Spinning

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Spinning
By
Grover
02/22/2011

It was just another Gawd awful, but all too typical hot and humid summer day in the Deep South. I was closer to drinking instead of breathing the thick and moist air, but what else could one do? For one thing, I stayed out of that scorching sun as much as I could. The heat only made it worse, and being under cover in the shade helped.

Number One Flea Market had the advantage of being covered with a rambling assortment of awnings and semi-permanent roofs, and even had a few fans that labored to keep the crowd of weekend bargain hunters from dropping dead from heat stroke. Not as good as hiding in an air-conditioned department store or an hour or two in a nice cool movie theater, but it would do. Let’s face it. At least here I had a chance of seeing something different than the new, but same old stuff they always had at Wally World or some other Big Box store. Admittedly, it was mostly stuff no one wanted, but there was always the old one person’s trash was another’s treasure thing.

As for me, I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular. Just seeing what there was to see, although I always kept an eye out for decent reading material. I’d already cruised one stall that had stacks of old science fiction paperbacks, as well as another that had some very dated console games. As usual I hadn’t found any jewels in the rough and was thinking about where else I could avoid the summer’s heat for awhile.

Before you ask, home really wasn’t an option. At one time it’d been full of hope and other wonderful possibilities, but now was only an empty monument to my ever present failures. Once the person I loved left me cold and alone it wasn’t the same. I’d seen the accusations in too many eyes not to know them. Hell, all I needed to do was look in the mirror to see them in my own, loser.

Lost in my thoughts, I was almost to the exit back outside into the inferno when a glint of red and gold caught my attention. Looking at the display of DVDs, behind the table was an old man, who didn’t seem to be in much better shape than I was, selling. Focusing on the one that’d grabbed me, was a box set of all three seasons of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.

That made me smile remembering my teenage years watching the buxom actress. Those were the days. I still had my innocence, and could believe that anything was possible. That I really could be anyone I chose.

“That’s a special collector's edition that was put out a few years ago. It even includes the first episode of another old show from the 70’s, ‘Shazam.’” The old timer behind the table made his sell pitch, his raspy lifelong smoker’s voice croaking like a frog’s. His deeply lined face and the cane he used to balance himself spoke of a hard life. Another lesson for me, no matter how tough you think you have it, someone else has it rougher.

“I used to watch these as a kid,” I said, turning the box over to read the details. “She was the reason I went to see that ‘Sky High’ movie that also had Kurt Russell in it.”

“Saw that one too,” the seller replied, wiping his brow. “It was fun seeing the old faces, like Lynda, Bruce, Kurt, and al the rest. Not a bad movie, but they don’t make’em like they used too. Nowadays movies got to be edgy and got all that CGI crap in them. None of them has any heart.”

“Well,” I objected, “Not all. That ‘Iron Man’ movie was right decent.”

“Okay,” he grudgingly agreed, but argued, “Maybe not all, but most. That ‘Wanted’ movie with Jolie was a solid waste. Not that the comic it came from was any good either. None of the kids these days know what a hero is really all about. In the old days, people used to take the responsibility of being a public figure more seriously. There just isn’t anyone to look up to anymore. It‘s all about the bottom-line, money.”

I sighed in agreement, although not for the reason he thought. It royally sucked to wake up one morning and find yourself on the wrong side of the generation gap. Looking down at the brightly colored box, it was full of memories. The problem was money was in short supply.

“By the way,” he said holding out his hand, “I’m Waylon.”

“Hi Waylon,” I replied. “Just like the singer, right?” I asked still thinking about how to afford it.

“Like that, yes,” He said grinning. “But it’s really an old family name. You could say it goes way back.”

“I’m Mike.” We shook hands.

“You know Mike there’s a magic in these old shows.” He said, trying to close his sell. “I think it’s something about reliving a time when things were happier. You know, going back to when you still had dreams, and nothing was impossible.”

His words reminded me of my own thoughts just a few minutes ago. I did have a few bucks I’d saved hoping to find a decent book to buy, but maybe I could talk him down some. However, surely this being a collector’s edition he’ll want a pretty penny for it.

“How much?” I asked.

He rubbed his gristly chin. “Normally, I’ll be asking more, but today for you, just $20.”

We bickered back and forth for a bit with me ending up the new owner of the special edition of Wonder Woman DVDs. Now broke, I reluctantly headed home.

Like all of my recent homecomings, I tried to blind myself to the defeat this place represented. At the height of my folly, I’d fallen in love with the place. It represented everything I’d wanted and dreamed of. It was all that I’d never had growing up poor. The two story white painted house was right out of some old happy family sitcom. While I don’t know how much that influenced me when I bought it, yes, the place did have a white picket fence, damn it.

Besides it was only a matter of time before the bills and mortgage caught up with me. Then it would be all gone anyways, the final nail in my hopeless life.

