Since tenth grade Jane had dreamed an impossible dream. Bobby Dukakis was the hearthrob of her high school, and though she loved him madly she knew there wasn't a chance in hell that he would ever be interested in anyone as plain & uninteresting as her. But now on Halloween night of her senior year, in the light of a full moon and with the help of a strange book she'd found at a garage sale, she would recite the spell that would turn her from a dumpy little nobody into...
Laika Pupkino ~ 2009
I wanna be- Bobby's girl!
That's the most important thing to me
And if I was- Bobby's girl!
If I was- Bobby's girl!
What a faithful thankful girl I'd be..."
If she had thought about it at all, Janey would have realized she wasn't the unhappiest kid at her high school. There were misfit kids whose weekdays were a nightmare of bullying and ridicule from the other students. And there were those who found anything that might happen to them at school preferable to the horrors of parental abuse that waited for them when they got home. And then there was one bright young student whose rapidly deteriorating immune system made it doubtful whether he would live to see graduation day. Any one of these kids would gladly have traded places with Janey.
But with the intense self-obsession of teenagers, she never stopped to consider their situations. She was certain that no one on Earth had ever been dealt a crueler fate than she.
Janey's problem was that she was shy and wholly unremarkable. Everything about her was as plain and boring as her name: Jane Smith. If her classmates never bothered her it was probably because none of them really even notice her. As if she wasn't important enough to even pick on (something she might've appreciated if she ever had been seriously harrassed...). This girl was so spectral gray and anonymous that teachers she'd had all year tended to forget her name. Janey hated being such drab little mousy nothing, but her crippling shyness prevented her from adopting a more flamboyant persona, a new hairstyle, anything that might render her visible.
In her imagination though her world and her life were far different. Janey was beautiful, she was confident and charming and witty and tremendously popular. And the best thing of all was that because she had all this other stuff going for her, in these dreams of hers she was Bobby's Girl...
It had all started on her second or third day at Princeton Heights High School. As self conscious as she was, Janey had decided it was important that she know how many squares of linoleum tile lie between her first period English class and her second period homeroom in the same building. She was looking downward, diligently counting them, when she ran smack into someone, dropping all the books she had clutched to her rather modest bosom.
The boy she'd collided with had been standing in the hallway talking to a circle of his friends. She marvelled at how they were only a few days into their freshman year and already he had all these friends. A couple of of the boys started to snicker, but one look from this tall handsome young man made them stop. That's not cool, guys!
He helped Janey gather up her books and then incredibly he apologized to her, for how they had been blocking the hallway. And as he handed them to her he had smiled, his sexy mouth set in a disarming, friendly smile, his soulful gray eyes looking at her with concern, the shock of dark hair dangling down his forehead with graceful insouciance. And whoever this teenage hunk was, he had noticed her. Which was all it took for Janey to fall madly in love.
She found out his name---Robert Dukakis---and while she never got up the nerve to talk to him again, she watched him from afar, happy for him when he made the school's football team and clipping out the newspaper articles about him in the local newspaper's sports section for the BOOK OF BOBBY she started, which also contained candy bar wrappers he had dropped and other precious Bobbinalia. And though she didn't dare sit anywhere close to him in the cafeteria, she did find a group of girls who talked about him a lot, and would sit unobtrusively nearby with her back to them, listening to the latest speculation about this Greek Adonis, and dreaming of the day she and Bobby would be together...
She knew it was a ridiculous dream for a Plain Jane like her to have. There were probably a hundred other girls at Princeton Heights High School with this same dream, and every last one of them would seem to stand a better chance of becoming the football star's girlfriend than she did. While Bobby Dukakis wasn't going steady with anyone, Janey had seen the kind of girls he tended to date, and none of them were stocky little things with stringy no-color hair and heavy plastic glasses with even heavier lenses.
But this hadn't stopped her from enjoying her dreams. In her daydreams, and the fantasies she spun at night as she was falling asleep she was a total fox- tall and slender and with a nice figure, wearing a beautiful evening gown that cost more than her entire frumpy wardrobe as she glided into the senior prom on Bobby's arm, the envy of all the other girls and probaby some of the boys too.
