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A Magical Time
They spent the rest of the day and some of the evening in the recreation centre. Then they joined Derek, Samantha and Shirley at their home for dinner.
Samantha asked Shirley. "Did you do what I said?"
"I shared with George three times in different ways this morning. Then I shared with ten others as you said. After that I thought that thirteen was an unlucky number so I shared with George again to make it fourteen. Is that OK mum?"
"I am glad that my prejudices did not get the better of me. I trust that you enjoyed your sharing?
"I never thought that you would introduce me to the lovely pleasure I have experienced today mum. I thought that one day I might get swept off my feet by a dark haired handsome man. George is bald like all Spacers and it was Kerstin who actually swept me off my feet at one point. I was given a lecture and practical instructions by George and Kerstin. I know now that George is very special and I know that you do too mum. You did the right thing for me. I have learned a lot today but what is more important, I have learned that I still have a lot to learn."
Derek said. "Shirley, I cannot judge how George was for you but if he was as good as Kerstin is for me, I know that you must have had a wonderful time."
"Mum, dad, would you mind if I asked George to share with me again after dinner?"
Samantha said. "I don't mind as long as George is happy about it and Kerstin does not object."
Kerstin said. "George and I love to share as often as we can. We have had a lot of practice together. I am sure that George would be happy to share with both of you. I would be happy to share with you again Derek. I can sense that you are not used to Spacer ways yet. You are not used to watching sharing taking place. I know that it is very rare for a non-Spacer mother to watch her daughter sharing comfort, and vice versa. To get you used to the way Spacers do things I suggest that George and I give you an exhibition first. We as Spacers learn to improve our sharing by watching others share. It is not much different from learning to paint. You can learn by example. Would you like that?"
Kerstin did not pause for an answer. She continued: "Spacers have learned how to improve sharing in the same way that athletes and musicians improve their skills with practice. It is no good just talking about it, it has to be demonstrated. Samantha, if you were showing Shirley how to cook, you would not hide away in another room while she tried to do it herself. You would watch and remind her what to do next if she forgot something. Sharing comfort requires just as much training and practice as learning to cook well. In this subject, mother does not always know best. Mother and daughter can learn a lot from each other by studying the way each one performs. When you two are sharing with George in turn, I will try to advise you how to improve. Now George and I will demonstrate every move and stage much more slowly than normal and I will provide a running commentary. Please study what we do as closely as you can because in this demonstration it is impossible to go back and repeat an action for obvious reasons."
George said. "Most people find that watching sharing makes them want to do the same. Please try not to be distracted. Enjoy the pleasure of watching as much as you can. Marita liked to watch nearly as much as taking part. Do not worry about feeling that you want to play with yourself while you watch. Everyone feels like that. Enjoy doing it, but gently. Imagine what each of the sharers is feeling. Then use self control to stop going too far. Your turn to share will soon arrive and you will want to feel keen and happy to start when it does. Don't spoil it."

George and Kerstin gave the promised exhibition and a running commentary as an instructional session. When Shirley was sharing with George, Kerstin stopped proceedings from time to time to show her better ways of doing things. Then Kerstin shared with Derek. It was then George's turn to give advice. He then shared with Samantha. Kerstin helped Samantha as she had done with Shirley. Then it was the turn for Derek and Samantha to share together. Both made use of what they had been told and both noticed the improvement.

George said afterwards. Shirley, I know that you are itching to be with me one more time. I know that Kerstin will not mind so I will give you one more share. Then I think that you ought to go to bed - by yourself."
After Shirley left for bed, Kerstin conveyed: "If you make one for yourself, don't make it too long and keep it hidden from your parents."
"Shirley: "Thanks, Kerstin, I was too ambitious earlier. Thanks for covering for me."

Both George and Kerstin sensed shortly afterwards that Shirley now had a substitute thumb to suck as she went to sleep.