However, for the moment, I had shelter and even something to play those DVDs on. Even an escape into the past for just a few hours would provide relief. Grabbing what munchies I had, and something cold to drink, I settled in to make the most of it.

Opening up the box, however, I found an unexpected bonus. Nestled inside a cheap cellophane bag was the Lasso of Truth. Well, Wonder Woman’s magical rope if it’d been made in an overseas sweatshop. It looked to be a length of cheap nylon rope wrapped in tacky gold tinsel.

It bought out a sad depreciating laugh out of me. The worthless gilt was about par for any gold I’d ever got close to. With a snort, I tossed it on top of the pile of electronic remotes and the empty pizza boxes that threatened to overflow off my coffee table onto the floor.

Taking out another DVD I hadn’t bothered to put up the last time I used the machine, I popped in Wonder Woman disc one. Opening a bag of bargain brand chips whose nutritional data assured me that it was extremely bad for my health, I prepared to escape the hell my life had become.

"Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman.
All the world's waiting for you,
and the power you possess."
(Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox)

A couple of hours later, I’d laughed and groaned working my way though the first season. It even had the premiere episode with the old origin thing. Most of the special effects seemed kinda lame compared to the CGI you see even in TV shows now, and some of the dialogue was just plain awful to my now adult ears. I loved every minute.

Old Waylon was right. This did have charm and most certainly had heart. Reminiscence of bell-bottom jeans, high-top Keds, and other forgotten mementoes long discarded.

I hit the pause. And memories too, I added to the list. Perhaps those were the most important ones of all that I’d forgotten. Getting up, I took a bathroom break, and shuffled off to the kitchen to replenish my junk food supplies.

Opening yet another bag, I recalled that actor who’d eaten himself to death. I admit that thought made me stop for a second. Was I suicidal? No lie, I was seriously depressed, but having your family walk out on you does that. No, I decided, not actively anyways. I wouldn’t be putting a gun in my mouth, but if I saw a speeding bus heading right for me, I just might hesitate. Call it being fatalistic.

As for my taste in food, given my present circumstances, I would take what pleasures I could. I crunched the artificial favored, pseudo food with great relish.

Flopping down on the couch again, gold caught my eye again. Why not, I asked myself. Reaching over I wrestled helplessly with the plastic bag probably from China or Taiwan for awhile before calling in reinforcements from my den, a pair of scissors. A snip later, the modern equivalent of the Gordian Knot was cut, and the prize was mine.

Starting on season two, I played with the Lasso of Truth. Again I proved I would never be a cowboy, failing again and again to lasso even one of the many empty beverage cans populating my coffee table. Finally, as that disc came to an end, I was ready to call it a night.

Standing up, I found the cheap rope still in my hands. What’d started this entire marathon Wonder Woman session was the memory of her costume change, the spin. Of course in the comic books, she’d twirled the Lasso around herself to do the change, but given the practicalities of TV, Lynda Carter had simply spun around in a circle.

Walking over to the patio doors, I looked out in the night, lost in memories. Growing up I’d been a misfit. Hell, I was still a misfit, but back then, I had hope that somehow I could find, like the song says, my place in the sun. However for me it wasn’t so much as a place as an identity. The boy everyone saw really wasn’t me. In those days I couldn’t even begin to voice who I was hidden inside. Hell, even now, it’s hard, and there wasn’t another person anywhere near within hearing.

“A girl. There’s a girl inside me.” I softly whispered the confession to the muggy mid-summer’s darkness.

I had no idea if I was really one those who believed they were women trapped in men’s bodies, or some other weirdness. All I knew was that a part of me was a lot feminine than it was cool for a man to behave. Over the years, I’d tried my best to hide, camouflage, and disguise it, but I’d failed. Finding myself all alone in this so empty house was simple proof of that.

Looking up at the stars, I murmured as a tear falling down my cheek, “Oh Gawd, I’m a mess.” I bowed my head overwhelmed by the pain.

Glancing at the rope in my hands, I had to give a sad smile. Back then, I thought if only I could spin fast enough, I could change just like her. And I’d tried too. My younger brothers believed it was all a game and had joined in. I suppose all kids do that spinning around thing until they fall down too dizzy to stand.

However, for me, it was something different. I had a goal. It was perhaps one of the few times I’d actually set one, as impossible as it might be. Gawd knows I tried, spinning so fast until I made myself sick. Eventually even I accepted that some things just couldn’t be changed. Maybe that was when something inside me broke or perhaps it just found a place to hide from a pain that wouldn’t heal or go away.

My eyes dropped to the rope dragging on the floor.

‘Not a rope, it’s the Lasso of Truth,’ a little voice from within me corrected. ‘It says so right on the package.’

Sighing, I was just so tired. For so long I’d tried to do the right thing and failed, and failed again.

‘What could it hurt, just one more time,’ that little voice asked so insistently.

