Tuesday, July 30, 2013

James / Keisha: Enjoy it while it lasts

I was reading Cal's post about getting his period. That's some messed up stuff and I guess it's going to happen to me. But shit, dude, that's out of my hands, right? So whatever. Let it happen.


It's not like I think being a chick is a good thing, but I think crying's kinda an overreaction. These girls have pretty cool lives. I've got an easy job and a sweet apartment. Okay, my roommate is kinda a bitch but I don't see her too much. Kick back, try on some clothes, paint your nails. Get into it, I say.

I'm not saying dive in or anything, mostly I just do shit like this around the house to keep myself entertained. Maybe I'm not the hottest chick in the world, but every girl can be pretty, except maybe the real ugly ones, but I'm amazed how much work they put into it. I wanna learn that shit. I'm wearing a pair of lacey purple panties right now that are basically see through. Why do they even own shit like that? To turn guys on? Because they like the feeling of wearing them under their clothes? I'm gonna wear some under my jeans tomorrow when I go to work at the bookstore, and just laugh about it privately. This is fucked up. I can almost do the splits. In the past few days I've worn dresses that show off my cleavage and cherry lip gloss, just for the fuck of it. I'm feeling my nipples right now. They're pretty amazing.

I dunno. I'm fascinated. I've also been drinking a lot. Not only is the drinking age in Canada 19, but we're over 21 anyway, so my advice to my fellow dudes and dudettes and both, is to go nuts. You only live once. I'm not saying you should prefer being a chick, but if you cut loose and treat it like a vacation, you won't regret it.

My advice for life anyway.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Cal / Angie: Get through this

Got kind of a 1-2 punch this weekend. The first was when I started bleeding. The second was when I got a text from my old phone number.

The first happened while I was at work. I guess I'll be in this body long enough to get used to this, to know what to look out for, but it took me completely by surprise and left a mess on my clothes. When I realized what happened, I turned to my co-worker Roz and asked if I could go home real quick to change. She gave me this look, like "You silly girl, you should be familiar with this by now." I was completely embarrassed.

So I got home, hurried to my room and just as soon as I'm ready to get dressed and go I hear Derek's voice: "Yo Cal, that you? Guess what, my pussy's bleeding!"

Great, so, we have that in common.

"Yeah..." I said weakly, "Mine too."

The tampons are in the drawer. I saw them right away when we moved in but I put out of my mind the idea that I might actually have to use one (or many!) It's a... a thing, that goes in you... that's not right. But I had to stop it up somehow, so...

I paused, with the thing in my hand. Derek calls in, "You need help getting it in there?"

"Shut the hell up!"

He comes closer to the door. "Just tryin' ta help, geez. Don't be embarrassed."

"God," I said, trying to work through it, "How do women go through this every month?" And the sad answer is that I'm about to find out. I guess you just grit your teeth and get through it.


The next day, I was off and I wanted to do nothing but sit around the house. Derek had the same idea, but that's his only idea. He's such a pain in the ass to live with, because Mona didn't leave him a job or really any other identity other than that body and this apartment. So he's turned out to be an incredibly lazy ass. And on days when I want to stay inn, we just sit around and drive each other crazy. I don't even know if he was doing anything, but our personalities just don't mix.

After I had enough of him, I went to my room. I hadn't checked my phone all day and I noticed there was a light indicating a new text. It asked if I was the real Cal Malloy, and if they were fully understanding what was happening back in Maine. My heart began to race and I bristled at the thought of that guy walking around with my body but... but I know he'll have an easier time than I am. I told him that if he ever needed anyone, I'd be there. Then I cried my eyes out because even though I knew it was going to happen, it still hurt and I'm just not strong enough to put up with this stuff. Everything I used to be is now being controlled by some stranger, and my future is completely dominated by whether or not that person decides to let me have it back (if that's even possible... see Matt and Lila.)

And then that was it. I was done. I am done. Done hoping that somehow this is going to go away anytime soon. Done screaming at the world... for now at least. I don't get to say "I don't want to go to Canada, be a girl and work in a hippie store." I don't get control over anything and it sucks. There is NOTHING I can do but be who I look like and learn to like it.

I don't know what that means, but I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and hope it all works out. It can't get any worse, right?

RIGHT?

Ugh, 3 or 4 more days of this.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mike / Lila: The joke's on me

It's tough going to a home that's not really yours. I love my mom and everything, but my relationship with her is very different from Lila's. I remember spending weeks in Minnesota as a teenager during the summer, resentful about being away from home and my friends, having to eat the food she cooked, sleep in a guest room, and only having my sister as company. I guess some things never change, since I've only got myself as company, and I am my sister. What a joke.

As soon as that became optional, I opted not to. Mom and I became a bit distant, and Lila and I did too until she got a bit older and reached out to me. They've moved at least once or twice since I've been to Minnesota. Things are different. It's a nice big house, and as Lila, I have a real "room." (I don't judge, lots of 20-somethings live with their parents.) They live with Mom's boyfriend or fiance or whatever, Arno. I know jack-all about him.

