You’ve got your mother in a whirl
She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair's alright
Hey babe, let’s go out tonight
Joan felt the square of gauze on her wrist and imagined the bruise that would appear, and spread, along the artery over the next few days. The skin underneath was itchy. But that was nothing new, she was used to IV’s.
She bruised easily. It’d been a long time since she hadn’t looked battered. In January she’d bumped her arm on a cabinet, then, just as the angry red and purple blotch had faded to a rancid yellow, she’d tripped on the stairs leading out of her apartment, and then three weeks after that she’d been patting Raylan, when her neighbour’s Labrador had jumped, pawed gently and his claws had ripped her paper thin skin, their pressure raising a right mottling. And now, on top of that, this.
But this time there would, she knew, be no bruising. Still, even at this last moment, her imagination refused to grasp this reality.
“Are you ready?” Harper asked her.
When Harper had dropped by her house to recruit her he’d looked a bit like her daughter had looked, way back, dressed up as Agent Scully for Halloween (if only Natalie had known what her Mom did for a living). But he still had four sugars in his coffee – three straight away, one added when the cup was half empty – just like he used to, and they’d spent the good part of an afternoon reminiscing about their time in the agency’s Applied Theoretical Physics division. When he slid the dossier across the table to her she opened it, scanned the first page she saw, looked him dead in the eyes and raised her eyebrows. A cassette. Masking tape. Magic marker writing. This is the object of power?
“Will it hurt,” she’d asked.
“Not normally, but…”
She looked at her wrists. The gauze patches were stained red. The left side one –
“The transfusion makes the process a bit rough.”
– fell away. Blood began to pump. She clamped down with her right hand as much as she was able. The patch on her right wrist was still attached, but only by a corner. Blood sprayed from the small hole that’d been made for the cannula. She felt it sluice down her cheeks from her eyes and ears. Blood, scalding hot, filled her toothless mouth and she retched. Wet red streaks trailed from her nipples. Her thighs were slick.
It was Harper who helped her to her feet afterwards. He supported her as she stumbled, dry heaving all the way, to an open plan washroom. She looked at herself in the mirror. Her body was male. It had large ears, and the physique and understated genitals of a classical nude. It looked to be in its mid-twenties. Her donors had been twelve.
Joan ran a hand through her hair.
“What colour?” She said. She did not close her mouth when she finished speaking. Her voice was deeper and she had teeth again.
Harper led her to the shower. “Let’s wash it out and see.”
A TG MIXED TAPE
(Edited by Trismegistus Shandy and Hutcho)
Conversation inside a Lamp-Shaped UFO
By Trismegistus Shandy
DEDAD CASEFILE #SUC-0956432
By Once a Boy Now a Girl
The fall of Clan Mac Bili
By Kathryn Mayhew
Interview with Kathryn Mayhew
First Twenty-fifth Unbirthday
By Ragtime Rachel
By Jenny North
By Varian Milagro
(Edited by Trismegistus Shandy and Hutcho)
"Tell us what you wish," the aliens said in unison.
I took a deep breath, and tried to remember the speech I'd rehearsed. But I'd gone blank. Time to improvise.
"Okay. So, a few months ago, you granted a wish to a transgender person. She explained how some humans have bodies of the wrong sex -- they don't fit their minds. Our doctors had figured out how to sort of fix their bodies, with surgery and hormones; they weren't fully functional but at least they were better off than before. But then you granted a wish to that paraplegic veteran, and gave us these nanites. And they made people's lost legs and stuff grow back, which was great, but they also made MtFs' penises grow back, and FtMs' breasts grow back, and they really weren't happy about it."
"We have corrected our mistake."
"But your patch for the nanites didn't just fix the TGs. Whatever method you use to detect TGs and change their bodies to match their minds... it's not perfectly accurate. There were a bunch of mistakes, like me."
"You were not transgender, and yet our nanites changed your sex?"
"That's what I'm saying."
"Our scan of your brain indicates the usual markers of a female identity."
"Your scanner is wrong. I'm a guy, damnit!"
"We apologize. We thought we understood how to tell male from female humans. We must do further research."
"Listen, gender identity is really complicated. Maybe you can refine your criteria and have fewer mistakes the next time around, but I'm pretty sure there will always be a few if you're using some automated process. Why not just ask us?"
"Wishes must be for general solutions to problems affecting ten thousand or more humans. There are too few of us on your planet to grant individual wishes."
"Then give us devices we can use to reprogram our own nanites."
"Antisocial humans would find ways to use such technology as a weapon."
They'd refused to give us new energy sources for the same reason. "You can't fix it so nobody can use it except on themselves?"
"Your minds are not orderly enough to control technology with your thoughts."
The wishes I'd planned for had fallen through. If I just asked them to refine their criteria, there'd still be mistakes, and I might be one of them.
I happened to glance down at my hands -- my dark green hands. They'd been brown a few weeks ago, and teal before that, thanks to a wish somebody had made to try to fix racism. That's what gave me the idea.
"Just change everybody," I said. "Make us all randomly change sex every few weeks, just like we change color. Unless we're pregnant, that is. Everybody will get to be the sex they prefer half the time, and people with the wrong bodies won't be discriminated against. Win-win."
Maybe it wasn't my most brilliant idea. But it's turned out okay in the long run, right?
