An American Dream

“America for Americans!” Senator Alfred Stryker cried out to a massive dining hall full of his supporters. The attendees rose to their feet to clap and roar their approval.

“You all elected me to secure our border and round up illegals and boot them out back to where they came from,” Stryker continued. “That’s exactly what I did. Now I need your support to keep up that work. Another election is coming up, and there are anti-American traitors who would like to replace me and open the doors of our great nation to a horde of foreign criminals, rapists, drug addicts, and murderers. You can’t let them do that.”

As Stryker continued his speech, he grew confident that he had this one in the bag. The people attending the fundraiser had paid several thousand dollars per plate just to listen to him. Millions more in campaign contributions were pouring in every day from people who wanted to keep out the illegal trash. He was in great shape to win reelection. Things were going so well that he was starting to think he should throw his hat in the ring for the next presidential election.

Stryker was a handsome middle-aged man with a broad face and square jaw. He was broad-shouldered, barrel-chested, and stood six-foot-four. His dark brown hair was peppered with streaks of gray that ran along his temples. His affected charm and sheer physical presence gave him a natural affinity for political campaigning.

He had been born into a wealthy family with extensive connections. His father had been a prominent media tycoon and his mother had been a renowned fashion model in her youth, before settling into the life of a family matriarch. Stryker had grown up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. He could have done anything he wanted, but his love for the privileged world into which he had been born had compelled him to pursue a career in politics in order to preserve that self-contained world. After graduating from college and attending law school, he had worked as a staffer for a close family friend in Washington where he had learned the ropes and made useful allies before running for office.

Unlike most politicians, Stryker truly believed in the righteousness of his campaign promises. America was a nation built by and for white, English-speaking people. It was being ruined by all the dark-skinned foreigners who flooded across the border with their strange languages and bizarre customs. He was committed to solving that problem by keeping America for the Americans.

Stryker finished his speech and walked off the stage to intense applause. Offstage, he was greeted by a gorgeous blonde in a scandalously short red pencil skirt, matching blazer, and a low-cut white blouse that exposed a lot of cleavage. The blonde had a perky butt and a big pair of firm round tits. She was flanked by a small army of men and women dressed in professional business attire. They smiled and clapped as Stryker walked toward them.

“Great job out there, Senator,” the blonde said.

“Thank you, Lucy,” Stryker said.

Like all of his female staffers, Lucy Brainard was young and made for great eye candy. Unlike most of the women who worked for him, however, Lucy had a functioning brain.

Stryker didn’t typically like smart women, but he made an exception for Lucy because she was indispensable. As Stryker’s personal assistant, she did everything from book his flights to review his speeches.

“All right everyone, the Senator has a photo op with some Girl Scouts tomorrow morning and has to be on a plane for another fundraiser by noon,” Lucy said as she turned to the other staffers. “You’ve all got jobs to do, so get moving.”

The staffers quickly broke away and ran off to handle whatever tasks had been assigned to them.

Stryker stepped up beside Lucy and placed his hand on her shoulder as he walked toward the hotel lobby.

“How am I set up for tonight, sweetie?” Stryker asked.

“We’ve booked the penthouse upstairs for you,” Lucy answered. “I’ll show you the way.”

“Thanks, sweetie.”

As they continued walking, Stryker slid his hand down Lucy’s back. It came to rest on her prominent butt. He playfully rubbed her ass. Lucy looked up at him and dutifully smiled.

Like all the girls who worked for Stryker, Lucy understood that there were certain unwritten obligations that weren’t included in the job description.

He remembered the first time he had made use of Lucy’s services. It had been a few days after he had hired her. They found themselves alone in his office late one evening. Stryker would never forget the surprised look on her face as he came up behind her and squeezed her breasts. She had silently succumbed to his advances as he had undressed her and taken her on top of her desk. She had been a good lay, albeit an inexperienced one. Stryker had made it a point to make use of Lucy’s services at least two or three times a week since then. She only got better with practice.

But he wasn’t interested in Lucy tonight. Variety was the spice of life.

As they rode the elevator to the penthouse and Stryker continued to fondle Lucy’s rear, he asked her, “And how am I set up for company tonight?”

Lucy was staring down at her feet, looking away from him. But she straightened up and forced a smile onto her face as she said, “You’re going to love her, sir. She’s exactly what you look for in your companions. And I made sure to stock the penthouse with your usual evening indulgence.”

The elevator reached the penthouse level, and they stepped out onto a short hallway that ended in front of large wooden double doors. She opened the doors for him and he followed her inside, where he found himself inside a spacious and opulent living room with an ornate coffee table and several couches which sat beside a floor-to-ceiling window that offered a panoramic view of the city.

Lucy waved her hand in the direction of the coffee table. There was a silver tray resting there. Lucy lifted the lid to reveal several lines of a white powdery substance laid out across the tray. In public, Stryker was adamantly opposed to such diversions. In private, such diversions helped him relax after a long day.

“Lovely,” he said with a grin. “And my companion?”

Lucy turned to look at a pair of closed French doors along the far wall, and said, “Dulce, please come out. The Senator would like to meet you.”

Stryker’s jaw dropped as the French doors opened and a petite young Latina stepped out. She wore a skintight off the shoulder long sleeve violet minidress. She was tiny, no more than five feet tall. Her demure physique only served to accentuate the size of her impressive breasts, curvy hips, and plump ass. Her long dark hair fell past her shoulders down to the middle of her back. She had a light caramel complexion and glowed like a little bronze goddess. Her thick ruby red lips, sloe eyes, and high cheekbones made for an alluring visage.

“Hola,” she said with an inviting grin. She placed her hands on her hips and tilted her hips suggestively in Stryker’s direction.

Stryker considered Latin Americans to be a lazy, filthy, and ignorant people, and if there was one group he would love to permanently expel from America, it was them. But by god, they boasted the hottest, most sensuous women in the world. Stryker could not resist a pretty Latina. And this girl wasn’t just pretty, she was divine.

“You outdid yourself, Lucy,” Stryker declared. He gave Lucy a firm slap on the ass and said, “Now get out of here and give me and this lovely señorita some time alone.”

“Enjoy,” Lucy said as she dashed out of the room. Before she left, she looked back and shot a concerned look in the direction of the Latin girl. Then she turned away and fled.

Stryker took no notice of Lucy’s departure. He was too focused on the Latina.

As he unbuckled his pants and stepped toward the girl, he reflected on the good fortune he had. He led a charmed life.

~o~O~o~

Stryker twisted from side to side in a fugue. He was burdened by the worst hangover he could remember. Was it a hangover? It felt far worse than that. He felt half dead. His whole body throbbed with a dull ache that permeated every fiber of his being.

His eyes opened but his vision was blurry. All he could make out initially was light and shadow. As his vision cleared, he could just make out the bedroom in the penthouse where he had gone to sleep. He was lying on the bed naked.

Sleep? Had he gone to sleep? He could barely remember. Lucy had taken him to the penthouse after the fundraiser speech. He had met the Latina girl Lucy had procured for him. Then things got foggy. What had he taken? Why couldn’t he remember?

He heard a harsh, guttural sound coming from the foot of the bed. He turned his head to look and saw a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark brown hair standing there wearing a bath robe. The man continued to speak in a foreign language. Whatever he was speaking, it sounded ugly.

“Quién eres?” Stryker said. As the words came out of his mouth, Stryker gasped. The words weren’t in English, but he understood them nevertheless. How? He tried to speak again and in a foreign language, he said once more, “Who are you?”

Stryker noticed that when he spoke, his voice had an unusually high pitch and dulcet tone to it. Something was wrong with his throat.

The man standing at the foot of the bed laughed, a brutish barking noise that set Stryker on edge.

The man spoke again, this time in the melodious language Stryker had used.

“Who am I?” the man said in the foreign language. “I’m Senator Alfred Stryker. And who are you, señorita?”

“Señorita”? Stryker recognized that word. It was Spanish for “miss”. They were speaking Spanish? How? Stryker didn’t speak Spanish.

In Spanish, Stryker said, “Don’t be a smart ass. I’m Senator Alfred Stryker.”

Yes, somehow, he was speaking Spanish.

“You sure about that?” the man said pointing at Stryker. “Take a look at yourself.”

Remembering suddenly that he was naked, Stryker looked down at himself and prepared to cover himself with the blanket. But instead, Stryker shrieked in terror.

When he looked down at his naked form, he was greeted by the sight of two massive breasts draped in long, thick black hair that hung down from his head. His skin had tanned and taken on a light caramel complexion. What had happened to him?

“What the fuck is this shit?!?!?!” Stryker shrieked in his new alto.

“That is your new body,” the man said.

Stryker looked back at the man and was greeted by a new shock. His vision had continued to clear, and he could suddenly see the man in perfect detail. He looked exactly like Stryker.

“Who are you?” Stryker demanded.

From a different direction, a woman’s voice said, “He already told you. He’s Senator Alfred Stryker. The question you must answer is, who are you?”

Stryker turned and saw an older Latina woman in a charcoal gray pantsuit standing beside the bed. She was probably in her forties or fifties but displayed an elegant beauty despite her age.

The woman continued, “I can answer that question for you. You are my daughter, Dulce Fortuna. And I am Esperanza Fortuna. But you will address me as Doña Fortuna. I’m a…business woman. I grew up in Tijuana. Unlike you, I was born poor, without any of the privileges you’ve taken for granted all your life. I worked my way up in the world and did all right for myself. Unfortunately, some people grew envious of my success. The cartels threatened my business interests and I came to America to escape their reach, only to find this country full of people like you. You and your followers are as much a threat to me as the cartels.”

“What are you doing here?” Stryker asked, flustered that he hadn’t seen the middle-aged Latina standing there before she spoke.

“Allow me to explain,” Doña Fortuna said in Spanish. “I am here to end your reign of tyranny. To that end, I have transferred my daughter’s soul into your body, and your soul is now in her old body.”

