Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Greg/Kurt:: Another day, another...

Right. So for everyone not insightful enough to notice the change in name in the blog post title, I'm in a different body now. Again. Took long enough, didn't happen until Saturday night and Malinda was freaking out. If we didn't have 13 people by Sunday morning, I was going to call Fletcher and see if some other travellers would even things out , but I'm really glad it didn't come down to that, not only because he's weird but because he'd probably make me do things for/with him in return.

Anyway, Saturday night I was reading the internet my phone in bed when I felt the tingling sensation. I took a deep breath and looked down and saw dark hair sprouting out of my legs. My first two years at the inn I was asleep for the changes, but I watched them happen live last year. Weird as it sounds, I actually like to watch it live. Its kind of horror movie but it makes it feel like less of a shock if you watch it happen in real time. Either way I stripped naked and headed into the bathroom and by the time I looked in the mirror I had hair growing out of my chest, armpits, and pubic area as well.

If I had to describe the change from a woman to a man in one word it would be "growing". You can feel everything about you getting bigger. Your height, your muscle tone, and...your genitals. It was weird watching a penis grow back after so long without one, heck it's weird having one again still after 2 days but it's not as big a shock as not having one was.

When it was all over, a dude was staring back at me in the mirror. Not muscular, not fat, not ugly, not hot. Brown hair, brown eyes, white skin. Just kind of dude. I flexed my muscles and looked over myself in the mirror when I heard a knocking at my door. I put on the robe I brought (which was a bit short now) and went to the door to find Malinda, the real Malinda. The pretty blonde who had stayed in the room next to me a year ago but was a lot bitchier back then.

"It worked!" She shrieked bursting into my room and jumping up and down "It worked Greg, it worked it worked! You are Greg, right?"

"Yes" I assured her "It changes the body, not the minds"

"I'm so happy to be me" she said hugging me "Thank you so much for your help"

"No problem" As I said that there was a scream of horror from down the hall "It sounds like others are going to be in need of help"

"Should we offer?" she suggested

"Wait until morning" I said "All this changing has made me sleepy"


I woke up Sunday morning and after I got over how weird everything felt I got dressed in some of Kurt's clothes, read his letter one more time, and went out into the lobby to see what was going on.

When I got out there I saw some people in ill fitting clothes in the lobby standing around listening to Malinda finish explaining things "It's important to remember that this can only be temporary and you just have to do your best to make it through the next year"

When she was done talking the people went back to their rooms to presumably look at their letters and luggage. I walked up to her and said "Well aren't you the good little leader" jokingly.

"I figured since I knew what was happening, and I'm in my right body, that it would be helpful for them to gain from my experience. I told them about your blog too"

"More pageviews, awesome. So what's next?"

"I fly out of Portland tonight, you?"

"Lucky. My guy took the Amtrak. He's got a monthly pass or something"

We helped each other pack and answered questions of other guests until it was checkout time at noon, when we took our luggage and waited in front of the inn for the real Sharon and Alexis.

Sharon showed up first, we noticed the big rig pulling up was the same one that had been parked in front of our condo a few months ago when she came to yell at Malinda. Sharon in Jack's body got out and took his suitcase towards the inn when we realized he didn't recognize us so I called to her using her real name. She looked at us weird and walked over slowly. "Greg?" she said eyeing both of us, not sure which one was which.

"Me" I spoke up "Male again"

"Can't say I envy you. I can't wait to get rid of this thing."

We talked a few minutes and Malinda filled her in on a few details when a Taxi cab came up and a middle aged brunette got out.

"Honey" Sharon squealed in a hilarious way "You made it"

The real Alexis, who spent the last year in Minnesota as Selena Bookman, walked up to her spouse and gave her a long, satisfied hug. "Her marriage is going to be strained. That idiot she's married too didn't want me to go but she'll have to get over it"

We gave them a little bit of advice and reminded them to sleep separately in the correct rooms, otherwise they might end up as each other. We said one last goodbye before Alex gave me a hug.

"Thanks for keeping my life in order, Greg. I couldn't have asked for anyone better"

"Its what I do" I said in a Han Solo manner that made me feel like a bad ass.

