The Greatest Liar, My Awkward Phase

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The Greatest Liar, My Awkward PhaseAlex Rios’ furtive high school transition is suspected by friends, revealed to a lover and exposed by his enemies. With his intellectual hauteur torn away, he becomes the girl he longed, and was destined, to be.My Awkward Phase©Alexandra Rios 2019The greatest lie is that what happens in high school doesn’t matter, because life begins in college. I pretended to agree, although I never believed it, for I was the world’s greatest liar.WannabeesI was hanging out with my friends Quinn, Barb and Anne in the Newspaper Office, our refuge at University High in Los Angeles. A group of scantily clad Britney wannabees passed by, giggling inanely. I affected a haughty gaze but memorized their accessories and gestures. They ignored me, but my friend Quinn noticed my rapture.“Having a Zen moment over that flock of mindless chicks?”“Eye candy relieves my boredom.” “Eye candy rots brains like sugar rots teeth.”“Not to worry, they’re fake as aspartame.’”Quinn crumpled a sketch and tossed it over his shoulder.“Then don’t imitate life, get one.” “Life used to imitate art. Now it imitates celebrity, attains meaning only by analogies to tabloid dramas.”“Get off your sugar high, dude. Like Descartes said, ‘I think, therefore I am.’” I rolled my eyes. “Now he’d say, ‘I text, therefore I am’”.Quinn fist-bumped me, and Anne glanced up from her nearly finished cartoon of a snake devouring a superhero. “Alex, you put the ‘con’ into conformity.”Barb was on a computer, laying out our school newspaper, the Wildcat.“How’s this for my lead? ‘Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins, Spring Fling, and Prom, Four Course Feast of Fake Nostalgia for a Sketchy School.”Anne passed her the drawing.“Here’s your subtitle: ‘Rituals for jocks and their chicks to feign monogamy.’” “Perfect segue: ‘So the Marlboro men and their Stepford wives can breed the next generation of Smurfs.’”I nodded enthusiastic agreement. But my solidarity masked the dissonance I felt at their denunciations of male sexism and feminine submission. Quinn sketched a caricature of Barb as Joan of Arc battling robotic football players. “Everyone’s been reprogrammed. We are the only humans left in this zombie zone.” I struck an orator’s pose. “I’ll play devil’s advocate. If we don’t record these adolescent passages, aren’t we abdicating our roles as journalists?”Anne yawned. “Been there, done that: we reported on date **** d**gs last year, got a football player expelled.”“I was three years a hostage in a monastery masquerading as a prep school. I want memories to sustain me during college.” I gestured downing a shot, smoking a bong and snorting a line. Quinn crumpled and threw another drawing into the garbage can. “Partying got you kicked back into this hell-hole?”People often asked what Caulfield-esqe faux pas had gotten me ejected from my elite Jesuit prep school. The truth, that my Jesus-loving roommate reported me for dildo-masturbating while cross-dressed, was too embarrassing. I hewed to a safer fiction. “I organized a rally for a suspended gay teacher, lost my scholarship.”Barb gave me a thumb’s up. “Their loss was our gain. Screw tradition, toss normalcy, and invoke chaos. Let’s gay date on Homecoming. Me with Anne and you with Quinn.”“Truth or dare?” “If not now, when?” “Seize the moment.”We anointed ourselves the Intellectual Mafia, and dominated debate, academic decathlon, yearbook, and journalism, pursuits to which our classmates indifferent. The ordinary curriculum was beneath us; we took mostly AP classes. We obsessed over Existentialism. We were outsiders, friends only with one another. Quinn was openly gay, Barb was lesbian, and Anne and I classified ourselves as ‘questioning,’ which in my case meant that I was too intimidated to come out. Uni High had been a top public high school but had been reduced to mediocrity by the legacies of busing and budget crises of the Nineties. Wealthy residents of the surrounding neighborhoods sent their c***dren to private schools. Only a handful of gifted students remained, stranded by their parents’ modest finances. In the traumatized aftermath of 9/11, the other students of Uni High had cocooned themselves in social certainties of the past. An overt display of our divergent sexuality at Homecoming would invite retaliation by the jocks who held high school rituals sacred, the Saved by Christ cult in whose eyes gays, lesbians and especially transsexuals were damned, and the gangsters who targeted LGBT students as vulnerable victims. The closet was the safest place to survive Uni High in the fall of 2001, so we held our fire at Homecoming and planned a more strategic escapade.Secret PersonaUni High was my neighborhood school, but I was an outsider. My parents shipped me off to an elite boarding school, St. Aybert’s, after a traumatic eighth grade when my classmates bullied the skinny nerd whose puberty had lagged. But St. Aybert’s had no tolerance for gender variance and stripped my scholarship after my junior year, leaving me no option but returning to Uni High, barely changed from the effeminate prepubescent that had left. My male classmates had grown into roughshod manhood, and initially regarded the returning, half-forgotten waif with amused contempt. But that soon soured into resentment of my intellectual hauteur and derision of my androgynous appearance. St. Aybert’s stringent academics and practice of muscular Christianity had stunted me socially. Exposed to the vulgar whirlwind of adolescent fads at Uni High, I became a pop culture junkie obsessed with observing the Byzantine rules, and skirmishes between the cliques and the genders. I affected the pose of a sarcastic social critic. But my image was a façade, a cage and fortress behind which a secret slut languished, awaiting her debauch. She would willingly be d**gged and smuggled out of Homecoming by a heartless jock, submit to casual back-seat sex, and be cast off and recycled for the next guy’s fun fuck. But she imprisoned by ambition and inhibition.I didn’t dare reveal my feminine persona to the bigots and gangsters that ruled Uni High. I scuttled between my Advanced Placement classes like a refugee through a no man’s land. Jocks bumped me in the halls, dopers mocked me in the quad, the born-again Christians lectured me about conversion therapy, and the gangsters glared and mouthed “faggot” at me. Did the gangsters’ connections with crime and commercial sex let them peer through my intellectual condescension and see the submissive sissy slut inside? She emerged only at night, when I stroked my tiny dick while fantasizing the assaults that I desired and dreaded. Imaginary thugs slapped my face and silicone breast forms while I dildoed my ass. I endured searing pain for the first moments of penetration, until my colon relaxed, and I plunged and tugged my way to orgasm. I douched my ass to keep my toys and bedding clean. I practiced pulsing my anus to accelerate and accentuate the panic, pain and pleasure of penetration. I licked my toys and belly clean and learned to love the tastes of ass mucous, lube and cum. Each morning, I scrubbed away the sticky residues and hid my sex toys like my fantasies. I brushed and gargled the ass musk and cum from my mouth and resumed my pretense as a male merit scholar and class intellectual. I cloaked my transsexual identity behind my intellect and accomplishment, imprisoned my inner girl until she could safely transform and take wing like a butterfly from its chrysalis. Secrecy was imperative, for when I was exposed at St. Aybert’s, I’d been forced out. My ambitions required me to conceal my transition at Uni.Teacher’s PetI minimized facetime with the unwashed masses at Uni by taking all available Advanced Placement classes. Math AP wasn’t offered at Uni, so I settled for Algebra II, which I’d covered as a sophomore at St. Aybert’s. Mr. Rogers handed out marked up homework and was met by groans lamenting nearly universal failure.“Let’s go over your problems. Marta, you had some problems with quadratic equations. Do you want to explain how you approached the problem, so we can get to the source of your mistake?”“I got stuck, and finally just guessed.”The class laughed, she blushed, and so did I. Marta Gonzalez had been an adorable sprite in Middle School, whose pert boobs, slim waist, olive skin and sleek hair foretold spectacular beauty. We became good friends, and I thought about her frequently after my parents bundled me off to St. Aybert’s. We exchanged occasional emails and texts, but we had lost touch by the end of my exile. When I returned, she’d become Uni’s Jennifer Lopez, the girl I had always wanted to be. She had baby doe eyes, ballistic breasts, and pouty, full lips. She had dated the coolest jocks and coldest gangsters at Uni and floated between these mutually exclusive enclaves with ease. But her popularity must have distracted her from studies. I raised my hand.“Rios, go ahead and educate us.”I went to the board, solved Marta’s problem in three easy steps, and she smiled and winked. The teacher called on a muscled, tatted Latino slouched in the back. “Miguel, tell us your thought processes on the second question.”Miguel Carranza had led the persecutors who’d driven me from Middle School to St. Aybert’s. He’d bloodied my nose in the school yard and incited his friend Jack to stomp my prostrate body. My father had bullied their names from me, and they’d been suspended. “Let smartass Rios explain it.”“Give your paper to Rios. Alex, tell us where Miguel went off the rails.”“He never got on track.”“Show Miguel how to solve it.”I solved it and handed the paper back to Miguel, who snatched it.“OK, Carranza, copy Rios’s work on the board.”Miguel copied my solution, but added “Alex Rios, Sissy Faggot” beneath. The classroom burst into laughter; Mr. Roger’s erased the slur.“Carranza, take this pink slip to the principal’s office.”I approached Mr. Rogers after class.“Can’t you get me out of here? Carranza hates me.”“It’s a requirement.”“I’m sure I could ace your final today.”