Mark was a man with a past that seemed sure to catch up with him. But there were people in high places that were looking out for him, even as his life and his job seemed to be taking him in a very odd direction.
I was fresh out of college at twenty-one years old with my master’s degree in hand. I had done it in four years, but should have been there for six years. I had a perfect 4.0 average to boot.
Criminal science had been my study of choice and I had more than a few offers on the table as far as work was concerned.
Several police departments and one very large private firm had offered me a job any time I was ready. The way it looked right now the private firm was the way to go. The money was better and I didn’t have to work my way to the top like I would with the police department.
As it stood right now, I had already helped the local police solve more than one murder case and that had gotten me more than one or two friends on the force. Mike was one of those friends and as we drank a beer at the local watering hole, he chided me about the job with the private firm.
“You realize you will be a token male if you take that job,” he grinned.
“How do you figure that?” I asked.
“The company is owned by two women and they employ mostly women. Maybe even all women so far as anybody knows,” he added.
“And how would you know that?” I asked.
“They had a suit filed against them some time back. Discrimination, if I recall, filed by a man with more experience than you,” he shot back. Then he stood and headed for the bar and another round of beer.
“Well, I know they use women as couriers and they are a multi-national company. But I’m pretty sure the EEOC would have landed on them long ago, if they had no male employees at all,” I added.
“They did,” Mike smiled, “about three years ago. It lasted all of about thirty minutes or so I was told. Seems the investigator had looked at some of the employee files and dropped the case almost as quick as it was filed.”
“Did anyone find out why?” I asked.
“Not really,” he said with a halfway grin. “We figured they had enough men on the payroll to cover their butts.”
It was six in the morning and Mike’s shift was over. He headed home while I headed back to my apartment. I had an appointment with the head lady tomorrow. In the meantime, I wanted to do some checking up on them for myself.
I spent most of the day going over what I knew and searching the net for what I didn’t know. Around noon I called it good and headed off to bed. I was sure to get the nickel tour of the place tomorrow, but for now sleep was the only thing on my mind. Well, that and the case I was working with Mike.
I hit the floor about seven that afternoon and did my daily two mile run. I was in no way the stereotypical male. I was thin as a rail, according to most, but if Mike had his way, I would be sporting a beer gut and way too many pounds.
I’m five foot nine inches tall and weigh around one thirty, maybe one thirty-five if I am eating well. I have dark blue eyes and sandy brown hair. If they weren’t so dated, I could easily wear the same clothes I graduated high school in. I wore a 30x, 33 pant and a size 15 long shirt. When tight pants were in for men, as well as the women, I was often told I had a bubble butt, whatever that means.
I had a steady thing with one of our cheerleaders in high school. She had taken off for some college in Georgia after graduation. She wanted to be a nurse and some college offered her a scholarship. She would lend a whole new meaning to the word Georgia peach, that was for sure.
I continued that trend with a cheerleader here in college. As you might have guessed by now, I had no trouble getting laid if I wanted. And yes, I knew a pretty girl when I saw her. Brandy had graduated the same day I did and headed home for the spring break. She never said so, but I doubted I would see her again.
After a quick shower, I headed for police headquarters. Mike was already there when I came through the door.
“Ready to wrap this up?” He asked.
“What? You got some new lead?” I replied.
“No, but we do have the murder weapon now,” he smiled.
“You had it checked for prints or a ballistic match?” I asked.
“Yes and yes.” He smiled even bigger. “They’re waiting for you in the lab to confirm the report.”
I all but skipped down the stairs to the lab. If the .45 caliber we had was a match, this case was over. That meant I was free to pursue whatever job I chose.
The bullet was a match and the fingerprints belonged to the wife of the dead man. If the wife tested positive for GSR, the case was over. By the way, GSR is gun shot residue.
“So how did we get the gun?” I asked Mike after I confirmed it was the murder weapon.
“Some rock hound was out walking in the desert with a metal detector and found it,” Mike replied.
“Did he tell you where in the desert?” I asked.
“About three miles from the victim’s house and about twenty yards off the main road,” he added.
Mike had already questioned the wife once and she had a good alibi. Still the evidence didn’t lie and when Mike confronted her with it, she broke down.
Paul, our victim, was dating a show girl on the side and had been for quite some time. The wife knew he was up to something, just not what till she caught them together at a local motel.
The girl ran and got away clean. Paul caught a bullet in the chest and died on the scene. The wife had made a run to the store for party favors as she was hosting a hen party of sorts that night. We suspect she ditched the gun on her way back home and all the women at the party said she had been gone less than ten minutes, not nearly enough time to drive to the motel and back. Still, once she confessed, it was over.
It wasn’t even midnight when I told Mike I was done and headed home. I had signed off on all the reports and took my few belongings from the lab.
“It was great working with you,” Mike said, “and keep in touch.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and this case was proof positive of that time honored saying. Tomorrow would be a new day and I was sure a new case for Mike to solve.
In the meantime, I was headed home and straight to bed. I wanted to look sharp for my interview tomorrow with the agency.
The sun seemed almost new to me. I had worked the owl shift with Mike for the last three months and hadn’t seen it much if at all. After my run and fresh shower, I broke out my best suit and tie. I didn’t like wearing it much, but I wouldn’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
I had been told some time back Ms. Franklin broke no argument when it came to her dress code. Near as I could tell, she had the means to back herself on that one or at least she and her other female partner in the business.
I parked my Chevy outside the ten story building and steeled myself for what might be a once in a lifetime chance. Hell, yes, I was nervous. I was about to meet the most influential woman in this town. She had made and broken more careers than I could count. More to the point she had almost sunk Mike’s career. Probably the reason he didn’t care for her or her agency very much.
I had one foot in the door and some thirty feet away the receptionist was calling Ms. Franklin to announce I was here.
“Mr. Singer is here,” she said with a smile.
When I got to the desk, she didn’t even give me the chance to speak. “Tenth floor, last office on the left,” she said, as she pointed at the elevator.
I could play that game. I nodded and pushed the button for the elevator. I could feel the woman staring a hole right through my back, but I wasn’t about to turn and look to see if I was right.
When the elevator stopped, I checked my look one last time in the shiny steel doors. I took a deep breath just as the door opened. Now I was more than surprised.
Ms. Franklin was standing there and greeted me with a smile as soon as the door opened. I was expecting short cropped hair and a power suit suitable for a woman of her position.
I wasn’t even close.
“Mark Singer,” I stuck out my hand.
“Isadora Franklin,” she held out her rather limp wrist.
“You seem a bit shaken, Mr. Singer.”
“Well, I will admit you’re not what I expected,” I smiled, as she led me down the hall.
“While you, on the other hand, you are pretty much exactly what I expected,” she smiled.
“Really?” I questioned.
“Have a seat Mr. Singer,” she smiled, as she closed her office door behind us.
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Care for a drink?” She asked.
“Scotch on the rocks,” I replied, as she paused at the bar to make it.
She handed me the glass and took a seat on the corner of her desk.
“Thank you,” I said, as I took a sip of the drink. She was looking me over hard and I all but dreaded the questions I could see coming.
“That’s probably your best suit and ill tailored for your body,” she stated. “Your hair is neat and clean, but you did forget to shine your shoes. Your watch is way too gaudy, as is the tie. It’s easy to see you went out of your way to try to make a good impression and I suspect you felt you needed to, as we only employ women.”
She paused and slipped into the chair behind her desk. She had pretty well nailed me before I even spoke.
“And what do your eyes and senses tell you?” She asked.
“Your clothes are well tailored and that is a luxury you can well afford. You are not the feminist most think you are. The high split in your skirt, never mind the high heel shoes, are not the trappings of that sort of woman. The wonder bra you’re wearing shows off your bust line well and from the overall figure you possess, I suspect you spend many hours in the gym everyday. Shall I continue?” I paused.
“Well done,” she smiled. “Right on almost every count, but I am a feminist through and through. It’s the only way a woman can get to the top.”
“You hide it well.” I raised my glass in a mock toast.
“I have to, but we can talk about that some other time. I’ll get to the point Mr. Singer. Have you ever dressed as a woman?” She asked.
“You already know the answer to that,” I shot back. “We met last year at the Shakespeare Festival. I was wearing a peasant maid’s outfit. You said, and I quote, ‘The costume was fitting’, did you not?”
“Yes, I recall saying that, but I had no clue that was you.”
“To answer your question, I have no problem with letting others think I am the opposite gender. Likewise, I have no problem dressing that way. It can be rather disarming when people, men that is, think you’re a female.”
“Good answer,” she smiled. “You’re not the chauvinist I was told you are either.”
“Oh, but I am. When we were walking down the hall, I spotted at least three women that could be good prospects for later tonight.”
“I would be careful on that one,” she smiled. “At least half of all my employees are male, but you will have to guess as to which half.” She smiled even bigger.
This wasn’t idle banter now.
“I take it you have some design or plan for me along those lines as well.”
“You did say it wasn’t a problem?” She questioned.
“I did, but we haven’t talked money or any other reasons that I would agree to work in such a…”
“Problematic way.” She finished the thought for me.
“Yes, that would be one way to say it,” I agreed.
“I’ll start you out at 40k a year. You will work strictly in the lab till your training is done. Once you have passed the entire test and there are many, I might add, you will be available for field work.”
“We also loan out our agents here from time to time. They work with other agencies and draw two paychecks instead of one. We even work with the police when we are asked. Last year one of my older agents made over 100k in commissions alone and she never broke a nail.”
“We take our work serious. My agents don’t do favors. We work and we get paid well for doing it. Now, if you would like the tour, Amanda will be glad to show you around. I think you will be impressed with the facilities.”
“Thank you. I would like that very much.”
Amanda moved like a cat in heat and despite the stress I could feel just below my belt buckle, I reminded myself that her real name might just as well be Adam as it was Amanda.
The 8th floor was nothing more than an elaborate spa. Any and every need for the employees could be met here. The 6th floor was a gym and about 6 to 8 aerobics classes going all at the same time. The 4th floor was the lab and it had all the good stuff in it. It made the police lab look like it was something from the fifties or worse.
The first three floors were apartments and everybody in training stayed there, bar none. Amanda said it was mandatory. Even she had stayed on the site for most of a year.
“For training?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied, as we stepped on the elevator and headed back up.
40k was double any offer I had on the table at the time and I had three not counting this one. By far the amenities were better here than any of the others. I wasn’t so sure about the training aspect of it or even what it was. What more did I really need, after all I had my masters degree already. Field experience was the obvious answer, but I don’t think that was what Ms. Franklin had in mind.
I thanked Amanda for the tour when she dropped me off at Ms. Franklin’s door.
“In or out?” She asked, almost as soon as I was in the door.
“I still have a few questions,” I stated.
“You have all the information you will get till you make your decision,” she said almost in a huff.
“I’ll call you,” I said, as I turned towards the door.
“The offer expires at midnight and you already know you have nothing better to go to. Mike is a good friend and fine cop, but he still makes less than 30k a year and he’s been there ten years. He’s going nowhere fast, but you’re welcome to follow him if that is what you want.”
I loosened my tie as I headed down the hall and back to my car. She had read me like a book from the moment I walked in the building. While, on the other hand, she was nothing like what I had expected? Hell, for that matter, I wasn’t even sure she was a she.
I called Mike and asked him to meet me at the bar. I had till midnight to make up my mind and right now he was the best friend I had. I grilled him about anything he could tell me about being a cop. The bottom line was you had to love the job to stay with it and unless you just loved kissing ass, don’t plan on anybody helping you up the ladder. Last, but not least, never trust anyone and especially not another police officer.
Mike didn’t paint such a pretty picture for the police department and I knew it wasn’t a good paying job.
It was 11: 50 when I called Ms. Franklin and took the job. It was a call that had the potential to be the best or worst call I had ever made.
“I’ll take the job,” I said, as soon as she answered the phone.
“I figured you would,” she smiled, as she hung up the phone.
By the time I made it back to my apartment, Amanda was waiting for me.
“Looking for me?” I asked.
“Yes,” she smiled. “Escort me to your car?” She asked.
“Sure.” I took her by the arm and headed back towards the car just in time to see the moving truck pull in.
“Give the driver the key to your apartment,” Amanda smiled.
“Am I moving?” I asked.
“It’s better this way. With spring break going on your college friends will come back to find you gone. The place is rather deserted now so nobody will question it.” She added.
“Where to?” I asked after she fastened her seatbelt.
“The office. We have an apartment already set up for you there,” she grinned.
“I’m starting to feel like I was set up from the start,” I replied.
“Can’t say, I was just told to come and get you about an hour ago,” she added.
“I can tell you you’re getting my old place. It has a really good view. I think you’ll like it.” She smiled again.
It was almost 2:00 a.m. and I was ready for some sleep. As soon as I parked the car, Amanda took me to the second floor and showed me my new home, at least for the time being, she added.
She poured us both a drink and while I took mine it was the last thing I really needed. I took a chair at the kitchen table with her talking a mile a minute about the company. That was the last thing I remember till I awoke in bed some time later.
My bladder was so full I bolted from the bed. I was three steps towards the bathroom before I realized my chest felt different. I paused, but only long enough to realize my best friend was gone as well.
Without hesitation I sat down and the water flowed from my bladder like a river. My chest felt squishy for some reason and I was sure I would know soon enough. When the water stopped, I looked between my legs and mad as hell right then. It looked like I had a vagina now and the beginnings of a pair of breasts. I wiped and headed back to the bedroom.
Ms. Franklin and another woman that I had not seen before were there waiting. “Jennifer, meet Maggie Singer.”
“A/k/a Mark Singer,” I replied, as I stuck out my hand. “And what the hell is this?” I pointed between my legs while I looked Ms. Franklin right in the eye.
“A very expensive and convincing prosthetic. Your manhood is still in tact,” she replied in an almost casual tone.
“And this?” I cupped what would be all but tiny breasts in this house of silicone.
“Basic saline implants. Believe me you’ll need them to fit in around here,” she added.
“You realize this is grounds for a harassment charge. Right!”
“Probably, but you did fill out the application and signed the waiver giving us immunity from such,” she smiled.
“Jennifer will be your trainer for now. As your skills progress, so will your training and you will be tested along the way. Until you’re told otherwise, you and Jennifer are attached at the hip. Got it?” She all but shouted.
“Got it,” I replied.
“She’s all yours.” Ms. Franklin looked at Jennifer. “And do something about the attitude quickly, please.”
Jennifer just smiled as she watched our boss leave in a rather casual manner.
“She’s also known as the wicked witch of the north,” Jennifer smiled at me.
“And?” I questioned.
“Ms. Townsend is the good witch of the south.”
“Do tell,” I shot back. “Hope I don’t have to meet her anytime soon.”
“No, not till you’re more presentable, shall we say. I’m told you usually run two miles every morning,” she smiled.
“Usually, yes,” I replied.
“Good. Then put this on. We have lots of work to do.”
“Pink?” I sputtered, as I looked at the leotard and tights she had laid on the bed.
“Pink tells everyone on sight that you are new. Phase two, you get to wear blue. If you make it past that, phase three is black or red depending on your skill level. After that it’s nothing but green.”
“Since you’re wearing green, I take it you have been here a while.”
“Five years and I love it more everyday,” she smiled.
“Wow, pink running shoes too,” I said with some sarcasm.
As soon as I was dressed we headed for the gym. Jennifer ran every step just the same as I did. When we were done, I was sweating like a pig, while she was dry to the bone.
“The showers are that way,” she pointed to the far end of the gym.
I walked and was still catching my breath when the water from the shower hit me full force. I always enjoyed a good shower after my run, but, as I suspected, this one was cut short.
“Finish up,” Jennifer said. “We still have things to do and the day is getting away from us quick like.”
Jennifer gave me a towel and pointed me towards what looked like a dressing room. From habit I wrapped the towel around my waist. Jennifer just looked at me as if I had done something wrong.
When I stepped through the door, it was as if I had changed floors. I was now looking at a doctor’s exam table and what seemed to be a fully equipped office setup. A young woman, and I guessed her to be a doctor of some kind, stepped in the room.
“Dr. Joyce, this is Maggie. Maggie, Dr. Joyce.”
“Hello,” she smiled. “Not very lady like with that towel around your waist.”
She didn’t even wait for my reply and I doubt she even heard it anyway.
“Have a seat, please,” she motioned towards the bed.
I sat on the edge of the bed a bit uncomfortable with the stirrups turned out and ready for use.
“Sit back and relax. This will take just a few minutes and you can be on your way.”
When I stood to reposition myself on the bed, she quickly took the towel.
“Now, all the way back and put your feet up here.” She smiled, as she placed my right foot in the stirrup and then the left likewise.
“Any problem urinating?” She asked.
“No,” I replied.
“Any aches or pains I should be aware of?” She asked as she poked around my breast.
“None that I am aware of right now,” I stated flatly.
“Good, now close your eyes,” she said.
I was hesitant, but Jennifer said I should do as I was told.
The doctor placed her finger right above my navel and asked if I felt the hard spot the same as she did.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Okay, you’re going to feel a slight pinch so be very still, please.”
It was more than a slight pinch. In fact, it hurt like hell, but it passed quick enough.
“Now, you’re going to feel tightness in your chest. If it turns into pain, you tell me to stop. Okay?” She all but asked.
There was a lot of pressure on the right side of my chest and now it was starting to hurt, but it wasn’t real bad. When I was almost in tears, I said stop. If this was a test, I wanted to pass with flying colors.
“You’re going to feel another pinch. Again, tell me when to stop same as before.”
Now the pain had moved to my left side and I waited till I could stand it not a second more before I said stop.
“Now, I will give you a shot of pain killers. This should keep you pain free till in the morning,” the doctor said.
“Just lay still till that shot kicks in and then you can get up and go. Jennifer will stay here with you, but I have other patients to attend to.”
“Have a good day,” she said cheerfully, as she left the room.
I still had my feet in the stirrups and to say I felt totally silly would be a grand understatement of the fact. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my day had just gone from bad to worse.
Some minutes later, Jennifer asked how I was feeling.
“The pain isn’t quite as sharp now, but it’s there nonetheless,” I replied.
“Well, you stay put. I have to visit the ladies room right quick.”
“I’ll be right here,” I said, as I tried to take a long slow breath.
Jennifer was gone for quite a while and the whole time I laid there with my eyes closed and my feet in the stirrups just as she left me.
“Better now?” She asked.
“Much,” I replied. “The pain is all but gone, but I can feel the weight on my chest still.”
“That will pass,” and I could hear the smile in her voice as she spoke. “If you are ready, we still have things to do today,” she added.
She took my feet from the stirrups and asked me to stand up. I did and then I really felt the weight of my breast.
My hands flew to cover them as soon as I realized what had been done.
“You must have a high tolerance for pain,” Jennifer said. “Those are at least a D cup.”
I all but wanted to laugh and with my body full of pain killers, I felt way too mellow to get mad. I covered myself with the towel again and this time from the breasts down.
Jennifer took me to the next room where I was fitted for a corset, bras and panties, all at the same time. I was measured from my nose to my toes and Jennifer told them which room to send the stuff to.
From there she took me back to my room. I was still wearing the corset and the D cup bra I had been fitted with. It probably should have hurt like hell, but by now I was feeling no pain at all.
It was dark outside when Jennifer put me in the bed, but I had no clue what time it was. In fact, I wasn’t sure what day it was or much of anything else for that matter.
I would like to tell you I awoke early the next morning. Took whatever suitable clothes I could find and got the hell out as quick as I could, but that was not the case.
They let me sleep off and on for most of two weeks. What little I was awake was to eat and that was very little and, of course, to use the bathroom.
By the time I was really awake again, my body was accustomed to the corset and the D cup breasts I now had.