“Bullshit,” Stryker said. “Start making some fucking sense.”

“It’s true,” Doña Fortuna said. “The sooner you accept that fact, the better. Come, take a look at yourself in the mirror.”

Doña Fortuna grabbed Stryker by the wrist and hauled him out of bed. He was stunned by the woman’s incredible strength. She practically threw him in front of the full-length mirror hanging on the wall beside the bed. The big breasts protruding from his chest bounced around uncomfortably from the sudden motion, tugging painfully on muscles in his shoulder, neck, and back as they did so. They weren’t some sort of illusion, those breasts were firmly attached to his body.

Stryker was surprised by how difficult it was for him to stand on his feet, but Doña Fortuna held him up by placing her hands on his biceps. Again, her strength stunned him.

Stryker’s jaw dropped as he looked into the mirror. Looking back at him, being propped up by Doña Fortuna, was the Latina girl Lucy had gotten for him. As he stared at the impossible sight, the Latina girl’s jaw dropped in mimicry of Stryker’s own action.

“No!” Stryker cried as the Latina girl in the mirror emulated his scream. “No! No! No! This can’t be real!”

“It’s real,” Doña Fortuna assured him.

She pinched the flesh of his wrist and Stryker howled in pain. He instinctively batted her hand away.

“You see?” Doña Fortuna said. “That’s your body. You’re not dreaming.”

Stryker stared at the reflection in the mirror in stunned horror. Of their own accord, his eyes slowly moved away from the beautiful face of the girl in the mirror and made their way down past her sizable heaving breasts. Stryker’s eyes continued down past the girl’s flat stomach and moved toward the soft flesh between her legs. Her pubic area was clean shaven, and he could just make out a pair of puckered vaginal lips ever so slightly sticking out from between her thighs.

Stryker looked down and had to bend over slightly to see past his new breasts. He leaned forward and tried to get a better view of his crotch. He desperately prayed that the familiar sight of his penis and scrotum would be there to greet him. But there was nothing down there.

Like a man reaching for a freshly opened wound, he reluctantly extended his right hand toward the fleshy patch between his legs. He closed his eyes and grimaced in anguish as his hand pressed against thick labia.

The feeling against his hand was somewhat familiar, he had after all groped a lot of vaginas throughout his life. But the feeling that now emanated out from between his legs felt totally alien. A soft pulse almost like an electric current shot out from his crotch and ran up his spine, flowing in waves over the rest of his body. He pulled his hand away as if he had touched a burning flame. The equipment down there was extremely sensitive.

“Oh my god!” Stryker screamed. “My dick is gone!”

Tears pooled in his eyes and flowed down his face like a waterfall. Someone had taken away his manhood. There was nothing down there but a little fleshy slit sensitive to the touch. He reflexively squeezed his legs together. His tears flowed faster. The feeling of emptiness between his legs filled him with an overwhelming sense of despair. He felt an ache in the pit of his stomach. He wanted to throw up.

As Stryker continued to cry, the figure of his old body stepped beside him and smiled.

“What’s the matter?” the faux Senator Stryker asked. “That’s not how you reacted when you first laid eyes on that body. You’re a beauty.”

Stryker turned to face his old body. He was surprised to find that he had to crane his neck up to look up at his old face. His old form towered over his new body. The Latina girl was barely five feet tall while Stryker’s old body loomed over it at six-foot-four. He felt uncomfortable standing beside his old body. There was something vaguely threatening about its immense size in relation to his new form. Stryker found himself involuntarily taking a couple of steps back to put some space between the two.

“Por qué?, Stryker meekly whimpered in Spanish between sobs. “Why?”

“Why?” Doña Fortuna repeated beside him. She grabbed Stryker by the shoulders and forced him to look at her. “Because you’re an evil womanizing racist and misogynist. Because of your hate-filled policies, my daughter Paola is dead. Immigration enforcement agents tried to deport her. She ran from them and ended up getting hit by a car and dying. She came to this country because a cartel member in Mexico was stalking her. She fled to America seeking refuge. Your men killed her trying to toss her out like so much trash.”

Stryker continued to cry as he said, “I didn’t do anything to your daughter. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life.”

“You’ve destroyed countless lives with your mindless hate,” Doña Fortuna insisted. “Families are torn apart, children are left orphans, innocent people languish in detention centers, desperate souls struggling for a better life die of thirst in a vast, cruel desert. All because of your hate-filled policies.”

“I…I…was trying to protect America,” Stryker said.

“You were trying to purge this country of poor, dark-skinned people because you hate them,” Doña Fortuna. “Like your forefathers before you, you pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing. Nothing less. For your heinous crimes, you will suffer. My daughter Dulce will assume your identity and fix all the problems you have caused. Senator Alfred Stryker is about to have an epiphany and realize his campaign against vulnerable immigrants was a terrible mistake. He will abandon his war on poor, oppressed minorities. He will become their champion, pass new laws to protect them and keep them safe, and help them become productive members of this society. But as for you, you will spend the rest of your life as one of the poor victims you’ve persecuted. Never again will you be an arrogant, privileged rich white man. From now on, you will be a poor Mexican woman who must build a new life for herself in America, because if you get deported to Mexico, the same cartel thugs who threatened my daughter Paola will force you to work in their whore houses as a prostitute. A fitting fate for you, to experience the pain of those you terrorized.”

“No!” Stryker begged through his tears. “You can’t leave me like this! I’ll do anything you want! Anything! But please return me back to normal! I can’t live like this!”

“Save your breath,” Doña Fortuna said. “Speaking of all the people you’ve terrorized, one of them would like a word with you.”

Stryker’s old body laughed and walked toward the bedroom doors. The doors were opened, and his old form barked in the language Stryker didn’t recognize.

An instant later, Lucy walked through the door. At first, Stryker didn’t recognize Lucy. She was so tall now. At five-foot-six, Lucy wasn’t particularly tall, but she dwarfed Stryker in his tiny new body.

Still feeling somewhat disoriented, Stryker clumsily ran up to Lucy, his new breasts bouncing up and down with each step.

“Oh, thank god!” Stryker said. “Lucy, please, you’ve got to help me. This crazy bitch did something to me and…”

Lucy frowned and barked something to Doña Fortuna and the faux Stryker. Doña Fortuna exchanged words with Lucy. When they were finished speaking, Lucy stared at Stryker with a devilish smirk spread across her face.

“Lucy…I…I can’t understand what you’re saying,” Stryker said.

Lucy began shouting at Stryker, then she slapped him across the face. The blow was unimaginably powerful, and Stryker fell to the ground in a heap. He looked up at Lucy from the floor in confusion.

Lucy turned and left.

“We couldn’t have pulled this off without her,” the faux Stryker said. “Ms. Brainard was all too eager to help us. She even went as far as to drug you to make this easier for us. In case you’re wondering, your assistant just told you that she hates you, you’ll never lay your filthy hands on her again, and she hopes you enjoy your new life. You probably didn’t understand any of that because of the spell.”

“Spell?” Stryker repeated.

“To make sure you can’t run off to ask your old friends for help, and to make sure you understand what it’s like for the people you’ve hurt, I cast a spell to make you lose all knowledge of English,” Doña Fortuna said as she pulled Stryker off the ground and stood him back up. “Spanish is all you know.”

It was true, Stryker realized. The words that came out of his mouth were all Spanish. Even the thoughts in his head were all in Spanish. That was why his words sounded so strange in his ears. Well, that and the fact that he now had a woman’s voice. That was why he couldn’t understand the harsh guttural language that the faux Stryker and Lucy had used. They were speaking in English, and he couldn’t understand it anymore.

Stryker tried as hard as he could to say something, anything, in English, but the only words that came out of his mouth were, “La magia no es real. Nada de lo que dices puede ser cierto.”

Doña Fortuna smiled.

“The sooner you accept the truth, the easier this will be for you,” Doña Fortuna said. “Now get dressed we must be going.”

Doña Fortuna handed Stryker the same violet dress Dulce had been wearing when he first met her. Stryker quickly slipped into it. He wasn’t eager to wear a dress, but it was better than being naked. Not that that the revealing dress did much to cover up his new body. As he looked at himself in the mirror, he realized the fabric was so sheer that anyone could catch a decent glimpse of his new female anatomy. The fact that he wasn’t wearing any underwear only made the effect more pronounced.

“Now put on your shoes,” Doña Fortuna commanded, handing Stryker a pair of ankle strap sandals with four-inch heels. The heels were so long and narrow that they may as well have been stilts as far as Stryker was concerned.

“I can’t wear those,” Stryker said. “I’ll fall flat on my face.”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Doña Fortuna said. “Put them on.”

Reluctantly, Stryker stepped into the high-heeled sandals and secured the little buckles on the ankle straps. He took several wobbly steps around the bedroom and just barely managed to stay on his feet.

“She’s a natural,” the faux Stryker said.

Doña Fortuna looked at the impostor and said, “I’m taking her to the apartment building. Are you going to be able to handle things here?”

The faux Stryker nodded and said, “Yes, and if I run into any problems, I have Lucy to help me. She hates this asshole more than we do. She’s only too happy to help.”

“Very good, Senator Stryker,” Doña Fortuna said to the impostor. Then she turned to Stryker and said, “Follow me, Dulce.”

“Where are you taking me?” Stryker asked.

“Home,” Doña Fortuna answered. “If you’d prefer, you can stay with Senator Stryker. He can put in a quick call to immigration and have some agents take you into custody. With things being the way they are, you’ll probably be back in Mexico this time next week.”

The new Dulce had absolutely no desire to go with Doña Fortuna. It was obvious Doña Fortuna had diabolical plans for him. But he glanced at himself in the mirror. Not long before, he had been one of the most powerful men in the country, confident, wealthy, and well-connected. Now he was just a poor illegal immigrant with no money and no identification who couldn’t even speak English. For the first time in his life, he knew what it felt like to be powerless. And he knew he had no choice but to obey Doña Fortuna.

