The Fishing Trip

When Phil McNierney agreed to be a guinea pig for Andy Hoffmann’s new serum, he didn't know what the serum, a little hypnosis, and his own mind would get him into. Still they were best friends, and didn’t Phil trust Andy?

The Fishing Trip
By Ellie Dauber  © 1999

"You know, people only use fifteen percent of their brain capacity," Andy said.

"Speak for yourself, Andy," Phil replied.

"No, I'm serious." We can test for brain activity with EEGs, positron emission systems, and the like; never seems to be more than about fifteen percent. It's like there's blocks to keep us from using more."

"So?"

"So! Phil, you're a fairly smart guy; partner in that big law firm within a couple years."

"Junior partner."

"Even so, that's pretty good from what you tell me. That's with only fifteen percent of your brain working. Imagine if you were able to work with your entire brain capacity."

"Ha! I'd rule the world." He laughed good naturedly at the joke, and Andy joined him.

The two men were an odd pair. Andy was Dr. Andrew Hoffmann, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychology at Whitmere University. He was a tall, slender man with thinning sandy color hair worn long. He was dressed, as usual, in a sweater over a work shirt and tie and a pair of faded jeans. His hands were in constant, expressive motion as he spoke.

Phil was Philip J. McNierney, junior partner at Chase, Allen, and Rice, one of the most prestigious law firms in the city. He was a handsome man of average height, wearing a three piece suit and tie that made him look as if a GQ ad had come to life. His wavy black hair was cut in the short, conservative style favored by his firm's managing partner.

The two men had met in high school and surprised themselves as much as everyone else by becoming best friends, even though they came from entirely different backgrounds. Andy's father worked on the docks and his mother waited tables. Phil's father had turned the small manufacturing company he had inherited into a multi-million dollar corporation with interests across the U.S. Both boys were top students, though, and among the best athletes in their school.

But even when they had been rivals for the same sports trophy, the same academic honor, even for the same girl, they had never let it interfere with their friendship. Phil had once joked that they even competed to see who had the best explanation for why they remained friends. Both men claimed to have come up with the answer that they usually gave, "Being able to compete against him makes me look good."

They even had a joke worked out. If they were together when someone asked, one of them (they kept track and took turns) would give the answer. Then they would say "Besides, I usually win." in perfect unison and glare at each other until somebody got the joke.

Now they were in The Legal Eagle, a bar near Phil's office to celebrate. Phil had just won a major civil case with a settlement of close to $20 million the day before. Andy's research grant was being renewed for another two years at a substantial increase in funding.

"Tell me again what this big grant of yours is for,” Phil said.

"Okay, if we didn't need all that extra capacity for something, I don't think we'd have it. I'm trying to find out what we do use it for."

"Makes sense; but if you can't track it with any of those fancy gadgets, how do you even know that it's being used?"

"That's what I'm trying to find out. I have a hunch that it gets used -- some of it, at least -- at the subconscious level."

"Doing what?"

"Running all those things we need to keep living but never think about; keeping our hearts beating, remembering to breathe, stuff like that. I think I can use this new drug that I've been working on to tell it to do something else."

"Make somebody's heart stop beating or make them forget to breathe? The Law takes a dim view of that, Andy."

"No, look -- suppose I could give my stuff to somebody who lost his hand in an accident and tell him that it was going to grow back. His brain believes it, and it tells the stump to grow a new hand. Would that be useful?"

"Your stuff can do that? Tell me, you did incorporate last year, didn't you?"

"C'mon, you did the papers. In fact, I think you're one of the officers in the corporation, you, my Dad, and me."

"I know. I just wanted to remember how it happened that I got to be so rich so young."

"You're not rich yet. I haven't proved that it works yet. All my test subjects to date have been animals. I can show that it doesn't do any harm, and that it seems to activate some sections of the brain that we've never seen working before. But you can't tell a wounded dog to grow a paw back. You can, but it won't understand."

"So you need a human subject?"

"Yeah, and the paperwork to get approval for human experimentation is frightening. The application must be a good thousand pages, and it needs to be done in quintuplicate. It'll take me the rest of this grant period just to get the thing filled out and approved."

"What if somebody filed a waiver stating that they were fully aware of all the risks, taking full responsibility on themselves, and absolving you or the university of any possible blame or fault?"

"Maybe, if it was absolutely airtight -- wait a minute, what exactly are you saying?"

"I'll take the stuff."

"No way am I going to do that! You're crazy."

"No, I'm perfectly sane. I'll toss in a statement to that effect from the psychiatrist my firm keeps on retainer. Look, you need a human subject. Despite everything you may have heard about lawyers, we are human. And I trust you. More to the point, I trust your judgement. If you think it'll work, then I do, too. And, if I'm willing to get filthy rich from the profits off this drug, then I should be willing to take some of the risk to prove that it works."

"I need a test subject, but I don't want to risk my best friend. Look, we were supposed to go away for that two week fishing trip next month; that lodge your firm owns on Lake Cody. There's a pretty good hospital, Frazier General, about ten minutes from there. They can transfer to the University Medical Center, if we need that. I'll bring the drug, plus some equipment up with me. If you're still willing, we'll do it. I'll do it."

"Fine. I'll start on the paperwork tomorrow. Drop a copy of that federal application off at my office. I'll probably want to crib some language."

"Don't get too caught up in this. I want you to spend some of the time thinking about what you're getting yourself into."

*****

A rather nervous grad student brought the application to firm the next afternoon. "Dr. Hoffmann asked me to drop this off," he said fidgeting back and forth in Phil's office, feeling out of place in the rich surroundings. "He said to tell you he couldn't get out of some faculty meeting, and you should call him after you read it."

Phil took the papers and gave the student $10 for his trouble. The kid looked like he could use it. After a quick read, Phil could see that the forms were as bad as Andy had said they were. "I never saw a government form that didn't take six paragraphs to say what it could say in one," he thought.

Still, it did ask -- and answer -- a lot of very specific questions about possible risks the subjects would face -- he would face; safeguards that would be in place; ways of finding out as early as possible if anything had gone wrong; and what might be done about it. Andy was right. It was serious reading and a lot to think about.

*****

Andy came by Phil's office the next day with another form. "More reading?" Phil asked.

"Not much, just a standard medical release form from Doug Reilly. By the way, you have an appointment with him the day after tomorrow. Your secretary set it up."

"Why, and what do you need the form for?" Doug Reilly had been doctor to both men since he'd taken over his father's practice, when the pair were in high school.

"If I'm going to change your body, I need baseline data, need to know what I'm changing it from. This form gets me access to all your records, so I can chart your health for the last couple years. Also, I need to know if there's anything that the drug might react to -- or with. Maybe even find something else that I want to change."

"There's nothing wrong with me that needs fixing. If there was, Doc Reilly would have told me as soon as he found it."

"Sometimes you don't worry a patient. A man with, say, a high risk for cancer doesn't have cancer. A doctor will just note the higher risk and check the indicators from time to time to see if anything's happened."

"Okay, but do I understand that you don't know yet what you're going to do to me?"

"I could make it simple. Cut off a few fingers, or even a hand, and tell it to grow back. But I'm not certain that the drug will work. If it didn't, well, I've known you too long to start calling you "Lefty".

"Gee, thanks."

"No, I'm looking for a change that's showy enough to be dramatic, but shouldn't be a problem if the stuff doesn't work. By the way, can I get a spare key to the lodge? I want to take some equipment up there, set up part of a lab in one of the rooms so I can monitor and record what happens if it does work."

"We are going to have time to fish, aren't we?"

"We better. But I'll need time each day to do some tests. Relax, you get to just sit there while I do a 'poke and probe'. Then you can read, nap, drink. Whatever you want. I'll be the one stuck in the lab doing the analysis."

"Better you than me, pal." He signed the form and handed it back to Phil.

"By the way, you can pull out of this, no questions asked and no blame given, up to the moment I inject. You do understand that, don't you?"

"Crystal clear, Dr. Frankenstein. I understand the risks and am -- at this moment -- ready to take them. Now get going. My partners won't let me go, if I don't finish my notes on this appeal."

*****

A week later, Phil's "beemer" pulled up on the gravel drive next to the lodge. Andy was already there, unloading his fishing gear from the back of his old station wagon. It looked like an old clunker, but it was a classic. The two friends had spent the summer between their junior and senior years of college restoring the car.

Phil carried his own suitcases into the lodge, and then came back out for his fishing gear. The lodge was an old stone farmhouse and barn with a beautiful view of the lake. Phil's firm had gotten it a few years before as part of a settlement. The previous owner had restored it as an investment, but it had gotten tangled up in the inheritance battle when he died unexpectedly. The firm used it as a retreat twice a year for planning sessions. The rest of the time, it was available to some favored clients and to members of the firm -- including senior clerical staff -- on a basis that was part "first come, first served" and part "rank hath its privileges". Phil got it for two weeks by bringing in a settlement that netted the firm almost eight million dollars in fees and expenses.

The caretaker worked a farm about ten minutes away. His wife doubled as cook if needed. They were a pleasant couple in their sixties. The husband wasn't a bad fishing guide, and, if the wife's cooking wasn't inspired, it was good basic farm food: tasty and filling. Andy had suggested that neither one should be around. They really didn't want anybody to know what they really would be doing. But Mrs. Casey had stocked the refrigerator and fixed up two of the six bedrooms in the lodge before she'd left.

"So what's the plan?" Phil asked once both men were unpacked. "Can we get some fishing in, or do we go straight to the 'Twilight Zone' stuff?"

Andy looked at his watch. "It's about 6 PM. Too late for fishing, really. I thought we'd nuke some pizza for supper. I could do some quick tests and then give you the stuff."

"Just your average afternoon in the country. Why do you need more tests?"

"Baseline readings. Nothing fancy: blood pressure, heart rate, and a urine sample. Did you bring the forms?"

"Here they are. I signed them and had them notarized them at my office before I left."

"So your office knows what you're up to, then?"

"No. All they know is that I drew up some papers and had them notarized after I signed them. Relax; the notary didn't get a chance to read them. She just saw me sign. It's standard procedure on really confidential cases, so Mary, our notary, is used to it. Here." He handed a sealed envelope to Andy, who put it in his jacket pocket.

*****

They cooked and ate the pizza in silence, washing it down with a couple of sodas. Andy didn't want any alcohol in Phil's system. He also didn’t want to talk because he was afraid of giving away his plans to his friend. Phil was nervous about what was going to happen.

"Okay," Andy said, handing him a small plastic vial. "Strip down to your shorts and fill this up for me while I set up the equipment."

"Equipment?"

"Yeah, some medical monitoring gear and a video camera. I want a working record of whatever happens. The monitor works with these tiny radio-sensors that stick to your skin. You'll hardly know they're attached. The camera gives me a visual record. It also can pick up my voice, so I can talk while I'm shooting -- get a 'play-by-play' if you want."

"Makes sense." Phil carried his bags -- and the vial -- up to his room. A few minutes later, he was in the bathroom listening to the water run and thinking of Niagara Falls."

Andy was just finishing a quick test of the camera, when Phil came back downstairs, in his boxers and carrying a capped vial full of amber liquid. Andy had moved a couple chairs to set up a "stage" area in front of one darkly paneled wall. The monitor was plugged in next to the CD player with a tray holding what looked like nine black peas on a white cloth next to it. There was a small jar of salve next to the tray.

Andy wrote something on a white label and attached it to the vial. He put the vial in slotted hole within a small plastic carrying case. Then he walked into a small storage room just off the main room. He'd set this up as a lab the day before with the help of a couple of grad students. He put the sample case in a small mini-fridge that was sitting in a corner.

When he returned, he had his medical bag with him. He did the usual "insurance exam" procedures: took Phil's blood pressure, listened to his heart, shined a light in his eyes and ears, and banged Phil's knee with a rubber hammer. After each procedure, he made notes on a yellow tablet.

"Drop your shorts, friend," Andy finally said.

"Then do I turn my head and cough?"

"It's a thought. Later maybe; right now I want to attach the sensors."

"Attach what and to where?"

Andy held up one of the little "peas" and the jar of salve. "These," he said, "are the sensors. The goop in this jar holds them to your skin. It's a little oily, but it's a lot better than the pins we used to use. Here tell me how this feels."

Andy took the "pea", smeared some of the salve on it, and tucked it gently to the side of Phil's neck. It stayed in place when he took his hand away. It felt a little oily, but that sensation went away in a minute or two. Phil stretched and twisted his neck. The "pea" stayed in place, but he could barely feel it.

"Seems okay, I guess," Phil said. "Where are you going to stick those things, anyway?"

"One on each side of your neck -- the carotid arteries; one at the top center of your forehead; one in each armpit; two one your chest, one for your heart, one for your breathing; and one by the femoral artery -- right here --in each leg." As he had spoken, Andy had attached the "peas" at each point he mentioned. Then he entered some codes on a small keypad attached to the monitor. "The little buggers are color coded. I just told the machine where each one was so I can better understand the data."

"When do you take them off?"

"That stuff hardens into a permanent seal. Don't panic. I've got a solvent in the lab that'll melt the stuff without leaving a mark. In the meantime, they send an automatic set of readings to the monitor system for thirty seconds every hour."

Andy took a small bottle of greenish liquid and a fresh syringe from his bag. "Last chance to back out."

"No, let's do it."

Are you ready for the shot, then?"

"I guess. Do you stick me in the arm, or do I get to drop my shorts?"

"The arm is fine. I'll stick it in a vein so it gets moving faster. Here, let me turn on the camera." He flipped a switch. The camera was perched on a tripod and focused on the spot where Phil was standing.

Andy stepped in front of the camera for a moment. "I am Andrew Hoffmann of Whitmere University. The date is May 4, 1999; 6:35 PM. I am about to administer 30 ccs of drug BR-397 to this test subject. Based on his weight, age, and medical history this should be sufficient to create the desired psychological and neurological effects."

