to her on the 
bed. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you before, but this is... well, 
it's pretty unbelievable."

	"I guess I can't blame you," she said softly. "If somebody 
else told me this had happened to them, I wouldn't believe them 
either. I really don't believe it myself."

	"Maybe it will wear off," I offered lamely.

	She looked at me with sad eyes. "I don't think so."

	She fell back on the bed, hair spilling over the covers and 
her small breasts shifting beneath her tee. I couldn't help myself - 
I was staring at her. Her smooth legs wrapped in fine nylon, her 
widening hips, her slim waist, her small but pronounced breasts, and 
her attractive face and hair were worth looking at. Even if she had 
been my brother, it was hard to think of her as my new sister. 

	"Steve, what am I going to do?"

	"Tell me again what happened."

	This time as she told me about the Indian fortuneteller and 
the transformation, I listened more closely. After all, this time I 
believed her. There was one important addition to the story though, 
but I had to ask her about it first.

	"Did she say anything - anything at all when she changed you?"

	She thought for a moment. She was sitting up now, closing her 
eyes to try to remember the details. "Yeah, she did. When she caught 
me, she said something. It sounded like 'walking talking.' Then she 
grabbed me even tighter. She just laughed and chanted while 
I...I...changed. Then, when it was over, she left. I was too stunned 
to stop her. The... change didn't exactly hurt, but it takes a lot 
out of you. But just before she left, she said something like 'tell 
your father to let me go.' I don't know what she meant. It didn't 
seem to make any sense."

	It didn't make any sense to me either. Walking, talking? What 
could that mean? And as for the part about our father, that meant 
nothing to me. It was crazy. Everything was crazy. An Indian 
fortuneteller changes my brother into a girl - then babbles something 
about walking and talking and demands that my father let her go. It 
didn't make any sense at all.

	"S...Steve?"

	"Yeah, Lucas."

	"What am I gonna do? I don't want to be a girl."

	How was I to respond to that? There were still tears in her 
eyes and her lower lip was trembling. She looked as if she was about 
to curl up into a little ball and die. I hadn't seen Lucas even cry 
since I accidentally hit him in the head with a baseball when he was 
ten. But this slip of a girl he had become looked ready to burst into 
tears if I said the wrong thing.

	"We'll have to find a way to get you changed back," I told... 
her. It was hard to think of Lucas as a guy any more. All the 
pronouns were changing in my head. I supposed if we couldn't find a 
way to change her back that I would have to start calling her Lisa.

	I must have said the right thing, I thought. There was 
actually a little look of hope in her eyes. "Do... do you think she 
would change me back."

	"Sure," I said confidently, although I didn't feel 
confident. "We'll go over there in the morning before school and 
demand that she change you back. Remember, Dad's on the City Council. 
We've got some leverage."

	"Let's go now," Lucas suggested brightly. "I think I know 
which trailer is hers. It's the one that says 'Madame Laura' on the 
side." In a frighteningly feminine gesture, she swept the long hair 
out of her face and grabbed her purse.

	"We can't tonight," I told her, grimacing as the sad, 
tortured look returned to her face and her shoulders slumped.

	"Why not?"

	"It's almost eleven," I pointed out. "I don't think Mom and 
Dad would let me out of the house this late on a school night. 
They're certainly not going to let my little sister out that late."

	I regretted calling her that as I did it, but I had to say 
it. If it were possible for her to look more abject, I don't know how 
she would have accomplished it. By calling her my little sister, I 
had driven home her new status. She knew in that moment - maybe for 
the first time - that the freedom she had enjoyed as a male had just 
been seriously curtailed. If she remained female, she'd be subjected 
to earlier curfews and expected to conform to the usual female norms. 

	"I don't think I can stand to wait until tomorrow," she said, 
barely above a whisper. "If I do, I'll have to get ready for bed 
and..."

	I knew where she was going with that. She'd have to see 
herself naked. She'd have to acknowledge her growing breasts and the 
void between her legs. If she had to go to the bathroom, it would 
involve sitting to pee. She'd have to dress herself in something soft 
and feminine and go to bed with the knowledge of who and what she 
was. 

	"You can do it," I assured her. 

	"But what if she won't change me back?"

	"Then you'll just have to be a girl. At least our parents 
think you've always been a girl. Maybe Ron and I are the only ones 
who know you used to be a guy. Maybe it's because we were fairly 
close to you when you transformed. Maybe everybody in your class 
remembers you as a girl."

	I knew that was an unsettling thought to her, but it was 
probably even more unsettling to think about going to school and 
having all her classmates realize she had been changed. I had no way 
of knowing who would remember Lucas and who would not, but at least 
my theory sounded more palatable to her than being made fun of by her 
friends.

	"If you're right, then Dave will know," she pointed out. "He 
was there tonight."

	"Dave's your best friend," I reminded her. "If anybody is 
sympathetic to your...situation, it should be Dave."

	"Maybe you're right," she finally sighed. "I'll just go to 
bed and try to get some rest."

	"Good idea," I agreed, getting up from the bed. "I'll see you 
in the morning. Get up about an hour early and we'll go down to the 
fairgrounds."

	As I started for the door, she called after me, "Steve?"

	I stopped and turned, surprised by the quickness of her small 
form as she leaped from the bed and threw her arms around 
me. "Thanks, Steve."

	Uncomfortably, I put my arm around her. She seemed so small 
and frail compared to the broad, developing shoulders I remembered on 
Lucas. "That's what brothers are for."

	I got ready for bed myself, avoiding the bathroom I shared 
with Lucas so that she would have the time to examine herself without 
interference. I knew that would be what she would do. I didn't know 
if Lucas had ever seen a naked girl before, and she wouldn't miss 
what was hopefully her only opportunity to do so. 

	I was almost ready to turn out the lights when I remembered 
something I should have remembered earlier, but the furor surrounding 
my brother's transformation had pushed all other thoughts from my 
mind. Marty had a date with the fortuneteller. Of course there was no 
reason to assume that she would change him into a girl. After all, 
she had caught Lucas trying to steal her crystal ball and punished 
him. Marty was a whole different situation, wasn't he?

	It was very late. Our parents had already gone to bed, and I 
had heard the door to Lucas's room close as well. I imagined the same 
scenario was in play at Marty's house. I couldn't call him without 
pissing off his parents. Besides, like me, he was a senior. His 
parents might have cut him a little slack about what time to be home. 
He might still be out with the fortuneteller. Well, I thought as I 
drifted off to sleep, like Lucas's situation, it would just have to 
wait until morning.

	I was awakened the next morning by a feminine yelp - or 
scream. I wasn't sure which. I jumped out of bed, thinking at first 
it was my mother. Then as I reached the door, I remembered what had 
happened to Lucas. I threw open the door to her room and was greeted 
by another scream. She was standing there with a white nightie at her 
feet. She was wearing nothing but a pair of white panties, her small 
breasts exposed. In a gesture so feminine that I think it shocked 
both of us, she threw her hands over her breasts.

	"What's the idea of barging in here?" she asked angrily.

	"Sorry!" I quickly turned my back. "I heard you screaming."

	"Oh, yeah," she said, a little chagrinned. "I just forgot 
what had happened when I woke up. I looked down at myself and 
screamed before I realized what was wrong."

	That was understandable. I probably would have done the same 
thin, I realized. "I'm sorry, Lucas. I just wasn't thinking."

	"It's okay," she sighed, and I heard the soft rustle of 
clothes. "You can turn around now."

	When I did, I saw she was wearing a light cotton robe. It was 
peach colored, and I had to admit she looked damned cute in it. If 
she remained a girl, she'd be a real heart-breaker someday.

	"And maybe you'd better call me Lisa," she suggested. "The 
rents might not understand if you start calling me Lucas."

	"Okay...Lisa." I hadn't thought about our parents. Had they 
heard us? No, I didn't think so. It sounded as if Dad was in the 
shower and Mom must already be downstairs fixing breakfast. Both of 
our parents were early risers. Even given that Lucas...er...Lisa and 
I had gotten up an hour earlier than usual, we still hadn't beaten 
them up. In fact, Dad was usually gone before we even rolled out of 
bed.

	"I really should take a shower," Lisa mused.

	"We need to get out to the fairgrounds," I pointed out. "You 
can shower later."

	"No, I'm going to take one now," she said decisively. 

	"Well, no arguing with a woman," I reckoned.

	For that, she threw a pillow at me. "Rat!"

	I went back to my room and got dressed. I'd shower later at 
school. One of the advantages of being on the football team was that 
I had access to the locker room. 

	I was a little unsettled, though. When I had talked with 
Lukas the night before, she had acted as I would have expected anyone 
in her position to act. She was frightened and confused, but she 
still sounded like Lucas. By morning, though, something about her had 
changed. Oh, she still remembered who she had been, but she was 
starting to act like a girl. First, she had covered her breasts. 
Well, I supposed that was natural enough. She was probably 
embarrassed to have them. Then she had decided to take a shower. 
While Lucas wasn't exactly one of the unclean, he would never have 
put off our mission just to take a shower. And finally, when I had 
insulted her, all she did was throw a pillow and call me a rat. A 
rat! The old Lucas would have tried to pound on me while calling me 
names that would make a pimp blush.

	Maybe there was something about her transformation that 
transcended the physical. I knew from my studies that the body uses 
sleep time to sort and file the experiences of the day in the mind. 
Perhaps the experience of being a girl, complete with the new balance 
of chemicals running through her mind, were causing her to be more 
like the girl she appeared to be. Or maybe it was just part of the 
spell. Or then again, maybe she was just flipping out. Well, whatever 
the reason, we needed to get out to the fairgrounds and find that 
fortuneteller.

	"You're up early," Mom said as I rushed into the kitchen. 

	"Yeah," I agreed, grabbing a box of cereal, a bagel and some 
cream cheese. 

	Mom was just finishing her coffee, but she stayed at the 
table to talk with me. She said it was the only time of the day she 
got to talk to me alone. "Did I hear you and your sister arguing?"

	I grimaced. It was so difficult to have her refer to her as 
my sister. It seemed somehow sad that she didn't even remember Lucas.

	"No," I replied, pouring a large orange juice for myself. "I 
just told her we needed to hurry this morning." After a moment's 
though, I added, "There's an assembly at school." That should be 
enough to keep her from being too curious, I thought. Otherwise, 
she'd ask as dozen questions about where we were going so early in 
the morning.

	That was, assuming it was still early in the morning when we 
left. Lisa's shower looked to be a long project. Fortunately, I had 
ducked in and out of the bathroom before she got in there. It was 
going to be a pain in the butt sharing a bathroom with a girl. There 
was another reason to get her changed back to normal as soon as 
possible.

	The doorbell rang suddenly. "Get that please, Steve," Mom 
said. "I'm still in my robe and I don't even have any makeup on."

	I shook my head. What was it with women and makeup? I'd never 
understand.

	As I opened the door, I saw a woman I had never seen before. 
She was fairly tall and about forty. She was attractive for an older 
woman, although not what I would call beautiful. Her hair was a dark 
but vibrant brown, pulled back into a loose ponytail. She wore a 
white lab coat over her dress with the words "Winter Veterinary 
Clinic" emblazoned on the pocket.

	"Hi, Steve," she said with a bright smile that made her look 
even more attractive. "I was going to give these pictures..." She 
thrust a packet into my hand. "...to your father last night, but I 
got called out to the Henderson farm to treat a sick horse. Just tell 
him these are his copies. I developed them for him. I got some great 
shots. I even took a couple in the evening when it was all lit up."

	"Uh...sure."

	"Hi, Doc," my mother called from the kitchen door.

	"Hi, Linda," the woman Mother called Doc replied with a 
smile. 

	Doc?

	She smiled again. "Well, I'd better get to work. Nice to see 
you again, Steve. I'll talk to you later, Linda." She wiggled her 
fingers in a classically feminine goodbye and turned to get back to 
the Ford Explorer I knew Doc Winter drove. 

	I just stood there in the doorway, watching her go. It wasn't 
just that I was following the motions of an attractive woman. It was 
that I was following the motions of an attractive woman who shouldn't 
have existed. Doc Winter was a man - or should have been. He should 
have been a guy about six three in height, balding, and somewhat 
angular. Doc was divorced with no kids and considered by my mother's 
single friends to be something of a catch. Or at least he had been. 

	And either this Doc Winter was a very good actress or she had 
no idea she had ever been anyone else except the person she now was. 
Was this going to happen to Lisa? Would she forget who she had been 
and start to act more and more like a girl? I hoped not. I had too 
many good memories (and a few bad ones) of my brother that I would 
rather not lose - or have Lisa lose. 

	And speaking of Lisa, she came bounding down the stairs, hair 
bouncing as she did. To my surprise, she wore a denim skirt, sandals, 
and a rather revealing white top. She even had a bracelet, necklace, 
and a couple of rings on. And she was wearing makeup. It wasn't a 
lot - just a little eye shadow and lipstick, but it was makeup. 

	She noticed my open mouth. "Look, bro, I've got to play the 
part, don't I? What if we don't find the fortuneteller and everyone 
remembers me as a girl?"

	"I suppose," I said with a shrug, although I suspected there 
was more to her appearance than that. "Are you sure you want to be 
changed back?"

	"More than anything," she replied. "Look, I can't explain why 
I'm thinking the way I'm thinking. I know it doesn't make any sense 
to my male side either. In some ways, that makes it all the worse. I 
feel as if there's another person inside me pulling all the switches. 
Up in my room I wanted to call you a... Well, let's just say I wanted 
to call you something worse than a rat. But it just didn't seem like 
a good idea."

	"Can you say cocksucker?" I asked seriously.

	"Sure," she replied. "Cocksucker. See? There's nothing 
magical keeping me from saying it. It just when I had the opportunity 
to call you something, 'rat' seemed about right and cocksucker seems 
not right. So are we going?"

	"Don't you want something to eat?" Lucas had an appetite 
greater than my considerable one, but Lisa shook her head.

	"Let's go," she said heading for the door. "I want to find 
that fortuneteller and get back to normal."

	I had been so intent on getting Lisa back to normal that I 
hadn't considered how carnival shows operated. Since their crews had 
worked late into the evening getting set up, not much was going on in 
the early morning light. A few people were moving around, but for the 
most part, there was no activity. On the other hand, that was 
probably a good thing. It meant the fortuneteller was probably in her 
trailer. 

	As we approached the trailer, I began to feel my confidence 
draining. Usually, I got what I wanted when I tried. I was smart, 
reasonably good looking and athletic. I came from a good family that 
was locally prominent and I had a predictably bright future, so most 
people could be convinced to see things my way. But as I knocked on 
the trailer door, I began to realize I just might be out of my 
element. The fortuneteller was capable of magic - something I hadn't 
realized even existed. Not only was there a danger that she wouldn't 
turn Lisa back into Lucas, but there was the distinct possibility 
that she might do something to me as well. I decided the best course 
of action was humility. Bluster wouldn't help in this matter.

	The door opened slowly and cautiously. Peering out was a 
woman, but not an Indian. The woman was blonde, but there were enough 
dark roots to indicate that she certainly wasn't a natural blonde. 
Her hair was brushed but not carefully, as if she had been up for a 
while but hadn't expected visitors. I estimated her age to be about 
thirty, and she wasn't unattractive, but she did have the look of a 
woman who had not had a particularly easy life. She was wearing a 
robe which she bundled more tightly around her when she saw me.

	"Yeah, what do you want? It's a little early to have your 
fortune told." Her voice was a little sultry. I could imagine that 
when she was fully awake and dolled up, she was probably quite 
attractive and looked every bit the part of a fortuneteller.

	"Uh...sorry to bother you," I said quickly. "We were looking 
for the other fortuneteller - the Indian one."

	She frowned. "What Indian? You kids been smoking the funny 
stuff? There's barely enough business in these little towns for me, 
let alone another fortuneteller."

	"But there was an Indian woman in your booth last night," 
Lisa insisted. "She said - "

	"And what the hell were you doing in my booth last night?" 
the fortuneteller demanded. "And what was this Indian doing there?"

	"Maybe we made a mistake," I said in a placating tone. "I 
guess everybody just assumed she was the fortuneteller. Maybe she 
does something else with the show. Do you know who she might be? 
She's a attractive woman, long dark hair, Indian ancestry..."

	"Look, kid, there's nobody like that with the show, and I've 
been here three years so I'd know if there was. You kids look like 
she owes you money."

	"Something like that," Lisa mumbled. "Are you sure you can't 
help us? We'd really appreciate it."

	That last statement came out sounding like a forlorn little 
girl trying to get someone to help her find her doll. Either it was a 
great act or Lisa was becoming more girlish than I could have ever 
imagined. I prayed it was just an act.

	"About the only thing I could do is tell your fortune," she 
grinned. "For whatever good that would do."

	"Thanks anyway," I said. "Sorry to have bothered you."

	"Now what?" Lisa sighed dejectedly as the trailer door closed.

	"Let's check with the carnival office," I suggested.  "Maybe 
this Indian was just pretending to be the fortuneteller. The office 
may know who she is."

	But that didn't do any good either. The show manager said 
there was no one with the show to match the description we gave him. 
He also told us that Wanda - the blonde fortuneteller - had last been 
seen going for a walk about sundown, so anyone who saw her go could 
have known it was safe to be snooping around her booth. So it could 
have been anyone.

	"Steve, I'm getting scared again," Lisa said, clutching my 
arm as we walked back to my car. "What am I going to do? I can't go 
to school like... like this!"

	I felt very badly for her. I had promised to help her and she 
had depended on me. But nothing had come of it. When I got to school, 
I'd talk to Marty since he had a date with the supposed 
fortuneteller. That is, if Marty was still Marty. I had a bad feeling 
that he and Lisa were in the same fix. 

	"Maybe it won't be so bad," I told Lisa. "Maybe everybody 
remembers you as Lisa - just like our parents."

	"Maybe," she admitted, but I could see that she didn't really 
believe it. 

	We drove silently to school. I could see Lisa turning paler 
as we approached the parking lot. I think I had more respect for my 
sibling than I ever had before. She had agreed to tough it out and go 
to school as a girl. I wondered if I would have the same resolve if I 
were in her shoes.

	"Do you want me to go with you to your first class?" I asked 
her.

	She shook her head. "I gotta do this by myself."

	We were standing just out the school. A few of the guys and 
even some of the girls had looked at her strangely, although Ms 
Patterson, the Freshman English teacher had cheerfully greeted her 
with a "Good morning, Lisa" on her way into the building.

	I put my arm around her tiny waist and said, "Good luck, sis."

	"Thanks. I'll need it."

	I thought about Lisa all through first period. I wondered how 
she was getting along. But I had something else to wonder about by 
second period. Marty was supposed to be in that class with me, but 
his seat was empty. It was Mr. Rustin's math class, and he hated it 
whenever anyone cut class. 

	Viewing the empty seat, he challenged the class, "Does anyone 
know where Ms James is this morning?"

	There was a soft gasp from some of the class members, and a 
little whispering. Most looked confused, but I knew at once what was 
going on. Marty James didn't exist anymore, but a quick look at Ron 
told me that I was the only one in the room that had any inkling of 
what had actually happened to him.

	Judy started to say, "Mr. Rustin, do you mean Mart - "

	"She's sick today!" I blurted out. Judy looked at me as if I 
had just lost my mind. Well it was too late to stop now, so I 
continued, "I talked to her last night. It's the flu."

	By now everyone in the class - even Ron - was looking at me 
as if I was a candidate for my very own rubber room.

	"Well, her mother needs to call and let the office know," Mr. 
Rustin said sternly. "If you talk to her again, Mr. Hall, tell her 
that."

	"I will, sir."

	After class, several of my fellow students grouped around me. 

	"Just what were you babbling about in there?" Judy wanted to 
know.

	"I know," Kevin chimed in. "I talked to my sister after first 
period. She's in class with Steve's brother, only Lucas is a girl."

	"What?" everyone seemed to say at once.

	"You mean that girl last night... that was a no-shitter?" Ron 
asked.

	I nodded. "It was a no-shitter." Between Ron and I, we filled 
in our friends in the few minutes between classes. Most of them, of 
course, didn't want to believe us, but Mr. Rustin's reference to Ms 
James gave them little choice.

	"So what are you going to do now?" Judy asked as the group 
broke up heading for their next classes.

	"I'm going to check on my... sister after the next class and 
go over to Marty's house."

	"Then I'm coming with you," Judy told me.

	I was in no position to argue with her. Besides, I really 
didn't want to face the new Marty all by myself.

	It turned out Lisa wanted to go, too. Her morning had gone 
about as well as it could have under the circumstances. As it turned 
out, all of her fellow students believed her, but only because Dave 
Payne verified her story and - more importantly - every one of her 
teachers remembered her as Lisa Ann Hall. They were strangely 
accepting of her story. Maybe it was because they had been raised on 
Harry Potter books and the prospect of magic didn't seem so alien to 
them.

	"So what do you think about being a girl?" Judy asked Lisa 
when we were in the car and on our way to Marty's house.

	Lisa was sitting next to me, and from the corner of my eye, I 
could see her considering the question. "It's strange," she said at 
last. "I feel so small and weak. I'd rather be a guy again, but if I 
have to be...like this, I guess I can stand it."

	It took a lot for her to say that, I realized. Again, I felt 
very proud of her. She was taking it like a... I almost said taking 
it like a man. Obviously, that was the wrong way to look at it. But 
she was taking it in stride. Good for her, I thought. I wondered if 
she realized that in her own way she was exhibiting strengths Lucas 
never had.

	All the shades were drawn at Marty's house. His parents 
weren't home; I was sure of that. They both commuted to suburban 
Omaha about forty miles away. But I was pretty sure Marty was inside -
 or the person who used to be Marty. 

	I knocked on the door. I could hear a television playing, but 
suddenly it went silent. I knocked again, but there was still no 
response.

	"Come on, Marty!" I yelled. "I know you're in there and I 
know what happened to you. Open up." Admittedly, I wasn't positive 
about what had happened to Marty, but I was starting to see a pattern.

	At last, a feminine voice from inside called, "Marty's not 
here. Go away."

	"Sorry, pal. We're not leaving. Now let us in and maybe we 
can help."

	I sensed Marty's reluctance. There was silence from inside 
the house, and I could imagine Marty - or the girl who used to be 
Marty - standing by the door uncertain as to whether  or not to open 
the door. I felt a sense of relief as the lock clicked and the door 
slowly opened. Marty remained behind the door where we couldn't see 
him - or if my suspicions were right, her. "Nobody can help," that 
forlorn feminine voice sobbed.

	All three of us stepped into the house, quiet and sober as if 
entering a hospital room to see a critically ill patient. I suppose 
in a way, that was pretty much what we were doing.

	The room was dark, but there was sufficient light to see what 
had happened. The girl who had been Marty was wearing a robe which 
she clutched closely to herself. If I looked carefully at her face, I 
could almost see Marty there. But the newly-feminized face and the 
light brown hair were the only remnants of the Marty I knew. And even 
the hair had more body and was now shoulder length. As for the rest 
of her body, like the Marty I knew, she was a little overweight. She 
wasn't exactly fat, but where Marty's extra pounds could be mistaken 
for muscles at a distance, her newly widened hips and large breasts 
made her look like one of those women in an old European painting. 

	But there was nothing wrong with her that the loss of a few 
pounds wouldn't fix, I thought. Then I chastised myself for the 
thought. This was Marty, after all, no matter what my eyes told me.

	Judy was dumbstruck. She had seen what had happened to Lisa 
of course, but Lisa was handling things pretty well. Marty looked 
like a wreck.

	"How did it happen, Marty?" I asked her.

	"It's Marsha now," she said, nearly crying. "That's what it 
says on my driver's license. And it says the same thing on my school 
ID. And it's what my parents call me..."

	It was too much for her. She slumped onto the living room 
couch and bawled. Judy rushed to her side and put an arm around her. 
To my surprise, Lisa rushed to her other side and did the same thing.

	We let her cry. There seemed to be nothing else we could do. 
Aware that I was by magical means the only guy in the room, I sat 
down and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. My stomach was 
growling loudly, though. I hadn't eaten anything since my early 
breakfast. Of course the same was probably true for Lisa and Judy, 
but they didn't seem to mind as much. I guess I just had that much 
more body to maintain.

	When the crying subsided, I leaned forward and asked, "How 
did this happen to you?"

	She shook her head. "You wouldn't believe me."

	It was Lisa who convinced her. "Look, Marsha, do you remember 
Steve's brother, Lucas?"

	"S...sure."

	"Well take a look at me. I'm Lucas - or at least I used to 
be."

	Marty's mouth flew open. "You, too? How...how many others?"

	"As far as I know, just the two of us," Lisa answered. I 
thought about mentioning Doc Winter but kept still. It wasn't the 
time or place - misery really doesn't like company all that much.

	"At least you got a nice looking body," Marty pointed 
out. "Look at me - I'm Miss Piggy."

	Lisa patted her hand. "Nonsense. You could really be very 
nice looking. All you need is a little exercise."

	So I wasn't the only one who thought that. Marsha - like 
Marty - wasn't bad looking. All she needed was to tone up her body a 
little bit and she'd be a good-looking girl. How many times had I 
told Marty he needed to exercise more? It seemed as if he had become 
his female counterpart in every way imaginable - including his 
refusal to exercise. The results had been roughly the same. He had 
gone from being flabby Marty to pudgy Marsha. 

	When I thought about it, Lucas had also been turned into a 
very likely female equivalent. She was slim and attractive - the 
product of our parents' genetic heritage and Lucas's regimen of 
exercise that Lisa seemed to have inherited.

	It was a small sample, but I suspected if anyone else got 
changed, we'd find no white guys becoming black girls or homely guys 
becoming Miss America contestants. They say nature abhors a vacuum.  
I was beginning to suspect nature also abhorred radical changes, and 
maybe even magic had to conform to that. Of course, a sex change 
might be viewed as being pretty radical, but at its basic level, it 
was really just a switch at the chromosome level. So once our 
mysterious Indian woman flipped a guy's chromosomes, nature or time 
or God or whatever took over to make that switch seem normal.

	But if that was the case, why did some of us remember the way 
things originally were? It seemed as if age was a factor. Our parents 
and our teachers accepted the changes by not recognizing them. Doc 
Winter, for example, acted as if she had always been a woman. Our 
parents remembered only Lisa just as Marty's parents remembered 
Marsha. Our teachers had no idea things had changed. But my 
classmates remembered Marty and Lucas, and Marsha and Lisa knew they 
had been changed. Why?

	"Come on, Marsha," Lisa urged. "Tell us what happened."

	In a halting voice barely able to hold back more tears, 
Marsha told us her story...

