I like to think I’ve always had a talent for detail.
When you hear athletes and martial artists talk about moments of focus, of time slowing down–I have those in front of my computer screen. I write symphonies in pixel, soliloquies in hatching and rendering. Rembrandt wishes he could layer like me.
I can transform a brick into a babe. I can make a girl with frumpy hair on a dull city street a goddess wreathed in power. I can take the blandest human being to walk the earth, wrap them in my imagination, and send a fantasy out the other end. With time and the right stock photos, I can make a single frame of anyone look like anything, anywhere.
My name is Jacob Carr. I’m 23, and I live in my parent’s basement.
My bedroom door slammed open. It made me jump, nearly losing my mouse, and my pen drew a big, ugly blur across the photo I was working on. God, I hate that–remember that moment of focus thing? It sucks when someone tears you out of that. I always make this high squeak when it happens, too. A friend of mine has a recording of it for blackmail.
Thanking God for the undo, I shoved my graphics tablet aside and whirled in my chair.
“What the hell did you do to me?” Chantell hissed, snapped my door shut behind her.
Chantell, for the 2 years or so I’d known her, was pale, tall, willowy, and favored glasses with no prescription and preppy jackets. Her hair was shoulder length, light brown, and her lips were just a bit on the thin side. She favored mild to dark colored lipsticks and heavy eye liner.
She turned back to me, but lost her balance a little, and had to catch herself on the door handle. She was dressed in a silky pink nightgown that went just passed her knees. The gray robe over it had been hastily thrown on, and had already flopped open.
I paused just long enough to stifle a smile. “What?” I asked, trying to sound shocked. “What’s wrong?”
She snarled at me, actually snarled. I didn’t think she had that kind of passion. “As if you didn’t know, you little shitstain! Look at these!”
She pulled back her robe and reached up, grabbing her boobs. They were massive, bulging in her nightgown, threatening to burst right out. They stuck straight out of her narrow frame in perfectly rounded slopes. I could see her nipples clearly against the tight silk. A porn star would stake her career on boobs like those.
“Look at these ridiculous things!” she growled, still holding them. “What the hell were you thinking?”
I took some time to look at them. Hey, the lady had insisted. Then I spread my hands innocently. “But you said you wanted them improved.”
“I wanted a half size, you jackass! A growth spurt! Not a pair of melons that double as emergency flotation devices!”
I shrugged. “I thought girls liked having big boobs.”
The veins stood out on her forehead. “Not at the cost of looking like I’m a shallow, fuck-brained slut, you neanderthal. Do you have any idea what my friends would think of me if I went back to school like *this*?” Her hands actually trembled at the thought. “Change them back, Jake,” she ground out through her teeth. “Right. Now.”
I shrugged easily. “Fine, I can do that.”
I turned back to my somewhat-modest setup. The dual 24 inch 4K screens stretched out in front of me in all their glittering glory. I almost touch myself just looking at them. I typed a quick command prompt, and a program started to boot: Photoshop Omega.
The login window design looked similar to Adobe’s ubiquitous program, but subtle hints here and there told a careful eye that it was indeed very different. The font, the way it’s shaded, the color scheme… all just a bit off.
I spent the next few moments carefully typing in the password. It was bar none the most complex and random I’ve ever committed to memory. The next window had a lot of the familiar tools and menus of ‘shop, but several more that looked different. It also had a bank of recent files and folders. I pulled up the folder of one Chantell Williams.
It was divided into a few more subfolders. The first one was Chantell_Williams_backup. I opened this first, dragging it to the right screen. In it were pictures of Chantell, mostly that I pulled from Facebook and her Instagram account. Those were the Chantell that I had known for the last two years–my step-sister in all her lanky, preppy glory, with just a bit of acne and a fake smile.
“Now, which of these would you like?” I asked, scrolling through them. “The one where you were fifteen and still had your braces on? Or this one?” I pulled up one from a group photo where she had a bit of a break out on her face.
“No, no, no!” she ground out at me through her teeth. “I do *not* need to look prepubescent again, thank you. Just pull up the one you took of me in the first place for altering.”
“Oh, okay,” I smiled. I pretended to scan through the folder. “Hmm, I’m not seeing that one here. I must have put it in the mock up folder.”
I opened the next folder, labeled Chantell_Williams_mockups, whizzing through photos so that should couldn’t quite see some ataşehir escort bayan of my, uh, more interesting experiments. “Ah, I think this is it. Now, are you sure you don’t want to try one of these others? I did quite a few variations. You were kind of vague in your directions.”
