Deal's A Deal, A


By Ender

On the far side of the desk sat a man apparently working on some papers that lay in front of him. Large display panels sat on the desk flanking him on both the left and right. As Tony watched the man looked up from his papers and then directly at Tony. The man smiled, stood up and came around to the front of the desk. “Ah Mr. Canton, or if I may ‘Tony,’ please come in and make yourself comfortable… We’ve been expecting you.” Tony turned intending to retreat to the questionable safety of his bathroom. But when he did exactly the same scene he had just turned away from greeted him. Tony gasped. On both sides of the doorway was the same room with the same guy smiling at him. Then the man in the room said, “Please Tony come in and have a seat, we have much to talk about…” And the smile broadened to the self-satisfied grin of a predator whose prey has no chance of escape… “It’s not like you have much choice in the matter.”

Realizing that he actually didn’t have a choice Tony decided that although it appeared that resistance was futile, he didn’t want to let this guy know he felt that way. So he tried to adopt a bearing of fearless self-confidence, straightened his posture and walked as boldly as he could toward his ‘host.’ As Tony crossed the room his bare feet sank deeply into the plush material of the rugs as it squished between his toes. As he approached the guy at the desk Tony sized him up. He was an attractive man, wearing a black leather suit with a red shirt of some elastic material. Deep-toned skin, blonde hair that was so light it was nearly white, and eyes so dark a brown that they seemed black. He had to be at least 6'4" with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, with the long limbs and build of an avid weightlifter.

Tony stopped just beyond where he thought the guy had a chance of reaching him before he could react and escape. “Escape to where???” Tony grimly chuckled to himself. “I’m all but naked in a room that I may not be able to get out of and if the room can behave the way it has I could be anywhere. And my ‘host,’ and hopefully not ‘enemy,’ could probably break me in two if he wanted to do it. And if the guy had a place like this he most likely would have help to do it.

Tony’s ‘host’ gestured to a chair located close to him saying, “Please Tony have a seat and make yourself comfortable. I know you have many questions, but to answer them all will take some time. Let me start by telling you that to many I am know as ‘The Mage,’ my actual name is Lucifer Saint. Although you don’t recall it we have met before and I have been keeping an eye on you for sometime.” Saint smiled, “No I’m not a stalker at least not in the sense that you’re thinking. I keep an eye out for people that might be useful in my ‘organization’ and can help me in my work. You are a very promising young man, Tony, and I believe there may be a place for you here in the future.”

This had piqued Tony’s curiosity to the point he wanted to hear more and he rationalized that if this ‘Saint’ dude wanted to harm him there was little he could do to prevent it. So Tony started to move toward the chair Saint had indicated. As he got within arm’s reach Saint extended his hand to Tony, hesitating briefly Tony accepted Saint’s hand. Saint smiled and said, “I think you will find our talk most interesting. They released each others hand and Tony sat down as Saint leaned back against the desk. Saint spoke, “Before we get started Tony, could I offer you some refreshment, a drink and possibly a snack?”

Tony replied, “Some water would be fine if it’s not too much trouble.”

“None at all,” said Saint. And a section of the paneled wall near the center of the longer side of the room quietly slid back to reveal a well stocked bar and a giant of a man who stepped in through a side door.

Tony looked the newcomer over. He was huge, easily 7' tall, and muscled to the point that words couldn’t describe. He had short black hair, and wore nothing more than black jeans and a black tank top that displayed his physique with blinding emphasis.

Saint noticed that Tony had been distracted and smiled, "This is Deez, a former client of mine and now one of my assistants. He has been keeping me informed of your progress.” Deez placed a glass on the table next to Tony and on the desk next to Saint. Tony heard a faint fizzing from the glass next to him. He picked up the glass and began to take a sip but as he brought the glass to his lips he detected a faint odor of sulfur coming from the glass. Tony glanced up to Saint who had just taken a sizable draft from his own glass. Saint smiled at Tony and said, “A very special sparkling mineral water I have imported for my use, it does have a slight smell of sulfur but it has an interesting taste and I find it most refreshing.”

