Habeus Corpus

Habeas Corpus
by Ellie Dauber(c) 2002

Hugh Feldman breezed into his outer office at Baumgarton and Whyte, Attorneys at Law. At 27, Hugh was the youngest of the associates, but he also had the second largest number of billable hours. His success was as much due to his good looks and his man's man charm as to his knowledge of the law.

Alice, his secretary wasn't at her desk. 'Getting coffee, fixing her hair, or something,' he thought. He put down his briefcase and turned to take off his mohair overcoat. As it hung it up on one of the wooden hangers, he heard a noise behind him. "Alice, I need the file on Serranko and --"

"She isn't here," a very feminine voice said. "In fact, she's working for someone else now."

High turned. The voice belonged to a short, slightly chunky woman in her late thirties or early forties. She pushed her horn-rimmed glasses back onto her nose, then extended her hand. "How do you do, Mr. Feldman. I'm Sylvia Jackson, your new secretary."

"Hi, Sylvia."

Hugh shook her hand as he looked her over, mousy brown hair done up in a bun; her face wasn't bad, but she needed to lose those glasses and get some make-up. It was hard to judge her figure in the bulky sweater and skirt she was wearing, but she had a pretty good rack. Lose 10, maybe 20 pounds, and she might have some potential. No wedding ring -- big surprise -- just be careful.

"May I ask a few ques --"

"Later, if you don't mind. Right now, I need the Serranko file. You'll find it in 'Pending' over there." He pointed to a set of vertical files along one wall. "Be a good little girl and bring it in -- Chop! Chop! -- oh, and coffee, black two Sweet-n-Low." Without another word, he turned and went into his private office.

Sylvia was in a few minutes later with the file and his coffee. "Mr. Feldman, there was a tag on the file referencing Bayside Realty, so I brought in that file as well." She put a stack of material onto his desk.

"I asked for the Serranko file," he said. "If I had wanted another file, I'd have --" He paused. He did need the Bayside file. Well, he certainly wasn't about to apologize to a secretary. "Never mind, just go. Leave it here, and you can refile it later with the other material."

She nodded, "Yes, sir." and left. He watched her walk to the door. Even with that extra weight, her ass wasn't too bad either.

Once he heard the door click shut behind her, Hugh dialed Joe McGregor, the personnel manager and a sometimes poker buddy. "Joe, this is Hugh Feldman. What's the story with my secretary?"

"Alice, umm, asked for a transfer," Joe said. "She said that she was tired of commuting, so she's over in our Elkins Glen office. It's a good half an hour or more closer to where she lives."

"It's in a damned mall. Didn't she mind the pay cut?"

"She, ahh, said it was worth it to, ah, to get the experience. She's the assistant office manager over there."

"I didn't think she was qualified -- ah, the hell with it. If she wants to give up being my secretary, it's her loss. But her replacement..." He let the words trail off.

"What are you talking about? Sylvia's probably the best secretary in the firm. The only reason you got her is because Frank Harrison left to take that job in the D.C. office. Even Katherine Whyte asked about her."

"Then let Katherine have her. She's... she looks --"

"Will you try thinking with your brain for once? Sylvia's a great secretary. She can help you get that partnership you keep dreaming about."

"I suppose I could give her a try." He did want to be partner. There was enough money in it to keep him in pussy for a long, long time. "Besides, I've always liked Rubens."

McGregor groaned. "Hugh, two bits of advice that you probably won't take: give the woman a chance and behave yourself. I shouldn't be saying this, but Sylvia wasn't the only one Katherine was asking about. She's watching you, my friend."

"I knew it," Hugh said. "Katherine wants me, too." He chuckled and ended the call.

* * * * *

Hugh spent the rest of the morning going over the Serranko file, making notes on his PC, checking some references in Shepard's on-line. About 12:40, there was a buzz on his phone.

"Mr. Feldman, this is Sylvia. I'm going for lunch now. Do you want me to order anything for you?"

"I want you to stay here, Sylvia. I may have some work for you to do."

"May? Mr. Feldman, I'm having lunch with my niece, Ginny. I don't want to get off on a bad start, but she and I set that up a week ago. She'll be meeting me at 'The Brick Oven' in five minutes." The "Oven" was an upscale restaurant in the lobby of the building.

