Presdoh! The Bat and the Weasels

This time Charlene, gets to teach a lesson as well as learn one...


The Bat and the Weasels

by Joanne Foxcourt

Author's Note Welcome to my third story about Charles (Charlene) Stewart. If you haven't read the first, you probably should since it has the basic details of how Charles got into his current fix. In a nutshell, however, young Charles is a witch from a long line of witches. Not evil witches, but generally good people who are attuned to the natural forces represented by Gaea. In the first story, The Ant and the Chrysalis, Charles bungled a shape-changing spell that left him stuck as a girl. With the help of his mother and the rest of the coven, the spell was altered so that he would be his normal self, unless he encountered some trigger that would turn him back into a girl. Before he could become male again, he would have to learn the lessons that the trigger had to teach him.

This particular story is G rated. Any resemblance to persons living or dead would be surprising since magic doesn't actually exist. However, if it does, it was unintentional so don't put a hex on me. The usual copyright rules apply and if TG fiction is banned in your region, you should consider moving, but the risk of reading it is yours alone. Feel free to publish this on any site that is not for profit. If you would like a particular format, just email me and I'll see what I can do.

Prelude: Aesop's Tale

A Bat fell to the ground and was caught by a Weasel, and was just going to be killed and eaten when it begged to be let go. The Weasel said he couldn't do that because he was an enemy of all birds on principle. "Oh, but," said the Bat, "I'm not a bird at all: I'm a mouse."

"So you are," said the Weasel, "now I come to look at you"; and he let it go. Some time after this the Bat was caught in just the same way by another Weasel, and, as before, begged for its life.

"No," said the Weasel, "I never let a mouse go by any chance."

"But I'm not a mouse," said the Bat; "I'm a bird."

"Why, so you are," said the Weasel; and he too let the Bat go.

Look and see which way the wind blows before you commit yourself.

Chapter 1: Girls Can

"Well, that's over at least," Charlene grumbled as she discarded the unstained panty liner in to the trash. Of all of the aspects of being a girl that Charlene hated the most, it was getting a period. Cramps, the feeling of being bloated, and the mood swings did nothing to enamor her of the concept. Not for the last time, she wished that she had just been a little slower at figuring out that Mike wasn't going to help her in return. At least she would be back to being Charles again.

"You didn't change back?" Julia asked as she sauntered into the bathroom and turned on the shower.

"Hey! I was going to shower!"

"Too slow!" Julia giggled and dropped her towel at the side of the tub as she climbed in.

Despite being in the form of a girl for the foreseeable future, Charlene couldn't get over how casually her sister and mother treated nudity when it was "just the girls" in the house. They certainly didn't react that way when Charles was around.

"You didn't answer my question, are you still having your period?" Julia called from under the spraying water of the showerhead.


"So, now what?"

"I deal with it like I always have, I guess. At least I don't feel so cruddy anymore."

"The first one is the worst one," Julia noted.

"Uh huh. Are you going to be much longer? I have to shave today."

Julia's giggle could be heard clearly. "Why?"

"I'm, uh, out of clean pants."

"Okay, okay, I'll keep it quick for you," Julia replied, still laughing. "Who would have guessed my brother would have needed to shave his legs to wear a skirt."

"I'm hardly your brother right now," Charlene noted, favoring her sister with a glare as Julia stepped out of the shower.


"I was hoping you would change back," Sue commented as she joined Charlene on the walk to school.

"Me too, but I guess if the spell doesn't work at that moment, it leaves me this way." Charlene shifted her purse and tucked her books under her arm.

"Girl's don't hold books that way Char."


"We hold them against our chest, like I'm doing."

"Oh Goddess! This is crazy. What difference does it make?" Charlene asked as she shifted her books anyways.

Sue shrugged. "Ours is not to reason why. . . ."

"Have you heard anything about Mike?" Charlene asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

"Mike? You mean any rumors?" Charlene nodded. "No," Sue told her. "Though I hear that Amy is still upset at you."