	Marty had been in a great mood when he left us. He had cash 
in his pocket and a date with an exotically attractive girl. He 
couldn't believe his luck. She had actually come on to him!

	He had been hanging around outside the carnival's business 
office waiting to be assigned a job when she had come out of nowhere. 
There were better looking guys standing around, but she walked right 
up to him. She told him she really liked the AC/DC T-shirt he was 
wearing, although strangely, she had no idea what it referred to. She 
introduced herself as the fortuneteller with the carnival. They had 
struck up a conversation, and the next thing Marty knew, the girl was 
asking him out on a date.

	She seemed disappointed that he couldn't go with her right 
then, but he told her he had committed to work for awhile. She 
brightened though when he suggested they meet later. Nothing seemed 
out of the ordinary, if you could accept that somebody like Marty 
would be able to pick up with a hot chick from the carnival just like 
that.

	Either she hadn't given him her name or he had forgotten it. 
That had seemed a little odd to Marty, but he just figured he find 
out what it was when they got together. She had seemed genuinely 
happy to see him, and the two of them had stolen away from the 
carnival.

	"I know a nice, quiet place where we can be alone," she had 
told him in a sultry voice. It was starting to sound better and 
better. Marty would have been happy meeting her over Cokes at the 
Dairy Queen, but being alone with her seemed even better.

	They had ended up out on Red Willow Creek, just upstream from 
the monument. The girl seemed in a hurry, but to Marty it appeared 
that what she was hurrying to do was going to be fine with him. He 
was lying there as she loosened his clothing. She had a wide smile on 
her face as she straddled him...

	Marsha lowered her head. "I...I can't talk about it."

	I peered at her. "Look, Marsha, if you ever want to be Marty 
again, you'd better tell us everything. We want to find that woman 
and make her change you and Lisa back. Something you're holding back 
might be just the clue we need."

	Marsha considered that for a moment. "All right," she said 
hesitantly, "but please don't repeat this to anyone. Please!"

	We all promised we would keep quiet.

	"She... she had my pants down and my T-shirt off. But she was 
still dressed. I thought maybe she was going to give me a... you 
know."

	"A blow job." To my surprise, it was Judy who had prompted 
that.

	Marsha nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, that's it. But I guess that was 
too much to hope for. She snuggled up next to me. She wrapped her 
hand around my tool, so I thought I was in for a hand job. I mean, it 
wasn't as good as a blow job, but what the hell?

	"She had... a touch that almost sent me over the edge. I had 
never felt like that before. My body started tingling. At first it 
felt good. It sort of started between my legs, and I just thought... 
well, you know what I thought. But when it spread through my whole 
body, I sort of got panicky. And then she started laughing. I tried 
to grab her and make her stop laughing, but she got up and moved 
away, still laughing.

	"I looked down to see what she was laughing about. I had 
changed. I was lying there on the ground with a pink T-shirt and a 
bra sitting next to me. I had tits! I had these big, fat tits, and I 
was wearing shorts, but they were down around my knees. My dick felt 
funny, so I reached down and... it wasn't there! I was kind 
of...well, wet and sticky, and I felt like I was..."

	"Aroused," Judy filled in.

	Marsha's face became bright red. "Yeah."

	"Did she say anything to you?" I asked, changing the subject 
for Marsha's benefit.

	"Yeah, but I didn't understand any of it. She sort of chanted 
in something like Indian talk. The just before she left me, she told 
me to tell my father to let her go. I couldn't understand what she 
meant.

	"I tried to get up and follow her, but it was like I was 
drunk or something. I couldn't even move much. And then I finally 
stood up and saw everything she did to me. I was a girl! I was a... 
a..."

	With that, she broke down into massive sobs again. There was 
nothing we could do but let her cry. At least she had Judy and Lisa 
to hold onto.

	When Marty - or rather Marsha - finally stopped crying, Judy 
patted her hand and said, "Come on, we need to get you ready for 
school."

	The color drained from Marsha's face. "I can't go to school 
like... like this."

	"I don't see that you have much choice," Judy told her. "Your 
parents and your teachers aren't going to excuse you from school 
without a good reason."

	"And having my sex changed isn't a good reason?"

	"Look, Marsha," Lisa told her. "It happened to me, too. Don't 
worry. Everybody at school will be cool about it. They were with me."

	"And tonight," I added, "the guys and I will hunt that 
fortuneteller or whatever she is down and make her change you guys 
back."

	Judy turned to me and frowned. "Do you think that's wise, 
Steve? She can change you guys as easily as she could change Marsha 
and Lisa."

	I had thought about that, but I had also thought about what I 
considered to be reasonable precautions. "We'll work in pairs, and 
we'll have a girl with us so we don't have to touch her. It seems she 
needs to touch someone to change them."

	"You can't be sure of that," Judy cautioned. "What if she 
changes the girls into guys?"

	I really hadn't thought about that, but I just shrugged. "At 
this point, we can't be too sure of anything, can we? But if we don't 
do something to find her, it's going to be Lisa and Marsha forever."

	"I suppose you're right," she admitted, turning her attention 
to Marsha.

	Judy did a terrific job on Marsha. When she and Lisa led 
Marsha back into the living room, I would have challenged anyone to 
suspect that Marsha hadn't been a girl all her life. She was 
undeniably a little on the hefty side, but a soft white blouse and 
tailored khaki slacks gave her a well-groomed look. Her hair they had 
left long, cascading over her shoulders to frame her face and give it 
character. She wore wedge sandals which made her a little taller, 
causing her to just look big and not particularly heavy. For makeup, 
they had gone with a subtle look to reduce any particular feature and 
give her a more sophisticated look. 

	Okay, so everything Judy did to her didn't change the fact 
that she was overweight, but I still had to admit she looked pretty 
good. I had dated worse - lots worse. "Marsha you look... great!"

	She looked at me shyly. "Do you really think so?"

	"I'll walk you to class myself," I told her.

	She gave me a smile that made her look as if she had been a 
girl all her life. I couldn't help but feel a little uncomfortable, 
but I tried to hide it.

	As we drove back to school, Judy drilled Marsha with girl 
stuff - how to walk, how to talk - that sort of thing. I even caught 
Lisa listening to her as well. Then I noticed there was a subtle 
change in Lisa's makeup. Apparently Marsha hadn't been the only one 
Judy had worked on.

	"You seem to be really getting into this girl thing," I told 
her quietly. It was meant lightly, but she looked at me seriously.

	"I might as well," she said. "I may be one for the next 
eighty years or so."

	"We'll find her and make her change you back," I replied 
confidently, and I really did believe that we would. Leeds wasn't a 
big city. The Indian woman couldn't hide out forever. We'd find her 
and figure out some way to make her change Marsha and Lisa back into 
guys.

	She patted my arm. "You're a good big brother."

	I smiled at that. I just wish she hadn't said it so sadly.

	When we got back to school, I was relieved to see Ron had 
bagged up some lunch for us. We all gratefully dug in. It was only 
school cafeteria food, but it tasted great on an empty stomach. Then 
I escorted Marsha to her first afternoon class. It was a class we 
shared - as did Ron and Judy - so we were able to cushion the impact 
for Marsha. 

	Naturally, everyone was curious. Lucas's transformation into 
Lisa was now well known throughout the school, so Marty's 
transformation into Marsha was accepted quickly. Oh, there were 
curious stares and a couple of questions, but Marsha managed to tell 
her story before the teacher came in for class. 

	By the time school ended, we had put together a team of 
intrepid classmates who were willing to help us hunt down the Indian 
woman. Ron, Judy and I would form one team, while Kevin, Andy, and 
Marsha would form another. Dave and Lisa had enlisted another of 
their classmates to help as well. While the nine of us had made it 
our only goal to find the Indian woman, most of our other friends had 
agreed to keep their eyes open and tell us if they saw her. I noticed 
all of them were planning to attend the fair in groups. 

	With one exception.

	I mentioned earlier that Dan Wheeler's father ran Wheeler 
foods. Dan was a decent enough guy for a rich kid, but he could be 
rather full of himself at times. He was built like an athlete - 
probably in part because of an athletic father (his dad had played 
football for Nebraska in college) and in part because of the fully 
equipped gym in his parents' palatial (for a small town) house. Tall, 
blond and good-looking, he pretty much had his choice of girls around 
town. His current favorite was Misty Dunn, one of the cheerleaders.  
We were just getting organized for our quest when Dan and Misty 
walked up. 

	"Gonna join us, Dannie?" Ron called out. Everyone knew Ron 
and Dan didn't particularly like each other. Dan had made a play for 
Ron's older sister the previous year. Ron's sister was a real looker, 
and even though she was a year older than us, Dan made a play for 
her - until Ron stepped in and explained to Dan what would happen to 
him if he didn't back off. 

	It was well known that Dan dated only girls who spread their 
legs for him, and Dan was never hurting for dates. Maybe money really 
did talk. His current girl, Misty, had a reputation of putting out 
like an ATM. "I done it with Dunn" had been a locker room joke since 
our junior year. Hell, I had even done it with Dunn.

	"Naw," Dan drawled, giving Misty a theatrical squeeze. "We've 
got other plans. I think you guys have been watching too much Buffy."

	"What? You don't believe what's going on?" Lisa challenged 
him.

	"Oh, I believe it," Dan said with a patronizing smile. "I 
just think the best way to avoid it is stay away from Indian 
fortunetellers." He looked at Misty with a leer. "I already know what 
our future is going to be. Besides, Lisa, I've got to say, what she 
did to you was an improvement. You, too, Marsha."

	Lisa flushed. I think if she had still been Lucas, she would 
have jumped him - even though he was a lot bigger than Lucas had 
been. Marsha just looked stricken.

	"Dan honey," Misty interrupted in her best breathless 
voice, "if we're gonna go to the fair, I need to get ready." 
Apparently the jeans she had painted on her buxom body that morning 
weren't appropriate for the fair. "Let's go."

	"Sorry I can't stay and chat," Dan said, the leer bigger than 
ever. "Gotta go."

	"Prick," Ron mumbled as the pair strolled away.

	"I'd like to introduce him to a certain Indian woman," Marsha 
added. 
	
	Be careful, what you wish for, I thought to myself. This 
Indian woman was dangerous. We had taken every possible precaution, 
but I was still worried that we really didn't know what we were 
dealing with - or why she was changing our friends.

	"We'll all go into the fairgrounds together," I told our 
group. "We'll meet at the entrance at six. That will give everyone a 
chance to eat and get settled. Remember, no matter what, no guy 
should touch her. Whatever it is that she does seems to be 
transmitted by touch. Let the girl in your team do any touching 
that's required. All we want to do is find her and try to reason with 
her. If she won't listen to reason, a girl should try to restrain her 
until help arrives."

	Every team had at least one cell phone. Once we found the 
Indian woman, all teams would be notified. I felt good. We were 
organized and fired up. I felt the same rush I always felt before a 
football game. We were going to find that Indian bitch and show her 
she could screw around with us.

	Lisa and I tried to be a few minutes early in the parking 
lot, but we were actually the last ones there. When we were still out 
of earshot, I asked her, "Did I see you holding Dave Payne's hand 
when we met earlier?"

	I watched her as her skin flushed and her eyes got a little 
wide. "I don't know why we did that. It just sort of... happened."

	"You know, you may end up being a girl from here on," I 
pointed out. "Don't start something you don't want to finish."

	"Oh? Is my big brother going to protect me?"

	"Well, that's what big brothers are for, little sister."

	"Rat."

	I chuckled, but deep down, I was worried. Lucas had been Lisa 
for slightly less than a day, but every time I saw her, she seemed to 
be acting more and more as if she had been a girl her entire life. If 
was a little uncanny. How long would it be before she was more Lisa 
than Lucas? I was afraid that in some ways, she already was. 

	Everybody was on time to start our search. Most people were 
still home eating dinner before attending the fair. That would mean 
we would have a fair amount of time to search before the crowds got 
too big.

	We split up into our prearranged teams. Kevin, Andy and 
Marsha would go check out the exhibits while Lisa, Dave, and their 
friend Randy checked out the booths on the midway. Judy, Ron and I 
would check out the area around the rides. We'd meet back at the 
entrance to the fair every hour and switch beats.

	For the most part, it was as if everything was normal. If our 
fellow students, aware of the transformations suffered by Lisa and 
Marsha, were nervous about their own safety, they didn't seem to be 
showing it. True, they were mostly in groups, but that was pretty 
natural. The usual lighthearted fun enjoyed by fairgoers as far back 
as I could remember was happening all around us. In the twilight, the 
bright swirling lights on the carnival rides danced and twinkled in 
the unusually warm evening air. 

	Like most of the people we saw we were wearing shorts. It 
lifted our spirits to be wearing them, for it meant that the chill of 
fall was still far away. It felt even better than a midsummer 
evening, for in spite of the warm weather, the humidity that plagues 
Midwestern summers had abated. What a perfect night to be ruined by 
our Indian friend, I thought. But if we could stop her from further 
mischief, it would be worth it. Besides, if we got Marsha and Lisa 
changed back that night, there was still plenty of time left to enjoy 
the fair.

	We strolled up and down among the rides for an hour, but no 
one matching the description of the Indian woman could be found. Oh, 
there were Indians at the fair. There were a couple of Indian 
reservations less than an hour away, but none of the Indians fit the 
description of our mysterious foe. 

	"Maybe we should give up," Ron suggested, looking longingly 
at some of the rides. "I don't think she's going to turn up."

	What is it about life that the minute you say something isn't 
going to happen, it does? Well, I suppose technically speaking, she 
didn't turn up, but then again...

	We spotted Misty Dunn running through the crowd. Unlike the 
people around her, there was no smile on her face. She was crying, 
and the look in her eyes was one of pure terror.

	"Houston, we have a problem," Ron muttered. 

	"Misty!" Judy called out, running to the distraught girl's 
side. Judy barely got to Misty's side before the girl collapsed in 
her arms. "What's wrong? What happened?"

	"It's Dan!" she cried. "The Indian! You said he was a girl!"

	"Whoa, slow down," I told her. "You're not making any sense. 
Dan saw the Indian girl?"

	She shook her head, and I could almost see the tears spraying 
from her eyes, like water off a shaking dog's back. "No! Hurry!"

	She forced herself out of Judy's arms, and stumbling back 
toward the attractions. While Judy and I ran after her, Ron called 
the other groups and alerted them. Cell phones are wonderful things, 
I thought as I ran after Misty. It was a shame she had been so 
rattled she had never thought to use hers or Dan's. It might have 
saved a lot of time.

	Misty led us to a row of attractions just off the midway. The 
show hadn't been able to string the amusements all in a row, and a 
few of the less popular ones were off the main path. We were headed 
right for one called Test Your Strength, and I realized why that 
attraction is often not in a heavily traveled area.

	The attraction consists of a bell atop a high pole. A ringer 
on a slide will ring the bell - if the contestant can lever it high 
enough by striking the end of a plank with a padded mallet. It's 
harder than it looks, because the springs beneath the plank absorb 
most of the impact of the mallet. I don't think I've ever gotten it 
all the way to the top, although Ron did - once. 

	The reason it isn't in a high traffic area is that no guy 
wants everyone to be watching while he gets the ringer no higher than 
a spot marked "Weakling" along the pole. It's an attraction that 
usually does better when there isn't a crowd around to watch. 

	Sitting on the ground next to the attraction was a very 
attractive girl. She wasn't sitting very ladylike, her beautiful legs 
spread in a revealing manner. She was blond and well built, wearing a 
tight-fitting pink minidress and pink strappy sandals. Her legs were 
bare but well tanned, as were her bare shoulders - or what I could 
see of them past the long blond hair. She looked up at me with 
haunted blue eyes - eyes that looked somehow vaguely familiar even on 
her unfamiliar face.

	I took a chance, but I was pretty sure I was right. "Dan?"

	"Probably Danielle now," she replied, barely above a breathy 
whisper. She nodded at a small pink purse beside her. "I haven't had 
the guts to look in it yet."

	"God, I'm sorry, Dan," I said as Judy, Ron and Misty grouped 
around. "Which way did she run off?"

	The new girl laughed nervously. "She? It wasn't a she; it was 
a he."

	"What?"

	We helped her to her feet and listened to her story as the 
others of our group met up with us. 

	"We were just minding our own business," our formerly male 
friend began. "You know, we rode a few rides and had a few laughs. 
Then we decided to get a couple of Cokes."

	She stopped for a moment to adjust her bra. Apparently the 
weight of her new breasts was uncomfortable. I had to admit, she had 
a very nice set inside that bra. I tried not to make it obvious that 
I was looking.

	"Let me help," Judy suggested. I think she was afraid Dan was 
going to accidentally pop one of her new breasts out of the cup and 
over the top of the low-cut dress. I have to admit a small part of me 
was hoping that might happen.

	When Judy worked on the bra, Dan let out a small sight of 
relief. "Thanks. How do girls put up with...these?"

	No one answered her question, so she continued, "So anyway, 
Misty spotted this Test Your Strength thing. She wanted one of the 
teddy bears they have for a prize. I figured I didn't have much of a 
shot at winning, but what the hell. I'm - or I was - in pretty good 
shape."

	I saw more than one of our number biting his or her tongue. 
It could be argued that Dan was still in pretty good shape.

	"There was this Indian guy running the thing," she went on. 
Then she looked right at me. "I thought you said it was an Indian 
girl - some sort of fortuneteller. This guy was tall with one of 
those wrinkled faces that look like parchment. And he had a gray 
ponytail."

	"Maybe there's more than one of them," Lisa suggested. That 
seemed to satisfy Dan, so she went back to her story.

	"Anyhow, he handed me the mallet. But it's funny; he took my 
arm when he did. I felt kind of funny. He said something about 
walking that I didn't understand. Then he let go. Misty was yelling 
something at me. I guess she saw what was happening before I did. I 
was just concentrating on using the mallet. But it's funny... the 
mallet started feeling heavier while I held it. I swung it toward the 
plank and kept thinking how weak I felt.

	"The ringer didn't go very far. Just up to the second sign."

	I looked up at the second sign and suppressed a grim smile. 
The sign said "Girly Girl".

	"Yeah, so go ahead and laugh," Dan sighed. "It is sort of 
funny, I guess.

	"So then the Indian guy says something I can't figure out. It 
was something about telling my father to let him go. I thought maybe 
he worked for my father or something. Then I looked down and saw 
everything changing..."

	She uttered a little sob as she looked down at herself.

	"Dan which way did he go?" I pressed.

	She lifted a slender hand and pointed with a long pink 
nail. "Toward the midway."

	There were plenty of people to take care of Misty and our 
feminized friend. There was no time to waste. We had no luck finding 
the Indian woman, and I wasn't going to tarry while this Indian man 
got away. I jumped to my feet and started running for the midway. I 
didn't have to turn around to know that Ron and Judy were right 
behind me.

	I have replayed the events that took place after I left Dan a 
thousand times in my mind. I read somewhere that bravery is stupidity 
in a noble cause. I tend to believe that, because that night I did 
some of the bravest and stupidest things I will probably ever do in 
my life - something that would change my life forever.

	Perhaps I can be forgiven for my stupidity - and my bravery. 
At six two and in good physical shape, I had seldom experienced 
anything to be afraid of. Caution was not exactly my strong suit. On 
the football field, I'd think nothing of tucking the football and 
plowing ahead for a few yards. Off the football field, I never 
exactly picked fights, but when they came my way I didn't shirk from 
them - and I usually won. A good student, good athlete, and a good-
looking guy, I could usually expect things to go my way. So when I 
saw an Indian fitting Dan's description standing there on the midway 
watching me, I never for a moment considered that he wasn't really 
the prey - I was. 

	Would I have spotted him if he hadn't been so obvious? I 
don't really know. There are a lot of Indians in Nebraska, so I might 
have overlooked him. Then again, maybe not. Most of the other Indians 
at the fair were there with friends and family enjoying an evening 
outing. Not the guy I was looking at. And just so I'd have no doubts 
about who he was, he gave me a toothy grin, almost challenging me to 
go after him.

	"Steve, wait!" Judy called. I knew why she was concerned. The 
Indian's touch might change me into a girl as it had my brother and 
my friends. But I had no intention of touching him. I had heard Ron 
on the phone, relaying our position to the rest of the group. All I 
had to do was keep the Indian in sight. Then, when our group ran him 
to ground, circling him like a pack of wolves, we'd demand that he 
change our transformed friends back into themselves - their real 
selves. 

	But of course we had formulated that plan when we thought we 
were looking for an Indian girl. The big man I was following would 
probably be harder to convince. But I had faith in the plan.

	I saw the Indian run past a ticket taker and into the House 
of Mystery. That attraction was a third rate funhouse mounted on the 
inside of a truck trailer. It was the same one the show had brought 
the year before. It consisted of dark, winding corridors and slanted 
floors. There were a few mirrors and flashing lights along the way 
designed to disorient patrons, but that was about all. 

	I started to go after the Indian, but Ron yelled, "No, just 
wait, Steve, He's trapped now. We can get him when he comes out."

	It made good sense, so I relaxed a little as more of our 
group gathered. In just a few minutes, he would have to exit. There 
was no place to hide inside for very long. But as the minutes went 
by, I began to worry. Then I saw him - or thought I did. A man was 
exiting who looked somewhat like our Indian. He was tall, weathered, 
and had a gray ponytail. But he wasn't an Indian - not even close. 
The ponytail was blonde and his skin was as pale as could be.

	The pale man we were watching appeared dazed, as if the 
shoddy little funhouse had completely disoriented him. But could it 
still be our man? Had he used his transformative powers to change 
himself so he was no longer an Indian? Had he already done so to 
change into a man after pretending to be a female fortuneteller? I 
couldn't be sure.

	"Stop right there!" Ron yelled at him as he climbed down the 
funhouse stairs. The man looked at Ron as if unsure of what to do. 
But although he was a fairly large man, Ron was larger. He decided it 
would be best to do what Ron told him.

	"Who are you?" I demanded, catching up to Ron as he stood in 
the pale man's path.

	"Me?" the man asked. "I'm Josh Wade. I run the Test Your 
Strength attraction. Why?"

	"Why aren't you there now?" Judy demanded.

	The question seemed to puzzle him. "I don't know. I should 
be, I suppose. I'd better get back there. I thought it was 
earlier..." And still mumbling - mostly to himself - the man started 
to slowly walk away.

	Ron started to stop him, but I told him, "Let him go."

	"Why?" 

	"Call it a hunch. Let's wait here." 

	Yeah, I had a hunch all right. Our magical friend wasn't a 
shape shifter; he was a body swapper. He had hopped into the carney's 
body just as he had hopped into the fortuneteller's body the night 
before. It was amazing how quickly my mind accepted the possibility 
of a being who could change bodies like most of us changed clothing, 
but I suppose when you've seen your friends and your brother 
transformed into the other sex, you become more accepting of things 
like body swapping. We had visited the right fortuneteller that 
morning, but the creature we sought was no longer in her. Now he had 
hopped again to avoid capture. Whatever he was, he had leaped into 
someone else. But who?

	I suspected whoever he became, he would take on the features 
of an Indian. That was his one weakness. Of course, there were many 
people of Indian descent around Leeds, but our quarry would be a 
loner. He or she would have no family or friends around, and that 
improved our odds.

	Or so I thought. We waited ten minutes, watching as people 
entered and exited the House of Mystery. We saw no one who looked 
even slightly like an Indian. Andy, Kevin and Marsha had stayed with 
Dan and Misty, but the rest of us were now waiting impatiently for 
our Indian in whatever guise he had assumed.

	"Maybe he got away while we were waiting for the other guy," 
Ron suggested.

	I shook my head. "I didn't see an Indian come out before him, 
did you?"

	"No," Ron admitted.

	"Well I'm gonna check that place out," I said at last. 

	"You'd better not," Judy warned. "Let me go. He can't change 
me into something I already am."

	"But maybe he can change you into something else," I pointed 
out.

	"I doubt it," she said. "And I'm willing to take the chance."

	I think that's one of the many reasons I've always liked 
Judy. Like me, she exuded supreme confidence. Intelligent, 
attractive, and athletic, she thought like I did. If things had gone 
differently, we might have eventually ended up as more than friends. 
Ah well, I guess we'll never know...
	
	We decided both of us would enter the House of Mystery. Judy 
would be in front of me under the assumption that if the... whatever 
it was... was still in there, it would be always ahead of us. We'd 
find whomever it had become and try to herd it out the exit where the 
rest of our number would be waiting.

	We didn't want it hurt. We wanted to reason with it and find 
out what it wanted and what was required to change our friends back 
into their normal selves. If we discovered it still inside the House 
of Mystery, we'd talk to it, get it to see reason.

	It was very dark inside. During the day, light seeped in 
through tiny cracks in the black-painted surface, but at night, there 
was only darkness inside. I stumbled into Judy more than once, but as 
we had agreed, she was taking it slowly. There were curses from the 
other patrons behind us who thought we were moving too slowly. To let 
them by, we flattened against a wall and let the crowd pass. 
Apparently ten or so people had all come in together, for once we had 
let them by, we could hear none of the phony frightened screams or 
hear the movement of feet on the uneven wooden floor.

	I wasn't holding onto Judy, and I'm not sure if it would have 
made any difference if I had been. I like to think that it wouldn't 
have mattered. Besides, she was only a step ahead of me and we were 
about half way down the darkened passageway. There didn't seem to be 
any reason to hold onto her. But while I was following her as closely 
as possible, something had calculated the space between us. As Judy 
passed by, a hand must have shot out of the darkness. I felt 
something warm and small like a child's hand grip my bare leg. At 
first, I thought it was just a small child who had gotten lost from 
his or her family, but the intensity of the grip was too great to be 
just a helpless child.

	Shocked by the unexpected touch, I tried to pull away, nearly 
losing my balance as the grip proved stronger than I could imagine. I 
tried to call out to Judy, but something had paralyzed my vocal 
chords. I began to realize as my blood seemed to freeze that it 
wasn't just my vocal chords that were paralyzed; I couldn't move. 

	"Wakan," a high voice droned. It sounded like the voice of a 
child - probably a little girl. I cursed myself for being so 
careless. The way the House of Mystery was designed with its uneven 
walls and strange angles along the passageway, there had to be small 
alcoves, too small for an adult but large enough for a child. Our 
quarry had hopped into the body of a child and was lying in wait for 
us - for me! And I hadn't suspected it at all.

	My skin began to tingle and become warm. Unlike my brother 
and my friends, I knew what was about to happen to me. I was about to 
be robbed of my sex. I was going to be a girl. I had challenged 
something I could not defeat, and I was about to pay the price. It 
was almost as unique a sensation to realize I had been beaten as the 
changes that were about to befall me.