Forcing back tears of humiliation, Stryker reluctantly followed after Doña Fortuna.

“Good girl,” Doña Fortuna said.

Doña Fortuna stepped out into the penthouse suite with Stryker in tow, clumsily waddling around in his high heels. As they walked past the window, Stryker could see that it was still night outside. He took a quick glance at a clock on the wall and saw that it was 3:24 a.m. The fundraiser had ended only a few hours before. It felt like an eternity ago.

Stryker followed Doña Fortuna out to the elevator, and they rode down to the parking garage below the hotel. There, Doña Fortuna led Stryker to a luxury sedan and forced him into the passenger-side seat. Then Doña Fortuna drove away from the hotel.

After several minutes of silence, and against his better judgment, Stryker felt compelled to ask, “Are you a witch?”

“What’s in a name?” Doña Fortuna said. “As you can see, I have certain magical abilities. In time, you’ll find I have the power to perform a great many feats. If you want to call me a witch, that’s fine by me. I’ve been called worse.”

Stryker swallowed hard. Horrifying visions of just what Doña Fortuna could do to him with her magic filtered through his mind’s eye. Then a thought suddenly occurred to him.

“Doña Fortuna,” Stryker began, “you said that in Mexico your daughter Paola was harassed by cartel members. Why didn’t you use your magic to make them stop?”

Doña Fortuna glared at Stryker, and for a moment he regretted saying anything. But a moment later Doña Fortuna’s expression relaxed, and he felt a little relieved.

Doña Fortuna said morosely, “My child, I am not the only person in the world who can perform magic. It is more common than you realize. The cartels have plenty of sorcerers and witches at their disposal. And there are far more powerful forces at work in the world than you can imagine.”

Stryker found Doña Fortuna’s response deeply unsettling.

Doña Fortuna drove to a part of town filled with low-rent apartment buildings and run-down looking businesses. Stryker recognized the area as Chaparral Terrace, a working-class neighborhood populated mostly by working-class Mexican immigrants and their descendants. Chaparral Terrace had once been regarded as a den of criminal activity filled with slums, but in recent years an ambitious redevelopment project had brought a lot of new businesses to the area and improved its reputation. Some parts of Chaparral Terrace were still plagued with street gangs and drug dealers, but overall, it was an up-and-coming community.

Doña Fortuna pulled up in front of a modest-looking apartment building. Stryker followed her out of the car and upstairs to the third floor. The carpet in the hallway was worn out and several of the bare lightbulbs in the ceiling flickered erratically as if they were about to go out. Doña Fortuna led Stryker to a shabby wooden door at the end of the hall and unlocked it with a key she pulled from her pocket. The door creaked and trembled on its hinges as Doña Fortuna opened it.

Doña Fortuna flicked a light switch and the two women stepped into a claustrophobic studio apartment. The walls were painted a dark green avocado color, and were sporadically punctuated with mysterious brown, white, and yellow stains. The floor was covered with taupe-colored shag carpeting that looked like a sick dog’s fur. There was a flimsy metal bed frame coated with rust resting along one wall, a pathetic, wafer-thin mattress lying on top of it. A wooden dresser sat against the wall directly across from the bed, a narrow space only a couple of feet wide being all that separated the one piece of furniture from the other. On top of the dresser was an ancient, cube-shaped television with a thirteen-inch screen. There was a counter beside the dresser that separated a small kitchenette from the rest of the studio. The paltry kitchenette was outfitted with nothing more than a little sink without much room for dishes, a pitiful-looking electric stove, a mini fridge, and some overhead cabinets. Opposite the door to the studio was a window with a badly torn curtain drawn over it.

“This is where you live?” Stryker asked in disbelief.

Doña Fortuna chuckled.

“No, this is where you live,” Doña Fortuna said. “I own this building and you’re my newest tenet. This lovely economy unit goes for eight hundred dollars a month.”

That struck Stryker as ridiculously overpriced for what was basically a closet with a cot and a hot plate. As Alfred Stryker, eight hundred dollars would have been pocket change to him. But he realized that he was now an unemployed illegal immigrant without a dollar to his name. Eight hundred dollars may as well have been eight million dollars.

“How do you expect me to pay you?” Stryker asked. “I don’t have any money.”

“You will when you get your first paycheck,” Doña Fortuna explained. “You’re going to work as a waitress in my restaurant. I’ll just go ahead and deduct your rent from your paycheck.”

A lump formed in Stryker’s throat. Doña Fortuna kept stacking one humiliation on top of another. He couldn’t take it anymore. Was this to be his new life? It was as if he had died and gone to hell.

“Now don’t cry again,” Doña Fortuna demanded. “Your first shift starts at noon. Get some sleep, you’ll need it. It’s going to be a twelve-hour shift. There’s a purse in one of the drawers. Inside, you’ll find twenty dollars and a bus pass. They’re an advance on your first paycheck. The six seventy-six stops right outside the building every thirty minutes. It will take you to my restaurant over on Seventh and Zaragoza. Don’t be late.”

Doña Fortuna walked toward the door.

“That’s it?” Stryker said. “You’re just going to leave me here?”

“Yes,” Doña Fortuna said. “If you’re not happy with this arrangement, you’re free to leave. Go to the police, if you want. Tell them you’re a powerful American politician who has been magically transformed into a poor Mexican girl. If you’re lucky, instead of deporting you back to Mexico and delivering you into the hands of my enemies among the cartels, maybe they’ll just lock you up in a mental institution for the rest of your life. Either way, I’m sure you’ll find that the world is full of men eager to take advantage of beautiful young girls in difficult positions, men just like Alfred Stryker.”

Stryker couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. He began to weep again.

“Stop with the tears already,” Doña Fortuna said. “Go to the bathroom, wash off your makeup, and clean yourself up.”

Stryker looked around the studio.

“There’s no bathroom,” he observed.

“There’s a bathroom down the hall,” Doña Fortuna said. “You share it with the other tenants on this floor. I’ll leave your keys on the dresser. Good night, Dulce.”

~o~O~o~

Stryker woke up the next morning when sunlight burst through the tattered curtain covering the window. He had tossed himself on the bed and cried after Doña Fortuna had left. He had passed out from exhaustion immediately afterward.

His breasts jiggled as he sat up in bed. He was still wearing the dress he had worn the night before and his feet remained ensconced in the high-heeled sandals he had put on in the hotel where his soul had been transferred into Dulce’s body. Any hope he had clung to that the night before had been only a horrible dream dissipated as he felt the weight of his big breasts hanging from his chest, the tickle of his long hair on his bare shoulders, and the stark emptiness between his legs.

There was a clock hanging on the wall that read 9:43 a.m. He remembered that Doña Fortuna had told him to be at the restaurant by noon. But why bother? Stryker’s life had been stolen from him. He was doomed to live as a poor Mexican woman from now on. Could Doña Fortuna do worse to him if he refused to obey her commands? After a few moments, Stryker realized she probably could. That was when he reluctantly crawled out of bed.

He became aware of an urgent pressure building in his groin. That feeling was similar to one he had known as a man, although slightly different. He had to go to the bathroom.

Stryker grabbed the keys Doña Fortuna had left for him and raced out into the hallway. He found the door to the bathroom and unlocked it.

He gagged at the sight of a bathroom with pale yellow tile on the floor and running halfway up the walls which was stained with mildew and mold. There was a sink with a medicine cabinet hanging over it against the far wall, a scummy toilet, and a bathtub with a shower head. All of it was filthy, and the musky, humid stench was nauseating. The bathroom smelled of feces, urine, and sweat.

As disgusting as it was, Stryker had to pee. He could not force himself to sit on the toilet seat. Instead, he squatted over the bowl with his dress pulled up to his waist. He relaxed his muscles and a stream of urine poured out from the slit between his legs and arched into the toilet. He sighed with relief at the welcome sensation of his bladder emptying.

After moving away from the toilet, he let his dress drop and flushed. He began to walk toward the sink when he noticed a dampness between his thighs. That was when he realized there was still some urine smattered down there.

Stryker grabbed some toilet paper and dabbed the moist lips of his vagina with it. The coarse toilet paper irritated his tender lips, but the feeling of pressure on his vagina stimulated him in an unexpected way. He tried not to dwell on that feeling. It was too bizarre. He tossed the wad of toilet paper into the toilet and flushed it again.

When he went to the sink to wash his hands, he stared at his reflection in the mirror built into the medicine cabinet. The mirror was badly scratched up with graffiti, but Stryker was able to make out his face. Even after the night of fitful sleep he had, Dulce’s face still looked beautiful. The girl whose body he now inhabited was a stunner. Stryker took some solace from that. Perhaps he was doomed to spend the rest of his life as a poor Mexican woman, but at least he was a beautiful poor Mexican woman. That was better than being ugly, at least.

As he admired his reflection, Stryker noticed that the makeup that coated his new face was flaking off and beginning to peel. He splashed water on his face and tried to wash it off. He was surprised by how tightly it clung to his skin. He had to scrub hard for several minutes before he was able to get most of it off. Some stubborn bits and pieces of makeup nevertheless remained on his face.

Stryker was glad to see that, even without the makeup, Dulce’s face retained an impressive natural beauty. But he couldn’t deny the makeup certainly accentuated her looks.

He returned to his room. For a few minutes, he contemplated running away. But where could he run to? Unable to speak English and without any legal documentation, it was fruitless to go to the police. Even if they could provide him with a translator, how would the police react if he told them what had happened? Doña Fortuna was right. If he were to tell the police that he was actually Senator Alfred Stryker and that he had been magically transformed by a Mexican witch with a grudge against him, the police would lock him up in a mental institution. And maybe they would be right to do that. Stryker felt like he had lost his mind. He would fit in perfectly in a nut house.

