Back from a wonderful two weeks in Ireland. I didn’t get as much writing done as I intended but at least managed to write the next episode of The Switch which is below. However we did lots of walking, relaxed and I had plenty of ideas about where I’m going with this and other stories.
It was great to come back to a completed contract for Seventh Child, the first volume of my fantasy sequence. No doubt I’ll be writing more about that here or elsewhere (and elsewhen) in the near future.
Anyway back to Jasmine Frame, the transsexual detective and her transition. The Switch takes place almost two years before the action in Painted Ladies, the novel that is available in paperback and e-book form from all suppliers (got to keep the marketing going.)
The Switch – Part 3
Jasmine arrived at her front door sweating after sprinting the last couple of hundred metres back to her house. She put her key in the lock and stepped into the hall.
‘I thought you were going for a short run,’ Angela called out. Jasmine followed the sound of Angela’s and other voices into the lounge. Angela was curled up on the sofa watching TV. She pressed the mute on the remote and the noise from the screen died.
‘So did I,’ Jasmine replied at last, pulling the sodden wig from her head. ‘I can’t wear that to run in again.’
‘I don’t know why you did.’
‘I’ve always worn a wig when I’ve been out – as Jasmine.’
‘But you’re Jasmine all the time now.’
‘Yes. That’s why I wore the wig and my sports bra.’
‘Ok, but you’ve got to be yourself. There’s no reason for you to wear a wig.’
Jasmine slumped on the sofa next to Angela passing the brim of the wig through her fingers.
‘But I’ve always thought I needed the wig to make me look more feminine.’
Angela sat up and put her business face on.
‘Look, Jas,’ she said, ‘You’ve decided to transition, to be Jasmine full time, to take the drugs and have the surgery.’
‘Yes, I have but…’
‘There are no buts anymore Jas. You’re young, good looking, you’ll make an attractive woman.’
‘But it’ll be years before my body becomes feminine. I’ve got to live my life as woman from now.’
‘Yes, and you can. You can pass easily, just as you are.’
‘But my hair…’
‘Yes, I know. It’s been short for the police but you’ve let it grow a bit in the last few months. But you’re not going bald and it’s lovely thick blond hair. You could have it styled and it would look very feminine.’
‘Yes. That’s why I’ve booked you into my salon for a makeover tomorrow morning.’
‘You have?’ Jasmine sat up straight, ‘Why?’
‘I don’t know. My gift to you on your transition I suppose. I know it means the end of us as man and wife, but I want you to be happy in your new life.’
Emotion filled Jasmine’s chest and she barely stopped herself from blubbing.
‘Oh, Ange. I don’t know where I’d be without you and yet I’m pushing you away.’
Angela shrugged and withdrew to her end of the sofa.
‘We knew it was going to happen, Jas. We talked about it enough times. You need to transition and I want to make sure you do it properly. Your appointment is at ten and you’ll have a pedicure, manicure and facial before Helen does your hair. She knows what she needs to do.’
‘Thanks, Ange.’ Jasmine felt a weight of gratitude that was almost too great to express.
‘So what kept you on your run? It can’t have been your wig that slowed you down.’
Jasmine related her meeting with Daniel and they exchanged feelings of disgust about the actions of people like Kyle, whatever their age. Then Jasmine mentioned the arrival of the police car.
‘It’ll be all around the station now,’ she added. ‘So much for the controlled announcement and getting everyone used to the idea of me being a woman.’
‘They’ll get used to it,’ Angela said.
‘Jones and Hedges thought I was a joke, and they called me a “trannie”.’
‘You don’t mind that word.’
‘Not when I use it but people like Jones and Hedges use it in a sneering way like racists use the n word.’
‘You weren’t expecting everyone to accept you immediately, were you?’
‘No, I’m not that far into fantasyland. I know the diversity training is given lip service by a few people.’
‘Just a few?’ Angela was cynical, ‘I’m sure there will be a sizeable number of your colleagues who will follow the guidelines when on duty but will whisper behind your back. You knew all along that transitioning is just the start. Welcome to the life of the minority.’
‘Of course. OK I don’t get the abuse that you or ethnic minorities get, but a woman in a man’s world – you’ve heard me on that subject enough times.’
Jasmine grinned. Angela was a formidable opponent when roused on issues of equality. Another reason she appreciated her. Angela returned to her TV watching while Jasmine went for a shower.
