The ride

by Cris Kane

A benevolent shapeshifter hitches a ride with a redneck in need of a change.

Added: Sep 2020 8,497 words 3,845 views 5.0 stars (3 votes)

I’ve been told that it’s foolish to hitchhike in this day and age, but I actually prefer it as a way of meeting new people.

You really get to know someone on a long drive, much more than on a plane ride when the person next to you tends to watch a movie or read a book or pretends to sleep in order to avoid contact, and the whole trip is over in a few hours. Trains used to be my travel option of choice. You could spend days getting acquainted, and the private sleeping cars were perfect for my purposes. But times change, and I have adapted.

If there’s one thing shape-shifters know, it’s how to adapt.

Some people feel that hitchhiking is just too dangerous, and that you can never be sure what kind of person you’re riding with.

That’s why it’s valuable to be able to read your companion’s mind.

And as for being dangerous…well, I have yet to encounter anyone who I couldn’t handle.

One of the perks of being able to change your appearance at will when you’re hitchhiking is that you can tailor your image for maximum appeal to those most likely to offer you a lift. I had been wandering the midwest for the past six months and was yearning to see the ocean again, so I began thumbing my way westward. To improve my odds, I very rarely pose as a man. Even the meekest, most harmless looking nerd can be perceived as a potential serial killer when standing alone on the dusty gravel shoulder on a bleak Nebraska afternoon. Perhaps it’s unfair, but I have also discovered that drivers also assume that a man should be able to figure his own way out of whatever jam he finds himself in without anyone else’s help. That’s why, when I’m traveling, I generally choose to look female.

At least to start.

When particularly desperate, I will morph into the form of an elderly lady who appears to have wandered away from her nursing home. When I appear like that, only the most stone-hearted can drive past me without any qualms of conscience, but those who do stop for me are usually too kindly and decent to derive the most benefit from my special rewards.

No, to best attract the kind of person who could truly use my help, I’ve found my best bet is to look like a helpless young woman. Attractive but approachable. Slender but not supermodel skinny. Shoulder-length hair – any color seems to work. Most importantly, plenty of tanned skin on display. I pick up the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue every year, just to keep up with the latest trends in catching the eye of the North American heterosexual male, who I’ve found are by far the most likely to pick up a young lady desperate for a ride.

I had been hanging around for a couple of hours at the truck stop just off I-70 near Abilene, Kansas, in search of a worthy target. I had seen plenty of sad cases who I’m sure could have benefited in some way from my expertise, but I was eager to find someone who desperately needed my intervention, even if they didn’t know it. That’s why my psychic radar went into overdrive the moment I saw…him.

At first glance, he may not have seemed any more deserving than the other lonely men drifting through Abilene at sunset on their way to someplace equally bereft of charm. In some ways, he looked like your garden-variety redneck, a prime example of Bubba Americanus, with his beard, his red trucker hat, and what I’ve learned is quaintly described as a “wife-beater” shirt. But there was something almost too cliched about him, as if he were trying a bit too hard to conform to his stereotype. A Confederate flag not only adorned his cap but “waved” proudly from a tattoo on his shoulder. With a cowboy’s lope, his brown leather boots clopped on the asphalt as he strode from the convenience store to his red pickup truck, chugging from a can of Lone Star beer. Just in case it had escaped anyone’s notice that he was a proud southerner, the outline of the state of Texas shone on the belt buckle that held up his faded Levi’s.

But when you spend as much time studying humanity as I have, you become something of a Sherlock Holmes, learning to pick up on telltale clues that are more revealing than the subject realizes. In my experience, for example, most rednecks have stains of some sort on their “wife-beaters” – dirt or liquor or blood – yet this boy’s ribbed white tank top was a crisp, freshly-laundered white, suggesting an uncharacteristic fussiness about his appearance. Similarly, his polished boots were unscuffed, showing no trace of mud or excrement of any kind, and his pickup was in pristine condition, its immaculately-waxed paint job gleaming in the late afternoon glare. His beard was not the haphazard scruff of a man who is too busy on the back forty to care about his looks, but neatly trimmed and uniform in length. Even his impressive top-heavy physique seemed less the byproduct of backbreaking toil on a farm or at a factory than the result of hours of pumping and preening at the local gym. All in all, his carefully-crafted authenticity was simply too studied to be believed.

I needed to find out more. But in order to do that, I found it best to stick to my general theory of hitching. Lurking unnoticed behind a diesel pump, I adjusted my appearance to create the most impact. All I needed to do was envision the end result and I could will my cut-off shorts to rise even higher on my gravity-defying buttocks or morph the comfy sneakers I had been wearing into high-heeled sandals that accentuated the length and tone of my deeply tanned legs. I transformed my easy-to-manage brunette bob into waves of scarlet tresses and swapped my sweatshirt for a cut-off tee bearing the words “Lynyrd Skynyrd” (which I had learned with some embarrassment some years ago was a band of southern American musicians and not a tiny Welsh fishing village). A strategic tear between “Lynyrd” and “Skynyrd” displayed my impressive cleavage. Even if my assumptions were correct, this boy would be unlikely to resist giving a lift to such a culturally idealized example of feminine pulchritude.