"Call down and have her come up here," Hugh said. "You can order out from there and eat at your desk. Oh, and when you do, add a Cali-burger and sweet potato fries, a large coke, and a slice of their apple pie for me. I'll pay you for it later."

"But, Mr. Feldman."

"Have to get back to work. Bring in the food when it comes." He cut off the line before she could respond.

About 15 minutes later, there was a knock on his door. "Come in," Hugh called.

"Lunch, Mr. Feldman." A blonde came in carrying a box lunch and soda from "The Brick Oven." She was pretty, damned pretty. She was, at most, 25, with shiny, straight hair that hung down to her shoulders. Her navy suit was dignified and appropriate, but it more than a little suggested the lush figure within. The skirt stopped just above the knee, revealing a pair of legs that right were out of ZZ-Top. "Aunt Sylvia said that your share was $14.80. That includes an 18 percent tip."

"I told her that I'd settle with her later." He stood and watched her walk to the desk. Not bad, 38-C, maybe even -D. "You must be Ginny. What brings you into town today?"

"I'm doing a little job hunting." She put the food down on one of the few cleared spots on his desk.

"I'd be happy to talk to Joe McGregor in personnel. We can always use another pretty secretary. Who knows, you could even wind up working under me." He leered, just to make sure that she caught the sexual suggestion in his words.

Ginny stiffened. "Mr. Feldman, I have a masters in marketing from Columbia. I was interviewing this morning with the Wexlar Group for a job as senior analyst."

"Really? I'd never --"

"Why? Because I'm a pretty young blonde."

"Well, umm, yes. It's an honest enough mistake."

"Not in this day and age. If I could, I'd slap your ass with a sexual harassment suit."

"As a lawyer, I can tell you that you've no real grounds for a suit. However, I'd be happy to let you slap my ass -- if I can reciprocate, of course."

"Good day, Mr. Feldman, and be very glad that you're not wearing your lunch right now." She turned and hurried out. Hugh sat and watched her ass swaying as she left.

* * * * *

Sylvia buzzed him about 3:30. "Mr. Feldman, Ms. Whyte wants to see you."

Hugh looked up from the mass of papers on his desk. "Did she say what case it was about?"

"No, sir. She said it was a personal matter and that it would only take about five minutes."

"Tell her I'll be right there." He clicked off the machine. "Yes!" he said, making a fist and cocking his elbow back in triumph. "It's the partnership. It's gotta be."

Hugh straightened his tie, checked his hair, and headed directly for the office of Katherine Whyte, the managing partner.

Susan, Katherine's assistant was at the desk by the door. She was a juicy little redhead Hugh had dated -- and bedded -- a few months before. She smiled when she saw Hugh and motioned for him to go right in.

Katherine's office was twice the size of Hugh's, tastefully furnished with a small conference table and several comfortable chairs in one corner. Her desk was cherry wood with an inset PC console. The walls were mostly bookcases with both state and federal statutes and case law, but here and there, a painting hung on the wall. There were plants trailing along the length of her windowsill and a small, but well-stocked mini-bar in another corner.

"You wanted to see me?" Hugh closed the door behind him and gave Katherine his best smile.

"Yes, I did." She opened a drawer and took out an inch-thick manila file. "I've been going over your record here with the firm.

"And..." He knew what was coming next. Bingo! Hugh Feldman, partner, it had such a nice ring.

"You're an excellent litigator, Hugh, one of the best I've ever seen. You're a good rainmaker, too, with the highest billable hours of any of the associates."

"Thank you, Katherine. I like hard work."

"What I can't understand is how you can do all that good work and still find the time to be such an asshole."

"What! What are you talking about, Katherine?"

Katherine stood at her desk, still holding the file. She was a handsome woman of about fifty with a still trim figure. She wore a dark gray woman's business suit and a white satin blouse. Her hair, an even mix of gray and blonde, was done in a French braid.

"I mean that this folder holds written complaints from half the women in this office, lawyers, para-legals, and secretaries. I've even gotten comments from a few of the clients. In fact, we've made it a point not to give you any female clients for the last couple months."

"That's... that's ridiculous."

