Jasmine has a shock

Back to a familiar subject – the media and transgender. In the last couple of weeks there have a been a few items that have given me cause for thought.  First was Jenni Murray’s comment that trans-women aren’t real women. I haven’t heard the full context of what she said but it seems that she fell into a trap of disclosing her prejudice. My first thought was what does she mean by a real woman?  It can’t be someone with breasts and a vagina because many trans-women have those.  Perhaps it’s the presence of ovaries, but what about the women who have had them removed for various reasons – do they cease to be real women.  I can’t think of a single feature or lack of it that makes a woman real or fake unless we’re talking about the possession of two X chromosomes (even that is complicated by various chromosomal abnormalities). I’m sure Jenni doesn’t want to lump all women together in some outdated stereotype but she is reinforcing the stereotypical view of women with her discriminatory opinion.

Victoria Coren Mitchell did a piece in the Observer on Jenni Murray’s comment. I can’t recall her main point, if there was one, but she seemed to be commiserating with Jenni for being trapped in one of those topics where voicing an opinion is not allowed. The situation where speakers get banned from university campuses because their views may cause offence. We ought allow ourselves to be offended and respond with a reasoned argument and not close our minds to the views. I am offended my nearly every statement that emerges from this Conservative government, but that’s another matter. I don’t agree with shouting someone down simply because I think they are wrong. So I think Jenni Murray should be responded to but not gagged.

Which brings me to my last point.  There has been some discussion about Ricky Gervais.  Apparently, he made fun of transgendered people, specifically Caitlin Jenner, in a comedy skit. Was it offensive? I think we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves and perhaps all comedy has a degree of offence in it.  Being transgender has its ridiculous moments but I don’t like being ridiculed. My rule is to replace “trans” or some other term for a minority group with “black” or “disabled”.  If the joke becomes offensive to those groups then the original was obviously offensive too.


imgp5544That’s enough of that.  Don’t forget to go to the Jasmine Frame publications page to find out about the new novel, The Brides’ Club Murder. Here however, is the next episode of the prequel novella, Darkroom.

Darkroom: Part 8

The tube was quieter than earlier in the evening. Most of the passengers were single people, wearing work clothes, slumped in their seats. Jasmine guessed they were night-workers, cleaners, restaurant and bar staff, tired after a long shift. There were a few other people like themselves heading home after an evening of entertainment or perhaps going on somewhere.  Jasmine reflected on how different she felt now compared to earlier on the train. She wondered if Diana shared her feeling. Instead of the anticipation of showing off herself off as a woman, of meeting others like her enjoying themselves, there was the sense of being sullied by their attacker, a reinforcement of the worries that probably every woman and person trying to be a woman faces on a night out.
They arrived back at the mainline station and having checked that there was no train for Diana until after four a.m. they took the short walk back to the hotel. Diana stood in the middle of the room and stared, vacantly at the double bed.
Jasmine pointed at the couch under the window.
‘Look that’s a bed too. There’s spare pillows and blankets in the wardrobe.’
‘Why don’t you lie down and have a rest. We’ll make sure you get to your train,’ Angela said.  Diana nodded, went to the couch and sat down. She took her shoes off and lay on her side, tucking her legs up against her chest.
Angela took the blanket from the wardrobe and lay it over Diana.
‘There you are. Get some sleep if you can.’
Diana muttered a kind of thank you and lay with her eyes open.
Jasmine unzipped her dress and let it drop to the floor. She covered her underwear with a thin dressing gown and got into the double bed. Angela copied her and quickly climbed in beside her.
‘I hope Diana is alright,’ Jasmine said, looking at the curled-up figure.
‘I don’t think her head injury is serious,’ Angela whispered, ‘She was walking okay from the station, but I’m sure she’s troubled by what happens.’
‘I suppose we’ll see if she wants to catch the early train.’
She did. The rustle of Diana’s shoes on the carpet was enough to alert Jasmine that she was moving. Although she felt exhausted, Jasmine couldn’t fall asleep because of all the thoughts about the evening that passed through her mind.
‘Are you going for the train?’ Jasmine asked as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing Angela.
Diana froze as if she had not expected to hear her voice.
‘Yes,’ she said.
‘I’ll come with you,’ Jasmine said, swinging out of bed. ‘I don’t think stations are pleasant places in the early morning.’
Angela’s spoke her voice groggy with sleep. ‘I’ll join you.’
‘Sorry, I was trying not to disturb you,’ Jasmine said.
Angela gave her a tired smile, ‘I wasn’t sleeping very deeply.’
Jasmine pulled on the skirt and a thick top she had worn on the previous day’s journey and Angela quickly dressed too.
‘There,’ Jasmine aid, glancing in the mirror and deciding her make-up would do for a dark, cold morning, ‘We’re ready.’
The station was even more deserted than it had been a couple of hours earlier. Jasmine glanced at the departures board and noticed that a number of trains had “CANCELLED” beside them.
‘What’s up?’ she said, ‘There weren’t any problems earlier.’
‘My train’s OK,’ Diana said, ‘The cancelled trains were heading south. I’m going east.’
‘South?’ Angela queried, ‘That’s where we were isn’t it? Where the club is?’
Jasmine nodded. ‘I wonder what’s happened.’  They escorted Diana to her train and saw her through the barrier. Just before boarding her carriage, Diana turned and raised a hand.
‘I hope she’s safe?’ Angela said as she waved in return.
‘Safe, yes. Feeling safe, probably not. I think it will be a while before Diana is confident enough to take another night out; as Diana at any rate.’
Angela nodded and they turned away to return to the hotel. As they crossed the concourse, Jasmine saw a railway worker walking on a path that intersected with their own.
‘Why are all those trains cancelled?’ she asked.
The middle-aged man sniffed and looked at her. His eyes showed that he suspected she wasn’t a real girl. ‘Body on the line.’
‘A body!’ Angela gasped.
The man shrugged. ‘Happens all the time. Driver reports hitting something and when we turn up we find bits spread from here to Timbuctoo.’
‘Suicides?’ Jasmine asked.
‘Mostly. Selfish cunts who don’t care what it does to the driver. Sometimes though they’re dead first.’
‘What do you mean?’ Angela said.
‘Handy way of getting rid of body isn’t it. Have a train mash up the corpse for you, if you’re a murderer, that is. The gangs and criminals do it to cover their traces.’
Jasmine found certain thoughts running through her head.
‘Where was this body found?’
‘Why you lost one?’ The railway man chuckled. ‘I can’t say exactly,’ he went on, ‘somewhere down towards The Tower.’
‘That’s. . .’ Angela began. Jasmine grabbed her arm and dragged her away.
‘Thanks. We’ll have to wait till they’re running again, ‘ Jasmine said, walking away and leaving the railway man staring after them.

They were back inside the hotel before Angela spoke again.
‘That body. . .’
‘Yes, I know,’ Jasmine interrupted, ‘it was found near where we were.’
‘The club, the Engine Shed, was right on the lines.’
‘Of course, it was.’
‘You don’t think? Surely Debs didn’t intend. . .’ Angela froze as they climbed the stairs.
‘. . .killing the guy who attacked Diana and me.’  Jasmine shook her head. She didn’t want to entertain the thought.  ‘Look, we don’t know that this body on the line was him. It could be just a coincidence. The man at the station says it happens all the time.’
Angela was shaking now, her voice cracking. ‘But Debs said she would make sure he didn’t trouble girls again. She got her men to take him out the back exit. That probably opens onto the railway lines.’
Jasmine wrapped her arms around her and urged her up the stairs.
‘She wouldn’t be so daft to dump him close to the club. As I said it’s probably a coincidence.’
They returned to their room and quickly stripped off their clothes.  They fell into bed arms enclosing each other.  Soon Angela’s breathing showed that she was asleep but Jasmine kept on thinking.  What had Debs meant?