Knowing this was just a bad idea, I stepped outside. Taking the Lasso, I looped it around me so I would be in the middle. Taking a deep breath, I began to spin. Can you spell awkward? Unfit, overweight guys simply isn’t designed for this, but like my little voice said, ‘What do I have to lose?’ Going faster that question answered itself as my gorge rose. There was alarm, but desperation wouldn’t let me stop. I had to keep going.

And I did alright up to the point where the rope caught about my foot and sent me on a death spiral face first into the summer dew covered grass. As an encore, I covered myself in my own vomit.

Only the crickets and frogs spoke of my disgrace, but it was enough for me. Lying there, I cried.

Chilled and feeling as if hope itself had died, I went inside and cleaned myself up. Numbly, I climbed into my lonely bed. Exhausted by pain I’d ignored for so long, sleep claimed me.

But rest was not to be mine.

I was standing on an immense plain. Down the center was this damn golden road, straight out of the Wizard of Oz. The difference was the army, no, legions of girls lined up like in a military formation on both sides of it. The ones in the far back were young, and got older the closer they were to me. However, they weren’t in uniforms or even dressed the same. The younger ones in the back were in everything from winter coats to swim wear and everything in-between. The older ones towards the front were attired as if in different professions. I saw those who could doctors, lawyers, and even florists.

Then the weird turned nightmarish.

This guy appeared all the way at the beginning of that golden path. I couldn’t see much in the way of detail because he was so far away. However once he started walking towards me, the girls he passed dropped lifelessly to the ground. It was like he was a giant scythe that cut them down although he never seemed to realize they were even there. All I could do was watch as he got closer, and see wave after wave of girls go down with each step he took.

Eventually he got close enough so I could see who it was.

It was me, a younger me, and the nearer he came, the older he got. I finally caught on that the girls he was passing were his same age. That perhaps they were supposed to be me too. A me that’d never gotten the chance to live. A person who never had the opportunity to be all of those possibilities they each represented.

That’s when I notice, I was one of the girls standing by the roadside. I tried to yell at him, me, to stop, but he didn’t appear to hear. Closer and closer he approached, while all the girls he passed just dropped dead unnoticed.

And he never saw a thing. He simply stared straight ahead as if he didn’t want know what carnage his negligence was reaping.

I tried to move, but I couldn’t. It was as if a glass wall surrounded the road. Panicked as he got ever closer, I beat on it, screaming, but he just walked on getting older and sadder.

A flicker of hope rose as I saw him flinch from my display, but he held himself rigid as if in terrible fear.

Then he passed me.

Like a puppet with her strings cut I fell, with an awful darkness gathering over me.

I died.

Drenched in sweat, I bolted upright in my bed grasping for breath. My blood pounded loud in my ears, and thundered in my veins. Trembling, it took me a couple attempts to stand.

It didn’t take some expert in dream interpretation to figure it out. My sub-conscious was telling me in no uncertain terms that all these years I’d being hurting, killing, a part of myself. Oh, I suppose some psych doctor would explain this all by reminding me of all the junk food I had that’d made me sick, but no. A part of me had known all along what was happening. I simply couldn’t make myself see it.

Washing my face off and trying to get rid of that lingering horrible taste with mouthwash and brushing, I sat down. Alright, I acknowledged the problem, but what could I do about it? My life was in a royal mess. I was barely surviving from week to week, and was just short of having to declare bankruptcy.

There by on my nightstand was the neatly coiled gleaming Lasso of Truth. I had no memory of putting it there or of even picking it up from outside where I’d disgraced myself. How had it gotten here?

Holding my head, I choked out a grim chuckle. It’d lived up to its name. I had seen the truth all right. That still didn’t answer the question of what to do about it. I felt like the Ugly Duckling who’d just popped herself on the head realizing after years of pretending she’s a duck, that, duh, she’s a swan. Not that she had the slightest idea what swans did after all those years of trying to act like a duck. Just that she was one. Maybe that explained why the whole duck thing never really worked out, but didn’t do a damn thing for how to go about being a swan.

I stared at the Lasso again.

Nope! I’m not making a fool out of myself again.

Nonetheless I couldn’t take my eyes off the damn thing.

Crap

The clock assured me all my neighbors were still asleep. Four AM was real good for that.

“You’re an idiot,” I muttered to myself, walking down the stairs.

Stepping outside, I shook my head at the remains of the mess I’d made. Not wanting to compound the problem, I did a better job of cleaning the second time around.

Paranoia demanded I take another careful look around, but at four in the morning even the newspaperman hadn’t come yet.

So standing outside in my boxers, I held the Lasso of Truth in my hands. This time I looked up at the stars that was peeking though the clouds. It didn’t start off as a prayer, but it kinda ended up that way.

“Please, if anyone is listening up there, I could use a little help down here.” I thought about it a moment, and then added, “Amen.”

Then I began to turn in a circle. I did the spin, although this time I remembered not to let myself trip over my own damn feet. My breath began to labor, and I knew I would have to stop soon. Somehow that made me spin around even faster. Hoping that my stomach wouldn‘t betray me this time, I kicked my feet backwards recalling how as a kid that could make me go even faster.

