MAU: On Golden Pond

MAU: On Golden Pond
By Ellie Dauber
(c) 2001

When Norman Thayer, retired college professor, finds an MAU, he and his wife give it a challenge to see what all it can do to them and for them.

MAU: On Golden Pond
By Ellie Dauber
(c) 2001

FYI, this story is based on the Henry Fonda/Katherine Hepburn version of the story, rather than the more recent one with Julie Andrews.

* * * * *

"It's a long story," Edith Thayer said. "As I remember, I was fixing lunch when it began."

* * * * *

"Norman, lunch is ready." Ethel Thayer put the tray down on the table and looked around for her husband. There was no sign of him. She called up to the bedroom and, when there was no answer, walked out onto the cabin porch.

It was lovely May afternoon, the sun peeping through a few low clouds. It had been in the high 50s when she and Norman woke up. Now the big thermometer mounted on the wall said that it was almost 80. A slight breeze kept things from getting too hot.

Ethel patted at an errant curl come loose from the bun she wore her hair in these days. She was a tall slender woman in her mid 70s, but with more than a trace of youthful beauty. Her hair was almost white, but there were still a few brown-gray embers of the fiery red it had been.

The only trace of Norman was his new sweater tossed over the back of a lawn chair. 'He could have folded it, at least,' she thought. 'It took me two months to knit that thing.' She flexed her long, thin fingers, remembering the work that had taken up a good part of the previous winter. No arthritis yet, thank Heavens. She folded the sweater and laid it gently on the arm of the chair where Norman could find it. Then she looked around the yard, trying to guess which way he might have gone.

"Hey, Ethel, look at this." She turned and saw him walking up the trail from the meadow. He was carrying something, a small box or chest that he must have found someplace. She certainly didn't recognize it. He was grinning as he walked. It was the same lopsided grin that she'd fallen in love with when they'd met over forty years before. She was a freshly minted professor of Asian history. He was a year shy of tenure in American Lit: Twain and Hemingway and Steinbeck -- especially Steinbeck. Norman always swore that Grapes of Wrath was the great American novel. He'd been her knight in shining armor back then, sweeping her off her feet and marrying her within a few months. Come to think of it, he still was.

"I found this in that little clearing near the lake." He was a bit out of breath. He set the box down on the porch, and then sat down next to it. He was a tall, angular man with thinning white hair, and his long legs dangled over the side.

Edith took a good look at his find. It was a block of seamless metal about the size of a breadbox and covered with some sort of writing she'd never seen before. "What is it," she asked. "It looks like one of those Chi'in Dynasty puzzles from the university museum."

"I don't know. I found it in a little crater with broken branches on a couple of trees." He stood and lifted it. "It feels like metal, but it's so light, it must be hollow. He moved the box around, turning it over to different sides looking for some way to open it. He pushed a spot near the writing, and the thing began to move, to grow in his hands.

"What the Devil," Norman dropped the box. It didn't bounce; it just stayed where it had landed, a few feet from where he stood. It kept growing, though, until it was the size and shape of a telephone booth. Norman walked around the thing. Three sides were blank. The fourth had what looked like a door with a purple crystal where the doorknob would be. Next to the door, there was some kind of a red crystal that looked like a three-fingered hand. Above the hand was some sort of square plate.

"Norma, you get away from that thing. It -- it's dangerous; I just know it." She backed away wringing her hands over and over.

"It's just some kind of phone booth," he said. He was hardly sure, but he wasn't about to say that in front of Edith.

"It must be from outer space," she said. "I've never heard of anything on Earth that could grow like that."

"Maybe this is what that E.T. fellow uses to phone home."

Norman's curiosity took over. He walked slowly towards the box, watching it closely in case anything happened. He stopped as he reached it and looked over to where Edith stood, still wringing her hands. If anything did happen, he wanted her to be the last thing he saw. He turned towards the machine again and grinned. "Klaatu berada nikto."

Edith couldn't help but smile. "Be careful, Norman. It may not have seen that old movie."

"Edith, this was obviously made by an obviously superior race. They must have seen THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL." He studied the device for a moment. Then, on a whim, he put his hand down on the three-fingered red crystal. "I'll bet this activates it."

The square plate lit up. Lines of symbols, the same sort that had been on the small version of the box slowly scrolled past. "Edith, could you read any of the writing that was on this thing when it was tiny?"

"Read? Norman, I was a professor of Asian history for over thirty years, and I didn't even recognize whatever those symbols were."

As she spoke, the last of the symbols passed off the screen. They were replaced by a three-dimensional image, a human figure that slowly rotated as they watched. "Will you look at that," Norman said. "It's me." Then, suddenly, the figure's clothing vanished. The figure was very realistic. "The hell with that; it's bad enough living in an 81 year-old body without being reminded how bad it looks."

Edith took his other hand. "I always thought that you had a wonderful body." She smiled, remembering long ago nights and the pleasure they had found in each other.

Norman remembered, too. "Maybe, but I'm certainly no Superman." As soon as he said it, the image changed. The face still had some of Norman's features, but now the face -- and the body -- looked much more like a cross between Christopher Reeve and Dean Caine. It was young and virile -- very virile. "He lifted his hand off the crystal, and the figure froze. "Now what?"

"Maybe this does something." Edith lightly touched the purple crystal. The door quickly and quietly slid opened. "It is a door."

"I wonder what's inside," Norman said, stepping through the opening before Edith could stop him. It was dark, especially after the mid-day sunlight. He heard a "whoosh" as the door closed. There was a flash of light, and he heard it open.

Edith had seen the door quickly close with Norman still inside. She frantically began to push the purple crystal. Nothing happened the first few times, then the door slid open. Someone -- Norman? -- staggered out, blinking his eyes in the bright sunlight.

