It was just before 9pm on a cold blustery early Februrary night. A Friday night to be exact.
There weren’t a lot of people around when I made my way from work to Old St Tube station and my journey home. I’d stopped at a ‘Simply Food’ store for what Americans call a TV dinner. That and a glass of wine were pretty much the norm for me on a Friday. It was the norm on a few other days of the week as well if truth be told.
I was between girlfriends. My last one had called me a ‘boring old fart’ despite being aged thirty one. My job was not exactly exciting and that definitely rubbed off on my personality.
Being an actuary is all about figures, figures and more figures. Once upon a time, the figures excited me but now I was bored to death. If I could find a job, any job that paid as well and didn’t involve me pouring over figures, trends and assumptions about risk then I’d probably bit your hand off in my rush to take it.
Home for me was a one-bed apartment in Docklands. It was modern and with a half decent view of London City Airport but like me, totally bland and soulless.
My train to London Bridge rumbled into the station. A few other souls were waiting to get on.
With a hiss, the doors opened and I got into the carriage.
I sat down with a sigh. It had been a hard week. It was the end of the financial year for my employer so we were making sure that everything that could be completed was done, dusted and wrapped in ribbon before we closed the books.
There was a commotion at the other end of the carriage. Three young people in fancy dress were having a good time. Well, if you call looking like Zombies having a good time then they were.
I supposed I must have been staring at them but although I was looking in their direction, my mind was on other things.
I was brought back to reality when one of the three shouted at me,
“What are you looking at dumb-ass?”
“I… I was admiring your fancy dress. It must have taken you hours to get ready.”
“Are you taking the piss?” he argued and began to walk towards me.
“Marty, don’t get angry, he paid you a compliment if you’d taken time to listen to it,” said one of the two women who were with the man. She grabbed his arm.
“Please excuse my drunken friend. Thanks for the compliment anyway.”
“My pleasure. All three of you really do look fantastic.”
Just then the train began to slow down for my stop.
I stood up and went to the door as the train entered London Bridge Station.
As soon as the door opened, I stepped out onto the platform and begin to walk towards the connecting tunnel to the jubilee Line. Then I heard a voice.
I looked around and the woman who’d been nice to me on the train, running along the platform towards me.
Instinctively, I gave her a smile despite her appearance.
“Marty can be a bit of a jerk at times. I’m sorry for his outburst,” she explained.
“That’s all right.”
“He’s my younger brother so I have to look after him at times like this.”
“You are doing just that.”
Then the doors of the train began to close.
“Shit!” she exclaimed as they closed right in her face.
“Can you catch them up wherever you are going?”
“Yeah. They can’t get into the party without me.”
I looked at the platform indicator.
“There will be another train along in 5 minutes.”
“Thanks. I can’t see very well with these things in my eyes.”
I looked at her eyes. They were totally black.
“What things?” I asked.
“Contact lenses silly. They cover all the white of the eye.”
“Oh, I see.”
Then I added.
“You really do look fantastic.”
She looked at me strangely for a second.
“You really meant that didn’t you?”
“I’m studying stage and film makeup so I really do appreciate that. Most people want to run a mile when they see me wearing this sort of thing.”
“I don’t know why, there seems to be a perfectly nice person underneath that.”
“Hey! Are you trying to pick me up?”
I went red in the face.
“No… But you do seem an interesting person but you wouldn’t be interested in a boring old fart like me.”
“Boring old fart? Where did you get that Idea?”
“From my last girlfriend!”
“Opps!” she said with a bit of a giggle.
Then she dug into her handbag and produced a bit of paper and a thick pencil. In the paper she wrote a phone number.
“Give me a call next week,” she said as she thrust the paper into my hand.
I was gawping like a drowning fish when she said,
“You better go home and drink some of that wine before I change my mind?”
I let her go and went on my way. My mind was in a real tizzy so I really have no idea how I got home but somehow I did. The thing that would be etched on my heart forever was the fact that she didn’t think I was a boring old fart. Well, that would change but for now, I was on cloud nine.
[The following Thursday]
I’d almost called her on Tuesday and Wednesday. Now it was Thursday and probably my last chance to call her before … well she forgot me and moved onto pastures new.
I swallowed hard and dialled her number.
After four rings I was about to give up when it was answered.
“Hello? I’m the boring old fart from the Tube.”
There was a pause from the other end of the phone then a hurried, ‘hold on a moment I need to go outside’.
I held on for what seemed like an eternity. Then she came on the phone.
“Sorry about that. I’m glad you called.”
“I almost didn’t. Remember that this is the boring old fart speaking.”
“That is what interests me. You can’t be boring all the time now can you?”
That was my cue to laugh.
“That will be an uphill task you know.”
“Well, I’m game to try.”
She sounded a lot older than someone who is a student.
“Where do we go from here?” I asked suddenly lost for words.
“You ask me out to dinner that’s where we go”.
“Will you come out to dinner with me? Say tomorrow night?”
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation.
“Ok, what about where we met last week? Well, outside Old St tube about 7:30pm?”
“That will do nicely.”
“Great, I’ll see you then.”
“Wait, haven’t you forgotten something?”
“Your name silly? I’m Felicity.”
“Tim, short for Timothy.”
“That’s better. See you tomorrow then … Tim,”
I hung up the phone. For the first time I went weak at the knees. She had managed to say my name in a voice that just about gave me an erection.
Fridays were usually the worst day of the week at work. Everyone seems to want everything ‘yesterday’ and then they would just sit on it until after the weekend. This was no different today and for me, the time seemed to fly by. Before I knew it, everyone was going home for the weekend. It wasn’t long before I was the last one left in the office. That gave me time to think.
I started thinking the worst and that was that she, sorry Felicity wouldn’t turn up. Then if she did, how would I recognize her? Last week, she’d been dressed up as something out of a horror film. Those eyes were stunning but totally false. I didn’t even know how tall she was because of the long clothes she was wearing. Now that I’d had time to think, the more that I thought about it, the more I realised that I was a failure.
