I got in this morning and decided I had time to write. In fact, I don't seem to have anything but time right now, so I might as well write while I have something to say. I guess you could say I'm back by popular demand.
So I explained already how Bryan and I were traveling up the East coast of the States all summer, basically just looking for shows and ho's. I was writing pretty constantly the entire time on my laptop (which I obviously no longer have) and if nothing had happened in July, I still would've had a massive cache of awesome stories. And now as it is, none of them seem so important. So yeah, one time we survived a seemingly Skynyrd-style trip in a Cessna that was the scariest thing I had ever done, but after the inn, even that seemed minor.
It wasn't our idea to stay at the inn. It was Alia's. We were in New York City in June trying to figure out how to get to Maine in time for this concert a couple weeks later, a blues-rock combo called Slowhead was playing with a Montreal fusion band we'd heard a lot about called Les Mondes opening for them. Obviously we had no idea how to get to Maine, or where we would stay once we got there.
Alia was a girlfriend of mine back in Toronto. Things had always been complicated and before the trip she and I had kinda sorta had a major fight, and maybe possibly broke up. But I was feeling guiltier and guiltier about all the chicks I was meeting along the road, because I kept thinking of her, and by the time we hit New Jersey (because we couldn't stay in New York, we were in Secaucus) I needed to call her. We had a long conversation where we just laid it out, there was a lot of "I forgive you, I love you, I don't know if I can trust you." We were reconciling when I mentioned the last stop on the trip, Maine, and the question mark of our arrangements.
"That's crazy," she laughed, "My parents were going to have their second honeymoon in Maine, but dad twisted his ankle." They had reservations at this inn that they couldn't, or wouldn't, or didn't want to give up (I never asked) and hey, what an amazing coincidence, right?
I'm laughing about it now, out of amusement, bitterness and amazement. I mean, I keep wondering what would've happened if Alia's parents stayed the Inn, and we didn't? They'd be here, and I'd be... I'd be home with their daughter.
Hm. Sorry, I... got off track there.
So flash forward. It's July and Bry and I manage to get to this fruity looking Inn, reminds me of a bed and breakfast or something. Kinda Victorian or Edwardian, but I'm not up on my architecture so what do I know? It just looks like the kind of place a couple or maybe a family would stay. Not two guys in AC/DC and Sex Pistols shirts. But whatever. We haul our luggage up to our room trying to avoid making eye contact with the other tenants. We didn't want any of them to be able to identify us if something were to go awry (little did we know.)
As we were putting our stuff away, we found some bags in the closet. They were mostly packed. I was going to suggest we take them to the lost and found or something but Bryan, always the clever one, suggested we go pawn all the contents for weed and travel money. I told him that wasn't fair, there may be people coming back for this stuff. Since we weren't running low on funds he agreed (reluctantly) but said that if nobody came by to claim it by the time we checked out, it was ours to pawn. "Whatever," I said. In retrospect, a close call. I thought I noticed him going through the bags at one point but he wouldn't say what he'd seen.
We busied ourselves for a couple days before the Slowhead show by going out to local drinking established and getting faced. Out of courtesy, the one who stood the best chance of getting laid (Bryan, given my new-found sense of remorse) got the room, while the other was to find other accommodations if possible (or, you know, hold a pillow over his ears.) Again, I wonder, what if this had all gone down while one of us (me) was out of the inn? But again I'm reminded by my surroundings... it happened the way it happened, and that's the way it happened. (Still, I'll share some of those stories later because one of them might be important.)
The last night before, whatever it was, was the night of the show. the bands were both great but the action was not, so we both just came home and crashed. While Bry snoozed, I did a little bit of writing about the show and Maine before finally just passing out. It was late and I was feeling ill (I thought it was allergies at the time.)
I was groggy when I woke up. People were making noise outside and I was not happy. I was probably hung over, although for all I know it was the residual effect (look at me, gettin all scientific) and the transformation may have cleansed my system. And if that's the case, I feel bad for the person who inherited that. I felt pretty damn hung over anyway.
The first thing I sensed, before I even opened my eyes and while I was feeling zombified, was the smoke. Bry loves the ganj... okay we both do... but wake and bake wasn't really our style. Without unburying my face from the pillow, I muttered, "Dude go sleep."
I heard a little unfamilar voice respond, "Todd, you up man?"
My first thought was to look up at the source, and the only thing going through my head was "Oh my God, look at her. Tell me Bryan didn't bring her here after I fell asleep, and then give her weed."
"Where's Bryan?" I said. Voice felt hoarse. I cleared my throat to try to correct it, but again it came out in the same weird tone, "Who are you?"
She sat next to me on the bed. She was young, like 14, with long golden locks and a ridiculously slender frame. She was wearing glasses and the large Slowhead tee Bry had bought the night before, and it looked like nothing else. Her little knees angled inward. My eyes bulged when she looked at me like a delighted psycho and said "Dude, it's me. It's us. You're really gonna wanna see this." The joint was still smoking in the ashtray, by the window. She repeated, "I'm Bryan."
I know, okay, it sounds like a point of departure from all the stories on here, but let me explain. Bryan has always been really into psychics and aliens and Sasquatch and stuff. There were people freaking out, howling in panic right outside our door, and he was just sitting there, toking up and laughing. To him, this was vindication, and somehow, I guess mentally, this shielded him from absolute confusion and terror. Or maybe it was the weed.
