Jill M I
Well, I keep on thinkin' bout you, Sister Golden Hair Surprise
And I just can't live without you, can't you see it in my eyes?
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find
But it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind.
- "Sister Golden Hair" - America
A week before the contest, I inadvertently had an opportunity to road test the quality of my gender illusion.
Linda had convinced me to quit eating anything that might have children. I'd been off meat for over a month and my body was feeling wonderful. We'd had several frustrating evenings trying to order vegetarian meals in restaurants. The waiters were much more eager to sell us the 'specials' than they were in satisfying our unique requirements.
Linda had booked reservations for two at The Chicago Diner on Halsted Street. It opened in 1983, but had only recently become trendy due to several articles in the Chicago Reader. The young professionals have made it into a posh place to be. Linda and I were a bit dressier than usual.
In a way, the night was a bit of a graduation party. At the end of the morning's lesson, Jezzi had kissed me on both cheeks and said, "I've taken you as far as I can. Today you are a woman." Her instructions to me were to use the remaining time until the contest to, "enjoy the experience." I would miss the daily nourishment I got from her positive attitude.
Linda and I spent our afternoon mini-vacation at Tirra Salon and Spa on West Erie, relaxing and allowing them to do what they do best. We both had a 'Day of Rejuvenation'. They started with a one-hour massage, followed by an Aveda facial, after a light lunch we had both a pedicure and manicure, followed by a shampoo and style and finishing with a make-up touch-up.
I asked Dee to join us, but Sam and she were working a fundraiser with several stockbrokers. Sam has been great. He had been involved with Dee much more than I thought he would be.
We arrived at the restaurant five minutes before our reserved time. The hostess told us our table would be ready in twenty minutes. We chatted and perused the pictures on the wall of celebrities enjoying hummus, tofu or sunflower seeds with chef Jo Kaucher.
Behind us a skirmish broke out. Two young businessmen, in power suits, were trying to bluff or bully their way in without reservations. They didn't like the idea of a two-hour wait and weren't the kind to take "No!" for an answer.
Everyone waiting for a table enjoyed the sight of these two arrogant whelps taken down a notch by the darling, gray-haired hostess.
When they realized their postulations weren't going to move them to the front of the line, their brashness melted away and they became very amiable with the hostess. They turned to those on the other side of the waiting area and apologized to those that might have been upset by their escapade. "Hey, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Their attempts to look philosophical resulted in a kind of vulgarity. As they turned around, I expected to see a gold toothpick hanging from one of their mouths. What I saw took my breath away.
The two 'businessmen' were John and David, my high school buddies!
Although I'd been in public dozens of times in a dress, and appeared on TV, I'd never encountered anyone in person I knew except Linda and Dee. Sam hadn't even seen Angela in person.
I was reluctant to go through the kind of embarrassment they could cause.
"Linda! It is you. You look wonderful." John said. He smiled at me. "And you are?" He looked closely at me and leaned in "Steve, is that you?"
I nodded my head affirmatively. He kept his mouth close to my ear and continued. "I thought so I've been following your 'conversion' on television. You go by Angela now, right?"
Again I nodded, hoping we could get through this without them creating a spectacle.
"Hey David, it's Linda Schmidt and 'Angela'. From Brecht," John said.
"Angela??? Oh hey Angela!!! I've been hoping I'd get to meet you!" David moved in close and stared at me intently with a sloppy fleer on his face. His breath indicated they'd come from a bar. I braced myself for the worst.
"Geez you look wonderful." David said.
Where he stared was making me very conscious of the prosthetic breasts that were glued to my chest. My bra supported their weight. For the first time in weeks, I was mindful of the tug at my shoulder straps. I thought of the lacy bra I was wearing and blushed. I remembered making the decision to buy the breasts with the prominent nipples. They were sending a false signal of arousal to David. My face was radiating with shame.
"Hey, I didn't mean to make you mad." David noted my red face and seemed to mistake my mortification for anger. He was keen to cool me off. "You look good on TV. In person I mean Wow! You really look sexy."
Oh my. Sexy! I hadn't really given much thought to looking sexy lately. I was with two of the guys from high school looking 'sexy'.
I stared at the floor, attempting to disappear. My eyes were fixed on the cute bows across the toes of my high heels. Despite the three inches they added to my height, the top of my hair was barely even with David's nose. He'd put on weight since high school. All muscle. He looked to outweigh me by a hundred pounds!
"Miss, your table for two is ready," the hostess said. "I see you know these two rascals." She smiled, indicating she'd fallen for what passed as their charm. "Do you want me to add two place settings to your table?"
'Lara' was trying to be polite and give us good service. I wished she hadn't made the suggestion. I felt so despicable.
"That sounds wonderful, Lara," John said. John could read her nametag as I did. "We have some catching up to do."
"Sounds great to me," David said. "Can you two stand talking about the old days with some fellow Brecht grads?"
Linda caught my eye, but I was too flustered to stop this train wreck in the making. She misinterpreted my silence and the smile frozen on my face as consent, and said, "Please add these gentlemen to our party."
Now that I was stuck, I was almost pleased I chosen this particular outfit for tonight. If this had to happen, I wanted to look okay. I'd selected a tan suede, long-sleeve shirtdress, which ended two inches above my knees. It was a Ralph Lauren design. Tres chic. I'd gone with a single strand gold chain necklace and opal earrings My earrings! I hoped they didn't notice my pierced ears!
You dope Angela!
I was standing there in a dress and high heels hoping they didn't notice my pierced ears! I needed to sit down.
John and David stepped aside and with a sweep of their arms, gestured for us to go first of course, how gallant. David even pulled out my chair. Actually, having my chair pushed in under me was rather nice, what with making sure my dress was smooth.
I could feel the silkiness of my stockings inside my shoes. I love that feeling. Stockings! I remembered laughing in high school about girls who wore stockings.
'If they're wearing panty hose, look for a fight,
If they're in stockings, you're set for all night.'
Why was I wearing stockings? I could feel them pulling on my garters. I acutely remembered putting my panties on over my stockings and garters so I could use the ladies' room without a great deal of difficulty. The ladies' room! What would they think if I went to the ladies' room? My bladder was being stimulated by all the excitement. I couldn't use the men's room dressed as I was.
John and David were beaming like idiots. They were really enjoying my predicament. Or, were they? They hadn't said anything overtly rude yet.
David took two menus from the waitress and handed one to me. My hands! Acrylic extensions had been added to my nails extending them nearly 3/8ths of an inch beyond my fingertips. They were painted a vivid red to match my lipstick. How in the world had I become so acclimated to all this girlishness? I pressed my lips together and felt the slick texture of the lip-gloss I'd just freshened.
Lip-gloss! What was I trying to prove? Why lip-gloss? Was it really necessary to look like such a tramp? Hey wait! I didn't look like a tramp! Did I?
John was talking non-stop to Linda. Linda looked so delectable. John talked about her 'pulchritude'. What a smarmy loser!
"Angela. You haven't said a word. Aren't you happy to see us?" David said.