Trismegistus Shandy has written more than twenty transgender stories and novels, available at Smashwords, Amazon, Shifti, BigCloset, and Fictionmania.
Interview with Private First Class Andrews, J
Visual Assessment: Andrews is roughly 5"9 with laceration across right cheek, Blonde hair, blue eyes. Weighs roughly 130 pounds and is a 36C cup, prior to interview, with a forming hour glass shape. [See Attachment #2 for full examination]
Agent (CLASSIFIED): Interview begins, 8th of June 2042, 13:23. How are you today Private?
PFC Andrews: Good, Ma'am the painkillers are doing,aagh [Andrews grabs chest, breast size grows roughly by two cup sizes] well at least my face has stopped hurting.
Agent: Now I need to go over the incident with you, just to make sure everything is as you remember, ok?
PFC: Sure, well like, we were investigating reports of sounds coming from this village a couple miles away from the border, and we like found them. thousands of them [Plays with hair]
PFC:The villagers, they were like [Andrews giggles] naked, dancing around those things, we got spotted and they started to attack us. They got Ramirez and they changed him [ Andrews turns away to regain composure]
Agent: If it makes you feel better, everyone that got changed by the succubi was already dead.
PFC: Really! Like I put all my load. [Andrews giggles] Shut up! into them, I saw all my friends get turned into libido driven zombies until it was just me and that sexy, hunk Jason. He is not a hunk! [Andrew's slams table screaming unintelligible curses]
Agent: Josh tell me about the Succubi!
PFC: [Andrews Giggles] Like Josh is a boy's name and I'm definetly not a yucky boy anymore [Andrews strips and begins to violently masturbate] I hungwy! I need a big bwoy to fill me up!
Agent: Josh! ( Agent pulls out their service weapon) Do not make me do this!
PFC: My name is sally, I am ready to serve my Mistress.
Agent: Ok...Where are the Succubi?
PFC: you are not my mistress, she is calling for me. (Andrews lunges toward agent)
Agent: Succubi seems to be under command of a possible Tier eight demon, Interview terminated 8th of June 2042 13:34...Poor Bastard.
Once A Boy Now A Girl (Or Jynx) only recently started writing but has had a keen interest in TG media since their early teens. With their namesake and The Underwear Fairy being the most viewed of their solo stories. They are also one of the Co-Authors of Living Lights.
Once A Boy Now A Girl is currently working on their Peace Corp series which expands upon several characters and organisations such as DEDAD, The Seer and The Dimension Eater that were introduced in Living Lights and is halfway through writing the penultimate chapter of Once A Boy Now A Girl.
(A tale of Mercia)
The battle between the Mac Tavish clan and the Mac Bili clan was finally over. Brude watched as he was forced to his knees, and saw that he had lost and all his efforts had come to naught. Tonight the last of his family and clan would be slaughtered, and the fields of Ghaelorn would run red with blood.
Colin Mac Tavish, his tartan covered in the blood of Brude’s kin, motioned to the men holding Brude down on his knees. One of them hit him with a set of iron manacles, and cuffed Brude’s hands behind him. The ache of his injuries jarred him painfully back to awareness.
“Brude Mac Bili, long have you been a thorn in my side, stopping me and mine from ruling the Clans as was our rightful due. Now, you are my prisoner - and I mean to have my revenge upon you for all the times you stopped my rise to power!”
“Prisoner! So what? So kill me! There are none of clan Mac Bili left alive! I know I’m a dead man - so have the honor to make it quick, bastard!” Brude shouted, spitting at Colin Mac Tavish. This man had slain all his kin, and would soon slay him as well - this Brude knew too well. Goddess, he prayed. Give me the power to survive and slay him for what he has done! Let Clan Mac Bili be reborn! His prayers echoed in his mind for only a short time, before MacTavish dragged his thoughts away from prayer, to his tormentor.
“I’ve a special surprise for you, Brude. I don’t mean to kill you - you deserve far worse. I mean to humiliate you, and to destroy everything you are.” Laird Mac Tavish produced a black leather collar, decorated with six shiny studs. “You’ll soon see, boy.”
A slave collar! No! Brude fought as hard as he could, but the men holding him were too powerful, and the collar was buckled into place Brude felt stunned. Something was wrong, he thought. What’s happening? His body felt strange, like it was melting, and changing. The spell affecting him ended - and he realized he was now a woman. He couldn’t move from shock, or the enchantment from the slave collar.
“At last you see my plan, Brude - or should I say Braid? There will be no living heirs of Clan Mac Bili now, nor ever again.” Mac Tavish grinned evilly. “Now take her to my tent, while we see to the end of his clan. You see, Braid - I mean for you to be punished for a very long time. Welcome to Clan Mac Tavish.”
I’ll kill you for this, she thought. I’ll kill you if it’s the last thing I ever do! Goddess give me strength! She wanted to scream her threats; instead all that came out was “Yes, master.”