"Norman," she asked fearfully, "is that you?"

"Who else would it be, my old dear? Something happened to me in there, though. I -- I feel great, fantastic, wonderful." He raised his arms and flexed his muscles. Edith saw the seams of his shirt beginning to give.

Edith reached into her purse and pulled out a small hand mirror. "Look at yourself."

Norman took the mirror and held it in front of his face. His mouth opened and his eyes grew wide. Then he looked at the frozen image on the side of the machine. "I -- I'm an exact match." He looked down at his arms, his body. "Edith, I'm -- I'm Superman."

"Maybe... but I think you just look like him. Try to fly or something."

Norman took two steps, then jumped into the air the way he'd seen George Reeves do all those years ago. He was airborne for about a half second before landing with a solid "Thump!" He could lift the large stone he tried next, but only because any strong young man could lift it. When he tried to lift it just one-handed, it fell, just missing his foot. He sighed. "I guess I'll have to settle for being Clark Kent."

Edith put her hand on the shoulder. "You'll always be my Superman."

He reached up and took her hand in his. "And you'll always be my... wait a minute." He walked back to the machine and placed his hand back on the red crystal. Edith came over to see what he was doing, but he deliberately blocked the screen. "Perfect," he suddenly said.

Edith tried to look over his shoulder, but, as she stood on tiptoe, Norman spun around and picked her up in his arms. "Norman, what are you doing? Your back, your bad back... "

"Feels absolutely wonderful." Norman put her inside the machine, and then leaned back as the door quickly slid shut, trapping her.

"I opened again after a moment, and she stormed out. "Norman Thayer, don't you ever do --." She stopped, seeing the way he was grinning at her. She looked down. Her breasts, larger than they had ever been, strained against the front of her blouse, and she realized how much her bra was pinching her. Her slacks felt looser at the waist, but very tight around her hips. "What did you ... give me that mirror."

He handed her the mirror, and she stared into it. There was very little of Edith Thayer left in her face -- mostly she looked like that it was -- what was her name -- Hatcher, Teri Hatcher. Her eyes looked bigger, and they were much more of a sea green. Her lips seemed to fall into a truly sexy pout. There was just one thing. "Didn't Lois Lane have dark brown hair?"

"I've always been partial to redheads," Norman grinned. "Especially to one natural redhead of my acquaintance." Edith's hair was exactly the shade of red it had been at 20, and it now hung down almost to her waist.

"You know," Edith said, "we could see our new selves a lot better in a full length mirror." Her entire body was tingling, especially her breasts and, oh my, down there in her groin. It was a feeling that she'd almost forgotten. She suddenly felt a little shy and looked down at her shoes.

"You mean the one in the bedroom?" Norman took her hand, and they sprinted for the house.

* * * * *

"Wake up, beautiful."

Edith stretched. She felt wonderful, not a twinge or pain anywhere, just a gentle warmth that flowed through her body. She smiled and opened her eyes. "Good morning, Nor-- Yah! You're not Norman!"

The man was in bed with her, a strange young man she'd never seen before. And he looked like -- no, he was naked. Oh, my, she was naked, too. She could feel the sheets against her bare skin. Then, the memories came back: the machine and what it had done to them -- and how they had celebrated that change. She blushed at the thought -- and felt her nipples begin to tighten.

Norman grinned, that same silly grin that she'd always loved. "I'm sorry if I startled you, Edith. I guess it is kind of a shock. Waking up like this and all, I mean."

"Not a shock dear. I'd call it a surprise -- a very pleasant surprise." She smiled and reached up to tenderly touch his face. "You were wonderful, as good as anything I can remember." She felt almost giddy from the feelings racing through her body.

"If I was, it was because I was inspired by my partner." He reached down and began to play with her nipple. "Of course, I might get even better... if we keep practicing."

"Oh, really." Edith felt a warmth run through her body. Something brushed against her thigh. She lifted the sheet a bit and looked down. "Well, you're certainly ready for more practice." She put her arms around his neck and pulled him to her.

Then, she happened to glance at a picture on her nightstand. "Oh, my sainted aunt," she said. "The children!"

Norman kissed her nose. "I hadn't been planning on any more children -- not at our age, but if it happens, it happens."

She playfully slapped his forehead. "No, silly. I mean our daughter, Chelsey, and Bill, her new husband, and his son, Billy. They're coming here for dinner tonight."

"All the way here from California for dinner. They must really be trying to get in my will."

"No, no. Bill's out for some sort of dentist's conference, and he brought them with him. They were going to go antiquing in the village today, and then drive out for dinner and to spend the night. They'll be leaving to catch a plane home after breakfast."

"Not a very long visit, but it'll be great to see Billy -- Chelsey, too of course. What's the problem?"

"Norman, we -- we can't let them see us like this. I -- I'd be too embarrassed. We have to change back."

"They're going to know sometime. We have to tell people about that machine. We can't possibly be so selfish as to keep it secret. Everybody will benefit, and we'll -- we'll keep these bodies as our reward."

"I know that. I just thought we could keep it for a little while, a week, maybe, just to see what all it can do." She looked at him carefully. "Norman, I think there's something else, something you're not saying."

Norman frowned. "Edith, I like being young and strong again. I'd forgotten how good it feels. I don't want to be old again."

"We can change back to these bodies after they've gone."

"And if we can't? To have been young again and then to have tossed it away looks like a... wait a minute."

"What? What is it, Norman?"

"Maybe, just maybe, we could use the machine so we look like our old -- our very old selves, but we'd still be young inside."

"Do you think that would work?"

"It's certainly worth a try. Just one thing, though. What time are they all due to get here?"

"She said to expect them about 6. Why?"