Crossing the blacktop toward him, I exaggerated the waggle of my hips, staying just this side of parody. In my peripheral vision, I could tell that I was attracting eyeballs of other customers, but I kept my sights on my target, who remained oblivious as he sat in the cab of his truck and nibbled on a Slim Jim. When I reached his open window, I planted my feet and leaned forward, propping my elbows against his door in order to give him an unobstructed view down the cleft of my shirt.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” I said with breathless innocence, having decided that a slightly husky voice would give me my best shot.

His eyes widened with surprise as he turned his head to see me. “Uh…whoa…howdy there, ma’am,” he sputtered with a thick twang that sounded more genuine than I anticipated. He might not be truly of his environment, but he had been swimming in it long enough for at least some of it to seep in. I was amused that he referred to me as “ma’am”, as he was clearly in his mid-twenties and I had consciously made myself look no more than twenty-one to suggest maximum vulnerability.

“I swear I’m really not the type of person who just walks up to total strangers,” I said, even though I have spent decades doing nothing but that. “But my asshole boyfriend and I got in a stupid fight, and the shitheel drove off without me. Can you believe that?”

“No, ma’am. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind leaving someone like you behind.” His tone was sweet, not lecherous. I had half-expected him to say “a fine young filly like you” or some such regional colloquialism, but he seemed to feel no need to butter me up unnecessarily.

“Well, I didn’t say he was in his right mind,” I said with a coy giggle, peering through my long red bangs into his dark brown eyes. “I don’t suppose you might be heading west at all.”

I saw a slight hesitation in his eyes. From the spotless condition of the inside of the cab, I had a feeling that he rarely if ever allowed anyone else to ride in his truck. I heard an older gentleman behind me, who had clearly been eavesdropping, shout, “I’m goin’ as far as Oakley,” but I knew I was close to reeling in my white whale. I cheated a bit and grew my eyes a wee bit larger in his presence, the better to look forlorn and desperate, like one of those sad children in a Keane painting. As I expected, displaying more white of the eye sealed the deal.

“Matter o’ fact, I am goin’ to Denver tonight. Would that he’p you?” He’p. Good lord, I longed to be back in a proper city where all consonants are treated equally.

“Oh muh god, would it!”, I gushed, placing my palm appreciatively upon his Stars-and-Bars-inked shoulder. He gave an “it’s nothing” shrug and I dashed around the the passenger door, relieved that I wouldn’t need to totter in these god-awful shoes any longer. He leaned across and opened the door for me like a gentleman and I hopped in ass first. “Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Urine angel!”

“Aaah,” he said, dismissively snapping his hand at the wrist. “Beats drivin’ alone. Ah’m Daniel,” he told me, extending his hand to shake.

“Jeanne,” I replied, leaning over to kiss him on the smooth part of his cheek, just above his beard. He smiled, somewhat embarrassed, then pulled on his seat belt and revved his engine. The air was suffused with the scent of the citrus air freshener dangling from the rear-view mirror.

I nestled into my seat, trying to get cozy for the ride ahead. I kicked off my sandals and propped my bare feet against the dash. I could sense him tensing up, weighing whether to say anything. When I slid the handle to the glove box between my big toe and its neighbor, I had crossed the line of propriety. Doing his best to make it sound unimportant, he asked hesitantly, “Hey, wouldja mind not puttin’ yer feet on the dash?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, pulling my feet back and leaving them hovering in midair.

With a nervous laugh, he assured me, “It’s no big deal, it’s just… I just kinda lahk to keep everythin’ clean is all.”

“Not a problem,” I said, lowering my feet to the plush floor mat, smiling as Daniel began to confirm my suspicions.

Although I do have a gift for sensing what’s in another person’s mind, I still like to glean as much information as I can through conversation and observation. Not only is it more of a challenge, keeping me from growing bored over time, but sometimes people’s true thoughts are buried too deep for me to access readily. Other things are simply easier to learn by asking. Like, I could have sussed out Daniel’s name by digging into his thoughts, but most people tend to think of themselves as “I” or “me”, meaning their real name isn’t typically floating at the front of their consciousness unless asked specifically.

On the other hand, I’m pretty good at sensing someone’s emotional responses, and I could detect nothing in Daniel’s brainwaves that told me he was sexually interested in his buxom new traveling companion, even as her smooth legs crept in his direction along the floor of the cab. Rather, Daniel reached into the plastic bag beside him and held out an unopened Slim Jim. “Want one?”

“No, thanks, I’m good,” I assured him.

“So, Denver your final stop?”, he asked innocuously.

“Nope. San Francisco.”

“Oh. Ha! Frisco. Hmm.”

