by Lainie Lee
Carl Bruno shuddered when Dr. Pease instructed him to put his feet in the stirrups. The big burly construction worker did not like what the instructions implied. "Why you want me to do dat, doc?" he asked.
"I need to do a complete physical, uh, Carl. Of your internal parts, too," said the general practitioner. "I may need to refer you to a specialist."
"There's people who specialize in dis sort of thing?"
"Um, hm," said the doctor. "Now, just settle back, and relax. I'll be using my smallest speculum so it won't hurt at all."
"Yeah, yeah," said Carl. He licked his upper lip then gnawed on it with his lower teeth. He lay quietly, looking at the ceiling and thinking of Cleveland.
At one point he said, "Dat's cold."
"Sorry," said the doctor.
Carl did not like any of the sensations caused by the doctor's investigation. He felt, well, violated. Some things ought to be private but he'd come to the doctor for a check of what had happened to him.
"You waited a long time, Carl," said the doctor. "The changes are pretty far along."
"You mean, it's too late to do anything about dis?" asked Carl.
"I'm sorry. It was too late when the process first started. Modern medical science has no cure for your condition."
Carl knew he felt like crying but he resisted the impulse. Big, strong, construction workers didn't cry at all. Not for any reason.
"You're saying I've got SCryPTs?" asked Carl.
"Spontaneous Cryptogenic Proaedificator Transsexuality. Yes." The doctor nodded. The recent news programs on the syndrome made explanations easier but acceptance by men like Carl would always be difficult.
"And no one knows why? Or why it mostly hits men in da building trades?"
The doctor nodded. "A few in pro-sports, some taxidrivers and streetvendors, some cops and military-types but yes, mostly construction workers."
Carl sighed. "How long have I got, doc?"
"Well, the initial outer transformation is almost complete. All soft tissues, so whatever is making this happen has an easier time of it." Dr. Pease had read several scholarly articles on this lately. "Have you had any pain?"
"Just some itching," Carl admitted. "I been afraid to scratch."
"Well, don't overdo it, but scratching an itch is perfectly normal." He smiled exactly as if a secret dirty joke had just occurred to him.
"What, uh, what happens next?" Carl asked. He picked at the hem of the examination gown then took his feet out of the stirrups and turned to sit on the little padded bench. For some reason, he felt compelled to keep his knees together.
The doctor took a moment to answer. "Well, first, your testicles will complete their internal migration to their new location. That may cause some cramping. Your urethra has already opened a new outlet at the base of your penis which will continue to shrink until the folds of your new vagina almost hide it."
Carl listened, his mouth open, his eyes watery.
Dr. Pease kept an eye on his patient, he didn't want the burly fellow to faint and fall off the examining table. "The cervical opening, which is very small right now will expand as a uterus forms. This will take another six or eight weeks. By that time, your testicles will have completed their transformation into ovaries."
Carl shivered but kept his eyes open.
Pease continued. "Your body will then be manufacturing its own estrogens and more physical transformations will take place. Around this time, you'll have your first period. I know it will be a little scary but there are drugs to make it less painful and if you need any psychiatric support, I can give you a referral."
Carl shook his head. "I don't t'ink so, doc. But what else will happen?"
"The next part is very mysterious," the doctor admitted. "We really have no explanation for how this can come about. Your skeleton will begin to shrink and reshape itself. You'll need to drink a lot of water to get rid of all the calcium salts your body will be producing."
"At the same time, you'll be losing muscle mass and tone. Your skin will change texture. Your beard and much of your body hair will disappear and so will your bald spot. It's not uncommon for the new growth of hair to be lighter in color. Were you blond as a child?"
"Well, then it's possible you will be blonde when the transformation is complete," said Dr. Pease. "You're going to grow breasts, too, generally a cup-size or two larger than your nearest female relatives."
Carl pictured his bountiful sisters and aunts and wondered just how big a chest he would be growing. His plump mother wore something toward the middle of the alphabet, he knew.
"You'll also be four to eleven inches shorter and perhaps as much as 100 pounds lighter." He glanced at a chart. "Six-two, 220 pounds, odds are you'll end up about five-foot-seven and 130 pounds, and all curves. It will take close to two years."
"Will it hurt?" Carl asked.
"No, not really, other than some twinges and a few cramps. In fact, most victims of this condition report a feeling of euphoria." He looked at Carl. "In fact, that tends to happen from the very start. You're nowhere near as fearful or panicked as a reasonable ordinary man might expect to be."
Carl shrugged. "You want me ta be honest, I feel good, doc. Like I don't have a trouble in da world. Doesn't make sense, huh?"
Dr. Pease shook his head. "Nothing about this makes much sense. We medical types have spent most of the last decade denying that it could actually happen. But there are too many cases, first in the US and Canada but now around the world. This went through the Italian army faster than the clap, almost a fifth of their servicemen affected in a six month period four years ago."
Carl couldn't suppress a rueful grin. "All dem macho-types turned into Ginas and Sophias? Must be sump'in to see."
"Mm-hmm," said the doctor. "And all of them healthy nineteen-year-old virgins, to all appearances and tests. Not that they are likely to remain so; an increase in libido and decrease in inhibitions seems to go with the syndrome, too. And a change in sexual appetites."
The doctor nodded again. "Thought so, that part begins early, even before most of the superficial physical changes. Started fantasizing about men, have you?"
Carl mumbled something and turned even redder.
"The curious thing is that the fallopian tubes are the last thing to form in the new female plumbing." Dr. Pease pulled out a very technical, medical magazine and flipped through it. "Yes, that doesn't happen until about six years after the initial symptoms. Until then, you won't be able to get pregnant."
Carl's face glowed with embarrassment and an almost reverent anticipatory joy.
"After that, most of the postSCryPTs girls turn out to be astonishingly fertile."
Carl covered his face with his hands and suppressed a virulent attack of the giggles.
Watching him, the doctor grunted again. "Mm-hm, mm-hm. You know, you're kind of a late case, Carl. We can't cure it but there are some pretty good guesses as to what causes SCryPTS. Not how, but what."
Carl looked away from the doctor and gnawed on his lip again.
"You knew that, didn't you?"
Carl nodded. "Sure, doc. It's been in all the construction trade papers, what not to do. And lots of scuttlebutt in the workgangs."
"And daring each other to do it, anyway?"
Carl laughed, pulling the skimpy examination gown around him with an almost feminine gesture. "Yeah, yeah. Can't show that you're afraid of anyt'ing, doc. Besides, it's a chance to be young again, too."
"Young again? Carl, you're only thirty-one."
Carl tugged the hem of the gown down again.
"So you were whistling at girls? Knowing what might happen?" asked the doctor.
"Doc, I been whistling at girls, on purpose, for da last six years. I just finally got caught by whoever or whatever did dis." He smiled. "It finally worked."
I freely release SCryPTs as a plot device to anyone else who wants to use it. Enjoy. :) -- Lainie
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