There was no use in going to the authorities. He considered trying to get in touch with his wife, Bridgette. But that idea soon dissipated. Bridgette was a twenty-three-year-old former beauty pageant winner, and heiress to a massive fortune. Her family owned a global pharmaceutical conglomerate that held the patent on one of the world’s most popular painkillers. He had married Bridgette for her looks and her money, and she had married him for his connections and his money. It was a marriage of convenience. And conveniently enough, big corporations like the one Bridgitte’s family controlled had gotten massive tax breaks during Stryker’s time in office.

Bridgette was a vacuous airhead and she despised Stryker. The few times they had sex, Bridgette lay on the bed lifelessly with her legs spread apart and her eyes shut tight, waiting impatiently for Stryker to finish. It was like having sex with a cold fish.

Even if Bridgette would hear out a poor illegal immigrant, she wouldn’t give a damn about Stryker’s predicament. Bridgette was a selfish bitch. She didn’t care about anyone but herself.

Who else could Stryker reach out to? Few people within his social circle would listen to some illegal immigrant. Maybe some of his old male acquaintances would listen to a beautiful young Latina girl, but only for the opportunity to get in between her legs.

The thought of being penetrated by one of his old friends compelled Stryker to involuntarily squeeze his legs together. An image ran through his head of a big meaty penis burying itself inside his tiny womanly slit. He was horrified at the thought of having another man’s member stabbing around the inside of his new body.

Despite his anxiety over the idea of being defiled by a man, a small part of Stryker grew excited by the thought. His new female psyche was naturally drawn to the idea of being with a man. He tried his best to bury that desire. He had always considered homosexuality a mental illness and despised gay men as sexual deviants. The mere thought of being with another man disgusted him. The fact that the idea of getting physical with a man suddenly appealed to a part of him deeply disturbed Stryker.

Stryker sighed. He walked over to the window at the far end of her room and pulled aside the curtain. Outside, across the street, he could see a convenience store and a motel. Several suspicious men loitered around outside one of the motel rooms. Suddenly the motel room door opened and a disheveled man wearing jeans and a t-shirt stumbled out, made his way to a nearby car, and drove away. A young Latina girl about Dulce’s age wearing a tank top and denim shorts stepped out of the motel room and motioned for one of the shady men standing around outside to follow her back into the room. The two of them disappeared within as the girl closed the door.

Stryker backed away from the window. What was the point? If he ran away, he would end up homeless and living on the streets. His only means of making money would be by selling his body like the girl in the motel across the street. He was better off sticking with Doña Fortuna, at least for now.

Stryker walked over to the dresser and rifled through it. He found a pair of jeans and a shirt. He pulled the dress he was wearing off over his head and tossed it on the ground, then he kicked off the sandals he was wearing. He was about to slip into the jeans when he remembered that he wasn’t wearing any underwear.

Stryker found a pair of beige cotton panties in the dresser. He had no desire to wear women’s underwear, but there were no boxer shorts that he could see. Swallowing his pride once more, he put on the panties then slipped into the jeans.

The jeans were skintight. They exposed every curve of Dulce’s hips, thighs, and butt. They were nothing at all like the loose relaxed-fit pants worn by men.

He pulled the shirt on over his head. He was surprised to see that the shirt had an extremely low-cut neckline that exposed a lot of cleavage, and it was cropped so that most of his belly was left uncovered. Even worse, his nipples were prominently on display through the fabric.

He removed the shirt and searched through the drawer again until he found a bra. Stryker sighed again. There would be no end to the degradation.

It took Stryker a while to figure out how to put on the bra, but once he did, he put the shirt back on. To his relief, the bra succeeded in hiding his nipples. His breasts and midriff still peeked out of his low-cut shirt, but he couldn’t do much about that.

The only shoes he could find in the apartment were the high-heeled sandals, so he wore those.

He looked at the clock on the wall again. It was just after 10:30 a.m. He still had some time before he had to meet Doña Fortuna at the restaurant.

Stryker ran his tongue across his teeth. His mouth had a rank taste to it. He decided to look around the studio for a toothbrush and toothpaste, or even some breath mints.

To his relief, the kitchen cabinets were stocked with various supplies, including hygiene products. There was deodorant, shampoo, soap, and hair spray. With some bemusement, he noticed lipstick, nail polish, and other feminine beauty products. He wasn’t going to be needing those things. Then his eyes fell on a product that he had absolutely no desire to ever use.

Stryker’s hands reached up and grabbed a small blue cardboard box decorated with the image of a smiling young woman walking through a field of grass sprinkled with bright flowers on a sunny day. His hands trembled as he stared at the package. Sanitary pads. Stryker swallowed hard and tears began to pool in his eyes. If he didn’t find a way to get his old body back, the slit between Dulce’s legs would eventually start gushing blood and he would have to wear one of those diaper-like things. The idea was humiliating, and it gnawed at him.

Stryker fought back his tears and found both toothpaste and a toothbrush. He marched back to the bathroom down the hall. Looking at Dulce’s reflection as he brushed his teeth, he began to feel better.

The night before, Doña Fortuna and the faux Stryker had caught him off guard. Whatever the so-called soul transfer involved, it packed a punch and had knocked him off his feet. Now, after a little sleep and a chance to clean himself up, he felt more in control. He almost felt like Alfred Stryker again.

Okay. He couldn’t run to the cops and tell them who he really was. But maybe he could make up a more believable story to get their help. Maybe he could tell them Doña Fortuna was a human trafficker who had kidnapped him and tried to force him to work as a prostitute.

No. That wouldn’t work. Thanks to the mandatory reporting laws he had passed through congress, the police would have to turn him over to immigration enforcement officers, and he would be deported to Mexico. He couldn’t let that happen. In Stryker’s mind, Mexico was a barbaric wasteland, and being sent there was a fate worse than death.

Besides, even if he could convince the cops to help him, they couldn’t do anything to put him back in his old body. He had to find a way to convince Doña Fortuna to put his soul back where it belonged. But how?

Stryker had always bulldozed his way through life, going after whatever he wanted and relying on his family’s money and connections to ensure he got it. That was all he knew how to do. And that’s what he would do now. He would just go up to Doña Fortuna and demand that she put him back in his old body. If she refused, he would kill the miserable bitch. She had said there were other people who could practice magic. Stryker would find one of them. He would get his old body back or die trying.

He finished brushing his teeth and opened the bathroom door to return to his room. Standing behind the door, wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist, was a muscular Latino with tattoos covering his chiseled chest and arms.

Of their own accord, Stryker’s eyes gazed at the man’s muscles. They were so large and firm. He wondered what it would feel like to touch them. Probably it would be like touching sinewy wrought iron.

Stryker gasped as he abruptly felt the tender flesh between his legs grow flush. His vagina grew warm and moist at the sight of the man’s bare body. He grew uncomfortable as he felt something under his labia stirring. A sensitive little lump buried somewhere under the folds between his legs stiffened as it engorged with blood. Strangely, it felt sort of like there was a tiny penis down there. It dawned on Stryker that what he was feeling down there was probably his clitoris. His nipples also grew erect and tingled, and he hoped they weren’t visible through the bra he was wearing.

The man grinned lasciviously and muttered something in English.

“Que?” Stryker said.

In Spanish, the man said, “I said I was just about to take a shower, cariña. How about you join me?”

Stryker was aghast. Not because the man was making a pass at him, but because he wanted to see what the man had under that towel around his waist. The image of a big, rock hard slab of man meat filled his mind’s eye. The thought of a swollen penis didn’t disgust Stryker. It excited his new body as much as a big pair of tits or a woman’s hourglass figure would have excited him in his old body. He had an instinctive desire to wrap his hands around the penis that he pictured in his head.

“Excuse me,” Stryker said as he deftly squeezed past the man and dashed toward his room.

He looked over his shoulder to see the man staring at him as he fled, chuckling. His imposing muscles vibrated subtly with the sound of his laughter. Oh god. Those muscles. They had a power over Stryker’s new body that scared him stupid.

Stryker got back into his room and slammed the door shut behind him. He practically hyperventilated.

“I’m not gay!” he cried. “I’m not gay! I’m not gay! I’m not gay!”

Maybe if he repeated it enough, the dirty thoughts would go away. But it was no use. He couldn’t deny it. The male body appealed to him now just as much as the female body had appealed to him before Doña Fortuna had worked her magic on him.

That was a troubling thought. As a man, Stryker had been addicted to women. It had been difficult for him to go without sex for even a day. His need for physical relief had been so great that he had found ways to satisfy his desires even when he couldn’t find a willing woman. He had taken many unwilling women in his time. Sure, it had gotten him in trouble a few times, but never anything his family’s money couldn’t fix. If he was now trapped in a woman’s body with the same libido he had possessed as a man…Stryker shuddered to think. Sex had always been as essential to Stryker as air or water. If that was still true in his new female body, Stryker was in trouble.

After a few minutes, his heart rate returned to normal, his breathing slowed down, and the intense heat between his legs subsided. To his embarrassment, there was a stickiness between his legs where his feminine fluids had flowed out from his slit.

He had more incentive than ever before to get his old body back. He knew what would happen if he stayed in this body, as surely as he knew that the sun would rise the next day. No. He didn’t want that. He had to regain his manhood, no matter the cost.

Stryker went to the dresser and pulled out the purse Doña Fortuna had left for him. He checked to see that the bus pass and cash were in there. They were, along with some makeup, gum, and…and half a dozen condoms. Stryker rolled his eyes.

He left the studio and ran down the stairs. There was a small crowd of people waiting at the bus stop, including a group of young men who smiled and eyed Dulce’s body appreciatively as Stryker walked up beside them. Stryker smiled awkwardly at them then looked down at his feet. He could feel eyes crawling all over his prominent breasts and reflexively crossed his arms over his chest, as if trying to hide them. It was a futile gesture, he wouldn’t have been able to hide them under a circus tent, let alone under Dulce’s skinny little girl arms.