“You ever been?”, I asked.

“Me? Naw!” He sounded more forceful than necessary. “Not ‘zac’ly the kinda place for me.”

“Oh? Why’s that?” All innocence.

He chuckled nervously. “I’m just a shit-kickin’ country boy. I’m happy where I am.”

“Oh, you’re really missing out. San Francisco’s got amazing culture. There’s so much to see. The museums, the theater, the opera…”

“The Grand Ole Opry’s about as much opera as I need,” he insisted with a laugh. “No, I don’t think I’d care for that whole San Francisco…lifestyle.”

As the sun crept below the horizon, we chatted casually about our lives. My tale was largely cobbled together from anecdotes I had gleaned over the years from the people I had encountered and helped set on new paths. My own true story would have been far beyond his comprehension and would likely have spooked him too much to let me continue riding. I did say that I had already told him one lie, though. “When I said I got left behind by my boyfriend, it was actually…my girlfriend.”

I watched closely for his reaction. He merely kept his eyes riveted on the road and said matter-of-factly, “Girlfriend, huh? That’s cool.” I keyed in on what I could detect going on inside his brain. On previous occasions when I had used this strategy, most straight guys grew more interested once a “fine young filly” dropped the bombshell that she was into the ladies. The more religious and/or homophobic men will initially flinch with distaste, followed quickly by vision of me in bed with some fantasy chick straight out of their dreams. Daniel, however, just seemed uncomfortable with the entire subject. Oh, Daniel. What will I do with you?

Seriously, that’s exactly what I was wondering, what to do with him.

Daniel’s story gave the lie to his claim to be a happy shit-kicking country boy. His was a tale of boredom and anonymity in a small town, of life live in the shadow of both oil wells and an overachieving older brother. Big bro Tommy quarterbacked his high-school football team to a state championship, which even I knew was enough to earn sainthood in Texas. “Don’t get me wrong. Tommy’s like my best friend in the world,” he assured me, “but I always fig’red I knew how Jesus’s little brother woulda felt.”

I gave Daniel a playful fist-tap on his pumped-up biceps. “You must be a pretty good athlete yourself, from the looks of you.”

He winced and said, “I’m not real good at any pa’tic’lar sport. I just like liftin’. You know, to stay fit and all.”

The only time he sounded truly enthusiastic about anything was when our talk turned to cars. He worked at a garage and seemed to know everything about the subject. I could feel that he was telling me the truth, although I had never before encountered an auto mechanic without grease permanently embedded in his fingernails (not to mention a spotlessly clean undershirt). He told me he was driving to Denver in order to pick up a wrecked Ferrari that he planned to bring back to its original glory.

“Ooh, a Ferrari! That ought to turn some heads in ol’ Shitburg.” I had already forgotten the actual name of his hometown. It wasn’t important to my mission. “Drivin’ around in that you’ll have to beat off all your admirers.” Daniel rolled his eyes and blushed. “So, you got a special girl back home?”

Daniel’s thick chest muscles bobbed up and down in his tank top as he held back a laugh. “Not really,” he said with more than a tinge of embarrassment.

“Not really special or not really…a girl?” I said it with a smile, trying to pass it off as a joke, not wanting to seem like I was prying…even though that was precisely what I was doing.

Daniel cleared his throat and forced out another chuckle. “No, nothing like… It’s just… I’m not… like that. Okay?”

“Okay, okay,” I backed off, wondering if my first act should be change his name to Denial. Hardly the biggest change I had in mind. Just a swap of two letters, but it seemed to fit him so much better.

An awkward silence descended on the truck for the first time, as the stars began to take their places in the darkening sky. Daniel switched on the radio to a country station, clearly not caring that the signal was filled with static and the lyrics were indecipherable. He wasn’t listening anyway. I knew that he was just trying to drown out the inconvenient thoughts which my question had dredged up.

Do I know how to pick ‘em or what?

I closed my eyes and leaned my head back to formulate my plan of action.

In my journeys, I have encountered other shape-shifters who can only alter their own bodies. Some alter their appearance but remain human. I’ve met some who have the ability to change gender, while others cannot. Some are able to dream up new clothing, others must scavenge to find clothes that fit their new body. Some can only transform into different animals, which carries with it the danger of losing awareness your humanity and remaining stuck as an animal forever. A few can become stone or metal, which strikes me as rather dull and sedentary. For the record, I can do all of the above, but I also have the rare if not unique gift of being able to cause the same kind of changes in others. In over fifty years of roaming the earth, I have never met anyone else with this…talent? Skill? Blessing? Curse? It has made me feel both very special and very alone. Even among other shape-shifters, I feel like an outsider. I think it spooks them to discover that someone else could actually overpower their own abilities and change them against their will.