In the summers, Lila works as a lifeguard. She's a really strong swimmer. The joke gets better: I'll be spending the better part of the summer in a swimsuit. I used to lifeguard, too, but I haven't brushed up lately. So while I could technically perform this job without much problem, I should probably take a refresher course on the downlow so that I don't accidentally let anyone get killed. Mostly the job is just sitting in the high chair and blowing the whistle when anyone runs or rough houses. But you never know when it could get serious.

I'm not in any serious trouble, I don't think. Out of everyone I know, I probably have the least serious situation (even Lila, as me, might have things more difficult.)  But at the end of a very trying week, I am still frustrated and embarrassed to be rifling through my sister's clothes for something I can dress this body in so I can go out and get a drink, or drive around looking for anything to do, because I just can't face up to being under the same roof as Mom and Arno for a night. Not yet. I hope I can get there someday, but so far... I just need space.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Roy / Christine: I don't care what you say, this is my life

That's a Billy Joel lyric. But I'm not sure if it's true.

I think, to varying levels, we all resent the idea that we "have" to do anything. James and Derek were particularly annoyed with me when I insisted we "had" to go to Canada, for instance. I don't want to give anyone the impression that I want to go along with this whole thing. But looking in the mirror, I know it would be impossible for any of us to do anything but act out the lives of the people we appear to be. James and the others should consider themselves lucky they weren't given the kind of responsibility I was.

I'm not just talking about Christine's marriage, although that is something that sticks in my side. The idea of being forced to be married to someone is just about as bad as being told you can't marry someone. But this isn't about me, my beliefs or even my preferences. I am bound an determined not to undermine Christine's life. She isn't to blame for this. I don't relish spending my nights with her husband poking into my back. The other guys have leeway... from what I hear Derek has literally just sat on his perky little butt all week while Cal is out there earning rent money. In every case, there are other people in our lives we have to treat as if we are who they think we are. That sucks. But that's, in a sense, the rules. Sadly, there's no guide to "If you run into so and so at the supermarket, you have to seem excited to see her."

Terry was annoyed by my late return. He was already in bed, and I had to walk into this place where I've never been before and act like it was mine. All I did was find the couch and plop down on it. When I woke up in the morning, he was getting ready for work and I realized that was what I should be doing too. He seemed equally pleased and annoyed to see me, asking why I got in so late and why I didn't come to bed. I said I didn't want to wake him up, and reiterated Christine's cover story about one of the girls getting sick and that being the earliest flight we could get. Over a week late. I don't know if he buys it. He's been pretty passive aggressive about it, from what I can tell, so I've been tiptoing all week.

When he leaned in and kissed me, I wasn't ready for it. But that's going to happen. I'm in character as someone who loves this pudgy, balding man with the unevenly-trimmed facial hair. I don't want to rock the boat but at the same time I don't intend to play docile housewife for him and make breakfast in bed or anything. I have my own problems.

Work. That's the other thing. Christine is a Supervisor at a book chain at a mall in Vancouver. Okay. Not hard, just find where everything is and help customers. No big deal. I just need a crash course in inventory, receiving, and whatever else. The real problem is in personnel... specifically, James, aka Keisha, aka someone with no interest in being a good employee. She showed up late and screwed around the entire time. It was lucky it was just her and me all afternoon, since we're both already on thin ice due to the extra week's unannounced vacation. I told her she has to at least try to work while she's here, and she gave me the whole "I didn't ask for this" spiel. Big whoop. The sooner we all adjust our mindsets, the easier time we'll have. I'm all out of pep talks for these kids.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Cal / Angie: What's the password?

I just want to sleep forever, or at least till all this is over.

After a few days of just running around trying to stay sane we've finally settled in... me and Derek are all set up at Angie and Mona's apartment. Derek has no trouble just sitting in front of the TV channel hopping but I'm not that comfortable yet. Mostly I just sit in Angie's room... my room now... looking at this blog or trying to memorize every item in the place. It's freaky. Soon I'm gonna get an email from someone saying they have my life. I'm sure they'll be thrilled. There's not a lot they'll have to do, I told them they can defer my fall enrollment and just... do whatever they need to do. I wonder what kind of people will become us. Old men, little girls... a whole family? I dunno. I don't want to say it but I worry that it'll be body thieves and I'll have to live like this forever. That thought's gonna be hard to shake.

There's a lot of information to take in. Addresses, computer passwords, phone contacts. Stuff that, if I was Angie, I would just know but because she's explaining her life to me I worry that she left some stuff out. Like, she told me where she works, a green nutrition store, but not what to do when I get there. I spent my whole first day awkwardly standing around hovering near cash hoping nobody would ask me to do anything special. Even worse I had to call one of Angie's co-workers because she was scheduled to open the store that day because...... well, you know how I said I felt like I forgot something in Maine? Keys.

Then I get home and Derek's still there on the couch, feet up, eating, feeling right at home and he makes fun of me for "playing along" and doing what I'm told. Like I have a choice, or like he does! Whatever, he can be a girl however he likes, and I'll be one how I like.

I feel weird just hanging out in someone else's apartment, almost as weird as trying on their clothes and eating their food. At first I didn't want to but I had been sweating through the same top and shorts for about 24 hours. Haven't tried on any other underwears though. That'll have to happen soon, although I feel like maybe hygiene wasn't this girl's main concern.

