It's Strange But It's True: A TG Mixed Tape

It’s Strange But It’s True

A TG MIXED TAPE

Edited by PersnicketyBitch

Everyone’s favorite magical cassette is back! This month featuring 12 short, short stories that will transport you from the exclusive and dangerous worlds of royals and aristocrats, to slices of contemporary life, to the last days of Planet Earth, and an interview with Minikisa the author of “Of Heroes and Villains”.

I don't want to live alone, hey

God knows, got to make it on my own

So baby can't you see

I've got to break free.

Queen

The busker was adjusting the strings on his guitar and yarning:

They called it the Hobo Jungle, though you probably don’t remember it. It’s long gone now, that shopping trolley graveyard under the old bridge. There were cars too, car skeletons rather. The panels and engines were missing and when the river dried to a tinkle – which it does from time to time, mark my words, even though it don’t look like it ever could now – they’d emerge all rusty and gunked over. Cars, and all kinds of other shit you wouldn’t believe. There was a Red Cross donation bin up next to the highway, but the Red Cross never put it there. That was Jin, who queened it over the bums and vagrants back then. And how herself and Trev – who claimed he’d been an enforcer for Bullhead Joe and his mob, but’d got kicked out for being too tough (and who’s to say he weren’t telling the truth; Trev was always less full of it than everyone else) – boosted it from the Alderman Street depo is quite a story.

Oh, the things people dumped in that bin. The things people left beside it. Garage sale cast offs. Some with the slips of paper with the too optimistic prices printed on in texta or permimarker still stuck to ‘em. Fiberboard kit desk, with Jodie ❤’s Anton and a palm tree carved into the bottom, and a cock and balls and clit white-outed on: $60. Clock and chronometer, set into a strip of bark: $80. Cane couch, marbles – catseyes, pearlies, turtleshells, tigerstripes – jammed into the weave: $130. Bin bags, stretched tight by knickknacks or toys – Maddonas, virgins, saviours, saints, plastic tourist kitsch and glass, wood and wool trinkets for the knit your own yogurt crowd; supersoakers, building-blocks, trucks that turned into robots and sexless, sexed up dolls – or kitchen crap – saucepans, wobble handled fryers, cutlery and such on. All crap, but dammit if it weren’t just a little bit like Christmas every second day or two.

So that’s how the tape came to the Jungle. Its insides were mostly outsides when I found it in a box of dog-eared Clancy’s, Koontz’s and Cussler’s, but I untangled them and spooled them back in with a ballpoint, and tossed it into my collection, which filled the crate next to my sheet pile. I used to be a record store wallflower way back, and even though I had next to nothing I still clung to the rocker, good time girl dream. At night I’d pop one of my tapes into my broken boom-box and sing and dance myself till exhaustion. But the night of the tape there was… not music, not at first. And it filled me. With my lips I gave it lyrics. With my hands a melody on air guitar. And I see them; Jin, Trev, the others, the first to crowd around. And the cars, stopped on the bridge, backed up. The strangers sliding down the embankment to join us.

It’s Strange But It’s True

A TG MIXED TAPE

Liner Notes

A Change of Fate.

ACDC Metal Fan

A T-Girl, A Lesbian and Robin Williams Walk Into a Bar.

By Toxis

A Witch

By Minikisa

Change of Key

By Ragtime Rachel

Duty

By Zapper

Family

By BobH

Karma Is a Bitch

By D.A.W.

Marcie’s Contract

Kandijayne

My Lord

By A Kent

Not That Kind of Girl

By Lyodor Tolstoryevski

Recognition

By Maggie Finson

Supply Run

By PersnicketyBitch

The Mixed Tape Interview: Minikisa

(Edited By PersnicketyBitch)

A Change of Fate

ACDC Metal Fan

“Well what do we have here? Is it a pilgrim from the prophecy?” I said turning around. “You’re not the first one tho step on my lair, what makes you think you’re able to defeat me?”

I waited for his answer.

He said nothing. He looked tired which was understandable. He had not had a pleasant journey.

“So,” I said, “You’re a silent one. I will make sure that your pleadings echo through the walls of my castle.”

He approached me. The creaks and shrieks of his armour pierced my ears. He was unprepared for my magic, and judging from at the way he almost stumbled with every step he took, his armour was a burden to him. This will be easy, I think, this will be fun. And I do need a body for my research.

The knight charged and put all his strength into his first blow. I dodged. He lost his balance and fell. As he tried to get back to his feet, I struck him down using a thunderbolt. It pierced his armour and burned his skin.