Phil stopped Andy just as he was about to administer the drug. "Just a moment, doctor." He looked straight at the camera and said, "I am Philip J. McNierney of this City. I want to state for the record that I am doing this of my own free will, having been fully appraised of the risks. I absolve Dr. Andrew Hoffmann, Whitmere University, and any other affected parties of any blame or responsibility for the results." Then he turned to Andy and added, "Once a lawyer, always a lawyer."

Andy tied a thin piece of rubber around Phil's arm and told him to make a fist. A quick dab of antiseptic, a pinch as the needle went in, and it was over. Andy brought over a folding chair and had Phil sit down.

"How long does this stuff take to work?"

"I should see something in about five minutes. You may feel a little dizzy." The two men made small talk, mostly about going fishing the next day. Phil was bragging about a new lure he'd bought, when he suddenly shook his head.

"I think your stuff is getting to me."

Andy looked deeply into Phil's eyes. They were visibly dilated. "Time to begin," he said. He pulled a small light on a chain from his pocket and began twirling it before Phil's eyes while he spoke in a low tone. In a moment, the man was in a deep hypnotic state.

Andy got a glass of water from the nearby table. Turning to the camera, he said, "This is ordinary water from the kitchen tap. I'm going to use it as a cue to the brain control functions being tested."

He turned to face Phil. "Phil can you hear me? Nod if you can." Phil nodded. "Phil, I'm now going to give you a second drug. You can just drink this one because it's so powerful. Here, take the glass." He handed Phil the glass, and Phil drank the water almost immediately.

"Now listen closely, Phil. What you just drank is a very powerful bio-genetic drug. Even now it's penetrating every cell of your body, getting into your DNA. In a very little while, your body is going to begin to change. You're going to change your sex. You're going to become a woman."

Phil's expression changed. He looked terrified and began to shake his head "No". Andy had expected this. He put his hand on Phil's shoulder. "You will relax. You will not try to fight these changes, even though you don't want to be a woman. You trust me, and you know that I can reverse the change once it's over. You will accept the fact that you're changing because you know that I can change you back."

Phil grew calmer as Andy spoke. He slumped back in the chair and seemed to relax. But Andy could still see the fear in his friend's eyes, and he wondered if he hadn't gone too far. His reasons for saying what he had said still seemed good. Besides, there was no way he could take back what he's said and done.

He waited a time and, eventually, Phil did calm down. He sat motionless in the chair, staring off into space. Andy decided to bring him out of it."

"Can you hear me, Phil," he said. When Phil nodded his head, Andy continued. "I'm going to start counting down from 10 to 1. As I do, you'll begin to wake up. You'll feel fine, but with no conscious memory of being in the trance or of what was said to you. The potion, though, will continue to work on your body in the way I've described."

"When I tell you to go to bed, you'll become very sleepy. You'll go straight up to bed and have a sound night's sleep. In the morning, you'll wake up naturally and feel very good. Okay, 10, you're beginning to wake up; 9, your eyelids feel less heavy..."

Andy counted slowly down to 1, repeating his suggestions as he did. Phil's eyes slowly opened. He shook his head and looked at Andy. "Did it work? Did I go under okay?"

"You did fine. Look at the clock. You were out for almost an hour."

"Then you did it. Hey, I never asked. What did you tell my body to do? Do I get a sixth finger, or am I going to grow horns?"

"Why don't you just go to bed now? We'll talk about it in the morning. I want you to have a good night's sleep."

Phil yawned. He had to admit that he was suddenly very tired. He said goodnight and headed up to his bedroom. He was asleep in five minutes and didn't wake up until after 9 AM the next morning.

Andy stayed up a while listening to CDs. His conscious was bothering him about what he had done. He'd been so caught up in the excitement of getting a human subject to test the drug on that, maybe, he hadn't given as much thought as he should have to what he was going to do to that subject.

The drug needed a dramatic result that couldn't be easily faked, and changing Phil's sex had seemed to be the perfect choice. But, dammit, Phil was his best friend. Phil trusted him, and this was certainly not what he'd expected. Andy just hoped that Phil would eventually forgive him.

*****

Andy had been up for over an hour by the time Phil came down. He would have liked to get in some early morning fishing, but he didn't want to go alone, and he didn't want to wake Phil. If the drug was working, it would draw off the body's energy. Phil would need all the sleep he could get.

Phil came staggering downstairs, still a little groggy from sleep.

Andy poured him some coffee. (They normally took turns cooking on their fishing trips.) He noticed that Phil's arm looked a little thinner as the man took the coffee cup, and -- good grief! -- his arm was hairless. He watched Phil drink the coffee. His arms, his whole body did look a bit thinner. Phil had slept in just his t-shirt and shorts. His body hair, which had been fairly thick, was just about gone. Only a fine down remained. His facial hair was just about gone as well except for his eyebrows. The hair atop his head seemed a little longer, though, as if he'd gone about six weeks without a haircut.

Phil saw Andy looking at him. "What?" he said.

"I was just about to ask what you wanted for breakfast. How are you feeling this morning?"

"Toast and eggs -- hard scramble, please. I'm still tired, even if I did sleep almost twelve hours. If your stuff doesn't work, maybe you can sell it as a sleep aid." Andy handed him three slices of toast, previously made and waiting. Phil buttered a slice and took a bite. "So, you didn't tell me last night. What did you tell my brain to do to me?"

Andy was at the stove working on Phil's eggs. "Finish your breakfast first. There'll be plenty of time to talk later."

"Yes, Mother. I've got to tell you, though. You're getting me very curious. Can we talk about fishing, at least?"

"Yeah, why don't you tell me about this miracle lure that's going to empty the lake of bass?"

Phil repeated what he'd said about the lure, embellishing his story with a couple of successes from a solo trip about two weeks before to a river both men knew. That turned the talk to the subject of different sites and a comparison of fishing rivers and lakes. By the time they began arguing over the best places to fish there at Lake Cody, Phil had finished his eggs.

"Good breakfast," he said carrying his dirty plate to the dishwasher. "It'll be hours before I'm ready to make, let alone eat, lunch. Now, what's going to happen to me from your damned drug?"

"Let's go sit in the living room," Andy said. They both knew he was stalling. Much longer and Phil was going to get nervous. Not that he'd be happy when he was told.

When the two were seated, Andy said, "There's no way to soften it, so I won't try. I had you drink a glass of water, and told you that it was a second drug. One that was going to turn you into a woman."

"What! Why you son of a bitch. Is this your idea of a joke?"

"No. Now think for a minute. The effect had to be dramatic and hard to fake. And I couldn't go for anything silly like those horns you mentioned last night. Can you think of anything that fits that better than a sex change? Unless, you wanted me to cut off a finger, and then tell it to grow back."

Phil sat and thought about what Andy had said. Rational thinking and knowing how people -- how juries -- reacted to different kinds of evidence was a big part of what he did for a living. Finally, he asked in as calm a voice as he could manage, "If it works, can you change me back?"

"As far as I can tell, yes. We couldn't create any physical changes from the drug in our animal tests, but they were as physiologically susceptible to it the fifth time we administered it as they were the first time. It should work on you a second time."

"Is it working? Can you tell yet?"

"Yes, it is. Look at your arms and chest. That mat of hair you used to brag about is just about gone. You don't need a shave either."

Phil looked at his arms, and his eyes widened in surprise. He rubbed his chin. "No shaving. Well, that, at least, is a bright spot." Then he absentmindedly scratched his chest. "I guess that's why my chest's been feeling funny all morning. I'm not used to feeling the shirt against bare skin."

"It may be something else," Andy said. "Take off your shirt."

Phil pulled his shirt off over his head. Andy saw that he had not only lost most of his body hair but was actually a bit thinner. His nipples, though, were bigger. They were the size of pencil erasers, and the aureoles around them had gotten darker. Andy gently touched one with a finger tip.

"Hey," Phil yelled, pulling away. "Those things are tender."

"Tits generally are."

"Tits! I can't have tits. I'm a guy."

"I'm not too sure any more. Tenderness like that is typical for a young girl whose breasts are starting to grow."

"So, I -- I am turning into a woman?"

"Yeah, come on over to the camera. I want to get this on film." Phil walked over and stood where he had the night before. Andy started the camera and began to talk.

"Subject at -- at about roughly 14 hours, 30 minutes after administering of the drug and the subsequent hypnotic suggestion. There is a degradation of muscle mass and a loss of almost all body hair. There is -- hold still for a close-up -- tenderness and a darkening of the nipples comparable with a young female at the onset of puberty." He clicked off the mike. "Now, drop your shorts."

"What!"

"Drop them. I want to see if anything's happened down -- well, down there." Phil pulled his shorts down past his hips -- did they seem a little wider? -- and let them fall to the floor. He stood still for the camera, but he was looking down, trying to see if there was any change.

Andy panned the camera down. Since he didn't want to give any hint of what he was going to do, he hadn't taken any measurements of Phil's genitals. It seemed now that he hadn't needed to; the difference would be obvious on the video. Last night, Phil had the sexual equipment of a grown man. Now they were much smaller. They looked like they belonged on a ten year old, and they were nested in the only visible hair on Phil's body, a triangular patch growing in the familiar -- and female -- pattern of an inverted triangle.

Phil spoke again into the small microphone attached to the camera. "A simple visual comparison of the subject's genitals reveals an obvious reduction in size. They are now the size of those more properly found on a pre-pubescent male. Moreover, pubic hair has assumed a female growth pattern. Following this recording session, we will determine if the subject is still able to ejaculate." He clicked off the camera.

"What! Are you asking me to jack off for you? Or do you want to do give me a hand job, doctor?"

"You can do yourself, thank you, but ten bucks says you can't."

"You're on!" Phil reached down and pulled up his shorts.

"Wait a minute, and drop the shorts again. I'm not done yet." When Phil was again ready, Andy turned the mike back on. "Overall changes to the frame are quite apparent, as well. Measurements will be taken for comparison with the original."

He clicked off the mike. "Turn around once, so I can get a record of how you look from behind," Andy said. When Phil did, Andy said, "Nice butt; thanks."

"Thank you, kind sir. What did you mean by 'comparison with the original'?"

"I talked to somebody at Mantero's, where you get your suits made. I showed him that release you signed, and he gave me your measurements. Tailors keep records, so a customer won't have to be checked every time he orders a pair of pants."

Andy quickly took Phil's new measurements, hips, waist, and chest, width of shoulders, circumference of upper arm and upper leg, and instep. Then he handed Phil another empty vial. "Here; you've got half an hour to jack off. Fill this, and then get dressed, so we can go fishing."

*****

Phil came back downstairs about forty minutes later with a disgusted look on his face. He was wearing an old sweat shirt and pair of jeans that looked a little baggy on him. He handed Andy the vial. It had about a quarter of an inch of clear fluid inside.

"You and your damned drug. First, I could barely hold on; I'd gotten so small. Then, I went through every fantasy I have and most of my real experiences before I even got this much. And now I get to pay you ten bucks for the privilege."

"No, I'll pay. I didn't even think you get this much." Andy made some notes on another label, stuck it on the vial, and then placed the vial in the holder in the lab fridge. "For changes on the level we're seeing, your whole endocrine system has to have accepted the suggestion. This is absolutely incredible."

"You'll excuse me if I don't join in the celebration."

"You should. You're going to be as rich as I will. Richer, considering how much money you've already got."

"What? Oh, of course. I've proven that the damned stuff works."

"Not yet, you haven't. But what we've seen so far is a pretty good start. If you make anywhere near to a complete transition to female, we'll have indisputable proof. Proof that can get me all the funding I need to fully develop the stuff. This is one major breakthrough."

"How complete a 'transition'? I'm not going to grow a -- a vagina am I? Can I?"

"I honestly don't know. The structures of the male and female reproductive systems are very similar, despite the obvious visual differences. I told your mind that you were going to become female. You're a big boy; you know how boys and girls are different. We'll just see what happens."

"Swell. Let's go fishing. I need something to take my mind off this." Andy insisted on taking another blood sample first, and Phil still had to pack them a lunch, but they eventually did get out to the lake to fish.

*****

By the time the two returned from fishing that evening, the changes were even more visible. Phil's face had become somewhat thinner, and his cheekbones seemed to have lifted higher on his face. His hair was well down over his ears, and he could feel it against his neck when he moved his head. His hands were thinner and more delicate, with long tapering fingers. Two small lumps pushed out from beneath his sweat shirt, and his pants seemed definitely tighter around the hips.

They'd talked quietly until mid afternoon, when Phil's voice had cracked. He glowered at Andy for several minutes and refused to say anything that wasn't absolutely necessary for over an hour. Now, he was talking again, but his voice, formally, a rich baritone, was well into the alto range.

"Well," Andy said, holding up the string of fish the two men had caught. "How about these for supper?"

"Sounds good. Do you mind if I lay down while you fix them? I've been feeling tired all day." It was only too true. Phil was as good a fisherman as Andy was, but most of the fish on the line were Andy's.

"No, go ahead. I'm not surprised that you're tired. Your body is using a lot of energy to fuel the changes. After dinner, I'd like to take some more readings. Take some blood, too."

"Swell. I was wondering what I'd do this evening to keep busy." He yawned and turned for the stairs. See you later." He waved over his shoulder and headed up to his bedroom.

*****

Two hours later, they had finished dinner and were back in the living room. Andy had Phil roll up his sleeve and took a blood sample. "Why don't you strip down to your shorts while I put this away?"

Phil did. His body was slender and feminine. His chest now sported a pair of A-cup breasts. His waist was a bit higher and much narrower. His hips and butt swelled outward above a pair of long delicately curved legs. He had always been considered a good looking man, and now he was well on his way to becoming a very beautiful woman.

Andy was surprised at the extent of the changes in his friend. His first impulse was to make a joke. But Andy realized how upset Phil must be with what was happening to him. He put on his best professional persona and walked over to the camera.