Truth is, I’ve been creating new identities for myself as long as I can remember. Longer, actually, since I can’t recall the first time I did it. I don’t even remember my original gender, or if I had one. I don’t remember having a family, and have come to assume that either I was shunned for my peculiar gift or, the more benign explanation, I changed my appearance and my parents never were able to find me because they could no longer recognize me. Whatever happened, I was a child alone in the world, figuring out my powers as I went along.

I admit that, in my rebellious teen years, I changed plenty of people in horrible ways, turning them into their worst nightmares out of spite, avenging the merest slights by changing someone into an ogre or a toad. It seemed to sate my immediate desire for retribution and temporarily ease my anger over being such an outcast, but it left me empty inside. Then, when I realized how destructive my behavior was, I decided that I would simply flee from an uncomfortable situation at the slightest sign of conflict, instantly altering my appearance so I wouldn’t be recognized, losing myself in the crowed, until another uncomfortable situation would inevitably arise and I felt the need to change myself again. During this period, I never changed another person. I only wanted to change who I was.

In my twenties, I was consumed with trying to figure out my true self, until I became fully aware of my ability to perceive the inner thoughts of others. I became more conscious of the feelings of others and how nearly everyone feels lost and confused in some way. Knowing how natural it was to feel “different”, I finally accepted who I was: one person who can become all people and who can change all people.

From that point forward, I vowed only to do good deeds. When I encountered someone who was deeply unhappy or conflicted about something in their life, I would do whatever was in powers to rectify that problem. And as I began to see the positive effects of my actions, I started to feel good about myself, almost like a superhero. I realized I couldn’t change the entire world, but if I could change one miserable person’s world, and then another’s, that was satisfaction enough.

I would set myself missions. I spent one entire summer roaming the all-you-can-eat buffets of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, surreptitiously slimming down the morbidly obese. The key, I discovered, was that if you gave someone what they most desperately desired, their mind didn’t quibble over how it happened. Obviously two hundred pounds of fat don’t simply evaporate in an afternoon, but the human brain has an enormous capacity for rationalization. Many would call the change a miracle and give the credit to God, and for all I know, they’re right. I don’t know how I got these abilities. Maybe they did come from God and I’m just doing his work, although if that’s the case, I wish he would talk to me and say so. But the remarkable thing is, in the vast majority of cases, people simply accept the changes, no matter how dramatic, and move forward with their lives. Most of the time, the people I altered soon forgot that they had ever been any different. And that’s just fine by me.

Sure, it would be nice to get a “thank you” once in a while, but if people were aware of what I was up to, I think the overwhelming temptation would be for them to attempt to exploit my abilities for money or power or fame. I would be besieged by people, desperate for me to undo their baldness or make them prettier or give them an erection lasting four hours. I like my place in the world, dispensing favors as I see fit, discovering the people who need me, setting them on a new and happier course, and then moving on. When I need to earn some money to finance my travels, I’ll settle down in one identity for a while, work some anonymous job and improve a few lives, always careful to vanish before anyone figures out that that odd newcomer is the reason for all the unexplained changes that have been occurring.

So here I was, in the middle of a six-hour drive to Denver with an uneasy young man behind the wheel beside me. My only goal was to help him come to terms with the primal feelings he was so clearly suppressing and which, from my brief perusal of his interior monologue, he had never dared to act upon. Luckily for me, by stirring up these emotions in young Daniel’s mind, I was picking up clues from his subconscious that told me the man he wished he could be.

I looked across the tiny cab at Daniel, his eyes fixed on the road, his muscular body impressively displayed by the dim blue glow emitted by the dashboard. He was a handsome boy, so I wouldn’t need to alter his body much. But this camouflage of hickdom in which he had cloaked himself would have to go.

The first step was so simple, it involved no supernatural powers at all. I simply reached over and grabbed that awful red cap from his head, rolled down my window, and chucked it outside.

“Hey!” he snapped. “What the hell?”

“I’m sorry,” I lied. “But the Civil War has been over for 150 years. Get over it. Y’all lost.”

“Oh, them’s fightin’ words, Yankee,” he said in mock indignation. The ease with which he dealt with the loss of his hat told me that he wasn’t a particularly die-hard Confederate patriot. It was simply part of the image he had been striving so hard to project, in order to fit in back home. Hopefully I could make him realize that his body was his true home, and that it was the only place where he truly needed to fit in and feel comfortable.

“Besides, you look so much more handsome without it. Now I can see your beautiful hair.”

Even in the dashboard light, I could see his face flush as being called “handsome”. He did look better now, although his hair had suffered from being imprisoned for so long, taking on the contours of the hat. That’s where I decided to begin my renovation project in earnest.

I have no idea how I ever discovered that I had the power to transform people and objects. Again, it goes back further than my memories. I know that it requires concentration, but not much effort. If I can clearly visualize what I want to occur, it simply…happens. One moment I was pondering how Daniel would look with a crew cut, the next moment his hair was rearranging itself, its strands appearing to retract into his skull until his messy mop became a dashing Caesar cut. I could tell that Daniel sensed something was happening, but it merely registered as a tingle across the surface of his scalp. He raised a hand to scratch his head but made no indication that he realized his hair had suddenly become much more fashionable and stylish.