I don't know what to think about this girl. I'm getting a real hippie vibe from her. Her place was kind of a mess, and I'm used to thinking of girls as being real neat and tidy. She doesn't have a lot of possessions... Lots of multicultural decorations, dream catchers... jewelry... she seems to keep her hair long and messy and mostly wear flowing skirts. Vegetarian, obviously. She has a garden plot that she asked me to keep up. She's also got a Gecko named Geronimo, which is pretty cool. She doesn't seem like any girl I've ever met in Lowell, but that's what my parents always said "the city" did to people, places like Boston and New York. Made them "kooks." I'm trying not to agree with that.

I'm not looking forward to a year of this, but I'm doing the best I can.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trish / Robbie: It's gonna be tricky

Robbie Haddad is not a huge guy, just tall and skinny, but he takes up a lot more space than Trish Reilly did. I've never had to deal with my knees being propped up behind the seat in front of me on an airplane... for 6 hours. I've also never had to adjust my testicles constantly. Like, why are these things so ridiculous?

I almost deleted that sentence, but you've come this far into the story and you know that's gonna come up. I see that Cal posted about his boobs. I had to tell him, actually, that part of the advantage of wearing a bra is that your nipples don't, ahem, assert themselves so much against your clothes, especially when you're just wearing a tank top. I mean seriously, that boy was putting on a bit of a show and he didn't even know.

He'll get used to it. We all will. That's the scary thing. I'm looking forward to not having to shave my legs, but I'm not actually looking forward to having hairy legs, or arms or chest and back. Sheesh, I make it sound like I'm a sasquatch (I think they have those here in BC) but it's really just a few dark wisps. Man hair. No big deal. It would be weirder if I was hairless, looking like this.

I actually looked up the name Haddad, because I never heard it before. Turns out it's middle eastern, but Christian. So I'm learning things already. I can definitely tell I've got that beige-olive skin, as does James in his new body since we're related, but thankfully we were not stopped by airport security (oh my god can you imagine?)

After we landed, we collected our bags and caught the high speed rail to downtown Vancouver. Roy went to his new "home" in the suburbs but the rest of us crashed at James's place downtown... or should I say Keisha's... because we were all too scared to try finding our way around a strange city at night. We met her roommate, Steph, who was not too pleased to see a giant group of people invade the living room.

So for those keeping track, here's who we all are:

Like I said, I became Robbie, and James became Keisha, Robbie's sister. Christine (formerly Roy,) is Keisha's supervisor at a book store. Cal and Derek became Angelica and Monique (Angie and Mona for short), who are roommates (that should be fun because I kinda think Derek hates Cal.) Mona was either dating, or just hooking up with Robbie (no thanks.) And then there's Grant, who became Sophie... and I have no idea how she fits in, but my guess is that these girls all go back to years together, even though they seem very different.

It's been strange watching these guys. When they're just sitting still, they just seem like normal girls and you forget what they've been through, but a lot of the time the boyishness comes out. It's especially odd seeing meek little Grant, like a deer in headlights, in Sophie's punkish, tattooed body. I wonder how they'll all be in a few months. Scary to think we've got nothing but time now.

I've told them they can ask me anything they need to know but so far I think they prefer to just go it alone. Good luck to them... to all of us.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mike: The last to leave

I know there were a lot of people shocked on Sunday morning when we all woke up the way we did. There might have been a few others who had experience and decided to get out before people started asking questions. Lila and I decided to take the initiative and explain to everyone what happened, what they could do about it, how things were going to have to be. Nobody wants to hear that, and believe me we didn't want to say it. That look on those guys' now-female faces when it dawned on them that they were looking at a minimum of a year in this state... trust me, I know that look.

But Lila and I tried our best to be reassuring, explaining how we got back and they can too. I don't know if those Agency people Tori warned me about are constantly mucking things up for everybody or if they just pick and choose, but I'm glad that this group of people saw that it's possible. Best case scenario, it's possible.

So we helped them make their arrangements and waved them goodbye, and then we finally talked about the elephant in the room.

Because I'm not in my own body. The face I'm seeing reflected in the computer screen right now? That's Lila's, and she's got mine. Like I said, it's possible... we just didn't succeed.

I noticed right away. The long blonde hair was a giveaway. So without even checking my face in the mirror I knew the whole plan went to hell. We agreed not to dwell on it, though, at least around the others. They needed our help, so we pretended as each other - as the people we looked like. I feel bad for lying, but lying is kind of second nature to us now. Explaining the truth would have made them freak out. Hell, pretending everything was all right kept me from freaking out. But it's sinking in, now. This has happened.

We need to fix it. Somehow.

I don't love the idea of looking at her face in the mirror every morning. I am not pleased to have to go back to St. Paul, Minnesota - great place to visit, wouldn't want to live there, with my mom and her boyfriend. I worry about her traipsing around in my body more than I would a stranger, because there are sides you just don't want to let family members see, you know? My sister's smart and well-adjusted but she's still my sister and I don't want to give her all access to my world any more than I want all access to hers.

But it's not about what we want now is it. You gotta do what you gotta do.

So to all of you out there heading for Vancouver, I'm sorry I lied. I didn't want to take hope away. I still believe there's a way out of this.