“Hey, girl, where are you off to?” one of the young men ogling Stryker asked.

He was probably about Dulce’s age and admittedly handsome in a rugged sort of way. Stryker simply couldn’t deny that he found the young man physically attractive. Did that make him gay? Could he be gay if he was attracted to men while he inhabited a woman’s body? If he was still Alfred Stryker on the inside, why did the fact that he was trapped in a woman’s body change who he was attracted to? Did the mind determine sexual attraction or the body? Ugh. These questions were way too complicated. The only thing he knew for sure was that he was just as horny in Dulce’s body as he had been in his old body.

“Uh, I’m going to work,” Stryker answered the young man.

The young man nodded and said, “Cool. When do you get off work? Maybe I could meet up with you later.”

Stryker found himself giggling, a response that surprised him. Mercifully, the bus arrived just then. As tiny as he was in Dulce’s body, Stryker practically knocked everyone around him down trying to get on the bus.

The stares didn’t stop once he got on the bus. Every man on the bus looked him up and down eagerly as he made his way to a seat toward the back. He could tell several men wanted to sit next to him, so he took a seat beside an elderly woman to ensure none of the men sat with him. He was relieved when the bus reached the corner of Seventh and Zaragoza.

Once Stryker got off the bus, he instantly knew he was in the right place because he found himself standing in front of a nondescript Mexican restaurant with a sign out front that said Doña Fortuna’s. He walked in through the front door and was immediately greeted by a pretty young Latina girl standing behind a wooden podium. She wore a traditional white Mexican dress with red and green stripes running horizontally across her skirt.

The girl smiled and said, “Welcome! Table for one?”

Stryker shook his head.

“No, I’m not here to eat,” Stryker said. “I’m here to see Doña Fortuna.”

“Oh,” the girl said. “You must be, Dulce. Your mom said you were going to come down here to help out. I’m Marisol. Nice to meet you.”

“Is she here?” Stryker asked insistently.

Marisol gave Stryker a dirty look and said, “She’s in her office in the back.”

Stryker marched past Marisol and made her way through the restaurant. Framed photographs of famous Mexican sites hung from the walls along with other Mexican cultural iconography like flags, posters of famous athletes, paintings of historical figures and events, and articles of traditional clothing. There were several dining rooms, most of them empty except for a few customers catching an early lunch and a couple of waitresses wearing the exact same dress as Marisol. Televisions hung from the walls in a few rooms, playing either the news or local sporting events. One room Stryker passed by was closed off, but Stryker could see there was a full bar and a large open area probably used as a dance floor. No one was in there now.

Stryker walked through the kitchen where cooks, dishwashers, and bus boys shot longing glances at him as he walked by. Directly behind the kitchen was an office where Stryker found Doña Fortuna sitting behind a desk typing away at a computer. She was dressed in a dark blue skirt and blazer with a white blouse.

Stryker stopped abruptly and steadied himself. His mouth went dry. After what had happened the night before, he found himself intimidated by the mere sight of the woman who had taken his manhood away. He suddenly became keenly aware of the void between his legs. He missed the reassuring weight of his male parts as they dangled between his legs, jostling about with every step he took. Right then he would have given anything to feel the sense of power that came whenever he developed an erection. He had always loved the feeling. It imbued him with a sense of dominance. The feeling of the vagina between his legs had exactly the opposite effect. It made Stryker feel weak, soft, limp. That overbearing emptiness between his legs weighed heavily on Stryker.

Notwithstanding the emotional impact of the void he now felt below his waistline, Stryker had to concede that his new vagina was much less obstructive than his male genitalia had been. He had constantly found himself adjusting and scratching his male parts. Women’s genitalia required less attention and maintenance by comparison. Physically, it was more comfortable not to have sacks of flesh swinging around down there. But Stryker wanted his male parts back just the same.

“You’re just in time,” Doña Fortuna said. “You’ve been assigned a locker in the break room next door. You’ll find your uniform there. I’ll be deducting the cost of your uniform from your paycheck. Go ahead and get changed then go see Marisol. You’ll be working as a hostess for the first few hours of your shift.”

“Now wait just a moment,” Stryker demanded. “This has gone far enough. You caught me off guard last night, but I refuse to play along with this farce any longer. You may have magic powers, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am still Alfred Stryker. You know who I am. You know what I can do. I will not live like this. You change me back or I will find a way to make sure you pay for what you’ve done.”

Doña Fortuna stared at Stryker in silence for a long time. Then she grinned.

“Found your balls have you, Dulce?” Doña Fortuna said. She glanced down for a moment at Stryker’s crotch. “Figuratively speaking, of course. Follow me.”

Doña Fortuna stood up and strolled out of her office. Perplexed, Stryker followed after her.

The two women walked out a door at the rear of the restaurant and stepped out into a parking lot. Beside the door was a chain link fence that enclosed a small area occupied by a handful of kennels. Doña Fortuna unlocked a gate built into the fence and whistled. Six German Shepherds ran out of the kennels and sat beside one another in a perfect row in front of Doña Fortuna, like trained soldiers standing at attention.

“Good boys,” Doña Fortuna said. Gesturing at the dogs, she said, “Listen carefully, little girl. Standing before me are the immigration officers who tried to deport Paola. They were nothing more than your attack dogs anyway. I thought it fitting to turn them into actual dogs as a punishment for their role in her death. If you speak to me with such disrespect again, I will physically transform you into a literal bitch. I will turn you into a female dog and make it so that you are constantly in heat. You will spend the rest of your miserable existence servicing these dogs, and I will use you to breed puppies. Is that understood?”

The emptiness between Stryker’s legs suddenly became more conspicuous. No, he hadn’t found his balls. He had just become desperate. It was all bluster. His courage disappeared just as readily as his manhood had the night before.

“Yes, Doña Fortuna,” Stryker said, staring down at his feet. “I understand.”

“Good,” Doña Fortuna said. “Don’t test me, bitch. Now get changed.”

There was an employee break room beside Doña Fortuna’s office. It contained a row of lockers, one of which had Dulce’s name stenciled on it. Inside that locker was a dress like the one Stryker had seen the waitresses wearing in Dulce’s size and a pair of shoes, black flats that looked sort of like ballet slippers except that they were made out of cheap leather instead of fabric. Stryker changed into the uniform, placed his purse and clothes inside the locker, and went to see Marisol.

Marisol glowered at Stryker as she went over the duties of a hostess. It was pretty simple, she just had to take patrons to their tables and ensure that the tables were evenly distributed among the available wait staff. That was it. Stryker worked as a hostess for the first couple of hours.

His feet became sore after standing for so long, but what really bothered him about the job was the way all the male customers constantly stared at his chest. Some men were subtle about it, sneaking glances when they thought he wasn’t looking, but others blatantly stared at his chest when they spoke to him. It wasn’t bad enough that the constant bouncing motion of his big breasts served to remind Stryker that he was stuck in the body of a nubile young woman, the stares only underscored the fact that people no longer saw him as a wealthy, powerful political figure, they saw him as delicious eye candy to be savored. He was no longer a leader of men, he was just a hot girl with a great pair of tits.

Things grew worse when Stryker was reassigned to wait tables. Thankfully, most of the customers spoke Spanish and taking their orders presented no real challenge. Even those who spoke only English were able to make themselves understood by simply pointing at the menu, which was written in both English and Spanish. And carrying drinks and plates of food wasn’t as taxing as it sometimes looked. But the male customers moved beyond merely leering at him and advanced to openly flirting with him.

Men would ask questions about his background, make unsolicited comments about his appearance, make jokes, and playfully tease him. And that was the more restrained customers. Several customers were more aggressive, wanting to know if he was single, asking for his number, and insisting on taking him out sometime. Those men did not react well to Stryker’s evasive responses, and he felt far too intimidated to unequivocally reject their advances. Stryker was scared of some of his would-be suitors, who seemed on the verge of throwing his tiny body over their shoulders and hauling him away to a cave to ravage him.

Of course, his feminine libido welcomed the idea. Many of the men who came to the restaurant were virile young blue-collar laborers who worked with their hands and, as a result, had big muscles. Looking at those large, powerful men made Stryker’s womanhood grow warm. It was impossible for him to deny that his female body was physically attracted to some of the men who flirted with him and yearned to penetrate him. Buy notwithstanding his physical attraction, they still managed to scare him with their aggressive flirting.

A big part of the fear stemmed from disparities in size. In his old, formidable body, Stryker had towered over entire crowds of people. In the dainty little body he now inhabited, even short men who stood only five-foot-eight or five-foot-six loomed over him. That made every man a giant while Stryker was merely a pixie.

Yes, their imposing size made sexually assertive men scary, but for some strange reason that also excited Stryker. Standing in front of a tall, muscular man, barely reaching to the height of his chest, he would become aroused. An incredible desire to be embraced in such a man’s arms would overcome Stryker when he found himself in that position. His labia would flush and grow warm, his nipples would stiffen, and his clitoris would engorge and start to poke out from under the fleshy folds where it lay hidden.

After several hours of waiting tables and fending off lustful men without a break, Doña Fortuna allowed Stryker to have lunch. The kitchen staff prepared a simple meal for him made up of rice, beans, and shredded pork, which he drank with a glass of water. Despite the fact that he hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since his transformation the night before, Stryker didn’t have much of an appetite.

Across the table from him, Marisol was polishing her fingernails during her own break.

“How do you put up with guys pawing at you all day?” Stryker asked her.

Marisol shrugged dismissively.

“They’re guys, that’s what they do,” Marisol said. “Looking the way you do, I’m sure you’re used to it by now.”

“I’m new to all this,” Stryker said.

“I know it’s your first day, but you better get used to it, especially now that the evening shift is about to start,” Marisol said.

“That’s not exactly what I meant,” Stryker said. “Wait, what about the evening shift?”