I opened my mouth to talk, then stopped to consider what might come out. I could've tried to find my 'Steve' voice. It had been awhile, but I was sure it was there somewhere. I chose to make it easier for those people sitting close by, using a voice appropriate to my appearance. "No it's great to see you again it's just a little peculiar."
"I don't think what you're doing for Dee is peculiar at all," David said. I was relieved. John and he had given tacit acceptance to my 'new' voice.
"Diane's lucky to have you," David continued. "I wish I could find someone like you to marry."
John choked on his water. David was suddenly red faced.
"John you jerk! You know what I mean Someone who cares as much about me as Ste... ah Angela obviously does about Dee."
"You aren't married?" I asked.
"Nope I was almost caught a few times. But, every time I thought I knew a girl, she turned out to be something other than what she pretended to be," David said.
"What about you, John?" Linda asked.
"I was for five years. We've got two kids shared custody They're with her tonight." John said. John reached for his wallet and passed pictures of his two, small blonde girls.
"That makes me the only married one to Dee." I said.
"Dee Lilah. I'm sorry Angela, I just don't have good feelings about her." John said. "I don't think it's so much that she's aloof it's more like she just refuses to descend into a world she despises. A world the rest of us populate. It's comforting to know that Dee is working hard to distance herself from me. That was quite a stunt she pulled on you that initiation thing."
I felt David kick John under the table. I had any no idea what John was talking about. "Stunt?" I asked.
"Are you ready to order?"
The waitress took my mind away from the question and forced me to concentrate on the menu. I settled on the macrobiotic meal with steamed carrots, kale, beans, grain, brown rice, seaslaw, sauerkraut, tofu and tempeh with cornbread.
"How can you have such a great figure and eat so much?" David asked after they'd ordered.
Great figure? This was so strange! "Proper padding and lots of elastic helps. I can order any food I want, as long as I don't eat it."
"You've still got a great sense of humor," David said. "I like how you take two seemingly unrelated ideas and make it obvious how they really do fit together. You make me laugh. I like that about you. Why haven't you and I gotten together more over the years?"
I thought about how little desire I'd had to see anyone from Brecht for the past almost fifteen years and tried to remember why. I suppose it was because I didn't like myself much in high school and really didn't see any reason to prolong the misery. I could've asked David why he hadn't gone out of his way to look me up, but I already knew the answer.
We weren't really friends in high school. I was Sam's son. It was a 'good idea' to let me hang out with them. Brecht politics! Once we were out of Brecht, he no longer had to put up with me.
Both David and John have gotten a lot hairier over the years. David had thick, dark hair on his knuckles. Even before I became Angela, I had very little body hair.
David's leg was accidentally pressed against mine. He must have thought my leg was part of the table. The muscles in his leg were rock solid. He was a decent football player in high school. He felt like he'd stayed physically active. I slowly drew my leg away from him. I tried not to be too obvious.
"I like your perfume," he said.
"It's part of the overall package," I explained. "I'm supposed to stay in female mode, 24 hours a day in order to be prepared for the contest."
"It's very provocative, no matter why you're wearing it."
Why indeed was I wearing it? What the heck had I been thinking of when I spritzed myself? What was my purpose? Who was I trying to attract?
I thought of the bottles of perfume, lotions, cosmetics and other purely feminine items I owned. Was all that necessary?
There was no doubt that I wanted as much approval as a woman as I could get. I wasn't one who could totally ignore the opinion of others, although I realized I'd be much stronger if I simply became more independent. Even in my work, I leaned too much on the approval of people and allowed it to become a bed of thistles.
"It's White Shoulders. Isn't it?" he asked.
"Yes it is. How do you know perfumes?"
"An ex-girl friend, three years ago, always wore White Shoulders. She's a fox. Even though White Shoulders is a relatively inexpensive perfume, it's very elegant sweet romantic. She turned out to be promiscuous. I'm just not into that sort of thing. She wanted to do couple-swapping weekends. I'm partial to old-fashion values. She fooled me with the White Shoulders. I thought she was clinging to the best part of another time. If I could find someone who wears White Shoulders and means it, I'd be married in a minute. Are you aware your earrings bring out the color of your eyes?"
Jezzi had given me birthstone earrings the previous week for my birthday. They were the first birthday present I'd ever received. My father didn't believe in presents and Dee was no better.
The earrings were a very pretty blue. David thinking they matched my eyes was pleasurable.
David was tempting me with suggestions of profound gratification. Where was my resistance to the forbidden fruit he was offering?
I stared into his eyes. One of the exercises Jezzi had had me do for hours on end was looking directly and deeply into her eyes with my eyes open unnaturally wide. I sensed David studying my face. My carefully sculptured eyebrows, the perfection of my skin (perfected by careful application of foundation and powder), the powder on my lids, blended to create an illusion of doe eyes all framed by my perfectly coiffed hair, which was artificially thickened by falls and extensions.
His eyes came to rest on my glossy, crimson lips. When a man looks at a woman's lips he's thinking of one thing how they would feel wrapped around his swollen penis. Was his penis swollen? Did I have that effect on him? I dragged my eyes away from him and concentrated on my water glass.
I pushed on the tip of my salad fork, balancing the handle slightly above the table. David reached away from his plate of no-meat fajitas to cover my hand with his. He could undoubtedly cover both of my hands with one of his. I wasn't sure what his gesture and attentive body language meant. Maybe, he was telling me not to be uneasy.
Linda and John were deep into conversation. There was nothing between Linda and me, but I wasn't sure he was the right one for her. Well maybe... She hadn't paid any attention to me after they arrived.
"I can't get over how fantastic you look," David said. "It suits you. You seem much happier much more content than you ever were in high school. I've been watching you every week on TV. You get more and more remarkable every week."
Could David be a switch-hitter? There had been small indications in high school that he was open to experimentation. As if in answer to my question, David squeezed my hand. I looked down at the 14k gold bracelet around my slender wrist and thought of the matching bracelet around my ankle. A few hours before, I'd been so proud of how trim my ankles looked. I wore the ankle bracelet to draw attention to it. Now I was getting attention but why? What did he want?
"David I'm married and I'm a man." I lowered the timbre of my voice. Instead of finding a bass clef, I sounded breathlessly husky as if I wasn't in control of my emotions.
"Angela you're more woman than I've seen in years. Besides Dee's more married to Sam than she is to you."
I involuntarily gasped, pulled my hand from David and tried to cover my troubled face. Sam and Dee, what did he mean by that? The thought had never crossed my mind. We didn't have a storybook marriage. However, I was totally loyal to her and assumed she was to me. And, my dad .?
"Let's go to the powder room," Linda said. She stood next to me. I robotically reached for my purse and made my way to the ladies room in a haze. Once safely cloistered from men, I collapsed on the couch with Linda holding me. The aura of my failure as a man was contrasted by the airy pink and lavender of my new world.
"I didn't know there was anything going on between Sam and Dee," I said. All the sensitivity training was clearly visible in the tears streaming down my face.