Jennifer cooked me breakfast that morning and gave me the run down on the next phase of my training.
“Your morning run will only be a mile now. Then you will take the intermediate aerobics course since you’re already in fair condition. After that or at least today, it’s off to the salon. You’ll get the works and after that all you will need is a maintenance visit from time to time.”
“Would you like a shower before we get started?” She asked.
“Yes, I believe I would if you don’t mind.”
I stood and she released me from the corset. I got the bra off on my own and it wasn’t the first time I had done it. I will admit to being shocked when I saw my now rather shapely body in the full mirror on the back of the bathroom door.
The pink leotard and tights were waiting on the bed when I got out of the shower. “No bra,” I said as I pulled the tights into place.
“No, you need to get the feel of how they move without one. All real women know this and you will need to know as well.” The pink running shoes were different than before and Jennifer didn’t wait for me to ask the question she saw on my face.
“They’re arched to fit your foot like high heels. By the time you meet Ms. Townsend next week you will walk in heels like you have done it all your life. Trust me,” she said with a wink, as we headed out the door.
Running with unsupported D cup breasts? Well, it might not be lady like to say so, but it hurt like hell. And the aerobics class was no better. But after an hour in the hot tub at the spa I felt much better.
Save the things you already know, the only thing remotely feminine about me from the start was my long hair. It was board straight and fell to about the middle of my back.
Now it was trimmed just to even up the ends and permed into really big curls. My eyebrows were thinned and given a somewhat high arch. While yet another woman applied cosmetics to my face, two others worked their magic on my fingernails and toenails. All in all, by the time I left the salon, there was nothing remotely male about me.
Now each morning started the same. My one mile run and then the aerobics class, which I soon began to hate. The exercises were all designed for women. Add to that when I wasn’t exercising I had to wear the corset and you could see real and definite changes in the shape of my body.
Jennifer was teaching me about makeup and taking care of my hair. Skin care was high on her list today and then we took a break for lunch. The rest of the day we spent reviewing cases that had gone cold.
We would watch the news at ten and go to bed and start the same routine over the next day. A month had passed before I knew it and I was stunned to core the day I opened the closet to find it full of clothes. Granted, they were for a female.
For the next month my aerobics class was changed for a Judo class. It was self defense, more or less, but considering my current condition I decided this was a class I really needed.
I also graduated to walking in real high heels and wearing stockings or pantyhose at times. Underneath I was still fuming mad, but for now all I could do was go along with whatever plan they had. My chance to make a break would come and I would take it no doubt when it did.
I started the third month with a smaller corset and I questioned Jennifer about the design of the waist.
“Your previous corset had a stem styled waist just not as wide as this one. Your last one had a two inch stem and this one is a three inch stem.”
It took her several minutes to get it fully closed in the back and I felt a size difference in my lower ribs.
I didn’t complain. It would have done no good to, but when I went for my checkup, Dr. Joyce did give me some pain killers to take till my body adjusted to the new corset.
After a week in the new corset, my body had adjusted to it and it was just as well as the pain meds were gone now.
How little did I know about all the drugs they were giving me in the food I ate every day. Granted I didn’t eat a lot, but I soon found out it was loaded with drugs, too.
The day had arrived and now Jennifer was taking me to meet Ms. Beverly Townsend. My other boss, if you would, and as I would find out much, much later on a man as well.
Beverly seemed to like me from the start and soon I had the run of the lab at least. Every day now I conducted my life much like any woman on the planet would.
In the lab I processed whatever evidence came my way. I had little contact with people outside of the office or the lab, but I was content to be working for whatever reasons.
I worked the morning shift now and did my classes in the evening. I seldom saw Jennifer any more as I was plenty well trained in the ways of a woman by now. It took me all of an hour now to get ready for work and that included taking a shower.
My hair and makeup was always flawless. My nails, while longer than I really liked them, were always polished. My pierced ears always sported some style of earrings and there were rings on my hands as well. I often wore a bracelet or an anklet depending on how I felt that day. And always wore a small but useful watch.
On the anniversary of my first year with the agency, I was told I could pick and choose my own place to stay now. It was the fist time I had stepped out of the building and into the public eye as a female.
I paused at the door for a quick second and then walked to my car. It was also the first day of a week’s vacation. I wanted to get moved as soon as possible and enjoy some of my time off.
A lot of things had changed for me and it was evident in the way I was treated. Men openly stared at me now. Some would blush, when I caught them, while others would undress me with their eyes. Most of them treated me well.
When I looked in the mirror now, I saw a woman and I was that woman. I wasn’t mad like I had been before. I was happy and maybe all too happy to look and feel the way I did. I wore skirts and dresses all the time and high heel shoes as well. I felt confident as a female and if the truth be told, it was all I could do to even remember the man I once was.
Spring was in full swing now and each day after work I spent at least an hour by the pool in my bikini. It was small and maybe too small for such a public place, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Now as sure as night must follow day, I began to get a few field assignments. I probably should have been more happy to get them too. But then these were known as dumb blond jobs. Pick up a case here, deliver it there, pretty much brainless stuff.
It wasn’t long then till I had a lot of extra money coming in. This was a good thing, as far as I was concerned. I spent a lot of time shopping and now had a pretty full woman’s wardrobe.
At times I questioned myself about buying such stuff, but my training and the drugs were still working and all too good.
Amanda, Jennifer and I were out one night having a nice meal and drinks when we ran into Mike. Yes, Mike, my old friend from the police department. He didn’t recognize me right off, but before the night was over I was sure he knew it was me.
You would think I would have been nervous, but I wasn’t. And I even gave Mike my new phone number and address before we parted that night. I wonder if this was just another test and Amanda and Jennifer would report back as to how I handled myself.
Mike never called or came by, but when one of our girls was gunned down on the strip, I was elected to work with him on the case.
“The rule is simple,” I told Mike. “Even I have done it. You take the bag or case or whatever you are given and deliver it to the person as you are told. You never know what you are carrying and we are never allowed to open the package and look.”
“So this girl had no clue she was carrying most of two million dollars,” he replied.
“Not a chance,” I stated firmly. “Unless the customer told her anyway which is also against the rules.”
“Well, all we have to go on is a slug taken from her body and one eyewitness that says it was a black male about six feet tall, bald and driving a Lincoln town car. He cut the handcuff chain, took the case and then shot her anyway, according to the witness.”
There were no prints on the half of the cuffs he left and the slug was from a .32 Colt, as near as I could tell.
Mike and I hit the streets and rounded up everybody that we even thought might know this guy. One girl told us it sounded like a pimp she knew that ran some girls on the west end of the strip. He was a want to be drug dealer as well. He was known as Carlos, but she wasn’t sure if that was his real name or not.
“Carlos, sounds more like a Hispanic name?” Mike questioned.
“True,” I replied, “but it’s a pretty thin lead to say the least.”
Around ten that night we turned the last of the bunch loose. Mike wasn’t allowed any overtime and it was the end of his shift.
He asked me to have a drink with him before we went home. Since we were working together, I took him up on the offer.
The old me would have recognized the place at a glance, but I was far too deep into being Maggie. Mike took his normal corner booth and the waitress soon showed up with two beers and a basket of chili cheese fries.
The beer was okay, but I passed really quickly on the fries.
“What? You afraid you will lose your figure in one night?” He scoffed.
“No, I’m just not hungry right now. Maybe another time,” I said.
“So what’s your feel for this one?” He asked.
“Well, none of our girls turn tricks so that angle is out.”
“But all of your girls do package delivery and it would seem they’re not so picky about the customer either,” he grinned.
“That’s not part of our job. The agency decided who and when for us, we just deliver the goods.
“Sounds like someone at the top is not above taking chances with her employees,” Mike grinned even bigger.
“Could be and it could be she didn’t know any more than she told the courier,” I replied.
I finished the beer and headed back to my place. I didn’t like the way Mike was talking about the company, but then I couldn’t afford to really ignore what he was saying either.
My front door wasn’t locked and when I pushed the key in, the door swung open. I had locked it before I left today so something was up. As soon as I turned on the lights, I knew my place had been tossed. It was a mess to say the least.
I called Mike and went back to my car to get my field kit. I dusted the place top to bottom for prints. Mine were everywhere, of course, but there were three that weren’t mine for sure.
Mike arrived about an hour later and he was as clueless as I was as to why this had been done. I told him I had three prints that weren’t mine and I would run them the next morning to see if we could get a match.
In the meantime, Mike suggested a safe house that was paid for by the department. Till I had some idea of what was going on, I decided to take him up on the offer.
I reported the break in to my boss and spent the next day in our lab running the prints through every database I could.
Mike had some ideas of his own and without me in toe he checked them out.
Carlos Ramirez, age 23, had left a thumbprint at my place. Also, his brother, Hosea, had left his. The other one belonged to a well known drug dealer named Manny Sosa.
All Hispanic and known to live in the Las Vegas area the lead Mike and I had gotten wasn’t quite so thin now.
I went to the safe house and sat on what I knew for the night. Mike was supposed to come and get me in the morning and we would go from there.
Unlike my place, there was little, if any, food in the place. Granted, I didn’t eat a lot since I still wore a corset almost 24/7, but some food is a good thing. I ordered out and it was delivered just in time for me to eat and watch the news at ten. By the way, there was tons of food at my house and it was all supplied by the agency. A perk I was told at the time. And no, I didn’t tell my boss I was staying in a safe house while the police were watching mine.
Mike picked me up at just after 7 in the morning. We took what evidence we had to the D.A. and got a warrant for Carlos, Hosea, and Manny.
Hosea and Manny said they were just along for the ride. It was Carlos that had broken into the place. He was looking for his money or so he told his boys.
Mike grilled Carlos and he was quick to claim the money. According to him, he had been in a high stakes poker game and won big. 1.85 million to be exact. He wanted his money and didn’t much care how he got it.
Also, according to him, his car had been stolen. And we did find a report to back that up. He also gave us the names of the players in this poker game and the place where it had been. He knew nothing and less than nothing about the girl that had gotten killed save what he had seen on the news.
We sat on all three of them for 72 hours while we checked out the story Carlos gave us. While it wasn’t exactly a legal poker game, Carlos had been there and he did leave the big winner. The money was taken from a local bank the next day and our courier was to take it to Carlos.
Mike and I could have pressed the breaking and entering charges on all three. Nothing was taken and we figured the judge would just turn them loose so we took a different approach to it.
There was most of two million dollars out there floating around and Carlos wanted his money one way or the other. We decided to turn them loose and put a tail on all three.
Mike’s captain suggested that I take Manny. Mike would get Carlos and Eric. Another police officer would take Hosea. He even gave Mike and Eric the okay for all the overtime they needed.
I spent most of the first week following Manny almost around the clock. What little time I was away from him I spent at the safe house alone. That was where I put two and two together and saw the pattern Manny was using to buy and sell his drugs. Granted, that wouldn’t solve Susan’s murder, but it might come in handy later on.
The next day Carlos’s car turned up torched just north of town. There was a case in it like the one Susan would have been carrying. When it was opened, it was empty and Carlos figured his money was gone for good now.
Some of the car wasn’t damaged too badly and I did manage to get some prints. I took the day off or at least as far as Manny was concerned and went to the office to run the prints.
I got several hits and once again put the information away for later. Sometimes the less the hoods think you know the more likely it is that they will screw up.
I was just about to head back to the safe house when I got a call from Beverly. She wanted to see me before I went home, so I headed up to her office.
What started out as a polite conversation soon got hot and heavy. It was going fine till she asked me about the case I was working on. I told her what I knew and where I thought it would all end. That was when she all but warned me not to look too deep, I might not like what I found. Finding Susan’s killer was fine, but anything after that was taboo. I should let the police handle that, she added.
I went back to the safe house feeling a bit confused. I knew the rule, we don’t do favors. So why was Beverly worried that I would bust some other people getting to Susan’s killer? It made no sense to me at the time.
The next day I gave Mike the names to go with the prints on the car. His smile went ear to ear.
“You realize this is almost every big time drug dealer in Vegas.” He shook my hand.
“I do and there is more, but I can’t tell you about it just yet. I have some other things to check on.”
“Okay, but what am I supposed to do?” Mike looked at me funny.
“Start arresting bodies and see if one will confess to killing Susan.” I smiled as I headed out the door.
I had the address of the would be brothel Carlos was running. I went to the court and asked for the land registry. I was pretty sure Carlos didn’t own the place so I was curious as to just who did.
Shock in no way covers what I felt when I saw the registered owner. William Bill Townsend. My first guess was a/k/a Beverly Townsend. So this whole thing could land right in her front door. Now things were starting to make sense.
Next was a records check on Beverly Townsend. They went back for only ten years then stopped. I cross checked all her accounts before I found what I thought was the missing piece of the puzzle. Bill Townsend and Beverly Townsend still had a Visa Gold card with the same account number.
I took Beverly’s reported birthday and ran that with birth records. Bill Townsend was there, but no Beverly. I stepped ahead 16 years and found an old drivers license photo. I searched the renew data base and got the oldest picture of Bill Townsend I could. Beverly’s license had a different number, but the address was the same.
This was not looking good for my boss at all. But then maybe most people knew she was once a he and had just forgotten about it. Still it didn’t explain why he or she, as the case, maybe owned a brothel or why a scumbag like Carlos was running it.
I still had way more questions than I did answers. Back at the safe house that night I felt very light headed. I almost called 911 and took a trip to the hospital, but would for sure blow my cover as a female.
By morning I was better and, in fact, I felt much better than I had in quite some time. While I was comfortable passing myself off as a female now, I searched my brain trying to figure out why I was doing it.
While Mike was working the who’s who list I had given him looking for our killer, I was busy watching Manny and the brothel. I was taking pictures of all the girls so when I made my case to Mike he would believe me.
All the while I was having lucid nightmares and occasionally some pretty wild daydreams. But my memory was coming back and getting clearer by the day. I had what I will call a Mark moment and decided to go by the apartment and grab some food.
Granted, the police lab wasn’t the best place to do it, but there was no one I trusted more than me to test the food. And with my memory getting better almost everyday now, I wasn’t surprised to find out the food was heavily drugged.
There was enough testosterone blockers in it to stop a horse. There were other things in it as well, but none that would be considered a smoking gun, as it were. Mood altering drugs, some herbs, nothing that would harm you in small doses.
Six months had passed now and still we didn’t have Susan’s killer. I had more than enough information to get my old life back and I was making a plan to do just that.
That Friday was payday and Monday I went straight to the local computer store and bought myself a new laptop. At another store just down the road I bought a metal detector as well. Then I called Mike and asked him to meet me at the spot where we found Carlos’s burned car.
Mike didn’t ask a lot of questions, but I was there long before he was.
“So what’s on your mind?” He asked, as he stood by my car.
“How about a scavenger hunt,” I replied, as I showed him the metal detector. They ditched the car here, so why not the murder weapon as well,” I added.
Mike frowned a little. “I kind of doubt they would leave it here, but I guess it won’t hurt to check around a little.”
And so it was that Mike and I started to search the area. Around lunch time Mike had the detector and got a big hit. We had to dig through several feet of blowing sand, but there it was, a .32 caliber automatic.
We beat feet back to the lab and I dusted it for prints. There were two real good ones and I was sure we would have a hit on them soon. I did the ballistics test as well and confirmed it was the murder weapon.
While the computer chewed on the prints, Mike suggested we have some dinner. We had missed lunch completely so I wasn’t hard to convince.
“What if we don’t get a hit?” Mike said, as I chewed on my salad.
“Well, I have another plan that I am sure you won’t like, but I am all but sure it will work and we get the bad guys to do our work for us. If it works,” I added.
I already knew the gun was registered to Hosea, but he could say the gun was in Carlos’s car when it was stolen. I was really hoping for a print match so we could know for sure who pulled the trigger.
Just as we finished up Mike got a call on the radio. We had a hit, but the person on the other end of the radio didn’t sound too happy about it at all.
We went back to the station and Mike followed me down to the lab this time. The prints came back to Hosea, but they had also found a report he filed saying it had been stolen long before Susan was shot.
“Plan B?” Mike asked.
“Yes, but you and I need to have a long talk alone somewhere before we put it in motion,” I smiled. “I’ll call you later. I have something I need to do, make some free time for later tonight,” I added.
There was a lot that Mike did not know about me. In fact, there were very few that did. I had a past and it wasn’t pretty. I would have to come clean with Mike and I was nervous about it to say the least.
I went to my apartment and got the storage key where all my old stuff was at. There was just one thing I wanted and that was my gun. My .44 Magnum was still in the case right where I had left it with two clips fully loaded.
I placed it in the leg holster I had bought earlier in the day. It was big and bulky, but I hid it well under my skirt. That wasn’t all that was hidden there and Mike would know that too after tonight.
Back at the safe house I used my new computer to make some travel plans. Ted, a friend of mine in college, was back in Mexico. His mom and dad were both doctors. I had met them some time back and they were good people. I needed a place to land and some medical help as well when all this blew up.
I called the airport where dad’s old plan was and had it checked out and prepared for a flight to Mexico. I gave my flight plans over the computer and got them approved for that Friday. Yes, I was making plans to run, but only for a while till I could be Mark again and clean up some loose ends…I hoped.
I called Mike and he came over at about eight that night.
“So what’s the big secret?” He asked, as he took the seat I offered.
“Do you remember working last year with Mark Singer?” I dropped the bomb.
“Sure, he’s a good man and smart to boot,” Mike added.
“Well, I am Mark Singer and still a man.”
“No way!” He shot back.
“Yes way and it gets worse,” I paused.
“Prove it,” he said, as he stood and got a beer form the sack on the table.
I slipped out the .44 Magnum my dad had bought me long ago. It had gold inlay and my name in gold on grips right and left. I took the clips from my purse and laid them on the table as well.
“I told you long ago I would never part with it.” I looked him right in the eyes as he looked over the gun.
“So there is more to this case than just finding Susan’s killer?” He all but asked.
“Way more,” I said. “And I will give you that bust that will make you the captain or maybe even the chief if you want the position.”
“And how will you do that?” He asked.
“I will be the bait, as it were.”
“No way,” Mike stated before I even had the chance to.
“You want to put Carlos and his boys away forever?” I asked.
“You know I do, but I won’t sacrifice your life to do it,” he added.
“Well, my life as Maggie is over now anyway. I am leaving Friday. I am going to Mexico to stay with some friends till I can be Mark again. Then I have plans of my own for the agency. That is if you don’t bring them down in the meantime.”
“Have you lost your mind?” He asked.
“No, but I have almost lost my manhood, thanks to them, and I want it back.”
“Meet me tomorrow, room 202, in the hotel across from the brothel where Carlos runs his girls. I’ll show you first hand how he is moving his drugs right under your nose.”
“Okay, but I don’t like this any a bit,” he said, as he headed out the door.
Tuesday we sat and watched the brothel. I pointed out how some of the women walked in with small to very small breasts and walked out with large and very large ones. Some even came out with hips they didn’t have before.
“So what does that prove,” Mike said with some disgust.
“Pot, cocaine and what are the three main street drugs?” I asked.
“Heroin,” Mike said.
And that is a liquid, a liquid that could be easily placed in breasts and hip implants and transported all over the world. Once inside the body the dogs can’t smell it and nobody is going to do surgery at the airport now, are they?”
“And when did you figure this all out?” He asked.
“About a week after I started following Carlos around. My bet is the poker game was also a drug deal.”
“And Carlos was trying to cut Manny out of the deal,” Mike added.
“Yes, that is what I think, too.”
“So you plan to rat Carlos out to Manny? Then what?” He asked.
“Well, if we can get the department to front us the money, we make a buy and take down the whole operation. What do you think?” I added.
“Might work, but it might get you dead too,” he frowned.