It was so engrossed in self-flagellation that I hardly noticed that it was time for my date. Only the ringing of my phone got me back to reality. It was Felicity.
“Hello. I’m here. Are you coming?” she said brightly.
I glanced at the clock. It was 7:20pm. She was early.
“Sorry, I’m on my way. I didn’t notice the time. I’ll be there in five.”
I quickly grabbed my coat and headed out of the office. Five minutes and fifteen seconds later, I arrived at the station.
My luck was in because there was only one young woman standing there looking anxious.
“Felicity?” I asked tentatively as I approached her.
“Tim?” she asked smiling.
“That’s me. Shall we go?” I offered her my arm and with a big grin she took it.
My mind was all a tizz. She was delightful. No, more than that, she was gorgeous.
“Where are we going?” she asked as we walked along City Road.
I stopped dead on my tracks.
“Oh shit. Sorry. I clean forgot to book anywhere.”
Instead of being scolded, she just laughed.
“You are a funny man you know?”
“For someone so serious on the surface you are a bit of a … well, a strange … no not strange, oh heck Tim, I like you.”
“But… But you don’t know me. You know nothing about me.”
“Yes, ain’t that cool.”
“Cool? I’m sorry, you lost me.”
She tightened her grip on my arm.
“You are just not like other men. That’s why I gave you my phone number.”
“But Felicity, I’m a actuary. Boring is what I do for a living.”
Then she stopped me and looked me in the eyes.
“That is what we are going to have to something about won’t we?”
“What do you suggest?”
“Something like what you were carrying last week? Take it back to your place?”
She saw the look of concern on my face.
“Don’t worry, I don’t bite.”
“But what if I do?”
She’d summed me up already.
“Ok, lets go,” I said trying to dig myself out of a huge great hole.
In the end, the evening was a great success. Everything seemed to click. Even when I asked,
“What about your brother? What does he think about you going out with me?”
“He thinks I’m totally bonkers. He’s probably right but there was something about you when we spoke on the platform that said that I should at least try to get to know you.”
“Am I boring you?”
“Now look here, if you ever say BOF to me again, I’ll… have to do this…”
Then she kissed me.
“You are not boring. You are a kind person.”
“Thanks. You don’t know how much that is a boost to my ego,” I replied honestly.
“Did your last girlfriend leave in a bit of a huff?”
I thought carefully about my answer.
“If you call asking her to marry her and her calling me a BOF then you might call it that.”
“Wow, I didn’t see that one coming.”
Then she leaned over and kissed me.
‘Hey, I could get to like this’ I thought to myself.
At the end of a very enjoyable evening, I asked the dreaded question,
“Can I see you again?”
I got a smile in return.
“Do you prefer me like this or like I was last week?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“No. Not at all. So?”
“Well, I appreciate the work that went into your getup last week especially to hide all your hair but I prefer you like this but that is not to say that you can’t do something like last week again.”
“Good answer and yes you can see me again.”
Then I kissed her good night.
[One week later]
Felicity lived with her brother in a flat just of the Caledonian Road, Islington. He was a student at the University on Holloway Road. Felicity had the short straw because her course was in Wimbledon so she had to suffer the Northern Line south every day. Their place was really cramped and I could tell right away when she said that she lacked space to practice her stage makeup.
After a brief (well, it was small) we went to a Pub on Holloway Road where a band was playing. According to Mar, they were the bees knees. After a couple of numbers I looked at Felicity and she rolled her eyes.
We left hand in hand.
“Well, Marty owes us big time. I can’t believe that we wasted good money on that,” I exclaimed.
“Too right he does,” agreed Felicity.
“Well, where too now?”
“There’s a half decent Indian just down the road?”
“That’ll do,” she agreed.
Sadly we were out of luck at the Indian.
“I should have realised, It’s Valentines Day tomorrow,” I exclaimed.
We both had a good laugh at our foopah.
“I guess our love meal will be from the Chippy over the road?” I suggested.
For that I got a kiss.
“You say the most romantic things Tim.”
“I try, I do try.”
At the end of the evening, I said,
“A bit of a disaster really. I’m sorry.”
“It wasn’t really. We got spend some time together.”
“God Felicity, I really like you,” I said probably digging my self a huge hole.
“I like you too Tim.”
“What are you doing tomorrow?” I asked.
“I have some college work to do,” came her sad reply.
“Why not do it at mine. Then when you are done,”
“You can make mad passionate love to me?”
I was dumbfounded, lost for words.
“Cat got your tongue?”
Then she took my hand and smiled.
“I was joking you know.”
‘If you only knew…’ I thought to myself.
“When you are done we can spend some daylight time together?”
“Just to prove I’m not a creature of the night then?”
“Ok. I’ll be there in the morning.”
The following morning, I was up well before dawn. I embarked on a cleaning tidal wave. Almost everything and every surface was either washed, cleaned, swept or dusted before Felicity arrived. I even made a mad dash to the supermarket to stock up on all sorts of crazy food items that I’d never normally buy in a million years. I knew it was crazy but I really didn’t care.
She arrived laden down with lots of ‘stuff’ around eleven just as I’d almost given up hope of her coming.
“Come on in. I’ve made space for you.”
She unpacked her stuff onto my not too big dining table.
“Now I need some tea. Do you have any Darjeeling?”
I grinned. I’d bought a selection of tea just that morning and one of those was indeed Darjeeling.
“Coming right up,” I said grinning.
“Hold on, how did you know that I liked that type of tea?”
She gave me that look of hers that I loved. It was vaguely reminiscent of the TV Detective, Colombo. Her right eyebrow would arch upwards as if to say, ‘oh yeah!’ A small shiver went down my spine.
“Ok, I bought a few different types because I didn’t know what you liked.”
“What do you like?”
“Whatever comes, well apart from Earl Grey.”
She looked at me expectantly.
“I was waiting for the BOF.”
“No. Say it properly.”
“Boring Old Fart.”
Whereupon she kissed me. I was getting to rather like the BOF reward thingy.
After we’d had some tea I asked,
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
“I could use your hand for a few hours if you are not allergic to Latex.”
