“And…voila! No, wait! Just one more thing…okay, voila! Oh no, hold on. One last little…voila! You’re perfect.” Trix carefully and expertly applied the last bit of makeup to my dolled-up face. We were inside a dirty bathroom, surrounded by cement walls and dirt-covered floors. Every now and then a squirmy wormy cockroach would scuttle-scuttle-scuttle across the filthy floor. Scuttle-scuttle-scuttle. I looked into the dirty blurry old mirror in front of me and, for just a moment, saw Veia staring back at me from the other side of the grave.
“…The fairest maiden in all the land…” she said, or I said, or Trix said. I wasn’t sure. But I did make a deliciously convincing woman. McWalton was sure to hire my services. My ‘S & F Special’, as I advertised it. I shall leave it up to you to decide what these letters represented, but they both rhymed with ‘duck’.
“We’re just outside his lovely Retreat lé Discreet now,” Trix’s singsong voice song-sang. Every now and then Big Bucks McWally would travel down to our lovely mini-metropolis to have sex with random whores. I had been called a whore many times before, and now my already androgynous persona was made-up to look like one of downtown’s finest. It was all thanks to my wonderful aesthetic artist friend.
“So where do we go from here?” I turned to face her, but it wasn’t Trix who was asking. It was Shadowshade. Trix was nowhere to be found. What the hell? I darted out of the little park bathroom and out into the breezy night air. Where had she vanished off to? “You remember where she went, friend. You remember.” I closed my eyes, and at last I did. She had been there at Dee Gaggles’ forest retreat just before I took off for the Glassway.
“She’s coming with us,” Veia’s beautiful voice said. I could hear her speaking. Her voice was playing from an audio recording buried deep inside my mind.
“Vive la Revolution!” Trix happily cheered. She wasn’t there when I returned from my final trip to the bridge of glass. She was dead, just like the others who went to the massacre that night. If only I could’ve been there to die alongside them…if only…
So who had I been talking to? Who helped me transform into the sultry trans-courtesan that I had become? Had I imagined it all? At least some of this was real. I could feel it. I could feel the wind lapping at my skin like the ocean laps at the shore. I could hear the crickets chirping the songs of the night. This was real. One of the tycoon’s hired hands had really tried to murder me. I was really about to give Bill McWalton the kiss of death.
How had I survived when the man pulled the gun on me? How had I come up with the idea to meet the Bill here like this? It was all a blur, a jumbled up mental jigsaw puzzle that I had no idea how to solve. Were the nitty-gritty details really so very essential? I was here now. I was doing this. That would have to suffice. Surely I was losing my mind.
“I’m scared, Tristan. I don’t want to die. I don’t…” Veia was lying on the sidewalk, bleeding in front of me. “I love you so, my product of society…” and she was gone. I couldn’t save anyone from the horrors that governed this nightmarish plane of existence. Why did I still try?
“Stupid shit! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid little shit!” M. and Anthony shouted in unison. They were the kind of people that the world rewarded and praised, people who sought to destroy anything that wasn’t mart of the majority. ‘Democracy’ was the term they devised to hide the torturous reality they were building. I thought of Tranquility Acres: America at its best, with fanciful decoration and fanciful phrasing to hide the deep-seated hate and torture taking place inside so many of the homes. Anything can become legal or illegal if they want it to…anything at all.
“Time to go,” Scéléra spoke from somewhere behind me. I turned around and found her and Dodge Davis, yes, like the truck and the confederate…it fit him so well. They were lying in the grass and having a truly orgasmic time. Her ecstatic moaning was drowned out by his repetitive shouting.
“Yeehaw! Pussy! I’m gettin’ me some pussy! Yeehaw!” How the hell had their union even happened? It made me sick. It twisted something sharp venomous in the back of my brain until it made me feel like I was standing in the middle of the apocalypse. I needed them to go away. “Yeehaw!” Smack. Something slapped me hard across my face and pulled me halfway back to reality.