"Okay," Andy said. "I'm ready. Drop your shorts so we can get started."

"Now there's a straight line." Phil bent down, conscious of the new weight on his chest. He yanked his shorts down passed his hips. Don't look, he thought trying hard not to even glance at his groin. You don't want to see how little they've gotten.

Andy looked at his watch and started the camera, speaking into the attached microphone as soon as it was ready. It is now about twenty-five hours since subject was injected with the drum. Female characteristics are noticeable. Breasts have begun to develop, and his waist and hips now conform to the aesthetic standards for that sex.

Now he focused the camera for another close-up of Phil's groin. "There is further shrinkage of the subject's genitals. The penis now appears to be the size of a five-year old's, and the scrotal sack seems even smaller. There is no obvious evidence of testicles within them."

He clicked off the mike again and walked over to Phil, squatting down next to him. "Now don't move. This shouldn't hurt, but it will feel strange." He placed his hand under Phil's genitals and gently lifted them up, so they were more visible to the camera. "Don't talk either. The mike's back on."

"The scrotal sack, as can be seen, is smaller in relationship to the size of the penis. Testicles are still present, but they appear to be withdrawing into the subject's body. Ejaculation and even tumescence would seem unlikely."

Andy looked closely at Phil's penis for a minute, before he lifted it to show the underside to the camera. "The urethra also appears to be migrating downward. Considering the arrangement of the female analogs that the subject's body is acquiring, this is to be expected." He shut off the mike and gently released Phil's genitals."

"What was all that double talk just now," Phil asked.

"Your peehole isn't at the end of your prick any more. It's moved about halfway down on the underside. You'll have to sit down to urinate for a while."

"What! Oh, I get it. If I'm going to be a girl, then my prick becomes a clitoris, and the urine comes out someplace else."

"Exactly." He shut off the camera. He took the same set of physical measurements that he'd taken in the morning. He also checked Phil's new breasts which were almost an A-cup. Once he had entered the new data, he put the notebook down and said, "Now get dressed, while I get a fresh syringe. Time to feed the vampire."

As Phil got dressed, he noticed that even his feet were changing, getting smaller. He had a little trouble getting his jeans passed his wider hips, and he had to use the very last loop on his belt. Even so, his pants were loose at the waist. His nipples weren't as tender as they had been that morning, but the coarse material of his cotton undershirt wasn't exactly comfortable when it rubbed against them.

Andy took another blood sample. When he came back from putting it in the store room/lab refrigerator, Phil said, "It's a good thing I won't be a girl very long."

"Why do you say that?"

"My clothes; I haven't a thing to wear." He laughed at the joke and at the stunned expression on Andy's face. "Seriously, though. The way I'm changing, my clothes aren't likely to fit me. I could barely get my pants on, and I'll need to put on two pairs of socks tomorrow, or I'll walk right out of my shoes."

"I'm sorry, Phil. I'll need you to stay a girl for at least two days. Now don't get upset. I need to make sure that the changes have stabilized and that the original dose of the drug has washed completely out of your body before I give you another one."

"Terrific. Are you this slow at giving the details out to all of your test subjects?"

"Can I get by if I say that you never asked? Look, two days to change, two as a girl, and two to change back. We'll have a whole week to fish afterwards. And you get to relax those two days as a girl, while I get to do lab work. I'll probably have to do more from the samples that I take while you're changing back."

"Okay, I'm convinced. You're suffering, too. But I'm still going to need stuff to wear while I'm a girl. I can't walk around naked. I'm not that kind of girl." He started to laugh, but it became a high pitched and very feminine giggle. He stopped in surprise and embarrassment. "Or maybe I am." Then he laughed again, and Andy joined him.

"Okay, okay. My best guess is that the change should be just about finished by tomorrow afternoon. We'll drive over to Easterbridge Mall and get you some appropriate clothes. My treat."

"Oh, goody! Shopping," Phil said mimicking the stereotypical female response. Then he yawned. "Damn, I'm sleepy again, and it's barely 9 PM. See you in the morning."

*****

Andy was up well ahead of Phil again the next morning, even though he'd stayed up several hours after his friend went to bed. He had wanted to make certain that he had all the equipment that he'd intended to bring, and he wanted to plan out the specific tests he wanted to do.

He was sitting at the work table testing a circuit, when he heard a noise behind him. He turned to look. Phil was standing in the doorway wearing only a t-shirt and shorts. Or, rather, the person Phil had become.

The figure in the doorway gave no hint of ever having been male. His hair hung down almost to his shoulders. His eyes seemed bigger; his lashes certainly were. His lips were full and pouty. His figure was a series of female curves: large breasts that tented out the t-shirt, lifting it high to reveal his flat stomach and narrow waist. The shorts were tight against a wide pair of hips, and his legs were long and slender. They'd look fabulous in heels, he thought.

"I think I'm done, now." Phil said. He was a soprano now, his voice high and clear, though not high enough to sound childish. "I went to the can when I got up. The equipment's all girl as far as I can tell."

Andy swallowed, feeling his own penis stiffen. Phil was one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen, and Andy didn't want to embarrass either of them by showing the sexual attraction that he was feeling. "Let's check you out then," he said.

As he followed Phil into the living room, Andy noted that Phil's walk had also become much more feminine. Part of that would have been the changes to his body, but Andy suspected that part of it might also be psychological.

Andy also noticed the delightful curves of Phil's reshaped ass as it moved beneath his shorts while he walked. Phil sat in the chair, waiting while Andy readied the camera. Andy saw that he had sat in a feminine manner, one leg crossed over the other above the knee. Andy decided that he'd ask about these new behaviors once he had the new pictures.

"Okay, I'm ready to start. Please take off your clothes." Both of them noticed the "please", but neither said anything. Phil smiled a small smile. Andy told himself that it was the natural reaction to an attractive woman.

Phil stood up and pulled the t-shirt off slowly over his head, not wanting to accidentally injure his new breasts. They were lovely: perfectly formed pale melons with dark nipples in the middle of areolas the size of half dollars, a C-cup at least. He pulled the shorts past his wide hips and simply let them fall to the ground. Then he stood naked in the classic feminine pose, one knee slightly bent, his left hand resting on his hip.

"Well, what do you think?" Phil asked. "Am I a girl?"

"Look like one to me. Now be quiet, while I do the narration." Andy looked at his watch and clicked on the mike. "At roughly thirty-five hours since the injection, the transformation appears to be complete. The subject, as is readily apparent, now exhibits all of the secondary sexual characteristics of a female. There is also some apparent change in motor behavior, which will be discussed on audio tapes."

Andy zoomed the camera in on Phil's breasts. He clicked off the mike. "I'm going to have to touch you in some places. It's necessary as part of the exam. Try not to squirm, please."

He turned the mike back on and walked over to Phil continuing to talk. "The nipples are well formed." He touched Phil's breast in several places, gently pushing with his fingers. Then he rubbed the nipple with a finger. Phil shivered slightly but tried not to move. Andy noticed that the nipple seemed to react, moving just a bit. Growing more erect, he wondered. He also noticed that his touch had raised tiny goose bumps in Phil's skin.

"THERE appear to be no nodes or malformations within the breast tissue. The nipples also appear normal, albeit still sensitive to the touch." He clicked off the mike and went back to the camera. "Now spread your legs. I want to do a quick genital exam."

"Not unless you buy me dinner first."

"Cute. Just be glad that I don't have a set of stirrups and a speculum. Now, legs apart; here comes Mr. Camera." He took the camera carefully off its tripod and walked over to where Phil was sitting. Phil glowered at him for a moment, and then he moved his knees wide apart.

Andy moved in close. This time, he put on a pair of rubber gloves before he actually touched Phil. It was all there, labia, vagina, even a hymen. "Believe it or not," Andy said. "You're a virgin."

"And I'm going to stay one, thank you. So watch those hands!"

"You sure?" Andy smiled and gently touched Phil's clitoris, then rubbed it slowly back and forth.

Phil's eyes grew wide. His head tilted back, his mouth open. His breathing began to get heavy. Then he suddenly realized what was happening and pushed Andy away. "You bastard!" he yelled. "If you did that to one of your other patients, you'd lose your license."

"I'm sorry, man -- uh, Phil. I only meant it as a joke. I hadn't expected near as strong a reaction. You seem to be a lot more sensitive than most women down There. I think it's because the structures are newly reformed. Anyway, you're right it was totally unfair and unprofessional. I sincerely apologize. Am I forgiven?"

"I'll think about it. Just finish the damned exam and let me get dressed."

"Okay." Andy finished describing Phil's new, totally female genitals. He had him stand and quickly took another set of measurements. He let Phil hold the tape when he measured Phil's breasts. Phil was a 38-C, actually almost a D-cup.

Phil put his t-shirt and shorts back on and sat down, while Andy took the blood sample. When Andy came back from putting the sample away, Phil said, "So what am I going to wear? My clothes don't exactly fit any more."

"I told you, we'll go shopping. Did you bring a sweat suit?"

"Yeah, for that mini-gym in the basement."

"Okay, that should do to get us to the mall. Put on two pairs of sox, like you said yesterday."

"What about sizes? I can't very well ask a salesgirl what size I am."

"I've got that figured. Here." He tossed Phil a mail-order catalog. The order form had a conversion chart next to it. They compared Phil's new measurements to the woman's size chart and soon had a complete list of his new sizes.

"Okay," Andy said, "let's go get dressed."

*****

Fifteen minutes later, the two were in Andy's car. He wore a pair of jeans, a Whitmere sweat shirt, and a pair of sneakers. Phil wore an anonymous gray sweat shirt, but he'd discovered to his chagrin that he'd brought gym shorts, rather than sweat pants. They were loose at the waist but rather tight against his wide hips and round butt. They also showed his slender legs off to their best advantage.

As a courtesy to its guests, the lodge stocked some gym outfits and swim suits in an upstairs closet. There were no long pants among the male gym clothes, and Phil had refused to wear any of the women's spandex. But he had found a pair of low sandals that fit fairly well, and he was wearing those.

"Do you mind if I ask you a question," Andy said while he drove.

"No, go ahead."

"I've noticed that you're moving in a more feminine manner this morning, the way you walk and how you sat in the chair, for instance. Are you doing it consciously?"

"Some. But it seems natural to me. It's like, well, sometimes I have to think about it to act in a feminine way, and sometimes, I have to think about it to act like a man."

"I guess your mind decided that my suggestion to turn into a woman included your behavior as well as your anatomy."

"Suggestion! That's a helluva way to describe it. You owe me big for this."

"Ask me about it six months from now when we're both millionaires, and I'm a Nobel Laureate."

"You sure that will happen?"

"Pretty sure. If I can turn you into a woman, growing a new limb on an amputee should be easy. What I'm wondering is if I can tell somebody that his cancer is going away or that his kidneys work again. Tell them and have that happen."

"You figure out how to do that, and you'll deserve all the money they're going to throw at you." Phil saw the mall just ahead. "Hey, we're here."

Phil pulled into the mall. It was early enough that there was still good parking. Andy found a spot near the Sears, and the two went in. Andy held the doors as Phil, smiling, walked through. Andy caught himself looking at Phil's long slender legs and watching his ass sway as he walked. Stop that, he thought to himself. He may look like a girl, but there's a man inside that body, your oldest friend. You don't want to screw things -- oh, hell, why had he thought 'screw' -- you don't want to mess things up by getting crazy with him.

Andy handed Phil the list of his new sizes. Phil looked at the list. Andy had put a list under it on the sheet: 3 pair bra and panties, 3 blouses, 3 pairs of women's jeans, 3 pair socks, sneakers, nightgown. "Why three," he said. I thought that I was only going to have to be a girl for two days. You pulling a fast one?"

"No, I figured that you'd need some of it for the transition day back. Plus, you might want a change of clothes during the day. I'm paying for it, so don't worry about it. Just don't go crazy and buy the most expensive stuff you can find. I'm a poor academic, not a rich lawyer."

"We'll both be rich, when the word gets out on your stuff. But I do promise. Don't worry; you'll be there to watch me shop."

"The heck I will. Have you ever gone into a ladies' wear department with any of your women friends?" By now, the pair was at the edge of what Phil had always thought of as 'No Man's Land', the women's clothing department.

"No, but I'm not a -- oh, hell, I guess I am. Okay, coward, where will you be while I'm buying out the store?"

"Looking at the fishing gear, of course." He pointed to a large clock on the wall nearby. There were a number of them all over the store. "It's 10:15. I'll meet you back here in an hour."

*****

Andy almost didn't get back in time. There was a demonstration of a new composite pole that he stayed to watch. At the last minute, he looked at his watch and hurried away to meet Phil.

Phil was waiting, but it was a much different Phil. Andy watched in amazement as he walked towards him, smiling and hips swaying. His sweats were in a bag, and he was decked out in a pair of light blue designer jeans that hugged every delicious curve and a matching cotton top with scalloped sleeves and a neckline that was cut low enough in front to show quite a bit of rounded bosom. His hair was tied in a ponytail with a pale blue scarf that seemed like a flag in his long silky black hair.

Phil flashed Andy a smile, and Andy noticed that Phil was wearing lipstick, too. "There you are, cousin," Phil said. "Hurry up. I've been waiting for you to pay for all this stuff." Then he whispered, "Just play along, Andy."

Phil took Andy by the hand and led him to a nearby counter piled high with boxes. A woman clerk, a plump, rather pleasant looking woman in her forties was standing behind it. "Here's my cousin, at last. Pay the nice lady for my stuff, please." Andy handed his credit card to the clerk, while Phil kept talking, "I was so worried when the airline lost all my luggage. It was sweet of you, Cousin Andy, to offer to buy me this new stuff. I promise I'll pay you back when I get home."

Andy signed for the clothes. He took two bags and Phil took the other, and they walked towards the exit. "What was all that 'cousin' stuff back there?"

"Sorry about that. I needed some sort of explanation why you were buying my clothes, and I wasn't gonna say you were my boyfriend."