“Sure. Well I don’t think I am. What are do you need me to do?”
“Sit quietly and don’t interrupt. We have a test coming up and I need to practice.”
“Well, lets get going then.”
My lending a hand turned out to be to let her turn my right hand and forearm into a lizard’s limb.
I did as I promised and kept my mouth shut and watched an expert at work.
“That looks great,” I said when she sat back.
“Its ok but I took far too long to do it. I have to get it completed in two hours. That attempt took me nearly three.”
“Well? What are you waiting for? Get it stripped off and after some lunch we can do it all again.”
I got a startled look in return.
“I thought that you wanted to go out in the daylight?”
“I did but I didn’t know what you were doing. Isn’t this more important?”
“It is but… I’m taking up your whole day.”
I grinned back at her.
“Well, as a boring old fart, I don’t have anything else to do not do I?”
“I guess I walked into that didn’t I?”
“Yes but I’ll let you off the kiss until later.”
I got a peck on the cheek for that.
“Would it be all right if I did the next attempt of your other hand? Then I can compare them when I’m done.”
“That sounds great but I need to use the toilet first. With both hands transformed into a lizard then things could get a little difficult.”
“Ok. Go and do your business while I rustle up something to eat.”
“There’s plenty there because I went shopping earlier.”
After lunch, Felicity began work on my other hand. This time she seemed more assured with her actions. After two hours and eight minutes she announced,
“There, it’s done.”
I held both hands up. The webbed scaly fingers were really good.
“These are very impressive. You are very good at this.”
“Yeah, I like transforming things into something else. Sure most of the work after I graduate would be boring things like black eyes, bloody scars and stuff like that, every so often some really interesting work comes along. Seeing the Star Wars films gave me the idea to get into this sort of work.”
“Do you have a job lined up for when you graduate in June?”
“If I graduate more like. I have the major test to do and I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
“Can’t the college give you some ideas?”
“They are not your sort of thing?”
“When do you have to make your decision?”
“The week after Easter.”
“That gives us some time then?”
“Well, I’m up to my arms in this aren’t I?” I said waving my Lizard hands at her.
“I guess you are aren’t you.”
Then I got my BOF kiss. A long one this time. I would have loved to have been able to take a photo of my lizard hands caressing her back.
Once Felicity had removed her handy-work from my hands, I asked,
“Who is going to be the poor sod who gets their hand all webbed up in your test?”
“Yeah, two hours of not being able to even scratch your bum?”
“You say the most…”
“Oh! I get it. You are winding me up aren’t you?”
“Yes. I was a bit. If you want me to be your model then you only have to ask.”
“But… what about your work?”
“I do have holidays you know. I can take a day off.”
Then I smiled at her.
“Besides, I like watching you work.”
“Ogling me more like…”
“No not in the slightest. More like watching an expert creating magic.”
For that compliment, I got a big wet kiss.
“I’d like that very much.”
The following Thursday afternoon, I turned up at Felicity’s college in Colliers Wood. This is not part of London I was familiar with but her directions got me to her building on time.
“I said I would and here I am.”
“Come on let’s go. I need to get you prepped before the test starts.”
Two and a half hours later we emerged after the test. Felicity had improved my hand from the weekend. She’d added some 4in long talons to my nails and hidden my thumb under my palm giving the impression that I only had four fingers, sorry talons. These were still webbed and… well it looked totally realistic.
During the test, I had the opportunity to look at Felicity’s fellow students. They were all a lot younger than her. There was a lot that I didn’t know about her but as I looked at her working, I realised that it didn’t really matter. At that moment, I went from fancying her to being in love with her. This was both stimulating and yet unsettling.
Then I came down to earth with a bang. Who was I kidding? There wasn’t a hope in hell that she’d be interested in spending the rest of her life with a BOF like me.
Easter came and went. Felicity and I continued to spend a lot of time together but never going beyond kissing and cuddling. Actually, going the next step never came up.
With her finals looming and everything, it was only natural that she had other things on her mind. I remembered how I was when I was this close to my first finals. Outside my little bubble, the world really didn’t exist.
My secretary Carole noticed a change in me almost right from the start of my relationship with Felicity. My somewhat distracted nature at times was obvious to her. My work didn’t suffer or at least, I didn’t think it did.
Carole noticed the little changes in me. It wasn’t that those changes were bad, according to her that were good ones. Despite my pestering, she wouldn’t say what they were.
The other bit of news that impressed Felicity was that I might be in line for promotion to chief actuary. According to the fountain of gossip namely, Carole she heard a rumour that I was in line for promotion but I’d be up against two people from our New Haven branch. I understood that if there was competition then I’d probably lose out simply because the US part of the company was worth more than twice that of the UK arm. Those were the facts of life these days so I just got on with things and life in general.
I’d just finished reviewing a policy change when my phone rang. It was Felicity.
“Hello G, this is an unexpected pleasure. Are we still on for Friday?”
“I need to run something by you.”
“This sounds important. Is it?”
“Yes. I’m sorry to bother you at work but…”
I looked at the clock. It was after 4pm.
“I have something to finish. It will only take me twenty minutes or so. Where are you?”
“You are outside?”
“Ok. I’ll send someone to fetch you.”
I hung up and sat still for a second. This must be important for her to bother me at work on a Tuesday.
I went out of my office and spoke to Carole.
“Carole, I have a visitor. Can you escort her into the building for me please.”
“Yes Carole, ‘her’. She’d about three inches shorter than me with long black hair.”
“And nothing. Bring her up here.”
Carole grinned back at me and muttered,
I went back to writing my review of the proposed policy change. I’d written a few sentences when I sat back and said to myself,
‘This can wait until tomorrow’.
A couple of minutes later, Carole brought my visitor to my office.
“Tim, your visitor. Felicity has been filling me in on all sorts of things,” she said with a huge smirk on her face.
I shut the door to my office behind her. Felicity’s appearance would soon be circulating around the office.
I gave her a quick peck on the cheeks.
“Come on let’s sit down and you can tell me what is so important,” I suggested as I drew her attention to the couch and two chairs that took up a corner of my office.