“Here’s last year’s final. Give it a shot.”I finished the test in twenty minutes. Mr. Rogers let out a low whistle when he finished marking it. “Even so, I can’t excuse you.”“Then have me tutor the others.”“These losers?”“I need community service credits anyhow.” The next class Miguel was assigned to my front row seat and I sat at a table in the rear of the class, tutoring Marta. I coached her through the mysteries of multivariable equations, and she giggled with delight when she finally solved one herself. Miguel scowled over his shoulder and raised his hand.“Can I have some tutoring now?”“Only after you write an apology on the blackboard.”Miguel went to the board and wrote “Sorry for calling Rios a sissy faggot.”The class burst into a round of applause. Mr. Rogers handed him another pink slip“Get out, and don’t come back”Miguel got suspended for sexual harassment and reassigned to a different section. Marta became my most frequent tutee and Mr. Rogers’ most improved student. We once again became BFFs, best friends forever. FormularyPerhaps my physique destined me to be transsexual. I was pale, slender and weak, always the last picked for every team and the slowest in every race. My balls had failed to descend normally. After they were surgically extracted my genitals developed like a pre-pubescent’s rather than a man’s. Adolescent gynecomastia caused my breasts to swell to A-cups, and my boy boobs were still soft and jiggly when at 16 I finally jerked myself to my first orgasm, fantasizing about being a girl. The summer after I got kicked out of St. Aybert’s I noticed the onset of my long-delayed puberty. My pubic peach fuzz thickened, a wispy mustache sprouted, and my high-pitched voice occasionally cracked. I panicked at the imminent end of my androgyny and decided to delay the onset of my manhood until the girl inside of me could safely emerge. I’d studied the websites and done the research, knew what I had to do to keep my transsexual option open, while the ambitious boy and the romantic girl wrestled in my subconscious. To keep me busy and out of trouble, my dad arranged an internship at the UCLA medical school coding data from d**g trials. It was boring and lonely but gave me ample opportunities to rifle through medical supplies that the d**g companies lay off at clinics. There were cartons of syringes and vials of estrogen and progesterone in the supply room. Fully aware of the transformative power of these d**gs, I smuggled out needles and hormones and began self-administered hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. I injected the hormones in my inner thighs, where the needle marks and the bumps left by the viscous progesterone would be less noticeable. The needles’ pricks and my pain became symbols and signposts of my passage. I imagined that the proximity of my injection sites to their target intensified their assault on my incipient masculinity.My acne worsened at first, and then suddenly disappeared. My hair became smooth and manageable. After a couple of months, my nipples broadened, my body hair thinned, my muscles atrophied, and my skin became luminous and soft. My emotions swung between giddy joy and gloomy melancholy, punctuated by frequent outbursts of tears. By the time I started my senior year, I had entered awkward phase of transition, when the effects of hormones become discernible, but not definitive. The skinny wimp who had left for prep school three years earlier had returned an androgyne. My altered appearance made me the target of incessant bullying, at lunch, in the halls, and worst of all, in the locker room. Solving for XMarta and Thad Jones, Uni’s star football linebacker, stared cluelessly at the equation I’d written on the blackboard. Thad shook his head.“Only X’s I need to know are in football plays.”“The world is full of X’s; algebra solves these unknowns.”Marta cradled her face in her palms and smiled.“Maybe they’re supposed to stay unknown.”Was it New Age piffle, or sly innuendo about my chromosomal X’ and Y’s? I blushed and turned to the board.“Thad, in football, what makes a good play?”“Isolate a stronger or faster player against a weaker or slower one.”“Exactly the same in math.”I divided, subtracted, and multiplied the equation’s numbers by their inverses until the X was by itself, and the remaining factors were on the other side.“Now it’s simple, X=5/Y. So, if Y is 10, X is-“Martha shot up her hand first.“Two.”“Thad, what do you think?”“I’ll go with that.”“Close, but try this.”I erased the Y, replaced it with 10.“5 divided by 10 is-“They answered “half” simultaneously, I fist bumped Thad and shook Marta’s hand, soft and delicate, it fit perfectly with mine. She blew me a kiss; I imagined her breath sweeping away the Y’s from my genome like the one I’d erased from the blackboard and replacing them with her bountiful X’s. I blushed again, turned to the blackboard.“You’re getting it, let’s try one with three variables.”I wrote another equation on the board. Physical EducationNone of the athletic torture I had endured at St. Aybert’s met Uni High’s mandatory physical education credit, so I was required to take Phys. Ed. I had never been fleet afoot, but HRT had so slowed me that my mile time was the worst in my class. The coach made me run an extra lap, so I was late to the locker room, which was almost empty as I mopped cold droplets of my hurried shower from the goose-bumped skin of my buttocks. As I finished drying, I sensed appraising eyes staring at my naked body, heard muffled snickers, ignored them, hoping my indifference would discourage their invasion of privacy. When I bent over to open my locker, the towel parted and slipped from my waist, displaying my naked, upturned ass. Miguel laughed. “Nice ass, Rios.”“Isn’t one harassment suspension enough?”He slammed me into a locker.“Don’t forget middle school.”He turned to his friend, Jack.“Let’s fuck its ass in the laundry room.” He snapped me with his towel, raising a bright pink welt on the curve of my left buttock. I stifled a scream and spun around, covering my privates and the slight bumps forming under my nipples, frightened but aroused. How could Miguel know my secret fantasies? “I’m sorry, don’t hurt-”“What sissy gets for messing with me.”Miguel pushed me against the lockers and forced me to my knees. He unzipped, seized my head and pressed my lips against the fly of his boxers. The smell of his groin suffused my nostrils. “Suck it, maricon.” He’d tagged me with Spanish epithet for faggot. My face reddened but my terror was mixed with temptation. Part of me wanted to suck him, let him fuck me, but what would happen in the aftermath? Public exposure terrified me. I wanted to transition in college, away from my bigoted classmates and my hovering parents. The policies of the school district mandated accommodation for transsexuals, but the practical reality was that transsexuals tended to disappear into a special school in Hollywood soon after they came out. If I got relegated there, my college applications would be toast. A door banged, and Coach’s footsteps approached. Miguel flung me aside, spat out “fucking faggot,” and he and Jack sprinted to the exit. Coach eyed me with contempt. “What’s your problem, Rios? Crybabies don’t get special treatment.”Coach taught “Human Development”. He hated gays and probably thought transsexuals were even more despicable. “I feel sick.”“No excuses. Just do it, Rios.”I promised I would, but instead, I faked a knee injury, forged a doctor’s note, and got excused from physical education.Retreat from RubiconSurreptitious HRT had brought me to the threshold of visible transsexual transition, the tipping point where androgyny succumbs to femininity. I was torn by conflicting priorities. If I interrupted HRT my skin would revert to oily acne and my hair to a tangled mop. Testosterone unopposed by female hormones would irreversibly the change my face and body into a man’s. Transsexual transition delayed until adulthood produces imperfect results. Adult transitioners develop squared jaws and thickened brows, which even the most expert facial feminization surgeons cannot eliminate. Their voices are deep, their bodies are thick, so they are clocked, mocked and persecuted. Adolescent transition produces a more passable result. If I continued with HRT, my breast and nipple development would accelerate. But the emergence of female secondary sex characteristics coincides with permanent and irreversible spermatic infertility. I was ambivalent, determined to fulfill my female destiny, anxious about transitioning in a hotbed of transphobia and guilty over denying my father the continuation of the Rios lineage. The prospect of infertility worried me, but a future maturing as a male was even worse. But my locker room encounter proved that I could not transition under the radar in the transphobic fishbowl of high school. I got a post office box for delivery of pharmaceuticals and found an online pharmacy to prescribe Aldactone, the commercial version of spironolactone (Spiro), an anti-androgen that stops masculinization. I curtailed my estrogen and progesterone intake and went in a gender holding pattern. I would resume my transition at college far from my parents and the intolerance of Uni High. Spiro’s rough texture and acrid mint smell gagged me and nauseated me so that I barely ate. Weight loss made my thighs and arms willowy, accentuated the palpable nubs under my swollen areoles, and tapered my waist. I hid my interrupted physical transformation beneath dark, loose clothes and emotional distance from my classmates. I counteracted Spiro-induced headaches and fatigue by stepping up my Ritalin. Wired with k**die speed and suffering through night sweats, I struggled to masturbate myself to sleep. My sexual fantasies grew ever more explicit and violent. I ass-toyed and tugged furiously as an imaginary Miguel twisted my nipples and clawed genitals. Uni High’s crowded corridors made me lightheaded and paranoid. Miguel’s hostile glare seemed to penetrate my façade and see the lurid sex fantasies of the girl hiding inside me, fueling ever more baroque and brutal nighttime fantasies. But my Spiro and Ritalin strategy succeeded. My first semester grades were stellar, çanakkale escort my college applications were filed, and the end of high school was in sight. Soon, I would be checking out of high school, moving out of my parents’ house and going to college, where I could make new friends and become a new me. I would matriculate college as an ambiguous male but graduate a gorgeous girl.Sadie HawkinsI cornered Anne in the Newspaper Office. “You going to ask me to Sadie Hawkins?”