…………….to be continued.

Jasmine in paperback

WP_20170310_15_03_46_ProIt’s been a busy week with the e-book of The Brides’ Club Murder going live (have you bought your copy yet?) and then on Tuesday, a boxful of the paperbacks arrived a week earlier than expected.  So, if you want an actual hard copy of the third Jasmine Frame novel, get in touch (go to the Jasmine Frame publications page for details.)

I also spent a pleasant evening with the members of a university writers’ group. It was an opportunity to ramble on about how Jasmine got created, me being trans, and what I have learned from self-publishing the Jasmine stories, having the September (Evil Above the Stars) series published by a small independent and working for educational publishers. I enjoyed myself and I hope they did too. It was interesting to hear about their writings – quite a variety of crime, fantasy and romantic/literary.  I’m sure some of them will achieve more financial success than I’ve managed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: writing a novel is only part of the story; not even half of it. The publishing process is time-consuming (and expensive if you’re self-publishing as professionally as possible) and then there is the marketing. I can see why many people make a career of marketing because if it is to be done properly then it is a full-time job. I freely admit that I am useless at it. I get embarrassed about singing the praises of my own work even though I do actually think it’s pretty good and I struggle to find ways to reach out to the potential customers who I am sure are out there amongst the seven billion inhabitants of this planet.

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Here’s one way I’ve tried to promote Jasmine Frame – the weekly episodes of prequels to Painted Ladies. We’ve reached episode 7 of the latest, Darkroom.

Darkroom: Part 7

Jasmine and Debs reached the relative quiet of the entrance vestibule. Angela emerged from the Ladies’ loo with Diana behind her. Angela saw Jasmine immediately and gasped.
‘Jas! What’s happened to you? Your face is covered in blood.’
Jasmine touched her forehead.  It was sticky.
‘He’s here,’ she said.
‘Who?’ Angela frowned.
‘The guy who attacked Diana. He attacked me in the end quiet room.’
Angela’s face screwed up in a mixture of horror and pity. ‘He abused you lie he did Diana?’
Jasmine shook her head violently. ‘No. I got away and locked him in the room.’
Angela peered closely at her face. ‘It’s his blood?’
‘Yes, I made a mess of his nose.’ Debs pushed passed them towards the main entrance. ‘We’ve got him, Ange. We can call the police and get him locked up.’
Diana shook her head violently. ‘No. No police.’
‘Are you feeling alright?’ Jasmine asked, wondering if Diana still needed attention. ‘I didn’t call an ambulance because I couldn’t get a signal. That’s why I ended up with “him”.’
Diana appealed. ‘I feel, um, alright. No police and no ambulance. Please.’
Angela spoke for her. ‘Her pupils look normal so I think perhaps she doesn’t have concussion.’
‘Well, what are we going to do with the guy?’ Jasmine said feeling at a loss.
‘Think about it Jas,’ Angela said. ‘If you get involved with the police it will come out who you are.’
‘And word that I’m trans will get back to my senior officers.’
Debs approached with two security men behind her. One was the senior of the pair of doormen and the other was a younger, heavily built man that Jas had not seen before.
‘Take us to him then,’ Debs said.
Jasmine shrugged. She turned and led the small party back into the dance hall and across to the quiet rooms. They passed through the room which still had the snoggers in it.  They looked up as Jasmine lead the group to the door but showed little interest.  The key was still in her hand. She unlocked the door, pulled it open and stepped back for the security men to enter. Debs followed and flicked a switch on the wall. Small ceiling lights came on providing a dim illumination over the whole room.  Lying sprawled across a space between the chairs and sofa was the man. He was wearing a dark overcoat over dark trousers and black leather shoes.
Jasmine, Angela and Diana followed Debs and the security men into the room.
‘Is this the guy?’ the senior bouncer asked.
‘If he’s got a broken nose, then he’s the man that attacked me,’ Jasmine said.  The guard approached the prone body, bent down and nudged him. There was a groan and the man twitched his arms and legs. He started to lift himself up revealing, in the semi-darkness his ruined face. The two guards grabbed him under the arms and pulled him to his feet. He hung on them, his legs crooked.
Jasmine turned to Diana. ‘Is it the man who attacked you?’
Diana shrugged. ‘I don’t know. He shone the light at me. I couldn’t see his face. The only bit of him I saw was his penis when he thrust it at me.’ Her voice trembled.
‘I don’t think you’ll recognise that now,’ Debs said with an ironic chuckle, ‘I doubt that he’s aroused at this moment.’
‘He used the torch to dazzle me too,’ Jasmine said. She picked up the torch from where it lay on the floor. She flicked the switch. A bright beam shone across the room.
‘I’m sure that’s the same torch,’ Diana said, not too certainly.
‘Seems it’s the same guy, then,’ Debs said. She approached the man slumped in the arms of the two guards. She peered closely into his bloody face. ‘You disgusting piece of shit. I’m not having people like you attacking my girls.’
‘What can we do?’ Jasmine said. ‘Call the police?’
Debs turned to face Jasmine. ‘Leave him to me. We’ll make sure he doesn’t trouble trans-girls again.’ She turned back to face the guards. ‘Take him out of the back exit.’
The guards took a firm grip on the limp body and hauled him out of the room, his toes dragging against the hard floor.
Debs went too. Jasmine started to follow but Debs stopped and turned to her.
‘There’s no need for you to come. I’ll handle this now. Go and clean up. Have a drink. Enjoy the party.’  She turned on her high heels and strode out after the guards and their captive.
‘But. . .’ Jasmine began. Angela took her arm and pulled her back.
‘Leave it Jas. Here’s your bag and phone. They were on the floor. Let’s go and get this blood off your face.’ She led Jasmine back across the hall to the toilets with Diana trailing behind.
Angela dabbed a wet paper towel at Jasmine’s face.  Jasmine winced.
‘Ow. Actually, that’s a bit sore.’
‘You headbutted him?’ Angela leant forward to examine Jasmine.
‘It was the only way I could get at him.’
‘You’ve got a bit of a bruise but concealer will hide it.’ She gently rubbed a little cream onto the affected area. ‘At least the blood doesn’t show up you’re your dress.’
Jasmine looked down at her purple tulip dress and noticed that though a little creased it seemed to have survived the ordeal pretty well.
‘There. I think you’ll do.’ Angela stepped back to admire her rescue work. Jasmine looked in the mirror and saw herself looking back. Her image didn’t reveal the turmoil that was going on in her mind: the memory of what the attacker had intended for her; what he had done to Diana; and now, what Debs and her men had planned for him. Should she have allowed him to be dragged off to suffer whatever punishment Debs had in mind. She was a police officer, supposed to enforce the law. But if Diana was unwilling to speak to the police or even reveal herself to an A&E nurse, and with her own identity a worry to herself, what else could she have done?  She applied her dark lipstick and forced a smile onto her reflection.
‘Shall we dance?’ Angela said cheerily, although Jasmine could sense a false edge to her voice.
‘I don’t think I’m in the mood anymore,’ Jasmine said.
‘What about you Diana?’ Angela said, turning to the girl who was standing behind them, silently watching, or thinking. She shook her head.
‘Shall we get a taxi then?’ Angela asked, ‘Do you want to join us Diana? You came from the same direction.’ Diana nodded.
‘Are you staying in town or catching a train?’ Jasmine asked
‘Will there be one at this time.’ Jasmine glanced at her watch, ‘It’s not one yet.’
Diana shrugged. ‘I’ll wait,’ she muttered.
‘At the station? At night?’ Angela shook her head. ‘Why don’t you come back to the hotel with us, at least until there’s a train due.’
Diana managed a thin smile. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered.
‘Let’s get our coats and find a taxi then,’ Angela was spurred into action.
…………………to be continued.

