Author Topic: Adventures in Pandemicland  (Read 10421 times)

Offline m1090y

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #30 on: 14. January 2021, 13:01:07 PM »
Seeing Her Through The Eyes of a Dog.  Chapter 10.  Derek The Match Maker

Rudy was interested to know more about my stay with Teresa over the past few days and more about what I did and how much was influenced by the dog brain, vs. the human mind.  Right after lunch the phone rang and it was Derek calling.  He said Teresa had explained to them that the dog had a different mind in it for the past few days and was now back to the same mind it had before they adopted him.  Then he went on to say that Teresa had been very disappointed that she could not have me over or come to visit me and that all we could do was dog-walks together.  He explained that he had been going over the law regarding the lock-down in detail and had discovered that it did not apply if one person moved during the pandemic.  It was okay for a person renting a room in a house to move to another house to rent a room in it and that they then changed which household they associated themselves with.  I explained there were no more rooms in our house to rent out and Derek laughed and said, "No, Darin, we are suggesting you could come rent a room in our house.  Darin, you see Charlene and I have been worrying about Teresa's lack of success in the dating area.  There was that one boyfriend near the end of high school and then when it ended badly, she seemed to avoid trying again.  But the way she talks about you, we think there is a real chance of her relaxing and finally moving on."

I said I was unsure how much notice I had to give at my current place to leave but that I would investigate and call him back.  In fact I was absolutely going to take him up on his offer, but I wanted to think about this move for a while before jumping at it.  After all, I had been spying on the whole family without them knowing, through the eyes of a dog.  Without intending to, I had caught Teresa naked and her mother in her headgear.  The parents had not indicated Teresa had told them everything about the human mind that had been in their dog the last few days.  I went for a walk  behind the house in the wilderness.  I used to do that for a break from studying a couple of weeks ago but now it felt different.  I noticed certain alcoves under rotten trees I had never noticed before.  I spotted the feces of a number of forest creatures, which I seldom noticed in the past.  But despite all these distractions, I thought hard about the opportunity in front of me.  My own rental situation was irrelevant.  Paying rent on two places for a couple of months was irrelevant to me if it meant I got to live with Teresa.  In fact, maybe having my old place still available for a couple of months would be a good idea so that if living with Teresa and her family was not the heaven I felt it would be, then I could easily move back.  I was still not sure of what the mother would say about me sitting in bed with her reading that trashy magazine and lusting after her metal work, and then there was seeing Teresa naked.  Or would Teresa object to me putting my nose too close to the belly of her friend and learning things about her love life that she would not even share with her best friend.  I returned to the house and discussed it with Rudy.

Rudy's response was ultimately very positive, but his reasoning for it was rather alarming.  He explained, "Look, this place is not that large and we got along very well, but over the last few days, having you insisting on sleeping with me, snoring in my ear, fondling my chest, touching me in much more private places in the early morning, and doing even worse with your nose has been really, really hard to go through.  Although you are back to your old self, when I look at you, I still remember what you did with Ralph's mind in your body and it makes me uncomfortable.  I'm sure I'll get over it after a night or two.  I tell you what, you take Teresa's Dad up on his offer.  I'll cover your rent for the current month.  If it seems to be working out then give notice next month and I'll cover the rent for the two months of the notice.  And if it doesn't work out with Teresa's family and you move back, it'll just be everything back to normal.  I then called Derek back and we talked over the many details.  I would pay them a rent that included food and I would eat with them.  He mentioned the guest room in the basement, assuming I would not actually be moving into Teresa's bedroom with her, which was reasonable.  At least I could visit her up until lights out and upon rising in the morning.

Charlene was good enough to bring over the minivan so I would not have to carry all my stuff to their house.  Rudy and I had rented a furnished house and Derek was renting me a furnished guest room.  It was just all my boxes of clothes and so on that I had to move.  Charlene wore a mask while we carried things out of my old house.  She used the stretchy neck wrap she used for walking me as a dog.  With Rudy, Charlene and I at it, we had the van loaded in about fifteen minutes.  Once I had my seat belt on and mask put away, I looked at Charlene.  She could take her mask off now since we were going to be in the same household from now on.

