|Word count 990
I enter the Old Dutch Pub and sit at one of the tables in the back where it’s dark and secluded. I order a pitcher of Molly’s favorite lager and two mugs. The waitress brings them and at 8:00, right on time, Molly shows up.
“Hey Molly. Thanks for coming.”
“So what’s up? What’s this important thing you wanted to talk about?”
I scan the back of the bar to make sure it’s empty. I pull out and place on the table a bracelet. It is a copper bangle, unembellished except for a simple chameleon that “sits” atop it.
“Wow, a present for me? Really Will, you shouldn’t have.”
“Quit screwing around Molly, this is serious.”
“Ok then, what is this?”
“I have an admission to make Molly. I found this last summer when Professor Litchfield took us to Egypt with him for his dig.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“You mean you stole it?”
“Will, how could you?”
“Molly this is going to sound crazy, but it compelled me to steal it. I haven’t stolen anything since I was seven years old. It’s not my nature to steal – you know that. But when I found this, it…I don’t know how to explain it. It ordered me…it commanded me to take it.”
“Let me get this straight. You’re telling me you found this at Dr. Litchfield’s dig at Asyut.” Molly picks it up and begins to examine it. “It doesn’t have any mars or nicks on it at all. There isn’t the slightest sign of any patina on it. How could it be from his archeological dig?”
“This is going to sound crazy Molly, but not only is it from the dig - it’s magical too.”
“You’re right Will, that does sound crazy.” She is only an undergraduate senior, but she is brilliant and is already the darling of the archeology department. “Well, the style seems right for the Amarna Period I guess, although it’s really so unadorned that there’s not much to go on. Magic you say, eh? What mystical powers do you purport it possesses?”
“Go ahead and mock me woman. Now the laugh is going to be on you. Give it back.”
“Hold on a second, I just want to examine it a moment longer…It’s really quite interesting once…”
Quickly, I grab it back from her. “What the hell Will – I wasn’t done looking at it. You didn’t have to snatch it back like that.”
“Having a little trouble giving it back on your own accord eh? The guy I showed it to at the pawn shop had the same problem too. I told you, it compelled me to take it.”
Molly laughs. “You’re crazy, but OK Will, I’ll play ball. What other magic powers does it have?”
I slip it on my wrist. As always, it seems to have the eerie ability to open over my hand and then close snuggly about my wrist. I concentrate. I imagine I am older, wiser. That my hair is gray, my skin wrinkled, my eyebrows absurdly bushy. I take on the face of our professor, Dr. Litchfield.
Molly’s laugh abruptly stops, her jaw goes slack. “Perhaps you’ll mind your elders when they tell you what is what,” I say in his quavering voice.
Hours later we drunkenly stumble back to her dorm room. Her roommate is gone for the weekend. She collapses on her bed. I sit on the floor.
“What are we going to do with it Molly?”
“Why don’t you just send it in the mail to Dr. Litchfield anonymously?”
“There’s something wrong about it. It’s got some sort of power about it. There isn’t a more kindly and good man than the professor, but I don’t know if even he should have it. It’s evil. That won’t do.”
“Destroy it. Smash it to bits.”
“You mean like with a sledgehammer? I tried that already. Not a scratch.”
“We’ll throw it in the Hudson River.”
“I don’t know…”
“Better yet we’ll throw it in the ocean. We’ll go down to the city and take the ferry over to Fire Island. Halfway there, we’ll throw it in the drink. How’s that sound?”
“Actually that sounds like a really good plan.”
“Can I see it, Will? I promise I won’t let it get ahold of me again.”
I hand it to her and she slips it over her hand and on to her wrist. “You know Will I’ve always hated the way I’ve looked. I hate my mousey brown hair. I want beautiful, blonde hair. And pretty blue eyes. And this nose, it’s like the size of a clock radio. It should be slim and sexy. And curves, I want curves galore.” And as she thinks these things they become so.
In a moment her transformation is complete. Even her voice changes and becomes huskily sexy as she says, “You know Will, I have an admission to make too. I really like you a lot. So what do you think?”
I don’t like the way she looks at all and I slip the bracelet off of her wrist. She becomes Molly again. “Actually, I like you a hell of a lot better this way,” I say as I crawl into bed with her.
The next day we are on the ferry on our way to Fire Island. We hold hands.
“I think we should do it now.”
“Go ahead and do the honors.”
She slips the bracelet off of my wrist. Then, after a slight pause, she unceremoniously drops it into the Atlantic. Immediately I feel worlds better and I tell her so.
“Hey speaking of feeling, do you mind if I put my arms around you and try to cop a feel or two?”
“Settle down boy, we’re in public. Later.”
And as for the bracelet, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it stays for quite some time, but not forever.
Author's Note: This was written for the Writer's Cramp. The prompt was, "Write a short story or poem about receiving a special bracelet that gives the wearer the power to change their appearance. It won first place. I know, you are impressed - but don't be. I think there were only two other entries, so it wasn't REALLY that impressive, as far as feats of writing go.