Jasmine -new novel

People are arriving at the Ashmore Lodge Hotel for a weekend of transgender fun. A body is discovered. Jasmine Frame is asked to join the gathering, incognito, to seek out the killer. Time is short and she finds she has to face her own gender prejudices as well as a host of motives for murder.

Layout 1The 3rd Jasmine Frame novel, The Brides’ Club Murder is now available on Amazon Kindle (if you’re in the UK go here). It’s a classic murder mystery with a transgender slant.

The paperback version will be available very soon (in the UK) at £9.99 (inc. p&p).  Send your order  to paintedladiesnovel@btinternet.com . Details of payment methods will be made by reply (cheque, Paypal or bank transfer).

Special offers

For 48 hours from 8 a.m. Sat. 4th March, the 2nd Jasmine Frame novel, Bodies By Design isLayout 1 for sale at under half price in the UK and US. (here  for UK buyers)


Purchasers of the paperback version of The Brides’ Club Murder will receive a free copy of Painted Ladies, the 1st in the series. (or have £1 off if you say you do not need another copy).

Painted Ladies front cover jpeg

Don’t forget that there are also two novellas available as e-books – Discovering Jasmine and Murder In Doubt.

discovering jasmine final coverMurder in doubt cover


And so on with the current Jasmine Frame story, Darkroom. We’ve reached episode 6. Warning – this passage contains violent scenes.

Darkroom: Part 6

Jasmine squinted and held her hand up to shield her eyes. She couldn’t see the speaker. The powerful light dazzled her and she felt unsteady. Her heart rate increased, readying her for flight but she wasn’t prepared for the fist that slammed into the side of her head. She staggered, felt the low arm of a sofa against her knee and fell full length on to the soft vinyl-covered cushions. Before she could use her hands to push herself up, a knee thrust into the small of her back. She twisted her head, gasping for breath. Her right cheek bone throbbed. The light was somewhere behind her but she still couldn’t see her attacker. Her wrists were grabbed and dragged behind her back. She felt a cord being tied around them, pulled tight. She cried with pain.
‘Cry all you like,’ the voice said from behind her head. ‘You can’t be heard with all that row outside.’ With an extra shove into the sofa she was released from the weight. She shuffled her legs around until she could sit up with her arms bound behind her. The figure in the shadows holding the torch was returning from the door to the room. Jasmine guessed that she was now locked in with him.  She trembled but made herself breathe slowly and deeply to calm her fear. The light approached again, the bearer lost in the darkness. The focus of the torch moved away from her eyes, travelling down her body. It passed up and down as if scanning her as his eyes no doubt were.
‘A pretty thing, aren’t you,’ he said in that same soft, confident voice. ‘Quite the fashion kitten too with that dress. But I bet underneath it all there’s a cock. After all, why else would you be here.’
The light came closer, dazzling her eyes again. A hand gleamed pinkly as it reached out towards her legs. He was wearing latex gloves. Jasmine tried to wriggle herself further back onto the sofa, squeezing her knees together. The hand landed on her right knee, gripping it, then pushing between her thighs. She resisted, clamping her muscles against the questing fingers.
‘Now darling, there’s no point resisting,’ he said. ‘You can make this easy for yourself or you can get hurt.’
She half relaxed, as if accepting his reasoning. She was thinking hard but unsure what to do. She wasn’t going to let him do to her what he did to Diana. The hand moved higher up her thigh. The torch was lowered to the floor and the right hand joined the left between her legs. Jasmine allowed herself a smile. Through the red spots in front of her eyes, she now could see the silhouette of the man bending over her, inching closer as his hands continued their exploration of her smooth thighs.
‘Oh, that’s a pity,’ he said in a voice that oozed disappointment. ‘Why aren’t you wearing stockings? Don’t all you trannies like sexy undies?’
Both hands progressed up the legs of her tights. Now he was astride her, leaning over her. She could feel his breath on her face and a smell of mint. The hands reached her groin.
‘All tucked away are we? You’re making life difficult. Oh well, if needs must.’
The hands withdrew from her private place and parted, moving over the top of her thighs. They slid around her hips reaching up for the waistband of her tights. Jasmine waited, holding her breath. His fingers slipped inside the stretched elastic. For a moment he was trapped. This was her moment.
She raised her left knee, fast. It made contact between his legs, encountering something soft. He let out a gasp and his head lowered. Pushing against her bound arms with all the force she could summon, Jasmine swung her head forward. Her forehead contacted his nose. She heard it crack, as he let out a cry and fell forward. She twisted to the side and they rolled together along the sofa, his hands still locked in her knickers; but she was on top now. In the dim light cast from the torch that lay on the floor, she saw his head below her. She arched her back and brought her forehead down on his nose again. This time there was a satisfying squishy noise of bone and tissue being mashed together.  He grunted.
Jasmine brought her right knee up between them and forced herself away from him. His hands were dragged from her hips. She slipped onto the floor, rolled away and rose to her feet. She was panting and her forehead felt sore. He was struggling up from the sofa, one hand protecting his battered face, the other reaching out for her.
‘You’ve had it now.’ His voice was different now. Speaking nasally through the pain of his ruined nose, he was angry. He lurched to his feet.
Jasmine kicked the torch away. It spun around illuminating the floor and bottoms of the furniture. It was light enough to see her attacker staggering, zombie-like towards her.  She took a step back out of his reach and launched a kick.  The pointed toe of her shoe stabbed into his groin. As her foot withdrew, he groaned again and fell forward. She helped him down with a stamp to his back with her narrow heel. He hit the hard, rubber floor with his ruined face. Jasmine swung and launched a final kick at his head. There was a final groan and he lay still.
Jasmine stood still breathing heavily, looking down at him.
‘That’s for what you did to Diana,’ she muttered. She turned and walked towards the door. Turning her back she felt for the door handle with her tied-together hands. Below the knob was the key which he had not had the foresight to remove. She had to twist her body until she could get the leverage to unlock the door and then turn the handle. She pulled the door open and ran into the next room.
‘Help me,’ she cried, ‘I’ve been attacked.’
Several bodies stirred in the shadows. Movement revealed naked limbs, buttocks, faces and other parts of bodies. Eyes widened as their owners observed her.
‘What’s that, love?’ a deep voice said. It was owned by a tall, slim figure in a sparkling silver dress that just about covered her genitalia.
‘Help me, please,’ Jasmine repeated. ‘My hands are tied.’ She turned to reveal her bound wrists.
‘What the fuck?’ the TV said approaching her. She bent down and fiddled ineffectually with the knots. Others joined her, leaning in to examine her.  A few knives of various types and sizes appeared from handbags. One was used to start sawing at her bonds.
‘What happened, darling?’
‘Is that your blood on your face?’
‘Where is he?’
‘Is there BDSM in that room?’
The voices were all round her. She strained against the bindings.
‘Quickly please. He’s in there.’
Her hands came free. She felt her shoulders relax as she brought her hands to her front and she rubbed the wrists. She pushed herself through the crowd around her and ran back to the door to the room where she had been attacked. Taking the key from the lock, she closed the door and turned the key on the other side, locking the room with him still in it.
Jasmine held the key between her fingers thinking she would drop it into her bag, then realised that she didn’t have it, or her phone. It must be somewhere inside the room with the sex maniac.
She turned and ran across the room. The occupants stood and stared.
‘I’ve got to find Angela and Debs,’ she said to no-one in particular.  She found a door that opened onto the dance hall. The noise of the music knocked her back but she saw a figure in a long gown and towering wig standing on the stage roaring into a microphone – the live entertainment. The floor around the stage was packed. Jasmine forced her way between the hot, sweaty bodies of the clubbers dancing and swaying to the singing and hollering their appreciation of the drag artiste.
She reached the stage and saw the golden silhouette of Debs standing beside a tower of loudspeakers.  She pushed through the crowd until she was at Debs’ side. The compere stared at her.
‘I’ve got him,’ Jasmine bellowed at her.
‘What?’ Debs roared back.
‘Diana’s attacker. He attacked me. I’ve locked him in one of the rooms.’
‘You’ve what?’
Jasmine leaned towards Debs and shouted directly into her ear.
‘The guy who attacked Diana is locked in a room.’
Debs mouth opened, stayed open for seconds then closed. She turned so her lips were against Jasmine’s ear.
‘Let’s deal with him.’  She grabbed Jasmine’s hand and dragged her off through the dancers. The crowd parted to let them through but they were heading towards the entrance and away from the quiet rooms.
‘Where are we going?’ Jasmine cried out.
‘To collect my security guys.’
…………………… to be continued.