"Because it's only 3-something, now. I'm young again -- for the moment, anyway -- and I'm in bed with the woman I love." He pulled her to him and kissed her. "And... whatever happens, I want to make love to her -- slowly and deliciously, the way she always liked it... and the way she deserves."

Edith reached down and gently closed her hand around his penis. Oh, my, he certainly was ready. She felt her groin muscles loosen, her entire body tingle in anticipation. "I'm -- I'm certainly glad that you aren't Superman."

"And why is that?"

She almost purred. "Because they say that he's faster than speeding bullet."

* * * * *

"Hey, Edith, I -- I'm ready to try it. Come on out." Norman's voice drifted in from the porch. Edith looked up from the salad she was making. "I'll be right out." She'd been much too nervous to watch Norman fiddling with the machine, so she'd gone inside to work on supper.

Norman stood next to the machine. He was wearing a pair of shorts and his old sneakers, about the only clothes that still fit him. Edith sighed, looking at his muscular chest and arms. Part of her just wanted to just grab him and lead him back up to their bedroom. 'Oh, my,' she thought. 'I'm acting just like I did on our honeymoon.' She smiled at the memory.

"I think I've got it," he said. "I usually wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt or a sweater, so all I've got to change are my head and my hands."

"Not quite, dear." She patted his bare chest. "Norman Thayer is a bit skinnier than Clark Kent."

"Hmm, you're right, but that shouldn't be a problem either." He put his hand on the red crystal. The "Clark Kent" image, the way he looked right then, appeared on the screen above it. Then as Edith watched, the figure became thinner. He was still muscular, but, now, he was... wirery, more like a dancer or a track star than a wrestler or a weightlifter. There was still quite a difference between this young body and Norman Thayer’s, but clothes would hide most of it.

Then the hair changed, turning first gray, then white. It grew thinner, too, and Norman's hairline receded several inches. His features slowly shifted back to those of the elderly professor. "I think it's ready," he said. He touched the purple crystal and the door slid opened. He went inside, coming out a few moments later as a perfect match for the image on the screen.

"How do I look?" he asked.

"Very odd," Edith said, "but you've definitely got your old head back -- oh, and your neck, too. I hadn't thought about that. Oh, my, you even have that liver spot on your wrist."

"Yes, but the rest of me is still young." He gently took her hand. "Feel my stomach."

She felt it. That flabby belly of his was gone. "Hard as my old washboard," she said.

"Now feel this." He took her hand again and moved it downward, pressing it against his crotch.

She blushed -- and smiled. "Just as hard, Norman; just as hard."

"Your turn now." He touched the red crystal again, and the image changed to that of Edith as she was now. She was....

"Naked! Norman, I'm naked.!"

"Umm, sorry, my old dear. I was just remembering about this afternoon."

"It was worth remembering, but now I'm afraid that I have to turn back into a pumpkin again."

"Yes, but my pumpkin." He reached down and cupped her buttock. "Round and firm and so very sweet."

She brushed his hand away. "Thank you, dear, but we've got to think about changing me back." She looked at the image. I'm afraid that Edith Thayer is hardly as curvaceous as Lois Lane." She sighed. "Or so... top heavy."

The figure on the screen became more coltish, and her breasts shrank down from 38-DD to 34-B. "No," Edith said, sighing again. "Compared to Lois, there's not much there at all."

Norman took her hand. "Maybe not, but what's there is choice."

"Thank you for that." She kissed his cheek. "Now -- now, quickly, do my head and hands before I lose my nerve."

The figure's hair grew shorter and arranged itself into a bun. The color slowly faded, first to brown, then mostly to a silver gray. Her face changed as well. It became longer and a bit more angular as the features shifted back to those of Edith Thayer.

When Edith came out of the machine a few moments later, she, too, looked like her original self. Her loose jeans and light sweater covered her almost completely. "We're a matched set again," Norman said with a smile.

"Both ways," she said. She took his hand now. She felt shy, but he was her husband, after all, and she had to show him. She pressed his hand against her breast. "Not as hard as you, my dear, but firm enough, I think."

"Perky, too." He twisted the nipple gently, sending a shiver of pleasure through her.

She put her hand over his. "Later, dear, I promise. Right now, we've got to hide this machine."

"Maybe this will work." He touched the red crystal and said, "Shrink." The screen showed the image of the box as he had found it. The machine seemed to quiver. Then, it folded in on itself until it was the small box again.

"Why don't you put that in our room, dear," Edith said. "You've got to go upstairs to change anyway."

"Why?" He looked down at his bare chest. "Oh, yeah. Well, here's something to remember me by." He flexed his arms and took a muscleman's pose. Then he grinned. "Or maybe this will work better." He pulled Edith to him and kissed her passionately. She sighed, feeling her knees become weak.

"Go," she said, using all her willpower to push him away. "We'll... talk later."

"We sure will. After." He grinned. He was still Norman, silly grin and all. He picked up the box and sprinted inside, then upstairs -- two steps at a time.

He came down a few minutes later, wearing a pair of jeans and a green and blue plaid shirt Chelsey had given him. "Hello, old girl," he said, kissing Edith gently on the cheek.

"Hello yourself, you old poop. How about starting the barbecue? We're having that chicken you like. The meat has been marinating since this morning."

"Something you'd better do before the kids get here," Norman said. "You, ah, forgot this." He pulled a white cotton brassiere out of his pocket.

"Oh, my." Edith blushed. She certainly didn't need one now, but Chelsey would notice, even if nobody else did. She quickly looked around, and then took off her blouse. Her breasts stood up now with no sag at all. She felt goose bumps from the kitchen fan. She took the bra from Norman and put it on, playfully slapping his hand away when he tried to help. He shrugged and headed outside to start the grill.