Tony returned the smile and took a sip. “It did have an interesting taste and he supposed one might become fond of it.” Tony thought “Not unpleasant,” Tony took another swallow, “But not one that he would go to the trouble and expense to have brought in unless there was something very special about it.” He sat the glass back on the table and said, “Would you care to tell me how and why I’m here, Mr. Saint.”

Saint smiled, “Choosing to call me Saint is fine but please drop the Mister, we are old friends after all.”

Tony shook his head, “You said that before, if I had ever met you, Saint, I would definitely have remembered you. And that name ‘Lucifer Saint, The Mage” is just about as forgettable as Peter Parker, Clark Kent, or Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. I want to know how and why I’m here… and where the hell here is, I should be in my bedroom.”

Saint smiled, “Actually you would be seated about 10 feet in the air over your front lawn outside your bedroom window. But it’s obvious you aren’t there. The where and how are tied to the why. You are here because I wish to speak to you. You are in my ‘realm,’ which exists, outside of your normal reality to understand where that is would require you to understand the mechanics of how you got here… Lets just leave it as I caused Space-Time to fold and that explains why you don’t remember me, from your current point of view we haven’t met yet. Saint reached for a document on his desk and handed it to Tony.

Tony unfolded the document and read it.

I, Anthony (Tony) Canton, hereby verify that the following terms are written with my approval.

- The client, Anthony (Tony) Canton, shall be imbued with the ability to manifest his fantasies into physical form / being.

- The extent of this ability will be limited in that he shall not be able to intentionally inflict physical harm / damage on any person place or property.

- This contract will become null and void should the client refuse to produce payment when called upon to do so.

By signing this contract, the client hereby indicates that he agrees with these terms and is bound legally to them.

Tony Canton (Signature of Client) Lucifer Saint (Signature of Benefactor) Deez (Signature of Witness Present) **/**/**** (Date)

Tony stared at the signature… Tony’s mind reeled, “It was his handwriting but he was sure he had never seen the paper before… It had to be a fake… But why me?” Tony read the page again… “…imbued with the ability to manifest his fantasies into physical form…, …contract will become null and void should the client refuse to produce payment… and the date… two weeks from now??? All the bull shit about folding Space-Time to bring me here and this place existing outside of reality… This Saint dude has seriously lost it. Saint went back around his desk apparently to bring something up for Tony to see on one of the displays, and the big guy Deez had disappeared back through the door he had entered. Tony saw his chance and bolted for the door he had entered this room through. When he got to the door Tony turned and saw Saint sitting calmly watching him. Tony pulled the door to find nothing… On the other side of the doorway was a featureless gray haze although it didn’t appear to have a surface when Tony tried to reach through it felt like he was trying to reach into a block of gelatin.

Saint remained seated behind his desk and was now smiling, Tony ran to another door and another only to find more gray haze. After Tony had exhausted most of the available doors, Saint said perhaps I should been a bit less vague in my explanation of ‘where’ you are… In effect you are nowhere! The limbo between the various realities… Every random event, every choice made by any individual causes the ‘time-line’ to branch. I don’t fully understand it myself, but I can make use of its existence. And by folding ‘space-time’ I have access to most of them from here.

Tony had been staring at Saint in disbelief. Saint smiled understandingly to Tony, “Please come and sit down again I have some things to show you that may help you understand.” Tony shrugged and complied. When Tony was again seated Saint swiveled one of the display panels to face Tony and tapped a few keys. The panel sprang to life with an image of a well-muscled young man seated in front of Saint’s desk looking at a display panel. Tony raised a hand and the muscular teen on the display mirrored his movement. Saint tapped another key and the image shifted and showed the same teen in a waist up view without doubt it was Tony, who ginned and flexed a double bicep pose for the camera. Tony turned and attempted to locate the camera observing him. Tony turn to Saint who held up a hand to stop Tony’s question, “Yes this room has excellent covert surveillance coverage, it’s very useful in my work when there is a question of exactly what verbal understandings might shade the wording of a contract. Saint tapped another sequence of keys and the image changed, instead of a half naked muscle boy the seat Tony occupied contained a shorter rather chubby boy in a shirt and slacks that could have been Tony’s brother if he had one. This is the Tony Canton that signed that contract with me. As if on queue the boy on the screen rose and taking the pen he was offered began to sign a document on the corner of Saint’s desk. As he did the point of view did a pan/zoom to show the document and the hand signing it. It appeared to be the same document that Saint had shown Tony.