Felicity had a very serious look on her face. She took hold of my hands.
“I’m in a bit of a bind. You remember that I told you about the final test that we have to do?”
“Yes, and you said that you didn’t have any idea about what you could do for it.”
She nodded her head.
“Yes. The time has come for me to decide what to do.”
“And you are stuck?”
Her eyes went towards the floor.
“Come on G, out with it. I don’t bite you know.”
“That remains to be seen.”
“Would you consider letting me transform you?”
“Transform me? What into some space monster?”
She shook her head.
“Look, I’m taking not only prosthetics but wardrobe and situation as well.”
“The first two I understand but the last? What on earth is situation?”
“It sort of verges into props. We have to set scenes to specific requirements, you know the period, the costume and all that.”
“That’s a long way from makeup and prosthetics isn’t it?”
“Yes but in the theatre those jobs are often done by just one or two people so you have to be a bit of a Joan of all trades.”
“I get it so how does this affect me? I assume you need by help on this?”
“Yes I do. That is the hard bit. I don’t know who else to ask.”
“Go on, I’m listening.”
“I have to combine all three elements in my test work. That’s where you come in.”
“Who do I have to become? Someone famous?”
Felicity shook her head.
“No, “ she paused.
“A woman. And then be filmed walking along the street and shopping and stuff like that.”
“Is that all?”
“All? Are you serious?”
“Look Felicity, I’ve been trying to find the right time to say this for weeks now.”
“You are dumping me?”
“No, quite the opposite. I love you and want to marry you.”
Felicity just sat there for what seemed line a long time. Then she said,
“You are serious aren’t you?”
“Yes. I’ve loved you since our first date. I’ll do anything for you.”
“You’d do this for me?”
Before either of us could carry on with our conversation, the door to my office burst open and we saw Carole on her knees.
She’d been listening to everything we’d said.
“Come on Felicity, we can carry this on at my place.”
We left the office in a hurry hand in hand and to hell with who saw us.
Once we were outside we both fell around laughing.
“I thought that sort of thing only happened in the movies,” exclaimed Felicity.
When we’d stopped laughing I asked,
“Well, you owe me an answer?”
“You are serious aren’t you?”
My heart sank. My brain was calculating the odds and suddenly my sure winner was turning into an old nag only fit for the knackers yard.
“Yes. About things like proposals of marriage I’m deadly serious.”
“Tim, this is a big step for me. We’ve never… you know taken things to the next step.”
“I know. I never wanted to pressurise you. I guess that I was living in cloud cuckoo land to think you’d want to marry someone like me.”
She gripped my hand tightly.
“Don’t talk like that. You are the first boyfriend I’ve ever had that took me seriously and the first that didn’t try to get me into bed on the first date.”
“But the answer is still no?”
“Stop it you boring old fart, I love you. I’ve loved you for months as well.”
She thought for a few seconds as we approached Moorgate Square.
“Look, let me get my finals over and I promise to give you an answer as soon as they are over. Deal?”
“Then I’d better become the woman of your dreams hadn’t I? I can’t let you get interested in someone else now can I?”
“There is a lot or work involved. I’d need you for at least a week. Can you get the time off?”
“Bang goes my trip to Spain then?” I said grinning.
“Tim, if I ever sat on a beach in Spain you’d fry in minutes with that pale skin of yours.”
“Tim, why can’t I ever stay mad at you for more than a few seconds?”
“Because I’m a Boring Old Fart and that with me you get what it says on the tin.”
“Come here you BOF!”
Going into the office the following day was not an enjoyable event. Word had got round to just about everyone about my proposal to Felicity. So much for my wish to sink into the background.
I’d only been sitting at my desk for about 10 minutes when the company Chairman Sir Lawrence Fraser came to visit and wish me all the best with my marriage. I hadn’t the heart to say that she’d not yet said yes.
His parting words filled me with dread,
“You’ll go far in this company my boy.”
I forgave him the use of ‘boy’ because to him I was as he was in his 70’s. But the ‘go far’ was not what I was looking for. I knew at an early age that I was not a manager and in every business once you get to a certain level, that is what you do. I probably had one more position to move to in the company before I stopped being an actuary and became a manager. I’d sort of hoped that it would be a good number of years before I got there. I easily put two and two together with the rumour of the Chief of Policy retiring and the Head Actuary moving to pastures new with a start-up that some gaps in the tree might soon be appearing.
I put those concerns behind me and turned my attention to Carole. She’d been conspicuously absent that morning. This was most unlike her.
Eventually, she turned up in late morning carrying a huge package. She dumped it on my desk.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“It is your engagement present from the team.”
“Sorry Carole. You will have to take it back. She hasn’t said yes.”
“Give it time Tim. Any fool can see that she is head over heels in love with you.”
“That’s as maybe but the fact remains; she has not said yes and won’t say yes until after her finals. So any congratulations are somewhat premature are they not?”
“Hummppppphhhhh,” retorted Carole as she stomped out of the office.
I got on with finishing the report I’d started the previous evening in an attempt to focus my mind on things other than Felicity and what she needed me to do.
By mid afternoon, I’d more or less decided to say yes to her request even though I wasn’t sure what it would entail.
That evening, I called Felicity.
“Hello Tim. I guess you are calling to let me know what your decision is?”
“Yes. Even though I’ll probably make a total fool of myself, I’ll do it. Do you have a list of the sort of things that I’ll be required to do?”
“No I don’t but now that you have agreed, I’ll tell my tutor and we’ll put something together. There is one thing I do know though.”
“Go on darling, put me out of my misery.”
“Well, you would have to be filmed during and after the transformation. It is part of the second year assessment for the Film and TV students. You’ll also be interviewed as odd times. Sort of like a fly-on-the-wall documentary. How does that sound?”
“Who gets to see it?”
“The people at the college. They’ll use it for grade the filmmakers and to see how my work stands up in public.”
“And then a few gazillion on YouTube?”
“Yes. Your fifteen minutes of fame perhaps?”
