Gift

Author: Ken Poyner

I do not know what I want to be today. The people who serendipitously gave me the ability to wrap ambient electromagnetism around my DNA and in seconds remake my body thought I would have a natural state, some pleasant default configuration that I would be most comfortable with. But it is all comfortable. Once my juiced DNA re-forms my body, whatever shape it is in it is still my body. Once the cells conform to the modified DNA, it is all natural.

Of course, the mental toll is the part that they did not think about.

Simply because you can do a thing, it does not make it normal or moral to do it. Take, for example, the application of bodily functions in different physiologies. For me, the whole concept of most bodily functions is transactional. Eating, elimination, sex all have more blended meanings than for uniform beings like you. Sometimes more nuanced, sometimes less. In some forms, the concept of some bodily functions does not exist at all.

When you can be anything you want to be, you have a lot to consider: what sensations and apprehensions in one form or another will you be giving up, what you will be gaining? How will it affect those around you? Imagine my wife’s surprise when mid-intimacy I suddenly changed gender the first time. Or when I decided to be with her an entirely different animal altogether. I think she wants to become a shapeshifter, too, just to dole out to me some keenly plotted emotional revenge, or maybe even gratitude.

Yes, there are already real consequences. I seldom enjoy a meal. Smells when I am in some forms are solid, sometimes a crusade of liberated colors, sometimes a fresh punch in the gut. Sometimes I have enjoyed more being a fly feasting on discards than a man retching down the formal dinner that produced those discards. You can get philosophical about it, but the reality is practical.

And none of this is your problem. You put four dollars into the slot, tell me what beast, chimera, or celebrity you want me to be. I will do my best. No guarantees. But you should hurry. I am coming to the end of my shift and the next shapeshifter scheduled for duty at this attraction is not so pleasant, and less concerned than I with accuracy. In me, you have the true professional, a principled member of my indeterminant lot. Put the plasticity of me to work entertaining the best, or worst, of your imagination.

And I do take tips.

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