"Don't worry about it," she says in that optimistic way of hers, "How many people does the Inn change every year? A hundred? Not a lot of them probably get to be people they know, people they can talk to about it. People who can look them in the face and say it's all right, I trust you."

I'm gonna have to remember that.

"Just be really careful when you're poking around in my room. You might not like what you find."

Grrrrrr.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Callum / Angie: Airport

I've never flown before. But I guess this is a week for firsts.

Whenever these girls were supposed to go back to Canada, that was a few weeks ago, but obviously they were smart enough to get a rain check or whatever. Roy figured that out for us. He's a good person to have on our side. I say "he," but obviously, he's one of the five of us who became chicks. I saw him around the Inn but I didn't talk to him or anything. Still, he had more of a handle on the situation than the rest of us, so we're relying on him to get us to our new "home." I can tell James and Derek don't really like him because they're questioning everything he says to do, but they're probably just still angry about the situation.

I can't say I'm OKAY, but angry isn't the right word. We don't have time to be angry, we don't have that luxury. We're in the deep end, so we have to learn to swim. The sooner we get our shit together... I don't know. Maybe we don't even have to get our shit together. Maybe it doesn't matter if we wreck these lives, if that's what we want, if that's how it goes. But I feel a strong urge to do whatever anyone tells me right now.

What I do know is that it's 90 degrees here and I'm sweating profusely under my breasts. They are cooped up in a confining, tight, non-breathing bra with an underwire jabbing my ribs and causing the heat to bottle under them, and irritate my shoulders under the straps. If I could air these things out I would love that. I'm only wearing a tank top and short shorts... in fact that seems to be the outfit we've all opted for, since all the girls traveled with at least those items. We must look like quite a sight, five reasonably attractive women all slouched over and gritting their teeth and grabbing at their boobs and adjusting themselves in their seats. I guess these bodies are ours to grab and adjust and do whatever we see fit, so whatever the others have done or seen overnight, that's their business. Trish has kept quiet. I can't even picture the lanky, deep-voiced guy, Robbie, as being the dainty girl she had been, but there you go.

UPDATE: I snuck off to the washroom, unclasped my bra and stuffed it in my purse. I'm just gonna let them hang for a while. Feels nice.

The flight is in an hour. It's a 6 hour flight across 3 time zones, which means... I guess we'll all be tired and miserable when we get there. We're all tired and miserable now. I want to throw up. It's too much to handle. I keep feeling like I forgot something.

-Callum

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Roy: Not something I would have wished for myself.

It looks like I will be joining these kids on their international trek. I haven't gotten to know them very well yet, but I'm hoping we can come to some sort of an understanding. The silver lining in all this is that I kind of like Canada... I spent some time in Montreal, altho I don't know much about their west coast. I'm hoping it's culturally similar to Seattle or Portland.

As Lila seems to have already told you, my name is Roy Hutchison, I'm 34 years old, I work in geriatric care, and I'm gay. That last part does not mean I relish the idea of living as a woman, in this young, somewhat doughey body. After all, I put a lot of work into mine and now it's just... gone. Handed over to someone else, at least for the year. But if anyone had to be this woman, Christine, I guess it's only fair that it's me. We're all in the same age group (they aged up, I aged down,) but Christine's biography has more the ring of a "grown up." She Assistant-Manages a book store, she has a house... she's married.

I'm not crazy about any of this. I'm very, very not eager to pretend I'm somebody I'm not, and I know that relationships based on lies... well, let's just say I'm going to try my best.

Worse than putting on the femme is trying to reduce my life into a few sheets of paper. Even trying to boil it down to the essentials is hard. I want to draw a map of everyone in my life and how I know them, how I feel about them and hopefully the "new" me will be able to emulate that, but the more I try, the more frustrated I get that I have to do this. And then there's my job. I've spent a year getting really good at it, and now I have to cram all that into a few pages of instructions.

I told them basically that if it seems like too much, just ask for a leave of absence, because they don't want people who don't feel up to the task, and then find something, anything else to do for money in the meantime. I'll be disappointed if my life isn't just how I left it, but it wouldn't be the first time I started over.

That's all I feel like saying right now. Thanks. Bye.

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Trish: The First Night

"This is freak.y I can bar ely type righ tnow, m y hands aer so much bigger than Im sued to. "

That was my first attempt to type after this. I left it there just to look at it. It's getting better but I still have to pace myself. I woke up late on Sunday and freaked at the sight of myself. When the "boys" found me, they caught me up on what they knew, and steered me toward Mike and Lila for further questions.

They swear it's just a matter of "where you were" but I'd be lying if I didn't say I think there was a deliberate irony here... I was here with four guys who are now girls, and I'm the one that became a guy. I woke up with the elastic of my underwear digging into me, a little torn, cutting off circulation to my legs and bunching up my "new friends." Ugh. I'm going to try not to complain, seeing as my fellow Lowellians would practically kill to have the body I'm in, and at the same time some of them are freaking out, like "Oh, my life is over because I have boobs" la la la, suck it up. We're all in this together. We're all part of this huge group that came from Canada. Imagine that... a half dozen or so people traveling all the way across the continent to come to this crummy little beach house. Like I said, it makes you wonder.f this thing is being rigged up deliberately.

