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Boxed In

by Young Ovidius

  

Simon Burleson rummaged through the contents of his laptop case one more time. Everything was there as it should be - the papers and notes. He didn't know why he had to keep checking. It had all been there before, and the bag hadn't left his possession. It was just that he got so edgy before flying. It was all that waiting. That's what it was. Sitting in the chair, waiting for the boarding call, waiting and more waiting. He knew he should stop arriving so early before his scheduled departure time. But compulsively he worried that something would go wrong and he'd miss an important flight. It didn't matter if it could really happen or not, just that his mind conceived of it. But once again he'd gone through the self-service, checked his luggage, and made it through security with relative ease, only to wait.

Trying not to notice anyone, Simon caught the glance of a fairly attractive woman several feet away. She must have been close to his age, somewhere in her mid-twenties. She gave him a quick, polite smile and then dropped her gaze into her handbag, pretending to look for a hard-to-find item. It was just as well for Simon. He didn't expect to make any flirtation advances here, especially since he was not very successful at them in places where they were more prone to work. In fact, his scientific work left him with little time to think about getting to know a woman, and he wasn't the type for hit-and-run encounters. Just catching the glance of the young woman had sent Simon's thoughts into a tailspin, thinking about his mother and her regular berating of him for not "settling down." He was so far from "settling down" that at times he felt compelled to invent the story of a girlfriend just to keep his mom off his back.

Simon had been sitting in the chair for an hour, but boarding call was still probably 10 or 15 minutes away. He'd already put the finishing touches on a report he was scheduled to give in Phoenix, then played a little solitaire on his laptop. This trip represented a huge opportunity to line up a prestigious research position at the Southwest Astronomical Laboratories. If he weren't afraid of drifting off into oblivion, he would have started reanalyzing the formulas in his head. But no, there would be plenty of time for that on the plane. What to do then? His answer came with a building cramp in his lower abdomen. He had to move his bowels, and he much more wanted to do it on the ground than wait through takeoff and do it on the airplane. Glancing at his watch, he decided it was a matter of now or never. Scooping up his and laptop case, Simon briskly but discreetly headed for the men's room. He took up residence in the industrial-looking metallic stall, set down his jacket and case, and went to business.

A lot of things can come to a man's mind while he's on the toilet, especially to a physics prodigy whose anxious mind was frequently delving into arcane mathematical formulas and theorems. His eyes clenched shut as he focused on a particularly puzzling aspect of a problem. The run-of-the-mill sounds of footsteps, running water, flushing toilets and the occasional male voice faded into the background. With his eyes closed, he barely noticed the strange buzzing sound in his ears that gradually grew and grew until it drowned out the sounds around him and he felt a sudden jolt that brought an intense feeling of warmth.

Simon's eyes sprang wide open as he forgot all about whatever mathematical nuance had been pressing his mind. His heart pounded, his throat felt dry, and he breathed heavily. The slight feeling of disorientation was something the young physicist just couldn't shake. What had happened? He couldn't put a finger on it. A quick glance at his watch confirmed that he'd better wrap things up pretty soon so he could return for the boarding call. He reached his right hand for some toilet paper when his ears mindlessly tuned into a one-sided conversation he was overhearing. He couldn't believe there were people who actually brought cell phones with them into a public restroom, but he kept listening anyway.

He surmised that the woman talking on the cell phone was going to Phoenix, too, probably on the same flight that he was. It sounded like she was returning from her own business trip. It was probably her husband on the other end, he judged. Then Simon felt another jolt. She? Her? Someone was in the wrong bathroom. The young physicist's initial reaction of fright subsided. He knew his mind was prone to wander at times, but he distinctly remembered going into the men's bathroom. There were just some things you always paid attention to. He wasn't sure that the woman on the phone had paid attention. He wondered how she got this far without noticing and felt a measure of embarrassment for her. He finished wiping and then secured his trousers back on again. Just as he was about to tap the side of the stall and announce himself discreetly to the woman on the phone, he heard something else.

It was several teenage girls chatting to each other about some kind of youth activity they had just returned from. Teenage girls? Simon's heart was racing again. It had to be him in the wrong bathroom. But how could it be? Quickly his senses picked up that the bathroom was very busy - lots of doors opening and closing, lots of footsteps, a toilet flushing every 20 to 30 seconds, the constant sound of running water from one sink or another. There was no way he was going to get out of there in time for his flight without getting noticed. And the shy young man's face turned beet red with shame. He was thankful that the stall door and walls reached so low, or someone might easily notice his shoes underneath and figure out pretty quickly that he didn't belong there. He felt for sure they were going to arrest him as some kind of a pervert. So how to escape discreetly?