Next, I set my sights on his beard. It was neatly kept, and I knew it would be a turn-on to some of those whom Daniel might wish to turn on, but I felt his transition would become easier the further away he moved from his old image. I imagined him clean-shaven and watched his whiskers vanish. I’ve always wondered what happened to the things I wished into oblivion. Was there a room up in heaven where Daniel’s beard was now materializing, waiting to be reunited with him when he died like a lost pet? When I was younger, my days were filled with questions like these, but in the absence of answers, I eventually simply stopped asking.

Daniel must have felt an unfamiliar coolness across his cheeks, for he took one hand off the wheel and rubbed his smooth skin. His eyebrows furrowed with puzzlement, but his brain simply accepted the new reality and the brief confusion quickly passed.

As I looked at that bushy near-unibrow, I realized that it too could stand some refinement. I always felt sorry for non-shapeshifters who couldn’t simply dream up a haircut or an eyebrow waxing. Then again, if everyone were like me, a lot of barbers and hair stylists would be out of work. With a simple thought, Daniel’s eyebrows thinned out, making him seem less angry and animalistic.

“How are you feeling?”, I asked curiously over the fuzzy sounds of the radio.

“Me? Ah’m fine.” If he was perturbed by anything that had happened so far, I saw no evidence of it.

Unfortunately, the next phase would be more disruptive.

The monotony of the drive across the plains had freed Daniel’s mind enough that the thoughts he usually tried to bury were boiling to the surface. If I did my job properly, he would realize that these thoughts could remain on the surface as the building blocks of his new identity. I closed my eyes and let my mind drift until I could feel myself entering Daniel’s brain, not just as an interloper rummaging through his thoughts for clues but as a friendly, encouraging presence.

I’m rarely surprised by what I find when I mosey into someone’s private musings, although I’ve definitely encountered some sick individuals whose minds I had to escape quickly before their darkness hitched a ride back to take residence inside of me. Daniel’s head was a refreshingly pleasant place to visit. Poor guy had been depriving himself for so long, even the erotic images he was allowing himself to entertain were on the PG-13 side. They did, however, provide me clear guidance on what might make his wall of denial come tumbling down, and it sure wasn’t a big-breasted redhead.

The closest I come to knowing how it feels to be one of the subjects of my makeovers is when I tap into their desires and allow myself to be reshaped to match their fantasies. Even though I’m technically in control of the process and can stop it if I want, I usually relax and surrender myself to the experience, as if descending into a hypnotic trance until the change is complete. I’ve been morphed into some pretty strange shapes in this way, becoming people or creatures I could never had imagined on my own. But from the glimpses I’d gotten of Daniel’s fantasies, I felt confident that I would enjoy being the end result.

I rested my head against the window and focused on the hum of the tires rumbling across the roadway as my bones and flesh became Daniel’s plaything. The best way I can describe it is that I feel like modeling clay being kneaded by invisible hands, or like I’m being given a deep-tissue massage performed from the inside out. The waves of hair that had brushed my cheeks and tickled my shoulder blades were swept away. I felt my body growing heavier and longer, my legs and arms plumping up, getting thicker and harder in all the right spots. Although I genuinely feel no particular allegiance to any gender or sexual preference, I must admit to experiencing an extra burst of pleasure when my groin sprouts a penis. I think it’s just my fascination with possessing an organ which, in its own way, can transform itself from a shriveled dwarf into a towering giant as dramatically as I can reshape the rest of my body. I felt my newly created cock stiffening in my shorts from the excitement of the process, just as the rest of me was bulging and solidifying, transforming me from slim, pretty Jeanne into…

“Holy fuck!”

Daniel screamed in terror and confusion, slamming on the brakes and skidding the truck onto the shoulder of the interstate. I was flung forward toward the dashboard, but my strong arms and keen reflexes kept my head from slamming against the windshield. It had been a while since I had undergone a change in a moving car, and now I remembered why I had stopped doing it. There was no way I could prevent the other person from noticing my changes and freaking the fuck out.

Daniel pinned himself against his door and was breathing heavily, his eyes wide with fear. “What the fuck are you?”

I flipped down the sun visor and checked my reflection in the mirror. Daniel indeed had excellent taste. I now sported a brown military cut, pale blue eyes, high cheekbones and a firm jaw bristled with a five-o’clock shadow. I turned to my maker with a smile and spoke in a rich baritone. “I’m Gene.”