I was just moments from crashing out of control when a charge of static washed over me. Every hair I had jumped on end, as my whole body snapped and popped with the crackle of electricity.

“Owww!” I stumbled almost falling weaving drunkenly all over my backyard. The world was still whirling madly, but I reached the wall in time to steady myself.

Blinking like mad, fighting the self induced dizziness, I didn’t even notice at once. However, the moment I took my first step inside I sure did. Jiggle, juggling on my chest was a pair of new additions.

I stared at them for so long my eyes started burning. No, not man-boobs from being morbid obese, but these were the real honest to Gawd breasts of a woman, nipples and all.

I hadn’t even noticed that sometime in my madcap spinning that I’d exchanged my boxers for a pair of panties somewhere along the way. A questioning grope confirmed those new additions weren’t the only feminine thing about me now.

Suddenly feeling very self-conscious, I carefully shuffled off to the nearest mirror where I got a wakeup call. It wasn’t Lynda Carter looking back at me. No, she was just a very female looking version of me, complete with all the years and extra pounds.

Looking at myself, I can’t say I was beautiful, or very pretty, but hey, I’d done it to myself. Well, most of it. The beginnings of the gray hair, and winkles were simply toll for growing old. Honestly, I thought she, me, looked more attractive than I ever thought, we, me ever could.

It started kind of slow but this smile grew on my face. A joy enveloped me and I’m pleased to report that yes, I did do the happy dance.

I’d let myself fall into self pity as a guy, but now I had a real good reason to take care of myself. I was going to lose all that weight. Maybe I would never be a swimsuit model, but hell, at my age how many women could honestly say that anyways?

However, I would work to make myself attractive, not for others, but for me. Then I started worrying about mundane things like ID, and being able work and make a living. However, there was a very important question to answer first.

Wrapping a towel about me, I went outside to get my Lasso; my honest to Gawd, real, magic Lasso. Yes, it was still there although I half expected it to disappear.

Part me would’ve much rather it had, however, I had to know how all of this worked. Putting my towel aside, I stepped inside the circle of the Lasso again. If I was throwing away a priceless gift here, I would never ever forgive myself, but I had to know.

Swallowing hard, I began to turn in a circle. This time it didn’t take as long even if it wasn’t as effortless as Lynda used to make it look. Too much me moving in all the wrong directions, but at least I kept my balance even if I did stagger around like a drunk.

Teetering a little, a gentle hand confirmed I was an outie again. A quick check in the mirror assured me my friends and family would indeed recognize me again.

Without wasting another moment, and with another muttered prayer on my lips, I gathered up my Magic Lasso again.

“Please, dear Lord let it happen again. Let this be real.”

A spinning crackle of static and I was sprawled akimbo on the ground. I didn’t care about my dignity or that I’d fallen. I was too busy laughing and giggling with joy again. Innie, I was an innie, whee!

The first tear surprised me. By the second I’d clenched my marvelous Lasso to me crying my heart out. For the first time in my life I had real choices. Finally I could try and work out just who and what I am.

As the first light of dawn touched me, I was finally coming out of the dark into the light of day.

***

After a long shower and even longer breakfast, I started making a list. No need to go into the details, but it was enough to say I made some plans.

Among them were visiting Number One Flea Market again. I went back the very next day, but the DVD guy was nowhere to be found. I had my Lasso in my new purse. There was no way I was letting it get far away. On the other hand, I was curious, but what questions I had would not be answered by Waylon. Although I kept checking, I never saw that old man again.

Of course I also examined the DVD box very carefully looking for clues, but no joy on that front either. That’s when I recalled that damn cheap plastic bag it came in. Not being able to remember just what I’d done with the blasted thing started the great search and me tearing my house apart looking for it. In the end, I found it’d drifted under the sofa hiding itself behind some misplaced socks.

Anxious for any clue of nature of the magic, my mouth still dropped open as I read the location of the manufacturer, Paradise Island. It didn’t get any better when I read the rest. It was a product of A, A & A Inc, The Aphrodite, Athena, and Artemis Corporation.

Still mind dazed, I looked the corporation up on-line but didn’t find anything. However, in very small letters that I had to use a magnifying glass to see, there was an address to send off for their catalog. It could be mine for the low price of five bucks to cover the shipping.

The country gave me pause too, Greece, but as I wrote out my request, I’d wasted a lot more money in worse ways. The odds were good it would end up exactly where all the letters to Santa and the Easter Bunny did every year. Not being able to find any mention of this A, A & A in Paradise Island, Greece online was not a good sign.

Glancing down at my new cleavage convinced me it was more than worth the effort. A little experimentation proved I didn’t have superpowers although I knew a few women who would say simply being female were in itself, super. Certainly early results, considering my euphoria, agreed with that sentiment. I was happy. For the first time in a very long time, I was happy.