* * * * *

Edith was just putting the chicken on a platter to take out to Norman when she heard the sound of a car driving up towards the house. "It's them," he yelled from the porch.

Edith put a cloth over the chicken and hurried out onto the porch. A green SUV was just pulling in. Bill's son -- no, her grandson, she had to remember that, she scolded herself -- jumped out the back of the SUV almost as soon as the car stopped. "Hey, Edith, what's for supper?"

"Billy, is that anyway to greet somebody?" Chelsey Thayer Ray climbed out from the passenger side. She was a tall, strawberry blonde in a tank top and hiking shorts that did nothing to hide her curved and tanned body. At 42, she could pass for a woman ten years younger.

"Aw, but Chelsey, I'm hungry. You and Dad took way too much time buying that old dresser."

"It's all right, Chelsey," Edith said. "Boys his age are all stomach anyway." She reached out and tousled his hair. "Hello, Billy. We're having chicken and potatoes and a nice salad, with something special for dessert."

"Mom, you shouldn't encourage him. He'll never have any manners if you let him get away with everything."

"You're right," Norman said, walking over. "Just look how badly you turned out." He winked and shook Bill's hand. "Hi, Bill, you must be treating Chelsey okay. She's feistier than ever."

"Hello, sir -- Norman," Bill said. "She's a handful all right, but well worth the trouble." He put his hand around Chelsey's waist and kissed her on the cheek. She turned her head suddenly and their lips touched. Her arms went around his neck, and the kissed lengthened.

"Fooey," Billy said. "All they ever seem to do these days is suck face like that. I'm sick of it."

"We'll pry them apart when it's time for dinner," Edith said. "In the meantime, how about helping me in the kitchen?"

"Do I gotta?"

"Yes," Norman said. "You gotta. You help bring everything outside, and I'll show you how to grill pineapple."

"Pineapple? Is that part of the dessert?"

"Yep, the best part."

Billy ran into the house. He came out a moment later with the chicken and potatoes and put them on the worktable next to the barbecue. He went back into the house, while Norman began to arrange the food on the grill.

"Need any help," Bill asked, walking over. He was a bit shorter than Norman, with a thick mustache and curly black hair. "Chelsey just went in to give Edith a hand."

"No, I'm fine, thank you. I was afraid we'd have to hose the pair of you down."

"Well, um, ah, you remember how it is with newlyweds."

"You may not believe it," Norman said, "but it wasn't all that long ago, I was feeling just the same way. Married life must agree with you -- with her, too. She looks very happy."

"We are. Your daughter's a great girl."

"I know; I wish I'd told her that more often. You be careful, though, Bill. These days they don't like to be called 'girls,' you know."

"That's for sure. Heck, she's still using 'Thayer' at work."

"Chelsey's one of the youngest senior editors at Golden Gate Books. She earned that as Chelsey Thayer. That's who people know. Her mother was still Dr. Spencer after we got married. You'll get used to it."

"I suppose so -- and I am proud of her. It's just that sometimes, I -- well, I want the whole world to know that I'm lucky enough to be her husband."

"The important thing is that the two of you know it -- that she knows how proud you are of her -- and knows how much you love her. You keep that in mind, the rest kind of takes care of itself."

"That's good advice, Norman. Thanks."

"What's good advice?" Chelsey came out of the kitchen carrying a tray with a pitcher of lemonade and five glasses.

"Your father was telling me the secret of a good marriage."

"Oh, this should be good," Edith said. She was carrying a bowl filled with salad and a couple bottles of dressing. She carefully set them on the picnic table. "What is the secret, Norman? Do tell us."

"Do what I did, marry the perfect woman." Norman smiled and kissed her on the cheek. Then, too quietly for anyone but Edith to hear, he added, "and then screw her till her eyes cross."

"Norman!" Edith's eyes grew wide. She blushed and slapped him on the hand, but she was smiling. She kissed him and said, "and vice versa, my dear."

"Jeez, even the old folks suck face around here." Billy came out carrying paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. He began to set the table, muttering to himself as he did. Norman walked back over to the barbecue to check on the chicken and potatoes.

Edith poured everyone lemonade, bringing Norman's over to where he was sitting, near the barbecue. They chatted while dinner cooked, catching up on each other's lives. Bill and his partners were moving to a new office because their practice was doing so well. Chelsey was one of two editors in the running to handle the new Jack Chalker book. Billy was going to leave the next Friday for two weeks at Scout Camp.

"What about you, Norman?" Billy asked. "Anything rock your world lately?"

Norman and Edith looked at each other. Should they tell? Norman took Edith's hand. "Just my old girl, here, and she's been -- what did you call it -- she's been 'rocking my world' for years and years."

The conversation continued through dinner, though it stalled a bit over dessert, grilled pineapple slices with vanilla ice cream and a caramel glaze. Billy got bored once he'd finished eating. He went inside to watch a ball game and read some comic books that he'd brought with him.

* * * * *

Edith yawned and looked at her watch in the dim light from inside the house. "My heavens, it's almost 11; no wonder I'm so tired." She gently nudged Norman in the ribs.

"I guess it is late," he said. I think we'll head up if you two don't mind." He stood and winked at Bill. "Leave you lovebirds to do whatever it is that lovebirds do."

Bill and stretched. "I want to check on Billy; set him up in that spare room of yours downstairs. Then I think we'll head up, too."

Edith had already gone into the house. She came back out. "Billy fell asleep on the couch. It's more than big enough to be a bed for him, so I just turned off the TV and put a cover over him. He'll be fine there till morning."

"Thanks, Mom," Chelsey said. "And good night to you both. We'll all see you in the morning."

"Not if we see you first," Edith said. She walked back into the house, with Norman right behind her. They walked slowly through the house and up to their room, still pretending to be their old selves.

