Author: David Henson

I settle in for an episode of Body Hunters. My ex, Stella, and I used to enjoy trying to guess which body would be chosen.

The host, Arthraw, introduces a husband and wife looking for a new body for him. The guy, Zander, says he wants bulging biceps. The wife, Glendella, says too many muscles are a turn-off.

Arthraw puts his hands to the sides of his head. “You’re not making my job easy, folks,” he says, mugging for the camera.

The three go to the first display case where Body One, priced slightly over the couple’s budget, stands unmoving and staring straight ahead, muscles rippling under its skin-tight outfit. The husband says only half-jokingly that he’s ready to sign on the dotted line without even seeing the next two bodies.

“I’m not sure I want to spend so much,” the wife says. “And we haven’t looked under the hood yet.” She opens the door to the display case, steps inside and tells the body to open its mouth. It doesn’t react. “That’s a problem,” she says.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions,” Zander says. “Might be only plugged ears.”

Glendella sighs and opens the body’s mouth with her fingers. “Uh oh. Look, Honey.” The camera zooms in revealing crooked, overlapping teeth.

“That’s going to require extensive dental work, and this one’s already expensive,” Glendella says.

Zander turns toward Arthraw. “Do you think you could negotiate the price down?”

Arthraw wrings his hands. “Don’t count on it. This one hasn’t been on the market long.”

Glendella frowns. “Let’s see what’s next.”

Arthraw darkens display case one and illuminates the second.

Body Two doesn’t have bulging muscles but does appear solid and athletic. Glendella and Zander give it a good going over.

“What do you think?” Glendella says. “Seems OK, and it’s under budget.”

“I was hoping for more muscles, but it’s obviously not a weakling. Although the hair’s thinning, we could afford implants. I actually like the idea of having some imperfections to correct. You know, put my own stamp on it.”

As the camera holds steady on Body Two’s face, I spot it — a blink. Stella and I watched enough episodes to know what that means. Vacant bodies never blink. This one’s lived in. It isn’t really for sale. Can’t fool me.

“This would be an excellent choice,” Arthraw says. “But keep an open mind until you see Body Three.”

When the third display box lights up, I nearly fall out of my chair — the shortish body with a potbelly is the one I traded in a few months ago. Glendella’s knees buckle. Zander and Arthraw hold her elbows to steady her.

Arthraw looks into the camera and grins.

“That’s … my ex-husband,” Glendella says.

“This is absolutely real, folks,” Arthraw says. “We had no idea.” He winks at the camera.

It takes me a moment to connect dots. If this “Glendella” recognizes my former body as her ex-husband then … she’s … Stella. I guess she wasn’t kidding when she said she needed a fresh start — new husband, body, name. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Just then Rover comes into the room. He always seems to know when I need cheering up. He glides to my shoulder and perches.

“You like flying, buddy?”

“Like to fly. Like to fly.”

“I love your new body, Rover. Now I have somebody to talk with.”

“Love to talk. Love to talk.”

“Look what’s on, buddy. Which body do you think they’ll choose?”

Rover flaps his wings. “Cracker. Rover wants a cracker.”

I probably should start getting out more.