Then one day during the summer vacation between her sophomore and senior years, she had come across something that might turn these impossible fantasies of hers into reality...
One Saturday in August the family across the street had had a garage sale. She was the first one there, and actually helped old Mr. Farannino's thirty year old daughter set the sale up in their little driveway and put price stickers on all the different items. The woman had always been kind of weird and rude to Jane when Jane was little, but in the past few months seemed a lot nicer. Jane's parents used to warn her that she was a drug addict and a thief, and to stay out of her way, but since sometime last fall they'd been remarking that this not-quite-young woman was finally getting her life together. And she really did seem like almost a whole different person, a smile on her face where there had never been one before...
One of the things they brought out of the house was a large box containing 20 or 30 cookbooks. Jane loved to cook, and when she mentioned this fact the woman said, "Yes, those belonged to my Grandma. You can have the whole box for eight bucks..."
This seemed like a real bargain to Janey, and she gladly paid the $8, happy that she'd gotten to them before anyone else. As she was shlepping the heavy box home she imagined trying all the recipes in these books when she was married to Bobby.
When she got them home she hoped that Bobby would turn out to have an adventurous palate, because she discovered that the books had recipes from all over the world. German, Peruvian, Indonesian- all kinds of crazy cookbooks!
And one of the books proved to be even crazier than the others. The dust jacket was for BETTY CROCKER'S ITALIAN MADE EASY, but the book underneath was something entirely different. The pages were lined paper, and instead of being printed the recipes were handwritten in fuchsia ink. Only they weren't recipes for food, but for what seemed to be magic spells, interspersed with short essays about witchcraft.
She thought about bringing this book back to the family across the street, they probably didn't know they had sold her something of the grandmother's that was far more personal and private than some old cookbook.
But if it really was what it claimed to be, she needed it much more than they did. They seemed happy enough; or happier than Janey anyway. The daughter was getting married to her boyfriend from the Midwest and seemed all excited about that, and the dad was busily preparing to open his second Italian restaurant down by the university. The 30-something son acted kind of crazy, but he only came by once in a while...
Could this book really be what it claimed to be? Deep down Janey had always half-believed that magic was for real. And apparently the neighbor girl's grandmother---who Janey had talked to a few times, and who had seemed a bit peculiar but sane enough---had believed in this stuff in a big way, so maybe it was real to some extent...
Jane had found a number of magic spells that seemed like they'd be able to make Bobby fall in love with her. There were recipes for love potions, nine of them, but the old self-described witch had written a little paragraph before them that somehow seemed to be speaking directly to her:
But in my opinion they aren't LOVE potions, since no spell or potion can produce
genuine love where there was none before (or remove love from where it truly exists)
but with their destruction of free will they can at best produce a soulless facsimile of love,
a horrible brainwashing that only someone far more shallow than you, dear girl
(Yes, I'm speaking directly to you!) would find satisfying...
So find another way to win his heart, Kid.
~~~AMOR VINCIT OMNIA, Rosa F
And Janey had to agree with the woman about these potions. She didn't want some mindless zombie whose attraction to her was chemically induced, that wasn't love. She wanted Bobby to really love her for herself. And if her self had escaped his notice she would change that instead, becoming the sort of girl he would naturally want to get to know. The HEART'S DESIRE TRANSFORMATION SPELL seemed like it would be just the ticket for this. The spell she would say aloud wasn't like one of the magic book's the many weird tongue-twisters but short and simple with a fill-in-the-blanks part at the end, and potion she would drink was mostly made of things you could find around the house, and didn't seem terribly toxic...
And to make sure the spell would work she waited two and a half month, which felt like years to the lovestruck teen, so she could perform it on Halloween night, which the spellbook's very first essay said was the best time of the year to do magic. Soon Janey would find out if there was anything to all this witchy stuff besides the babblings of a crazy old lady.
And if there wasn't, she wouldn't suffer the embarrassment of being so foolish, because she had never told anyone about the spell book. The worst that could happen to her would be a slight upset stomach from all the vanilla extract in the potion.