"Don't believe everything you hear there've been rumors about Dee and me for years," Linda said. "And, I KNOW those aren't true."
"David wants to have sex with me," I cried. "Linda, at first I was humiliated by David and John's praise for my femininity, then I realized I was secretly begging for it."
"Angela, look at me You're a very pretty individual. At least you were, before you ruined your face with all those tears. It's natural for a person like you to want admiration. You can't blame David for being confused. It's a confusing situation. Who knows? There might come a time in your life when you'll reconsider. I've had first-rate male lovers."
"But, I'm a man!"
"You're what you think you are You are, to some extent, what other people think you are. What I love about you hasn't changed one bit over the years, and certainly not over the past several weeks. Let's get you home. You have a job to do in a week and you need your beauty rest."
It really didn't matter what John and David said or thought. Linda said she loved at least part of me! I felt warmer inside than at any other time in my cold, cold life.
I was afraid to actually admit my love for Linda. She was my friend. A friend I absolutely had to have. Friendship can end in love, but love never ends in friendship.
Jezzi and Linda worked with me the next day to put the evening out of my mind. Jezzi thought David was a very bewildered person.
By the night of the contest, Dee was leading in the polls by eight points and I no longer thought of myself as a man in a dress.
My dress for the evening was actually a gown; it tied over my right shoulder. It was full-length and floated down to a gored, ruffled skirt. It was a Christmas red satin. I was wearing open-toed sandals with a 2" heel. With the falls in place, you couldn't tell my hair was becoming quite thin.
Jezzi and Linda attended to me like I was a bride. Just before the contest started, Jezzi said, "All the world REALLY is a stage, Honey, so strut your stuff, have fun and give the public a good show." That calmed me and gave me an edge over the other, very nervous contestants.
I felt bad for the other candidate's spouses. They weren't beauty queens and hadn't adequately prepared. Their performances were wooden and amateurish. I'll never get offered a professional singing contract, but I was a lot better on stage than they were.
It was easier for me. I was playing a part and everyone knew it. While in my role, it was easy to go along, as I had no position to defend, no personal stake. I wasn't called upon to take a personal risk, beyond acting my role.
It was obvious the event caught the imagination of Illinois. Within minutes of the start of the voting, the pride of the enormous Illinois Democratic Party came into play. The voting was neck and neck between the incumbent's wife and me. Every one was stunned by the amount of money pouring in.
We raised over $3,000,000 for cancer research.
At the end of the evening, Dee watched as Linda and I hugged and air-kissed, as we had dozens of times during the past few weeks. She icily commented how nice it was for Linda to have a new girlfriend. The way she said it made me wonder again if Linda and she had been lovers in high school.
It was nice to get home and put an end to a long tribulation. As I took off my makeup and studied my face in the bathroom mirror, I pondered whether or not to use night cream. I decided against it. It was time to go back to being Mr. Rasch. Energized by the success of the evening, I wanted to make love to Mrs. Rasch; the woman the world would soon know as Senator Dee Lilah.
I pulled out a pair of my flannel pajamas. For the first time in nearly three months I put on men's clothing. As I stepped from the bathroom, Dee looked up at me Steve. Her hand flew to the lamp's switch. As I got into bed, her back greeted me.
Dee's kind of intelligence refuses to hold two opposing ideas in her mind at one time. When she is confronted by conflict she immediately rejects the idea that holds less promise.
As I waited for sleep to take me away from this latest rejection, I wondered if Angela was dead and gone.
Nature's most splendid work must abide by the law of transience. The stately leaves of the mighty oak must fall to the Earth when their season has ended, to become compost.
Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair!
Shoulder length, longer (hair)
Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy, daddy
Hair (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair)
Flow it, Show it;
Long as God can grow it, My hair!
- "Hair" The American Tribal Love Rock Musical
There are 100,000 hairs on the human head. I lamented the loss of each and every one I've found on the floor or in my brush.
I didn't win the tiara. However, the morning papers were filled with glowing comments for what I'd accomplished.
A Sun-Times reporter had overheard the incumbent on a cell phone during the show instructing his campaign headquarters to use campaign funds to vote for his wife. He was quoted as saying; "No man is going to beat my wife in a beauty contest." The newspaper ran a scathing editorial about misuse of campaign contributions. He'd spent money he could have used over the next two weeks to get back in the race.
Dee easily won her election and we moved to Washington. Either I had an exaggerated sense of importance for my role in Dee's victory, or she minimized it. At any rate, her expressed gratitude was quite meager.
The specter of the conversation at the restaurant with David and John was pushed far behind, as we allowed the freight train of senatorial life to carry us careening into Washington. Whatever Dee had done in some sorority initiation was almost fifteen years ago and couldn't possibly impact our marriage.
I tried to get a job at the Washington Post, in the tradition of the Watergate reporters, Woodward and Bernstein. The Post wasn't ready for me. I was able to hook up with UPI as a Capitol correspondent. I don't interview well and interviewers don't always read resumes carefully. About a month after I started with UPI, the fellow that hired me said, "Why didn't you tell me you're Steve Rasch from the Sun-Times? I've admired your work for years. You're a real journalist." After that, my stories were published with less editing.
I normally hung around the gates of the White House, hoping to get a shouted question answered as the President hurried by.
I hated questioning politicians. I knew their answers would come from notions they borrowed and prejudices they picked up on the campaign trail.
Linda moved to D.C. with us and was running Dee's office. I saw Dee about five or six times a week and hardly ever saw Linda.
Dee had started off very slowly, voting mostly a straight party line. Linda had been a little exasperated, as the party line was directly opposed to 'their' position on environmental issues. It wasn't that Dee didn't care. It appeared her personal problems were all she could possibly bear. She was simply too busy taking care of herself to think about other things.
Linda was frustrated by Dee's failure to use her office to create positive change. Linda thought the sole advantage to power was that you could do more good; if you failed to do good you were powerless no matter what high office you occupied.
Since coming to Washington, Dee had become more anxious. She wasn't able to set every agenda. Her fears of personal failure took control of her. She never was good at negotiation, compromise or accepting less than perfection. The life of the Capitol Hill politician was overwhelming her. Power and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.
I learned to cope with her anxieties by staying as calm as possible. I spoke very slowly when we conversed. Patience paid big dividends. As much as possible, I allowed her to control what we did. For her own good, I often made demands on her, just to let her know I wasn't totally intimidated. I had a note to myself taped to my writing desk, "Those who demand the most often give the least." Reading this every so often reminded me that Dee was whom Dee was.
I was acting like the man who feeds the crocodile hoping it would eat me last.
Dee became more and more distant. When we did have sex, we crept close together and prodded and pawed so we could sleep, preparing to go our separate ways in the morning. Our relationship was more like having a roommate you never saw. Dee fell asleep quickly and rarely woke before morning. I tossed and turned, searching the bed for a comfortable position.
She was a true snob. She looked for new, higher goals to attain, so she could look down at more people. If she had any humanity, it was only because she couldn't stand having unhappy people around her.