Laird Colin Mac Tavish grinned, and walked off to complete his bloody slaughter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, my name is Kathryn Churchill, but I was born Kevin Churchill. I'm 44 years old, and mostly I'm an upbeat positive person, who sometimes gets pretty damn moody. I first realized I was trans when I was 14 years old. I was in health class, learning about the difference between boys and girls, and I realized I wasn't a boy. It was pretty shocking and scary - but I didn't trust anyone enough to tell them. That was 1984... Not a great time to be Transgendered. I kept it bottled up for 29 more years, before I realized I had to take action - and the moment I did, I felt like I was walking on air. I've never looked back since - I wish I'd started to transition 25 years ago. It's the best decision I've ever made.
I grew up in southern Ontario, partly down near Lake Ontario, partly up in the Kawarthas, and love the wilds of the north - the trees, the lakes, the hills and so on... Eventually, about January of last year, I decided to try my hand at writing Fantasy and finishing a novel I'd had formed in my mind for a decade - but didn't have the mental focus to put down on paper. Since I've finished my first novel and started on the second, plus several other stories, I've been more and more excited about sharing my creations with others in the hopes they get as much enjoyment from them as I do. I love animals - especially cats and dogs. I'm a sucker for any neat critter, except spiders... I wouldn't be surprised if I had a phobia of those suckers.
Tell us a little bit about your stories.
Well, my stories so far have featured mostly normal people, getting swept up into events greater than they think they can handle, and somehow managing to deal with the situation and succeed. It’s like a lot of people's lives - and I think they can relate. Everyone likes to think they're normal - but one day a major trial or tragedy comes along and we go "I don't think I can survive this, damn." And sure enough, we do, and when we look back we slowly discover people are a lot tougher than they give themselves credit for. I like to think my characters are like that. I like to put my characters through the wringer, so that when or if they succeed, they feel (and the readers feel) they really accomplished something.
I also like allowing bad guys to be really, really bad. A lot of villains are rather cartoony if you look at them closely - and I'd like to think some TV Shows and Movies would be completely end-runned if the bad guys were truly bad and not just caricatures of villains. Real evil isn't funny, nor is it incompetent or stupid - it’s terrifying and remorseless, and it should seem so - I'd like to think I accomplished that with the Demon and Vargas in Call of the Void, but I suspect I might have fallen a teensy bit short, which is annoying, but something I hope I can correct in the sequel.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
The best advice I've ever written is "A Writer writes" - I try to write something each day - even if it’s just a page or two of background preparation, a page of text or dialogue... Something to keep the juices flowing and the ideas coming. The next part of that advice is "Write what you love, what you know, and what's relevant to you." It doesn't help if you can write cookbooks, but you want to write spy novels - even if you succeed, you'll be unhappy with the result. It can be really, really hard to make a living as an author, so being happy and satisfied with the content and subject matter of what you're writing is really important.
The Last piece of advice I've received is "Watch people and listen to people." Try it - go to a mall, or a food court. Watch the people who pass by - what they wear, how they dress, how they talk to each other. See how the people differ when in a bar, or in a sports event. Watching people can be fascinating, and you can learn a lot about how to better characterize your characters, make more believable dialogue, and set a scene with more precision and surety.
What books have influenced you most as a writer?
I have to say Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom stories with John Carter of Mars, Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Sword and Sorceress" anthologies, Stephen R. Donaldson's "Mordant’s Need" series and Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" as well as his works on several Conan novels years prior. I really enjoy the "Planetary Romance" genre from the pulps as well, and also the movie Avatar.
A majority of your novel Call of the Void: Dreamers takes place in the magical realm of Mercia, can you tell us a bit about the setting and how the created it?
When I made Mercia, I started thinking about a lot of the fantasy novels that were out at the time - many were really, really good - but a lot were garbage... The difference seemed to be the time taken to develop them and make them feel real to the reader. It was possible, but hard to evoke the feeling of a new and alien world in a short story - but in a novel the author had a chance to explore her creation and I wanted to take that and run with it. I wanted humans to be present, and some near humans, but for some reason I didn't want to go near the "D&D" races - so I populated it with Humans, Harvon, Wolfen, Reechi, The Fallen and Dragon-men. There are other creatures as well, but those form the majority of the peoples. Some of which we see in the novel - others of which will become more evident as the story continues.
It was a slow process; part of the process was a bit of wish fulfillment. If I could have my fantasy dream world, what would I want to see in it? As I began to write down notes, I began to dream about Mercia frequently - and began writing down what I remembered when I woke. In my dreams, I felt like I walked some of the hills and streams, and really saw the place for the first time - which was exciting as it was weird for me. I had to pull back from it for a while, because with the schizophrenia I wasn't sure if I was losing my focus and edging closer to another psychotic break.
I realized that religion had to be an important part of Mercian life, good or bad - and I wanted it to be integrated into the daily life of the characters in the stories - not tacked on as an addition after the fact. Why? I guess in a way it was a response to hearing that 90% of people on the planet believe in god (in some form or another) or a higher power - and because I was seeing in our own world a certain level of moral bankruptcy and dearth of religion... which seems to be endemic among mostly western culture and not the rest of the world, and I wondered why? I started to realize that a modern day character encountering a 'fantasy world' where gods lived and breathed would begin asking some pretty interesting questions about why they haven't seen the gods here - and I really liked that angle. I like that it makes the readers ask themselves questions, to be introspective about serious issues. I think the unexamined life is not worth living.