“I figure if I can promise Manny the two million Carlos tried to cheat him out of, he will make a deal.”
“And what happens to the money if this thing goes bad?” He asked.
“Winner takes all,” I replied. “That’s the only way it will work.”
Tuesday I went to Manny and spilled my guts, as it were. I told him I knew how he was moving his drugs, when, where and so on. I also told him about the double cross by Carlos. He wasn’t surprised, but he was plenty mad.
“So what is it you want from me?” He spat. “You’re not a cop or you would have arrested me already.”
“We make a deal. You deliver Susan’s killer to me and I get the two million for you, simple as that.”
“And then we just all walk away,” he smiled, as if he didn’t believe me.
“I don’t care about your drugs or the girls. Susan was a friend and I do want her killer. You can make the deal with me or I can tell the cops what I know. I doubt they will make such a deal, but you’re welcome to try it.”
“You seem pretty sure of yourself for such a pretty little chick,” he smiled.
I blushed I know. Even after all this time I wasn’t accustomed to being told I was pretty or a chick.
I laid out all the pictures I had and it was plain as day to see what was going on. “I don’t think the cops will question me with this much evidence,” I added.
“Okay,” he smiled.
I gave him a cell phone number to a burn phone I had and told him to call when he was ready to deal.
In the meantime, Mike picked up three of his girls at the airport and took them to a local clinic. The doctors were stunned to the core when they found heroin in the implants.
The girls were taken straight to jail and sang like a bird against Carlos.
I reminded Mike that that didn’t get us Susan’s killer. It just got one more drug dealer off the streets.
“Did Manny take the deal?” He asked.
“Well, I am still alive, aren’t I?” I replied.
It took till Thursday for the police to come up with the money for the deal, so now we waited for Manny to call.
Friday around noon he did call and asked for a meeting place. I gave him a location just three miles from the airport where my plane sat waiting for me. Mike rounded up five men he trusted well enough to be in on this and we took off.
It was an old airplane hangar with plenty of room to hide the police cars and men till the deal went down. We got there long before the time of the meeting and I sat in what was the front office till Manny showed up.
Manny came in the front door with a pistol held firmly in the back of Hosea. With one big push Manny left him lying on the floor.
“Now, you tell her the truth or you will never leave this place.” He spat.
“I shot her. I shot the girl with the money,” Hosea all but screamed.
Mike heard him and busted in the door saying it was the police and drop your weapons.
Manny leveled his pistol at me, but I got the first shot and hit him square in the chest. At almost the same time Carlos and three other men came in the door with guns blazing. I grabbed the money and did a quick jump out the window and tumbled just inches from my car.
Mike and his boys had the upper hand now so I left with money in hand, but not before I threw the empty case in Carlos’s car. There was a man behind the wheel and he took off as soon as he had the case. Little did he know it was empty.
I went to the airport and was gone before Mike and the rest of the cops even knew it.
Saturday morning I landed in Mexico and checked my bags with no problems. And no, I didn’t have the money with me. It was safe in the bank I used in Las Vegas under my real name.
According to the newspaper account of what happened that day, Mike and his team busted the men making a drug deal. The driver of the getaway car was arrested the next day and the case, which should have had two million dollars in it, was empty. They assumed he stashed the money and would ask for a plea deal.
About two weeks later Mike also arrested Beverly Townsend as an accessory to the crimes as she owned the house they were working out of. At her trial she got off with a slap on the wrist since she had the house farmed out to a leasing company and supposedly had no idea about what was going on in it.
The publicity was enough to sink the agency and it went under less than six months later. Ms. Franklin joined the other private firm that had offered me a job and took most of her clients with her.
It took a year and a lot of TLC from Rose and Kenny to get me back looking anything like a man. Rose and Kenny are Ted’s mom and dad.
Just so you know how bad it was, the prosthetic vagina had been in place for 18 months or more, far longer than it was intended to be used. My pubic hair had actually grown back in through the air holes that let it breathe as such.
It took Rose three hours on the operating table to get it off of me and that was just the beginning. Because of my depleted or blocked male hormones, even after the implants were drained I still had slight breasts.
My balls were now about the size of small peanuts and my penis, when I could find it, was about the size of my thumb.
It took me well over a year to lose my female mannerisms and other things I had grown so used to doing. My hair was soon straight again, but I left it long like before. About the only thing I couldn’t undo was the hair removal process I had been through. According to Rose, in time I would get some of it back, but it would never be as thick as before.
It was time to go back now and there were still a few scores to settle if I could.
Oh, there was another thing I couldn’t undo. My figure still looked very feminine. My ribs had now shaped to the corset I had worn all that time, so I still had a very small waist. Rose didn’t offer much hope of that going away either, unless I packed on a lot of weight.
The day I left coming back to Vegas I told Rose, you just never know. Having a female figure might come in handy one day. We both laughed at the idea, but then it wasn’t so far fetched either.
Back in Vegas, I contacted Mike and started my career over again with the other agency where Ms. Franklin was now.
Mike said I was a fool for going anywhere near the woman. The evidence of what she had done was still all too easy to see.
“I will settle that account on my own terms,” I told Mike, “and with Jennifer and Dr. Joyce as well, when the time comes.”
“You can cross Jennifer off your list, my friend,” Mike sputtered.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, she was killed in a car wreck with Beverly Townsend the day after her probation was up.”
“Well, I suspect Dr. Joyce is still around,” I smiled.
“Yes, she is. She landed some big grant and started a clinic down off McCarran Blvd.”
“Any idea what the grant was for?” I asked.
“Same as before,” Mike shrugged his shoulders. “Making men into women one way or another,” he grinned.
To be continued.
Mike/Maggie is back and ready to settle the score. He needs information and lots of it and the beginning of his plan to get it is revealed. Still all is not what it seems to be, even the girl that has entered his life. And for the moment there is love and happiness in life.
I had been back in Vegas most of a year now and things for the most part were going good. I had worked a few cases at the new agency, but nothing so far that I would call exciting.
In my spare time, and I had plenty of that, I had looked into the accident that had killed Beverly and Jennifer. The police had ruled it a solo accident, but a blind man could see that was not the case.
Her car was damaged both front and back. At the scene it rested in a ditch nose first and the skid marks went way too far for the speed the car was traveling. It took me all of five minutes to see from the pictures that they were clearly forced off the road on purpose.
I was still friends with Mike and when I pointed this out over dinner one night, he said, “I should let a sleeping dog lay.”
It wasn’t like Mike to let anybody have a pass on murder. While I was still a bit worried that my past might catch up to me at any moment, I let it pass.
After the sting went down everybody that lived turned state’s evidence and Mike, along with the other guys at the sting, had brought a lot of drug dealers to justice. Manny was one of the few that escaped the net and had sworn to revenge himself on Mike and I.
It was Captain Mike Chambers now since the sting also got him a promotion. He was working on the gang task force now, as they seemed to be a bigger problem than just the drug lords.
I looked into the affairs of Dr Joyce as well. She had almost turned me into a girl some two years ago. I had a score to settle with her, as well as Ms. Franklin.
Dr. Joyce had somehow landed a big time grant to do Gender Diaspora work. That was right up her all alley, as best I knew. But then I wondered if the people that gave her the grant knew what I did.
I had already done a background check on Ms. Franklin and followed that trail to a very large dead end. Isadora Franklin did not exist before the agency she and Beverly created did. The more I looked the less I liked what I found.
There was more and maybe a lot more and I looked as much as I could between the jobs the new agency gave.
I lived a very low key life. I had a one room studio apartment and drove a secondhand car I bought off a buddy of mine from college. When he moved home, he no longer needed it so I bought it.
I was eyeballs deep in a divorce case when some papers I had filed for came through. I had used the Freedom of Information Act to get some other information on Isadora Franklin.
While the Armed Forces wasn’t happy to give out information to anybody, they seemed more than happy to help me. Isadora Franklin was born Ivan Franklin and had served in Vietnam. He had received a purple heart and a medal of valor citation after he had been wounded and was soon after discharged. There was about three years between his discharge and the starting of the agency that were still unaccounted for.
After far too many nights of sleeping in my car, I finally got the pictures of my client’s wife cheating on him and soon after he got the uncontested divorce he wanted.
With some help from Mike I got even more information on Ivan. He pulled the application for her or his P.I. license. She was listed as being female and when I saw the doctor of record I wasn’t surprised to find Dr. Joyce listed.
I felt a little like I was chasing a ping pong ball as I was now back to checking on Dr. Joyce. She had been in the military as well and deployed the same time as Ivan. She had a medical degree and the stuff that went with it, but I guessed that it was via Uncle Sam that she got it. There was no big college listed for her degree, that happens sometimes when you attend on the G.I. bill.
I went back to Mike as well and got a Known Associates list for Isadora. I checked the names against the men she had served with. Two names all but jumped off the page at me.
One was William David Post. He was my current boss and had been second in command of Isadora’s group. The other was James Michael Baker our new and very flamboyant D.A. The man was more than smart, but I was sure he never read the book on how to win friends and influence people. He had all the personality of a baseball bat.
It made sense to me now that David had allowed Isadora to be partner in the business till she could get back on her feet. She had gotten her own offices about a month ago and moved out without much fan fair. She still listed her business as a courier business. Add to that her connection with the D.A. and it also made sense that Mike wanted me to leave this case alone.
I was between cases with the agency when I decided it was time to lay what I knew on the table to Mike. I wanted to see his reaction or lack of, that would tell me a lot.
I found Mike at Steve’s Place, a small bar and grill that the cops hung out in a lot. He didn’t look happy to see me, but he was sitting alone and offered me a seat nonetheless.
“You look a little beat,” I said, as I took the seat.“Well you take my job for a while and see how you feel after a week or two,” he smiled.
“No thanks, my friend. I got all I can do just doing my own,” I added.
“If you came to ask me for more information, I can’t help you. The D.A. found out I pulled Isadora’s application and he was none to happy,” Mike added.
“Well, considering her and Mr. Baker, along with my boss David, all served together, that doesn’t surprise me.”
“Since when?” Mike shot back.
“Vietnam,” I replied.
“Oh really,” he grinned.
“Yes, really,” I replied, as I placed the papers on the table. “You didn’t know?” I asked.
“No, I doubt many other people do either,” he said looking over the papers.
“You think this is why they swept the accident under the rug?” He asked.
“It would make sense if they were covering up something, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I do,” Mike said with fire in his eyes.
“Is there something more you would like to tell me now?” I asked.
“Yes, but it will have to wait till I make an arrest tomorrow,” he replied.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“I busted a punk kid last week with a boat load of military stuff in the trunk of his car. The M.P. landed on us about three seconds later and took everything,” Mike added.
“What you’re saying is Baker let them take evidence he could have used to convict them with?” I replied.
“Yes,” Mike said as the waitress came by.
She stopped and Mike paid his tab and then left. He had something on his mind cause he didn’t even say goodbye. I felt sure he knew something he wasn’t telling me. The question was, was he protecting them or me?
The next morning, David called me and asked me to come into the office. He had a case for me if I wanted it. I hadn’t worked in almost a month now so he was all but sure I did.
I was a little surprised when I got there and found D.A. Baker and David laughing it up in his office. David saw me through the glass front on the office and invited me in.
“I take it you know D.A. Baker,” David said, as he offered me a seat.
“Yes, we haven’t really met, but I do know him,” I replied.
“We served in Vietnam together,” David said.
I tried to look surprised, but I doubt they believed me for a second. “You said you have a case for me.” I tried to turn the conversation to business.
“Yes,” D.A. Baker spoke up. “I asked David to loan you to us for a while to work on this. I don’t have manpower or the overtime in my budget to get it done any other way,” he added.
“I’ll do my best,” I replied, then paused.
“What this case will come down to is insurance fraud. Cars with minor fender benders are being totaled, taken out of state, repaired and then sold back to the original owner for pennies on the dollar. Since we know what they are doing, all we need to know is the Who, and How.”
“One or more than one insurance company?” I asked
“Pretty much across the board, as far as we can tell. We think the same repair shop is doing all the work and is gaining access somehow to whoever the original owner was. They repair the car, change the VIN number and sell them the car back,” he paused to catch his breath.
“If the repair shop is buying them as salvage and doing the repairs, there is nothing illegal about that so long as they apply for or get a new title. If anything, it’s fraud on the repair shops end of the deal.” I smiled.
“Well, there is more to the story,” D.A. Baker continued. I have 25 cases where the owner was about to have his or her car repossessed, suddenly they have an accident and the car gets totaled. They have insurance, of course, and they pay off the car. A few weeks later after the payoff the owner gets the same car back and some we are told for the price of salvage and repair, which is almost nothing,” he added.
“Sounds like someone has figured out a way to beat the system, unless you think the accidents are staged.” I replied.
“That is exactly what we think is happening and we know that two of the returned cars were actually stolen from the L.A. area,” D.A. Baker smiled.
“Did you impound those two cars?” I asked.
“No,” he replied. “We’re having the owners and the cars watched to see if we can find any of the other players, but that is about all the manpower I can give this case.
“So the bottom line looks like this,” I stated. “You want me to find out if the accidents were staged and by who. Then you also want me to find out how they are moving or changing cars, possibly even for stolen ones. Is that what you’re asking me to do?”
“We’ll be happy just to find out who all the players are for now,” D.A. Baker huffed.
“All expenses paid?” I looked at David as I spoke.
“Yes,” was his one word reply.
“And if I find any stolen cars, who gets the finder’s fee?? I asked.
“Same split as always,” Dave smiled as I got up to leave.
I figured this would take all of a week to do. Even you can tell me who stages more car wrecks than anybody. If you answered, Hollywood, give yourself an A+.
At home I packed one bag and headed three hours south to L.A. My guess was that some stunt man had recently quit or gotten fired, moved to the Las Vegas area and was still practicing his craft, only in the real world now.
He would probably also be working with some finance geek that could give him the info on people who were about to lose their cars to the repo man. The geek might or might not know which insurance company they were using, but it was a good bet they all used the same finance company. And no, I didn’t ask Baker if he had checked that angle. I needed the work and the money.
By lunch time I was parked at Warner Brothers and looking for a friend in the special effects department. Darrel could steer me in the right direction to find the stunt people since he worked with them all the time. His face lit up as soon as I stepped into his office.
“Where the hell you been man?” He asked. I trolled Vegas for most of two weeks looking for you after spring break.” He finally paused so I could answer.
“I went to work for a private company, kind of dropped out of sight for a while.”
“Well, from the looks of you they must have been starving you on a regular basis,” he added.
Baggy cloths or not my still very female figure showed and all to well. “In a way for a while they did, but that’s past now. I’m with a new firm and things are looking up,” I replied.
“So what brings you to L.A.? Some chick I would guess?” He said with a smile.
“Not this time,” I replied. “This trip is all business.” I added.
“Anything I can help you with?” He asked.
“Well, I was hoping you could steer me in the right direction at least.” I smiled, as he took his seat again. “I need to know where and how I can find out about stunt men??
“Ouch”. That’s a sore subject around here of late.” He all but frowned.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, stunt people, as they insist on being called, have their own union of sorts. It’s not a tight knit group and lately they have cost some of the studios big bucks by walking off the set for more money. A few have even quit and went independent, as it were.”
“Think you might could get me a short list on some of the better than average ones that have left?” I asked.
“Sherry, will you bring me the list?” He said over the speakerphone.
It took her only a few seconds to bring it in and Darrel told me most studios had a blacklist. It was basically people they wouldn’t use and people that were no longer available if they did use them. It was a start and after some small talk I left so he could get back to work.
I stopped at a bank nearby and bought a roll of quarters. Then I went looking for a phone booth, preferably one of the new ones that was close to the ground and open in front so I could sit in my car and make calls. Four of the top ten had already moved and three of them were known to be in Las Vegas. It still cost me ten quarters to find that out.
Cell phones were just starting to be a big business item and the prices for service were coming down on a regular basis. I had invested a few bucks in one of the larger companies and I was already getting a return on my money. I would have to check into getting myself one I thought as I headed back to Vegas.
It was late by the time I got back to my place and I just turned in for the night. Tomorrow I would check and see if these guys were actually in town and if so, were they working again. If you need the money bad enough, people will do almost anything for it. That was true no matter what the economy was doing at the time.
I hit the floor around 9:00 the next morning and did my run like always. I got a shower afterwards and headed for the office and a high speed connection to the web. That was the fastest way I knew to find addresses for these guys and see who was who. Two were in north Vegas and one was downtown. The other one had actually gone on to Reno. Well, God bless him, easier to find three people than four.
The first two were half brothers and stayed in the same apartment building. They had taken jobs with a local construction company and were working on what would be a new Nascar race track in a few years.
The man who was downtown? Well, that was another story, altogether. When I found him, he was three days drunk and holding down a piece of sidewalk on what we called skid row. Not the right man for the job or at least not now. He looked like a real bum and since this scam was bringing in big bucks, I took him off the list.
It would be a long drive to Reno, but I could see that trip coming and sooner than I wanted it to.
Since I was already downtown, I went by the station and checked in with Mike. I told him I was working a case for the D.A. and asked for a little help.
“It will have to be very little,” he replied.
I gave him the case numbers I had and asked to look at the police files. I didn’t tell him what I was looking for. The police don’t like it much when you make them look bad, even if they did ask for your help.
I spent the rest of the day going over the files. The same finance company showed up on half of the cases. The other two companies were spin-offs of the first, so they had taken a pretty good hit in a way. The insurance companies always bargain down the payoff on a wrecked auto.
Tomorrow I was gong to Reno and after that I would check out the finance companies and see if there was more than what I saw on paper to this.
I was headed to Reno before the sun came up the next morning. I knew this would be an overnight thing so I had packed my one suitcase again. I figured if I found this guy right off and got the scoop on what he was doing, I could easily be headed back home early tomorrow. When I made my second stop for gas, I called the agency and had them run a credit check on the finance company. I also wanted the names of the local people running it.
A very young girl answered the door when I knocked at our last stunt man’s house. Her mom was home with her and talking to her told me all I needed to know. He was working for the Reno version of the Circus Circus Casino and doing very well. He had a wife and daughter to feed, so he got crossed off the list as well.
Reno was my home town. To say I wasn’t wanted here would hardly cover it. My dad had been the chapter president of an outlaw biker gang. Mom, in a way, was just as bad and had the tattoo’s to go with it. She realized early on that I would never be like my dad and did her best to raise me right. The ATF finally infiltrated the gang and then busted them. My dad was killed by one of the other members. They thought he was a rat or an agent but that was not the case. Mom lived in Florida now under her maiden name, but wanted nothing to do with me.
Just so you know. No, Mike had no clue that I had taken the money the night of the sting. And yes, the police were still looking for it. They believed that Carlos’s goon had stashed it somewhere. And yes, all the female clothes and other stuff from my apartment before were safely tucked away in a storage building. They would come in handy if ever needed and a good disguise again. Last but not least, my natural breasts would easily fill a small B cup.
I didn’t sleep well that night. When I awoke for the third time around 4:00 in the morning, I just got up and headed back to Vegas. It was almost lunch time when I got there, so I stopped by the agency to see what they had found out for me.
Daniel York was the local man in charge and according to the financial statement the company was doing okay. I did some asking around before I went home about Daniel. He was single as far as anyone knew and had a thing for the girls in the chorus line. Seems he could be found most nights at one of the many casinos watching the girls dance.
If he wanted a skin show, there were lots of other and cheaper places around to get it. But then if he passed himself off as a refined business man, the casinos were much easier on the reputation. I was told he never left his office before 5:00 in the evening and was said to be a hard core business man.
Thursday was my day off since I worked a lot on Saturday. I was playing a long shot but I would follow this man around Friday and Saturday and see what he did and where he went.