I even made a special trip out to the post office to mail my catalog request, just to make sure it got an early start on its journey. Being really curious about my magical Lasso of Truth origins, waiting the four to six weeks for snail mail was going to be tough.

However, I had things to keep me busy. One of those was a serious effort about losing all those extra pounds. After an internet search, I found that guys lose weight faster than women. That’s why I started off working out as Mike, my guy self. However it didn’t take me long to switch over to the Wonder Me. Since my clothes changed along with me, my work out sweats altered into dance skins. Even with my extra pounds, I liked the way I felt. Feeling more positive, I found I worked out longer than when masculine and hairy and there forth got better results.

While a bummer that I hadn’t gained any superpowers, I did slim down suspiciously fast. Looking and feeling better about myself, it didn’t take long for me to start spending nearly all my time as female. Of course that prompted me to come up with a name for my feminine persona. I think I wore out the internet looking at names. I just had to find the one that was just right. Finally, I decided on Megan after a girl I knew and admired long ago in school.

You see, I’d worked up the courage to go out into the world. It was great that The Spin changed whatever I was wearing into the equivalent dress of the other gender. However that didn’t really give me a much of a wardrobe choice. I wanted to pick out what I wore, and while the internet was great, I was on a tight budget. That meant the second hand stores, flea markets, and other Mecca’s of the bargain hunter.

Surprisingly, I not only found what I was looking for, but I got a job offer as well. I guess I must’ve looked affluent, but fallen on hard times. Since I was pinching every penny till it screamed, I could understand why Patty, who was working at the thrift store, would think so. We got to chatting and the next thing I know I’m being directed to a diner run by her sister-in-law. The long and short of it was after an informal interview, by Susie, the owner, I had a job as a waitress.

I was worried about the paperwork, but that turned out not to be a problem. Seems like Susie got the idea I was homeless and living out of my car from Patty. She was willing to pay me under the table until I got things Under Control. Her words, not mine. However after being out of work for so long, I wasn’t ready to turn down anything. It wasn’t easy, but service industry jobs never are. On the other hand, I managed and even found the tips decent. That had me wondering since I sure as hell wasn’t a beauty even with the pounds I was still shedding.

Don’t get the idea this was all peaches and cream. After a shift at the diner and some gentle humorous flirting by one of the regulars, it hit me, that I could become pregnant. Talk about a meltdown! And I don’t even want to mention my first period. Yeah, I’d spent enough girl time to catch the attention of the monthly visitor.

As unpleasant as that was, I lived. Bizarrely enough I was thriving despite the setbacks. Looking forward to going to work, me of people? And yet I was, even as I researched online the whole gender identity thing. I suppose in all honesty, I was researching it in real life too. How I liked or disliked this or that part of being a woman in the early 21st century.

The thing was although there were incidents that made me see red, Susie just nodded and gave me a commiserating hug, and a “Hang in there girlfriend.” Seems like that stuff upset all women.

That was another item on the positive side of the list. After so many adversarial relationships with my employers, Susie had instead become my closet friend and supporter. I knew I had to have made mistakes, but she would just gaily laugh, “You break me up!”

At the same time my online searches were paying off too. I’d learned a huge amount about some of the suspected causes of my aliment and even chatted with others in the same boat. The pain I heard in their voices and the words I read was heartbreaking. Knowing I had a possible cure to that torment, but didn’t dare share, hurt a lot. You see, I had no idea if my Lasso had to remain in my custody, but also I had no legal identity as Megan. Not yet anyways. While I was fairly certain that remaining female was the right choice for me, I had to know beyond any doubt. After all I’d only been a woman for a couple weeks. The Real Live Test the medical community requires takes up an entire year, and that’s with medical supervision.

Additionally, Susie couldn’t continue to pay me illegally forever. I had some tough decisions to make although that was one of the reasons why I decided on my new name of Megan. It shared the same initials as my old one. You see when I did The Spin all my documents I had on me changed to reflect my new name.

Unfortunately the magic only went so far. A simple online investigation of my Bank proved that all of reality didn’t alter itself, only the names and pictures of what I had with me changed. That meant buying beer was in, but if I got stopped by a cop and they ran my license they would know something was up. So all I had was fakes. They were really good magical fakes perhaps, but still most definitely not legal.

I did have a few ideas of how to get around that. The most straight forward one was a combination of truth and razzle dazzle on my doctor. I did after all still look like a female version of the old me. If I went to him with the story of already going though The Operation, I might be able to steamroller him into signing off on all the paperwork. However, that was proving to have a limited window. The more weight I lost the more even I had trouble seeing that old sad face in the mirror.

Crunch time was coming. I was going to have to commit one way or the other. This would only work because Dr. Bill and I went way back. If I changed so much he couldn’t recognize me, I was well and truly stuck. Maybe in all of those thriller movies and books it’s easy to get a new ID, but I honestly wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

Besides, while being able to go back to guy proved damn useful from time to time, I spent nearly all of my time as Meagan. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself or that I wasn’t happy, but those weren’t the reasons why. It was far more basic and simpler, but yet hard to define. It was as if everything that’d put a sad spin on everything in my life had disappeared.