“I was *not* vague, you creepwad, you just went way too–“
“Like, how about this one?” I said, cutting her off and bringing a collage photo to the center. “I think this one would do nicely.”
Chantell’s stared. Her eyes bulged, and her mouth dropped open. “What– you– you little fuck, don’t you dare–“
“Let’s give it a try, shall we?” I said, showing her my teeth. I made a copy, and then renamed that copy Chantell_Williams_reality.PNG, and then exported it in the the third folder: Chantell_Williams_Now.
“Oh, God, no–!” she started, but suddenly cut off.
The changes flowed over her in a wave. Her pale skin darkened to a golden tan. Her brown hair suddenly became waist length and platinum blond, falling in goddess waves down her back. She got an inch or so in height, a little bit from longer legs and a little from a longer torso, and the lower end of her nightgown suddenly tightened as her ass went from average to Kardashian. Her left arm had a line of Chinese characters tattooed on, and her lips were just the slightest bit plumper. Even the tiny blemishes and discoloration I had left on her before (you know, to make her still look like she had a normal human face) smoothed out into a the perfect evenness that only artificiality can produce. Usually with a hefty price tag.
She gaped down at herself, a wet dream made flesh. “Oh my–” she started, but then her hand went to her mouth.
“Oh, you’re probably not used to having your tongue pierced,” I said conversationally. “I hear it takes getting used to to talk normally. I also thought I’d round it out by giving you piercings on your tits, belly button, and a cute little sparkle one on your nose.” I leaned toward her, speaking in a mock-conspiratorial tone. “I’m not really fond of those vag piercings. It seems like a bad idea to me.”
Chantell’s mouth was working. Her face darkened, her impressive bosom heaving. When she managed to make words work again, she said, “You. Fucking. Shitbag. What the HELL do you think you’re doing? If this is your idea of a joke, you are the sickest fucking sleazebag ever. Change me back to normal right the fuck now!”
I feigned astonishment. “You mean, you don’t like your new look? That’s strange. I must have gotten your request confused.” My tone suddenly went hard. “I’m must have started mishearing you right around the time I overheard you scheming with Sharon.” My jaw tightened. “Tell me, which way did you guys decide on to divorce my dad? Calling into his work accusing him of discrimination and getting him fired, or getting him drunk when one of Sharon’s friends was over and bribing her to to fuck him?”
Chantell froze. It was a little hard to say with her new tan, but I’d say her face lost some color. She opened her mouth, hesitated, shifting feet. “I–we–,” she tried, and then cleared her throat. “That was just, you know, us complaining a little. Working off our frustration. We were being *serious*. My mom was just bitching a little about your dad, you know, between us girls.”
I gave her a long stare. I suddenly smiled. “Oh, is that all? Well, that’s a relief. In that case, I guess I can just forget about it. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, changing you back to normal. I guess I can do that if you like. Or I can leave you that way and see what happens. I think that might be fun.”
Her face darkened. “If you don’t, I’ll tell–“
“Who, exactly?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. “Your mom? She wouldn’t even recognize you. Even if you convinced her that you were you, she’d want to take you to counseling about your obsession with your body image that was so strong you got a ton of plastic surgery. Or you mean the cops? What are you going to tell them? My stepbrother has this magical Photoshop that turned me into a super slut?” I let out a short laugh. “And you think that they would believe you?”
She stood there staring at me, a shocked look on her perfect-skinned, supernaturally hot face. Her eyes darted to my computer.
“Good luck there,” I said, locking the computer with a quick key combination. “Even if you could somehow guess my password, which ain’t happening in this lifetime, I’ve seen you work with computers. You’d accidentally fuck yourself over worse than anything I could do on purpose.”
Her mouth closed, lips pressed tightly together. “So, what? What do you want? What will I have to do to get you to change me back?”
I pretended to consider it. “Tell you what,” I said, pointing at her. “I *will* change you back. Hell, I’ll change you into anything you want. But you have to do something for me first.” I looked her up and down, poignantly.
She glared at me. “So, fuck you, right? That’s what all this has been leading to. You want me to fuck you as this slut body you’ve changed me into.”
I escort kadıköy spread my hands. “Well, won’t force ya. You can just stay how you are—doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. I mean, you could do a lot worse than going through life looking like a porn star. Probably be a trophy wife for a rich husband, or actually go into porn. You have about the right level of acting talent for it.”