“Their work is finished but yours is not. It is time to press on. You’ve a big fish to fry today.” S. was right. It was time to get on with my violent drag performance… the best kind of drag performance. Scéléra and Dookie Hazard had injected me with a cancerous sense of being second-best. How could she leave me for that? It was incomprehensible. Veia didn’t see me as second-best though, at least as far as I knew. I could try to hold onto that.
It didn’t take long for me to find my destination. It looked like a large storage shed or a small warehouse, hidden behind the remnants of a paper mill that was no longer in service. Wow...the ultra- classy Bill McWalton wasn’t being very classy tonight. I didn’t really blame him. I wasn’t very ‘classy’ myself, especially not at the moment. I was a street whore: tight purple dress, black stilettos, the whole shebang. Mine was an admirable profession. I’d never have to pay taxes.
Outside the metallic sex den was a short line of other women like me. But they were penisless, as far as I knew, and ready to casually bang the big businessman. I had the perfect backstory. I had been brutally raped and tortured by my biological father at a young age. It distorted my views about my body, myself, and sex in general. I saw myself the way society saw me, at least for tonight. I was a dirty filthy whore. Did daddy make me a dirty whore, or did I do it on my own? No matter.
My story wasn’t entirely fictional. The rape was real. I had run away from home twice and couch surfed often. I had lived in homelessness and downed a ton of drugs. I often rivaled Sigmund Freud in my Über Coca consumption, and had even just done a few lines in the bathroom while doing my makeup. I was in the right place. I was just the kind of girl Mr. McWalton was looking for.
“Hey, babe.” One of the other ladies of the night greeted me as I approached the entrance to the building. I was almost sure her story was at least somewhat like mine. “My name’s Tulip Two-Lips. What’s yours?” As I tried not to laugh at her ridiculous whore name, I quickly invented one of my own.
“Hey babe, I’m Miss Anthropy.” I used my most feminine voice. It was the best one I could conjure up. Call me vain, but I thought my name was far cleverer than hers. I really did hate most people at this point, so it was fitting too.
“Hey! You new here?” A large man standing at the door in front of the six-whore line called out to me.
“Not for long.”
“You go in next. Boss likes the new ones…uncharted territory.”
“Honey, my territory has been charted about as many times as any sea in the goddamn ocean. There are maps of it, but those cost extra. Let’s just hope he can handle me.”
“Well damn! Alright ma’am, right this way. I’ve gotta ask, are you clean? No STDs?”
“I’m cleaner than you’ve been since eighth grade, babe.” That was good enough for him. The metal door quickly slid open and I was ushered inside. Bang! It slammed shut behind me. There were two more bouncer-boys in front of me, standing in front of a large red curtain. Surely Bill was on the other side of this.
“Fresh meat!” The men ogled me intently.
“Oh yes, what a treat…” I replied.
“You don’t look that fresh to me.” Another prostitute stepped out from behind the curtain.
“I’m the freshest bitch here tonight!” I snapped back angrily, pouting. I had to be convincing to the men.
“He’ll be happy with you, that’s for sure. He’s been hitting Molly pretty hard tonight. He’d be happy with a stuffed pillow right now.” Perfect. Bill had a drug habit. He would be impaired. MDMA…“Molly”, as it’s called on the street. I had tried it a few times with Scéléra when we lived with Vera and Mal.
It wouldn’t be hard to put him in the mood tonight. Then he would be fucked, just not in the sexual sense. This was hilarious. He’d be murdered by a man in drag during a campaign to criminalize the transgender population, and he would think I was hot shit. It was sort of poetic justice.
“You’re pretty sexy, you know.” One guards hit on me as a loud and unattractive McWalton moan echoed from behind the curtain. He was certainly having a good time. At least he wasn’t screaming ‘yeehaw, pussy!’…“Maybe when boss is finished with ya, you can come home with me. Would you like that, pretty girl?” I couldn’t imagine who would ever think of going home with that blundering guard’s fat-ass.
“Maybe I will,” I answered sensually. Yeah, right. In his dreams. I couldn’t piss them off just yet. I wouldn’t risk being kicked out.
