Picture Perfect

Part 1

It had been a tough year. After graduation, I had taken a job here in town, with the hope that I could keep on living the college life. Unfortunately, it hadn't occurred to me that once most of my fraternity brothers left to build their lives elsewhere, the appeal of living in a college town would fade quickly. Now my job wasn't going well either, and I was depressed and bored. As I stood at the mirror, I couldn't help but sigh. Talk about Joe Average. Sandy brown hair, thin, not much of an upper body. Something's gotta change, I thought to myself. I went to check the morning mail. In amongst the junk was a small flat square envelope. There was no return address. Inside was just an unmarked CD.

Normally, the arrival of an unmarked computer CD in the mail wouldn't excite me much. A come-on for free internet time, perhaps a sales pitch, I thought. Yet, in my current state, any diversion was worth a look. I went to my computer and popped the CD in my hard drive. It immediately began to whirr, and a series of messages appeared on the screen.

"Loading Program. Please wait"…
"Installing directories. Please wait"…
"Searching for Central File connection settings. Please wait"…

What on earth was this? I wondered. Finally, the messages ended, and the software installation was finished. A dialogue box appeared.

"Would you like to run the program?"

I clicked "Yes". A work screen came up, lined with various Icons and menu bars, mostly the type used in graphics programs. Another dialog box popped up.

"Select a photo to modify."

Great, I thought. Just another knockoff of "Photoshop". Oh well, nothing better to do. I searched through my computer files. I didn't have much to choose from, but I found a digital photo taken at the frat house last year, just before graduation. It contained 30 of us, all posed for the camera in the fraternity house living room. I clicked on the file, and loaded it into the mysterious program. Yet another dialog box popped up.

"This photo contains more than one individual. Click on the one you would like to modify."

I searched the photo briefly. I spotted Jeff seated in the front row. Jeff and I had some good times together in school, but hadn't kept in touch even though he was one of the few guys besides me who stayed in town after graduation. His family was loaded so he really didn't need to work, but Jeff had a reputation as something of a genius with computers, and I heard that he was trying to start his own software firm. After I clicked on his image, it was clipped from the photo, and enlarged to fill the screen. Jeff wasn't bad looking I suppose, but like me his appearance was nothing remarkable. Medium build, carrying a few extra pounds, dark hair, brown eyes.

"Begin modifications." The dialog box now said.

I searched through the menus and icons. There were nearly endless menus and submenus, for things like "eye color", "Hair", and so on. I realized that the idea was to take a photo of someone, and use the menus to change their appearance. This could be interesting, I decided. The program was highly intuitive, and I picked it up quickly.

First, I selected "eyes/color/blue". Immediately, the eyes on Jeff's picture changed from brown to blue. Then I started to fool around, selecting "teeth/none". Suddenly he was toothless. I chuckled and put the teeth back in. Then I selected "Hair/balding". Now his hairline was receding. I meant it as a joke, but as I looked at the photo, I stopped. He looked good this way. It gave him character. Then I selected "Beard/goatee/black." Now he sported a neatly trimmed black goatee. Hmm… He looks good this way, I thought, Real good. I was finding myself getting interested in him. Wait. What am I doing? I thought. I'm not attracted to guys. What is this?

I was getting uncomfortable with how I was feeling about his new look. I hit the "quit" command.

"Would you like to save these changes?" The program asked.

I was about to click no, but stopped. What's the harm? I thought. Who will know if I've got a doctored photo on my computer? I clicked "Save." The computer whirred again, running through another series of on-screen messages:

"Accessing Histories"…
"Modifying Public records…"
"Altering DNA patterns…"

What the hell? I thought. This is a bizarre little piece of software. Before I could do anything else, the program said, "Save complete" and shut down. I went to bed, wondering what that was all about.

The next day at work, the phone rang. I picked it up and heard a familiar voice. "Rick. How are you? It's Jeff." I nearly dropped the phone. I hadn't heard from him in months. Now, after last night's little experiment, the coincidence was a bit much.

"Oh, uh…hi, Jeff…um, it's good to hear from you." I stumbled over my words, self conscious about the previous night. We made small talk for a while, and then he suggested we meet for a beer after work. "Murphy's, say… Seven?" He said. I agreed, and hung up.