* * * * *

Norman locked the bedroom door and grabbed Edith by the waist. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. When they finally came up for air, he said, "I've been wanting to do that all evening. I could barely keep my hands off you downstairs."

"Me too," Edith said with a giggle. "I wonder if Chelsey and Bill feel this way about each other."

"I hope so," Norman said. "If they don't, then they're older than we are -- we were."

"You're right. I just don't remember feeling quite so... randy all the time."

"You were, and don't blush. So was I. I think we're just not used to being young again. We're kind of high on our own hormones. And speaking of those hormones, do you remember what we did that time in old Dean Driscoll's office?"

"Norman! That was -- what -- forty years ago." She kissed him again. "I remember, and I'm so pleased that you do, too."

"My memory is certainly not what it used to be, but there is no way that I'll ever forget that. He was in another office with three other people about twenty feet away. We turned up his radio and hoped that the lock on his door worked. We could have been fired, Edith, but I knew that you were worth the risk."

"So were you, my dear. Thank you, Norman, for that day and for all the ones since then."

"My pleasure, Edith, and it certainly was. As I recall, though, you enjoyed it as much as I did." He ducked as a pillow flew past his head. "Now, do you want to change first, or shall I?"

"I'm not sure that we should, not with the others in the house."

"What do you mean?"

"What if one of us has to go to the bathroom during the night, and we run into somebody? What if Billy comes in to wake us up at 7 AM? How do we explain it? Besides, won't we have to change back to these bodies to have breakfast with them in the morning?"

"We couldn't explain it, I guess, not without showing them the machine. And I still want to play with it some more before we have to turn it over to somebody official. We'd have to do that if we told them about it; Bill and Chelsey would expect it if us."

"That's my Norman," Edith said. Norman looked over by the door where she was standing. Her blouse was unbuttoned, and she was holding her bra in her hand. He could see the curve of her breasts, her nipples pushing against the fabric of the blouse. "Now, is there anything else you want to play with?" She walked towards him, her hips swaying invitingly as she walked.

* * * * *

"Bye, my dears," Edith yelled as the SUV drove down the graveled driveway that led back to the county road. She and Norman stood on the porch waving, arms around each other's waists, until the car was too far away to see them. "My, it was good to see them again."

"Yes," Norman said. "They don't come east often enough."

"Maybe we could fly out to see them. Chelsey said they have lots of room, and we haven't been in Los Angeles in years."

"Let's talk about it later." He pulled her close. "Right now, I've got other things on my mind... Lois."

"My hero." Edith clasped her hands together like something out of a silent movie. Then she turned and ran for the house. "Race you upstairs."

Norman caught up with her near the steps. He scooped her up in his arms and kept on running, delighted at his renewed strength. He put her down gently once they got to the bedroom. They were giggling like teenagers as they undressed one another.

"I'll go first this time," Edith said. "How do you work this thing?"

"Just put your hand on the red crystal and think of what you want to look like.

Edith did as he said. In a moment, the screen showed the image of the voluptuous female she had been. "Now what?"

"Just press the purple thing and go inside."

"All right, dear." She hurried in, thinking of how Norman would look in a minute. The door closed, but then re-opened almost at once. "Norman, it -- I feel so different from yesterday."

"Of course, you do," he said with a bemused expression on his face. "Just look at yourself."

Edith looked down. "My breasts! Where are my breasts?" They were gone. Instead, she saw the flat chest, the rippling muscles of a young man, and below, below was something she had never thought -- never wanted to see sticking out between her legs. "I -- I'm a man." Even hysterics couldn't raise her new baritone voice back to its original feminine alto.

Norman put his hands on her shoulders and shook her gently. "Edith! Edith, get a hold of yourself. Somehow, you've got the body that I was supposed to have. But we can fix it. Just tell me what you did with the machine."

"I thought of that... Lois body, and it came up on the screen -- just like it did for you yesterday. I couldn't wait for the change -- for the both of us to change -- so we could -- could do what we... did in those bodies." She felt her face flush.

"I wonder." Norman scratched his chin, an old nervous habit. "When you were thinking about that, did you still have your hand on the red crystal?"

"I -- I think so. Why... yes. Yes, I did. I kept my hand on it until I went inside the machine."

"There's the answer, I'll bet. You were thinking about my body -- what I was going to change into, I mean. So that's what the machine turned you into."

"So I can change back, then?"

"Of course, you can. Just put your hand on the red crystal and think of Lois' body." Edith did, and, as she watched, the male body reverted to the very female image it had been. "Now," Norman said, "take you hand away."

She did, and they both watched the figure slowly turning on the screen. Edith felt her male body begin to react to the erotic image. It was a feeling that she'd never known before, but it felt natural somehow and very nice. She began to get curious.

"She's all ready and waiting for you," Norman said. "Just go inside the machine and change."

"You first," Edith said, surprising herself. She yanked Norman's arm, throwing him off balance. Before he could recover, she pushed him into the machine. The door closed before he could get out. It opened a moment later, and a very upset redhead stormed out. "That wasn't funny, Edith Thayer. What the hell got into you doing a thing like that?"

She took him in her arms and kissed. He struggled for a moment, but now she was much stronger. He sighed as if in surrender and put his arms around her neck. 'If I'm going to have to be in this body for a few minutes,' he thought, I may as well enjoy it.' Without breaking the kiss, Edith reached down and began to message his breast.

"Edith, st-stop that. It -- it feels so weird."

"Yes, but it's a nice feeling, too; isn't it?"

"Y-yes, I... uh... I guess it is."

"And this will feel even better." Her hand reached further down. A finger played along the edges of Norman's new vagina. She felt him tremble as his body reacted. Good heavens, he was wet already.

