Doppelganger

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"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call... THE TWILIGHT ZONE."

 
Doppelganger

By Mary Beth Sanford

 


 

Doppelganger

Players: Brian as Brian as Brian.

Synopsis: Brian didn't feel the changes, or if he did, it wasn’t enough to wake him. A shift would be the best way to describe what did happen. A slight quiver within the blink of an eye and then nothing. Brian did wake slightly then, but in that half sleep nothing registered before falling back to his dreams. His hand, resting lightly on his nightgown, moved slowly, and his dream changed.

Fact From Fiction: Doppelganger means "double walker" a doppelganger is a shadow-self that is believed by some to accompany every human. Doppelgangers are also exactly the same as us only mirror images of ourselves.

Growing up a science fiction fan allowed me to day dream in even more fantastic ways on situations that would put me into dresses. A Twilight Zone episode, seen years ago and twisted slightly into my fantasies is what prompted this story.

And as Rod Serling so often said:

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call... THE TWILIGHT ZONE."

Story

Brian woke making the same sound every child his age makes. That groan or moan as a protest, because he wasn’t ready to wake. Definitely not for school. He would, if he could, remain forever under the warmth and security of those blankets and simply, by shear will, make his mother go away.

She didn’t.

“Come on and start moving that bottom of yours or you won’t have time for breakfast. I’ve ironed your pink dress. It’s hanging on your closet! Wear it for your pictures today. You can wear your dressy Mary Jane shoes, but if you come home with even the slightest smudge or scuff on them I’ll tan your bottom! Understood?” His mother said turning to leave the room.

Brian listened as most children do. One ear only, and with that disinterested ear tuned for the trivia of a family in motion. His brain hardly registering what was said only because it’s what parents always say, and only because they are parents. Brian gave it as much interest as it merited almost answering instead of giving off another moan.

Only it wasn’t what she would say to Brian? Some part of his brain registered on that. A smile first. A snicker followed by a snort. Pink dress? Mary Jane shoes? Mom had finally gone round the bend.

She hadn’t even realized she was in his room talking to him and not in his sister’s room talking with his sister. Obviously she was showing the first signs of senility. Mom was, after all, nearing forty.

Brian’s smile faded in a series of odd jerks as he opened his eyes slowly to the bright sunlight. First because his curtains were blue, not pink. Cotton, and not chiffon. His curtains tied back with fabric that matched.

Brian’s curtains had cars and trucks on them. His curtains did not bows holding them open. He also didn’t have a pink canopy over his head to match those curtains, nor those same giant bows on the four post.

Barbie smiled back at him. Barbie wasn’t suppose to be smiling back at him. Moreover, it wasn’t actually Barbie on the bed spread smiling. It was Ken. Ken in pink actually.

Ken for sure but Ken dressed as Barbie. There was that moment when the smile returned. Briefly at first. He was dreaming obviously. Still dreaming he thought, but that thought gone again when the thought itself suggested otherwise.

There are hints, and then there are HINTS. When Brian rose in that startled moment it was clear he was actually in his sister’s room. While that would be more than enough reason to bring a boy’s adrenaline to a level of full panic, it was nothing compared to recognizing that puffy sleeve of his sister’s nightgown.

His sister’s puffy sleeve on the arm he used to pull the covers back, and, when those covers went back it wasn’t just the sleeve either. He was in his sister’s room, in her nightgown, and that was more than enough reason to panic.

There might be a reason to be in her bed, but he’d remember it. He’d remember why he was sleeping in her bed, but definitely couldn’t imagine a reason to be in her nightgown. He’d gone to sleep in his room.

Only it was his room. That giant oak he loved climbing in was still outside his window. His sister’s room faced the garage. He was getting dizzy.

He also knew, without any doubt at all, that his mother would have been talking in a much higher voice just a bit ago if she’d actually seen it was him. It would have been more like: “Good heavens? What are you doing?”.

Perhaps a scream even, and that for sure. Only she hadn’t screamed. She hadn’t screamed, so she hadn’t known it was him! He had a chance!

Brian was up in an instant. His thoughts only on getting that nightgown off. Get that nightgown off and get back into his room. Obviously his mother thought she was talking with his sister.

That was lucky! If he could make it to his room, he was going to make damn sure she still thought that. He was back in his room in an instant. His sister’s nightgown came up as he hurried out. Those Powerpuff girl’s panties, he discovered under it, off as well. Both now hidden in a corner of his closet.

That was so close! Too close? He didn’t know how that had happened but at least he’d made it. However he’d gotten there, and in those things, wasn’t clear at all. It had to be his sister’s doing. She would do something like this.

Then it struck him that his sister was gone. His sister was at a friend’s house for a birthday party sleep over. She was going to school from there today.

She wasn’t even home, and more importantly she wasn’t expected home. His mother knew that? If she knew that then she must have also known it was Brian in that bed. That, he thought, was obviously impossible. She hadn’t screamed?

Impossible or not, he was in panties and a nightgown. That much was certain and he checked the closet. They were there still. He had been wearing them. In his sister’s things, in her room! He’d been in her bed, wearing her panties, and in her nightgown.

