Lanterns on Lake Pontchartrain (4)

Lanterns on Lake Pontchartrain
An Acadiana Transgender Story

I have to cosplay as a Bunnygirl ?!

I found myself twelve hundred dollars richer by the afternoon. My bank account had almost doubled when I put the money into it. But I knew I would still need to earn that money. So, taking a deep breath I pushed myself off the easy chair that I'd hawked from the side of the curb one bright Saturday morning and reached for my phone. I took a deep breath and then dialed my cousin's number. The phone rang and rang again until at last she finally picked up.

“I was expecting your call three and a half hours ago.” A flat female voice said on the other end of the line. “Do you have a gift for calling at the wrong time? I was just about to run myself a tub of bubble bath. I have a good bottle of wine chilling in the fridge and a new cheap romance novel by my bedside. And I was just about to pour myself a nice, big glass, and soak in the bubbles and let my cares and worries about today just melt away. And float away to a romantic daydream where a handsome, bare chested cowboy ties me up and has his way with me. But, I guess I can postpone my simple, humble earthly pleasures for a little while longer to help my egg cousin out.”

“Sorry.” I said blushing a little as I cradled the phone in one hand and walked over to the ice chest that sat in the corner of my flat. I bent down and opened the top of the ice chest and pulled out a gallon of store bought sweet tea. “I'll call back later when your not busy.”

“No.” Jasmine said, taking a deep breath. “We have pressing business to talk about. And you my dear girl are about to come out of the egg.” She took another breath. A deeper one. “So, first order of business, glad you volunteered for that thing. That money should buy you a nice gown, and cover a decent haircut. You're also going to need a total waxing. You should then have some left over to kick start a wardrobe. You'll need a few basic items to start with.”

“Hey Jasmine.” I said as I poured the store bought sweet tea into a red plastic cup. “I think we're putting the cart in front of the horse here.” I said blushing as I peered toward the brown liquid in the cup. I secretly wished it was something stronger than tea. I pushed that thought out my mind and shrugged my shoulders and lifted the cup to my lips and took a nice long sip.

“No, no we're not. Now be a good girl and shut up and listen to your big sister.” She said in a snappy tone of voice. “You are going to be 'Belle' this weekend if you like it or not. Like I told you, you called me at the wrong time. I was in the middle of a very important meeting with a very important client. And her sale's team. Like big money here.” Jasmine's tone of voice had switched from snappy to gentle and yet somewhat scolding.

“I said I was sorry! God, Jasmine! Can't you give a girl a break!” I blinked and sighed.

“The transformation has begun. And you should be sorry, but that's all water under the bridge right now. You see what happened is I had to step out of that high stakes meeting to take that call. And when I returned I had to bow formally, because they were from Japan and all. And express my deepest apologies for being rude and leaving in the middle of our meeting. But I need to take that call because it was from my dearest, sweetest, most loving cousin who I loved and cherished like a little sister.”

“Of course they wanted to know why they called, and I had to tell a little lie. I told them that you'd run into a parked trolley while riding your back down the French Quarter. I told them you were a bit of an airhead and did not see the parked trolley and you smashed into the front of the thing. I assured them you were fine, just a few bruises and a few lumps and that the wonderful nurses and doctors of St. Thomas The Healer and Patron Saint of Doctors and Nurses of New Word Infirmary were tending to you. But she just needed 'Big sister' because she was afraid of the big scary needles.”

“What the fuck..” I said. “What the honest to God fuck!” I yelled.

“Hey, I had to think of something. And now you owe me a steak dinner!” Jasmine said. “Anyway the lead woman has a little sister and she totally understood where I was coming. And word of your plight tugged hard on their heartstrings and for a moment the whole mood in the room shifted from talk about business to your welfare. Hell they were ready to conclude the meeting right there and then so I could drive down and see you. You can thank me later.” Jasmine seemed very proud of that little lie. I could tell by the smugness in her voice.

“Right.” I said blinking. “You do know that there is no.. St. Thomas The Healer and Patron Saints of Doctors and Nurse of the New World Infirmary down here right? I said as I eased down into the overstuffed chair and peered at the slowly turning wooden blades of the ceiling fan that was just starting to move the dust bunnies around and trying its best to move the hot, stuffy air of my flat around.