Saturday 01/05/2094 9:00am

On Saturday at breakfast, Derek and Samantha were told that they could be given the gift of healing. George and Kerstin could give it to those who were considered suitable for the job. They were told about Marita. Derek and Samantha were delighted to find that she could join in conversations as if she was still in her own body.
Marita said. "I am a hidden and silent witness to everything Kerstin sees or does. I was with you last night in spirit and I understood why George and Kerstin treated the subject of sharing so seriously. I could not fault them. I taught Kerstin and I now that she is technically as good as I was. I have a suggestion that you might like to consider. When you all have been given the gift, it would be a good idea if Shirley found herself a friend she could trust among the selected candidates. I will let Kerstin take over now."
Kerstin said. "I think that you three should now go to the recreation centre and find the people you want. I would suggest an equal number of men and women and an extra man for Shirley."
George said. "Shirley, try to find a man that you would like to go with on a long holiday and then check that you like sharing with him too."
Shirley said. "Thank you for trying to help me without interfering. I am sure that if you chose someone for me, I would find him perfect in every way. I will do as you suggest but I would like you to be nearby in the recreation room. I know that you can sense what people are really like deep down. You could indicate to me if I had made a good choice or if I ought to look further. I would rather find someone that I would be happy with for the whole of the weekend or longer. I would hate to find that I had made a mistake and had to change after getting used to someone."
Kerstin said. "Shirley, thank you for having confidence in us. We will arrange to use a bed close to you so that we can observe each one you share with."
Derek, if you could draw up a list of those you think would be suitable, George and I will help you to find them if they are in the recreation centre. You and Samantha should find empty beds near to George and me. Then you should try to picture in your mind what the candidates look like and what their personalities are like. The girls will come to you and the boys will go to Samantha. Those who have not been chosen will think that you are already sharing. When you think of a boy who might suit Shirley, he will go to Shirley. When you are sharing, George and I will help you make up your mind with each one who shares with you. You and Samantha will have to check that they are good sharers with bright and happy personalities."
Shirley, while you are sharing with each candidate you will be able to sense what he is really like. You won't feel us helping you but we will be there somewhere in the background. If the man who is sharing with you is not suitable, he will leave you as if you were just someone nice he shared with. If you like him and he is suitable, he will know that he has been selected. He will go to the restaurant and wait for us to arrive. The same will apply to the rest of the selected candidates.
We can process them in the lounge next to your office Derek. When they have all been given the gift, Marita will announce a surprise for you all."

The people that Derek and Samantha had selected assembled in the restaurant for coffee. Derek made the introductions for everyone's benefit. He said. "Shirley, I'm glad that you have found a friend in Simon. He is one of our best surveyors. This is Joan from accounts, Farah from reception and Surrinder from landscaping. This is Jack from maintenance, Alf from stores and Jagjivan from sales. Now you know everyone, George will tell you more about what is happening."

George said. "You have been brought here under false pretences. You were led to believe that you had been voted the seven
best share partners working for the company.
You all know how things have improved since you started sharing together. You are having more fun and the company is doing ever better. Some of you may know that when you made contact with Undepoldus, you were cured of any diseases that you had if you had any. Derek here wants to expand the company but he can only recruit people who are free of all diseases. They must also like sharing comfort Spacer style if they are going to join you. Undepoldus is leaving Earth soon so a way had to be found to check new recruits. You have been selected with Derek, Samantha and Shirley to form a team of ten health checkers. During this weekend Kerstin and I will teach you how to do your new jobs.

Later in the morning as they arrived at Derek's house, Derek saw something that made him stop and look. He said. "I think I can see the top of a marquee in our back garden. Who could have put it there?"
They all went through the side gate and saw a bright blue and white marquee erected at the end of the lawn. In front of it was a large table surrounded by folding chairs. It was set out with twelve place settings. There were four ice buckets with bottles in them and four bottles of red wine standing on salvers.

