By Karen Singer
It still seemed to rain most days, but the weather was gradually turning warmer and the trees were now full of leaves, and consequently, despite the rain, the pollen was filling the air. Spring and spring allergy season were in full bloom.
On Saturday afternoon, Roger did indeed finish up the Whittaker’s deck, and he was proud to collect the final payment for what he had accomplished – women’s jeans, women’s boots, bra, panties… and all. No, he didn’t apply a coat of lipstick before presenting them with the final bill. They had pretty much stayed out of his way and just let him work. Besides, despite the way he was forced to dress, both Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker had been rather effusive in their happiness over what he had accomplished for them, which made him all that much more glad that he had taken the job. Now if he could just get a few more jobs like it to see him through the next few months.
That night he proudly turned over the final check for the job to Janice, who praised him for his efforts as well. Despite everything, Roger was very happy to get her praise. He wasn’t as happy though with her next thought. “Since you’ve accomplished this big job, then I think you should take the time to reward yourself a bit,” Janice suggested.
Roger was all for the sound of that.
“I think it’s time you found yourself another pair of boots to wear on the job now. Something with a little higher heel I think. Oh, and don’t forget to find something that you can clean and polish every night. We certainly can’t have your signature boots looking bad, can we?”
No, Roger wasn’t happy with that little… suggestion… at all! New boots? Higher heel? Oh hell!
The gorgeous red silk Chinese dress that Susan wore hugged every curve of her body, from its tight high neck down to her ankles. She had many dresses like it in her wardrobe, but she rarely wore any of them. She did tonight as she softly knocked on her father’s office door.
“Enter daughter,” the voice from inside invited.
She opened the door and entered, and bowed traditionally.
Mr. Wu’s delight at seeing his daughter was broadened at the sight of her in the traditional dress. The fact that she looked terribly sexy in the dress wasn’t lost on his ageing body one bit. He left his desk and took a seat in one of the comfortable chairs in the room instead where he could see her better. “Please, daughter, sit with me.”
Susan shook her head. As nice as it sounded, tonight she was playing the part of the old traditional daughter. She would stand in his presence tonight. She didn’t really want anything special from her father, she was doing this simply… to honor him. He was the greatest man she had ever met. And after spending all afternoon with Janice and her… total hatred of men, she had decided to do this one tiny thing in honor of her father.
“What is it you wish?” Mr. Wu asked.
“Only to tell you that I met with Janice Stokley this afternoon.”
“And things went better than I hoped.”
“Very good,” Mr. Wu purred.
“Janice has agreed to let me… witness… one of her little sessions with a man,” she told him first.
“That is excellent. I’m sure you can learn much from her.”
Susan nodded. “That was my thought. You know my own personal interests. I see her as something of a… master at what she does.”
Her father nodded. “My thoughts as well, daughter. So she will work for us?”
“Yes. She’s not at all happy that she has no choice in the matter, but I spoke to her of several useful things our relationship can bring.”
“She wants to retire, but she knows she will never fully give up her desire to destroy men. This would give her an occasional outlet. I do need to tell you though. She is rather adamant about not using her technique on women.”
“Knowing her, that doesn’t surprise me much,” Wu admitted. “What else?”
“Her daughter,” Susan said. “I suggested that perhaps there were things that we could teach her that would be useful to Janice.”
“Her daughter is not Chinese,” Wu pointed out.
“No, but it seems that her daughter is already showing talent and interest in some very key areas. If we train her a bit, she could be a very useful operative to us in the future… even without Janice. You know as well as I do that at times we need to… hide our heritage. An operative such as she could be would be of immense value.”
Wu considered that. “Point well taken daughter. I will consider it strongly and rely on your judgment in the matter.”
“Thank you father,” Susan replied.
“Anything else of note?” Wu asked.
Susan smiled. “Only that she makes a very, very good chocolate cake.”
Stan Franklin got up from in front of his TV set, totally irritated that someone had rung his doorbell at eight o’clock at night – just when all the good shows were coming on TV! He wasn’t prepared to see two men in suits standing outside his door holding up – badges! FBI badges! He opened his door. “Yes?”
“Stanley Franklin?” one of them asked.
“Yeah?” Stan asked cautiously.
“I’m Agent Jacobs, and this is Agent Forsyth. May we come in and talk for a few minutes?”
“Janice Stokley and Roger Brinkley,” Jacobs replied.
Stan stood back and held the door for the two FBI agents. Something about the two men intimidated him terribly. What the heck had Roger gotten into now? “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Maybe nothing,” the one named Forsyth replied.
“But also, maybe something big,” Jacobs countered. “Have you heard anything suspicious from Mr. Brinkley’s housekeeper? Anything at all?”