So unlike the guys, who have largely just been wearing their own baggly clothes, I've had to actually dig into "my" luggage, to find a suitable t-shirt, shorts, shoes and underwear. I appear to be a guy named Robbie Haddad, about 6' tall, thin, hairy but... I guess, not unappealingly so. I could see this guy being very smooth with girls, you know?

So the theme of yesterday was "what now?" and the immediate answer was pizza.... everyone was starved and once the shock set in we were ready for something of a feast. I shocked myself with how much I put away, but having a larger body and no food for over 12 hours (wait, does the food stay with me, or move on to the next me, or what??)

Knowing that we were all going to be on this trip a lot longer than we thought, we sat around kind of spilling our guts. James played it off like it was no big deal and Derek stayed quiet, but Grant opened up a surprising amount about his life and his fears for this whole mission. I told him that we'd face all our problems together. It won't be long before we have to pick up our tickets to British Columbia (which James had to Google... seriously, he's the cliché of the American who doesn't know where Canada is on a map.) And then I guess... our new homes.

Whoever's reading this... um, thanks for your support? <3>

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Callum: Keep Calm

I woke up to the sound of a couple of people hurrying out of the Inn, very noisily. Whoever it was, they were the ones who kept a low profile and didn't speak to anyone else in the halls. They knew this was going to happen and they didn't want to be around to see our reaction.

So my first thought was, "Oh, someone's being noisy, whatever," and roll over onto my side, and everything... moves differently. I feel weight shifting on my chest where it shouldn't. I feel hair under my face where it definitely wouldn't have been last night - like someone else's. I bolt up. The room won't stop spinning.

I'm sweating a little, I'm overheated. My clothes are pretty well hanging off me. Honestly, it didn't take long for me to guess what had happened to me, but I ruled it out because... it's impossible, right?

So all I could do when I sat up - pushed myself up with my arms because I was just too woozy - was look down at the way my t-shirt was being pushed out at the chest, feeling two heavy-ish weights hanging down. I put my hand on one... it was soft, and it was me, all right. I ran my other hand through my hair, finding the strands to be long, long past my shoulders. I gave them a slight tug. They were fully attached to my scalp. I was frozen with fear.

Then I heard a woman's voice call out. "Cal? Grant?" It was coming from James' room. I stumbled to the door. The whole room felt like it had grown overnight, but I guess in reality, I've shrunk.

I peeked out. I saw someone else peek out, too, from Grant's room. A girl I hadn't seen before. She was blonde, but I could just barely see in the dim light that she had streaks of pink in her short punky hair.

"Grant?" I said in a whisper.

She nodded and then asked back fearfully, "Cal?"

We both went for James' door. Inside were two women. One was sitting on the mattress, wrapped in a bedsheet. The other was standing over her, wearing a guy's clothes, Derek's from the size of them. The girl in the bedsheet was brown skinned, the girl in Derek's clothes was more of an orangey-tan, as well as tall and thin, so she was gripping her shorts tightly. Both looked at us expectantly. I muttered softly, "It's Callum. That's Grant." The girl in the bed was James, and standing over her was Derek, still wearing his own clothes even though they now fit very poorly.

We all just stood there in silence, waiting for one of us to admit what happened - we were transformed. But nobody wanted to say it. Everyone wanted to believe it was a hoax or a delusion but how could it be? Mostly we just stared back and forth at each other, looking at all these improbably good-looking women surrounding us.

A guy came by and clued us in - he identified himself as Mike. He was tall, or at least taller than I am now, and probably taller than I used to be (5'7.) He told us it was the Inn, that staying here had given us some kind of magic curse and turned us into whoever stayed in our rooms the week before. He did his best to sound reassuring, saying it was going to be okay, that the worst would be over soon. I felt some doubt at that.

He told us that the people we looked like... they were real people with lives that we would have to carry on, at least until we had another opportunity to come back to the Inn. I asked why we wouldn't just change back again if we stayed another night, and he said that's just how it works. He said there was probably luggage waiting for us, hopefully with notes, letters, maybe whole files about who we were supposed to be and instructions about what to do next.

I rushed back to my room and sure enough, in the closet I had neglected to open because there seemed to be no point, was a suitcase and a large carryon shoulderbag as well as a purse. I dumped to purse out to find my new "life" spelled out for me.

Her name is Angelica Monet. She's 21 years old and comes from Vancouver, Canada. That's the entire way across the continent, in a whole other country. I have lived in the same house since I was born. I pulled my head into my chest and shut my eyes and began to hyperventilate. There's no way I can do this, there's absolutely no way... but I look at my long, skinny arms and began to realize I had absolutely no say in the matter, and that kills me.

I tracked Mike down and began to ply him for details. He was whispering to his sister about something. I interrupted and asked why it had to be this way. Why couldn't I just go back to Lowell and ask my parents to believe me... tell them things only I would know. And he sighed, leaned against the wall and looked me in the eye... I felt so small, looking up at him.

He said that's just the way it has to be. The curse blocks others from... understanding, somehow. They will refuse it until they see it for themselves. That means that you can bluff your way through a new life easily, but attempts to tell the truth don't stick. I find that hard to believe, but if the curse can do this, then I guess I have to believe them.

