Carols at Christmas


"Ow."

"Oh, stop whining," said Cristina.

"Whining?" whined Meredith. "I come to you for medical help and you accuse me of whining?"

"You didn't come to me for medical help," said Cristina unsympathetically. "You came to dish over your shiny new penis."

"And my shiny new adam's apple," said Meredith. "Now I can never wear a little black dress again without looking like a tranny. Also, my glass is empty."

Cristina pushed the whiskey bottle across the floor toward Meredith. "And you would be a tranny, since you've turned into a man, you idiot. Besides," she continued, taking a healthy swig from her own glass. "You never wear anything but scrubs anyway, so what do you care?"

"I care because when it happened it hurt," said Meredith. "I could feel my bones growing, and my skin stretched, and my jaw reshaped, and -- disgusting. It was disgusting and it hurt."

Cristina looked up with that curious gleam she usually reserved for patients suffering some complicated and horrendously painful disease. "What about your testicles? What did it feel like to grow testicles? Did your ovaries drop and --"

"Stop!" Meredith's voice rose to an unnaturally high pitch. Even when she'd been female that would have been her shrill tone, but now it was practically falsetto. "Just shut up right the hell now," she said taking another drink.

Cristina snickered into her glass.

"What?" snapped Meredith.

"Nothing," said Cristina. "It's just that there's this Jewish prayer you can't say anymore." Meredith stared at her blankly. They'd been up for hours and she was starting to get five o'clock shadow; Cristina thought it made Meredith's usual confused expression have more authority -- less "I am a lost feeble kitten and need protecting" and more "you are not explaining clearly and must correct this immediately" -- in a way that she didn't want to examine too closely. "There's this prayer," she said instead. "That Jewish men say. 'Thank you for not making me a woman': total sexist bullshit. And the women say, 'Thank you for making me as I am,' like not having a foreskin is some sort of consolation prize." Meredith looked torn between expressing her horror and being too well brought up and Protestant to talk crap about someone else's religion. "Anyway, I just realized that you couldn't say either one anymore, and I'm drunk enough that it's funny."

Meredith flung out her arms and flopped backwards on the floor. "It's not like I was saying Jewish prayers before. Besides, how do you know God didn't make me not a woman? I mean, made me become a man. It could have been God. It's not like you've been slipping me testosterone in my coffee and McSteamy sewed on a penis while I was sleeping. It just happened. It hurt."

Cristina made a dismissive handwaving gesture. "That's right, God and the Easter Bunny magically turned you into a man in the middle of the night."

"It makes as much sense as anything else!"

"That's just because we've been drinking. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation."

"For why I have a penis suddenly?" Meredith poured fresh drinks for both of them. She was starting to feel nauseated from all the whiskey, but it made a nice cushion for the shock. Since she still hadn't figured out a way to sit which didn't make her feel her testicles, she needed plenty of shock-cushioning. "For why I grew 5 inches in the night? For where my breasts went?"

"For everything," said Cristina.

Meredith frowned. "How do you know so much about Jewish prayers anyhow?"

"Hello! Jewish," said Cristina, glaring drunkenly.

Meredith rolled her eyes. "Right, because Cristina is the Jewy McJewperson of names. You were like, nine when your mom married Saul; that doesn't make you Jewish."

"Jewy McJewperson?" mouthed Cristina.

Meredith flapped her hands, forgetting about the half-full glass and splashing whiskey on her newly ill-fitting sweatshirt. "Fine, Jewy Jewowski, whatever. The point is, you're a militant athiest."

"I was nine when my father died. I was three when my mother married Saul, and I am Jewish. I converted, dumbshit. And Dad bribed me," said Cristina.

"What?"

Cristina shrugged. "Actually, it was my mother. I don't know if Saul knew anything about it."

"What are you talking about?" Meredith asked.

"My mother told me if I stayed in Hebrew School I could have a bat mitzvah and people would buy me tons of presents. I wanted to ditch and play soccer instead but it seemed like a good deal. Though being the Asian Kid in Temple Emunah's afterschool classes pretty much sucked. Anyway, nobody told me how lame Bat Mitzvah presents can be. Nobody told me that Bubbe and Zaide -- Saul's parents -- would buy me candlesticks. Though it was almost worth it to watch them try to be polite around all the Korean food my father's mother insisted on me having."

"Kimchee at your bat mitzvah?"

Cristina threw Meredith a withering look. "That's right, Meredith. Koreans sit around eating kimchee morning, noon, and night. Christ, you're as bad as Izzy."

