Alien, Eh?

Printer-friendly version

An alien abducts Sharyn, makes a cogent argument, and then proposes a change.

Alien, Eh?
By Angela Rasch

“Jake, where are we?”

About a year ago, Jake moved in next door in our cookie-cutter suburb just north of Chicago. We’re early sexagenarians, who quickly became friendly enough to have drinks together sitting by his pool or mine. Those cocktails moved us on a path to a deep and enjoyable relationship. It only took a few times hearing him say “oot and aboot” to identify him as an alien.

He had suggested that the two of us take a four-day trip to Windsor, Ontario.

“We’re in Canada, Sharyn.”

Sharyn? During an inebriated evening last fall, I let Jake in on my most guarded secret -- being a closet transgender. He supported my lifestyle aspirations but shared my perspective of probable huge downside consequences -- if I elected to live openly transgender. His Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology proved helpful in understanding who I am . . . and why.

“I know we’re in Canada. Going through customs had been a massive clue. Uhmmmm?” I asked. “Why are we at a private home and not at Caesars Casino?” I lowered the passenger-side window of Jake’s ten-year-old Range Rover to peer at . . . an enchanting house. The seductive aroma of lilacs greeted me.

“We’re not going to the casino,” he explained. “I didn’t want to get into a kerfuffle – so I planned for both of us.”

I took a moment to react to being abducted. I’ve spent too much time staring into his beautiful eyes and not enough effort discovering more about him. Simply by asking I’d uncovered some of his background. He married forty years ago, but “Emma” died young from leukemia. He’s careful with his money -- but never cheap. Jake gives freely of his time to several charities. Like me, he has no immediate family.

I know all that and enough more to fill a book, but I’ve never bothered to determine if he’s a serial killer. My bad! Is this mini vacation a huge mistake?

I don’t like change or surprises. I’ve been using my MBA/CPA as CFO of Warren, Inc. for ten years; nine years too many. There are only so many interesting beans to count. I need to explore other options – but. . .. I shook my head. “Jake, this isn’t funny. You altered our plans without talking to me first.”

His face dropped. “Do you trust me?”

“Of course!” Maybe? After spilling the tea to him about being transgender he insisted that I needed to allow myself to express my femininity. He’d said that it wasn’t healthy for me to suppress that integral part of my being. For the last six months, we’d spent at least three nights a week in either his house or mine with me in full ‘Sharyn’ mode. Feeling very comfortable with Jake, I soon cooked all our meals and added feminine touches to his house to make it more . . . homey.

I’d expanded my self-imposed closet to include Jake’s house, but never ventured out as “Sharyn.” Behind me today, in the backseat, were my “his” and “her” suitcases to accommodate my two-spirit identity. Supposedly there was to have been ample “Sharyn” time in our suite at the casino.

“Of course, I trust you,” I equivocated, cringing at my failure to be totally honest.

Our relationship improved exponentially about four months ago when he first made love to me. He’s a fantastic lover, who makes me feel sexy when he declares me Emma Thompson’s twin. He’s awakened my female needs. Until he came along, I felt asexual. I’ve had a lot of friends – but only one lover. His attention to me became a catalyst for losing twenty pounds. There are so many flattering size fourteen dresses -- compared to size sixteen.

I’ve become so dependent on him. He goes on a business trip Monday through Friday every fourth week. Once he’s on that 8:10 flight to Windsor, I miss him horribly. I smiled contentedly. I’m dressed mainly in boy clothing today – “mainly’ because I discarded my CK briefs for Versace panties a decade ago. Despite my outer clothing, I’d spritzed myself with a discrete amount of sanity-preserving Chanel No 5.

He returned my smile. “For the last several months, you’ve been rightfully complaining about how attitudes toward transgender are deteriorating in the U.S. -- becoming increasingly more intolerable.”

When Jake pulls himself that erect to expound on something, I realize his seven-inch height advantage on me is quite appealing. “It’s horrible what the Republicans are doing and saying,” I agreed. “Trump said at one of his campaign rallies that if he’s re-elected, he’ll punish doctors who provide transgender-affirming care for minors. He said that transgender is a concept the radical left manufactured only a few years ago.”

“I guess that means he’s never heard of Christine Jorgenson, Renee Richards, or Lili Elbe.” He shook his head, clearly commiserating. “I guess rewriting history will be easier once they’ve banned all the LGBTQ books.”

I nodded.

