Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Swap Craze: A Short Story by Payman Akhlaghi

 Swap Craze
A Short Story
Somewhat Inspired by Sort of True Events

By: Payman Akhlaghi
© 2010, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.
Read Swap Craze on Scribd!

"Status: Bored With My Glasses! Fancy Yours! Care to Swap?!" -- I typed and clicked Enter. Two hours later, his reply came up with a bleep: "Likewise! Affirmative! Opt for Overnight Delivery!" The next morning, I appeared before my class in a pair of golden retro pince-nez. My students ogled. One finally broke the silence, "Professor, are those Jimmy's, too?" I smiled.

As everyone knew, Jimmy had been my number one eSwap pal for the past six months. I knew very little about Jimmy, except that he lived somewhere far in northern Canada, and that we both had an apparently insatiable craving for anything that belonged to the other one. Since we had discovered each other on eSwap, we had exchanged many things via this online bartering service, from books to pants, to furniture, or to whatever else which we'd suddenly found boring. Swap-wise speaking, Jimmy was my soul-mate, and eSwap, with its revolutionary regression to the early days of bartered goods, was the Heaven, where we had luckily found each other.

One early morning in January, I looked out my window and groaned, "L.A. has no honest winters! Where's the heavy rain? Where's the snow?!" My wife sneered, "Say that to Jimmy!" She was clearly joking, but I wondered, "Why not?" I began to type, "Status: Bored With Weather! Care to Swap?" Two days later, Jimmy's reply showed up: "DSL just back after heavy snow! Affirmative -- Hell Yeah!" That night, my 7-year old daughter couldn't have been happier, when she shouted, "Daddy! Is that sugar powder raining from the sky?!" We threw snowballs at each other! We made a tall smiley snowman! Everyone was over-joyed -- that is, everyone but me: I secretly envied the snowman for its mop of a bushy hair. I went straight to the keyboard. "Status: Bored With Baldness! Care to Swap?" Jimmy's reply was unusually ambivalent: "Not sure yet. Wish to Swap Half For Now!" I agreed.

Jimmy's thick blond hair was just lovely, and it would have been perfect if it didn't cover only the left side of my head. "Status: Bald Gray Side Looks Weird! Swap Back, or Full Swap?" His reply was comforting: "Full Swap: Wife Found Bald Sexy!" Obviously, the black eyebrows and mustache didn't go well with the blond hair, so we soon went for a Full Head Swap. As his head proved too heavy on my neck, we began to exchange other bodily parts, too, one by one, for better balance. Within a month, everything seemed perfect, except for my wife's displeased attitude. "Stauts: Wife and Daughter Annoyed by My New looks! Care to Swap?" His reply felt worthy of the two-week wait: "Likewise here! Affirmative! Agree to Both!" Thus, we exchnaged our families.

Jimmy's family was exuberant over the return of his old looks. They were overtly kind to Jimmy, that is, to me within the body of Jimmy. His wife was an exceptionally pleasant woman, and his little girl was just adorable. But gosh, what was that food?! Within days, I was back at the keyboard: "Status: Bacon Doesn't Suit My Jewish Taste! Care to Swap?" "Hate the Gefilte Fish!", he wrote back. "Affirmative! Just Two More Days -- Passover's Not Yet Over!"

Since we swapped our Selves, we have got our old looks, our old locations, and certainly, our old families. We are both back into our all too familier comfort zones, and all around us seem to be happy for the regained normalcy. But deep down, I doubt if things couldn't have been done differently. After all, we seem to be back where we started. "Was it all pointless? What would Jimmy think?", I wonder. "Status: Terrible Anxiety Over a Puzzle! Care to Swap Minds?" I am now waiting for his reply...
[The End]

© 2010, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.
© Revised: July 7th, 2010 by Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

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