He’d plead ignorance! It would be an honest answer. He’d give her an honest “I don’t know” when she asked. She would ask. She would definitely ask, he thought, on his way into the bathroom for his shower.

He was still shook. He was still a bit unnerved by the whole thing when he dressed. Nearly faint still when he grabbed his books to make his way to breakfast. He looked without success till found them in his sister’s room.

Why his books were in his sister’s room, when he searched, added another mystery to the first. He prayed it was a joke of some sort. His sister’s way of getting even some how. His only course of action was to remain calm.

“Morning!” He said walking into the kitchen.

“What in heaven’s name are you doing?” His mother said with a look that toggled between amusement, confusion and utter surprise.

“What?” Brian asked looking first at his zipper before his shoes and socks. His zipper was closed, his shoes were on the right feet and his socks matched. Whatever his mother was alarmed over eluded him in those seconds. He checked his nose last. He was ok there as well.

“That is your sister’s best suit. Now go get out of those things, and get dressed before I decide to send you to school looking just like that. Good heavens, if your father was here right now he’d have a heart attack.” His mother said.

Brian turned but stopped. He looked down at himself again. Nothing wrong with what he was wearing. He pitied his mother for a second. Poor thing had lost it. Then he waited for her to smile. She was in on that joke.

It took a second to register the words, and a few more to connect them. She’d said: “his sister’s suit” connecting that with the suit he was wearing. It was his suit. It also took him a second more, beyond those other seconds, to realize his mother was in his father’s robe and pajamas.

“Mom, you ok?” Brian asked suddenly concerned that perhaps she really had gone around that bend. It worried him. Ok to joke about such things but not if it’s really happened.

“I should be asking you that same question young man?” His mother said.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Brian asked holding his arms out and looking down at what he was wearing again.

“What’s going on is that you had better go get changed out of those things, and be damn quick about it. I’m warning you! If you don’t go and change this instant, I WILL send you to school looking just like that. You are not getting out of school or your pictures!” His mother said.

“Fine!” Brian said with half a laugh. Going to school like this was a no brainer. There was clearly no risk in that warning. He didn’t like dressing up in anything other than blue jeans anyway, but today was picture day.

Picture day was a mom thing so wearing a suit mandatory. Fortunately everyone would be dressed up today so it wasn’t going to make him any more weird than any other boy on that day.

“HEY! Brian? You ready?” Chuck’s voice sounded just then. He came in through the front.

“In the kitchen!” Brian hollered back thankful to have a witness to his mother’s breakdown. Chuck would know what to do. He hoped.

“Oh wow! What are you wearing?” Brian said in almost the same instant that Chuck said it. Both looking at each other as if the other had completely lost it. Brian’s friend, and as macho as any guy he knew, up to now, was in a dress.

No that wasn’t right! A dress is just a dress. Brian wasn’t in just a dress. Brian was in a very frilly dress. Clearly a sissy right down to his lace socks.

His best friend a sissy? Not likely. Only he was dressed like one! A dress that would take a slip and to Brian’s horror, that slip was there as well.

Brian didn’t even want to know what his friend wore under that dress or that slip! Chuck would never wear what he was wearing, let alone what went under it. Only he was wearing those things?

“You deciding to changes sexes?” Chuck asked smiling at Brian.

“Look who’s talking?” Brian said back. It was unnerving seeing his friend like that. More so given how casual he was over it.

“Me? What’s wrong with me?” Chuck asked twisting right, left, then looking down at his dress. That took a second before he suddenly said, in a defensive tone: “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing? It’s picture day. Besides, I like this dress.”

Brian watched his friend closely in those seconds. He listened intently as well. OK, it was a joke. His best friend, with far more guts then he obviously thought he possessed, had joined forces with his mother and sister to pull a fast one on him.

He didn’t know why, nor how, given he’d ended up in his sister’s room, but there it was. Had to be that. “Chuck! You almost had me!” Brian said wagging a finger at him.

“Brian? Is that you?” Another voice cried out from the kitchen door. It was Susan. She was going to wet herself over the way Chuck was dressed when she recognized that it was Chuck. Only she didn’t.

“Oh my God! Brian? What are you doing?” Susan said still standing at the kitchen’s threshold, stopping dead in her tracks to rest there with her mouth wide open. This was getting weird Brian thought.

“My how handsome you look!” Susan said sarcastically after a pause. It wasn’t her shock, or words that caught Brian in his own surprise, but the fact she was wearing exactly what he was wearing. Right down to her tie. OK, so Susan was in on this as well.

“OK guys, mom! You win! It’s over. Ha, Ha, Ha. Whatever I’ve done, you sure got even for it. Now what’s going on?” Brian said laughing. He laughed for a few seconds and stopped.

He was the only one laughing. Everyone else just looking at him. Like he was crazy or something. He wasn’t laughing any longer because his mother, his best friend, and his girl friend were just standing there with their mouths open.. They were just looking at him.

He’d expect that look if he was dressed as Chuck was, but not in his suit. He smiled a little hoping that would at least make Chuck bust up. Chuck didn’t. Brian lost his smile.

“Why you dressed like a girl?” Susan asked.

“Why you dressed like a guy?” Brian asked back.