I went straight to the bar as soon as work was over, and sipped a beer in the crowded room, scanning for Jeff. Murphy's had been one of our college hangouts, and was filled with students. Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder. It was Jeff, right next to me. I had looked right past him without recognizing him, then realized why. My heart pounded as I gazed at him. He had a neatly trimmed black goatee, and a deeply receding hairline. I gulped.

"Jeff! Hi! Uh… great to see you." I exclaimed.

"Rick, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost." Jeff replied.

"Nothing, nothing's wrong, you just startled me a little," I said. "You look a little different."

"Oh, the beard. What do you think?" He asked.

I tried to be nonchalant. "Oh, its fine. Whatever…" I said. We began to make small talk. Jeff said that he had a new goal, to go into teaching at the University. I told him that I, too, was looking for a change, and was bored with my current job. We continued to talk, but I had a terrible time focusing. I couldn't take my eyes of the changes in his look. Was it possible? No, of course not. I haven't seen him in months, and he could easily have grown a beard in that time, and some people do go bald rather quickly. It was all a coincidence, I told myself. We chatted and ordered a round of beers, and then another. After a few hours, we said good night and I went home.

When I got home I went straight to bed, but I couldn't get to sleep. I couldn't stop wondering if it was possible to actually change someone with the simple manipulation of a photo with that amazing software. In the middle of the night, I got up and fired up the computer. I opened the photo software, and stared at Jeff's picture. I had to know if there was something to this. I searched the menus, looking for something else to alter. I tinkered with his age, pushing him to about 30. I modified his hairline so he was almost entirely bald on top, and thickened his beard just slightly. Then I started looking at his body. I bulked up his biceps, and beefed up his chest and legs, too. Now he had what many would call a "fireplug" build. Stocky and muscular, but not fat. I modified his clothing to reflect a preference for an outdoor look, a flannel shirt and tight jeans, work boots. I found myself getting aroused as I gazed at my handiwork. It bothered me to realize I was thinking like this, but I couldn't stop. Something was still missing. I searched the menus, clicking on one called "Accessories". Nothing struck me as terribly interesting, until I saw the word "pipe". I had always loved the smell of a pipe, but had never got up the nerve to try one myself. No one seemed to smoke a pipe anymore, but it would sure be nice to hang out with someone that did, I thought. I clicked on "Pipe/briar/half bent." Immediately a fine pipe appeared in Jeff's mouth, and looked as if it had always been there. He looked hot. I was getting self conscious about what I was thinking again, and went to shut down the software. Again, the program asked, "Would you like to save these changes?" My finger hovered over the mouse, as I hesitated. Then I clicked "yes." Again the dialogue boxes flashed on the screen…

"Accessing Histories"…
"Modifying Public records…"
"Altering DNA patterns…"

The program said the changes had been saved, and then the enlargement of Jeff shrank back into the group photo. The man that had been Jeff in the group was gone now, replaced in the photo by a fine looking, beefy, 30-ish bearded man, a pipe proudly clenched in his teeth. I stared at the image, getting aroused at the man I had created. Exhausted, I finally went to bed.

At work the next day, there was no way I could concentrate. I called Jeff's number and left a message to call me, and I waited. He didn't return my call, so I tried again that evening. Finally the following day he called back, and we agreed to meet again that night at Murphy's. I couldn't wait. I had to know if it could really be true; would he be the man I had created, or was it all just an amazing coincidence?

Just as I was about to leave work, Jeff called and cancelled without explanation. We agreed to meet again the following night, and he cancelled again and we rescheduled for the following week. Then he cancelled, and I couldn't get a hold of him. I was getting frustrated now. Why was he blowing me off? I had to see him, and it was if he'd fallen off the face of the earth. Finally, three weeks later, he called me.

"Rick!" He greeted me when I picked up the phone. He sounded different, somehow. "How's it going?"

I sighed. What was he up to now? I thought. "Fine, Jeff, how are you?"

"Listen," he said, "why don't you come over to my place. My new place. I got that teaching position I told you about! It's fantastic. I want to tell you all about it…" He told me his address, and we set it up for that night. I raced from work over to his place near the University. It was a fine old Victorian house, an imposing place. I tapped the door knocker, and Jeff answered. I nearly fell over as I gazed upon him, and it took all of my concentration to maintain my composure. There before me stood the very bear I had created, thick black goatee, stocky and muscular now, at least 30.

