Cat Hoort at Kregel challenged me to launch this blog campaign, and gave me great writing assignments to get it rolling!  In this one, the assignment is to take an ordinary activity and turn it into a fantasy story. So here we go!

The Life of a Fantasy Writer, Part I
It all started when I was getting dressed this morning.  Everything was going fine until then.

I chase my cats off my legs and get out of bed, turn on Good Morning America and brush my hair and teeth while I listen to the day's headlines.  So far so good, right?  Then I go to the laundry room and find my usual black twill pants (my wardrobe isn't exactly inspired, but black goes with everything, right?), along with a comfy, no-iron-required cotton-poly blouse that I like to think covers a multitude of sins, though I'm probably fooling myself. I take all this back to my chair so I can watch GMA while I dress.

I'm just in time for the Play of the Day—today it's a short video in which some doofus tries to feed his baby a pickle. The kid's expressions are a riot. 

As I watch, I  bend down to put on my pants, and that's where the trouble starts.  I swear, these are the same pants I wear every week , but… This is going to sound crazy. When I push my feet through the legs, nothing happens. I mean, my feet go in, or feel like they did, but the pants don't fill up as if there are legs and feet inside them.  Weird, right?  I freeze and stare. I rack my brains trying to figure out what was wrong with what I'm seeing. My legs are in up to my calves, but the pants just hang there as if they are still empty.

I take them off and my legs and feet look normal.  Nancy Grace is snarking at that nice Dan Abrams about a court case going on somewhere. She never lets the poor guy get a word in.  And my pants just hang from my hands, looking normal as could be.

So I pull them on again, this time past my knees. And again, the legs go in but the pants hang there like they are hanging from a clothes line.  I take them off again. Legs still there. I shake the pants, then peer inside, but they seem perfectly ordinary. 

OK, I know what they say about doing the same thing again and again expecting different results, but seriously, what would you do in this situation?  I frown and try again, shoving my legs in all the way up to my hips. The pants just lay there, draped over the chair as if I'd dropped them there. 

I consider calling 9-1-1. I mean, something HAS to be wrong with me. But when I try to stand up, nothing happens.  Nothing.  Like I have no legs.

With unseemly haste, I strip off the pants again, toss them over the arm of my chair and back away, some bizarre part of my mind fearing that they might chase after me. The ravenous, disappearing monster pants.  They don't move.  So I go for the phone, punching 9-1-1 on the keypad. But exactly what am I going to tell them? My pants are making my legs disappear? I can hear the dispatcher laughing already, so I set the phone down without completing the call. 

I go and get another pair of pants—jeans this time.  I stand in the laundry room and pull them on, and hit the floor when my legs vanish. Ouch. After a brief inventory to make sure all my parts--or at least the parts that are still there--are unbroken, I stare at myself. I'm lying there, normal from the waist up, then there's the belt line of the pants, and then nothing. The pants lie flat on the floor.  I pull the waistline of the pants out, trying not to imagine being cut off from the waist down, guts squishing around with no flesh to contain them. But basically from waistband of my pants down, there is simply nothing. 

Panic is setting in by this point, so I flop around on the floor like a landed fish, trying to wriggle out of the pants (it's harder than you might think when you don't have legs). It takes me awhile to feel like I can breathe again, but once I suck in a good lungful of air, I feel really stupid lying on the laundry room floor, and gingerly push to my feet.

I need a witness; someone who can say they saw what I saw. I call my neighbor, Norah, who lives down the street and works from home. She's sane, normal. People will believe her if she agrees with me.  She doesn't want to come but I talk her into it.

She arrives a few minutes later, wearing an apron and scowling a little, probably wanting me to know that I've inconvenienced her. She has curly dark hair and an open face with nice hazel eyes that meet mine directly without blinking. I don't know her well but I trust her. Her eyebrows nearly fly off her forehead when she sees that I've opened the door in my undies. For a second I worry that she's going to turn around and walk away, and probably tell all the neighbors that I'm some kind of perv. 

"Wait!" I beg.  "This is serious.  Watch!"  While Norah stands in my doorway with her mouth open, I slip a leg into the jeans. When it vanishes, I overbalance and topple to the floor again.

Her face goes a bloodless white. She stands there gaping a second before she bends and grabs my arm as if she thinks she can help me stand.

