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Reluctant Press Novelette Cover

Jeremy is broke. The rent is coming due and Jeremy has no job. A grant for his research proposal has been turned down and things look bleak for the young man. When he is told about a professor who has a possible opportunity for him to work on, he jumps at the opportunity. The professor is a bit vague about exactly what the job is going to be but he tells Jeremy that it will involve living as a young woman. It sounds weird but, having no better options, Jeremy accepts the job.

Before he knows what is happening, he is undergoing surgery and intensive cosmetic instruction.

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    ‘‘You haven’t told me what I have to do,’’ I reminded him.

    ‘‘Oh, no I haven’t; how remiss of me.’’ He laughed. ‘‘Of course, there are no real duties as such; it’s just that you’ll be doing everything as a young woman.’’

    ‘‘But I’m not a young woman.’’

    ‘‘Of course not, but you could learn how to be one.’’

    ‘‘I don’t think…’’ I started.

    ‘‘Sorry, I should have explained that part sooner.’’ He smiled. ‘‘I want you to adopt the mantle, so to speak, of a young woman. After all, as you observed, all behaviour is learned behaviour.’’

    ‘‘I don’t see…’’

    “Once you’re looking like a young woman and doing all the things that a young woman would have to do, your behaviour will adapt as you learn. You’ll want to fit in; to conform to expectations. That’s the purpose of this experiment; to determine to what extent behaviour can be learned and how quickly.’’

    ‘‘And you have funding in place for all this?’’ I was more than a little dumbfounded and didn’t really know what to say to sound sensible.

    ‘‘Of course I have funding.’’ He smiled. “It’s for five years and may be extended indefinitely as long as you’re willing to participate.’’

    ‘‘But if it went on too long, I’d not be a young woman any longer.’’

    ’’And I may be dead.’’ He laughed and smiled more heartily. ‘‘So what do you say?’