“Yeah right, me in a skirt being ridiculed. I’ve seen some of these expose videos.”
“That could be a problem I’ll speak to the people at college to see if we can set some ground rules.”
“That will be good. It will lower the risk factors.”
“Hey, don’t go getting all actuarial on me.”
“Why not? It is what I’m good at.”
Life at work settled down to something resembling normality. I was regularly asked when the happy day was going to be. In the end, I gave up explaining that Felicity hadn’t actually said yes and started saying, ‘nothing set yet’.
Carole on the other-hand was still in my bad books. She tried her hardest to make things better between us but nothing she did could make me forgive her for not only listening in on the conversation but for adding two and two together and making five million.
At the end of May, Felicity and I met up with her tutor Ilene Du Plessis, as well as the team making the video of my ritual humiliation.
“The think I am most concerned about is this getting onto YouTube and I become the laughing stock of the City. I do work for a very reputable and somewhat venerable Insurance Company and I’d hate to have to leave my job in order to preserve their reputation.”
“That is a valid concern. One that I think we can resolve.”
She looked at the three documentary makers.
“I’ll get our legal department to draw up what is called a Non-disclosure agreement. We will stipulate that none of the footage shot can be released into the public domain for a term of five years after the date it was shot. How does that sound?”
“I’m agreeable. What about you guys?”
There was general agreement that they shouldn’t release the footage.
“Naturally, we have to protect the reputation of the College. In cases like this, we normally add some clauses that would forfeit any awards of a degree or other academic attainment if the footage was released into the public domain,” added the Tutor.
After a few objections that were overcome the filmmakers left the room.
“Now Tim, we have to ask you some quite personal questions. This is to remove any chance that a ‘ringer’ could be used as the subject of the transformation. Are you happy to answer these questions?”
“Yes, fire away.”
“Tim, have you ever worn women’s clothing?”
“Yes I have.”
“Can you explain the circumstances?”
“Sure. I was about five years old. The local church was putting on a nativity play. At the last moment, the girl who was to play Mary, got stage fright. I knew the words that had to be spoken because I was the standing for Joseph. The standing for Mary was ill with a cold so it was down to me to play the part of Mary. Does that disqualify me?”
Both Felicity and Ilene were trying their best to avoid laughing their heads off.
“No… No it does not,” said Ilene when they’d recovered.
“Tim, have you ever worn makeup in Public?”
“Nope. The only thing I use is a bit of deodorant every day.”
There was a pregnant pause.
“Are there any more questions?”
“Only one,” said Ilene.
“Tim, you have answered in a way that indicates to me that you aren’t a ‘ringer’. If it turns out that you are, any academic award that might be given to Felicity will be revoked. Are you clear on this?”
“Yes. As an actuary, I have to consider all the possibilities before we give the go-ahead for any policy we might under-right. You are just doing exactly what I would do in my job.”
“Tim, it has been a pleasure. I look forward to seeing Felicity work her magic on you. She’s one of our best students this year.”
When we left the college, Felicity gave me a big, long and very wet kiss.
“Thank you. You were magnificent.”
“I was just answering the questions truthfully. No big deal.”
“Sometimes Tim, you drive me to distraction.”
“Nice eh?” I replied grinning from ear to ear.
A few days later, Felicity came round to my place and measured me up. She took every possible measurement she could. This was all in preparation for the big day. I’d booked a week’s holiday for the second week in June when I was going to be transformed into god knows what.
“Going somewhere nice with Felicity then?” asked Carole.
“No. Only Colliers Wood.”
“Colliers Wood? That’s a bit of a dump. Why are you going there?”
“Never you mind. Just keep in your Wimbledon Park enclave.”
That remark earned me a dark glare.
Carole lived with her partner a few hundred yards from the Wimbledon Tennis arena. Even South Wimbledon was almost a no-go area for her and her clique.
She kept on trying to get more information out of me as my holiday approached. I steadfastly refused but I was getting more and more nervous about the whole thing. Felicity was busy revising for her theoretical exams so even she was rather distracted.
The day dawned and I met up with Felicity at London Bridge Station.
She just sniggered.
“What have you got in mind for me?”
“Later darling. All will be revealed in good time.”
I just shrugged my shoulders as we fought our way onto a southbound Northern Line train.
Everything was setup at the college for some stupid idiot to become a laughing stock.
The film crew were there as was Ilene. I could tell that she was going to enjoy the day. Felicity had reluctantly revealed to me that she hated men.
“What do you need me to do first?” I asked in innocence.
“Go and get undressed and put this cloth robe on,” suggested Felicity.
Five minutes later, I was back.
“Time for your breasts,” she said with far too much glee.
Felicity took control and described the whole process for the camera.
Once my apparently perfectly sized breasts were glued to my chest, she said to the camera.
“This part here is already close to the subject’s skin tone. Now I will blend them together. If we don’t do this, the subject cannot properly wear clothes that show some cleavage. She took some makeup and proceeded to blend the edges of the breasts and my skin together. It was really hard to see the join. It looked very professional.
Then I was given a bra and asked to put it on. I’d seen enough films and TV shows to know how it should be done but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the ends connected together behind my back. In the end, I gave up and joined them in the front and pulled the contraption round the right was and settled my tits into the cups. It felt strange to have these ‘things’ attached to my chest. When everything was in place, I gave a little juggle. I giggled as they clearly demonstrated a life of their own but they were mine.
“Why did you do that?” asked Ilene.
“It just felt right.”
“How do you feel? Do you feel any more feminine?” she asked again.
“No. Well, I don’t feel feminine at all. I just have some lumps of stuff glued to my chest.”
She clearly didn’t like that answer.
“Let’s get on with the prosthetics,” she said trying to get things going again.
She produced a ‘thing’ and described it for the Film Crew.
“As you can see, Tim has a rather prominent Adams apple. This is a sure fire give away that the owners in a man wearing women’s clothes. Many transgendered people have surgery on their necks to reduce its size. This prosthesis is designed to soften the line of the neck and make it almost disappear. I took shading measurements of Tim’s skin a week or so back. This will make it easier for the artificial bits and the real bits to blend together.”