“What? What guy is going to wear these things? Except you maybe? Unless he’s one of those guys that doesn’t want to be a guy anymore? Oh no Brian, you’re not suddenly gay are you? Is that it? Are you coming out or something?” Susan asked bringing her hands to her face.

“Honey, is that it?” His mother suddenly asked showing concern on her face.

“NO! What? Hold it! You’re crazy! So are you! So is everyone, but me! What’s wrong with these things? I’m wearing what I always wear. I mean not the suit, but pants. If any one is coming out it’s you guys! What are you guys talking about?” Brian suddenly asked thinking he was now the one going over the edge.

Brian’s mother stepped over to him. She wrapped an arm would his shoulders. It was comforting. The other two just looking at him. Brian moaned a little clinging to his mother suddenly.

“Look, why don’t you kids go on ahead, and let me talk with Brian. OK?” Brian’s mother said realizing in an instant that something was definitely wrong.

Susan and Chuck looked at each other, then back at Brian and nodded. Both slowly turned and filed out of the kitchen. There faces twisted into sympathetic grins, slightly twisted a little by curiosity. If this was a joke it wasn’t funny anymore Brian thought.

“Honey sit!” Brian’s mother said in a soft voice.

“Mom, what’s going on? Why are you wearing dad’s things?” Brian asked as he sat at the kitchen table. He needed to sit.

“I’m not? Honey, what makes you think that I am?” His mother asked.

“Because you are!” Brian said in a panic and added: “Susan was dressed as a boy, and Chuck was dressed as a girl and you are wearing dad’s things.”

“Susan was dressed as a boy? Chuck as a girl?” Brian’s mother asked, and then added in a softer tone: “And you think you are dressed as a boy right now is that it?”

Brian nodded. He didn’t think he was dressed as a boy he WAS dressed as a boy as he said: “YES!”

“Come with me.” Brian’s mom said waiting at the edge of the kitchen for Brian to stand and follow. He did.

His mother opened the drapes after walking into the living room, and stood there waiting for Brian to stand next to her. He edged to her side and looked out waiting for his mother to tell him what he was looking at. She didn’t, and suddenly she didn’t need to.

Brian was watching kids file past on their way to school. Kids of all ages, and some he recognized, because some live on his street. Their street was a main walk way to school for their neighborhood.

If this was a joke then it was the most elaborate joke Brian had ever witnessed.

Girls were dressed as boys and boys as girls. Little boys in little girl dresses, and little girls walking alongside in pants. Those boys, in dresses, skipping along like they’d been dressing that way all of their lives.

So too those girls? Brian felt ill, dizzy, confused and all of it very suddenly. As if he was standing on a ship in a mild storm. He’d felt like that once on a fishing boat. His world was rocking a little.

Brian was going over the edge. He felt it. He didn’t know what to say, and suddenly didn’t want to stand there. A little boy walking past in a Daisy Kingdom type dress pointed and laughed. Other kids looked, then laughed. They were laughing at Brian.

Brian stepped away from the window.

Then his mother walked away. She walked towards the fireplace. She lifted a picture and walk back over to Brian with the family photo off the mantel. A photo they’d taken just a month ago, on a Sunday. Exactly as it had been except this time he was in the light satiny yellow dress, and his sister in his sweater and tie.

“Mom, what’s happening to me?” Brian asked.

“Honey! What’s wrong? Why did you dress in your sister’s clothes?” His mother asked.

“These are my clothes!” Brian said in frustration and added: “And how did I get into my sister’s room?”

“You were not in your sister’s room. At least not when I woke you? You were in your room. Don’t you remember?” His mother said with real concern in her voice. Brian fell into the chair away from the living room window, and fought back the panic he felt.

Some of his panic because he knew it wasn’t an elaborate joke. Too many kids to make that even remotely possible. Was it something on the news that suggested they all do this?

Did a comet pass, changing them suddenly or what? He was searching within those science fiction stories for facts even if they were pretend facts. Only Chuck and Susan hadn’t changed. Not their personalities or their voices? They had not changed from who they were, but just in what they were wearing.

“Do you like dressing in these things?” His mother asked.

“Of course I do?” Brian answered.

“Since when honey?” His mother asked sitting down on the padded stool that went with the chair Brian sat in.

“Since forever!” Brian said in utter and complete frustration, and a total state of confusion..

Meanwhile, just a hairs breath away, the scene shifted just a tiny bit......

Brian woke making the same sound every child his age makes. That groan or moan as a protest, because he wasn’t ready to wake. Definitely not for school. He would, if he could, remain forever under the warmth and security of those blankets and simply, by shear will, make his mother go away.

She didn’t.

“Come on and start moving that bottom of yours or you won’t have time for breakfast. I’ve ironed your slacks. They are hanging on your closet! Wear those with your white shirt and sweater for your pictures today. You can wear your dressy shoes, but if you come home with even the slightest smudge or scuff on them I’ll tan your bottom! Understood?” His mother said turning to leave the room.

Brian listened as most children do. One ear only, and with that disinterested ear tuned for the trivia of a family in motion. His brain hardly registering what was said only because it’s what parents always say, and only because they are parents. Brian gave it as much interest as it merited almost answering instead of giving off another moan.