	"Tanka," the voice said, and the tingling increased, causing 
my very skin to begin to flow. Nothing Lisa or Marsha or Dan could 
have said would have fully described what was happening to me. I'm 
not sure I can describe it myself. It was as if my consciousness was 
contained inside a substance over which I had no control - a 
substance that had once been my own body. 

	As the girl's voice continued to chant, I could sense my body 
becoming smaller and weaker. My nipples were pushing against my shirt 
as breasts began to develop behind them. I found myself hoping I 
wasn't going to end up with a chest as large as Dan's. Breasts. Oh my 
God, I was going to have breasts! I was going to have the figure of a 
young woman! As if to emphasize that, I felt my waist begin to 
constrict and my hips reshape themselves.

	Again, I tried to break free, but I could tell my legs were 
slimmer and not as strong. My arms were losing mass as well.

	"Steve, where are you?" I heard Judy's voice not far from me. 
And I felt the small arm that had held me drop away. I could move 
again!

	But I had no illusions that Judy had scared it away. As I 
gained control of my body, I felt long hair tickling my bare neck and 
shoulders. I felt myself swaying slightly forward until I leaned 
back, feeling my heels elevated as I seemed to be balanced on my 
toes. I felt my clothing, tight against my body and the hem of my 
shorts high along my thigh. It had done its work; I was certain of 
that. I was now a girl.

	"Tell your father to let me go," the voice of the little girl 
called to me as I heard her scramble away in the dark.

	"Steve!" Judy cried again. I heard her grunt as someone 
bumped into her. I wanted to tell her to stop the girl, but I was too 
weak and too shocked to call out. I fell to my knees and my hand 
brushed against something leather - a purse I realized. Oh well, I 
guess I would have to get used to carrying one now.

	I don't know how long I would have lain there if Judy hadn't 
picked me up. Her hands encircled my newly slender waist and I heard 
her gasp with the realization of what had been done to me. She seemed 
to have no trouble picking me up off the floor. I was obviously much 
smaller and lighter than I had been before.

	"Oh God, Steve, I'm so sorry," she said, nearly bursting into 
tears. I have to admit I felt a little like crying myself.

	In some ways, being transformed in the darkness was worse 
than being in the light. Everything felt exaggerated and my 
imagination was running wild. As I felt my breasts sway when I got 
up, I was convinced they must be huge. They seemed to thrust out 
forever. One of my fingers brushed against a fingernail, and I was 
sure they had been lengthened to the size of small daggers. I feared 
I might be a comically proportioned blonde, and I was actually afraid 
to open my mouth lest a sugary little bimbo voice escaped my lips. 

	But the worst was when my shorts shifted at my crotch. These 
shorts were very short and very tight, and I could feel them riding 
up between my legs...because there was nothing to stop them. There 
was only a void between my legs. No, that wasn't quite true because I 
could feel strange, almost pleasant sensations between my legs. So 
something was there. But it was buried within me, and I knew that it 
trailed all the way back to the womb that I surely now had.

	I licked my lips. They felt strange and puffy. It was then 
that I tasted the slightly sweet taste of lipstick. It felt 
different - a little waxy. But I realized it was a sensation that I 
might have to grow used to. I would have to wear makeup now. Oh God, 
there was so much to learn about being a girl. I wasn't sure I could 
do it. 

	As we exited, I felt the cool evening air on my legs and the 
tops of my breasts and even on my midriff. I felt the soft breeze 
blowing my long hair around and mechanically reached up to push it 
out of my face. I tried to ignore the slender arm, devoid of muscles 
and ending in a shapely hand with slender fingers. This was an arm 
that had never thrown a football or... or...

	"Ron, help us!" Judy called as she grabbed be tightly. I 
suddenly realized I had been about to pass out.

	I saw Ron rushing forward. He seemed so much bigger than 
before. His big arms wrapped around me just as I felt my legs 
collapse under me. "Oh no!" he gasped. "Steve?"

	"In the flesh," I replied, giggling senselessly at my own 
joke. And then everything was black.

	I was pretty sure I wasn't out long. Apparently changing sex 
takes a lot out of you. When I woke up, I was sitting on a wooden 
bench just off the midway. Ron must have carried me there, I 
realized. Carrying the old me would have been a chore even for him, 
but I suspected the new me hadn't been much of a challenge to carry. 

	When I opened my eyes, I realized I was leaning on Ron's 
shoulder. I pushed back slowly and groaned.

	"How are you doing, Steve?" I recognized Lisa's voice and 
turned to see her standing there with her friends. They knew what had 
happened to me, I though with a blush.

	"I'll live," I managed. "I suppose it's Stephanie now."

	"Not really," Judy told me. She had what was now my purse in 
her hand. "Actually, it's Sarah... Sarah Jean Hall."

	"It could be worse," I admitted. I had never cared for the 
name Stephanie. 

	"That's for sure," Lisa said with a little grin. "Dan was 
worried she'd be Danielle, but no such luck. She's Gabrielle - or 
Gabby for short. I think she's more pissed about the name than all 
the rest."

	"How long have I been out?"

	"Long enough to miss the latest casualty," Lisa informed 
me. "Andy is Alicia now. Our Indian - or whatever he is - caught him 
over in the restrooms. He had just stepped away to relieve himself 
when he got nailed."

	"A little girl, right?" I asked.

	Lisa frowned. "In the men's room? Afraid not. This was a 
little Indian boy. It sounds to me as if there's a whole family of 
them."

	"Or just one," I sighed. I quickly told them my body swapping 
theory.

	"It makes sense," Ron said when I had finished. "So how are 
we gonna catch this... whatever it is if it keeps changing itself 
into someone else?"

	"We aren't," I admitted dejectedly, realizing as I did so 
that not catching it meant a life in skirts. Then a thought hit 
me. "Unless we have help."

	Judy looked confused. "But if we get more people to go after 
it, we'll just end up with more people transformed."

	I rose unsteadily to my feet and looked Judy in the eye. We 
were both the same height now, I noted. "It always looks like an 
Indian. Whatever it said before it chanted sounds like something from 
an Indian language. We need to find someone who knows about Indians 
and their magic."

	"Who?" Ron asked.

	I shook my head. "I don't know exactly. But remember when we 
made that field trip to Lincoln last year and visited the State 
Historical Society? They've got to have experts on Indians on their 
staff."

	"Sure," Ron scoffed. "And all we have to do is go down to 
Lincoln and convince a bunch of stuffy old  historians that we have 
a... something on the loose up here that talks like an Indian, swaps 
bodies whenever it feels like it, and turns guys into girls. No 
problem."

	"Well I'm going to Lincoln tomorrow," I insisted, a little 
miffed at Ron's attitude. Was he dismissing me because I was now a 
girl? "You can stay here if you want. There are no classes tomorrow 
afternoon, so I'll drive down and try to convince someone. I think 
after tonight's experience that it's pretty obvious that we need help 
to handle this. We need to handle things quickly, too. If this thing 
is attached to the carnival, they'll be gone in a few days and some 
of us will be stuck as girls for the rest of our lives."

	Even as I said that, I realized the odds were very good that 
we were going to be girls for the rest of our lives no matter what, 
but I wasn't going to take this lying down. Unless we did something, 
I had a certain future on the distaff side. That wasn't something I 
relished. I was already getting tired of the tickle of hair on my 
neck and the movement of my breasts. As for what wasn't between my 
legs anymore, well let's just say that I didn't relish that very much 
either.

	"All right," Ron said with a theatrical sigh. "I'll go to 
Lincoln with you."

	"Nobody said you had to go," I pointed out, folding my arms a 
little uncomfortably under my breasts.

	"Well somebody should go with you - if for no other reason 
than to see that they don't drop you off at a mental ward," Ron 
grumbled. 

	It struck me suddenly that we sounded a lot like a married 
couple bickering about a social engagement. I had heard my parents 
talking the same way about something Mom wanted to go to that Dad 
would sooner skip. Good lord, was that going to happen to me and my 
best friend? Had our relationship already changed to the point that I 
was now the headstrong female and he was the long-suffering male? I 
had watched Lisa over the last twenty-four hours become more and more 
feminine in her gestures and her attitudes. Part of that, I realized, 
was just a need to act the way the world would expect a girl to act, 
but part of it was becoming strangely natural for her - the way she 
had been holding hands with Dave.

	"Okay," I said softly, trying to sound more like the decisive 
quarterback I had been only a short time earlier. "You and I will go 
to Lincoln tomorrow and try to get some help. As for everybody else, 
we should stay away from the fair."

	"I think we're probably safe there during the day," Judy 
suggested. "Whatever this thing is seems to only strike at night."

	"Look, I know that's the way it seems," I argued, "but until 
tonight, we thought we were looking for an Indian fortuneteller. The 
fact is we don't know what this thing can do. It would just be better 
to stay away from the fair."

	Everyone seemed to be considering that. I knew the next day 
would see a large number of my friends at the fair once again. It was 
too important an event to blow off - even given the risks. But I was 
certain that most of them would be traveling in groups, and most 
would leave before sundown. At least everyone knew the risks. Only 
some guy who was crazy enough to want to be a girl would risk being 
at the fair alone at night. No one else would try to corner it as we 
had.

	Lisa decided to ride home with Ron, Judy and me. I was 
frankly glad for her company. The thought of entering my own house 
alone and having my father say something to me like, "Hi, princess," 
would have sent me right over the edge. At least she'd be there when 
I greeted my parents and trudged up to a room that, while mine, was 
probably unrecognizable. 

	And it was also comforting to have as many people as possible 
surrounding me as we walked back to the parking lot. I didn't want to 
face any boys who thought I was just a new chick on the block. I had 
waived off Judy's offer of a small mirror to see what I now looked 
like, but I had no doubts that I was a babe. First of all, as much as 
I tried to ignore my new self, I had a lot of exposed skin. I knew I 
had slim, athletic legs and matching arms, a flat, tanned tummy and 
prominent breasts and hips, and long, silky brown hair with little 
highlights of red. 

	I was wearing a pair of very, very short denim shorts that 
felt as if they had been painted on me. My midriff top was shaped 
more like a bra (which I knew I also wore - a strapless one, no 
less), exposing tummy, shoulders, and the top of my breasts all at 
the same time. My brown sandals were a little awkward to walk in with 
their wedge heel, but I managed. They exposed dainty little feet 
though which looked almost too small to support even my diminutive 
body. Then there were my little pink toenails and matching 
fingernails. 

	And if all of that wasn't enough to convince me that I must 
be one hell of a looker, there had been Ron's look when he had first 
seen me. Yes, his face had shown great concern for his transformed 
friend, but they had shown something else as well. Call it lust or 
just typical male interest, but he had let his eyes linger slowly 
over every swell and curve of my body. I had seen that look on Ron's 
face before, but never directed at me, of course. Ron might be shy 
around girls, but that didn't mean he didn't enjoy the scenery.

	As I feared, I seemed to be getting a lot of those looks from 
a lot of guys as we walked back to the car. I felt almost as if I was 
running a gauntlet with hungry, sex-crazed men all around me. Was 
this what attractive women had to put up with all the time? Just how 
good looking was I anyhow?

	We didn't talk much on the way home. Ron actually drove my 
car since I wasn't sure I could drive in my heeled sandals. I 
supposed I would have to learn. We dropped Judy off first. She 
committed to meet me before school - to help me get ready.

	"I can manage," I had told her. "Lisa did."

	She looked at Lisa's makeup critically. "I think maybe both 
of you could use a little help," was all she said.

	"So what's wrong with my makeup?" Lisa asked indignantly as 
we pulled away. Neither Ron nor I could think of any answer for her.

	"Do you want me to walk you in?" Ron asked when we had parked 
in front of my house.

	"What? So you can give me a kiss at the door?" I joked, but 
somehow it didn't seem terribly funny.

	"Well, I assume reality will have shifted again for you 
parents," he explained as we sat there. "My guess is that they will 
figure we did this evening on a date. How would it look if I didn't 
see you to the door?"

	"That makes sense, Sarah," Lisa agreed, emphasizing my new 
name for my benefit.

	"All right," I sighed. "I suppose you want to open the car 
door for me, too."

	"Not." I looked at my friend. There was a witty grin on his 
face. Maybe our friendship would survive this transformation after 
all. 

	He walked Lisa and I to the door, but held me back for a 
moment as Lisa entered the house. "Are you going to be all right, 
Steve?"

	"It's Sarah now," I reminded him. "And I don't know. I think 
so. Thanks for asking."

	There was an awkward moment when we stood there, just staring 
at each other. We had been friends seemingly forever, but now it 
seemed as if something besides my sex had changed. I don't think 
either of us could have verbalized it at that moment, but there was 
something...

	"Well, good night," Ron said, squeezing my hand gently - 
something he would have never done before.

	"Good night." I rushed inside the house, closing the door. I 
could hear Ron's footsteps receding from the house as he began his 
walk back to his house.

	"Mom and Dad are still out," Lisa called from the living 
room. I looked at the clock. It was only nine - earlier than I had 
thought - and out parents had a full evening agenda of fair 
activities if I remembered correctly. That was fortunate. I wouldn't 
have to face them that evening in all likelihood. Lisa then looked at 
my face. "Are you all right? You look a little flushed."

	"Of course I'm all right," I said quickly. "I mean, I'm as 
all right as I can be and still be... you know...this."

	She gave me a little sympathetic smile as she hugged herself 
girlishly. "Pretty weird, isn't it? Just a little over a day ago, our 
parents had two sons. Now they've got two daughters and won't even 
know it was ever any other way."

	"Yeah," I sighed. "No one to carry on the family name." As if 
there weren't already enough Halls in the world. It started me on a 
train of thought, though, that Lisa and I would lose our last name if 
we ever got... No, don't go there. I had enough to be depressed about 
without thinking about... that.

	"Well, shall we go up and check out your new room?"

	I wasn't really ready for that, but I had to do it sometime. 
It might as well be right then. "I guess."

	It was everything I thought it would be - and worse. There 
were fluffy things and lacy frills everywhere, and the predominant 
color was pink. I remembered seeing Lisa's room for the first time 
and thinking it would be worse if it was pink. Well, this was worse.

	Lisa put a hand on my bare shoulder. "Gee, I'm sorry about 
this. But I guess now we know why my room isn't pink."

	I dropped my purse on the soft white carpet. "I think I'm 
going to throw up. I hate pink."

	"Maybe it'll grow on you."

	"That's just what I'm afraid of..." My voice trailed off. 
Lisa had closed the door to my room, and when I turned, I saw myself 
for the first time in the mirror on the back of the door. I suppose 
it was just as well that I saw myself by accident. If I had tried to 
steel myself before looking in a mirror, it might have taken me until 
morning. 

	In short, I was a knockout. I had already noted the various 
parts of my body that I had seen, but seeing them all together was 
like hearing the individual instruments of an orchestra before 
hearing the entire orchestra play a Beethoven symphony. And I hadn't 
seen my face before. It was one of the most beautiful faces I had 
ever seen. I had blue eyes designed to melt any man's heart. My nose 
was small and about as perfectly shaped as I could imagine. My hair 
was long - a vibrant brown that curled softly over my shoulders. My 
skin was absolutely flawless, and my lips were full and warm. "Oh my 
God..."

	"You are one fantastic chick," Lisa said with an evil little 
grin.

	"So are you," I pointed out.

	"No," she corrected, "I'm attractive; you're sensational."

	"But I don't want to be sensational."

	"I don't think you've got any choice."

	I supposed I didn't. It seemed that all of us were becoming 
the girls we would have been if we had been born that way. I could 
still see a little of Lucas in Lisa. Marsha had Marty's unfortunate 
weight problem. Dan had the quasi-bimbo look that his mother probably 
had in her youth. And me? Well, I had been the son of good-looking 
parents. I supposed it was only a simple matter of genetics that had 
turned me into this vision of female beauty. 

	I pushed the hair away from my right ear. My ears were double 
pierced - a small gold ring in the lower hole and a dainty pearl stud 
in the upper one. My makeup was flattering to my already-attractive 
face, and I looked as if I had just stepped off the cover of 
Seventeen. I looked down hesitantly. Good. At least my bare belly 
button wasn't pierced. Thank God for small favors.

	"Steve... Sarah... do you think we'll ever get our male 
bodies back?"

	"I don't know," I said honestly. "I hope so."

	"Do you want me to... help you get undressed?"

	I shook my head, feeling the sensation of hair moving as I 
did. "No, I'll have to learn to do it. You did."

	"Yeah. I guess so." She started to leave, then turned to 
me. "Sarah, thanks for trying to find the... whatever it was that 
changed me. I'm really sorry I got you into this mess, too. If I can 
do anything for you, let me know."

	Lisa was so unlike Lucas in so many ways. I could never 
imagine Lucas taking the responsibility for what had happened - or 
offering to help me. Lucas had been my brother, but we were never 
terribly close. I was the responsible one while he seemed headed down 
a different path. Strangely, I felt closer to this girl I had never 
known before yesterday than I had ever felt to Lucas. "There is one 
thing," I began carefully. "Tell me what's happening to you."

	She flushed a little and wouldn't look me in the eye. "I 
don't know what you mean."

	"Yes you do," I pressed, sitting on the side of my bed and 
motioning for her to sit next to me. 

	She sat there reluctantly, her eyes downcast. "I don't really 
like to talk about it."

	"I know you don't," I said. "But something tells me all of us 
who have been changed will go through it, too. If we're prepared for 
it, maybe we can cope with it better."

	"All right," she sighed. She was silent for a few moments, as 
if thinking about how to explain the unexplainable. 

	"Last night when this happened to me, I was so disoriented I 
didn't know what to do. It was as if my new body came with a whole 
different set of instructions but I hadn't read the manual. I wanted 
to cry, but I knew Lucas wouldn't have cried. I had these funny 
little wisps of thought that didn't seem to make any sense."

	"Like what?"

	"Well... I thought about Dave running away. I was mad at him 
for doing it, but I felt something else when I thought of Dave as 
well. It was this strange... attraction. I don't know how do describe 
it. I was still Lucas inside, but I felt differently about Dave. 

	"Then we got back here and we talked. I found I felt 
differently about you, too. We had our differences and I have to 
admit more than once I've resented your success. But last night, it 
was as if you were my protector - my hero. It was weird. 

	"After I went to bed, I just lay there thinking for awhile. 
It was almost like being two people. I could remember some of the 
things I did as Lucas - some of the stunts I had pulled. Then I'd 
think about them as Lisa and think how stupid I had been. I'd think 
about Jennie Branson. Remember her? She's that girl I had a crush on 
in eighth grade. I try to think about how hot she was and then I'd 
start wondering about how that little red outfit she wore that turned 
me on would look on me. 

	"I finally got to sleep, but that wasn't the end of it. I had 
dreams - crazy dreams. I was Lisa in the dreams. Don't bother asking 
how I knew. I'm not going to tell you about the dreams no matter 
what. They were just too... embarrassing. 

	"When I woke up this morning, I thought it had all been a 
nightmare. That's why I screamed. Then when I got up, I noticed 
everything seemed more... natural for some reason. The way I moved 
and what I had to do seemed more routine. That's when I really got 
scared. I felt as if I was losing myself. Oh, I still had all my 
Lucas memories, but they weren't as... real to me."

	She looked at me and I saw there were tears forming in her 
eyes. "Oh Steve... Sarah... I'm frightened. I still want to be Lucas, 
but being Lisa is starting to feel normal and I've only been Lisa for 
a day. What's happening to us? Are we going to forget who we were 
just like our parents?"

	With that, she threw herself into my arms crying. What a pair 
we were - two former boys changed into girls. I don't know which I 
was more uncomfortable with - the feel of her slim developing body 
against mine, or the way her head mashed against my new full breasts. 

	I walked her, my arm still around her, back into her 
room. "Lisa, I know it was tough for you to tell me all that, but it 
may help us all. We've got to hang onto who we really are and the 
hope of getting our real lives back."

	"We're never going to get our real lives back," she said 
softly as she looked down at herself. "Whatever is out there is too 
smart for us...too powerful."

	"Hey, whatever it is kicked our butts in the first and second 
quarter, but it's just half time. We've got another half to play."

	She actually managed to giggle through the tears. "Football 
analogies seem a little out of place for you now. I'll bet you even 
throw like a girl."

	She hadn't meant to hurt me, but the comment cut me. She was 
probably right; I probably did throw like a girl now. My football 
days were over unless we could figure out some way to be changed 
back. I knew she didn't mean to hurt me though, so I let it 
slide. "Yeah, I probably do," I admitted.

	After I got her calmed down and ready for bed, I went back to 
my own room and thought about what was already happening to me. Like 
Lisa, I had noticed myself acting in ways I would have never acted as 
Steve. The way I had comforted her, the way I had not gotten angry at 
her "throw like a girl" comment, and just the way I moved were all 
indicative of a new me - a female me. 

	And there was the way I had reacted to Ron. Ron was my 
friend, but through female eyes, he was something else as well. I had 
never considered Ron good looking or bad looking. He was just Ron. 
Now though, I was forced to evaluate him from a female perspective. 
Ron was...handsome. There - I said it. Ron was my friend, though. 
That's all - he was just my friend.

	I decided there was nothing more to do but go to bed and get 
a good night's sleep. In the morning, I'd have to go to school as 
Sarah, but at least I'd have my friends to support me. Marsha and 
Lisa had enjoyed the support of their friends, so I was sure I would, 
too. Then at noon with classes done for the week (so we could attend 
the fair - ha!), Ron and I would go to Lincoln and try to get some 
help. There had to be someone at the State Historical Society we 
could get to believe us and help us. Actually, I didn't even really 
care if they believed us so long as they agreed to help us. Right 
now, we didn't even know what we were fighting, and hopefully they 
would be able to help us identify what we were up against.

	Getting ready for bed was something of a challenge. There 
were a few things I either knew or suspected I would have to do. 
Things I thought might be a problem - like going to the bathroom - 
were at the most mild annoyances. Sitting and wiping wasn't all that 
bad, although I knew my days of taking a pee while standing at the 
side of the road were over. 

	And no, I didn't play with or otherwise examine my new 
equipment. I wasn't interested in sticking a finger or two inside to 
see what it felt like. If I found myself stuck with all of it for 
life, I might do that sometime, but for now, not touching it made it 
seem less real. And I certainly didn't want any of this to be real.

	I was pretty sure I had to wash off my makeup. I did a half-
assed job of it, I'm afraid. While I got most of it off - especially 
after I figured out the cold cream would cut it - some was just too 
hard to remove. I found scrubbing at it irritated my smoother, more 
delicate skin, so I just decided whatever I missed I could get the 
next morning in the shower.

	I figured I'd better do something about my hair, too. It was 
so long that it would be in my face all night if I didn't do 
something. A ponytail would have been simplest I suppose, but I found 
myself strangely willing to experiment. I gathered the hair into two 
long piles and twisted them like a braid. Of course it unraveled 
before I could find anything to hold it together. So much for 
experimentation. I decided simpler was better and did the best job I 
could of making a ponytail. Unfortunately, there was so much hair 
there it looked more like the tail on a Clydesdale. 

	At least the new reality had provided me with something 
besides frilly nighties. It was a warm night, so I picked some short 
pajamas - white with little red flowers all over them. At least they 
were soft and comfortable on my skin. It had taken me three times as 
long to get ready for bed as a girl, but I felt proud that I had 
managed at all.

	In bed, I thought more about the new reality. Maybe I should 
have capitalized it in my mind: The New Reality. It was strange how 
it worked, but I was sure there was a logic to it somewhere. Adults 
seemed to think we had always been girls. Even Doc Winter couldn't 
seem to remember ever being a man. But everyone about my age 
remembered the way things were supposed to be. The only effect with 
us seemed to be that we accepted our new identities and those of our 
friends much more readily than I would have expected. 

	Maybe, I thought, it was the influence of stuff like the 
Harry Potter novels and Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe the older you 
get, the less accepting your mind is of magic and magical changes. Or 
maybe it was just something physical about younger people. I remember 
learning in biology class that the human skull is designed to grow to 
allow for the maturing of the brain. Maybe there are other changes, 
too, that we just don't understand yet. 

	I found myself drifting off to sleep with those thoughts. I 
really didn't want to sleep at all. I was afraid of what mental 
changes might be forced on me during the night. Would I wake up 
wanting to discuss lipsticks with Judy and really liking the 
Backstreet Boys? Would I think the feel of satin and silk was just 
heavenly? Would I want to go to Gweneth Paltrow movies? Would I like 
boys? Would I like one boy in particular? But as much as I fought 
sleep, it eventually claimed me.

	I awoke the next morning feeling refreshed and alive. As Lisa 
had the morning before, I nearly screamed when I realized I was lying 
on my back staring down at substantial breasts. But once I overcame 
that momentary shock, I actually felt good. That didn't mean I had 
any less desire to return to my male form, and I was relieved about 
that. What it did mean was that I was no longer under a dark cloud of 
depression from my transformation. I had the resolve to go on with my 
life, even if it meant being a girl for the rest of it. Maybe there 
was hope for me yet.

	I read somewhere that the mind uses sleep as a time to file 
everything away and resolve issue that the conscious mind has trouble 
with. I was pretty sure that was what had happened to me. I didn't 
actually remember any of my dreams, but they seemed to leave pleasant 
signatures in my mind. 

	"Knock, knock!" It was Judy's voice outside my door. It had 
been hearing her carry on a hallway conversation with my mother that 
had awakened me. I looked at the clock. It was an hour before I was 
usually up. Gee, up early two mornings in a row. That had to be a new 
record.

	"Come in, Judy," I called.

	"Oh my God!" Judy exclaimed when she saw me sitting there on 
the side of the bed.

	"What's wrong?" Had I changed further? Was there something 
new and different about me? 

	"Your hair!" she said as if that explained it all.

	"What's wrong with my hair?" 

	"It's a mess. Why didn't you do something with it before you 
sent to bed?"

	"I thought I did."

	"Come on." She grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the 
bathroom. "And why didn't you get all your makeup off?"

	Lisa thought it was funny as Judy sat me on the side of the 
tub and scrubbed my face as if I were a three year old. She had 
managed just fine the previous morning without anyone's help. Maybe I 
was just fighting this whole process more. Or more likely, being 
older than my new sister, my makeup had been a little more pronounced 
than hers and thus harder to remove.