Thursday morning I went to a local clothing store and bought a leotard and tights. I got a pair of ladies tennis shoes while I was there as well. My next stop was a local video store where I bought an aerobic work out tape. The tape said it was for the intermediate level, so I figured that would work.
Back at home I did my run and then took a shower. I still didn’t have a lot of body hair, so without shaving I slipped on the leotard and tights. My small waist made my breasts seem bigger than they were, but when I looked in the mirror I still saw the body of a woman. Not a very pretty one right now, but I could still pull it off if I needed to.
As I did the aerobic workout, I went over everything I knew in my head. It seemed to me that the car owners had to be part and party to the plan for it to work. So far nobody had been hurt, but this was a dangerous game and that could change at any time.
After my workout, I lounged around the house still wearing the leotard and tights. The spandex was comfortable enough, even if the image in the mirror wasn’t. The new city map of Las Vegas was out now and I spent a good deal of time learning all the new streets. It was just something I did to exercise my brain. Every year I memorized the new city map. You would be surprised how many people have a hard time getting around even in their home town, just because they don’t know the streets.
Around 4:00 in the afternoon Friday, I parked across the street in front of the building where the finance company was. There was a glass front café there so I went in and waited for Daniel to decide it was quitting time. Around 5:15 he came out and got in his car, then headed for the strip.
I followed him, but kept my distance. I knew the streets well so I wasn’t worried about getting lost or loosing him. I wasn’t surprised in the least when he parked in the lot at Cesar Palace. They had a pretty good chorus line that preformed between the headline shows.
When I followed him in, I had no clue we would be there till almost 3:00 a.m. That’s when I saw him meet a girl in the main lobby. She was one of the girls from the chorus line that was for sure. I had to follow them now as this might be the break I was looking for.
They went straight to the Red Garter Casino and it wasn’t rocket science to know why. The girl was thin as a rail and they had a 24 hour buffet there. I was rather hungry myself, so with a few people between us I followed them through the line and got some food.
I watched them take a cozy corner booth and lucky for me the booth behind them was open. At this time of the morning the place was rather quiet for a casino. I was able to hear him call her by name. Melody was what he said if I heard him right.
It didn’t take long for the polite conversation to become a heated argument. I couldn’t hear Daniel all that well. But I could hear Melody loud and clear.
“I helped you and your chop shop buddies make a lot of money. I want out, Daniel, plain and simple,” she added.
Not to be outdone, Daniel raised his voice a bit.
“You can quit when I say you can. As for the money… you have been doing alright. You couldn’t afford the rent on that town house without me. Never mind the habit you have of powdering your nose,” he added.
“Fuck you,” she said as she got up and headed for the door.
Daniel got up right behind her and followed her as far as the cashier’s cage. I was right behind them both. She was standing on the sidewalk trying to hail a cab when Daniel walked out.
“Come on,” he said, trying to sound sweet when he did. “I’ll take you home.”
She resisted at first then decided it was better than paying for a taxi. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And tonight I had hit the lucky button at least twice. Not only did I know the players now, Melody’s townhouse was right across the street from my place. The rent there was $750 a month. I know because I had asked about them before I took my place. She could afford that on what she should make as a dancer. But if she had a drug problem and it sounded as if she did, that was a chunk of change to plunk down every month.
From her slightly open living room window I watched her do a line of cocaine. Powdering her nose, as Daniel had called it. Daniel never went in and didn’t stay after she had the door open and stepped in.
Tomorrow I would devise a plan to free her from this idiot if I could and then I would bust his butt, plain and simple. I had no tolerance for men who treated women badly and I had my own good reasons as to why.
The next morning I talked to her landlord. Melody Jane Scott was the name on her lease. I used an agency contact at Caesar’s to find out she had been working there for almost a year now. She was an R.N. and had worked in L.A. for several years as one. The clinic where she worked closed down about a year ago and she moved here. A secondary plan was forming in my head now. I might could kill two birds with one stone if I did this right.
I won’t lie and tell you everything about being a girl was all bad. I did have some perks, but I was much happier as a man. The fact that I was about to become a member of the fairer sex again weighed heavy on my mind. It wasn’t something I really wanted to do.
I went to the storage building that day and rounded up enough clothes to last for a week or two. I wanted it to seem I was down on my luck and new in town if my plan worked at all. I still had my female ID and it was real so that wasn’t a problem.
I called David and told him I needed some help to go undercover at Caesars. I would be applying as a makeup artist, I told him.
He said he would take care of it and that I should keep him informed. I told him I would and dropped it there.
Daniel spent all day Saturday with Melody and most of the day Sunday. I was busy cleaning up the body hair and other things that would be sure to give me away as a man. By Monday it all seemed very natural to me again and despite that I was still nervous as a cat.
It took a few days to get my job app pushed through, but Thursday I got the call and had the job. This would get me close to Melody and allow me to help her get away from Daniel and not go to jail. She would sooner or later know I was a man, but I would deal with that when I got to it.
Melody noticed me as the new girl my first night, as I did her makeup. I gave my sob story, new in town, down on my luck, staying at one of the cheap motels. You can figure it out from there. I won her trust easily and when quitting time came that night, she invited me home to stay with her, but just till I got back on my feet.
She was using the upstairs bed and bath so I got the one downstairs. It was smaller, but I had very few things so it worked out well. I made myself scarce when Daniel came over that weekend and told them I was going looking for a place of my own to stay.
All I really did was drive across the street and park in the back of my building. When I unpacked at her place, I put several bugs around the place. From across the street at my house I could hear every word that was said. Probably wouldn’t help in the trust department with Melody later on, but I wanted to keep her out of jail if I could.
I listened as Daniel told her how she would be involved in an accident Monday or Tuesday, he wasn’t sure at the time. Her car would be totaled, so she would have to ride with me for a while to get to work and back. He promised her she would get a new car in a few weeks just like before.
“You do realize it’s stolen,” he added.
That sparked yet another argument and it was bad enough this time that he left. I arrived just a few minutes after he was gone and found her crying on my bed.
“What happened?” I asked, trying to sound as if I had no clue. In her emotional state, I knew all I had to do was let her cry on my shoulder and it would all come out on its own. She spent the next three hours pouring her heart out to me and I couldn’t help but to feel sorry for her.
She told me all she knew about the operation and how it worked. She was a nurse and had hoped to find a job in that field here, but when money got tight she took the first job that came along.
As we sat at the kitchen table, I asked her if she was an R.N.
“Yes,” she replied. “What makes you ask?”
I was looking at the paper and I showed her the help wanted ad that Dr. Joyce had been running for weeks now. “It says you have to be an R.N., but it might not be right for you,” I added.
“It’s a clinic,” she lamented, “and those seem to close on you just about the time you’re getting settled in. I’m not so sure I want to work at another clinic,” she added.
“I’m sure it pays better than dancing at the casino,” I replied.
“True,” she smiled, “but you have to pass a drug screen and I have been doing a little coke now and then of late.”
“So push it aside for a couple of weeks and then go apply. I bet she will hire you on the spot,” I tried to reassure her.
“Let me sleep on it,” she smiled.
The sooner I could get her to take the job the sooner I could bust this deal wide open. I would have to bargain with the D.A. to keep her out of jail, but busting the white collar guys always got him good press. He was a glory hound and I would have to play on that when the time came. Also, the sooner I busted up this party the sooner I could come clean with Melody.
For the next two weeks I watched Melody as close as I could. She had been in a car wreck last Tuesday so we were together quite a lot now. She hadn’t powdered her nose, as they called it, for the whole two weeks, so I was hoping she was going to take the job at the clinic. I was also hoping she would become my girlfriend after this was all over as it would give me a pipeline into the affairs of Dr. Joyce.
Friday before we went to work she asked me to take her by the clinic. She was going to apply for the job. I was pleased and gave her a really big smile along with a yes. I figured Dr. Joyce knew good help when she saw it and she hired her on the spot. Tonight would be her last night as a dancer. She was happy, but I was thrilled beyond belief. I had gained enough weight that to wear my old clothes I had to wear the corset and it was getting old quick.
From my tiny office backstage I called David and had him set up a meeting with the D.A. for Monday. I told our friend at the casino he would need to get his old makeup girl back from vacation as soon as possible, as well, this was my last night.
I got all the tapes together over the weekend at my house. Daniel had not been seen for the last two weekends running. I was headed to the office as soon as Melody took off for work come Monday morning. Well, that was after I got all the bugs from her place. I didn’t know how she would take what she sure was to find out, so I played it safe. I took the rest of my stuff as well. Who knows, she might forgive me, but then she might not.
As soon as Melody was out of sight, I packed everything up and put it away at my place. I took the tapes and headed straight for the agency. I braced myself as well as I could for the storm that D.A. Baker would cause when he realized I had removed any mention of Melody’s name from the tapes. If he wouldn’t play ball, someone else would have to give her up.
Baker all but blew a gasket when the last tape ended and he still didn’t have the name of the girl. It was after 7:00 in the evening now and who knew how long it would take for him to cool off. I called Mike and asked him to pick up a girl at this address and bring her here for questioning. I didn’t give him her name, just a general description of what she looked like. He wasn’t pleased to do it, so I told him to be nice. He knew what I meant.
Melody recognized me the second she was in the door. She was stunned, but give her credit she never mentioned the female name she knew me by.
D.A. Baker, meet Jane Doe. Jane, this is D.A. Baker.
She took a seat beside me. If you’re willing to offer Jane full and complete immunity from prosecution, she might be willing to turn state’s evidence. I had started the ball rolling. Now, I waited to see where it landed.
Melody caught on quick and didn’t say a word to anybody.
“Come on, she’s in this up to her ears, at the very least she knows all the players,” he blustered!
“That’s the deal Baker. She started a new job today, but she has enough money to leave here and never return if it comes to that.”
“I don’t have to know her name, I can get a Jane Doe warrant,” he fumed, as he picked up the phone.
I have a plane less than 20 minutes from here. A warrant will take hours at this time of night and we will be long gone before you ever get it. I stated casually.
Baker looked at Mike as if he should call my bluff.
“He does have a plan sir and I know he can fly it,” Mike spoke softly.
Baker stood and leaned over the table at me. You could all but see the smoke rolling out of his ears he was so mad.
“I don’t get played by private dicks like you. You either play or my team or you go home,” he all but shouted.
He was so close to my face now I could smell his breath. It was bad, too… real bad, but now I was mad and that wasn’t an easy thing to make happen.
“Look you fucking glory hound. How about I go public with the fact that you, David and Ivan Franklin all served together in the military? How do you think it will look when I tell the whole word that Ivan took two rounds in the groin to save you and David from certain death? How about I also spill the beans that he’s now Isadora Franklin, and you have all the cops playing ball while she gets away with anything she wants to do?” Then I pushed him back across the table, just as Mike stepped up to get between us.
David, my boss and D.A. Baker looked at each other in total shock. Mike saw it as well and it registered as soon as he did. David hadn’t spoken a word so far and Barker was visibly shaken. The silence in the room was almost palpable, but I could wait them out and I knew Melody would as well.
“Get out of here, Singer, and take her with you,” he spat. “You mention one word of this and I’ll…”
“What!” I butted in. “Ruin your own reputation? I don’t think so. Have a good day,” I said, as Melody and I headed out the door.
I took Melody back to her place and Mike was there before we even got in the door.
“Mind if I come in?” He asked.
“Sure,” Melody smiled and motioned him in.
Melody listened intently as Mike and I hashed out the details of what was going on. He would testify for me in court per Baker’s orders. When Mike knew the whole story, he well understood that Melody was a pawn in the game. Just before Mike got up to leave, Melody finally chimed in.
“Why?” she asked.
“Why what?” Mike sat back down.
“Why did you two guys stick your neck out for me?” she asked.
“Well,” Mike stated, “let’s just say Singer and I have a thing for sticking up for the little people and you were a real small fry in this kettle of fish,” he smiled.
“Well, Baker looked like a whale in a bathtub after Singer said what he did,” she smiled real big.
“Well, not many have the balls to cross Baker that way. I couldn’t do it and I already knew what Singer said was probably true,” he added.
“Why not?” Melody asked. “If it’s true, I mean.”
“Knowing the truth and proving it are two different things. I suspect Singer got their military records and put two and two together, so he could prove it…I couldn’t,” Mike smiled.
“Well, you two are stand up guys in my book through and through,” Melody replied.
She even hugged Mike just before he left us that night. It was the first time I had ever seen him blush. It was cute to see the big man have to lean down to accept the hug. Mike is well over six feet tall and Melody is shorter than I am.
I slept with Melody that night and yes, in her bed. For the moment all was right in the world and the love we made that night was more than full of passion. The fact that I had met her as a female didn’t come up that night and wouldn’t for some time to come.
The morning paper told the story. D.A. Baker finally had his big fish to fry and he got a lot of ink for doing a good job. Mike, who testified for me, was up for promotion again and the buzz was he would be Chief Mike Chambers when the acting chief stepped down. I bought two papers that day and cut the article out for Melody’s scrap book.
I had high hopes for our relationship despite its rocky start. And no man worth his salt would turn Melody away. She had chestnut hair that fell full to her mid back. Beautiful long legs that only a dancer could have, a natural 34 double D bust line that would bring tears to your eyes. Her eyes were like blue diamonds and hard not to notice despite the rest of her. Her smile, well that was her biggest asset. She could melt the coldest heart with just a smile. Even mine…..
To be continued…
Mark is not sure if he should be happy or sad. The truth comes but it don't sit well with facts. Still there is a plan for a happy life, But that life will truly have to change. For the better or worse you will have decide.
It had been 10 months now for Melody and I. We were still together and all seemed to be well or at least as far as I could tell.
Mike and I were recuperating from our wounds and I hadn’t worked a case in almost a month. It’s not like I was in any shape to be out working, but I sure had cabin fever now.
I was working a murder for hire case while Mike was working three other murders that all seemed to be connected. We kept bumping into each other as we worked our cases and it didn’t take us long to figure out we were both pulling at the end of the same chain.
We finally sat down and compared notes. Together with what we both knew it took us only two days to find our killer. He was a pro and Mike and I had no clue or we would have taken some men with us. Instead it was just him and I that knocked on the killer’s door.
A shot gun blast greeted us and I got a piece of buck shot in my shoulder and left hip. Mike was on the other side of the door and got the same just on the opposite side of his body. We both hit the deck before the second round went off and that one missed us completely.
The man inside the house bolted out the door, or what was left of it, so fast he didn’t see Mike and I on the ground. Mike put a round in his left shoulder and I got one in his right knee. He fell like a rock and Mike and I rushed him before he could get a chance to shoot at us again. After he was in handcuffs, Mike called for back up while I used my new cell phone to call us both an ambulance.
They took Mike to the hospital the department used downtown and then I asked them to take me to the clinic where Melody worked. There would be x-rays before anything was done and that would reveal the breast implants I still had. They had been emptied while I was in Mexico, but I still had them. That would start a lot of questions I didn’t want to answer. Melody would see them, but she already knew I had them. I had told her the whole ugly story a while back. Well, all but the part of Dr. Joyce being the doctor that gave them to me.
Melody had taken the revelation of my living 18 months as a woman pretty well. She understood the why part even less than I did. But our love was strong and she never reminded me of it or held it against me in any way. I figured there was a reason, but even after all this time I had no clue as to what it might be.
Melody took great pains getting the buck shot out of me that day and I had been to another plastic surgeon to get the scars taken care of. Now, save the occasional phantom pain, both Mike and I were in pretty good shape.
I was almost embarrassed when Melody pointed out on the x-rays that I had the bone structure of a woman in the hips. And true to what Ted’s mom had told me in Mexico, when I did finally start to get my weight back, some of it had gone to my breast and hips. I was a full B cup now. Thank goodness for baggy clothes, I reminded myself often.
Mike was the Chief of the detective squad now and drove a desk as much as he did his car. I took a really big case to get him out of the office and I didn’t blame him a bit.
After I had shot off my mouth in the bid to keep Melody out of jail, she and I both guessed the agency would starve me for work. That was not the case at all. They had kept me busy with one case after another, almost as soon as I finished one another one was there ready to go.
Even now the boss had called me almost every week to see if I was ready to get back to work. Almost all the cases, save the last one, had been pretty easy to do. For the most part it was divorce cases and the likes. I did get one that I thought was odd.
Isadora bought an old run down Casino. It was small and not in the greatest location as far as businesses went. I didn’t know who the owner was at the time. Still I helped design the security system and oversaw all the installing of the system. It struck me really odd when she moved her business there as it was what you might call the seedy side of town. In fact there wasn’t another business open and working within a mile of her in any direction.
I pointed this all out to David some time later. He told me she had her reasons and some of it was financial as the property was bought for about a third of what it would have cost elsewhere in the city. He never said it straight out, but I surmised that she was having money problems.
Money problems come in two forms, too much and not enough. Too much and you get the fed’s breathing down your neck wanting to know where it came from. Not enough, well, most everybody has been down that street at one time or another.
I still had that itch that told me Isadora was the main reason for the things they had done to me. If not her personally, then she knew the person or persons that had wanted me out of the way. I had precious little time to devote to that itch right now, but I knew sooner or later, if I stuck it out long enough, the truth would come out. It always does.
Melody had been doing the morning run with me for a while now. In turn I would don my tights and leotard and do the aerobics with her. I was strong enough now to do the full two miles and then the advanced aerobic workout we normally did. As we talked later that night, she told me I was plenty well healed enough to go back to work.
“That is if you’re not gun shy now,” she smiled.
“Depends on who is holding the gun,” I smiled back, as I playfully chased her around the kitchen table. “Are you challenging me?” I said, as I caught her and pinned her to the couch with a kiss.
“No,” she smiled, as she hugged me tight, “but I closed on the house yesterday and the movers are coming this weekend.”
“So?” I smiled as I brushed back her hair and looked deep into her blue eyes.
“There’s a lot of stuff around and far more than one woman would have, not to mention the different sizes.” She smiled and poked me in the ribs as if to tickle me.
“What? Now you’re afraid the movers will find out about me?” I chided her, as I took her by the waist and moved between her legs with a firm grip. And yes, we were naked. We had just gotten out of the shower.
“Hold on there big boy or your dinner will be burnt post roast tonight,” she grinned.
I let her up and we went up and got dressed. “I guess I should take all that stuff and put it back in storage,” I said, as I pulled my shirt over my head.
“Yes, you probably should, but don’t forget there is a storage building on the property. I can’t see any reason not to use it rather than pay for one.”
“It would save me fifty bucks a month,” I smiled.
“Oh, you’re not getting off that easy,” she turned and planted a kiss on my lips.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, I think you should pay me the fifty bucks a month. After all it is my building.”
“Okay,” I grinned. “I see how it is now.” My voice was dripping with sarcasm. “Here all this time I thought you wanted my body.”
The phone rang and it was my boss. A big case had landed in his lap and he wanted me to come in, if I was up to it, tomorrow for a briefing on the case. I told him my doctor had given the all clear to return to work and I would be there.
Melody had dinner on the table by the time I got off the phone. I told her what the boss had said and that I was going in tomorrow.
“What about your things she asked?”
“I’ll get them packed away and in the storage before the movers get here this weekend,” I assured her.
“How are the night classes going?” I asked. She was back in college now part time. I didn’t know it before, but she was close to having her MD. I wanted her to get it, so I was helping with her tuition so she could.
Monday, when I arrived at the office, I got a shock to say the least. At the conference room table sat my boss, along with Isadora and three ATF agents. One of the agents looked even more stunned than me when I walked in the room and sat down.
“Have a seat. We were just ready to start,” David said too me without an introduction. They all know who you are. You can get all the names later,” David added.
We watched a slide show as the lead ATF agent narrated.
