Like many people, Jacob has been working from home since Covid-19 hit in March. Now in late December, an update to the video chat software gives him and his hunky coworker a pleasant surprise. Good think he didn’t take the day off!
Taking care not to drip on anything, I made my way to the bathroom, stepped out of my pants and into the shower. I pulled the shower knob and let out a sigh as the hot water began to rush over me.
I closed my eyes, and immediately my view of the tiled shower wall was replaced by images of Ahmed. Ahmed at his desk, his bicep bulging out of his sleeve while he drank from a glass of water, his too-small black t-shirt straining around his shoulders and across his imposing chest. Ahmed, stroking himself in his desk chair, his free hand tugging at his thick black hair, his chest heaving with each panting breath. Ahmed, standing in front of me in the shower, shining water droplets dripping from his hair, his shoulders, his lips, him inching towards me and putting his big warm hands on my—
Cold shower it is! I twisted the shower knob to the right and was instantly brought back to reality by the icy water. I cleaned myself off, toweled dry, and redressed. First item of business done, now step two: food. Fortunately, I’d already prepared my lunch that morning. I grabbed the sandwich from the fridge and my coat from the closet, and headed out for step three: air.
Walking outside had always helped me to clear my head, and the crisp winter air was exactly what I needed. I embarked down the snowy sidewalk and began to organize my thoughts.
Okay, in order, what happened today? Woke up, showered, brushed teeth, breakfast, nothing unusual there. Laptop was nearly drained but was lasting for hours anyway, a bit odd. Video chat with shirtless Ahmed, unconventional but not supernatural. Reading test files, exceedingly ordinary. Video chat number two with Ahmed looking extra buff, definitely suspicious. In fact, he seemed to have gotten bigger each time I’d seen him that morning.
Hold on. I stopped short. The world was suddenly silent without the crunching of snow beneath my feet. I had said that, I’d told Ahmed he looked bigger every time I saw him. It had been meant as a figure of speech, but the universe seemed to have taken it literally. Was that even remotely possible? What else had I said?
I pressed on, rounding the corner of my block, as I tried to recall everything Ahmed and I had said to each other that morning. Work stuff, files syncing, holiday season chit chat. Ahmed had complimented my new apartment and then seemed confused when I thanked him, saying he didn’t know I was moving. That had been a little weird. I’d told him not to worry about his toplessness and to get comfortable, which he certainly had; the man had beaten himself off on-camera without appearing to realize that I was still on the line—just like he’d said he wouldn’t! What had been his exact words, that once he was in his zone he wouldn’t realize I was there? Well, that seemed to have been true.
I swallowed the last bite of my sandwich and headed back toward my apartment. On the one hand everything I was thinking was completely bonkers. On the other hand, even if Ahmed’s cam performance didn’t need a paranormal explanation, his visible growth did. I’d just have to wait and see what happened next.
It was 1:00 p.m. sharp when I got back to my desk. I raised my convertible desk to standing height and woke my laptop. I logged in, greeted myself (“Good afternoon Jacob”), and got that same battery alert. Still low battery, still 1 hour remaining. Still weird, I thought, as I opened the video settings on V-ChatPro to check the new camera angle.
I inspected the replica of myself on the screen. I looked great and I knew it. There was a certain intensity to my blue-green eyes and my dark, triangular eyebrows. A certain vitality to my rich brown hair, which was cropped close on the sides but fell in loose curls on my forehead. A ruggedness to my square jaw, which, despite my having shaved that morning, was already beginning to subtly darken with stubble. Even my chest and shoulders visible in frame, though not particularly muscular, had a way of filling a shirt that I’d always thought was distinctly masculine. I smiled and my replica reciprocated before his face was covered by a dialogue box. Ahmed was calling. I accepted the call.
If there had been doubt in my mind that Ahmed was growing it was gone now. The white sleeveless undershirt that he now wore was comically small on him. Each of his massive pecs seemed to be at risk of spilling out at any moment and was straining the stretchy fabric to near breaking. His wide shoulders now filled the video frame, which seemed to be tilted upward as I could now see the ceiling behind Ahmed’s head. He’d gotten taller.
“Hey!” he said with a grin. “Have you moved in the last hour?”
“Ha ha,” I mock laughed. “Don’t worry, I took a lap.”
“Aha! I knew it, so you are a runner,” Ahmed said.
People always said this to me. It must be because of how I stayed so slim, or maybe it was my strong thighs and calves. Perhaps it was because I was always doing things like running 5 before and after work, or saying things like “I just got back from a run.”