	I showered and Judy even insisted that I wash my hair - to 
work out the kinks I had created with my carelessness she had said. 
Taking a shower even proved to be something of a challenge. Is it 
voyeuristic to ogle one's own body? But what else could I do? I 
couldn't ignore it; I had to wash it. But it seemed so strange to see 
all the female parts from such a personal angle. With Judy and Lisa 
right outside the shower, I had to resist the temptation to let my 
hands linger over the more sensitive parts. As it was Lisa was pissed 
at me for spending so much time in the shower. I could see that two 
girls sharing that one bathroom was going to be much more difficult 
than it had been when we were boys. 

	I stepped out of the shower with my hair feeling as if it 
weighed fifty pounds. Judy muttered something about my not having 
sense enough to wring out my hair well in the shower, but she made do 
by squeezing the water out into the sink.

	After she had wrapped my hair in a towel, she handed me a 
pink razor. "Here. Shave."

	"But I don't have a beard...oh. You mean under my arms."

	"And your legs," she added. "You'll be wearing pantyhose 
today."

	"To school? Why can't I wear jeans or something?"

	"I'm not talking about school," she explained. "I'm wearing 
jeans to school and so can you. But this afternoon, you and Ron are 
going to Lincoln. If you want the people at the Historical Society to 
take you seriously, you need to look sharp. Tell Ron he needs to wear 
a sport coat. I'll come by after classes and help you pick the right 
outfit for Lincoln."

	This being a girl business was getting to be a pain in my now-
ample ass. Muttering, I managed to shave under Judy's tutelage and 
prepare for the further indignities of being a young woman. She 
helped me dry and style my hair, picked out a bra and panties for me, 
and found a white T-shirt with a scalloped neckline with little pink 
flowers embroidered on it. I thought it just drew attention to my 
cleavage but Judy thought it looked good on me. When I had asked to 
wear jeans, I never thought about the fact that unlike the 
comfortable variety guys wore, girls seemed to pick jeans that clung 
to the skin like wallpaper. I even had to suck in my practically non-
existent tummy to get them snapped.

	Then came what I hoped would be the final indignity of the 
morning process - makeup. Judy carefully applied fresh makeup to my 
face, explaining as she did the purpose of foundation, eye shadow, 
eyeliner, blush, mascara, lipstick, and so on. Lisa watched with rapt 
attention as Judy explained what she was doing and why. My new sister 
seemed to be accepting the whole experience much better than I was. 
Maybe it was just because she had an additional day to adjust to it. 
In any case, she tried a couple of Judy's instructions on her own 
face without any trepidation. I, on the other hand, resented every 
bit of it - especially the lipstick. I didn't know if I would ever 
get used to the taste of lipstick.

	I had to admit, though, that the final result was pretty 
sensational. Once the finishing touches of earrings and a necklace 
and bracelet were made, I looked as if I had been an attractive girl 
all my life. I supposed as I admired myself in the mirror that as 
long as I had to be a girl, it was better to look like this than to 
be on the hefty side like Marsha. 

	Ron had caught a ride with some of the guys on the football 
team that morning. I found myself more than a little sad that the 
camaraderie of the team was no longer available to me. So it would 
just be "us girls" in my aging Tempo that morning. If I had to be a 
girl, I wondered, why couldn't my parents have been more doting and 
provided me with a sexier car? It seemed unfair that I had my sex 
changed and still had to drive the old Tempo. At least it was neater 
inside with a new set of seat covers and no junk in the seats. 
Apparently, given the condition of both my car and my room, Sarah was 
much neater than Steve had been.

	At least I didn't have any trouble driving. Well, that's not 
quite true. I was much shorter now, and I found that the Tempo's 
power steering was a little weak. As Steve, I had the arm muscles to 
handle the car, but as Sarah, I found it a bit of a chore. I expected 
my arms to be sore if I had to drive very much. But at least since I 
was wearing tennis shoes - albeit small little feminine ones with 
pink shoelaces - I had no problem with the brake and gas pedals. I 
didn't know how I was ever going to be able to drive in heels.

	At least school wasn't as bad as it could have been. Enough 
of us had been changed now that it wasn't quite the novelty it had 
been the day before. It's amazing how quickly people can adapt to 
changes. By the middle of the morning, I was accepted as just one of 
the girls. I was part of a clique of popular, attractive girls such 
as Becky Marshall and Judy. The new Andy - now Alicia - was part of 
that group as well.

	Unfortunately, Marsha seemed to be falling in with a less 
popular crowd. I wanted to reach out to her, but I was quickly 
finding that girls are even more clannish than boys - not that I 
hadn't always suspected that. I just kept thinking that Marsha had a 
nice personality and would be as attractive as any of us if she lost 
a few pounds. Well, maybe someday... 

	Dan - or Gabby now -  had been quickly accepted by another 
group. That group was a little more conscious of their social 
standing. It included most of the cheerleaders and the girls for whom 
the logo on one's blouse was more important than the heart behind it. 
It figured, I supposed. Dan had always been a friend, but he had 
always been a little pompous. Now, with Dan's underlying pomposity, 
the family's money, and Gabby's somewhat slutty good looks, she'd be 
a real hit around the Leeds Country Club. In spite of the fact that 
she looked a little like a bimbo, I was pleased to note she had 
retained her sharp mind.

	As the morning went on, I became more settled in my new role. 
Even though my fellow students knew I had been Steve, it was hard for 
them to treat anyone who looked like I did as a boy. So I was treated 
like the girl I appeared to be, and I soon found myself reacting 
accordingly. Boys would come up to me and try to impress me. I'd give 
them a sweet little smile but keep them at a distance. Girls would 
come up and compliment me on my hair and makeup, and I'd actually 
flush with no little pride. The breaks between classes would find me 
in the restroom, touching up my lipstick or teasing my hair with my 
friends. In short, I was becoming what I appeared to be - an 
attractive teenage girl.

	I realized I was falling into a pattern that would have 
seemed very alien to me less than a day before. It seemed further 
confirmation that not all of the changes were physical. The very fact 
that I could accept this new body without going nuts seemed proof of 
that.

	That wasn't to say I was becoming happy and content being a 
girl - quite the contrary. It seemed like I was being constantly 
reminded of what I had lost. I listened as my male friends discussed 
the fact that Dick Marshall, my backup quarterback was now apparently 
thought by the coach to have always been the starting quarterback. I 
felt a little sick when they noted that a game with our rival, Blair 
High School, had gone against us in this reality. In my own reality, 
I had won that game with a last-minute pass to Ron that put us up by 
four points.

	I think that was the worst of it - watching old male friends 
and not being able to be "one of the boys" anymore. Even some of my 
best friends gazed at me with looks that made me uncomfortable. I 
felt as if most of them would have gladly forgotten who I had been 
and treated me as they would have treated any other girl they lusted 
after. I don't think there was a single one of them who would have 
turned down the opportunity to take me to bed. Well, maybe it wasn't 
really as bad as all that, but I was definitely starting to have a 
colored opinion of my former sex.

	But in spite of that colored opinion, I would have gladly 
rejoined my former sex no matter what the cost. I would have given my 
very soul to be one of them again, discussing football and quietly 
pointing out the sweet ass and fine tits on some girl (probably one 
who looked like I did now). 

	But I had to know even then that the odds of my returning to 
my former sex were very slim. Even if we got help in Lincoln, it was 
no guarantee that we would be able to force whatever had changed us 
into restoring our male sex. So far whatever it was had shown no 
interest in changing any of us back into guys.

	"You did great this morning," Judy praised me as we drove 
back to my house after classes. 

	"Thanks, I think," I replied. I suppose she meant it as a 
compliment, but to me it just signaled that I had acted just like a 
girl all morning. At least I wasn't as far gone as Lisa. She and Dave 
had gone off on their own after school. They were going to have lunch 
with our father and "hang around" downtown. I worried about my little 
sister. It didn't seem natural for her to be interested in boys. Two 
days earlier, she had been one and had been as interested in girls as 
I was.

	Judy and I ate a quick pickup lunch with my mother. Mom acted 
as if I had always been Sarah.  She didn't seem surprised that Ron 
and I were going to Lincoln together. We had told her it was part of 
a class project and that was enough for her. The unsettling thing was 
that it appeared in her mind that Ron and I were an item. I didn't 
want to be the female half of an item - not with Ron or any other guy.

	"Let's get you ready," Judy finally said, and I knew in that 
moment how condemned prisoners feel when the warden says, "It's 
time." I had been transformed into a girl wearing very short shorts. 
I had gone to bed in feminine pajamas. And I had spent the morning in 
very tight feminine jeans. But this would be the first time I would 
find myself wearing a skirt and heels. I was not looking forward to 
the experience. 

	"You've got some neat stuff," Judy commented as she riffed 
through my closet. "I think we're about the same size. I see a couple 
of things I wouldn't mind borrowing."

	The thought of sharing clothing was a little strange for me, 
but I was aware that girls did it regularly. "Be my guest," I said, 
plopping down most unladylike on the bed.

	"Except you're a little bigger in the boobs..." Judy mused.

	Oh great. I needed to hear that.

	"This would look nice on you," Judy muttered, and I forced 
myself to look up to see what sort of feminine embarrassment she had 
chosen for me to wear. "What do you think?"

	I saw her holding out the hem of a dress. "It's yellow," I 
remarked uneasily. Yellow?

	"Actually it's called 'butter,'" Judy explained. "I tried 
this outfit on at Victoria's Secret the last time Mom and I went to 
Omaha."

	"Victoria's Secret?" There was real concern in my voice.

	"Now don't be that way," she admonished me as she pulled the 
dress and matching jacket out of the closet. "Victoria's Secret sells 
stuff beside slinky lingerie. This is a very professional-looking 
outfit."

	"Yeah, and feminine enough that I'm bound to be asked into 
some horny historian's office, right?"

	If she realized I was being sarcastic, she didn't admit 
it. "Well, a girl needs to use every weapon at her disposal, don't 
you think?"

	She had a point. "Okay," I sighed, getting up from the 
bed. "Let's get this over with."

	I had to admit, the outfit looked pretty good on me. It 
consisted of a dress and a matching jacket. The dress was a pale 
yellow - or "butter" as Judy deemed it - that was short and 
sleeveless and showed just enough cleavage to be interesting without 
being provocative. The jacket was of a feminine cut with a single 
button. The short skirt of the dress had a slit which made movement 
easier than I had thought. I had always just believed that the slits 
were there to make a woman's legs look sexier. Now I realized they 
had a practical value as well. 

	Judy had helped with the pantyhose and the shoes (a sling she 
called it in an off-white), matching purse, and of course the 
jewelry. With the bracelets and necklace and earrings, I wondered if 
I could walk through a metal detector without setting off an alarm.

	"I hope you realize a lot of girls would sell their souls to 
look the way you do in that dress," Judy told me - a little 
wistfully, I thought. That was strange, because I personally thought 
she was every bit as attractive as I was.

	"And I'd probably sell my soul not to look like this," I 
replied. But I did look good - very, very good.

	I wasn't the only one who though so. Ron showed up just as 
Judy and I descended the stairs. Mom had let him in. I thought he was 
going to break a toe when his jaw dropped to his feet as he saw me. 
St...Sarah?"

	I smiled as demurely as I could. I found myself actually 
enjoying that moment. "In the flesh."

	"You look...sensational."

	That rated him another smile. "You look nice, too." He really 
did look nice in his dark blue blazer and tan slacks and red rep tie. 
Ron always did clean up well. It was funny how I had never really 
noticed how...nice Ron looked. No, nice wasn't the word, I had to 
admit to myself. What I meant was I had never noticed how attractive 
he was. And why should I have noticed? Steve certainly wouldn't have 
found him attractive.

	That thought shook me. Not the one about Ron being 
attractive. What shook me was the way I thought of Steve. It was 
almost as if I had begun to think of him as another person. I am 
Steve I tried to tell myself. Deep down under all this fresh makeup 
and perfume and sexy girl's clothing, I was still Steve - wasn't I?

	As we walked to the car, Judy whispered something to Ron. It 
only took another moment for me to realize what she was whispering 
about. I had already handed him the keys to drive, and he used them 
to unlock the passenger door and open it for me. I knew how to get in 
without Judy's coaching. I had watched enough women negotiate a car 
seat in a skirt to know I had to slide my bottom in first and bring 
my legs around together. In spite of my best efforts, my skirt hiked 
up more than I expected and Ron got a very nice view of my thighs. I 
blushed a little and so did he, but neither of us said anything. Ron 
got in as I waived a timid goodbye to Judy and we were off.

	We said nothing to each other as we drove out of town. 
Apparently gone were the days when Ron and I could chat easily like 
the old friends we had been for so long. Things had changed. I was a 
girl in everything but my mind, and Ron was... well, Ron was often 
dumbstruck in the presence of an attractive girl. 

	Ten miles out of town, I couldn't take it anymore. "Look, 
Ron, let's get something settled.  I may not look like it, but it's 
still me - Steve - inside here. I still like football and cars and my 
favorite movie of all time is still The Matrix.  I'm still good in 
history and math and so-so in physics and I like dogs better than 
cats."

	He glanced over at me before returning to face the road. "I 
know you are. I'm sorry, pal. It's just when I look at you, it's hard 
to see Steve."

	"Yeah, but it's really me. Take my word for it."

	He shook his head. "It is and it isn't. Don't take this the 
wrong way, but you look incredible. Last night you looked good, but 
today..."

	As his voice trailed off, I found myself strangely pleased 
with his complement. I knew I looked great, but for some reason it 
felt good to hear Ron say it. But the male part of my mind had to 
resist. "Well don't get too used to it, buddy. I don't plan to stay 
this way if I can help it."

	"You know I'll do everything I can to help you get back to 
being Steve," he said solemnly.

	"I know you will. But until then, try to remember I still am 
Steve even though you have to call me Sarah. Try to treat me as if I 
were still Steve though."

	"I'll do my best."

	And he did, too. We spent the rest of the drive talking as if 
I were still in my male body. We discussed how the Huskers were 
doing, and that led to a general discussion of football. I think it 
did us both good to be talking about a subject that interested us so 
much that we could overcome the breach my transformation had caused. 

	Before we knew it, we were in Lincoln. It was a town I had 
always liked. Both the University of Nebraska and the State Capitol 
were there, so it was a vibrant city. With only a couple of hundred 
thousand residents, it was small enough to be clean and friendly 
without the slums and crime of larger cities. Yet it was large enough 
to have the attractions like shopping and entertainment that made 
cities a fun place to live. I had always looked forward to moving to 
Lincoln for college. I just hoped that when I did it would be as 
Steve and not as Sarah.

	The State Historical Society was housed in a building on R 
Street just off the Capitol Mall and not far from the University. 
It's in an odd looking building that looks as if the architect was 
influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. I just hoped someone in the 
impressive building could help us figure out why we had been 
transformed and how we could get our real lives back.

	I was understandably nervous as we approached the reception 
desk. The sound of my heels clicking on the marble floor and the tug 
of my tight skirt as I walked and the obvious bouncing of my breasts 
were all not-so-subtle reminders of my new identity. But I could see 
the receptionist was attractive enough to tongue tie Ron, so I knew 
I'd have to explain what we needed.

	I asked to see an expert on Indian lore and got a raised 
eyebrow from the woman. "Why do you need to see someone regarding 
that?" she asked. She was pleasant enough in her question, but I 
could see she felt that part of her job was to protect the staff from 
unwanted interruptions, and drop-in requests from two well-dressed 
teens qualified as an unwanted interruption. Again, I was glad I had 
chosen to talk to her. Ron would have been stopped as if he had been 
hit by a six foot five defensive end.

	"We believe we may have found some Indian religious 
artifacts," I lied glibly. "We'd like to know if the Historical 
Society has any interest in them."

	"You could leave them with us," she suggested.

	This wasn't going where I wanted it to go. "Well... we don't 
have them with us..."

	"Religious artifacts?" a friendly voice called out from down 
the hall. I turned and saw a very attractive (yes, I was starting to 
notice) man. He looked to be only a few years older than Ron and I. 
His jeans and striped sport shirt gave him a casual air. His hair was 
black and a little on the long, shaggy side, and his skin was dark, 
his features pronounced. He was obviously mostly Indian. He gave us a 
warm smile and rushed up to take my hand. To his credit, he was 
subtle as he checked out my legs and breasts, letting his eyes 
quickly focus on my eyes. I wonder in retrospect how many men realize 
that one of the best ways to get women to like you is to look them in 
the eye when you meet them.

	"George Brown," he said. His handshake was firm but friendly 
and his smile was pleasant.

	"St...Sarah Hall," I replied. "And this is Ron Cook."

	His handshake with Ron was no less friendly. "Let's step into
a conference room and you can tell me what you've found."

	On the way to the conference room, George explained that he
was working on his doctorate in history. He had a deep personal
interest in Indian religions and myths. "So few were well
documented," he lamented, showing us to our seats. "And those that
were often were mistranslated or heavily edited. They were studied in
a prudish time and some of them were pretty risqu=E9. We didn't even
start studying them until well into the nineteenth century."

	"Mr. Brown..." I began when we were seated.

	"Call me George."

	"George," I started over, "do the words Wakan and Tanka mean
anything to you?"

	George smiled. "Sure. The words are used in the dialects of
the Sioux Nation. Wakan refers to magical or mystical things and
Tanka can be defined as a journey. The languages were fairly simple,
so the words used together can mean several things. Commonly, it
referred to the journey of the soul after death, but it could also be
used as summoning a magical event. Where have you heard the words?"

	I sighed. We would have to tell him everything. "George," I
began, "we're going to tell you a story. I don't really expect you to
believe it, but here goes..."

	To George's credit, he listened to our story. I told him
everything I could, from the night Lisa appeared replacing Lucas
through my own transformation. I could tell he was torn. Part of him -
 the part that was fascinated with Indian lore - wanted to believe
me. But the other part of him was anchored in modern life - in a
society that was technologically grounded and often questioned its
own spiritual heritage, totally dismissing magic.

	"You're telling me you used to be male - a high school
quarterback no less," he said as I finished.

	"I know how incredible it sounds..."

	"Who won the Super Bowl last year?"

	Reflexively I answered, "St Louis."

	"And the year before that?"

	"Denver."

	"What's you favorite team?"

	"The Kansas City Chiefs."

	"What Super Bowl did they win?"

	"Four."

	"Who was their quarterback?"

	"Len Dawson."

	"Who did they beat and who was their quarterback?"

	"The Minnesota Vikings and Joe Kapp."

	His eyes were dancing. "Damn, girl, you're good!"

	"What was all that supposed to prove?" I said just a little
angrily.

	He shrugged. "Nothing really. But it verifies that you like
football - and you like it the way men like it, complete with the
statistics. Most women - even the ones who enjoy football - tend to
not have a memory for its history and statistics. Of course it
doesn't prove anything, but I have to ask myself why you would make
up such an incredible story."

	"Then you'll help us?" I asked hopefully.

	"I don't really know what I could do," he replied, dashing my
hopes. "Like I said, we don't really know a lot about how Native
American magic worked. So even if I believed you, I'm not sure what I
could do."

	"There must be something..." I could feel tears welling up in
my eyes and a tremor in my voice.

	If someone had told me a day earlier that I would find myself
as a young woman dressed in a short skirt crying as my best friend
put a comforting arm around my narrow shoulders, I would never have
believed him. But that's what I did. This was my last chance to get
my rightful life back, and I had just been told that there was
nothing that could be done. I was going to be condemned to a life in
skirts. The only time I would ever be on a football field again was
if I went out for cheerleader in college.

	The strange thing was that I knew as I cried that I was being
overly emotional. I think I may have even been more emotional than I
would have been if I had been born a girl. Girls learn to live with
their emotions where boys learn to suppress them. I had no experience
in controlling the new emotions that had come with my sex. But
knowing all that didn't make it any easier.

	The strange thing was the effect my outburst seemed to have
on George and Ron. Ron had moved in immediately to comfort me -
almost as if he sought to protect me. George just looked stricken, as
if this was somehow all his fault. Even through the tears I
understood what a strange power women's tears have over a man. It was
as if all bets were off the minute the tears began.

	"Well, maybe we can at least look through the record of
Carver County," George suggested carefully. "I can't promise
anything, but we may find something that tells us if anything else
ever happened there..."

	"Oh yes, please," I told him, my tears miraculously
ceasing. "Anything you can do to help, we'd appreciate."

	My eyes dried and my makeup repaired after a quick trip to
the ladies room, George led us to a large room with sturdy shelves
loaded nearly to the ceiling with boxes.

	"There's stuff here from all ninety-three counties in
Nebraska," George explained. "Most of it hasn't been catalogued or
studied yet."

	"Why not?" Ron asked.

	"Mostly due to lack of money," George answered. "We tend to
study the big stuff from the larger counties first. That's because
local historical societies have the funding to help us with our
research, and the information we uncover has a use in local museums
and so on. I doubt if much has been done on Carver County though.
It's just a small agricultural county. Nothing ever happened there to
make an historian curious."

	"Until now," I added.

	He nodded. "That's right, Sarah. Until now."

	The box containing Carver County's records wasn't very large,
but it was very dusty. "It looks like nobody's done much research on
Carver County in a while," George said, dropping the cardboard box of
documents on a sorting table. He pulled a few dusty notebooks out and
looked at the titles. "Looks like the standard stuff. Mostly, it's
old minutes of the Leeds City Council and a few journals."

	"Journals?" I asked.

	"Yeah, stuff written by the early settlers. Mostly, it's
pretty dull stuff. I think the pioneers wrote journals just to keep
themselves from going nuts due to the isolation and such. Nothing
specifically on any Native American activity though - unless there's
something in some of the journals."

	"Maybe whatever we're searching for came in with the
carnival," Ron suggested.

	I had been thinking the same thing. It had taken over two of
the carnival employees after all. Our original assumption was that it
was the fortuneteller - part of the carnival. "Or maybe it has
nothing to do with Carver County," I offered. "There were Indians all
over the state."

	"True," George agreed. "And if it is tied to the carnival,
we'll have a hard time tracking it down. But most Native American
magic is tied to a place. Carver County is where you claim to have
been transformed, so Carver County is the place to start looking.
Hello..."

	"What is it?" I asked hopefully.

	"Just one of those journals I was talking about," George
muttered. "But the name on it is Amelia Carver. I wonder if she was
part of the Carver family."

	"She was," I told him. "We studied the origins of the county
back in junior high. Amelia was Jebediah's daughter. He was the
original settler in the county. She inherited it from her brother."

	"That's right," Ron chimed in. "The brother - Jasper - died
in an accident on the farm. He had never married, so Amelia and her
husband inherited the land."

	"I think I have two budding historians in my midst," George
said with a smile. We smiled back at the complement.

	"Maybe Amelia wrote down something that might be helpful," I
suggested.

	"Well, it's possible," George said, opening the book. He read
a few sentences as we waited silently. Suddenly, he looked up at us,
his mouth open.

	"What is it?" both Ron and I asked at once.

	"Let's take this back to the conference room," George
proposed. "We might as well get comfortable. This might take awhile."

	I tried not to get my hopes up again as we walked back to the
conference room. When we got there, George had already thumbed
through several pages of the journal. He looked up at me when we were
all seated. "Sarah, I want to apologize. I was just humoring you
before. Now I believe everything you told me."

	"You do?" It was almost too good to be true!

	"Yes," he said with a serious nod. Take a look at this and
you'll see what I mean."

	Ron and I sat next to each other and opened the dusty little
leather-bound journal. The handwriting was neat and feminine and
would have been easy to read were it not for the poor quality of the
fading ink. Still it was legible, so we read from the beginning:

	28 November, 1860

	Mama believes that all girls should keep a journal. Perhaps
that's so. I've agreed to do it so long as she allows me to keep it
private, and that she agreed to. That means private from her, too. If
she knew what I was writing in it, she'd have me declared mad, but I
swear it's true - every last word of it.

	Mama says most girls start their journals by telling about
their early lives - before they began their journals. She says it
helps to focus the thoughts to review what came before prior to
writing what now is in the journal. Very well; that's just what I'll
do, but it's that part of my journal that would make any reader think
me mad.

	We came to this lonely place three years ago from Ohio. Papa
had a farm there, and my memories of the place are that it was
prosperous. But our farm was in the south part of the state near
Cincinnati. Papa began to worry about the possibility of war between
the states, with nearby slave state Kentucky on one side and free
Ohio on the other over the slave issue. Papa didn't care about slaves
one way or the other, so he thought it best to sell out and move
further west where a war over slavery would be of little consequence
one way or the other. Whether he was right or wrong has yet to be
seen, but the newspapers tell of the certitude of war now that Mr.
Lincoln has been elected. So I have to think Papa did the right thing
in spite of the consequences to our family.

	My brother Jasper and I were excited about our new home, and
as all boys do, we set out early on to explore the countryside around
our new dwelling. That's right, I said boys, for when we moved from
Ohio, my name was Alexander Carver and I was as much a boy as my
brother.

	I remember the day as if it were just yesterday. Jasper was
fifteen and I was thirteen. We were all that there was of Carver
offspring, an older brother and younger sister having not survived,
the results of cholera and smallpox respectively. The day before we
had finished helping Papa clear some of our new land of stumps and
rocks that would dull our plow. It had been hard work for us both,
and as a reward, Papa had given us the day to explore. It was a rare
treat for us, so we vowed to take advantage of every minute.

	Late afternoon found us along the little creek that flowed
perhaps a mile from our house. We had spent the waning hours of
daylight capturing frogs, teasing them, and releasing them into the
gentle, cool stream. We talked as brothers do, discussing what we
would do with our lives. Jasper was much like Papa, bonded to the
land. I think he never wanted to do anything but be a farmer. As for
me, there was a war coming. I couldn't wait to get a little older so
I could go fight. It wasn't that I thought much about slavery either,
but I was a young boy and young boys are always eager to fight.

	Jasper laughed at that. He said if war came, our boys would
whip the Southerners in no time, so I'd still be too young to fight
since the fighting would be over before I could grow up. We were
still arguing about this when we spotted the rock.

	The rock caught our eye because unlike the rough gray rocks
along the streambed, this one was black and shiny - so black that it
was almost as if light itself couldn't escape it. It looked as if the
rock had been buried on purpose along the edge of the stream, but the
stream had changed course a little through the years, and the rock
was mostly exposed.

	While it was too large for us to lift, it captured our
imagination at once. After all, we had just finished helping Papa
tame the land of its rocks. What was one more? Jasper and I found
broken tree limbs and proceeded to dig around the stone to expose it.
I remember very clearly that it was just sundown as we uncovered the
rest of the rock, and Jasper tried to lift it away from the stream.
Jasper was always big and strong, and I think he might have actually
been able to move it some if he had not been taken then.