“NFW! Fake sex-role reversal,”“Don’t over-analyze it,”“A sham that reinforces female subservience.” “I’ll take that as a no.” I hated missing another of the dwindling agenda high school rituals. But when I checked my AOL account, I had an email from Marta. For Sadie Hawkins she had chosen her tutor. I was anxious about of her dating history, but the status a date with her would confer outweighed my caution. “Dude, she’s way over your head,” Quinn said.Barb said “How lame, a date you didn’t even ask…”“Lame was our cop out on Homecoming. Sadie’s our chance to reverse our climb-down.”“Better things to do,” Barb said.“We do nothing, go nowhere.”“Got a plan?” Quinn looked up from his scribbling. “Marta and I will cross-dress, Barb and Anne dress butch and lipstick lez. Double role reversals to parody Sadie Hawkins.”“Glad to be the odd man out,” Quinn said.Barb looked up from her computer screen. “Will a gangster chica like Marta go along with this fandango?” I texted Marta, she replied “OMG I’m so in”. She would sew Potter-inspired costumes, mine as Hermione and hers as Harry, at her father’s tailor shop. I passed my phone to Barb.“Truth or dare.”Anne and Barb had a whispered colloquy and then they each shook my outstretched hand. “A sensational send-up. We’re in,” Barb said.I prepared for my detour into dating and possible seduction by stopping my Spiro. My erections and fantasies intensified as my testosterone rebounded. I tried to imagine myself fucking Marta, but to reach orgasm my dream reverted to becoming a gangbanged, submissive cum-bucket for a sneering, abusive crowd of gangsters. In my morning shower, as I scrubbed the crusty remnants of my masturbation from my belly, I wondered whether I could ever banish the secret slut who was gradually taking over my life. Was my Sadie Hawkins drama parody, or wish-fulfillment? Was Marta cosplaying with me or laying an ambush to out and humiliate me for the gratification of her gangster friends? I was both terrified and transfixed.Date Night My mom was so delighted that I had my first date that she overlooked Marta’s modest background. I placated her worries about our gender-bending costumes by explaining our wardrobes as satire and extracted a promise of secrecy from my father.I picked Marta up at her family’s apartment, a modest walkup in the bad part of Venice: a sink full of dirty dishes, a harried mom, a screaming baby brother, and a gaggle of homeboys playing a shooter on the PlayStation. They flashed gang signs which I couldn’t return and returned to their game, blasting away with renewed ferocity that I felt sure was intended for me. She introduced me to her dad, back bent, eyes squinted, and fingers calloused by long days of measuring and stitching. His gaze revealed skepticism of the callow youth who was taking his daughter away from her home. “What’s your plan after high school, k**?”“I’m going to college.”He snorted disbelief, as though I had told him I was moving to Mars.“Waste of time, money.” He looked back at the soccer scores in L’Opinion. I stammered, wondering whether he was right. Why should a transsexual bother?My gloom faded when we left the chaotic apartment and sat in my mom’s Acura. Marta was bubbly and kissed me as soon as she got in the front seat. I flinched, and she laughed.”s*******n and never been-” “I’m eighteen, the older-”Her tongue slipped between my lips and invited mine to dance. I twirled my tongue on hers and followed it into her mouth. I was melting into her, becoming part of her. She broke away. Our cheeks blushed; our eyelashes fluttered. Through dewy eyes I gazed into her soul and immersed myself in her inner beauty until I was overcome. She mopped the tears from my cheeks.“You’re a good kisser. Let’s change.” I had a perfect place. My parents had moved my grandma to an assisted living from her modest Spanish bungalow in Rancho Park. They had tasked me to clear out her belongings and organize her papers and photographs, so I had a key. We slipped in through the side door and changed in Grandma’s musty bedroom. Harry’s school uniform hid Marta’s lush curves and his scarf concealed her boobs. Hermione’s robe d****d loosely over the emerging contours of my slim figure. We admired ourselves in the mirror and toasted our debut as the ultimate Sadie Hawkins couple with glasses of Two Buck Chuck.I had been too timid to experience dances in middle school and had avoided St. Aybert’s mixers with opposite-sexed boarding schools. Unless you were a great athlete, or your family belonged to one of the exclusive clubs, you were untouchable at these stilted affairs. I spent the night of my only St. Aybert’s dance in the shadows, drinking contraband vodka but never getting drunk enough to ask a girl to dance. Although I was an academic senior, I was a freshman in social life. I didn’t know what to expect in the University High auditorium. Hip-hop blared and the disco ball swirled strobe lights around the knots of students huddled in their cliques. Anne and Barb were Bonnie and Clyde. We huddled nervously in a corner as Marta’s gangster friends glared from their corner and the jocks and their dates gawked, incredulous at our stunt. I didn’t care what they thought of our burlesque of their celebration. Soon, I would be going to a UC or Michigan; they were going to Cal States, community colleges or fast food McJobs. Miguel glared at me and Marta, ordered his henchmen, Jack and, toward us.“Rios, what the fuck?” Seth pawed the fabric of my gown.“He’s a girly-boy,” Jack said.My face reddened. Had my visual metaphor revealed too much? I had to reframe the issue.“Don’t you get it?”“Don’t fuck with me,” Jack said. He shoved me into the wall, and I dropped my tasseled wand. He ground it under his feet.“Like your skinny little dick.”Thad Jones pushed us apart.“What’s the big joke?”“We’re switching roles, spoofing Sadie Hawkins-”“No one’s laughing,” Thad said.“Think about it. You’ll figure it out.”“Think about this, faggot.”Jack gut-punched me, knocked the wind out of me. I staggered into Marta’s arms. Thad blocked Jack from pummeling me to the ground. “Back off, Jack. Rios’s stunt’s not worth getting this party shut down.”Jack withdrew, snarling. “We’ll see who gets the last laugh.”Marta pulled me toward the exit.“We went too far.”Barb’s eyes flashed with rage as she intercepted us.“The right wingnuts who blamed gays for 9/11 created this intolerance.”I caught my breath, picked up my splintered, and waved it at the crowd.“The Intellectual Mafia doesn’t cave to bigots.”“Run now and we’ll never stop,” Barb said, “Let’s dance.”Marta kissed my cheek.“OK, but only dancing. No more speeches to ignorant people.”Marta led me to the dance floor. I easily copied Marta’s sinuous salsa. Lessons from a season of Cotillion my mom forced on me helped me anticipate her well-practiced spins and turns. My body became one with hers. We energized the nervous crowd, and soon the whole room was dancing with us. Our costumes were stippled with perspiration when the music finally paused.Marta hugged me. “You dance great.”“You taught me everything.”“Had enough of this fun?”I nodded. She whispered in my ear as we left, “The best is yet come.”The Intellectual Mafia had demanded respect for gender diversity, and our classmates had grudgingly given it. We’d created a precedent, and my bravado toward the gangsters had redeemed my reputation. And I’d earned the right to spend the rest of the night alone, with Marta.DuetI pulled my car into the driveway at my grandma’s and turned to Marta. “I’m not ready to say-” “I never want to say- ““Goodbye.”I joined in Marta’s silvery laugh, trying to emulate its musical trill. “Jinx, you owe me a kiss,” she said, and turned toward me. Our lips met, our tongues touched and twirled, our bodies met, her breasts pressed against my tiny titties. She helped me unhook her bra, I helped her pull her costume over her head, and I kissed her swaying breasts. I massaged her mons through her lacy panties.“It’s so smooth. May I kiss and wake the sleeping prince?”She pleasured me, but my hormone-depleted cock remained as limp as a deflated party balloon, impervious to Marta’s efforts. A two-week hiatus from Spiro hadn’t restored my functionality. I was humiliated, and half-expected an insult. “I must be stressed out.”“Me too. Let’s go inside.”As I opened the door to grandma old house, I heard a car screech away. That seemed out of place in this quiet neighborhood, but I forgot about it as we relaxed on a velvet love seat. In the intimacy of the moment, I let down my guard.”When we touch, I’m turned on. But is that because I want you, or to, be you?” “I know, and that’s OK.”“If I’m transgendered, you still want-”She kissed me again. “You are so sweet, brave, so much better than the others.”I felt her warm breath on my cheek. Intimacy both comforted me and fueled the struggle between the warring halves of my psycho-sexual identity. My male side battled with my feminine avatar, the star of an endless film loop of transgender sexual fantasy so engrained that even in the arms of a beautiful and willing girl I fantasized gender reversal. While I hugged Marta against my spindly chest, I imagined that I was the one crushed in a manly embrace. The boy in me wanted to sexually experience her but my feminine side wanted to emulate her. She embraced me like I was a little doll. She was redolent of fertility, like the scent of vineyards at harvest. Cuddled and coddled, I got aroused. I was embarrassed, but she was happy.“You’re so cute.”“Not too small?”“Perfect, pretty.” “Help me.”She rolled on a condom that d****d like damp poncho. She straddled me, lay atop me, moaned delight.