At that point things only got weirder. He heard a voice inside his head, distinct from his own, unlike anything he had ever heard before. And he found that he could communicate with it telepathically. He was greatly disturbed by the private conversation going on his head. It was weird even for a mathematical genius like himself.

You find yourself in quite a predicament - don't you, Simon? The voice sounded friendly enough, but playful and humorous as well.

"This i--" Simon covered his mouth as he realized he was talking out loud. This isn't funny!

Oh dear, I know I tried to stop him, but he was bound to have his way.

Who? What are you talking about?
You don't have much time, and I'm not sure if you'll even believe me....

Go ahead, give it a try. Explain! The foreign voice did explain as quickly as possible, identifying itself as Murfos, the minor god of transformation. The what?? I don't believe in crap like that. It doesn't make sense to the mind... I can't touch or taste or see that....

But you can hear me. Now you'd better believe and listen, or you're going to miss your flight to Phoenix. And I know how much this trip means to you! I want you to get that position with the Southwest Astronomical Laboratories.

How do you know so much about me?

There'll be time for that later. Now, look. Let me tell you what happened. Believe and go along, or miss your flight.

I'll get another flight if I have to!

The next one is the red-eye. As it is now you land in Phoenix at 8:30 tonight, partly thanks to a two-hour time change. But the next flight lands you there after 3 in the morning. Now will you at least give me a chance?

At just that point an edgy Simon heard a pounding noise and an impatient woman bark out, "Damn these airport bathrooms!"

What was that? Simon wondered.

Murfos wanted to reinforce Simon's situation. She's upset that the tampon machine doesn't have any left to dispense....

All right, all right. I don't need to hear about that.

Murfos chuckled inside his head. There will be a few more impatient ladies here in a moment. A couple big flights from Seattle and Las Vegas have just landed at nearby gates, and I think a line will be forming. They won't be happy you're hogging this stall....

Oh, shut up!

Temper, temper, Simon. Yes, there are nine other toilets, but you know that women just take longer.

Fine, fine. Now get me out of this situation!

Good. I'm glad you want to help me get back at Displos.

Who? Wha-? The unusual names weren't the strangest part of the experience, but they did rank on the list.

He's another minor god. You see, he has a limited power to move things invisibly through space. He nearly outdid himself this time, moving you to a nearly identical place. You almost didn't even notice that he'd done it. To a busy ladies' room! And he wanted you to get caught!

Simon looked at his watch. Boarding call had probably already begun. This had to hurry, or he was in serious trouble. The time?

Don't worry. I'm keeping track of the time. I won't let you miss that flight. But you have to work along with me.

How?

Well, I told you I'm a minor god. I have limited powers like Displos, who can only move one person or thing at a time and only a certain limited distance, and he can only use the power a certain amount of times before he has to wait and reuse it again.

By this point Simon was completely befuddled, trying in vain to imagine an equation to explain this sort of supernatural haberdashery. So what limited power do you have?

The power to transform things into different forms, to alter physical reality.

But you have limits, too?

Yes, I do. I can only change things within a small area at once, and I can only use the power once every 12 hours.

That's nice... and interesting. How is that supposed to help me?

I can change you.

Change me?

Yes, Simon. Change you. But I'm not like Displos. I have a certain code I work by. I won't change a person without his or her permission. So I need to know if you'll let me change you?

Change me into what?

Change you into someone that will not get you noticed as you leave here?

You mean into a woman? Simon nearly gasped out loud.

Yes, Simon. Now look. Time really is of the essence here. I estimate you have only five minutes at most to decide this. But unless you want to be running onto the plane at the very last minute, I'd do it even more quickly.

Look, this isn't an easy decision!

Of course not, Simon. I'm sorry. I wish I could help transport you back to where you were. But that's not within my power.

What about Diplo-?

Displos? He won't help you. And even if he would, he couldn't for several hours. He just used his powers, you know.

Okay, okay. Supposing you could change me into a woman and did it, how could I get onto the plane with a phony identity?

Murfos giggled again. I could change all relevant forms of identification, as well as your boarding pass, since it is all with you in your case. It would be a temporary identity change. We'd just have to hope they don't check their computers too closely.

So... if you changed me into a woman... and I'm not saying that's what I want yet... just saying that it might be... I can hardly believe this nightmare! If you changed me into a woman, would you change, I mean, everything?

Well, that would be up to you. But being a minor god who is somewhat experienced at this, let me tell you it's best to make the complete change. And 12 hours from now, I'll be there to make the complete change back. That's all there is to it.

I see.... Simon was actually seriously considering the proposition for the first time.