Shortly after the beauty contest, there had been a meeting at our house attended by Sam, Dee, several of the Phyllis Stine's and me. The point of the meeting was to tell me that I had to work hard to eliminate any sign of femininity from my appearance. They didn't bother to support their demands with any logic. They never did. Might has always equaled right in their world. For weeks after that meeting, they harped about my being a 'sissy'. Their re-programming was pure hell.
Not once did Linda criticize me for a 'femme' behavior.
'Angela's' clothes and personal items were boxed. I thought about simply giving it all to Goodwill, but at the last moment sent it to storage.
At the same time, Dee made comments about my hair or the loss thereof. She acted like my hair was the only good thing about me. She didn't yell at me when I kept it long. Nature wasn't as cooperative. Every day my hair was becoming less and less of a good thing.
My denial of the extent of my hair loss crescendoed at a White House press conference. Bush had just struggled through an answer about his position on stem cell research. He turned to me, looking for a friendly face. As a Republican freshman senator, Dee was in his pocket. In an effort to cover his embarrassment over the previous question, he called me, "A fine lad, fine lad." All my press buddies got a big charge out of that.
I began my prepared question, "You talked about the need to maintain technological "
But Bush acting like an excited party guest who couldn't keep a funny comment inside interrupted me to deliver his punch line. "A little short on hair, but a fine lad. Yeah!" Bush said, provoking a new round of laughter at my expense.
"I am losing some hair." I meekly acknowledged.
I moved on with my question, realizing that I'd just been ridiculed about my balding head by the president of the United States.
After the press conference, my press buddies really let me have it.
"Hey, Captain Picard make it so."
"Steve, when you lose hair, do you get more head?"
"Do you get nervous in a pool hall?"
"Do you need sun glasses when you comb your hair?'
"Is it taking longer to wash your face these days?"
"You know, Steve, I can see what you're thinking."
My baldness was the topic of a national debate. All three networks repeatedly showed clips of the press conference as an example of Bush's insensitive treatment of reporters.
This incident set me in motion. If I didn't do something about my hair, I'd soon be bald.
All my life I've paved the road to what passed for my happiness with acceptance of conformity. Now, my male pattern baldness was forcing me to be 'different'.
I wanted to restore my hair for a variety of reasons. Maybe, I could fix our failing marriage. Possibly I could hold onto a last vestige of Angela. Angela's side of me was increasing its demands. Even though my hair was quite thin, wearing it long assuaged my need for femininity.
I researched the available alternatives. I thought about going from one extreme to another. If I couldn't have a full head of hair, why have any at all?
The Captain Picard remark started me thinking about shaving my head. Yul Brynner had looked good in The King and I. I talked to a friend of mine who has shaved his head for years. He asked me if I liked the sound my beard made when I shaved in the morning.
Until he said that, I really hadn't paid much attention. The next morning I listened while I shaved and became aware of the rasping noise.
My friend told me the noise of shaving is quite pronounced inside your head.
The idea of rubbing my head with baby oil to make it shine didn't appeal to me any more than the thought of dabbing my scalp with makeup to take away the shine.
Shaving my head was out!
I moved on to plugs. I requested information and a consultation from experts in the field. They told me 40 million men in the United States and 20 million women have hair loss problems. I found no real relief from my personal agony in those numbers.
They showed me before and after pictures from dozens of satisfied customers. When I tracked down a few people I knew that had gone through the treatment I found a constant mantra. Painful limited results expensive. I couldn't find anyone who had undergone the procedure that looked all that natural.
As a Capitol correspondent, I had some familiarity with Ted Koppel. No wigs for me!
My search centered on finasteride (Propecia) or monoxidil (Rogaine). Both were available without prescription on the internet, but I wanted a doctor's advice. My general practitioner in Northbrook did tests to see if my hair loss was due to dietary problems. He also gave me a complete physical. From the results of the tests, he advised against using either of the two most popular drugs due to my propensity for high blood pressure.
Blood tests indicated a hormonal imbalance that he thought might be responsible for my hair problem.
"It's too bad you're not transgendered," the doctor said.
"Transgendered? What do you mean?"
"Transgendered is a term used for men who think they should be women, or women who think they should be men," he said. "I have several transgendered male patients. As part of their treatment, they're taking hormones to develop the secondary sex characteristics of their desired gender. In every case I've treated, the hormones have slowed scalp hair loss and in some cases hair they've lost has grown back."
"It sounds like I should take hormones?"
"No! There are other side effects you wouldn't want. Not unless you have another beauty pageant coming up."
He chuckled as he told me he had no answer for my dilemma. He had a receding hairline.
"Nature has a plan for each of us," he said. "Sometimes we have to 'commune' with nature."
His use of the word 'commune' was a backhanded slap at my column. I'd forgotten what a staunch Republican he was. I wasn't about to seek any further information from him. But, he had planted a seed. I left his office in a mental haze.
Without really planning, I found myself driving toward Jezzi's salon. She was working with a client when I arrived, but would be done in 25 minutes. I settled in with a Cosmopolitan in the salon's waiting area.
"Come in, come in Steve. It's so good to see you," Jezzi said.
"It's good to see you too, Jezzi. I've missed our times together." I really did miss those gentle, peaceful times we'd spent in her office. We had been working toward a goal, but in the process had built a friendship.
"How's Linda?" Jezzi asked.
"I haven't seen or heard from her in months. Shortly after we got to Washington, she asked Dee if she could run the office here in Illinois. She is responsible for keeping communication open between Dee and her constituents. She meets with individuals and interest groups and files written reports with Dee. Linda helps Dee form policy and make informed voting decisions based on her discussions with the Illinois voters."
"Do you miss her?" Jezzi asked.
"I miss having a friend like her," I said. "She's about the only true friend I've ever had. Other than you, or course."
"That's so very nice of you to say, Steve. Thank you. Are you sure she requested the transfer?"
"Yes, Dee told me all about it. Linda wanted to live here so she could be close to John. You remember John. He was one of the two men who ate dinner with us at the Chicago Diner that night I got all upset over nothing."
"I remember John and ahh . David. How do you feel about Linda seeing John?"
"Jezzi I have no secrets from you. You've always been able to see into my heart. I have a great deal of respect for Linda "
"Respect?" Jezzi asked.
"Okay! Respect and a whole lot more," I answered. "You know I love her. But, I'm married and now she's involved with John. It just wasn't meant to be."
The silence that followed was indicative of the depth of our friendship. We're comfortable allowing each other to thoroughly chew the words we bite off, before swallowing. My journalistic instincts told me Jezzi wasn't revealing the whole story. I didn't push her.
"Steve, I've been reading your column."
UPI had given me a weekly column they're syndicating throughout the U.S. I'd been doing a series of stories on the administration's all-out attack on the environment.
"Has Dee felt any repercussions from your articles?" Jezzi asked.
"Bush had a luncheon with her a while ago," I said. "Dee's asked me to tone things down a little."
