Open and shut case.
He really was going to take the case back, or that’s what he kept saying to himself. Instead he just had to open it–well, it might contain some sort of address of its rightful owner.
He stood looking at the large suitcase which lay on top of his kitchen table. It had no name tag attached to it. It was one of those with wheels on the bottom and a pulling handle–just as well, it was far too heavy to carry very far.
He’d come upon it on the platform of his local station, just a little metal shiny bit of the clasp caught his eye as he walked past. It was hidden in the shadows and at first he wondered if it was possibly a bomb–except the Olympics were well and truly over and wouldn’t terrorists hide it better?
He hadn’t got off a train or anything, he was using the footbridge as a short cut to his house–well, his mother’s house, only she was in Majorca catching some sunshine and he was unemployed, catching lots of flak from his siblings all of whom had flown the nest with good degrees and even better jobs. He had one in media studies, printed on bog paper–like they used to say about sociology degrees back years ago.
It wasn’t his fault if he was good at lots of things but outstanding at none–unlike big brother–a barrister who was headed for the top, or big sister–already a ward sister at twenty five and obviously destined for better things. He could programme the DVD to do things it wasn’t supposed to, and he’d improvised a set top box from broken play station and some other bits and pieces he’d found down at the dump.
His mum allowed him to have the garden shed–one of the few things which remained since his father died five years ago. She’d gradually thrown everything out including most of the photos of Sid, yeah, he was Sid’s kid and proud of it. Sadly Sid wasn’t entirely at home in employment, so Marjory went to work as an office manager and Sid stayed home and did the cooking and cleaning–it worked but there was always something he felt was unsaid between his parents. If his siblings had known, they didn’t say–then he found the case in the shed. It was well hidden and he’d only happened on it by chance–he dropped a screw he was trying to insert into a recalcitrant radio he’d taken apart. The screw rolled and went under the bench then down through a crack in the floor. He lifted up the board and there was the small blue case.
When he picked the locks, he found it contained a thin dress, a straggly wig, some shoes, makeup and a bra and panties. Inside the lid were several photos of a strange woman with blonde hair. He examined them carefully–it was Sid, his dad.
So that was it, the secret which his mother had kept from him since he was born–his dad was a trannie. He laughed–these days it was no big deal–except when he’d suggested going in drag to a fancy dress party she’d gone ballistic.
He kept the photos but put the case back where it had been stored. He’d loved his dad, he took after him more than the others had, they seemed to follow his buxom mother, whereas Sid was skinny and not very tall. He also took over the housework when he came back to live at home after university. It wasn’t a choice exactly, his mother made it a condition of him staying there–like he had a choice. Still, he’d kept his flat clean at uni and he just applied the same principles to home.
She gave him money to do the shopping and he bought and prepared the food and kept the place clean. It kept him busy yet still allowed him time to fiddle about down the shed, playing with electronics–which perhaps was his flair.
He fiddled with the locks and after quite a bit of effort, heavy breathing and occasional profanity he finally got the lid of the case to reveal its contents. Crikey it was full.
Under the folded raincoat, were layers of women’s clothes, lingerie, nightwear and shoes. In a zipped up bag down the side were items of makeup and alongside it another with toiletries.
However, there was no note of the owner’s name or address. Really he should have taken it back to the station and handed it in. There was no money and none of this was really saleable at a dress agency–besides which where would he say he got it from? No, once he’d removed it from the station, he’d effectively stolen it.
He closed the case and made some coffee then washed up the cup afterwards–just like his dad used to. His dad–the transvestite–he wasn’t really surprised when he thought about it, what he couldn’t understand was what his father had got out of dressing up in women’s clothes. I mean, it’s a bit strange, innit?
He went down the shed and fiddled–he had very little to do as his mum was away for another week–but he couldn’t settle. He did think about trying to relock the case and taking it back to the station–he could always say he took it for safe keeping and there was nothing missing.
That was what he resolved to do. Of course plans and life rarely collate with each other and his went awry when the lock he was trying to close broke off. That left him sweating and swearing. It also derailed his intended honesty.
He went out for a walk, using the shortcut over the footbridge. He saw no signs of his crime having been discovered. An hour later he was back over the footbridge and then home. The case lay on the table, the one clasp open its lock lying on the table the other shut. It taunted him like some Cyclops and he went upstairs and tried to read or play on his computer. He did think about trying to replace the lock but it would need another key and besides why bother? Put it out with the rubbish on Friday–end of problem–especially if he shoved all the clothes in a black bag and then broke the case up. Yeah, that’s what he’d do.