He bowed his head. “I’m sorry I brought you here under false pretenses. But I want you to give serious consideration to living in . . . Canada . . . as a woman.”

Move? To Canada? This is coming out of the blue! Jake isn’t a fool. He’s always had my best interest in mind. I’m willing to, at least, listen. “Why Canada?”

“Compared to the United States, Canada is nirvana when it comes to transgender issues.”

His light brown hair is so adorable. It amazes me that someone who looks just like Liam Neeson can possibly consider himself unattractive. “Really? We drove five hours to get here. However, if we were living in Detroit, we could have been here in ten minutes. We could have flown here from O’Hare in about thirty-five minutes. You’re proud of your homeland. But are you seriously suggesting that things are that much different between neighboring countries?”

“Very much so,” he argued. “You can’t imagine how foreign the States seemed to me when I moved to Chicago. There are basic philosophical differences. Consider this; Canada brings in immigrants at a rate that’s about twenty-five percent higher than the States. The United States calls itself a melting pot . . . where everyone is expected to conform. Canada thinks it’s a mosaic -- made up of many cultures. Canadians, who always try to be nice, believe it’s rude to stick their noses into other people’s business.”

That all seems to point toward Canadian inclusiveness. I eased out of his car and took in the craftsman home. I love the look. It appears to be over a hundred years old and recently remodeled -- without losing its charm. The neighborhood is nice and probably deliciously eclectic. “Did you rent this place on VRBO? Wouldn’t it be great to own a house like this?”

“Sharry, you don’t really own this kind of property. You’re more of a steward. Do you like it?”

It is the perfect combination of brick and clapboard. The dahlias are pretty. But the yard is much too austere. I’d love to get my hands on it. I sighed. “This is exactly the house I was looking for when I bought my current home. I had to settle for a new-built house, to get a location near work. They just don’t build’em like they used to. I’ve always loved an open front porch that seems to welcome the world. I can almost taste the lemonade and hear the lulling conversations. Look at that cornice! Marvelous!”

His body has lost the awkwardness it's had for the last hour.

“I’ll give you a tour. Four bedrooms. Three baths. Hot tub. It’s only a little over a klick to Windsor Center and a short shot to the casino -- to drop a loonie, or two. There are several great restaurants within walking distance. There’s a Real Canadian Superstore up the road on Dougall.”

“Okay . . . but why the secrecy?” Jake isn’t normally this anxious. He’s been strangely mysterious all day. “Why aren’t we staying at the casino?”

“The casino’s really swanky. They have a handful of good restaurants to choose from -- everything from a Timmie’s for Timbits to a five-star steakhouse. But staying here offers us an intimate setting to really talk things through . . . mainly about all the reasons you should move to Canada. It’ll be like going to a private retreat.”

I’d questioned our choice of Windsor as a destination. Coming here seemed to close to work for Jake, with his corporate home office being here. I would have preferred a romantic Door County inn. “Jake – it’s sweet of you to think of my well-being – but I’m not moving. You seem really convinced that Canada is much better for trans people. However -- just because you think I would be more readily accepted as Sharyn -- I’m not transplanting to the frigid Far North.”

“Actually, Windsor is south of Boston or Minneapolis.”

“Thinking of Canada as being North is a mental thing. When it’s seventy-five degrees in Chicago it’s probably twenty-four degrees in Windsor -- if I’m doing the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion right.”

“That sounds correct.”

“Well, twenty-four degrees is c-o-l-d!”

He laughed. “You could always do the snowbird thing and spend part of each winter in Arizona. You need to make a change. ‘Sharyn’ is the real you. When you’re forced to be ‘Hugh’ you become visibly distressed.”

“Yes, it’s ‘distressful,’” I allowed, “but that stress is also unavoidable in today’s world.” I touched my man bun and wished for the millionth time that any time I wanted I could have my hair curled and styled.

“Your stress would be ‘avoidable’ in Canada. Of course, you’d also have to get used to taking your shoes off when you enter a home.”

I blushed. Jake had taken his shoes off at the door. I sat and removed my sneakers and placed them next to Jake’s. “Oh. . .that fireplace is. . .majestic!”

“True. She’s a beauty. There’s nothing like a Black Cherry from the PoP Shoppe and a roaring fire to warm the soul.” He went on. “Canada isn’t U.S.A. 2.0. Canada has its own money, system of government, and two official languages. Canadians call things by different names. A TV remote is a converter. Your sneakers are runners. The bathroom is known as a washroom. And -- a stocking cap is a toque.”