“Papi, Si, si, mas.” Yes, Papa, yes, more.The warmth and scent of her flesh tore down the wall of impotence that the Spiro had built, waves crested, a tide rushed forth. “Sorry, I couldn’t stop-.”“I was greedy.” She pulled off and inspected the ill-fitted condom. “Only a few drops.” “I think you weren’t meant to be-”“I feel like a girl.”“I saw that middle school. It attracts me. With you I feel-” “I wanted to be you even in 8th grade. I fantasized myself with your eyes, face, and body, coveted by all, belonging to none.”She stroked her finger around the contours of my face“It’s possible.”“I can’t reconcile it with my ambition.”“You must be true to yourself.”“I want to be more famous than my father. He helped find HIV’s viral cause but failed to find the cure. Transsexuality could prevent me from-”She shook her head.“Not worth it, to live a lie.” “Will you help me?”“I’d love to, though my life’s a greater lie than yours.”Her family’s facade of stability was false. She had been sexually abused by her uncle and on Sundays had fended off the predatory advances of her p*******e priest. Serial dating was escapism. Jock boyfriends used her for casual sex, and gangsters treated their girlfriends like whores. I was a beacon in a nightmare existence. Why hadn’t I known? Was I that arrogant? I took her home at 2:00 a.m. I missed my exit from the freeway, like I‘d almost missed the turn that made her part of my life. I’d been so oblivious. But could I be transgendered and her lover? Maybe I was gay: a male-to-female transsexual who loves girls.I awoke at 4:00 a.m. the next morning amid a nightmare. I was at school, and all the gangsters, dopers, jocks and even the art room crowd were screaming “Kill the tranny”, as Marta pointed mockingly at me.Our tryst had imperiled me. My condom had slipped from my undersized cock. I could catch an STD, or she might get pregnant. I had revealed my inner girl to someone who hooked up with Miguel Carranza, who already wanted to use me as his bitch. He would doubtless learn from her gangster brothers that I had brought her home late.I retrieved the box where I kept my purloined medical samples, dry-mouthed an Ambien and stared longingly at my estrogen stash. My hormone fast had culminated in a tryst even more dangerous than transitioning. I craved the calm spirit and soft flesh that hormones bestowed. Impulsively, I injected Estradiol and progesterone, choked down a Spiro and fell asleep as fantasies fucking Marta and being fucked by Miguel alternated and merged. My story in the Wildcat about Sadie Hawkins was an open letter to school board, demanding a more relaxed dress code as free expression. Two weeks later, the principal modified the dress code to allow cross-gender costumes at school dances. The Intellectual Mafia’s triumph was unpopular, and I feared retribution from the gangsters or recriminations from the jocks. But Thad Jones flashed me thumbs up in the lunchroom, Miguel, Jack and Seth kept their distance, and everyone else got tired of post-morteming Sadie Hawkins. Now, the posters and the buzz had shifted to Spring Fling. And so did my fantasies. I tried to talk Anne and Barb into joining me as a Spring Fling Flower Princesses, but they refused. BFFsMarta texted me to get together after school. Paranoia overwhelmed me. I concocted a recantation of my coming out. “The other night, what I said, were fantasies. I’m still Alex.””No need to hide.” She kissed my cheek. The press of her breasts on my tender nubs disarmed my defenses.“It’s scary. Everything will-”“You need change.”She grazed her lips against mine. “My special girlfriend.”“Does Miguel know?”Her eyes flashed anger.“He called you maricon.”I sobbed, and she hugged me. I felt the pressure of her breasts and her warm mons against my body and melded with her. Our lips locked, and we rocked in one another’s embrace for what seemed an eternity.“Did you feel it?”I nodded.“What happened?”“Spiritual Union. My soul entered yours, and yours, mine.”I resisted the impulse to critique the ‘rent a mantra’ guru whom she’d borrowed from.“Hope that you got only my feminine parts. I’m a messy work in progress.”“All of me, all of you. We’re BFF’s.”Marta encouraged me to amplify my HRT-Spiro cocktail. My breasts grew and my nipples tingled. My pants got too tight in the butt and too loose at the waist, and my cock atrophied. My emotions swung uncontrollably between inexplicable joy and sudden sadness. My energy was so sapped that I upped my dose of Ritalin to sustain my academic momentum. Marta and I spent a Saturday on Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica’s shopaholics’ paradise by the sea. At Victoria’s Secret she selected lingerie and nighties in my size. At Forever 21 we picked tops, sweaters, pants, skirts and matching bikinis. We bought high strappy pumps at Cole-Haas. We stopped at the Clinique counter for makeup, polish, perfume, brushes and tweezers, and hair color. On the way home to Grandma’s place, Marta spotted a tanning salon.“Can we stop there?”I circled the block and pulled in the parking lot, recalling my Mom’s denunciations of tanning as carcinogenic.Marta retrieved the bag with our bikinis.“Too cold to tan at the beach, you need some tan lines.”My heart leapt. A silhouette of tanned skin around the lily-white contours of my bikini would mark me as a girly slut like a tattoo. “Scary, but so hot.”“And temporary, they fade in a few weeks.We got a twin bed, and lay side by side, held hands while the UV worked its magic. My skin tingled as we drove back to Grandma’s, the laboratory for our gender bending experiments.I drew a bath and Marta slipped in with me. We soaped one another, and my flesh was electrified by her caresses. She stroked my cock with her toes, and it lolled, soft and slender, in the little whirlpool she swirled in the hyacinth scented waters.“I love your hair, but it needs highlights.”She shampooed, and then worked a scented product into my hair.“Just a little, to make the colors come alive.”She scrubbed my face with an exfoliant and smoothed it with moisturizer until it was soft and clear, a canvas awaiting the brush strokes of an artist. She gently toweled me, I slipped into a robe and she motioned me to sit at my grandma’s makeup table. She swept away the bric-brac and lined up the magic potions with which she promised to transform me. She painted my toenails lavender, separated them with cotton balls, and frenched a white crescent over a natural rose base on my fingernails. She styled my unruly ponytail into a braid and piled it atop my head. She applied concealer to hide my skin’s boyish pores, sheer powder to lighten my skin and contrast with the mascara, eyeliner, pink metallic shadow with which she accentuated my eyes. She finished with a subtle swoop of blush to accentuate my cheekbones and applied rose gloss to my lips. She loaned me a pair of dangly, filigreed gold hoops to replace my plain silver studs. I put on satin panties and thrilled as they glided over my tucked cock. She taught me to put on hose without running them and to clasp a push-up bra in the front before swiveling it to the back and fitting the padded cups over my nubile breasts. From my Forever 21 bag I selected a satin spaghetti strap top and a ripped jean miniskirt. She steadied me as I put on my strappy, tippy pumps. She blew out and styled my hair. Platinum streaks glittered amid the gold.When I looked in the mirror, I was stunned. She had chosen cosmetics and a hairstyle which complemented her own, so I resembled Marta’s taller, thinner, blonder sister. She nuzzled me conspiratorially.”You’re a doll.” “I’m a Bratz. I want to be a Barbie like you.”We kissed, taking care not to spoil our makeup.“Someday girls will play with Alexandra dolls.” “I want try my new look on the world.” “Before you can strut your stuff you need training.”She taught me the feminine way to walk, sit, cross my legs, and rise. She demonstrated, and I imitated a girl’s nervous glances on entering and exiting a room. She recorded and played back my voice and taught me the subtle differences of inflection and tone which differentiate male and female speech.“I’m tired, let’s-”“You sounded like a boy.”“My head aches. I need to lie down.”“Much better.”We changed into our negligees and cuddled, kissed, and spooned on my grandma’s bed. We traced the lines of our bikini tans, which marked like a map our erogenous zones. She fondled my dick through the lacy material, and it slipped out of its tuck. She sucked me and I kissed her pussy, and I rubbed my cock between her warm, wet labia. “I have a present.” She reached to her purse and retrieved a butt plug. “Would you like to try this?”I nodded and gritted my teeth as she pressed it against my anus. I pressed down against her thrust, and the tapered tip slid inside, then shot back out. “Oh my God.” She pressed again, and I pressed and suctioned my colon’s walls to admit the Latex dart. My anus clamped around the narrow base, and she tugged gently, massaging my ring from within. “Do you like that?”