Now tell me you haven't wondered what it's like to live life on the other side, if just for a little while? Hmm? Dressing like a woman? Free to act feminine? The make-up, the skirts, the pantyhose, the freedom in fashion and hairstyles, how you get treated by men... and by women, what it's like to wait in line for the bathroom... Murfos laughed briefly, knowing that a line had indeed started to form nearby. Imagine that kind of freedom and possibility, and then the easy chance to change back to who you are before. It's a rare opportunity, Simon. Let me tell you.

Simon swallowed his pride and his reluctance. He wasn't even entirely sure he could believe it was true. It might just have been that his imagination had taken hold of him. His senses would really have to be playing a trick on him to convince him so well that he indeed was in the ladies room. But if turning into a woman for 12 hours was the only way to get out smoothly, catch his plane and make it to Phoenix for the interview, he was willing to try. What was the worst that could happen? The whole thing could be made up, and nothing would happen. Right? Go ahead, Murfos.

I need you to say it. All of it. It puts my conscience at ease.

Okay, okay. But hurry.

It takes me a second, lickety-split.

Murfos, I need you to change me into... hey, wait a second! What kind of woman? I mean, do I get to pick or....

Out of respect to you, it will be someone of similar age and appearance. Well, basically a genetically female version of you.

You mean, what I'd look like if I'd been born a girl.

Yes, more or less.

The idea really seemed striking to Simon. Okay, then. Murfos, change me into the woman I'd be if I'd been born female, making all the necessary adjustments to go with it, of course.

Your wish is my command!

Murfos had been right. It was "lickety-split." Simon had hardly noticed that he was sitting there on the toilet wearing a women's business suit, pantyhose and low-heeled women's shoes. I'll have to check and make sure of the rest, he thought to himself. Thanks, Murfos, for helping. Murfos? But no telepathic voice responded. Instead he looked down at the now silver ladies watch on his more delicate and hairless wrist and nearly panicked. He leaped up, pushed the flush button, grabbed the laptop case and the purse he assumed was meant for him and darted for the sinks. Simon Burleson could hardly believe that he was walking about in the ladies room, and no one was giving him a second look.

Again, Murfos had been right in other ways. There were more women around in the bathroom than he was used to seeing men in the men's room. He even had to wait to get up to a sink and a mirror. He would have grown totally absorbed in studying his own reflection if he also hadn't been awed by being in this atmosphere of women chatting and applying cosmetics and being totally unnoticed. He dried his hands off on a paper towel, grabbed the laptop case, and briskly moved in the direction of what he assumed to be the exits.

The short trip down to his gate was made harder by the fact that walking in low heels was harder than he expected. Not to mention he nearly got disoriented trying to figure out which way to go. After all, he came out of a room he hadn't gone in!

Simon breathed a huge sigh of relief when he reached the gate and the attendant there told him he'd made it with less than a minute to spare. "Thank you, thank you," was all he could say, in a feminine voice he barely had time to appreciate was now his own. He glanced down at the boarding pass receipt in his hand as he ambled with all the grace he could muster down the tunnel to the plane. "Simone Burleson-Jackson," he mouthed. "Simone.... Burleson-Jackson?"

But it wasn't until he had found his seat on the plane that the newly minted woman took the time to appreciate the last name. Scrounging through the handbag he located a wallet and found a drivers license with much of the same vital statistics he was used to seeing. But there was the unfamiliar picture, the "F" designation, and the last name "Burleson-Jackson." Simon began to wonder why the complete name change. Then he happened to notice something shiny on his left hand. "I'm married," he blurted aloud.

The man two seats down by the window dryly responded. "Don't worry, lady. I'm not interested." He hadn't even lifted his eyes from his newspaper.

I've got to stop talking to myself. Since Simon had reached the plane at the very last minute he didn't have to wait around for too much pre-flight rigmarole. The flight attendants were just finishing up their safety instructions, but Simon (er, Simone) was staring at his (or, her) painted fingernails on her smooth, delicate hands. Getting settled into the seat she was just starting to really appreciate the feeling of the new weights on her chest. My breasts! And she didn't think they were half-bad looking, either.

The idea of being Simone had gone from being totally foreign to totally repulsive to somewhat frightening to reluctantly necessary to rather interesting. I think I'm going to have to do some more exploring when I get into my hotel... Will I be able to check into my hotel? But the obstacle became less and less a concern as she closed her eyes, not pondering on mathematical equations this time but on an interesting new fantasy... in the shower... feeling herself.... The new Simone let the hum of the jet engine send her mind off into a whole new world.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

  

  

  

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2004 by Young_Ovidius. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, and compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without the express written consent of StorySite and the copyright holder.