She hesitated until Rudy had gone back in the house.  Then she said to me, "Darin, no doubt at some point in the school year you noticed Teresa got braces, right?"  I grunted 'uh-huh' so she continued, "Well, I did at the same time.  We both have pretty much the same dental problem and I could never get mine fixed as a child.  In fact we couldn't fix Teresa's back then as we were not that well off, and then she got too self conscious until she started college.  The thing is that in living with us, you are going to see that we have some extra braces that are horribly humiliating for adults to wear, let alone kids.  I'm trying to wear mine as much as I can to rush treatment and get it over with and I'm encouraging Teresa to do the same.  So, when I walk the dog or have to go somewhere in the car, I've decided to wear it."  She paused as I waited for her to show me the headgear that I had seen her in the previous evening while we watched TV.  It would be cool to see her driving so I could watch her from a profile view as she focused on the task of driving.  She continued, "I'm trying to get up the nerve to show you.  I have to get this over with and the sooner the better."  I heard her take a big breath like she was going to jump into a big wilderness lake of cold water.  She pulled the neck wrap down and it bunched up around her neck, leaving her entire headgear, face bow as well as neck strap, all revealed to me.

I hesitated as I cancelled what I was about to say, 'Yeah, I've seen it, but you look way better in it in a bathrobe than with that neck wrap all bunched up below it'; or 'Don't sweat it, you look as hot as your daughter in it, but you are little more brave about it than she is.'  But in that moment I came up with, "Well the pandemic is probably the best time to go through that, for both you and for Teresa."

Charlene looked at me before starting the van and said, "You'll have to be very careful with Teresa.  She is really hung up about it and wasn't even going to let her father and I see her in it, at least until last evening.  I'm really hoping she doesn't try to wait until you've gone to your room before using it each night.  She and I watched TV last evening wearing them.  Starting right after dinner is a lot more time than waiting until lights out.  If you can be sincere about it, maybe you could say something encouraging, playing down any aspect of her appearance that it hurts."  I said 'okay', as if I had no idea what exactly I would say, but of course I was just going with something like I suppressed saying to her Mom.

After having backed the van up the side of the driveway that had a path leading around the side of the house to a basement entrance, she carefully restored the position of her face covering which her husband used to use to keep insects from much of his face and neck on wilderness treks over the years.  I pulled out my face mask and put that on.  We got out and met Derek at the back of the van.  Derek made a comment upon seeing me, "Welcome Darin, but I hope you don't think we're all wearing face masks in this household.  You're a tenant now.  You don't have to wear one.

I looked at Charlene, who agreed, yet kept hers on.  She laughed, "I'm not wearing mine because of the pandemic."  And I laughed, realizing she was keeping her headgear hidden with it.  And Teresa appeared at that moment and was also wearing a stretchy neck and face wrap like her mother, except that it was perhaps a more feminine pattern, looking almost attractive on her.  She was presumably also not wearing it due to the pandemic, and anyway, her fashion face-mask was the more traditional kind that just had elastic going around the ears.  At least that's what she wore when we walked Ralph earlier in the day.

My stuff was piled outside the guest room for me to unpack at my leisure in a very short time.  I noticed Charlene did not remove her face covering once we had the back door shut.  She could not be seen once she got around the back of the house.  She made a motion with her head at Teresa once we had the last boxes put down.  I realized she was not going to reveal her headgear to me in front of Teresa until Teresa had shown me hers.  Teresa then asked her parents if she could talk to me privately.  They went upstairs, saying they would call us when they were closer to having dinner ready.  We went into the guest room and she got me to sit on the bed.  I realized why she had not removed her face covering but she acted like I thought she was doing something strange.  She started, "Daren, I know you spotted at some point that I wear braces."  I smiled and nodded with a suppressed laugh, as I knew the whole thought she was having so much trouble confiding.  She went on, "Well if you're moving in, my parent said I had to let you see me in a really horrible extra thing I wear on them in private."