Marisol blew on her nails to dry them and said, “They’re going to put you on evening shift. That’s when they open up the bar and start pouring drinks. If you think customers paw at you during the day shift, just wait until they get some booze in them. Oh boy.”

It was even worse than Marisol had warned. After his break ended, Stryker was sent to the bar room where he served drinks. It soon became clear exactly what sort of bar it was. It rapidly filled with men and women who were looking to get drunk or get laid or both. The bawdy men who ordered drinks had no shortage of sultry women eager to satisfy them, but they weren’t above targeting Stryker and the other waitresses. The customers offered to buy him drinks and insisted that he dance with them. And they made a habit of pinching and slapping his rear when they wanted his attention.

It never occurred to Stryker that he had been every bit as barbarous with women when he had been a man. In his deluded mind, women had always welcomed his advances. But he certainly didn’t welcome the way the drunk men in the bar fondled and groped him.

The void between his legs had never felt more pronounced than when he served drinks and found himself subjected to harassment from men who were twice his size. His little slit felt so vulnerable. If any of the drunk men grabbing at him wanted to take him as he had taken so many women, women like Lucy, there was nothing he could do to stop them. His large breasts, bouncing up and down with every step he took and drawing unwanted looks from every eye in the room, reinforced his feelings of vulnerability. They were like two giant bullseye targets. He felt as if the very body in which he was trapped was betraying him, working against him. He felt powerless.

And to emphasize just how much of a traitor his female body was, despite everything, Stryker was still aroused by the attention that the drunk, rude, selfish, and cruel men directed at him. A part of him was drawn to those abusive men.

His libido had not subsided. Even as the gaping void between his legs made him feel weak, that void yearned to be filled. No matter how hard he resisted the compulsion, Stryker’s thoughts kept returning to the image of a thick, rigid penis swollen with blood. He imagined touching it, feeling its warmth in his hands, feeling its firm strength pressing against the warm, wet, soft, and inviting flesh between his legs. He wanted to feel that power again, even if it was as an object invading his body rather than an extension of his body. He wanted the strong, powerful firmness of a man to enter him and fill the void within him, to drive away the weakness that characterized the body in which he was now trapped.

The killing blow came from an unexpected direction. The televisions hanging in the bar mostly displayed sports coverage, but one showed a news program. Stryker glanced at it and saw his old body standing in front of a crowd of reporters. The faux Stryker was giving a press conference. It was in English, so Stryker couldn’t understand what was being said, but the impostor was all smiles while the reporters looked surprised. Standing behind the impostor, a grin on her face, was Lucy. The traitor. Her betrayal had allowed Doña Fortuna to inflict this hellish torment on Stryker.

Seeing the real Dulce in his body and seeing Lucy working alongside her broke Stryker. Doña Fortuna had humiliated him, imposed one degrading punishment after another on him, and that had hurt. It had hurt badly. But seeing Dulce and Lucy hijack his life – his real life – while he labored as a cocktail waitress who had to contend with a bunch of drunken illegal immigrants groping him drove Stryker over the edge. It was just too much to bear, and his resolve completely collapsed.

Among the drunken patrons at the bar was a tall Latino wearing oil-stained jeans, work boots, and a dark blue shirt with the name “Miguel” embroidered on the front of it. He had thick, disheveled black hair and a face heavy with stubble. By the size of his swollen biceps and bulging pectorals, he lifted weights. He may have been rough around the edges, but he was gorgeous.

A few minutes before, the man, presumably Miguel, had asked Stryker when he was getting off work. As he had with practically everyone else who had asked him that question, Stryker had smiled insipidly and said nothing.

Now Stryker sashayed over to Miguel and whispered to him, “I get off in an hour. Meet me out back.”

Miguel smiled.

Although the restaurant’s kitchen closed at 11:00 p.m., the bar remained open late into the night. Stryker’s shift, mercifully, ended at midnight. Once his shift was over, Stryker returned to the break room. He hurriedly changed out of his work uniform and back into the clothes he had worn to the restaurant.

For a moment, he entertained second thoughts. Once he did this, he would be crossing a point of no return. Even if he managed to get his old body back, he would never be able to undo what was about to happen. But the feeling of emptiness had become excruciatingly painful by this point. He physically needed something to alleviate the pain. The desire for relief was irresistible. And just as the desire for a similar form of relief could have been satisfied by taking a woman back when he had been a man, Stryker instinctively knew that he could obtain relief now only by submitting to a man.

Stryker opened the back door to the restaurant. He stepped into the parking lot and searched the darkness. A dim streetlamp off in the distance offered some illumination. Leaning against a wall in an alleyway at the far end of the parking lot, Stryker could see a bulky figure. The figure waved to him.

Suppressing his doubts and fears, Stryker dashed across the parking lot. He recognized the formidable figure of Miguel as he stepped closer.

“Hola,” Stryker said meekly. “Do you want to go somewhere?”

Miguel shook his head as he stepped toward Stryker.

“No, right here is fine,” Miguel said.

Miguel wrapped his arms around Stryker forcefully and pulled him forward, lifting Stryker off the ground and pressing his lips against Stryker’s. Stryker offered no resistance. He welcomed the feel of Miguel’s powerful embrace, enjoyed being bound within the grip of his muscles. Stryker parted his lips and allowed Miguel’s tongue to slip into his mouth and explore it.

Miguel tasted of stale alcohol and smelled of a potent mixture of marijuana and sweat. The alleyway was heavy with the stench of garbage, including rotting food. Stryker could hear the chittering of scampering rats all around them and could see large, furry silhouettes scurrying across the ground. Doña Fortuna’s guard dogs barked in agitation from their kennels.

None of that diminished Stryker’s desire. Miguel’s touch set his flesh on fire. Any reservations Stryker may have had evaporated. His tongue and lips explored Miguel’s. As Miguel’s hands ran over Stryker’s body, Stryker’s own hands gripped Miguel’s muscular arms and chest. Stryker could feel his womanly fluids seep out of his slit as his body lubricated his flesh to ease Miguel’s much anticipated entrance. He could feel his clitoris quiver with excitement as it engorged and poked out from under its hood.

Something hard jabbed Stryker in the abdomen. He knew instantly that the object stabbing at him was Miguel’s manhood, and he was impressed by the size of it. He couldn’t hold back any longer.

Stryker pulled away from Miguel, who dropped Stryker back onto his feet. Without saying a word, Stryker dropped his pants and underwear down around his ankles then leaned against the wall of the alleyway, sticking his bare butt out as far as it would go.

“Take me!” Stryker cried.

Miguel needed no further encouragement. He positioned himself behind Stryker, gripped Stryker’s hips firmly in his hands, unbuttoned his own pants, and then plunged his erect member deep into Stryker’s receptive flesh.

Stryker groaned as Miguel’s fat cock pulled open the lips of his vagina and then stretched apart the muscles in his groin. As Miguel buried himself inside of Stryker, a sharp, searing pain overwhelmed Stryker’s senses. For a few moments, he was incapable of forming a coherent thought. The pain was blinding. Gradually, the pain subsided as Miguel made his way deeper into Stryker. The pain gave way to pleasure. Stryker moaned with delight as he savored the sense of fullness that Miguel’s manhood brought him. At long last, that nagging feeling of emptiness was gone. The void had been filled by Miguel. Stryker tightened his grip on Miguel as his vaginal muscles squeezed together. Miguel’s strength and firmness were reassuring.

Stryker lost himself in physical ecstasy as Miguel began pumping in and out of him. Stryker thrusts his hips back and forth to match Miguel’s movements.

Stryker screamed as intense waves of pleasure flowed out from between his legs and rippled across his body. With each thrust, the waves grew more and more powerful. The muscles in his body tensed, and he knew that the relief he so desperately needed would be his in mere moments.

Then Miguel pushed deep into Stryker and stopped moving. Stryker felt Miguel’s penis convulse violently inside of him. An instant later, Stryker felt an intense warmth wash over his insides. Miguel howled as he released his seed.

“Don’t stop!” Stryker pleaded pathetically.

He was so close to finishing. He had to finish. He would go mad if he couldn’t achieve release. He kept thrusting his hips back and forth in a vain attempt to keep things going. But he knew it was futile. He felt Miguel grow limp and pull out. It was over.

“Thanks,” Miguel said as he pulled up his zipper and buttoned his pants. Then he began to walk away.

His pants and underwear still pulled down around his ankles, Stryker turned away from the wall and watched as Miguel walked away and disappeared down the alleyway. Stryker felt some of Miguel’s seed drain out of his slit and ooze down his inner thigh.

Tears pooled in Stryker’s eyes and flowed down his cheeks. He couldn’t believe what he had done. He had just allowed another man to penetrate him and ejaculate inside his body.

He had always believed that the most degrading thing a man could do was to voluntarily allow another man to penetrate him. Well, he had done just that. And it wasn’t even in the context of a homosexual encounter. He couldn’t even console himself with the thought that he was still a man. He looked down at the smooth patch of flesh beneath his waist. He wasn’t a man anymore. He was just a poor, slutty Mexican girl.

Stryker pulled up his pants. He walked out to the front of the restaurant. He didn’t know if the bus ran this late. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t planning on waiting for it.

Stryker began walking down the street back to Doña Fortuna’s apartment building. Even as late as it was, he could see people wandering the streets, primarily in the shadows. He couldn’t tell who they were or what they were doing. A part of him worried that they might represent a threat, would-be muggers or rapists. But he didn’t really care. He was now living a fate worse than death.

Perhaps because he made for such a pathetic sight, a young, bedraggled Latina girl with a tear-stained face walking the city streets alone at night, no one bothered Stryker. Eventually, he reached the apartment building, went up to his studio, threw himself onto the bed, and passed out from exhaustion.