I wanted to scream, but I knew it wasn't their fault. They said they knew it was going to happen eventually, but they had no idea who or what we would become, just that they had worked to return to their old selves. That gave me hope. They said they would have told me if they could, but they knew that was impossible, and I have to admit if someone said this would happen to me I wouldn't have even considered it possible.

Curse. I'm cursed. I'm transformed. I'm changed. I'm trying to wrap my head around it. It's been a day. Only a day, the first of many. I haven't eaten, I barely slept... I'm on my last nerve, and I doubt they're right that the worst is over but at least we know what's happening. Now we're all just looking back and forth at each other going... "what do we do now?"

When the excitement died down, I crawled back to bed and fell asleep, the gross sweat and odor of my former body caked into my clothes. I tried not to fixate on it. I just woke up and typed out what I remember. So here you go. Whoever you are, obviously you knew what was going to happen... I see from the blog url Mike and Lila gave me, Trish checked in late last night, I haven't heard from her since. I hope she's okay.

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Trish

It's late, and I really just want to go to bed, but I had like three coffees on the way up here so that's not going to happen. When I got in, I found this flier on my floor so I thought I would maybe unwind by typing up the hectic story of how I got here. There was a raffle for the senior class at my school in Lowell, Massachusetts, for a trip up here. Of the four others, I only know James well, although I know Derek by reputation through some of the other girls at school, and I used to know Callum, when we were kids, but we are in somewhat different social groups. There's also the other guy, Grant, who I met for the first time at the planning session, but I've seen him around. He's just one of those guys that kinda fades into the background.

At that meeting, the guys... Derek in particular, but also James and Grant, looked at me like I was a piece of meat and I suddenly got a very uneasy feeling in my stomach. A week alone with these guys? I'd feel like I was being fed to the lions. So I told my mom I was feeling sick and couldn't handle the bus ride up there and she offered to drive me up if I was feeling better later in the week.

I was worried... and still am worried... that they have certain ideas about me, about what I'm willing to do or try, because I look a certain way, and I am outgoing and "popular." I'm popular because I'm nice and focussed and maybe, yes, because I take care of my appearance. But I'm also smarter than some people think, scored high on my SAT, planning to go to law school, was in the school government, was in the running to be valedictorian... I'm not like James the druggie, I'm not interested in Derek the meathead, and I have no idea about the other two. I've only drank twice - I'm the girl who helps the hose clean up the party after everyone else is passed out, and whatever I've done with boys, whether I was dating them or not, was always my choice. That doesn't mean I'm uptight, just picky about who I spend time with. I like to have fun, but on my terms. No offense to any of them.

The week went on and I was feeling guilty... it seemed like it could be a nice trip and I was foregoing it because I had some preconceptions about the boys that may or may not have been accurate. I don't think they're dangerous, I just didn't want to deal with what might happen if they were.

So here I am... tiptoeing into the inn after dark, hoping none of the guys are around to notice or care.

Nice place you've got here, by the way... I've been trying to get to sleep for an hour and I think the sheets are giving me a rash.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

James

This place sucks, by the way. I talked to Cal after we got in last night and he said he sent you guys an email. He said they were looking for "the stories of the people staying here" so I'll tell ya.

Three of us went out last night, there was an all-ages show at a nearby bar so we checked it out. The band sucked and it was kinda crappy not to be able to drink but whatever. There were some hot girls there, and with the weather being so nice they weren't wearing a lot, so I thought we could chat em up. I thought I might've had a chance, and maybe could have convinced one of their friends to come back to the inn. Derek kinda ruined it by getting too aggressive and pissy when they didn't seem interested in him. Grant said nothing, just kinda sulked. The dude's an all right guy, but quiet, and definitely not what chicks are looking for. I tried to get him to come out of his shell a bit but he wasn't interested.

I didn't mind, anyway, it was just something to do. I've got a girl back home, not really a girlfriend, more like a FWB so we have an understanding about this kinda thing. She made it clear she's not interested in anything serious and neither am I so we have fun, and then we don't talk for days. I told her we can stop if she ever feels awkward about it but she doesn't seem to have a problem.

I kinda feel like I'm wasting my summer, but at least I did something by coming here. There's just not a lot to do. It feels so old school, like American Graffiti or some shit. Well, if it was American Graffiti we'd have a car and just drive around, but we're just sitting here watching DVDs on laptops and trying to convince any of the older people here to buy us booze. Can't wait till I'm 21.

Derek can't wait till Trish gets here. But if I know Trish, he doesn't have a chance so he shouldn't get his hopes up.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Callum

To the Trading Post, or whoever's at the other end of this Hotmail address,

Seeing as the others have seen fit to go off without me, not that we are really here "together" anyway, I figured I might as well respond to your request for feedback, because I'm bored on a Friday night... unsurprisingly, even on vacation.

A little context, first... my name's Callum Malloy, I'm 18, a high school graduate from Lowell, Mass, going to school this fall with the eventual plan of becoming a research scientist. Compared to the others, I'm pretty introverted and more school-oriented, I guess, which is why I'm here right now writing this and they're out there relentlessly - probably pointlessly - trying to meet girls. I haven't seen anyone around our age in this whole town, let alone near this Inn. Maybe a few college girls, but I really doubt three guys barely out of high school will have much of a chance with girls like that, and I feel like seeking out cougars is a lose-lose situation at this point in our lives.