"She can have him."

"That does bring up an issue we need to talk about," Sue said.

"What issue?"

"What do we do about us when you are Charlene?"

"Do we need to do anything?" Charlene looked confused.

"It's obvious, Char, that when you are like this that you are attracted to boys. I don't expect you to be a nun."


"No, really. I can wait for Charles to return, but I don't expect you to."

"I'm not dating anyone else Sue," Charlene told her adamantly.

"David asked you out last week," Sue noted.

"I said no."

"Say yes."

"Why on Earth?" Charlene sounded exasperated.

"Charlene, stop fighting it. Gaea wants you to experience the female side of life and you will experience it. I'm trying to be big about this!"

"I don't get it."

Sue sighed. "I don't want our relationship to interfere in any plans that Gaea has. What if it prevented you from turning back? I couldn't stand it if I was the reason for it."

"Not going to happen," Charlene denied.

"Just work with me on it, will you?"

"You want me to tell David yes?"

Sue nodded.

"Alright," Charlene capitulated. "If it will make you feel better, I'll go out on a date with David. I won't have any fun though!"


"Hey," Charlene said as she sat down beside David Ames in the cafeteria at lunch. "What's new?"

"Nothing, I guess. Same old shit."


"What's Amy got against you?" David suddenly enquired. "She's glaring at you so hard that I can feel it from here."

"She thinks I want to steal her boyfriend," Charlene sighed.

"He broke up with her," David noted.


"I heard it in gym class today."

"Interesting," Charlene shrugged.

"Are you planning on going out with him?" David asked.


"Well, I just figured. . . ."

"You figured wrong. I wouldn't date that asshole if he was the last guy on Earth!"

David looked uncomfortable. "I guess I'm confused," he admitted.

"Is your offer for tonight still open?" Charlene asked.

"What? Sure, I guess."

"Okay, I accept."

"Huh?" David still appeared confused at the rapid change of conversation.

"I want to go out with you tonight. Where are we going?"

"A movie?" David suggested.

"You mean that you didn't have plans when you asked me?"

"A movie." David decided, sounding surprisingly firm.

"Okay, pick me up at seven," Charlene smiled.


Charlene was lightly humming to herself as she carefully put on her makeup. She stared at her reflection critically before deciding that the look was good enough. "I'm getting far too good at this," she commented to herself.

"Hot date?" Alison asked from the bathroom door, a silly grin on her face.

"Just David," Charlene replied. "We're going to a movie."

"You put on date makeup for a movie?"

"Well . . ."

"For a dark theatre?"

"We won't be in the theatre the whole time!" Charlene said.

"Just checking to see if you understood that," Alison grinned at her sometimes daughter. "You're getting good at this."

"Don't remind me," Charlene grumbled.

"Does Sue know about the date?"

Charlene nodded.


"She pushed me to go out with him," Charlene told her.

"Smart girl."

"You had a talk with her didn't you?" Charlene accused.

"Yep. It's important, Charlene, that nothing interferes with the spell cycles. I've ensured that Sue won't feel jealousy over this."

"Small mercy."

"Big one, actually. Jealousy is an ugly emotion." Both turned at the sound of the doorbell.

"He's here!" Charlene panicked. "I'm not ready yet!"

"Typical girl," Alison laughed. "Hurry up and I'll keep David occupied."


"Lord of the Rings?" David asked. "I haven't seen it yet."

"I've seen it, but I can see it again," Charlene agreed as David stepped up to the counter to get their tickets.

"You look very pretty tonight Charlene," David commented, blushing slightly.

"Thank you," Charlene smiled. "You look good yourself."

David blushed some more.


"Wow, I love that movie," Charlene gushed as they both blinked in the sudden light of the lobby.

"Yeah, it was worth the wait," David agreed. "I'll bet it cleans up at the Oscars."

"Probably," Charlene agreed.

"Did you want to grab something to eat?" David suggested.