"Oh, E-Edith... uh... pl-please, please... oh... st-stop it. Pl-please, no m... uh... more."

Encouraged, Edith continued. She inserted one finger, then a second, and used her own experiences of how a woman liked to be touched.

"Edith, it... it's -- oh, my G-d, I'm --" Norman screamed and grabbed on to her as his body convulsed with its first female orgasm. When it was over, he was still holding on to Edith, gasping for breath and barely able to stand.

She looked down at him, almost leering. "Enjoyed that, didn't you?" He weakly smiled up at her and nodded. She scooped him up in her arms and carried him to the bed. "Then, you'll absolutely love this."

* * * * *

Norman Thayer lay still on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. His head rested on his wife's very masculine chest. He was enjoying the post-coital warmth that was still flowing like honey through his newly female body.

Edith reached down and began to gently play with his nipple. "So, Norman, did you enjoy making love as a woman?"

"Hmmm, yes. I hate to admit it, but it felt wonderful. I think I like being the man a bit more, though."

"Mmm, I like it better as a woman, though I must admit that it was -- well, exhilarating as a man."

"So we can change back, then?"

"I -- I don't know. It was fun this way."

"Now wait a minute, Edith. You just said that you liked being a woman more."

"And I like lamb chops more than pot roast, but that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy a good pot roast now and then." She began to message his breast a bit more vigorously. "You just said that you enjoyed it this way, too."

"Yes, but not as a steady diet. Edith, I want to be a man again."

"You will be, dear, and as vigorous and virile as you ever were, but can't you grant me a bit of, well, of an indulgence?"

"What exactly do you have in mind?"

"A deal. You said you wanted to try out the machine for a week; see what all it could do. Right?"

"Yes, and...." Norman took a breath. Edith's messaging was beginning to get to him. He didn't want it to stop, but he wanted his head to be clear enough to listen to what she was saying.

"So, we take turns each day picking a new pair of forms. We'll make a contest out of it to see who can be the most creative. But for the last six hours each day, we swap. You be the female, and I’ll be the male. Okay?"

"It -- it sounds reasonable. All right, when do we start?"

"How about right now?"

"How about 3 PM? I'll let you go first."

"That's a couple of hours from now, Norman. Why are you stalling?"

"A couple of reasons: first, to give you a fair chance to come up with the forms we're going to change into."

"And what's the second reason, Norman?"

Norman's hand closed around Edith's semi-erect penis. "Oh, you'll find that out soon enough." Edith felt herself stiffen as he ran his fingers up and down its length.

* * * * *

"Norman, you stay over there. No peeking." Edith shifted her large, male body to block the screen. She was wearing nothing but a pair of Norman's shorts, about the only clothes that would fit her body.

"Be reasonable, Edith. I'll see it as soon as you change."

"Yes, but until then, I want it to be a surprise. Now, get over there." She waited a moment, and then looked over to where he was standing. "And stop pouting like that. I don't care how sexy it looks. You'll be a man again in a few minutes anyway."

"Phooey," Norman said. He folded his arms over his breasts. It didn't feel right, so he moved them to under his breasts. That wasn't any better, so he just leaned against the dresser, drumming his finger on the top. He was wearing a pair of his own boxer shorts, hopelessly oversized for his female body, and Edith's robe, loosely tied around his waist.

Edith stared at the screen making adjustments. The form she wanted was more difficult than she had expected, but eventually, she had exactly the image she wanted. She giggled at the possibilities of this new form, and then giggled again at the deeply masculine sound. Her pants felt tight as her male body reacted to both her thoughts and the image on the screen.

"It's ready," she said. She moved her hand from the red crystal to the purple one. The door slid open. Edith took one last look at the screen -- just to make certain that it hadn't changed. It hadn't; there would be no accident this time. She stepped inside, hearing the door close behind her.

As the door opened, Norman caught the scent of ginger and some other spices he quite couldn't identify. 'Smells like an Indian restaurant,' he thought. Then he realized the effect the aromas were having on his body. His nipples felt tight and his groin was warm and wet and... empty.

Edith stepped out of the shadows of the chamber inside the machine. She was tall, maybe six feet, but a mass of feminine curves: narrow waist, wide hips, and breasts -- breasts like melons, with dark nipples that begged to be played with. Her skin was a dusky brown, and she had a moon-shaped face framed by straight auburn hair. Her eyes were large and expressive with some sort of reddish eye shadow. Her lips were full, sensual.

Her borrowed shorts had changed into a pair of pantaloons made from some almost transparent gold patterned cloth. He could clearly see her feminine slit framed by a tiny wisp of curls.

"My Lord, Edith, you look like something out of one of those Indian temples."

"More than you know, Norman." She posed for him, her left hand on her hip and her right outstretched as if offering something. Then her other left and right hands reached up and ran her fingers through her hair.

"What in the... four arms?"

"Are forewarned, Norman." Her voice shifted from its New England accent to that of Delhi or Bombay. It was soft and low, almost a purr. "I am Kali... in her aspect as the female life force." Then she giggled, a high pitched sound like a small child. "What do you think?"

"I think I can't wait to change back into a man. Hey, I'm not going to be four armed, too, am I?"

"Oh, no. I have something much, much different in mind for you." She turned back towards the machine. "Don't peek."

Norman was curious, but he was enjoying the current view too much worry about it. Her hair was tied into a long braid that reached down past her waist to rest on her ass. He could see that through those pantaloons; two firm masses of curved flesh which jiggled invitingly as she moved.

She turned around and leaned back to hide the screen. "Okay, get in." A feminine hand with long slender fingers and darkly colored nails touched the purple crystal, opening the door.