"Jezzi, all my life I've had to go along to get along. During the past few months, I've found I could make a difference by actually stating my mind. I believe every word I write. Everything is carefully researched. I won't publish anything without three reliable sources. If Bush doesn't like the heat I'm probably doing my job. I'm starting to really feel good about myself. I've discovered the secret of being happy is doing things for other people. I'm doing something for people with my column."
"How do you get politicians to give you those damning quotes?"
"I just slap a Mona Lisa smile on my face and let them talk." I said.
Jezzi laughed, "And Angela how is she doing?"
"Angela's been put away in boxes, but I think of her all the time. Actually, I do more than think of her. I've become Angela more and more every day. I'm much more open to my feminine instincts."
"Is there any chance Angela will come back?"
"That's why I'm here today. I need to talk to you about things. Hormones. Lifestyles," I said.
"What do you want to know about hormones?"
"First of all. Have you taken them?"
"Of course, honey. I take them every day"
"Are you pleased with the results?
""What do they do for you?"
"Marvelous things, sweetie," Jezzi said. "First of all there's the fat migration to more ahem feminine positions. It took me two years to develop my bosom."
"Do you have any regrets about that?'"
"Heavens no, Honey," Jezzi said. "They're the texture of my female spirit. They're two of my favorite things."
"What about when you're dressed as a man?"
"On those rare occasions when I absolutely must, I simply tie them down with an Ace bandage."
"Doesn't that hurt?"
"Not half as bad as it once hurt me not to have them!"
"I understand exactly what you mean."
"I know you do Angela. From the day you first walked in here, I've been well aware how much you need to express your true self."
"Is it that obvious?"
"It is to those who care about you."
"You're including Linda?" I asked.
It's no wonder she took up with John. She probably hated every minute she had to spend with someone as femininely spirited as me.
"What else do the hormones do for your body?"
"I lost some upper body strength. Every once in a while it would be nice to be able to lift as much as I once could. But, I seem to get by okay. My skin has become noticeably softer."
"Isn't that due to all the creams and lotions you use?"
"In part, but mostly its the hormones. I had a big decrease in body hair, ambisexual hair, which cut down on the electrolysis I had to have done. My testicular size is much smaller than it was and at times I have less firm erections That might be due to my age."
"You aren't that old."
"You're sweet, Angela I'm old enough to be your mother," Jezzi said. "I'm getting too old to work in the transformation business."
"It takes a great deal of energy and stamina. You have to be on your game and able to carry a conversation for a minimum of six hours straight. You can never let down your alertness. You have to set a pace and keep ahead of someone who's pumped to the gills. It's fun, but sometimes very draining especially with clients who are too nervous, too scared or just too shy to carry their weight in the conversation department."
"I can see where your work would be hard."
"If I sound like I'm complaining, just slap me," Jezzi said. " I wouldn't trade my life with anyone. I love guiding my clients on their journey to find their feminine selves."
"I could never slap you Jezzi You've been like a mother to me."
"Angela I'd adopt you in a minute, if you'd have me," Jezzi laughed. "You came here looking for information. What else do you need to know?"
"What about scalp hair? Is it possible I could grow back the hair I've lost?"
"That happens sometimes not always. It's happened in at least a dozen cases I know of I think you have a very good chance of getting back your hair, as you haven't reached the stage known as Hippocratic baldness. That's when a man has only a ridge of hair around the sides of his head. It all has to do with DHT."
"What if I start taking hormones and stop? Are the effects reversible?" I asked.
"Most are these things aren't going to happen overnight. You'll have plenty of time to change your mind during the process. Do you have a doctor?"
"I do, but I'd rather not use him. He's our family physician. Do you know of anyone?"
"I can give you the names of several very good doctors who understand the needs of the transgendered," Jezzi said.
"Is that the illness I have, Jezzi being transgendered?"
"Oh honey! You don't have an illness. Psychologists don't classify the transgendered as being ill. You have a blessing," Jezzi said. "You have been given the ability to know and understand yourself. Not many people get to do that."
We talked about her life journey, the turbulence, the constant conflict and her resolution. I wasn't convinced living full-time as a woman was right for me. Yet, I couldn't make a strong argument against using hormones to solve my hair problem. The 'negative' side effects seemed like a bonus.
That was the last conversation I had with Jezzi. Less than a month later, two young men looking for drug money beat her to death. I was out of the country with Dee on a political junket at the time. I was told of her death when I called her salon the next time I was in Chicago.
A fellow columnist, Robertson Davies said, "As a general thing, people marry most happily with their own kind. The trouble lies in the fact that people usually marry at an age when they don't really know what their own kind is."
How terribly, terribly true!
My suite was on the tenth floor in the Ritz Carlton. Normally I didn't stay in suites. Normally I didn't stay in hotels like the Ritz-Carlton. However, it wasn't everyday you became a millionaire.
The room rate was $595 a day. With my tremendous wealth I could stay here for ahh at $595 a day with 15% gratuity I could stay here for the next 24,114 days. That's about 66 years give or take a few Leap Year Days.
That's also about 24,113 more days than I planned to be around.
I'd already finished the two tiny bottles of scotch in the mini-bar and had sent down for a quart of Johnny Walker Blue Label. My plan was to drink myself into oblivion and then figure out the best possible way to end my miserable life. In my anguish, top of the line Johnny Walker was about as much class as I could muster.
If only I hadn't interrupted my morning shower to answer the phone. I loved to shower and shampoo my restored hair. I also loved the feeling of a warm shower against my breasts. I was almost a B-cup after nearly two years of hormones, both injected and by mouth.
I'd never regretted my decision to take hormones. Dee never said a word, if she even noticed the change. She never saw me naked with the light on. The last two years have been very serene.
My body changed as predicted by Jezzi. In addition, I developed a sensitivity that allowed me to take pleasure in a full array of emotions. I've had my ups and downs.
UPI fired me after Bush put pressure on them. They told me it was due to my abnormal sex life. As I have no sex life, I found that rather implausible. The firing came just weeks after Dee, Sam and the Phyllis Stines had another 'fireside chat' with me.
They all were 'concerned' about my mental state.
I've been having my hair styled for some time and they thought it was 'over the line'. Hardly!
The meeting was mainly about my losing my moral compass in regards to what was good for our nation. My allegiance to the 'tree-huggers' was becoming embarrassing for Dee.
After what proved to be a very contentious waste of time, Dee met with me alone. That's what it's come to. Husband and wife having a 'meeting'.
Dee cried bitterly after everyone left. She apologized for being a poor wife. She wept over her failure to try to enjoy sex with me. It was 'all her fault'. She was frigid. According to Dee, she hadn't enjoyed sex with anyone in her life.
She promised to be a better marital partner and more attentive to my sexual needs, if I would agree to drop out of the journalistic game and take care of her 'personal affairs'. She 'needed' my help.
She talked glowingly of a book deal she was cutting that would make us quite wealthy. I wouldn't have to work. I could take the time to do all those things I haven't been able to do, what with deadlines and such nonsense.