David drove them both to the Dairy Queen as they eagerly chatted about the movie. Despite her promise to not have fun, Charlene was actually enjoying herself. David had been a perfect gentleman all evening, which was quite a difference from the possessive attitude Gerald had shown when she had gone out on some dates with him. David seated her at a booth before going up to get their order. While waiting, Charlene scanned the restaurant, noting the usual crowd of teens including Mike Holmes and the football crew. Amy Ferguson was nowhere to be seen and Mike appeared to be alone, unlike most of the other teams. "Serves him right," Charlene thought.

"One Brownie Earthquake for Madame, one banana split for myself," David announced as he sat the treats down at the table.

"Oh yum," Charlene smiled as she picked up her spoon.

"Did you have an okay time?" David asked, sounding unsure of himself.

"I did! Actually, I had a lot of fun. Thank you."


"Yes, really. Shouldn't I have?" Charlene prodded teasingly.

"Girls usually avoid me," David admitted. "I'm not very studly you know."

"You're fine," Charlene assured him. "Don't put too much stock in what cheerleaders say, I had fun and you're plenty handsome enough for me." Charlene felt an inner tingle of surprise that she actually said that to him. "Man, I've got to change back soon, I'm thinking like a girl!" She thought.

David smiled in relief and also started digging into his dessert.

"Hey babe," Mike Holmes said, sliding into the booth beside her, completely ignoring David.

"What do you want?" Charlene asked coldly. "I'm busy right now."

"I broke up with Amy."


"So, how about you and I?"

"Are you just thick?" Charlene demanded. "I wouldn't date you for all the tea in China after that bullshit you pulled on me. Besides, I'm on a date right now!"

"With him?" Mike sneered dismissively. "The geek?"

David shrank back in his seat and gave Charlene a helpless look. "He's not a geek!" Charlene shouted.

"Sure he is," Mike grinned and then turned to David. "Fuck off geek, the lady needs a real man."

Charlene had enough; she scooped up her dessert in one hand in mashed it into Mike's face. "Let's go David, there are too many assholes in this place," she said calmly, despite her rapidly pounding heart, as Mike fell back in surprise.

"You bitch!" Mike shouted as he recovered himself and tried to clean the mess from his face to the sounds of laughter from his friends in the corner. "Your geek boyfriend is toast the next time I get my hands on him," he shouted as David and Charlene left the restaurant.

Chapter 2: Guys Can't

"You did what?" Sue demanded over the phone, laughing.

"I shoved my dessert into his face," Charlene repeated, still not believing she had actually done that. "Waste of a good Brownie Earthquake too."

"What did he do then?"

"Shouted at me and threatened David. Do you think he'll do anything?"

"I don't know. Not to you, girls can sort of get away with that kind of thing," Sue told her.

"I guess if I had been Charles, I would have been paste right now."

"Probably," Sue agreed, still laughing. "That's such a girl thing you did, you know."

"Yeah, it just seemed appropriate at the time."

"Use it while you can."

Charlene felt the tell-tale tingle of the spell coming into effect. "It's happening," she said to Sue over the phone.


"Happened," Charles said gleefully. "And my favorite pajamas are back too!"

"Woo hoo! My boyfriend's back!" Sue sounded just as happy.

"Do you want to go out tomorrow night?" Charles asked.

"Hell, yes! It's been too long."

"Oops, got to go. Mom's at the door."

"Okay. Kiss, kiss."

"Kiss, kiss," Charles responded as he cradled the phone.

"What happened?" Alison asked as she entered the bedroom.

"I don't know," Charles admitted. "We were just talking about my date with David and what happened at D.Q. when I changed back."

"That seems like an unlikely reason," Alison mused.

Charles shrugged, "I don't care what the reason is, I'm happy to be back. Sue and I are going out tomorrow to celebrate."

"Yes, I imagine she's happy too."


"Uh, Charles?"

"Yeah?" Charles responded, looking at Sue curiously.