Ahmed had that quizzical, mischievous look again. “Or,” he said slowly, tugging absently at his shirt, “maybe… you’re more of a gymnast.”
“Both,” I said matter-of-factly. “I was actually a competitive gymnast all through my undergrad, but it’s not as easy to do once you’re out of school. Hence the running. Though I still try to keep it up and stay flexible,” I reached an arm across my strong chest to massage my dense shoulder muscle. “Which can be hard when we’re spending so much time at a desk,” I added.
“Yeah, I bet.” Ahmed had a wild look in his eyes. “Tell me, when you were a gymnast did you have those showers with no doors like they have in the American movies?”
“Yep, those are real,” I confirmed. “I was never a fan of the set up.”
“Why not?” Ahmed asked with that mischievous grin. “I’m sure you had no reason to be embarrassed. I bet you always had the biggest dick in the room.”
It was true. At 8 inches soft, I’d never come across anyone with a heftier package. But how could he have known that? I was sure my camera had been off during our jack-off session that morning.
Ahmed looked distracted. He was peering away from his camera, searching for something on the bottom half of his screen, and twisting his shirt over his shoulders.
“Everything okay there?” I asked after a moment.
“Hmm? Yes, all good. Why?” he replied quickly.
“You seem uncomfortable in your shirt,” I said.
“Oh, that.” He said. “I think my clothes all shrank in the laundry. I can’t even get my arms into my shirts anymore.”
Yeah probably not, I thought wryly. Suddenly, an idea came to my mind. I paused, carefully selecting my words so I could try out my theory.
“Really?” I feigned surprise. “That sweater you’re wearing seems to fit you perfectly.”
In an instant, the image of Ahmed on my screen was no longer stretching the limits of a tiny white tank top, but was comfortably wrapped in a dark blue, high necked sweater. The soft, lustrous wool was nearly black except for where it caught the light hugging the curves of his muscular form, each blue highlight a hint at the powerful body beneath.
“Thanks,” Ahmed said quietly. He was inspecting his screen again. “You know, the video quality on this call is really clear.”
“It is,” I agreed. “It must be that update, the audio is better too,” I said, remembering how the sound of Ahmed moaning had surrounded me just hours ago. “It’s like you’re here in the room with me.”
“Well, yeah,” came a deep voice from behind me. “I’m right here.”
I spun on my heels. Sitting behind me on a mesh-back desk chair was Ahmed, dressed in that fitted blue-black sweater and light blue jeans that left similarly little to my imagination. He rose to his feet, and I followed him up with my eyes, gliding up his tree-trunk thighs and his formidable chest, and tilting my head back to see his face.
“We have got to talk,” I stammered, taking a step towards him.
“We really do,” Ahmed agreed, “But first…”
And all at once the gap between us had evaporated and we were kissing, his big hands roaming my back. I reached up to the back of his head to grab a fistful of hair, and he tilted his head forward in response, pulling my hand with him as he kissed down my neck. I gasped into his ear and slid my hands under his shirt, tracing the deep contours of his abs up to his chest.
“This,” I said, waving my hands trapped under Ahmed’s sweater, “needs to come off.”
Ahmed nodded and raised his arms. I took the cue to lift the sweater over his head, sliding my hands along his solid arms as I pulled the sweater off and tossed it aside.
“Much better,” I said.
I dropped my hands onto Ahmed’s bare shoulders, and he slipped his under my shirt and raised it over my head. He returned his hands to their home on my back and pulled me in closer to feel the heat radiating off his bare chest next to my face.
First with one leg, then the other, I reached around Ahmed’s waist and pulled myself upwards, scaling his body like a mountain and bringing myself to his eye level.
“This is much better,” he said, before moving in for a deep kiss.
Without breaking the kiss, Ahmed wrapped his arms beneath me and carried me to the bedroom where I disengaged and fell back onto the bed.
“These,” he said, reaching for the bottoms of my pant legs, “need to come off as well.”
I quickly removed my belt, letting Ahmed pull my pants off in one smooth motion. He then began kissing his way up my legs, over my calves and my gymnast-cum-runner thighs, until I could feel his warm mouth on my balls through my briefs.
Then he stopped. Surprised, I looked down at him. He was on all fours over my legs, his powerful shoulders filling my view, his head hovering over my crotch.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It’s just,” Ahmed paused. “I knew it was going to be big, but I still wasn’t prepared.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised. At 8 inches soft, my briefs could barely contain me. Hard like I was now, my erection erupted past my waist band and curved back slightly over my stomach, topping out just beneath my pecs.