Whatever it was, the cogs already appeared to have been turning in that little head of his for some time, and he was confident I'd be as thrilled as he was. I was not so much.
So this girl - who says she's Bryan - grabs me by the shoulders and tries to get a good look at me, and I guess I'm just staring back like "What the hell are you looking at?" and she repeats, "Todd, get a look at yourself man, we've been... transformed!"
And this moment of absolute belief washes over me as I look in her little blue eyes, that my 6'1 lanky bearded friend and stepcousin (my aunt married his dad) had been shrunk and de-aged and, and, and... girlified! Absurd as it sounded to my ears, I was willing to listen.
"Transformed..." I whispered. "Into... what?"
And she smirked impishly at me and moves her hands from my shoulders to my chest and starts squeezing. A shock of - not pain, not pleasure, but new sensation - rushed through me. I felt my throat close up. I jumped back.
"No--" I gasped.
"Yeah," she grinned.
I sat up straight and they hung, unfettered. I put my trembling right hand over my left breast. It felt like every breast I've ever felt, but now it was my own and that made it feel different and wrong and yet absolutely real.
I curled up into a ball, sitting upright, arms around legs, knees up to chest, lip trembling. "I'm... I'm not..."
"You are," she nodded, matter-of-factly.
I just kept shaking my head, muttering "No, no, I don't believe it."
She looked at me and twisted her mouth into this little sneer - the same facial gesture Bryan would use when trying to convince me of something.
"Whatever dude," she shrugged, "Don't believe it, but you'll figure it out eventually." Then she slipped the large black tee over her head. I averted my eyes but could see from even a moment's glance she was utterly nude. All the thoughts and suspicions were starting to converge on me, and confronted with this skinny, pale, hairless naked 14-year-old strutting about the room I felt... ill.
I clenched my eyes shut and dashed toward the bathroom. I opened them only long enough to find the toilet.
Blaughh. I hadn't vomitted in over a year and a half. I wiped my mouth and grabbed the counter. Slowly, slowly I peeked over it, into the mirror. My eyes began to well up.
It was a long moment before I finally spoke. "Bryan..." I said, gazing at the foreign reflection, "What... the fuck... is going on?"
She appeared in the doorway, now dressed in a white undershirt and panties. She hard her arms folded across her torso, lips pursed, nodding.
"I've got some of it worked out, but let's just take a moment and get your bearings, okay?"
My face felt warm with fear and embarrassment. I looked at her. She looked confident. I looked back at my reflection - that person did not.
I swept some hair across my forehead and perched it behind my ear. It was brown, although there was some kind of dying because it went darker and more reddish in places, so I guessed highlights. It was about the length of a bob. I looked in the eyes - my eyes. All the basic facial features seemed in place, ears, mouth, nose, chin... features I'd been looking at my whole life, just now altered. I can't even put my finger on it. It's not really a matter of "my nose is smaller now, my lips are bigger" (although they are) because they're just... features. I opened my mouth and looked inside - for what reason I have no idea. The girl snickered.
"Are you stoned?" She giggled, "I mean... 'cause I am."
"Do you really think that's a good idea?" I snapped.
She shrugged, "Can you think of a better reason in the entire world?"
I pouted a bit, then turned back to the mirror. I lifted my chin. The neck was smooth. My eyes drifted lower on the reflection. The Dark Knight tee I'd worn to bed was being stretched in one very unusual location, but hung way loose over my torso.
I closed my eyes again and sighed. "I'm... a girl."
"Actually," she said with that annoyingly resolved pixie tone, "Give a closer look. I'm a girl. You are a woman."
I re-opened my eyes. She was right. There weren't many obvious clues at first, but my skin wasn't as youthful as hers, there were a few signs of aging. I ran my fingers through my hair again and took a deep breath. "Will you just tell me what's going on?"
She called me over to the bed, where the joint was resting. I crossed the room, suddenly aware of this weird, penisless feeling. I sat next to her.
I looked squarely at her. "Swear to me you are seriously Bryan."
"Only if you promise you're definitely Todd."
I sighed. I still felt like Todd, that was for sure. She passed me the roach. I hesitated before taking a nice big toke.
We heard a muffled scream outside the door, "OH GOD NO!'
She ignored it and said, "Let me tell you what I know."
And so she explained what she had already figured out about the Inn. Everyone staying there was cursed to take the bodies of the previous tenants and so on, so forth. The letters, which Bryan had actually found a few days earlier but been unable to make sense of - like some weird, frantically-written fairytale/biography - but as soon as the transformation happened it all became clear. Or at least, as clear as these people were able to make it.
The woman - me - was Anne Marie Adkisson. The girl was not her daughter, but niece by marriage, Elyssa McClay. They had been on a fourth of July trip and, well, now they were somewhere else (I won't say where just now.)
"So what then?" I asked, "We go to Toronto and try to convince people?"
"No, see, when I tried to read the letters before, it just flew over my head. There's no way to explain it to someone until it happens. We can't go home, dude. We have to go to Connecticut."
I've never been the type of guy who liked "having" to do anything. But now, I guess I'm not any type of guy anymore so how could I possibly argue? I took another hit.
"All I wanted was to see Slowhead," I muttered.
Maybe I'm leaving some stuff out. Maybe it took longer for me to believe, or we went back and forth longer, but it's been a while and my memory has settled on this as the official version. What's important, of course, is there.
-Todd, aka Anne Marie