Malinda and I split Selena's cap to Portland where I hugged her goodbye "Tulsa isn't far from where I live. Visit sometime"

With that, my once pretend gay wife went to board her plane.

As for me, I'm in Washington DC. For those of you that Aren't American I should explain that Amtrak, the US passenger rail line, is complete garbage outside of the Northeast, and doesn't even go to Tulsa. I have to go to Kansas City and take a bus to Oklahoma. So now I'm in the train station on the laptop this body came with, awaiting details on my next adventure.

Happy Trails, (I'll be in cowboy country soon)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Greg/Still Alexis: Any Minute Now

There are people, usually families, who spend their vacations every year going to the same place every year. My aunt and uncle were like that and I always thought it was pretty boring. Now I'm the same way, by default. Every year I check in to the same little hotel in Old Orchard Beach and go through something bizarre and other worldly that has become almost routine for me. Although I do get the added bonus of going home to a new place every year.

This year that place is Tulsa, Oklahoma. I toyed with the idea of keeping the readers in suspense by not saying who I was going to become after I read the note, but I scrapped it when I realized that it was mean and might seem silly if I dont become that person.

That said, I'M GOING TO BE A GUY AGAIN!. The previous tenant in this room was one Kurt Chalker of Tulsa. He's 27, single, and works as a manager at an electronics store. Took a tour of the upper Eastern Seaboard and wound up here. And then turned into a Chinese business man looking to invest in Portland. He's over there right now, and he does NOT speak Chinese. Still, worse things could have happened.

Malinda is all set. Her suitcase is full of her old clothes and things and her purse and wallet are all there too. She's super giddy all the time so we do normal vacation stuff to keep her mind off of it.

Of course "normal vacation things" are always going to be tainted by the knowledge that everyone you see at the hotel is going to have their life changed and there is NOTHING you can do about it. I'm sure at least someone else is here to be changed, but its hard to start that conversation. We inn goers need a code word or something.

We spend a lot of time at the beach, tanning these bodies so their real owners will look like they were on vacation. Sometimes we act as wife and wife and hold hands while we walk down the beach, just to see who notices and stares. Nobody really caused any trouble though, but staring at each other in swimsuits all day did kind of work us up a little bit to the point where we would go back to the hotel and fool around, being very very careful to be in our correct rooms in case the change happened that night.

Its weird waiting for it. Its near impossible to get a full and exact count of how many people are in the rooms at once so you never know if it's 13 when youre in yours. So I stay up late at night, waiting for that familiar tingling only to fall asleep and wake up, waiting for the next night.

Until then it's shopping, tanning, and waiting


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Greg/Alexis: Exit (36) Strategy

When you're about about to go to the Trading Post Inn, and you know what is going to happen there, there can be a looming sense of dread and anticipation. Knowing that soon you will be someone different can really mess with your head, which is why towards the end of my adventure as Alexis I'm trying not to think about it much.

It helps that I'm in a comfortable situation. Malinda and I have spent the last couple weeks coupling, just having a relaxed time together and not sweating the small stuff, (its easy not to sweat the small stuff when your leaving too, this house is kinda dirty). Malinda is visibly excited about going back, she thought it would never get here. I'm cautiously optimistic for her but didn't let it show as we spent the last week sitting around in the air conditioning ogling the female Olympic Athletes.

Sunday was the day we left and that morning Malinda woke me up like a kid on Christmas. "Moving Day" she said excitedly.

"Our last night in the same bed" I mused

"We have up to 2 weeks at the inn...it can be a couples vacation for us"

I shook my head "Nope, not risking it. After what happened with Lisa and Zane and all them, I'm not going to risk being next to you when the change begins. I might wind up in your body, and I dont feel like I can pretend to be that snotty" She threw a pillow at me playfully and went downstairs to make breakfast.

Old Orchard Beach is roughly 3 and a half hours from Burlington depending on how fast you go and the weather, so we were leaving mid afternoon, that allowed me to wrap up some final loose ends from my time as Alexis Barco.