In the world she described, I'd finally be able to take advantage of all that Washington, D.C. has to offer. The opera, arts, Michael Jordan... It would be great. She'd find a way to be with me 'as much as possible'.
All I had to do was give up all that silly writing and be a nice little house-hubby.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I did neither. Instead, I told her I'd think about it. I continued my work exposing Bush's environmental onslaught.
My work had almost become relatively easy. There were many people in government who were disgusted with the way we were destroying our land, water and air to gain immediate profits for the big corporate raiders. I didn't have just one solitary 'deep throat'. I had several dozen bureaucrats who provided information on a consistent basis. There was way too much inside information pouring in to write about everything. I concentrated on four or five key issues and kept my published facts to those I could easily prove. I had so many sources I established a personal rule of four reputable sources before I published.
A friend of mine from NPR had been in my office when I got the notice (by fax) that I was no longer 'UPI's type of reporter' (At least I wasn't the 'type' of reporter that used 'type' when I should've used 'kind'.) He took me out for a drink at the St. Regis lounge and hired me on the spot.
The St. Regis! I should have gone there. I could have saved $400 bucks. Of course, the St. Regis was where Sam and Dee were when he died.
The nice thing about a suite like this was you weren't always visible in the mirror. Most hotel rooms use mirrors to give the illusion of space. When you have all those mirrors, you can't get away from yourself.
It's not that I didn't like how I looked. I loved how I looked. On my way to the Ritz-Carlton, I stopped at our storage unit and got a few things. Angela was back. I hadn't lost my figure.
I could have used a little updating on my cosmetics and my dress was several seasons old. However, my taste has always gone to traditional, classic lines. Few outside of the garment district would realize my dress was no longer in vogue.
I'd never got drunk as Angela. I'd rarely been drunk as Steve. There was that one time in high school when John and I stole vodka from dad's liquor cabinet. I was sick for two days. The only other time was that night with Dee. The night we conceived Sara Jayne. But, that really didn't count.
This morning I got a call from George telling me Sam passed away in his sleep Well, not exactly in his sleep, as it turns out but I'm getting ahead of myself George softened the blow as only a heartless bastard could. He told me I'd inherited everything Sam had roughly $16.5 million.
After receiving word of being fatherless I also received a set of visitors. They were two of the Phyllis Stine's. They'd been waiting years to tell me what an asshole I am. They hated me from the very beginning.
'The very beginning', as it turned out, was the fall of Dee's freshman year at Bryn Mawr. Dee was a pledge when they got her inebriated. They asked her who would be the most embarrassing person for her to have sex with from her high school class. She picked me.
Later, when she was asked to join the Phyllis Stine's, she was told she had to seduce me to prove how badly she wanted to be a member. The other initiates had to go to their hometowns to nail their misfits. Dee was lucky. I came to her. To provide proof she actually screwed me, they set up a video camera in a room in the inn where we had dinner cum sex.
The Phyllis Stine's had their initiation ritual down to a science. They'd even supplied Dee with a new drug called Rohypnol. I was date raped!
They told me how Dee bragged about her ability to get me hard, even when I was on the verge of blacking out. They told me how I looked on video, as Dee sucked with vigor on my uncooperative cock.
They said the video became a sorority favorite. It's not everyday you get to see a senator suck on the cock of a cuckold, unless you're a Phyllis Stine.
Yep, that's right. I'm a cuckold. As they graciously shared with me, "Dee's screwed half the cabinet.". She was the kind of woman who climbed the ladder of success; wrong by wrong.
They took the greatest delight in telling me the details of Sam's last moments of glory. Those rumors John and David mentioned back in Chicago were true. Sam was banging his daughter-in-law when the Grim Reaper came to call. He died in the saddle. He was a 'rocky feller' to the end.
The Phyllis Stine's had taken their time. They broke the details to me using their scalpel tongues to expose one layer of skin at a time. They seared every receptor in my body with ribald stories of Dee on the campaign trail buying votes. They said she crowed about the tongue-lashings she's given the pricks of the most powerful men in America.
They trashed my 'prissy' role in the beauty contest. The Phyllis Stine's roared as they told me how totally appropriate it was for a doofus like me to only be helpful to his wife by being the most effeminate man in the state.
I'd lost the strength to fight. All I could do was cry. I didn't even have the energy to order them out of my house. They left only after they'd completely trampled my ego.
I have no one. Linda hates me. She hasn't been back to Washington for almost a year. When she did come to town, she arranged it with Dee so she was too busy to see me. Six months ago, she quit working for Dee altogether. She told Dee she was getting married to John. John thought it best for her to remove herself from any connection to me.
Solitude and the feeling of being superfluous is the most terrible destitution. I'd wished for the ability to pick up the phone and talk to someone anyone.
Journalism was a strange career. We prided ourselves on our detachment. It was how we kept our integrity. We stayed above the fray so no one could take advantage of you.
What crap I'm the poster child for having been duped. My entire life has been an unadulterated joke.
Where is that concierge with the scotch?
As I looked in the mirror, I found a little satisfaction in that I'd retained my skills. I was as appealing as I was two years ago. My makeup was perfect. I took no joy in it. Making my face was a conditioned response.
In the mirror, all I saw was a woman. At least I had one talent. I could totally, completely, most definitely fool myself. I was a perfect foil for Dee. A changeling especially suited for the amusement of the master manipulator.
At last. The knock at the door had to be my liquor.
I swung open the door and found the last person in the world I expected. Linda.
"Angela may I come in?"
"Linda why are you how did you know where to find me?" I asked, as she pushed by me into the room.
"Sam didn't make a very elegant exit. The story of Dee and his last tryst was all over Chicago this morning. I jumped on the first plane to come to you. When you weren't at your home, I figured you'd moved out and called hotels until I found you. I didn't want you to be alone."
"Why should you care about me? Does John know about you coming here?"
"How much have you had to drink? Are you drunk?" she asked.
"No, but I will be as soon as someone I really want to see comes to the door." I said. I dialed the concierge's desk and asked about my scotch. For a while, the concierge was confused. There are only 53 rooms in the Ritz Carlton and "Mr. Rasch' has the penthouse suite. I was unaware I was speaking to him in my 'Angela' voice. The scotch would be right up. The Ritz Carlton was very understanding of its trade.
While I was on the phone, Linda searched the drawers and went through my clothing. What piece of evidence did she need to demand the death penalty?
"What are you looking for?"
"I want to be sure you haven't got a gun or pills."
"Linda I'm on the tenth floor!"
"Angela the windows don't open and are shatterproof."
"Oh I'm planning death by 60 year-old scotch."
"Can I join you?"
"Really, Linda, you don't have to do this you're getting married. You don't need to get in trouble with John."
"John that's the second time you've babbled something about John. I don't even know a John and I'm certainly not getting married."
"John who? John Locke that's who your fiancé!"
"John Locke I haven't seen him since that night he bored me to tears at that restaurant. What makes you think I'd even date someone like him?"
"But, you moved back to Chicago to be close to him?"