Marita announced. "Lunch will be served in twenty minutes. It is a nice warm day so we can eat alfresco."
George and Kerstin knew how it had been arranged but Derek and his family were dumbfounded. Marita continued: "I thought that it would simplify things if Samantha did not have to cater for twelve of us so I jumped on my broomstick last night to arrange it."
Shirley asked. "Are you a witch Marita?"
Marita answered. "Not very often. I can only turn into a proper witch on Walpurgis Night. That was last night."
All present looked blank. None of them had heard of Walpurgis Night.
George explained. "It is an old Gothic tradition. Most of the Goths are still in Germany and a few live in Sweden. They have an island in the Baltic Sea called Gothland. Gothic witches fly on Walpurgis Night."
Kerstin knew that George's explanation was mostly made up rubbish but she was pleased that George knew enough about Germano-Swedish mythology to be convincing.
Samantha asked. "What sort of a witch are you Marita?"
"I used to be a white witch. Now I am a ghost witch."
"Can you do magic spells?"
"I can do big spells during Walpurgis Night but only little ones at other times."
Shirley said. "I think that Marita is making all this up, don't you daddy?"
Derek said. "Someone must have done some magic. Kerstin and George were with at least one of us all the time since early yesterday. They never saw the garden until just now. They did not know that we would have seven other guests either. Marita is with Kerstin all the time and does not come out to see us very often. George and Kerstin have not got a portable communicator with them. I would say that if it isn't magic, it is the next best thing."
Marita said. "If you want to see how I can make ice creams, look over there, there are twelve of them. The others looked where Marita was pointing and saw a tray stand holding twelve ice cream cones. Samantha went over to the tray and brought it back to the group.
She said. "I don't know how you did it Marita. These ice creams taste good. It is a pity that you magicked them now, they will spoil our appetite for lunch."
Marita said. "Sorry, I had not thought of that. Put them back in the tray and they will disappear shortly. Shirley, what would you like for starters? Just say what you would like and I will arrange it. Now, please sit down. Lunch will be served in a minute."
"I would like a salmon and prawn cocktail Marita."
"That will be no problem Shirley. That is what you will have but it will take me a few seconds to make it appear for you. Everyone else will receive the starter of their choice."
Kerstin sat next to Shirley with a smile on her face.
Then four waitresses and a wine waiter appeared from the marquee. The wine waiter opened the cooled bottles of white wine and filled the flute glasses for everyone as the waitresses served the starters. George was delighted. He was served salmon. Kerstin got crayfish. Derek was served a stuffed avocado and Samantha received a prawn cocktail. The others had an equally varied assortment of dishes.
Shirley found her salmon and prawn cocktail delicious. Then she looked and saw a place card in front of her. She picked it up and saw: Shirley Robinson. STARTER Salmon and Prawn Cocktail. MAIN COURSE: Pepperoni and Salami with Italian salad. SWEET COURSE: Strawberries and Ice cream.
She said. "Kerstin, I have seen some magic tricks before but Marita has done some brilliant ones today. This is exactly the lunch I would have ordered in a restaurant. Each of us have place cards with our own menus. The waitresses do not know who we are yet they have not made any mistakes. I am nearly willing to believe that Marita can do real magic. It would be perfect if we had a barbecue this evening with chicken kebabs and a Greek salad."
Kerstin said. "Look over there. The barbecue is set up. As soon as you wish it, it is arranged. You will have to wait to see if you will get chicken kebabs and a Greek salad but I think that Marita can manage even that."
Shirley said. "It wasn't there before when we had the ice cream. What is it like to have a witch living with you Kerstin?"
Kerstin said. "I love it. It is magical. It is lovely when you wish things to happen and they do."
Shirley said. "Magical Marita, I would love to go up in a balloon and fly over Southend while sharing with Simon this afternoon."
Marita said. "You will have to wait until we have finished lunch. Then the table and chairs must be packed away. There must be space for the balloon to be filled to take off. I hope that you will not mind if I come with you. Kerstin can pilot the balloon for us and I am sure that you will be happy if George is with us too."
Shirley exclaimed. "You don't mean that we can actually do it Marita do you?"
Marita said. "I don't know if I have enough power to make the balloon fly over Southend. Would you accept Basildon or Rainham?"
Shirley said. "You must be a very powerful witch Marita if this is one of your lesser spells."
Marita said. "I am not as powerful as I was once. When I had a body I could make cannon balls float in the air."
Shirley was now convinced that Marita could really do magic. She was flabbergasted when a team of men and women brought a balloon in a large bag through the gate. Shortly afterwards they brought in a basket and gas cylinders. Then they left.
George noticed that Samantha and Derek had been watching Kerstin very closely to see if she was using a miniature communicator to order the things to appear. They saw the slightly different look in her face that showed when Marita was present. They also saw how quickly Marita appeared and disappeared. They never saw any sign that Kerstin or Marita was using any communication method. They were even more astonished than Shirley. When lunch was over, the waiter and waitresses cleared the table and took the plates and cutlery into the marquee. A few seconds later they appeared again wearing one piece overalls and proceeded to dismantle the table and fold up the chairs. Seconds later a floater landed where the table had been. They loaded the tables and chairs into the floater and then boxes from the marquee containing the tableware.
The floater lifted off and another landed. The girls and the waiter got in and then the second floater went away. As soon as the floater had gone, a team of men and women came through the gate and started setting up the balloon. It was stretched out for the length of the garden and a hot air blower was started up to inflate it.
Kerstin gestured for Shirley and Simon to get into the basket. George followed them as Kerstin spoke to the launching crew. The envelope lifted misshapen over the basket as Kerstin got in. She checked the fuel gauges and the basket anchorages as if it was her daily routine. Then she opened the fuel taps and flames roared up into the envelope. As the balloon took up a more rounded shape she checked the vents and the ballast bags. George saw that the bottom of the basket was covered in a soft mattress. Everything was prepared to make Shirley's wish come true. Kerstin checked the altimeter and communicator as the balloon started to lift the basket. The launch crew held the basket until the lift had reached take off level. Then the balloon rose gently upwards as Shirley and Simon looked on in wonder. There were cheers and good wishes from the ground as the balloon rose higher and the landscape opened up around them. Shirley had forgotten what she wanted to do as the balloon moved slowly away from her father's house.