“Fuck you!” she said.
“That’s the idea.”
She flipped the bird at me, but in that body it was just even hotter. I just smiled. She growled, pacing back and forth, her huge, firm jugs moving visibly. She stopped, and turned back to me.
“Fine, you asshole. Fine. You know what? If you can live with yourself, fine.” She shed off her robe, so that only the incredibly tight nightgown remained. “Let’s get this over with. Pull out that tiny pecker of yours, and let’s just get this—holy fuck!”
While she was talking, I stood, and dropped my pants. My new cock flopped out in all it’s glory. She stared at it, and I think she was actually awed. And if she had half the experience I thought she did, she’d seen a fair number to compare it to.
Earlier that day.
As it tends to, the money went dry.
I leapt at the sound of the doorbell, rushing up the heavily carpeted stairs of the house my dad bought after he remarried. He worked like a dog to maintain it, because it was a little out of his price range. It had two stories and a basement, 3,000 square feet, 5 bedrooms and three baths in a neighborhood that was probably a little too good for us.
I tromped across the living room, laden with designer couches and furnishings to Sharon’s taste. It was a whole lot of rose-colored wood and floral patterns and frills. I prefered glass and steel, myself, but I wasn’t paying rent.
I skidded slightly on the surface of the entryway tile in my socks, and managed to catch myself on the door knob. The door opened to just the man I was looking for.
“Yo,” he said. “You order a large meat lovers with extra cheese?”
The blue uniformed teen’s cracking voice yodeled the words that were magic to my ears. “That’s me,” I said, in time honored tradition.
“That’ll be 11.85.”
I blinked. “Didn’t I pay for it online?”
The guy made an awkward face. He was good at it. “Uh… sorry, but your card declined.”
I opened my mouth, and then frowned. Grumbling, I dug out my wallet and shelled out 14 of my 15 remaining dollars to cover the tip.
“Keep the change,” I told him, concluding the rite. As usual, I had to stifle the urge to add the phrase “ya filthy animal” to the end.
“Thanks!” he warbled, and tipping his hat (people actually still do that?) he handed me the cardboard box out of his insulated bag and sped off in the Pizzamobile.
I carried my prize back into my lair, set it on the table next to my desk, and heaved a sigh.
“Well, guess I better make some dough to eat some dough.”
One of the nice things about being a freelancer is you work your own hours, only take on what projects you want. One of the bad things is I inevitably get lazy, and after a surge or two taking on a lot of projects, I coast for a couple weeks until my bank account lets out a dusty croak.
So I turned to my workstation/center of my being, closed the FPS I’d been playing (badly), and fired up my email. I had a separate business emails for projects I take on, saving the long term ones. There were a couple I could do (touching up some high school photos, sprucing up an image for a company website) but the good projects that paid well were usually only if you knew the right people. And by the right people, I mean reps from tabloids, celebs, and porn sites.
That last one seemed especially appealing at the moment. I hadn’t let loose Slither the One-eyed Dragon for at least a couple days, and it was a great side benefit. A subtle touch goes a long way for those in the jizz biz. You know those images of impossibly hot women they always have on their front page? That is my specialty. Boob and butt jobs aren’t the only enhancements that sell clicks.
So I fired off a couple emails to guys who I knew had a constant stream of work (that’s how porn goes—a never ending river of smut to touch up) and decided to quick crank out a couple of those small ones while I wait. So I launch good ol’ Photoshop, that ubiquitous legend of photo editing.
The window began to load, but then a message flashed: “Your subscription has expired. Please renew here!”
I heaved a sigh. Had it been that long already? I swear to God, I miss the days when you just paid for something and it stayed paid for. I don’t care if they kept me updated, I would rather just pay a couple hundred bucks every few years than be constantly nagged to renew. Adobe had really gotten bitchy these days.
So I did the only thing a guy with dollars to his name could do.
“Arrr,” I growled, making a my jaw off-center. “Avast ye, ye scarvey corporate dogs! We’ll see who must pay 19.95 monthly or 60 for 6 months!”
A moment maltepe escort later, I’d pulled up ‘the ‘bay’ on my browser, and was scrolling through the various knock-offs, hacks, and rips that make up 62% of torrents (the rest is porn).
