Two days later Willie had another electro-convulsive therapy treatment and awoke strapped to a bed in the infirmary. Nearby a tall, large-boned woman attempted to ad
just her makeup in the reflection of a stainless steel paper towel dispenser.
"Well, hello, Sleeping Beauty," the woman looked over her shoulder. "Do you know who I have to blow to get a mirror around here? I don't know how a girl's supposed to fix her makeup." She showed the young man her bruised face. "Does it look alright? I can't see a damn thing."
"I dunno. Okay, I guess. I mean, ya gotta black eye." Willie was unsure what he was doing in sick bay to begin with, and had no idea who the loud lady was, but her resonant baritone made his fuzzy head throb. "What happened?"
"I got slammed in the face with a cafeteria tray by some screaming midget who called me the devil's tool. I'll show her my devil's tool."
"Roberta. That's just her way of sayin' hello."
"Hello and goodbye, girlfriend. Making me waste good foundation. This is a custom blend, you know. I'm Polynesian, Puerto Rican and Polish. Cover Girl don't make a shade for that." Willie nodded in agreement. "Who are you?"
"Shanty Irish bastard, but you can call me Willie."
"That's cute. I'm Jacqueline, your new roommate." The young man stared at her, not sure if he heard correctly. "They say I have to sleep in the little boys' dorm for now because I still have my package. I'm a pre-op transsexual." Willie again nodded but had no idea what that meant. "I hope you don't have a problem with that."
"Good, because I'll need all the friends I can get in this dressing room dungeon."
"Would you take these cuffs off me?"
Jacqueline complied without a second thought as to whether she should or not. They were just buckled wrist straps, much more comfortable than the jacket Willie was forced to wear at night.
"Shame. You look pretty hot tied down to a bed. It's a good thing you're not my type, or I would eat you like a cupcake—oh, don't give me that look; I'm not going to bother you. I have an adorable husband at home who's big and dark and handsome. What about you?"
Willie sat up and pulled his hospital gown into place. "I used to be married, but she dumped me 'cause I went crazy."
"That was rude."
Willie shrugged. "She also shot me four times." He pulled down the gown in front to show the woman his sternum. "Right here. I used to have this badass scar but it got better when I became a vampire."
Jackie smiled. "You're a little nutcase, aren't you?"
"Duh—that's why I'm here. Ain't that why you're here?
"This is all a mistake. I just lost my temper and attacked a salesgirl behind the Clinique counter at Saks. Stupid cow had no fashion sense, no taste, and she had no right being in that position. I should sue the store for aggravating me like that. Anyway, it was here or prison; I didn't think I would do well in prison."
"You're prob'ly right."
"By the way, I hope you don't mind, but I decorated our room while you were gone."
The four walls were covered with posters of David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Judy Garland, the girl from Flashdance and Frank N. Furter.
"I recognize most a' these people. She's from Wizard of Oz, only not the green one. Oh, and I know that movie," Willie stared at the sweet transvestite. "I saw it in Balti—no, Philly—I don't remember."
"Sorry, I took up all the room, but I don't travel anywhere without my girls."
"It's okay, I guess, as long as they don't talk to me or glow in the dark. Wait, I have somethin' too." He reached into his duffle and pulled out a wrinkled crayon drawing of himself as Luke Skywalker. "My brother made this—half brother…" He taped it to the wall and stood back to admire the artwork. "I was gonna buy a poster once, back when I had a bedroom at the Old House, but I guess I forgot. Are we allowed to do this?"
"I have no idea, dearie, and I really don't care about other people's rules. I disco to a different drummer."
"No shit," Willie laughed.
The young man quickly pulled on his sweatpants and changed into a clean T-shirt, but his jaw dropped when he looked around to see Jackie naked in front of her bureau, in search of just the right nightie. He understood the basic concept that his roommate still possessed original parts, that is to say, his masculine equipment, along with secondary female characteristics, but seeing it in person was jarring and surreal.
"What are you staring at, sweet cakes?" The tranny looked up and posed. "Are you admiring my golden globes?"
Jacqueline walked over to brush the boy's hair back with her fingers. Willie looked away and willed himself not to flinch.
"I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but if I can't be myself here, where can I?"
"N-no, it's fine. I'm sorry, I d-didn't know what to—I'm sorry."
"Stop apologizing. Now you're making me self-conscious. Do you like red or blue?" She held up two sets of sleepwear, both of which looked transparent.
"Excellent choice, sir." She remarked, humming "Don we now our gay apparel…" as she dressed for bed.
Willie felt embarrassed for acting like an asshole just then. What was the big deal? He had seen lots of naked men and naked women, just not in the same package.
"My orderly'll be comin' in soon. You should have some fun with him."
Jackie smiled broadly. "Okay, I will."
As usual, the patients started the day with Community Group, led by Nurse Annie. Jacqueline started off the session with a list of her objections to the asylum's regulations.
"I need my hormone pills at a certain time each day, not when it's convenient for you. Now, you hand them back and I'll take them myself."
"You can't keep meds around Psycho Zombie," Angela offered her advice. "He'll eat them all and grow big boobs and yours will go pfffft!" She made a sound of leaking air through her fingers.
"There are no medications in bedrooms under any circumstances, but thank you for sharing," the nurse remarked curtly.
"Next," Tranny Jack continued, "your gorillas took my things, including my light-up makeup mirror. Also, now I can't shave my legs, I don't have pantyhose, jewelry, scarves, belts or my best shoes. Those were the leopard fur open-toe, six-inch red heels with an ankle strap."