Only it wasn’t what she would say to Brian? Some part of his brain registered on that. A smile first. A snicker followed by a snort. Slacks? Shirt and sweater? Dress shoes? Mom had finally gone round the bend.

She hadn’t even realized she was in his room talking to him and not in his sister’s room talking with his sister. Obviously she was showing the first signs of senility. Mom was, after all, nearing forty.

Brian’s smile faded in a series of odd jerks as he opened his eyes slowly to the bright sunlight. First because his curtains were pink, not blue. Chiffon, and not cotton. His curtains tied back with Chiffon.

Brian’s sister’s curtains had cars and trucks on them. His curtains had bows holding them open. His pink canopy always over his head to match those curtains, missing. So too his bed, the post and those giant bows on the four post.

Kin wasn’t smiling back at him. Kin was suppose to be smiling back at him. Moreover, It was Ken. Ken in a combat uniform.

Ken for sure, but Ken in pants. There was that moment when the smile returned. Briefly at first. He was dreaming obviously. Still dreaming he thought, but that thought gone again when the thought itself suggested otherwise.

There are hints, and then there are HINTS. When Brian rose in that startled moment it was clear he was actually in his sister’s room. While that would be more than enough reason to bring a boy’s adrenaline to a level of full panic, it was nothing compared to recognizing that cotton sleeve of his sister’s pajamas.

His sister’s cotton sleeve on the arm he used to pull the covers back, and, when those covers went back it wasn’t just the sleeve either. He was in his sister’s room, in her pajamas, and that was more than enough reason to panic.

There might be a reason to be in her bed, but he’d remember it. He’d remember why he was sleeping in her bed, but definitely couldn’t imagine a reason to be in her pajamas. He’d gone to sleep in his room.

Only it was his room. That giant oak his sister loved climbing in was outside still, and at the edge of his window. His room faced the garage. He was getting dizzy.

He also knew, without any doubt at all, that his mother would have been talking in a much higher voice just a bit ago if she’d actually seen it was him. It would have been more like: “Good heavens? What are you doing?”.

Perhaps a scream even, and that for sure. Only she hadn’t screamed. She hadn’t screamed, so she hadn’t known it was him! He had a chance!

Brian was up in an instant. His thoughts only on getting those pajamas off. Get that top and bottom off and get back into his room. Obviously his mother thought she was talking with his sister.

That was lucky! If he could make it to his room, he was going to make damn sure she still thought that. He was back in his room in an instant. His sister’s top came up as he hurried out. Those Power Ranger under pants, he discovered under his pajama bottoms, came off as well. All of it now hidden in a corner of his closet.

That was so close! Too close? He didn’t know how that had happened but at least he’d made it. However he’d gotten there, and in those things, wasn’t clear at all. It had to be his sister’s doing. She would do something like this.

Then it struck him that his sister was gone. His sister was at a friend’s house for a birthday party sleep over. She was going to school from there today.

She wasn’t even home, and more importantly she wasn’t expected home. His mother knew that? If she knew that then she must have also known it was Brian in that bed. That, he thought, was obviously impossible. She hadn’t screamed?

Impossible or not, he was in his sister’s underwear and pajamas. That much was certain and he checked the closet. They were there still. He had been wearing them. In his sister’s things, in her room! He’d been in her bed, wearing her underwear, and in her pajamas.

He’d plead ignorance! It would be an honest answer. He’d give her an honest “I don’t know” when she asked. She would ask. She would definitely ask, he thought, on his way into the bathroom for his shower.

He was still shook. He was still a bit unnerved by the whole thing when he dressed. Nearly faint still when he grabbed his books to make his way to breakfast. He looked without success till found them in his sister’s room.

Why his books were in his sister’s room, when he searched, added another mystery to the first. He prayed it was a joke of some sort. His sister’s way of getting even some how. His only course of action was to remain calm.

“Morning!” He said walking into the kitchen.

“What in heaven’s name are you doing?” His mother said with a look that toggled between amusement, confusion and utter surprise.

“What?” Brian asked looking first at his skirts before his Mary Janes and lace socks. His dress was fine, his Mary Janes were on the right feet and his lace socks matched. Whatever his mother was alarmed over eluded him in those seconds. He moved his forefinger and thumb at the edges of his lips. No lipstick on his fingers? He was ok there as well.

“That is your sister’s best dress. Now go get out of those things, and get dressed before I decide to send you to school looking just like that. Good heavens, if your father was here right now he’d have a heart attack.” His mother said.

Brian turned but stopped. He looked down at himself again. Nothing wrong with what he was wearing. He pitied his mother for a second. Poor thing had lost it. Then he waited for her to smile. She was in on that joke.

It took a second to register the words, and a few more to connect them. She’d said: “his sister’s best dress.” connecting that with the dress he was wearing. It was his dress. It also took him a second more, beyond those other seconds, to realize his mother was in his father’s quilted pink robe and nightgown.

“Mom, you ok?” Brian asked suddenly concerned that perhaps she really had gone around that bend. It worried him. Ok to joke about such things but not if it’s really happened.

“I should be asking you that same question young man?” His mother said.

“Mom, what’s going on?” Brian asked holding his arms out over his skirts and looking down at what he was wearing again.