"Hey!" said Meredith, sputtering. "You have to be nice to me, Doctor Bitchowski."

"Are you the most unoriginal insulter in the world?" Cristina asked. "And why do I have to be nice to you? Because you've turned into a man so now I'm a subservient little woman?"

"Because I've turned into a man and my boyfriend won't sleep with me anymore."

"What, you've asked him?" Cristina leaned forward. "I thought you told me first!"

Meredith stared glumly at her once-again-empty glass. "No, I didn't tell him. But it's obvious. He's painfully heterosexual." She brightened. "Unless maybe he's turned into a woman?"

"Jesus, I hope not," said Cristina, shuddering. "He'd make a fuck-ugly woman. Worse than you are as a man. Do you think if he turned into a woman he's a circumcised woman?"

"Christ!" said Meredith. "I hope not. And how did you know he's a circumcised man?"

"He's an American born in the 60's; don't be an idiot," Cristina said. "Unless turning into a guy actually did make you stupid, which would prove a fantastic boon to feminist theory and playground taunting."

"You're a poopyhead," said Meredith. She pouted, and it was a lot less cute on her new square jaw. "Does that mean you won't sleep with me either?"

"Ugh!" snapped Cristina. "No, I won't sleep with you. I'm straight."

"Yes, and I'm a man," said Meredith, with exagerated, drunken patience.

Cristina smirked. "No, you're Meredith. What kind of guy would be named 'Meredith'?"

"I had a male English professor named 'Kimberly'," offered Meredith helpfully.

"And what kind of guy was he?"

"Oh." Meredith frowned. "Okay, I see your point. Though I got an A in the class. We read Franskenstein."

"Pulgogi," said Cristina suddenly, and Meredith answered, "What?"

"Pulgogi. It's beef. My mom had to pay the kosher caterers to make it, because our synagogue wouldn't bat mitzvah you unless your reception was kosher. And she had to give them the recipe, and they didn't get it right. But Zaide kept asking me why the brisket tasted funny. It would have been hilarious if it weren't so embarassing." She added wistfully, "He was nice. He used to give me beers."

"I wanted a Sweet Sixteen party," said Meredith. "My mother was working, so she gave me enough money to buy a cake and told me to have a couple of friends over for pizza. I told her I wanted a party dress and a DJ and she told me not to be ridiculous." She wrapped her arms around her knees. "I bet Molly had a Sweet Sixteen party."

Cristina barked out a laugh. "You know how ridiculous it looks that you're this emo guy is sitting on my floor in sweats bitching about never having had a Sweet Sixteen?"

"What, George has never done that to you?" Meredith asked. "He told me he never forgave his dad for not letting him have his own special day."

"The worst part is I can't tell if you're making that up," said Cristina. "Because, you know, George."

"Why'd you stop?" asked Meredith.

"Why'd I stop what?"

"Being Jewish. Since you had all that school. You probably speak Yiddish or something."

"Hebrew," said Cristina. "And no, not really. About as well I speak Korean, which is to say almost not at all. And I'm still Jewish, I'm just not observant."

Meredith's brow wrinkled. "No, you're an athiest," she explained. "You aren't Jewish."

"You can be Jewish and an athiest, too," said Cristina, in her "you're an idiot" voice. Which, to be fair, was pretty close to her normal voice. "It's not just a religion, it's an ethnicity." Meredith just raised an eyebrow. "Well it is! Just one you can convert into." Meredith's eyebrow lifted impossibly higher. Cristina huffed. "Fine. When did you stop being an emotionally-stunted WASP princess?"

"Oh, I know this one!" Meredith raised her hand eargerly like Welcome Back, Kotter's Horshach. "When I woke up in the middle of the night with a prostate? And who's calliing who emotionally stunted?"

Cristina looked thoughtful. "Huh, a prostate. Have you tried that out yet? Does it feel better? Different? The same?"

"Cristina! This is my freaky bodyswapping experience here, thanks. Please don't perve on it." Still, Meredith looked intrigued.

"I can wait out here if you want to go into the bathroom and try it out. And no, you can't use my vibrator."

"You're disgusting," said Meredith, and hit her with a pillow.

"You're not going to refuse to experiment with the new equipment, are you?" asked Cristina. "Because that would be a criminal waste."

"No," said Meredith. "I'll ask Joe and Walter. Maybe they'll help me out."

"Slut," said Cristina, fondly.

"I'm a man," said Meredith. "So now it's okay." And she grinned.