The point of view did another pan/zoom to show the hand and forearm. There was something about it that looked familiar to Tony. Compared to his hand and arm the one on the display panel was pale, thin and the hand was much smaller, nothing like Tony’s large sinewy hand and muscular forearm crossed with veins and sheathed in skin with a rich bronze tan. Then Tony saw it, a faint almost unnoticeable line of discoloration that ran across the back of the hand, wrist and halfway up the forearm. The image froze and Tony got up the get a closer look. The same jagged scar that ran across the arm on the display ran across his hand and forearm.

“Yes,” said Saint as he glanced at the second display. “You both got that in a playground accident when you were in nursery school, actually the same accident. Where that Tony’s reality and the one you’re in now diverge is that in that reality puberty wasn’t as generous with Tony Canton as it was in the reality you know. Saint came back to the front of the desk and with a kindly smile gently pushed Tony back into his seat and again leaned against the front of his desk. “I know this is difficult but before I go on I need you to accept at least the possibility that both you and the boy from the recording could both be Tony Canton, but fate presented you and he with different choices because what comes next I don’t have visual aids to help you understand.”

Tony looked up at Saint and said, “Okay we were the same person once but something happened did caused him to become a dweeb and me a jock, right?”

“Very close but not quite on target,” Saint said, “Let me rephrase it a bit. The Tony from the recording did not have the growth spurt and shift in metabolism that you remember having just before high school and he and I did sign the agreement I showed you. He used the ability I gave him very responsibly and rewarded many people for their goodness but refused to reward himself with the same ‘gift’ that he bestowed on others because he believed himself unworthy. In my view he was more deserving than some of the people he did reward. Deez and I had watched that Tony for a long time before I make my presence known to him so I could test him more directly.”

“So how do I fit into your testing of that Tony,” asked the muscular confident Tony looking towards Saint.

Saint’s smile broadened a bit, “How indeed… The Tony in the reality you remember was of less interest to me than the Tony I made the contract with. In the branches that produced jock Tonys, Tony tends to be rather self centered and arrogant, the stereotypical jock. But I found that in the reality you remember Tony is at least not openly antagonistic to the non-jocks around him.

Now thoroughly confused Tony asked, “So I’m here because I ‘play’ well with nerds?”

“Again very near the mark but not quite a hit,” replied Saint. “You see the Tony I had made the contract with turned out not be exactly what I wanted; I had expected the first thing or very close to it he’d do was to make himself into some thing very much like you. And once he had the lean muscular body he longed for and he would soon gain the confidence and self-assurance I wanted to see in him. He did finally decide that he wanted muscle like you have but rather just wishing it up as he could have he wanted to earn it the same at the Tony from your current reality did, with sweat. But it was not to be. He made good progress but starting late and without the growth spurt he wouldn’t become the person I wanted him to be,” Saint paused a moment.

Tony was starting to put the pieces together, “Saint liked this chubby wimp Tony and wanted him to be more like me… not more like me he wanted him to be me. If he can exist outside of reality it would be reasonable to believe that he has some way he could move that Tonys mind in to my body… and where would that leave me??? Non-existence or in the body of the wimp.”

“So I decided to do an experiment…” Saint continued, “To do some cross-pollination you might say…”

Tony was on his feet in a flash, “I knew it… you want to put that wimp’s mind into my body! No way!”

Saint smiled, “Another near miss I’m afraid Tony… I already exchange the parts that make each of you unique beings so as you put it… you are the ‘wimp’…”

Tony shook his head, “No, I remember always being me… I never meet you before tonight and I never signed that contract…” Tony collapsed back in to the chair.