~o~O~o~

Doña Fortuna made Stryker work at the restaurant six days a week, twelve hours a day. She deducted the cost of rent from Stryker’s pay, which ate up most of his wages. After paying for food and a bus pass, Stryker did have a little money left over to use for things like clothes or personal hygiene products. It wasn’t much, but since he owed no debts to anyone other than Doña Fortuna, money really wasn’t a huge problem for Stryker. There was so much else to worry about.

As the weeks passed, Stryker continued to entertain fantasies of learning enough English to ask for help from the police or one of his former acquaintances. But it was just that, a fantasy. He had always assumed illegal immigrants couldn’t speak English because they were too lazy to learn the language. As it turned out, learning English was hard. Stryker tried, but he struggled with it. His job as a waitress afforded him the opportunity to learn a few English words and phrases here and there needed to help him serve customers, but he would never be fluent in the language.

He was able to watch Spanish language programs. The Spanish language news updated him on the activities of the faux Stryker. Apparently, Dulce had usurped his identity to reverse his policies. The faux Stryker claimed that learning about the death of a young Mexican girl that had occurred during an attempted deportation had opened his eyes to all the harm his policies had caused. Senator Stryker dedicated himself to helping underprivileged immigrants, removing barriers to their participation in society, and creating a more diverse and open community. What Dulce did infuriated Stryker, but there was nothing he could do to stop her.

What Stryker had done on his first night as a woman turned out to be no fluke. The insatiable libido Stryker had possessed in his male body carried over into his female body. Whereas Stryker had previously required an endless supply of willing (or less than willing) women to satisfy his carnal desires, in his new body he found himself turning to one man after another to satisfy his animal urges. Except he found no satisfaction.

To his frustration, Stryker learned that sex was a different experience for women than it was for men. As a man, Stryker had only been interested in his own gratification. Once he was done, it was over. He didn’t know or care if any of the women he used ever got to finish. As a woman, the men he hooked up with were exactly the same way. Once they deposited their seed into Stryker’s womanhood, the sex was over. While Stryker enjoyed the sex, he had yet to experience an orgasm as a woman. He was left always wanting more. That was a big reason why he slept with a different man almost every night. But no matter how many men he went through, he never achieved the release he so desperately craved. It was hell.

He tried self-gratification, but that was different for women, too. Stryker had rarely pleasured himself as a man. He had always been able to get his hands on a woman, one way or the other. But the few times he had indulged himself, it was a pretty simple process. Male equipment was straightforward. He had just stroked until completion. It was that easy.

The equipment women had to work with was far more complicated. It had taken him a while to figure out which parts did what. After he got that out of the way, he realized that although girl parts were generally more sensitive, that didn’t mean stroking those parts was enough. It felt good to play with them, but they didn’t seem to do anything. There were other parts down there that weren’t nearly as sensitive, but they led to greater stimulation of certain muscle groups that reminded Stryker of the way it felt just before he had discharged as a man. But on multiple occasions, he had spent an hour or more exploring himself without achieving orgasm. It was aggravating. He was constantly yearning for something that never came.

It didn’t stop him from sleeping with as many different men as he could find. He had been glad to learn that there was a community clinic a few blocks from his apartment that gave away free condoms and provided government subsidized birth control.

Although he and Marisol had gotten off on the wrong foot, they usually worked shifts together and had grown close over time. After a few months of working alongside one another, Stryker even began to consider her a friend. Marisol had been surprised by all the different aspects of being a woman that Stryker was unfamiliar with, such as applying makeup and cooking, and she had gone out of her way to relieve Stryker of his ignorance. He was now able to apply his own makeup without any trouble, a skill that made it even easier to pick up men. Under Marisol’s tutelage, he gradually became a decent cook, although he wasn’t going to be winning any blue ribbons for his meals.

Stryker and Marisol hung out together frequently on their time off. They would go out to shop or to watch a movie or do something else to pass the time. But mostly they went out at night to meet men. Sometimes it was just the two of them, sometimes they would go with the other girls from work or with some of Marisol’s many siblings or cousins. They had fun, even though their goals were different. Marisol was always looking for a boyfriend, often finding one but frequently observing serious flaws with him. She was a very demanding girl. But she didn’t judge Stryker for cycling through lovers. She nevertheless assured Stryker that one day he would find a man who would make an honest woman out of him and convince Stryker to give up his promiscuous ways. Stryker always laughed off the idea.

To his surprise, Doña Fortuna mostly left him alone. She seemed content to check in on him every so often to see that he was still suffering, or to update him on the latest steps the real Dulce was taking to unravel the anti-immigration policies he had set up. Beyond that, she only demanded that Stryker show up to work on time and do what he was told. Stryker was always too afraid to ask her about any future plans she had for him.

The restaurant staff knew Dulce was Doña Fortuna’s daughter, and he could tell they were curious about the cold relationship between the two. But despite the fact that the staff loved to gossip, from the line cooks to the bartenders to the waitresses, they didn’t pry into Doña Fortuna’s affairs.

Perhaps that was because rumors circulated among the staff about Doña Fortuna’s abilities. They believed she had certain mystical powers. For example, there was a story that one of the waitresses once had a father who suffered from stomach cancer. They said Doña Fortuna used her magic to cure his illness. There was another story about one of the cooks being threatened by local gangsters over money, and Doña Fortuna transforming the gangsters into stray dogs. The workers told all sorts of stories about a number of things, many of them involving the paranormal. Marisol, for one, claimed her mother’s house was haunted by poltergeists. Stryker had no idea if any of the stories were true. What he did know for sure was that the workers feared and respected Doña Fortuna. That fear and respect extended to Dulce at least insofar as no one asked too many questions about her relationship with her mother.

In this way, the days stretched into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years.

To his surprise, the day eventually came when Stryker stopped thinking of himself as Stryker and began to think of himself as Dulce. Or rather, she began to think of herself as Dulce. It happened so gradually that she didn’t even realize it until long after it had happened.

One day, she was at a swap meet in the parking lot of a closed down drive-in movie theater shopping for clothes with Marisol, listening to her complain about her latest breakup, this one with a landscaper one of her brothers had introduced her to.

“He said he doesn’t want to be with a woman who works,” Marisol said as she looked through a clothes rack full of summer dresses. “He said he wants be with a woman like his mother, one who stays home and takes care of the kids. Can you believe that?”

Dulce grunted in disgust.

“Men don’t understand how hard it is to be a woman,” Dulce said. “They don’t know all the bullshit we have to put up with from them. That’s why I avoid relationships. I don’t need a man telling me how to live my life.”

That was the moment when Dulce realized she no longer thought of herself as a man. That was also when it dawned on her how vile she had been as a man. Alfred Stryker hadn’t simply harassed women and used them for sex. He had been a rapist who saw women as objects that could be used to gratify his lust, not as fellow human beings with thoughts, feelings, and desires of their own.

And after living in America as an undocumented immigrant for several years, she knew firsthand how challenging life was for undocumented immigrants, and how much more difficult Stryker had made things for such a vulnerable group with his heartless campaign of persecution. As much as Stryker purported to despise the barbarous cartel bosses who exploited the poor, underprivileged people of Mexico, Stryker was every bit as evil as any of them. Stryker was a monster.

She was ashamed of the way she had acted, of the person she had been. But she wasn’t that person anymore. She was Dulce Fortuna, a hardworking Mexican immigrant, a liberated woman who could take care of herself and wasn’t dependent on anyone. She missed the privileges that came from being a rich white man, sure, but she was proud of what she had been able to do without any of those privileges. The few things she had in her life, she had earned. They hadn’t simply been handed to her the way Stryker had everything handed to him. Life in America as a young, undocumented woman wasn’t easy, but she was getting by just fine.

Marisol chuckled.

“You aren’t in a relationship because you’re a slut,” Marisol said with a smirk. “But I keep telling you, one day you’ll find a man who’ll change your mind. You always find love when you’re not looking for it.”

“Then do yourself a favor and stop looking for it,” Dulce said.

Marisol snorted derisively.

Some months after that exchange, Dulce had the day off while Marisol was working, a rare occurrence. After she made a simple lunch for herself and ate it, she decided to spend the afternoon at a nearby park. Otherwise, she would just stay in her apartment all day watching the salacious Spanish soap operas she was fond of.

Dulce took a walk around the park before sitting down on a bench beside a pond. She pulled out a Mexican celebrity gossip magazine and began reading it. She and Marisol liked to while away the hours chatting about the affairs of their favorite television and movie stars, and Dulce wanted to stay updated.

After half an hour, a young Latino man wearing a flannel shirt, jeans, and hiking boots sat down on a patch of grass beside the pond, pulled a sandwich out of a brown paper bag, and began eating it. He was handsome, tall, and muscular. Dulce immediately wanted to sleep with him.

She knew from experience that she couldn’t make the first move. Men were resentful of sexually aggressive women. They wanted to feel in control. A woman had to make them think they made the first move.

Dulce pulled her shoulders back and stuck her plump breasts out. Like everything else she wore, the floral print dress with spaghetti straps that Dulce was wearing put her cleavage on full display. No man could resist feasting his eyes on her bountiful chest. And when the young man predictably took a peek, she whipped her hair back, glanced up at him, and smiled slightly. Then she turned back to her magazine and continued reading.

When the young man finished eating his sandwich, he strolled over to the bench where Dulce was sitting and took a seat at the opposite end. Dulce ignored him.

“I hope you don’t mind my sitting down,” he said.

“It’s still a free country,” she said indifferently without taking her eyes off the magazine.

“I just got off work and came here to relax,” he said. “What about you? Not working today?”

“No,” she said. This was always the worst part, having to make small talk before making it clear she wanted to fuck. “I’m free all day. What do you do for work?”

“I do it all,” he answered. “Putting up drywall, painting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical. A little bit of everything. Times were tough a few years back. No one wanted to hire us because of all the problems they would get for hiring people without papers. Things have gotten better since that white man in Washington changed the laws to make it easier to hire us.”

Dulce sighed. She heard comments like that all the time.