"So you had to gush at me like that. I felt like an idiot."

Phil giggled. "I didn't like it either, but it was the easiest way to tell you my -- you should excuse the expression -- cover story. I had to get her to trust me, so I could change out of those sweats." She stopped. "You haven't told me how I look." She stepped back and posed, arms raised and one knee bent.

"Very nice. You look very nice. But I'm beginning to wonder just how much your mind's been affected by this?"

"I don't know, and I'd worry about it, too, but I'm confident that you can change me back." Andy remembered that part of his suggestion had also been that Phil would trust him. He hoped the trust was justified.

"In the meantime," Phil continued, "something else is affecting me."

"What --what's the matter?"

"I'm hungry. We never did have breakfast, and that pizza smells pretty good. How about an early lunch, Cousin Andy?"

Andy groaned a little at the joke, but they went in. It was still a bit early, and the place was mostly empty. They took a booth in the corner for privacy. There were menus on the table, and they looked at them for a minute or two. A waitress, a tall, thin brunette who looked like she might still be in high school came over. "Are you ready to order," she said to Andy.

"Yes, thanks," Andy said. "We'll have a medium pizza, half extra cheese, half ground beef; two sodas each, one now, one when you bring the food. Coke for me and a diet coke for the lady." Only then did he turn to Phil. "That okay with you?"

Phil was so surprised he could only nod his head. The meal was what they probably would have ordered, but Andy hadn't bothered to ask. He'd just taken the lead, as if they were a couple on a date. What surprised Phil even more was that he'd gone along with it, and that it had felt comfortable to do so.

Phil realized that his trust in Andy wasn't natural, though he wasn't sure exactly what it was. Whatever it was, it was very strong, maybe too strong. Any worrisome thought went away as soon as he thought of Andy. Phil actually found himself feeling better being around Andy, seeking him for just that reason. He didn't like it. But even as Phil thought about it, he realized that Andy was there with him. He felt his concerns fading away. Why worry when Andy had told him that he could fix things?

The waitress brought the cokes. Phil realized that his mouth was very dry and took a long drink. He licked his lips, tasting the lipstick he had bought on an impulse.

"What's the matter, um, say, what do I call you?"

"How about we stick with 'Phil'? Anybody asks, we can say it's short for ‘Phyllis’."

"Okay. What's the matter, um, Phil?"

"The whole change is getting me down. You messed with my head, I think, as much as you messed with my body. But I can't seem to get worried about it. I'm a lawyer. Worrying about -- planning for -- the possibilities of a situation is what I do."

"I'm sorry. I told you not to worry about what was going to happen. I didn't want your conscious and your unconscious minds fighting each other. Is it really that big a deal?"

"I'm not sure. Every time I begin to think about what's happened to me, I seem to think of you and get distracted. It just bothers me. That's all."

"You seem to be adjusting well enough. I'd say just go with the flow and use this as a chance to see how the other half lives. I'll be giving you the injection to change back tomorrow night, so whatever happens, it'll only be for the next day or so."

"Then we go fishing?"

"Then we go fishing."

The waitress brought the pizza, and they stopped talking for a few minutes. Normally, each would have eaten half the pie, but Phil discovered that his stomach had changed along with everything else. A slice and a half and he couldn't eat any more. Andy only had eaten a couple of slices, too, not wanting to pig out when Phil couldn't.

"Don't worry about it," Andy said. He had the extra slices put in a 'doggy bag', and they headed out to the car. On the way back, he asked, "so, what are you going to be doing this afternoon?"

"What do you mean?"

"I have to go play 'mad scientist' and start the analysis of those samples I took. Some of the tests I want to do take hours to set up and run."

"Gee, I don't know. I still feel a little tired, so I may take a nap. Then maybe some fishing; get a leg up on you in trying out my new fishing gear."

"Okay, just remember that your upper arm strength is only about thirty percent of normal. You'll have a harder time pulling in big ones or even smaller ones that put up a fight."

"I hadn't thought of that. Maybe I'll just read. I spend so much work time reading legal documents that I don't get a chance to read for pleasure much anymore."

"Whatever. I'll set a timer in the lab, so I remember to come out to fix dinner. Hey, here we are."

Andy headed for the small lab that he'd set up, and Phil went upstairs. He napped for about an hour, sleeping in his new clothes. When he woke up, he felt more like doing something active than reading. There was an indoor pool set in what had been the barn. It was connected to the house by a tunnel in the basement, so it could be gotten to in the colder weather.

Phil took one of the women's swim suits from the storage closet, a shimmering green one piece that looked like it would fit. He couldn't help admire himself in the bedroom mirror once he'd changed. The suit was cut high to show leg. It did. Phil's were long and had just the right curve. The suit itself hugged him narrow waist and wide hips. It was a little small in the chest. Not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to push his breasts up, making them look even bigger. As he posed in the mirror, he felt his nipples tingling. Phil realized that he was still male enough mentally to get turned on by his new body, even if the physical reaction was a female one.

Phil walked over to the barn through the tunnel, since it was a little cool to go outside in just a swim suit. The pool was heated by a timer that the caretaker had turned on the day before the two friends had arrived. Phil found a white swim cap and put it on. Then he dove in. He swam laps for about forty minutes. His arms weren't as strong, but his body seemed lighter. It was an even enough swap for a man who normally tried to swim at least once a week.

He climbed out and found robes and towels in the lockers by the pool. He put on one of the robes and wrapped a towel in a turban over his wet hair. Somebody had left a Tom Clancy novel on a previous visit, and it was on a shelf in the same locker. Phil liked Clancy, and this was one he hadn't read yet. He curled up on a deck chair and read for a good part of the afternoon. Just before 5 PM, he stopped and swam another set of laps, partly to work the kinks out and partly to try to work up more of an appetite for the supper he knew Andy was fixing.

Coming back up from the basement Phil could smell dinner cooking. Both he and Andy had learned to cook while they were in college, but Andy was the better of the two. Phil's mouth began to water at the smells. He decided to stay downstairs and read till supper was ready. He sat on the couch and continued reading Clancy.

Supper was almost ready, so Andy went in to set the table. He saw Phil on the couch. "Hey, lazybones," he said. "How about helping out by setting the table? We're having baked chicken and veggies. Get some beer out, too." He went back into the kitchen without waiting for an answer.

Phil put the book down and got dishes, napkins, and silverware from a sideboard. The table was set a few minutes later. She took four cans of beer from the refrigerator, putting in a fresh six-pack for later. He brought the cans in to the table. "Ready when you are, Andy," he called.

Andy came in a few minutes later carrying a dish full of chicken. He then brought in vegetables while Phil carried in the salad. They sat down and began serving themselves.

"Why so fancy," Phil asked. "I half expected you to heat up the pizza from lunch; or maybe make a couple burgers."

"I don't know. I haven't cooked in a while, so I thought I'd do something more than just 'nuke' a quick meal in the microwave." Andy knew that Phil was something of a gourmet, and he thought Phil deserved some extra effort for what he was going through. But sitting there watching, it was hard to remember that this gorgeous woman sitting across from him was his old friend. Her voice, her mannerisms seemed to be totally female.

After the meal, they went into the living room, taking more beer in with them. The house had cable and they channel surfed looking for a good movie. They settled on an old movie about Paul Newman as a broken down lawyer. Phil had seen it before. He had enjoyed the court room scenes and the way the actors gotten the life of a lawyer fairly right. But this time, though, he found himself noticing the love story a lot more.

What he didn't notice was the way he and Andy were gradually moving closer together on the couch. By the middle of the movie, Phil was leaning against Andy's chest, and he had his arm around Phil. Towards the end, when Newman's case seems lost, and he discovers that the woman he's been attracted to works for the opposing lawyer, Phil found himself sniffling.

Andy pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and daubed at Phil's eyes. It's okay, man. You know how the movie ends. Without thinking, he leaned over slightly and touched Phil's cheek. Phil turned his head. They were only inches apart. New feminine instincts took over. Phil's arm reached up to pull Andy's head closer, and they kissed.

Phil felt his nipples beginning to tingle. He'd never realized Andy was such a good kisser.

Andy! He was kissing Andy!

Phil broke the kiss and leapt from the couch. "What -- what's the matter," Andy said.

"What's the matter? We were kissing. And you were enjoying it, you perverted SOB"

"I guess I was. Dammit, Phil. I know you're a man. But right now, you're a girl, a damned attractive one who gave in to the movie and the mood and the beer for a minute. Don't let it spook you."

"Don't let it '_spook_' me." But even as Phil said it, he felt the hypnotic suggestion beginning to take effect. Sure, it was scary to be reacting as a woman, but Andy said that it was okay. He trusted Andy, trusted him completely. "I'm -- I'm okay. But I think that I need to go up to bed now. I'll see you in the morning." He turned and tried to calmly walk to the stairs, when every instinct was telling him to run.

******

Andy turned off the TV. Damn! He hadn't meant to do that. What he said about the beer was as true for him as it was for Phil. He just hoped that he hadn't destroyed the friendship between the two of them.

And why did Phil have to be such an attractive woman?

Upstairs, Phil had slammed the door behind him and thrown himself on the bed. He was crying again. What was happening to him? Even now he was acting like a female, and he didn't like it. He was used to being in more control of himself. It was the beer, but it was him, too. He and Andy had been friends for almost half their lives, but this change -- it added a whole new dimension to the friendship. And it was a dimension that part of him, at least, was curious to explore.

He wiped his eyes and decided to get ready for bed. Besides, the swim suit was beginning to feel a little clammy. He peeled it off and hung it over the shower rod in the bathroom. Turning around, he caught a glimpse of himself in the large mirror above the sink.

It was the first time that he'd really seen himself since the change. Lord, but he was beautiful. He saw breasts, firm and high, well more than a handful with nipples that begged to be touched; a narrow waist that flared out to a pair of hips that were made for bearing babies; and long slender legs with just the right amount of curve. He turned and looked back over his shoulder at the mirror. The ass wasn't bad either.

The face, well, he looked a lot like his cute cousin, Joanie, only -- he hated to even think it -- a lot prettier. His eyes had never been that big, had they? And his lips, what was with that pout?

He stopped staring and walked back into the bedroom, conscious of the extra weight on his chest and the way his hips swayed as he walked. Do women get this turned on every time they walk, he thought. No, they must get used to it in time.

He sat on the bed and absentmindedly touched his left nipple. A jolt of pleasure shot through his body. He touched it again, this time deliberately. He had years of experience at arousing women, and he applied it to his own body. He cupped his breasts, running a nail along the sensitive flesh, tweaking at the nipples.

The sensations were incredible. His head tilted back, his mouth open but unable to speak. He wanted more. One hand had left his breast, and he felt his fingers sliding gently along his labia. One finger slipped within to find his clitoris, while another moved in to his vagina. He began to move his hand back and forth.

Phil fell back onto the bed, no longer able to sit upright. His head rocked back and forth, and he began to moan. Pleasure was shooting out from his breasts and his groin to every part of his body. His hips began to move, matching the movements of his hand. His groin felt very warm and very, very wet.

The feelings grew stronger and stronger. He was frantic. Suddenly a great bolt of sexual energy exploded throughout his body. Surprised by its intensity, he stopped moving and just enjoyed the thrill of his first female orgasm.

As the edge of pleasure began to fade, the remnants of his masculine ego asserted itself. He forced himself to stop, even though his body was crying out for more. As a sort of compromise, he gently massaged his breasts, carefully avoiding the nipples. It was like the "cool-down" exercises at the end of a heavy workout.

Satisfied now, he thought, groaning at the inadvertent pun. You've just proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are a woman. Or maybe you'd like to go downstairs and rape Andy. He shook his head. Part of him actually liked the idea. Andy was probably a gentle and patient lover. He certainly was a good kisser.

No! Phil caught himself just as he began to play with his nipples again. He jumped from the bed and ran into the bathroom. He turned on the shower, setting it for cold water and stepped in.

It helped. Some.

A few minutes later, Phil was in bed wearing the long flannel nightgown he'd bought that afternoon and a pair of panties. His responses were definitely those of a woman, but as long as he limited himself to himself, it was harmless. He'd always loved Andy like a brother, but now he was starting to think of him in a very different way. Still, he trusted Andy. He wouldn't betray their friendship, and he was too ethical to take advantage of a research subject. Phil's last thought before he fell asleep was that he was due to get another shot and start changing back the next evening. He smiled and dozed off.

*****

Phil woke up about nine. It was raining fairly steadily, so it looked like fishing was out for the day. Besides, he'd come to go fishing with his old buddy, Andy, not to fish alone. Andy had said that he expected to spend the day in that lab of his, doing more analysis of the samples he'd taken and the telemetry data from those little "peas".

Phil wondered if they were still attached. He took off the nightgown and checked. Yes, they were there, hardly noticeable like little Band-Aids. He went in the bathroom and washed up.

Now to get dressed, he thought. He hadn't bothered to put his new clothes away, just left everything in boxes or bags on the dresser. He took out a matching bra and panty set, pink with a pink lace trim full of tiny flowers. He stepped into the panties and pulled them up around his hips. It was amazing how good the material felt against his skin. It was soft and cool, very different from the feel of the cotton shorts he usually wore.

He put the bra on backwards. He looked down past his breasts to hook the strap. Then he carefully twisted it around and inched it up until the cups were just below his breasts. He maneuvered his arms through the bra straps, and, as he moved the straps up onto his shoulders, the cups lifted up and around his breasts. A couple of minor and adjustments, and the bra was in place. The material felt as good against his skin as the panties had below, and there was a sense of relief from the support that they gave to his breasts.

He thought about trying a pair of panty hose. The clerk had seemed insistent, and there was no good reason that he could think of for the woman he was pretending to be not to buy a pair. He'd bought two pair, along with the socks he actually planned to wear. Now he was feeling a little adventurous.

