THE PACKRAT
By "Mr. F"

The word to describe him was pathetic. It wasn't so much that he was very fat, it was his attitude and how he carried himself. He thought he's was God's gift just because he was very intelligent. He knew everything. And he never let anyone forget it. But he also deluded himself. And as a result, his appearance suffered. He thinks the clothes that fit him 10 years ago still fit him. On his weekly walk to the stripmall where he would get his comics, science fiction books and his slices of greasy pizza, there was a big & tall store right next to the comic store (good planning on the part of the big & tall store). But Jeremy thought he didn't need to got to that store. "My clothes fit me just fine," he sniffed, never really noticing that 4 to 5 inches of his stomach portruded out of his "large" tee shirt, resting comfortably over his shorts.

Since he never noticed his own odor, he only cleaned once a week. He never thought about haircuts or of razors much, only to say, "It would take away from my comics money! Besides if it gets too unruly, i've got a scissor!"

Besides, he really didn't go out that often. It was fine down in his mother's basement. Everything he needed was there. He had his own refrigerator with all of his goodies, as well a cabinet full of his favorite candies and cakes. Since all of the bookcases were completely filled with books, comics and videos, he had taken to somewhat haphazard piles on the floor. This was ok, because he could find anything in his archive in mere minutes. His color tv, vcr & video games all stragically placed by his bed for convience. A nightstand had the lamp, various remotes, a box of tissues and skin lotion. "Every thing a guy needs," he smiled sheepishly. And his most prized possession: a life size cardboard cutout of the sexy cyborg chick on that sci-fi show. He had scored it a few years ago at a convention, and he loved it. He kept it hidden behind a bookcase because he had cut a specific hole in the cutout. "Sex with her would be amazing!!" he thought, hand moving to his crotch reflexively. He was worried if he could get electrocuted, he pondered, but dismissed it, thinking that she would take care of that beforehand.

He smiled. He knew mom would have supper ready soon, and nothing beat his mom's cooking. Although he hoped his mom wouldn't bother again about getting a job. Why did he need one? Mom provided him with what he needed. Anyway, he just about finished writing a great script that was going to make them all rich! Well actually, he going to stick his mom in a home, but he didn't tell her that. The story starred a rogueish dragon who has been blamed for the destruction of a planet and how he tries to clear his name with a handsome space-knight looking for a damsel in distress. It was a great story with a lot of action and humor. It would be bigger than "Star Wars"

So what to do till dinner? Channel surfing seemed the only logical idea. He came across an interesting info-mercial for a special theme park. The ad boasted great rides, fabulous food and wonderful entertainment for a very reasonable price. Jeremy was definitely interested. Perhaps tomorrow he would go to this "Funhouse" and check it out.

*****************************

Circe propped her tired feet up on her reclining chair. It had been an unusally busy day today and she decided to take the rest of the day off, and let the rest of the employees handle the funhouse for the rest of the day. Employees, she smiled. More like volunteers, she thought. Nobody here got a salary, and everyone's needs were met without hesitation. Slowly, she edged into a light sleep. She thought, perhaps later I'll go into the jacuzzi, maybe have Saurina join me, I think we might have to expand-

"BRRRLLL!!!!"

The phone was ringing. Circe sighed. Probably another bunny needs some personal attention after his transformation, they tend to get scared a lot.

She pressed the 'phone' button on her cordless,"Yes, this is Circe," she sweetly said.

"Circe, we have a problem here at the entrance..." It was Absinthe, one of her sisters. Ever since she convinced her 3 sisters to join her at the funhouse, the traffic had increased. There was even talk of opening a special pavalion for people who wanted "weekend transformations".

"Yes, what is it, Absinthe?" Circe replied.

"Well... there's a gentleman here demanding his money back!"

"Wha-?"

"That's what I said." Circe heard some rustling sounds, as if Absinthe was cupping her hand over the phone. "You better come up front, this guy's a real nutcase and he's demanding to see the owner. He's getting quite loud. And he's starting to scare away some potential customers..." Absinthe whispered.

Circe could hear the muffled angry voice of a man. She couldn't make out what he was saying, but it sounded bad. "I'll be right there, Absinthe." As she hung up the phone, she couldn't help to feel puzzled. This had never happened to her before. Oh there was that burglar, but he wound up being completely into it. Even after his raccoon transformation, he had wanted to restage him breaking into her home a couple of times. She figured that perhaps her sister was a little rough with the customer, and Circe would have to personally satisfy the customer. Her sisters could be snippy at times, but they had all mellowed a bit after a couple of milleniana.

*********************************

"What seems to be the problem?" Circe said, in her most sexiest voice she could muster.

"Oh? Are you the owner of this rancid hellhole you call a funhouse?"

Circe was a very intelligent goddess. She was well read (over a billion books in about 20 different languages), and had spent thousands of years in universities, studying many subjects. But with all of her vast knowledge, she could only mutter a confused, "Uh...yeah?"