I did have happy times as Mike, but it seemed liked there were more cloudy overcast days than sunshine. Meagan, while she had clouds, could always count on the silver linings shining though.

With all of that, you would think by the tally of the lists, Meagan would win by a landslide. Mike however, was a known quantity, and while the newcomer offered a lot it was so very hard letting go of old habits. I’d denied anything feminine in my life for so long, that letting go and enjoying what made me happy wasn’t easy.

You might think it would’ve taken a wonderful beautiful fulfilling day to finally entice me to defect permanently to the other side of the gender divide. It was anything but. The Diner was extremely busy and one of the other girls had called in sick. On top of that, a tropical depression was roaring though dumping enough rain to flood all the streets. Everyone at the diner it seemed was on edge and snapping at each other with the clear signs that Aunt Flo was preparing for her monthly visit. In short the day was horrible.

By the time I got home, my feet hurt from working a double shift, and my brains were serious fried from the stress of driving home in the hazardous weather conditions.

It was only after I was sitting in a sinfully hot tub of bubble bath that it hit me. As Mike I would still be downstairs grumbling and waddling in self-pity over the day’s events. Meagan however, kicked her shoes off and got on with life. Well, after a short pit stop of some feminine pampering.

How about that? It was a no brainer after all.

The next day I made my appointment to go see Dr. Bill. I was sure I could get him to see things my way. Just change that M to F, thank you so very much. No surprise that the appointment wasn’t till next week, but it wasn’t a life threatening condition after all.

I acknowledged that although I had a miracle to help me on my way, I still had a rough road in front of me even if he did as I wanted. Call it a conspiracy of circumstances that was rushing the whole process. Knowing I would need help, I fell back on the internet’s resources. Talking with others with the same problems, I got lucky!

A big convention for the Gender Variant was scheduled near enough for me to reach. I could meet and talk to others who were facing similar tribulations face to face. There was even a program where I could apply for a scholarship and receive free entry.

Immediately I made tentative plans to attend, but fate tossed me another zinger. I’d just gotten home when the mail arrived with what I’d been waiting for, The Catalog.

At first sight, it was a real let down, but that shouldn’t have surprised me given the appearance of my Lasso of Truth. It looked to be printed on the cheapest paper possible and looked more than a little worse for wear coming all the way from Greece.

Carefully peeling off the sticker that kept the pages shut during its long journey, I noticed that all the print was all in English and not Greek. My initial impression was of a cheap costume company. Everything looked very cheap and cheesy really reminding me of the old Halloween outfits of my childhood.

However, something that did stand out was the theme. All the major Greek gods and legendary figures were featured. Of course Amazon warriors as well as Queens Hippolyta and Penthesilea had their costumes as well with more shoddy plastic accessories. Yeah, I did have to look up a lot of those names. Some like Zeus, and Hercules were familiar, but others not so much.

Of course, I went right to the Wonder Woman stuff. Just like my Lasso of Truth none of it looked like much. However, I did have an open mind all considered. The whole ensemble was like $40 bucks, but on my limited budget that was a lot, especially if I still wanted to go to the Con. A girl did have to eat.

However, I decide to bite the bullet. It really wasn’t a contest after all; Magic or go to the Con. Besides I might be able to make up the difference in tips before the event. Even still I had my doubts. The costume was actually a bodysuit with the areas that was supposed to be bare, dyed an awful pseudo nude color, and the boots were only red plastic shoe covers. The Bracers were two flimsy half-shells linked together by elastic bands. Her tiara was a plastic hair band gilded like the Lasso. None of it was awe inspiring.

Ignoring my reservations, I filled out the order form for one each Wonder Woman costume, deluxe with all the accessories. At least this would be a way of checking if the other Lasso worked or that mine was a fluke and a one of a kind.

Reaching the bottom of the form, I had some shipping options. Considering A, A & A didn’t have a website and that the order would be going snail mail, I checked the express service which as only a dollar more. Writing the check in my old name, I folded everything up nice and proper, sealing the envelope.

Feeling a little low since I knew it wouldn’t be here before I left for the conference, I walked out to my mailbox and raised the flag to send it off.

Imagine my surprise when reaching my front door I head the squeal of brakes behind me. Astonished, I saw a delivery guy hop out of a green and gold UPS style truck. In bold letters it said, Hermes Express Service right beside a logo with a cartoon running turtle wearing a winged helmet and sandals. Below in smaller type it proclaimed, ‘When it has to get there right now!’

Okay, I admit it. My mouth fell open. No, it couldn’t be!

Moving briskly, the delivery guy had a package and that portable computer thing you’re suppose to sign, but rarely is it readable, at least to me. Like the truck he drove, his uniform was green with gold trimmings, but his green baseball cap had a gold medical caduceus. You know the winged staff and the two snakes twinned about it.