“What we have here is a multi-million dollar operation. This semi is loaded with cigarettes and leaves the plant in North Carolina. Assuming all goes well, it should arrive here, our warehouse in Nevada, fully loaded. You can see the truck here again at the Truck Stop in North Las Vegas and then it arrives right on time. Problem is, when we break the seal, the truck is empty.”
“We checked the numbers on the seal, as well as the numbers on the truck and trailer, and they all matched,” an agent at the table spoke up.
“Was the load followed or escorted?” I asked.
“No,” the agent doing the narration spoke again. “We only follow or escort loads that have no tax stamp, loads that will be exported to another country.”
“And this load was stamped?” I asked.
“It was,” he replied. “For California and Nevada each state getting half of the load.” We checked with all the state scale operators that were open along the way and the load weight was right even when he crossed into Nevada”.
“So the load was taken somewhere between the state line and the warehouse,” I surmised.
“Yes, and were losing about one load a month on average,” he added. “This truck has satellite tracking so we know what route he took to get here and the stops he made along the way. After he crossed the state line he only stopped here, in North Las Vegas. So any way you slice it, the thieves are here.”
David had been quiet up to this point, but I could see the question he wanted to ask written all over his face.
“So you want us to follow the next few trucks from the state line and stay with them till the delivery point?” He asked.
“Yes, that is the short version of what we want,” he smiled.
“What we really want is our thieves to make their move on a truck we’re watching so we can catch them,” the agent at the table spoke again.
Isadora left as soon as the briefing was over. David and the lead ATF agent hammered out the details on how it should work out. The rest of us spoke casually amongst ourselves, but the agent that had looked so surprised at me before, was still looking me over. Finally, he blurted it out.
“You’re Mad Dog Taylor’s son,” he looked at me cold and right in the eyes.
“I am,” I replied, as if it were no big deal.
“Hell, boy, I figured you and your mom were both dead after we busted the bikers your dad rode with,” he said as he brought the room to silence.
“A part of my life I am not exactly proud of,” I stated. “After…everything happened the way it did, I moved out and came here. I attended college, got my degree and have been a P.I. ever since. You can check my record if you want,” I added.
“I’m sure there are a few of your Dad’s old friends out there that would still like to see you dead. You know we recovered all the guns and most of the drugs, but we never did find the money or even a single bank account for the gang,” he added.
“If we’re all done here, I have a few a things to do. Let me know when the next truck is due and I’ll cover it for you.”
Dave said he would call and I left the meeting with that same itch, but now it was working overtime. I went straight home and called my mother. I hadn’t spoken to her in over three years and she wasn’t all that pleased to hear from me even now.
There was some small talk, but for the most part I grilled her about the night dad was killed and what she knew, if anything, about the gang’s money.
“Your dad’s brother handled all that,” she told me.
“They didn’t call him Slick Willey for nothing,” she added, “but nobody has seen him since the night your dad was killed either.”
Mom figured Dad was hiding Slick and that was really the reason he was killed.
“Look,” she stated. “You might as well know the truth now. The gang had several million dollars all legit that was invested in the market. Slick worked for some broker and oversaw the account. Once the gang knew they were about to be busted, they all wanted their share of the money to leave the country. When they came for Slick and couldn’t find him, they came for your dad. Your dad wasn’t about to turn on his brother so they killed him. Slick hasn’t been seen since. That answer your questions?” She slammed the phone down in my ear.
That answered a lot of questions and that itch was begging for attention now. Brokers have to have a license to work in the field and that was the first place I would start looking.
Right now I had some packing to do, so I started putting away all the stuff that might suggest there was more than one female living in the house. It took three trips out to the new house to get all the stuff from our current home and the storage out there.
When Melody came home that night, I told her about the new case. I also told her about talking to mom and what I had found out about Dad and Slick. Slick’s real name was William David Taylor, most called him David, but after he started working for the gang everybody started calling him Slick Willey.
To me he was just Uncle David, but then I hadn’t seen him in years. For all I knew he was dead. But I entertained the thought that he might have tipped off the ATF guys and he might be a protected witness now. I know he wasn’t a biker like my dad. Heck, every memory I had of him he was clean shaven and wearing a three piece suit. I tried hard to forget anything that had to do with my dad.
Thursday David called me and I was on for tonight.
It was almost midnight when I picked up the truck crossing the state line. The scale was closed where he crossed and I guessed he was using the back roads for just that reason. He never stopped or parked the truck till he arrived at the warehouse around six the next morning. It was a long ride and thermos of coffee later, but he was there. Security checked him through, but he wouldn’t get unloaded till after seven when the dock workers came in. In the meantime, I headed home.
I passed Isadora’s place on my way home and a chill went down my spine when I saw a big Harley parked at her place. I know everybody that rides a Harley is not a biker gang member, but it is the preferred bike of most of them. If Isadora was dealing with them, she was treading on thin ice that was for sure.
The weekend Melody and I spent in the motel while the movers did their job was pretty good. Granted, it wasn’t home, but we had plenty of time for a roll in the hay and we did several times.
By the time she got home on Monday, I pretty well had the house cleaned up. I had even unpacked most of our stuff and had the closets organized as best as I could. Melody and I had already talked about it before the move. High speed web service was available here and it was already connected along with the cable TV. And as we had already decided, the smallest bedroom became my “home” office.
I spent a lot of time there over the next few days tracing down what was left of my dad’s old gang. They had changed their name, but everything else was about the same. I did find out that all their members had to fly a small rebel flag from there bike. Well, that was a start such as it was.
As for Uncle David, well, a blind man could have found him. You can relocate and even change your name, but you will still and always have the same fingerprints. He had recently opened a business close to the border in Brownsville, Texas. He was selling smokes and alcohol and to get his business license he had to give his fingerprints.
Melody already had plans for the holidays. She was going to Florida to visit her mom. I would be eyeballs deep in a case when she left town. At least that would be my excuse not to go. I was going to Texas and hopefully to the source of some information I needed really bad. Ted and his parents weren’t that far from the border and I could make it look as if I was there to visit them.
As the months passed, I followed at least one truck a week to the warehouse and none of then had gone through North Vegas and all had arrived with their load in tact. Other loads had come up missing, but none here in my area. Maybe the thieves knew the ATF was on to them. Who knows?
When Melody left town, she knew I couldn’t go. Not true, but I wasn’t telling her that. I made arrangements with David to cover for me while I was out of town. And no, I didn’t say where I was going or why. Nobody but me knew what and where and why and I liked it that way.
It took me three days to make the drive and I got there the day after Christmas. I had no trouble finding Dave’s place, but it wasn’t so easy to convince him I was who I said I was. When I tossed the picture of dad and I sitting on his Harley across the bar, he stopped dead in his tracks. He leaned over and told me to meet him in the alley out back, then spoke normal to me as he pushed the picture back to me insisting he didn’t know who dad or the kid on the bike were.
He told the barman he was calling it a night and to make sure the place was closed at 12:00 midnight sharp. Tomorrow was Sunday and he couldn’t sell alcohol on Sunday at all. I paid the bill for my two beers and headed out before he even finished telling the barman what to do.
Dave’s big pickup and travel trailer were parked in the alley and he invited me in as soon as he got there.
“How the hell did you find me?” He spat.
“Your fingerprints for your business license,” I shot back.
“Well, you can bet your dad’s old friends aren’t far behind,” he said, as he rubbed his chin.
“I wasn’t followed and I didn’t tell anyone when I left Vegas where I was going. I paid cash for all my gas so there is no paper trail. Relax,” I smiled. “I just wanted to ask you some question and I will leave in peace.”
“Probably not much I can tell you kid, but fire away,” he said.
“Who really killed dad? Was it the gang or the ATF men?”
“The gang, but I don’t know exactly who did it. Hell, boy, they would have gotten me if the ATF hadn’t came to me first thinking I was your dad,” he added.
“How the heck did they make that mistake?” I asked before I thought about it.
“Well, we are twins even if we don’t look alike,” he grinned.
“So they didn’t know dad or have a picture of him till it all went south,” I sputtered.
“You catch on quick for a kid,” he muttered.
“So they arrested you thinking they were getting dad, then let you go once they realized their mistake.”
“Yes, that is close enough to how it happened,” he paused.
“So what is it you’re not telling me?” I asked straight out. “You can run later, if you want to, and I won’t tell a soul I found you, but I have to know what you know.
“Run. Hell, I’m sitting on 10 million dollars of their money they don’t want…”
“They don’t want you. They want me or mom to force you to give the money back.”
“And they almost had you from what I am told,” he added.
“Well, mom is safe. I moved her three years ago. I changed her name and had the court seal up all her records. It would take an act of congress to find her now. You’re safe as long as they think you have the money.”
“Think. Hell, boy, they know I have it,” he spat.
“Not after tonight you don’t. Give me the account number and key code to get the money. Now,” I huffed.
“Why would I do that?” He asked.
“Cause they will get tired of waiting one day and when they do, they will kill you. When that day comes, I want the money to take care of mom.”
“Okay, I’ll do it, but you have to promise not to touch it till I am dead, one way or the other,” he added.
“In that case you have to promise not to tell them where the money is or how to get to it.”
“You got a deal kid,” he smiled and shook my hand.
After he gave me the information I needed, I went back through the bar, had another drink, then left. I drove around town just to see if I was being followed. Near as I could tell, I didn’t have a tail so I headed for home and quick like.
I had mom’s power of attorney so I quickly amended her will and took out a five million dollar life insurance policy on her. She’s still young so nobody questioned it.
I also took out five million on Uncle Dave and used his AKA name as well. I had his fingerprints if the insurance company wanted to play with me over it.
Then as soon as the local brokerage house opened on Monday, I went in and checked the account. Dave’s estimate was right on the money. I asked the man if there was someway I could put that account inside another account. Like a shell, I added.
He wasn’t quick to tell me how to do it as it was borderline breaking the law. But he did, finally, tell me how I could do it and make the account still look as if it was active. It would still be there and still growing, but to get at it they would need both account numbers and key codes to get it.
Later that day from my home pc I did just as he had told me. Now we were all safe and no matter who died first, as long it wasn’t me, I would be well off and could leave the country and never have to worry about any of this ever again. I could do it now if I had to, but the police would sure be on my tail as soon as they realized it was me that took the money.
There was some comfort in knowing the who and why. I still felt like Isadora was the how in this house of cards, but I would have to tie her to some of dad’s old gang. Right now that would be more than just hard to do. With D.A. Baker and my boss, David, in her corner any proof I got would have to stand some hard scrutiny. All I had right now was a hunch that said I was right.
The ATF boys caught the guys that were stealing there cigarettes on New Years Eve. That ended that case so far as I personally was concerned. When they came around to pay their bill, I was there to collect my part. The agent that had known who I really was talked to me openly.
“You know there was a few of your dad’s old gang that got away,” he smiled.
“Yes, I know,” was my quick reply.
“Well, the charges we had on them were nothing great and the statute of limitations is about to go out on them,” he added.
“What? Seven years, more or less,” I smiled.
“Exactly, and it’s been five already,” he added.
I just smiled and told him I had plans to live a long and healthy life.
“Time to go,” his boss spoke up.
“What was that all about?” Dave asked.
“Oh, he was just reminding me about my past again,” I smiled, as I put the money in my pocket.
Melody read between the lines pretty good and I wasn’t surprised when she noticed I was much more calm than I had been. She never said anything out loud, but there was a new ease in our relationship and we both liked it very much.
For now it was back to working divorce cases and there were plenty of them available. They weren’t my favorite thing to do, but it did pay the bills and that was a plus.
My contracted time at the agency was up now. That meant I could take on any job I wanted and I got all the money, not just a share from the agency. I saw this as a good thing and Melody and I celebrated that night in style.
Melody put a damper on our higher than normal mood when she told me that Dr. Joyce was moving her clinic to L.A. She wanted to go with her and asked me to come along as well. I told her no at first. I had worked long and hard to get connected here to the right people. If I went with her, I would have to start all over again.
When she put the house up for sale, well, that was the day my life, such as it was, really went into a tailspin.
I had just gotten home from picking up my paycheck at the agency. I kissed Melody, as I always did, as soon as I was in the door. “What’s with the sign?” I asked.
“Dr. Joyce is moving next week. I figure it will take some time to sell the house and not take a loss on it. You’re welcome to stay till it sells,” she smiled. “And your friend, Mike, along with the D.A. are at the kitchen table waiting to talk to you,” she added.
Mike had stopped by before, but D.A. Baker all but hated me. This was bad and I knew it before either one of them ever opened their mouth. The sour look on Mike’s face didn’t help the bad feeling I had when I sat down at the table.
“I take it this isn’t a social call,” I looked at Mike hard as I sat down.
“No, it’s not,” D.A. Baker spoke, as he passed me a picture across the table.
“Looks like a dead hooker. Should I know her?” I asked.
“Janis Miles and she’s a cop,” Baker shot back.
“Oh, yes, I heard she was killed on the news last night. How did it happen?” I asked.
“She’s been undercover working with a pimp on the west side of town,” Mike stated. “He’s got his hands in everything and Janis was following a lead on his girls. Seems they have moved up in the world.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, the angle Janis was working is thin, but we think it has merit since she’s dead,” Baker spoke again.
“We think he managed to get his girls hooked up with some of the valet services around town, maybe got some blackmail pictures,” Mike paused. “Anyway, his girls are managing to get the valet tickets to some high end cars and they are stealing them like candy,” Mike added.
“Best way to steal any car is with the key,” I grinned. “No damage to fix before you can sell it,” I added.
“Yes, well, thing is none of the cars have been found, at least not on the west coast,” Baker spat.
“So you want me to find the cars,” I said.
“No,” Baker slapped the table. “We want you to take the place of Janis and get the people who are stealing them.”
“I see,” I replied. “You want me to do the grunt work and when the police find the cars later, you guys get the finder’s fees. I don’t think so,” I replied.
“I lost a good cop already,” Baker barked. You really think I give a shit about finder’s fees,” he spat.
“We’ll see,” I said as I stood and went to the office to get a contract. Baker was slick and I wasn’t about to give him an out. I put my name at the top instead of the agency, and highlighted the part where I got all the finder’s fees for any lost or stolen property that I recovered.
Mike just smiled, as I placed the contract on the table.
The contract caught Baker by surprise. He liked doing business with a handshake and often said his word was his bond. Like hell, I thought as he took the time to read the whole contract before he spoke.
“Looks good to me,” he said, as he took out his pen and signed it. “Figured out a plan for getting close to a pimp,” he smiled. “Mike will get you anything you need,” he said, as they stood to leave.
Baker knew what was coming as well as I did. There were only two things that got close to a pimp, money and his girls, and usually in that order.
Melody had listened to the whole conversation even if she had looked engrossed in the show she was watching. I fully expected the look she gave me when she came to the kitchen table.
“Guess you will be needing some new shoes,” she smiled.
“What?” I looked at her, as if I had no clue what she meant.
“Those will never work,” she pointed to my feet. “Not if you’re taking a walk on my side of the fence,” she smiled.
We both laughed as she stood over my shoulder while I looked through Janis’s daily reports. A picture of Jimmy the pimp slipped free of the papers and I heard Melody catch a quick breath.
“What?” I asked, as I looked up at her face.
“I know that guy. He sends us a lot of business,” Melody said.
“How so?” I asked.
“Well, he has no problem getting physical with his girls, believe me,” she moaned.
“Guess that makes him a good suspect as to who killed Janis,” I replied.
“He would be first on my list,” Melody said, as she headed upstairs.
As much as it pained me too, I asked Melody that night if she could put some saline in my implants. All of Jimmy’s girls were heavy in the boob department. He wouldn’t give me a second look with my B flats. I smiled. She said she could and would, but she wasn’t happy about it either. I was sure it didn’t console her, but I told her I wasn’t thrilled about it myself.
I spent Friday going through and picking out only the most sexy stuff I had to wear as a female. I even picked out only the highest of the high heels I had. Many hookers wore platform shoes but I hated them from the start. Melody was right. I would need some new shoes. Even though I still had my female shape, I knew I would need the corset to fit into the clothes and packed it back to the house with all the other stuff.
Around lunch time I pretty well had all that done. My office closet was now full to the rim. I made an appointment with a local salon and got the full body wax. Hell, yes, it hurt and the girl that did it spared not a single hair. Even my penis and balls were clean and hair free. My body hair didn’t grow very fast so I would be hairless for a while now.
I got home long before Melody did and took a shower if for no reason, but to ease the stinging of my skin. I would see the salon again and sooner than I really wanted. I still needed to get my hair done as well as my nails. And last, but not least, I would need all new makeup as well.
Over dinner that night Melody and I had a long talk. I told her just how much I hated what I was about to do. But it was like she had pointed out earlier, I really didn’t have much of a choice as I had agreed to take the case.
“Well,” she smiled, “you were pretending to be a woman when I met you so I know you can do it. And I intend to help you so long as I can,” she added.
I helped her clean up the kitchen and put the dishes away after she had washed them. Then as if it was the most normal thing in the world, she turned and looked at me.
“Ready to be one of the girls again?” She smiled.
“Do I really have a choice?” I shot back.
“Not now,” she smiled, as if she was taking some pleasure in my predicament.
With a playful swat on my butt she told me to go to the bedroom. So I did. She got her little black doctor’s bag and got the saline and the needle to fill my implants.
“You realize this is going to hurt big time. You haven’t had anything in them for a while now so your body will rebel,” she added.
“It hurt pretty bad the first time so why should this time be any different,” I replied, as I braced myself for it.
I was lying on the bed and she was kneeling between my legs as she pushed the needle in and started to fill my right breast.
“You say when,” she smiled. “We can always add more later if we need to.”
It was worse than I remembered and by the time I was a full C cup on both sides, I was in no small amount of pain. Then as if from nowhere, she pulled out a latex vagina much like the one I had worn before. “What’s that for?” I asked, as if I had no clue what it was.
“Just a little something to make the illusion a little more real,” she smiled.
She used a single stitch to pull my ball sack back and center between my legs. She added some glue so the single stitch wouldn’t stretch the skin and try to pull out. Then she used more glue to anchor the base of the vagina over my sack. She used a vacuum pump to pull my penis all the way into the sleeve that would allow me to relieve myself and then used even more glue to anchor the top to my pubic area.
I laid there motionless till she was done. I hurt so bad at that point it felt like even my hair hurt when I moved. She rolled me over and gave me a shot for the pain in my right hip. I told her I was thankful for that.
“Thank me later,” she smiled. “You need another one to stop you from becoming erect or you will be in even more pain.”
That shot I got in the left hip and I thanked her for that one as well. After all, she could have let me suffer through it on my own. It wasn’t even dark outside yet, but when Melody worked the sheets down on the bed and covered me up to be warm, I went right off to sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was just 7:00 p.m.
It had never crossed my mind that Melody might be working for the other side as it were. But the fake vagina and empty feeling between my legs when I awoke the next morning gave me pause. She had done almost exactly the same thing Dr. Joyce had done. What made it wore was that I had actually asked for her help. I got it alright and way more than I bargained for.
It was 4:00 a.m. when I got out of bed, long before Melody would even stir. I went to the bathroom that was attached to my office and took a shower. The pain was bearable now and save a few of the finer touches I looked very much like a woman again. Worse yet I felt like one. Even some of the old mannerisms had started back already or maybe they were never really gone to start with, I just noticed them more now.
Over breakfast I suffered through the barbs she sent my way. She was all too pleased with her handy work and that concerned me even more. At one point she actually told me that I was prettier as a girl than I was handsome as a man. That did nothing for my ego, such as I had left of it anyway.
When she left for work, I went straight to my office and dressed as quickly as I could. I put my female ID in my purse and was out the door an hour later. Melody would only work a half day today and I wanted to be home before she was if I could.