"Hey Rick, come on in!" he said, as I stepped in to the hall and he patted me on the back. He was genuinely happy, and more outgoing and gregarious than I remembered. His voice was deeper too. He showed me into the drawing room, and offered me whisky, which I accepted. I took a seat in a leather wingback chair, and he sat in a matching chair opposite me. The room dripped with masculinity, and so did Jeff now. We began chatting, and I watched in awe as he casually reached into the chest pocket of his flannel shirt while he talked, producing a beautiful half bent briar, exactly like the one I had selected for him in the photo. I gulped, staring at him as he expertly filled the pipe from a leather pouch, and then he paused talking to place his pipe in his teeth. He flicked on a pipe lighter, and held it over the bowl and drew in, billowing thick aromatic smoke from his mouth and nose. I lost track of the conversation, so enraptured by his look. He acted as if he had been a pipe man for years, gently stroking the satin bowl with his fingers as the smoke gently curled up into the room.

"This is a hell of a house you've got here." I said, trying to snap back into focus.

"Oh, it's not mine, it's my boss'," he replied. "I'm a teaching assistant for Professor White, and since we're going to be working closely together, he suggested I take a room here. It's really a great old place. Would you like a tour?" he asked.

"Sure, that would be great!" I said. Jeff stood and gestured for me to follow him. I stayed just far enough behind to catch a whiff of his pipe smoke as we walked. The house was beautifully restored, filled with fine woodwork, antiques and artifacts. Jeff had a bedroom upstairs, unremarkable except for the circular rack of pipes on the desk, all well worn. Then he showed me the professor's office. It was even more amazing than the rest of the house, a paneled room with a high ceiling, and bookshelves packed with old volumes and photos. Many of the photos featured a dignified, portly, gray bearded man, who I surmised was Professor White. Jeff explained that they were photos of Professor White's years of world travel and adventures. Along one wall was a huge display case, filled with at least 100 pipes of every possible variety. I was captivated.

"What a room!" I exclaimed.

"I'm glad you like it." Jeff said. "I thought you would."

I looked at the fine old desk, which dominated the room. On the desk blotter was a pair of wire frame glasses, and to one side was an ashtray with a spent pipe laying on its side, as if the Professor had just stepped out. I couldn't help but feel envious of the man who commanded this space, and enjoyed this life.

"So, when do I meet this Professor of yours?" I asked, intrigued.

"Oh, he'll be along any minute…" Jeff said, smiling slyly.

I pictured this dignified man strolling through this house, a cloud of pipe smoke trailing behind him. What a life. The whiskey was going to my head, and I sat down in the desk chair. The chair was worn and clearly made to fit a larger man than me. I rubbed my eyes and sighed.

"Jeff, I'm not feeling so good." I said.

"Don't worry, man, it's just the sedative I put in your drink. I need you to be relaxed and cooperative."

I didn't like the sound of that. "A sedative? What are you talking about?" I asked, worried.

"Rick, my friend, its time to come clean. I know what you did to me."

"What are you talking about?" I repeated, trying to sound innocent, but my nervousness was showing.

"Cut the act, man. I know about the software," Jeff said. "Who do you think sent it to you? Hell, who do you think wrote it? I needed someone to test it out. I though you'd use it on yourself, but when I woke up one night with a beard sprouting on my face, it didn't take much for me to figure out what was going on."

"Jeff, look, I'm sorry. I didn't know what I was doing. I swear-"

"Hey look, I'm not mad. I'm grateful" Jeff said, pausing to relight his pipe. "Oh, and by the way, thanks for the pipe idea. I've always had a thing for pipe smokers, now I'm one. I don't know how you knew. I've made it a part of your new profile, too."

I was beginning to panic. "Profile? What the hell do you mean?"

"Rick, you transformed me into your idea of the perfect man. Now I'm going to return the favor." With that, he turned the computer screen on the desk towards me. There on the screen was the same frat house photo I had used, but now, in addition to Jeff's new look in the photo, there was another new man, a gray bearded gentleman puffing on a full bent pipe. He was sitting in the second row, third from the right. That's where I had been seated in the photo. "Oh, Jeff, you can't mean-"

Before I could say any more, he hit the "save" command. Immediately, I began to feel dizzier, and a burning sensation came across my face as my beard began to sprout. I could feel my bones and muscles throb and grind, as my body began to grow to its new proportions. I moaned in agony, and begged him to make it stop.