We came to Maine from Lowell because our high school hosted a raffle for six tickets to Maine. The winners were me, James, Derek, the other guy whose name I think is Grant, and Trish. Except Trish didn't make the bus, so apparently she's coming later.

James is pretty cool. Everyone in our school knows him, and while I wouldn't say he's the "most popular guy," he definitely knows everyone, which is more than I can say for myself or Grant. Everyone likes him fine. He's very chill. Derek's a jock, kind of fat, really bad attitude. Grant I know absolutely nothing about, I didn't even recognize him from our school, but he's an all right guy. Just inoffensive. Trish I've known since kindergarten, although we've drifted apart so I wouldn't call her a "friend." She's... cool. If she ever gets here.

So that's what brought me here, and if you don't hear from the others, that's what brought them too.

As for what I think of this place, well, I think it sucks, but my parents thought it would be nice for me to "do something" the summer before college. I guess to prepare me for, if nothing else, life on my own. The beds are stiff, the place has an overly rustic feel to it, too old-fashioned for my taste... the wi-fi is unacceptably spotty. No food on site, which is just messed up, but it's close enough to the beach and there are plenty of restaurants along the boardwalk so it's a wash. The weather's been good. The company's been shit. That's all there is to say.

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Lila: Homework

Hey guys. So Mike kind of broke his silence on this blog so I thought I would introduce myself personally. You may not hear much from me, but I would at least like to say a thing or two.

One is that yes, the last year has been stressful, as living with a stranger, and in a strange body, is bound to be. The other is that I don't blame my brother nearly as much as he blames himself. He keeps subtly beating up on himself for "dragging" me across the country, but I wanted to come, and it's not like this seemed even possible to either of us. It was an insane accident, and I wish he wouldn't hold himself accountable. Things could have been worse.

They could have been better, but they also could have been worse.

Third is that I've handed out some pamphlets advertising the e-mail address that leads indirectly to posting on this site. I typed up some fliers and slipped them under doors, basically saying "We want to hear from you! What brought you here? How are you enjoying your stay? Send us your thoughts and experiences so far! The sooner the better!" Maybe a bit pushy, but it might be nice to hear from some of these people before they get "the change."

Mike has said how much it depresses him, to look around and see "future victims." I see future friends, allies, people who will understand us. Maybe I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal. There's the teenage boys playing cards, a few other people... and then there's Roy. Let me tell you about Roy, because he's just the nicest guy and I hope the best for him when this is all over.

I met him this morning when I took a walk up the beach. I'm quite athletic in my regular body, but being Diane has brought out the sloth in me, so I was taking it easy with a little stroll, when this guy comes barreling up the sand. He must be 6'2, 230 Lbs of muscle, bald-headed in his mid or late 30's... quite impressive-looking.

"Going for the record?" I asked jokingly when he crossed my path.

"Hardly," he said, catching his breath. "Just keeping in good habits, you know?"

"You look like you keep very good habits," I said, gazing on his muscles. I appear to be not that much younger than him, so even though my "body" is married, he may have registered that I was ogling.

"My ex certainly thought so..." he said.

I smiled. "Oh really? And how long since she..."

"He," he clarified.

Oh! Okay. Cool, well, I'm open minded. Good for you, right? I laughed, embarrassed, rambled some stuff about how I was totally not hitting on him...

We got coffee anyway, in a friendly way, and I remembered to explain that I'm "married" and here with my husband. He told me all about himself, how he was a Geriatric Care worker from Rhode Island, and this was the only vacation he could take all year - he just needed to "get away somewhere new" after the break up, but couldn't spend that much time away from work. I don't know if he noticed it, but I probably wrinkled my nose at that, given he'll definitely be away from work longer than he's planned. I almost wanted to warn him, but I know that's not possible.

After a while, I used the excuse of having to get back to my "husband," and we parted ways. I told him I'd see him around, and even if not, "Make sure to find me... before you leave." He must've been totally confused because he just looked at me sideways and I turned and walked away before he could ask any follow-ups.

Still. Very nice guy. Which gives me a really ill feeling in my stomach about what happens next.

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Friday, July 05, 2013

Mike: Baggage check.

I'm back. Well, this is your first time hearing from me, but I've been following this blog for a while. I've even been in contact with Tori.

My name is Mike Stewart. Late last summer, I took my sister Lila on a trip to Maine for her 21st Birthday. I'd spent some time on the Atlantic coast in college, and I figured she might appreciate it, a landlocked Minnesota girl, who was used to "the beach" being a lake. Our parents split up when I was 15 and she was 10. I went with dad to New York and she stayed with mom, but I'd been going back to see them more and more since I graduated high school.

Our first night there we got transformed. We had barely even settled in for the night and when we woke up we and everyone else in the Inn were new people. I became a college kid named Alan, whose body I still have. She became a local housewife named Diane, complete with someone playing Diane's husband. And as you know, some other people went off in our bodies.