	Yes, I said taken. I watched in horror as my brother began to
change. Oh, he was the same size and shape as before, but his
features had begun to change. His hair became black as coal and his
skin turned darker, his facial features changing until he appeared to
my consternation to be an Indian.

	Perhaps I should say here just how terrifying it was to see
my brother become an Indian. Not only was the fact of his
transformation troubling in itself, but the uneasy peace we had with
our red brothers just three short years ago had taught us to be wary
of the savages. Now, I was alone with one who had only moments before
been my brother.

	He uttered something to me; his voice was not quite right and
his words unfamiliar. "I don't understand," I told him, wondering if
I should run.

	He then closed his eyes as if deep in thought. I have since
come to believe he was actually searching through my brother's
memories. When he spoke again, it was in English. "Where are my
people?" he asked.

	I may have been only thirteen, but I kenned what he was
saying. I took him to be the spirit of some Indian long gone. As
bravely as I could, I told him, "They've gone - all of them. They're
mostly on the reservation now."

	It took him a moment to grasp that. Again, I think he tapped
into Jasper's memories. "Then your father is on this land?"

	"He owns it, yes."

	"Then tell your father to let me go."

	"You let my brother go!" I demanded as bravely as I could. As
I said, I was only thirteen and always ready for a fight.

	He reached out before I could react and grabbed my hand. I
felt a strange tingle go through my entire body. "Wakan Tanka," he
said. I can't remember any of the any other Indian words he used, but
I'll remember those for the rest of my life.

	Then he let go of my hand and I felt really strange. It was
like every part of my body just didn't know what to do with itself.
Oh, I could breathe and all, but every part of me just started moving
around. And when it was all done moving, I was changed. I was a girl.

	It's funny, but I didn't notice some things then I might have
noticed if I had been the age I am now. I knew I was a girl, as
impossible as that seems. My hair was long and blowing in my face and
I felt smaller and weaker. I looked down and saw I had on a dress,
and it was blowing up against my legs. Something was irritating me on
my chest - on my, if I dare say it here, nipples. I knew I was shaped
like a girl there. The same was true of what had made me a boy - it
was all changed now, too.

	"Tell your father to let me go," the Indian spirit in my
brother's body told me again. Then he touched the stone and I watched
while my brother started to look like himself again.

	That gave me some hope. If my brother changed back, maybe I
would, too, but it didn't happen. I remained a girl. I was too scared
and too shocked to help Jasper, so as soon as he looked like himself
again, he collapsed on the ground.

	Finally, I tried to rouse him. I put my hand on his and 
realized how much softer my skin was than his. I hadn't known a 
girl's skin could be so soft. Eventually, he came around. He didn't 
believe me at first when I told him who I was. Apparently he 
remembered nothing of the time when the spirit possessed his body. I 
finally convinced him as to who I was, and he began to apologize to 
me.

	"I wasn't your fault," I told him in my new girl's voice, and 
it wasn't. Jasper and I were brothers, and we might tease each other 
and even get into fights, but we would never knowingly hurt each 
other.

	We tried everything we could think of to get me changed back. 
Jasper had me grab the rock, but nothing happened. We called out to 
the spirit to help us, but it didn't do any good. At last we decided 
the only thing to do was go home and tell Mama and Papa...

	"You don't need to read the whole thing now," George told 
us. "But I think you can see why I believe you."

	"We studied about Amelia Carver," I said dully. "I know she 
never got to be male again because she died a woman." And I probably 
would, too. 

	"I need to study that journal," George returned, holding out 
his hand for the volume. "If there's any way to beat this... spirit, 
I'll need to see what else Amelia can tell us." 

	I was reluctant to surrender the book. I knew from history 
that Amelia never became male again, and from her journal I knew that 
three years later she still remembered her male life. But what I 
really wanted to know is what happened to her after those opening 
passages. Did she always retain a knowledge of her previous male 
life, or did age rob her of that identity when she became an adult as 
it had robbed our parents of my boyhood? To lose who I had been would 
be like dying, although I might have a better chance of accepting my 
new life if I forgot the old one.

	George noted my hesitance. He leaned forward and looked at us 
carefully. "I understand your reluctance to give me the journal. I'm 
sure there's a lot it can tell you. But timing may be important, and 
there may be something in there that tells me what we need to know to 
stop any more lives from being... changed. Do either of you know what 
a trickster is?"

	We both shook our heads at first, and then I remembered 
something I had read. "Isn't a trickster another name for Coyote, the 
Indian god?"

	"Not exactly," George replied. "But you're close. He's not so 
much a god as a force of nature - sort of a primal force. Some Native 
Americans called him Coyote - you're right about that. But in this 
part of the country, he was typically called Hare or Rabbit. He has 
other names, too - Raven, Spider, Mica, Azeban, Suku, and a whole lot 
of other names I've forgotten or never learned."

	"I remember, too," Ron broke in. "He was always playing 
tricks on people - hence his name. But he wasn't a body swapper, was 
he? I thought he was a shape shifter."

	George smiled. "Either the schools in Leeds are very good or 
you two are exemplary students. Yes, Ron, you're right. The Trickster 
was a shape shifter - or so we think. Unlike many Native American 
legends, we almost have too much information on the Trickster. Nearly 
every tribe in America had one in their myths, and just like the 
names were different, so were some of the attributes. By the way, 
tricksters also appear in non-Native American myths as well. Loki 
among the Norse and Hermes among the Greeks had a bit of the 
trickster element in them. 

	"As for the body swapping versus shape shifting, it's 
possible the trickster or tricksters did both, or it could be that 
the Native Americans who kept the legends got it wrong. After all, a 
trickster who takes over the body of a bird or shifts shape into one 
still looks like a bird."

	"You mean there may be more than one of them?" I asked with 
an uneasy feeling.

	"Until today, I wouldn't have believed there was even one of 
them," George told us. "But now that I have reason to believe one may 
exist, perhaps there were many of them. Most Native Americans speak 
of a Spirit World. Western culture has nothing quite like it. Native 
American languages and our understanding of their nuances are 
insufficient to describe the Spirit World. Usually we just equate it 
to the Christian concept of Heaven, but there's a lot more to it than 
that. Native Americans believed there was a world just outside our 
own, and that they could communicate with it. There were spirits in 
everything - good spirits and bad spirits, just like there are good 
people and bad people. Some ranged by day and others only at night. 
Some helped men and some hindered them."

	"And you think Amelia's journal will help you discover what 
sort of a spirit we're dealing with?" I prompted.

	George nodded. "In a word, yes. This spirit - call it a 
trickster or whatever you will - isn't quite like any other one I've 
ever read about."

	"You mean the others you've read about didn't change sex," I 
tried to clarify.

	"That's right. They changed their own sex, or maybe they body 
swapped. But once they did that, they played a role and tricked 
others in that form."

	"Do any Native American legends involve changing someone 
else's sex?" I asked, hoping that there was something in George's 
vast base of knowledge that would help.

	"It isn't common," George told us. "It does happen though. 
Some Native American tribes believed that the gods made the original 
women by changing some of the men. Shamans are a form of sex change, 
but it's more spiritual than physical. The only story I remember is 
one about a river spirit that changed a brave into a woman because he 
peed in the river she protected."

	"Don't let the EPA find out about that one," Ron quipped. 

	Ron and George laughed, but the best I could manage was a 
smile. I felt very sorry for that poor brave. He had peed in a river 
and the spirit had presumably made sure that the only way he could do 
that again was by squatting in the river and getting his - her - feet 
wet. I would henceforth have the same problem, it seemed. 

	I passed the book to George. "I want to read it all when 
you're finished with it," I told him. I wanted to find something in 
the journal that told me Amelia reconciled her mind with her body, 
and remained proud of her boyhood and confident in her womanhood.

	"I'll have it for you tomorrow," George promised.

	"Tomorrow?" I asked brightly. That was better than I expected.

	He nodded. "Yes. I plan to spend the rest of the day getting 
all this sorted out. Then tomorrow, I'm joining you in Leeds. This is 
the find of a career, and I'm not going to waste a minute."

	I felt true hope as we got back in the car. We had come to 
the right place. Thank God we had been greeted by George. His 
curiosity and enthusiasm were just what we needed. If anyone could 
help us, it was George. 

	I still felt that the odds of getting our real lives back 
were long. But I had played enough football to know that just because 
your team is down by ten points with two minutes to go doesn't mean 
all is lost. If there was a way back to manhood, George would help us 
find it. And if not...

	That's what I was thinking about as we headed back to Leeds.  
Ron chattered away as we drove. He was driving once again, and I 
thought he was oblivious to the fact that my mind wasn't on what he 
was saying. I was thinking about Amelia and what her life must have 
been like. There had been no way back to manhood for her, and she was 
condemned to a life in skirts. 

	Of course her life must have been even worse than mine would 
ever be. Frontier women had hard lives. Without modern conveniences, 
work was unending with all the cooking, cleaning, sewing and mending. 
Nobody had heard of sexual equality. Women couldn't even vote. When I 
thought of it that way, I supposed I didn't have it so badly. I might 
be a young woman, but I could be about anything I wanted to be. If I 
chose to follow my father into the law; there was  nothing about my 
new sex that would stop me. Of course, I wasn't going to be playing 
much football...

	"What do you say?"

	"Huh?" Okay, Ron, you caught me, I thought. I hadn't been 
listening to a word he had said.

	"I said let's get out of the fancy duds and go get a Runza or 
something. I'm starving."

	"Oh sure, okay." I looked around and realized we were nearly 
back in Leeds. I wasn't really hungry, but I supposed I had to eat.

	"We can get out of these clothes first. I'll pick you up in 
about an hour."

	"Great." I really wanted to get into something a little less 
ladylike. 

	"But...Sarah..."

	I turned toward him. "Yes?"

	He blushed. "You really did look very...professional today."

	I knew he hadn't wanted to say "professional." He wanted to 
tell me how lovely I looked in my butter-colored suit. I suppose he 
meant well. "Thanks, Ron. So did you." I suppose I meant well, too.

	We pulled up to my house and Ron gave me back my keys. Then 
with a wave, he ran off to his house to change. It wasn't until I 
reached the front door that I realized I had in effect agreed to go 
out on a date with Ron. Well, I had told him to treat me as if I were 
still Steve. It would be perfectly natural for Ron and I to go out 
for a Runza if I were still Steve, and that certainly wouldn't have 
been a date. I was sure that was how he meant it.

	I was alone in the house - except for bedtime the night 
before, it was the first time I had been alone since my 
transformation. Had it really only been last evening that I had been 
changed? It seemed as if I had been wearing this female body for 
decades. That isn't to say that it felt normal - just the opposite in 
fact. It was just that the hours of being female had seemed endless. 

	There was a note on my door when I got to my room. It was 
from Mom, reminding me that I had agreed to help her judge some of 
the craft projects at the fair. That was just great. Steve wasn't 
expected to do artsy-craftsy stuff but apparently Sarah was. Well, it 
was just one more penalty for being female, I supposed.

	It felt wonderful to get out of my good clothes. I had no 
idea women's clothing could be so constricting. Heels were less 
trouble than I would have imagined them to be, but the shoes were 
unfamiliar in configuration and rubbed in funny places on my feet. As 
for the pantyhose, I had to admit their touch against my soft, smooth 
skin was strangely pleasing, but wearing them for several hours on a 
warm Nebraska day had made my legs warm - not to mention my crotch. 
It was with a sigh of relief that I pulled them off, being careful 
not to snag them just as Judy had shown me.

	In moments, I was standing there in nothing but a silky cream-
colored bra and panties. I would have been happy to remain there in 
my room in nothing else just to stay cool, but I had to find 
something to wear - something to wear with Ron for dinner and 
something to wear to help my mother judge. It was warm now - almost 
hot - but it would be cooler later. I opened my closet, inspecting 
for the first time outfits of every shape, color and description. I 
froze. There were too many choices. What was I going to...

	I backed away from the closet, and I'm sure if I could have 
seen my face, there would be fear in my eyes. As a guy, I would have 
decided instantly. I would have picked a short sleeve shirt and a 
decent looking pair of jeans off the rack and I would have been all 
set. As a girl though, the expectations of how to dress changed 
significantly. I didn't know the rules. I tried calling Judy but she 
was out, and there was no one else I really wanted to confide in.

	Reluctantly, I approached the closet. Although I wasn't into 
dresses, they caught my eye first. After all, they were the most 
colorful and occupied a significant portion of my closet. No, a dress 
seemed a little much. Mom would have liked it and it would have made 
me more official looking for the judging, but I had had my fill of 
skirts and nylons for the day. Jeans would have worked for Steve, but 
I had found that morning that girls wear jeans for looks and not for 
comfort. If someone ever comes up with denim paint, I think some 
girls will just paint a pair of jeans on their bodies and they won't 
look any tighter than mine did for school that morning.

	Of course jeans would have worked fine for going out to Runza 
with Ron. But I didn't think Mom would appreciate my wearing jeans to 
the judging. There were other outfits to consider. I even tried a 
couple on. There were some white Capri pants. I had never really 
liked them on girls, but what the heck. White Capri pants and a white 
and blue top with three quarter sleeves and what I later found was 
called a boat top neckline looked okay, but maybe a little too "day 
at the beach." Shorts were too casual, too cool for all evening, and 
displayed a little too much leg. 

	Sighing in frustration, I rummaged through the closet until I 
came upon a khaki skirt. It was short and casual but probably dressy 
enough that Mom wouldn't have a fit. I found a pink (yes I know - I 
hate pink) sleeveless top on the hangar next to the skirt, and 
decided the two must be designed to go together. At least the skirt 
was casual enough that I could wear some tan sandals that didn't seem 
to require nylons. The casual look of the outfit meant a minimum of 
jewelry and makeup, which was fine with me.

	It struck me as I put the outfit together that I was thinking 
just like a normal girl must think about her outfit. But I really 
didn't have much of a choice in the matter, did I? If I was going to 
have to spend perhaps the rest of my life being a girl, I wanted to 
look like a normal girl. If that meant I had to spend more time 
putting together my outfits, so be it.

	At least I had a body that was designed to wear nice clothes, 
I thought as I looked myself over in the mirror. I wasn't quite a 
Victoria's Secret model, but I wasn't too bad. I posed in front of 
the mirror in just my bra and panties wondering how I would look in a 
lingerie ad. Not bad, I thought. I felt a moment of pity for poor 
Marsha. I imagined she didn't quite get the same feeling when she 
looked at herself in the mirror. Not that she was all that bad. If 
she lost a few pounds, she'd actually be pretty cute. 

	In retrospect, I have to admit my mind was taking a journey 
down a path that I would have normally found frightening. I was 
thinking like a girl. Worse yet, I was thinking like a girl with one 
thing on her mind - how she looked. At least I caught myself, but I'm 
not sure to this day how long I stood there in front of the mirror. I 
do know I wasn't ready when Ron showed up to pick me up for dinner.

	"Just like a woman," he sighed from the living room where I 
had asked him to wait while I finished getting ready.

	"That's a nasty remark," I commented, but I had to admit he 
was right. I was twenty minutes late getting dressed and working on 
my hair and makeup. I'd have to be more efficient in the future. It's 
just that there were so many choices.

	On the way to Runza, I told Ron I needed to go to the 
fairgrounds after dinner. He frowned. "Are you sure you want to go 
back there?"

	"I don't think I have a choice," I sighed. "Mom is expecting 
me."

	"She never asked you to come with her to judge before."

	"That's when I was Steve," I pointed out. Yes, I'd probably 
be seeing a lot more of my mother now that I was a girl. When Lisa 
and I had been boys, we were in our father's province. We'd play 
ball, go to games together, and do all the other guy things that sons 
do when they have a good father. Now that we were girls, we were on 
Mom's side of the fence. I suspected a lot more time would be spent 
cooking and doing laundry and stuff that Mom had never asked us to do 
before. Bummer.

	Runza is unique to Nebraska. I've heard that there a couple 
of them elsewhere, but the yellow and green Runzas are as Nebraskan 
as the Cornhuskers. Basically, they're ground meat in spices baked 
inside their own bread. I've heard that they originally came from 
Eastern Europe - as did a lot of the people who settled Nebraska. 
Wherever they came from, they're great. I only had one though and 
could barely finish it. Ron wolfed down two and an order of onion 
rings.

	"Not hungry?" he asked between bites.

	"Not really," I admitted. "I guess a body this size doesn't 
need as much food as my old one."

	He shrugged. "I guess not. Sorry to be such a pig."

	"Don't worry about it," I told him. He had finished his meal 
in only a little more time than it had taken me to eat my more modest 
fare. 

	He looked around to make sure there was no one listening to 
us. "You know it's funny, Sarah, but if I didn't know better, I'd 
think you'd been a girl all your life."

	I couldn't determine how he had meant that, and he apparently 
noticed it from my expression. He clarified, "I don't mean that in a 
bad way. Maybe it's all part of the spell. I just mean that the way 
you move and the way you talk..."

	"If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a 
duck, eh?"

	He reddened a little. "Something like that. Is it so bad - 
being a girl?"

	It was an interesting question. Was it so bad being a girl? I 
was healthy, smart and attractive - attributes which many would envy. 
But I had had all of those things as a guy, too, plus the addition of 
strength. "I guess I can live with it if I have to," I admitted 
slowly, "but it isn't my first choice."

	Ron nodded sympathetically. "I can't imagine what you're 
going through."

	I felt an odd little bubble of emotion rise up from within 
me. I thought I was actually going to start blubbering but I held it 
back. I even managed a little smile for my friend. "Thanks."

	He put his large hand over my small one. "That's what friends 
are for."

	I wanted to pull my hand away. It wasn't very manly to have 
our hands touching that way. But somehow, it felt good to know Ron 
was there and to be able to touch him. "We'd better go," I managed at 
last. "Mom will be looking for me."

	There were fewer of our contemporaries than usual at the fair 
that evening. No one else seemed to notice, but Ron and I did. Oh 
there were still a number of our friends there, but mostly they were 
girls. I guess they felt since the trickster or whatever it was 
seemed to only change guys into girls, they were safe. What guys we 
did see were traveling in large packs - five or six in a group. When 
they did anything, they did it together, never letting each other out 
of their collective sight. 

	Marsha and Gabby were there, running with their respective 
groups, but I saw no sign of Alicia - or Kevin for that matter. I 
wondered where they were. They had always been very good friends just 
like Ron and me. I suspected wherever they were that evening they 
were together.

	For that matter, I saw no sign of Lisa and Dave. I suspected 
Lisa was trying to keep Dave away from danger. There wasn't a lot to 
do in Leeds in the evenings, but there was the Rivoli Theater and the 
bowling alley. They might be at one of those places. Their options 
were limited though since both of them were too young to drive.

	The biggest crowd was at the exhibition hall. Dad had already 
joined Mom and was helping her with the judging. Of course, Dad 
wasn't an official judge, but he was enlisted into service carrying 
Mom's notes as she judged sewing projects. There was a look of relief 
on his face when he spotted me, and I knew I was supposed to be his 
replacement.

	This was the first time I had encountered my father since my 
transformation, and I really didn't know how to handle it. It didn't 
seem right to saunter up to him and greet him with a "Hey, Dad." On 
the other hand, I didn't really want to greet him with a girlish "Hi, 
Daddy!" My compromise was an innocuous "Hi." Apparently that was 
about right, for he didn't seem to notice anything wrong.

	His response, on the other hand, was unexpected. He gave me a 
fatherly hug and said, "Hi, sweetheart. I'm glad you're here. You're 
mother has been making me take notes and I don't have the foggiest 
notion what some of her sewing terms mean."

	And I did? I supposed from his perspective I did. After all, 
his fatherly squeeze and calling me "sweetheart" were indications 
that in his mind, I had always been a girl. I probably sewed and 
knitted and all those feminine things - at least as far as he was 
concerned.

	Dad disappeared with some of his friends as quickly as 
possible, and Mom began to pepper me with comments which I dutifully 
wrote down in a disturbingly female script. Ron found it funny. Mom 
kept saying things like, "Oh look, Sarah, isn't this lovely? You had 
one just like it when you were a little girl." Well, I suppose she 
couldn't be faulted for her enthusiasm. As far as she was concerned, 
she had always had a daughter - two of them in fact. But I could see 
I was going to be forced to follow Mom on her feminine pursuits for 
as long as I was a girl, and something told me that might be a long, 
long time. 

	The judging was completed about eight, and I do have to admit 
that I did get a little interested in the process. A few of the 
entries had been done by classmates of mine. I hadn't seen them 
during the judging phase, but they were there when the prizes were 
announced. One of them even took second place in the Creative Sewing 
category. She was so thrilled to win second that she was jumping up 
and down with tears in her eyes. To watch her, you would have thought 
she had just won a big football game for our school. 

	Was that the level of competition I'd be stuck with now? I 
knew that unless I changed back, my days of football were over. Sure, 
there were girls' sports I could go out for, but as far as the 
coaches were concerned, I probably wasn't on any of the girls' teams. 
I wasn't really tall enough to be much good in basketball, and my leg 
muscles didn't seem to be developed enough to be in track. What else 
was there? Volleyball? Well, it was getting to be a bigger sport at 
the college level. Maybe I'd have a shot there. But since I had never 
played the game except socially, I'd have a lot to learn.

	"Thanks for you help, Sarah," Mom said with a quick hug and a 
slight buss on my cheek - slight enough that it didn't disturb our 
makeup. "Now you and Ron go have fun for awhile. We'll see you home 
at eleven."

	Well, great. As Steve I had been allowed out until midnight. 
Apparently Sarah had to be home earlier. It was no big thing though. 
I'd probably be ready to go home well before that. After all, what 
was there to do out late as a girl?

	"You want to look around the fair for a little bit?"

	I realized I hadn't had much fair time. Tuesday night I had 
been dealing with Lisa's transformation and Wednesday night it had 
been my own changes. "I guess, but aren't you worried? I don't need 
another girlfriend, you know."

	Ron shrugged. "We'll team up with some of the other guys and 
stick together."

	And that was just what we did. It turned out Alicia and Kevin 
did make it to the fair after all, arriving just as we were leaving 
the exhibition hall. They were more than happy to hang out with us. I 
noticed something strange about our two friends though. Kevin 
actually looked more ill at ease than Alicia. Alicia looked for all 
the world as if she was quite comfortable with her new sex. Of 
course, it could be an act, I realized. All of us who had been 
transformed were making an honest effort to fit in as best we could. 
But Alicia was downright cheerful.

	It was a strange evening, I must say. We walked and talked 
together like two normal couples out on a date. No one who was 
unaware of what had happened would ever have guessed that only a day 
before we had all been male. Alicia had become a very attractive girl 
with dark red hair and a few freckles I had never noticed on Andy. 
She was dressed in denim shorts and a white tank top, and despite the 
coolness of the evening looked quite comfortable. She was about my 
size, which made it easy for her to lean over and whisper to me as we 
made our way down the midway.

	"So how was your first day?" she wanted to know as Ron and 
Kevin strolled a couple of paces ahead of us just out of earshot.

	"Okay, I guess," I responded carefully. 

	"Mine, too," Alicia replied, although I noted she was much 
more at ease with herself than I was. Well, she did have a sister a 
year younger than she was. Maybe her sister had helped her to cope. 
My sister, on the other hand, was as new at this girl stuff as I was. 

	I went on to tell her about our trip to Lincoln. 

	"Then maybe there's hope for us to get changed back," she 
concluded, but I noted she didn't seem exactly elated at the 
prospect. I wanted to know why.

	Ron and Kevin were busy trying to win prizes at the shooting 
gallery and seemed to be pretty wrapped up in the process. Both just 
grunted as I told them Alicia and I had to go to the "little girls' 
room." I grabbed Alicia gently and guided her into the restroom 
complex behind the midway.

	The restrooms were part of a permanent building on the 
fairgrounds, so they were spacious, clean and well-lit. Alicia had 
realized we were there to talk privately, so we pretended to look in 
the mirror and arrange our hair until we had the place to ourselves. 
When we did, I turned to Alicia. "What's going on?"

	She looked down. "I don't know what you mean."

	"Yes, you do. I've been watching you tonight. You're acting 
as if you've always been a girl. What's wrong with you?"

	"Wrong with me!" she practically yelled. "There's nothing 
wrong with me."

	"You've been hanging on Kevin all evening. Look, maybe you 
didn't date much as a guy, but - "

	"I did my share of dating as a guy," she argued. "And don't 
give me any birds and bees lectures.
I lost my cherry as a guy long before you did."

	"Yeah, and at the rate you're going, you'll lose yours as a 
girl well before mine, too!" I retorted.

	"I already have."

	I know I had planned to say something, but it didn't come out 
of my mouth. All I could do was stare at her. This girl had been 
Andy - one of my best friends. One of my best male friends.

	"H...how?" I stammered.

	She shrugged. "The usual way. Why do you think we got here 
late?"

	"But...but you're a guy."

	She waved her arms over her body. "Do I look like a guy?"

	"You know what I mean," I said uncomfortably.

	"Look, Sarah," she went on, emphasizing my new name, "you 
said yourself that Amelia Carver was born male. She spent the rest of 
her life as a female. We're not getting our old sex back."

	"You don't know that," I protested weakly, unwilling to admit 
that I pretty much had that same opinion.

	"And I don't plan to spend the rest of my life moping because 
I don't have a cock and balls."

	"So you thought you'd use Kevin's," I spat at her, my anger 
rising.

	She grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me to face a 
mirror. "Look at yourself, Sarah. You're a girl. You're probably 
going to be one for the rest of your life. Face it and you'll be a 
lot happier. Ron already - "

	"Leave Ron out of this!"

	"Ron already is hot for you," she finished.

	I gasped, "He is not!"

	"The hell he isn't! He wants you in the worst way."

	"You're just saying that to justify the sicko relationship 
you and Kevin have," I accused. "What? Were you two gay or something?"

	"Kevin wasn't. I was."

	The tidy little world I had enjoyed for nearly eighteen years 
continued to crash down around me. I had grown up with Ron, Andy and 
Kevin. We had played boy games together as children. We had played 
football together in high school. We had taken the same classes and 
dated the same girls. We were all like brothers.

	"But you said... about your cherry. You meant with a guy?" I 
stammered a little incoherently.

	"No, stupid," she sighed. "I screwed Teresa Mitchell last 
spring just before she moved away. I happen to know you didn't screw 
Jennifer Doyle until summer."

	"How do you know that?" I demanded.

	"Her sister and my sister are best friends. But getting back 
to me, I guess I didn't really think about being gay until after 
Teresa. She was okay, but it just wasn't what I was looking for, I 
guess. Then I started to think about Kevin. It's funny, but I never 
thought of myself as gay. In fact, I tried real hard to not be 
interested in Kevin when I was still a guy. Then when I changed, 
there was nothing holding me back. I was actually grateful for the 
change. There's no more conflicts now. I can love Kevin openly."

