A clatter in the doorway behind me. I freeze, holding the orange juice in my mouth. Now that I have time to really examine the taste, there are subtle hints of the dish soap used to clean the glass.
I slowly turn my head almost all the way around, scanning the room. Nothing. My free hand reaches down my side and slides my pistol out of its holster. My eyes dart around the room as I hear another clatter.
A grey blur darts across the room. I spin, splashing orange juice on my face, and futilely empty a magazine across the floor, always half a second behind the speeding goddamn rodent.
“Jesus Christ!” Todd shouts, walking in from the other room holding his ears, “I was sleeping you asshole!”
“Sorry,” I say, relaxing and replacing the pistol, “I thought I saw a mouse.”
“Well did you get the bastard?” he yawns, scratching at his eyes.
“No,” I sigh, shaking my head.
“Of course not,” he groans, “Well who gives a rat’s ass? We’ll be out of here in two days anyway.”
I gasp. “You think they’re rats?”
When we discovered the spell that let people turn into animals, of course everyone had to try it.
We all missed the obvious problem, though — you can’t fit a human intelligence into an animal brain. There just aren’t enough neurons or lobes or whatever. Trying to squeeze something so big into something so small, parts are going to get lost.
Let’s just say the term “bird-brained” took on a whole new meaning after that congregation in Hoboken decided to spend a few days as doves.
Actually, for a lot of people it wasn’t that much of a problem. Sure, the people who turned themselves into dogs came back with the mental acuity of five year olds, but they were also incredibly happy and loyal to their families and friends.
Some animals didn’t even seem to cause a problem. Chimpanzees, obviously, but people could also transform into crows or other more intelligent birds without much problem besides losing a few IQ points. The few who tried out elephants were perfectly fine. Some people who turned into dolphins actually seemed to get smarter.
It wasn’t all sweetness and light, of course. Afterwards, more than a quarter of the world’s population was below the level of mental retardation. Even those who weren’t, sometimes came back bad. There are more than a few who turned into leopards or tigers and came back as stalking serial killers. Most who became gorillas came back with anger management problems.
And then there’s the guy who turned into an ant. Everyone was expecting him to come back basically brain dead, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. What happened instead was horrifying.
I named my cat Dante. He helps me decide which women I want to date.
If they ask if I named him after the guy in Clerks I know it’s not going to work out.