It suddenly struck me how to put an end to this stressful conversation.  I jumped in, "Your Mom had her mask off while she wore her headgear in the van driving over here.  She told me that you and she were trying to wear your headgears much more than just in bed to rush treatment.  She said she wanted to get that moment over with so did it in the car.  Just take the face covering off and do the same."

Teresa pulled her face covering up and over her head, the method that Charlene should have used so she didn't have it all bunched up around the neck, looking stupid.  She did this very slowly as if it was a kind of striptease act, but was really because she was trying not to snag it in the headgear.  She then held the bunched up face covering in her hands against her face to hide the face bow.  She said, "This is really embarrassing."

I said, "Just think how your Mom felt driving over here.  She's even more mature looking than you."  She slowly lowered the face covering as her face went redder.  I said, enthusiastically, "Well it looks a lot hotter on you, though.  Relax, we're going to get along fine."  I was not faking that it was no big deal, nor any kind of surprise nor that it did not even make me feel at all uncomfortable, because I'd been looking at her in it for days.  She relaxed and I stood up.  She did the same preparing to follow me upstairs, but I turned toward her rather than the door and I put my arms around her and held her against me.  I perhaps felt more like getting her into the position where I in Ralph's body had straddled her and lay on her and pressed all of me into her including a very unexciting doggy part.  I realized that my non-doggy part would enjoy pressing into her in the future much more than Ralph's body had, and that my human chest was way better at feeling the firmness of her chest above the softness of the tummy as I hugged her.  I then let us part enough so I was at the optimum distance to give her the usual lick over the mouth, lips and face bow.  I stopped myself because humans press the lips together before parting them and letting the tongue out.

Teresa also stopped me, saying, "Darin, don't rush it.  I haven't kissed a guy in a very long time and I certainly have never tried it with this headgear in the way."  I let her go and we started up the stairs.  Then suddenly she turned to face me a couple of stairs higher than me and said quietly so the parents could not overhear, "I'm sorry.  I keep telling myself not to screw this up.  It doesn't have to be any harder than it was getting close to Ralph."

She looked at me like she was going to let me kiss her and I said, "Teresa, don't worry about it.  Just do the same as you did with Ralph and everything will work out great."

She reached her hand out and stroked my hair, then rubbed my chest, and then laughed and said, "Actually no.  The hug worked way better than with Ralph but you're actually not nearly as pettable.  Let's go help with dinner."  I noticed she wanted to get used to wearing headgear in front of me while around her parents rather than alone.  I guessed it was some kind of feeling of security she got from them.

Joining Ralph, Derek and Charlene in the kitchen, I noticed Charlene's headgear, not because I figured she would have taken it off, but because she was assuming Teresa had showed me hers.  If Teresa had come up with her face covering still on, I guess the idea was that she would not let Teresa keep it a secret any longer.  As we joined them, wondering how we could help, Derek and I were able to look at Charlene and Teresa standing side by side in headgear, both a little red faced as they glanced back at me.  Derek said, "Darin, I'm hoping we can encourage them to wear those damn headgears a lot since we are in lock-down so it speeds up the treatment and we can stop paying those exorbitant fees sooner.  You need to encourage them."

I smiled at him and said, "Well that's easy with Teresa but it may not be as appropriate to her mother.  She's married and it would be disrespectful to compliment her appearance in front of you."  He shook his head and gestured toward them for me to go ahead.  I looked at them and said, "Well I see no reason either of them would restrict their wear in front of us when they look so gall darned hot in their pricey fixtures on their braces."  I decided that had come out rather eloquently, if I did say so myself.

Derek said, "So there you go ladies.  Our lodger is no reason to go getting shy about them."  Then he looked around and said, "I think this calls for drink.  Ralph, you have been doing the honors recently and you are right by the fridge.  How about it buddy, can you still get me a beer?"  Ralph bounded over to Derek for a petting while I instinctively headed for the fridge.  I got a beer out and Derek said, "Well one for you as well, and could you get the wine out for Charlene, please.  And Teresa, how about you, beer or wine.  I think tonight calls for drink before dinner to celebrate our new lodger."