Saint put a hand on Tony’s shoulder to comfort him, “The ancient Greeks had it part right, there is the physical being, they called Soma and the spiritual being they called Psyche… what they got wrong is the memory is part of the Soma not the Psyche. The Soma provides the Psyche with the hardware to interact with and understand the world. Without the Soma the Psyche is only a set of predilections, a will without a way to act on the world. If you think back over the last few days haven’t you felt that something wasn’t right although everything was as you remember it… and haven’t you found yourself doing things out of character… your recent befriending of Mike Matthews… wanting to help him get in shape… in the other reality you cause him to became a state champion wrestler at 152lb… you didn’t know that you could give him that here but you did what you knew you could do for him…”

“But it’s not fair to the other Tony to get stuck with that wimpy body,” said Tony.

“He maybe wimpy now,” said Saint, “but you gave him a good foundation to build on and by the time you get out of high school he will still be 3 inches shorter than you but he’ll out weight you by more the twenty pounds and it will all be muscle.” Tony looked confused. Saint explained, “The other Tony has a bit more drive then you did so he will have the jock body again. And he’s maintaining the example you set… so now he is much more interesting and there may be a place for him in my organization too.

Tony asked, “Did I hear you right… I have the ability to make my fantasies real???”

Saint grinned, “Yes, to the extent and limitation in our contract, you do.”

Tony grinned, “Well how do I… make it happen?”

“So you are happy in your ‘new situation’ and want to stay?” asked Saint.

To me it’s doesn’t seen new but yes I’m happy and with the power I can make things right with everybody.

Saint’s smile faded a bit, “Be careful with altering reality it can have unexpected consequences. And sudden changes tend to attract attention. The way you manifest is to conceive in you mind what you want to happen and gave the word of command. You were using ‘NOW!’ to trigger the manifestation. But your ability will not operate here. If you need help or advice just say my name three times and Deez will be there for you.”

“Would it be possible to know more about what I did as the other Tony?” asked Tony.

“Possibly but I would prefer you work things out for yourself your world is different from the other reality and what work well there may not be the best choice for you,” replied Saint. “Now I think you should get back home and get a good night’s rest. I think you will find tomorrow interesting,” and he walked Tony back to the door that Tony had entered the room through. And opened it.

Instead of the gray haze the door opened onto Tonys bedroom. Tony and Saint shook hand and Tony stepped through the door and was in his bedroom again. He turned to look back but instead of Saints office his bathroom was back where it belonged. Tony shrugged and decided to give his ‘ability’ try. He looked around the room and than grinned mischievously, and said “Now.” The already ample bulge in his shorts expanded. He pulled down his shorts to find that his 9incher had been replaced by at least 18inches. “Well if nothing else, like this I can always get work in porno…” He thought and started to attempt to pack his enhanced equipment back into his shorts. Not finding a practical way to fit himself comfortably in his shorts Tony decided that bigger is not always better and dropped back to a less obscene 10 inches with a more than proportional increase in girth.

Tony noticed that while he was with Saint his computer had retrieved at least one message from the net. Tony crossed the room to his desk and sat down. The time the computer was reporting couldn’t be right… less then five minutes had past since he had dropped the IM link with Mike. But he must have spent at least an hour with Saint, “I guess he really can fold Space-Time,” thought Tony. Then he grinned as an idea formed in his mind… Tony pulled up a calculator on the computer and started tapping in numbers… “Okay, Every day I want Mike to lose… 5lbs of fat and gain 2lb of muscle until his body fat level is less than 10%… NOW.” Tony chuckled, “With in a couple of months Mike you’re going to be one major muscle dude pal…”

Tony then pulled up his email to find in addition to the usual junk there were messages from Mike, Brian, Andy, Shane Tinsley and several other guys he knew from school all received during the time he was with Saint. “What is going on here???” said Tony.

Saint and Deez watched Tony in the ‘Looking Glass’ as he began to read the new messages. Saint looked over to Deez and said, “Yes Deez, the ancient Chinese curse… ‘May you live in interesting times…’ life will be very interesting for young Mr. Canton.” •

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