Then she offered up the inside of the ‘thing’ to the camera.
“This is where it will fit over his Adams Apple,” she explained.
Then she went through the same sort of preparation of my skin as she’d done for my breasts.
After a liberal covering of some quite evil smelling glue, she fitted the ‘thing’ around my neck. I did indeed go all the way round.
When it was all done, she applied some of the same makeup as she’d used to blend my breasts into my chest.
I had to admit that it looked impressive. My Adams apple had gone. The ‘thing’ also softened my jaw line again to make it appear less masculine.
“That completes the first stage of the transformation,” she announced.
Everyone agreed that the milestone had been reached.
“As the goal of the exercise is to produce someone for the Stage of TV then I will apply a heavier level of makeup that I’d do for normal street use. This is due to the lighting used on TV and Stage sets.”
Then she set too and did my makeup. Watching her at work in the mirror was amazing. My eyebrows disappeared under a layer of ‘Prit-Stick’ glue and several layers of concealer. My eyes were lined as well as my lips.
Finally, she added some false eyelashes.
“As Tim wears glasses, we will need longer ones than I’d normally use for the Stage. The effect of the glass is to reduce the impact of the eyelashes.”
When she was done, she announced,
“That completes stage two.”
We took a short break at that point. I was allowed a drink but only through a straw in order to minimise damage to my glorious red lips.
‘The next stage is to accessorize Tim. Thankfully, Tim has pierced ears. Can you tell the camera when you had them done?”
“Sure. I had them done when I was a student. I was involved with a fellow student named Emily. She had a lot of piercings in her ears, nose and lips. She persuaded me to get my ears done. Then she dumped me for someone else who already possessed a lot of facial piercings. I haven’t worn anything in them for at least 10 years.”
Soon, I was sporting a pair of dangly hooped earrings. They wouldn’t have been my choice but ‘hey what do I know?’
Then disaster struck.
Felicity went to the box that supposedly contained the wig that I was going to wear. She found it empty.
“I booked out a black pageboy wig from the stores only yesterday,” she exclaimed.
“Let me check,” said Ilene as she disappeared.
She returned a few minutes later bearing bad news.
“You did indeed check one out. It appears to have gone missing. I looked and there really isn’t a suitable replacement available. My guess is that the I-Claudius production has ‘borrowed’ it.”
“Do you have any ideas Felicity? What would you do if this happened twenty minutes before ‘curtain-up’ on your first night?”
I began to get a suspicion that the wig disappearing was not an accident.
Felicity thought for a few seconds before saying,
“In that case, I’d better give Tim my own wig for today.”
Then she surprised us all by taking her hair off and exposing her bald head.
“I lost my hair just after my Gran died. I was eight. It never grew back,” she explained.
That explained a lot. Why she’d never let me touch her hair and her lack of eyebrows.
She took a quick brush to it and then after fitting me with a wig-cap, she placed it on my head.
Suddenly, I had shoulder length jet-black hair. It totally changed my appearance.
At that point, the second disaster of the day happened.
Carole burst into the room and started to laugh when she realised it was me in the chair being ‘operated’ on.
“Tim, I never knew you were like this?” she exclaimed.
“Young Lady!” said Ilene.
“Why are you butting into this examination? Please leave immediately.”
“I have to get Tim. He is needed urgently by the Chairman of the company he works for.”
“Tough. I’m on holiday,” I said indignantly.
“Tim, you have to come. Sir Archibald is having a selection process for the new Chief Actuary. Lance and Kent are over from the USA.”
“And now you tell me? This must have been planned for weeks?”
She didn’t answer.
“As you can seen, I’m a little bit indisposed.”
“Tim, you don’t understand. He wants you there within the hour.”
“Not possible. I can’t take this off until at least tomorrow.”
“Then you will have to go as you are. Otherwise do you want to work for Lance?”
She had a point. I looked at Felicity and Ilene for help. It was Ilene who came to my rescue.
“Where exactly is Tim needed within the hour?” asked Ilene.
That made sense as Sir Archibald was a prominent racehorse owner.
“Good,” replied Ilene.
Then to Felicity she said,
“Get Tim dressed and ready to go. I’ll go on record as approving the change of plan.”
“I’ll have to get a different set of clothes though. The ones we agreed upon are not suitable for a business meeting.”
“Let’s go to the Wardrobe Department and get you fitted out.”
“Hey, don’t I get a chance to agree to this?” I said hopefully.
Everyone looked at me with surprised expressions.
“So I go to Epsom and then what? Stand there while everyone rolls around on the floor laughing themselves silly. There is a huge difference from doing something on a stage or film set to going in front of people I have to work with every day. Ok, so Lance and Kent are bozos of the highest order but I have to think beyond today.”
“Don’t…” said Carole before she stopped.
“Carry on Carole. I know that Lance is your cousin. How else could he have got wind of my plan about fee consolidation and presented it as his own idea. There are other bits of information that you have passed to him over the months.”
“Why didn’t I blow your cover?”
“Yes,” she replied meekly.
“Because once I knew what you were doing, I could use you to feed what they called ‘Duff Gen’ in the World War Two.”
“That is getting off the point. I am supposed to go and face Sir Archibald as well as your friends Lance and Kent without any chance of preparation looking like this? What do you think of my chances of success?”
Ilene looked at me and smiled.
“Tim, have you ever thought of becoming an Actor? You are a natural. Your whole demeanour has changed. Given time you could be a creditable female.”
“That’s the problem. There is no time.”
By now we’d reached the Wardrobe stores.
Ilene helped Felicity select some clothes for me. That was the easy part as was the pair of opaque tights that Felicity produced from somewhere I know not where. The hard part were my feet and the shoes.
My ‘plates of meat’ were a bit large by female standards but nevertheless, a pair of black shoes with a 2.5in heel were found. Then came the fun bit where I tried to walk in them.
Time was ticking and I had to make a go of it. After a few mishaps, I managed to walk a bit and then to stand in these devil contraptions that men are supposed to like. My feet were sure going to say otherwise whatever happened in the next few hours.