Of course, Gene still was dressed a little strangely, with a bulging cock straining the fabric of Jeanne’s skimpy shorts and a newly muscular torso which didn’t fill out torn Skynyrd shirt quite so alluringly. I took a moment to reconfigure my wardrobe, unconcerned whether Daniel witnessed this next transformation. The cat was already out of the bag, and he would either rebel against it or feel liberated by it. My sinewy quads felt quick relief as the hem of my Daisy Dukes stopped digging into my flesh and the denim magically rewove itself into a pair of loose cargo shorts. My belly-baring t-shirt lengthened its tail while buttons and a collar emerged and elastic cuffs crept downward until they clung around my impressively bulging biceps. And although I was still barefoot, I reworked Jeanne’s discarded high-heeled sandals into topsiders that would fit my size-twelve feet.

“You tell me what’s goin’ on right the fuck now or else I’m gonna…” Daniel understandably didn’t know how to complete that sentence. How could he possibly know how to react to my unexplainable transformation? I could only help ease him through the process by being as honest as I could, knowing from experience that his fear should soon subside and he would emerge a happier person.

“Don’t be scared, Daniel. I’m your fantasy. I’m the man you’ve wanted all these years but never let yourself have.”

“What are you talkin’ about? I ain’t no fag!” he shouted vehemently, with a crack in his voice that indicated a fissure in his carefully contrived self-image.

I dared to slide an inch in Daniel’s direction, and he pressed himself even closer to his door. “Don’t you want me, Daniel? Don’t I look the way you want me to?”

“Stop! Stop! I tol’ you, I ain’t no fag.”

“If I got anything wrong, just say the word and I’ll change. I just want you to like me.”

The hysteria in his face and voice dissipated into disbelief. “What the fuck are you? A witch? Or the devil?”

“I’m just someone who wants to help you,” I said in a soothing tone. Daniel’s hands were trembling, and he flinched when I rested my hand gently on his knee. But his expression softened as he allowed himself to gaze upon the man now sharing his cab. Not only had Daniel never done this before, but the man he conjured up was even bigger and stronger than he was, so I realized I was going to have to take command of the situation. I leaned closer, placing my strong hands upon his meaty shoulders and gently kissing his lips. He squirmed and muttered some muted expletives and landed a few protesting blows against my well-padded chest before he abandoned all pretense of resistance and surrendered to his desires. He parted his lips and let Gene’s tongue inside.

As cars whizzed past us on the interstate, we became lost in the passion of the moment. I flexed my arms, reaching upward to peel off my polo shirt and reveal the exquisitely sculpted torso that Daniel had envisioned for me. Left to my own imagination, I couldn’t have built myself a better body, and through Gene’s eyes, I was also gaining a deeper appreciation for Daniel’s ripped physique, one that took real toil and sweat and persistence to achieve. I wrapped my fingers around the straps of his tank top and yanked them until they snapped, rendering the shirt into scraps and flinging them aside. I lowered my face toward his chest and ran my tongue in a circle around one of his alert nipples. Daniel let out a blissful moan and I felt his hard-on squirm inside his jeans. “Oh, fuck me,” he gasped, simultaneously an exclamation, a plea and a command.

I unhitched his state-of-Texas belt buckle, making a mental note to replace it later, then unbuttoned the fly of his 501s and released his still-growing cock from its tighty-whitey straitjacket. At the same time, Daniel’s fingers were scrambling to unzip my cargo shorts, so I helped him with the task, pulling them down to reveal a rock-hard ten-incher (thanks again, Daniel’s imagination!) which was unrestrained by any underwear at all.

As I tried to maneuver into a comfortable position between Daniel and the steering wheel, he suddenly froze up, pressed his palms firmly against my hairy chest and whispered, “Wait, wait, wait!”

I reared back, worried that I had been pushing Daniel to accept his new reality too quickly. “What’s the matter?”

He grinned up at me sweetly. “If we’re going to do this, I want it to be special.”

Which is how we ended up in that most romantic of settings, a Motel 6 in the town of Goodland, Kansas. What can I say? It was the first motel we came upon, and Daniel was in no mood to be patient.

We must have looked incredibly flustered as we entered the office to check in, both of us with disheveled hair, our skins red with the flush of suspended arousal. I had hastily pulled my clothes back on, and Daniel stuffed his undeflated erection back into his Levi’s, its contours plainly visible through the fabric. I suppose I could have conjured up a shirt to replace his irreparably shredded tank, but I was enjoying the view of his jacked torso too much to let him cover it up. Daniel still felt a compulsion to present himself as straight, pointedly telling the clerk that “my brother and I here” would like a room “with two separate beds”, but I’m sure she was not fooled. From her blase expression, I could tell she had dealt with far stranger arrivals than a couple of horny young men sporting conspicuous boners inside their pants.

We stumbled into our room and toppled immediately onto the full-size bed closest to the door, knowing that the second bed would remain unused. I could see Daniel desperately strategizing how to remove his boots without allowing his lips to lose contact with mine. He yanked one off and tossed it across the room where it knocked an ice bucket to the floor. The second boot was causing him more of a struggle, so I simply willed it into nonexistence. I sensed Daniel’s momentary confusion as the leather disappeared into nothingness, but by now his brain was so overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of so many unexplainable events in a row that he simply shrugged it off. He returned his focus to groping my body, sliding his hands under my polo and tracing his fingers across my six-pack as if messages were carved there in Braille.