"Guys don't hold their books to their chests."

"Oh hell!" Charles quickly tucked his books back under his arm. "I'm having a hard time keeping all this straight," he groused.

"You and me both," Sue giggled. "What do you want to do tonight?"

"I was thinking we could go to dinner and then take a stroll around the pier."

"Wow, that's majorly romantic! I didn't think you had it in you."

Charles blushed. "Well, I've gotten some exposure to how the other side thinks," he reminded her.

"I could definitely get to like that," Sue grinned as she slipped her hand into his. "Maybe all boys should get to experience this?"

"Misery loves company," Charles agreed.

"Oh, come on, it wasn't that bad was it?"

"I guess not. I could do without the periods, though. Besides, I missed being able to hold your hand."

"Yep, I definitely could get to like it."


"How's it going?" Charles asked as he sat down beside David at lunch.



"Yeah, I've been dodging Mike Holmes all day," David told him.

"Huh? Why?"

"You remember me spilling that dessert on him at the D.Q. yesterday? He's been chasing me ever since."

"Uh, yeah." Charles tried not to show his confusion since his memory was distinctly different. "Well, he won't do anything here," Charles added.

"Which is why I'm here. Where's Sue?"

"In the library, she has a test today."

"You're a lucky guy," David told him.

"Yeah, I guess I am."


Charles found himself humming as he shaved what little whiskers he had managed to grow. "This is something that I could do without on the guy side," he decided. "Then again, it's less area to cover than my legs."

"Mumbling to yourself?" Julia asked from the door. "It's a sign that you're losing your sanity you know."

"Hardly," Charles grinned. "It's the natural inclination of the wise to hold conversations with the smartest people around."


"Don't you have brooms to fly? I'm trying to get ready."

"Don't let Mom hear you say that," Julia told him as she stuck out her tongue. "So, where are you taking Sue?"

"Dinner and a walk on the pier."

"Romantic. Looks like Gaea knew what she was doing," Julia told him.

"I could think of easier ways."

"It wouldn't be the same."

"I'll tell you one thing though, it's much easier to get ready as a guy," Charles told her. "That's a pretty good lesson to learn."

"I don't think that's what she has in mind," Julia replied.


"Mmmm. That was delicious," Sue sighed happily as she leaned back in her chair.

Charles smiled agreement as he gazed at her in the candlelight of their table. He continued to marvel at how pretty Sue had become since she had come out of her shell for the dance. "I don't think I could eat another bite," he said, placing some money down on the check left by the waiter.

Charles stood up and helped Sue stand up. "Shall we go for a walk? The moon already looks incredible over the water."

The young couple strolled casually down to the end of the pier and sat at the edge, peering out across the water, marveling at the reflection of the moon washing across the lights of the city in the lightly rolling waves.

"Tell me, how does one become associated with Gaea?" Sue asked as she snuggled under Charles' arm.

"I don't know, my family has always been associated I think."

"There must have been a first time."

"Maybe," Charles said. "It's lost in the long history of my family though. Why?"

"I was just thinking about Gaea more," Sue replied.

"I guess I'm not surprised by that!"

"She's a little difficult to reconcile with the Christian God though. I don't think my family would understand."

"About me?"

"No silly, me."

"Are you saying that you want to be one of us?" Charles asked.

"I've been thinking about it," Sue admitted. "I have to admire her direct methods."

"They are direct, I can attest to that!"

"That's what I mean. God, for example, just seems aloof now. I suppose, if he exists, that he was more direct, but it doesn't seem like it anymore."

"Gaea's Children don't believe in God," Charles told her. "We do, after all, have very direct evidence for Gaea, but not for God."

"Which is why I'm questioning my faith."

"We have no evidence that he doesn't exist either," Charles pointed out. "It could be, as you say, that he is aloof. Free will and all that."

"Doesn't Gaea believe in free will?" Sue asked curiously.

