Sam was thinking uncharitable thoughts about women, because he didn’t know that five minutes earlier he had been one. His date had scheduled their meeting in a place that was totally absurd– the middle of a light-free alley, covered with rubbish that did an impression of being old. For the third time he worried he’d been set up for a mugging, which was a lot less unsettling than the truth.
He couldn’t have known that this address had been one of the poshest places in town; that his date had chosen it as a great place to meet a woman for the first time. He couldn’t have known because the part of his brain that did know had dissolved and transformed, to be replaced by a completely different bit of brain that knew something else entirely. If someone had told him all his memories had been falsely manufactured he’d have shouted at them and run away, because it would have been a bad thing to say to someone in a darkened alley. But it was still true, in its stubborn and unknowable way.
Something else that had recently been a woman was coming up the alley, and Sam felt his shoulders go cold with adrenaline. He stared at the figure, trying not to feel terrified, then abandoned that plan completely as he stared at the figure some more. It was shaped like a human, more or less. But it looked very like… somehow it was–
“You’re a hairdryer,” said Sam, feeling stupid.
“I don’t understand,” said the hairdryer, though a hairdryer wasn’t quite what it was. It had a beige and plasticky body under its normal clothes, with strange shapes where a human’s hands and feet might be. It was only its head that resembled an appliance: long and curved like an upturned vase, with a grating at the end covering fierce propellor-like blades. Its voice was bellowing from its eyes like speakers, and it had no idea it had once been as human as Sam.
“You don’t understand?” said Sam weakly.
“I don’t understand,” it said again. It was coming closer to Sam now, walking over the rotting rubbish, and as it did so the grating over its blades slipped clean away.
“There’s no need for violence,” said Sam, as the creature came closer and closer. “I take very good care of my hair!”
“I don’t understand,” came the voice from the speaker eyes. “I don’t understand.” The blades began to spin into a high whine, drowning out the hairdryer’s repeating phrase.
Sam turned and tried to run, but fell over a huge pile of rubbish-stuffed black plastic bags. He stared up in horror at the advancing thing–
“Don’t kill me,” he said. “Please.”
“I don’t understand,” said the thing, its blades still spinning away.
“I don’t want to hurt you! I’ve got nothing against… whatever it is you are! I’m supposed to be on a date,” he begged, “with a woman.”
“I don’t understand,” said speakers that weren’t quite as close as the blades.
“NO!” screamed Sam to a completely expressionless face.
Moving and unmoved, the blades continued to spin.