The girl at the salon said I was a mess and needed the full makeover so that was what I got. I went with the more dramatic makeup and longer nails, as that seemed to be the given look for most hookers. By the time my perm was done, along with all my nails, it was well past lunch. Melody would already be home by now. Of all the things they had done it was the pencil thin eyebrows that bothered me the most. Go figure.
Melody saw me as soon as I parked the car. She was sitting in the living room right by the bay window that faced the driveway. I figured she was there just for the purpose of seeing me before I actually got in the house. In my current state of mind, I wasn’t ready for more of her barbs.
I paused and took a deep breath before I got out of the car. At least it was as deep as the corset would allow. I pulled down the mirror on the visor of the car and fluffed my now “Marilyn Monroe” blond locks. I pretended to check my lipstick and powder my nose. This was all for Melody’s benefit. I hadn’t looked her in the eye, but I knew she was watching from the window.
I opened the door and spun around in the car seat with my knees together. When I stood, I checked my skirt, then closed the door and headed for the front door of the house. I took a much longer stride than I should have with my tight skirt and four inch heels. It made my walk seem exaggerated and my hips had way too much swing.
Melody, met me at the door and opened it just before I got there.
“My, my, don’t you look grand,” she smiled.
“You think?” I said, as if I was unsure.
“I know,” she smiled. “You will be the talk of the town looking like that,” she added
Melody and I had both missed lunch and now it was almost dinner time. She asked me if we could go out for dinner and I said sure before I even thought about it. My voice went up a notch or two when I was in public and it wasn’t because I did it on purpose, it just happened. That’s all I can say about that.
Melody all but ran up and changed clothes and was ready in a flash. One day, maybe… I could get ready that fast, I chided myself.
We landed at a little piano bar that was known for having good food. Melody was all about the atmosphere of a place. The food could be “so so” and she would still like it if she could relax and enjoy it.
The girl at the Piano was thin to say the least and sang like a bird. She did a lot of her own tunes and they were very good for a solo female artist. Her stage name was Nora Jones. That itch I had come to know so well told me she would make it big time if she ever got a break. I even bought one of her cd’s. She had a very genteel way with the ivory. She didn’t pound out songs like a lot of the men did. I was impressed.
Melody and I were having our after dinner drinks when my day went from bad to worse. Mike came in and spotted us right off. Mike had seen me like this before, but back then I was too drugged up to care. This was making me very nervous.
I would have kicked Melody right in the shin if I could have when Mike told her thanks for the call. She had called and told him where we were and that all but made me mad.
He took the seat that Melody offered him and said he couldn’t stay long. I was almost thankful for that.
“There is more to this story that Baker told you,” he looked at me cold.
“Like what?” I asked.
“This has been going on for almost a year now,” he paused. “We just caught on about three months ago and that’s when Janis went undercover. Nobody but me knew what she was doing or the case she was working on,” he continued. “Not even her husband knew. I had to explain why she was dressed like a hooker, when she was killed, to him and the kids”.
“You think she blew her own cover?” I asked.
“No, and hell, no,” Mike added. “She was one of the best cops I had working for me.”
“Well, the only other option means she told a co-worker and that person ratted her out. That’s not good,” I spat.
“You’re right, it’s not,” Mike stated again. “That’s the reason Baker wanted someone outside the PD to take the case and you’re the only P.I. I know that can do it,as well as being the only one I know I can trust.” he smiled.
“You realize Baker would pull my license and permit in a second if he could,” I offered.
“Yes, well, don’t let his hard as nails attitude fool you. He knows you’re one of the good guys, like it or not,” Mike smiled.
I didn’t look much like a guy at the time and he knew it.
“I put a portable radio and charger in your car,” he added, having enjoyed the “good guy” pun for a bit too long. “Use channel three when you’re out and about. Nobody uses it anymore and I will monitor it all the time till this case is closed.”
I couldn’t resist my chance to get my own barbs in. “Why? You mean a big man like you will be looking out for little old me?” I reached over and brushed his hand. He blushed like he had red hot pepper in his mouth and Melody busted a gut laughing when he did. I figured that would lay to rest the teasing for while.
Mike finished his drink and after some talk he left us. Melody busted up laughing again when he stood up and had that unmistakable bulge in his pants. Mike was glowing like the sunset when he finally got headed for the door.
Mike’s position in the PD meant he didn’t date or get out a lot. He was well known and that made him an easy target. At one point last year his picture was in the paper more often than the D.A. I knew that didn’t go over well.
For the next week by day I studied the reports Janis had given to Mike. By night I was out walking the streets and doing my best to get noticed by the other hookers. I almost got busted by one of the vise cops and he gave me a hard time for all to see. That actually worked out in my favor as it gave me clout with other girls that were working the street.
Jimmy the pimp, finally came around to asking me to be part of his stable. He had lost a girl recently and the lost income was cramping his style.
“You’re a little more…upscale than my normal girl. I like it,” he said.
“Yes, well, your way under my normal clientele,” I replied, as he followed down the street.
“Well, girls aren’t the only enterprise I have on the table,” he said trying to sound street wise as he did.
“Clue me in,” I stopped and turned to face him.
“Well, I move some merchandise for a man that pays in the triple digits for the goods, you see.”
Hot merchandise, I am sure. “So?” I questioned.
“So you got out on an arranged date,” He stated.
I frowned and started walking again as if I wasn’t interested.
“Hold on, missy. I’m talking first class here, nothing but the best,” he added.
I stopped, but tried to seem impatient so he would cut to the chase. Most hookers don’t stick around for chit chat.
“So your date will let the valet park his car, but you take the ticket. Insurance,” he smiled. “That way he can’t run out on you and stiff you with the bill,” he added.
“And?” I questioned, as I tapped my foot on the sidewalk.
“Later, after dinner or whatever, you go powder your nose, present the ticket to the valet and leave with the goods. Simple as that,” he said.
“And “my date” will just let me get away,” I spat.
“Well, now sometimes it’s better to have a car stolen than repossessed,” he smiled.
I gave him a fake business card and told him to give me a call. I guess it wasn’t good enough to drive your car out into the dessert and short out the battery and let it burn anymore. This was nothing more than insurance fraud with a new twist.
I called it quits around three in the morning and called Mike the next day for a meeting…in person no less.
“I take it you have good news,” he all but asked.
“As good as it gets from a girl in my position. You remember the Piano bar we were at the other night?” I asked.
“Sure, what time?” He asked.
“How about 7:00 p.m.? I’m going to ask Melody to meet us there, too. I’m sure she will make you feel…more comfortable than being there with just me,” I added.
“Right,” Mike said, as he hung up the phone.
I called Melody and she said she would be there at 7:00 sharp. She had been working a lot more than normal lately. I suspected it was part of the impending move to L.A. that had been keeping her busy.
I waited till I saw her pull into the parking lot before I even got out of the car. Nobody would think anything about two women meeting for dinner. I hadn’t seen Mike yet, but I knew he would show up sooner or later.
Melody and I took a booth back in the corner like we had before. We could see the door so we would know when Mike came in. I swept my skirt as I sat and scooted into position.
“You’re acting more and more like a natural woman every day,” she chided me.
“Well, it’s not like you don’t remind me every time I goof up even a little,” I shot back.
“Well, it wouldn’t be a good thing if someone made you as a man now would it,” she smiled.
“No, that would not be a good thing,” I said, just as Mike came through the door. I waved and he noticed me right off. It was no guess that Mike would sit next to Melody and he did.
“I take it you have a good reason to bring me here again,” he smiled.
“Well, of course.” I tried to sound offended. I wanted to see if you could leave here on two legs this time instead of three like before. Melody busted up laughing on the spot and Mike’s face was red as a cherry.
“Really,” I smiled, as Mike squirmed in his seat. “I wanted to tell you face to face that it’s an insurance scam. I guess rich people would rather have their cars stolen than have it repossessed.” Melody got in the conversation quick now.
“You bet they would,” she injected. “If word got out that a socialite male got his car pulled,” he couldn’t buy a date in his own class. That would be social suicide,” she added.
“Okay, that covers the why,” Mike smiled.
“Jimmy’s girls are set up for dates with these men. When the valet parks the car, the girl takes the ticket, later she leaves with the car and that’s all I have right now.”
“And that covers the how,” Mike sighed. “I guess we can drop the investigations on the valet services.”
“I would say so, but we still don’t know who is setting up the dates or taking the cars or where the cars are being taken to even. For all we know, it could be a repo service that is running the scam. Have you been getting feed back from the services on the ones that have been reported stolen?”
“No,” Mike replied. “The few that will even speak to me seem to be real mad of late. I guess we know why now,” he added.
“Not happy someone is taking their share of the pie,” Melody chimed in.
“Right,” Mike and I answered at the same time.
“And we still don’t know who Killed Janis,” Mike reminded me.
“Well, when you start arresting people, I’m sure that will come out, sooner or later. You know somebody will talk if the D.A. offers them a deal.”
“We’ll see,” Mike said, as he stood to leave.
He was walking much better this time than last. Melody and I finished our salad and headed out behind him. We both had cars there so she headed home while I headed for the strip. The salad made me feel full with the corset on as tight as it was, but I knew that wouldn’t last long.
I pounded the sidewalk till around three in the morning and then headed for home myself. I was tired and hungry and in a not so good mood at the time. The vise cop had given the once over again and I would be bruised for sure come morning.
Before now, I had always gotten along with the cops, but this guy was testing my nerves and I was about to snap. He might near have pulled my arm out the socket tonight to get to my purse. It was a common thing for a hooker to get her purse searched. Many of them used drugs and that was what he was looking for. I would settle up with him later and enjoy it when I did.
Melody left that weekend for L.A. with Dr. Joyce. It was a tearful goodbye for us both and I told her once I was done here I would find her in L.A. After all I sniffled, someone has to change me back to normal. Her last words hit me hard.
“You look pretty normal to me,” she smiled through her tears as she closed the car door and drove off.
I felt about as low as a snake right then, but Melody hadn’t been so easy on me lately either. She had all but forced me to wear the corset as tight as I could and now my waist was smaller than ever. She had added a little more saline to my breasts so I was a D cup again and there were other things. Little things that made me question whose side she was really on. She had even given me an extra shot of hormone blockers before she left.
For the next two months running I had a date almost every Friday night. It was always a last minute call that gave me no time to prepare for what I knew was coming. Each time I had driven the cars to the remote parking lot at the McCarran Airport. And then took a taxi back to town and my own car. By the time I could get back there the car was gone.
I know what you’re thinking. Call Mike and have him wait at the airport for you. Then both of you follow the stolen car when it’s picked up, simple as that.
Nope, not going to work that way. If he is with me or I am with him, then he is entitled to half of the recovery fees.
I know it sounds like I am not really all that hot on finding the person that killed Janis.
Melody knew Janis personally. She had called her the night she was killed and told Melody that Jimmy had threatened her with a gun. I figured he did more than that and it would come out in the end. And no, I didn’t tell Mike I knew about the call. That would have made Melody look suspect and I didn’t want that at all.
I took a chance that Jimmy would hold true to form and rented a car and parked it out by the airport. I took my hand held scanner as I was suspect of the taxi service as they always seemed to be close by. On Friday I got that last minute call and had to rush downtown to make my date.
The night went the same as most had before. When I parked the car at the airport, I took the walk to the main building and called the taxi just like normal. I listened on my scanner when the call went out to see where the closest car was. The driver said he was ten minutes away and rolling right then. I almost felt sorry for him as I wouldn’t be there when he got there.
A tow truck rolled up just after the taxi called in that the fare was a no show. I watched as the driver loaded the car and headed back towards town. He wasn’t wasting any time about it either. He took the car to the company’s lot and put it down. He parked his truck and got in a different car and went home.
I went home and started checking to see who owned the towing company. Under a maze of paper work and holding company crap, I finally found the name of the owner. I was shocked and mad as hell at the same time. If you guessed Isadora Franklin as the owner, give yourself an A+ and there was more. Care to make a guess on who was listed as the board members of the holding company? I’m sure you can. David and D.A. Baker, her two best friends from the service.
This whole thing smacked of a setup now and I was the stool pigeon. I unplugged every phone in the house and turned off my cell phone. I needed to think and I didn’t want to be disturbed. The sun was coming up before I turned off my computer and lay down on the bed fully dressed.
I didn’t sleep long and when I got up my brain was still working in overdrive. Isadora Franklin seemed determined to mess up my life and I had no good reason as to why. After several cups of coffee, I slipped on my heels and drove over to the florist and picked up some flowers, then headed for the cemetery where Grandma and Grandpa were buried.
It would be quiet place to think and I had plenty of that to do. None of this made any sense at all now. Sure I could watch the towing company till they moved the car, call it and the case would be over. But the D.A. had maneuvered into a position so when I did that, it messed any and all chances of getting the people at the top. We would get Janis’s killer sure…I thought to myself.
I parked the car at the cemetery and gingerly walked along the path between the graves. The place was always well kept and the grass was a deep green this time of year. My heels would easily sink in the soft ground. I stopped at the grave of Rose Marie Franklin Singer. Next to her lay Houston Singer and it almost brought a tear to my eye when I placed the flowers in the granite vase. I slipped off my heels and sat on the bench at the foot of their graves.
I said a silent prayer for them both and wished even now that Grandma was here to help me make some sense of this. Grandma had been the rock of this family the whole time she was alive. To her there was good and evil and noting in between. You either said yes or no and either way you stood your ground. She wouldn’t have it if you didn’t. She had raised as me as much as my mom did.
I remember once I got into a fight at school sticking up for a girl I liked. The school called Grandma and, of course, she came running. The principal wanted to expel me, but Grandma would have none of it. She asked me what had happened and the girl in question backed my story. Grandma was a smart woman and knew the boy I had fought with was related to the principal.
I wanted to run and hide when Grandma stood in the principal’s office and started in on the woman. “So the truth of the matter is you want to protect your nephew while you punish my grandson for doing what was right. You have tried to twist the facts to fit your position. Well, I’m not much on “facts”. They change real easy when the truth comes out. The truth never changes no matter what the facts are.”
I went home that day with Grandma and was back in school the next. What she had said to the principal about the truth and facts was a theory that had never proven wrong for me.
It was well past noon now and I could hear my stomach making noises even through the corset. I was hungry, but food was the last thing on my mind. I felt so stupid as I slipped on the heels and stood to walk to the car. There was an empty plot to the left of theirs and then there was the grave of Thomas C. Franklin. I paused. It was as if Grandma was trying to tell me something. I wrote down the birth and death dates and went on to my car.
I stopped at Pizza place on my way home and got one to go. I could eat at home and I didn’t want the distraction of being out in the public eye as a woman. At home I hooked up the phone in my office and called Mom. I told her I had gone to the cemetery and put flowers on the graves.
“You’re a good son,” she said as her voice turned sad.
“I miss her,” I said to mom almost crying as I did.
“Well, she was hard core,” Mom said. “But you never had to guess where you stood with her. So long as you did what was right she would back you to the end,” mom added.
“The world needed a lot more people like her,” I replied.
“Well, I miss her too, everyday,” Mom said and I was sure she was crying now.
“Why does she have the name Franklin on the stone?” I asked Mom.
“That’s a long, ugly story. I’m surprised she didn’t tell since you two were so close. The short version is this. She was married before to Tommy Charles Franklin. They had a son and he would be my half brother now, but he died in Vietnam. After his death, Tommy went to pieces and swore his son was still alive. He stayed drunk for years after that. Mom even told me he once stopped a woman in town and swore up and down that it was his son. But he was drunk at the time, so nobody believed it. They were already divorced by then,” she added.
The lights were on now and mom had flipped the switch without knowing it. I told mom I loved her and I hadn’t in some time. I could hear the tears streaming down her face when she told me she loved me too and then we hung up.
I went back to the military records I had on Ivan. I checked to see who his parents were and Mom’s story checked out. He was my uncle or aunt, as the case may be. I wasn’t sure if he had gone ahead with all the operations involved to be a real woman or not.
So now that I knew the truth, what should or could I do with it. I still felt stupid sitting there in my dress and high heels. More to the point I felt like my whole life had been manipulated practically from the day I left college. It was Saturday and I figured Isadora would be at home. I called her and asked for a meeting. So she invited me over for dinner at 7:00 p.m. She gave me the address of her house and I was surprised that it was just a few blocks away.
I put on some soft music as I undressed and filled the tub for a hot bubble bath. It was one of the pleasures of being a girl that I actually enjoyed. Grandma often gave me a bubble bath and I remembered that well.
Around six I decided I would wear the black lace cocktail dress that Melody had given me just before she left. It was lined well enough that it wasn’t see through, but I couldn’t wear a bra or the corset. I slipped the black garter belt around my obvious waist line and attached the stockings first. They were high quality since Melody never bought any of the cheap stuff. Every pair of panties I put on showed right through the dress, so the only choice was to go without. Finally, around six thirty, I slipped on the black 4 inch heeled pumps and headed out the door.
I wasn’t happy even a little that I was going to confront Isadora in a dress. I blamed her for my being in this position and it would be easy for me to lose my perspective. I knew she would be cool as a cucumber, she always was. She was probably more accustomed to having her hormones out of sorts than I was. Never mind that I was really going trolling for information while I was still playing her game.
I didn’t even get to knock on her door. A maid answered it almost as soon as I got there. Isadora was just a few steps behind her and greeted me warmly.
“Glad you could make it,” she smiled as she shook my hand gently.
“Thanks for the invitation,” I returned her jester in kind.
“A glass of wine?” She offered.
“Sure, but only one. I still have to drive home later,” I smiled.
“Nonsense,” she beamed me a smile. “You can stay here if you don’t want to risk the drive home.”
She was being far too nice and she had to know I was there for information. There was no guarantee I would get any, but I was sure going to try.
“I hear you have been a very busy lady of late,” she looked me over as if something was amiss.
“Yes, the police asked me for some help on a stolen car thing. I think I have got it pretty much figured out now.”
“So what brings you here?” She asked me straight up.
Before I could speak the maid came in and told us dinner was served. She told the maid that would be all for tonight and she, along with the cook, could go for the night. I waited till I heard the back door open then close, it squeaked so it was easy to tell. I figured we were alone now.
“I wanted to know if you were once known as Ivan Franklin.”
“I was,” she smiled, “but please never mention that name to me again.”
“So you’re content to allow everyone to think you’re dead. My mom has a half brother that she doesn’t even know.”
“I was still legally a man when I told my father about what had happened. There was very little of my manhood left, but he refused to accept that the son he once knew was gone. After the shock wore off, he told me he never wanted to see me again and forbid me to tell Rose or any of the rest of the family. Despite what your research might have turned up, he was still my father and I did as he asked. I suspect if it had been you and your father, you would have done no different.”
I was stunned. I was expecting a revelation of sorts, but what I got was not what I had expected. “Was there any hope of you being a man again?” I asked.
“A Vietnamese soldier stuck a bayonet through my groin. An inch higher and it would have gone out my….well, I am sure you can figure that out. So after I lay in the jungle bleeding for most of three hours, he figured I was dead and cut it off at the base of my belly. Now, what do you think?”
“I would say you had no choice in the matter as it was. But that is not the story I found in your military file,” I added.
“The file you read was true, but incomplete. The military doesn’t like for stories such as mine to…become public knowledge,” she smiled.
So you saved two men’s lives in a jungle war that nobody wants to talk about. Then you come home and all but ruin my life. Is there a contradiction here or is it just me?”
“Would you rather be dead?” she said rather smug.
“Well, no, but hardly explains all this,” I pointed to myself.
“Your dad had many friends till they all got busted. A few are still out there and would love nothing more than to see you dead. Had you gone to Florida with your class for spring break after you graduated, you would be dead now. They were waiting for you and I knew it. I couldn’t very well let my nephew walk into a trap now, could I?”