“Hey boss!” The greasy guard called to the man who was having sex behind the curtain. “We got a new one ready for ya!” The noise behind the drapes soon stopped, for McWally was into a bit of variety.
“Hold on just a moment. Let me freshen up.” A pompous raspy voice lazily answered. The woman who had just been entertaining him then appeared in front of me.
She was a few years younger than me, probably nineteen or so. She was good looking and rather thin with olive skin. A black mini-skirt concealed her waist down to her upper thighs and matched the color of her sports bra. Her nearly black hair reached halfway down her back, falling in wavy half-curls as it went. She seemed much older mentally than she was physically. I supposed that went along with the trade. Her pupils were as big as UFOs, so she must have sampled Molly. She’d be feeling like shit in the morning.
“Hey baby,” the guard opposite the one who had been verbally molesting me started. “I bet I can give you something a lot bigger and better than what you got back there.” She didn’t seem to be amused.
“I’m fine, prick. I’m not interested in riding yours, either. You can’t afford me anyway.” She sat down on a bench against the far wall and motioned for me to come and join her.
“Stupid sluts!” They called after us. “I bet my cock would fall off if I brought it near the likes of you anyhow!” They sounded like Pharisees right out of the Bible. Whatever happened to the sexual revolution?
“You look good,” she said as I sat down beside her. “You’re in for a bit of disappointment. When McWally says his dick is ten inches long, he’s multiplying by two.”
“Ha!” I exclaimed loudly…maybe too loudly. The guards turned and eyed us for a while with puzzled expressions. Eventually they turned away.
“I’m Miss Anthropy.”
“Ah, the brightest star in the night sky. I guess it isn’t really a star, but it certainly looks like one from here. That’s good enough for me.” I enjoyed her alias much more than Tulip Two-Lips. I’m fond of the night sky.
“So, Miss Anthropy, why’d you choose this life? The whoring life, I mean.” Oh boy, this question was a treat. I was more than prepared to answer. I thought about it often.
“Well,” I began my tale. “You see, there were these three men: Daddy was the first. He called me a whore every day of my life so that I wouldn’t have sex with boys. It only made me believe I really was one, and whores have sex with tons of people. Basically daddy wasn’t very smart. He only cultivated his fears when he tried to prevent them from happening.
“The second was daddy’s best friend Chris. He called me a whore too, while he snuck into my room in a drunken stupor two or three times a month to rape away my virginity. It wasn’t a happy time. I needed someone else. I need someone to…someone to be with so that my memories of having sex could be with anyone other than nasty disgusting Chris.
“Right on cue, the third man came. Tommy Timms, my first real boyfriend. He almost made me forget about Chris, if only for a while. I was in love; truly, madly in love. He told me that he loved me too and I believed him, until I found him balls deep in my best friend Sandy. They were in my bed…my bed. That was the day my faith in love really died, the nail in the coffin. I started sleeping around so that maybe I could forget Tommy and Chris and Sandy and Daddy. I found out that I liked drugs and I could get them for free. I started taking them as payment for sex, then worked up to making money.
“I hate myself, Venus. I don’t believe that anyone has ever truly loved me. No one I’ve known has seemed to be capable of love. They just fuck you until another body or drug becomes more important, like children without favorite toys. It’s the way of the world, my world at least. There’s no such thing as a promise. So many people promised they’d never leave. It was always a lie. So I might as well just fuck who I want, when I want. It’s what everyone else is doing anyway. C’est la vie.”
“Wow…” Venus looked at me with tears in her eyes. “You and I, Miss Anthropy, we’re of the same soul. It’s almost as if we’re one and the same.”
“Maybe,” I answered. “But not quite. I’m just a strange person with strange ideas. I have more backstories than fact stories. That was just the past that seemed the most fitting. I’m insane, you see. I’m here on a mission and I don’t have much time. Venus, never let them tell you that you’re dirty because of what you’ve done. Stigma is nothing more than a social construct. You’re beautiful as you are. We’re products of society, you and I. In that way we are one.”
