First a thank you to the new followers of this blog. I hope you stay with me and enjoy the episodes of the Jasmine Frame story as I post them. Your comments will be very welcome.
This week I joined the Literary Festivals website. It lists a lot of authors, many of them very famous indeed, who make themselves available to talk and join discussions at the many festivals around the country. I would very much like the opportunity to do the same to promote the Jasmine Frame novels and discuss transgenderism on a broader stage. So if anybody out there is involved with a Festival – I’m available.
Actually I am giving my “Jasmine and me” talk next week in Tenbury, Worcs. I’m looking forward to the experience and hoping for a good audience. Of course it’s sales of Painted Ladies I would really like. I do wish that marketing was as easy and enjoyable as sitting in front of the computer and writing stories.
Talking of which here is the next episode of Blueprint – the Jasmine Frame, transgender detective, prequel.
Blueprint: Part 21
‘Geraldine? I met her at Betty’s earlier today,’ Jasmine said recalling the tall, manly looking transvestite who had been rather evasive.
‘Oh, you would have done. She is always hanging around at Betty’s,’ Caroline replied.
‘Why is she there so often?’
‘I don’t know why Betty puts up with her. Well I do – Betty is a kind lady. But Geraldine is not a good advert for Betty’s skills and would barely pass if she ventured out dressed. She doesn’t though which is probably a good thing.’
‘Why did you mention her then?’
‘Well, she had one of those digital cameras. She acts as Betty’s photographer. It’s one way she pays Betty back I suppose. If one of Betty’s clients wants a photo taken, Geraldine is there to take it.’
‘So she produces prints and knows how to enhance photos.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Improve them. Make them brighter, chop out bits, perhaps even make the model look more attractive.’
‘I suppose so. Geraldine does a good job. Betty has a number of the photos on the walls of her salon. They look pretty good to me.’
Jasmine recalled that she hadn’t ventured past Betty’s sitting room so hadn’t seen the photos.
‘Have you got any of Geraldine’s photos, Caroline?’
‘No. I didn’t go to Betty for advice, just for company. I didn’t need Geraldine snapping away at me.’
‘What about Petula? Did she have a photo taken by Geraldine?’
‘I doubt it. Unless Geraldine took one when she wasn’t noticing. Petula tried to avoid Geraldine.’
‘Oh. Why was that?’
‘She felt uncomfortable in her company. Petula didn’t like cross-dressers who stood out.’
‘Like Geraldine and Rosalind.’
‘Rosalind wasn’t so bad. She was just a beginner.’
‘Was Petula rude to Geraldine?’
‘Oh, Petula would never be rude, but I think her body language made it obvious she did not wish to be near Geraldine.’
‘Did Geraldine notice?’
‘Oh, I should think so.’
It seemed that the circumstantial evidence was stacking up against Geraldine. She had the skills and the opportunities to make the photos sent to Petula and it seemed a motive if she was aware that Petula resented her.
‘Petula told you what she felt about Geraldine.’
‘We discussed her, yes.’
‘Did you discuss things between Petula’s visits here?’
‘Yes. Not frequently, but occasionally Petula would ring when it was convenient, and there were emails.’
‘Oh, you have a computer.’
Caroline’s nostril’s flared.
‘I’m not an ignoramus. I worked with computers at the bank until I retired. Of course I have a computer.’
Jasmine was a little taken aback at Caroline’s sudden display of temper, but she carried on.
‘Did Petula contact you in the weeks before she died?’
Caroline did not reply immediately as if she was deciding what her answer should be.
‘I think there were a couple of messages.’
‘Did she mention any worries? Things that were troubling her.’
‘But as far as I have discovered you were her main companion, the one trans-person she saw most often and spent most time with. Her only other regular outing was the Butterflies club in Kintbridge and that was for just a few hours once a month.’
‘What are you saying?’
‘I’m just surprised that as you were so close she didn’t confide in you.’
‘We talked about lots of things.’
‘But not about what was driving her to suicide.’
Caroline was quiet and then shook her head and whispered, ‘No.’
‘But you’re out much more than Petula. You live as Caroline except when your daughter and grandchildren visit, at least I presume you have since your retirement. Was that after your wife died?’
Caroline nodded, ‘I retired a year after. There wasn’t any point working anymore.’
‘So you’ve been living as a woman for four years.’
Caroline’s eyes lit up again, ‘I am a woman.’
Jasmine recognised the emotion. She felt the same – a woman inside her head but with a male body. Did Caroline have a woman’s desires? With no partner at home did she look for more than companionship in the men or women, trans or otherwise, that she met? Jasmine was uncertain about herself. Angie was still there for her although sex had slipped off the menu. While oscillating between appearing as male and female, she put thoughts about her sexual preference out of her mind. But what about if or when she transitioned, if she parted from Angie. What then? Would she seek a male or a female partner? She wasn’t sure so couldn’t say what Caroline’s preference was.
‘Petula wasn’t though was she?’ Jasmine asked.
‘What do you mean?’ Caroline hissed.
‘Well, she spent the vast majority of her time as a man, Peter. He still had his wife and she seems to have had no complaints about his masculinity. Peter was a cross-dresser. Dressing was a hobby which he was very good at but I don’t feel that he ever considered transitioning.’
‘What do you know about Petula?’
‘We met once. We talked and I have been exploring her life.’
‘Well, I don’t know what you are getting at. We met once a month and were friends.’
‘Is that all?
‘What do you mean?’
‘Did you want to be more than friends?’
‘I beg your pardon!’
‘Did you want to be lovers?’
Caroline shot onto her feet.
‘How dare you suggest such a thing. We never had sex. I think you had better go now.’
Jasmine rose. Caroline’s response was interesting. Had she made a move and been rebuffed?
‘You can’t suggest a reason why Petula took her own life?’
Caroline moved to the front door and opened it.
‘No. We were just friends. I accompanied her on her outings. I’ll admit to feeling sorry for her. She was stuck in the closet, afraid to come out to her wife or anyone else. Just sneaking off for her little trips. I gave her my time to help her. Now please go. I have washing up to do and then I have other friends to meet.’
Jasmine walked to the door. She smiled as sweetly as she could.
‘Thank you Caroline. You’ve been very helpful but there may be more questions I have to ask.’
‘I’ve told you all I know.’
Caroline shuffled forward, urging Jasmine through the doorway. Jasmine stepped out into the porch and the door closed behind her. The cold rain blew into her face reminding her of where she was and the long drive in front of her. At least she had something to mull over on the road south.