Before I could offer any reassurance, Ahmed had already dived back in. He slowly licked up and down the sides of my shaft, pausing at the head, while reaching a warm hand into my briefs to play with my balls. I lay back in bliss while he alternated between licking me and stroking me, his tongue caressing my balls as he stroked.
After a while, I could feel myself getting close and told him to stop. I rolled to the side and reached into my nightstand for a condom and lube. My briefs now long gone, Ahmed had used the break in the action to catch up, stripping off his jeans and boxer briefs. He was now kneeling over me nude with his cock on full display, and, like the rest of him, it was noticeably larger than it had looked that morning.
“You’re not so small yourself you know,” I said as I handed Ahmed the condom.
“Don’t worry,” he replied. He freed the condom from its package and expertly rolled it down his shaft. “I’ll be careful.”
I handed Ahmed the lube and lay back to let him begin opening me up. He pressed in gently but firmly, first with one finger, then two, then three. I exhaled slowly, watching his face as he pressed on. Then, with a small gasp, I felt the head of his cock enter me. I raised my legs up to rest on his shoulders as he took hold of my waist and continued pushing forward. I grabbed Ahmed behind the neck and pulled him in.
Ahmed began thrusting, first slowly then more insistently, as I pulled him in for the kiss. I stroked myself as he thrusted, leaving one hand free for massaging my own hard chest, exploring his long back, squeezing his firm arms.
After some time Ahmed’s pace began to quicken. The now familiar sound of his breath in my ears grew loud and ragged. I could tell he was getting close. I moved my mouth off of his to suck on the base of his neck, while with my free hand I pinched his nipple. Ahmed let out a moan and we both came, shuddering in each other’s arms before he collapsed on top of me.
I lay there for a while, allowing the post orgasmic wave to flow through me, until I began to register a tightness in my hamstrings.
“Ahmed,” I whispered. “I need to put my legs down, you’re pinning them behind my head. Also you’re still inside me.”
Ahmed lifted his body and freed my legs. Then, after slowly pulling himself out of me, he removed and tied off the condom, dropped it in the wastebasket beside the bed, and lay down on his back next to me. I rolled onto my side to face him, placing my head on his chest, feeling it gently rise and fall beneath my head.
“What a day,” said Ahmed.
I smiled and closed my eyes. What a day indeed.
No sooner had my eyes closed than images of the day rushed into my mind: memories of Ahmed growing out of his clothes, appearing in my apartment, and fucking me silly. I also remembered that it was somehow my doing, that I was somehow speaking these things into reality. Suddenly alert, I reopened my eyes and began to sit up. I needed to get to the bottom of whatever was going on.
“Jacob, what time is it?” came Ahmed’s voice rough with sleep.
I glanced at the alarm clock. “4:15,” I said. It was already getting dark. Damn shortest day of the year.
I turned to look at Ahmed. His eyes were still closed. He looked peaceful, content, giving an angelic quality to his handsome face. I bent down to kiss him, and he responded in kind, pawing sleepily at my torso. After a moment, I broke the kiss and sat up straight.
“Why’d we stop?” Ahmed complained.
“Because,” I said, switching on a lamp and making Ahmed squint angrily at me, “we need to talk.”
“Okay,” he said, and sat up revealing his magnificent chest and abs that seemed to go on forever, “but only because you’re so sexy when you take charge.”
“I seem to remember you playing that role,” I retorted, remembering how he had carried me to the bedroom and yanked off my pants, remembering how hungrily he had kissed his way up my thighs. Those abs really do just keep going don’t they…
“Oh yeah?” he said. I felt his warm hand on my thigh, and my view of his abs was replaced by his face an inch away from mine. What was I talking about?
“Stop trying to distract me.” I gave him a playful shove in the chest. “This is important. I don’t know if you’re aware but there’s some really weird shit going on here.”
“Fine,” Ahmed sighed in mock disappointment. “You’re right, I’m aware. What I’m not aware of though is where my clothes are.”
“You are?” I watched him turn away and stand up to look for his pants. That was an ass I could stare at all day. “What do you know?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, stooping to pick up his boxer briefs and slide them on, “it’s confusing, and it doesn’t all add up. But it’s like everything I say about you becomes true.”
About me? I thought, puzzled by this response. Nothing about me had changed. “Like what?” I demanded.
“Like,” he paused, seemingly considering his words. “Okay, so first I want you to know, Jacob, that I always thought you were cute, and in fact I would have asked you out by now in different circumstances.”
I raised an eyebrow. Flattered as I was, I was suspicious of where this was going. “But?”