Jasmine makes a guess

I read last week that a US toy manufacturer is producing a doll modelled on a well-known teenage trans-girl. I think it’s great that the girl has got recognition for her struggle to be recognised in the gender she identifies with but I wonder – how can you tell the doll is trans? The pictures show a feminine face and hair-style but what about the model of her body? In my limited experience, boy and girl dolls are equally lacking in genitalia although the female version may have breasts. So does the trans doll come with a mixture of male and female clothes and tiny enhancers to fill the doll-sized bra. I wonder how often children who have Barbies and Kens play cross-dressing games. What does Ken look like in a dress and Barbie in an Action-Man outfit?  What other trans icons could be put out as models, perhaps like Star Wars figures rather than dolls – Grayson Perry, Caitlin Jenner?

I’m being facetious, I know. There are far more serious issues facing trans-people, particularly in the US. I have just read that Trump has withdrawn Obama’s Federal guidance that held back the States wishing to ban trans-people from the washrooms that they feel comfortable using. Is it the beginning of a fundamentalist backlash against LGBT?

I’ve decided to open up a new occasional page for my rants about the state of the world – got to the “PRE on the World” page if you want to read them.


Jasmine Frame in The Brides’ Club Murder

Layout 1Watch this page for the publication of The Brides’ Club Murder: the 3rd Jasmine Frame novel scheduled for the first week of March with a special offer on the paperback edition of Painted Ladies.

And so to the latest, that is, the fifth, episode of Darkroom, the Jasmine Frame prequel. What is Jasmine getting into?

Darkroom: Part 5

Jasmine knelt in front of Diana while Angela hugged her. What an ordeal the girl had gone through.  Jasmine felt an anger and determination to find the person who had traumatised the young transvestite. She seemed to be struggling to find the words to describe what had happened to her.
‘Should we call an ambulance for her?’ Jasmine said softly.
Angela shook her head. ‘I don’t think so. I think she just needs to gather herself.’
‘But we need to find out what happened to her so we can so something.’
‘Give her time, Jas.’
Jasmine bit her lip. ‘We saw you on the tube,’ she said to Diana.
Diana swallowed and spoke in a cracked voice. ‘I remember you too. I thought you both looked pretty and I wished I could look like you.’
Jasmine was pleased that at last Diana had responded. ‘We thought you were on your way here like us, but we lost sight of you in the street.’
Diana nodded. ‘It was cold. I was hurrying.  I didn’t see him until he grabbed me and pushed me through the door.’
‘He was behind you? He followed you from the station?’
Diana shrugged. ‘I don’t know where he came from.’
‘What did he look like?’ Jasmine leaned forward to hear Diana’s whispered reply.
‘I don’t know. I didn’t see him. It was dark inside.’
‘Yes, I know.’
‘He had a torch. He shone it in my eyes. I couldn’t see anything.’
‘He was alone?’
Diana nodded. ‘I think so. I didn’t hear anyone else.’
Angela listened as Jasmine continued to question Diana. ‘What happened when he got you into the building?’
‘I . . . I was scared.’
‘Of course.’
‘He dragged me into the room and pushed me onto the chair.’
‘The chair was there in the middle of the room?’
‘Yes, yes, I think so.’
‘Then what did he do?’ Jasmine asked.
Diana sobbed, her words emerging in a broken gurgle. ‘I just like being a girl. I’m not gay.’
Angela hugged her tighter. ‘Yes, yes, we understand. He abused you?’
Despite her head being held firmly in Angela’s arms, Diana nodded.
‘OK, we don’t have to go into all that if you don’t want to,’ Jasmine said realising that she was sounding like the police officer she was in her male life. ‘When he’d, um, finished, what happened.
Diana sniffed. ‘He knocked me over and kicked me. That’s all I can remember until you came. I think I was unconscious.’
Jasmine nodded. ‘And that’s how we found you. I wonder how long it had been since he left?’
Angela released her grip on Diana, allowing her to breathe and sniff wetly.
‘He just left Diana there. He could have killed her with that kick to the head but he didn’t care,’ she said.
‘Yes, but he had it all planned,’ Jasmine agreed. ‘He must have had that dark room in the warehouse prepared with the single chair and the entrance door unlocked. Then he waited at the station until a likely target came along. He chose the time before the club filled up when the street from the station was pretty quiet and dark.’
‘He was waiting for Diana?’
‘Someone like her – young, trans, alone, nervous.’
‘He was taking a risk.’
‘That’s probably part of the fun for him. Having chosen his victim, he follows her and times his attack just as she reaches the door of the warehouse. Provided there’s no-one really close he’s got her inside unnoticed.’
‘If we’d been a bit quicker and right behind Diana, he wouldn’t have got away with it,’ Angela said, the regret obvious in her voice.’
‘No. He would have given up on Diana and gone back to wait for another target. Maybe there wouldn’t be anyone suitable.’
‘That would be frustrating for him.’
‘Yes. Perhaps he has a plan B. Another way to find a tranny to molest.’
I listen to them talking about me, talking about that monster who did those things to me. I remember his hand between my thighs, groping, squeezing, tugging.  I can’t tell them what he did. No one has touched me down there, not since I was little kid and my mother bathed me.  I feel again his thing filling my mouth so I can’t breathe, his hands holding my head as he moves. I don’t want to think about it. I can’t describe it to them. No, I can’t.
The door opened letting in a blast of music and Debs, a vision of sparkling gold.
‘Is this the injured girl?  She rushed towards them and knelt, the split in her dress parting to reveal her smooth, nylon-sheathed legs.
‘Yes,’ Jasmine replied, ‘This is Diana. She was on her way here at the same time as us but was attacked and dragged into the warehouse on the other side of the road. He abused her.’
‘That’s dreadful. Are you calling the police?’
‘Diana doesn’t want to; not yet.’
Debs let out a sigh of relief. ‘Hmm. I don’t really want the cops prowling round here but I like the idea of sex-maniacs lying in wait for our girls even less. We have to do something.’
‘Diana couldn’t see him so we’ve no description of the attacker. Of course, there may be semen on Diana’s clothes or on the floor of the warehouse where he attacked her. The police may be able to get a DNA match.’
‘If we informed them,’ Debs added.
‘Do you think Diana is his first victim?’ Angela asked.
Jasmine looked at Debs waiting for an answer. She thought then slowly shook her head.
‘I don’t know. I haven’t heard of anything like this, but perhaps his other victims don’t want to talk about it either.’
Jasmine spoke, ‘He left Diana for dead. There was no way she could have freed herself if we hadn’t found her. Even if it is the first time he’s tried this stunt he knows this area and I’d say he knows this club and its patrons well.’
Debs looked surprised. ‘You mean he’s a regular?’
Jasmine shrugged. ‘I don’t know about that but I’d say he knows about the girls who come here, what time the place gets busy. Perhaps he has tried picking up trannies here to get a bit of what he wants.’
Debs shook her head, ‘I can’t believe it. Yes, I know we have “the admirers” who come to court the girls, and yes, a bit of, er, intimate behaviour goes on in these quiet rooms. It’s what some of the girls come for; to play out their fantasies of being desirable sex objects.’ Her face darkened. ‘But I’m not having someone coming to my club and forcing themselves on my girls.’
‘Good, but identifying him is the problem,’ Jasmine commented.
Debs stood up. ‘Look, I’ve got to go. It’s nearly time for the live entertainment and I have to do my compere bit.  Look after Diana and I’ll come back and see you shortly.’  She turned and left giving them another burst of dance music as the door opened and closed.
Angela looked at Jasmine. ‘Do you think the guy who attacked Diana comes here to meet TVs?’
‘I’m sure he’s been here on several occasions. The question is, where is he now?’
Diana shivered. ‘I feel sick.’
Angela leapt up and threw her bag over her shoulder. ‘Oh, I hope it’s not concussion. Let me take you to the loo.’ She gripped Diana’s arm and helped her to her feet. The two of them staggered to the door.
‘Shall I come too?’ Jasmine asked.
‘Call an ambulance. I don’t want Diana collapsing on us.’  They left the room.
Jasmine sat in the dimly lit room and took her mobile phone from her clutch bag. There was no signal. She stood up and walked to the door to the adjoining room staring at the small screen. There was no change so she carried on walking from one small, dark, quiet room to another.  A couple of rooms were occupied by shadowy figures engaged in soft chatter, snogging and fumblings under clothes but Jasmine barely noticed. She continued in her quest for a signal.
She turned a handle and pulled the door open. The next room was darker than the others. She stepped into it and let out a small cry of joy. She had a signal. The door closed behind her.  The only light was from the screen of the phone. She tapped one nine, then another, then the phone flew out of her hand as something slammed against her wrist. She gasped and looked up. A bright torch light shone in her eyes.
A soft, smooth voice of a man spoke from behind the light. ‘Well, what have we got here, said the spider to the fly.’
……………………………to be continued

