|The Transformation Story Archive||Strange Things and other Changes|
"The Army. huh?" Rick grinned evilly at the young Chink waiter. "I hear they really get rough on recruits. Beatings, hard labor, lotsa real mean trainers.!" The kid paled a little, already nervous about his upcoming conscription. He was one of the few people in this God-forsaken village who could actually speak a little English, and had been telling Rick about being forced to do military service.
Not that he had a sympathetic audience. Rick couldn't care less about the kid's problems. Stuck in this hell-hole while the company figured out where to send him next, he was about to go crazy. Why they had chosen to send him to China as a service rep was beyond him. He hated to travel. He hated foreigners. And he especially hated Chinks. Always pretending to be so polite and hard-working, when they was really trying to rip you off. Well, at least he could have some fun with this kid.
The waiter was in his early 20s, probably very nice-looking as Chinks went. Lean and muscular, looking a lot younger because of his lack of a beard or body hair. At 32, Rick was a grizzled bear of a man in comparison. Though they were about the same height, the kid was a good 40 pounds lighter, with a thinner build and longer arms and legs. And Rick had thick blonde hair and blue eyes, and enough body hair to qualify as a light coat of fur. He was still well-muscled, but the past few years had added a slight roll around the waist, and too many drinks were starting to show up in the belly which hung over his belt.
Rick slurped from the bitter stuff that this place called beer, and tried to look serious. "Of course, a nice-lookin' kid like you might make a lot of friends, especially with some of the older soldiers. Happens all the time." The kid looked confused for a moment, and then looked horrified as he pieced together what Rick was saying.
It was hard not to laugh as the young man almost ran for the kitchen. Stupid Chink was probably terrified. Rick snorted, and drained the last of his drink. A few moments later, a wizened old man with a stringy mustache showed up at his table.
"My grandson is somewhat.. concerned about his duty with the Army. Perhaps he misunderstood you, but your comments have increased his concern." His tone was very formal, but did not hide his obvious displeasure.
The mean streak wasn't quite satisfied, so Rick just sneered at him. "No misunderstanding, Pops. I hear half the kids that go never come back. Alive." He made sure his voice would carry to the kitchen.
The old man's eyes narrowed, but he maintained his calm. "Perhaps, sir, you should try another establishment. Our poor fare may not be to your liking." He indicated the door with his hand.
"What other establishment?" Rick frowned. "You got the only dump in this lousy place." Then it dawned on him. The Chink was throwing him out!
"You lousy little yellow-skinned bastard!" Scrambling up from the table, he glared down at the old man. "You tryin' to give me the brush off?" He slammed the table with his fist, feeling his face turn red with anger. "You can take your donkey-crap on rice and stuff it!" Rick was a little disappointed that the old man didn't flinch. "Tell that coward grandson of yours that maybe the Army will make a man of him!"
The old man blinked, and suddenly bowed his head. "My apologies, sir. You are a customer, and of course you are entitled to your opinion. Please accept my humble apologies. Will you allow me to offer you some wine?"
Rick beamed. Now this was more like it. The Chink had finally realized that he couldn't treat no American this way! Bet their Government shot people who gave American's trouble. After all, these primitive little creeps were still using oxen and donkeys to plow with!
He sat back down. The old man brought in a dark bottle sealed with wax, and opened it with some odd little ceremony. Then he poured some of the contents into a tiny cup and offered it to Rick.
After a cautious sip, Rick downed the entire contents in a single gulp. It was some sort of rice wine, but smoother than most of the bilge he'd tasted elsewhere. He poured another and downed it. His host disappeared into the kitchen, returning shortly with some different dishes of food. Most of the food was the same stuff Rick had been served before, but the wine seemed to make it taste better. Through the rest of the meal, his cup was kept full.
It was getting dark outside now, and Rick felt a little woozy as he finished off the last bits of rice. The bottle of wine had been filling his cup constantly, yet it hardly looked like any had been poured out at all. The stuff must be pretty potent. Rick tried to reach for the cup again, only to knock it over. He stared at it for a moment, and then slowly slumped forward as he passed out.
"Oh, God." Rick tried to retreat back into sleep, but the dull ache which had woken him was quickly escalating into fierce, burning pain. It was more than just a headache. Every nerve screamed, every centimeter of skin felt scraped raw. Even his bones throbbed. That damned wine must have had one hellacious kick to it..
He was back in his hotel room, but couldn't remember how he had gotten here. Sitting up groggily, he was surprised to see that he was naked. His clothes were neatly folded on the low table by the door, proof that he hadn't undressed himself.
Shit! He hated to think of some Chink stripping him. Probably been quite an eyeful. He grinned, thinking of the girl who seemed to be the maid. If she'd been the one who undressed him, she'd gotten her first look at a real man. Chinese males looked mostly like girls.
After a while, he got up and used the washbasin to clean up with. His normal coarse stubble begged for a razor, but he just didn't feel like shaving. Besides, it made him look all that much more studly around these hairless yellow bastards.
