Friday, October 17, 2014

snakebite 4000

by f. flynn

pearl, amanda wilson's long time secretary, was not surprised when amanda showed up at the office on the day before the election.

it had been agreed that the candidates would not campaign on election day, or on the final day before it.

and of course, the result was regarded as settled, with the vote count a formality.

amanda, who was already the richest person in the world, as well as most famous and powerful woman in the world, would be the first democratically elected president of the new world government.

pearl was proud of the fact that she had been able to manage almost all of the messages amanda received while she was campaigning for the world presidency.

of course, most of the messages were simply routed to the various companies amanda owned, to be handled by their ceo's or vice presidents or staffs.

calls of a personal nature - that is, from the tiny percentage that knew the codes and had gotten through the hundreds of filters to amanda's private office - pearl had mostly handled herself, forwarding no more than one or two a day to amanda.

there was one curious and cryptic message from the day before that the ever conscientious pearl had hesitated over. finally, figuring that amanda would probably show up the following day, she had actually written the message on a piece of paper and left it on amanda's desk.

it was the only thing on the desk and amanda noticed it immediately when she entered the office.

she picked it up and glanced at it. pearl thought she looked just a bit startled.

but amanda laughed. "what timing!" she said, more to herself than pearl.

"i hope you don't mind," pearl said. "i didn't know what to make of it, but he did manage to get through all the codes."

"no, it's cool," amanda assured pearl. she took her phone out and punched in a number - a very long number, so pearl assumed it was someone amanda was not in constant contact with.

but whoever was on the other line picked up immediately.

"mister martin? amanda wilson here. yes. yes, i am still very much interested." pause. "especially by your timing." another pause. "yes, i suppose that makes sense. i suppose you can come over to the office. yes, that would be good. there will be all sorts of security people." pause. "yes, i understand, but it might be best if you actually went through them - "

pearl was mystified by this turn in the conversation, but of course held her tongue. she had never been chatty, which of course was one reason amanda valued her.

"they will want a code phrase," amanda was saying to mister wilson. "use - use 'snakebite 4000'. i will have them instructed to let you through. all right, i will see you in about half an hour." she clicked the phone off.

"did you hear that?" amanda asked pearl. "maybe you could go downstairs and meet him. i'll call security and tell them to expect him."

"of course," pearl agreed. "should i lay anything on for him?"

"what? oh no, nothing special. he won't be staying long. you can give him some coffee and a croissant if he wants one."

"very good. what does he look like?"

"what does he look like? i haven't seen him for a while, but when i did, he looked like nothing much. like nothing at all."


pearl closed the door behind her. mister martin seated himself on a couch and tool a sip of the coffee pearl had brought him.

neither amanda nor mister martin wasted time in small talk.

"so," he began, "you are still interested in the proposition we previously discussed?"

"that is what i said."

mister martin was a demon, who served powers who were not bound by the rules of earthly science.

amanda had met him by chance during her meteoric rise in the world, and they had discussed the possibility that amanda could exchange bodies with a human male.

amanda had agreed to the exchange with any human male who was willing to make the exchange with her.

mister martin had not been able to find such a person, but now a candidate had been found, perhaps tempted by amanda's prospective new position, although that was neither here nor there.

the willing person was bill johnson, a fifty-three year old habitué of the bowery with three days to live.

it was settled. there was no paperwork, nothing to sign.

the exchange would take place in ten minutes, after mister martin left the office.

he put his coffee cup down with a slight grimace.

"that's really not very good."

"no," amanda agreed, "i never was a coffee person."


amanda walked down the bowery toward bleecker street in her new body.

there was a chill in the air, and a wind in amanda's face. (for she still thought of herself as amanda, not bill)

she was pumped, as she had never been before, not on the floor of the stock exchange, or in a board room, or on a tv talk show, or on the campaign trail.

she was free. free at last!

nobody noticed her. nobody at all.

she decided to test out her new identity. she was standing in front of an establishment labeled "bob's bowery bar."

a sign in the window said "be of good cheer."

amanda stopped and fished in bill's pockets. a dollar and seventy-three cents. what would that buy?

a nondescript man in a yankees jacket was approaching from the west side.

"hey, buddy," amanda approached him, "can you spare some change?" was that still a right thing to say?

"fuck you." the man walked right past her.

he had not even looked at her. not at her legs, not at her tits or ass, he hadn't looked at her at all!

how cool was that?

another, somewhat older man appeared. he wore an old fashioned cloth cap like you saw in old movies on tbs. amanda asked him for change in the same words.

"get a job, asshole." he went by even faster than the first man. again, without even looking at her.

amanda looked up and saw an old woman with a cane approaching. somehow she felt sure the old woman would give her a few cents at least.

the wind blew in her face. this was great!

how she wished she could live like this for more than a few days.

but everything had its price.


bill johnson sat at amanda's desk, in amanda's old body.

it was getting dark outside. you couldn't argue with the view of the skyline. very nice.

and he had plenty of time to enjoy it. how old was this bitch anyway, only about thirty-five? and in good health, according to the demon martin.

bill was hungry and thirsty, and a little - just a little, nervous.

but he figured he could fake his way through whatever came up. after all, who was going to suspect anything?

and he should at least get some good grub out of it, and some good booze.

he leaned back in the chair. without thinking much about it, he opened one of the desk drawers.

not much there. but his eye caught something.

a box of tampons.

tampons. tampons! what the fuck!

oh, man...

at that moment, he would have given anything to call the demon back and be back in his old body.