"This has got to be the worst entertainment center that i had ever gone to!!!"

Circe got her first real glimpse of this man who lashing insult after insult on her. A short, obese man whose clothes didn't seem to fit him. His greasy long hair was pulled into a pony tail and his beard was unkempt. And she noticed a rather nasty smell coming from him. Sort of like a can of chicken noodle soup gone bad. And limburger cheese. She tried to reply to his verbal onslaught, but he kept ranting about the food not being up to his standards, animals running around, drug usage, outdated rides (no rollercoasters?)... He seemed to go on forever.

"...And this skunk tries to spray me with this god-awful perfume. If he hadn't run away..."

"Actually the perfume would've been an improvement..." mumbled Absinthe.

"Oh if you werent a lady..." Jeremy growled.

"Bring it on, you fat slob!" Absinthe said, clenching her fists.

Circe blocked Absinthe from punching out Jeremy's lights. "Now that's enough, Absinthe, give the man his money back. If the customer isn't pleased with the funhouse, then his money should be refunded."

Absinthe handed Jeremy back his money like she was holding a soggy diaper. He grabbed it quickly, reveling in his little victory.

"I am truly sorry that my funhouse was unsatisfactory to you. In fact, I'd like to make it up to you, if I could." Circe was weaving her magic, drawing closer to him, trying hard not to breathe in too much. She grabbed an image from his mind. Ah, a big beautiful dragon. This would be a wonderous transformation. And she would turn a bad situtation into one where both parties would be happy.

"Well, that's only fair," Jeremy said, finally relaxing.

"Yes, I think we could work something out, if you'd come with me," she cooed, caressing his rough face with her smooth silken hand.

"Y-Yes, I think I should..." he said nervously, beads of sweat running down his head.

"I think I know the perfect place where we can chat," she continued, slowly rubbing his huge stomach, slowly making her way down towards his crotch.

"Uh...eeyes...NO!!! NOOO!!!" Jeremy abruptly pulling away from Circe in terror.

Circe was stunned. "But wait, sir..."

"NO!!! YOU'RE ONE THOSE FILTHY WHORES!!! DISEASED PROSITUTES FROM HELL!!! GET AWAY FROM ME. YOU WHORES!! I'LL CALL THE POLICE AND HAVE YOU ALL ARRESTED!!!" Jeremy shrieked like man in fear of his life (and soul).

"Come back, let's talk," Circe pleaded.

"NO!!! DON'T TOUCH ME, YOU UGLY BITCH!! I HOPE YOU GET A SEX
DISEASE AND DIE!!!!" shouted Jeremy as he ran away into the night as fast as a man that size possibly could.

****************************************************

Circe was siting on her couch. She had a very vacant look on her face. She didn't move. Everybody around her was. Absinthe was ranting walking back and forth behind the couch. Various employees we talking amongst themselves. Circe was silent. In all of her millennia of existance, she had never been insulted like that in quite sometime. And she was a different goddess back then.

Suddenly Circe's face changed. In her eyes, a storm was building. She slowly stood up and walked past Absinthe, who had just stopped talking to Mr. Airwick the skunk to watch her sister leave the room.

"Wow," said Absinthe.

"What?" asked a surprised Mr. Airwick.

"It's been a couple of millennia since I've seen her look like that."

"Should we go try to talk to her?"

"No," Absinthe solemnly said. "I know from experience not to get in her way when she's like that."

A look of horror appeared on the skunk's face. "Is she going to kill that man?"

"No. But I think he would be better off dead."

********************************************************

The events of the last couple of hours were slowly fading from Jeremy's mind. He was much more interested in what the TV had on. A open large pizza box revealed two slices left. Deposited recently on the floor were an empty donut box, a wrapper from the local hoagie shop, an empty large bag of potato chips and a empty 2 liter bottle of root beer. It was hot in the basement, so he left the door to the outside open. His glazed eyes moved from the TV to the 2 slices. Ah, what the hell, he thought. He picked up a slice and started to eat it. As he ate, he noticed his fingernails. Hmm, getting a bit long, I think the nailclipper is on the night table.

He started with his thumb. Unfortunately, Jeremy had a bad habit of cutting too much off of the fingernail. This time was no exception.

"Ow!!!" he grabbed his thumb and looked to survey the damage. There was only a little bit of blood, which wasn't that bad. Then a bolt of throbbing pain shot through his thumb as a long pointed fingernail shot through his cuticle, ripping the remainder of his old fingernail off his hand.