"Why do you think Alice Kerns transferred over to the Elkins Glen office? She had enough of your leering and your propositions. We even made her the assistant office manager over there just to get her to drop the suit she wanted to file."

"Aren't you exaggerating just a little, Katherine? I admit that I'm a bit forward with women, but they never seemed to mind it."

"Maybe -- or maybe you were just too caught up in your own ego to notice how they really felt."

"Even if it's true, why are you telling me this now?"

"Because I've decided that I'm getting very tired of it. You've brought a lot of money to this firm, but I'm not sure that it's worth -- that you're worth the aggravation anymore."

"So this whole thing is your way of telling me that I've got to work harder, bring in more money to the firm. Is that it?"

"My Lord, you're even worse than I thought. No, Hugh, this is my way of telling you that you're not to harass another woman."

"And if I don't -- assuming that I am in the first place, of course."

"Spoken like the litigator you are. If you don't, well, you may not be very happy with the results."

"You'll fire me then?" Hugh didn’t like the idea, but he could probably take about a third of his clients with him, if he left. That would be more than enough to set up his own firm.

"No, actually, I had something much different in mind. Why, you might not even be able to practice law for a while."

"Jail, disbarment? Come on, Katherine, we both know that you can't do either of those because I might... might have harassed some women."

"I know that, Hugh. As I said, I have something else in mind." She took a breath and put the folder down on her desk. "Look, Hugh, you're a fine lawyer and a real asset to this firm. Please, try and behave."

"All right, Katherine, since you asked so nicely. I'll try." He looked at his watch. "If there's nothing else you want to talk about, I do have some work on my desk. The Serranko case..."

"Oh, yes. How's it coming?"

"We have a hearing coming up in a couple of days. I think we've got this one beat. Do you want any of the details?"

"Not right now; I'll leave you to it."

"Okay, then." He started for the door.

"And, Hugh, again, please try and keep what I just said in mind."

"I will. I will." He closed the door behind him. "Like hell, I will."

* * * * *

Sylvia looked up as he walked past her desk. "Mr. Feldman, I'm sure you forgot, but you still owe me for your lunch. It was 14 --"

"Will you stop bothering me? Take it out of petty cash if it's so important. I've got work to do."

"Petty cash? But that would be stealing."

"If you want the money so badly, then that's what you'll have to do for it. Otherwise, you can wait. I said that I'd pay you eventually. It's only a few dollars. Go without lunch or something. You could stand to lose a little weight." He was through the door and in his office before she could answer.

"Mr. Feldman, that's not fair."

"I'll tell you what, you get that pretty niece of yours to agree to go out on a date with me, and I'll pay you back double whatever it is I owe you."

Sylvia gritted her teeth. "You'll have to excuse me, sir. I like to think of myself as a lady, and I won't be one, if I give your offer the sort of response it deserves." She stood up and started for the door.

"Just a minute. You can't --"

"Mr. Feldman, if I don't, you'll be singing soprano." She looked straight ahead and walked right past him and out of the office.

Hugh stared at the closed door. "Some women just can't take a joke." He shrugged and went into his own office to finish preparing for the hearing.

* * * * *

"A messenger just dropped this off, Mr. Feldman," Sylvia said. She tossed a packet on his desk.

Hugh opened it and began to read. "Damn! They transferred it."

"What do you mean, sir?" Sylvia asked.

"My case, the Serranko case. I was supposed to be heard by Judge Rictman; Tom Rictman's an old friend of mine. The problem is, he's too good a friend. He felt that he had to recuse himself, and the case was transferred to Judge Hopkins."

"I know her," Sylvia said. "I hear that she's a fine judge."

"'Hippo' Hopkins hates me," Hugh replied. "She's not too fond of men in general, but she particularly has it in for me."

"Perhaps if you hadn't given her that nickname," Katherine said, walking into his office. "Lucille's always been sensitive about her weight."

"Then she should do something about it," Hugh said, "instead of over-reacting to a little good-natured ribbing."

"Good natured?" Katherine said. "The first time you used that name was when you were interviewed about Watlin v. Hayes, right after the jury found against you. That's hardly good-natured."

"Okay, I admit it," Hugh said. "I was mad." He paused a beat. "But a woman has no business letting herself get like that."

