DEAR DOCTOR LANGLEY Tom Mazanec Dear Doc: Someone I met told me about you. He said you were good advising parents whose kids have become beast-boys, that you are like Dear Abby or Ann Landers back in Twent-Cent, only in more depth. I sure hope you can help me. This all started twenty years ago. I was laid off at work and went to the unemployment office. After I finished and left, a guy bumped into me and I realized my wallet was missing. I tackled him and told him I was a black belt, which I am, and to give me back the wallet. He did and I left in my car. A few minutes later a cop car cut me off. They arrested me for armed robbery...the wallet wasn't mine (although it looked like it) and my hands are lethal weapons, so that was the charge. I had forgotten my wallet in the unemployment office. My lawyer was in an auto accident just before the trial, and a junior lawyer replaced him. Look, I was all in favor of Swift and Sure myself, but I never thought innocent people like me would be caught up... I just made a mistake. And my wife Martha had just gotten pregnant. They sent me in for five to twenty, and of course I served the whole twenty, since the parole board didn't want to hear "I didn't rob him, it was just a misunderstanding!" And since I wasn't "cooperating" with my "rehabilitation", parole boards, guards and prison shrinks were about all I saw for twenty years. Solitary confinement, no TV, no radio, newspapers or magazines. No books but authorized Bibles. No visitors, for God's sake! My kid brother died in the Energy War, along with a million other kids, and I never even knew there was a war! And then, when they finally let me out, I get this CVF tattoo on my forehead and have to have a "Convicted Violent Felon" sign at my house. All that kept me going was knowing I had a kid out there. I didn't even know if I had a son or daughter till I got out...but I never imagined Peter would be a walking pinecone who eats ants and termites! He needs one of those things on his throat just to talk. Why he would want to be changed into something like that, I don't know. I know I couldn't be a father to him, but it's not like it's my fault. Martha keeps telling me how tough it was to raise a kid during the Oil Depression whose father was a jailbird. All right, I know you don't want to hear me crying about myself. I just want you to know how hard this all was for me. They were starting to get nanotech when I went into the slammer, but I hadn't seen any of it. The first time I came out and saw utility fog, I thought I had gone insane. So you can imagine how metaforming shook me up, even without my kid using it. I'm not saying nanotech is wrong, you know...if not for nanofusion we'd be back in the caves, what with the petroleum gone. But why use it *this* way? Yeah, my kid is down on me and the rest of the human race. That's why he looks like a cross between a crocodile and an aardvark. Martha says a couple times he was beaten up so bad he ended up in the hospital, just cause his Dad was a con. Why didn't *those* punks get put behind bars, instead of me? Look Doc, I just want to have some relationship with him. He's 19, and I want to be as much of a father as I can to him. Back before my time in stir, people were getting tattoos and body piercing. Not me (except for this damn thing on my forehead), but I figured if they want it, fine. I feel like Buck Rogers when it comes to metaforming, but I really want to make the most I can with the rest of my time with my son. Can you help me? ----Unjustly Convicted Violent Felon