“What’s going on is that you had better go get changed out of those things, and be damn quick about it. I’m warning you! If you don’t go and change this instant, I WILL send you to school looking just like that. You are not getting out of school or your pictures!” His mother said.

“Fine!” Brian said with half a laugh. Going to school like this was a no brainer. There was clearly no risk in that warning. He didn’t like dressing up in anything other than his play dresses anyway, but today was picture day.

Picture day was a mom thing so wearing a fancy dress mandatory. Fortunately everyone would be dressed up fancy today so it wasn’t going to make him any more weird than any other boy on that day.

“HEY! Brian? You ready?” Chuck’s voice sounded just then. He came in through the front.

“In the kitchen!” Brian hollered back thankful to have a witness to his mother’s breakdown. Chuck would know what to do. He hoped.

“Oh wow! What are you wearing?” Brian said in almost the same instant that Chuck said it. Both looking at each other as if the other had completely lost it. Brian’s friend, and as feminine as any guy he knew, up to now, was in pants.

No that wasn’t right! Pants are pants. Brian wasn’t in just a pants. Brian was in slacks. Clearly macho right down to his stripped socks and loafers.

His best friend macho? Not likely. Only he was dressed like a girl! Pants, a cotton shirt and a sweater.

Brian didn’t even want to know what his friend wore under those slacks! Chuck would never wear what he was wearing, let alone what went under it. Only he was wearing those things?

“You deciding to changes sexes?” Chuck asked smiling at Brian.

“Look who’s talking?” Brian said back. It was unnerving seeing his friend like that. More so given how casual he was over it.

“Me? What’s wrong with me?” Chuck asked looking down at his zipper. That took a second before he suddenly said, in a defensive tone: “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing? It’s picture day. Besides, I like these pants.”

Brian watched his friend closely in those seconds. He listened intently as well. OK, it was a joke. His best friend, with far more guts then he obviously thought he possessed, had joined forces with his mother and sister to pull a fast one on him.

He didn’t know why, nor how, given he’d ended up in his sister’s room, but there it was. Had to be that. “Chuck! You almost had me!” Brian said wagging a finger at him.

“Brian? Is that you?” Another voice cried out from the kitchen door. It was Susan. She was going to wet herself over the way Chuck was dressed when she recognized that it was Chuck. Only she didn’t.

“Oh my God! Brian? What are you doing?” Susan said still standing at the kitchen’s threshold, stopping dead in her tracks to rest there with her mouth wide open. This was getting weird Brian thought.

“My how pretty you look!” Susan said sarcastically after a pause. It wasn’t her shock, or words that caught Brian in his own surprise, but the fact she was wearing exactly what he was wearing. Not the exact same dress but just as fancy. Right down to those Mary Janes and lace socks. OK, so Susan was in on this as well.

“OK guys, mom! You win! It’s over. Ha, Ha, Ha. Whatever I’ve done, you sure got even for it. Now what’s going on?” Brian said laughing. He laughed for a few seconds and stopped.

He was the only one laughing. Everyone else just looking at him. Like he was crazy or something. He wasn’t laughing any longer because his mother, his best friend, and his girl friend were just standing there with their mouths open.. They were just looking at him.

He’d expect that look if he was dressed as Chuck was, but not in his best dress. He smiled a little hoping that would at least make Chuck bust up. Chuck didn’t. Brian lost his smile.

“Why you dressed like a girl?” Susan asked.

“Why you dressed like a guy?” Brian asked back.

“What? What guy is going to wear these things? Except you maybe? Unless he’s one of those guys that doesn’t want to be a guy anymore? Oh no Brian, you’re not suddenly gay are you? Is that it? Are you coming out or something?” Susan asked bringing her hands to her face.

“Honey, is that it?” His mother suddenly asked showing concern on her face.

“NO! What? Hold it! You’re crazy! So are you! So is everyone, but me! What’s wrong with these things? I’m wearing what I always wear. I mean not this dress, but a dress. If any one is coming out it’s you guys! What are you guys talking about?” Brian suddenly asked thinking he was now the one going over the edge.

Brian’s mother stepped over to him. She wrapped an arm would his shoulders. It was comforting. The other two just looking at him. Brian moaned a little clinging to his mother suddenly.

“Look, why don’t you kids go on ahead, and let me talk with Brian. OK?” Brian’s mother said realizing in an instant that something was definitely wrong.

Susan and Chuck looked at each other, then back at Brian and nodded. Both slowly turned and filed out of the kitchen. There faces twisted into sympathetic grins, slightly twisted a little by curiosity. If this was a joke it wasn’t funny anymore Brian thought.

“Honey sit!” Brian’s mother said in a soft voice.

“Mom, what’s going on? Why are you wearing dad’s things?” Brian asked as he gathered his dress and slips and sat at the kitchen table. He needed to sit.

“I’m not? Honey, what makes you think that I am?” His mother asked.

“Because you are!” Brian said in a panic and added: “Susan was dressed as a boy, and Chuck was dressed as a girl and you are wearing dad’s things.”

“Susan was dressed as a boy? Chuck as a girl?” Brian’s mother asked, and then added in a softer tone: “And you think you are dressed as a boy right now is that it?”

