Sometime in the not-too-distant-future….Tampa, Florida "Build Your Own Body" store at the West Shore Plaza
“I see you’ve circled a full transformation. I must caution you, Mr. Genaverino; full transformations are irreversible because of the complete transfer into a cyberbeing.”
“An android?” Bill looked at the brochure and back at the sales girl; she seemed to be in her late twenties, and might even be the kind of woman Bill could attract after the procedure.
“Yes, you can call it that if you like? We have several popular templates for transformation; generic in a way, but still high quality, and guaranteed for ninety-nine years from time of purchase. And of course we have our Celebrity Duplicate models as well; they run higher only because of copyright and licensing concerns. You can see some of the more popular choices in our display out front as well as in our E-log. Many of our stores have local as well as national and international celebrities available for duplication, and even some recent historical figures. For the purpose of national security, we’ve been unable to obtain licensing for current or recent past political figures, and really, they aren’t all that popular to begin with."
He looked at her intently. The woman’s name tag read, “Nancy Patterson,” which suited her.
“Have you tried any of the temporary procedures yourself?”
“I’m really embarrassed to say I haven’t, but that’s just me. I rather like the person I am. Did you have anyone in mind?”
“Actually, yes.” Bill pointed to the name in the middle of the second page of the brochure; squinting a bit as he gazed at the page.
“Hm…Interesting choice. We don’t get much call for crossovers from folks your age,” she smiled warmly.
“I’m sorry, I hope that wasn’t insulting. We find our clientele pretty much set in their ‘ways’ the older they are; I meant no disrespect. In fact, I congratulate you on your choice; a bold decision. If you’ll sign the consent forms and run your Embed-chip under the scanner, we can have your new body ready for you in less than an hour.
“Okay. I’m so excited. This is something I’ve looked forward to since I was little.” He smiled as she produced a syringe—like device.
“This will put you under for the procedure; I am positive this will be a great experience…the experience of a lifetime, in fact. Did you always want to be a girl?” She said it softly, almost as a send off on a vacation rather than a life-changing decision. He looked at her puzzled and mouthed the word, ‘girl?’ as the room seemed to spin.
“Let’s get you set up before you pass out completely,” she said as she walked him over to a large cushioned seat with straps and wires.
“This will be great, Mr. Genaverino…or should I call you Ms.?”
* * * * *
“I see you’re coming out of it? Excellent. I’m so happy for you. Celebrity templates don’t often satisfy our senior clientele, but you seemed so excited that I was just anxious to be here when you awoke. You look simply breathtaking.
Bill went to sit up and became dizzy. As he lowered his head back against the headrest he noticed a shock of medium brown hair brush his cheek and nose. He put his hand up to his face to brush it away and say that it was much smaller than he had remembered. And his nails were long and painted a very pale pink.
“I love how they get everything just right. Why don’t you try to speak; I’ll bet you’ll be surprised.” Nancy said with enthusiasm.
“What should I say?” Bill spoke and immediately his hands went to his mouth, covering his lips…lips that were coated with a dark pink…lipstick. And the voice was soft and feminine and had just the slightest mix of Tex-Mex.
“What the fuck?” Bill shouted and went to get up out of the chair. Nancy turned and looked toward a side door and shouted.
“Janice…..Get the fuck in here….NOW!”
“What’s going on?” Bill sat in the chair, his arms…her arms restrained by straps. A smallish form struggled in vain to get free as her long shapely legs and tanned arms pulled against the leather.
“There…there seems to be a mistake. I’m so sorry, Mr. Genaverino…we….you’re. I don’t know what to say other than that we will refund your purchase fee plus a fifteen percent rebate for the trouble we’ve caused.
“Mistake…I’m a friggin’ woman…Mistake….A mistake is bringing out my fucking Filet Mignon medium instead of medium rare. Change me back….now!”
“We can’t. I’m sorry. We just can’t”
“I don’t care what your fucking policy is….you have to change me back.”