After getting dressed, he went outside to pass time. It was going to be another few days at least before the damned company made up its mind where to send him next. They'd sold a shitload of heavy equipment to the Chinese government, and now Rick was supposed to show different people how to use it. He snorted. Like these stupid Chinks could do much with it. Hell, they were still using oxen and donkeys to farm with!
He felt a lot of stares as he wandered the street. The conversations picked up as he passed, though he didn't understand a word of them. Probably made a fool of himself last night. So what? Like he cared what some Chink thought of him? It was already early afternoon. He'd slept through the whole morning. Well, the less time he had to spend lookin' at this place, the better.
The pain faded as the day went on, but never quite went away. And he felt a little nauseous. Damn! Rick hoped he wasn't getting sick. Before the sun set, he had returned to his room and lay down again. It was unusual for him to take a nap, but he was sound asleep in minutes.
The room was pitch black when he woke. Probably the middle of the night. Rick felt his stomach churn, and scrambled up as he realized what had woken him. The shared bathroom was at the other end of the narrow hallway, and he just barely made it before the contents of his stomach launched from his mouth. He knelt before the ceramic bowl, trying not to breath through his nose. God, that stank! It was too dark to make out much, but there seemed to be a lot of puke. Rather than fumbling for the light, he just flushed the mess away. Better not to know.
Before he got halfway back to the room, he had to spin and go back. Both his bowels and his bladder threatened to let go at the same time, and once more, he just managed to sit down before his body emptied itself again. Afterwards, Rick felt a lot better. But he was puzzled by the amount of waste. He'd never taken a crap that big before. And it seemed like he had pissed a gallon.
Staggering back to his room, he lay down on the mat. At least he felt some better. The pain had faded a bit more, though there was an ache in his bones that wouldn't quite go away. Despite the discomfort, he fell asleep again immediately.
"What the hell?" Rick stared at his face in the mirror. Morning had brought no change in the pain, but he'd gotten a surprise when he started to wash up. The stubble he'd left yesterday should have been pretty long now, but he was clean-shaven. Bewildered, he checked his razor. There was no sign of recent use. Someone must have come in and shaved him while he was sleeping.
He frowned at his reflection. His face and hair looked dirty. At first, he thought it was just a bad mirror, but when he looked down, he noticed that the same darker shading affected the rest of his body. It wasn't anything really obvious on his skin, more like a good tan. But his hair looked almost brown, instead of the light blonde it had been yesterday. Had to be some sort of stain in the water.
It bothered him, but he was too drained to do anything but lay back down on the mat. Must be coming down with something. Damn! He'd hoped it was just a hangover. He felt really weak, and now he was sweating a lot. It wasn't hot in the room at all, but moisture was running off him in streams. Well, if he was sick, maybe the company would fly him back home. Focusing on that happy thought, he closed his eyes and slept.
Dark again. Rick only had a moment to think that he'd slept through the whole day again before urgent pressure from his bladder and bowels sent him dashing down the hall in another nighttime dash. This time he wasn't quite so lucky, spraying the floor with piss before he could reach the toilet. Where was all this coming from? Rick realized that he hadn't eaten or drunk anything for two days! Yet if anything, he seemed to empty even more waste from his body than he had before.
This time, he turned on the light. And gasped in sudden fear. The water was discolored with the bright red of fresh blood, and his shit was heavily streaked with it as well. The black and brown mass seemed to have whitish lumps in it, and stank to high heaven. But the blood was what Rick stared at. He wiped himself, and felt the thin tissue go damp and warm. More blood. Terrified, he wiped again, until the tissue came up clean.
Whatever was bleeding had stopped for now. Shaken, Rick pressed gently on his stomach. There was no tenderness, no unusual pain. As he pulled his hand away, he felt something clinging to his fingers. Hair? The strands were curly and almost black. Looking down, he saw a small bare spot where he had touched his stomach. He brushed lightly at the skin, and stared in amazement as body hair fell away in clumps.
Oh, shit! Was he going bald? Rick grabbed at his hair, and was relieved when none of it fell out. But even there, it felt coarser and longer than it should. He slid his hands down his face, tracing unfamiliar contours. His cheeks were swollen, so much that his nose felt flat. And his beard was gone as well. Not just the clean-shaven look from the morning - his normal stubble had been replaced by a fine peach fuzz.
Rick battled panic as he made his way back to his room. Who could he call? This village was miles away from any real hospital, and he didn't know how to explain what was happening. He'd heard of fevers that made hair fall out. But he didn't feel hot. In fact, he felt a lot better now than he had in days. For the first time, he noticed that his belly had become flat, his whole body leaner than it had been in years. It was not just a loss of weight. His body seemed to be proportioned a little differently. Smaller bones, and longer arms and legs. Combined with the strange darkening of his skin, and the lost body hair, he almost looked like...
A cold hand gripped his chest. It couldn't be. He had to force himself to the mirror, and even then he refused to believe what he saw. It was the illness giving him hallucinations. Or some trick of the light. For the man staring back at him was a Chink!
It was still Rick's reflection, at least enough that he could recognize himself. But his nose had gotten broader and flatter, and the whole shape of his head was different. He looked younger, too. Maybe it was the lack of a beard, or the smooth, hairless chest, but he could easily be in his mid-20s. That was almost enough to make up for the change in his appearance. But not quite.