As Norman walked past her, the smell of spices grew even stronger. 'Damn sweat of hers is an aphrodisiac,' he thought, 'as if she needs one with that body.' He took a deep breath and stepped into the chamber.

He looked down at himself as soon as he came out. He was taller than Edith, or should he call her Kali, and male, definitely male, he could feel it inside the darker pantaloons that the boxers and robe had become. His body was a mass of muscles; he could see them ripple when he flexed his arms. His skin color was odd, though, a medium gray with a leathery texture that he'd never seen on a human. For some reason, his nose was much more sensitive. He could sense a dozen separate spices in that glorious aroma of... Kali's.

He felt himself stiffen in reaction to that aroma, and he put his hand down without thinking. He was enormous! Then something gray flashed in front of him. He grabbed it and froze. It was -- was his nose. It had to be at least a foot long. "Edith, what exactly did you turn me into?"

She reached down and stroked his groin. "I'm not Edith; not now. Today, I'm Kali, goddess and consort to you, Lord Shiva, whose aspect is the great bull elephant and whose attribute is unfailing virility."

"Unfailing... virility? That's quite a reputation to have to live up to." He pulled her to him and kissed her. Her arms went around his neck, while a third hand continued to gently touch his manhood. His hands caressed her firm buttocks, while the tip of his nose flicked her left nipple.

Edith... Kali pulled away after a moment. She was breathing heavily as her four hands continued to caress him. "Perhaps, Shiva, but I think you're... up to it."

* * * * *

Edith/Shiva lay in the bed watching her beautiful husband as he reprogrammed the machine for their next bodies. 'Oh, Lord, look at that ass,' she thought. 'I'll miss these bodies. Maybe we can try them again. She felt her manhood engorge, pushing the sheet high above her groin. It was fun being Shiva -- it had been fun being Kali, too.

She smiled, remembering the look on Norman's face when she'd shown him just how flexible that body was. She'd stood; one leg over his shoulder, the other on the floor, bracing herself with all four arms on the floor while he'd taken her for the first time. Then, after they switched, she'd insisted on having him just the same way.

The memory excited her. She wanted to get out of bed, grab Norman by that sweet ass of his, and -- what had he said the other night -- "screw him till his eyes crossed." It was definitely worth considering.

Norman turned around, his bare breasts jiggling. "Okay, I'm -- my next body is ready. Close your eyes."

"Why? I won't see it until you come out of the machine. What's the big secret about it?"

"You'll see in a minute." He touched the purple crystal and stepped in when the door opened. He blew Edith a kiss as the door closed.

"Good heavens," Edith said a moment later when he stepped out. "I knew that you loved 'pussy,' but it looks like you've become one --even if it is a male one."

Norman was male again. There was no trace of Kali, though he moved with a feline grace. That was only natural since his body seemed to be half human and half cat, an orange tabby from the look of it, with rather short fur. 'He'll probably shed all over the house,' Edith thought with a smile. Aside from the fur, he was human from the neck down -- a very well endowed male human. His head, though, was very much the head of a cat. Despite her currently male body, Edith found herself shiver in anticipation when he stuck out his tongue and licked his whiskered nose.

"Wherever did you get this idea?" Edith asked.

"From Billy, or rather, from a comic book he had, Shanda the Panda, I think its name was. It's what he called a furry, a story where the characters are humanoid animals. I guess that nose you -- Shiva -- has made me think of it."

"So we're going to be kitty-cats for today, then, just you and me-ow."

"No, and, especially, not after that pun. Let me get your new body ready." He turned back to the machine. Edith noticed that he had a long, feline tail. It swayed back and forth as he worked, the way a real cat's would when it was stalking something.

"Okay, it's ready. Get in the machine."

"Can I see it first?"

"Be patient. You'll be in it in a minute."

"Well, you're certainly in a hurry."

"Of course, I am. Here I am on hormone overload and ready for love, and I'm in the bedroom with a guy and he's bigger than I am."

"I see your point, my old dear." She hopped out of bed and walked into the machine. "I'm sure that I'll have something much more suitable in the way of a body in a moment." She smiled as the door slid shut.

She came out a moment later looking at her hands and arms. "Oh, Norman, I've always looked horrible in stripes." Her skin was milk white now, with wide alternating bands of dark red stripes.

"Edith, you look good in anything." Norman smiled at what he saw. Edith's body was female again, lithe and athletic, rather than voluptuous, with a narrow waist and long, delightfully curved legs. Her breasts, they were more large apples than melons.

"I suppose I have a zebra's head, too." She turned and looked in the full-length mirror on a stand a few feet away. She did, though there was a human quality to it as well. Her mane -- mane! -- also had the red and white stripes. It was a lot higher than a normal zebra, maybe six inches above her head. She frowned, not certain about this new transformation. She looked down at her body. "Norman, you dirty... I've got three breasts."

"I always was a breast man, dear. You know that. When I thought of it, I couldn't resist. It's only for a day, after all. I am kind of sorry that I didn't give myself a zebra's body."

"Why is that?"

"I always wanted to be hung like a horse."

She came over swaying her hips and took his erect penis gently in her hands. "You may not 'be hung like a horse,' dear, but there's more than enough here to get me purring like a kitten."

* * * * *

"You know, we're getting kind of low on food," Norman said.

Edith reached over and tweaked one of his three nipples. "Only a man would think of that; no matter what sort of body he was in."

"Maybe so, but regardless of what all the poets say, we can't live on love, and today's the day we'd normally go shopping."

"Maybe we can just have them deliver." She played with his nipples again, sending a shiver down his female spine. "If there was milk in these, we could live off that for a while." She lowered her head and sucked at the middle nipple for a moment.

"St-stop that," he said. "I'm serious."

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to get a last little bit of use out of these bodies before we trade them in on the newest model."

"Do you have anything particular in mind?"