My first stop was work,where I had to drop off some files and USB sticks for George, the person who will be acting as manager for the next two weeks. You might recall that I went on a bit of a "spirit quest" earlier in the year to meet Fletcher in Canada, doing that ate up the vacation time I was going to use for the inn trip, so officially the next 4 weeks or so are going to be a "leave of absence" which is like a vacation but Alexis isn't going to be paid for them.

The next stop was Target to pick up some things for the trip, not for me per se, but for the person who potentially becomes me. It's all organized for Alexis to stay in my room right after me and get her body back, but as we know, stuff happens. So I'm preparing a bit of a "survival kit" for anyone that gets this body but doesn't know how to cope with it. These things include comfy sweatpants, simple underwear, sports bra, and a baseball cap. I even wrote a note explaining who Alexis and Sharon are if things went REALLY wrong.

My final stop was the post office, where I was going to mail a letter. It's been years since I've used snail mail but the slowness of the delivery was a benefit in this case. The letter was a simple note addressed to Annabelle saying "I miss being friends, lets hang out when I get back" wrapped around a photo of Alex and Annabelle from their hockey playing days. Hopefully that will sow the seeds to restore their friendship that I messed up.

When I got back I helped Malinda load the bags into the Range Rover and we looked back at the condo.

"Goodbye, home" I said with a mock wave

"For better or for worse, I'll never forget it" Malinda said and squeezed my hand.

"The inn changes you on the inside too, but you have a little more control over that. I'd say all in all you've turned out pretty cool"

"I was always cool" she teased

"Maybe" I said as I tossed her the keys "You earned it"

She caught them and looked at them for a moment "You never let me drive"

"I didn't trust you before. Or I didn't like you before, one of those things"

"Stop teasing or I'll leave without you"

We drove off away from the sunset and got to the Inn late last night. Not many people here yet so I'll probably post at least once more from this body before things change.


PS 36 is the exit number for Old Orchard Beach off of I-195. But don't go there, seriously. It's not all lesbian sex and luxury SUV's ;)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Tori: Reverting

For a while after Alex told me the truth about him, it was like was had agreed to break up.

It was weird the way we left it. Even though we were such an important part of each other's life for a year, suddenly he drops this bomb on me and disappears, pre-emptively ending our relationship before he was even gone. And me... god, I'm ashamed of myself. Suddenly it was like I was Cliff again, afraid to peel back the curtain and TALK to him.

Truth-telling time: When I was a guy, I ruined a few potential relationships because I was afraid to check in on somebody when things were in doubt. Things could have been salvaged. I've come to prefer being a woman partly because I'm more comfortable being pursued, and now when the chips are down, I revert back to old habits. I was a little disgusted with myself when I realized that. I spent weeks mourning a relationship that had not ended yet.

I went and saw Alex - I won't call him George because he's Alex to me. I told him to meet me at a cafe near our old workplace on his lunchbreak.

He sat down across from me. "I'm so glad you called," he said.

"I've spent a lot of time thinking about what you told me. Trying to make sense of it." I stammered for a bit, assessing the situation... letting him know my "grasp" of it based on the idea that I'd never heard of the Inn before, before finally saying "So all of this means you have to leave... you have to stop being Alex... you have to give this person back his body. But whoever you are... we've grown very close over the last year. Tell me that isn't a lie."

"It's isn't," he said firmly.

I took a deep breath, "Then I don't see why this has to be the end for us. I don't see why I can't meet the real George Mueller. Why we can't still be together."

He smiled. "Tori, I keep asking myself that same question. If I could walk out of that Inn the same old George I used to be... if I could come back to Philly and hold you in my arms I would. You're half the reason I stayed as Alex. The other half, though, is that there isn't a George Mueller to go back to. Don't ask why, it's a long story, but I've spent the last year trying to figure out how to make it work. How to keep you and give Alex back his body and find a new one for myself... and that's when I met them."

My back tensed. "Them?"

"It's sort of hard to explain, Tori... see, there's a lot of people out there who get caught up in this. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, of course, but it's sort of a support group, slash... agency. They use the inn to trade bodies, to arrange for transformations. Deliberate ones, to benefit people. And they've found something for me."