“Suspicious? Like what? The woman cooks and cleans. I barely know her!”
“She does cook… and she does clean?” Forsyth asked.
“Uh… yeah! And she’s a damn good cook too for that matter. What of it?”
Jacobs ignored his question. “Have you noticed anything at all out of ordinary with Mr. Brinkley?”
“Out of order? You’re kidding right?”
“No, just asking,” Forsyth replied.
“Roger’s whole damn life is out of order!”
“Say what?” Forsyth exclaimed.
“His whole damn life is going… stupid!”
“In what way?” Jacobs asked.
Stan shook his head. “I guess you guys haven’t heard about him then.”
“Heard what?” Jacobs pressed.
“Roger. He’s suddenly come up with the crazy idea that he wants to become a woman. The dumb guy is now running around in dresses – like to church no less!”
Both Jacobs and Forsyth stared at him incredulously. But Jacobs recovered first. “Is this… way out of line for him? Did you see anything like this coming?”
“No! Not a thing. He just up and announces one day that he’s decided he’s going to become a woman… and he’s actually working on it! Claims he’s going to go whole hog – as much of a real woman as he can be.”
“People do this kind of thing once in a while,” Forsyth countered.
“Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out!” Stan exclaimed.
“It’s why people like that usually try to keep it to themselves as long as they can,” Forsyth continued.
Stan nodded. “Well, he did his best to keep me away from knowing it, that’s for sure. But something like that is too big for me not to find out!”
“And what does Mrs. Stokley say about it?” Jacobs asked.
“I don’t know? No clue at all. You might want to talk to Jennifer though, she’s talked with his housekeeper more than I have. Cooking things I guess.”
Jacobs looked down at his notes. “And that would be Jennifer…”
“White,” Stan supplied for her. “She was Roger’s main girlfriend for a long time.”
“White,” Stan supplied for her. “She was Roger’s main girlfriend for a long time.”
Jacobs had guessed that it was Jennifer White, and now it sounded like maybe this Jennifer White would have all the answers he was looking for.
“Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Franklin,” Jacobs said as he held out his hand.
“What’s this all about anyway?” Stan asked. “Why are you so interested?”
“Janice Stokley stole a lot of money from several banks,” Jacobs supplied.
“Well… we don’t know that for sure!” Forsyth quickly countered… for which Jacobs leveled a rather nasty look at him. “We just want to make sure she’s not involved.”
“I have no idea about anything like that, but she doesn’t seem the type to me. You’d have to talk to Roger about that.” Stan replied.
“They never seem the type!” Jacobs countered.
“Well… as I said, I have no idea. You’ll have to ask Roger.”
Twenty minutes later, Jacobs was ringing the doorbell of Jennifer White’s house. Having an absolutely gorgeous woman answer the door was one of the few highlights of his day. “Ms. White?” he asked as he held up his badge.
“Yes,” Jennifer asked uncertainly.
“I’m Agent Jacobs and this is Agent Forsyth. We’d like to talk with you about Janice Stokley and Roger Brinkley?”
Jennifer’s eyebrows went sky high, but she opened the door and nervously let them in. “Mr. Stokley and Roger? Why are you interested in them?”
“Mrs. Stokley is of interest in several bank robberies that occurred a few years ago,” Jacobs explained. He was glad that this time Forsyth didn’t say anything.
“Um… I don’t know anything at all about that!” Jennifer exclaimed. “I mean… are you sure? She really doesn’t seem the type.”
“We’re sure,” Jacobs said with certainty.
“Actually, we don’t know for sure that she was involved. We just want to make sure,” Forsyth added. Jacobs just didn’t get the fact that they could be sued over maligning innocent people!
Jennifer shook her head. “You’ll have to talk to her,” she said. “I just find it hard to believe.”
Jacobs nodded. “Ms. White, we heard from a Mr. Franklin that Mr. Brinkley seems to be acting oddly lately. He said he’s decided to go through a sex change.”
Jennifer nodded. “Yeah, you can imagine how surprised I was by it. I mean, I was almost engaged to the guy once.”
“Are you still close friends?” Jacobs asked.
“Not nearly like we used to be,” Jennifer replied. “I guess you could just say… good friends now… sort of.”
“Well the guy is trying to turn himself into a woman. Do you think I’d be able to have the same kind of relationship with him as I used to?”
“Uh… no,” Jacobs replied. “So you haven’t noticed anything… questionable going on between Mrs. Stokley and Mr. Brinkley?”
“You’ve got to be kidding! Anything questionable between them? Not a thing! It’s just this new direction with Roger’s life that I find questionable. Totally questionable!”
“What’s up Stan?” Roger asked – in his own voice for a change as he answered his phone.
“Roger, two guys from the FBI were just here asking about you and your housekeeper!”