I was wracked with guilt. Here I was basically given a vacation from my existence - I took a leave from Alan's education, obviously, and spent the year working and trying to relax, keep a low profile - and Lila was cooped up with some lady who had been turned into Diane's husband, and by the sound of things they did not get along. My actions had caused my sister's life to become something of a nightmare. I vowed I would get her back here. I know Tori is in the business of warning people off of that, but I couldn't go on like this. Plus, it's not like the real Alan, Diane, et al didn't want their bodies back, as soon as they knew it was possible. At the very least, if my sister and I can't get our bodies back, we can make sure that the people who were kind enough to lend us theirs (unwillingly) do.

It's been an absolute mess, but this whole ordeal is hopefully over. We've checked in, we've found our "luggage," which gives me hope... I don't know if there's a trick for "aiming" this transformation but I'm in the same room as last time, so I think that's the best we can do.

I have seen a few people milling around... at least one couple in their twenties, some teenagers who don't appear to be here with parents, and a guy who looks to be in his late 30's, early 40's. I haven't talked to anyone so I have no idea if Lila, "Diane's Husband" and I are the only returns, and I'm a little too shy to ask. Hopefully I won't have time to check back in until after the big change, but who knows how long that will be, and I might get bored. If I hear any interesting stories I'll let you know.

Nice to meet you all.

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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tori: Chat

"Randi" has Requested Your Friendship on Facebook. Accept? (Yes.)

"Randi": Hey... Tori.

Tori: Hey Thom.

"Randi": Sorry we acted all weird. we really weren't expecting... any of that

Tori: Me neither.

"Randi": I've been reading that blog you showed us. Maybe someday I'll write something about our whole experience.

Tori: It can be therapeutic. Sometimes I worry that I overshare. The people on there know a lot about my personal life... lol.

"Randi": I can't blame them. The things you've been through... well, I know. I've been there.

Tori: It's weird, isn't it? So different.

"Randi": Yeah.

Tori: At least you had Sara to go through it with. I had to rely on basically strangers. Friendly people, but not people who knew who I used to be. I think that might be part of why I ended up sort of... becoming Tori, the way I did. It was evolve or die.

"Randi": I guess. Sara and I fought a lot for a while after it happened.

Tori: Oh? I'm sorry to hear that.

"Randi": I mean, it's not a big thing, but it kind of shook the whole foundation of our relationship, you know? It took some getting used to. Looking up at him, this guy who used to be my little Sara.

Tori: So how long was it before you two... you know. If you don't mind me asking.

"Randi": Haha. Not long. I mean, we HAD to see.

Tori: I can respect that, haha.

"Randi": What about you?

Tori: Oh, it took forever for me to even feel myself up. I was a prude. I was afraid I'd like it.

"Randi": Well, yeah. When you're a guy, and you're used to a certain thing... admitting that it's fun from a girl's side is, well... dangerous.

Tori: Yeah.


"Randi": I'm ready to go back, though.

Tori: I understand that... but I'm really worried that you're not going back to what you thought you were. It might be a trick. Did you read my entries about the end of my relationship with Alex? And the real Alex?

"Randi": Yeah. But I have to take this chance. I can't be this woman for the rest of my life. Even if it means hopping from one body to the next, I feel like there's something better for me out there.

Tori: Does Sara agree?

"Randi": At first she did. When we thought we were getting our bodies back, she was all for it. Now, you've put doubts into her. She thinks it might be safer to stay.

Tori: Would that be so bad?

"Randi": I just don't see much of a future between the two of us like this.

(I start a half dozen responses but keep deleting them.)

"Randi": I thought I was pregnant for half a second, six months ago. I freaked out. I can't do this, Tori. I can't be the woman for her.

Tori: Wow... surprisingly, I haven't been through that yet.

"Randi": It was the worst feeling on Earth. I felt so stuck. I felt like I was dying, like the real Thom was dying. I didn't want her to touch me for weeks after that.

Tori: I don't know what to say.

"Randi": Just tell me you understand.

Tori: I do... when I was told I couldn't go back to being Cliff when I fully expected I would, I was in complete shock, couldn't breathe, total panic attack. But here we are 3 years later...

"Randi": Would you want to get pregnant?

Tori: No... but I also wasn't almost married. We lead two very different lives, Thom.

"Randi": Why are you so intent on making me keep this life?

Tori: Because I want you and Sara to be happy. Together. You're my friends and I know the lives you're in right now aren't bad. They aren't yours, but they aren't bad. And yours might not be possible, ever again. You take that risk? Who knows where you end up, or how long it is before you get back to that Inn.

"Randi": No offense, Tori, but that's why you were such a loser when you were a guy. You just accepted things. You didn't go after girls when you wanted them. You didn't fight when someone stole your body. You didn't want to disturb your comfort zone and now you're trying to convince us to do the same.

Tori: First off... fuck you. Second, you don't know anything about what's going on.

"Randi": And you do? What the fuck do you know that you haven't already said?

Tori: I know better than to mess around with shit that's so far beyond my control. Good luck when you go back to the Inn, but do everyone a favor and don't drag Sara back to it.


That's where the conversation abruptly ended, and I just stared at the screen for a while before I decided to post this. Draw your own conclusions.

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