I started with a map, and the main regions I knew HAD to be in the stories. I fleshed it out bit by bit, writing down what I knew, and what I felt was acceptable to change as needed. Some things were set in stone - but others changed once or twice as I began to realize the nature of the world I was creating. It’s been a heady journey, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would go to Mercia in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity, just to see what my creation could be. I think it would be magical.
Call of the Void is an exciting fantasy adventure but it's grounded by this really grim and emotional opening section that takes place in our world. Were you drawing on your own experiences when you were writing that part of the book?
Eric was in a really grim, sad situation - and although I've never been homeless or living on the street (which was more due to having people who really cared about me to help me through the years of rough times than anything I did - having a support in the form of friends and family made all the difference), I wanted to portray a character that didn't have those supports, those helpers, and show a person that fell through the cracks like many schizophrenics do. Eric's lifestyle isn't that uncommon for a lot of people, as grim as it is, and I felt I shouldn't shy away from the bad parts - because how else will Eric appreciate the good parts, when he's able to leave that dirty, gritty life behind. Of course, he can't do it for free - there is no power without price - and the impetus to stop hiding and take action is the death of his friends Norm and Dave. I've lost several people in my life, some to violence, some to drugs and suicide. It’s difficult, and painful - and something you never really get over - but I think I was able to help channel some of those feelings into the characters.
My parents originally were very different from Anders, Eric's hateful father - and there were no friends or siblings like Angie in my life, which sucks - but in the end, my dad stuck with me, and mom kicked me to the curb so I suppose there's a little bit of reversal with life and my story. In a way, Eric faced his demons and defeated them, then found his true self and discovered happiness - which kind of mirrors my journey of discovery with my transition and how the last few years have developed. I didn't even realize this until a few months ago...
Oh - there is one thing that was a close correlation between my story and my life: the voices of the demons and the images of people being eaten and consumed by spiders. For years, with the schizophrenia, I lived in terror of 'the voices' and what they would want me to do. It was a living nightmare and one I'm very glad is ended. The new medications I'm on ended that about 3-4 years ago - and for the first time in twenty years I was able to feel safe and normal. Schizophrenia is terrifying - and the visions I saw helped me write some of the horrific scenes in the Call of the Void - but as the story went on, as I got better, they got harder and harder to write, with the side effect of the story becoming more and more upbeat the further Eric distanced himself from Earth and his old life. It’s an interesting correlation, I think.
If you could say three things to yourself at that moment, what would you say?
If I had to say something to myself at the moment I realized I was Trans, it would have been: Don't be afraid - and don't wait for someone else to solve the problem for you! You're responsible for your own happiness - no one else - and if you don't take action to MAKE it happen, it won't. Life is meant to be lived, not endured - so seize the chance to be happy when you can, because the alternative is being unhappy, and that really, really sucks. It’s scary - so be brave. Fortune favors the bold, after all.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I think writing about Mercia has been for me, a very fulfilling and rewarding endeavor for me. I can't wait to set pen to paper and fingers to keyboard to see another section of the world come to life as I write. I have ideas for dozens of stories set in its magical land, and I think I may never fully leave. I feel like some of my characters, a person born of two worlds, and I'd like to think one day I'll find my way there, even if it’s only in my dreams or the afterlife. I can't wait to see how the world develops. One of my friends once said "You have world-builders disease," in the fashion that I was literally sick with ideas. I couldn't get rid of them - they just kept coming back like a chronic cough. I guess if I have to have yet another illness, this one I can actually live with. If I could lose the others, I'd do so in a heartbeat - but never World-builders Disease... that one I'd keep.
I've set up a Yahoo groups page called Kathryn's Corner for people who want to discuss Mercia and its peoples, customs and places, and for people who just want to chat about what I'm writing, or my other stories like "The Mandate of Heaven" - which is very much like a modern day story about Demigods, in the vein of Percy Jackson, but with a TG bent. For those who are interested in joining a discussion and asking me some questions about my writing, the URL is https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kathrynscorner/info
I'd love to hear from you!
You can purchase Kathryn’s book here
First Twenty-fifth Unbirthday
“Those jeans look really great on you,” Anika said.
I leaned back on my heels and slid my thumbs behind the waistband. The jeans had been my birthday present to myself. I’d sewn a campfire and tendrils of multi-coloured smoke on the left side pocket, and a Very Hungry Caterpillar wearing a Cat in the Hat hat on its opposite. Then I’d wrapped them up in orange crepe paper and set the package aside, to be opened in the evening when Lucile and Jay came over. “You think?”
Anika put away another glass. There was an unused dishcloth slung over her shoulder. As usual, we’d left everything to dry overnight. “OK,” she said, “now you’re just fishing.” She began to rummage around in the sink we’d used once the rack had filled up. “But yeah, they look nice, and you look scrumptious in them.”
I smiled back. “Alright, move over,” I said, “Gotta do my bit.” I nudged Anika with my elbow. My wrist rubbed against hers.
The drying rack was empty except for a coffee mug and two teaspoons.
“So considerate,” Anika said, “however would I cope without you?”
We both laughed.
Anika tilted her head down towards the (hardly there) gap between us. “Is this enough room?”
I craned my neck, twisted, looked where she was looking, untwisted, uncraned. Then I looked at her.