“I love it.” I sprouted a three-inch erection. She covered me and eased my cock into her moist vagina and gyrated above me. Her breasts swayed like two cosmic orbs over my outstretched tongue. She pulsed the butt plug in my ass, and I rocked my pelvis to rhythm to the anal massage. I imitated her cries and moans.The thrust of the butt plug’s tip against my internal boy parts and the tug of its base against my anal ring stimulated me so exquisitely that I spasmed to another premature orgasm. When I pulled out the condom was twisted askew and my seed dripped beneath the roll of rubber at its base. Her mons and labia glistened with her juices and my thin, watery cum. She rubbed it on her pussy and brought her hands to my lips. The combination of our flavors was delectable.We got into 69-position, and she started sucking me as I went down on her. I feasted on her tangy vaginal juices, imagining that they were my own, and licked my semen from her labia, and imagining it was the seed of a stranger on my lips. Her moans gradually turned to cries of ecstasy. “Mas, por escort çanakkale favor, mas, mas!” More, please more, more.Her hips undulated, her pubic hair rasped my tired, tender lips and cheeks, and I fantasized that I was in her body, being fucked hard by Miguel in the Uni locker room. The rhythms her body reached a frenzy and her juices flowed hot and plentiful, until her arched back, taut thighs and muffled cries announced that she had orgasmed. Warm, fragrant dew wet my lips as her breath and hips stilled in post-orgasmic repose.God, I thought, how much deeper and more fulfilling must her orgasm have been than the momentary spasm I had experienced. She stroked my cheek.”Was that good, baby?” “Great. Did you-“”God, yes, so much.”She kissed me again. “You are fantastic lover. Much better than…”We both knew whom she meant.The grandfather clock tolled 2 a.m. I scrubbed off my smeared cosmetics, changed back into my boy’s clothes, took her home, and spirited my girly things into the back of my closet.The next morning, after my dad’s anger over my curfew violation subsided, he trotted out a trite and belated homily about the risks of premarital sex. I laughed in his face and told him his speech was a day late and a dollar short. Sputtering rage, he retaliated by grounding me for a month.Marta and I exchanged glances and texts, but we had little opportunity for extracurricular love play. My intensified hormone regimen boosted my boobs and nipples, broadened my hips and ass, and withered my cock, scrotum, and libido. I had to summon ever more violent nighttime fantasies of penetration and **** to climax and sleep. The butt plug didn’t penetrate deep enough to simulate the pounding I craved. I needed a bigger tool to amplify the penetration and the pain.Sex ShopI parked my car near an adult bookstore on Pico near the 10 Freeway cross-over. Customers, mostly slacker Latino guys, emerged clutching brown paper bags. I wondered why they bought their porn on paper instead of downloading, but what I wanted couldn’t be streamed from a website.I counted the customers coming and going until all had left, and then I put on a hat and shades and skulked through the empty parking lot, opened a blacked-out door and pushed through a turn style into the cluttered interior. One wall featured faded back issues of shemale porn magazines headlining barely passable cross-dressers. Feigning nonchalance, I browsed a bin of battered VCR’s of Leilani, Dana Douglas, Pasha and Morelle De Keigh, tranny porn stars killed in the first wave of HIV. History had been hard on my predecessors. Stacks of rifled-through inventory were piled on pallets and lined racks from floor to ceiling. I found a wall of sex toys, paraphernalia for every preference, from blow up dolls to handcuffs and chains. The dildos ranged from silicone monstrosities with textured flesh and bulging balls to the****utic massage tools. I wanted something generic in case it was discovered, so I selected a tapered, seven-inch electric wand with no obvious anatomical details and a bottle of lube. I avoided eye contact with the clerk stare as I passed by more dingy piles of porn to the register. “It’s an April Fool’s day gag.”The tatted-up Latino clerk smirked disbelievingly as he handed me my change and bagged my purchase. “Enjoy.”I peered through the door to make sure that no one had followed me and sprinted to my car. My heart was still pounding when I got home. When I finished my homework, I called out a cheery good night to my parents. I prettied myself with makeup and blew out my hair. I slipped into my negligee, slid beneath my covers and turned the dildo on.It vibrated pleasantly against the crotch of my panties. I pressed it through the thin fabric against my hole, fondled my breasts, my nipples hardened into cones visible through the silk of my nightie. I thrust, then paused, my body adjusted to the intrusion, I thrust again, and my belly buzzed in harmony with the oscillating toy. Pain and pleasure sparked like a short circuit as I filled the hungry void inside me until I was breathless, sated. I slid it between my lips to the back of my throat, moist and warm from my inner flesh, fragrant and delicious. My breath and pulse slowed; I felt a pang of emptiness. Pain had subsided to a pleasant neural buzz. My ass was hungry for more, I was addicted to alternating waves of pain and pleasure.What must a real fuck feel like? This tool lacked the bulbous head of a real cock, and it was smaller than some of the dicks I had spied in the locker room. A bad boy gangster wouldn’t pause to let me acclimate. He’d ram in and increase my agony by fucking me ever harder and faster.Fantasy of sex with a real male aroused me, I brought myself to a rare climax. My orgasm shot out with great force, but the drizzle of cum was almost transparent. The hormones had taken a lot of the boy out of me. I licked my juices from the dildo and hid it in a corner of my closet. I was so exhausted that I didn’t change out of my nighty as I slipped into a dreamless sleep. I slept through my alarm and woke with my mother standing over me, looking shocked. “Alex, what are you-“I pulled my rumpled sheets up to my neck to hide my nightie.”Just stuff my friend loaned me.” I averted my gaze.She pulled the sheet back. “Inappropriate, really.” Her patronizing provoked me. “How about some privacy? I could move out.” “Don’t leave home. But if your father-”“He wouldn’t rip down my sheets.”“I’m sorry, I’m worried. You’re alone, alienated.” “Dad grounded me. Cosplaying helps.”“Grounding was harsh, but he insisted. Where is this going?”“Acting out, not taking action.”Only Marta knew I’d transitioned. To the Intellectual Mafia I still classified myself as “questioning”. “Give my life back, and I won’t need this,” I pointed to my nightie. She nodded. I heard the clatter of dishes in the sink, and the rumble of the garage door. I celebrated co-opting my mother with a breakfast of Ritalin and spironolactone chased by shots of estrogen and progesterone. I wore panties and a bra as I finished my homework and kept them on under my jeans and sweatshirt when headed off to school. Pre-PromGraduation approached and college acceptances abounded. I outdid the rest of the Intellectual Mafia by getting UCLA and USC with faculty brat tuition waivers, and the University of Michigan with a full ride. Quinn was jealous“For a prep school drop-out you’re quite the over-achiever.”“Being the brown-boy son of an asylum seeker helped.”“Only brown in you is your bullshit.”“True, I am the greatest liar.”“Your perfect email handle.”Marta would go part time to a community college, working nights at her uncle’s restaurant. If I went to UCLA or USC, I would be close, but I needed to break the tethers of my past, and Michigan had a program for transgendered students. Confident of my exit strategy, I dialed up my hormones to hasten my feminization. My nipples enlarged and engorged. Layers of adipose cells, the foundations of my breasts, formed slight, round mounds on my chest. When I dressed for school, I wrapped my chest in an Ace bandage to flatten my breasts and protect the sensitive nipples from the stiff fabric of my boy clothes.My scrotum shriveled and atrophied, and my cock shrank. My hair brushed out smooth, silky, and shiny. My skin tone lightened, and my body hair became so wispy that I could barely pinch it in my fingers to yank it out. I struggled to complete ten repetitions with five-pound weights or twenty minutes on my mom’s Life Cycle.My awkward phase had evolved into an obvious phase. Baggy clothes were not enough to camouflage my feminine contours. I dreaded walking the halls of my school. I affected invisibility but attracted hostile glares from the gangsters, sniggers from the dopers, condescension from the jocks and appalled stares from the Christians. My Newspaper Office friends were startled by my feminine looks. Quinn sketched a pen and ink portrait of me, as a Valkyrie with blonde hair and massive boobs. “Like this caricature?” I stepped behind him and examined his work. “Make the boobs a little bigger, like Marta’s.”He looked back at me condescendingly. “It’s you, dude, even your new hair color.”I knew that he knew but couldn’t acknowledge it. I was too steeped in shame to acknowledge it, so I reclassified my transsexuality.“Marta’s helped me understand my duality. Everyone is a mix of both genders, both sexes, like yin and yang.”He drew me near and whispered. “Alex, the devious, clueless genius. Either yin or yang predominates.”He flipped a coin.“Tails, the yin side, you’re transgendered.”“No fucking way. I love hot Latinas.” I showed him my portrait of Marta as Venus, drawn in the style of Botticelli. “Especially this one.” He let out a low whistle. “Good detail, dude.”“Research, tireless research.”“Or is it envy.” My breath caught in my throat as his eyes stripped my pretense. My friend had decoded my rhetoric as deception. The louder I protested, the more he suspected. But purgatory was about to release us. Our spectacular college admissions cemented our bragging rights. Except for our clique and Thad Jones, who got a jock’s ride at a mid-west football factory, most of our classmates were lucky to get into a Cal State. The Intellectual Mafia soared over a target-rich environment. We celebrated our finale by editorializing against the jocks, the dopers, the Christians and the gangsters, attacking the culture of macho mediocrity that equated academic success with nerdiness and celebrated settling as a valid lifestyle choice. The chasm between us and our classmates widened, but we didn’t care. We were lining up to take our places in the one percent. Years of social ostracism were about to give way to the upward social mobility that America’s elite universities provide. I deflected my friends’ sarcasm away from Marta. For a few hours every weekend we ignored the future and lived in the present. I helped her with her homework and prepped her for high school exit exam. We went to movies on Third Street, saw all the chick flicks, and cried and laughed together. We bought bras, panties, makeup, little cotton sun dresses, camisoles, strappy sandals, and skimpy nighties. I invited her to Prom with a bouquet of red roses and a verse.My life was a puzzle,Of mismatched pieces.I looked everywhere butFound completenessOnly in you.Marta, will you go to Prom with me?She loved the poem and accepted on the condition that we would make only a brief appearance and then leave for a special girls’ night together at my grandma’s. When I texted my measurements for her to make my after-Prom outfit she replied OMG!I tried to recruit to Newspaper Office to back me up.