"What business is it of yours what she looks like?" Katherine was getting mad.

"I... I had to look at her sitting there like a lady Buddha every day of the case. I had to watch her three chins move every time she ruled on a motion." Hugh gestured to show the judge's size.

Katherine looked at pointedly. "You know, I've never heard you object to appearing before an overweight male judge. Phil Carmody must weigh close to 400 pounds, and the two of you get along famously."

"That's different," Hugh said. "Phil's a guy."

"That's just what I thought," Katherine said. "We won’t go into this any further, at present, but I want to see you in my office at 6."

"What?" Hugh said. "I've got a plans for this evening."

"Make your apologies to whomever it was, because your plans are changed. I expect you to be at my office at 6 – prompt." She turned and stormed out the door.

Hugh scratched his head. "Women, like I always said, they have absolutely no sense of humor."

* * * * *

The offices were empty as Hugh walked down the hall. Katherine had sent out a firm-wide e-mail asking everyone to go home early. The rumor mill had quickly spread the word. As much as some people would have liked to stay and watch whatever was going to happen to Hugh, Katherine was the boss. Just about everyone had left.

Hugh looked at his watch as he knocked on the door; 5:55. 'Better to be a few minutes early than on-time,' Hugh thought. 'Early could mean that you felt you had some power in the situation; on-time -- or, worse, late, -- meant that you felt trapped.'

"Come in, Hugh," Katherine said. There was a click as the door unlocked and slid open. Hugh walked and looked around. Katherine was sitting in one of the chairs in the corner of her office. A woman, an attractive brunette Hugh had never before, was in the chair next to her.

"Hello, Hugh," the brunette said. "Katherine's told me a great deal about you." Hugh judged her to be in her 20s. She wore a well-cut brown woman's suit over a crisp white blouse with a gold-colored scarf around her neck. The outfit hinted at a very nice body underneath.

"Nothing too drastic, I hope." Hugh smiled his best smile. The evening had possibilities after all.

"Amazing," the woman said. "He comes in here knowing how much trouble he's in, and he still hits on me. You were right, Katherine. He needs very serious adjustment."

"I told you so," Katherine said. "I'll take the responsibility. With a little luck, I'll have my litigator back in... what... five or six years?"

"More like ten, I should think." The woman seemed to be studying Hugh like some sort of animal in exhibit.

"Excuse me," he said. "Would it be too much to ask what you're talking about?"

"Actually, you have every right to know," Katherine said. "This is Delphine, a friend of mine. I asked her here to take care of you."

"Excuse me?" Hugh asked.

Katherine stood up and walked over to him. "Hugh, your attitude towards woman is terrible. I talked to you about it more than once, but you don't seem to listen. It's ruining the quality of your work and creating a great deal of trouble for me and for the firm."

"And what are you, Katherine," Hugh said sarcastically, "my boss or my mother?"

"At present, I'm your boss, but that's about to change." Before Hugh could stop her, Katherine slipped a silver chain with a small, heart-shaped locket over his head. As it hung down around his neck, High felt his body begin to tingle.

Katherine stepped back. "Hugh, you are in serious need of what they used to call a 're-education', and you'll never get that as a full-grown man."

"What the hell..." Hugh tried to lift his arms so he could take off the locket, but he found that he suddenly couldn't move. He couldn't even speak.

The brunette rose to her feet. "What you're feeling, Mr. Feldman, is the magic beginning to work on your body, rejuvenating it. In a few moments, you'll be young again, fifteen or sixteen at most. Then the real changes start."

'No way,' Hugh thought. But the room did seem to be getting bigger. His clothes felt looser. He'd been taller than Katherine, but now he found himself looking up at her face.

As the women watched, Hugh shrank down, losing almost half a foot in height, as he went from 6'2" to 5'9". His rugged face softened, his jaw rounding as he became younger. He was thinner, too, though his body still gave the sense of an athlete. His carefully razor-cut hair was now a mass of curls.

His clothes stayed the same size at first, so that the new teen looked like he was wearing a tent. Then the magic affected them. They shrank, changing as they did. High's power suit changed into a pair of dark blue Levis and a sweater in the green-and-gold of a nearby high school. His tie disappeared completely. The buttons fell from his shirt, which gradually darkened as the material itself changed. The sleeves slid back along his arm. A "Transformers" iron-on emblem appeared on what was now a blue cotton T-shirt. His polished oxfords softened and altered, to become a pair of black-and-white cross-trainers.