I laughed at his attempts to stand again. “So the puny human still has some spirit.” And using my scythe I stabbed him in the chest, and lifted him up with the blade.

“It looks like you’re in the need of a new blacksmith,” I told him as I wrenched the blade free. Blood Sprayed. He collapsed to the ground. “And a surgeon. And a priest to pray for your soul.”

I dragged his almost dead body through the halls of my castle, painting the floor with a bright red smear. I entered my chambers, and I hefted him up and onto on my wooden table. “I better do this while your insignificant body is still alive.” I dissolved his armour with a flick of the wrist, slid my hand into the slit in his chest, and pulled it wide open. The Knight spasmed in agony.

I grabbed was left of my sister from a nearby shelf. “I’ve had in mind what would happen if I introduce a goddess’ soul into the body of a human.” I said, “And what a better way to find out! Will your body burn? Explode? Will it be able to contain such power? Let’s find out!”

And find out I did.

As I sat in front of this human, his wounds rapidly healed, and his body began to emit an eerie yellow glow, that grew so bright that I wasn’t able to see through it. Soon the glow grew so intense that I to avert my gaze.

And when it finally faded, I was amazed at my results.

*

Ever since she was little Susy has been interested in these types of stories. Other stories by her include: "Sympathy for the Girl" and "Black Bloodstains". She is the co-author of the story "K177Y Serum". You can find all of her stories at TG Storytime.

A T-Girl, A Lesbian and Robin Williams Walk Into a Bar

By Toxis

The thing is, I never paid much attention to who I was. Life sort of carried me along. I had a job and that was okay. I had friends but I liked them more than they liked me. No serious girlfriends. No big ambitions. Looking back, if I had died, people would have said that’s too bad, but I don’t think many of them would have made the viewing. I was okay with that but I had the growing sense that nothing mattered. I didn’t matter and that eventually it would catch up with me.

I've never done open mike stand-up before so here goes. Last Halloween, I’m walking into a drag bar called The Birdcage. There are two girls in front of me. One dressed like a 50’s Hollywood starlet, all lipstick and teased hair. The other in a motorcycle jacket and jeans, bigger, maybe even husky. I figured I was behind a lipstick lesbian and her partner. No big deal. I was there to see the holiday drag show. Do I have change for a fifty, the starlet wants to know. I give her two twenties and a ten, and then pay my own way in. Costume’s optional but I’m the only one not wearing one, making me the one that sticks out. Great. I don’t see anyone I know so I say hello to the pair I met at the door. And the joke’s on me. See, the starlet is a guy named Bryce and the lesbian also is a guy, Dana, who tells me he’s in marketing. They’re Marilyn and James Dean and seriously pissed off because Toby called and said he isn’t gonna’ make it, and he was supposed to be Madonna. I say that’s too bad, which they ignore because they’re arguing whether I can do the Madonna thing and keep the act together. Get up on stage and lip sync to Like a Virgin. I’m begging off but there’s a $500 prize and I keep half. Before I know it, I’m in back and they’re scouring piles of costume parts, wigs, shoes, whatever. And then, bamm, in no time, I’m back out front. Dressed in a pink satin corset, the cone bra thing, a frizzy blonde wig, hose, heels, lots of makeup and junk jewelry. Our turn, we get up there and prance around. It’s Fosse Fosse. Twyla Twyla. Martha Graham. Michael Kidd. Madonna Madonna. It’s, you know, fun. The crowd, which was blasted drunk, goes insane. And we win! I won’t say it changed my life but Dana and Bryce called. We’re going shopping on Saturday. So joke’s on me twice.

(And Robin… rest in joy and save us a seat.)

*

Toxis writes stories about transformation, how events change people, make them something they weren't and leave them as something else. If you like this story, you might also like “Bianca Paragon” and “Spellbound” on Fictionmania, “Race Queen” at mcstories.com, and “Everything's Good” at Bdsmlibrary.

A Witch

By Minikisa

Prismatic rays of ever-shifting colors whirl and twist in the hollow carved into the headpiece, illuminating the winding wood from within. The eerie light spills into the hallowed hall, the only source of light in this darkened tomb.

The staff waits.

Hungry eyes sweep along its length, coveting, needing. And yet, the gangly boy hesitates, wiping sweaty palms on dirty trousers. He is tall, as tall as the staff and almost as thin, reedy in the way of those whose bodies have not yet caught up with a growth spurt.

He swallows heavily and takes a step forward, only to retreat a moment later.

And still the staff waits.