"All those things are potential hazards to patients here at Wyndcliff."
"I will hazard the person who damages those babies. They cost $200."
"Anything that was confiscated will be held in safekeeping and returned when you're released. You're only scheduled for a six-week evaluation."
"You better be right. And all of you can stop staring at me like I have two heads, because if anybody looks like a bunch of freaks, it's you bitches. Little Willie is the only one who understands me." She pulled the boy into a big hug, from which he flinched and pulled away, but at the same time smirked because, for once, someone else was being the lead troublemaker.
"I didn't say anything," Moira began to cry. "I was just wondering how you were able to walk in those terribly high heels."
"Fabulously, that's how."
Willie couldn't wait to see what happened in Dr. Ned's session and was not disappointed. Jackie plopped the dummy Sabrina into her lap.
"Ooh, baby, that feels good, says Ms. Doll. That's because she never had a tranny hand up her dress before. I hope I don't have to introduce myself again because I saw all of you sweet treats at the last session, except for Dr. Doolittle. Honey, I can smell your Calvin Klein cologne from here. Take it from me, less is more."
"I am not the topic of discussion, Jack," Dr. Ned responded. "Tell us about yourself."
"So, just for you, doc, my name is Jacqueline. My hunky husband is Mark and we have an adorable bichon frise named Fluffgirl. I grew up in Oklahoma (so I know there is hell on earth) where I collected Barbie dolls and did makeovers for the neighborhood children. Now I work as a pattern sizer for, well, someday for Dolce and Gabbana, and make all my own clothes. My hobbies are buying shoes and shoplifting makeup."
"Are you quite finished?" Ned obviously couldn't wait to sink his teeth into this one.
"I can yap all day if you like, but I thought someone else might like a turn. I want to hear from the Exorcist girl." She twisted the dummy's head 180 degrees. "You look like you murdered your commune and served them for brunch."
"Give me Sabrina before you break her," Dr. Ned snatched his toy away. "We don't pass judgment here and try to keep our criticisms constructive."
"Since when?" Willie piped up.
"I've warned you about speaking out of turn," the therapist growled. "He doesn't need any encouragement from you." Ned returned his attention to the group. "Now, let me update everyone as to Jack's circumstances. Our friend is here because he has a gender identity disorder—"
"I see a qualified gender therapist for that, thank you. I'm here because I slugged a shop girl."
Ned ignored her and continued. "He thinks that if he dresses and acts like a woman, he is one, and takes estrogen supplements to maintain that illusion. He pretends to be married to another man, which we all know is impossible, and parent to a—what? Bison?"
"Bichon Frise. It's a dog, you dimwit." Jackie stood in defiance. "I have a competent psychiatrist at home, I don't—"
"It's no longer your turn to speak. You will take a seat, young man, or you'll be processed."
"Or what? Processed?" She returned to the chair, laughing. "Sounds like a drag queen I knew named Velveeta."
"I'd like to hear input from the other group members. Who would like to begin?"
Roberta spoke up. "If a man has sex with another man as with a woman, they have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense and will not enter the kingdom of God."
"In that case, can I have his shoes?" Angela interjected.
"Over my dead body, bitch," Jackie responded.
"That's enough!" Ned was getting red in the face.
"Ooh! Ooh! Me!" Bug Eyes called out, raising his hand. "I want to know if you've ever been in an alien spaceship."
"Not before now," the tranny replied.
"Then you will be the perfect undercover agent for my next mission." He wrote that on his yellow pad. "Your name will be Cracker Jack."
"Jack with a Stack," Angela suggested. Ned ineffectively stifled a guffaw.
"My turn," Moira announced. "I want to know if you have a picture of your dog. I had a dog once and she…she…" The old lady started to blubber.
"Willie," Dr. Ned targeted the women's roommate. "You must have something to contribute. What's it like to share a bedroom with a sexual perversity? Do you find it repulsive, disturbing, or does it perhaps spark a prurient interest?"
Eyes fell on Willie, who looked around uncomfortable and anxious. "Yeah, since ya mentioned it…something happened I want to talk about."
"What?" Angela and Bug Eyes rang out in unison.
"Well, I, uh—can I hold the doll?" he asked shyly. Willie walked over to Dr. Ned who showed him how to operate the mouth mechanism. "I want to stand over there."
The therapist allowed him to cross the room, whereupon the patient held the doll aloft and began to speak through Sabrina in a high-pitched voice.
"I can't stand you no more, Dr. Ned. You are such a fuck wad, I wanna kill myself. Bye bye!" Willie grabbed the dummy by the legs and smashed it, face first, into the wall.
Bug Eyes and Angela howled with delight. Moira became hysterical and Roberta dropped to her knees in prayer. Jackie covered her mouth to conceal a quiet smile. Ned screamed and flew across the room where he tackled Willie to the floor, climbed on top and began to choke him. Willie swung the doll to crack over Ned's perfectly coiffed hair and Sabrina's head flew off. Jackie stomped towards the two with unladylike strides, pulled the therapist up and tossed him away where he toppled his chair and crashed into the opposite wall.
Panting, Ned reached for his walkie. "I want a medical intervention and ITA for Willie Loomis STAT!" The patient sat up, rubbing his neck with a grin. "And you," he spat at Jackie. "I'll take care of you later."