Brian nodded. He didn’t think he was dressed as a boy he WAS dressed as a boy as he said: “YES!”

“Come with me.” Brian’s mom said waiting at the edge of the kitchen for Brian to stand and follow. He did.

His mother opened the drapes after walking into the living room, and stood there waiting for Brian to stand next to her. He edged to her side and looked out waiting for his mother to tell him what he was looking at. She didn’t, and suddenly she didn’t need to.

Brian was watching kids file past on their way to school. Kids of all ages, and some he recognized, because some live on his street. Their street was a main walk way to school for their neighborhood.

If this was a joke then it was the most elaborate joke Brian had ever witnessed.

Girls were dressed as boys and boys as girls. Little boys in pants, and little girls walking alongside in dresses. Those boys, in pants, skipping along like they’d been dressing that way all of their lives.

So too those girls? Brian felt ill, dizzy, confused and all of it very suddenly. As if he was standing on a ship in a mild storm. He’d felt like that once on a fishing boat. His world was rocking a little.

Brian was going over the edge. He felt it. He didn’t know what to say, and suddenly didn’t want to stand there. A little boy walking past in slacks pointed and laughed. Other kids looked, then laughed. They were laughing at Brian.

Brian stepped away from the window.

Then his mother walked away. She walked towards the fireplace. She lifted a picture and walked back over to Brian with the family photo off the mantel. A photo they’d taken just a month ago, on a Sunday. Exactly as it had been except this time he was in a slacks, sweater and tie, and his sister was wearing the light satiny yellow dress.

“Mom, what’s happening to me?” Brian asked.

“Honey! What’s wrong? Why did you dress in your sister’s clothes?” His mother asked.

“These are my clothes!” Brian said in frustration and added: “And how did I get into my sister’s room?”

“You were not in your sister’s room. At least not when I woke you? You were in your room. Don’t you remember?” His mother said with real concern in her voice. Brian fell into the chair away from the living room window, and fought back the panic he felt.

Some of his panic because he knew it wasn’t an elaborate joke. Too many kids to make that even remotely possible. Was it something on the news that suggested they all do this?

Did a comet pass, changing them suddenly or what? He was searching within those science fiction stories for facts even if they were pretend facts. Only Chuck and Susan hadn’t changed. Not their personalities or their voices? They had not changed from who they were, but just in what they were wearing.

“Do you like dressing in these things?” His mother asked.

“Of course I do?” Brian answered.

“Since when honey?” His mother asked sitting down on the padded stool that went with the chair Brian sat in.

“Since forever!” Brian said in utter and complete frustration, and a total state of confusion..

Meanwhile, just a hairs breath away, the scene shifted just a tiny bit......

Brian's mother looked at him in that loving sympathetic way she had when he’d made a mistake or was hurt. She hesitated for a second not sure what to do, thinking she call his father or her sister. She didn’t want to fearful of their reactions.

She decided to try one last time. She wasn’t sure if he was joking or not and if he wasn’t she didn’t know what to do. If he was she’d figure out how to punish him later. If he was joking she’d play along at least: “Honey, why don’t you go up and change into your sister’s things. Her slacks, shirt and sweater and, I suppose a pair of her under shorts as well?”

Brian looked at his mother as if she was stark raving mad! She had just told him to go up and put on his sister’s clothes. That wasn’t possible. He’d heard her wrong. He hoped he hadn’t, but then again his best friend was in pants. So were a lot of the boys he’d seen.

“You want me to go up and put on pants? My sister’s pants?” Brian asked testing the waters.

“Yes! Can you do that for me?” Brian’s mother asked.

“OK? If you want? I mean it? I’m going? I’m going up stairs and put on her shorts, slacks and even her shoes?” Brian asked questioning her with each statement. Amazement at the lack of concern on her face.

“Thank you!” His mother said.

She was kidding. Had to be, but then again maybe she wasn’t maybe this wasn’t a dream. Maybe boys did wear pants? Of course they didn’t but his mother wanted him to. He almost skipped up the steps. He was out of his dress and slip in an instant.

His panties as well and his hands shook as he picked up a pair of his sister’s underroos. He’d always loved wearing the ones with Superman on them. He stood in front of the mirror for a second admiring them.

That feel of cotton almost overwhelming. The slacks followed and he nearly fainted. By the time he had the shirt on and tucked into the pants he was giddy. All that was left were her shoes and socks and that sweater. Oh, and no makeup. Girl’s did not wear makeup.

He was wearing pants and his mother as calm as if he’d been doing it forever. Clearly he was dreaming. He suspected he might not be, but he had to be. There was no other rational explanation and none needed. He was as happy as any boy might dare be in those seconds.

It got better!

“HEY! Brian?” Chuck’s said as Brian made it into class just before the bell went off and Chuck added: “That was the oddest thing I’ve ever seen? What the heck was that all about?”

“What?” Brian asked distracted. All of the boys were in pants. Chuck was in pants. The girls were in the dresses. It was a dream come true for him, and if it was a dream he was hoping he’d never wake up.

“You in that dress?” Chuck asked looking oddly at his friend.

“Thought it would scare mom! You know! A joke?” Brian said nervously.