“You knew this how?” I asked.
“Who do you think bought the bar and set your Uncle David up with a whole new id? How is it that your mom, my only sister, gets a check every month to pay her bills? And who do you think is paying off your dad’s old friends to keep your mom and Uncle Dave alive?
“I’m guessing that would be you,” I paused to think.
“While your dad’s old friends were in Florida looking for you, I took you in and changed your appearance and gave you a new id. You didn’t show and when they came back, I told them you were gone and I didn’t know where. Hide in plain sight, kiddo.”
“But you didn’t tell me any of this up front,” I added.
“My dad may be dead like yours, but he is still my dad and I gave my word. If you hadn’t figured most of it out on your own, I wouldn’t be telling you this now. And if you open your mouth, I will do a lot worse,” she added.
“Do they know I am back here now,” I asked?
“No. Since I took my business out of town, they come by and ask, of course. So far as they know you’re still on the lamb. I get them drugs and booze at no cost to them and they go away.
“Baker gets you the drugs from the police impound and David my ex-boss owns a liquor store so he get’s you the booze,” I added.
“You’re a smart kid, I’ll give you that,” she smiled.
“So how did you see this playing out? I couldn’t stay in a half-state forever.
“Your Uncle David will never make it on the lamb. He’s a business man and likes the suit and tie crowd. They have already found him once and they will again, it’s just a matter of time. Frankly, I give him another year tops.”
“And mom?” I asked.
“They won’t touch her unless they can find you first. Too risky to try to flush you out. They would have to sit on her for too long, hoping you would find out and come to her rescue. Your mom is quite safe,” she smiled.
“That leaves me,
‘ I said rather glum.
“The way I see it you have two choices. Stay as you are now and wait them out or try to force their hand and get them sent to jail. It would be easy enough for me to set them up so they got caught with the drugs and booze, but that is short time.”
“I don’t see staying like this as an option,” I smiled.
“What do you think? Melody really loves you.” She smirked.
“Is there anything about my life you don’t know?” I asked?
“Not much,” she smiled.
“Okay. So tell me about Melody and Dr. Joyce.
“This is going to take a while,” she smiled, as she looked at her watch.
I looked at mine and it was already almost ten.
“Dr. Joyce is a part mad scientist and part doctor. She thinks she can make a man over into a real woman. By that I mean give him all the plumbing and such so they can have kids and a family, so on. She convinced a bunch of blue bloods back east she could do it and they gave her a grant for five years to try it. My doctor says it will never work and I tend to trust her.”
“Melody is a wannabee, plain and simple, and you got her the job with the doctor and now she’s the head nurse. The truth of the matter is she’s a mole. The blue bloods back east wanted someone they could trust to watch over Joyce and their money. She’s probably worth more money than you and I put together if it’s true that she is one of their daughters. I haven’t confirmed that part yet. She was engaged before she landed out here and it was an ugly break up. She still sees him when he comes out here for business. So I doubt she is into you for the long term,” she added.
“I thought Joyce worked for you,” I replied.
“She did, but just long enough to get her name noticed and sell the blue bloods on her project, as she calls it,” she smiled and took a big drink of her wine.
I sat there quietly trying to come to terms with what I knew. None of what I thought I knew was right….well, some of it was. But it was nothing like I had really thought it was.
“I take it you’re not happy as a member of the fairer sex. It suits you,” she added.
“Up till now it was a means to an end…”
“Just not the end you had wanted,” she smiled.
“No, not really,” I hung my head.
“You were hoping to settle a score with me and Dr. Joyce as well,” she added.
“In a manner of speaking, yes,” I replied.
Her cell phone rang and it gave me a few more minutes to think. I was still very rattled at all the stuff I had found out.
“Really. Make sure they search his apartment. The gun he used to kill that cop is there. It’s a collector’s piece. I know he didn’t toss it,” she said.
“Well,” she turned and looked at me, “you’re off the hook,” she smiled.
“How so?” I asked.
“That was one of my girls. Your pimp Jimmy was found tonight with a hole in his head and it was one he didn’t need,” she grinned.
“He’s dead,” I replied.
“Very much so, but it will be much easier to solve the murder of that cop now that the police have the gun with Jimmy’s prints on it,” she added.
“I already had him pegged for that. I wanted to recover the cars he had his girls stealing. They stole a bunch of them and I’m betting the recovery fees would be big bucks.”
“1.3 million, give or take a few dollars,” she smiled. “And that includes the one you took last night.”
“Is there anything that happens in this town that you don’t know about?” I asked.
“Probably, but then I have over one hundred girls in a fifty mile radius of the city. So outside of that it might fly under my radar,” she smiled larger than normal.
“Well, with Jimmy dead and the murder weapon found, D.A. Baker will close the case. When he does, I lose any chance of getting the cars back or the fees,” I added.
“You can have them for a price,” she added. “A man named Wayne runs the auto auction over by the fairgrounds. I bedded him and found out who was running this scam. I offered to let him use a towing company I own to pick up the cars. I know when and where the cars are being moved.”
“And I would pay for this how?” I asked.
“As long as you’re in this town, don’t let me ever see you wearing anything but a dress,” she spat. “I will not stand by and see you killed for being stupid,” she added.
I nodded my head in agreement.
“Monday night they have some trucks bringing cars in to sell off. After they unload they will park out back and after the auction they will load all the stolen cars and leave. See. That was easy, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t cheap,” I spat.
“Okay, if I held a gun to your head, the little one, and said your manhood or your life, which one would you choose? No time to think about it. Right now, tell me.”
“My manhood, I guess.”
“And I would take it, but your dad’s old friends would take it and then kill you anyway,” she smirked and lit a cigarette.
It was well past midnight when I headed home. It felt odd to give Isadora a hug before I left, but she was one tough gal, that was for sure. I wanted to call mom. I know she would have jumped for joy to know her brother was alive. Even as a girl, it wouldn’t matter to mom. I had promised to keep her secret and I would, but I sure felt bad about it.
After all the things I had found out tonight, I was sure that Isadora pretty well had my back, as it were. At home I slipped off my heels and the dress was put back in the closet for another day. I didn’t bother with the stockings and garter belt. I just curled up in the bed and went to sleep.
I spent most of the Sunday on the phone with Melody catching up on the week. We had done so almost since the day she left. I had more reservations about her now than I did before, but I didn’t let on about it in any way. The time would come when her true self would show through.
Monday Morning D.A. Baker got a lot of first page ink. He had the man that had killed a female police officer. Granted he was dead, but a search of his residence had found the gun that killed her and it still had his prints on it. A reporter asked if there would be an investigation into his death. As he told the story, a girl shot him in self defense after she had a heated argument and he started to beat her up. The girl would not be charged. I felt sure she was one of the girls that worked for Isadora and that was why.
The whole story took half of the front page and I was sure Baker was pleased with himself. I called Mike and ask him to get the D.A. to get us a warrant for the auto auction later tonight. Mike wasn’t very optimistic about getting it, but then he hadn’t seen the morning paper either.
After tonight I would have some money that I could spend and not raise too much suspicion. The insurance company’s might take as much as thirty days to pay me, so I wasn’t getting to leave town any time soon.
My first solo case had been a success, but then I had gotten a lot of help from Isadora. She even gave me a list of all the cars to look for tonight and it was a good bet they would be there.
High on the list of things I needed once I had the money was a new car. My old Honda was running on will power and I was ready for something new. I wanted to upgrade some of my equipment as well. Things were going digital right and left these days and my analog stuff was well out of date.
Later that night a dozen of Mike’s best men along with me parked in a circle around the auction. It happened pretty much just as Isadora had said it would and all but one of the cars was recovered. I had gotten the info for the sting so I was pretty sure Mike wouldn’t challenge me for the money. There was rule a too about public officials taking such things. I wasn’t sure it applied, but I would sure bring it if I had to.
It took me till Wednesday to file all the paperwork and I found out that day that the house had sold as well. I had thirty days to move before the new owners took it over. I had planned to go see Melody, but with the sale of the house going through as it did she was coming to see me. She had to sign the contracts and pick up her part of the check.
Isadora stepped up and offered me one of her rentals till I decided what I would do. The movers would come when Melody did and take all her stuff back to L. A. for her. I wasn’t leaving here or at least not till I had the money from the cars.
Even wearing girl’s jeans and tennis shoes, it was a lot of work moving myself to the new house. Breasts or big breasts anyway has a tendency to get in the way of everything. At least mine did and I was never so glad when it was all done.
After I had the place pretty well settled in, Mike came to see me.
“Nice to see you,” I said when I opened the door.
“Likewise,” he replied.
“Want a drink or a beer?” I said, as I offered him a seat at the kitchen table.
“A beer would be nice,” he replied and hung his coat on the back of the chair.
“So what brings you around? I haven’t seen you since the night of the auction,” I added. “Something wrong?”
“Just you in that dress and makeup all the time now,” he spat.
I guessed it was time to come clean with Mike and I did. I told him about Dad and his old friends that would be looking for his son. I pretty much put it all on the table, save the truth about Isadora.
“So you figure by appearing to be a girl you will be safe?” He all but asked.
“Well, bikers aren’t known for their brains. Their brawn sure, but I doubt they will be looking for me as a female.”
“What about your Mom?” He asked.
“She’s safe or at least for now,” I paused and took a sip of the beer in hand.
“You really plan to wait them out like this, don’t you?” He asked.
“Well, unless I can bust them big time and put them in jail for life, I don’t see it as a real choice. It took the ATF over a year to infiltrate the gang and then a good many of them got away. All I would do now is open myself up for more or something worse than it is now.”
“What about Melody?” He continued with the questions.
“Haven’t told her the whole story just yet. She knows most of it though and so far she has been pretty understanding.”
“Understanding is one thing. You don’t think she will go looking for a real man with you looking like this?” He pointed.
“Well, I got wind a few days ago that she might have already done that. I can’t confirm it, but that is part of the reason I moved out. She’s coming up this weekend to sign the paper for the sale of the house and move her things to L.A. As you might have guessed, I am not leaving here, not right now anyway.”
“Why not change yourself back to a man, if you even can, and take in on the lamb? That’s got to better than being a woman,” he spat. “I know you have the money to get lost any time you want to and a plane to get you there.”
He was fishing. This was way too many question from a man I knew and trusted. And now that money had entered the conversation, I had the feeling I knew where he was going. I didn’t want to lie to Mike so I tried to change the direction of the conversation.
“After I talk to Melody this weekend and see where we stand and I get the money from the insurance Companies, I might do just that”, I smiled.
“So you have already decided to run. It’s just a matter of when,” he shot back.
“In a manner of speaking, yes.”
“Well, let me know where you land. If I keep getting death threats like I have been, I might want to join you,” he smiled as he finished his beer.
“Since when?” I asked.
“I busted a bunch of punks a while back. Part of an upstart street gang and I shot one of the two brothers that were the leaders. He lived, but he will always walk with a limp. The other one has his sights set on me and the threats are getting wilder all the time,” he added.
“Well, if or when I decide to run. I am leaving the states and I have no plans for ever coming back, period,” I spat.
Mike stood up and took his jacket from the chair. I had on a rather low cut top with a black skirt and my four inch heels. I walked him to the door and even in my heels he was still a head taller than I was. I’m sure he wasn’t trying to make me blush, but at the door he stopped and leaned over to give me a kiss on the cheek. My cheeks felt like they were on fire as we said our goodbyes at the door.
A kiss from Mike was almost like a stamp of approval. Still I shuddered at the thought. If I stayed like this, I was sure that wouldn’t be the first or last kiss I got like that. My mind raced in every direction counting the days till Melody would arrive.
At eight Friday night she arrived with the mover’s right on her tail. I stood in the driveway and watched from the window till her business deal was done. The second she took the check the movers sprang into action. When the agent and new owners left, she came out and talked to me for a while.
“I cooked you a nice dinner and the table is already set if you have the time,” I told her.
“I can’t spend the night,” she replied. “But I would love a good hot dinner,” she smiled.
Over dinner we talked about almost everything. Her life, my life, the clinic and so on. They were working sixteen hour days and still turning away patients. She seemed rather happy and more so than I had known her to be. But on the more serious side of things, as much as she said she loved me, she couldn’t risk her new found reputation by living with another woman. I was more than welcome to come to L.A. and be with her. That was what she said she wanted, but I would have to be a man if I wanted to live with her all the time.
My heart sank a little more that night than it already had. I was all but sure Isadora was right. She was still seeing her old boyfriend and if I was living with her as a woman, then he might think she had gone lesbian. Considering her work and the other people she was around on a regular basis, it wouldn’t be a big stretch to think that.
Just as I had a past, and it wasn’t very pretty I’ll admit, Melody had one as well. After she left me that night, I figured it would be a good thing to look a little deeper into hers. It almost felt like working my own divorce case. I hated that type of work, but like I said before it did pay the bills.
Indeed, Melody had been engaged before she came out here. A very wealthy man with a home in the Hamptons back east as well as one in L.A. He was big into international banking and had offices almost around the world. There was a wealth of information on him, but very little about Melody, save the already known rather ugly breakup. The tabloids seemed more intent on wrecking him than her and that was odd. The women always become the scapegoats when wealthy men are involved.
I had to wait the full thirty days to get most of the money from the cars that had been recovered, but one man brought me the check personally. He was a kind man and rather shy if you would. He tried to make some small talk after he had given me the check, so I invited him in.
“I’ll come straight to the point,” he said taking in my breasts as well as my legs when we sat. “I would like to offer you a job working for us, the insurance company, I mean.”
“And what would that be?” I said, as I crossed me legs nice and slow just to see his reaction.
“We insure nothing but the very best in automobiles, antiques, one of a kind, and that sort of thing,” he paused.
“Go on,” I said, as I rolled my shoulders just a bit so my cleavage was sure to catch his eye.
“Well, as much as it pains us to admit it even with GPS tracking and all sorts of other electronics, we still loose a lot of cars ever year.” He finally placed his briefcase on the sofa next to where he sat.
He was all but sweating and twisting in his seat, but he hadn’t taken his eyes of my breasts yet.
“We fear that there is a ring much like this one working in California right now,” he smiled and finally looked me in the face.
“And you want me to help to find them and the cars,” I added.
“Well, yes, if you are willing. You seem to have a good record with finding stolen autos,” he gulped.
“I would be more than glad to help you out, if you’re willing to pay me double the normal rate,” I smiled, as I turned so he could peek up my skirt just a little. The sweat was pouring off his head by now and when he went looking for his cell phone, he tried wipe it away unnoticed with his hanky.
“She’ll take the job, but at twice our normal rate,” he spoke into the phone. “Very well. I will give her the file and leave immediately. The job is yours at the rate you asked,” he added, as he handed me a folder full of papers.
He gave me his business card as well and made a beeline to the door. He was an accountant and after what I had just put him through, I almost felt sorry for him myself.
Once you realize that very few things happen by chance, I had to wonder if Isadora hadn’t put in a good word for me knowing I would take it if just for the money involved. I would probably never know, but then I wasn’t looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Over the next week I studied the file and had several nice dinners with Isadora. She said she had nothing to do with me getting the job, but I did have a good track record for finding stolen cars so she wasn’t surprised. She had hit the same dead end that I did as far as getting any information on Melody was concerned. We were pretty well both on the same page at the time.
“I wouldn’t suggest spending too much time in California,” she said.
“What makes you say that?” I questioned.
“That’s the home of your dad’s old gang,” she smiled.
That was true and something I hadn’t really considered. I think she reminded me of it because I was talking to her about going down there as a man at the time. I wanted to be with Melody and she knew it. The more I pushed for it the more things just seemed to get in the way. I had been living as a woman for four months now and it was starting to feel a little too comfortable.
As hard as it was to do, I made an appointment at the salon for that Monday and then packed up my now few belongings and put them in storage. Later that same Saturday I bought a cute little Toyota four wheel drive pickup. It was more like a chick truck and wimp as far as horsepower was concerned.
I would love tell you about all the salesmen that had their eyes glued to me from the second I walked in the place. That would take a lot of time though and I guessed it was normal for a pretty woman to be treated that way.
Monday, while I was at the salon, I got my hair permed again and the roots touched up. When the girl doing my nails asked me about it, I told her not to trim my nails back. I was accustomed to them being long now, so it wasn’t such a hassle as before. I felt pretty when I left there and I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. My heart sank as I had done this of my own free will and I wrestled with the feelings of guilt and shame and so on. I reminded myself that it was something that I pretty much had to do and that helped some.
Early Tuesday morning I left for L.A. I knew where Melody lived and I knew she would be at work as well. She had given me a key to her place so I used it, but I wasn’t there to stay. I put a bug in her phone and laced several around the house. I left with that feeling of guilt riding me hard.
There were three other apartment buildings on the same block that would allow me to watch her place. Once again I was lucky and got one right across from her place. It was on the second floor and had an entrance from the back of the building. I rented it on the spot.
As sad as that day was for me, it was something I had to do. I had to know who she was and whose team she was playing for. I could still talk to her on my cell phone and she would have no idea where I was unless I told her.
I settled in and set up my equipment so I could hear what was going on at her place. I called the contact the insurance company had given me there and set a meeting for dinner. I sat down with a map of the city and started to memorize it. I also marked the spots where all the cars had been taken from. I had to leave before Melody got home, but I was hopeful the tape machine would catch something useful.
The café Henry Thomas had picked was a bit upscale, but I had no problem fitting in and was taken to his table pretty quick like. After he told me all he knew, he gave me another folder with ten newly stolen car reports in it. He wasn’t a big man like Mike, but I could tell he could hold his own in a fight. The last thing he told me was what he felt was the most shocking thing of all.
“We think the cars are being handed over by the owners in exchange for the insurance money,” he blushed.
“What would be shocking about that?” I asked.
“Well, most of these cars belonged to men,” he blushed even more.
“And?” I questioned.
“I’m not sure how to say this. You seem to be a lady of means. I wouldn’t want to insult you,” he added.
“I don’t see that being a problem,” I smiled.
“Well”…he leaned over the table and lowered his voice. “We think these men are also being blackmailed by a prostitute ring.”
I didn’t blush. “Do you have any idea from what area these women might be working?”
“Same as most, Hollywood blvd.” He sat back in his chair. “An off duty officer saw one of the cars get taken while he was in a coffee shop. He tried to tail the car, but lost it,” he added. “The name of the coffee shop and the location is in the report,” he smiled.
I tried to excuse myself to the ladies room, but he said he had to go. He paid the tab and that was nice of him. I did stop at the ladies room and then headed back to my place.
I all but fell into the couch, as it was as worn out as I was. Melody still wasn’t home either. I figured from what she had told me she would be late getting home, so I kicked off my heels and started to read the new report I had.
I fell asleep somewhere around ten that night, at least that’s what the clock said the last time I looked at it. I got up and undressed and went to bed the proper way. Tomorrow would be a long day as well. Melody still wasn’t home, but that wasn’t enough to miss the sleep my body needed. Tomorrow I would try my luck at seeing a car get taken. If it worked, I was well on my way to solving the case.
Melody was home when I got up, but so far there was nothing on the tape. It only started when it heard something. So far it was still at the start of the tape. I got dressed and was out the door almost at the same time as Melody. It was a sure bet she was headed for work and I was too.
I made my way towards Hollywood and the place the off duty officer had seen the car taken. I wanted to get a look at the place and see if it would work for a surveillance spot for me. He had been lucky to spot it or so said the report. I wanted a place that was well located and had lots of glass to see out of. Of course they could see me too, but then I had the advantage they had no clue why I was there or who I was.