Teresa giggled at me and specified wine.  As she reached for her neck strap to disengage it, her mother quickly said, "Honey, the drink is not meant as an excuse for us to take off our headgears.  There must be a way to drink wine with these on."  Teresa put her hands down, disappointed.

Derek said, "In preparation for you two wearing them more during the day I did some research and I found that people showed two solutions.  One is to use a straw.  That seems the most universal, but I did find two different places where it was suggested that for some people, it just means they have to use a glass that curls out at the top."  Teresa looked through the glasses cupboard while Charlene went to the buffet in the living room and went through it.  Moments later, both agreed they had no glasses that curled out at the top.  Then Derek remembered something and said, "Wait, do you remember that cheap, old fashioned set of wine glasses my friend brought when we had our house warming party all those years ago?  I seem to remember it was how they curled out at the top that led us to realize they were extremely old.  Now where did we store them?  Oh, wait, yes, I know, wait here."

Charlene continued to open the bottle of wine and then we all looked at each other, me taking a swig from my beer bottle.  Suddenly the self-consciousness of me looking at the two ladies in headgear with a bottle of wine they currently could not sample due to a lack of correctly shaped glasses overwhelmed Charlene and she just tipped the wine bottle up to her lips in front of her headgear and took a swig like it was beer.  She then handed it to Teresa who had laughed at that, but then, feeling the same as her Mom, if not more so, accepted the bottle and took her own swig.  She said to her Mom after she had swallowed, "I would have expected to get in trouble for doing that normally."

Charlene countered as she laughed, "Well, normally we are not both being asked to stand around the kitchen in headgear holding a bottle of wine while our lodger drinks his beer."

Derek came back momentarily and had a box of wine glasses.  He took two out and washed them, saying, "I was always convinced that my friend bought these at a charity shop where someone had hung onto them for a decade or so because they were an out-of-fashion style of wine glass, and then gave them to us as even more out of style and now, here we are over a decade later finally opening our housewarming present because we need wine glasses of this very shape."  He dried the two glasses and then took the bottle from Teresa and asked the two ladies upon looking at it, "What happened?  It was full when I left the room."

I snitched on them and said, "A wine bottle is a lot like a beer bottle and they have experience drinking from a beer bottle."  I laughed, and then Derek laughed, remembering the previous evening.

But then Teresa cut in, "How do you know about that?"

Charlene looked at me and repeated the question.  Derek looked at his wife and daughter and assured them, "I never mentioned it.  Teresa you told me not to tell Darin anything at all about your headgear until you were comfortable showing it to him and that was just a few minutes ago."  Both ladies took their glasses and started sipping on their wine and Derek took a swig of his beer, as did I.

Charlene said, "Ralph is the only one who could have known about that.  So how did you find out, Darin?"  I then realized how terribly I had miss-spoken.  How would I explain that I had been the human mind in the body of the dog?  Would I get told to leave immediately, and take my boxes with me?  I had to explain it carefully to them.  At least telling them both I had seen them in headgear would not come over as knowing something terribly private about themselves as they were wearing them now as I explained this.

Offline m1090y

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #31 on: 14. January 2021, 13:05:46 PM »
I posted this story all in one shot and the beginning is here:

Seeing Her Through The Eyes of a Dog.  Chapter 11.  The Spy Amongst Us

I know I looked uncomfortable as I tried to figure out how to explain it to them.  Derek was going to find out I had been in bed, or at least on it, with his wife.  Teresa was going to find out I had seen her naked after sleeping with her, although as a dog.

I cleared my throat and started to explain, "I was very eager to get to be with Teresa all semester.  I did some desperate things.  When I finally learned her schedule on a few of the days of the week, I would hang around down the street watching for her to come out of the house so I could catch up and walk with her."  I was looking at the parents while I explained this as I feared them more than Teresa right now.  I continued as they were not yet reacting, "So then when classes were over and a lock-down was threatened, this ended all my hopes of finally getting close enough to Teresa that I could maybe get a 'yes' if I asked her out, although it would be probably limited to meeting outside for a walk or something.  When I heard that you guys were interested in adopting a homeless dog and that the supply of them had pretty much dried up as more people were deciding to get dogs during the pandemic, well Ralph was in foster care with Rudy and I was sure you would like him.  Unfortunately Teresa did not even come over to see him and it was Rudy that was to deliver him if you accepted him into your family.  This was where I got even more desperate.  I used a kind of meditation practice where you project your mind into another body.  It works well if two people do it at the same time and exchange bodies.  With a dog however, you have to focus extra hard to make both changes occur."