Jasmine opens a door

I’m in one of those periods when there’s a lot on the go but not one main, all-consuming activity. I’ve all but finished a bit of work for an educational publisher; the contract for Cold Fire is signed but I doubt much will happen for a few months;  The Brides’ Club Murder is with the printer and I’m working myself up to start the promotion; I’ve started thinking and researching for the 4th Jasmine novel, Molly’s Boudoir; I’ve looked over my talk, Salt, Soap and Soda which I’ve given this week; and there have been tasks for all sorts of different organisations. It’s exciting in some ways but also leaves a feeling of not actually having done much. Writing this blog is the one thing I do every week. Why? Well, I was informed that to sell one’s books one has to have an online presence. This is it, but I’m not sure it has much visibility or penetration of the market. I suppose I am just useless at marketing – that’s a statement, not an excuse.

imgp5551Another reason for setting myself the weekly  deadline of this blog is that I like it. It means I have to think about what to write about (or not as this bit of rambling shows) and most weeks, it means writing an episode of the Jasmine Frame stories. I’ve heard that to become a something like a competent writer you need to have at least written a million words. Well, thanks to nine novels, eleven novellas and uncountable short stories I think I’ve done that.  Note, I said competent, not good or best-selling.  You need to have learnt something over the million words to become that. I’m certainly not troubling the best-seller lists but hope that my writing has developed. You can tell by reading the next (the fourth) episode of the Jasmine Frame story, Darkroom, below.

Darkroom: Part 4

Jasmine shook her head. Why had the girl dropped an earring in this nondescript street? The brick wall of the warehouse and the pavement were uniform. There was no apparent reason for her progress to be interrupted.  Perhaps she had just lifted a hand to her head and brushed her ear, knocking the clip from her earlobe.  Then she saw it. It was set back a few centimetres into the dark wall –  a wooden door.  Jasmine took the few steps towards it and tried the handle. She expected to find it locked and was surprised when the handle turned and the door moved a little. The door fitted tightly in its jamb but with a bit of a shove it opened revealing. . . well, not revealing, in fact. The inside was as black as a cellar. The dim streetlight only penetrated a metre across a dusty wood floor.
‘I’m going to have a look inside,’ Jasmine said.
‘Why?’ Angela asked from behind her.
‘Because it’s open. I’m wondering why.’
‘You’ll need this then.’ Angela held out a small torch.
‘Where did that come from?’
‘My bag of course. Real girls keep all sorts in their handbags.’
Jasmine shrugged and took the torch from her, turned it on and directed the beam through the doorway. A narrow corridor was revealed.  Jasmine took a step inside.
I open my eyes. What’s happened to me? Where am I? I can’t see anything. Am I blind? I’m lying on my side, still. I tense my arms but my wrists are still bound tightly behind the chair. My hands feel numb and my shoulder aches. My head throbs. I can’t think straight.
Then, a sound. Footsteps. Is he coming back? A moan escapes from my throat. What’s he going to do next? Is this it? Is he going to kill me?
Jasmine swung the torchlight from side to side as they advanced slowly along the corridor. She stopped at a doorway on the left. She scanned the light around the room. It was empty, except for dust, and probably spiders and other animals. She resumed the slow progress along the corridor with Angela at her back.
‘Did you hear that?’ Jasmine whispered.
‘I don’t know. A sound. Ahead I think.’
‘Be careful.’
Jasmine took a few more steps. The torch lit up another door ahead of them, closed. She reached her hand forward; touched the door. It swung open. The cone of light lit up more dusty floorboards and something else; the legs of a bentwood chair lying on its side, and two other legs.
Jasmine leapt forward to the side of the girl. The torch showed that her wrists were tied to the back of the chair with packing twine.
‘Are you alright?’ Jasmine said, stooping over the girl’s head. The black wig was askew covering her face.  She moaned.
‘We need to get her untied,’ Jasmine said, looking at the binding but not sure how to start. The knots looked as though they had been tugged tight.
‘I’ve got a penknife,’ Angela said, digging into her bag again.
‘I need to get a larger bag than this,’ Jasmine said, brandishing her small clutch bag in her hand.
‘Here. It’s not a big one.’ Angela handed her the knife which, with the blade pulled out, was no more than ten centimetres long. Jasmine gave her the torch
‘It’ll do. Shine the light on her wrists.’ Jasmine began hacking at the plastic cords. The blade wasn’t particularly sharp but it took just a few moments to cut through the bindings.  The girl’s arms came free and sagged.  Jasmine stood up and pulled the chair away. For a moment, she looked down at the girl. Her knickers and what was left of her stockings were around her ankles, but her shoes were still on her feet.  Her skirt was pushed up revealing a white expanse of thigh and buttock. She still had her red leather jacket on but it was open and her blouse was ripped open. False boobs poked out from the black lace bra.
‘Are you hurt?’ Jasmine asked leaning down.  There was mumble that could have been a no. There was no sign of blood so Jasmine decided to take a risk. She tugged the torn knickers from the girl’s ankles.
‘Help me get her up, Ange. We’d better get her out of here.’
She pushed her arms under the girl’s body and lifted. Angela took her arms and helped her into a sitting position. Together they hauled her onto her feet with their arms supporting her. She lolled against Jasmine’s shoulder.
Almost inaudibly the girl mumbled, ‘You’re not him?’
‘No, we’re helping you,’ Jasmine replied, taking a firmer grip on her waist.
‘Where can we take her?’ Angela asked as they stumbled along the narrow corridor.
‘It’ll have to be the club. There’s nowhere else round here.’
‘We should call the police; and an ambulance.’ Angela added.  They reached the door onto the street.
‘Yes, but let’s get her inside first. You can see she’s freezing.’  Jasmine heaved her up and with Angela draping the girl’s arm around her neck they set off up the road to the Engine Shed. They crossed the road to the entrance. The queue had grown and the waiting clubbers stared at them.  The security guards saw them immediately.
‘What’s up?’ the elder bouncer said.
‘She needs help. Can we get in, please?’
‘Yeah, of course.’ The guard pushed the queue back and stood to the side of the door as Jasmine and Angela helped the girl through. ‘What happened to her?’ he asked.
‘We don’t know, but she was attacked by someone.’
‘She’s trans?’
‘Well, you find the weirdo who did this to her and we’ll sort him out.’
‘Thanks,’ Jasmine grunted as they pushed through the doorway.  There was a crowd around the ticket office and cloakroom, and the corridor passed the loos was milling with girls coming and going.  The sound of the music seemed even louder than it had been earlier. Jasmine found that her head was spinning so she wondered how the t-girl felt.
‘Let’s get her to a quiet room,’ Angela shouted. ‘Then we can see what she needs.’
Jasmine nodded and they lifted the almost dead weight of the girl.  They carried her across the now thronging dance floor to the row of quiet rooms.
Jasmine lowered the girl onto a sofa as Angela pushed the door closed.
I felt the cold as if watching snow from the other side of a window.  The music was random noise that hammered at my ears. The lights dazzled and confused me. None of it affected me. Now, I am in the almost quiet, the almost dark, lying on a soft settee. The air is warm but I shiver, partly from cold and partly from the memory of what has happened to me. These people saved me. How? One has gone leaving the other leaning over me. She speaks with a voice that reminds me of myself. She’s trans too.
‘Are you OK? Did he hurt you?’
There are pins and needles in my hands and arms. The blood returning to my arteries and veins. My wrists hurt where the cords cut in. I push myself into a sitting position. I shake my head. That hurts. Which question am I answering?
‘What’s your name?’ he/she asks.
‘Dave. . .’ I pause. That’s the other me. The one that isn’t pounced on by sex monsters. ‘Diana,’ I say.
‘Diana, I’m Jasmine. I’m with my wife Angela. We’re at The Engine Shed. The Be Club. Do you remember?’
I nod. Yes, I remember. I was on my way to the club. When was that? Eons ago. Before. . .
‘Do you mind me asking? Are you TV, like me, or TS?’
I open my mouth to answer. Nothing comes out. It’s not a question I’ve ever been asked before. I cough and swallow. My mouth is dry.
‘TV.’ It comes out as whisper.
‘Right. Ah, here’s a drink for you.’
The other woman, comes and stands over me. She’s holding a glass of water. I raise my hand to take it but my hand shakes, and water starts to spill.  She grabs it and helps me carry it to my lips. I sip the water. It’s cold but refreshing.  My head clears a little.
‘Thank you,’ I say.  The wife, Angela, sits beside me. The TV, Jasmine is still kneeling in front of me.
‘Are you injured?’ Angela asks.
My whole body aches, my wrists are still sore, the side of my head is tender, but after I explore my senses I decided that physically I’m not badly hurt. But inside I am shaking with fear and anger.  I shake my head and take another sip.
‘Can you tell us what happened?’ Jasmine asks, ‘Or do you want to wait to tell the Police.’
I have an image of sitting in a bare room with a policeman asking questions and writing down what I say. The thought appals me. How could I tell a policeman what has happened to me? He’ll laugh and say it’s my own fault for going out dressed as a girl.
‘Not the Police,’ I mutter.
‘OK,’ Jasmine says, nodding her blonde head.  Is it a wig? It looks much more real than mine. I realise that my wig is perched on the side of my head. I push it straight.  Jasmine smiles at me.
‘That looks better,’ she says. ‘Do you want to tell us instead? You might feel better if you share it.’
Angela puts her arms around my shoulders and gives me a squeeze. I feel her soft, real breast against my shoulder.
Jasmine is right. I should tell them what happened, but I wonder if I can describe it. The shame is numbing. I nod and try to find the words.
……………….to be continued