Kerstin used an instrument to check the drift and used the communicator to report her situation.
She said. "We have about an hour and then we will have to land in Rainham marshes. There is hardly any wind at this height." Then she stripped off her clothes and started to caress George. Shirley saw what Kerstin had done and stripped off too. Simon and George soon followed the girls' example. Shirley was granted the rest of her wish. Simon had been a good choice. He had a good sense of fun and teased Shirley about her impatience.. As soon as they were engrossed in their own pleasure, George and Kerstin stood facing each other sharing in their own way. Kerstin stood with her back to Shirley and Simon so that they could not see the face she produced in her breast. George extended to meet her in what was now a routine way for them. Marita made a short appearance to whisper to George. "I have always dreamed of doing this myself. I am almost flying like a witch on your broomstick. Isn't Kerstin wonderful to let me talk to you like this. It is lovely being a witch. I'll see you later George."
Kerstin said in an equally quiet whisper. "George, I don't know how I know how to fly this balloon. I have never done it before. We must do this again, just you Marita and me. Simon and Shirley have fallen asleep but are still sharing in their dreams. Drive me George. The autopilot will run for another half an hour yet. Aren't we lucky to be able to share like this. I feel like a goddess. Let me lift you up so I can kiss you face to face."

All were disturbed from their dreamlike situations by the autopilot warning signal. The balloon was approaching Rainham marshes. It was time to prepare for descent. None of the four had seen much of the Thames estuary and the beautiful countryside but they didn't care. Their balloon trip had been magical. The burners had stopped and all was silent apart from faint noises from the ground and ships in the estuary. The balloon sank slowly as the four dressed themselves to prepare for the landing. Kerstin checked their position and altitude and opened a vent a little to increase their rate of descent. George saw the crew waiting for them to land. Two floaters were parked nearby. Kerstin matched drift with rate of descent to land as close to the crew as she could. She fired the burners for a second or two to slow down the descent as they neared the ground. She opened the master vent just as the basket was just about to touch the spiky grass. The landing was lighter than if they had used a parachute. The crew were close enough to grab the ropes to stop the basket from bouncing. Kerstin had made a perfect maiden flight yet she was glad that she was no maiden.

Kerstin thanked the crew for their work as the four got out of the basket. They congratulated her on the smooth precision of her landing. A taxi floater was waiting to take the four back to Derek's house. The taxi driver smiled knowingly as they got in. He said. "One of my mates thought that you had a problem. He flew close to check and saw that you had no problems at all. He did not intend to peep."
George said. "Thank him for us for checking. We could not exactly advertise what we were doing and we might have been in trouble as far as anyone could see from below. I hope he enjoyed the view."
The driver laughed. Then he noticed George's and Kerstin's tattoos and laughed even louder. He said. "You Spacers certainly know how to live. Good for you. I have been told to set down on a lawn near to a blue and white marquee. I can see it now. I hope that the rest of your day goes as well as your balloon trip. It was nice to meet you."

As the four got out of the floater they saw something that the driver didn't see. Everything was set so that the rest of the day would go just as well as the balloon trip if not better. Inside the marquee everyone was sharing happily.

During the early evening the barbecue had apparently lit itself and was covered with skewers of kebabs. The beautiful smell attracted the attention of the sharers and couple by couple they surrounded the barbecue and sampled the food on offer.

Marita's magic had made a wonderful start to the weekend.
Later she had more surprises to offer that amused, astounded and shocked everyone except Kerstin and George.

Marita's Mad Magic is not included in this transmission. A separate transmission shows how Marita entertained the Robinsons and their guests. It may be obtained by requesting Sharing with Friends from your video entertainment supplier. Marita's Mad Magic may be viewed in chronological order in this programme. Viewers who require this service should say Friends and supply the appropriate identity code now.