Almost thirty minutes had elapsed when I climbed into a car with Carole and she drove us the relatively short distance to Epsom Racecourse. The meeting was in a suite that overlooked the finishing post. Felicity had whispered in my ear,
“Go knock ‘em dead my darling. You look great. I’ll be there as soon as I can sort out some hair.”
I stood outside and took a deep breath. I could hear Sir Archibald talking inside.
“Here goes,” I said trying to give myself some Dutch courage.
I opened the door and walked in.
“Excuse me Miss, this is a private meeting,” said Sir Archibald’s secretary. Then she recognised me.
I walked towards the large table where Sir Archibald, Lance, Kent and a few other people were sitting.
“You asked to see me Sir Archibald?”
“Yes. But I’d prefer to be called Tanya when I am dressed like this.”
“Why are you dressed like that?”
“I was helping my girlfriend get her degree.”
“Pull the other one you poof,” remarked Kent.
“Gentlemen please. That is no way to address a colleague,” said Sir Archibald.
“Well, look at him! Does he think he could pass as a woman? Never in a million years,” said Lance supporting hid buddy.
Sir Archibald looked at the two of them sternly.
“I think the two of you should retire for a while. Then I can ask Tim, sorry Tanya the same questions I have asked the two of you. It is only fair don’t you think?”
Lance started to speak but Kent stopped him.
“Come on Lance, I don’t want to be in the same room as this… this thing.”
The two of them left the room. As they did so, I wondered what sort of plots they would be hatching while they were out of the room.
When they’d gone, Sir Archibald asked,
“Was that true, what you said about your Girlfriend?”
“Yes Sir. She’s a final year student of prosthetics and stage makeup. I was the model for her final exam piece. That’s what I was doing when Carole arrived and gave me your message.”
“Very well. Now, I want to ask you about where we should be going in the future. What are your thoughts?”
“Sir Archibald, this is a complex topic to answer with such little notice. However this sort of thing is part of my current responsibilities. As such I have some ideas that my interest you.”
“Firstly, we should pull out of the USA. Find a buyer for our business. I’m sure that there won’t be a problem finding a buyer. Then we should look East. Specifically, our business with the transport industries. Airlines such as Emirates, Gulf Air, Qatar and the Indian budget airlines should be a target with a better pricing model based upon proper risk assessments rather than a flat rate will get us their business. I can supply you with worked examples of how this would work if you give me a few days to put it down onto a working document.”
“Please do that,” he said with a little smile on his face.
“Then I’d look at shipping especially container ships. These are frankly disasters waiting to happen. With ever-larger ships and some carrying more than eleven thousand containers the losses for any ship owner due to say piracy would be staggering. There has to be a better way to insure the contents of their cargos than we do at present.”
“A good idea. Anything else?”
I took a deep breath.
“Some of the changes to policy renewal that were put forward by Lance and Kent over the past year were actually mine. My Secretary Carole, is a cousin of Lance Miller. She has been feeding him information about my ideas. The problem is that I gave her incorrect details that have been carried on into the actual programmes. Thankfully these won’t have any significant financial impact on the company. I was going to let you know about this along with the supporting evidence when I submitted my letter of resignation.”
“Resignation? Why on earth would you want to resign?”
“Isn’t it clear Sir Archibald? Lance Miller is in the frame for Chief Actuary. I don’t want the job because I’m not a manager but frankly, he is the wrong person for the job and I would not want to work for him.”
“That decision has not yet been made,” replied Sir Archibald.
“I know but I’ve made my decision Sir. Now if you don’t mind, I have someone who needs me more at the moment.”
As if a stage manager had cued her in, the door to the room opened and Felicity walked in. She’d found a wig from somewhere but I could see that it didn’t suit her.
“Felicity, what are you doing here?” I asked.
She had a determined look on her face as she walked towards me.
“I think you should listen to this.”
She put down her phone on the large table.
We all listened as she pressed ‘play’.
We heard the voices of Kent and then Lance discussing me. It was clear from what they were saying that once Lance got his promotion, they would drive the company backwards and hope to make a killing selling the company short.
When it was over, Felicity said to me,
“Come on darling lets go. We have a wedding to plan!”
She took my hand and led me out of the room leaving everyone open-mouthed.
Outside, she kissed me. It felt strange to be dressed like I was and …. Well it was strange but slightly erotic in a weird sort of way.
“Did you mean that?”
“What do you think? Oh, can I have my wig back please?”
“Really? I kind of like it!”
She looked at me sternly for a second before starting to smile.
“Yes, I was winding you up but why didn’t you tell me about your hair?”
“Did you ever wonder why I’m still single aged 28? In the past when I’ve told someone I’m interested in, they run a mile, no ten miles. It puts them off me in an instant.”
“Didn’t you trust me?”
She looked at the floor as she answered.
“I wasn’t sure. But today it seemed just the right thing to do.”
“Well thank you for letting me wear this.”
As I said it, I did a flick of the hair over my shoulder.
“Are you getting to like the new you?”
“Is this a problem?”
“Darling, I think this is a side of you that I’d like to explore a little more.”
I kissed her long and hard. Then I said,
“But I need to get out of the heels they are killing me.”
We both laughed as we walked arm in arm out of the building.
[One week later]
“Can you please give this to the ‘boss’?”
“Tim? What is this?” asked Claudia, my boss’s Secretary.
“My resignation. I’m leaving.”
“But… From what I heard, you stole the show last week.”
“Did I? From my point of view, I was a total jerk. I should never have gone dressed like I was.”
“From what Sir Archibald says, you looked pretty good.”
“No I didn’t and that’s the end of it understand?”
“Fair enough. What are you going to do?”
“I really don’t know. The only thing that I do know is that I’m getting married and I can’t work here anymore after… well after what transpired and everything.”
“Well I for one shall be sad to see you go.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it.”
“Well, I did it, I resigned,” I said when Felicity arrived back from her last day at College.
“Then we are free or as near as can be then?”
“I will be at the end of the month once I’ve served my notice period.”