Jeremy screamed in pain and shock. Before he had time to recover, the other fingernails were painfully replaced with long claws. The pain spread to both his feet as he grew long claws on them, too. He grabbed at his feet, straining with all of his might to reach over his huge stomach to reach them. Barely grabbing them, he let go of them immediately, as they started to stretch to almost twice their length. Jeremy could feel the bones and muscles stretch, hearing the pops and cracks. He had never felt pain like this before. It was horrible. It seemed never ending. Then his shin bones began to shrink to a fourth of their original size. Jeremy howled in pain, rolling off of the bed, knocking over numerous precarious piles of junk.

Jeremy tried to recover. His whole body ached. It felt as if every muscle in his body had a charlie horse. His thighs were stretching, threatening the integrity of his shorts. A bolt of lightning shot through his spine forcing a long skinny tail out of his tailbone spilling out of the top of his shorts. His waist, previously covered by Jeremy's hanging stomach, expanded, bridging the gap between his huge stomach and recently expanded thighs.

Then it seemed to stop. He breathed in short hiccuped breaths. His whole body was sore. And itchy. Jeremy raised his hands to his face to wipe the tears streaming from his face. He gasped as he watched gray fur grow all over his arms. His butt hurt. It felt like he was sitting on something. He reached around his back and grabbed a tail that was almost as long as he was. He dropped it like a hot potato. He carefully reached up to his face, making sure not to cut his face with his claws. His entire face was covered in fur and his beard and hair were shrinking to the length of his fur.

Jeremy tried to stand on his new legs. He found he was most comfortable standing "tiptoe" on his elongated feet. He balanced himself by placing his left arm against the wall. It was at this time that he found out that his arms had strunk by a half a foot. He fell over and let out a high-pitched shriek. He got up again, only more aware of his arms. He nearly fell over again when he felt his face changing, but he managed to stay standing. He felt his ears grow over the top of his head. The front of his face enlongated, his nose and mouth growing inches. He saw whiskers grow out of his snout.

He barely had time to think about his situtation. He closed his eyes briefly. What is going on? And why is this happening to me? He opened his eyes.

Standing in the doorway of his basement, with a really pissed look on her face, was Circe.

"Well hello, Jeremy," she said, leaning against the doorframe, arms folded with a look that most men would never want a woman to have.

"Aaaaaah!" Jeremy shrieked, falling over backward onto his tail. He screamed in pain, scrambling around the floor, knocking over more piles of stuff. He scurried over to his bed on all fours, which felt oddly comfortable. He climbed on the bed and put his back against the wall, careful not to sit on his sore tail.

"You! You did this to me!!" Jeremy accused.

Circe walked slowly towards Jeremy, avoiding stepping on the items that Jeremy had scattered all over the floor. "Listen to me carefully, Jeremy. I'm not about to repeat myself."

"B-but...!"

Circe raised her index finger to her lips. Jeremy fell silent.

"Jeremy, you need to re-think how you see women. I know your thoughts, you either see women as mother figures or as two-bit whores. And that is why you are alone now. I could 've given you everlasting happiness, even a mate to share in your happiness. I know you secretly wanted to be that dragon in that story you wrote. I could've granted that wish easily. But you had to be blinded by your hate of women. Do you realize how bad you made me feel? I haven't felt like this in thousands of years!! And so, because of your hatred and self hatred, you've insulated yourself from the real world with food and material possesions. You had so much potential, Jeremy. But you've let youself become a packrat, keeping every piece of useless crap you've ever owned. And now... your transformation is complete."

Jeremy lunged at Circe, "I'll f#$@*% kill you!!!"

Circe easily moved out of the way and Jeremy crashed into a bookcase, sending video tapes and books everywhere. Jeremy sat up and rubbed his sore arm.

"Looks like you haven't learned your lesson yet," Circe sighed. With a mere gesture of her hand, Jeremy began to gain weight. His clothes, who were up to this time holding on to dear life, simply gave up trying, split at all of the seams, and quietly fell to the floor. His body had gained 75 pounds of fat in a matter of seconds.
Circe walked over to a wall were a bookcase once stood (it was now on the floor). "But before I go, I want to give you a reminder of what you have become. I want you to never forget it." A piece of chalk materalized in her hand. With the chalk she drew a length-wise rectangle about six feet tall. She waved her hand over the rectangle and it became a mirror. She turned and walked out of the basement door and up the stairs outside.

Jeremy, still not used to his recent weight gain, shuffled over to the mirror on his hands and knees. As he raised his head to see himself, the realiztion of what just happened to him finally sunk in. Any reminder of what he used to look like was completely gone. He was now a smelly obese packrat living in a basement full of useless shit. And it was never going to change.

Jeremy raised his hands to his face and started to sob like a baby.

************************************************************

Circe heard the sobs as she walked away from the house. She felt a little sad for Jeremy. He needs to truly learn his lesson, Circe thought. Perhaps now, Jeremy will see the world with new eyes and will learn from this new experience. Perhaps not. Maybe I'll check up on him after some time and see if he has learned anything. A mischievous grin slowly curled on her lips. But, perhaps not...

The End?