“A joke? You wore those things as a joke?” Chuck said.

“You never try to tease your mother?” Brian asked.

“Not like that!” Chuck said.

“OK, so it wasn’t funny. I’m in pants now! That make you feel better?” Brian asked.

“Slightly!” Chuck said before the teacher gave her warning to be quiet.

Brian sat there moving his legs. He spread them as far apart as he could. It was wonderful. He moved the cotton shirt under the wool sweater and smiled at the feelings he had.

“Don’t you just love pants?” Brian said to Chuck in a whisper.

“Brian? You need help! Of course I like pants! What boy doesn’t? Chuck asked.

Brian nodded. He was smiling ear to ear! He would be smiling for most of the day. He wasn’t sure what was happening nor why, but all the boys were in pants and all the girls wore dresses. It didn’t really matter if he was dreaming or not because he was in pants and no one seemed to notice.

Oh how he’d smile.

Meanwhile, just a hairs breath away, the scene shifted just a tiny bit......

“Honey, would you like to talk about it?” Brian’s mother asked.

“I don’t understand?” Brian said moving back to the window but standing off to the edge so the kids, still working their way to school, wouldn’t see him. Boys in dresses and girls in pants and then suddenly there was Mr. Avery.

Mr. Avery was coming out of the house and he was in a women’s business suit with a skirt of all things and his briefcase. Skirt, nylons and heels no less, and his wife kissing him good-bye like any other day. Like he had always worn skirts and heels every day. Only she too was in a man’s terry robe.

“Have I always worn dresses?” Brian asked thinking he had gone mad suddenly, or had been mad and was now sane.

“Of course sweetheart, you’re a boy! Except for that time you wore your sister’s baseball uniform on Halloween. And once for a Halloween party years ago, but you were too young to remember that. Why?” His mother asked.

“It’s just that I don’t remember ever wearing dresses?” Brian said now sure he’d lost it somehow and not sure how.

“Would you like to talk with someone about it?” His mother asked.

“Who?” Brian asked.

“A doctor? Someone that might be able to help?” Brian’s mother said.

“I think so.” Brian said feeling dizzy over what was happening.

“It might be better if you dress normally honey. I’m worried about what people... Your friends... might say. If you like, I could bring these things with us? That way you could change there?” His mother said softly. She wasn’t sure what was wrong with her son, but smart enough to know it was something.

“Wear a dress? Out?” Brian asked.

“Yes.” His mother said but added: “But, like I said, if you want you can change back into these pants at the doctors. OK?

“This is so weird!” Brian said more to himself than to his mother. She did however let him keep the pants on till it was time for his visit. It got more odd as his mother helped him dress in his sister’s clothes.

She was sitting on his bed holding the panties. His sister’s slip next to her. That pink dress she so loved on the hanger still on her door. His mother taking all of this so calmly as she bent for him to step into those panties. His world was upside down as they drove through town.

She was helping she thought, but it wasn’t helping and it wasn’t till he began crying softly that she let him wear the cotton shorts under his sister’s slip and dress. He was, though, in her lace socks and shoes as he stepped fearfully outside to the car.

A call to the school for his day off, another to his counselor got a name, and the emergency his mother also declared got an appointment within that hour. Brian was nearly dizzy on the drive over being seen like this.

He darted into the reception area the instant the car stopped. Last thing he wanted was to be seen outside like that. He was in his sister’s party dress, over a petticoat and only his tears had gotten her to allow him to wear his own shorts. His mother was crazy and yet he knew that wasn’t true.

Ten minutes later he was in a room after the doctor suggested he change there. His dress and slip on a hook and Brian now back in his pants and shirt. Brian was looking at a girl’s toy, then picked it up. It was a model airplane. The doctor, on the other side of the two way glass noted that he hadn’t touched the dolls.

A moment later Brian opened a girl’s magazine the doctor noted. The doctor wrote the title on his pad as Field and Stream. Dr. Richards watched intently asking his mother when this started and how it started.

Brian so far had not touched any of the boy’s dolls or feminine magazines. Dr. Richards noted that as well. He had a room full of boy’s toys and dress up clothes and Brian completely ignored the dolls and dresses. Even the dressier gowns like Cinderella and Snow White that boys loved pretending in.

“It could be gender disphroia?” Dr. Richards suggested, but warned that his diagnosis was far too premature to take it past a suggestion. There was no significant trauma he noted from the answers he got from Brian’s mother. No history of cross dressing and until this morning no hint of the boy wanting to be a girl.

The conversation he had for the hour with Brian left him slightly puzzled as well. He’d never seen a case like this. The boy fully recognized that he was a boy and was shocked at the thought of becoming a girl.

Yet he didn’t want to wear a dress as a boy nor play with his dolls. In fact Brian had become noticeably agitated over the Ken doll in his little gown until the doctor suggested putting him into the jeans and a tee-shirt Barbie wore. It could be organic he decided or perhaps a trauma that his mother wasn’t aware of.

“My initial prognosis, at least for a beginning course of treatment, is perhaps that he’s simply a cross dresser. I have no significant hints that he’s transgendered at at level. He doesn’t appear to want to be a girl, just dress like them.

