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Altered States

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On Wednesday, Mike is a cat. There is a great deal of hissing, and he spends all day hiding under the bed – although it is unclear if this is because he has no memory of being a human hockey player, or if Mike is just feeling pissy.

On Thursday, Mike is five. A squirming child Jeff has to struggle to keep entertained. By Saturday, he’s eighteen, and eyeing Jeff with uncertain, heated glances that are one part come-hither and one part pure naiveté. Jeff does not take him to bed, but only because the memory of Mike as a five year old is so fresh in his mind.

On Sunday, Mike is himself – with the exception of a pair of enormous, black wings sprouting out of his back. Jeff finds him downstairs, at the kitchen table, forehead resting on the wooden surface. “It could be worse,” Jeff says. “If we were still with the Flyers they might be orange.”

Mike’s only answer is a slow, rhythmic thumping of his forehead against the table’s surface.

They do fuck on Sunday, once they find a position that doesn’t ruffle any feathers.



They fuck on Monday, semi-publically, Mike with a sort of fevered frenzy after he gets a nose-full of some flower-peddler’s cart. And again on Tuesday when Mike announces it necessary for their “bonding ritual.”

They do not fuck on Wednesday, because Mike is a girl, and that weirds both of them out.

On Thursday, they do fuck, or rather, are fucking – rather enthusiastically – until Mike confesses halfway through that he has no idea who Jeff is, and that is the end of that.

Mike sets a cup of coffee in front of him – Mike is, all things considered, being rather amiable considering he woke up with a stranger who insists he knows him in his house. “You look beat.”

Jeff spares him a glance. “It’s been sort of a week.”

Mike shrugs.



By the end of the month, Jeff has seen Mikes that traveled in from the future, that insisted Jeff was his brother, that wore a ring and bore photos of their wedding, that displayed an impressive ability to move objects with his mind, and that tried to bite him.

(For the record: yes, no, yes, yes, and no).



By July, though, Mike is himself. Blissfully, immediately apparent in the way he stretches and kicks out with no regard for Jeff’s shins. In the way he yanks the blanket off Jeff, turns over, and refuses to be moved, emitting only a series of vaguely threatening grumbles.

“So have we learned our lesson?” Jeff asks.

He gets only a rather indignant snort in return, but Mike’s hand snakes out behind him. Carefully catches hold of Jeff’s own.