He glanced at the photos of the strange blonde he now recognised as Sid–what did he get out of it apart from a quick wank? Could you actually get turned on by clothes? He didn’t think so, he liked girls so why settle for substitutes and poor ones at that?
He went down at tea time to get some food. The case was still there. He broke open the other lock and started to pick the clothing out to shove in the rubbish bag. A shoe fell out–it was red and shiny and his size.
Tea was forgotten about as he walked up and down before his mother’s wardrobe mirror in the skirt and jumper, tights, panties and bra–all removed from the case. It felt naughty–like he was a kid again scrumping apples or kissing Sarah Marples while he was standing on her apple tree and she was leaning out of the window while her parents slept in the next room. He was doing something he shouldn’t and he was getting quite a buzz.
The socks he’d rolled up to make his breasts weren’t entirely convincing or comfortable but he could work on that. All he did know was he felt very strange walking round in someone else’s clothes, but it was a nice strange.
That night he slept in the nightdress and tomorrow, he didn’t need to go out, so he could play with the makeup. He wished his hair was longer because there was no way he was using that manky wig. However, the internet would provide him with one at modest cost he was sure.
Sleep didn’t come easy. He wondered if he was a bit odd because he didn’t feel any sexual excitement until he dreamt he was being chatted up by a good looking man and they kissed. He woke up bathed in sweat and wondering if he had gone queer. He changed out of the nightdress but its allure drew him back to it.
The next day, he shaved his legs–they weren’t that hairy anyway, but he was going to do it properly. He filled two balloons with equal amounts of water until his bra was filled nicely. He dressed in a dress which he struggled to do up–why couldn’t they put zips in the front or were women double jointed?
He put a towel round his neck and spent the rest of the morning trying to use the makeup. He gave up in disgust then he tried You tube and found a tutorial. His next four attempts looked better. Yeah, he looked something like a young woman should.
He took some photos and downloaded them onto his computer. Yeah, he looked pretty good for a first attempt.
Suddenly, it was the day his mother was due home and he felt more resentment than joy at seeing her. He wanted her out of there, so he could get back into his skirts and dresses. He was getting really good at makeup and with a bit of padding round his bum he even had hips.
She picked up on his tension and they snapped at each other until she went back to work on the Monday. By eleven o’clock he was all dressed up with nowhere to go, he did think about chancing a walk round the block but it was too risky. Instead he nipped down the shed and played with his radio parts for an hour. His tummy growled and he realised he hadn’t had any lunch. Oh well, he headed for the house and thought about a snack.
He was halfway through making his beans on toast when he heard the door open and his mother stood there. “I knew it, I bloody well knew it. So this is what you do when I’m out working–like father like bloody son. I just knew it. He used to get all crabby if he couldn’t get his bloody dress on.”
He said nothing, standing still, feeling his face burning under the makeup and his mouth seemed jammed open.
“Don’t just stand there, say something,” his mother commanded.
He felt he should apologise but his mouth wouldn’t let him–apologise for what? he wasn’t actually doing anything wrong was he, just unusual. “I don’t know what to say?” he eventually managed to make his painted lips expel.
“How about do I want something to eat?” his mother suggested.
“Make me a sandwich and a cuppa–well get a move on, I haven’t got all day.”
He walked into the kitchen made her a sandwich and a pot of tea. Then completed his beans on toast. His mother kept looking at him as if assessing him.
“You look better than your father did, so what d’you call yourself, I can hardly address you as Jason dressed up like that can I?”
He hadn’t got that far–well as far as thinking of a girl’s name–he never thought he’d need one. “Um–Jessica.” His painted lips declared and this was as much news to him as to his mother.
“Well, Jessica, you’re going to need a wig until your hair grows out–see what you can find on the internet but remember I’m not made of money.”
“You’re...” he paused unable to believe what she’d just said. “You’re okay with it?” he could hardly believe it.
“No but it obviously runs in the family and I’d rather know what you’re up to than have you keep secrets. But if you’re going to dress up like a girl, you’d better look the part–I don’t want you slobbing about in a skirt with three days stubble–understand?”
“Right, I’m off back to work–I’ll bring home a bottle of wine so make something nice for dinner–oh, and I like the eyeliner–your dad was rubbish at that.”
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