Daniel had lowered his jeans, extracting his cock which was now pressed between our stomachs. I wrapped a hand around his solid chunk of meat, which seemed maxed out at six inches. Knowing that Daniel would feel insecure enough about himself as he adapted to his new persona, I coaxed his flesh along until it was a more impressive nine inches, giving him something he would be proud to show off. “Oh…my…god,” he gasped. “It’s never gotten that big before.” I just smiled, declining to accept credit.

I brushed my fingers through his hair and watched it slowly brighten, shifting from a dull brown to dirty blond until I finally settled on a honeyed gold that further separated him from his previous image. I leaned down and nibbled his left earlobe, eliciting a yowl of pain when I bit, an action which perfectly disguised the moment in which a diamond stud earring pierced his skin. For balance, I did the same to his right ear. He was becoming a very pretty boy.

As I leaned down to nuzzle Daniel’s shoulder, my eye fell upon his rebel-flag tattoo, which I found too distracting to leave alone. I placed my palm over the tattoo and concentrated. When I removed my hand, the skin was in the midst of reinking itself, the Confederate stars-and bars fading away and replaced by pastel shades of the rainbow. I was making it virtually impossible for Daniel to deny his true orientation from now on. While I was in the area, I caressed his arms and force them to expand within my grip, his already impressive shoulders and biceps growing in heft, with veins rising to snake their way across the surface.

I leaned back, straddling his body, inspecting my handiwork with a satisfied grin. Daniel wore a blissful smile as he stroked his elongated cock in one hand and lazily brushed his hairless chest with the other. I stripped off my shirt and climbed out of my shorts, then flipped Daniel over and tugged his jeans and briefs down to reveal his firm bubble of an ass. “Oh, yes, do it,” he begged, panting.

I knew his first time was going to be painful, especially given the hefty kielbasa he had bestowed upon this body. I rubbed my hands soothingly across his broad back and cooed, “I’m gonna take it slow, baby. You tell me if it starts to hurt too much.” He mumbled his agreement and grasped the headboard in his hands.

Before you get the wrong idea, let me make it clear that I am not the kind of person who gallivants around the world solely with the intention of creating gorgeous fuck partners. As a matter of fact, it had been months since I had screwed someone I transformed. But in this case, I knew that having sex with a man would be a necessary step if Daniel was to fully accept himself and his deepest desires. So, you see, from a practical perspective, I was just doing what the situation required.

That said, it felt fucking fantastic.

As expected, Daniel did scream mightily as I pushed my way between his tight cheeks, but each shout resolved with a satisfied moan. I was grateful it was a slow night at the Motel 6, so that we didn’t have any neighbors who could complain about the noise. As I buried my shaft further into Daniel, his vocabulary was reduced to the word “Yes”, repeated emphatically in every possible inflection. His enthusiasm drove me to be more vigorous, ramming him harder and harder until I finally released a gusher of cum deep inside of him. He let out a low moan that continued as his weary arms loosened their grip on the headboard and slid down to the bed.

I pulled out, lowered my body onto Daniel’s sweat-soaked back and pressed my cheek beside his. Into his ear, I whispered, “How was that?”

He exhaled a mighty sigh and murmured, “Worth the wait.”

I rolled onto the mattress and Daniel turned over, revealing that his cock was still hard and red, pinned against his abs and oozing a pearl of pre-cum into the depression at the base of his breastbone. I said, “Let me help you with that,” and repositioned myself to get a better angle from which to give him head. He was already so worked up, I knew I wouldn’t need to do much, but he began to spurt the moment my tongue made contact with his shaft. A thick white gobs burst forth in rapid fire, splattering Daniel’s chest and chin. He moaned ecstatically and stuck out his tongue to lap up the drops that had speckled his lips.

After years of depriving himself, Daniel was hungry for more, and my body recuperated more quickly than I expected. I let him top me and, taking into account first-time jitters, he performed wonderfully. He proved to be amazingly versatile and flexible, and was full of suggestions for new positions to try, which told me that he had done plenty of research on the topic during his time in the closet. We did things I’d never even heard of, and I’ve had some pretty kinky experiences over the years, as a man, as a woman, as an animal… I started to fade around 3am, my cock raw and muscles aching. I could tell Daniel could have continued for a while longer, but he seemed satisfied and finally dozed off with his head resting upon my chest around four o’clock.

I woke up at sunrise and gently slid out from under Daniel. I pulled on my cargos, removed the keys from Daniel’s pants pocket and tiptoed outside to the parking lot. I was woefully underdressed for such a chilly morning, but I didn’t plan to be out long. I unlocked the truck, removed Daniel’s suitcase from behind the driver’s seat, and rushed back inside. One major benefit of being able to create your own wardrobe out of thin air is avoiding the hassle of hauling around luggage.