“Sadie Hawkins empowered us to storm the next barricade.”Quinn smiled sarcastically.“Your ass got saved by Thad Jones, who you thanked by bashing in the Wildcat.”“Full ride at Wisconsin with a 2.5 average? And how did he get 26 on the ACT?”“He threw a great block for you at Sadie-”“Protecting his precious party.”“His isn’t the only college application tainted with fraud, my pseudo-Latino friend. Watch your back.”Barb scribbled on her drawing pad and handed me a sketch of Marta leading me toward an abyss, where armed, tattooed gangsters lurked in the shadows. “Can I keep this?”“I’m saving it for your funeral.”“Sadie proved that actions, not words, bring about change,” I said. “We owe it to the younger k**s to push the boundaries.”Barb and Anne exchanged whispers, and Barb put down her sketch book. “OK, you’ve shamed us. But only if you show up as cross-dressed femme fatale.”PromMarta was thrilled to be my accomplice in another role reversal, though we deluded our families. For them, I would wear the baggy tuxedo fitted to her curves and she a too-tight gown that fitted to my slenderer figure. She would make us over at my grandma’s place before our Prom debut.I fortified myself against the stress of the evening with a Ritalin and Spiro cocktail, chased with shots of estrogen and progesterone. The d**gs were roaring through my bloodstream when picked her up at her hardscrabble apartment. Her father scowled and her brothers and mocked me while I pinned a white orchid corsage to the bodice of Marta’s pink chiffon gown. Her mom wagged a finger.“Take care of our princess.”“For sure, and forever.”I covered Marta’s shoulders with a shawl. But it was a white lie. I couldn’t salvage her mediocre grades. I couldn’t protect her from her father, who thought education was wasted on a girl. She would work for meager tips at her uncle’s restaurant and take a few courses at SMCC. Trapped by her past, it would become her destiny. And I needed leave LA to fulfill mine.We parked at my grandma’s and walked through the gauzy mist of a mid-May evening. Illuminated by the diffused glow of the streetlights, she’d never looked more beautiful. I threw my arms around her neck, kissed her full lips and stroked her heaving breasts. She ran her hands up under my tux shirt and stroked my rosebud nipples. When she released the kiss, I could barely breathe. I opened some windows to freshen the musty atmosphere of the aging bungalow. I stripped from the tux and sat at my grandma’s make up table as she smoothed my skin with lavender moisturizer, applied face makeup, coifed my hair and painted my nails. She helped me into a satin pink padded bra and matching panties, accentuated by garters and stockings. I finished my eyeliner and glossed my lips as she sewed darts to perfect the fit of the chiffon gown.I pulled it over my head, lightheaded from my d**g cocktail and the billowing clouds of fabric that settled over me into a perfect fit. I slipped into strappy, stiletto sandals and posed before the bedroom mirror, lyrics from a half-remembered Broadway show came to mind. “I feel pretty, oh so pretty.” A raspy voice interrupted.”Yeah, tranny looks so pretty, right, cuz?” Miguel, Seth, and Jack were crowded the bedroom doorway. “You’re trespassing. Get out or I’ll have you arrested.”Miguel grabbed my throat and pinned me against the wall.“You asked us-”“No, please, it’s-”He choked me until I gagged.“To be our whore.”“A game.”“Game-on, butt-hole soccer, you’re the goal.”He forced me to my knees and pressed my lips against his open fly. I inhaled the stale, male odor I remembered from the locker room, Alex yielded to his inner, submissive sissy slut. My million masochistic Miguel fantasies replayed in my mind. Now they would now be re-enacted on my flesh. Had they read my mind, or had Marta betrayed me? Protest would be futile, or even provocative. I was their sex slave, and my survival depended on playing the part.Miguel tore off my gown and threw me onto my grandma’s bed. He gripped my hair in a tight, cruel knot on the top of my head. His tuxedo pants slid to the floor with a dull thud that could only mean a weapon. He yanked my head toward his groin.“Suck it, bitch.” I nicked him with a tooth. He gripped my throat with one hand.“Bite me again and I’ll cut off your tongue off,”“I won’t, I…”He flicked open a silver switchblade.He clutched my throat and backhanded my face. Strangulation and slaps brought tears and stars that clouded my eyes, through them I could see Miguel’s glowering face. I nodded obedience, submitted to his demands, acquiesced when he forced me bottoms-up over a pillow. “Check out that sissy tan.”Miguel whacked the white skin where the tan lines curved apart.“It turns pink when you beat it.”They rained a dozen blows on my exposed bottom, summoning memories of my father spanking the little Alex. Now I was just as helpless and humiliated as the c***d my father had punished.Jack held me down, Miguel pushed inside me, pounded my inner spaces, I acquiesced, forced myself into a role, porn dialog came to mind. “Si, Papi, so big, so strong.” “Tranny’s a hot little puta.” “Must’ve practiced with the dildo it bought on Pico,” Jack said.“Doesn’t need that toy now.”They’d been stalking me. This foray had been plotted and planned. Was Marta a victim, or a conspirator? Miguel yanked out of me and stalked off, from the other bedroom I heard the thud of fists against flesh and Marta’s screams, and Jack took his place. I turned my head to plead. Jack slapped my upturned face and pushed my face toward Seth. “Shut up and suck, maricon.” Jack thrust; an inferno roared inside me.“No, no, no, too much, stop.” I gazed upward into Seth’s eyes, he but was staring off into the distance, as if imagining he was far from this debauch.“Good, yeah, baby”. Jack was more energetic and ruthless than Miguel, with a talent for torture. He slapped, clawed, spanked and choked me. “Yee-haw, it’s a rodeo pony.”“Don’t call me it.”“Rhymes with shit, what trannies are.”“Then why-”“Miguel’s payback. I’d just waste you.”He cocked his fingers like a gun against the nape of my neck. Miguel was the instigator, but Jack was the most dangerous of these thugs. Seth surprised me with a sympathetic smile and brushed a lock of my hair from my sweaty forehead. “Jack, don’t break our toy.” “Already worn out, your turn, Seth.” Seth made me shudder seismically, a volcano erupted inside me.“Too much?” Seth asked.I nodded, and faded back to the locker room at Uni. Seth rescues me from Miguel and Jack, sweeps me into his arms, and carries me to the laundry room. He poses me over a mound of moist, man-scented towels, and plies the dark canal inside me like a canoe over still waters, and when I turn my face to admire him, he meets my glance with a kiss, rather than a slap. After he finishes, we cuddle in the dark, and he strokes my hair and cheek while I lick him clean. Jack slapped my face, disrupting my dream. Inside me, fireworks exploded with panoramic beauty, and my body absorbed the explosions like a well-prepared fortress. Seth massaged my shoulders, then accelerated like a locomotive, slow but powerful. “You good?”I murmured affirmation.Seth pried open my chrysalis and released a newborn butterfly. In the maelstrom of a gangbang, a cloistered maiden had roused like Sleeping Beauty and broken free. Had she needed to be forced to find freedom? Jack’s death head tattoos and menacing face reminded me why my inner girl had dreaded exposure, for she was in grave danger. She might even die tonight, on the first night she had lived. Jack threatened me gangster Spanglish.“Slash the whore to pieces, feed it to the dogs.” Jack’s forced himself into my throat until I choked. He smashed his hands over my ears, deafening me, gripping my ears like handles to lever my face. After he finished, I blinked and wiped away my tears, gulped and burped. I fought nausea, smiled and lied. “Delicious.” He slapped my cheek, spit in my face and stalked toward the bathroom.“Too good for a faggot.” Seth thrust against me, I bucked back so we met with audible thuds. I looked back and murmured. “Am I a good little love-doll?”He answered with a howl. “Goddamn.” When he finished, he patted my fanny affectionately.“You’re great, Rios.”I buried my face in the pillow to hide the conflicting emotions that my face would have betrayed. “I was a virgin.”“Everyone’s a virgin once.”Two tsunamis coursed through me and pooled inside my belly. I lay in Seth’s shadow, curled in a fetal position on the damp mattress, re-born as a female from the ashes of my violated virginity. I still faced abuse, and possibly murder. But if I died a girl, I’d die happy. A second shadow appeared. “I’m not done with you, maricon.” Seth backed away. Miguel hauled me to my knees, but after Seth’s monster, Miguel was easy. “Papi, I love it.”He spanked my ass.“Love that too?”“Don’t hurt me.”He yanked my hair and slapped my face.“You tagged my turf, I should”“No, we’re-”“Kill you, Marta too.”“Just friends.”