At first I was thinking of Fletcher and his travelers... but that didn't sound quite right. From what I know, Fletcher and his friends just kind of float around. There's nothing deliberate about it. My teeth clenched. This was getting weird.

He went on, "They have a lot of resources, they pulled some strings... it's not important. But part of this deal means I have to take on someone else's life for a while. Again. And that's going to keep me away from you... I know you don't do well with long distance relationships but there's not much I can do. I already promised I would be out of Alex's life by the end of the summer."

I sat there quietly. All I could say was "So... it's out of your control?"

"Yes," he said. "They were pretty specific. They won't even let me tell you who I'm going to become."

"I see," I said, breathlessly.

"Unless..." he said, "You want to go with me?"

I lifted my eyes. My jaw fell open. My throat caught itself trying to say "What?" like I was a female Michael Cera.

"I know this is a long shot," he said, "Like I said, I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone, but good things can come out of it, and I think maybe... if everything goes according to plan, if you take this risk with me, we can be happy together. We can make it work. I must sound so crazy right now, but I think I could convince them to give us a good start."

"It's so crazy," he went on, "And I feel like a jerk for even asking. It's just that I feel like maybe... it could be good for you. A fresh start. Sometimes I see you when you don't think I'm looking... I see this look on your face when you think about your life, and it's not all you think it could be. And you've spent so much time lately figuring out how to get to the next phase in your life... your job, our relationship... wouldn't it be nice to just skip ahead? Wouldn't it be nice to start something together where we knew we could have it all figured out?"

He began to get up from the table. "You don't need to give me an answer now. We have all month. Think it over. These people can do a lot for us... money, security, a great life... I know it must seem like a big risk, but if there was ever a sure chance for happiness for us in this world, it's this."

He leaned over and kissed me. I was still stunned. I've been stunned ever since. Every time I think about it, my stomach twists.

I've been thinking about it a lot. The truth is... he has a point. Him saying that proves he gets me, regardless of knowing the truth. I've been dissatisfied with a lot of the turns my life has taken, hit a lot of dead ends trying to make this career work and get back on a path. For a lot of that, the only thing that's kept me sane and happy has been this relationship, and a lot of "that look" has been my concern that I should be happy with things other than my relationship. And I value that so much that when I thought it was ending - first because we fought, then because of the truth - I wanted to curl up and die.

What Alex is offering is this mysterious fresh start... it's tempting. Keep him, and use this mysterious group (Pygmalion? Someone else?) for my own benefit... all while stealing or borrowing someone else's life. I would feel very guilty about that. Not everyone would be as understanding as ex-Tori about being removed from their life. I think I remember reading Fletcher saying "it's going to happen to someone anyway." If they're as influential as George says, then this decision could set me up for life.

But it's not just that. It's me. It's all the work, all the blood, sweat and tears I've put into this life for the last three years, going from a frightened little boy to a thriving, happy woman. Say something goes wrong and I become the man, and Alex the woman... would he be able to cope? Would I? I already scoffed at the idea of taking my own old life back. If I ended up that way, I might be able to adjust back, but I think I would resent Alex for taking me out of a very comfortable situation... and that's not even counting me urging him to get used to it.

In a way, it would be easier if I told him the truth about me. He'd know I know where he's coming from, and maybe we could work it out from there. I'm still undecided, though. If you were me, and you were a woman who used to be a guy... you might be reluctant to tell your boyfriend. Inn or no inn, a lot of guys can't handle that, and I don't want him looking at me and imagining Cliff. Besides, I'm worried that if I admit it to him, he'll use it as a reason why I should go along with his plan. "What's another body to you? It's not like you're really Tori."

I can't. I can't walk away from this, no matter how shitty my life sometimes feels. This isn't just a body to me, this is my life. This is home. There's nothing that's going to change that for me. I just became an aunt, and when I held that little baby girl Aurora, I felt more amazed at the world than I have in a very long time. I have a sister that I've watched grow into an amazing young lady. I have friends who, without realizing it, helped me learn to become myself. I can't leave that in the hands of another person.

And that kills me, because it means that very soon, I'm going to be on my own again.

Annnnd... I'm crying again.