“I mean your local hospital is called St. Thomas, being y'all all Catholic and stuff. Anyway, they were all very concerned about your health and totally understood if I needed to cut the meeting short to drive down there to visit you and like hold your hand or something? I told them it was just a few bruised ribs, a mild headache, and that you were just shook up, though your bike needed repaired and you were dirt poor too, working a five to nine at a local supermarket. Anyway one of the girls asked for a picture of you. It was more like an order than a request. So I showed that picture you sent and okay this went weird.” Jasmine seemed to be smiling a little.

“Okay?” I said, taking a deep breath.

“Well they were quite taken by your photo. All agreed that you are 'Kawai' and told them that you were trying to leave your 'tomboy' phase behind. Anyway returning the the story, since you seemed so 'Kawai' whatever that means.. one of the women of the group hatched an idea, she quite forcefully I might add suggested that maybe my little sister would wish to cosplay a bunny suit and pass out a hundred or so copies of their newest light novel at the local Barnes and Noble. Since the title of the book is this 'Bunny Girls Are Not Supposed to Live in Bookstores!' and since she is the lead woman in all of this, all of the other women kind of just agreed. So there's cause you called me at the wrong time, you now gotta cosplay as a bunny girl for a book promotion. That twelve hundred dollars was an 'get well' gift from the group that wanted to model. I'm told another two thousand dollars will be put into your bank account once you've finished this little stunt. Also you will be allowed four hundred something dollars to cover the cost of traveling and lodging. Since I told them you would most likely be taking the Amtrak from New Orleans to here, Baton Rouge. And you would require some kind of lodging. I strongly suggested that you book a hotel room. But they were quick to dismiss that idea. So instead I gotta find you a nice bed and breakfast.”

“Jasmine are you okay?” I said blinking.

“I guess why?” She asked.
“Because that was a bit long winded?” I added as I sighed.

I paused and then eased my phone down to collect my thoughts. Once I was sure my thoughts were collected I raised the phone and then said.

“Jasmine.” I said, taking a deep breath, preparing myself for the little outburst I was about to make. “A Bunny Girl! Like a Freaking Playboy Bunny!” I'd watched more than enough anime and read more than enough manga to know that there was one sure way to gain some brownie points with the fans and that was always to get the cute, shy girl in a revealing bunny suit. If she acts embarrassed and shy and heck even if fails at having to wear the thing, well that was just the cherry on top of the fanboy sundae.

“Yes, listen. You gotta do this. I know you need the money and while I'm sure you hoped the debut of Isabella Mari fisherman would be that 'Womanless Beauty Pageant' fundraiser thing. It seems that either God or the Devil had other plans for you. Listen, my hands are tied. But here is what I would do, there is a place in Blue Bayou called 'Tammy Hair Salon' according to my sources she is very friendly and supportive to people within the LGBTQ+ community. And right across the road from her salon there is a resale shop called 'Repeat Street' they have a good selection of gently worn clothes. So here is what I would advise if I was you, first go to 'Tammy Hair Salon' and get a good basic cut. A trim, get rid of those dead ends and shape your hair up. Then get totally waxed. And brace yourself for this girl. In order to pull this off you'll need to get a Brazilian wax job.”

I shuttered and nearly dropped on the ground the plastic red cup I was holding.

“Jasmine!” I shouted at the top of my lungs and jumped to my feet. “This is more than I signed up for!” I said, feeling my face starting to turn red from embarrassment.

“Oh my God, Belle, you don't have to act like such a whiny little bitch about it. Listen, I love you, so I'm going to spoil you and the whole waxing job charged to my bank account. But if I have to pay for it, I'll be sure to pay to have you go through a whole Hollywood Wax Job.” Jasmine said. And I just pictured her smirking on the other end of the line. I then heard the splashing of water on the other end. And I started to wonder if she had indeed just slipped into her bubble bath.

“Okay, what is an 'Hollywood Wax Job'? Because that does not sound as nearly as painful as the first one.” I said blushing as I eased back down into my chair.

“It's where they remove every single trace of hair from your nether region, and under your arms, and under your legs, and your but too, they also do your arms too for good measure. Leaving you as smooth as an egg. It's painful don't get me wrong and takes a whole afternoon if done properly and it's going to cost me a pretty penny, well a handful of pretty pennies. But it's worth it in the end. I had one when I first got into this business and the girl I looked amazing. I might just do that, consider it an early birthday present.”

“Thanks.. and okay if you're footing the bill, I'll do it.” I said, shivering a little.