"It's too late, Rick, there's no going back. I set this all up for you. This house, everything. That's what I've been doing for the last few weeks. You're going to enter your new life and be a new man, a respected professor, and everyone will think you've always been him. You're going to be a big bear, just the way I like it," Jeff continued. "I like and older man, a dad type." Jeff held a mirror before me, and I saw my old form morphing into the man in the photo. My hair was graying, and my face was growing rounder and creased with the lines of age. As my beard thickened it began to go gray as well. I felt an odd sensation at my groin and looked down to see my member growing to immense size. Apparently Jeff knew what he wanted there, too. Then I began to feel as though my body was inflating, as my belly grew outward and my chest heaved and became barrel shaped, my pecs covered with coarse hair. My arms bulged with new muscles and my legs grew to be massive. I looked in the mirror, horrified as my youthful body faded away.

"My god, Jeff, why? How could you…" I moaned.

"Don't worry, man. The next phase will make it ok. You're mind is changing now, to fit your new body. You'll be happier than you ever imagined."

Just as he said this, I felt my mind reeling as new thoughts came pouring in. Knowledge, skills, values, and memories. It was if my mind's content was being entirely re-written. It was too much, and I passed out.

The next thing I knew, I awoke in bed. I groggily lifted my new rotund body, and sat up. I had a strange craving that took only a second to recognize.

"Jeff!" I called out. "My pipe!"

Jeff appeared at the door almost immediately, one of my favorite briars in his hand, fully loaded with tobacco.

"Here you are, sir." He handed the pipe to me and I placed it in my teeth. Then he held out his lighter, flicked it on, and I drew in, puffing with relief as the smoke filled me. The sensation was wonderful, and it felt as if I'd done it 1,000 times.

"I've made you a major pipe man, far more than me. You'll never be without a pipe from now on." Jeff explained as I puffed. I contemplated the great collection of pipes in the office that was now mine, and knew he was right.

I rose and strolled over to the dressing area where Jeff had laid out my clothes. I realized in my new memories that this was our daily routine now. Jeff wasn't merely my assistant, he was my servant, my willing pipe slave. I dressed slowly, studying the new yet well worn clothing. The pants, large enough to fit my 250 pound bulk, were held up by a pair of leather suspenders. I slipped them on and stroked them with my fingers as I admired the way my belly spilled over the top of my pants. I pulled on a rumpled tweed jacket, and noted the bit of another pipe and a tobacco pouch protruding from the breast pocket. I stood at the mirror and studied the man I was now. My bushy gray beard, heavy jowls, and closely cropped buzz cut and silver hair were indicative of a 50 year old man, a man of character. The full bent pipe I was puffing on perfectly suited me. As I smiled, crow's feet formed at my eyes. The thought that this was now my life, my body, was comfortable and normal to me already. Jeff was right, I never felt better.

With that, I had an idea.

"Jeff, follow me!" I said, as I strode from the bedroom, a cloud of pipe smoke billowing behind me as I went. Now it was Jeff who was careful to walk a few paces behind to enjoy the aroma. I headed for my office, and settled into the desk chair, which now fit my massive form perfectly. I slipped on the wire framed glasses, which brought everything into focus. The office was now familiar to me, every detail of it.

"Jeff my boy, we have work to do."


I started up the computer and loaded the photo software, bringing up the frat house photo. "I think it's time we made some changes to the other young men in this photo, don't you? Then, I think we'll have a little reunion party, right here in the house. What do you say, son?"

"An excellent idea, sir." Jeff smiled as he re-lit my pipe and began to load a fresh one for himself. I drew deeply on my pipe and stroked my beard in anticipation.

"An excellent idea indeed," I replied.


Part 2

Jeff and I worked for hours on the photo, crafting new identities for each of our old frat mates. Some were altered to accentuate the better parts of themselves, others into radically different men. I gazed at our work, amazed at the pipe men staring back at me from the photo.

"Well, Jeff, think it's time to save this work, and set these changes into motion." I said.

"No, wait, I have an idea" Jeff replied. "I wrote this software with a command that allows us to save this as a draft. Let's invite them to the reunion here, and then make the final save. Then we can watch their transformations right in front of us."