Jasmine searches


No ranting this week – it’s exhausting; just some news.  First, The Brides’ Club Murder, the 3rd Jasmine Frame novel, is ready for publication.  I’m planning on 1st March for the e-book (Kindle) version and soon after for the paperback.  If anyone can offer to write a review and get it published around the same time I will supply a pdf review copy – just send a message here with your contact details.  Then I must get on with the 4th novel called Molly’s Boudoir.

Second bit of news is that Elsewhen Press have picked up my recently completed fantasy novel, Cold Fire.  It’s the fourth in the series featuring September Weekes but isn’t part of the Evil Above the Stars trilogy and is a free-standing novel. I hope that it will be out as e-book and paperback within the next year. More news as it comes.

So, on with Darkroom, the Jasmine Frame prequel.

Darkroom: part 3

The DJ was pumping out Duran Duran as Jasmine and Angela crossed the dance-floor.  On the far side, they came to a door that let them into a row of connected rooms.  Closing the door behind them, Jasmine found that they were in a dim, carpeted room with the music coming through the walls as a distant and muffled bass thud.
‘You can hear yourself speak in here,’ Jasmine said, experimenting in the empty room. Angela lead Jasmine along a convoluted path through the squishy sofas and bean bags to the door to the next room. This was also relatively quiet and dark but for a few small spotlights over a bar. There, a woman, turned away from them, was fiddling with the optics.  No, not a woman, Jasmine thought on further examination of her figure, a cross-dresser or perhaps a transwoman. She wore an elegant lowcut, gold dress that sparkled in the spotlights. She turned as Jasmine and Angela approached.
‘Hi, I’m Debs,’ she said in a cheery baritone.  Her face revealed her to be in her forties, heavily made up but her bob of golden hair seemed to be her own. ‘Can I get you a drink? Oh, I see you’ve got a couple already.’
Jasmine looked into her glass. It was still half full.
‘I’m okay for now. We’re just looking around.’
‘Your first time?’
Jasmine nodded.
Debs smiled. ‘Well, welcome to “Be” the place where you can be who you want, go be-yond expectations; the place to be for a good time.’  Jasmine recognised the straplines in the club’s advertising.
‘Oh, you must be. . .’
‘Debbie Webb, the fool who spends her time running this place.’
‘It’s pretty successful, isn’t it?’
‘Always a struggle to make ends meet, I’m afraid.  It would help if more people would come before the pubs close so that we could sell more booze.’
Jasmine glanced around. ‘It is a bit quiet.’
‘Livens up after eleven. No one comes over this side until they’ve warmed up a bit, with alcohol and dancing. Then they want somewhere a bit cosy and quiet. Were you two looking for a bit of privacy? There are more, um, intimate, rooms further along.’
‘No, we’re married,’ Jasmine replied more hastily than she intended.
‘So what?’ Debs said, smiling, ‘You haven’t lost all the passion yet, surely?’
Angela dug Jasmine in the ribs. ‘It’s less than a year, actually, and no we haven’t turned into a middle-age couple yet.’
‘Were you just exploring, then?’ Debs asked.
‘Sort of,’ Jasmine said.
‘We were looking for someone,’ Angela added.
‘Oh, who?’ Debs asked.
‘We don’t know her name; don’t know her at all, actually,’ Jasmine started to explain. ‘She was in the tube carriage with us. We thought she looked trans and she was dressed for an evening here.’
‘Short skirt, high heels?’
‘That’s right. We followed her out of the station and she appeared to be coming in this direction, but then . . .’
‘Well, we lost her. We turned the corner and she wasn’t in front of us anymore.’
‘So?’ Debs shrugged.
‘We thought she might have hurried here because she was cold and got inside before we got in sight of the Shed.’
‘If you don’t know her, why are you searching for her?’ Debs asked.
Jasmine opened her clutch bag. She picked out the earring and held it up.
‘Because I found this on the pavement just across the road. I’m sure I saw her wearing earrings like this when we were close to her on the tube. I think she dropped it. I want to give it back.’
Debs leaned over the bar to examine the jewellery. ‘Not valuable but I’m sure she’d be grateful if you gave it back to her, though, if she was here I’m sure you would have found her by now.’
‘Perhaps she’s stopped off at a pub,’ Angela said, ‘You said that’s what most people do before coming here.’
Debs shook her head. ‘Not within a quarter of a mile of here. It’s all disused warehouses. If you saw her coming in this direction there’s no other place she could have gone to.’
Jasmine pondered. Where can the girl have got to?
‘Look excuse me,’ Debs said moving from behind the bar. ‘I need to go and get the float so we can open this bar up. Perhaps your girl was in the loo when you were looking around.  Enjoy your night.’  She departed, letting in a blast of Wham! when the door opened.
‘Let’s go and have a dance,’ Angela said. ‘It’s what we came for. I’m sure the girl will turn up.’
Jasmine put the earring back in her bag. There was a niggle at the back of her head that wouldn’t go away.
‘You’re right. Come on.’ She took Angela’s hand and lead her out into the vast hall. A few intrepid souls had begun to dance close to the DJ’s redoubt. As they crossed the black-painted, concrete floor arm in arm with the patterns of light from the glitterballs falling on them, she felt the beat penetrating her muscles and bones. The urge to dance came upon her.
I’m gagging, striving to suck breath into my lungs. Failing. He pushes my head away. I topple over. I can’t stop myself falling as my wrists are tied behind the back of the chair. My shoulder hits the floor. The shock starts me breathing again. My beating heart and the blood rushing through my head blurs the words he’s saying to me. I hear just a mumble. Footsteps on the wooden floor. He’s closer. I tense, not sure what he’s going to do next. There’s a shadow, darker than the rest of the room. His shoe. It’s swinging towards my head. Impact. Lights. Pain, . . .