“Or pimp your tranny ass to all comers.”Miguel finished, then threw my torn hosiery to Seth. “Tie it to the bed.” Seth bound my hands and feet to the bed posts. “Miguel runs this set, I do what he says. I’ll make it easy though.” Miguel pulled Marta into the room. “Say adios to your maricon boy toy.”She swung her fist at Miguel. He blocked the blow and slapped her face. Was it a cover for her complicity, or had she shared my defilement? Miguel grabbed my hair and twisted my head to the sodden sheets. “Complain to the cops, you and the cunt are çanakkale escort bayan toast.” A round chambered into an automatic pistol that pressed the nape of my neck.The room was lit by camera flashes. Lights dimmed, footsteps clomped down the hallway, the door creaked open and slammed shut, a car screeched away, and the house was dark and eerily quiet. I listened for the sounds of reentry or rescue, but I sensed only the hum of distant freeway traffic and the sweep of headlights across my grandma’s lace curtains. SilenceI twisted my hands against the Seth’s haphazard knots and slid free of them. I stripped the rumpled, sodden sheets and stuffed them into the washer. I collected empty beer cans and swept up the shards of a smashed bottle of Cuervo Gold, cigarette butts, and the fire-scarred foil where they’d cooked the crack that fueled their rampage. I trashed our tattered negligee and the ruined gown, removed my smudged make-up and nail polish and dressed in the rented tux and shoes. On my way home I drove past West LA police substation, but I couldn’t force myself to tell transphobic cops how my Prom date and I had been gang-banged by home invaders. The LAPD treated transsexuals as criminals and would probably think that I had gotten what I deserved. My silence made me complicit in Miguel’s crimes and alienated me from the world of laws and rules. Concealment of crime is a lie, but I was addicted to lying, and my stealing syringes and hormones from my dad’s lab and fraudulent importation of spironolactone had made me criminal too. The street-smart Miguel had peered through my respectable façade and conscripted me into the lowest rung of his criminal gang, as a maricon prostitute. I tiptoed into my parents’ house, took a Valium to calm my frayed nerves. My emotions wavered between revenge and remorse, acceptance and revulsion, ambition and abandon. My ass burned, my throat hurt, my flesh was crusted with spit, sweat and sperm and crawling with microbes, the stigmata of a despoiled virgin, sacred relics of my passage. I showered and douched, and an ecosystem of incriminating DNA swirled down the drain. Only the abraded skin around my anus evidenced their crimes and my transformation. Miguel’s gang had forced me, but I had yielded, survived and even orgasmed. Jack and Miguel called me “it” but used and abused me like one of their gangster chicas. Humiliated and ravished, I experienced ecstasy in submission. If I complained to Uni High’s administrators, they would shine a light on my secret life and deprive me of it, my father would ground me and confis**te my hormones. Miguel had promised retaliation, and I could not protect Marta or myself. There was no upside in protest. If I remained silent, I could stealthily continue following my path and hope that shame about fucking a tranny could silence him and his crew. Morning After Pills“It’s almost afternoon, Honey. Don’t you need to study?” My mom’s face was blurry as I blinked myself awake. “Yeah, thanks.”“Have fun last night?”I couldn’t tell her that her darling son had been gang-****d by three classmates in her mother’s bed, so I lied.“Totally awesome.”“You were out past curfew.”“Prom night’s supposed to be-”She winked and kissed me. “I’m so glad you finally experienced the social side of-”“Me too, but I’m nauseous.”I ran to the bathroom, pooped a pink-tinged slurry, vomited thick, gooey mucous and collapsed to the tile floor. My skin flushed and beaded with sweat. Was it the onset of HIV or post-traumatic stress? I shot hormones and choked down Spiro and a couple of Ritalin and relaxed in bed with a book. Academics would put Miguel in the rear-view mirror and me back on route to college. Last night was a detour, my path forward was clear. But studies competed with memories of being the gangsters’ sex slave. Who would take a transsexual seriously as a scientific researcher? Would my scholarships be rescinded if I tried to register as a girl?Every time doubt and angst rose within me, I quelled it with the calming discipline of study. I never left my house that weekend and interrupted my studies only when I needed to eat or sleep a few hours. By Sunday night, I so exhausted and charged up that I took an Ambien and fell asleep with the light on and a book in my lap.I have boobs and a sex change, lecturing a crowded auditorium. Beautiful but professional, my audience is rapt, and enraptured. Except for my marker’s squeaks on the white board, the hall is silent, but when I finished, the scene changes, and I’m writhing up and down a stripper pole. I crawl across a red lit stage, wriggle my ass in the faces of drunks who stuff bills into my sequined thong and paw my bare butt. A burly thug beckons me, and I slide into his lap and grind my pussy into his lap, massaging his cock with my labia as he nuzzles his grizzled face between my perfumed breasts. I woke up sweating, heart pounding, and grabbed another handful of pills. I was at an unmarked crossroads. Which path would I take?OutedMom rousted me. “You’re going to be late-”“Class is a waste-”“You have too many absences, you could lose your scholarships. We’re too stretched to pay tuition because you cut class.” Her heels clacked as she left, and I raged. The perfect match for my dad, the world’s biggest prick. Too bad she couldn’t fuck as many pool boys and personal trainers as he fucked grad students and lab techs. With equal shares of adultery, their marriage might have worked. It was already on the rocks and discovering at their son was girl would sink it. Mom had been a Rose Bowl Princess, and I’d inherited her luminescent blue eyes, blonde hair, slim physique, and porcelain skin. But I’d inherited my long, aquiline nose and my ambition from my father’s tawny, tough Argentine side. The soreness of my ass had faded to a tingle and my bruised lips had recovered. When I got the Newspaper Office, Barb and Anne exchanged whispers. Barb glared at me.“You bailed on Prom.”Anne folded her arms; I hung my head.“Thad made us dance, he groped me, said he was going to kick your ass. A night in hell.”“Sorry, we got delayed, too late to make it.”“We know, your Prom Night pictures are all over the internet,” Barb said. “If you’d planned an orgy with the gangsters, why drag us into that snake pit?”I staggered and sat on a table’s edge just before I fainted. My skin poured sweat, my stomach churned and my bowl spasmed. “I’m sorry, I can’t, I’m sick.”I usually avoided Uni’s filthy, dangerous bathrooms, but I was desperate. I opened a stall and blanketed the stained seat with shreds of tissue to keep the germs off my skin. My ass stung, and I sobbed as a hot hurricane gushed out. I heard whispers and giggles as I read the graffiti at eyelevel on the stall’s door. Alex Rios, tranny ho,Likes to suck and loves blow.Alex Rios, tranny slut.Loves to take it in the butt.I rubbed at the inscription, but it was written in black sharpie. I perspired and hyperventilated as I peeked warily over the partition at a leering audience of faces blurred by my tears. I averted my eyes as I washed my hands but felt their mocking eyes boring into me. I’d hoped that Miguel’s prized macho reputation would make him keep our encounter on the down low. But he had decided to up the ante by outing me with graffiti and internet photo sharing. Miguel rewrote my script for a stealthy exit from Uni as a pornographic exposé. Alex Rios had schemed and scammed to become a girl, Miguel and his posse had sealed the deal. PrincipalMilling students crowded the corridors, bumping and mocking me as I hurried to the Principal’s office. Fabiola, the office receptionist, greeted me with a smirk and pointed to the clock. “Home Room time.”“I need to see the Principal right now.”She typed a message on her computer, and when the response pinged back, she buzzed in to see the principal, an aging veteran of LA’s busing wars who was timeserving his way toward retirement. He motioned me to a battered, metal chair.“What’s happening, Rios?”“There’s a terrible graffiti about me in a toilet stall. Shouldn’t the janitors paint it over?”“Already painted over two others. Where?”“Middle stall, by the Newspaper Office. Can I be excused from school today? That graffiti’s scary.”“Can’t run from insults. Got rules against graffiti, hate speech, harassment and such. Identify the offenders, I’ll enforce the rules. Who’s writing this garbage, and why?”I hesitated to tell him, for what would come next? A couple of days’ suspension for Miguel, a beating or worse for me and Marta. I felt powerless. “I’ve gotten cruel comments and I ignored them, but I can’t ignore this.”“Sad truth is that most times, the victim knows, but is scared to tell.”“I am scared. Can I leave? My classes aren’t-.”He tapped his pen on a blank page and let out a low whistle. “Got to have more than graffiti to excuse two weeks of classes.”I started crying. The Alex Rios who had the best college admissions, the smartest guy in the school, was dead, killed by a single bad night. In his place was a frightened, lonely outcast whose few friends thought he’d betrayed them. When my sobs subsided, I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and looked up. “I’m transsexual. Some boys from here forced me, took pictures, now they’re showing them around, boasting.”“Rios, these things happen to girls. Want to be one you got to learn to deal with rumors.”“That graffiti encourages v******e.” “Someone threatens you, then come to me.”“That could be too late.”“Tell you what, Rios. You’re a rare success story in this class of losers. Get your parents to agree and I’ll excuse you.” “They only care about shipping me off to college.”“I need some cover. Want to me to cooperate, explain the situation and have them email me consent.”My heart pounded. “My dad will-”“Your problem, not mine.”My choice was harassment and potential transphobic v******e or the wrath of Eduardo Rios. But he would eventually hear the rumors. “I’ll do it.” He didn’t look up as I left Uni High for what I hoped was the last time.Family MeetingI went home and buried myself in AP World History. World War I was raging when I heard my dad come in. I went downstairs expecting a battle bloodier than Verdun. My dad was in his office, reading email. My mom was chopping tofu. I cleared my throat. “Can we have a family meeting?”It was code for delivering bad news. My father shifted in his chair. I stood in the doorway.