Rated R. Contains profanity and violence.
Union Dues – All That We Leave Behind
by Jeffrey R. DeRego
If I just lay here they will get tired and leave. They can’t hurt me all that much; my body is too hard now, too strong. But I can’t let on that their kicks and punches don’t bother me or who knows what they’ll do next. So I’ll lay here, curled up in the grass like some lump of igneous rock cast from a far away volcano.
“You fat assed son of a bitch! Talk to Loreen again and I’ll kill you! You understand me? I’ll beat your fat lazy ass to death!”
I bet his foot is starting to ache. My stomach is big, but it’s not soft. Not anymore. Not since last month when the change happened. We don’t have a lot of money so my wardrobe is still designed for a three hundred pound teenager, the kind with an almost unnatural love for pizza and potato chips. I still sort of look the same. But I am different, I can feel it. The rolls of flab that once encircled my belly and back are nearly gone, replaced by rippling muscle. My arms and legs are like tree trunks. I could rip Scott’s arms and legs off and beat his torso like a kettledrum. Well, if I wasn’t terrified.
About the Author
Jeffrey R. DeRego is the author of the Escape Pod fan-favorite Union Dues stories, and other things, as well.
About the Narrator
Serah Eley is the original producer, editor and host of Escape Pod. She mispronounced her name as Steve Eley at the time, but has since realized that life is much more fun as a woman, and came out as transgender in 2015. Serah lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two spouses (she prefers “spice”), Sadi and Cat.
So if there were ever any betting pools on what happened to Steve: the dark-horse winner is “changed sex and joined a committed lesbian love triangle.” She is, obviously, still Having Fun.