Once we’d kissed, I asked,
“Any update on that job you were talking about?”
“Yep,” she replied with a cheeky grin on her face.
“Come on out with it!”
“I have an interview next week. The job is not here though.”
“Eh? You said it was at a film studio?”
“It is but the film they are making is being made on location in New Zealand.”
“Ah, like they did with Lord of the Rings.”
“Yes but I don’t have a passport or anything.”
“That’s easy enough to get. You only need a copy of your Birth Certificate. I’m sure someone at the College would countersign the picture and stuff.”
Felicity looked sad.
“My birth certificate is at my Mothers.”
“We are not exactly on the best of terms. She thinks I should be married and have at least three kids by now.”
“Oh, that is a problem.”
“I’ll have to go and get it from her.”
“No Felicity, we will go and get if from her.”
For that I got a big hug and several kisses.
“Now all we have to do is to decide what Tanya is going to wear?” I said half joking.
“That would be a sight but later my darling, later.”
“Back to Boring Old Fart mode then?”
“You really liked what I did to you last week didn’t you?”
“Yes. I became a different person. Not the old me. I’d like to become her from time to time, if that is agreeable to you?”
“Well, you are going to graduate and get a job god knows where in the world. I’d like to be there with you. Getting married in New Zealand might be a good idea.”
“I’ve got to get the job first though.”
“You will. I have every confidence in you.”
That bit of praise got me a big kiss.
[The following Saturday]
We’d left London early on a train to Liverpool where we change for a train to the Wirral where her mother lived. Her house was very nice and obviously pretty expensive. I was impressed as we walked up the drive.
“Ready?” asked Felicity.
“As I’ll ever be my darling.”
She rang the bell and we waited.
A few seconds later, the door opened. The resemblance between Mother and Daughter was obvious.
“Hello Mum, this is my boyfriend Tim,“ Felicity announced as we entered her mothers house.
“Our kid? Is there something I should know?”
“No, I’m not pregnant if that’s what you are on about.”
Her mother looked relieved. From what Felicity had told me about her mother getting pregnant out of wedlock and that is was not that uncommon in her family. She was the exception.
We both went into the sitting room. Felicity went back into the hall to hang up out coats.
When she returned, she took a deep breath and announced,
“Mum, Tim and I are getting married next month. We’d like you to be there for me.”
“Are you sure about this? Aren’t you a bit young for this? What do you do for a living then Tim?”
I thought that she was direct, very direct. Her question was the one I’d been dreading.
“Mrs Foster, I am by training, I’m an actuary but I’m between jobs at the moment.”
“On the dole eh? Just like your father Felicity! Couldn’t you at least have found someone with a job?”
“Mum! That is no way to speak to the man I love?”
“Man? I don’t see a man here. All I see is just another loser like your Father was!”
At that point, Felicity lost it.
“Marty said that you’d be like this. Come on Tim we are leaving as we obviously aren’t welcome here.”
Then she turned to her mother.
“Mum, thanks for the nice warm welcome. We won’t be coming back until you can accept that Tim is the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with.”
Once outside I asked,
“Well, did you get it?”
“Yes. When I hung up our coats, I retrieved in from the top drawer in the hall table,” replied Felicity as she pulled the document from inside her sleeve.
I gave her a little kiss as we headed for the station and our train home.
A week or so later we got two bits of news. One good and one not so good. The good was that Felicity had graduated third in her class. The not so good bit was that she didn’t get the job in New Zealand.
I was trying to wind down my job but not really managing to clear up all the loose ends before my notice period had expired.
My appearance at the Racecourse had spread like wildfire through the company. The two conspirators from the US had been sent packing so with me leaving as well there was a lot to do. There had been several attempts to get me to stay but I’d rejected them all. My mind was made up and that was it.
Sir Archibald cornered me just as I was leaving the building one afternoon.
“Could I have a word with you?”
“Yes, certainly Sir Archibald but don’t try to persuade me to stay on, my mind is made up.”
He smiled as he took me to one side.
“I know than and from the look on your face, I’m foolish to even try.”
I waited for him to get to the point.
“What you said in that meeting made a lot of sense. So much sense that we are in negotiations with a large multi-national insurer about a sale of our business to them. We are a small fish in increasingly big waters and we really don’t have the clout to make the sort of changes we need in the industry to survive and make a decent profit.”
“I didn’t mean for that sort of thing to happen.”
“Don’t feel bad son. The writing had been on the wall for some time. What you said just brought things to a head in my mind.”
“Well, I’m sorry for everyone here. I guess that they will soon be looking for new jobs?”
“Not if I have my way. The new owners don’t have much of a presence in the EU. What we have here is an ideal fit for them. I know you are leaving so I won’t ask you to stay. I’ll be leaving as well. Make sure that you give Monica your phone number. I might have a job for you in a few months if things go to plan.”
I was stunned. For the boss to single me out like this, I was very pleased.
“Thank you Sir Archibald. I’ll make sure that I leave my phone number.”
Then he put out his hand.
“You had some balls to stand up there dressed like were and to you did and say what you did. For that I admire you immensely. I could never have done that so well done, very well done indeed.”
With both of us at a relative loose end, we went flat hunting. My place was really only big enough for one and Felicity’s brother Marty was keen for her to move out so he could move his girlfriend, Lisa in over the summer. The other reason for me to move was that while Docklands wasn’t a bad place to live, it was pretty expensive. With neither of us earning, funds were a bit short but nevertheless we found a two bedroom flat near Clapham Common at a fairly reasonable rent.
By the beginning of August we’d moved in and got ourselves sorted out. As we celebrated our first proper meal together, Felicity asked me,
“Come on out with it! You’ve had something on your mind for a couple of days now.”
I hesitated for a short while before asking,
“Would it be possible for Tanya to visit again?”
A huge grin appeared on her face.
“How long would she like to visit?”
“Well, I thought for the odd weekend but if you are agreeable, then perhaps she could stay permanently?”
“Why? Why would she want to stay?”
“Because my darling, somehow I don’t think that she’d be a ‘boring old fart’ now do you?”
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