He took an egg-shaped container from the bag and cracked it open. He'd watched enough women getting dressed to know roughly how to put them on. He put one foot in being careful not to snag it on his toe nails. Then he slowly pulled it part way up his leg. He repeated the process with the other leg, then inched them slowly the rest of the way up to his hips. He stood and pulled the top up to his waist.

His legs felt slightly constricted by the material, but he got used to that in a moment. He found that he could barely feel it when he stood still. But when he moved, he felt a soft caress the length of both legs. It wasn't sexual, but it was sensual. He liked it and decided that it had been a good idea to wear the hose.

Phil put on a pair of pink jeans -- no skirts for him. There was a long series of tiny electric tingles as the jeans slid past the hose. These jeans weren't like the sort he'd normally worn. Not just the color. They were cut to his new figure, cut tight on his lush hips and much narrower in the waist. They were also tight enough to show off his legs to good advantage.

He pulled a matching short sleeve sweater blouse from another bag and put it on. He still wasn't used to the buttons being on the "wrong" side. He decided to leave the top two buttons open, revealing a bit of breast. It'll blow Andy's mind, he thought and giggled. The giggle started him a little. He brushed his hair and went down to breakfast.

Andy was waiting for him downstairs. "Good morning, sleepy head," he said. I've been up for over an hour, so I already had breakfast and started working. I left the stuff out for you."

Andy had decided not to mention the incident the night before unless Phil did. He was, frankly, very embarrassed to have taken advantage of his old friend. "There's coffee, too, but first, I'd like to take another blood sample."

"What a great way to start the day," Phil said. "Is that all?"

"Have you noticed any physical changes since yesterday? You don't seem any different, but you're dressed, and I can't tell."

"No, and the clothes that I bought -- you bought -- yesterday still fit." Phil noticed that Andy was looking at him carefully, having come to the same conclusion. He also noticed that Andy was making a deliberate effort not to look at the way his breasts were displayed by the open buttons on the blouse.

"Okay, just blood then. In that shirt, you don't have to roll up your sleeve." He had Phil sit down and drew another blood sample. When he was done, he handed Phil a glass of orange juice. Phil drank it while Andy cleaned up his equipment, putting the used needle in a red disposal box. "See you for lunch," he said and went into the lab.

Phil scrambled himself an egg. He finished the juice, and then had the egg and some coffee. Normally, he ate more, but he'd discovered yesterday that it took less to fill him. Smaller stomach, I guess, he thought. He rinsed the dirty dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Then he went into the living room and found his book. He spent the rest of the morning reading how Jack Ryan saved the world this time.

*****

Andy came out of his lab about 12:30. They finished off the leftover pizza, washing it down with soda. Mostly they made small talk; Andy was in what Phil called his "mad scientist" mode, totally caught up in his work. The conversation did drift into fishing at one point, and the two upped their standing bet on who would catch the most fish over the course of the trip. Joking over the riches they were expecting from Andy's drug, they raised the $10 bet to $100 per day of fishing plus $500 for the whole trip.

After lunch, Andy went back into the lab, promising to be out for dinner. Phil had finished the Clancy book just before lunch. There were some other books in the house, even a few law journals, but he didn't feel like reading. He didn't want to swim either.

Phil was thinking about Andy. He hadn't mentioned what had happened the night before. He was obviously attracted to Phil's new body and just as obviously embarrassed about it. He's feeling guilty about it, Phil thought, and I'm going to have some fun at his expense; maybe get him back a little for doing this to me.

Phil had bought a small purse the day before. Again, there was no way to explain why a woman, who claimed to have lost all of her clothes, wouldn't want to buy one. He put his wallet in it and headed out to his car.

He was at the mall in twenty minutes.

*****

Andy came out of the lab at about 5 PM. There was no sign of Phil. He did find a note, though. "Supper's on me tonight. Dress nice and we'll hit Tony Harris'." Tony Harris's was a steak house over near the Easterbridge Mall. They were known for the quality of the food and served up three or four pretty good micro-brewed beers, as well. Andy and Phil had been planning to eat there at least once during the trip, probably on the last night. Now, for some reason, they'd be hitting it a little earlier than he'd figured.

Andy decided to humor Phil. He went upstairs to shower and change. He hadn't brought a suit, but he had clean shirts and jeans in his room. And he always kept one "emergency" tie in a pocket in his suitcase. He was just coming down the stairs when he heard somebody coming through the door.

"That you, Phil," he said.

"Yeah," said a voice behind him. "You look nice."

He turned, and his jaw dropped in surprise. It was Phil, but he was wearing a sleeveless navy dress cut low in front to show lots of creamy bosom and short enough to show quite a bit of leg. He had dark gray hose on those legs and was perched on two or three in heels. He had a bracelet on one wrist and earrings dangled down from his ears -- did he get them pierced? His make-up was flawless: ripe red lips, blusher, mascara, and shadow that made his eyes seem larger.

"What," Andy said, "What did you do to yourself? Are you okay?"

"I feel great. Don't I look okay?" She spun around slowly, raising the skirt to show even more leg. Andy thought he even got a quick glimpse of thigh above the top of stockings. Stockings?

"You look great, but how -- why'd you do it? I thought you hated being turned into a woman."

"I figured that you'd be turning back soon, so I might as well see what it was really like. As to how I did it; well, there's a pretty good sized mall over there at Easterbridge, and the P.J.' on my credit card can stand for Phyllis Joan' as easily as Phillip John'."

"What was it like?"

"It was weird. I'll admit that, but the look on your face when you saw me standing there was worth it." Phil giggled. "Damn, I hate it when I do that. It just --"

"Sounds so feminine?" Andy said, trying to get back at his friend.

"Yeah," Phil sighed and shrugged. When he did, his breasts rose in a display that Andy couldn't help but enjoy watching.

Andy smiled. Phil might just be playing dress-up as a gag, but he couldn't realize how feminine his body language had become. Tonight could be very interesting.

*****

They got to the restaurant about 6. It was fairly empty as might be expected on a Monday. The maá®tre d' seated them at a table, handed each a menu, and hurried off. A tall man in his forties came by a few minutes later. "Hello," he said, "I'm Jack, your waiter. Would you like anything to drink while you're deciding what to order?"

"A bottle of house red," Andy said. The waiter nodded and went to get the wine.

"Why wine," Phil asked. "I thought we'd get a pitcher of Brady's Malt." The malt was a dark micro-brewed beer that both had tried and enjoyed on previous visits to the restaurant.

"Please," Andy said. "Brady's is good for a couple of guys on a fishing trip. I'm here with a beautiful lady, and wine is so much more romantic." He grinned, almost leered, at Phil for a moment.

"Okay, I guess I deserved that. Besides, if this is a date, you're paying, and there's a lot of good, expensive stuff on this menu." He picked up the menu as if trying to figure out what would be the most expensive meal to order.

The waiter came back with the wine. He poured a little for Andy to taste, and, when Andy drank and nodded, he filled both glasses. "Are you ready to order, now?"

"Yes," Phil said.

But before he could order, Andy interrupted. "Salad, Russian dressing on the side for her, blue cheese for me; chateaubriand for two -- medium; baked potatoes, sour cream on both." This time, he didn't even ask Phil. He just ordered and handed the waiter his menu. Then he took the menu from Phil's hands and gave it to the waiter as well. Dismissed, the man left to place the order.

"Well, that was nice," Phil said. "I can order for myself, you know."

"You said that you wanted expensive. We've eaten here enough that I know what you like, so I just did what the man expected and ordered for us both."

"Yeah, but a gentleman at least asks a lady if she likes what he's ordered?"

"A gentleman asks a what?" Andy was grinning broadly now. Gotcha, he thought. Now we're even for the clothes.

"Oh, hell," Phil said. "I wasn't thinking. This whole thing is really getting to me. I'll be glad to get that shot and change back."

"Okay. I'm sorry. Look, let's just enjoy the meal." He lifted his glass. "Here's to Phil and Andy, two guys who're going to catch a lot of fish over the next week and a half."

Phil clinked his glass with Andy's, and both drank some of their wine. In a few minutes, they were lost in talk of where were the most likely spots out on the lake near the house and what lures or bait to use. They chatted like the old friends they were, pausing occasionally to drink more wine.

The waiter brought their salads. He was a little surprised to hear such a pretty woman talking so knowledgeably about fishing, but he just shrugged as he walked away. Lots of women fished these days. His wife was almost as good at it as he was.

Talk continued through the salad, not stopping when the waiter brought the steak. Much as it galled Phil to admit it, Andy had ordered pretty well. The steak was perfect. It cut like butter and all but melted in his mouth. The two friends kept talking, eating, and drinking. About halfway through the meal, they finished the bottle of wine. The waiter noticed and brought a second bottle.

By the end of the meal, both Phil and Andy were beginning to feel the wine. Phil had tried to keep pace with Andy, forgetting that his body might have a smaller capacity. He was only too aware of his smaller stomach when he wasn't able to finish the steak. He giggled a little when he asked the waiter for a "doggy bag" to take home the meat and about half his potato.

"You'll be changing back by lunchtime tomorrow," Andy said. "That will hardly make a complete lunch."

"But it's so good," Phil said. "Maybe I'll wait till after lunch to get that shot. Then I can have my steak -- and eat it, too." He giggled again at the joke.

"I thought you were in a hurry to turn back."

"I am, silly." Phil started, surprised at how feminine that statement was. "I am, but I'm also definitely beginning to feel the wine, and I'm not sure you can be hypnotized while I'm drunk. I'm willing to wait till morning to make sure that the stuff works."

"You may be right about the wine. To tell the truth, I'm feeling it a little, too. Okay, we'll wait till morning."

"Can you drive us home okay?"

"Yeah; I'm not as think as you drunk I am. Oh, don't look at me like that. I was joking. There shouldn't be much traffic on the road. I'll drive slowly, and we should be fine."

"Just the same, let's both have a cup of coffee with desert."

The waiter came back with the "doggy bag" and their desert orders. Both ordered a cup of coffee, "strong and black". While they were waiting, a young man in a sheriff's uniform came over to the table.

"Excuse me," he said. "I'm Deputy Ron Taylor. Are you the folks staying at the Hendricks' Lodge?"

"No, we're just down the road from it at the old Riley house,” Andy said. "A -- um -- a friend of mine is a partner at the law firm that owns it. I'm Andy Hoffmann, and this is Phil-iss McNierney"

"Pleased to meet you. I wanted to warn you. We've had some break-ins in a few of the houses near that end of the lake. A little robbery, a little vandalism. Nobody's been hurt, yet, though. Just make sure that you lock your doors and turn on any alarm system you may have."

"Thank you, Deputy Taylor," Phil said.

The deputy gave the pair a good professional appraisal. "Are you folks sure you can get home all right? Be a shame to see a nice couple like you in an accident, or to have to pull you in for drunk driving. I'll be glad to give you a lift. I can even give you a taxi pass, so it won't cost you anything to come back here for your car tomorrow."

Drunk or not, Andy knew better than to argue with a policeman. Especially one who knew that he was about to try something that was both dangerous and illegal. "Thank you, Deputy. We're not quite ready to go. Can I buy you a cup of coffee while you wait for us to finish?"

"No, that's all right. Mr. Harris, the owner here, is on the town council. We eat here free when we're on duty. Thank you, though. I'll just be over at the counter."

The deputy walked away to finish his burger. The waiter came a few moments later with the coffee. "Good thing you agreed," he said. "Ron lost a buddy to a drunk driver a couple years ago, and he can come down hard on one. I've known him to follow somebody for miles; pull them over and write a citation. He'll still take them home, rather than put them in jail. But there's a $100 fine for drunk driving, and you can get your license pulled."

"To tell the truth, I'm a little relieved," Phil said. "I know I'm too drunk to try and drive. I trust Andy, but he's had more than me. He is bigger, though." Phil giggled at that, knowing the sexual connotation the statement had. "I wasn't quite sure that he could manage to get us back to the house."

The waiter left, and Andy gave Phil a nasty look. "'He is bigger'. You are definitely drunk, my friend."

"I know, and it feels good. Drink your coffee, and let's get going. We can't keep the good deputy waiting all night."

They drank the coffee slowly, savoring its richness. Every so often, Andy would look over to where the deputy was sitting. Phil asked for the check when the waiter came back with a pot offering refills. The waiter looked at Andy. "Give it to her. She's a liberated woman of the '90s." The waiter refilled the cups and took Phil's credit card.

The deputy was just finishing when the waiter brought back the receipt for Phil to sign. Phil signed, remembering to write "P.J.", rather than "Phillip J. McNierney" and adding a good tip for the waiter. Andy finished the last of his coffee. They were standing by the table when the deputy reached them. "You two ready to go," he asked.

Phil and Andy got up and started for the door. Andy noticed that Phil seemed to be weaving more than a little. The wine had definitely been too much for him in his new body. He was feeling it a bit, too. He'd enjoyed the meal, but he had a feeling that tomorrow's hangover was not going to be nearly as much fun.

When they got outside, the officer led them to his patrol car. "You folks will have to ride in back. Don't worry, I won't lock the door." He opened the door, and Phil got in. He slid over on the seat, and Andy joined him. The officer shut the door and got in the driver's seat. "So, what brings you two up here to the Lake?"

"Fish. We were due some time off, and we've been fishing together since we were kids. I've heard the fishing's pretty good around here, so I wangled the use of the house, and here we are."

"If you say so," the deputy said. Phil recognized the tone of voice. He could almost hear the man's thoughts. Good looking guy, pretty girl, and all they came to do was fish? Right. He decided to have a little fun with the deputy and with Andy.

"Well, that's not all," Phil said. He snuggled up close to Andy and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He giggled watching his friend's reaction and decided to go just a little further. "No, definitely not all. Is it, lover?" He turned suddenly in the seat and put an arm up and around Andy's head. Then he kissed Andy full on the lips.