“They treat me like I’m trash, but I’m poor and I have to eat. The government won’t help me because of my rich parents who want to see me dead. I’m not the innocent, conservative, protestant little housewife that they so desperately wanted. I feel like a corpse that just hasn’t stopped breathing. That’s all I am.”
She began to softly cry. Surely Molly was bringing out her emotional side. It tends to do that. I put my arm around her quivering shoulders, hoping to possibly be of some consolation. I felt like Moses. It was as if I had found my Israelites here tonight, in these women around me…only the Pharaoh was on the other side of the curtain and capitalism prevented the girls’ escape. There was no god to part the sea for us. Could we do it ourselves?
“Don’t let them destroy you. They only have opinions, dear. Opinions aren’t facts.” By the time I realized that I had reverted to a rather masculine voice, it was already too late.
“What the fuck? You’re a man!” She was as quiet as she could be. It was too late to try to convince her otherwise. My cover had been blown, so I decided to let her know just what sort of man I was.
“Yes, yes, yes, I’m a man in a dress. I’m terrible, aren’t I? Ivan the Terrible, in fact.” My words dripped from my lips and flipped into her ears. She gasped under her breath.
“You shouldn’t be here. Ivan, the man behind that curtain wants you dead. He hired mercenaries to come after you. He’ll destroy you if he finds out you’re this close.” I gave her a reassuring smile.
“Oh, I know all about that. I’ve come to let him know I know. I don’t die easily, but he…you’ll see. He isn’t as resilient as you might think.” She laughed quietly, trying to keep her voice down.
“Poetic justice, don’t you think? He’s campaigning against the trans- people and a cross-dresser is bringing him down,” she said joyfully. Exactly! Although…
“Well cross-dressers and trans- people aren’t exactly the same.”
“Still, it’s perfect.” I agreed, it did seem pretty perfect.
“It’ll be better once that pig is dead. Imagine how many lives this bastard could have improved, and instead he ruined them farther!” She looked at me as if she had finally found someone who understood her in this dark and unforgiving world. Maybe she had. Maybe she understood me too.
“Of course, Ivan. That’s the American way.” I held her head in my hands and pulled her close, bringing our lips together like oiled velvet. Hers were soft, practiced, and tasted like nicotine…and perhaps tycoon jizz. I slid my tongue across hers, feeling a surge of testosterone that I wasn’t sure I had as it pumped throughout my body. I could taste the bitterness of the drugs that she had taken. It was a horrible taste, yet a strangely exciting one at the same time. Chemical ingenuity…
“Yes, Venus, it certainly is. I think you’re quite beautiful.” She blushed nervously. She knew who I was.
“Yeah!” One of the guards yelled. “Get it on, bitches!” We easily ignored them.
“You’ll kill him, then? He deserves it. The only thing sweeter to me than love is revenge.” She was right, but I still wished for a world in which she wasn’t.
“You don’t blame me?” I asked. “You don’t think I’m wrong for what I do?”
“No I don’t. Most people think I’m wrong for what I do, too. You’re a righteous criminal, one who has broken the laws of your society because they deserved to be broken. You may be slandered in the press, but to some of us like me you’re a hero. You fight and fight despite the odds. When you die, you’ll die…free because you didn’t give in. You’re what so many of the rest of us only hope to be. Some hate you for being an outlaw, but a pitied fool is he who finds the phrase ‘a righteous criminal’ to be an oxymoron.”
“Yes,” I answered confidently. “They claim to want to ‘bring me to justice’, but justice is subjective. It is made of opinion and preference. Its definition changes over time. It doesn’t exist. They hunt me down in the name of guesswork and conjecture. I feel more pity for them than hate.”
“As do I.”
“They will soon know that, whoever they are, they are indeed ‘better’ people than I. That is something that is not to be forgotten. There is one thing that I will never be: the ‘bigger’ man.” This sent a shiver running down her spine, a shiver that I could somehow feel chilling mine as well.
“Mhm…if only there were others like you! I’ll help you tonight. I’ll help you get away. You can come along with me.” But the fragile hope in her eyes was soon to fade.