Her parents were going to an office party on Halloween night, her mom dressed like an old time gangster again this year, with a little drawn-on moustache, carrying a toy tommy gun and acting all tough, and with her dad once again wearing the beaded skirt and bobbed hair of a flapper, hanging all over her like a lovestruck ditz and calling her "Lefty".
And once again Janey had volunteered to stay home and hand out candy to the neighborhood kids. Which her aunt Phyllis had come over to help her do last Halloween, but now she had been deemed old enough to do this by herself. The previous year she had felt a bit glum over the fact that her dorky parents had more of a social life than she did, but this year she was glad to have the house to herself.
And last year she'd just worn her regular boring everyday clothes to answer the door and hand out mini bags of M&M's, but tonight she had on a cheap witch's robes and conical black hat from K-Mart, since she was more into the spirit of the holiday this year. This costume was a private joke that (like most things in her life) she shared with herself. Because as soon as the kids stopped coming at around 8:30, she was shutting off the porch light, going upstairs to her room, lighting some candles and becoming a real witch for a few hours, hopefully changing her whole crummy life in the process...
This is stupid. Nothing's gonna happen, she said to herself as she lit the circle of candles and sat in the middle of them, in the light from the big yellow moon spilling in through her window. Then thought, Gee, maybe I shouldn't be dressed up in this stupid witch outfit. Maybe the magic spirits will think I'm making fun of witches and stuff...
Yeah, right. Like there really is such a thing, she thought as she dragged the spell book into her lap and opened it to the page she had marked, began to chant: "Mumbo Jumbo Rhubarb Rhubarb, Frikkity Fubar, change my shape..."
It sounded nothing at all like she thought a magic spell would sound, with references to Lemony Snickett and the Pep Boys, but since she'd really only ever had books and movies to tell her about such things she said it anyway, just like it was written, until she got to the part that she'd had to write herself...
To totally rock Bobby Dukakis's world!"
Then she quickly hefted the heavy wine glass (the closest thing she could find to a chalice) and in a single gulp downed the concoction she'd blended and then chilled for 3 hours. And immediately she felt funny. Janey barely managed to blow out all the candles and flop down onto her bed before she passed out.
As she came to the next morning she could tell immediately that the spell had worked. Or at least that something had happened. But what?
When she reached for her heavy glasses on the table beside her bed and put them on her vision became completely screwy and distorted. When she took them off again she realized she had been able to see just fine without them.
"Wow," she exclaimed. If nothing else, at least she was rid of those awful things. She hadn't asked to have her vision corrected, but of course Bobby wouldn't want to see her wearing big coke-bottle glasses that had made her eyes look all dinky and weird. What guy would? As she jumped out of bed her feet hit the floor before she expected them to.
"My God!" she gasped, in a strange but pretty sounding voice, realizing that her stubby legs had become much, much longer. Unsteadily she crossed the room to the mirror to see what other changes had been visited on her.
She saw a beautiful head of fluffy blonde hair, and a face that was nothing like her old one...
"Oh my God!" she sighed, staring at the face of a cheerleader from some television show about high school. Cute little nose, gorgeous cheekbones, big blue eyes, perfect white teeth and big sexy lips.While Janey thought there was nothing so beautiful as a sultry Mediterranean beauty with an graceful aquiline nose, she was happy to be a WASP princess, if this rather conventional image of a button-nosed, blue-eyed blonde was Bobby's ideal woman.
She pulled off her witch's robes, and surveyed the long legged and curvaceous body she now possessed.
"OH MY GOD!" she cried, when she saw just how large her boobs were. While she found no fault with the rest of her oh-so-feminine physique, these gargantuan, gravity-defying things looked absurd to Janey; totally out of proportion to the rest of this body. But really, what had she expected? Bobby was such a guy, of course he'd have the standard guy's obsession with great big breasts. And she would wear them proudly when she was Bobby's Girl...
These shorts she'd donned yesterday were almost painfully tight on her now. Her hips and the twin moons of her derriére strained against the fabric of the shorts that had fit her as plain little Jane. And oddly they seemed to bulge slightly in the front, which she couldn't figure out until she pulled them down her gorgeous hips and saw...
Because apparently Bobby's taste in women wasn't so conventional after all.
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