Teresa interrupted, "But Darin, how did you know that your old body would be okay afterwards.  Couldn't it have just died or something?"

Derek said, "Yeah, and even if the swap worked great, did you really trust the mind of a Saint Bernard to take care of your human body?  What if he scratched it all up on walks and what if he sprained it chancing a rabbit or something."

Charlene jumped in with, "And what if your old body did something wrong outside on a walk and got arrested.  I mean humans can't do their business outside and you can't go being that friendly with ladies walking down the street."

I laughed, "Yeah, I know.  Rudy had a plan.  My body was walked carefully in the woods behind our house.  It's wilderness.  The problem was that Ralph used to like to sleep in Rudy's bed and with his mind in my body, it was all very difficult for him."  They laughed.  Then I was able to finish, "This all seemed great because now I could be with Teresa and without a mask on either of us.  And whatever was making her distant with guys wouldn't apply to a pet dog which she had asked for."

Teresa then said, "Ahhh, Darin, you did all that just because you wanted to be with me?"

Derek jumped in, "Darin, was there any risk of you not being able to return to your human body?"

I answered Teresa, "Yeah, I did all that to be with you."  And then I answered Derek, "Well as long as the body was healthy, I would eventually get back into it, even if I took a couple of days to do it."

Teresa and Charlene were sipping their wine more quickly because of nerves and Derek was going through his beer quickly as if he was having a riveting argument about which football team had the best prospects that year.  Charlene then said, "Wait a minute, Darin.  When you were in my bedroom and I was reading a magazine in bed, I was essentially lounging around with a guy who was friendly with my daughter?  And does that mean you could read the magazine?"

I laughed, "Even if you handed it to me now, I couldn't read it without ripping it up.  It's all gossip and bad advice!"  She looked at me for the rest of my answer and I said, "But Charlene, you invited your pet dog to keep you company.  You adopted the dog.  It would not have been polite to totally ignore you."

Teresa then said, "Wait, Darin.  You hung around in my room when I changed!"

I said, "That was really hard.  I had to mostly look away like a dog that was disinterested in what his owner was doing.  Anyway, I've got my own room now.  And by the way, Ralph is neutered.  It was only my human mind that told me I should look away.  Ralph didn't react to you that way.  You were just a human companion and owner that he could be loyal to.  You have no idea how frustrated it was for me to know how it should feel to be near you but Ralph didn't feel it anywhere close to that.  I have feel tingles so often now that I am able to be with you, that it is like the time in Ralph's body didn't happen."

Dinner then needed attention and they were able to find things for me to help with and we soon ate dinner.  I was sitting around the corner of the table from Teresa and for the first time, got to see both ladies disengage their neck straps and wiggle their face bows out at nearly the same time.  It was quite refreshing to be a human eating at the table again and able to talk to the family over dinner.

Ralph was, of course, a different dog now.  He tried to beg at the table.  He wanted to be taken for a walk right after dinner.  While Charlene offered to take Ralph for a walk, she understood when I asked if Teresa and I could do so.  I was able to talk to her privately.  She asked me some question about being in Ralph's body, "Darin, did you find me pretty?  How about other dogs?"

I answered with a snicker, "My human mind found you as pretty as it always did.  The Dog in me made no judgment at all about you, but there was one female dog we passed on a walk that did kind of get me a little worked up.  I think it helped that I was neutered.  My own body with the mind of Ralph in it would probably have gone bananas over a human female.  I would think he would just try to mate with her upon meeting her.  Rudy knew he had to keep my body hidden once the mind swap was done."