He rattles on like that when he’s nervous. So cute!

It’s odd that there are no pictures on the mantel or hanging on the walls. The balustrade going to the second floor is exquisitely handsome! “Using a few different words doesn’t sound too alien. But I’m having a hard time believing Ontario’s people are much different than those living in the Land of Lincoln.”

“It’s a whole new world. If Canucks weren’t so darn nice it might even be disconcerting.” He smiled broadly. “I think you would agree that Canadians are more laid back than Yanks. The average Canadian worker puts in about twenty percent fewer hours on the clock and takes off more time for holiday and personal leave -- about fifty percent more.”

“I knew that. I also know that Canadians are more open.” I nodded. “My -- the woodwork in this house is lovely. It’s simply gorgeous. They really were ‘craftsmen’ back then.” I turned to look into his elegant blue eyes. “Why do you think Canadians are more inclusive toward trans?”

He adopted a professorial demeanor. “I don’t ‘think’ – I ‘know.’ When I first started thinking about convincing you to move here, I did my research. I didn’t want to be a keener, but I know you like to have the hard facts.”

He might not have wanted to be a “keener,” but he does sound a bit nerdy. This home’s kitchen makes me want to bake banana-nut-oatmeal muffins for Jake.

“A marketing data company issued an international study concerning transgender issues in 2018 that compared sixteen countries’ survey results,” he said, “which I’ve committed to memory.”

“Can I assume this comparison was favorable for Canada versus the United States?” I asked, trying to be helpful.

“Very much so. Look . . . Canada is not the same as the U.S. Only twenty-seven percent of the people in Canada consider religion to be important.”

“Did you say twenty-seven percent? That sounds quite low.”

“It would sound low to you. Almost twice that, fifty-three percent of U.S. citizens, consider religion to be important. You combine that with the influence churches exert over the U.S. government -- and that alone largely explains why some cultural attitudes are poles apart.”

Interesting! “Are you saying Justin Trudeau doesn’t genuflect to churches?”

He chuckled. “Canada prides itself on a secular government with a strong separation between church and state. It would be the end of a Canadian politician’s career, if he were to pose with a Bible.”

I really do love this house. The nooks and crannies stoke my imagination. “All I really know about Canada is that there’s universal health care. I’ve heard it’s very hard to get good medical attention.”

He grinned. “You can’t argue with the medical outcomes the Canadian health system produces. The average Canadian lives three years longer than the average person in the States.”

“That’s probably due to your intense gun control,” I stated with envy.

“Yes, we do control guns. But those that want guns to hunt have ready access to them. It’s a little harder to buy a gun – but it can be done.”

I surveyed the room in vain for a gun cabinet. “There’s just nothing about this house that could be called ‘trendy,’” I marveled. “Everything is so authentic.”

“When this house was built, perfection wasn’t the goal. The priorities were warmth, comfort, and personality.”

I gazed out from a three-season porch on the back of the house and noted that it sat on a double lot with an ample garden spot that featured hostas. “A person could nurture a lot of flowers in a yard like this.” I barely have space now for plants.

“Happiness is having a project.” He sat on a precious-looking, green-velvet couch, that had arrived straight out of the forties. He then patted the cushion next to him. “Please, come sit on the Chesterfield with me. How about we talk a bit? Then you can decide if I should bring in our three suitcases. If you think it’s best, after our chat, we’ll stay at the casino.”

I nodded and sat.

“Let’s talk about those that think trans people are committing a sin,” Jake started. “In the States, one out of three thinks it’s a sin, while only one out of five thinks it’s sinful in Canada. That means that out of a hundred people, there would be about thirteen more south of the border who think you’re an abomination.”

“That’s significant,” I admitted. I’d winced when he said “abomination” – having been raised in a Christian household. Jake would never intentionally hurt me; if anything, he’s overprotective.

“The numbers are a little less dramatic when you consider those who think trans people have a mental illness. In Canada, one out of four thinks a transwoman has a mental illness, while in the States it’s one out of three.” He dropped an inviting arm on the couch back behind me.

I bit my lip and sank into his embrace. “I just wish everybody would just take a break and remember that being trans is a natural occurrence.”

“Forty-seven percent of people in the U.S. think it’s a natural occurrence,” he revealed.

He certainly has numbers for everything. “That doesn’t sound horrible.”