	"Does Kevin know you were gay?"

	Her eyes became wide. "No! And don't you dare tell him. He 
thinks my attraction to him is all part of the spell that changed me. 
Maybe some of it is. Think about it. Your new sister is running 
around holding hands with that Payne kid. Kevin didn't have any 
trouble when I came onto him today. And Ron is looking at you like 
some love-starved puppy."

	"He is not!" But when I thought about it, she was right. Ron 
had been acting funny around me. I was just trying to ignore his 
growing attraction to me.

	"Oh come on, Sarah, and if you'll be honest with yourself, 
you'll admit you've been watching him, too."

	"Oh come on!"

	"Do you think I woke up one morning and said, 'Hey, today I'm 
gay?' It was a process, Sarah. I kept comparing Kevin to the girls I 
had known, and I decided I'd rather be with Kevin than any of those 
girls. It wasn't even really sexual. The idea of gay sex didn't do a 
lot for me. I suppose if he'd been gay and interested in it, I would 
have been, too. I just... wanted him. And now I can have him. I don't 
have to tell him I was gay. I'm a girl and he likes me this way. He 
never needs to know that I'm glad this happened if it means I can 
have him."

	She got a worried look on her face. "You aren't going to tell 
him are you?"

	I sighed and shook my head. "No. I won't tell anyone. I...I 
hope everything works out for you and Kevin."

	Alicia gave me the kind of smile I would have killed to get 
from a girl when I was male. She hugged me, the smell of her perfume 
mingling with mine as our breasts were pushed together. "Oh thank 
you, Sarah. This is all going to work out. You'll see."

	Dear God, I hoped so.

	We rejoined Ron and Kevin. They had each managed to win a 
prize for us - a small teddy bear for each of us. I hoped I didn't 
grimace when I accepted the trophy from Ron. He was grinning like a 
big kid he was so proud of himself. I thought about what Alicia had 
said about Ron having a thing for me. Damn if she wasn't right, I 
realized.

	In spite of everything, the four of us managed to have a good 
time together. We tried the various games of skill and I found I did 
indeed throw like a girl. There'd be no more thirty-yard passes down 
the center of the field for me. The rides were a different experience 
in a girl's body. In spite of my bra, I felt my breasts pulled from 
side to side and my hair was constantly whipping into my face. I also 
learned it wasn't a good idea to ride in a skirt. I had to pay 
special attention to keeping my legs together or I'd be giving 
onlookers a free show.

	At last the evening came to an end. Alicia and Kevin left 
together, arm in arm. They were looking at each other as if they had 
been lovers forever. I read someplace that to be successful lovers, a 
couple needs to be friends first. Andy and Kevin had always been the 
very best of friends. I wished them well as lovers, too.

	Ron had been the perfect gentleman all evening. While Alicia 
and Kevin had embraced and held hands, I had watched nervously as Ron 
would flex his big hand as if trying to decide if he should take 
mine. I wasn't sure what I would have done if he had tried. Maybe all 
girls went through that uncertainty. Women might be equal in the eyes 
of the law, but guys still usually made the first moves. 

	Ron did open the car door for me, and I realized he had been 
doing that for me all day. The first time had been when I was in 
heels and I had thought he was just helping me because I was unused 
to constricting women's clothing. Now, I realized he was doing it 
because he was a gentleman and I was... well if not a lady at least a 
girl. I know. How many guys really open car doors for girls? Not 
many, I suppose, but Ron did.

	We kept the conversation light on the way home. Both of us 
seemed more comfortable that way. I remembered a few dates from the 
other side where I was the guy trying to keep the conversation light 
while trying to ignore how good looking the girl sitting beside me 
was. The shoe was definitely on the other foot now, and I found it 
was an equal challenge as a girl to keep the banter light while 
ignoring how... good looking the guy next to me was.

	Alicia was probably right. Part of the attraction was the 
spell. If there was a guy there right after we changed, each of us 
appeared to become somewhat attracted to him and them to us. That 
might explain Lisa and Dave. But as long as there was even a slim 
hope that we might find a way to change back into males, I didn't 
want to do anything with Ron that might damage our long-standing 
friendship. 

	Still the gentleman, Ron drove my car into the driveway, came 
around the car opening my door, handed me my keys and walked me to 
the door.

	"Is this the part where I tell you I had a really nice time?" 
I asked him, trying to be glib. The problem was I really did have a 
nice time. It had been fun. Sure it was different. Alicia and I were 
girls now, but it was still the four of us. 

	"Did you?" he asked.

	He asked me so seriously that I had to respond in kind. 
Yes...yes, I did."

	"So did I," Ron said softly.

	I suppose I should have noticed how close to each other we 
were standing. I suppose I should have backed away, smiled and opened 
the door. I suppose I shouldn't have just stood there while Ron 
gently slipped two powerful arms around my waist and pulled me closer.

	A voice in the back of my mind screamed that this was wrong. 
I wasn't really a girl. I was Steve Hall, high school quarterback and 
all-American boy. But my body didn't feel like Steve Hall's body. 
There was a warm, almost wet sensation coming from the emptiness 
between my legs, and behind my bra, I could feel my already-large 
nipples becoming uncomfortably stiff. Involuntarily, my own arms 
found their way around Ron's neck, my longer, feminine nails biting 
gently into the top of his shoulders.

	We kissed. It wasn't a chaste sisterly kiss either. It was a 
kiss that spoke volumes between us. It relieved the pressure in me in 
one sense and raised it in another. Physically, my body wanted more - 
much more. Mentally though there was a strange feeling of belonging - 
of being wanted. It was that feeling that caused me to sigh happily 
as the kiss finally ended.

	We looked into each other's eyes. I saw both fear and 
satisfaction in Ron's brown eyes. Funny I had never noticed them 
being brown before. I suspect he saw the same thing in my blue eyes.

	"Uh... see you tomorrow?" he asked nervously.

	"Yeah."

	He gave me a small, nervous smile, turned and headed for his 
house. I watched him until he was nearly out of sight.

	What have I done? I asked myself as I closed the door behind 
me. I wasn't gay. I wasn't like Alicia had been when she was Andy. I 
was a one-hundred and ten percent heterosexual - in my mind at least. 

	"Sarah? Is that you?"

	"Uh...yes, Mom."

	She was at the top of the stairs in her nightgown. Apparently 
Dad was already in bed. "Did you and Ron have a nice time?" she asked 
quietly so as not to disturb Dad and presumably Lisa.

	"Yeah...sure."

	She frowned. "Honey, you look a little flushed." She walked 
downstairs to me, and I realized as I watched her lovely form that 
this might be me in a few more years. She moved my face up with her 
fingers and smiled. "Your lipstick is smeared."

	"Oh! Well I..."

	She laughed gently, "Don't worry, honey. As long as you and 
Ron have been dating, I wouldn't have expected you not to be kissing 
him." She gave me a comically stern face. "Just make sure kissing is 
all you're doing."

	"What? You mean... Oh, I'd never do something like that with 
Ron." And I meant it. At least mentally I meant it. Physically I 
wanted to go outside, run him down before he walked home, and make 
love to him all night long right there on the sidewalk. 

	"Well, I know you mean that," she said slowly as she put a 
loving arm around my waist. "But you're a young woman now with a 
young woman's wants and needs. You're going to be tempted to give 
into those wants and needs. Just remember you want to go to college 
and maybe even be an attorney like your father. If you do that, 
you'll need to be very careful with what you do with your body."

	I was used to getting little lectures like this from my 
father, although those lectures were usually a little more 
graphic. "Remember," he'd say, "a lot of what you want out of life 
depends upon keeping your fly zipped. It's damned hard to go through 
law school with a wife and a couple of kids." Apparently now those 
lectures would be delivered in a slightly different tone by my 
mother. 

	And I realized she was right. Like most guys, I had taken the 
consequences of sex a little lightly. Sure, in my few times I had 
done it, I had been careful to use a rubber. But that was mostly 
because it was expected of me. Jennifer had insisted I use one. Now 
though, the consequences of sex were far more frightening. I could 
get pregnant. I could be saddled with a baby, for God's sake. The 
thought of an infant coming out of the little opening I now had 
nearly made me shudder.

	"I'll be careful, Mom."

	"Okay." She gave me a patented mother smile. "I know you 
will. Goodnight, dear."

	As she went back to her room, I made my way to my own room, 
wondering how I was ever going to cool down from the heat generated 
by that kiss. I supposed I could play with myself. I had certainly 
done so as a boy and there was no reason why I couldn't do it as a 
girl as well. I'd have to wait until I got in bed though. I didn't 
want Lisa to hear me if I started moaning or something. I tried to be 
quiet in the bathroom we shared so as not to wake her.

	I slipped into another set of shorty pajamas. Unlike last 
night's red flowers, these had little blue polka dots on them. They 
were a little loose, though. I'd have no trouble getting my hand in 
them. I had just pulled up the covers when I heard my door 
open. "Sarah?"

	Oh shit! I thought. But it was a good thing Lisa came in 
before I got started. I didn't know how I would explain that to 
her. "Yes, Lisa?"

	She sat down on my bed and I scooted back to a position 
sitting up with my pillow behind my back. "I wanted to know how 
things went in Lincoln," she said.

	"I thought everybody at the fair heard about it," I told her. 
It was a not-so-subtle way to find out what she had been up to all 
evening.

	"I wasn't at the fair - as you probably already knew," she 
answered. "I went to a movie with Dave. Then we went over to his 
house and sat out in back."

	"And?" I prompted.

	She blushed. I could even see it in the moonlight. "Mostly we 
talked. But we did some other things, too."

	"You didn't..."

	She shook her head. "Jeez, Sarah, I'm thirteen. I hadn't even 
done it as a guy." She sighed. "I don't suppose I ever will now."

	"Don't give up," I told her. Then I told her what had 
happened in Lincoln that day. Lisa sat there impassive as I told her 
what I had learned from George and from reading Amelia Carver's 
journal.

	"Netting it out, Amelia never got to be male again," Lisa 
pointed out when I had finished.

	"But Amelia was alone," I pointed out. "We've got resources 
she didn't have. It may take a little time, but with George's help we 
might find a way back to our old lives."

	"You don't get it, do you?" Lisa said dully. "I've been a 
girl a day longer than you. It's getting harder and harder to fight 
the idea that this isn't my real life. I'll bet if you keep reading 
that journal of Amelia Carver's, you'll find out that even though she 
remembered being a boy three years after she was changed, she 
wouldn't want to change back. She's probably talking about her sewing 
projects and cooking meals and the cute boy who moved in on the farm 
down the road."

	I said nothing - because I had a nagging suspicion she was 
probably right. 

	"I'm starting to... to be attracted to Dave."

	"I know," I said sympathetically, patting her small hand.

	"Yeah, I suppose you do," she allowed. "You seemed to be 
awfully quiet at the front door with Ron. Did he kiss you?"

	"Yes."

	"Did you like it?"

	I was slow to answer. "Yes."

	"So it's happening to you, too," she sighed.

	"I think it's happening to all of us," I told her. Swearing 
her to secrecy, I told her about Alicia. I didn't tell her everything 
though. The fact that Andy had been gay was none of her business. 
Since it was moot now, no one else needed to know.

	"She let him..." Her voice trailed off. I suppose it was 
quite a sobering thought for anyone raised as a guy to think about 
spreading one's legs and letting a man stick his penis in you. While 
it seemed more natural to me at that moment than it would have a day 
or two earlier, it was still pretty frightening. 

	Of course I was no virgin as a guy, but I had never really 
considered before the difference between committing to sex as a man 
and committing to it as a woman. With a man, it's just visiting. 
You're in and out in a few minutes, and it's you who has done the 
penetrating. It's more worrisome to be the one being penetrated, 
particularly when your partner might leave lots of little wiggling 
sperm inside you, any one of which might change the rest of your life.

	"Yeah, she let him," I agreed softly.

	"You and Ron haven't...?"

	I smiled a brave little smile. "No, Lisa, we haven't. And I 
don't plan on it." I didn't add that I was really afraid I might not 
be able to stop myself.

	"Well, I guess I'd better get some sleep," Lisa said. "Some 
of the girls in my class want to hang with me tomorrow." She 
grinned. "I guess they want to convince me all this girl stuff isn't 
so bad."

	"Shame we don't have a mall," I grinned back. "You guys could 
hang out there all day and try on clothes."

	"Please!"

	With a mutual laugh, we said goodnight to each other.

	I found my conversation with my sister had allowed my sexual 
cravings to ebb a little. I still felt oddly stimulated, but not so 
much that I had to do something about it right then. Besides, the 
rational side of my mind had had time to build a case against playing 
with myself. If I did, it reasoned, I might just crave more, like an 
alcoholic who finds one drink has only whetted his appetite for more.

	Besides, I was exhausted. It had been a long day and I 
planned to sleep in as long as I could in the morning. Thank God 
there was no school on Friday. With Dad at work, Mom out on her usual 
Friday civic meetings, and Lisa off with her girlfriends, I'd have 
the house to myself. I could let my hair down, and God only knew I 
had plenty of hair to let down now. So with that, I drifted off to 
sleep.

	Unfortunately, I still had my dreams to contend with. I 
dreamed as I often did of football. They say dreams are the method 
the mind uses to resolve conflicts and process information. If that's 
so, my mind has a funny way of handling it. The dream started in the 
middle of a game. I couldn't see the crowd but I could hear them. It 
was dark all around with just the field lit by some bright but 
invisible lights.

	We were all there in the dream - in the huddle. Ron and Andy 
were my wide receivers. Kevin was my fullback. The rest of my friends 
and teammates were there, too, but I sensed them rather than 
recognized them. I couldn't see what the score was, but I knew we 
were down by less than a touchdown. All we needed to do was score, 
but I sensed time was running out.

	"Okay, Wide Right Four on three," I announced, calling my 
favorite play. It involved Ron running along the sidelines down the 
field. If he caught the ball and scored, we won. If he caught the 
ball and was covered, he could get out of bounds hopefully giving us 
time for one more play. But in all likelihood, this would be it.

	I remember walking toward the line with the effortless 
movement that accompanies all dreams. I looked left at Andy and 
noticed he looked a little smaller. There was long hair trailing out 
of the back of his helmet and he walked strangely.

	As I thought of it, I felt a little strange, too. My hip pads 
seem to be unusually tight, and there was something about my shoulder 
pads that was bothering me. That's when I looked down and saw that 
there were breasts just under the pads. It was a dream, though, and I 
tried to ignore my changing body and concentrate on the play. 

	"Ready...Set!" I barked, but my voice seemed higher and 
sweeter. Still, the team was well-drilled. Everyone got into 
position. Ron looked over at me with a grin. 

	"Hut one!"

	My hand under the center looked small and dainty with long, 
feminine nails.

	"Hut two!"

	Long hair blew into my face from some unfelt breeze.

	"Hut three!"

	The ball was in my hands, but it was so big! I could barely 
hold onto it as I heard the sound of bodies striking bodies and 
the "oof" from the guys up on the line. Ron was running down the 
field, wide open. I straightened up to throw to him, sensing an odd 
weight distribution as I did. I threw the ball, but it didn't spiral -
 it wobbled. Instead of the feeling of muscular power transmitted 
from my arm to the ball, I had felt only movement - no power. The 
ball barely cleared the approaching defensive line and fell to the 
ground.

	I felt something hit me. There was no pain since it was a 
dream, but I fell to the ground. On top of me was a huge lineman 
wearing the uniform of the other team. There was a feral grin on his 
face - his Indian face. 

	"How does it feel, little flower?" he asked me in a deep 
voice. "Do you like your little body? You'll make many babies in that 
body. You'll make your man very happy."

	And instantly, he was off of me, and Ron was standing there, 
looking down at me. He opened both of his arms. "Come to me, Sarah." 
Whatever he said next was drowned out by the laughter of the Indian.

	And thankfully, I woke up. 

	It was still dark, and my body was sending me a series of 
strange messages. I knew what it wanted. I knew what the Indian 
wanted me to do. Had he really entered my dreams, or was it just a 
dream? Just a dream, I suspected, brought on by the demands of my 
body. I groaned miserably, rolled over, and went back to sleep.

	In the morning, I managed to sleep through almost everything. 
I slept through my parents talking loudly in the hall as they did 
every morning - morning people that they were. I slept through Lisa 
singing to a Britney Spears song that was playing so loudly in her 
room I could even hear the backbeat. But I couldn't sleep through the 
telephone. 

	One of the advantages (or disadvantages if I was trying to 
sleep in) of being a girl was that I got my own telephone line. Like 
most guys, I had always kept my telephone conversations short and 
sweet.  There was no need for my own phone line. Now that I was a 
girl, I was apparently expected to yak endlessly on the phone - 
hence, my own line. 

	"Hummf?" I managed to mumble. Then I recognized George's 
voice. I had forgotten that I had given him my private number.

	"Did you hear what I said, Sarah?"

	"Not really," I admitted, pulling long hair away from the 
receiver as I tried to force myself awake.

	"I said I've done some research on our trickster. I'm driving 
up to Leeds this morning. Where can we meet?"

	"Here, I guess." I gave him directions and told him I'd call 
Ron and have him meet with us. As an afterthought, I decided to call 
Judy first, inviting her over as well. I told her what was going on. 
Before I could call Ron, though, he called me.

	"Sarah?"

	He sounded as if he thought I was mad at him. There was 
trepidation in his voice that almost made me laugh.

	"Sarah...about last night. I'm sorry I...I kissed you."

	It was so weird to have so much power. Ron was practically 
twice my size now, and yet he was acting like a puppy facing a rolled-
up newspaper. I could never imagine him being so remorseful if I were 
still Steve. If there was one thing I was slowly discovering as a 
girl, it was that girls can usually make guys dance at the end of a 
string when they put their minds to it.

	"I'm not sorry," I replied, nearly surprising myself.

	"You're...you're not?"

	"Look, Ron," I explained as best I could. "You and I have 
been friends for a long, long time. And we're still friends. It's 
just when we were both guys, we patted each other on the back and 
stuff like that. Now you're still a guy but I'm a girl. I may have to 
stay a girl. Girls and guys who are friends treat each other a little 
differently."

	God, it was a lame explanation, but it was the only one I 
could think of that allowed the two of us to kiss and not be...well, 
attracted to each other. I don't think he believed it any more than I 
did, but it gave him an excuse that we could both live with - for now.

	"Yeah...okay. I'm glad you're not pissed."

	"I'm not pissed." I went on to tell him about George's call, 
and agreed to be there when George arrived. The air clear between us, 
I let him go and proceeded to get ready for the day. 

	Without Judy around, this was my first day to solo as a girl. 
But Judy had done a good job with me. I didn't have too much trouble 
getting ready. While I missed being able to stand to go to the 
toilet, it wasn't any more difficult to sit. The problem was 
psychological - it was because sitting to go was a reminder of what I 
had lost. I was really going to miss walking out in the trees to take 
a piss. And I had noticed that with a smaller bladder, I needed to go 
more often. I thought about the hard time I had given girlfriends 
when they'd demand to stop someplace to use the restroom. I guess 
this was payback.

	Showering wasn't much of a problem either. I was surprised at 
how quickly I had gotten used to my new body. Of course there were a 
few problems. Judy had told me that girls didn't wash their hair 
every day. As Steve, I never missed a day washing my hair. As Sarah, 
I had become aware of how long it took to shape up long hair. I 
probably should have it cut, I thought, if I ended up stuck as a girl.

	The biggest problem was shaving. The little pink razor and 
the shaving gel were only slightly analogous to the process of 
shaving one's face when male. For one thing, there are a lot more 
contours under the arm than I ever realized, and shaving under the 
right arm with the left hand takes practice. The legs are easier to 
shave, but I learned I had to be careful to avoid nicking myself. 
Judy had told me I wouldn't need to shave every day, but it was just 
my luck that my leg hairs were dark enough that I would have to touch 
up every couple of days. Take it from me - shaving my male face was 
much easier than shaving my female body. 

	I looked at my nails. The polish was a little chipped. I 
really didn't want to wear nail polish, but for the moment, it was 
easier to touch it up than remove it. So I touched up the polish on 
my fingers and toes as I sat there wrapped in a towel as Judy had 
shown me.

	As I dressed casually in an blue T-top and white Capri pants, 
I realized how normal and mundane the whole process of being a girl 
had become. I had quickly come to identify this body as "me." Sure, I 
wanted to get back to being Steve. I missed the confident strength 
guys enjoy, and I knew that if I remained a girl, I would never be 
able to watch a football game without wanting to be a part of it. But 
I could make it as a girl if I was forced to. I was determined to do 
it if only to thwart the trickster.

	I looked myself over in the mirror and did a mental check 
list: Hair, makeup, clothing jewelry... yeah, it was all in place. I 
didn't need to worry about shoes and a purse. I wasn't going anywhere 
and it felt good to be barefoot. I was all ready for company. I even 
smiled at myself. I could do this. I didn't want to be a girl, but if 
I had to, I could do it. I felt just a little bit of my old 
confidence flowing back into me.

	Ron was the first to arrive. In spite of our morning phone 
conversation, he still had a hangdog look about him. "Uh...can I get 
a glass of juice?"

	"Since when have you ever asked?" I returned. Ron and I for 
years had treated each others' houses like our own. Apparently our 
usual "Hey, man," followed by a beeline to the kitchen for food or 
drink had been replaced by gentlemanly conduct. Not if I could help 
it.

	"Well, I thought..."

	"You thought things had changed."

	"But you said we'd have to treat each other a little 
differently now that you're...you know..."

	"A girl?"

	"Yeah."

	I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. And I knew that when 
I tried to explain everything to him, he'd just think I was a typical 
woman - changing the rules on a whim.

	"Yes, you can have some juice, you big idiot." He still 
looked suspicious. I peered at him. "You really are nervous around 
girls, aren't you?"

	"Yeah," he sighed. "I always have been."

	"But I've double dated with you before. You weren't this 
nervous then."

	"That's because you were there - another guy, I mean. That's 
why you've never noticed. I'd get alone with a girl and I'd fall 
apart."

	"And now that I'm a girl, you think you have to fall apart 
around me," I concluded, my hands on my hips. I wondered if he knew 
how ridiculous this all seemed to me. There he was, big enough to 
have handed me my teeth even when I was Steve - let alone now that I 
was Sarah. I'd seen him catch balls with a two-hundred plus pound 
safety bearing down on him and not blink an eye. Yet here I was, a 
fraction of his size and he was frightened of me. It was the elephant 
and the mouse. It was almost too much.

	Instinctively - new instincts, I guess - I grabbed his hands 
in my smaller ones. "Look, in a way nothing has changed. We're still 
friends. And if I get stuck this way and someday we decide to be more 
than friends, well so be it. In the mean time, just think of me as 
Steve in drag or something. You got that, man?"

	For such a bright guy, he gave me a really dopey grin. "Yeah, 
I got it. So what do you say, friend, you want to go to out with me 
tonight?"

	"Sure," I said confidently, although I felt just a small 
twinge of the nervousness he had probably been feeling. I was 
agreeing to a date. But what the hell - I'd already gone on a date 
with him the night before. I just hadn't thought of it as such until 
I had agreed to go with him.

	"And how about the dance tomorrow night?"

	"The dance?" I replied stupidly. "You mean in a short dress 
and nylons and heels and..."

	"Yeah, all of that," he laughed. "What's the matter, Hall? 
Getting cold feet? I thought we were friends."

	"We are," I agreed a little reluctantly. I was being hoisted 
on my own petard. "So you better buy me a nice corsage and treat me 
right tomorrow night, buster."

	We smiled at each other and then realized that we were still 
holding hands. If the doorbell hadn't rung, we might have done a 
little more.

	Judy took a moment to inspect me as she stood in the 
doorway. "Not bad," she admitted at last. "But you need to work on 
the eyes a little more. The mascara is a little uneven."

	"Do you know how hard that stuff is to put on?" I asked, 
ushering her in.

	"Of course I do," Judy replied. "Think about it."

	Before I could say anything else, the doorbell rang again. It 
was George looking very smug. I asked him in and introduced him to 
Judy. In a few minutes, we were all gathered around the kitchen table.

	"I think I know who our friend is," George told us when we 
were all settled in with drinks. "An old friend of mine is... well, I 
guess you'd call him a shaman. He lives out on the Winnebago 
reservation and knows quite a few of the legends from the days before 
the white men came. Have you guys ever heard of the Omaha Tribe?"

	We were all good students and all of us nodded. 

	"Then you know the Omaha used to live around here. They were 
never a very big tribe. At their height, they only had about three 
thousand people, but they were a pretty well organized group. At 
their basic level, they were organized into the Earth Clan and the 
Sky Clan. The Earth Clan took care of war and providing food while 
the Sky Clan took care of their religious lives. 

	"According to my friend, about a hundred years before the 
white man came, there was a falling out among some of the younger  
members of the Earth Clan. They broke away, but they were all young 
braves. No women meant the tribe wouldn't last long."

	"I thought most of the tribes traded for or captured their 
women from other tribes," Ron interjected.

	"They did," George agreed. "The problem was that they had 
nothing to trade with and were too weak to go to war to capture 
women. But then they came up with a solution. A shaman of the Sky 
Clan joined them. He was something of a maverick among the shaman. He 
offered them a way to get women."

	"He called up our friend," I concluded.

	"Go to the head of the class," George chuckled. "That's 
exactly what he did. Then our rebels invited single hunters and even 
small hunting parties back to their camp where our trickster changed 
them into girls."

	"That's quite a story," Judy commented. "But it seems as if 
that story would have survived in commonly known legends."

	George nodded. "You'd think so. But consider that this wasn't 
the sort of thing the other tribes would want spread around. When the 
main body of the Omaha learned what was happening, they apparently 
wiped out the rebels. They probably added the women to their own 
tribe. Maybe they even used the trickster one last time and converted 
a few of the braves - or maybe not. We'll never know."

	"When you said the trickster was called up, I assume you mean 
from the Spirit World?" I asked.

	"That's right."

	"Then why didn't they send him back? Why is he still here 
today?"