"A couple ideas. Why do you ask?"

"We do need to get some food. I was going to suggest that whatever you do change us into should look normal enough -- at least, when we're dressed -- so we can go shopping."

"I think I have just what we need. 'And all shall love me and despair.'"

"Wait a minute. I know that quote. I... yes, and you'll make a lovely Galadriel, Edith."

"And you'll be an absolutely darling little Frodo. I thought it was time his love for her was requited."

"Requited? Try consummated, my dear."

"I intend to, Norman. I'll try it any number of times."

"All right, my Lady, the machine is yours. Tolkein, here we come." He rolled over and sat up at the edge of the bed. Edith climbed out the other side and walked over to the machine.

"Yes," she said. "After all, the Lord helps those who help them elves."

"Now I know why everyone would despair."

"Norman," she shouted, "come look at this."

Norman ran over to the machine. More of those strange symbols were scrolling slowly across the screen. "What did you do, Edith?"

"I touched the red crystal, the same as all the other times. These... whatever they are come on instead of a picture. What do you think it means?"

"I don't know, but I don't like it. Maybe we'd better switch back to our normal selves until we figure it out."

"All right, but let's make it younger versions of ourselves. I don't want to be old anymore than you did."

Norman took her hand, as much to reassure himself as to comfort her. "Edith, you were never old. You were... vintage."

"Thank you, even if it isn't true, you old poop; it's still nice to hear. Look, the symbols are finishing." They held hands and watched the last of the odd symbols scroll off the screen. But, instead of an image, the screen went blank.

"Norman, what -- what happened?"

"Take your hand away and try it again." Edith did, but the screen stayed dark. Norman tried, too, but still nothing happened. They tried collapsing the machine down to a little box and re-expanding it. The machine shrank and grew as well as ever, but the screen stayed blank.

Edith sat down on the bed and began to cry. Norman sat down beside her and took her in his arms. It was weird; she was still male and taller and stronger than his female self. That didn't matter. Inside, she was Edith, and he'd been sharing life with her for too long to worry about anything else.

"Look," he finally said. "Our voices are still the same, even if you have mine right now, and I have yours. We'll call down to the college. Jerczy Blalock's the head of the biology department now. He was the one I was going to call next week anyway. We'll get him up here, and let him take a look at it. If he can't fix it, he'll know who can."

* * * * *

Edith leaned back in the chair, her cat's tail flicking back and forth. "Only he couldn't fix it, and you, gentlemen, were the ones he called."

Two men in very dark gray suits and matching sunglasses sat on the couch opposite her. "Yes... ma'am," the taller one said. "Dr. Blalock is a consultant to our agency. He tried to get the machine working again as a favor to the two of you. He didn't expect to be able to; nobody has ever gotten one of them to work after the shutdown."

"Never?" Norman felt a panic in the pit of his stomach. He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts as a courtesy to the tow men. In the summer heat, he and Edith had taken to going around in the buff. Besides, three breasts were enough to distract most people. Jerczy had almost fainted when he first saw his old friend, and he'd kept taking odd looks at Norman the entire time he'd been at their cottage.

"I'm afraid not, sir. We'd like to take you to a base out west for some tests, if we may. You can stay there if you want; a lot of the, ah, more extreme transformees do. They really don't have any place else to go."

"So, there really is a Hanger 52," Norman said. "Actually, I think we'd like to come back here."

"Here, sir?" the shorter man said, looking around. "It's a nice place in the summer, I guess, but it gets pretty cold up here in Maine in January."

"We know that," Edith said. "We've been coming up here over the Christmas break since we bought the place. It was a working farm before we bought it. The walls and windows are all triple insulated, there's a 500 gallon oil tank buried in the yard near the road, and all the fireplaces work."

"Sure," Norman said. "The folks around here know us, and they'll respect our privacy. Stuff can get delivered, so we don't have to go into the village."

"It might -- and I'm only saying might -- work," the taller man said. "Are either of you very familiar with computers?"

"Not much," Norman said. "Chelsey's been after us to get one so we could e-mail each other. She said it was as good as a free phone line."

"Billy was really pushing us to get one," Edith added. "He said they were real cool, and he'd be glad to help us get started."

The two men stood up. "Sounds like a plan to me. If you folks will come with us for some tests, we'll be glad to help you set up permanent quarters here."

"Won't that be kind of expense," Norman asked. "We're just two old college professors on pension."

"Sir, as a duly authorized field agent for a U.S. government agency so secret I can't even tell you its initials, I'm authorized to pay you the going rate of $50,000 for your machine."

"You're kidding -- aren't you?"

"We don't kid, ma'am. It's against regulations, but we are authorized to offer assistance in return for your cooperation. I think we can manage something."

"And," the other man added, " you two aren't old anymore. In fact, when Mr. Thayer goes into estrus --"

"Estrus," Norman said. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Estrus, sir, female mammalian ovulation."

"I know what it is." Norman said nervously. "I want to know what it has to do with me."

"In most cases where a transformee has assumed partial animal characteristics, we've found that their reproductive cycles tend to become more animal like."

"You mean there are more like us," Edith said. "Like Norman and me."

"Yes, ma'am, though I think you two are the first to go animal and transgender. Anyway, human females are about the only species that are fertile on a regular basis all year round. Other mammals just get fertile once or twice a year. You probably fall into that category now, Mr. Thayer. We'll know from the tests that we want you to have. If you do, well, there's no way of knowing if you'll be cross-fertile with Mrs. Thayer here, but my money says you will."

"I get it," Edith said. "So unless we want to have a lot of really strange babies, we'll have to be very, very careful."

"It might be fun," Norman said. "Chelsey always wanted to have a little brother or sister, and you know how much she loves animals."

The End



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