"Outstanding. I had no idea that was possible, let's do it. Go ahead and set it all up, and we'll have the party of a lifetime. In the meantime, I've got a long day tomorrow, so I'm turning in." I gave Jeff my pipe to clean and put away, and headed for bed. I had trouble sleeping, though. The thought of all of my classmates transformed into pipe men before my eyes had me incredibly turned on. Jeff always seemed to know when I needed him, and appeared at the door. He had one of my pipes clenched in his teeth, and his silhouette in the darkened room, with pipe smoke rising from the orange glow in the huge bowl, got me even more aroused. I stood up, naked, my member erect, and pressed close to him. First, he teased me by taking the pipe and rubbing its warm bowl against the furry skin of my chest, letting the sweet smoke curl up through my beard and into my flaring nostrils. Then, he took a deep draw of smoke and pressed his lips to mine, blowing the smoke deep into me. I drank it in like water. Then, he placed the pipe in my mouth and lowered himself onto his knees. He ran the his tongue along the underside of my dick, slowly drawing forward to its tip, making me quiver. Then he opened his mouth and engulfed it, sliding down as far as he could manage. He began to move back and forth, first slowly and gradually faster, as I puffed the pipe in perfect rhythm to his strokes. The faster he went, the faster I puffed, and I was billowing great clouds of smoke as I finally came. At that moment it was if the pipe, Jeff and I were a single entity, bonded by briar, a perfect machine made for only one purpose. I had no more difficulty sleeping that night.

It took Jeff a great deal of effort to find a date that would suit everyone, so the party was not scheduled until the following month. In the meantime, I settled into my new life, reveling in my role as a rotund pipe professor. I loved strolling the campus, an ever present briar in my mouth, kicking back in my office, sampling the vast collection of pipes at my disposal. I found it rewarding to observe the students in my classes, assessing which men would look good with a pipe, and making it so by using the software and the student's registration photos. No radical changes, just a beard here, a little body mass there, and a dramatic increase in the number of pipe smoking students on campus. I enjoyed inviting these young men to my office for discussions, happily letting them fire up their pipes as we chatted.

Finally the big day arrived. My old friends began arriving for the party in the late afternoon. Jeff had made certain there was plenty of food and drink and the mood was warm and relaxed, and by seven the house bustled with laughing, partying young guys. Once everyone had arrived, Jeff and I ushered them into the drawing room. As they entered, Jeff handed each man a bulky package, and instructed them not to open it yet. Each package contained clothes and accessories for their new bodies.

"Gentlemen, it's so good to see you again." I announced, as the room grew quiet. "I'm glad you all could make it. In addition to having a reunion, we have an ulterior motive for bringing you here. Have any of you ever wondered what it would be like to become someone else, to open your eyes and look down on your own body, and realize that it had been changed completely?" The crowed was now dead silent, puzzled at what I was getting at. "Imagine the feeling of changing size, age, thoughts, habits, everything, getting to change course and begin an entirely new life. Jeff and I have gone through such a change. You see, we used to be your classmates. We're all the same age.

"What the hell are you talking about?" One of them interrupted. "You were our favorite professor. You've got to be 50 years old. And Jeff has been your assistant for years!"

"No" I continued, "That's only what your minds now tell you. Those memories were altered when our transformation took place. And now you are going to join us, and become like us. You see, you are going to leave here as different men. Jeff and I--well this is difficult to explain, so I believe a demonstration is in order. Jeff?"

With that, Jeff turned on an LCD projector, which was connected to a computer. It projected the now familiar frat house photo on a movie screen, the version in which the other guys were as they always had been. Then, Jeff hit the mouse and opened up the saved draft file. The familiar faces morphed into entirely different men, big bearish men of different characteristics and ages, the only common element was the pipes each man had proudly in their mouths or clasped in their hands. A gasp rose up from the room as they watched the photo change.

"How the hell did you do that?" one young man names Jason asked. He was a slightly built guy who had gone into his father's investment business. Dressed in an expensive sport coat, with wavy hair and a trim build, he had already married at 23 and was on the fast track to success.

"Jeff, as you know, is a genius with software." I explained. "He has come up with a program that can radically alter the appearance of anyone in a photo, and then make those changes real."

"Real," Jason repeated. "You mean realistic, don't you?"