I would suggest that you perhaps allow him to dress, as he is now, but in private. The clothes will ease his stress some. Don’t make a big deal out of it. In fact, you can use that small bit of a concession to negotiate and encourage him back into his dresses for the social side of his world.

Meanwhile let me also make a call to a group I know of that meets once a week. It’s made up of boys just like him. If he can perhaps wear pants, and see these other boys wearing pants then perhaps that will also ease some of his stress.” Dr. Richards said when he was alone with Brian’s mother.

Dr. Richards tugged at his skirt subconsciously and shifted his legs giving Brian’s mother a small pause at how pretty they looked. She broke her concentration, lasting only a second to focus on her son’s problem. She hesitated for another second and asked: “Is he gay?”

“Not likely. Gender identity and gender orientation are two different aspects of our personality. He has a girl friend, and a best friend you say dresses normally! With the exception of wanting to dress in pants, like a girl, he doesn’t show any other significant traits to suggest otherwise. Besides, most gay men would rather remain in dresses and date gay men also in dresses.

There are gay men that do wear pants, but it’s about the same number as heterosexual men how wear pants as cross dressers. Very few gay men wear pants or take on a women’s masculine traits. No, I’d say otherwise.” Dr. Richards said patting Brian’s mother’s knee.

Brian wore his sister’s dress and slip out of that office in less of a panic than when he came in, but he was still uncomfortable. Too much so to agree to stopping for lunch. He knew something was wrong, and most likely it was him, but he couldn’t say what. The doctor was in a dress, the receptionist in pants and two other boys, clearly boys were in dresses.

Meanwhile, just a hairs breath away, the scene shifted just a tiny bit......

Brian was beside himself. His entire school from kids to teachers were cross dressed as he arrived. Boys were in pants and girls in dresses and no one seemed to notice nor care. He was also playing girl’s games as girls played boy’s games. He hated hopscotch and love baseball, and before this got teased every time he’d pick up a bat or glove.

“Boys simple don’t play those sorts of games!” His father said one day finding Brian in the back yard tossing a ball in the air. Of course on Halloween he’d dressed as a girl and loved running around in those pants.

He had also stepped into his sister cotton shorts for that night. A memory he’d kept alive with two other pair of cotton underwear he had hidden in his room under his dolls. Pure 100% cotton! Girls were so lucky he often mused as he slid his hand’s over the course pants.

Brian wasn’t sure what had happened but he was as happy as he’d ever been. He was wearing pants and somehow for some reason that was now normal.

Meanwhile, just a hairs breath away, the scene shifted just a tiny bit......

Brian came out of the shower and walked into his room taking up the slip on his bed. His mother at the closet deciding on which dress he’d wear. She smiled lightly at the fact he was at least wearing panties with his dresses again. Not always, but most of the time now.

Therapy had worked wonders on him in these past few months. He was still going to those meetings and dressing in pants for them, but that seemed to be less frequent as well.

His father was helping also.

At first her husband was angry and confused but after a time blamed some of it on himself. He hadn’t been doing enough with his son he’d said and would in the future he promised.

She loved that part. The two of them together sewing or cooking, knitting as they talked. That little dress her husband was making for Brian’s pageant even a bigger surprise given the time it was taking.

All in all, and as bad as it had seemed, there was some good to be taken from this. Her son may not always want to wear dresses, nor act feminine, but he was still her son.

Post Script:

And in space a ripple continued past Earth on a journey begun some one hundred and fifteen billions years ago. A rolling force of energy that began with the big bang. A rift. A ripple in the very fabric of space.

An invisible shimmer connecting worlds that had never connected before and never would again. Only a second passed, not even that perhaps. The rift was a hundred light year arc and two hundred thousand miles away, moving off without notice as the two boys slept.

Two boys, identical down to their genetic code stood looking up at their sky's. Both on two identical, but different worlds than the ones they had known. One right handed the other left handed and the mole on the lob of their ears also opposed.

Two identical worlds exactly the same, except for their new roles and, of course, their clothes. Both believing they were cross dressing and only one happy over it. Two identical universes mirrored in some ways, but not.

Each holding only one person that was different than before when that rift slipped past their bedrooms. Radically different in some ways and identical in others. On boy happy in an instant, the other learning to be after than instant. Their friends on both worlds happy once again to have Brian back.

“Man you really had us going there for awhile!” Chuck said as he gathered his dress to sit next to Brian. Susan plopped down on the other side without a care and, unlike Chuck let her legs spread open, but, then again, she was in pants.

Susan too was relieved and with her right arm hugged Brian affectionately. He now seemed back to normal. Very normal Susan noted as she twisted enough to bring her left hand over. Very very normal she noted happily as she curled her fingers slightly under his dress and slips just as she kissed him. Brian jumped.

Susan got her hand slapped as Brian twisted away playfully. A graceful move while catching his skirt and slips before they fell to his waist. He stood fixing his skirt and slips while he caught his breath. He wasn’t about to give Susan the satisfaction of letting her see what she’d just done to him.

“Girl’s! How would you like it if you were in a dress, and I was feeling you up all the time!” Brian said smiling as he blushed.

Susan laughed as she said: “Not likely!”

The End
Mary Beth Sanford



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