“But…” Another pause. “I may have altered your appearance. At first it was an accident, I misspoke or something and said you looked great, and I almost didn’t notice it because like I said you were already quite handsome but something changed and you just looked great. Like, I don’t know how to describe it. So then I figured something was up and I decided to see what would happen if I said you were a gymnast, and then you said you were one and you suddenly had the body to back it up and it was just so hot, the way you bulked up in a flash like that and…” he trailed off.
I stared at Ahmed incredulously. He was standing in his tight black underpants, a tower of muscle at the foot of the bed, but with the posture of a school boy who knew he was in trouble. I glanced down at myself, at the body I had spent years of hard work on, years of strength and agility training to support my athletic pursuits (and maybe some aesthetic pursuits as well). The memories felt real. Had Ahmed really created that? And had he really wanted to ask me out?
I looked back up at Ahmed who was gazing guiltily at his feet. There was something he wasn’t telling me. “And what?” I prodded.
He stood in silence, his hand covering his face. Suddenly, I remembered our conversation from earlier that day, what he had asked me after I’d told him about my gymnastics career.
“You grew my dick!” I announced. Ahmed silently dropped his hand to his hip and glared at me, his face bright red. I thought about the mischievous grin he’d been giving me all afternoon and did my best to return it.
“You did, admit it,” I continued, “I mean, I remember it always being this big, but let’s be real, I know it’s way bigger than most. And that comment you made about the showers, that was very suspicious!”
Ahmed was still glaring at me, red faced and tight lipped. “Fine,” he said after a moment, “I admit it, I grew your dick. Are you happy Jacob?”
I looked down past my enviable torso to my lap, the outline of my giant penis visible under the sheets. Who wouldn’t be happy? “Yes,” I replied.
“Well, you’re welcome,” he grumbled, resuming the search for his jeans. “I also got you this apartment, but I don’t hear a thank you.”
“You what?” I demanded.
Ahmed sighed. He had found his jeans and was holding them up in front of his legs, blocking my view. “This apartment,” he continued calmly. “It was actually the first clue I had that something was happening. It was definitely a virtual background at first. I could see it glitching out around the edges of your head. So I made a joke, I said ‘nice new apartment.’ And then you just said thanks and acted like it was real, and it stopped glitching, and I could see moving boxes in the background.
“What’s really strange,” he went on, “is that I also remember moving in with you over the weekend. Like I remember we planned it out, isolated for two weeks because of Covid, packed our stuff and moved. Which doesn’t make sense, because I also remember the digital background thing. Like I said, it’s not all adding up.”
Ahmed was seated next to me on the bed now. He’d pulled on his jeans and was scanning the floor, perhaps in search of an explanation for his confusing memories. Perhaps in search of his shirt, which I remembered was out in the den.
“Anyway,” he said, turning to face me, “that’s all I know. I don’t know how I did it. Your turn.”
Right, I thought. I’d been so lost in thought trying to take in this new information I’d forgotten I had some truth of my own to tell.
“Well,” I straightened up to look Ahmed in the eye. Even sitting down, I had to crane my neck to meet his gaze. “I don’t know how, and it feels ridiculous saying it, but it’s like you said. When I say things about you they become true.”
“Oh?” It was Ahmed’s turn to wear the mischievous grin. “What have you been saying about me?”
“Well… like you said, it was an accident. At least mostly. I think I teleported you here when I said it was like you were in the room. But it started when we were talking about your new chin-up bar and I said you were looking bigger every time I saw you, and then you were. Bigger. Every time I saw you.”
“Bigger how?” Ahmed asked, looking down appraisingly at himself.
“Bigger muscles for sure,” I replied, “all over. And you’re definitely taller than before. Also I’m pretty sure your dick is bigger too.”
“Well well well!” Ahmed’s grin had widened into a toothy smile. “I see the tables have turned! You grew my dick!”
“Not on purpose!” I retorted.
“Details.” Ahmed said dismissively. “Anyway how do we know it wasn’t always this size?
Now it was my turn to feel embarrassed. “This morning, I, uh, watched you, um, take care of yourself.”
Ahmed’s eyes grew wide.
“Listen,” I stammered, “it was your idea to leave the call going and I didn’t know what was going on yet, just that you were busting out of your shirt, and then you just started going for it like you didn’t realize I was there. Which I think is your fault by the way, because you had said something about being super focused and in the zone. And it’s not like I told you to do it, if anything I covered you up when I told you that your clothes fit.”
