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The Antiquated Sundries Shoppe should have been easy to see, situated right in the middle of a block on Spring Street, but neither Eve, nor Adam noticed it until the glint of a streetlamp caught their eyes at the storefront.


In the main window was a pair of matched gold bands, both very plain yet with an intriguing but almost imperceptible pattern woven into each. They both realized simultaneously these would be their perfect wedding bands. As they were making a note to return to the store during regular business hours, the door swung open. Glancing at each other, smiling, they stepped inside the shop.

Brightly colored (even in the dim light of the store) Tiffany lamps, Mad Magazine issues from the 1970s, 1943 Steel pennies in a display case, dictionaries for languages that no longer exist, just a few of the artifacts on display through the dusky walls and burnished shelving in that labyrinth of a selling floor. A husky, yet lilting voice rang out.

“Come this way!” said the female voice to the couple. A familiar figure stepped out of the shadowy back room and into the light behind the main floor display case. She put down a first edition copy of Martha Stewart Wedding and smiled. It was Martha Stewart.

Eve asked, “What are you…”

“There’s a lot of magic in love. And this would be one of those magical things.” Martha smiled. "I look like this because that’s how you choose to see me. It’s also how I know your names are Eve and Adam, and how I simply knew to retrieve this box from the display window.” Martha placed the black velvet box with the two rings in front of the couple.

Looking at the twin rings up close, it was easy to see the solidness and intricacy of the bands.

“The design of the rings reflects the challenges of being married,” Martha stated, smiling and giving a little squint. “It’s both the simplest element of life and yet the most complex.”

Martha nodded and continued, “Sharing a life with someone is just the same. How much do you know about each other, really? We’re going to find out. Please follow me.”

Ms. Stewart took Eve by the hand and escorted her through the portico to the rear of the shop. Climbing a winding staircase, she led them to a space that appeared to be a beautifully appointed loft style apartment. Martha turned back to the couple.

“I am going to give you a very special present, but I want you to choose. You may spend the first year of your marriage in this loft, rent free.”

As the location wasn’t very convenient to either of their jobs, and they already had a down payment on a place they liked, they politely refused.

“You may have the rings as my gift,” Martha then offered. Thinking that wouldn’t be fair, the couple again turned down the offer.

“In that case,” Martha said, “You are about to get something very special, indeed.” She handed them the rings. “Try these on for size.

The couple slipped the golden jewelry onto each other’s left ring fingers. A perfect fit in each case.

Martha smiled, “Now, hold each other's hands and let the rings gently touch.”

When they did, suddenly the room started to spin like an out-of-control carousel, which forced them to hold each other’s hands that much more tightly and then reached out to hold each other before they blacked out.

Adam woke up first. He was staring at the ceiling and could still feel their palms pressed with Eve, who was also waking up. They both sat up and looked at each other and they each saw themselves.

“Whoa!” said Adam, who appeared to be Eve.

“Is this a mirror trick?” asked Eve who looked like Adam.

“Martha!” They both called out. There was no Martha to be found. They studied each other’s faces closely and that’s when they fully realized, they had swapped bodies. They each jumped up.

“What are you doing in my body!” Eve shouted at Adam. Adam looked down.

“I think I’m playing with your boobs! How do you deal with walking around with these all the time?”

“Same way you deal with having to walk around with a penis and scrotum hanging down there. And they kinda get in the way when they swing!”

“Don’t rub against it too much or…”

“Too late. With you playing with my boobs and the friction of your pants, I got an erection. How often does this happen, because this was completely spontaneous.”

“They happen. They happen. The real question is: why are we in each other’s bodies?!”

“And what happened to Not Martha Stewart?”

“And why can’t I get your ring off of your finger?”

“The whole pronoun thing is freaky enough.”

“Maybe we’re supposed to learn something here. This is like some cosmic life lesson.”

“What’s the largest thing you’ve had up your butt?” Adam asked, seductively.

“You know, you’re the one who’s going to feel it if you try.” Eve scowled.

“Right,” Adam gulped.

“So what do we do?” she asked.

“Well, do you want to have something to eat? We have this apartment.”

“Great. Take care of that and I’ll go see if the game is on.” Female Adam said.

“Wait. You’re the one that’s a good cook. And you don’t even like sports on TV,” Male Eve responded.

Adam looked at her phone: no service, then looked for the spiral staircase. Gone.

The TV was static. No video console. “This place is a dump.”

“Maybe this all means we’re supposed to talk to each other?” She asked in her masculine voice.

“Talk? I don’t think… ow! This ring! It’s like biting your finger!” Adam inside Eve said.

“Don’t harm my finger,” she almost yelped, in very male, imagined pain.

“Maybe you’re right. What are we talking about?”

“Us? And how we’re looking at each other from this forced perspective?”