“I’m afraid you don’t understand. We are unable to change you back. When a ...human... undergoes a full transformation, the procedure always proves to be too much of a shock to the brain. The physical part of you…your body and your brain…failed when you transferred into the cyberunit. I’m sorry, but you…the you that you once were? You don’t exist any longer.” Nancy shook her head in sympathy, but it wasn’t helpful at all.
“Don’t exist. If I don’t exist, then who the fuck am I. And how did this happen. I distinctly remember circling the choice on the form. How the fuck did this happen.”
The demeanor might have been that of a sixty-ish man, but the physical appearance was anything but manly. A very attractive Latino woman in her early thirties sat uncomfortably in the chair, still pulling against the restraints to no effect other than that she was getting increasingly agitated. Nancy produced another dose of the same sedative Bill had received earlier and before ‘she’ could object, Nancy administered the drug to Bill.
Not as strong as the first dose, this one merely served to calm 'her’ down as the discussion continued. Some women might have been thrilled with the transformation since the figure before them was gorgeous, well endowed and attractively clad in a silver mini dress and four inch heeled sandals.
“We’re going to go ahead and give you the rebate, but I’m sorry to say that the mistake wasn’t our fault but yours, Mr. Genaverino!” Nancy shrugged her shoulders, as did Janice, who looked relieved after learning that she was still employed.
“What do you mean, not your fault? You changed me into a fucking girl!” The face and the voice started lining up; or rather the demeanor was already changing from that of a sixty-two year old widower to that of a thirty-ish single woman. Anger slowly left and frustrated tears began to stream down Bill’s new face.
“You changed me into a fucking girl….how did this happen?” She sobbed.
“I….I know?” Janice raised her hand timidly like she was still in Sister Mary-Joseph's history class; she offered the words more as a ‘hope this doesn’t get me fired’ question.
“What?” Nancy and Bill both snapped at the girl who shuddered and cowered before continuing.
“When…when you filled out the form? Was your hand shaking when you used the stylus to circle the choice?” Janice cringed, hoping she was right. If it wasn’t Bill’s fault, then Janice would likely be working for the pizza joint at the food court next door by tomorrow.
“Yes…what difference does that make? I don’t understand. I circled that one there!?” She said it as if they should have understood. They understood alright, but it wasn’t because they knew anything about the celebrity in question. It was because of a simple matter of a missing consonant.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how many times have we asked them to change the fucking form.” All thought of propriety went out the window as Nancy took the Plasti-form and scaled it across the showroom.
“Holy shit, Ms. Patterson. Should I get BYOB corporate on the line?”
“Yep, and you might want to call Legal while you’re at it.” Nancy forced a smile as she stood up. Retrieving the Plasti-form, she brought it closer to the ‘new’ woman, who was still squirming, but with much less energy as the delayed second dose of sedative kicked in.
“It seems…and this is funny…” She laughed a very forced laugh and the woman tilted her head, more confused than angry at that point.
“We’ve been meaning to separate our Celebrity Duplicate List for some time now,” Nancy smiled but she seethed inside; this was the fifth time in four months that this had happened and all due to spelling. Grey eyes instead of green three times and the man who ended up with pink shorts instead of a pink shirt. But this was the first time that a crossover had been committed accidentally.
“You wouldn’t by any chance be a baseball fan?”
“Why yes…” She said it almost dreamily.
“My great grandfather was Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays….you know…the all-star?” She almost purred her response.
“Well….like I said…this is sort of funny….you’ll really get a kick out of this….his name….Evan Longoria?....Well?”
“Son of a bitch!”
“I’m ….I’m sorry….Ms. Genaverino…I really am.”
* * * * *
In the end, the corporation settled for seventy-six million credits. She took the money and ran, so to speak, all the way to the bank. In an interesting development, during the Acclimation Period for her transformation, she fell in love with her psycho-therapist; a nice woman from St. Petersburg named Consuela, and they were married shortly thereafter. Not needing to work, she became a stay-at-home housewife. She was, by all accounts, however, anything but desperate!
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