"No, no," I responded. "With the push of a button, you will become the men you see before you in this photo. Jeff, continue the demonstration. Use Jason, here."

Jeff clicked on Jason's image in the photo, highlighted it, and hit the save command. Immediately, Jason began to twitch uncomfortably. "Ohh…I don't feel right…" He moaned, as he stumbled forward and caught himself on a chair. Already he was sweating, his face burning as a beard began to sprout. Then he fell to the ground, and cried out as his body began to morph. The others rushed to his aid.

"Gentlemen, please. He'll be fine in a few seconds. Stand back and give him room." I said.

Jason was ripping at his clothing now, as it was too tight for his rapidly growing form. He was terrified, and the others were growing agitated. "What the hell are you doing?!!" One shouted. "Make it stop!"

Jason looked at his once familiar body change and expand, his chest heaving as it became muscular and hairy, his head throbbed as new memories poured in. His hair began to thin, and his features began to age. To him it seemed to last and eternity but it was over quickly. Everyone looked on in amazement. Jason, who had passed out briefly, awoke and rose, admiring his new body. Where once was a small compact young man, was now a massive, thickly bearded bear, thick gut and biceps the size of most men's thighs. He was now 40 years old and looked it, a bit of gray at his temples and beard. Jeff instructed him to get his new clothing from the mysterious package he'd been handed on the way in, which he put on as the other men milled about, muttering amongst themselves. He dressed in worn overalls, work boots and a flannel shirt, a baseball cap covering his bald head. He then instinctively reached for his breast pocket, and produced a beautiful freehand briar. He expertly loaded it and Jeff held out a lighter, and Jason drew in with a sigh of relief. "Shit, I feel great! You guys, this is amazing! Look at me!" he shouted, puffing eagerly on his already familiar pipe, his mind now changed as dramatically as his body. He knew that he was now a construction laborer, and that his wife now found his rugged blue collar look and pipe smoking to be a huge turn-on.

"Jason, here, will be this man from now on." I said, pointing to the new beast we had just created. "Everyone who has ever been acquainted him now knows him as this man, and they will be unaware that he was ever anyone else. All records, memories, and photos, reflect him in this form." Jason smiled and nodded his approval as I spoke, his pipe clenched in his teeth. "The rest of you will now go through similar changes. Jeff, proceed."

While some still stood and gazed at Jason's stunning transformation, others began to scramble for the door. "You can't do this!" some shouted. "You have no right… You can't-"

But by then, Jeff had already hit the save command, and the room burst into chaos as the men began writhing and dropping to the floor, tearing at their clothes as their own changes began in rapid succession. They looked on in shock and amazement as they saw themselves and their classmates transformed before their very eyes. They felt their old lives and bodies fading away, being replaced by the new ones we created for them. Most passed out as their minds began to spin, re-programmed for their new lives. In minutes it was over. One by one they began to come to, and began exploring their new forms, dressing in the new clothing that was in the packages they each received. I had sacrificed pipes from my vast collection, providing each new man with a briar perfectly suited to them.

Chris, who'd spent much of his college life stoned, in and out of trouble with the local police, now found himself transformed into a cop. Where moments before stood a dazed and disheveled stoner, there was now an imposing 6'2" police officer, his impeccably starched uniform, marine's posture and buzz cut hair a perfect compliment to his luxuriant, carefully trimmed mustache and gleaming 3/4 bent briar, which he placed in his mouth in eager anticipation. With its shining ebony black bowl and fine silver band where the shank met the stem, his pipe was like an extension of the black and silver of his uniform. (He now had memories of being a Marine, who favored cigars until he served under a pipe smoking commanding officer, who became his role model.) Chris' powerful upper body and washboard abs flexed against the uniform's fabric, his reflexes now taut and alert. He lit his pipe expertly, and puffed greedily as he surveyed the room with his steel blue eyes, like a predator scanning the herd. His eyes locked on Steve.

Steve had been a pudgy, nerdy guy, a socially awkward type who went largely unnoticed wherever he went. Not anymore. Now, he stood and looked down over his massive body, 6'5, 280 pounds, with the raw power of a man who spent his life in physical outdoor labor. He was now a rancher, with a thick beard and sun-baked complexion, with wisps of gray in his short-cropped hair. His cowboy hat's brim was snapped low, casting a shadow across his eyes. He growled approval as he drew in on his huge bent sandblast, sending smoke jets from his mouth and nose in great clouds. He looked back at the muscular cop that was checking him out, and made his way over to him. As he crossed the room the floor shuddered beneath his boots and others cleared from his path, the smoke billowing from his pipe in great clouds as if it was a chimney.