She was wearing a tie dye shirt with Wirrenglen State Primary, Class of ’14 emblazoned on the back, and below that, blockier, less ornate, Christopher Hill. For whatever reason Chris hadn’t taken the shirt home with him. At her urging (Anika’s always brimming with opinions after I tell her about my day) I’d dibsed it, and the others, and’d set to most of them with a pair of scissors. The scraps filled a small esky that lived in our supplies cupboard next to a red lunchbox containing paddle pop sticks, a blue lunchbox filled with pipe cleaners and the ziplock bags containing spangles and stick-on googly eyes. The shirt was short and baggy. My eyes came to rest on her leggings and the slight plumpness of Little Bowie. (She’d been dressed as Jareth when we’d met at a singles mixer held by the Greater Wirren LGBT Alliance.) Anika doesn’t believe in tucking.
I placed my hand over hers. I felt her knuckles and her nails with my fingertips, I felt her feel my stomach. Our fingers meshed. I took her hand and placed it under my left breast (the smaller one). She tugged at my lower lip with her teeth. We bumped and ground, I backed. Her other hand was on my arse. My legs rubbed a finger. My right breast bobbled.
We fell, quite a long way it seemed, and sprawled on our mattress (we didn’t yet have a frame). Anika unbuttoned my jeans and began to unzip. I was born at 11:47 in the evening. My first sex as a quarter centurion was, if I say so myself, pretty good.
Hutcho is the creator of the Mixed Tape Anthologies. He is Australian, but don't hold that against him. If you do he will sic his pet Drop Bear on you.
“Calm down Stormy!” I patted my pet’s head. He hadn’t quite reached the end of puppy-hood, but given his size he was getting pretty difficult to handle especially since I hadn’t quite managed to break him of all his bad habits.
Stormageddon plopped down and looked back at me with a big old doggie grin on his face. The last time he’d pulled this crap I’d spent almost five minutes trying to get the wry little bastard to sit up again. “Come on man.”
I felt an unexpected weight in my jacket pocket and looked up just in time to see some pale-skinned spook in a leather jacket breeze past me. “Weird.” I reached inside and pulled free what he had deposited there, a chincy little toy raygun.
“The Gend-O-Matic.” I traced my hands along the logo on the handle. “WARNING! only intended for use on humans.”
“Aethermysts,” I whispered, remembering that weird ass catalog I’d found in the dumpster a few weeks ago. I’d sent for something from it and I could have sworn I’d ordered the Mach-O-Blaster, but then again I’d been a little drunker than I cared to admit. I could have checked the wrong box on the order form.
The weird delivery method notwithstanding, there was no way I was buying the whole magic gender bender ray thing. I almost tossed the stupid thing in the garbage, but then I shook my head pointed it at Stormy and pulled the trigger. I really didn’t expect anything to happen. So, you can imagine my surprise when the gun recoiled and after a brief flash of light Stormy was looking a little different.
Sitting there on her ass stark naked, with her tongue waggling out of her mouth, was a rather fuck-tastic vixen who happened to have a set of dog ears and a tail. I gasped and looked down at the weapon with wide eyes.
I felt like a geek in a electronics store who’d just been handed an all-you-can-buy gift card. I started shooting everything in sight, starting with a squirrel who transformed into a buff dude with those goofy ears and bushy tail, next I fired on a cat who turned out just as vivacious as stormy. There were people there too, men, women and a couple of kids, none of them were spared. Once they’d been hit by the gun no one was immune to it’s effects. I pulled the trigger one last time, but the gun clicked and did nothing.
It got real hot real fast and I dropped it before it could burn my hands. There was a brilliant luminescent explosion and when my vision cleared I was looking up at the clear blue sky. A pretty face leaned over and I felt a hand on my shoulder. “It got you too, whatever that was, didn’t it?”
I gasped and reached out to my chest and confirmed my worst fears. “Yup, definitely chincy.”
D.A.W. is a fan of science-fiction and fantasy who brings his love of the genres to TG fiction. He is the author of "Facades", the "Ragnarok Rising Trilogy" ("Incompatible: Birth of a Spellbinder", "Transfigured: Ascension of a Spellbinder" and "Destiny: Legacy of a Spellbinder") and is in the process of serializing his science-fiction series “Battle For Earth”. He has contributed to several shared universes including Enemyoffun's DarkRealms Universe ("Hunger Pangs") and Morpheus' Twisted Universe ("Virtually Twisted").
Just one out of the seeming hundreds that constituted my sister’s and my Easter haul that year. Sweet, sticky, and well…bean-shaped.
And did I say pink?
“So come on already!” said my twin sister Kayla, in a pitch I’m sure could send dogs scurrying. “Eat it, don’t stare at it.”
“Kay, it’s stupid,” I pleaded. “That jellybean can’t turn a boy into a girl.”
“Try it, if you’re so sure,” my sister said, in the tone of someone on the verge of snaring their quarry. “Or are you chicken?”
She had me. The one word in the English language that could make me do just about anything, from almost jamming a penny in the wall outlet before Mom stopped me (hey, I was four) to lighting my farts on fire (how was I supposed to know the drapes would go up like that?) The “kid code” demanded I defend my honor.
Surely a silly little jellybean couldn’t hurt me.
“Hey, I was thinkin’,” I said, holding it inches from my mouth. “What if I wanna change back?”