"I did not!"
"But, Dee said "
Linda and I both sat down on the couch and faced each other armed with a mutual epiphany.
"So you "
"You are "
"Please Angela let me go first," Linda said. "When we moved to D.C. from Chicago, did you tell Dee that she had to make a choice between you and me?"
"What? No there was a time when I thought but I don't think that any more. And, I certainly didn't Dee told you that?"
"She said it would mean the end of her marriage if I didn't move back to Chicago."
"That bitch She told me you were moving back to be with John. You mean to say you never even dated John?"
"Never he did pester me a few times I told him I only liked girls which he readily believed. That prick thinks any girl that turns down 'The John' must be a lesbian. I feel very sorry for his two daughters. What an ass."
"Linda told me you quit working for her because you were getting married. She said John didn't want you associating with me."
"Noooo! I quit because Dee lied to me repeatedly about how she intended to vote. Do you know she has the worst possible rating you can get from the Sierra Club? I would assure all my contacts in Illinois 'exactly' how Dee was going to vote and then she'd backstab me. I couldn't take it any longer."
I couldn't think of a single thing about Linda that wasn't magnificent. "Didn't Dee realize she was driving you away?" I asked.
"Dee has an infinite capacity for taking things for granted."
"No John in your life?"
"Angela you're the only one I've ever loved."
"Me?" There was an aroma of caramel in the room I hadn't noticed before.
"Yes I've loved you since high school. What started out as puppy love grew over the years. I only went to college on the East coast to be close to you at Harvard."
"Of course. I was crushed when you married Dee. I've never gotten over you. Even when Dee told me how much you disliked being around me during the election, I still couldn't stop loving you."
"I loved being with you! But, what about all this?" I gestured across my feminized body. "I've done some things to myself, you don't know about. I've been taking hormones."
"I love YOU Steve or Angela it doesn't matter to me. I've had many talks with Jezzi over the past few years. I know a great deal about people who struggle to find their true gender identity. I'm ready to support you in whatever you decide."
"Jezzi was killed."
"I know. I was at her funeral. Her wife made sure she was wearing that string of pearls you gave her. Jezzi loved you almost as much as I do. She said you're one of the most feminine people she's ever known."
There was a knock at the door. A mortified concierge came in with not one, but two bottles of Johnny Walker Blue label. "I'm so sorry madam. They're compliments of the Ritz Carlton. Will there be anything else?"
With what Linda had just told me, I didn't need a thing.
After he left, Linda and I decided I should get out of my female clothing. We also decided she should get out of hers. I didn't know what sex was until she and I spent the afternoon, evening and night catching up for lost time.
She loved my new mammas as much as I did.
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more
My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn't take any more
Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn't take any more
- "Delilah" - Tom Jones
The next morning Linda went to see a few old friends at the Capitol.
I decided to say goodbye to Dee in person. It was Sunday morning. With all the flak she would be receiving from the press, she would more than likely be home. My love for Linda had freed me from any fear I might have of Dee's corrupt soul.
As I drove up to our neatly appointed, four-bedroom home in Georgetown, I thought of how many lies it projected about the life within.
When I walked into our living room she was sitting alone. The world, as it often does when someone is humiliated, had decided she 'needed space'.
Her mouth dropped open. I suppose I might have been less of a surprise had I not dressed to the nines. I wanted to look better than Dee ever had. By the look on her face, I'd accomplished my goal. I was dressed in an Alberta Ferretti deep purple wrap, doubled layered with chiffon and chalk-striped silk possibly the most feminine dress I'd ever seen. My hair was a mass of seductive curls. My makeup mature and alluring. Everything about me was meant to advertise the fact that I'd been made love to the night before and cherished it.
The Ritz Carlton can be quite obliging when you have $16.5 million. They opened their salon on Sunday morning and found a way for their personal shopper to buy something special for me to wear even though the stores weren't open.
"It's Steve back from the dead."
"Hi to you too, Dee."
"I hear my sorority sisters paid you a little visit."
We circled each other two apprehensive cats.
"They're such little stinkers."
"Sorry about your father."
"Sorry about your lover."
"One does what one has to do," she said.
"What good was he to you, after you became a senator?"
"He still was Sam Rasch he had long arms and a long cock as well something his genes forgot to pass along to his daughter."
Our 'goodbye' was going about as dreadfully as I expected. I needed closure on the past wasted decade, but at what cost?
"Can I fix you a drink Angela?"
She must have wanted something. She didn't even choke on 'Angela', even though it was the very first time she had said it.
"How about a little sherry?" I asked. "There are some things in my room I'd like. Do you mind? I'll just put together a small bag and get out of your life."
"No problem. George tells me Sam left you enough so you can probably afford a place of your own. We'll have to see how much a divorce attorney can get for me. Let's chat after you get your things."
When I came down the stairs from my room, she had the glasses sitting on a small table in front of the couch where she was sitting.
She smiled at me and patted the couch next to her. "Angela we need to talk a little about things. George tells me Sam's will is contestable. I think we should try to reach an amiable agreement. I know money means very little to you. I want you to move on to whatever it is you want to do as quickly as possible."
She hadn't mentioned Linda. She apparently didn't know where I had spent the night and with whom. I needed to get out, before something stupid was said. Obviously she thought I had the upper hand or she wouldn't even be talking to me. Perhaps throwing her a bone would be smart. But, I had to handle the settlement through an attorney. I threw down the sherry and rose to leave.
"Steve you're a slow learner."
"I expected you to come to see me this morning. You've always been predictable. Although, I'm surprised by the way you're dressed. That's okay, what I've prepared for you will work just as well no matter what you're wearing. And, yes you're indeed a slow learner. You'd think after our first night at Bryn Mawr you'd watch what you drink. Your sherry was laced with a fast acting poison."
"Poison?" From the look on her face, she wasn't lying.
"Oh don't worry. I'm not going to kill you. I have the antidote. In about five minutes, you'll be blind. In ten minutes if I don't administer the antidote you'll be dead. If you try to leave or harm me in anyway, you'll die."
"Because I can Angela because I can. You see Angela Steve whatever you are. I've spent my life trying to please George. He wanted a boy he could make into a trial attorney. He envied Sam because of you. I in turn envied you. Even when I was elected senator, George said it was due to your cleverness. We all have our demons. When you wake up, we'll talk about what your demons will be like in the future."
My vision was clouding. It was becoming very dark. Whatever she gave me was working. I flinched, as I felt a hand at my throat.
"Hold still, or I'll drop this syringe and there will be another body found in the Tidal Basin."
I felt a sharp pain at the base of my neck and lost consciousness.
I was lying in my bed naked. Completely naked my head had been shaved! My head was pounding and my entire body ached. I was having trouble remembering what happened, but knew I was in deep trouble. My stomach was queasy. My vision had returned, but was blurred. Dee had cut my dress into two-inch wide strips and had used them to tie my hands and feet to the bedpost.
After what seemed like several hours, the door opened and in walked a jovial Dee.