Jasmine sat in the chair feeling thoroughly pampered. Her feet and hands had been washed, massaged, creamed and polish applied to her nails. Her face too had been tenderly cleansed and caressed. She could get used to this part of being female but didn’t think she could afford it regularly on her detective constable’s salary. Now Helen was lifting bits of her hair with a comb and commenting.
‘It’s a little short at the moment but I can shape and layer it without removing too much, so I can give you a lovely, feminine bob. As it grows we can give it more body and cover your ears if that’s what you’d like.’ She set to work with the scissors and Jasmine was surprised after what she had said when little bits of fair hair fell onto the gown she was wearing.
‘Now don’t go using a hair dryer or heated curling tongs or anything hot if you want your hair to grow.’ Helen said.
‘Oh, do they affect it?’ Jasmine was ignorant of such things. She just let her hair dry naturally after a shower.
‘Heat damages the hair, so if you want it to grow quickly don’t do any of those things.’
Jasmine watched in the mirror as Helen spun her magic spell. With a few well-placed snips James Frame’s familiar crop disappeared and was replaced by a young woman’s pixie cut.
‘There,’ Helen said as she stood back to let Jasmine have a full view of herself, ‘With a little eye-shadow and lipstick and your earrings,’ they were Jasmine’s favourite bronze dangly ones, ‘you’re a really attractive woman. I think Angela will be pleased.’
With make-up duly applied Jasmine stepped out of the salon onto the street. The old wig was screwed up and stuffed in her handbag. The next stop would be the bin. For the first time she stepped out in public as herself without the wig’s protective camouflage. No-one stared, no-one pointed at her in her short summer dress and sandals. She was an ordinary woman who had just visited a beauty salon. She set off up the High Street to the car park.
‘Hey, it’s the trannie pig. Oink, oink.’ There was a chorus of grunting. Jasmine spun around. Twenty metres behind her was Kyle and the other two lads that had been with him when he attacked Dan. There was no sign of the girl though. Jasmine paused. What should she do? She hated drawing attention to herself but there was no chance of walking away and getting lost in the crowds. Kyle was approaching her. Despite her reluctance to make a scene she was fully trained to confront angry and possibly violent members of the public. She knew what she had to do. At least she was in a public place with plenty of people around her. Some were staring, others deliberately looking in other directions.
She stood her ground and waited for Kyle to approach her. He swaggered up and stopped a couple of metres from her with his henchmen behind him.
‘I suggest that you calm down, Kyle, and watch your language.’ She spoke quietly, while reaching into her bag for her camera-phone.
‘You don’t tell me what to do you fucking perv,’ Kyle said loudly, ‘I’m coming for you after I’ve had Danny boy. She wants a cock, I’ll give her one.’
‘I’m giving you a warning, Kyle,’ Jasmine said, ‘I am a police officer. If you don’t take care you could be on a charge of disturbing the peace and threatening behaviour.’ She held her phone up and took a couple of photos.
‘What ya doing?’ Kyle asked.
‘Taking a photograph of you to circulate so that if you threaten Dan again my colleagues will know who to look for.’
‘You don’t scare me you cunt. I’ll have you. I bet you’d like to suck my cock like all the real sluts do.’
Jasmine ignored Kyle’s suggestions but was aware of the passers-by leaving a large space around them.
‘Don’t make me call for your arrest, Kyle. We know who you are so officers can pick you up at any time. K have the evidence.’ She waved her phone.
One of Kyle’s mates tugged on his sleeve. He drew his mate’s attention to a Community Support Officer further up the street looking in shop windows. Kyle shook his friend’s arm off but backed away from Jasmine.
‘Don’t go down any dark alleys,’ he called as he turned and walked away, ‘Someone might want to smash in your tart-face.’
Jasmine relaxed as the trio of teenagers moved away. Her heart was beating rapidly and there was sweat in her new hairdo. She breathed out at last. Her objective had been achieved – Kyle had been dissuaded from any physical abuse which would really have disturbed the peace. She wasn’t certain if members of the public would have come to the assistance of a bloke in a dress being abused by a bunch of kids and CSO probably didn’t want to get involved.
She put her phone away and turned to resume her walk through the Saturday shoppers, hoping to merge again with the crowd. Some people gave her suspicious looks but gradually she became a part of the surroundings again. This was possibly not the last time that she would be faced with transphobic abuse in public although Kyle was a special case. She wondered how and when they would meet again. She headed to the shopping mall to find a photo booth.