“Okay, now once your waxing is done, go to the dollar store or Walmart and buy yourself a few matching pairs of bras and panties. And while you're there buy a natural looking pair of chicken filets.” Jasmine said. I could tell by the uncorking sound she must have been pouring herself her first glass of wine for the evening.
“Chicken filets? What? I'm not going to cook them am I? Why would I need them? Plus I can't afford fresh chicken! I mean I can.. but that kind of pulls on my budget.” I asked as my mind started to once more entertain ideas that maybe it was not too late to consider going into the priesthood. Or maybe I could consider entering into the monastery, I heard the Jesuits were always looking for new recruits.

“Honey child, that is what we call breast enhancers. You will need something to fill out the cups of the bra and the bunny suit and that gown you will be wearing. Well until you can grow your own. But I promise you, we'll cover that at a later date. Anyway, once you get that stuff together. Buy a simple, starter wardrobe, I would personally suggest one tea dress with flats, one little black dress, pack both! The dress for travel and the little black dress because they might invite us out for dinner to celebrate the photo shoot, a skirt, a blouse, a pair of boots. A simple Make-up kit, you can buy those at Walmart too. A hairbrush, with a good collection of headbands, headbands and hair clips. Some body spray, try to avoid the cotton candy scented stuff. You're not a tween anymore! And of course finger nail clippers and toenail clippers. And one good pair of shoes. Like modest, church going shoes, not clubbing shoes.” Jasmine paused.

“Jasmine, the last time I attended Mass was Easter!”
“Oh? And you used to be such a good little girl? What happened, did Sister Haggis catch you sneaking kisses in kisses behind the confessional booth?” Jasmine said, teasing a little. But that statement did throw me for a loop. Maybe the wine had gone straight to her head.

“Whatever..” I said

“Okay listen. I'm going to get in my bath now, have a few glasses of wine, and try to chill. I think I'm spoiling you a little, but I'll handle your train ticket and such. I'll meet you at the station. Also, when I meet you at the station I expect to see my cousin Isabella Mari Fisherman, not my cousin Casper Edward Fisherman.” She added.

“Sure..” I said, taking a deep breath.

And with that we discounted the call.

I peered at my phone for a few minutes and then rolled over on my side and faced the wall of my flat. Part of me was overjoyed, I mean I'd always wanted to do something like that. I used to joke around when I was in school about crossplaying and stuff. Well, that is until my dad found out about me joking. And though my dad was dumb as a sack of hammers, he knew how to google something and damn when he googled the word “Crossplay '' and found out it was dressing up as a character of the different gender. He flipped his shit. He nearly broke my arm after that, I say nearly.

It was only the intervention of Fr. Andrew who had arrived to bless the house that had kept him from shattering my arm into a thousand tiny fragments. My dad was a brute of a man, a man's man. The kind that worked from dawn to dust.. The kind that smoked, drank, hunted, fished, and cheated on his wife with the loose women who hung around the smoke filled bars and taverns that dotted the countryside. Places with such poetic names as “The Hideaway” or “Shake of the Lake” or “Fisherman's Paradise” or “The Green Door” and last by not least “The Grape's Camp”.

These were not your well established, friendly neighborhood bars or taverns. These were not the warm, welcoming pups of England, Ireland, or Scotland. No, these were often converted old homesteads, one were the beer was often warm, the lighting was dim, the air smelled of smoke, from burning fires, as most of these places had old, brick fireplaces that often had a fire burning seven days a week, three hundred and fifty four days a year, no matter the season or the weather. Oftentimes the fire was the only source of light.

The window panes were often caked with dirt and had massive cobwebs in the corner. The whole area would smell of unwashed bodies. And the bathrooms would reek of raw piss or shit. My dad had often dragged me to these places when I was younger. I think it was his attempt to make a man out of me. But as I sat there, looking at the unpainted walls of my flat. All these memories started to come back to me, I wondered what had triggered them? Part of me wanted to know, but part of me did not want to know.

And so, that is how this episode ends. With me in deep thought. Very deep thought. I guess if you have followed my adventures this far. I have no choice but to press on. After all, as stormy as this day had turned out to be, I knew that the darkest hours were always the ones that came before the first faint rays of morning. Or as the old saying goes, it was often the darkest before dawn.

Little did I know how my world was about to turn!

If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
31 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 2934 words long.