"Steve it's so nice to see you've come back to me. I was afraid when you came home yesterday that you'd become delusional. But, I see that you've come to your senses this morning."
Dee patted my totally bald scalp. "It was such a lovely head of hair. Too bad. It went so well with your boobies." She grabbed my left nipple and gave it a cruel twist.
"Uhmmmm." I tried to move away from her brutality, but she had me bound too tight.
"I first noticed your body changing about a year ago. As long as the public didn't notice, I could have cared less. I quit caring about you years ago." I writhed in pain and disgust. "I see you like being bound maybe a few of Sam's genes did find their way into you."
I lost the battle with my stomach and hurled the scotch and what little I had eaten the previous day on the sheets to my right. The room filled with the smell of stomach acid and vomit.
"Steve you should have told me you don't feel good. We could have worked something out. That's what we really, really need to concentrate on Steve working out a settlement between you and me. Something Sam would have wanted."
Dee was more than a little mad. The lies she'd told to me over the years, the duplicity that's become her life have pushed her across the line. She'd gone completely insane. And, I was at her mercy.
"All I want is what's coming to me. I want what any wife wants when her husband dies. Sam was my true husband, and I want everything."
"You can have it. Take it all. As you said, I could care less about money."
"Oh, I'll get the money Steve but that isn't enough. You've been the apple of George's eye for years. Do you know he was overjoyed when I told him you were the father of my child? Do you know what he said?" Her nostrils flared as she searched the air for the soul of her aggravated childhood. "He said that was the best Christmas present I ever gave him. That was the only time he ever said he was proud of me. He was proud because I managed to get knocked-up by a loser like you. If I have to hear about that damned writing medal you won in the seventh grade one more time
"The only reason I want the money is so you don't have it. Money's nothing to me. When I became senator, I thought the world would be mine. I thought I'd have power. Power.. that's a joke. I'm told how to vote. If I don't follow their advice, I'll be ruined or killed. They told me right away how the game is played. They showed me examples. George is as big an environmentalist as Linda every vote is killing him he tells me how wonderful your stupid columns are "
If her conduct were different, I might have felt sorry for her. Imagine, someone as talented as she, never measuring up to her own standards, or the dreams of her father. As it was, her misery was my oasis.
"Companies and special interest groups fall all over themselves paying me to vote one way or the other as if their money matters more than my life You'd think the lobbyists would know how the game is played. Those assholes have given me millions."
She walked to the window and threw open the blinds. Judging by the angle of the sunlight coming through the window, she wasn't lying about it being morning. I'd been out at least 20 hours, maybe more.
She turned from the window and strolled over to me. She completely ignored the foul matter on the bed.
"You see Steve I need to utterly disgrace you in George's eyes."
She walked to the dresser and picked up a small stack of pictures.
"Yesterday, when you came here I didn't have a plan, but when you walked in, in that, that dress it all came together," She spit out dress like I'd expelled yesterday's scotch. "I was prepared to poison you, but I didn't know what to do to ruin your reputation. While you took your nap, I arranged for you to have a little fun. I drove around town until I found some boys for hire. Male prostitutes aren't hard to find in D.C."
Her suddenly old, sinewy hands held some snapshots beneath my nose. Two young men and me. One was humping me in what appeared to be anal sex. My dress was pushed up around my waist. In another picture, a cock had been jammed in my mouth with my eyes closed; I could have been in a state of rapture.
"George will be surprised at first, but seeing is believing. The courts will certainly allow me, as your wife, to benefit from your inheritance as long as you're taken care of and I intend to take care of you." She laughed.
"It's so terrible when a fine mind like yours goes awry. I've arranged for you to be taken to a home in Pennsylvania for the 'unhinged'. You will be well taken care of for the rest of your life. They believe in keeping their 'guests' sedated. For the price I've agreed to pay you should get some prime drugs."
"Maybe you can arrange to give him some more Rohypnol."
I spun my head to see Linda standing in the door with a rather large pistol in her hand. She held the gun with the authority of someone who was ready to use it, yet did not seem menacing.
"Linda where's John? . How long have you been standing there?" Dee said.
"Long enough but I already knew your plans," Linda said. "When Angela didn't come back yesterday afternoon, I put out some feelers to some of her friends in the press and at NPR. Dee, you have no idea how highly regarded your husband is in his field. With their help and with the help of some of the people in your office who are fed up with you I was able to track down your activities of yesterday. Once we found the trail of phone calls to West Acres Home, in Harrisburg, Pa., we found a nest of people who stood to lose their licenses if they didn't talk. They were happy to tell us about your proposal which they of course had no intention of honoring."
Dee was visibly upset by Linda's calmness. Linda continued, "Your staff includes some fairly sharp people. I know. I hired most of them based on their integrity and intelligence. Those people know how to keep meticulous files. Files filled with what now is called evidence. Evidence that links your voting pattern to systematic payoffs and bank records.
"Dee, you'd be amazed how hastily your sorority sisters came around when faced with a pack of bulldog investigative reporters. They told us all about what you did to that poor little Steve Rasch back in college. They think it's scandalous that you ever became a senator, given all the other nasty things you've done. Things that they could hardly wait to tell us.
"The police are on their way over here, Angela." Linda said to me. "One of those two male prostitutes Dee hired is an informer. He rolled over this morning. He got scared. He thought Dee might kill you. I came to make sure Dee didn't do anything before the police could get here. They're obtaining a search warrant as we speak. It's over, Angela."
"Angela??? His name is Steve. He's my husband. I'm a senator."
"True." Linda said as she turned her attention back to Dee. "But, that all can, and will be fixed. Angela's gender is just a perception. Names are legally changed every day. Your marriage was a sham and was over long before it started. And, even though it will take an act of congress to get rid of you as a senator I feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein, helping you get elected but you will be ousted. Steve's too well liked by the press. They'll roast you. Bush doesn't need that kind of garbage so close to the Whitehouse. You've become too big a liability. You'll be out of here faster than you can say 'Trent Lott'."
"And, you'll be married to a laughing stock." Dee said.
"Scarcely, the world is fast becoming quite comfortable with the transgendered. Now that Angela has money, she will be able to start her own magazine if she wants. And, knowing her, she will find the best way to accomplish her goals."
The room filled with police, who released me as soon as they had taken pictures for evidence. From the look on Dee's face you could tell she knew her temple of narcissism had crashed down around her. The substance of the relationships I'd made over the years had overpowered her malicious style.
Dee's clothes were my size. I was able to find something appropriate to wear, as Linda and I started the rest of our lives. There would be no more sublimation of my feminine needs.
As I dressed, Linda searched for and found a wig of Dee's. There were tears in her eyes as she caressed my head. "Angela, you had gorgeous hair. It will take months for it to grow back."
"Don't cry please don't cry hair's not important."
Thank you to Geoff and Frilliette for all their encouragement, editing and overall help. Special thanks to Jezzi Belle Stewart for being the inspiration for Jezzi and for allowing me to 'bump her off' 2/3rds of the way through the story.
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