Jasmine felt the sweat running down her neck into her bra, between her two silicone falsies. They irritated, sticking to her chest. She puffed. The last number had been fast and wild. She loved it.
‘I need to cool down,’ Angela bellowed into her ear, while taking her hand. She tugged Jasmine towards the edge of the dance floor. Jasmine was amazed. Somehow the club had filled up without her noticing.  It wasn’t packed yet, but now there were groups of girls, real and trans, and males, leaping and gyrating to the current beats which had replaced the 80s disco.
They reached the bar which now was obscured by clubbers waiting for a drink.
‘What do you want?’ Angela shouted at her.
‘Water, that’s all,’ Jasmine replied, realising that an hour of energetic exercise had left her thirsty. Angela pushed through the crowd leaving Jasmine on the fringe. Jasmine looked around noting the groups of transgirls, young and not so young, having a good time; the male “admirers” chatting up singles and couples.  There was no sign of the girl from the train.
Angela returned after a few minutes bearing two pint glasses of water. She handed one to Jasmine who took a long swig.
‘Debs was right about it filling up,’ Angela commented.
‘Yes, but I can’t see the girl,’ Jasmine replied, ‘Let’s have another look around.’
Angela shrugged but followed Jasmine as she eased her way through the crowd.   They circled the bar, walked around the outer rim of the dance floor and did another survey of the quiet rooms.
‘It’s no good,’ Jasmine said, ‘Some parts are too crowded now to see if she’s here and others are too dark.’
‘Let’s give it up. The earring’s not worth much; Debs said so.’
‘It’s not about the earring,’ Jasmine said, ‘It’s about the girl. I can’t understand how we lost her.’
‘Are you worried about her?’ Angela’s face showed surprise.
‘Sort of.’
‘Let’s ask the doorman and at ticket office, then. They may remember her if she has got in.’
Jasmine nodded and they made their way to the corridor where there was a steady current of clubbers arriving, collecting tickets, dropping off coats and entering and leaving the loos, the ladies’ loos mainly.
They reached the entrance. Two bouncers were now controlling the flow.
‘Have you seen a girl, a t-girl, in a red leather jacket,’ Jasmine asked. The security man who had been on duty all evening frowned.
‘Can you give me a bit more, luv?’
‘High heels, sheer tights or stockings, a short, loose skirt, red jacket, dark hair, well a wig I think, about my height. Oh, and she may have had just one earring. Like this one.’ Jasmine held up the earring.
The bouncer’s face puckered and he shrugged. ‘Doesn’t ring any bells. I would have lost count if I’d been counting, all the trannies who matched that description tonight.’
‘Oh, well, thanks.’ Jasmine turned away then paused and returned. ‘Look. Can we go out and come in again?’
‘Yeah. If you’ve got your ticket.’
Jasmine re-joined Angela. ‘I’m going to the loo to repair my face.’
Angela nodded. ‘I’ll join you.’
The ladies loo was crowded with cross-dressers touching up their lipstick and mascara. Jasmine and Angela managed to get a look in the mirror, squashed side by side.
‘I’d like to go outside and have a look around,’ Jasmine said.
‘Really? Why?’
‘I want to check where we found the earring,’ Jasmine replied, ‘Why did she drop it there?’
Angela shrugged, ‘We’d better get our coats then. It’s probably even colder outside now.’
They handed over their numbered tickets to reclaim their coats then squeezed passed the doormen onto the road. There was a queue of eager clubbers waiting to be passed as acceptable by the two diligent bouncers.
Jasmine and Angela crossed the road to the dark Victorian warehouses and slowly retraced their steps along the pavement.
‘It was here I think,’ Jasmine said, looking from the ground up at the building.
…………………….to be continued

Jasmine in the mood

I can’t let it go without a comment, even if the subject does bore you.  Yes, it’s the parliamentary debate on Article 50 – a travesty of democracy.  The Conservatives hold up the UK as a model of democratic government but in fact it’s broke. My understanding is that MPs are delegates not representatives (or perhaps it’s the other way round) meaning that once elected they have the responsibility to vote in parliament using their knowledge and experience in whatever way they think is correct i.e. not necessarily according to how their electors want them to vote. The referendum changed that to some extent although it is not written into the UK constitution as such.

Since Leave won the referendum (on lies and exaggerated fears) I expected the Article 50 bill to be won by the government but what actually happened was, as I said, a travesty. To keep to the spirit of the referendum, MPs should have voted as their constituents voted so the bill should have had a small majority of Ayes not the overwhelming landslide it got. Of course I would expect most of the Conservative sheep to follow the government despite most of them being Remainers prior to last June. Corbyn’s decision to push his MPs into voting Aye as well just smacks of fear (of UKIP). MPs from the cities that voted to Remain should have voted Noe.  The result is that we have a government that is working on behalf of the 52% of actual voters who voted Leave (that’s under 40% of electors). The 48% are left with little or no representation in parliament; certainly those of us living in England have none. The same will be true from now on as the negotiations get tricky and dirty and May and her befuddled followers will try to persuade us that the deals they are making are wonderful achievements while in fact being the equivalent of being relegated from the football league.

wp_20161205_16_08_46_proNow something more fun – the second part of Darkroom, a prequel story to Painted Ladies.  The publication of the 3rd Jasmine Frame novel, The Brides’ Club Murder will be very soon, but in this story Jasmine has yet to decide that she is transsexual. (Sorry about the photos getting a bit repetitive – I need to get more done.)