	"My guess is that they didn't know how to send him back," 
George answered. "Most of the shamans didn't try calling up spirits. 
It was way too dangerous. And as for calling up a trickster, that was 
the most dangerous spirit of all. They could never be trusted. But 
our rebel shaman apparently did just that and metaphysically chained 
it to that rock Amelia spoke of. When the Omaha crushed the 
rebellion, my guess is that they could think of nothing to do but 
hide the rock and hope no one ever found it. Amelia and her brother 
found it when the stream changed course and unburied it. It could 
even be that the spirit was securely chained to the rock, but as 
water eroded part of it, the bond weakened. I read the rest of the 
journal. Later, Amelia and Jasper took a team of horses out, dragged 
the rock away from the stream and buried it. As luck would have it, 
they must have buried it near where the Carver Homestead Monument was 
built."

	"Oh shit!" Ron exclaimed. "When we built the new fairgrounds 
and built the monument, we disturbed a lot of rocks. We must have 
stirred the trickster up - uncovered his rock."

	"I figured as much," I told him. "The rock is probably 
exposed near the monument. But what about that other part where he 
says our fathers should let him go?"

	"I'm still working on that," George admitted as he took a 
swig of juice. "I need your help though. I don't think he's been 
changing people indiscriminately. There's a pattern here. Go over 
everyone who's been changed."

	We quickly listed them all and let George ask us questions 
about each one. Judy, Ron and I told him everything we could think of 
about each of the victims. That whole process took nearly an hour. I 
never really realized how much information about other people you can 
collect in a small town. 

	Okay, so we know this Dr. Winter is on the city council, and 
so is your father, Sarah, which includes Lisa."

	"And Marty's dad is on the council," Judy added.

	George nodded. "Right. That just leaves Alicia and Gabrielle."

	"Gabrielle's father donated the land for the fairgrounds," I 
explained. "And Andy's - or rather Alicia's - father is one of the 
county commissioners. Since the fair is a county function, he was 
involved in the decision to move the fairgrounds onto the old Carver 
property. But how would our trickster know all of this?"

	"Labor Day!" Judy announced proudly. "That's when it 
happened."

	"When what happened?" I asked.

	Judy grabbed my hand. "Don't you see? The Carver Homestead 
Monument was dedicated on Labor Day. The trickster was there. Its 
rock isn't far from the monument. It couldn't get out but apparently 
it could observe. It saw who the town leaders were."

	"Exactly," George agreed. "It has no experience with our 
modern society. It saw all the town dignitaries there and assumed it 
was like a tribal council."

	"So a few days later, it spotted Doc Winter taking pictures 
out at the monument," I broke in. "She told me she took some evening 
shots. She must have taken an assistant with her. The assistant must 
have touched the rock, got taken over, and changed Doc Winter into a 
woman. But the problem would have been Doc wouldn't remember being 
changed. She doesn't seem to remember being a man."

	"That must have been quite a shock for our trickster," George 
commented. Maybe adult Native Americans believed in him enough that 
even the adults would be aware of the change. When your Dr. Winter 
changed, she lost all memory of her previous life. So our trickster 
decided maybe someone younger would be more open to magic. I suppose 
we'll never know the complete answer."

	"So this trickster is changing some of us into girls so we 
will convince our fathers to release him?" I asked skeptically. "Why 
go to all that trouble? Why not just contact us and show us a little 
magic? Why bother to change our sex?"

	George leaned back in his chair, and I could tell from his 
expression that he had already come up with an answer for my 
question. "Have you ever heard of a one-trick pony?" he asked.

	"It was an old expression my grandfather used to use," he 
went on when we shook our heads. "It referred to a pony in a circus 
who only knew how to do one trick but he did it well. The rest of the 
time, he just ran around the ring like any other pony would. I think 
that describes our trickster as well. Whatever shaman called him up 
knew enough about his trade that he knew what skills the trickster 
had. But since even the most radical shaman had to know that 
tricksters were always dangerous, he'd want to find one who could 
only do what the shaman wanted done - namely turn stray braves into 
young women to perpetuate the new tribe."

	"But this trickster can swap bodies and stuff like that," Ron 
pointed out. "That doesn't sound like a one-trick pony to me."

	"But maybe that's just how it gets around," Judy 
suggested. "Maybe it's more associated with its basic nature rather 
than magic it can perform. We don't know much about these things, do 
we, George?"

	George shook his head. "No we don't."

	"So it's possible that changing bodies is how they have to 
move around in our world, but it's no more a magic trick than walking 
is for us."

	"Yeah," I acknowledged, "but it's one heck of a trick. It's 
managed to change reality as well as us. Look at my room - it's a 
girl's room. So it changed more than my sex."

	"Not necessarily," George offered. "When it chants "Wakan 
Tanka,' it may be notifying the gods of its intentions. Just as 
nature abhors a vacuum, reality - whether god-driven or not - 
probably abhors inconsistency. Maybe the greater gods warp reality to 
fit what the trickster has done. It wouldn't do for you to be a girl 
and not have been a girl all your life."

	"But I haven't been a girl all my life," I pointed out.

	"In this modified reality, perhaps you have been," George 
argued. Then he spread his hands sheepishly. "Look, I'm an historian -
 not a theologian or a philosopher. I don't know how magic works. 
Until yesterday, I would have argued that it didn't work at all. But 
I'd be willing to stake my reputation on the theory that this 
trickster has limited powers and is using the only trick it knows to 
get out of a trap sprung on it a couple of centuries ago. It was 
probably summoned about like a wizard calling up a demon in a 
pentagram in Western legends."

	"Okay," I said after we had all taken a moment to think about 
that. "So if all this is true, then we still need to figure out how 
to get him to stop changing guys into girls and change us back?"

	George shifted uncomfortably. I had a feeling I wasn't going 
to like what he had to say next. "I haven't figured that part out 
yet," he told us, confirming my suspicions. It seemed more likely 
every hour that I was doomed to spend the rest of my life as a female.

	"I haven't given up, though," he added. "That shaman friend 
of mine is trying to research the problem. Of course, the Omaha never 
had a written language so he's been forced to check with every shaman 
he knows in the Sioux Nation. If we can find a way to send this 
trickster back to the Spirit World, we may be able to reason with it."

	My outlook brightened at once. "Like letting it go home if he 
changes all of us back into guys."

	George put out his hands as if to push that thought 
back. "Don't get too excited," he warned. "Remember, we're dealing 
with something that isn't human. It probably doesn't think like a 
human. It may not want to negotiate. In fact, it may not even 
recognize that negotiating is an option. Think of this thing as some 
sort of Native American demon. Remember all the tales about calling 
up demons and how they'd turn on their summoners the moment they got 
the chance? That may be what we have here."

	"So what do we do now?" Ron asked. 

	"We seem to be safe during the day. Since it's made all of 
its attacks at night, it's probably dormant during the day. I'd like 
to take a look at that rock it seems to come from," George replied.

	"I'll take you there," Ron volunteered.

	"We'll all go," I added.

	George shook his head and looked at Judy and me. "No, I've 
got another task for you two. I'd like you to go to the local library 
and see if you can find anything about this area that might help us. 
We can meet later. We'll get a pizza. I'll even buy, and on a grad 
student's pay, that's an offer I don't often make."

	We agreed to meet at Pizza Hut at six. That would give George 
plenty of time to get checked into his motel, make some calls he 
needed to make and check out the rock before it got dark.

	Judy had gone to use the bathroom and George was outside 
making some calls on his cell phone. That left me alone with Ron for 
a few minutes. "Look, be careful out there," I warned him. "I don't 
care what George thinks. I don't even like the idea of you going out 
there with him."

	Ron shrugged. "Somebody has to do it. It might as well be me."

	I must have been out of my mind, but I instinctively stood on 
my toes and kissed him on the cheek. "Be really, really careful."

	Ron smiled. "You know if we can figure our a way to get you 
back to being Steve, we're gonna have a little problem if we keep 
kissing each other."

	I smiled back at him. He was right. The attraction I was 
starting to feel for him had no place in Steve's life. There wasn't a 
gay bone in Steve's body. And as much as I wanted to be Steve again, 
I experienced a sudden wave of melancholy at the thought of losing 
Ron.

	"I think I have a solution," I said slowly. "Why don't we 
just pretend for now that I'm not Steve and never have been? Then if 
I change back, the same rule applied. I never was Sarah. They're two 
different people. Can we both agree to that?"

	"Fair enough," Ron said with a grin. "Besides, I'd look sort 
of funny taking Steve to the dance tomorrow."

	"Yes, you would."

	George called him at that moment and he left with a cheerful 
wave. 

	"So you're going to the dance with Ron?"

	I turned and saw Judy standing there with a mischievous 
little grin.

	"Oh! I was going to take you, wasn't I?" I gasped.

	"Do I look like a dyke to you?" Judy asked lightly. "I sure 
don't want you taking me to a dance looking like you do. I want the 
guys all looking at me - not at my date."

	"You know what I mean," I said with a laugh that was very 
close to a giggle.

	Judy shook her head slowly. "You poor kid, it must be hell 
for you to go through all this. You don't know what you are or how to 
feel about anything, do you?"

	I motioned for her to follow me into the living room, and 
each of us plopped down into comfortable chairs near the window as we 
watched Ron and George pull away.

	"I don't know what I want," I admitted. "One minute, all I 
can think of is how much I want to be Steve again. Then the next 
minute, I'm thinking about Ron and how nice it would be to..." As my 
voice trailed off, I could feel my face flush.

	"Look, Sarah," Judy said, leaning over to touch my 
arm, "there's something you need to know about tricksters. I looked 
them up before I came over here this morning. Their magic tends 
toward the erotic."

	"Erotic?"

	She nodded. "That's right, girl, and I emphasize the girl 
part. When you - when all of you - were changed into girls, I suspect 
part of the spell was a heightened libido."

	"That would explain Alicia and Keith and Lisa and Dave..."

	"And you and Ron," Judy added. This trickster probably gets a 
big laugh out of watching former guys fall all over themselves to be 
the loving female."

	"Then... what I'm feeling... about Ron...it's not real."

	"Look, Sarah, if you feel it, it's real," Judy told me. "I 
suppose love is magical any way you look at it. If you figure out a 
way to get back to being Steve, you'll have to deal with it, but for 
now you're Sarah. If Sarah has a thing for Ron, so what? Enjoy it. I 
know I would."

	I gave her a little smile, as much as anything to force back 
the tears I felt rising. "But it seems so...gay!"

	She shook her head. "No, gay would be if Sarah loved me. You 
don't, do you?"

	"Well...as a friend..."

	"The story of my life," she retorted with a mock sigh. 

	We laughed and talked for a while after that. Then, it was 
time to go to the library. Neither of us thought George really 
expected us to find anything in the local library. We had been sent 
there to keep us out of harm's way. I suppose I should have objected. 
George was treating me like... well, like a helpless girl. I might be 
a girl but I didn't consider myself helpless. Still, what trouble 
could they get into during the day? All our evidence indicated the 
trickster only roamed at night.

	The research in the library was predictably dull. There was 
almost nothing about the Indians - Native Americans as George 
preferred to call them. It was strange, I thought, that we lived in a 
country once dominated by Native American peoples, and yet we spent 
so little time studying them. I suppose the lack of written Native 
American languages had a lot to do with it.

	To be fair, though, there wasn't a great deal in the library 
on local history after the white man came either. There was a loving 
history of Wheeler Foods written by Dan's - excuse me, Gabby's - 
father and privately published about five years ago. And there was a 
history of Carver County written by somebody back in the fifties. 
About the only thing of interest it told me was that Amelia Carver 
had three children and lived to a ripe old age.

	Children.

	Jeez, I hadn't though much about that aspect of being a girl. 
But if Amelia Carver could have them, so could I. The thought of 
getting pregnant and having some come out of my... Oh my God, how did 
a baby come out of something that small? I mean, I knew how it 
happened in theory, but surely it couldn't happen to me. I wasn't big 
enough to... to...

	"Are you ready to blow this joint?" Judy whispered to me.

	"Huh?" I wondered just how long I had been sitting there 
worrying about childbirth.

	"Look, like I said earlier, this was a waste of time," Judy 
told me. "Let's go over to my house and kill some time until it's 
time to meet the guys for dinner."

	And that's just what we did. It was actually a pleasant 
afternoon. Judy resisted the temptation to give me more girl lessons. 
Mostly, we just hung out, drinking iced tea on her patio and talking. 
It helped that Judy had been a friend for many years. We had always 
been able to talk. That afternoon, we talked about her college plans -
 and mine. I told her even if I remained a girl, I was thinking about 
becoming an attorney like my father. Judy was still thinking strongly 
about a career in medicine. 

	I have to admit, I felt normal. It was as if I had been a 
girl all my life instead of just two days. I wondered if our 
trickster friend had any idea how societies had changed. It had come 
from an era where women were chattel and to have careers like Judy 
and I were discussing, you'd have to be male - even if you were 
white. Sure, I still wanted to be Steve again, but every hour I was 
Sarah convinced me I could be a woman and have a meaningful life. I 
told her so.

	"But I really miss football," I sighed.

	"Just a minute," Judy said, jumping up from her patio chair. 
She was gone for only a minute, and when she returned, she had her 
brother's football. She tossed it to me. "Throw me a pass."

	"Judy... I can't."

	"Bull. My brother, Ted, and I used to play catch all the 
time."

	"You played catch with Ted?" I gasped. Her brother was four 
years older than us and was a legend at Leeds High. As a quarterback, 
he held every major school record and was starting quarterback for 
San Diego State.

	Judy just smiled and started to run the length of the yard. I 
tried not to think about the nightmare I had experienced the night 
before. The football felt large in my smaller hands, but it still 
felt natural. Without thinking, I set my feet and cocked my arm. When 
I moved my arm forward, I felt power. It wasn't the power I enjoyed 
as Steve, but my smoother feminine muscles were still muscles.

	The ball left my hand in a nice spiral. It wasn't a long 
throw, but it was an accurate one - right into Judy's arms. I had 
thrown a baseball on the midway and threw it like a girl, but 
baseball had never been my game. I suspect the feminine part of my 
body just threw it as a girl would. But a football... I had grown up 
with a football in my hands. The Steve part of my mind must have 
known how to throw the ball.

	"Well, it looks like you can still throw a decent spiral," 
Judy called out.

	The smile on my face was the only answer I could think of. 
Last night's nightmare lost all of its terror in one good throw.

	Judy insisted we treat the meeting at Pizza Hut as a 
date. "After all," she grinned, "your friend George is kind of cute. 
Since you're a girl now, I have to find some new guy to chase after."

	"Like you ever chased after me," I laughed.

	Judy grabbed an outfit and we headed back to my house to get 
ready. I was starting to think a girl's life consisted of going on 
dates, getting ready for dates, or talking about dates. But I 
realized Judy was just trying to get me used to the idea of dating 
guys - one guy in particular. Before long, we were in denim skirts, 
sandals, and sleeveless tops that made us look like sisters. Judy was 
teaching me the fine points of taking care of my hair when my cell 
phone rang.

	"Sarah, it's Ron." I could tell there was something wrong. 
There was terror and confusion in his voice. I looked at a clock. It 
was only four thirty. It couldn't be the trickster. It was still 
daylight.

	"Are you all right?" I blurted out.

	"I'm fine," Ron assured me. "But George isn't. The trickster 
got him. George is a woman now."

	"But it's daylight."

	"I know. We were wrong about that," he said 
bitterly. "Terribly wrong. George - it's Gloria now - is pretty 
shaken up."

	"Where are you?" I demanded.

	"We're still out at the fairgrounds by the rock," he 
explained. "Gloria's too shaken up to move."

	I remembered my own disorientation when I was changed. "Can't 
you get away from the rock?"

	"Don't worry. We're about twenty yards from it. I got Gloria 
over under the trees. I'm pretty sure we're far enough away. I must 
have dragged her over here when... well maybe you'd better come out 
here and I'll tell you the whole story."

	"We're on our way!"

	Lisa and Dave were just coming up the walk, hand in hand, as 
Judy and I rushed from the house.
"What's the hurry?" Dave and Lisa asked together. 

	They were part of all of this, too, I thought. "Just get in 
the car. We'll explain on the way."

	Judy drove and explained what was happening to Lisa and Dave 
while I called Ron back and kept him on the line. He was shaken up so 
badly I was really worried about him. To make matters worse, the sun 
was getting lower and lower in the sky. Once again, we had 
underestimated the trickster, and another of our number had paid the 
price. We had assumed the creature couldn't attack in daylight, but 
we had been wrong. We had also assumed that it wouldn't change anyone 
except those of us whose fathers were in a position to free it. 
Again, we were wrong. I wanted Ron away from that thing before it 
changed him as well. I was just starting to come to grips with my 
feelings for him. The last thing in the world I needed now was to 
have Ron changed into a girl, too.

	There was no one near the monument when we got there. 
Everyone was staying around the rides and exhibits, the isolated 
location of the monument of interest to no one, it seemed. The 
evening shadows were drawing longer, spreading out from the copse of 
nearby trees. Ron and... Gloria were under the trees in the shade 
safely out of sight from passersby. 

	George had made a very attractive woman. He had been a decent 
enough looking guy, but as a woman his sharp male Indian features had 
taken on a softer, more exotic look. Gloria's hair was the color of 
midnight, black and gleaming softly in the dim light of the glade. As 
with the rest of us, her clothing had been changed as well, leaving 
her in tight jeans and a T-top that revealed very large and shapely 
breasts. She looked exhausted, unable to move from the spot near 
where she had been transformed.

	Ron was cradling Gloria's head, and for just the slightest 
moment, I felt a little twinge of jealousy. I pushed the uncharitable 
thought to the back of my head and asked, "What happened?"

	Ron shook his head. "Neither of us knows for sure. We were 
examining the rock when I slipped and accidentally touched it. You 
know it's funny. I'm usually more sure footed than that."

	"I suspect the trickster caused you to slip," Gloria offered 
in a melodious, feminine alto. "It wouldn't have taken much for 
something with its talent."

	"Anyhow, that's the last thing I remember until I was looking 
down at... Gloria here."

	"Apparently I'm Gloria Brown now according to my driver's 
license," Gloria explained with a nod at her purse. "The funny thing 
is I don't remember ever being anyone else."

	She was like Doc Winter, I realized - and our parents and 
teachers and everyone else older than us. As far as she knew, she had 
always been Gloria Brown. "What do you remember?" I asked her.

	She shrugged weakly. "I just remember Ron slipping on the 
rock and me reaching out to grab him. When I looked at him, his 
features were wrong. They were Indian - like mine. I touched him and 
felt a tingle. Then I felt weak. I must have passed out. The next 
thing I remember, Ron was bringing me to."

	"But you thought you were Gloria all that time?" Judy asked.

	"Yeah. It's weird. I remember everything just as Ron does - 
except when it comes to me. Until he told me, I thought I had always 
been Gloria Sue Brown. I still find it hard to believe that I used to 
be male." Her eyes narrowed. "Now tell me the truth. Was I really 
male?"

	We all assured her that she had been male. I wondered who had 
the better deal - Gloria and Doc Winter who had no idea that they had 
ever been anyone else or the rest of us who remembered our male 
lives. Sure, it was tough on those of us who would really rather be 
their old male selves, but I for one would have hated to lose all my 
real memories. For example, I might never play football again, but 
not for a moment would I ever want to lose my memories of gridiron 
victories.

	"The rest of the guys are on their way," Ron 
explained. "Gloria found out how to defeat the trickster. They're 
gathering what we need."

	"But we haven't much time," Gloria cautioned. "What we need 
to do has to be done within an hour of sundown."

	I looked over my shoulder. It was hard to see where the sun 
was through the thick trees, but I estimated it was only fifteen 
minutes until the sun was officially down.

	"Will this mean we get our male lives back?" Lisa asked. Why 
was it that I thought she didn't sound completely pleased with that 
prospect?

	"You bet," Gloria said with a weak grin. "I called that 
shaman friend of mine while you were on your way over. He did all the 
research for us. Now all we have to do is follow his instructions."

	Marsha, Gabby, Alicia and Kevin all showed up together. Kevin 
was carrying one of the biggest sledgehammers I had ever seen. Even 
with his football-honed muscles, he seemed to be struggling with it. 
I assumed he had gotten it from his father's hardware store. Alicia 
and Gabby, now far weaker as girls, were together carrying a large 
metal rod, beveled at one end. It appeared to be some sort of chisel. 
Marsha was huffing as well, but I realized that was just from her 
weaker muscles and out of shape body.

	"Jeez, I'm surprised your dad had that stuff in stock," Ron 
called out to them.

	"Farmers use them for just what we're about to do," Kevin 
explained as he dropped the sledgehammer. It hit the ground with a 
heavy thump that we could feel through our shoes.

	"And what's that?" I asked.

	"We're going to crack the rock in half," Ron explained. That 
will force the trickster back into the Spirit World. When it goes, 
all its magic will be nullified."

	"Are you sure about that?" I asked the question of Gloria. 
She seemed to be gaining strength as she nodded confidently.

	"But I thought we discussed that the reason the trickster was 
able to get free at all was the fact that the stream had eroded the 
rock."

	"It's trying to get free," Gloria explained. "But it can't. 
If the rock had been bigger, it might have been trapped forever, but 
rocks around here are soft and wear down easily. If we don't break 
the rock, it will just get slowly stronger and cause just that much 
more damage. By breaking the rock, it goes back where it belongs and 
we become the people we were meant to be."

	"But why didn't the original Omahas think of that?" I pressed.

	"Maybe they did," Gloria answered. "But remember, they didn't 
have modern tools. They couldn't split the rock."

	"But what if they - "

	Anger flashed in Gloria's eyes. "Look, Sarah, who's the 
expert on Indian mythology - you or me?"

	The question hurt, and there was something about what she had 
said that didn't sound right, but I couldn't figure out just what it 
was. I looked around and could see in each of my transformed friend's 
eyes the hope of returning to previous lives. Except for Alicia, they 
were anxious to get on with what had to be done.

	"Okay," I sighed. "Let's get it done."

	I had no other option. If I had told everyone that breaking 
the rock just didn't feel right, I'd garner nothing but scorn. I 
looked at each of them. Marsha and Gabby were the most anxious to 
return to their male lives, I realized. Marsha's weight problem could 
be more easily coped with as a male. Gabby would be restored as the 
male heir to Wheeler Foods instead of the potential bride to a 
manager that I'm sure her father would prefer - known chauvinist that 
he was.

	Lisa looked less certain. I saw her sneak a look at Dave. I 
never in a million years would have guessed that my younger brother 
would prefer to be a girl, but I think that was what was going 
through her mind. As for Alicia, I knew she had no desire to return 
to her male body, but there was no way that she was going to admit 
that in front of the whole group.

	And what about me? Well, I had come to realize that I could 
be a girl forever if I had to be, but I was still Steve in the 
deepest part of my being. If there was a way back to being male, I 
wanted to take it. If Gloria was right, we'd never wear makeup or 
heels or...

	But what was wrong? What was nagging at me?

	Kevin, Dave and Ron had positioned the chisel under Gloria's 
direction. It wasn't easy. Gloria had told them that the trickster 
didn't like metal, so it wouldn't transfer to them through the 
chisel. But that meant someone would have to lean over the rock and 
hold the chisel at the same time. Dave wasn't large enough to do 
that, and Ron was the strongest of the guys, so he needed to swing 
the sledgehammer. So Kevin arched himself up over the rock, holding 
onto the chisel while Dave held onto him to keep him from toppling 
onto the rock. Ron was ready to swing the sledgehammer and...

	"Wait!"

	My cry stopped Ron in his back swing. All eyes turned to me. 
I had only a few seconds to try to figure out what was wrong. I 
looked at each of them, my eyes finally resting on Gloria.

	"What is it now, Sarah?" she asked in an exasperated tone.

	It came to me at last. "What did you say about... the 
mythology?" I asked her as respectfully as I could.

	"You know what I said," she replied. "I told you I was the 
expert on Indian mythology."

	Indian.

	I used the word - most of us did. But George didn't refer to 
his people as Indian. To him, they were "Native Americans," and it 
was the only expression he used. Gloria had used the word Indian when 
referring to the myths an when she was describing how Ron looked when 
the trickster inhabited his body. 

	"We were wrong about the trickster, weren't we?" I began as 
Gloria's brows knitted. "It can come out in the day - just not in 
direct sunlight. It came out into Ron, changed George into Gloria." 

	"So you all have told me," Gloria said, doing her best to 
sound bored.

	"But that isn't all it did, is it, Gloria?"

	"What are you talking about?"

	"It's not in the rock, is it Gloria?" I asked, convinced that 
I was right. It changed you all right, and then it leapt into you, 
Gloria."

	"That's crazy!" she laughed - a little nervously, I 
thought. "I'm the one telling you how to send that thing home and get 
back to normal. I want to get back to normal myself."

	"Why?" I asked, approaching her. "By your own admission, you 
don't remember ever being male. Why should it matter to you at all?"

	"Come on, Hall!" Gabby called. "What is this - woman's 
intuition? Let the guys do their job and get us back to being men 
again."

	"But that isn't going to happen, is it, Gloria?" I 
pressed. "When we break the rock, all the restraints on the trickster 
are gone. You'll be free to roam the world causing mischief and 
mayhem. It won't send you back to the Spirit World at all."

	I stole a glance at the others. Judy and Ron knew George. 
Gloria's thin smile was nothing like the friendly expressions they 
remembered on George's face, but they weren't sure. Lisa and Dave 
looked confused and Alicia and Kevin looked downright hopeful. There 
was only frustration coming from Marsha and Gabby though.

	"You used the word Indian," I went on, "instead of Native 
American. George would never do that. If you'd looked deeply enough 
into George's memories, you'd have known that. But you didn't think 
you needed to, did you? You learned our language a long time ago when 
you inhabited the body of the Carver boy. He called them Indians. So 
you just assumed the word was still used. And it is, but George 
didn't use it."

	"You're crazy, Hall!" Marsha interjected, but none of the 
guys thought so. Ron had put the sledgehammer down and Kevin and Dave 
were facing Gloria - not the rock.

	Even though I was sure who inhabited Gloria's body, I was 
shocked at the sudden transformation. The smile had disappeared, and 
the snarl which issued from her lips seemed impossible to produce 
with the human larynx. The hatred in her eyes was the hatred of a 
cornered animal, and she extended her feminine nails as if they were 
sharp claws. I didn't want o be on the receiving end of them, but she 
was looking straight at Ron. Without thinking, I jumped in her path.

	"Out of the way, little girl!" she demanded in a guttural 
voice. 

	I think the power of the voice might have been too much for 
me if Alicia, Judy and Lisa hadn't jumped in at my flanks. It was 
almost like football. There we were, four defenders trying to keep 
the opposing linebacker from reaching our quarterback. In this case, 
that meant the three guys.

	I could hear footsteps behind me as the males we sought to 
protect were rushing to our rescue. "Stay back, guys!" I warned. "The 
trickster can't hurt us, but it can change you into girls."

