A busy week with news that the article about me and Painted Ladies made it into the Dailys Mail, Express and Star as well as a couple more local papers. I do hope the publicity encourages people to go out an buy, buy, buy. Next Saturday I’ll be at the New Writers UK Festival in Nottingham hoping to spread the word further, and I’ve also heard of a fairly new website that promotes independent writers’ work at http://www.writers-room.org/
I hope it will prove helpful.
Here is the next part of my serialised, prequel, Blueprint.
Blueprint, part 4
‘You’ve got to do something,’ Angela said.
Jasmine looked at the four photos and shook her head.
‘I don’t know what I can do. I’m not sure that anyone has broken the law.’
‘Really?’ Angela stabbed a finger at the naked “Petula”, ‘Isn’t it illegal to send offensive material through the post.’
‘Yes, but I’m not sure whether this would count as offensive today,’ Jasmine said.
’Well, what about stalking then. That’s against the law.’
‘I know, but it would be difficult to present a few items of unsolicited mail as stalking.’ Jasmine turned to Petula. ‘ You haven’t noticed anyone watching you or following you, have you?’
Petula shook her head vigorously.
‘No, not at all. If I’m out, dressed, then I keep a careful lookout for anyone taking a special interest in me. You know why.’
‘Yes, in case they read you as a cross-dresser and decide to make a fuss,’ Jasmine agreed. ‘We all develop three sixty degree vision.’
‘So are you saying you can’t help Petula, Jas?’ Angela glared at Jasmine.
‘Well, I don’t see how I can get the police to open an investigation.’ Jasmine said trying to keep things calm.
‘Oh, I don’t want the police involved,’ Petula flustered, ‘Linda would be sure to find out. I hoped you might be able to find out who’s doing this, uh, privately.’
‘You could do that, couldn’t you?’ Angela wheedled.
Jasmine realised that she couldn’t get away with doing nothing even if it did appear that someone was just playing a silly game on Petula.
‘Well, OK, I suppose I could try and look into it myself.’
‘Oh, thank you.’ Petula grabbed Jasmine’s hand and pumped it up and down. Jasmine was surprised at how emotional Petula was. ‘I really can’t imagine what would happen if Linda saw these photos and found out about me.’
‘If you’ve kept you’re dressing secret for so long, I’m sure it would be a big shock for her.’ Jasmine said.
Petula’s face cracked and she began to sob.
‘Oh, I couldn’t bear it.’
Angela comforted her.
‘Now I’m sure Jasmine will make sure that you dressing remains a secret.’ She glared at Jasmine. ‘Let’s get you a drink.’ Angela guided Petula to the hatch where the drinks were served.
Jasmine began to put the photos back into the respective envelopes, looking at each one carefully in turn. Close-up they revealed the differences between the exposures of Petula’s head and the model’s body. The head shots had obviously been blown up from pictures taken at a distance outdoors, while the photos of the model looked to have been taken in a studio.
‘She’s pretty upset about these photos,’ she said, ‘Do you think you can do anything?’
‘No,’ Jasmine said shaking her head, ‘I don’t know where to start. If it was a criminal investigation we’d check the photos and envelopes for DNA and see if we get a match or at least a profile, but I can’t get tests done if it is not a proper case. I’ll take them away and see if I get some ideas but let’s hope the person who sent them has had enough of his game and that they stop.’
‘And Petula can go on deceiving her wife.’
‘You sound disapproving.’
‘Perhaps I do. Look, I think I understand how you feel about wanting to be a woman but you were open with me from the start. OK, you say you can’t tell me how far you want to go and I believe you but at least we’re in it together. But I don’t understand how someone like Petula can go on like this for decades without her wife suspecting something or how Petula justifies keeping it secret.’
‘Me neither, but I know Petula’s not alone. There are hundreds, thousands of secret cross-dressers out there.’
‘So it seems. Look have you had enough of being amongst trannies, Jas?’
Jasmine chuckled and looked around the room at the middle-aged “women” engaged in chats or dancing arthritically to the seventies disco hits. ‘Yes, I think so.’
‘Good, let’s go home and have a better look at those photos.’
‘Hey, Jim, we’ve got a callout.’
James Frame woke suddenly from his daydream to see DC Tom Shepherd waving from the door to DCI Sloane’s office. James had been imagining life as Jasmine, the daily routine of dressing as a woman, of being accepted as a woman as she went about her business as a police detective, a sergeant or perhaps even inspector. He looked at his watch.
‘Damn, another hour and we’d be off-duty. It had better be exciting.’
‘A suspicious death. Come on, we can’t leave the uniform boys to it.’
‘Okay, I’m coming.’ James hauled himself out of his chair and squeezed passed the empty desks. Most of the team had already left for the weekend. It had been a quiet week of routine questioning after a domestic dispute turned violent and pursuit of a hit-and-run driver but nothing to tax the violent and serious crime team.
‘Where are we going?’ James asked as he caught up with Tom.
‘Just across town. The report suggests a suicide.’
‘Nothing too extraordinary?’
Tom stopped the Mondeo in a quiet road of 1930s semis. There was a police patrol car outside one driveway with tape already blocking it off. James got out and followed the bigger man up the drive to the garage attached to the house. A police officer stood at the garage doors.
‘What’s the story, Officer?’ Tom asked.
‘Bloke killed himself in his car, by the look of it. The old hose to the exhaust pipe trick. The pathologist is in the garage now.’
‘Anybody else around?’
‘The wife’s in the house. PC Barnett is with her.’
‘I’ll go and see how she is,’ James said, ‘if you check with the pathologist, Tom.’
‘Right,’ Tom said stepping inside the garage.
James went to the front door and found it on the latch. He stepped inside and called out,
‘Hello, I’m DC Frame.’ The carpet was soft under his shoes as he walked into the lounge. A police woman had her arms around another woman who sat shaking on a sofa. The officer looked up at him.
‘This is Mrs Linda Thwaite. She discovered her husband in the car in the garage.’
Jasmine felt the blood drain from his face.
‘Linda Thwaite? What was her husband’s name?’
‘His name’s Peter,’ the woman said through sobs.