Andy's mouth opened in surprise, and Phil stuck his tongue in just a little. It felt nice, surprisingly nice. He could feel his nipples getting taut in his bra. His crotch felt warm and wet and just a little empty.

"Phil -- Phyllis, please. Not here in front of the deputy." Andy broke away. He pushed Phil back and moved as far away as he could in the limited space of the back seat.

Phil giggled. "I'm sorry, Andy. I was just showing the nice deputy what he expected to see."

"Don't need to give me a show, ma'am," the deputy said. "I'm not here to judge. I just want to get you folks home in one piece. What you do once you get there is your business."

"You're right, and I'm sorry," Phil said. "It was the wine, not me. Andy and I are just friends." Somehow he felt sorry saying it. He'd enjoyed the kiss. Phil saw Andy trying to adjust his pants without being obvious about it. He must have enjoyed it at least a little, too. Phil smiled at that thought, feeling his nipples beginning to tingle again.

The deputy dropped them at the door and drove off. They went in, switching the house alarm to external mode. Phil stopped at the bottom of the steps. "Andy, I'm feeling a little too wobbly. Could you help me up to my room?"

"Okay, but no tricks."

"No tricks. I promise. Now, please give me a hand. If I don't get some help, I'm gonna have to sleep down here."

Andy came over and put his arm around Phil's narrow waist. He grabbed the railing with his other hand. "Just lean on me and step when I step." He went up one step. Phil stepped with him. Andy continued slowly up the stairs. He tried very hard not to notice how nice Phil's body felt against him; how good he smelled.

Phil was having very similar thoughts. The sensations in his breast and groin were back, made stronger by the wine he had drunk.

They reached the top and walked down to Phil's bedroom. Phil started to open the door. Then he turned and put his arms around Andy's neck. He pulled Andy's head down and kissed him. Hard. Andy opened his mouth in surprise, and Phil's tongue snaked in. He pressed himself up close. Andy felt Phil's breasts pressing against him; felt Phil rubbing against his groin. Despite his best efforts to resist, Andy kissed Phil back and felt himself growing hard.

No! Andy thought. This is wrong. He pushed Phil away. "You promised. No tricks."

Phil smiled demurely. "That wasn't a trick. It was a treat." Phil reached down and caressed Andy's groin. "And you seemed to enjoy it." Phil grabbed Andy by his belt and led him into the room. "Let's see what other treats we can think of."

Phil shut the door behind them, turned, and kissed Andy again. Then he broke the kiss and loosed Andy's tie. He pulled it off over Andy's head and began unbuttoning his shirt. "Phil, do -- do you know what you're doing?"

"Gee, I hope so, lover." Phil's voice was low and husky. "Why, am I doing it wrong?" She stopped and kissed him again. "Don't you like it?"

"Yeah, but -- but you're a guy."

"Do I look like a guy?" Phil said. He stepped back and reached behind himself with both hands. His arms moved up and down his back. He brought them back around and dropped them to his sides. His dress fell down past his hips to form a pool of silk at his feet. He bent one knee slightly and put a hand on his hip, the classic female position.

Andy's jaw dropped. Phil was wearing a violet demi-bra that pushed his pillowy breasts up and out. His panties were the same shade. They were cut high and trimmed with white lace and clung to his narrow waist and wide hips. His pale gray stockings were held up by a matching garter belt that pulled them tight on his delicately curved legs and showed plenty of creamy thigh. "I said, ‘do I look like a guy?’"

Andy's penis came to immediate attention. It felt like he could drive nails with it. Into steel girders. "Uh -- uh, no, but tomorrow --"

"Will be tomorrow." Phil stepped out of the pool that was his dress and walked back to Andy. It was a stripper's walk, hips cocking with each step. He took Andy's head in his hands and kissed him again. This time Andy kissed him back.

Phil finished unbuttoning Andy's shirt and pulled it off. Then he bent down and loosened Andy's belt. He undid the pants and pulled them down to Andy's ankles. Phil found himself staring straight at the very large bulge in Andy's shorts. On impulse, he leaned forward and kissed it through the fabric. It pulsed at the touch.

Andy reached down and pulled Phil up. They kissed again, and Andy's hands reached behind Phil to undo his bra. It slid off, and he tossed it away. His arms pulled Phil close. Andy felt Phil's nipples, hard as his own erection, as his breasts squashed up against Andy's own hairy chest.

Phil felt his nipples tingling. His groin was hot and wet and empty. When his body touched Andy or Andy touched him, he felt jolts of pleasure shoot through his body. It was a wonderful new world of sensation.

But in the back of his mind he could hear the voice of Philip J. McNierney. It was a very male voice, and it was screaming for him to stop. Push him away, the voice said. Push him out. Then, lock the door and stay in until he comes to give you the shot in the morning.

But there was another voice, his own female voice. No, it said. You trust Andy. You love him. You always have. This is just a different way of showing him that love. And there was a third voice -- if it could be called a voice. His body, his, oh, so female body, was screaming, too. Screaming a need to feel Andy touching him; kissing him; to feel Andy within him. Stop thinking, it said. Do! Just do!

Phil tried to resolve the voices. But Andy was licking at his one breast, tickling the nipple with his tongue. His fingers matched the motions of his tongue on the other nipple, tweaking it. The jolts of pleasure drowned out everything but the third voice. Phil moaned and threw his head back. His knees grew weak.

Phil felt his knees begin to buckle. As he sank backward, he felt himself being lifted up. Andy carried him over to the unmade bed and gently laid him down on it. A few moments later, Phil felt Andy lie down beside him on the bed and begin to suckle at his other breast.

Phil's hand reached down. Andy had taken off his shorts. Phil's fingered circled around Andy's prick. It jumped slightly at his touch. It felt hard and warm to the touch. Phil rubbed it gently feeling it pulse slightly as he did. Somehow he felt that was reassuring. It wanted him just as he wanted it.

Now Andy's hand moved down. His finger found the folds of Phil's sexual lips beneath the thin fabric of the panties. A finger traced their shape. It was Phil's turn to tremble as the panties became moist to the touch. Andy's hand reached into the panties and caressed Phil's labia directly. Two fingers snaked inside and began moving in and out. Phil moaned again. His hips began to move in rhythm with Andy's fingers.

Suddenly Phil's grasp on Andy's penis tightened. "Now," he said. "Put it in me now."

Andy stopped the motion and pulled out his hand. He grasped the top of Phil's panties and began pulling them down. Phil lifted his ass of the bed to help. Once the panties were off, Andy moved over on top of Phil, supporting his weight with his arms and legs. Phil was still holding Andy's penis. He gently guided it to his crotch. He released it as he felt it brushing against his labia, pushing them apart.

Phil felt the penis enter him. It was something he had never felt -- never expected to feel. He had always been the one entering. It was his hardness going into the softness of the woman. But now that yielding softness was his. It was wrong. He knew it was wrong, but how could anything that felt this good be wrong?

His arms went around Andy, pulling him towards him. His hips rose and fell matching Andy's motion. His legs lifted up and wrapped themselves around Andy's hips.

Andy could feel Phil's stockings against hips. He felt Phil's spiked heels on his butt, spurring him to pump harder. Their levels of pleasure rose as more and more sexual energy shot out from their loins to every part of their bodies.

In the end, they climaxed together. Phil could feel Andy's sperm shoot into him. He screamed in delight and raked his nails across Andy's back. Andy stopped moving, and Phil felt the hardness of Andy's penis soften and shrink within him. He felt more of Andy's weight pressing down on him. Not enough to hurt, though, but more like a thick blanket shielding him.

Andy kissed Phil gently on the mouth. He lifted one arm and began to caress Phil's body. Phil sighed as the jolts of sexual energy settled down into the warm afterglow of sex. He smiled and kissed Phil, little pecks on his lips and cheeks.

Andy rolled over and off Phil. His penis came out of Phil's vagina with an almost audible pop. They both sighed; still savoring the pleasure that each had given to and gotten from the other. Andy put his arm out across the pillows. Phil rested his head on it and snuggled up against Andy's side. Andy reached over and pulled the covers over the pair of them. In a few minutes they were both asleep.

*****

The sunlight streaming through the open window woke Andy. He glanced at the bedside clock. Almost 10 AM. Well, he thought, between the wine and the -- um -- extracurriculars, he shouldn't be surprised at sleeping so late. He looked down. Phil was still lying against him, her head resting on his chest.

"Her" head? This was Phil McNierney, one of his oldest friends. They'd played basketball together; gotten drunk together; chased women together. But now -- now, they had had sex together. What the hell was going to happen to their friendship now? Would things be the same after Phil changed back?

Phil's head turned to look at him. "Finally awake, sleepyhead."

"I guess so. Look about last night, I'm sorry --"

"Ummm, I'm not. It was great."

"I'm glad you enjoyed it, but don't forget, you're due to get your shot today to change back."

"Do I have to? I'd like to stay this way a little longer." Phil's hand reached down, and Andy felt a finger run down the length of his penis. "Is there anything I can do to talk you into giving me some more time?"

Andy felt himself beginning to get hard again. "Stop that, Phil. What's going on here? I thought you were in such a hurry to change back."

"Well, now, I'm not. Let's just say that last night I found a good reason for wanting to stay female a while longer."

"But --"

"Look, Andy. Let's just get serious for a moment. You need my consent to give me the shot, and you know that you can't hypnotize an unwilling subject. Well, I'm withholding my consent for the moment. Accept the fact. Okay?"

"Okay, but I'm not sure that I like it."

"Maybe this will help." Phil rolled over on top of him, sitting on his stomach. She -- there was no way to think of him as a "he" -- took his head in her hands and kissed him. He felt her breasts pressed against his chest. He felt himself grow hard. His penis rose up to touch her rounded ass as he gave in to the inevitable of what was about to happen.

She felt it, too. She lifted herself up on her knees and grasped his penis. "Well, you're certainly ready," she said with a throaty giggle. She gently lowered herself down onto the penis. He felt her nether lips part, felt the warm wetness of her vagina. She was ready, too. Very ready.

He raised his hips suddenly, pushing himself up and into her further. Her eyes opened wide with delight. She moaned and pushed back. In a moment they were matching each other, rhythm for rhythm. She leaned back and his arms reached up, his hands began to massage her breasts.

Phil wasn't sure that she had wanted to have sex again with Andy when she started flirting with him. (Phil had decided to think of herself as a "she" until changing back.) She was just teasing him. She knew how much she'd enjoyed the sex last night, and she wanted to think about things before she let herself be changed back. This had seemed to be the only way to convince him. But both their bodies had reacted so very fast, and things just happened.

Not that she wasn't enjoying it; she was. It was wonderful feeling him inside her. A woman's orgasm wasn't just different than a man’s; she was beginning to think it was better. It certainly was longer. No sudden spurt and it was over. No, each peak lead to another peak and then another. And even when it was over, the long slide back down was such a warm, pleasant experience.

She felt Andy pulse within her. He screamed and his hips and butt froze in mid air for a moment before sinking back down onto the bed. She leaned forward and gave him a long kiss on the mouth. Then she moved her head down, arching her back as she kissed his face, his chin, down to his chest.

She didn't want to go any lower. She would have to shift her body to do that. Andy felt softer and smaller within her, and she wanted to keep him within her as long as she could. Any movement, and he might slip out. She stopped kissing his and leaned forward again. She rested her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat.

She sighed, feeling her body slowly calm down, even as his did. "Well, Andy, are you convinced that it might be a good idea for me to stay female a while longer?"

"That's not a fair argument."

"I'm a lawyer. We don't play fair. We play to win."

"Well, you have. No shot till you're willing to change back. Agreed?"

"Agreed. There's just one thing."

"What now?"

"Well, much as I like staying here -- you make a great mattress -- there are a lot of fish in that lake. Let's go see how many we can take out."

"Do we have to? You make a great blanket."

"Yes; if only because we made a bet. You're ahead after the first day. Are you afraid to give me a chance to catch up?"

"Argument taken, but I think I want to shower first. Care to join me?" He was smiling, almost leering.

"It's tempting, but I'll pass -- this time." She gave him the same leer back and reluctantly climbed off. She did need a shower, though, and she'd have to figure out how to clean herself. She could feel something wet sliding down her leg. A horrible thought came to her. They'd had unprotected sex twice. She wasn't worried about disease, but could she get pregnant?

"Andy," she said hesitantly. "Um, this, um, this body is a totally working female body. Is there any chance of it getting, well, of it getting pregnant?"

"I don’t think so. I'll do a pregnancy test, if you want. But I figure that your body changed into a female one at the equivalent of the start of its cycle, as if you'd just finished menstruating. You shouldn't ovulate for over a week." He sat up and threw his legs over the side of the bed. As he rose, he gave her butt a friendly slap. "Now get dressed you lusty wench, and I'll show you the proper way to catch fish."

"Who'll show whom?"

"Okay, we'll see. Oh, and I'm going to want to take another blood sample, so don't eat anything if you get downstairs first."

"Why?"

"I want to keep a constant baseline of your body chemistry until you change back. Don't worry. It won't take long."

*****

They were on the lake less than forty minutes later. They spent most of the day in silence, listening to tapes on their IPods. This time Phil had a much better day than Andy. She was feeling relaxed and fairly confident in her decision to stay female for a while. He was trying to figure out just what he had done to his best friend and how he could fix it.

About 4:30 they headed back in. It was a little early, but it had been a long day for them. Andy tied the boat to the dock, while Phil unloaded their gear. Then he jumped out and extended his hand. Phil grabbed it and pulled herself up and onto the dock. Andy was amazed again at how much lighter she was as a female.

Phil took the poles and headed back towards the house. Andy grabbed the line and the tackle boxes and started after her. It was a pleasure to be following her. He watched her ass sway in the tight jeans she was wearing. Andy felt himself getting hard. Damn, he thought, not again.

Phil stopped and turned to see if he was following. She saw the look of embarrassment on his face. Her eyes glanced down his body, stopping at the bulge in his jeans. She dropped the poles and walked slowly towards him. She had a wicked smile on her face, and she was doing that "bump and grind" walk of hers.