	"Oh, I can still hurt you," the trickster said in a parody of 
Gloria's voice. "How would each of you like to be big chested, 
mindless women? Your people have a name... whores. Yes, that's it! 
Whores. How would you like that?"

	"You can't do it," I said more confidently than I felt. "Look 
in George's mind for a reference to a one-trick pony. That's what you 
are, isn't it? You can't even change us back even if you wanted to."

	"Yes I can!"

	"Prove it!" I demanded, pointing to Gabby and Marsha who had 
not picked a side. "Change one of them back into a male. If you can 
do that, we'll break the damned rock for you."

	"No! Not until you've broken the rock!"

	I laughed. "You expect us to believe you, trickster? You 
can't do it, can you?"

	The trickster didn't answer me. I think it had been telling 
lies for so long that it couldn't tell the truth. Its only answer was 
to lunge at me.

	I may have been changed into a girl, but I had all of my male 
memories. Instinctively, I raised my fist and plowed it into her 
charging chin. I'm sure in the creature's long life, no one had ever 
struck it in that way. Unprepared for the punch, Gloria's head 
snapped back, colliding with a nearby tree. Limited as the creature 
was by Gloria's body, it fell to the ground out cold.

	"Hey, nice punch!' Ron called. "Remind me not to get you mad 
at me."

	The creature in Gloria's body didn't stir. Gabby and Marsha 
had made up their minds. They helped us drag Gloria's unconscious 
body to a nearby tree. Gabby flipped the keys to her car to 
Lisa. "Get the battery cables out of the car," she ordered. "We'll 
use them to tie her up."

	There were a few anxious minutes as we waited for the cable 
and then tied Gloria to a tree. One of us would approach her while 
the rest of us looked for signs that the creature had transferred out 
of Gloria. 

	"It would have been stronger as a guy," Kevin commented as I 
tied Gloria firmly to the tree. "I wonder why it didn't just transfer 
into George and leave him male. You never would have punched a guy's 
lights out."

	"Probably not," I admitted as I finished tying her. "But even 
though whoever it took over took on the appearance of an Ind... a 
Native American, the features might have changed enough that we would 
have known it wasn't George. By turning George into Gloria, we 
wouldn't notice any irregularities. And the trickster could cover any 
mental lapses by claiming it was the shock of the transformation."

	"That could have accounted for the Indian - Native American 
terminology problem, too," Gabby pointed out.

	I shook my head, feeling the long hair I now knew would be 
there forever. "No, that error was too basic. It would be like an 
African American calling himself a Negro. It just isn't done anymore."

	"So what do we do now?" Lisa asked, looking at me for an 
answer.

	I wasn't sure. I was winging it after all. It was dark now, 
and the trickster would be able to jump into any of us once Gloria 
woke up. I hadn't hit her all that hard, but I was beginning to 
suspect that the trickster was still weakened by reflected sunlight. 
I couldn't tell for sure, of course. If I was right, the trickster 
could be out during the day but not directly in sunlight. The more 
light, the weaker it became. If this was natural or a consequence of 
its captivity was unknown. In any case, it would be dangerous until 
sunrise. The tree we had tied Gloria to was in the direct path of the 
early morning sun.

	And what would happen to Gloria if the creature was still in 
her at sunrise? Would the trickster merely be drawn - painfully 
perhaps - back into the rock, or would Gloria suffer some severe 
consequence? I couldn't exactly ask the creature. After all, we 
hadn't gotten a straight answer out of it yet.

	"Check Gloria's car," I told Lisa and Dave. "See if you can 
find the number of that shaman any place."

	"I think it's on his cell phone directory," Ron countered.

	Thank God the purse was where she had left it on the ground. 
I wouldn't have wanted to try to remove it from her body. I checked 
the phone. "Didn't you say George's last call was to the shaman?"

	Ron nodded.

	I punched up last call and dialed the number.

	"Yeah?" the voice at the other end replied.

	"Look..." I began, "I'm a friend of...Gloria's. I'm using her 
phone." I went on to tell the man - his name was Peter Ragland - what 
had happened. I did, however, omit George's transformation into 
Gloria. Since he undoubtedly remembered our friend as Gloria, it 
would accomplish nothing to tell him that the lovely girl he knew as 
Gloria had once been a man.

	"Is Gloria okay?" he demanded, and the concern in his voice 
assured me I had done the right thing in not mentioning George.

	"She's fine," I assured him. "She's just tied up at the 
moment." I nearly giggled at my unintentional pun.

	"Keep her that way," he ordered. "We'll be there by midnight. 
Can you keep a watch on her until then?"

	"No problem."

	I hung up and explained to everyone what was happening.  
Everyone was relieved that the shaman would come and take charge. It 
was agreed that we'd take shifts watching Gloria. Ron, Dave, Lisa and 
I would take the first watch while the others went for food and to 
stroll the midway. Then, the others would relieve us half way through 
the evening. 

	Kevin and Alicia looked as if they were going to find 
someplace a little more secluded than the midway. Judy, Gabby, and 
Marsha left together as if they were old friends. I suppose in a way 
they were. When Gabby and Marsha had been guys, they were good 
friends with Judy. The transformation had decreed in the small-town 
caste system that they would be attracted to different cliques, but 
apparently the experience we had just gone through had changed all 
that. I was pleased to see it. Dan and Marty had been friends, so it 
was only right that stay friends as girls. 

	Lisa and Dave wandered off by themselves. I could still hear 
them, though. I could hear a low, soft murmur from Dave's immature 
but deepening voice, followed by a dainty giggle from Lisa. I had to 
smile. I would have loved to have gone back in time a few days and 
tell Lucas that within a week, he would be a girl - and would be 
happy to be one. It would have been worth it to watch the color drain 
out of his face.

	But was I any different? I wondered as I sat carefully on the 
grass next to Ron. I smiled inwardly as he tried to not notice while 
I tried to keep my short denim skirt from riding obscenely high on my 
legs. Every minute in this feminine body of mine brought me closer to 
acceptance of who I had become. Perhaps it was hormones or maybe 
magic or most likely a combination of the two, but being a girl was 
starting to feel good. It was just as well because I knew in my heart 
that the transformation was forever.

	It was also just as well because the trickster hadn't given 
up yet.

	As I sat there on the grass next to Ron, Gloria's eyes opened 
suddenly. There was a wicked smile on her face as she observed 
us. "How sweet. The two lovers side by side watching over me."

	We said nothing. We had expected to be taunted.

	"This is just the beginning, you know," she continued. "When 
I was called by the True Believers to change their enemies into 
women, I made sure they were completely changed. They couldn't wait 
to spread their legs for their men. They were never happy after that 
until there was a man inside them."

	I should have been horrified, and a part of me was. I knew in 
my soul that if I was to remain a woman, that meant I would 
eventually have a man enter me. I would probably have babies and 
suckle them at my breasts. But that was all in the future. This 
creature wanted me to know that I would have little time to adapt to 
this form before my body began to demand sexual attention.

	"Sarah..." Ron said cautiously.

	I looked over at Ron. His body was tensing as I had seen it 
tense many times before on the football field. He was about to become 
protective, I realized. He would try to silence the trickster in a 
futile effort to save me from myself. But if he touched the creature, 
it would transfer into him and all would be lost.

	I had to do something to stop Ron from playing the futile 
hero and silence the trickster at the same time. I could only think 
of one way to accomplish both simultaneously. 

	Instinctively, I threw myself at Ron, grabbing his strong 
arms and crushing my lips against his. The only way to stop the 
trickster was to confront it with proof that we didn't fear the worst 
it could do. If I made it obvious to the spirit that I wanted this - 
that I wanted Ron - its power would be lost on us. Later in the 
night, Alicia and Kevin would show it the same way, I was certain. I 
wasn't like Alicia. I had not wanted this to happen. But I had 
reconciled myself to life as a woman, and I resolved to enjoy it to 
the fullest.

	The kiss was long and lingering. My small hands released 
Ron's arms and snaked around his trim waist. I felt his own powerful 
hands enveloping my torso. My body was alternating between throes of 
pleasure and insistent demands for more. I lacked the stiffness I had 
felt when male as I would gently kiss a girl, but I felt other things 
which more than made up for it. There was a stiffness in my nipples 
and a warm, moistness between my legs.

	I came up for air long enough to watch the rage in Gloria's 
face. Futilely, she struggled at her bonds as I relaxed in Ron's 
arms. I even giggled at her, reveling in the look of disgust she 
couldn't hide. The final victory was ours.

	I'll admit I was putting on a show for the trickster, but I 
was enjoying myself immensely as well. I had no idea a woman could 
feel so good just hugging and kissing. Of course I knew I was 
probably giving Ron a huge erection - one that I didn't plan to do 
anything about just yet - but he seemed to be enjoying himself, too. 
Still, I have to admit that making out as a girl was infinitely more 
pleasurable than it had been as a guy. 

	Our relief watch showed up right on time. We had had no 
further trouble form the trickster and had contented ourselves with 
lying there in each other's arms. Alicia and Kevin were slowly 
strolling, locked in each other's arms, while Judy, Marsha and Gabby 
were laughing and talking as they approached us.

	"Well, somebody's had a good time tonight," Gabby said with a 
grin as Ron and I made an attempt to straighten ourselves up. Lisa 
and Dave looked a little sheepish, too, as they walked up to where we 
all stood. They had spent the evening doing the same thing Ron and I 
had done, watching the trickster from a secluded spot away from Ron 
and me.

	"You guys look as if you've had fun, too," I commented as I 
tucked my tee back in.

	"Oh we did," Judy laughed. "We all got dates for the dance 
tomorrow night."

	"That's right," Gabby confirmed. "And the guys are from 
Blair, so they don't know about Marsha and me. We're going to double 
tomorrow night and play it as if we've always been girls. That should 
be good for some laughs."

	I smiled. In some ways, Gabby was a human version of a 
trickster. If she was anything like Dan had been, not only would she 
end up screwing some guy's brains out but she would make sure Marsha 
did, too. That is unless Judy slowed them down by tagging along with 
her date. Knowing Judy, I suspected that was just what she planned to 
do. None of the transformed girls were going to end up as little 
sluts on her watch!

	The trickster in Gloria continued to fume. "I don't 
understand," she growled at last. We all turned, surprised. It was 
probably the first truthful thing the trickster had said. "I turned 
you all into girls," she continued. "You were all healthy young men. 
You should have been devastated by the transformation. Is your 
society so weak that being girls doesn't matter?"

	"No," I laughed. "Our society is so strong that being a girl 
doesn't matter. As women, we'll be able to have any job a man would 
have and do anything a man can." Except play on a football team, I 
might have added. But my explanation was as much to rile the 
trickster as anything. Although I must admit, I meant every word of 
it. Just because I no longer had a penis didn't mean my life was 
over. "Your trick isn't as harmful as it once was."

	With that, I took Ron's arm as if to prove the point and we 
strolled down to join the people at the fair without a backward 
glance at the hapless trickster.

	"Tell me," Ron said as we enjoyed the lights and sounds of 
the fair, "did you mean what you were doing up there with me, or was 
it just to annoy the trickster?"

	"In other words, am I just toying with your affections right 
now?" I grinned as I held him tightly.

	"Something like that," he admitted.

	The best way to prove what I really meant was to do what I 
did next. I stood in front of him, raised myself up on tiptoes as I 
laced my hands behind his neck, and kissed him long and hard right 
there on the midway. I heard "oohs" and catcalls from our high school 
friends who had spotted us, but you know what? I didn't care.

	We all drifted back to the monument early. We managed to beat 
Gloria's shaman by a good half hour. When he arrived, he didn't look 
anything like how I had pictured him. In fact, he didn't even look 
all that Native American. If I had met him on the street, I would 
have guessed him to be Italian. I found out later he was actually 
half English-American and half Omaha on his mother's side. I guess 
when you put the two together you look a little Italian.

	Peter had two other men with him. Both were younger than his 
thirty or so years, and both looked as if they would be at home bare 
chested wearing braids as they hunted buffalo across the prairies. We 
introduced ourselves all around as Gloria glared at us from the tree 
where she remained firmly tied.

	Peter looked over at Gloria and muttered, "You know, I've 
warned that girl for years to be more careful. She never has taken 
Native American religion very seriously, and this is what it's gotten 
her."

	As I suspected earlier, Peter had no idea that Gloria had 
ever been male. Instead, he seemed to remember her as a girl that he 
was obviously very close to - maybe even intimately close to. There 
was no way any of us were going to tell him otherwise. Even the 
trickster remained silent. Perhaps it realized that to tell the 
shaman the girl he was very interested in had been male just a few 
hours earlier would serve no advantage. Or perhaps the trickster was 
just too confused by the failure of its plans to try anything else.

	"Caught you, did they, trickster?" he asked with a wide 
grin. "You let a bunch of puppies tie you to a tree. You must be 
getting slow in your old age."

	"Have your fun, woman-man," the creature in Gloria growled, 
resigned at last to its fate. 

	Peter saw our puzzled faces and explained, "Magic is woman's 
work among our people. For a man to be a shaman, he must embrace 
women's ways. Since with our tribe that means mostly I can't hunt, 
it's no big deal. I never liked hunting much anyway."

	"Uh...you don't have to dress funny or anything, do you?" 
Keith asked so seriously I almost giggled.

	"No," Peter laughed. "Don't worry - I'm wearing boxers under 
my jeans. Now let's see what we can do to get our friend out of 
Gloria."

	Although Peter's transformation was a natural one, it was 
nonetheless stunning. I hadn't realized it, but his hair was really 
very long, held in place by a wooden clip. When he removed it, his 
hair was long and black as the night. Stripping off his shirt, he was 
hairless and suddenly looked more native - especially when he placed 
a large fetish necklace around his neck. Each of the animal fetishes 
on the necklace had been carefully carved from smooth, colorful 
stones.

	He began to chant, and as he did, his two associates began to 
move in cadence with the mournful chant. I looked over at Gloria. She 
was still watching us with hatred in her eyes, but her body was 
beginning to twitch involuntarily. Then, as the chanting got faster 
and faster, she began to shake, her body in near spasms. It was then 
that she screamed. I only hoped there was enough noise of screams 
from patrons of the carnival rides to keep her from being overheard.

	Then, her head dropped forward. Only the thick coils of the 
jumper cables kept her body from sprawling out on the ground. Ron 
moved as if to help her, but Peter screamed, "No!" Ron stopped at 
once, looking back with a puzzled expression.

	Peter yelled a sudden word at Gloria and spit in her 
direction.

	To our surprise, Gloria's body jerked upright, and she 
growled some unheard word to Peter. He laughed, "Thought you had us 
there, didn't you, trickster?" He reached into his pocket and pulled 
out a handful of something which he threw in her face. Whatever it 
was, it sparkled. We watched it as it first surrounded her and then 
moved as if blown by an unseen wind back to the rock.

	Peter breathed a sigh of relief. He nodded to his two 
associates who produced small blankets beaded with strange symbols I 
had never seen before. Protecting their hands, they moved the stone 
away, hiding it in a clump of bushes. "It will be safe there until 
tomorrow at sunset," Peter explained. "Then we'll make sure no one 
find our trickster friend for a long, long time."

	He bent down to Gloria, lifting her head. The hatred was gone 
from her eyes, and when she saw whose hand was beneath her chin, she 
smiled. "Peter! I didn't know you were here." She looked around. "Why 
is it night? And why am I tied up?"

	Her last conscious thoughts, I realized, were when she had 
been examining the rock with Ron. And of course, she had no inkling 
that she had been male at the time. As Peter gently untied the jumper 
cables which held her to the tree, I saw a smug smile cross Gloria's 
face and had a sudden sinking feeling that the trickster had somehow 
fooled us one more time. But as she threw her arms around Peter and 
kissed him passionately, I realized her smile had been Gloria's 
smile - for being rescued by her true love.

	"I'm going to be performing the Captivity Ceremony tomorrow 
at sundown," Peter announced to us.

	"What will that do?" It was Gabby who asked, but all of us 
were wondering.

	"I have no way of sending the trickster back to the Spirit 
World," Peter told us. "What I can do, though, is use Earth Magic to 
hold him more firmly to the rock. We'll bury the rock tonight after 
you've all gone. Then tomorrow, we'll say the words at sundown. You 
don't have to be here, but if any of you just want to have some sense 
of closure about this, it will be your chance."

	"Closure..." I said slowly. "What you're saying is that none 
of the trickster's magic can be undone." I knew the answer, but I had 
to hear Peter say it. That was closure, too. And the truth of the 
matter was I was comfortable with my fate, as alien as that would 
have sounded to me only a couple of days earlier.

	"I understand several of you were originally young men," 
Peter acknowledged. "I wish I could tell you that there was a way to 
change you back, but there isn't. Spirits like out trickster are just 
too devious. Even if it agreed to change you back, I'd turn it down 
if I were you. And to be honest, from everything I've heard from 
Gloria today, I doubt if this spirit could change you back even if it 
wanted to."

	"We had pretty much reached that same conclusion," I agreed. 
I looked around. "Anybody have anything to say?"

	"Yeah," Gabby said, stepping forward. "I'd like to have all 
of the girls over at my house tomorrow at noon. If we're gonna have 
to be this way forever, we have some things to discuss."

	"Does that include me?" Judy asked.

	"You're a girl, aren't you?" Gabby said laconically. Then she 
added, "And bring a swimsuit!"

	We all scattered after that. Lisa and Dave rode home with us 
while Judy hitched a ride with Gabby. I didn't know for sure what 
Gabby had in mind, but I was sure Judy was part of her planning. Once 
we had dropped off Dave and Lisa had gone in the house, Ron and I 
were alone.

	"Do you want to see the Captivity Ceremony tomorrow?" Ron 
asked, his arms around me.

	"Afraid I won't be able to accept being a girl until I see 
it?" I teased.

	"No," he replied with a smile. "I think I finally believe you 
want to stay this way. I'm glad you do, but I just can't imagine what 
it's like to be... you know."

	"A girl?"

	He nodded.

	I wrapped my arms more tightly around him begging for one 
more kiss. "Take it from me, stud, it's just fine."

	The next day, Lisa and I found we were the last ones to make 
it to Gabby's.  She greeted us at the door with a large smile. She 
was wearing a white floral print bikini and a matching wrap around 
her waist which I later learned is called a pareo. "Come on in," she 
said brightly. "Everybody else is already out by the pool."

	I heard laughter and even a little splashing from the pool 
area. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

	"My parents are in Omaha today," Gabby explained. "So we have 
the run of the place all day."

	Lisa and I had been a little concerned about wearing bikinis 
that day, but one look around the pool showed only Marsha in a one 
piece suit. There was a lot of feminine flesh showing, but at least 
it was just us girls. Lisa and I each grabbed a lemonade and found a 
couple of comfortable pool chairs. 

	I'll say one thing for Gabby - and I should point out that 
Dan was the same way. While her family was probably the wealthiest in 
the county, she was always a good hostess or host depending upon her 
sex. Dan had been a little pompous, but he had been a good friend. 
Gabby, while conscious of her station, seemed a little less pompous 
but no less generous. 

	All of us transformees were there, along with Becky Marshall 
and Judy. It was a select group, I realized, and I approved of 
Gabby's choices.

	As I sipped on the lemonade, I noticed how Gabby seemed to 
have made making Marsha hotter a personal project. She seemed to 
delight in coaching Marsha on how to stand and what to say - and of 
course, what to eat. More than once I saw her snatch a cookie from 
Marsha's hand and replace it with a piece of fresh fruit. And she 
seemed to have enlisted Judy and Becky in her efforts. I was reminded 
a little of a similar situation from the movie Clueless.

	"Okay, everybody," she announced at last as Judy turned down 
the stereo. "I asked you all her today to get your agreement on 
something. In the last few days, all of us - except Judy and Becky, 
of course - got turned into girls."

	"Tell us something we don't know!" Alicia yelled to the 
giggles of the rest of us.

	"Okay," Gabby said, nonplussed. "Since we've been changed, a 
lot of our old friends have been treating us as if we were invalids."

	She was right about that, I had to admit. While the real 
girls had been more accepting, most of our old male friends had been 
treating us as if we had just contracted a fatal disease.

	"I don't think any of us are particularly happy about being 
changed into girls..." Her gaze did land for just a lingering moment 
on Alicia. "...but apparently we're stuck with it. Now between our 
classmates treating us like unfortunate lepers and fathers like mine 
treating us like dainty princesses, I'm getting a little fed up. So 
here's what I propose. From here on out, we act as if we've always 
been girls and don't let our classmates act any differently.

	"I'm for that," Alicia said. "If one more guy on the team 
asks me what it feels like to be a girl, I'm gonna cut his off and 
see how he likes it."

	That got a laugh from all of us.

	"Now Judy is going to help us today," Gabby continued. "I 
know we all have dates tonight. I want all of us to blow our dates' 
minds tonight."

	"Just their minds?" Marsha called out to another laugh.

	"That's up to you, dear," Gabby said sweetly. "The point is, 
I hung around with the cheerleader crowd for a couple of days. They 
think they're hot shit..."

	I had also heard they had tried to put Gabby down for being 
formerly male.

	"...but they aren't. We are!"

	We all applauded at that.

	"So from here on out, we're going to be the clique every 
other girl wants to join."

	That brought a rousing cheer from all of us.

	"I want all of you to bring your outfits for tonight's party 
over here. Becky and Judy will give all of us a hand with hair and 
makeup. Tell your dates to pick us up here. So are we all agreed on 
the plan?"

	Again, everybody cheered. It wasn't going to be all that easy 
to be a girl, I thought, but with a boyfriend like Ron and friends 
like those I saw around me - and of course a great sister, it was 
going to be a whole lot easier.

	The afternoon at Gabby's was as busy as Santa's Workshop on 
Christmas Eve. Becky and Judy were spread pretty thin, but we were 
all fast learners. We had all rushed home and brought what we planned 
to wear back with us, but under Judy and Becky's critical eyes, more 
than one of us was sent off to buy something new - nylons, shoes, and 
even in one case (Marsha's), a new dress. Gabby took Marsha downtown 
and helped her select one. As they left, I noticed Gabby pointing out 
some of the equipment in the Wheeler's gym. I had a sneaky hunch 
Gabby wasn't going to let Marsha be overweight very long.

	Somehow, we all got ready. Only a week before as a guy, I 
would have been shaking my head at the idea that it would take seven 
girls all afternoon to get ready for a party. For guys, it would have 
been a shower, a shave, and quickly donning their best (or only) 
sport coast. The only thing done twice might be the tying of the tie. 

	With girls, though, there was so much more to do. The Wheeler 
house reeked with the smell of nail polish and perfume. A variety of 
colors of heels, hose, and dresses flashed by like floats in a 
parade. There were squeals and giggles, and they weren't just from 
Judy and Becky. All of us had taken our meeting seriously. We were 
girls now and forever, and as one had given into indulging in our new 
sex. If only one of us had been transformed, that individual might 
have held out longer, but with each other to rely on, we had given in 
to our new identities. I likened it to the state we would work 
ourselves up into in the locker room before a football game. When I 
mentioned this, no one disagreed.

	So by the time our dates picked us up for the evening, we 
were radiant. Gabby even produced a camera and took a candid shot of 
each of the guys as they stood in stunned disbelief in front of 
absolutely unbelievable young women. Each boy who knew who we had 
been was then taken aside and explained the rules: we were girls. 
Period. There would be no "remember when we were boys together" 
conversations. Nothing would be said or done which would conflict 
with what we had become.

	While most of the guys took a little time to absorb the 
rules, and more than one looked a little confused, Ron just 
smiled. "After last night, how could I think of you as anyone else, 
Sarah?"

	He bent over and gently kissed me so as not to disturb my 
makeup. There was a collective "Aw!" from my new girlfriends.

	The Captivity Ceremony was almost anticlimactic. Peter's men 
had buried the rock under a large bush. It was doubtful if it would 
ever be uncovered. The land around the monument would probably always 
remain as parkland. Leeds would never grow into a metropolis where 
some fifty years from now, the rock would be uncovered to make room 
for an office tower. It was very likely the trickster was trapped 
forever.

	As Peter chanted over the site, I could almost sense the 
trickster. As we had begun the ceremony, I had felt almost sorry for 
the creature. I suppose it was the womanly thing to do. My sympathy 
quickly faded, though, as I could sense mindless hatred coming from 
the spot where the rock was buried.

	Gloria sensed it, too. "Don't worry," she whispered to 
me. "When the ceremony is over, we won't hear it again."

	Gloria was dressed to the nines like us. It seemed that in 
the reality she remembered, she and Peter had been invited to the 
dance. That was fine with me. With her black hair piled sexily atop 
her head, her short, iridescent blue dress, smoky hose and black 
three-inch heels, she would be a welcome addition to the surprise we 
had for our friends and classmates.

	While the dance was open to everyone, it was mostly our 
friends who were there. Our parents and other adults would show up 
for a little while, drink a glass or two of the sweet punch, try to 
show "the kids" that they were cool enough to dance to Creed, and 
then slip off to do whatever adults chose to do while "the kids" were 
still at the party. 

	We had decided to make a grand entrance. Gloria and Peter, of 
course, had no idea why we were doing it, but they happily went 
along. I had to admit they made a cute couple. I was glad we had 
decided to not tell Gloria that she had ever been George.

	As we entered the ballroom, I couldn't help but compare what 
was happening to my days playing football. In those days, we would 
rush onto the field from the locker room to the rapt attention and 
cheers of the crowd. There would be no cheers for me as I stood there 
in a short burgundy cocktail dress, my smooth legs wrapped in sheer 
nylon and my feet tipped up on matching heels. But I was no less the 
subject of rapt attention -and to be honest, it felt good. Maybe this 
is why women sometimes reject the jeans and sweaters they have come 
to prefer for comfort and dress in sexy clothes - because it feels so 
good when people notice them.

	Looks of shock from our friends quickly became smiles of 
approval as I walked in on Ron's arm, followed by the rest of our 
group. Our parents and other adults looked on with approval as well, 
but unlike our friends, they didn't understand the significance of 
what was happening. 

	I felt in that moment a feeling I hadn't felt since my 
transformation. I felt really confident. I could do this. Not only 
could I be a girl, but I could enjoy being a girl. I wasn't sure 
where it would all end up. Would I continue to date Ron - even marry 
him someday? Would I go on to NU and become a lawyer or would I marry 
and raise lots of children? Or would I do both? Or would I do 
neither?  I wasn't sure, but whatever I did and whomever I did it 
with, I would be Sarah Jean Hall, and I would do it the best I could. 

	The End


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