“Venus, come now. You’ve seen the news. The whole fucking country is after me. I don’t have long. It doesn’t matter where we run.”
“We can still run.”
“Just get out of here before they notice. I’ll meet you outside. I’ll be waiting.” Before I could persuade her to leave me to my fate, she stood and walked back to the guards. Surprisingly they let her leave without even trying to fondle her. They were under orders. McWalton would have them killed if they disobeyed. There seemed to be something sort of sexual about the power dynamic that existed there, something homoerotic. It was intriguing. They still gave her a bawdy farewell.
“Come on, baby, you don’t want any of this? You must like being able to walk too much.” It sounded like something out of the mouth of a horny middle school tween.
“Alright.” The voice spoke from behind the curtain. “Send her in.” Showtime. He was ready for me. I was ready for him, just not in the same way.
“Alright, bitch, you’re up,” the fatter of the two portly guards bellowed. I crossed the short distance between me and the curtain and slowly lifted it up. Oh, what a very unpleasant surprise Mr. McWalton had in store for him tonight. Ha-ha. Whoosh! With a flip-flop of the drapes, I made it through to the other side.
There he was. McWalton was in his late forties or early fifties and his blubbery body was seated upon a large opulent loveseat. It was made of the finest velvet that money could buy. He was unfortunately wearing nothing but an unreasonably tight pair of tighty-whities. His short, thin, greying hair was thickly present all over his chest…and his stomach, and his back. I would’ve hated having to endure what dear Venus had just experienced. Poor girl. Poor, poor girl. He was just what I had been expecting: a rich white republican business magnate, the epitome of capitalist society. We were automatic enemies.
“Well, well…aren’t you a pretty little thing.” It was one of the most fatherly pedophilic voices I had ever heard. He patted the empty space beside him with his right hand, indicating for me to sit down. Did he sound like father? Could that be why I interpreted his voice as being pedophilic? Quite possibly.
“I’m glad you think so, Mr. Mcwalton. I’ve heard so much about you. I hope that you’ll find me to be beyond satisfactory. Most do.”
“Well you certainly seem delectable so far, my sweet petite.” I sat down beside him as he held out his hand. In it were ten hundred-dollar bills, my payment for the evening’s services…worth less than a penny to him. I snatched up the money that he offered with a disturbingly twinkly twinkle in his eye.
“But wait, there’s more!” He sounded like a salesman barking at the end of one of his commercials. I already knew what was coming. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a little bag of powder. “MDMA, the powdered form of ecstasy. ‘Molly’, the kiddos call it. Great stuff.”
He wet his finger with the end of his tongue and thrust it into the baggie. Baggie…a little bag…could it be called a bagette? That sounds an awful lot like baguette…or it could just mean ‘little bag’? That’s what it is, after all. I pondered on this until my ADD subsided and allowed me to return to the situation at hand. When he pulled his finger out of the bag-thing it was completely covered with the drug.
“Hold out your tongue.” I felt unnaturally awkward as I did this, but I wasn’t afraid. I don’t consider this drug to be too bad, provided that one doesn’t overdose and get serotonin syndrome. That is quite a nasty thing indeed. I leaned over and very seductively sucked his finger dry. “Good, good! Good girl! Excellent suction. I’m sure I can put that skill to good use. What’s your name, little girl?”
“Miss Anthropy,” I answered him softly.
“Ah, a wicked one. I like that. I’ve been aching for a bitch with a dark side.” A girlish laugh bubbled up and escaped from my lips. He truly had no idea what he had wished for, but he was about to discover just how black this bitch’s dark side really was.
“Do you like pain?”
“Oh! You’re a kinky one, too. Yes…yes! Give me your worst.”
“Don’t worry, Bill. That was already my plan.” I crawled on top of him while he cooed like the mollied-up overly excited grandpa that he was. My hands wrapped around his neck and began to squeeze.
“Oh, yes! Yes, baby! Choke daddy. Choke daddy!” Of course I’d choke him. I’d be more than happy to oblige. I’d be ecstatic, in fact…