"Sure, but free will doesn't mean freedom from consequences. That's something else I can attest to! Gaea's consequences seem to be immediate, God's are promised in the future."

"I guess I'm a little unsure now. The Church teaches that magic is the responsibility of the Devil, but I haven't seen anything like that in your family."

"Fear of the unknown," Charles shrugged, a little sadly. "Magic isn't evil, it's just energy that has been directed. It's not what, it's how, that makes it good or evil. It's like fire."

"Can you teach me?"

"I can't, I'm barely able to do much myself. We can talk to my Mom, though."

"Do you think she'll be mad?"

"Nope! In fact, she'll probably be very happy at the idea. Are you sure about this, though? What about your parents?"

"They'll just have to get over it. Besides, they aren't that religious, they just go on the major days. They believe, but they aren't particularly rigid about it," Sue shrugged.

"We'll talk to my Mom. Sundae?"

"I thought you couldn't eat another bite?" Sue said, laughing.

"Ice cream doesn't count, it fills in around the gaps."

"Sure. Can we split one?"



"You have no idea, the dragons I had to slay to retrieve this fabulous treasure," Charles laughed as he placed the giant sundae in front of Sue.

"My hero!" Sue gushed as she scooped up a spoonful.

"How did the test go?" Charles asked as he retrieved a spoon for himself.

"Good. I aced it," Sue told him.

"As usual."

"Well, of course."

"Beauty and brains. I'm very lucky," Charles grinned.

"Don't you forget it either," Sue mock grimaced as she poked him in the chest.

"I don't see the jock crowd in here tonight," Charles noted, looking around the Dairy Queen.

"No wonder it smells fresher in here," Sue joked.

"Hey!" David Ames called from the entrance. "Is the coast clear?"

Charles look around before calling out "Clear!"

David slid into the booth beside Charles. "Whew," he gasped.

"What's with you?" Sue asked him.

"Dodging Mike Holmes ever since I spilled that sundae on him," David told her.


"Yeah. Charles and I were here last night and Holmes was bothering us. When we tried to get past him, I kind of dumped my sundae into his face. I had to run for my life."

Sue's laughter pealed out.

"It's not funny, Sue! He's going to kill me," David protested.

"Damn right you little geek," Mike Holmes snarled, coming up behind them.

"Oh shit."

"Why don't you make this easier and I won't beat you up as hard," Mike suggested, clamping his hand on David's shoulder.

"Why don't you get a life, Mike?" Charles asked, standing up.

"Shut up, Stewart, or I'll include you in the beatings."

"It's your own damn fault," Charles continue, ignoring the threat. "If you had just left us alone, then nothing would have happened."

"Look, I already told you to shut up," Mike snarled. "One geeks, two geeks, it makes no difference to me."

Charles scooped up the sundae. "You're an asshole," he said and then smashed the sundae into Mike's face.

"Run for it!" Sue shouted, grabbing Charles and David by the hand as Mike tried to recover his balance and wipe the chocolate and ice cream from his face.

"You're fucking dead meat Stewart!" Mike shouted as he fished around for napkins. "What?" he demanded as he felt a strong hand on his arm.

"Young man, I've had enough of your nonsense in my store," the owner of the Dairy Queen told him.

"I didn't do nothing," Mike protested.

"That's quite true, you didn't do nothing, you did something and I've had enough of it. You will leave this property now and you're under a two month ban. Try to grow up in the meantime."

"Fuck you!" Mike snapped as he was handled out the door.

"Three months. You're off to a bad start."

Mike clamped his mouth shut. He wanted to tell the owner what to do with himself, but he knew this was the place to hang. Three months was bad, permanent would be worse. "I'm going to kill that geek," he snarled to himself.


"I can't believe you did that," David said for the fourth time as he drove Charles home, after they dropped off Sue.

"Will you stop it?" Charles demanded.

David laughed. "Guys can't do that Charles," he grinned at him. "It's something a girl would do."