“I’m glad to hear that,” she said honestly. And she was. Dulce, the real Dulce, was doing a great job cleaning up Stryker’s mistakes. She sometimes wondered how Dulce enjoyed life as Stryker. “Do you have any plans for the rest of the day?”

The man shook his head.

“Nothing beyond enjoying all of life’s simple pleasures,” he said with a warm smile. “My name is Pedro, by the way, Pedro Cortes. May I ask your name?”

“Dulce Fortuna,” she answered with a smile of her own as they shook hands. “Maybe we can enjoy those simple pleasures together.”

“That would be great,” Pedro said. “Say, have you ever seen the sunset from Gillian Observatory?”

“Uh, no,” Dulce said.

“We can go for a walk there,” Pedro said. “It’s not far. There’s a beautiful view of the city.”

That wasn’t the sort of fun Dulce had in mind. But she figured they could go to bed after viewing the sunset.

She and Pedro walked to the observatory. Along the way, they talked and got to know each other.

It turned out Pedro lived only a few blocks from Dulce. He rented space in a garage with several friends with whom he had crossed the border a few years before. They all worked various jobs and pooled their resources together to pay the rent. He hoped one day to save enough money of his own to buy a used truck and start his own business as a repairman. He had a knack for understanding how things fit together and came apart, there was nothing he couldn’t fix.

Dulce was evasive when Pedro began to ask about her past. She told him that she had come to America with her mother and sister to avoid problems with the cartels in Mexico, and that she worked as a waitress at her mother’s restaurant. She also mentioned that she and her mother didn’t talk much after her sister had died while being chased by immigration agents. All of that was close enough to the truth.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Pedro said. “I’ve lost people I care about, too. My brother died during the crossing after he got separated from the rest of us. They found him in the desert dead from thirst. A friend of mine was deported a few years ago and died trying to get back. It’s not easy to move pass losses like that.”

“No, it’s not,” Dulce agreed.

She had long ago come to understand that, after losing Paola to Stryker’s villainous actions, Doña Fortuna had actually been merciful in her treatment of Stryker. Doña Fortuna would have been justified in killing Stryker. Instead, she had decided to give Stryker a second chance, in a way. That said a lot about who Doña Fortuna was deep down.

They reached the observatory and watched the sunset from the well-maintained lawn outside. It was every bit as beautiful as Pedro had said it would be. Dulce found it strange that she had never taken the opportunity to appreciate such simple pleasures in her former life.

Afterward, they walked and talked some more. Dulce grew antsy and asked Pedro to walk her home. He was happy to oblige and Dulce eagerly looked forward to a night of lovemaking.

When they got to her apartment, she unlocked the door, stepped inside, and turned to invite him in.

Before she could say anything, Pedro said, “I enjoyed spending time with you. Would you mind if I came by tomorrow after work? There’s a bar nearby where they play live music. Maybe I can take you there.”

“Okay,” Dulce said.

She was worked up and wanted to bed Pedro right then and there, but she was worried she might scare him off if she pushed him. It would be difficult, but she could restrain herself for one night.

They saw each other the next day. And the day after that. And the following day. Each time, Dulce made it clear she wanted to sleep with him. And each time, Pedro didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

Marisol laughed when Dulce complained about Pedro’s reluctance while they were having lunch in the break room.

“It’s obvious he likes you,” Marisol said. “He doesn’t want to offend you by trying to sleep with you right away. You’re lucky. It’s so hard to find a gentleman like that.”

“I’m not looking for a gentleman,” Dulce whined. “I’m trying to get laid.”

Marisol rolled her eyes and said, “Pearls before swine.”

Enough was enough. Dulce had needs. She was losing her mind after nearly a week without sex.

The next time she and Pedro got together, she insisted on staying home and making him dinner. He relented, and she had him cornered. After they were finished with dinner, she threw Pedro on her bed, tore off his clothes, and forced herself on him.

She felt a little bad about what she did. For the first time in a long time, she almost felt like Alfred Stryker again, the way she had forced herself on someone else.

But she got no complaints from Pedro. And she had no reason to complain. Far from it. The experience was phenomenal. Unlike all her previous lovers, Pedro made it his mission to satisfy Dulce. And he did. Over and over again. He must have had a lot of prior experience. The way his fingers manipulated the tender flesh between her legs was magical. Within minutes of his reaching down there with his hand, Dulce experienced her first orgasm. It was mind numbing, better than anything she had ever experienced before, as a man or a woman. She was floored when Pedro put his face between her legs and began to pleasure her with his mouth. She didn’t think there were any men who did that. Pedro’s skilled tongue allowed her to experience a second soul-shattering orgasm. Then Pedro revealed his well-endowed organ, a perfect example of manhood, and buried himself inside Dulce. She lost count of all her orgasms after that. But by the time Pedro rewarded her by filling her insides with his seed, she had entered a blissful state of euphoria.

While the sex was amazing, the next morning something bizarre happened. Dulce woke up beside Pedro and didn’t want to say goodbye to him. That had never happened before. She usually felt a little disgusted with herself after sex and couldn’t get away from her lover quickly enough. Not this time. She was happy to see Pedro, and they made love again.

When Pedro finally did say goodbye, she demanded to know when she would see him again. He offered to come back after she got off work. That whole day, Dulce couldn’t wait to finish her shift and return home.

When Dulce told Marisol what had happened, Marisol laughed at her.

“I knew it!” Marisol cried. “You have a heart after all! Dulce Fortuna, the notorious man-eater, is in love!”

“Love!” Dulce repeated. “I barely know the man!”

“Girl, you’re in for the ride of your life,” Marisol said.

It was indeed the ride of Dulce’s life. Each day, she looked forward to seeing Pedro again. Happiness was being held in his arms. Every moment that she was away from him was agony. Whenever they were together, all she wanted to do was find ways to make him as happy as he made her. On top of all that, the sex was extraordinary.

One day, as she was lying in Pedro’s strong arms on a picnic blanket at the park, Dulce realized that Doña Fortuna had not cursed her. Doña Fortuna had given Dulce an extraordinary gift. As Alfred Stryker, Dulce had merely been a slave to her physical urges, and she had never known the joy of actually loving another human being. Her love for Pedro was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of her life. Not only was she happy that she was Dulce Fortuna, she would never willingly go back to being Alfred Stryker. Stryker was a soulless beast, a man dead on the inside. So devoid of life was Alfred Stryker, that even a poor, undocumented Mexican woman was richer than he would ever be. Dulce had something Stryker never would, she had love in her heart.

One morning, after she and Pedro had been together for a year, Dulce realized that her period was late. Pedro had already gone to work for the day, and she almost began to panic at the implications of the fact that she was late. It had taken her a long time to come to terms with being a woman, being a mother seemed like something completely outside her depth. But after a couple of hours of reflecting on it, the idea didn’t seem so bad. She was in a relationship with a wonderful man who treated her like a queen, a man she loved more than life itself. Growing that love by bringing a child into the world didn’t seem like a burden, it seemed like a gift.

She bought a pregnancy test from the pharmacy down the street and administered it before going into work. When the results turned out to be positive, she smiled. Tears of joy flowed from her eyes. She was going to be a mother. A few years before, the idea would have horrified her. Now it filled her with sheer happiness.

She went to work looking forward to returning home that night to share the good news with Pedro.

During her shift, Senator Stryker held a press conference that was shown on one of the televisions in the restaurant. Dulce wondered how the original Dulce was faring these days, felt a tinge of pity for her at being trapped in the body of a bitter, hateful man, but otherwise didn’t pay much attention to it.

Dulce happened to be waiting on a table with an attractive young Latin couple. Her English wasn’t very good, but from the little she could pick up of their conversation, they sounded like they were on their first date.

The young Latina woman was dressed in a pair of jeans and a blue and gold Mustangs jersey. She was stunning. About the same height as Dulce, her arms and legs were slim with delicate hands and feet. Her hips were pleasantly curvy, but not overly thick, her butt was round and firm, her stomach looked flat without any excess fat, and her breasts were massive. Her pretty face was completely free of makeup, with a pert little nose, thick lips, and slightly elongated eyes. Her eyes were light brown, and her skin complexion the same light caramel color as Dulce’s, but perhaps a shade darker. Her eyes and complexion went nicely with her long black hair, which had a slight bounce to it that gave it volume.

The Latino man wore a pair of boot cut jeans and a Bandits jersey. He had a thick head of black hair parted to one side, a few loose locks casually cascading down along the edge of his forehead. His tight-fitting jersey revealed broad shoulders, bulging biceps, and rock hard pecs. His skin boasted a rich honey bronze complexion. Dulce glanced at his face and found a pair of almond-shaped eyes that were a deep amber hue set along broad cheekbones and a sharp chin.

Dulce imagined the couple had just come from watching a football game and hoped their date was going well so far.

The man’s eyes widened as Dulce approached their table. That was a typical reaction from a man. What was unusual was the fact that the woman’s eyes also widened upon seeing Dulce.

In her heavily accented English, Dulce said, “Buenas tardes, my name is Dulce and I’ll be your waitress. Would you care for a drink?”

The woman ordered a margarita, and the man ordered a beer. As Dulce darted off to get their drinks, she overheard the woman chastising the man for ogling Dulce. Typical.

As Dulce returned with their order, the woman was looking up at the television and, seeing the press conference, asked in English, “Isn’t that Alfred Stryker?”

The man said to her, “That’s the guy. He’s the senator who spent years running on a platform of deporting illegal immigrants. Then a few years ago, he completely changed his position. Now he’s proposing all these bills to help immigrants.”

“I don’t buy it,” the woman said. “Tigers don’t change their stripes. Whatever his politics, he’ll always be an asshole.”

As she set their drinks on the table, Dulce looked at Stryker on the television and said to the woman, “People can surprise you sometimes, señorita. They can change in all sorts of ways.”

As she walked away from the young couple, Dulce smiled and reflected on just how true that was.



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