“Duh,” said Kayla, rolling her eyes. “You eat one of the blue ones, what else?”
“Makes sense,” I answered, shrugging. “Well, here goes.”
The jellybean tasted…like a jellybean. (What else would it taste like? A burrito?) I closed my eyes, waiting for something to happen.
“Gotcha!” Kayla squealed, laughing. “Admit it—you thought you were gonna turn into a girl. Boys are so dumb.”
“Who’s a boy?!” I cocked my head and made a face. “Boys are gross.” Looking down at my ratty bathrobe and Spiderman PJs, I said, “What am I wearing!? Where’s my dress?”
Kayla blinked for a moment. “What??”
“My Easter dress, hello!” I said, looking puzzled. “We’re wearing matching ones, remember?“ I put my hand on Kayla’s forehead as her face registered panic. “Are you all right, Kay?”
“Kelsey, you’re scaring me….” Kayla pulled away, trembling.
“Quit kidding, sis.” I jumped up, giggling. “I get it--Mom hid it in my room! Oooh, I hope it’s pink.”
I made a beeline up the stairs with a creeped-out Kayla close behind.
“Hey, it’s not here.” Tossing aside a closet full of shirts, pants, and jackets, I stamped my foot. “Ha ha. Real funny, sis. Just for that, I’m borrowing one of your dresses ‘til you put my real clothes back!”
Running into Kayla’s room, I searched through her closet, holding up a pastel pink number. “Ohmigawd,” I gasped. “If you don’t want this anymore, can I have it? It’s so cute.”
“STOP IT!” Kayla shrieked. “I made it up, OK? You’re not a girl!”
Kayla looked over to see me grinning. “Gotcha!”
Kayla gasped, swatting me on the shoulder. “You knew!”
“Yep. I mean, magic jellybeans? C’mon!”
“Just glad to have my brother back,” said Kayla, relieved. “Put back that dress and let’s pig out on candy.”
“Umm…can I try it on?” I said, blushing. “It’s kinda soft.”
“MOOOOOOOM!” Kayla yelled, panic rising
Rachel has been around longer than you might think, publishing her first story (the SRU tale “A Box Full of Dreams” as far back as 1999.
Rachel has this to say about her writing: "My TG fiction protagonists are young, usually child to early teen range, because they represent the child I wish I could have been--one who could freely live as her true gender at a very young age. Many are also disabled as well, a subject area not usually covered in TG fiction. I do this because I myself am disabled, having had cerebral palsy from birth, and I take the adage "Write what you know" to heart."
Welcome to Retrieval, Mr. O'hara, how can we help you?
"Yeah, a friend of mine told me that you can help with semi-repressed memories, and there's this one he always keeps telling me about that I can't remember."
Would you prefer natural retrieval or the mind probe?
"Which would you suggest?"
I'm just going to ask you some questions, and that will determine the method. The questions will be more personalized the more you tell me, is that fine?
Tell me about the memory you want me to retrieve. Where was it?
"It was... In a cabin, out in the woods. My parents let me use it whenever I asked to, and my buddy Isaac and I would go up there to do some hunting."
Was Isaac there?
"Yeah, yeah, he was."
Good. Natural retrieval is always easier than a mind probe. Tell me, what was Isaac wearing that day? Can you remember it?
"I can, actually. Blue jeans and a simple tee-shirt, that's all."
And what were you wearing?
"Um... I can't... I don't remember."
That's fine, I'm sure it'll come back later. Tell me about Isaac, what was he doing there?
"Like I said, we went up there to hunt a lot."
How did you hunt in high heels?
How did you hunt in the winter? Was there really anything there?
"Deer, mostly. Maybe an elk, or two. What was that other question you asked?"
Pay it no mind. How close were you to Isaac?
"We did everything together."
"We hung out every day."
Now, let's get back to the memory at hand. What is the most pleasurable part of the memory?
"I don't know. It's tough to recall."
Was it the moment you felt Isaac's manhood inside you for the first time?
"The moment... I... What? What's going on?"
Please, don't tell me you forgot that your trip to the cabin was the moment you lost your virginity to the man of your dreams?
"Man of my dreams? Isaac?"
Yes, I’ve discovered many memories of the two of you making love.
What color was the dress you wore to the cabin that day?
“I… Indigo. It was indigo.”
And, my earlier question, how do you hunt in high heels?
“I don’t, that’s just silly. Daddy and Isaac do all the hunting, I’m just there to look pretty and wait for Isaac to finish.”
Has your memory been successfully retrieved, Ms. O’hara?
“Yes, thank you, so much. Isaac’s been after me for years to remember our first time, but I’ve just been so empty-headed, it’s outrageous.”
You’re welcome, Ms. O’hara. Have a pleasant day.
Hikaro has been reading transgender stories for some years now, but only broke into the writing business in late 2011, when he posted his first story to TG Storytime. Since then, he's garnered critical acclaim (in his own mind) with stories like "A First-Person Account" and "Brave New World". An odd sort of man, he likes to claim he has drinks with Elvis on the Titanic during the weekends.
A "My Uncle Fifi" Commercial
Terry hurried in and plastered a smile on his face, straightening his petticoats before performing a flouncy little curtsey to his ten-year-old niece. "Yes, Miss Madison?"
