Neil hated working the bar. He felt that at 32 years of age he should be doing something better with his life, but little by little his aspirations and dreams had waned and crumbled.
So this was it, he thought, working the bar in a seedy back-street venue. He looked at his co-workers. Fresh faced late teens. Some were students, some had other day jobs, but they all had one thing in common. The bar wasn't their life.
“Wake up Neil.”
He turned to see Liam standing beside him. He disliked Liam the most. Liam was a jumped up cocky 21 year old, full of life and full of himself. Worse still, Liam was the head barman. 21 and a head barman. Neil resented him just for that.
He watched as Liam wandered down the bar to talk to Carl. Carl was smaller than the rest of the guys who worked the bar, and obviously gay. Neil liked him, not in a sexual sense but as a friend. He watched as Liam did his usual big headed act of teasing Carl about his sexuality.
It was then that he heard Liam say something that was to be the final straw.
“Why don't you go the other end of the bar with your bum chum,” Liam said to Carl.
Neil was about to explode with a torrent of verbal abuse but he restrained himself.
He looked Liam up and down studying his neatly combed hair, his cheeky smile, his slim young physique and his immaculately presented clothes.
He had something much better in mind for Liam.
After closing Neil took Carl to a nightclub. Carl was in anticipation, expecting something to happen. Huddled in a corner with a pint in his hand Neil told Carl what he had in mind. Carl was even more excited than before.
The next night after closing and the bar had emptied Neil and Carl offered to help Liam clean up. He was a little surprised at this but accepted their offer. When they were finished Liam thanked them and said he was going to bed.
“Not yet you're not.” Carl said as Neil grabbed Liam from behind.
“What the fuck are you doing!” Liam shouted.
Carl tied his hands to the back of a chair while Neil retrieved an item from his bag.
Liam saw that he was holding a strange object with two faces at either end. He realised that it was two masks with a linking bar across the top.
“My grandmother brought this back from South Africa.” Neil said. “Lets see if it actually works shall we.”
Neil pulled up another chair and set next to Liam who watched dumbfounded as one of the masks was placed onto his head and Neil pulled the other one onto his.
Liam's ears were suddenly filled with sound of a gale force wind and he passed out in shock.
Neil opened his eyes and lifted the mask off of his head. He looked down to see Liam's white shirt and black trousers. He lifted a hand and studied it. He felt his face, which was smoother and sharper.
“It worked Carl.” He said. “I'm in his body. Untie me.”
Carl untied him saying, “My god it worked!”
Neil stretched in his new body, feeling its youthful frame expand. He then pulled the rest of the mask off of Liam who looked at him in horror.
“you're, you're me—” He said.
“Yes.” Neil said. “Amazing isn't it!”
“How… Why have you done this to me?” Liam replied.
“ Because you're an arrogant twat who needs to be taught a lesson.” Neil said. “Plus I like your body of course.”
“Give it back now”, Liam said.
“Sorry no chance, this is just the start of it. I'm going to be you for a whole week and treat you like you’ve treated the rest of us. I'm going to love this.”
“Its not over yet Liam.” Neil said and told Carl to sit down.
“What are you doing now?”, Liam asked.
“Carl wants my body, he's been after it for ages so I'm giving it to him.”
“But that means—”
“Yep, you'll have to live in Carls for a while. Should be fun for you.”
Liam struggled to escape as Neil placed the masks on him and Carl and the wind sounded in his ears once again.
The next day Liam was in hell. He had no choice but to work the week in Carl's puny little body. He was pouring a pint when he saw his body enter the bar to start a shift. Neil, in his body, was wearing Liam's favourite jogging pants, football shirt and trainers. He looked smug and self confident.
“Hello Carl”, the new Liam said and brushed past him. He felt his old cock rub against his new arse. “How's the little gay boy today?”
He turned to punch Neil but Neil was quicker and pushed him to the ground. Liam lay there with his old body pressed on top of him.
“I wouldn't do that if I were you,” Neil said. “You know how strong I am.”
They got to their feet. Neil walked off with a confident stride and cocky smile.
The end of the week came and the new Carl confronted the new Liam.
“It's the end of the week, I want my body back!”
“ Its not going to happen”, “Liam” said. “I'm keeping it. Why would I want to give up a fit young body like this? You know I've had that mask for a long time and I never considered using it. What right do I have to steal another man's body. But you, you deserve your fate. I shall continue my life as you and you will stay as Carl.”
“But you said a week!”
“I only said that so I would make sure you stayed here for a while so I could torment you with this body. Cruel but very satisfying.”
—Carl” ran out of the bar.
Epilogue: Liam went on to become the manager of a chain of bars, Neil is the proud owner of a gay nightclub and Carl was last seen working the streets of London.