I took a deep breath and returned Ahmed’s hard stare, wishing he would give me a response, any response. Then, after what seemed like minutes, his stare broke and he let out a giggle which then burst into howls of laughter.
“What?” I asked with a slight smile as Ahmed lay back on the bed, his stomach tensing with laughter. Eventually he calmed down enough to speak.
“Remember how I said you were sexy when you take charge? Well you’re adorable when you get defensive.”
“Whatever,” I said, watching his abs twitch with the last few stray giggles. I followed them down until they disappeared into his light blue jeans.
“Okay fine,” Ahmed said. He propped himself up on his thick forearms and turned to face me. “I’m sorry for laughing. Now, is that everything you know?”
“Yes, that’s it.” I confirmed, distracted by the way his obliques revealed themselves as he twisted his torso toward me.
“Right,” Ahmed said, clapping his hands together and rising to his feet. “Then what we need to do is test our hypotheses.”
“Okay Mr. Scientist,” I said, casting my gaze around for my own pants. I was beginning to feel quite naked now that Ahmed was (partially) dressed and had shifted into fact finding mode. “What do you suggest?”
“First to recap, we think that whatever we suggest is true about each other becomes true upon saying it, with the other’s memories being altered to suit the new reality.” He stated, as if he was describing a mundane programming function. “So we should try it, see if it works, and then troubleshoot accordingly. Quick, say something that isn’t true.”
I said the first thing that came to mind. “I sure am glad I know where my pants are.”
Ahmed frowned at me. “Fine, I guess that counts. So did it work? Do you know where your pants are?”
I cast my eyes around the room once more, but my pants were nowhere to be found. “No,” I replied.
“Crap,” said Ahmed. He bent down, his head and shoulders disappearing behind the edge of the bed, and reappeared holding my pants and underwear. “Here,” he grunted, tossing them my way.
“Thanks,” I deadpanned. I caught my flying clothes out of the air and slipped them on, enjoying the way they hugged my ass. The way they hugged my new ass, I reminded myself. “So what do you think went wrong?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Ahmed said pensively. “Is it because you said something about yourself?”
“I don’t think so,” I replied. “You suggested yourself into not realizing I was watching you jack off, remember? Anyway, I can test out something about you, just to be sure.” I thought for a second, and then spoke. “Hey, that shirt looks really good on you.”
Ahmed looked down at his bare chest in disappointment. “No shirt,” he said flatly.
I followed Ahmed’s gaze to his naked torso, sharing none of his disappointment, glad that my view remained unobstructed by clothing. “Yeah,” I said dumbly.
“Think,” Ahmed said, still focused on the task at hand. “What was the common factor between all the changes that isn’t true now?”
I stood up and walked around the bed toward Ahmed. I didn’t have any new ideas, but I was suddenly aware of how long it had been since I was this close to someone. It had been a long nine months of social distance and virtual meetings. Then it hit me.
“It was on video chat!” I blurted. “Everything we said before was over V-Chat.”
Ahmed’s eyes lit up. Then, after an instant’s hesitation, he bolted out the door. I followed him out of the bedroom, past the living room and into the den where our laptops sat open and waiting. With a shake of my mouse, I woke my laptop and was greeted with a familiar dialogue box.
Your computer is now running on very low battery. Please connect to external power.
Estimated battery remaining: 6 minutes.
“Uh oh.” I glanced at the clock. It was 4:54PM.
“What’s wrong?” Ahmed asked.
“My battery,” I replied. “It’s, well I guess it’s not the weirdest thing to happen today, anyway, this morning it said it would only last me one hour, but it never ran out. Though now it looks like it will run out after eight hours, it’s giving me a countdown to 5:00.”
“Huh,” said Ahmed. He looked up from his computer screen and turned towards me. “Isn’t that, like, the thing that Chanukah is about?”
“I can assure you they didn’t have laptop batteries back then,” I said.
“No, not that,” Ahmed rolled his eyes. “I mean, wasn’t there something about candles that were going to burn out but they lasted 8 hours?”
“Nights,” I replied. “It was 8 nights, and it was an oil lamp, not candles. But yeah that’s how the story goes. The oil burned for 8 nights until they were able to get some more and keep the flame going.”
“Well, here, have some more oil,” Ahmed unplugged his laptop and handed me the cord.
“Thanks,” I said doubtfully. I replaced my power cord with Ahmed’s, and with that the dialogue box disappeared.
“Ha! It’s a miracle!” I said. “Happy holidays.”
“Season’s greetings,” said Ahmed, returning to his laptop. “Now focus, we have another miracle to investigate.”