Gotta admit I wasn't really expecting to be a part of another Lewis Baird story after helping to get what I thought were his three final fanta-sizer tales posted, but sometimes life throws us a delightful surprise. I was recently checking email as a part of my early morning wakeup routine, when I saw I'd received a note with an attachment from good ol' Lew. Its message was short and to the point:

"Forget I'd started on this rascal," it read. "Found it folded away in an issue of BUF recently. Don't have it in me to complete the thing, but maybe you can tinker around with it. Our 1st half-assed collaboration!"

The attachment turned out to be eight scanned parts of yellow legal paper, six of which contained the start of a story, two of which featured a series of notes about what to do next, coupled with a few phrases of description ("lower upper arms have 2 folds in 'em, outer thighs droop at her knees," etc.) along with a few Spanish words and their translation. I'd already grown familiar with Baird's scrawl, so transcribing the first half of his tale wasn't difficult. The second part was a bit harder. I struggled to remain true to Baird's voice and intentions once I started to work on completing the thing, though whether I succeeded or not is for the reader to judge.

I sent Lew a copy of the finished product, but he wrote back claiming he had no intention of reading it. "My life with Rachel is all I need now to keep my fanta-sizer self going. Besides, no one's paying for these stories nowadays! Too damn many of 'em for free on the Internet!"

Reading that note, I had to wonder whether I haven't been played. Did Lew really just find this unfinished work or did he start it recently and lose interest, tossing it all my way to pick up the pieces? Difficult to say. Either way, I hope you enjoy the results of our first "half-assed collaboration."

Summer 2009