Enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Beara Peninsula in SW Ireland – not enjoying the rain that has kept us indoors today. Nevertheless an opportunity to get on with some writing such as the second episode of The Switch, the Jasmine Frame sequel/prequel. A bit of scene setting involved here, but enjoy.
The Switch – part 2
‘You’re a girl?’ Jasmine should have been surprised but the signs were obvious – the lack of a shadow on Dan’s face, the high pitched voice.
‘No, I’m a boy. It’s just that some bits of my body belong to a girl.’ Dan glowered as if Jasmine might be about to argue. Instead she recognised Dan as someone like herself. She pulled the wig off her head and ran her fingers through her sweaty hair.
‘I expect they’re the bits I want while I want rid of some bits that you’d like,’ she said.
‘I guess so.’
A police car appeared from the perimeter road and pulled to a halt in front of them. The passenger door opened and an officer got out. Jasmine recognised PC Alan Jones. He wasn’t someone she’d worked with but had seen him around the station in the last couple of years. Although a career copper, he wasn’t going to achieve the heights that Jasmine aspired to.
‘Don’t tell him about me,’ Dan hissed at Jasmine.
‘Hi, Alan,’ Jasmine said stepping forward to greet the officer. He stared at her tits then at the blonde wig that dangled from her hand
‘DC Jim Frame. You called for back-up.’ His tone suggested that he thought Jasmine had made an unnecessary call.
‘I witnessed some youths threatening this lad. They ran off when I approached them.’
‘Scared them off did you?’ Jones said with a sneer. The driver of the police car got out and leaned on the roof. It was Jones’ buddy, Ben Hedges.
‘He’d scare me,’ Hedges said with a leery grin.
‘Are you expecting us to chase after these kids?’ Jones asked.
‘No. There’s no point. They could be anywhere now. You log the callout and I’ll write the report.’
Being relieved of the paperwork seemed to cheer Jones.
‘OK. You off to a fancy-dress party or something?’ he said.
‘No. This is me. I’m Jasmine Frame now. The A.C.C. will be explaining it to you in the next week or two.’ Jasmine didn’t feel like explaining herself to two officers she barely knew.
‘The A.C.C.,’ Jones’ lip curled. ‘Well, that’s something to look forward to. I suppose she’ll give us the usual lecture on diversity.’ He turned to Hedges and stooped to get into the car. ‘Let’s get back to the station and tell the lads we’ve got a trannie in the force.’
‘Damn,’ Jasmine said as the police car drove off. Her transition would be all over the station in an hour. So much for the plans for Assistant Chief Constable Jane Grey to introduce the subject tactfully while she was on leave.
‘Do you get much aggro at work?’ Dan asked.
‘I’ll have to wait and see,’ Jasmine replied. ‘I’m just starting my transition. What about you?’
‘It’s been nearly a year,’ Dan said.
‘You can tell me about it while I escort you home.’ She pulled the wig back onto her head and tugged it straight.
‘There’s no need…’
‘Yes there is. Kyle and his friends may be hanging around waiting to see if the police car has gone and you are left alone.’
Dan shrugged and started to walk down the road off the Common.
‘So what’s it been like transitioning at school?’ Jasmine asked as they walked side by side.
‘School’s fine. They changed my name on all the records and let me use a unisex loo, well, it’s the disabled loo really. I can change in there for sport.’
‘And your friends?’
‘Oh, they’re cool. They’ve known about me for years. It hasn’t been a secret that I’m really a boy.’
‘Why didn’t you transition earlier then? You could have got treatment to slow down puberty.’
‘I know that now.’ There was a trace of anger in Dan’s voice. ‘It was my Dad. He wouldn’t have it. I was his little girl and that was it.’
‘But he changed his mind.’
‘No. He left.’
‘Oh. What happened?’ Jasmine realised she was prying into Dan’s private life, ‘You don’t have to tell me.’
‘I’d like to talk about it. Dad got angry. He often did when me or Mum went on about me being a boy. He hit her. He’d done it before. They had a row and he left. After that Mum said there was no reason why I shouldn’t do what I wanted.’
‘I see. So your transition has gone okay.’
They entered a small housing estate.
‘Well, so-so,’ Dan said, ‘It’s Kyle and his mates that are the problem.’
‘This wasn’t the first time they’ve attacked you.’
‘No, but the closest they’ve got to doing me. He’ll try again though. I try to keep out of their way but really I need to move.’
‘What does he want?’
‘You mean apart from a fuck?’
Jasmine was confused and embarrassed. She wasn’t used to discussing sex with a sixteen year old.
‘I suppose so,’ she said.
‘He wants me in his gang. One of his bitches he can pass around his mates.’
‘Why pick on you when you insist you’re a boy?’
‘So he can brag about proving that I’m not really a boy and how he beat me. Give him cred with the other gang bosses. Girls just do what he wants while I’ll fight.’
Jasmine was appalled and disgusted.
‘Do your school teachers know about these gangs?’
‘Yes and no. They know there are gangs but they probably don’t want to know what they do.’ Dan stopped at a gate. A short path led up to the front door in a 1970s terraced house. ‘This is home. Thanks for looking out for me.’
‘Can I have a word with your mother?’ Jasmine felt concern for Dan and wasn’t prepared to just walk away. ‘Perhaps I can give you some support with your transition.’
Dan looked doubtful, but shrugged and walked up to the front door.
‘OK, but don’t tell her about Kyle and the gang.’
Jasmine agreed as Dan pushed the door open and called out. A woman appeared from the kitchen, with similar dark hair and features to Dan.
‘Who are you?’ she asked.
‘I’m Jasmine. Dan and I met up on the Common and we got chatting. I’m trans too. I’m sorry I don’t know your name.’
‘It’s Jenny. Jenny Parry.’ She wiped her hands on her jeans and offered the right one to shake. She frowned at Dan. ‘Dan doesn’t usually talk about himself.’
‘We’ve got a fair bit in common,’ Jasmine said, ‘I’ll let Dan explain but I’ll give you my phone number if you’d like to have a chat sometime. Have you got a piece of paper?’
Dan picked up a pad of paper and a biro from a table in the hallway. He wrote down the number that Jasmine recited and then ushered her to the door. ‘Thanks, Jasmine. Be seeing ya.’
Jasmine found herself alone on the pavement. She began to walk home mulling over what she had learned. She couldn’t imagine living with the threat of rape as Dan did. Surely transitioning was hard enough without that. Would she be seeing Dan again?