She stopped directly in front of him. One hand reached down and her finger traced the bulge of his penis through his pants. "Andy, you know the nicest things to say to a girl." Then she grabbed his head in his hands and pulled him to her. Their mouths met in a long passionate kiss, their tongues darting back and forth playing with each other.

Eventually they pulled apart. Andy looked around quickly for a comfortable place. The side of the hill was gravel and low grass. It might have worked with a blanket, but they had none. Besides, it was only early May, and still a little cold to be taking your clothes off outside. No matter how good the reason was.

Phil must have been thinking the same thoughts. "There's a nice warm house just up the hill. It has a thick carpet and wide couches, and a whole bunch of beds for us to choose from." She picked up the poles and headed back for the house. Andy followed.

The problem was that he had time to think about what he was planning to do. That was still Phil inside that body. Eventually, the original, the male Phil would be back, and they'd have to face everything that had happened. How do two heterosexual men stay friends after they've made love as a man and woman? He decided to add to the problem by doing anything more.

Again, Phil could tell what was going on just by looking at Andy's face. She pouted and went into the kitchen to fix supper. He went upstairs and took a very long and very cold shower.

*****

By the time Andy came down, dinner was ready. He sat down at the table, and Phil put a plate of roast fish in front of him. She served herself and sat down to eat without saying a word. He tried a few feints to get a reaction out of her, talking about the day's fishing, old friends, anything he could think of. Nothing worked.

Finally he just blurted it out. "Look, Phil, I'm sorry. You're a damned attractive woman, sexy as hell. And because of who you are, you know more about pleasing a man than any other woman could."

"So why did you refuse me? I know you like them hot and willing. That's what I've been playing at."

"Because of who you are, or, rather, who you were, and who you will be. Phil McNierney, my best friend. A guy I've known over half my life."

"So? I'm still Phil McNierney."

"No, you're not. He's gone away, and there's this hot babe trying to take his place. When he comes back, I'm going to have to explain to him how I behaved with that babe. And if he doesn't like what I did, even if it's as much the babe's fault as my own, I may lose my best friend." He stopped for a minute and looked directly at Phil. "Now do you understand?"

"I -- I think I do." She was trying to hold back the tears as she spoke. "I didn't realize what I -- what I was doing. Oh, Andy, I'm so, so sorry." The tears began to flow. She jumped from the table and ran upstairs. He heard the door of her room slam behind her.

"I hope so, old buddy," Andy said in relief. "I sure hope so."

*****

There was a knock on Andy's door the next morning. He threw a robe on over his pajamas and opened the door. Phil was standing there in a woman's robe -- from the courtesy storage closet, Andy guessed -- looking down shyly. "May I come in?"

"I guess." He motioned for her to sit in a chair and sat in another himself. No sense asking for trouble by sitting on the bed with her, he thought. "How are you doing this morning?"

"Okay. Look, I'm sorry for the way I've been acting. I didn't realize that you felt that it was putting our friendship in jeopardy."

"I know, and I'm sorry that I had to put it so bluntly. If it makes you feel any better, it wasn't all one sided. I was a more than willing participant and thoroughly enjoyed our, um, times together."

"You did?" She was smiling now.

Andy saw where that line of conversation might lead, his bed. "Yeah, that was part of the problem. I was enjoying it too much, and I was afraid that I was screwing up our friendship. Literally as well as figuratively."

Phil stopped smiling. She had been thinking about the bed, too. "Well, I think I've got a solution. I want to stay female, to never change back."

"What! Are you out of your mind?"

"No. I -- I love you Andy. I always have, but now I've fallen in love with you. I want to be with you."

"And what do you do when the vacation's over? How are they going to act at your firm when you come walking in wearing a woman's suit, heels, and stockings and tell them that you got in touch with your female side?"

She giggled at the thought, and then began to laugh. "Vic Chase would have kittens."

It was sexy the way her whole body seemed to shake when she laughed, her breasts moving under her robe. Do not go there, Andy warned himself. "And then they'd let you just pick up your caseload and get to work?"

"Probably not. They'd think it was some sort of trick and not let me into my office. Even after I proved who I was -- and I could, unless my fingerprints have changed --"

"They haven't. At least, I can't think any reason why they should have. We can check if you want."

"That's okay. There's other ways to prove it if they have. Anyway, they'd make me keep a very low profile for a while. Probably give a lot of my work to somebody else till people had time to adjust."

"And that wouldn't bother you? You once told me that half the fun of getting up in the morning was knowing that you were going to go in to the office and -- what did you say -- oh, yeah, to go in and 'wrestle with the law.' What happens to that, Ms. McNierney?"

"There's other ways to do law. Other ways to wrestle, too." She looked at him hopefully, trying for a smile, maybe even to change the tone of this conversation a little. It didn't work.

"Okay, I'll miss that some. I admit it. But corporate law's been getting a little dry, lately. I've been thinking about cutting down my caseload for a while and doing some writing. The most fun that I ever had with the law was when I was on the law journal while I was in school."

"But will it be enough?"

"It would be if I was with you." She stood and began to undo her robe. Andy wasn't sure what, if anything, was under it.

"No, Phil. That's not a fair argument." He scowled, and she stopped tugging at the knot in the robe's sash. "Look, if you want to stay a woman for a while long, okay. But think about it."

"Let me make you an offer. Based on how long it took you to change, the last night to give you the shot and have you turn back before the end of our stay here is a week from today. If you can give me a good reason to let you stay a woman, then you will. And we'll see what happens to our relationship. Otherwise, you take the shot and turn back. Agreed?"

She thought about it for a moment. There really wasn't any other way. Besides, there was always the chance that she could get him to admit how he felt about her. That would be the best argument. "Okay." She paused a moment and watched him relax a bit. She began undoing her robe. "Now that we've settled the matter...."

"No, Phil. Not till the matter's really settled."

Damn! She turned and walked out of the room. As she walked towards the door, she undid the robe. She stopped at the doorway and turned her head back to look where he was sitting. "Andy." He looked up. She dropped the robe and let it fall to the ground. She had worn nothing underneath. She posed for a moment. "Your loss." Then she walked out the door with as sexy a strut as she could manage.

She was about halfway back to her room when something hit her in the back of the head. She turned and looked down. The robe, bunched up in a ball lay at her feet. Andy's door was shut. Gotcha!

*****

Andy was waiting for her when Phil came downstairs. She was dressed in a pair of light blue jeans that hugged every curve and one of her male work shirts. The shirt was knotted at her midriff; the top two buttons were undone to show lots of breast. She smiled at him until she noticed the syringe on the table next to him.

"No! You promised. We had a deal." She turned to run upstairs.

"I know, and I intend to honor it." He held up the syringe. "I want your blood," he said in his best Dracula voice.

"I'm sorry. I forgot about that baseline thingie of yours."

"'Baseline thingie', now there's a term I haven't heard since med school." He took a sample and headed for the lab. "Your breakfast's on the table. If you're going to be a girl for another week, I want to reconfigure some of the equipment for a longer test. How about we do lunch at the mall again; maybe take in a movie. I'll have cab drive me over to Tom Harris' to pick up my car. You may want to do a little shopping, too. I don't think you've got a week worth of girl's clothes."

"Oh, thank you, Andy. You're too sweet." She pretended to blow him a kiss. "Have fun in the lab."

"Wait a minute what time do we meet, and where?"

"How about the food court at Easterbridge Mall, at 1? That'll give me time to do some serious shopping, and you can finish up whatever you need to finish up."

"Done. See you later." He disappeared into the lab. Phil grabbed the purse from where she'd left it earlier and walked out to her car.

*****

Andy walked into the mall about 12:50. The food court was on the second floor, and he got it with a couple minutes to spare. There was no sign of Phil. He glanced around. He started to make some kind of "just like a woman" comment to himself, when he remembered what a lousy sense of time, the male Phil had. He decided to wait ten minutes and then, if she hadn't come, see about having her paged.

About five minutes later, Andy thought he heard his name. He turned to see a gorgeous woman walking towards him. Her walk was half strut, half stalk and sexy as hell. Andy stopped looking for Phil. Like most of the other men and not a few of the women in the area, he just watched her walk towards him.

Her black hair was a mass of ringlets that framed her face. She was smiling at him, her lips a dark vibrant red. Her eyes were perfect, long thick lashes and a smoky gray eye shadow that made them seem even bigger than they were.

Her dress was a navy silk confection that hugged her curves. It was cut low enough to show lots of creamy breast. The dress was short, reaching no more than half the distance from hips to knee. It swung freely as she walked, revealing the feminine curve of her leg and even an occasional flash of thigh. Her shoes were the same color as her dress with a three inch heel.

She kept walking towards him. Then, as she got close, he thought that he recognized her. "Phil?" She smiled and ran to him. She put her arms around him and kissed him. He could smell perfume, rich and exotic. He put his arms up around her neck. One arm brushed against an earring.

The effect was total female, and he reacted to her. He kissed her back, pulling her close. He felt her breasts pushing against his chest. His penis was growing hard.

The crowd broke into applause. Phil and Andy both realized that they were the center of attention and pushed apart in embarrassment. Phil took Andy by the hand, and they ducked into the crowd that had gathered around them. Looking back, Andy saw Phil bowing and throwing kisses to the appreciative crowd.

"What got into you, Phil?"

"The works. I decided that if I'm going to be a girl, I'm going to be a girl! How'd I do?"

"On a scale of one to ten, I'd give you, oh, maybe a six -- ouch! Why'd you kick me? I was going to say a sixteen. Sixteen, honest."

"That's better, and I'm sorry that I kicked you." She looked around. "Hey, that crowd's pretty much stopped staring at us. How about we get some lunch?"

They went to two different counters and returned to their table. Andy had a grilled chicken sandwich, fries, and a coke. Phil brought back a tossed salad and diet coke. "To quote the old joke," she said. "If I don't watch my figure, nobody else will."

"They will when you look like that."

"Thank you, kind sir." She leaned over and kissed his forehead. "How'd it go in the lab this morning, Dr. Frankenstein?"

"Pretty well. The PC's reprogrammed. The analyzer is set for additional samples -- it's doing this morning's blood work right now. From what I've looked at from the past samples, your body's well within healthy female parameters. You'll also be glad to know that there're also no signs that you're anywhere near ovulating."

"Then it's okay to have sex?" She smiled at him hopefully and batted her eyelashes.

"Not with me it isn't, so stop racing your engine and eat your lunch."

"Pooh!" She giggled and took a bite of salad. "Can't blame a girl for trying, can you?"

"I guess not, but I'd really like you to stop trying." Her face darkened, so he tried to change the subject. "What do you want to do after we eat?"

"You mentioned a movie, but I'd kind of like to do some more shopping. I spent the whole morning working on this outfit and how I'd look in it."

"Don't get your hopes up, but I'll be the first to admit that it was time well spent."

"Thank you, again. I'll take it as a general compliment. Do you want to come along, or are you going to chicken out and head back to the house?"

"Might as well stay here. The equipment runs just as well without me. And I can't fish unless you're there to compete. I intend to win our bet fair and square." They finished with their lunches. They tossed the trash in a bin near their table and headed out into the mall.

Their first stop was a Jean King. Phil bought three more pair of jeans. She tried on one pair, coming out to ask Andy what he thought. The jeans were a pale green, cut tight to show off the wearer's curves. It certainly worked. Andy thought they almost looked painted on. Phil also bought a pair of cut-offs cut so high that the clerk advised her to make sure her panties didn't show when she wore it. Phil winked at Andy and said that she might just not wear panties under them.

They stopped at the storage locker where Phil had stashed the clothes that she'd worn to the mall. The new purchases joined the others, and they headed to the next store.

Andy began shaking his head as soon as he saw where they were going. "No way, Phil," he said. "I am not going into a Victoria's Secret."

"What's the matter, old buddy? Chicken? Just think of me in all that sexy underwear." Phil saw Andy scowl. "Okay, just think of all those other women in that sexy underwear. Hey, if I'm going to be a girl for a week, I'll need more than just three bra and panty sets. I might as well see what the good stuff feels like."

"What about that little bra, panty, and garter set you had on the other night. Wasn't that good stuff?"

"How sweet; you remembered. I got them at Sears along with the dress that first day. You weren't paying attention to what all I bought that day. I got the salesgirl to pick them out for me, so everything would match. I told her I wanted to impress my boyfriend."

"Okay, but do I still have to go in?"

"Yes!" She pulled him into the store. Andy tried to look at ease. He couldn't. There were too many things to stare at. He decided that the best bet was to just watch Phil.

That only worked for a while. Phil came over carrying a wad of black material. "What do you think of this," she said. It was one of those 'merry widows', two almost transparent brassiere cups with a drape of cloth that came down almost to the waist. Four garters trimmed with black roses dangled down below. "And it comes with a matching thong panty, too."

She held it up in front of her. It was easy to imagine her wearing it. He sighed a little at the mental image. Then he shook his head. "That, Phil was unfair. I'm going to go look at the fishing gear." He started to walk out of the store.

She dropped the garment on a counter and ran after him. "Andy, I'm sorry. I was just kidding."

"Like hell. I told you, no matter how attractive you are, I don't want to do anything like what you're suggesting unless and until the matter of your gender is decided."

"All right, and I am sorry. I guess I'm only just realizing how serious you are about this. How about we do our own shopping and meet back at the food court about six for supper? My treat."

"Okay," he said smiling lamely. After all, it wasn't entirely her fault. He'd been the one who told his friend to become a woman. "But then that movie I promised. My treat. Deal?"

"Deal. I'll even let you pick the movie." They shook hands and separated. Phil went back in to Victoria's Secret and promptly bought the 'merry widow'. Just in case, she thought.