“It’s better in Canada,” he emphasized, “where fifty-four percent realize it’s natural.”

Well, the sway in my walk is one hundred percent natural. I long ago quit allowing it to embarrass me.

His voice is so soothing. He makes hearing all those statistics entertaining. Of course, I love him so much he could excite me by reading IKEA assembly instructions.

“In general,” Jake stated, “a lot fewer Canadians think that trans people are violating the traditions of their culture. The comparison is nineteen percent versus thirty-five percent.”

“Do you mean to say thirty-five percent of my fellow countrymen think I’m violating their freaking ‘traditions?’” I questioned angrily.

“They do. If you look at all countries for a composite score, the sixteen nations involved in the survey produced an average of twenty-three percent on that issue.”

“Speaking of ‘moving.’ Those bigoted America-First Nazis can kindly ‘move’ their opinions to a place where the sun don’t shine.”

He grinned.

“You’ve sold me,” I stated. “But I can’t just pick up and leave the United States.”

“Why not?” He arched an eyebrow.

“My job. . .?”

“You don’t enjoy your job. You’re brilliant and multi-talented. I’m sure you can find work in Canada that would be more satisfying.”

A tear ran down my face. “I couldn’t bear the thought of moving away from you. That’s out of the question. I almost can’t stand it when you go away for a week. How could I possibly get along without you full-time.”

He handed me a box of tissues, waited for me to dab my eyes, and then took my hand gently into his. “I’ve been asked by my employer to move back to Windsor. This house is mine. I grew up living here. I sold it when Emma died, but reached out to the owners a few months ago and bought it back. The timing was right. They were in the process of transitioning into an assisted living center.”

“This beautiful house is yours?”

“I bought it fully-furnished. It needs a woman’s touch to decorate and. . ..” He stopped and shrugged as if to say he had done all that he could. “If you agree to move to Canada, I’ll accept the offer of a transfer and a promotion. They want me to be a CHO – Chief Happiness Officer. They’ve finally accepted my treatise that employee happiness should be a primary corporate goal.”

“That’s exciting for you. You’ll be a wonderful CHO!”

“I won’t have to travel nearly as much. But. . .that’s secondary to the opportunity for you to start living full-time as a woman.”

“I don’t have much chaining me to Chicago. Aunt Jayne was the last of my close relatives -- and she died six months ago,” I mused. My inheritance from her has made me independently wealthy. I could volunteer at a daycare; I love little kids so much. “I’m nearly retirement age. It does make some sense. However, I’ve heard that Canada isn’t eagerly opening their borders to immigrants -- who are near retirement -- who haven’t paid lifelong taxes to support the many socialistic benefits.”

“They’ll let you in -- if you say, ‘yes’ and marry a Canadian citizen.” He dropped to one knee, and then pulled a ring box from his jacket pocket. Opening its lid, he displayed a stunning diamond engagement ring.

“Sharyn, will you make me the happiest man alive by becoming my wife?”

“Jake, you have great curb appeal. Marriage? Oh yea, no, for sure.”

The End

I have donated a group of stories to BC to help generate revenue for this site. Erin has said that these stories have raised tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for BC. I don’t receive any of that revenue.

If you buy a book from this list, you’re supporting this site.

Stories available through Doppler Press on Amazon:
Shannon’s Course
Peaches
Sky
The Novitiate
Ma Cherie Amour
Molly
Texas Two-Step
All Those Things You Always Pined For
Uncivil
Swifter, Higher, Stronger
Basketball Is Life
Baseball Annie
The Girl Who Saved Aunt T’s
Her
She Like Me
How You Play the Game
Hair Soup
Perfectionists
Imperfect Futures
Minnifer
Voices Carry
Andy and Dawn
The Handshake That Hides the Snake

up
112 users have voted.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos! Click the "Thumbs Up!" button above to leave a Kudos

Comments

First out the gate?

Emma Anne Tate's picture

Love it, Jill!

Here’s my favorite line: “I’ve never bothered to determine if he’s a serial killer.”

As the servant from Spamalot might say, that’s just not a question you can ask a heavily armed Christian. :D

Emma

Thanks

The hard part of this story was an attempt to bring in the facts without being too didactic. You do this quite brilliantly in Maximum Warp.

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Subtle... very subtle

way of opening the contest.
Samantha

Sledgehammer Subtle

Sometimes the point of a story smells so awful the everything else is tainted. I hope I avoided that.