"Well, I wasn't going to fight him!" Charles protested, giving David a glare.

"Well, I guess we're both on death watch now," David noted as he backed the car into the driveway. "You're home safe though. See you tomorrow? Two sets of eyes are better than one."

"Tomorrow man," Charles agreed. "Thanks for the ride."

"No problem."


"Wait a minute! You pulled a Charlene?" Alison asked with a grin.

"It was just reaction," Charles grimaced.

Julia was doubled over the kitchen counter laughing.

"Will you stop it!" Charles demanded of his sister, sounding even more cross. Julia just laughed harder.

"Charles, honey, it is pretty funny when you think about it," Alison added, trying not to laugh.

"It won't be funny when you're identifying my body in the morgue," Charles told her.

"Enough with the melodrama."

"Guys can't do that," Julia finally said, as she managed to reign in her laughter.

"I don't see why not," Charles disagreed.

"Guys have other ways of dealing with things," Alison told him.

"Uh oh," Charles said as he started to feel his body tingle. "Not now! It's not even been a day yet!" His protest fell on deaf ears as his body quickly morphed into Charlene.

"Well, that's a surprise," Julia noted. "Maybe the body now fits the action?" She started laughing again.

"Hmm . . . " Alison looked thoughtful and began chanting.

Charlene looked down at her favorite pants, now a skirt, and groaned. "Why is it always when I'm wearing things I'd rather not have change?"

Julia laughed harder.

"My goodness Charlene," Alison commented, her eyes coming back into focus. "Two nights in a row you've shoved a sundae into Mike Holmes' face. Waste of good food as far as I can tell."

"I can agree with that," Julia gasped, out of breath from laughing.

Chapter 3: What Needs to Be Done

"I felt it," Sue commented as she joined up with Charlene for the walk to school.

"You did?" Charlene looked surprised.

"Yep. By the way, your books?"

"Huh? Damn it!" Charlene shifted her school books to her chest. Sue laughed.

"Did you talk to your Mom," Sue asked.

"I was going to, but then I changed and that kind of distracted everyone. Why don't we ask her after school?"

"Okay. So, what should we expect today?"


"You ask that a lot you know," Sue said with a small smile.

"Apparently I've hit Mike with a sundae two nights in a row," Charlene told her.

"That's pretty true when you think about it."

"Yeah, I guess. Poor David."


"He's the target after both incidents. Mike's an ass, but he won't hit a girl."



"Huh?" Charlene spun and saw Amy Ferguson coming down the hall. "Yeah?"

"Look," Amy told her, "I just wanted to apologize."

"I don't get it."

"Well, I figured that you were after Mike, but after the two incidents at the Queen, I figured out that you weren't."

"I tried to tell you that," Charlene pointed out.


"Are you two back together?" Charlene asked, suddenly curious.

"No, he's an asshole," Amy declared.

"I can agree with that."

"Why sundaes?"

"Uh, I guess they were available," Charlene said.

"Waste of good food."

"You know, everyone seems to be saying that."


"You're dead meat Ames," Mike snarled from behind David and Charlene in the cafeteria.

Charlene sighed and turned around. She took a sip from her glass of coke and gave Mike a cool stare. "You know Mike, you really are kind of stupid."

"Shut up bitch," Mike snarled. "I shouldn't have been so nice to you before."

"Yeah, you were a real prince amongst men."

"Fuck you. I got banned from the D.Q. thanks to your geek boyfriend here. He's toast when I catch him after school."

"If you can manage to find two functional brain cells inside your head, you might recall that it was me that generously gave you the two sundaes," Charlene said, smiling at him with a saccharine flip of her eyelashes.

"And the only reason that I'm not laying you out is that you're a girl," Mike told her.

"How big of you."

"Will you shut up?" Mike demanded. "This is between me and the geek here." He gave David a small shove.

Charlene stood up and casually removed the top from her soda. She looked at Mike with an appraising expression.

"You wouldn't dare," Mike said, backing up slightly.