“Are you from some kind of medical supply company? If so you’re at the wrong place.” I said, trying to deny the obvious, but impossible possibility.

“No ma’am!” He replied cheerfully. “I’ve got a package for Ms. Megan Jones. Yeah, I know it’s the hat.

“Back in the 1800’s someone in America either made a mistake or simply liked this symbol better.” He explained. “Actually the Caduceus is the herald’s staff, and is the symbol of Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods, who’s the patron of shepherds, merchants, gamblers, liars and thieves. Traditionally, because of that, it’s the symbol of commerce and negotiation.

“What you’re thinking of is the Rod of Asclepius which is the symbol of medicine and healing. That has a staff too, but with only one snake.” He said, handing me the box and holding the computer pad and stylus out so I could sign.

Numbly, I did both not really accepting that the order I’d just placed in the mailbox in front of my humble house was already here before I could even walk back inside.

“Thank you Ma’am!” He took his stylus back. Then he lean over to confide, “Really the bosses aren’t too upset about it. Most of the real medical professionals know the truth, and the ones that don’t are more interested in the commerce aspects anyways, if you know what I mean.”

He glanced down at his computer pad and grinned. “Wow! An Amazon! That is so cool!”

Then he quickly jogged back to his green and gold truck, leaving me still staring at him. The truck pulled out and made a right hand turn at the stop sign. Then it was gone. No, I don’t mean it traveled out of sight. One minute it was there and the next it wasn‘t. For all I know it went to hyper speed and considering that it said Hermes on the side maybe it did.

Shocked, I walked inside and sat heavily on my sofa shaking my head in disbelief. Sure I’d seen magic each and every time I changed. Hell, every time I looked into the mirror and saw Megan instead of Mike, I saw the magic. However, this was different. Call it outside proof that reality isn’t what most of us think it is.

Shaking off my amazement, I put my purchase on my clean coffee table and went to get the scissors. Since I was working now, I’d been able to push the attack of the bill collectors back enough so maybe I could sell this place rather than lose it to foreclosure. At least I was hoping so and with that in mind I had the place cleaned up to show to buyers. With luck, just breaking even would be good.

Coming back armed with my trusty scissors, I opened the box. Inside was exactly what I’d ordered. Cheap looking costume and accessories wrapped in cheap cellophane. The key word here is cheap.

However, my scissors made quick work of the wrappings, and soon enough I had everything in my bathroom so I could change. The weeks of exercise and working long hours on my feet at the diner had trimmed a lot more pounds off of me than I had any right to expect. Then again looking at the complete suit on me couldn’t really disguise the plain truth of a middle aged woman no matter how much she worked out.

Additionally, no matter how you looked at it, this was a shoddy costume. Despite that, I walked to the area used for my workouts. I had to know for certain. It didn’t take long to tell me my athletic ability was no different than before.

Sighing, my eyes fell on the Lasso of Truth. Then it hit me, truth. All of this stuff, even my original Lasso, were lies. Its true nature was hidden by a shoddy, gaudy appearance, but I knew something that reveals the truth don’t I.

I picked up my Lasso, but then stopped. Transforming back into Mike dressed like this wasn’t what I wanted. Taking everything off, I did the Spin.

A sort of weight settled on me as soon as I’d stopped. I was Mike again. It’d been more than a week since the last I visited the old me and I wasn’t the least homesick about it. Sure the all the pounds I’d lost made him looked a lot better, but I’d finally faced the simply fact, he wasn’t me.

“Okay,” I muttered to myself. “Let’s get this over with.” It was also a good time to test the other Lasso that’d come with everything else today. Carefully I used a marker to make sure I didn’t get the two mixed up. Until I had my ID problems laid to rest, I still needed to have Mike available just in case. That got a little laugh out of me. After having Megan in the closet for so long, now it was Mike turn. Okay, time to put on the suit.

If I looked ridiculous in this costume as Megan, as Mike it was far beyond that. Stretchy as it was, I managed to get into it, but I can’t say it fit. It was time to find the magic. Spinning, I felt the familiar signs. Before I’d even stopped weaving about, I was smiling.

Looking in the mirror I got a surprise. Just about everyone knows what Wonder Woman’s costume looks like. This one was a bit different than that although I did half remember seeing something like it before. Think of Wonder Woman in Greek armor. Hoplite styled but it was in her red, white and blue theme.

Further more none of it was at all cheap looking. I’m talking master craftsmanship here. The only places where trade offs were made was that she lacked the 300 movie helmet still having the tiara as the head piece. Additionally, the breast plate, although it seemed functional as armor, nevertheless looked more like a corset than a cuirass.

If you’ve ever seen those old Roman breastplates that had the sculpted six pack muscles, then all I have to say is that this one made for a woman left no doubt the wearer's gender.

Silly me was so absorbed in how my Lasso transformed the costume, I missed the changes it’d made in me!