“Does this relate to the email from your school? Don’t tell me you got kicked out.”“I asked to be excused.”My dad stood and glared. “Don’t obfus**te. What happened?”“Problems the gang element. They’re harassing me, writing threatening graffiti.”“Why are you in contact with the riff-raff? I thought you were taking AP classes.”“School isn’t just about classes. My problem is with some friends of Marta’s.”“I knew that girl was bad news. Lie down with dogs, get fleas. Is she knocked up?”“Not that. They found us together and got rough.”My mom stroked my hair and smoothed my cheek. “Can’t you see Alex is struggling?” She put her arm around me and kissed the side of my neck. I smelled her cologne, felt the silky touch of her golden hair. “Tell me everything, it doesn’t matter, I’ll always love you.”I felt the bulwarks that I had built around my identity shudder, and then collapse under the weight of the truth. I focused my eyes on a tiny crack in the wall. I wanted to crawl into that crack and disappear. “OK, this is hard, and I am frightened. But I’m even more scared of living my life as a great lie.”“Great preamble, get to the point,” my dad said.“Don’t intimidate him, it’s not helpful.”“This psycho-babble isn’t helpful, it’s classic Alex, dissembling to evade responsibility.”I was fueling the simmering clash between my parents. They had been to the verge of divorce and back more times than I could remember. This would surely push them over the edge. I wanted to retreat into the old Alex, and transition at college, away from them. Why had I rushed? Now, it was too late. I had to say it now.“I’m transsexual.”My dad swayed like he had been gut punched. He collapsed into a chair and cleared his throat. My mom recoiled from her embrace, as though she had accidentally hugged a stranger.“What qualifies you to make such a bold diagnosis?”“I’ve wanted to be a girl since I was a toddler. As I matured, my femininity emerged.”“I am a doctor. Don’t my opinions have any weight?” “You study viruses, and mom treats the inner c***d of menopausal matrons. I know who I am. You barely know me.”“There are treatments, programs, we have access to limitless resources, and you make this call on your own? You purport to be a genius but behave as a fool.”“If you knew anything about transsexuals, you would know that it’s a diagnosis that only the patient can make.”My mom stroked my cheek, as though checking it for whiskers. “You need to be professionally evaluated by a psychologist and an endocrinologist. You can’t decide this-““I’ve been on female hormones for months. I’m already almost-”My dad slammed his hands on the table. “That solves a mystery that’s been roiling the hospital. Someone was fired over the missing syringes and hormones. Don’t you care about anyone but yourself?”“I’m sorry that UCLA fired an innocent, but not for anything else. I did what I needed-”“Only a rash and egotistical lunatic could justify the theft of d**gs to self-administer hormone therapy.”“The hospital is still loaded with them, so its loss is negligible.”“You’ve probably sterilized yourself. Your irresponsible hormone juicing means that your parents will never have grandc***dren.”“I’ll be sad if I can’t have a c***d, but sadder still that you care more about potential grandc***dren than for your actual c***d. I can’t be your son; I need to be your daughter.”“You disgraced yourself at St. Aybert’s with this garbage. I caved in to your mother and let you come home instead of sending you to military school. Now, you’ve degenerated even further. Enough, get the hell out.”“Soon as I finish finals, I’ll leave-”“Forget about UCLA. I don’t want your antics to undermine my standing on campus, and I hope that you would spare your mother the embarrassment of cross-dressing your way through USC.” “I already accepted Michigan, because want to get away. But I need-”“You can stay temporarily, if you return all the stolen syringes and hormones. Medicine is to be administered by physicians. Stealing a hospital’s supplies is like taking like taking i*****l d**gs. It’s criminal, and I’ll report you if you refuse.”I nodded assent. I didn’t need an official complaint to jeopardize my Michigan scholarship. “And you live here as a boy. No cross-dressing, no cosmetics, and no sexual escapades.”“Are we done?” He slammed his fist on the table.“We are done, until I see you change from self-indulgence toward mature adulthood.”He walked back into his study and locked the door. My mom and I sat side by side at our dining room table.“You and your dad will find a way to love one another again, some day.”“Perhaps, but on my terms, not his.”“Your father and I have many problems, we’ve compromised.”“I can’t compromise on my identity.”“My priority is that you are happy, and his is that you make him proud. If they conflict…”“I’ll do both.”She hugged me. “I hope so. Think of all the fun we’ll have on Rodeo Drive.”I returned to my room and the Western Front, wishing I could die a hero in a futile charge through no man’s land. I cranked up on Ritalin and did three all-nighters in a row as I readied myself for my finals. Five tests and four days later, I slept for eighteen hours. When I woke up, my dad had moved out. GraduationI didn’t go to graduation and wasn’t invited to any parties. There were no awards available for senior transfers, and no one invited Tranny Alex to a beer bash. I heard there was a tittering of laughter when my name was called at commencement. When I returned my keys to the yearbook office, I altered my pictures into ghostly blurs captioned “image file damaged”. I wanted to erase my classmates’ memories of me and to flush University High School from mine.I couldn’t appease Barb and Anne by claiming that the orgy they saw on the internet pictures depicted a forcible ****. They would insist on my filing charges and would report the crime themselves if I refused,. So, they remained embittered for what they saw as my reckless absorption into the gangster chica cult. Quinn stopped by to wish me luck and asked to see my boobs. I displayed them, and he whistled admiration. But gays aren’t attracted to transsexuals. His interest was purely academic. The bruises, abrasions and internal trauma healed. Their dull pain was replaced by the tingling of newly awakened nerves. Sexual experience had rewired my libido, which now craved fresh stimulus. Carrots and cucumbers disappeared from my parents’ refrigerator and into my hungry hole, but my feeble arms could not mimic the force of the gangsters’ throbbing cocks, I was unable to reach orgasm, unfulfilled, and frustrated. Marta texted me and apologized for contributing to my downfall. She had dated Miguel concurrently with our encounters. She was gang property, and I was a trespasser. I had been Marta’s revenge fuck for Miguel’s dalliance with a ninth grader. But she loved the girl that she had discovered inside me. She regretted the trauma our fling had caused and the ached over the empty space our parting left in her heart. I would leave for college soon and leave all these troubles behind. I promised to keep in touch, and that we would dance at our fifth reunion. By then, she predicted, I would be the most beautiful girl in our class. I told her I could only hope to be half as beautiful as her.I managed to avoid Miguel and Jack, but Seth spotted me from his passing car as I walked home from the Coffee Bean. I heard footsteps a few paces behind me as I turned the corner to cul de sac where my parents lived.“Rios, hey, about Prom Night, I was fucked up, didn’t remember what went down until I sobered up a week later.”“What you think happened?”“Got down and dirty, had a good time. Didn’t you?”My mind flashed back to him pounding inside me, the pulsing of his seed, the fiery orgasm that he elicited from me, his tender strokes and soft words. From that momentous night Seth had assumed a starring role in my sexual memory. But my wounded pride and paranoia prevailed over my desire.“Not really.” I turned and walked away. “Take my number, we could hang out.”I waited as he scribbled. My soul craved a companion, and my body craved his caresses. The crevice that he had bored in my belly craved to be filled by him. I longed for him to ignite and stoke a fire inside me and then douse it with a flood of his silky semen to extinguish the flickering flames that burned within me. He thrust a scrap of paper in my hand. I crumpled it into a ball and stuffed it in back pocket of my jeans. “Whatever.”I walked away, not wanting to let my erstwhile assailant know that I was crying about him. I wanted to recapture the submissiveness and sexual allure that I felt with Seth, but with new boys whose feelings would not be tainted by their perceptions of the old Alex. I called the University of Michigan and arranged to start in summer school instead of waiting until autumn. I emptied my bank account to cover the expense. University High School was a seething caldron of class, racial and gender biases, fired by post-9/11 insecurity and anger. I tried to delude my classmates by hiding a vulnerable girl inside the façade of an arrogant boy who ridiculed narcissistic jocks, deluded Christians, addled dopers, and loser gangsters. Before Prom Night, I had been defended, and imprisoned, by my lies. But those bastions had been breached by the pictures of my cum-spattered face and ass on the internet. I had been ostracized by my friends for my lies about that shocking truth and humiliated by my enemies. Every exile’s escape exacts a cost. I’d paid my ransom. My defilement on Prom Night unlocked my karmic cage and set free the girl imprisoned inside Alex Rios.If anyone tells you that what happens in high school doesn’t matter, they’re lying. If they tell you that life begins in college, prove them right.My Awkward Phase is the first chapter of The Greatest Liar, Trans Fiction With A Purpose, which is published in the Amazon Kindle Store at $2.99 and available free to Amazon Prime members. I will publish the follow on chapter, Exposure, Diclosure but cannot publish the remaining 17 chapters without violating Kindle Select’s terms of service

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