“Two guys from the FBI…”
“Yeah, yeah, I got that part. What did they want?”
“Yeah, yeah, I got that part. What did they want?”
“They seem to think that your Mrs. Stokley is involved in some kind of a bank robbery. Do you know anything about that?”
Protect Janice! It was paramount in Roger’s brain. “Not a thing!” he replied quickly. “In fact, I’ll bet they’re the same two that met me in school one day and asked the same thing.”
“They talked to you already?”
“Right in the principal’s office,” Roger replied.
“Damn!” Stan swore. “So what did you tell them?”
“Not a thing. What could I tell them? They seem to be way out in left field here.”
“That’s the impression I got too. Grasping at straws.”
“Yeah. Exactly,” Roger agreed.
Roger would have put it out of his mind a bit more, if half an hour later, he didn’t get a call from Jennifer asking him the same questions. “They visited you too?” Roger asked.
“Two guys from the FBI,” Jennifer agreed. “Agents Jacobs and Forsyth.”
“Jacobs and Forsyth?” Roger asked.
“That’s what they’re IDs said,” Jennifer replied. “They seem to think that Janice stole some money or something.”
Janice was just leaving her bedroom and was passing by Roger’s room when she heard the names Jacobs and Forsyth. She immediately stopped and listened carefully from his doorway.
“Yeah,” Roger replied as he turned and saw Janice standing listening to him. Something told him to be careful with what he said. “So what did they say?” he asked Jennifer.
“Only that and nothing more. They did seem to be interested in the fact that you’re now going through a sex change.”
Roger rolled his eyes. “They would be,” he replied. “So what did you tell them?”
“Tell them? Other than the fact that I think you’re absolutely nuts for even wanting to become a woman, there wasn’t anything else I could tell them.”
Roger nodded. “Okay, thanks Jennifer. I appreciate you letting me know.” He hung up his phone and looked at Janice. “It seems that the FBI stopped at Jennifer’s house and were asking questions about you and me.”
“And what did she tell them?” Janice asked.
“Only that she thinks I’m nuts for going through a sex change.”
Janice nodded, then smiled. “I guess she would think that? She didn’t mention anything else?”
Roger shook his head. “Like what?”
This time Janice shook her head. “Nothing. Agent Jacobs seems convinced that I did something that I didn’t do,” she explained. Then she walked out and left him. Yes, it was far past time to do something about Agent Jacobs…. And perhaps Agent Forsyth as well. But it was Agent Jacobs that had been hounding her footsteps for so many years!
It was later that night, after Carol had gone to bed, that Janice entered Roger’s room. He was already in his nightgown and had just laid down on the floor with his new blanket and pillow. “Candy,” Janice said, “will you share a cup of coffee with me for a few minutes? I’d like to talk to you.”
Roger immediately got up from the floor and followed her to the kitchen, although he’d much rather not. Talking with Janice, especially at this hour seemed rather… ominous.
In the kitchen, Janice poured them both a cup of coffee. Roger sipped his slowly… warily… as he waited for Janice to sit down and begin the conversation.
Janice sat and took a sip of her own coffee. So good. “Mr. Brinkley… Candy,” she said to get things started. “Sleep and obey, Mr. Brinkley, sleep and obey. Sleep and obey, Mr. Brinkley, sleep and obey.”
Once again, Roger was lost before he even knew what was going on. Very carefully, Janice brought him down, further and further, deeper and deeper, until she was sure he was deep enough to get what she wanted out of him. Finally she started asking questions. “Mr. Brinkley, when you spoke to Jennifer White a little while ago, did she ask anything else about me?”
“No,” Roger answered right away.
“Did she say anything at all about what the FBI might have told her?”
“Only that they think you’re involved in a bank robbery.”
She nodded. “You’re sure there was nothing else in that conversation?”
“Not that I know of,” Roger replied.
It was pretty much what Janice expected. She just hadn’t expected Jacobs to start questioning Roger’s friends. As far as she could see though, Jacobs had learned nothing new… other than Roger’s new direction for his life, which would be pretty difficult for anyone to miss anymore anyway. So basically, no harm done. Hopefully anyway. She got up and found her notebook and a pen and carried them back to the table. It was time for a new line of questions.
“Mr. Brinkley,” she said. “I’d like you to think back carefully to the time you spent as Boots the dog. She then spent the next half hour questioning his experiences in detail… with particular emphasis on what his brain had thought, and what it was capable of doing during that period. She found it very, very fascinating. His answers were about to become the total ruination of Mr. Joseph Halifax. Soon to be… but she had no name for what Halifax would become. Maybe she’d ask Susan if she had a preference. Susan had said she wanted him when she was through with him after all. Yes, maybe she’d ask Susan.