I got to know Teresa better during that walk and in a way that is different than when you are in a dog's body.  That night we watched TV with the family for a while and then went to her room to talk.  Actually I found myself touching her as if my time with her as Ralph had defined our relationship.  After drawing away shocked a few times, she said she realized how I had gotten used to doing that to her as a dog, but please slow down as a human.  I did.  However Teresa did allow me to kiss her after I asked her if I could.  And unlike when I had been with her as a dog, she insisted on removing the headgear to do so.  This being a human made getting close to a girl so much more difficult and calculated.  Still, I would appreciate being close to her in a human body when our relationship further developed if I just persevered and took my time.

* The End.

If any one else wants to use any part of the setting, characters, situation, or write your own scenes in, or version of, this story, please feel free.

Offline m1090y

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #32 on: 08. February 2021, 12:43:59 PM »
I was wondering what you thought of the 'post in one shot' method?  Is it better to post each chapter on a different day?

Online Braceface2015

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #33 on: 08. February 2021, 13:05:48 PM »
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

When I am adding stories to TheArchive, it is nice to have a smaller file to work with.

When I am reading a story, it is nice to have it all at one time so that I don't have to go back and read parts of it again to get the flow going. If the story is a long one, I don't always have the time to read the whole story, so it wouldn't really matter if it was posted over a longer period of time.

One thing about posting it all at once is that the story is more likely to be complete. When a story is posted in pieces, many of them are incomplete simply because the author lost interest in writing more.

Offline m1090y

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #34 on: 20. August 2021, 12:23:17 PM »
I wanted to recount a pandemic, non-observation I made while travelling recently:

I had stopped at a quick-serve restaurant for breakfast.  An older couple were ahead of me placing their order and it was obvious that they had been coming regularly for some years and had gotten to know the server.  When it was my turn, I noticed the server was a most pleasant young lady, probably quite good looking without the mask on.  While I was waiting for my order, the order for the couple ahead of me was ready and she called for them to get it.  She made a comment as they were leaving that they would not recognize her next week because she was getting her braces off.  Yeah right -- she'd be still wearing a mask.  The old guy countered with that if he left his teeth out, she would not recognize him either!  They had obviously been going there regularly since before the pandemic and she had smiled braces when she served them.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #35 on: 20. August 2021, 18:41:27 PM »

One thing about posting it all at once is that the story is more likely to be complete. When a story is posted in pieces, many of them are incomplete simply because the author lost interest in writing more.

Another problem with posting a story on multiple chapters is that sometimes you think "damn, if only I'd done XXXX".... I often have to work on the principle that my story doesn't tell EVERYTHING, so I can often add in a later back-reference to something that was never written about before.

But sometimes it can be a show-stopper. Maybe you gave someone braces, which you described in detail, then wish you'd also given them an expander, for some reason.

Interestingly, I will sometimes (because I'm in the mood) write later chapters long before some of the earlier chapters, which can be useful. I think I've done just one (shortish) story as a single post: I like the idea of the "daily chapter" because it gives me longer to develop the story, and come up with ongoing ideas.

The whole process makes me appreciate why authors of REAL stories take so long to write a book... plus why some of them have manual / computer databases of character / place information (I do that to a slight extent, at the end of my notes I have a list of peoples names, what they do, what braces they have, and other useful info)

But, as an author, do whichever you like! Make it as short or as long as you like. Include as much or as little braces as YOU want. Write the story for yourself, then PLEASE do share it!!! We authors are readers too!!!

Offline m1090y

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Re: Adventures in Pandemicland
« Reply #36 on: 03. February 2022, 11:59:53 AM »
I'm working on a story that takes place during the pandemic and it uses physical distancing, masks and economic impacts on the tourist industry, but because it doesn't center around the pandemic, I decided I would not put it here.  It is story number 54 in my thread in the stories section.  So what happens if someone undergoes orthodontic treatment while living as a nomad, out of a vehicle while driving across a continent?  You can't go back to the ortho every month for an adjustment.  Do you change orthos every single month?

The Nomad Patients

I'm sorry for just putting a trailer in the general section, but I just feel the my stories should go in the stories section.