Monday 03/05/94 3:30pm
On Monday afternoon it was time for explanations. Kerstin said. "Everyone has been modified in a way that has been devised by Undepoldus. A version of his healing power will remain with you all. He is a vicarious share addict. He has made his changes to match his desire for pleasure. Everyone will now recover from sharing several hundred times more quickly than normal. After less than two minutes you will want to share again. The treatment has enhanced your neural pathways that conduct the pleasure in sharing comfort. Other changes have been made in your bodies to make sharing comfort the thing you can do better than anything else. The changes raise sharing comfort from short runaway episodes to long sustainable periods of bliss.

George said that the changes were affected by the frequency that a person shared comfort. Each sharing tended to improve and strengthen the changes. The sustainable pleasure level increased incrementally. A safety feature caused desire to disappear if there was a reason for the person to do something else. This could be work related, or a need to visit a hygiene station, or just feeling hungry or thirsty. If free time was available and there were no distractions, a couple could, and would want to, share comfort several times an hour.

George and Kerstin supervised repeated rehearsals of the techniques needed to interview and share comfort with job applicants.

George said to the the new recruits. "Sharing comfort Spacer style is comparable to the way people behaved at ballroom dances in the last century. It was commonplace for a couple to dance with a lot of different partners during an evening. They would be just as close loving friends at the end of an evening of dancing as they were at the beginning. When you share it is bit like entertaining a friend to a nice meal or telling them a joke. The friendship and love I have for Kerstin and Marita is unaffected by the number of times I share with other women. The two things are basically separate. Even so, it is always nicer to share with someone you love."
Marita said. "I have shown you some ways of sharing comfort that can add a lot of amusement and fun to what would be otherwise a rather serious pleasurable activity. Girls can play at being little boys and boys can be little devils if they want to. You all know how to look like someone else while you are interviewing job applicants so that you will not be recognised later. This allows you to exchange outward appearances with your close friends for a laugh. I know that you will try to use your new powers wisely to spread happiness and pleasure. You know what pleasure and fun you can have with them.
Although I have helped you to have a lot of fun this weekend, I do have a serious and responsible side too. I can tell you that if you try to misuse your powers to hurt or harm anyone, they will disappear permanently within minutes. The vitality and health you have now will go back to what it was before you were given your powers. You will forget that you ever had them and what pleasure they could bring you. Your powers will appear to be absent if you try to use them to amuse or impress anyone who is not here now. Your obvious powers will also appear to be absent if anyone tries to force you to reveal your powers. Your hidden powers should be sufficient to protect you from getting into that situation. Your healing powers must remain a very closely guarded secret within the company. Your other powers must remain a secret known only by the ten of you here. Finally, when you are assembled in a group like this, Derek and Samatha are just members of the group. When you are not in a group like this, Derek is Mr. Robinson and Samantha is Mrs. Robinson. What you call Shirley is up to you. When you are at work, the fact that you have the powers you have will not bring you any extra money or time off or promotion. Your powers should be used as George and Kerstin have shown you when they are needed. Your reward for having the powers is the pleasure you can share among yourselves here. You can share enhanced pleasure in pairs or small groups in private surroundings but not in the recreation centre or anywhere where someone could detect your powers by seeing you sharing.
Now the serious stuff is over. As chief witch I command you all to be witches and wizards of pleasure for the next hour.!"

Marita had cast one of her last fun spells for the weekend. The boys grew long grey hair and beards and the girls turned into crones with pointed noses and turned up chins. They soon realised that they could not recognise each other's faces any more. Only Marita was recognisable by her size.

Outside the marquee they discovered a large cauldron suspended on a tripod above a fire. Around the fire were bowls and spoons for the beautiful soup in the cauldron..

There was even more laughter and amusement when it was discovered that some of the crones were changed to male and some of the wizards were changed to female. Then they discovered Marita's other prank. Eating a bowl of soup would reverse the person's gender while his or her face remained unaltered. The change took place around two minutes after consuming a bowl of soup, so many sharing couples had interesting surprises while they were sharing. Some changes took place more rapidly than others, adding to the general confusion.

There was even more laughter when their crone and wizard appearances disappeared but their genders were still unreliable and unpredictable. The soup tasted very good so most of the group had three or more helpings as the evening progressed. The question "Would you like to share" changed to "How many bowls of soup have you had?" as they tried to find stable opposite genders to share with.

Marita's last trick was to replace the cauldron with a tent with sleeping bags and mattresses.
It was the perfect way to end a fabulous weekend. She had totally convinced everyone but George and Kerstin that she was a witch.

PAUSE
The next section covers the magical explanations.
Viewers familiar with this subject may pass on to the following section.
Please select PASS or CONTINUE

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