"Angelique, bring me a cookie, won't you?"
Terry grit his teeth and curtsied again before leaving. He soon returned and presented her with an oatmeal cookie.
"Oh," Madison said in mock distress. "No, that's no good. Maybe an assortment? You know, on a little plate with one of those frilly paper coaster thingies? What do you call those?"
"Yeah, one of those," she decided. When Terry just glared at her, she clapped her hands together briskly. "Chop, chop, girl!"
Terry set his jaw and curtsied again, swishing back towards the kitchen.
"Don't forget the milk!"
Presently, Terry returned with a silver serving platter holding a plate that had a variety of cookies artfully arranged on a paper doily next to a short glass of milk and a tiny vase with a single flower. Madison grinned in satisfaction as he placed the tray in front of her.
"Oh, how pretty!" she declared, choosing a cookie and taking a bite. "Angelique, you make such a good maid!"
"I live to serve," Terry deadpanned, folding his hands primly and watching as she took a sip of milk.
Madison made a little face as she licked her lips and held up the glass. "Is this whole milk?" she asked.
Terry crossed his arms under his abundant bosom and watched her take another sip. "It's breast milk."
"PPPBBTHHH!!" she sputtered, spitting it out of her mouth. "Oh! Uh! Ew!" she protested, rubbing at her tongue. She stared at him in disbelief.
"It's half and half, you little extortionist," he told her. "Now, I am immeasurably grateful for your and Claire's continued silence about the gangster living next door who wants me dead--"
“And who wants to date you. The girl you.”
"Also, how you're a snitch for the FBI."
"My point being!--please don't mistake my gratitude for blind obedience. Understand, I'm not saying this as your loving uncle, I'm saying this as the person who will be serving and preparing your food. The person with free rein to go into any nook or cranny in your bedroom when you're not there under the pretext of 'cleaning.' We clear?"
"Yep," she gulped.
Madison picked up a cookie and held it out to him. "Peace offering?"
"Ugh, thanks, no. My butt's big enough as it is. Whatever was in that junk those doctors gave me was obviously calibrated for 'Kardashian.'"
Just then from down the hall came the tinkling sound of a small bell, followed by Claire's sing-song voice. "Angeliiiique!"
Terry raised an eyebrow and looked at Madison. "Excuse me a moment, won't you? I believe I need to have a word with your big sister." He smirked and dropped into another curtsey before heading down the hall.
"Coming, Miss Claire!" he chirped obediently.
Jenny North has recently been posting stories on Fictionmania and is really enjoying talking about herself in the third person. If you enjoyed this, she recommends reading her TV sitcom story that it's based on, "My Uncle Fifi." Then if you enjoy that one, she recommends the story that IT was based on, "Mockumentary." And if you enjoy THAT story...um, read "Broken Echo." It's great.
It’s oddly satisfying, looking at the pile of hair in the sink and on the floor. Gonna be a pain cleaning it up, but that’s a small price to feel a bit like myself again. Running my hand against the stubble on top of my head reminds me childhood, when Dad insisted on me getting a crew cut each summer.
That girl is still staring back from the bathroom mirror, but at least her face isn’t framed by thick locks down to her shoulders. Long hair was the least of this ordeal, but I’m still glad it’s gone.
I scowl. The girl doesn’t look any manlier, unfortunately, but at least she’s less approachable. I think. I can’t shake the feeling that some guys would find it cute, somehow.
God, going to the bar last night was a mistake. Don’t know why I didn’t expect to get hit on; I’ve flirted with women far less attractive than the girl in the mirror. I should’ve just gotten good and drunk at home.
Lesson learned. I’m going to avoid going out as much as possible, and if that makes me a shut-in, well, it’s for the best. I mean, the way that guy was looking at my chest you’d think I was topless, not wearing the least flattering clothes I could dig up. I didn’t need the reminder of what was underneath my shirt, or what they mean.
The thought makes me second guess the pile of sweatpants and sweatshirts I just bought. They’re all two sizes too big, more than ample enough to conceal my body in the comforting folds of shapeless grey fleece. The clerk looked at me like I was insane when I bought seven sets. Lady, I wish I was crazy.
Thinking I’d gone mad made that first night bearable, in retrospect. Sure, I spent it half-delirious and panicked, but there was a chance this was all some sort of nightmare. Praying I’d wake up in the morning with my penis back. After spending a week seeing a girl in the mirror, that initial bit of hope is long gone.
Hope. It’s why I did this. Shaved head, baggy clothes, perpetual frown. Next I’ll work on turning my sway into a swagger. I guess I hope that if I act unfeminine enough I’ll feel like a guy again, maybe even be a guy again.
The goddamn girl in the mirror says otherwise. I know she’s me. She feels natural. She claims this is just a phase, fleeting as teenage rebellion. That if I were serious about being a man I’d be considering drastic measures, not hiding behind an ugly wardrobe. She mocks me with those sad, confused eyes, and accuses me of avoiding painful but necessary introspection. Her gaze says that this might be something I wanted, whether I admit it or not.
Maybe she’s right. Maybe not. All I know is right now I'm more comfortable with what I was, and so I cling to the memory.
What is Maredsous? A human? A machine? A typing dog? Whatever his true nature, he loves to write, his works are available at several fine fiction websites, and he constantly seeks to refine what he does.