I crept past Daniel and closed myself in the bathroom with his suitcase. As I feared, his wardrobe was standard-issue Bubba gear: plaid flannel shirts with the sleeves torn off, football jerseys, dungarees, even a pair of overalls. To my eye, none of this was appropriate for the boy snoring softly in the next room, so I set about transforming it, piece by piece. While I was at it, I changed the suitcase itself from a Walmart special into a Gucci deluxe. If I didn’t view my skills as such a noble calling, I could make a hell of a living manufacturing knock-off luxury goods.

I returned to the main room and set Daniel’s Gucci bag on the luggage rack, then slipped back into bed. Daniel responded to my return with a sleepy smile as he rubbed his nose in my armpit. I felt his body stiffen as his eyes flickered open, and a flash of confusion swept over him as he struggled to recall how he had found himself in this position. I stroked his hair and kissed him on the forehead, which quickly calmed his nerves. Usually a bit of sleep is all it takes for the brain to acclimate to the changes I instigate, and it didn’t appear that I would need to do any serious morning-after damage control. “Morning,” he finally said with a smile and a yawn, looking a bit foggy but not flinching at the presence of a hunky man lying beside him.

Daniel climbed out of bed and strolled naked to take a leak, butt cheeks bouncing perkily, his long semi-hard dick flopping against his thigh. He paused to check himself in the mirror, getting his first real look at his new appearance. To my relief, he seemed utterly unfazed by his short blond ‘do or his lack of a beard or his sparkling diamond earrings or even the gay-pride flag that now adorned his shoulder muscle. If anything, he seemed a bit vain as he checked himself out, running a hand through his hair to tamp down his bedhead. He ambled into the bathroom, leaving the door open as he drained the snake.

I took advantage of his momentary absence to cook up my own clothes for the day. Feeling playful, I decided to make myself into a leatherman for Daniel’s benefit. The hem of my cargo shorts inched its way down to my ankles, the fabric thickening and darkening until it became skin-tight black leather. The rumpled polo shirt on the floor stirred into action, reworking itself into a silver-studded leather vest, and my deck shoes sprouted into shiny knee-high black boots. I pulled them on quickly and hopped back onto the bed to wait for Daniel’s reaction.

When Daniel returned and saw me stretched out, arms crossed and leather-clad, his knees actually buckled and he steadied himself against the wall. “Oh my,” he sighed, his voice sounding lighter and less gruff than it had the day before. His cock became engorged and rose swiftly upwards, giving my choice of fetish wear an unambiguous vote of approval. He felt the immediate need to fuck me again, and I quickly regretted just how tight I had made the pants. I could have zapped them away with a thought, but I didn’t want to jar Daniel out of his new reality. Instead, he helped me wriggle free just enough to gain access to my cock and give me a good-morning blow job, eagerly swallowing every drop of my cum. I then stripped down so we could shower together. Daniel took immense delight in lathering me up thoroughly, scrubbing me clean, and toweling me dry.

As I watched him dress, I worried that my changes to his wardrobe had been too on-the-nose and that I was risking turning into a gay cliche even broader than his previous redneck drag. But Daniel didn’t seem to mind a bit, giddily slipping into a pair of Calvin Klein boxer-briefs and low-slung black jeans, and selecting a sleeveless pink v-neck shirt and matching pink high-tops. He even squeezed his hand through three rainbow-colored rubber bracelets, my substitution for the rough-hewn leather cuff he had been wearing the day before. He inspected himself in the mirror approvingly, then spun around to me, wrists resting against his hips and asked, “So?”

“You look lovely,” I said.

Daniel giggled and blushed, then looked at me sheepishly. “I’m really sorry, you’re gonna think I’m a total ditz, but…what is your name again?” I realized that, aside from a slight lilt, Daniel was no longer speaking in his original Southern twang.

“I’m Gene,” I replied.

He nodded, dimly recognizing the name from somewhere, and stretched out his arm to shake my hand. “Hello there, Gene. I’m Danny.”

“Hello, Danny. So, what do you want to do today?” I let myself explore his mind, but found little aside from various erotic scenarios involving me. If he had any memories of his prior existence, up to and including giving a lift to a certain red-headed chick in Abilene, they were fading or buried completely. Danny was rebooting his life with a nearly blank slate.

“Well, we do need to pick up that Ferrari in Denver,” I informed him. I noticed a faint glimmer of recognition in his eyes, and was pleased to see that at least he still liked cars. I would have hated for him to lose his old personality entirely. “After that, I thought we would keep going west. I figure we can reach San Francisco in a day or two.”

“San Francisco? Really?”, he gasped, entwining his fingers. “I’ve always wanted to go there!”

“It’s a lucky thing you ran into me.”

“I’ll say,” Danny replied, his eyes shining with excitement and hope for the future.

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