Now, one has to be cautious here. The things people are willing to upload after spending time to pirate them is a minefield of spyware, half-assed efforts, and mislabels. It takes a trained eye to spot the merely customly hacked from the maliciously intended.
One oddly caught my attention. “Photoshop Omega?” I read aloud. “Well, that’s some confidence.”
It was pretty new and still showed no seeds, but it could be the trackers on the site just hadn’t updated yet. I frowned, tilted my head, and clicked it. It was just less than a gig in size. That seemed a little light, but that was often a sign of a good hack that cut out the crap, and didn’t require fake verification codes, but just installed.
I tapped my finger on the desk. “What the hell,” I said, and started downloading the torrent. I had pretty robust virus protection (a friend of my designed it, actually) so I’d take the risk.
Well, those trackers must have been out of date, because only a few short minutes of pizza chomping later, I heard the delicate “ping” of a download completed. I blinked, a little surprised, and installed the bugger. It was done by the time I’d gotten the sauce off my fingers.
“Well, let’s give it a shot,” I muttered, launching it. Yes, I talk to myself a lot. I didn’t used to, but ever since I tried streaming on Twitch for that week…
In the same instant the window loaded, there was a nagging, persistent pounding at my door. I rolled my eyes. There was only one person in the universe whose very knock sounded somehow condescending, disapproving, impatient, and stuck up all at the same time.
“What do you want, Chantell?” I called.
Chantell (the pre-slutified Chantell) opened the door, and out of sheer habit, wrinkled her nose. I cleaned the place just yesterday, I’ll have you know. Or maybe the day before.
Chantell surveyed the room with a look of disgust held carefully in check. “Jake,” she said, like she was speaking to someone else’s mangy dog, “I have a job for you.”
I eyed her suspiciously. “Oh?”
She tossed a flash drive to me, and I reflexively caught it. No, not with my hand–what kind of athletic freak do you take me for–but pinned it between my forearm and chest.
“I need that touched up,” she said evenly, nodding at the flash drive.
Frowning, I plugged in the drive, and pulled up the files. It held only a single photo, along with the usual empty “data” folder. It was a photo of Chantell herself, head to waist, dressed in clothes perhaps a shade tighter than her normal preference–a white blouse with an oval gap near the cleavage (if she’d had much), skinny jeans, her hair carefully combed and parted. She also had just the slightest bit of acne on her chin showing through her foundation, and her coloring looked a bit red-cheeked, like she’d been windblown. Maybe just her complexion had been off that day.
“Well, this looks unusually formal,” I said. “What do you want?”
“I just want a *light* touch up,” she said, drawing out the word ‘light’ for emphasis. “This is for a college application, so anything obvious will ruin my chances.”
I frowned at it. “It doesn’t seem that bad,” I said. “What do you need work on it for just a college application?”
Chantell heaved a slow, patient sigh that tried very hard to tell me exactly how patient she was being. “After other factors are considered, in the case of deciding between two similar applications, 42% of the time the more confident, good looking candidate will be chosen. Especially female ones.”
My mouth twitched. Her point was valid, but her tone pissed me off. “Fine. How much?”
“Can’t you just do it as a favor?”
I tried to stifle my laugh/snort/guffaw.
“Fine. How about ten bucks?”
“What? That’s all?”
“That’s a steal. It shouldn’t even take you ten minutes.”
I frowned. She was right–it would probably take even less–but I didn’t want her to think my services came so cheaply. Real people paid me a whole lot more for that amount of time.
“I dunno…” I hedged. Then she showed me the money, holding it out tantalizingly. I made face, but snatched up up. “Fine,” I said. “I’ll have it done in the next hour or so.”
She nodded, as if it’s what she expected. She didn’t even offer a thank you. “Now, remember: lightly. Subtly.”
I glared. “Did people tell Picasso ‘lightly’? Did people nag Beethoven to be subtle?”
Chantell rolled her eyes, shutting the door firmly behind her.
I stared sullenly after her. “Bitch.”
Grumbling, I turned back to get a closer look at this “Omega” version of photo editing software. The first thing I noticed that while similar, it was indeed different in small ways. In addition to all those slight font and color variables, the icon and logo were super high rez. Seriously, when you’ve got 4K screens, you start to see the differences between programs made with 1080p in mind rather than the high end stuff. But the resolution on them was so fine, I couldn’t see any pixelation, even squinting with my face right up next to the screen. Even things designed for 4K usually weren’t that nice.