“There’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to see me, but now that’s all I see.”

“It’s difficult to see me as you do. And that makes this hurt,” she said, inside his body.

“I think I understand about the challenges of wearing high heels and bras a little better.”

“You’re lucky this wasn’t a ‘period week!’”

She bent him over into a deep soul kiss and their fingers intertwined.

//

This part of the piece was written for LJ Idol using the prompt - "Shibui".

My partner for this week, xlovebecomesher continues the story HERE

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
beeker121
Sep. 9th, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC)
I really like this line "There’s a lot of magic in love" and the sentiment behind it. But I don't think I would want to play body-swap with my husband, way too confusing.
penpusher
Sep. 11th, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
I hoped the confusion I provided wasn't too confusing! But I did want the reader to have a sense of imbalance because this would be a very challenging moment and the equilibrium would definitely be off-kilter!

Thank you for reading and the comment!
shimmerdream
Sep. 9th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC)
And the lesson here is to avoid mysterious gifts from antique shops... Very intriguing.
penpusher
Sep. 11th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
Sometimes things that are old provide elements that are very new! Thanks for reading!
reckless_blues
Sep. 10th, 2014 09:03 am (UTC)
That's a good description, that's exactly what all of those stores have lying around ... except for the dictionaries. I got really stuck on those.

Also: "They happen. They happen." *snrk*
penpusher
Sep. 11th, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
Aha, very good! I wanted to hint that this was more than just the average antiques shop and the dictionaries were a foreshadowing of that element.

Thanks for reading and thanks for getting me to laugh at my own joke!
adoptedwriter
Sep. 10th, 2014 04:14 pm (UTC)
Haha! Cute story! AW
penpusher
Sep. 11th, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for reading.
favoritebean
Sep. 11th, 2014 07:32 am (UTC)
I love just how much attention you give to detail in this piece.
penpusher
Sep. 11th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that. It was really about the intricacies as the story moved forward, and the dealing with a new circumstance that forced it. I'm glad it was noticed, and thanks for commenting!
kajel
Sep. 11th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
This was cute.
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:25 am (UTC)
Thanks very much!!
roina_arwen
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC)
Freaky Friday with Adam & Eve, lol. :)
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
Well, maybe just a little... Thanks!
mallorys_camera
Sep. 11th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
This made me smile. Thanks! :-)
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
Thank you, and glad you enjoyed!
xlovebecomesher
Sep. 13th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC)

“There’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to see me, but now that’s all I see.”

“It’s difficult to see me as you do. And that makes this hurt,” she said, inside his body.

“I think I understand about the challenges of wearing high heels and bras a little better.”

“You’re lucky this wasn’t a ‘period week!’”


Love this dialogue - it's my favorite part of the story :)

You are an awesome writer and partner! I really enjoyed working with you and coming up with this story :)
rayaso
Sep. 13th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
So much fun and so witty! I loved that the first thing Adam did after being transferred to Eve's body is play with her breasts. Good work, again!
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:27 am (UTC)
Haha! And thanks for your comment.
i_17bingo
Sep. 14th, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
... an intriguing but almost imperceptible pattern woven into each.

Let me guess. It says, "One Ring to rule them all, One ring to find them; One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. And another ring because I got bored."

I have one of these shops where I live, and it is bonkers. I loved to go in there, but now I think I'll be a little more cautious with it. Especially because Bob Ross keeps trying to sell me happy little Bonsai trees.

The surreality of this piece was as fantastic as the reality of their reactions. Although...

“What’s the largest thing you’ve had up your butt?” Adam asked, seductively.

HOW IS THAT SEDUCTIVE?!
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:31 am (UTC)
Well, Adam was clearly being... wait for it... cheeky.

Those little shops are becoming more difficult to find, especially here in NYC where Bank of America, Starbucks and Walgreens/Duane Reade are taking up all the sidewalk space. But thanks for your cogent comment.
halfshellvenus
Sep. 14th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
I think the lesson here is, "Never trust Martha Stewart!" Real or not-real Martha, she's not entirely human.

And I'm with i_17bingo above. Not sexy!
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:36 am (UTC)
You are onto something about Martha. But, in a way, I equate her with Joan Rivers: both were survivors, both were groundbreakers, both were really determined to make it in the face of circumstances that were not created by them, or else changed by something they might have done that had an unexpected result.

But Adam was having a joke at Eve's expense... I should have done more to have made that clearer!
alycewilson
Sep. 15th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
I can only imagine how awkward everything would be! Fun concept.
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!
grail76
Sep. 15th, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
cute idea.
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:37 am (UTC)
Thank you.
cheshire23
Sep. 16th, 2014 06:12 am (UTC)
I knew there was something weird about those rings!
penpusher
Sep. 17th, 2014 10:37 am (UTC)
There was at that! Thanks for commenting.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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