“For my next wish I want to know how to make my wife happy. Whenever I ask her she always says ‘if you truly knew me, you wouldn’t have to ask.’ Well, that’s what I want. I wish I truly knew her.”
“As you command, master,” the immense, smoky male figure intoned.
A colorful wave shot from his fingers and slammed into my chest. It coursed through my body, shrinking me in stature while enlarging my chest, hips and buttocks. The hair on my head flowed over my shoulders as the rest my hair retreated. I looked at my reflection in the lamp’s polished surface. I looked exactly like my wife.
“This isn’t what I wanted,” I protested just as the magic hit my brain and I then knew what my wife desired.
She wanted to be adored, to be cherished. She wanted to be wooed like in the days before her wedding. Was it too much to ask for the occasional, unsolicited “I love you”? Would it kill him if he complimented my looks once in a while? God, what I’d do just to have him give me half the attention he gave his precious sports teams. What did he see in them anyway?
“I know what I want for my next wish,” I said.
“I await your pleasure, mistress.”
“How many wishes do I get again?”
“There is no limit to the number of wishes as long as they are made before midnight,” the djinn said.
“In that case, I want to understand my husband. He’s always complaining about money, yet he wastes it all the time. He flips his lid if I spend money on a new dress or if I buy something pretty to decorate the house. But spending hundreds of dollars to see a bunch of millionaires throw a ball around is perfectly okay. I wish I could understand him.”
“As you wish, mistress,” the djinn said wearily as he cast his magic. He looked at the morning sun peeking over the horizon and sighed. It was going to be a long day.
This is Varian Milagro's second contribution to the Mixed Tape anthologies. You can read all of his posted stories, including non-TG stories, and his commissioned comics on his blog ( http://varianm.blogspot.com/) and the stories "Just Pretending" and "The Purse Came First" at fictionmania.
In the News
Last month reality TV star and former Olympian Bruce Jenner came out as a trans woman and was the subject of a lengthy interview on the American news and current affairs program 20/20. The interview was well received, but not overwhelmingly so, which isn’t surprising – Jenner is part of a media empire that many regard as the nadir of America’s cultural output, she’s a republican whereas the majority of the trans community skews left, her day to day life experiences are not those of the average trans person, and as with most programs of its type, the 20/20 special was pitched at a non LGBTQ audience as a representative exposé. In addition to watching the interview, I encourage you to peruse the #Transwreck hashtag on twitter, and to read Julia Serano’s excellent column about the dominant narrative of interviews with trans individuals for The Guardian.
Writing with Color is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to tell or think critically about the stories of people who are different from themselves. (And if you don’t want to do these things, why not?)
Vlogger extraordinaire Ashley Mardell has curated two fantastic videos about words and what they mean. Enjoy.
Just for laughs
April was a busy month for me, so I wasn’t as involved in putting this collection together as I usually am. I’d like to extend a big thank you to Trismegistus Shandy, who did the bulk of the work this time. And, as always, thank you to all the authors who contributed.
I hope that you (the reader) found something that tickled your fancy in this collection of stories. If you did, let us know what it was with a review.
Submissions for the next mixed Tape are due on the 24th of May. It will published during the 1st week of June.
The tapes showcase both fiction and non-fiction pieces.
Guidelines for fiction submissions are as follows:
Guidelines for fiction submissions are as follows:
Stories are to be no longer than 500 words.
Write what you want to write. However, I'd love to see some stories where trans characters interact. In many of the more realistic stories on sites like FM, BC and TGS the protagonist is the only trans character, or is the only trans character for majority of piece. While the Outsider narrative is one that resonates with trans individuals - and queer individuals in general, and individuals who look different, or believe different things, and almost all people, who for whatever reason, feel different - while it has value as a framework to address trans experiences in fiction, with a beginning, middle, and a frequently empowering conclusion, I think it's overused. I'd love to see stories which start with acceptance and support as a given (and not in surprise twist sort of way) and where the many and varied LGBTQ communities exist and play a role.
I’d also like to see some sci-fi and fantasy pieces about trans characters that do not feature magical or super-science sex changes. We don’t see enough of this type of story. I want to see trans heroes, antiheroes and villains who have transitioned, are transitioning, or are considering transitioning in ways that approximate the experiences of real world trans individuals.
Stories are to be accompanied by a short About the Author or Also by This Author blurb. Write one of those too.
Guidelines for nonfiction submissions:
Guidelines for nonfiction submissions:
Shoot for 1000 words. It doesn’t matter if you go a little over.
Possible topics include trans issues, sex and sexuality, cross-dressing tips and tricks, writing, and books, movies, TV shows and comics about or featuring Transgender characters. If you can make a case for anything else, you can write about that.
Regarding style: informal is fine, and preferred. These pieces shouldn’t be a chore to read. Write your chosen topic the same way you’d talk to a friend about it, or write about it in a blog, or in an effort-comment or forum post.
As a contributor you will be able to read and feedback other contributions as they come in. If at any point prior to publication you wish to withdraw your work, that’s OK.
The finished anthology will be published on Big Closet, TG Storytime and Fictionmania. Make sure you have accounts set up on all three sites (all are free to join). I want to get as many authors credited on each site as possible.
Email submissions to [email protected]
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