*****

They met at the food court, and then walked over to the pizza place where they had eaten a few days before. Phil was hungry from an afternoon of shopping and managed three slices this time. They took their packages out and locked them in the trunks of their cars. Phil had about six boxes and bags of clothes, enough for a month, Andy thought. He's bought a new tackle and a couple shirts, so there was room for what couldn't fit in Phil's 'beemer'. Then they headed back in towards the movieplex.

"How about SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE?" Phil said. "It won all those Oscars, and I've been too busy to see it."

The prospect of sitting in the dark watching a romantic movie with Phil was not one Andy wanted to face. It would be too easy for her to start something. Too easy for him to forget and let her start something.

"Have you seen SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? It won a bunch of Oscars, too."

"No, but....." Phil let her voice trail off. She looked very disappointed. "I wanted to see Shakespeare with you."

"I think I know what you wanted, but you did say that you'd let me pick the movie. I thought you were a man of your word."

She flinched at the word "man", but she had promised. "Okay, Private Ryan, and I'll buy the munchies."

The movie was as good as everybody said, and they were soon both lost in the plot. Phil took Andy's hand at one point. She held it for much of the rest of the movie, squeezing it once in a while when the action got fierce. At the end of the movie, she leaned her head against his shoulder. He thought he could hear her crying a little, but he'd been affected, too. It was a powerful movie.

"That's one advantage of being female," Phil said as they walked back to their cars. "I get to cry about things like that."

*****

As they got near the house, Andy saw a lot of flashing lights ahead of him over the hill. He stepped on the gas, leaving Phil's car behind. Something was very wrong.

The house was a smoldering ruin. The flashing lights were from the two fire trucks and the police cars parked nearby. He pulled up next to one of the police cars, recognizing Taylor, the cop that had driven him home the day before. "What happened?"

"Mr. Hoffmann? Yes, it is you. We don't know. The alarm came in about 4:30. The firemen did the best they could, but the house went up pretty fast. These old ones often do. I hope you didn't have anything really valuable in there. It's just about a total loss."

‘Nothing much,’ Andy thought. ‘Just about $60,000 worth of medical equipment that I’m going to have to explain to the university, as well as all of my medical samples. Thank heavens, I backed up my notes on disk and put the copies in my trunk. Even so, about six months of work is gone.’

Phil had driven up by now. She parked her car and ran over. One of the other sheriffs tried to stop her, thinking she was just a gawker. "It's okay,” Deputy Taylor said. "She's with him."

Phil looked in horror at the ruins. Her partners were going to blame her for this. Life had just gotten even more difficult.

Taylor looked at the two of them. His voice dropped a notch. "I hate to ask this, but was there anybody else in the house with you. We, um, we found a body."

"Can we see it," Phil asked. An idea suddenly came to her.

The deputy led them over to an ambulance. There was a body covered with a sheet on a gurney next to it. He drew back the sheet. "We found him in a room with some electrical equipment. Best as we can tell without an investigation, that's where the fire started. We think he was trying to put it out when something exploded."

Phil gasped and began to cry. "It -- it's my cousin, Phil. The house belongs to his law firm. Andy and I went to the mall for the day, but he wanted to fish. Oh, Phil. If only we'd been there to help." She collapsed in tears over the body.

Andy just stared. Phil had once told him that half of the skill of a good lawyer was acting. Phil was certainly a good lawyer. He could hardly contradict her -- at least right now -- without stirring up more trouble than they were already in. He put his arm around her and lead her gently back to her car. He left her sitting on the seat, still sobbing, and went back to talk to Deputy Taylor.

"Do you know where the township office is, Mr. Hoffmann?"

"I think so. Over on Meecham Road, isn't it?"

"That's right, sir. Can you and the lady come in some time tomorrow? We'll need her to sign the death certificate as the deceased cousin."

"Um, okay." Andy hoped he could come up with a solution to this before they got into more trouble. "Is there a motel or something nearby? We're going to need a place to sleep tonight."

"You're welcome to my spare room, Dr. Hoffmann." It was Ira Casey, the caretaker, come over from where he'd been examining the ruins. He was afraid that he'd just lost a very good job and trying for any 'brownie points' he could get.

Andy decided to help. Whatever had happened probably wasn't Casey's fault. From the sound of it, something had gone wrong with his equipment. "Thank you, Mr. Casey," he said. "But I'm with, um, there's somebody, um, do you have two rooms?"

"Please, call me Ira. No, I'm afraid not. My wife can fix up our old sofa in the back room. I've slept there more than once in forty-odd years of married life."

"That won't be necessary, Mr. Casey -- Ira." It was Phil, come back over from her car. She hugged Andy's arm. "Andy was just trying to protect my reputation. We can share that room you offered."

Casey looked at Phil. "Do I know you, ma'am?"

"No, but you knew my cousin -- my late cousin, Phil McNierney. He described me to you more than once. When I saw Andy talking to you, I recognized you from his description."

"Mr. McNierney. Oh, dear, that wasn't him, was it? Fine man, good fisherman, too. I enjoyed talking with him when he came up here. I'm very sorry for your loss, ma'am."

Phil took his hand. "Thank you, Ira." She turned to Andy. "If we're not needed for anything, I'd like to go lie down."

They both looked at Deputy Taylor. "No, you can go. Just remember to come in tomorrow to sign the papers."

"Okay, but I think I'd better ride with Andy. I'm a little preoccupied to be following somebody down a road I don't know."

"I guess I'd better go, too, Ron," Ira said to the deputy. "Don't want these people showing up on my doorstep unannounced. Ethel'd have a fit."

"If you want, Ira, I'll have somebody call her for you. She can have that spare room of yours ready by the time you get home with these folks." The deputy reached into his squad car for the radio.

"That'd be right nice of you, Ron. She knows about the fire -- saw the flames from the house before I did. You just tell her we got company for the night, and I'll give her the whole story when I get there."

The deputy nodded and began talking into the hand mike. Ira turned to Andy. "My truck's over there. You and the lady can just follow me. We'll be at my house in about ten minutes"

"Can you wait just a minute, Ira," Phil asked. "I've got some clothes in the trunk of my car, and I'd like to take them with me."

"Sure, ma'am; lucky thing for you. Any clothes in that house are just ashes now, and my wife, well, you and her aren't exactly the same size." He was being diplomatic. Ethel Casey was only about five foot tall, but she easily outweighed Phil by thirty or forty pounds.

Phil and Andy transferred the packages from the back of Phil's car to Andy's wagon. They signaled Ira, who had been waiting in his car. He started the engine as they got in, and both cars were soon heading down the back road to the Casey farm.

"What was all that 'Cousin Phil' stuff back at the house," Andy asked as he drove.

"I couldn't very well tell them the truth, could I?"

"Yeah, but who was that guy? Did you recognize him?"

"I don't think so. Taylor said that there'd been some break-ins. It was probably him. He poked around your equipment, maybe tried to take it apart, and something went wrong."

"You're probably right. I can't think of any other reason anybody would be in the house. But why not tell them that? Why claim he was you?"

"He might as well do something useful. He's my reason."

"What do you mean?"

"You said that if I could come up with a good reason for not changing back, you'd agree not to give me the shot. Right?"

"Right, but what reason does that dead crook give you?"

"Dead crook? Let's have some respect for the late Philip J. McNierney, prominent attorney at law."

"What!"

"That's my reason. I certainly can't go back to being Mr. McNierney if he's legally dead. Can I?"

"No, but you -- he -- Phil won't legally dead until you sign those papers tomorrow. And it still won't be legal, since you aren't really his -- your cousin."

"Does the late, great, Phil McNierney have any closer member of his family than me? If you want, you can think of me as his twin sister. We were both born to the same parents at the same time, after all."

"But you are Phil McNierney!"

"Yes, but you aren't going to tell them that, are you?" She leaned over and kissed his cheek.

"Let me think about it, okay? We're here." He turned off the road they were on and followed Casey up a narrow pebble driveway to a farmhouse. Mrs. Casey was standing in the doorway.

She came over and gave Phil a hug as they got out of the car. "You poor dear, losing your cousin like that. It's a good thing you had your friend here to take care of you."

Andy went around to the back of the car and began unloading the packages. Phil started back to help, but Mrs. Casey stopped her. "You let the men do that, dear. Ira, you help him with those things." She put her arm around Phil's waist and led her away from the car. You come into the house with me and have a nice cup of tea."

Andy and Ira took the packages. Ira led him into the farmhouse and up to a room on the second floor. It was a small room decorated in a rather feminine manner with ruffled curtains and a powder blue comforter on the oversized bed. They put the packages down on a dressing table near the bed. It was decorated in a ruffled pattern that matched the curtains.

"This is my daughter, Hannah's, room," Ira said. "She don't use it much these days seeing as she's in the Army over in Europe someplace. Just made sergeant, in fact. There's a bathroom through that door by the table where we put that stuff from your car. There's a closet over there," he pointed to a door near the bed, "where you can hang stuff."

"Thanks, say, um, all these clothes are, um, Ms. McNierney's. You wouldn't have a spare robe or some pajamas for me would you." Ira was about his size, if a fair bit heavier. His clothes wouldn't fit Andy that well, but they'd be better than none at all.

"You let me see what I can drum up. I think I've got me some PJs near your size. A present Hannah sent me last Christmas, but she got the size wrong. Been meaning to send them back to her, but you're welcome to them." He left to go get the pajamas.

There was a knock behind him. Andy turned. Phil was standing in the doorway. She looked a little tired. "Mrs. Casey -- Ethel -- wanted to know if we wanted anything to eat. I told her we were pretty tired after everything that had happened and just wanted to hit the sack. That okay with you?"

"Yeah, truth to tell, I am kind of tired. Are you okay?"

"A little tired. Does it really bother you -- I mean, what I said back at the house, does it bother you?" She looked small and helpless, and Andy felt himself wanting to take her in his arms, to comfort her.

"Let me think about it a while." He stopped, seeing Ira come to the door.

"Sorry to interrupt,” Ira said. He handed Andy a thick red box tied in with a gold and purple cord. "These are the PJs I mentioned. There's a robe in there, too. They should fit."

"Thanks, Ira."

"No problem. Keep 'em if you like." He patted his large belly. "They don't fit me, and they aren't likely to any time soon. Besides, I'm sure that Hannah would want me to offer them to a guest. She learned hospitality from the best, her Mom."

He saw the expression on Phil's face and felt the tension in the room. "Well, you two look like you got something to talk about. Ethel said you was going to bed anyway, so I'll just wish you a 'Good Night'." He left before either of them could answer, pulling the door shut behind him.

"He's a sweet old man," Phil said. "They both are."

"Yeah, I hope he doesn't get into any trouble because of the fire."

"I doubt that he will. The firm had the place fully insured. I heard Mike Rice -- he's the firm's managing partner, remember -- say that he was planning some major renovations this fall. This fire'll pay for rebuilding, probably with some money left over."

"But," she continued, "we still need to get things settled. How long do you want to think about it? I'm supposed to go in to sign those papers tomorrow. And what do we say to the Caseys?"

"I'd like a week, a month maybe, but I'll have to settle for overnight."

"Can I offer a bribe to influence your decision?"

"You do, and I'll go sleep on the couch."

"Not that. You should know that you're the chief beneficiary in Phil McNierney's will."

"What! Why me?"

"Why not you? My Dad's a lot richer than I am. Mom's dead. I've no really close relatives, not even my new 'cousin' Phyllis. There's some charitable contributions, a few bequests to some other friends -- Jack Dalton, Ted Slawitzki, and a couple of things to cut down on inheritance taxes and make life easier for Mike Rice. He's the executor. But the rest of the money goes to you. I said you should use some for your research; let you stop having to chase grants all the time."

"They're not going to think I killed you for the money, are they?"

"I thought you didn't watch that much bad TV. There're over a dozen salesclerks that can put us both in the mall since yesterday at lunchtime. Taylor said the fire didn't start till late afternoon. Any good coroner can find the time of death, even for somebody burned as badly as 'Phil', whoever he really was."

"You're probably right. This has not been one of my best days." He yawned. "Let's get ready for bed." He saw her smile. "To sleep. I'll go change in the bathroom. You change out here. Knock on the door when you're ready."

He took the box and went into the bathroom shutting the door behind him. He opened the box and took out a pair of gray pajamas. A red, yellow and green plaid robe was folded under them. He put the box on the counter by the sink and stripped off his clothes. He folded them carefully. They were all he had to wear till he could get to the mall.

He put on the pajama bottoms. They were a little large, but not too bad a fit. He washed up and put on the top. There were two toothbrushes, still in their plastic, near the sink. He brushed his teeth and sat down on the toilet to wait for Phil's knock. Ethel Casey was a very good hostess. There were a couple of recent magazines on a wide window ledge next to the toilet.

He tried to figure out just what he was going to do. Phil really couldn't explain who she was. The dead man was a thief and who knew what else and wasn't likely to be missed. Still, somebody might miss him. Besides, Phil was asking him to lie on a formal death certificate. That was something that Andy, as a doctor, took very seriously. And was he really ready to let her give up her old life? It all came back to that. He'd probably be up all night thinking about what to do.

Phil knocked on the bathroom door. "You fall in," she called from the bedroom. Andy stood up and opened the door.

The room was dark except for a ring of candles burning near the bed. Phil stood by the bed looking down shyly. She was wearing a babydoll nightie -- when the hell had she bought that? The panty was cut high, showing miles of leg and accenting her lush hips. The top was sleeveless and cut very low to show lots of breast. It was so sheer that he could see her nipples through the material.

"I thought maybe I could offer you that other bribe. Please don't be mad." In a very low voice she added, "I really do love you, Andy."

Andy sighed and took her in his arms, giving in to the inevitable. He knew what he was going to do in the morning, but he also knew that he'd probably still be awake for quite a while yet.

The End

Author's note: The idea that the human mind only uses 10 or 15 percent of its capacity is a disproven myth. I used it because it made the story possible, NOT because I believe in it. I don't.

You can read an article from Scientific American debunking it at

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only...



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