It was me, Megan, but at the same time it wasn’t. The most obvious difference was the age. I had been a youthful looking middle aged woman, but not any more. The face blinking at me so incredulously had that ageless appearance. She could be anywhere from mid-twenties to late-thirties, and yes there wasn’t a single gray hair in that glorious mass of dark curls on top of her head.

“Holy Crap!” I whispered, awed. Touching my face, I couldn’t believe this was me.

My exercise gear caught the corner of my eye. I just had to know.

Ten minutes later, the jury was back, superhuman, no. However a quick of the internet had me wondering just how close I was to the line. My pull-ups were within one or two of the world record. I would have to do a lot more testing, but I could be an Olympic caliber athlete. Wonder Woman like perhaps not, but pretty heady stuff for me, let me tell you. Then there was the way I felt. It took an effort not to bounce up and down. I’d never had so much energy and felt so good before. So this was what being healthy was like!

Not being able to help myself, I flexed and posed in front of the mirror.

Damn, I looked good! Just like one of those fitness models online, or…

“Wow, an Amazon, cool.” That was what that delivery guy had been talking about. Not Wonder Woman at all, but a real honest to gawd real Amazon warrior.

Looking into the mirror, my expression of amazement changed into a smile. That grew into a grin as I made my plans. One way or the other I was going to make it to that Convention. No one attending was ever going to forget this!

***

Concierge desk:

Kate smiled and waved as another group of gaily dressed guests departed for the evening on the hotel shuttle. While not all the company’s employees were cool with the yearly event, most were. She certainly had no problems. It was simply being practical.

About 99.9% of all conventions were royal pains in the ass. Since the majority of the attendees were mostly guys, she always got hit on. The measurement of the class of conventioneer was how polite they were about it. That hardly ever happened during this convention. Sure there was some flirting, but it always seemed more like her girlfriends’ teasing than making feel like she was trying to hold the barbarians at the gates. Anything that made her job and life easier was a good thing.

However, there were times that she really got it. Working here at the hotel, she was a confirmed people watcher. How many times had she seen some shy thing awkwardly dressed passing by, but then before you know, it a gaggle of Big Sisters would helpfully descend upon them. Not your typical every man for himself male behavior at all. It made her heart hurt sometimes realizing that many of them were truly caught in the middle. Neither one thing nor the other, but instead they were both. Kate couldn’t imagine being in that position, and shuddered just thinking about it.

That’s not to say some of the gurls, as they sometimes called themselves, didn’t get a little rowdy. Only that it was not mean spirited and more of a head-shaking event than a mess that had to be cleaned up.

Another smile hit her as she saw that cute delivery guy was back again. Damn didn’t he have the tightest, most adorable butt she’d ever seen. She bet he did a lot of running to get that toned.

His green and gold uniform as well as the dolly piled high with boxes marked him as a delivery guy. He smiled back at her as he pushed his dolly full of packages into the convention center. There was nothing unusual about that. Conventioneers often had dealer rooms that took in deliveries all during their run.

Kate laughed as a group of gurls dressed like out of the movie ‘300’ came by and mobbed the poor guy in green and gold in a group hug. This year’s convention theme was superheroes.

She guessed Spartans and Xena's counted, because she’d been seeing an awful lot of them. Even though the costume contest wasn't till the last day of the con, she'd been seeing them all week. Watching a pair of boi's swagger by all armored up, they could’ve had parts in that flick. She reminded herself, it went both ways. It was just that the gurls tended to stand out more, but that didn’t mean the boi's wasn’t in the same boat. They were stuck in the middle too.

Although Kate was as straight as they came, she couldn’t help herself looking at the gurls. Considering the way they were dressed, hell, she wished she looked as good. It made her wonder if the convention was being crashed by Genetic Girls as the gurls called them, but she checked and they did all have convention passes.

Blushing at all the attention, the delivery guy grinned and hurried into the hall. Then a heart beat later he was on his way back out. Wow, he was fast!

“They sure are working you hard today,” Kate told him as he passed.

“It’s worth it,” he replied, with a grin. “Trust me, this job does come with its perks.”

“Lot’s of overtime?” she asked recalling seeing him often since this Con began.

“Yeah,” he laughed. “If they paid me by the mile the Boss couldn’t afford me. However, I was talking about being able to watch the world changing right before my eyes.” He waved his hand at the crowd of happy convention goers.

“Like how?” She asked looking at the costumed gurls and boi's.

“Keep watching,” he said, smiling moving to the door. “You’ll see.”

The End

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I feel with your character

I so feel with your character. I kind of wonder what happened to his family though. It might have been interesting to know.

Thank you for writing this captivating story,

Beyogi

Thanks Beyogi

This being from the 1st person, I thought I could get away with not really going into detail about his family problems. I had in mind that it was employment and money woes, you know the usual reasons.

Thank you for your comment.
Grover

Plan? Ain't got no Plan!
"Beyond Thunder Dome"