Darkroom: Part 2

Jasmine and Angela crossed the station concourse looking for the way out that would bring them on to the street nearest to the club.  Jasmine noticed the young woman in the short skirt and leather jacket that had been in their carriage, heading towards an exit. Jasmine took Angela’s hand and followed her. Jasmine lowered her head to speak softly in Angela’s ear.
‘I’m sure that girl that was on the train is a tranny. Don’t you think so?’
Angela nodded. ‘Yes. She looked good but her dress wasn’t quite right. A bit too risqué for a night out in London. And she was on her own.’
‘I think she’s going to the club. She’s just left the station ahead of us.’
They stepped out on to the street and Jasmine was grateful for her fake-fur coat as the icy wind blew up her legs. They set off along the road with Jasmine visualising the map she had looked at on her laptop.
‘It’s around the next corner and then just a hundred metres or so,’ she said.  They turned the next corner and Jasmine’s map-reading was proved correct. Directly ahead was the rectangular block of The Engine Shed illuminated by spotlights.  Something did surprise Jasmine however. The street was almost empty. There was just one other couple, bundled up in long coats heading in the same direction.
‘Where’s she gone?’ Jasmine said, standing still and looking up the dimly lit road with old brick buildings on both sides.
‘The girl, the tranny. She was just in front of us, I thought.’
‘Perhaps you were wrong about where she was heading or perhaps she ran to get in out of the cold.’
‘Run? On those heels she was wearing?’
Angela chuckled. ‘Perhaps she’s better on heels than you are.’  She tugged Jasmine’s hand. ‘Come on. It’s too cold to stand around.’
They set off up the road to the club. Jasmine was eager to get inside, not just because of the cold but because she wanted to get into the spirit of the place and start dancing.  They were about halfway along the street when Jasmine saw something glittering on the floor, catching the light from the club. She stopped to pick it up. It was a silver chain about ten centimetres long with red and white jewels hanging from it.
‘Look at this,’ Jasmine said, holding it up so that Angela could examine it.
‘It’s a clip-on earring.’
‘Yes, and I think the girl was wearing ear rings just like this – long, dangly and sparkly.’
‘I think you’re right. You know that clip-ons can be loose, you wear them yourself.’
‘She can’t have noticed that she’d dropped one.’
‘Not if she was hurrying to get inside and warm. Come on. Perhaps we’ll see her and you can give it back.’
Jasmine tucked the earring into her clutch bag and they continued the last few yards to the club. The entrance was in the middle of the long wall of the old engine shed facing them. As Jasmine and Angela crossed the road a black taxi drew up and tipped out a quartet of girls giggling and staggering on their unfeasibly high heels.  They straightened up by leaning on each other and tugged their short skirts and dresses down their thighs.  Tossing the shoulder-length hair of what were, fairly obviously, wigs and laughing loudly they headed for the entrance. Jasmine and Angela followed them through the narrow double doors and were given a nod by the bouncer standing guard.
They entered a narrow corridor with a ticket booth on the left and a cloakroom on the right.  Jasmine ducked down to peer at the cashier.  She was another lady with an exuberant wig.
‘Five pounds for each of you darling, since you’re both girls.’
‘She’s not a . . .’ Jasmine wasn’t sure how to describe Angela.
‘I know, love, but all trans people and real girls get in for a fiver before midnight, and you get a glass of wine or a fruit juice free.’  Did she think she or Angela was the trans-girl? Jasmine wasn’t sure but suspected she’d been read.
‘Oh, thanks.’ She handed over a ten pound note and took the tickets. Angela took her ticket and they moved across to the cloakroom. Jasmine was pleased to see that their coats would be kept securely for the cost of just one pound. She stuffed the numbered slip and her ticket into her bag. It was then that she became conscious of the music travelling up the corridor. With Angela at her side, she advanced towards the sound.
They stepped into a huge dark space. This was where steam engines had come to be cleaned and serviced. The roof was high above but invisible. Windows in the walls were blocked so admitted not even starlight. Some distance above their heads had been strung spotlights in red, blue, green and white and glitter balls which cast moving shards and pools of light across the floor while laser beams flashed above their heads. While the lights fooled the eyes, Jasmine could see that the floor was empty of people but in the middle, was a stage stacked with speakers and the DJ’s desk. At that moment, the DJ was standing idly while the Beegees blared out.  Jasmine felt her limbs pulsing to the beat and looked forward to getting out on the dance floor but apparently, few others had the same inclination.
‘Where is everyone?’ Jasmine shouted into Angela’s ear.
‘I told you we were early,’ Angela said peering to left and right, ‘but there they are.’ She pointed to the left. People were clustered around a long, open hatch in the wall.
‘Ah, the bar,’ Jasmine said. ‘Let’s get a drink.’
They moved towards it, finding plenty of room. A male barman addressed them at a volume just audible above the music
‘What’ll it be girls?’
Jasmine spoke up. ‘The ticket lady said there was a free drink.’
‘That’s right. Red, white or orange.’
Jasmine glanced at Angela who nodded. ‘Two white wines please.’
The barman grabbed two wine glasses from the tray beside him and began to fill them from a bottle of white wine.
‘Your first time, girls?’ he said.
‘Um, yes,’ Jasmine replied.
‘There’s another bar in the quiet rooms over on the other side. Better if you want to chat or do other things.’ He winked.
‘Thanks,’ Jasmine replied, ‘When does the dancing start?’
‘You can start it now if you like. But it’s usually around midnight when the crowds arrive that the dance floor fills. It takes a lot of people to fill this place but we usually manage it. There you go girls. Have a good time.’
Jasmine picked up the two glasses and turned to Angela. Angela took her glass and sipped the wine.
‘Cheap stuff.’
‘It was free.’
‘Sort of.’
‘We’re not here for the booze.’
Jasmine looked to left and right where there were small gaggles of people. They were mostly girls, T-girls, in their party frocks but there was a scattering of men, mainly single, eyeing up the girls or engaging them with chat up lines that made them giggle.
‘I can’t see the girl on the train,’ Jasmine shouted
Angela shook her head. ‘No, but it’s difficult with these lights to make anyone out. Let’s take a wander around.’
‘She could be over in the quiet rooms.’
Angela nodded as they set off on their walk of exploration.
I’m pulled, dragged, carried off the street. My feet stumble over a step and then my shoes are rubbing against a wooden floor.  I can’t see much. It’s dark and the gloved hand covering my mouth and nose obscures my sight as well. Anyway, I can’t breathe and tying to suck air into my lungs is what is uppermost in my mind. Well almost. That and thinking – you idiot, you come up to the city for the first time, in your best girly kit and on your own. You deserve to die and you’re going to.
There’s something touching my legs. A chair. The hand on my arm allows me to sag onto it and the leather glove moves from my face. I gasp, feeling the pain and pleasure of cold air entering my lungs.  Nausea sweeps over me and I lean forward with my head on my knees.
‘Let’s see what we’ve got.’ A male voice, not rough, quite cultured in fact. Hands on my shoulders pull me upright. I stare into the darkness. A dark room. No light whatsoever, except. . . now there is.
He’s moved around in front of me and turned on a torch. It shines straight into my eyes. I blink and raise my hands to my eyes. My left hand catches my ear. I don’t why I notice this of all things but my earring’s not there. I check my other ear. The long chain dangles down to the collar of my jacket.
‘A pretty young thing,’ he says and steps closer, the torch still on me. I feel a hand between my knees, pushing my thighs apart. I resist. The hand withdraws and slaps me across the cheek. I gasp.
‘Don’t.’ he says. The hand returns between my legs. It pushes up, the fingers stretched out, seeking. The finger tips probe my thighs above my stockings, then press against my silk covered abdomen. The fingers dive, groping under my groin. They start to curl. He has my balls.
‘Ah. I thought I’d read you right, my dear. A tranny, complete and in full working order.’
He knows. My penis is straightening, stiffening. He squeezes. Tighter. I squeal.
………………………to be continued.