The tingling feeling stopped, and Hugh discovered that he could move somewhat. He looked down at his new body. "Bitchin'," he said in a somewhat higher voice. "No responsibilities and all those sleek high school babes."

"You like high school girls now, Hugh?" Katherine asked. "I would have thought you'd consider them jailbait."

"Hey, Katherine, I still remember what statutory rape means. But it ain't -- excuse me -- it isn't the same if the stud is a kid, too." He looked over at the brunette. "If this is your idea of punishment, sweetcheeks, then punish me some more."

"Exactly what I had in mind," the woman said. "Resume."

The tingling feeling came back as strong as ever, and Hugh's body was paralyzed once more. He seemed to shrink again, but only a few inches this time. 'Shit,' he thought. 'I'm probably going to be too young to be interested in girls for a while."

Hugh felt the clothes loosen. His body seemed to be growing thinner as well as smaller. But now there were other sensations. His scalp began to itch. He felt his hair getting longer, sliding down over his ears, tickling the back of his neck. It didn't seem to stop until he could feel the hair reaching the small of his back. His face twitched as if the flesh was moving.

His waist hurt. It felt as if it was being pulled tight. His hips felt odd, as well. His chest felt odd, as his shirt seemed to be moving against it. Something, something was pushing the shirt outward. He felt an erection.

'Last hard-on before I go back through puberty,' he thought.

Then the feelings changed. His penis seemed to be melting away. The sensation disappeared after a short time to be replaced by the feeling that something was moving around inside his belly.

The two women watched his face soften even more. Hugh's eyes seemed to grow bigger. They were hazel now, instead of the brown that they had always been. His shaggy eyebrows thinned and were shaped. His nose shrank and his lips seemed to grow fuller. Katherine noticed how much his new features made him look like a young cousin of hers. He was suddenly wearing a pale pink lipstick and a light blusher on his cheeks.

It was hard to see in Hugh's once again oversized clothes, but his body was much slimmer. The 145 pounds he had weighed as a teenaged boy reduced to a mere 114 pounds. His waist was narrowing as his hips grew wider. Breasts slowly formed on his chest, growing out to a 32-A. His hands grew slimmer, his fingers longer. His nails grew out, a coat of pale pink nail polish forming on them.

Although they couldn't see it, the women knew what was happening at his groin. Hugh's penis stiffened, then it shrank down to less than a half-inch in length. His testicles retreated up into his body to transform into ovaries. As they did, the empty sack shrank down to a pair of nether lips that surrounded his new clitoris as it sank down into the opening that was appearing. In the space of a few moments, Hugh now had a fully functional female set of genitalia, all of it hidden behind a triangular patch of soft, chestnut-colored curls.

As before, the magic now worked on Hugh's clothing. The T-shirt changed from dark green to pink, as a pair of battling robots became an image of Brittany Spears. A lacy bra formed underneath to cup and support the new breasts. The jeans slid up Hugh's legs, joining together as they did to become a skirt that stopped a couple inches above the knee. His sweater altered to a feminine cut, and his cross-trainers were now black-and-pink.

"Now what do you think?" the brunette asked.

The tingling stopped and movement returned. Hugh looked down at his hands, wriggled his long, slender fingers. The fingers moved, gently cupped his new breasts. Then one hand moved down further. It pushed it at the front of his skirt, then pulled away. There was nothing there -- at least, nothing of what had been there.

"It's... it's so... different," Hugh said.

Hugh? No, that was somebody else. Someone she had been, but someone that she wasn't -- that she didn't want to be any more. She blushed, embarrassed at the memory of the man she had been. She was... Sue, now. The name came in a flash. It felt right, and she smiled as she repeated it to herself.

"Ready to start your new life, then?" the woman -- "Aunt" Delphine -- asked.

Sue walked over to Katherine Whyte, whom she now thought of in a very different way and shyly took her hand. "Yes. Can we go home now, Momma?"

The End

For those lacking in Latin, the legal term "habeas corpus" literally means "you have the body."

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