"Get up! Seriously, what just happened? Is this some kind of sick prank?"

I strip off the pants again. "If it's a prank, I'm being played, too."  I get to my feet, though my knees are wobbly enough that I have to brace myself against the dining room table.

She stares at the jeans, then at me, but what comes out of her mouth amounts to "uh," and "buh…" Finally she manages to find some words. "How did you do that?"

"I didn't. It happened to me when I tried to dress. I called you because if you see it too, then maybe I'm not crazy." Inspiration hits, and I hold the pants out to her. She flinches. "You try. It doesn’t hurt."  I pull out a dining room chair. "Sit first, just in case."

"Uh…" Norah says, and I can see from the way her eyes keep darting to the front door that she wants to get out of here. "Buh…"

I grab her arm. I'm desperate. "Try them on." I shove the jeans into her hands and push her into the chair. "Please. You'll be able to take them off again. Just let me see if this is only happening to me."

Her face is a weird, pasty white as she bends and pulls the jeans over her feet. She's already wearing slacks; it should be a difficult fit. But her feet slide right in.

And disappear.

She rips the jeans off again and flings them at me. "I gotta go!" She almost falls on her face as she pushes out of the chair and bolts out the door.

For a moment I worry about what she's going to tell the neighbors. Then I shrug. If she saw it too, then she can't say I'm nuts, right?

So now what? I carry the jeans back to the laundry room and start to put them back on a hanger. Inanely it occurs to me that maybe if I wash them they might become normal again, so I toss them—and the black twills—into the washing machine and turn it on. HOT water. Lots of soap. . 

Now what? I can't exactly go to work like this, and I've already hit my limit of sick days. There are other pants in the laundry room, but when I test a few by poking my hand inside the waistband, they're all the same. I head for my closet, which is where I keep the clothes I don't actually wear. Maybe a skirt? I only have a couple of those, and if I wear one I'm going to spend the day explaining myself. It's a banner day in Denver when I wear a skirt. But I yank one out of the clips that hold it, and bend to pull it on, then think again and take it to my chair.  Feet go in and vanish. Again.

I pull the skirt off and sit there, flummoxed. It's not like there's a Biblical verse to guide me in a situation like this.  "If thou puttest on thy lower garments and thy legs disappeareth…" I giggle. That's a bad sign. I never giggle in the morning.

Well, I can't sit here all day. I need to get to work. But I can't go in my undies.  So…?

What if I try pulling the skirt on over my head?

If my head vanishes, will I be able to pull the skirt off again?  

I pick up my phone and call Norah again, hoping that maybe she can pull the skirt off if that happens. But she doesn't answer. I suspect that she's never going to answer a call from me again. I consider calling other friends, but most of them are probably at work. Like I should be.

There's this little voice in my head that is saying, "What if you do vanish? Where would you go?" I look at my legs, and they look none the worse for the experience. No cuts or bruises. If anything they feel a little tingly. It's a nice tingly. Maybe just my imagination, but it feels kind of cool and bubbly all down my legs, like I've been standing in a glass of champagne.

What's the worst that could happen? I vanish. I don't go to work, ever again. I don't have to worry about the mortgage. I never have to work again.  It's starting to sound pretty good.

Meezer, my girl cat, is snoozing comfortably on the bed. On impulse, I toss my skirt over her, and regret it instantly as it falls flat on the bed as if there's no cat underneath. I grab the waistband and yank it up, and there Meezer stands, looking a little dazed.  After a second, she shakes herself and starts to groom.

Well, apparently whatever happens, it causes no lasting harm, even if you vanish completely.

I call Norah again, and when it goes to voicemail, I leave a message.  "I left the door open. If I don't call you back in like a half hour, come over and pick my skirt up off the floor. Oh, and if I'm not there, will you feed my cats?" I hang up and hope she listens. 

Before I can second-guess myself, I toss the skirt over my head…

What happened, you ask? I can't exactly say. The next thing I know, Norah is back, holding my skirt and I'm sitting on the floor.

I pull the skirt away from her and tossed it over my head again. Whatever was on the other side, I really want to go back. I like the bubbly all over feeling, and I have a sense that whatever brought it on is way better than my life.

But this time the skirt just hangs over me like a blanket. Another pair of pants go on like normal, too. 

So here I am, finally, dressed and ready to work. I'm late, but as you see, I couldn't help it.