Thanks for your comment.

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

I Concur

As I recall, I edited that book for her,

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Oh, Canada

Canada is nice. There are far fewer shootings than across the river in Detroit. But living is more expensive. On weekends Canadian license plates are an even count with American as they come across for weekly shopping. This is tempered by the Americans going across for prescriptions.
Good start for the contest.

Ron

Makes You Wonder

When malls first opened, I lived in Fargo, ND and we had weekend visitors from Winnipeg. Border crossing was normally a wave. Now you need a passport or a NEXUS card to cross the border. Is that progress?

In 1969 I was coming back from a summer in Ontario, Canada and picked up some hitchhikers on the Canadian side of the border. We crossed the Sault St. Marie bridge and the US Customs people wouldn't let the hitchhikers in because they didn't have IDs. I took them back across the bridge where the Canadian customs wouldn't let them in.

I left wondering if they took up residence on the bridge.

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Fantastic!

A wonderful play on the "Abducted" theme (what's more alien to an American than Canadians?) And on top of that, it's a great story in a very underserved age range on the site. Add in the gentle love that permeates it, and it absolutely gets an A+ from me!

Does Jake have any younger brothers? Perhaps in the 35-45 age range?

Melanie E.

He's Jake to Me

Jake has brothers all over California. Look out your window.

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Neighbors...

RachelMnM's picture

To the north, of us Yanks, are some of the nicest people you'll run into... A very appealing opportunity for Sharyn and Jake would certainly know it's a country that would accept her. Really enjoyed the dialog in this... Nicely done! Thank you for sharing.

XOXOXO

Rachel M. Moore...

A Summer in Canada

I spent the summer of 1969 north of T.O. remodeling a resort. I watched Neil Armstrong's One Small Step on a black and white Canadian TV.

This was at the height of the Vietnam War. Almost everyone I met that summer wanted me to know that they would welcome me with open arms if I got drafted and didn't want to go to war. I loved the beer, not so much the cigarettes.

But the people were amazing.

Thanks for the comment.

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

I can't go to Canada any more

I can go but I can't come back. I wanted to get the notation on my Michigan drivers license but the SOS wouldn't accept the birth certificate I got for college. So I paid and got a state birth certificate. They spelled my first name wrong. No amount of cajoling or a military ID would get the SOS to accept it. I gave up. Now all I can do is stare across the St. Clair river under the Blue Water bridge at the casino in Sarnia.

Ron

A Canada Goose

I'll bet you'd like to give that bureaucrat a special greeting.

(To the grammar police: It's never "Canadian" geese.)

Jill

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Wouldn't a Canada goose from Canada be Canadian?

As opposed to those alien Canada geese that pollute my favorite beach.

You were faster than I. In hindsight the basic concept was a bit too obvious not to occur to more than one person.

Well done!

Oh Canada

Dee Sylvan's picture

As a fellow member of the peninsula state, I can safely say that difficulty in crossing has probably saved you beaucoup bucks, Ron. While I find Canadiens a constant source of wonder and amusement (don't tell my NB daughter-in-law), it seems to me that the UK is probably even more alien with their own language. Got to get my thinking cap on now that Angela has fired the first shot across the bow. :DD

DeeDee

How things change

The last time I (a European) crossed from Canada to the US I wasn't even asked to show my passport. (That gives you an idea of how long ago it was).

My last trip to Canada was horrible

But not the fault of anyone Canadian! I have nothing but praise for how I was treated.

The problem was entirely one of circumstances: I was among the “plane people” diverted to Gander on 9/11. I can’t praise our neighbors to the north enough; any brief comment understates the kindness they paid those of us in distress.

I love Canadaliens!

wow you were at Gander?

I'm glad to hear the stories about the kindness the passengers received are true.

DogSig.png

Great story

You even got me wanting to move to the frozen north and I don't even live in the US!

Great fun as a story, almost as much fun as a travel brochure!

Penny

Great story, eh? You know

SuziAuchentiber's picture

Great story, eh? You know Canada got its "eh" from its Scottish immigrants from the east of that country who even today ad an "eh" to every sentence. I saw a Canadian Alphabet t-shirt once which said "A eh, B eh, C eh, D eh, E eh . . ." made me chuckle. Serious information and advice given through a love story that made my heart swell . . . certainly makes it a winner in my eyes!!
Love and Kudos!

Suzi