Sean had always been the kind of guy the others went to for advice. He had a wisdom beyond his 22 years, an "old soul" who had a quiet, philosophical outlook. He was the only one in the group who was already a pipe smoker, but never did so in public, since he felt self-conscious about what others would think of such a young man smoking a pipe. I had found him smoking a pipe in the Frat House one day in our senior year, and asked how he got started. He confided to me that he identified with an older generation far more than guys his own age, having idolized his Irish grandfather, who had taught him to smoke a pipe. He said he wished he could be like his grandfather someday. Now, Sean sported a bushy but well trimmed white beard and close cropped silver hair to match, and his face was creased with lines. He rubbed his hands on the paunch of his belly, which spilled over his belt as he puffed his favorite English blend in a fine old Peterson Oohm-Paul. He found a leather chair in a quiet corner and settled in, smoke curling from his pipe as he began to peruse a novel, bifocals perched on the end of his nose. He was now the old gentleman he was always meant to be, and he chuckled with pleasure at the thought of it. As I strolled by I congratulated him on his new look, and when he spoke to thank me, he did so with a thick Irish brogue. He remembered his grandfather's accent and realized his own voice, body and demeanor were now nearly identical to the man he had revered. I had fulfilled his wish.

Anthony had always been good with his hands, and had worked in a wood shop part time to pay his way through school. He had also always been adamantly anti smoking. Now his woodworking skills would be put to good use, as he was transformed into a craftsman of the finest pipes, and the owner of the best pipe shop in town. He now understood the potential of each block of briar he worked, and loved to sculpt them into beautiful pipes. He and several other men began to chat about their new favorite subject, comparing their pipes and asking Anthony questions. He listened patiently, and with his answers he displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of pipes and tobaccos. He had been a rather skinny guy, but now his frame was filled out, a stocky man with salt and pepper hair and beard, puffing on an appropriately stocky straight bulldog pipe. He smiled as he realized that he would be completely immersed in the world of briars day and night, and would never again be seen without a fine hand made pipe smoldering in his mouth.

Gordon, already a big guy who had been on the football team and was a hard-core jock, found himself transformed into leather bear, his biceps lined with tattoos and his ab muscles softened into a generous pot belly. His newly rounded and weathered face was now covered in a lush red beard, accentuated by his closely shaved head. From the pocket of his leather vest he pulled a worn tobacco pouch, and plunged his nose deep into it to inhale the sweet aroma of both leather and pipe tobacco-a scent that was now his as well. From a pipe holster at his belt he pulled a big, beautiful straight billiard, stroking its satin finish gently with his calloused rough hands as he pushed it into his pouch and began his pipe loading ritual. Once filled, he placed the pipe in his mouth. He flicked his pipe lighter over the bowl, and drew in, puffing again and again, shrouding himself in the smoke that he now needed as much as most men need food and water.

Gary and Ted had always been close friends. Now they gazed at each other and tried to comprehend what they had become, their heavy set bodies dressed in flannels and jeans, bushy black beards covering their aging faces. Gary was already smoking his enormous full bent, and when it went out, Ted instinctively produced a lighter and fired it up for Gary. As he did so he got a major hard-on, and they both realized they were now a couple. They also realized that they were now long haul truckers, and would be inseparable from now on, both in the cab and elsewhere.

The others were all transformed too, every imaginable variety of bear now filled the room. As Jeff handed me a freshly filled pipe and lit it for me, I nodded my approval at a job well done. We had brought our old friends back to town, and made them over into our image of perfection. All were thrilled with their new lives, and I knew we'd be seeing a lot more of each other from now on. The party now resumed as if nothing significant had occurred, the only difference was that the air was now thick with pipe smoke, and some of the guys were becoming more than just friends. Few of these new men noticed that the photo was still projected on to the screen, with one more major change. The background of the photo was now this drawing room, not the old Frat house. It appeared to be a snapshot taken this very night, and had a new title printed along the bottom: "University Pipe Bears." It now recorded a meeting of 30 happy pipe men, staring into the camera's lens.