It was impossible, and therefore just a silly dream or an illusion. The logic didn't quite fit, but he clung desperately to that reasoning. Forcing himself to lay back down, he closed his eyes. It was a very complete dream. His body even felt different. He got up every now and then to look in the mirror, trying to understand what was happening. If anything, he seemed to look even more Chinese each time. There had still been a blue cast to his eyes at first, but now they were a dark, solid brown. And his face and body looked even younger now, maybe in the early 20s.
Rick no longer felt any fear or confusion at the change. When dawn started to send sunlight through the window, Rick was standing in front of the mirror, no longer bothering to lay down. Mesmerized by the sight of his own changing features, he had actually watched the final transformation of his face and body.
His alteration from Caucasian to Chinese has become visible to the naked eye, like one of those science films of a flower opening. His ears had changed shape, becoming smaller and more rounded. And the corners of his eyes had lost their familiar pink corners, along with the bottom eyelashes. His mouth had gotten smaller, teeth perhaps a little crooked behind darker lips. There hadn't been much change to his body, at least not any more.
The reflection was no longer recognizable as having ever been Rick. A young Chinese man was there, yet he felt no revulsion. Having seen himself finish up, Rick almost found his image natural, and perhaps even a bit familiar. There was more than a passing resemblance to the young waiter he'd teased at the restaurant. That bothered him. Not that the kid wasn't nice-looking, but he felt a strange sense of foreboding.
Revulsion filled his thoughts, and he turned away from the mirror. This was impossible. He stared down at his crotch. Even his penis was different, looking a bit thicker and longer. What had happened to the cap? Puzzled, he pulled at the organ, and was astonished to see a glistening shaft slide out from what had to be a foreskin.
It created a strange sensation, one of the few pleasant ones he'd had in the past few days. Desperate for any distraction, he slid the thin covering back and forth with his fingers. The penis which emerged was much darker and somewhat bigger than what he remembered, but the overall shape seemed the same. It was stupid to even think about sex at a time like this, but if he was going crazy, he might as well enjoy what he could.
"You find yourself entertaining?"
Rick spun around and saw the old man smiling at him from the doorway. It looked like he had been standing there for a long time, watching. Rick flushed, and dropped his head. "I am sorry. sir. I did not mean to offend." It took another moment for his hand to let go of his swollen penis.
The old man tossed a bundle at Rick, which he caught easily. Clothing. Some of the plain, traditional trousers and a tunic, like those most of the other young men here wore. "Get dressed. It is almost time."
Rick nodded and scrambled into the garments, having no trouble with what should have been unfamiliar fasteners. When he was done, the old man motioned for him to follow. There were several of the guests in the hallway, complaining about the mess someone had left in the toilet. Rick was amazed to understand all of them. Why had they not spoken his language before?
They left the hotel, and went to the restaurant. When the grandson saw Rick, his eyes went wide, and he said something that Rick could not understand. When there was no reply, he tried again. "Can you understand me?" Rick nodded. Why was the kid surprised? He knew Rick couldn't speak Chinese.
The old man had a satisfied smile on his face. "Go, Li. It is reported that the Army man is already within our borders. I will handle things from here." The grandson nodded and bowed, and after giving Rick a look that was oddly full of pity, scurried back into the kitchen.
So far, Rick had accepted all of this as some strange and very realistic dream. But now he was starting to doubt that assumption. He could feel the floor under his bare feet, the touch of rough fabric on his hairless chest.
And he realized that his entire behavior had changed. The way he spoke to the old man. He had called him 'sir.' Instead of a... a... Rick frowned, unable to come up with the derogatory term. In fact, he was having trouble clearing his thoughts. He felt a little thickheaded and slow.
"Is this the boy?" A new voice caused Rick to spin around. There was no doubt that this was the Army man, come to collect the old man's grandson. Rick actually felt a little sorry for the boy. This fellow looked cruel and rough, worse than even his own dark predictions he'd made for the kid. He waited for the old man to correct the soldier's mistake, only to jump in surprise as a firm hand gripped his arm.
"My grandson is not strong of mind, but he is strong in body. I hope that he will provide adequate service to the military." The old man bowed formally, and then pushed Rick towards the other man.
"Wait! I'm not his grandson! I'm an American! This old man changed me into a Chinese boy to take his grandson's place!" Rick's words sounded foolish even in his own ears, and the soldier gave a rough chuckle.
"An American?" He chattered something at Rick, and then smirked. "An American who cannot understand English? I think you have too great an imagination, boy. But the Army will cure you of that." His hand gripped Rick's arm like a vise. "Bid your grandfather farewell. I am already late."
Rick turned back to the old man, pleading. "Tell him the truth! I am not your grandson! You can't do this to me!"
The old man shook his head as Rick was dragged out of the door. "Cease this foolishness, and accept your fate, boy. Someone once told me that the Army will make a man of you. You are going to become a man... a Chinese man."
Please send any comments/questions to Bob Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Recruit copyright 1996 by Bob Stein.
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