"Hit me with that and I might just swing at a girl."

"Well then, I guess I'd better . . ." Charlene suddenly drenched him with the sticky soda. "Take a swing Holmes, show the school what kind of man you really are," she taunted.

Mike roared with rage and pulled his arm back. Before he could swing though, the coach of the football team intervened. "What do you think you're doing Holmes?" The coach demanded, grabbing Mike's arm.

"She hit me with her drink," Mike protested.

"My players don't hit girls. If I ever see you planning to take a swing at a girl again, you'll be off the team."

"But . . ."

"Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes sir," Mike managed.

"Go get cleaned up," the coach instructed. "Now, young miss, you shouldn't be throwing soda at other people either."

"He was threatening my friend," Charlene protested.

"Next time, get a teacher."

"Yes sir."


"Three times?" Sue asked incredulously.

"He just doesn't learn," Charlene shrugged as she dropped her books into her locker, relieved that the school day was over.

"What did the coach do?"

"Told him if he tried to swing at a girl again he'd be off the team. Told me to tell a teacher next time."

"Mike's losing popularity fast," Sue noted.

"Couldn't happen to a nicer guy," Charlene grinned as they stepped outside the school to the sounds of male shouting. "Hey, what's going on?" Charlene asked, running with Sue over to the scene.

"Mike and David," Amy Ferguson said as Charlene and Sue wiggled through the crowd.

Mike was currently shoving David around the circle, taunting him to fight. David just kept shaking his head.

"You're a coward Holmes," Charlene called as she stepped through the circle of people. "You can't fight me, so you pick on somebody else. Not much of a man, are you?"

"Shut up! Why the fuck won't you just shut up?" Mike shouted at her.

"Because you're a lying asshole and a coward," Charlene spat at him, her fists planted firmly against her hips.

"What do you know, you tramp!" Mike said as he stalked up and loomed into her face.

Charlene didn't even think, she punched him. Mike dropped back, stunned. Charlene just stared at her hand, her mouth working as her own surprise took hold. "I punched him," she told herself. "Not slapped, punched. Girls don't do that." She felt the sudden tingle of the spell.

Mike stared up at Charles and held his jaw. He couldn't tell who was more surprised, Charles or him. With a snarl he jumped back up and charged. Charles quickly sidestepped and dropped another haymaker on Mike. Mike fell like a stone and laid still. The crowd of students fell silent in surprise.


"Wow," David reiterated.

"Will you stop it?" Charles demanded as Sue giggled.

"My Dad listens to this old Kenny Rogers song sometimes," David continued, as he turned onto Charles' street.


"Kenny Rogers, country music singer?"

"Oh," Charles and Sue said at the same time.

"Anyways, he has this song called 'Coward of the County' in which this guy who never fights suddenly does after his girlfriend is attacked by some hoodlums. He beat up three guys in it."

"So?" Charles asked.

"Sometimes you've got to fight when you're a man."

"Just not when you're a girl," Sue added cryptically.

"Huh?" David asked.

"Nothing," Sue told him. "Just a thought."

"Alright. See you guys tomorrow?" David asked.

"Yep," Charles told him.


"Sometimes you just have to let things happen," Charles said as he fetched Sue a Coke from the fridge.

"It's pretty strange to know that I'm the only one who saw Charlene deck him with that punch."

Charles laughed.

"What's this?" Alison asked from the doorway.

"Mike and I had a fight today," Charles told her.

"This isn't the morgue."

"I won."

"Did you?" Alison asked, staring at him intently.

"Not the fight, though I suppose people would say I did. I won something else, though."

Alison and Sue looked at him quizzically.

"Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and do what you think needs to be done. Take advantage of the circumstances and use what you have."

"Very true."

"Also, that sometimes you shouldn't."

"Now that is even better wisdom," Alison approved.

"Speaking of wisdom," Sue interrupted.


"I was wondering about Gaea?"

"It's about time," Alison smiled.

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