PodCastle 194: Their Changing Bodies

by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
Read by Tina Connolly.
Originally published in Subterranean Online. Read the text there.

Judy had been painfully aware of him since her arrival two weeks ago, when she had seen him across the mess hall. They talked a little, but Judy hadn’t been prepared for his appearance or his popularity. She hadn’t expected him to change quite so much.

Judy had first met Brandon last summer in the woods of rural Michigan, at an institution the promotional brochures called Better Image! for Teens. The kids sentenced to this energetically punctuated camp had referred to it as the Penitentiary, but Judy’s sister Alice had more accurately called it Fat Camp. Judy came home thirty pounds thinner and possessed of a first kiss that had admittedly also encompassed some of her cheek. Still, at sixteen she had finally accomplished several of her goals in life: a) meet a boy, b) talk to the boy, c) impress him with her knowledge of esoteric subjects like grafting apple trees, and, finally, d) mack on him like crazy.

If pressed, Judy admitted that perhaps she still had a slight distance to travel until she fully accomplished d). Even though Brandon had attempted to insert his tongue in her mouth, the reality of it wagging wetly in the air had so disconcerted Judy that she turned at the exact wrong moment, thereupon forcing Brandon’s tongue to slither over her cheek until he realized what had happened and put it back in his mouth. How, she asked Alice, does anyone make out with so much spit? Alice just shrugged and said you got used to it.

Judy hoped she would get used to it.

Rated R for profanity, young adult themes.