I only knew a handful of people in California and to me that was a plus. The less people that know you, the less likely you are to bump into one on the street and have them blow your cover. The drawback is you have a much smaller pool of people to help you. It took me a while to get there, but reality set in real quick.
There were three police cars and two ambulances parked in the lot of the café. It wasn’t hard to figure out that this was a central location to get a call from. These days it was all about “Response time”, the faster the better, so this was like a post for the boy in blue.
The café had a glass front almost floor to ceiling and the end that faced the corner street was glass as well. This would be a great location to work from so long as the boys in blue didn’t figure out what I was doing. I went inside and took the corner booth. I could see a long way in either direction.
It seemed to me, as I watched the people on the street, spandex was very popular along with super thin woman. Based on what I saw, I just thought I was thin. These women looked half starved to death. Either way I was overdressed for the occasion.
I had a late breakfast while I was there and got the lay of the land listening to a couple of cops in the booth next to mine. I knew then I wasn’t the only one looking for the stolen cars or the recovery fees. One even pointed a couple of other P.I.’s that he knew were there in the café. It was time to leave now, so I paid my bill and tried to attract as little attention as possible.
A few blocks from the house I spotted a gym and stopped to see if it was open to the public. It was and I bought their cheapest membership. The girls that sold it to me pointed out the store across the street that sold workout clothing. I took her advice and bought a spandex leotard and tights. Black was the only color she had at the time to fit, so black it was.
I went home from there and back to bed. I wasn’t tired, of course, but thieves tend to work at night so I was going back to the café after hours, so to speak. I slipped my scanner in my purse along with the ear piece so I wouldn’t forget it later. If there was a stolen car reported tonight, I wanted to know it as soon as the cops did.
I slept till nearly seven that evening then got up and headed for the gym. It was so much easier to move without the corset and it was time I well enjoyed. Back at the apartment I realized quickly enough that I couldn’t wear the corset under the spandex suit I had bought either. A few hours a day without it shouldn’t be a big deal, I told myself. I did wear pantyhose under the suit and while I took my tennis shoes with me, I wore my three inch heels.
The traffic wasn’t nearly so bad as it was during the day and I made good time getting there. I had picked up a movie script to read while I was there. If I was asked, I would tell them I was an aspiring actress. There were no cops there when I arrived, but the two ambulances were still parked out back of the building. I figured once the night creatures settled in the boys in blue would make the scene.
I had a salad for dinner and without the pressure of the corset I still felt full. I turned on my scanner and slipped the ear piece in and now I waited and watched.
Around midnight three big biker goons came in and thankfully they sat at the opposite end of the building from me. They were drunk and loud, but drinking coffee now as if that would sober them up. Around 2:00 a.m. two of the local cops came in and had lunch. They made the bikers nervous I guess so they left pretty quick like. I saw nothing suspicious all night save a few hookers walking the street, so just before sun up I went home.
This became my routine every night and soon I knew the staff at the café by name. My cover story worked and for the most part I felt safe. So far not a single car had been taken that I could see and I hadn’t heard a call go out on the scanner for any high end cars being stolen either. The bikers and the cops were regulars at the café as well. It was an odd combination I know, but they seemed not to bother each other for the most part.
A month had passed now and Melody hadn’t had a single visitor or a phone call on her home phone. I had spoken to her on the weekends same as always. She knew I was working a case and I had told her I would catch up to her when I was done. I think it was in part the fact that I was so well accepted as a female that caused me to let my guard down. That was a not a good thing to do and I should have known better.
I decided to leave the coffee shop early that Sunday night, the streets were deserted and the radio was almost silent. My truck was parked in a rather dark spot given all the lights in the area and I was jumped from behind just as I was opening my door. It was the three bikers that jumped me and the fight was over before it even started for me.
The police that came in that night found me in the parking lot and got the ambulance out back of the building to take me to the hospital. I was half conscious and hurting like there was no end. In my wallet they found Melody’s card from the clinic and, of course, it had Dr. Joyce’s number on it as well. I tried to tell them not to call Dr. Joyce, but they did.
When she arrived at the hospital, she was rather shocked. I had three broken ribs, both eyes were black, my forearm was fractured, as was my left ankle. She realized who I was and that was the only reason she was shocked. She signed the papers and had me moved to her clinic. Again, I tried to protest, but she was my doctor of record.
The ambulance took me to the clinic and as soon as I was checked in the men left. Dr. Joyce gave me shot that knocked me out. She told me she was going to so I wouldn’t be in such pain. In a way I was thankful I was in pain, but helpless to stop her. There was no telling what she might do to me. And Melody was sure to find out I was here, that would not be good.
When I came to, I still felt like death warmed up. I hurt all over and I could feel the bandages on my face. I managed to find the call button for the nurse and after some time she did come to check on me.
Dr. Joyce was with her and she began to explain about my injuries. My broken bones weren’t severe enough to need a cast, but she suggested that I not get in another fight any time soon. The cuts on my face had been stitched closed and that was the reason for the bandages. As she unwrapped my face, she told me the ribs would hurt for some time to come if I took a real deep breath. “All in all,” she added, “you came out if it rather well.”
I stayed another two days till the pain was under control with very little meds and then she sent me home. It wasn’t till I was there that I realized I had been in the clinic almost three weeks. A lot of things struck me as odd as soon as I realized this. First I hadn’t seen or heard from Melody. Second, as far as I could remember, there were no cuts on my face like the doctor had said. Third, Henry Thomas had somehow gotten my truck from the café and then brought it to the clinic. My purse, along with all my id and the keys to the truck, were all there….including one thousand dollars that was in my wallet.
The police report listed the incident as a mugging. If that was true, why was the money still here? Never mind that it was three to one so why didn’t try to rape me as well. Once again I had a lot of facts, but no way to know if it was the truth. At first glance I would have said it wasn’t.
I felt dirty to say the least and headed to the bedroom to get undressed and take a shower. When I paused in front of the mirror that covered the closet door, I got a full view of my naked body. From the lower rib area to my knees I was one very large bruise. My groin area wasn’t spared either so I guess they had kicked me there as well. They didn’t look it in the mirror, but my breasts felt as if they were bruised too. I was a mess to say the least.
I spent most of a month hold up in my apartment. I listened to and watched Melody, while I listened to the scanner for any report of a stolen car that fit the profile. I put lotions and creams on my body every day trying to speed the healing process along. I did get out to buy food and stuff such as that, but I was never too far from home.
I had more than one or two nightmares about the beating and in a lucid moment I saw the small rebel flag on the back of one of the bikes. I had to believe now that Isadora was right about Dad’s old gang and was probably right to have started me down the path I was on. Had the police not drove up when they did they would probably have beaten me to death. I decided that day, be it right or wrong morally any way, my best hope for staying alive was indeed to become the woman I appeared to be. I would finish this case and take the money and run, although, I still thought it was always a bad thing to run.
The vagina I saw between my legs was still fake to me. I could touch it and feel it and once even had a rather nice orgasm, but underneath I knew what was there. That would change and maybe sooner than I wanted it to, but that was the way it had to be.
I had called Melody and explained about the beating I had taken and why I didn’t call. She expressed her concerns, but it seemed empty to hear her say it. Her boyfriend from back east had come to visit and stayed the weekend. Her father had called too and I knew who she really was. It was ugly, but I will keep that to myself for now. Once I knew though a lot of things seemed to fall in place. I wasn’t the only one keeping tabs on Melody and now I knew why.
It was time to finish this and get out while she and I were still alive. I spent every night at the café for months, but the bikers never came back. I did see a few drive-bys, none of them ever stopped. I had a dozen spandex body suits now and that was what I wore every night. I kept my hair and nails done just so and did nothing out of character that might even suggest I was man. My breasts seemed to be growing, but when I stepped on the scale, I hadn’t gained any weight. Worse than that, I was often wet between my legs like a real woman would be. I didn’t have time to dwell on it right then as I was watching a woman put a briefcase in the trunk of a car. It wasn’t her car either. A man had parked it just a few minutes ago.
As quick as I could in my high heels, I went to the truck and started to follow her. The silver anniversary Jag fit the profile and for the moment I was very happy. She hit the ten freeway and got in the fast lane going east. We were almost out to the fifteen by the time the car was reported stolen, the tag number was given and it matched the one I was following. A smile crossed my face and I took a sigh of relief.
When we passed the ten and sixty interchange, she took the next exit. She was headed north now and was picking up the pace as she went. There wasn’t a lot of traffic out that night so I stayed back. I didn’t want to tip my hand. She stopped at what looked like an old military airfield. She left the car with a security guard and took another car and left with the briefcase. Another guard parked the car in a hanger and when he turned on the lights, I could see it was full of cars.
I knew where the cars were now, but this girl had me wondering. She left there casually and headed north again. She only went about a mile and then turned off on a dirt road. The moon was full that night so I turned off my lights and followed her. She stopped this time at a farm house. As she stood by the car, she strapped a pistol to her leg, then she took a wrap style skirt and hid it. The skirt was cut over the bodysuit. I would have to try that sometime.
She took the briefcase and headed toward the house. A single light came on and then a few seconds later there was gun fire. I counted about ten rounds before all was quiet. Considering where we were, I doubted anybody but me had heard it. I waited several minutes then slipped on my tennis shoes and took the .44 Magnum from my purse. As I moved towards the house, the girl came out. She was shot and only made it a few feet before she feel and dropped the briefcase.
I checked her pulse as I looked around. She was dead, but I was sure she wasn’t the only person there. I slowly made my way into the house and now I was the one who was shocked. The bikers that had beaten me were there and still alive for the moment. There was cocaine all over the floor and several growing pools of blood.
I stepped back out to where the girl had fallen and took her gun. I put one round each in the groin of the Bikers. Then I called Henry Thomas and reported that I had heard gun fire at a house and gave the location. I told him I had followed the stolen Jag out to that area, but had lost it. I put the gun back in her hand and then took the briefcase and opened it in my truck. I guessed it was about fifty thousand dollars all in small bills. I put the case behind my seat and headed home.
I only had to wait two weeks for another car to be stolen and it went to the same place as the jag. This time I called it in and Henry Thomas was the first to arrive. Before I allowed him to see the cars, I made him sign the waiver that gave me all the finder’s fees. The cops left the place alone till the security guards came in, they were arrested and soon told the whole story.
Henry Thomas might even get a promotion; he made ten arrests over the next two days. And as much as they hated it, the insurance company gave me a check for five hundred thousand dollars. Of course they fired me too, but then I wasn’t too worried about that part.
It was time to leave and to come clean with Melody about what I knew. It would be interesting to see if she filled in the few blanks left. While she was at work one day, I went to her place and took out all the bugs. If she didn’t take the news well, I didn’t want her to know how I found out either.
I called her on Friday and told her I was coming down to visit on Saturday. She seemed really happy to hear that and I wondered if she really was. The plan was simple. She and I would take a vacation and while we were alone I would tell her what I knew and offer her the chance to run away with me. If she accepted the offer, that was fine. If she didn’t, I would bring her back and I would never be seen again.
I spent most of the week with Isadora and eased her fears that I might become a man again. I hadn’t decided to have the operation and become a real woman either, but I was leaving the states till all this had time to die down. With my bags and some money in hand, Isadora drove me to the plane. I took off and then landed a short time later in L.A.
I took a cab to Melody’s place and she acted all but thrilled to see me. I told her I was going to Mexico for a couple of weeks and asked her to come with me. To my surprise she said yes and we left the next day.
We spent our days at the beach and our nights in a little beach cottage well suited for lovers. Thursday night would be our last and when we decided to pack before we went to bed I knew it was time.
“I know who you really are Melody. I know your father was a top nuclear scientist and he defected to the U.S. I know you and your father are watched by the C.I.A. and they even created a boyfriend for you.” I dumped two point five million dollars on the bed. “Come away with me now. I have a place already paid for and more money than either of us could ever spend. The C.I.A. has no clue where you are right now and they never have to again.” She smiled and for a moment my heart was happy, as I felt she would say yes.
“You know so much and yet you know so little,” she sat on the edge of the bed. “What you said is true, but I can never be free of them, at least not till my father dies,” she spoke softly letting her Russian accent show. “My mother was American and I was born in the U.S. They watch me to protect me from the K.G.B. and others who would try to get back at my father. For a while they even suspected you were after me for that reason. I knew you were beaten badly and in the clinic where I work.
“You knew,” I spat.
“Yes, and I know what they did to you,” she held her head down.
“What do you mean, what they did to me?”
“You will never be a man again. What you have between your legs is real now and has been since you were there,” she began to cry. “It was because of me and I hate them for it,” he added through her tears.
I all but fell over on the bed. I was a woman now for real and if I knew, Dr. Joyce may be more woman that I wanted to be. This was the most twisted thing I had ever heard of and I struggled to get my head around even the idea of it.
Early the next morning I put all but a few dollars of the money in the bank. Then I flew Melody back to L.A. At the airport we cried again, as we said our goodbyes. I had the plane refueled and paid cash, then headed back to Mexico.
From there I hopped from island to island till I made my way to Aruba. I had already applied for citizenship and bought a home there on the beach. As soon as I settled in, I moved all my money to a numbered account at a local bank. I called Isadora and told her where I was and how to find me in the event of an emergency.
As the days passed, my hips and breasts just seemed to get bigger and bigger. I know it’s hard to believe that a woman can have F cup that are natural, but my mom did. I could only guess with my body full of female hormones I was well on my way to looking like her in that department.
Uncle David finally died, but it was of natural causes. He had a heart attack in his sleep and was found dead the next day by his barman. Isadora called to break the news and said I should move the money that David had given me now. I didn’t need it, but someday mom might so I took it while I could.
Two years later Mom was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s night. I flew home and paid all her final expenses. Isadora was there for the funeral and it was the first time I had ever seen here cry.
“Well,” she sobbed. “It’s just you and me now, kiddo.”
“Yes, it is,” I replied, as I closed the car door and she headed home.
I went back to the islands, but freely stayed in touch with Isadora now. She told how about the time I had bust the stolen car thing in California. The bikers quit coming around. In fact, she hadn’t seen them since.
Mike and Melody were still my two closet friends, but I seldom talked to them. I had gotten a message to Mike through Isadora as to where I was and how to find me. I never expected to see him, but I felt like it was the right thing to do.
When Isadora told me that Melody’s father had died, I hoped she would look me up. True, I wasn’t a man anymore, but I still cared for her deeply. There was some time left on the grant money according to Isador, and Melody was still working at the clinic.
Not long after that call Mike came knocking on my door. He was still recovering from a bullet through the shoulder. In fact, he told me he left the day he was released from the hospital. “I guess that angry brother finally caught up to you,” I said, as I helped him into a chair.
“Yes,” he replied, “in some pain and they are still alive. Looks like you’re doing good,” he all but questioned.”
“Still getting accustomed to the island life, but yes, I am doing okay.” Mike was a big man and a man’s man as well. Still I had to tell him that what he saw was real now. I was a woman, not all that proud to be, but that was the truth, like it or not.
“I always figured you would end up like this,” Mike said.” You were always pretty as a woman and still are. I can tell you that now,” he added.
“Was there some reason you couldn’t before?” I asked.
“Melody,” he replied. “I always wanted you for myself, but as long as there was hope for you and her I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Mike wasn’t big with words, but what little he said meant a lot to me. It was well past sunset and too many beers later that I helped him to bed. When I finally got him there, he used his one good hand and pulled me down on top of him. He gave me a kiss that made chills run up and down my spin. His one arm would reach around my waist and he wasn’t letting me up either.
I finally took off my bikini and eased myself on top of him. His penis was rock hard and standing straight up. I got on my knees and eased myself down on top of him and it was a feeling like no other. I ravaged his body well into the morning hours and fell asleep wrapped up in his arm.
I was up the next morning and had cooked breakfast before Mike even stirred. He took the cup of coffee I offered him and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. I put the food on the table and then sat down and had a cup of coffee myself. He didn’t say thank you. Good morning. I had a great night,” he just looked at me really hard.
“Marry me?” He asked.
“Do what?” I said stunned.
“You heard me. I want to marry you,” he replied in a smooth even tone. “Do I have to tell you I love you after all this time?” He added.
“It’s not that simple, Mike. By island law I am still a man and two men can’t marry here.”
“So I am sure we can get it done somewhere,” he smiled.
“Yes, we could in Mexico, but are you sure that is what you want? This is not some fantasy,” I pointed to my body.
“When can we go?” He asked.
“You really do want me, don’t you?”
“It’s all I have wanted since the day I met you,” He smiled.
“You realize you will be branded as a gay man after this.”
“So long as you and I are happy, let them pound sand,” he smiled ear to ear.
“Okay, we can leave tomorrow. I will make the arrangements.”
The next day I started bleeding and I was sure I was having my period. Up till now I just had the symptoms, never the bleeding.
Still Mike and I went to a small village in Mexico and were married that day.
From then on he and I were attached at the hip. He wanted to do something besides lay around in the sand so he opened a medical supply house in the village where we lived. When I called Isadora and told her the news, she was happy for Mike and I.
Mike and I made love often and even sometimes on the beach. You have to be careful about that. One sand in the wrong place is never a good thing, but as sure as night must follow day, I missed my period. I went to the doctor and found out indeed I was pregnant.
The first six months wasn’t so bad, but I wouldn’t wish the last three on my worst enemy. The doctor had to do a C section and take James Michal, but I had 6 pound 8ounce boy. Mike was a very proud father and I did all I knew to be the best mother I could.
I breast fed him till my breasts dried up, but by then he was eating baby food and using a sippy cup. And yes, I went on the pill as soon as the doc allowed me to.
Mike turned out to be a wonderful father and great husband. I don’t think for us things could have worked out much better.
Isadora came down for James 2nd birthday. We had a party, of course, and we all had a great time. Isadora had invited Melody at my request. Enough time had passed now that I figured she had a man of her own, so I wouldn’t be upset if she did. She did get there a day late, but Mike and I were glad to see her nonetheless.
Isadora wanted to go house shopping so with James and Melody in tow we went.
Melody was shocked that Mike and I were married, never mind that we had a son.
Isadora found a palace she liked and started to negotiate a price right then. She got the agent down to a reasonable price and got it on paper even. I felt sure she would buy it and retire here when the time came.
Later on I answered a ton of questions for Melody in private, of course. She wanted to know everything. So I told her. Yes, I had a regular period now, even though I had all the symptoms long before I even bled the first time. I had carried James full term, but I didn’t risk natural child birth. I showed her the small scar from the C section and then she believed me.
“Of all the people Dr. Joyce did the operation on, you’re the only verified 100% success,” Melody said with a tear in her eye. “Dr. Joyce is dead now,” she added.
That didn’t make me heart broken, but I knew how much Melody liked her and believed in her work. “What happened to the clinic?” I asked.
“Well, the grant money died with her. I wanted to carry on, but the people that controlled the money said no, so that was the end of that,” she smiled.
“So move down here and get some grant money locally. You can carry on her work here. You know Mike and I will help you all we can. I would bet Isadora could fund you and never miss the money,” I added. She said she would think about it and get back to me. That weekend she went home and it was just Mike, James and I again.
Melody had one quarter to do before she got her MD and she did that as soon as she got back. Isadora called me and asked if I would go in half to set up a clinic and fund her to carry on the research Dr. Joyce was doing. Mike and I had already talked about it and he was game, so I told her, yes we would.
Six months later Isadora and Melody came to the Island to stay. There was tons of money floating around the Island and soon Melody had her clinic in full swing. In fact, Isadora and I only bought the building and covered her payroll for the first six months.
Melody became Aunt Melody to James. It was so cute to watch Isadora cringe when James started calling her Nana. She fawned over the boy like he was her own and he never went without anything he wanted. Mikes love for me only grew and we all became a family in a way. And I loved him more than words could tell. We were all happy now…and we liked it that way.