It is a witch’s staff, a weapon, powerful beyond measure. Only a worthy witch may wield it. Those who touch it and are found wanting pay a heavy price.

He licks his cracked lips, long fingers twitching.

It’s his.

He knows it’s his.

He feels it in his bones, his heart, his entire being. It calls to him.

I’m yours, it sings. You’re mine.

The boy is not a witch. Cannot be a witch, for only women are witches. The power of creation is theirs alone. But gods, he longs to be. If he were to claim that he does not crave the power, it would be a lie, for who does not want to be powerful? But no, it is not power that compels him to stand in this room, shivering and alone, staring at a weapon that might kill him if he were to touch it.

“Please,” he whispers to any god who cares to listen and steps forward again, his ascent up the stairs unsteady and uncertain.

He is a fool to be doing this. Clearly his senses took their leave a long time ago and never bothered to return to their proper place. He was told as much that one time when he got too deep in his cups and drunkenly tried to explain to his best friend why he should henceforth be called by a woman’s name.

Perhaps he drank a little too much tonight as well.

Before reason can triumph over liquid courage he gives himself a final push, stumbling over the last step.

His fingers close around the gnarled wood.

It’s warm to the touch.

And then the darkness of the hall is swallowed by a terrible burning light.

When the guards finally succeed in prying apart the half-fused doors, they are greeted by the sight of a naked body curled up on the dais, wrapped in the tattered remains of smoldering cloth.

She is crying, sobbing even, inhaling great heaving gulps of happiness.

All her life they told her she was a boy.

As she cradles the softly glowing staff to her chest, she knows at last that they were wrong.

*

As far back as she can remember, Minikisa has always built rich fantasy worlds inside of her head, distracting her with endless daydreams of adventure which she recently decided to share with the rest of the world. She created the Paragon Verse at TGStorytime with her tale “Of Heroes And Villains”. She also wrote the short story “Dragonslayer”, a twisted fairytale she considers one of her best works.

The slender hands of a child, age eleven, danced across the keys as they navigated the trickier passages of the “Rondo Alla Turca.” On the best days, the piano and the child were one, fellow travelers through the world of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss, each taking the other to heretofore unexplored realms of musical complexity.

Today, however, was not one of those days.

Within a minute, the blistering arpeggios disintegrated into a cacophonous cluster of notes, ending with a frustrated swat at the keys. There would be no communing with Mozart today.

Where is she?

Adjusting a recalcitrant hair bow, the child blew a stray curl aside as the metronome ticked away, each second louder than the last.

Suppose something happened to her?

“I’m not hearing any music in there. You know you have another ten minutes to practice, Abigail….”

The child identified as “Abigail” smiled a wicked grin.

If it’s music she wants….

The slender fingers launched into something marvelous, overheard on the midway of the St. Louis fair the year before. Something called “ragtime.”

Soon the air filled with the lively strains of “The Easy Winners,” Aunt Hattie and Mozart be hanged. By the middle of the trio the hands moved of their own will, the child a prisoner of the steady syncopation. Fingers straining to span the treacherous octaves, our young friend’s excitement built until—

“—Emory! What in Sam Hill are you doing?”

Emory jumped at the sound of his twin sister, so startled his hair bow drooped down over one eye.

“Abby! Where have you been?” the boy hissed.

Clouds of dust arose from Abby’s pinafore front as she brushed away the remnants of right field. “The game, where else?” She threw down her glove. “Never mind me! You know Aunt Hattie hates that music. You’re gonna give us away!”

“But Abby,” the boy complained, trying unsuccessfully not to whine. “You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago!”

“So the game went into extra innings,” Abby said with a shrug, releasing another cloud of dust. “You better get those clothes off before—“

“—ahem!”

The children felt their aunt’s glare before they saw her.

Aunt Hattie didn’t wait for explanations. “Don’t. I suspected this little charade.”

Tightening Emory’s drooping hair bow, she ruffled his curls. “Your ‘sister’ here is quite the musician, Abigail. As you might be, had you not spent your Sundays sliding into second. Did you really think I wouldn’t know?”

Abby remained silent.

“Get changed, Abigail, then sweep second base off my parlor floor. And as for you, young ‘lady’”, she added, indicating Emory, “I’ve chosen a dress for you for Abigail’s recital. She needs a duet partner.”

Emory did a double-take. “Ma’am?”

“You heard me, ‘Emily.’ And until then, you will dress as you are.”

‘Emily’ could have sworn ‘her’ aunt winked.

“Oh, and Emily, you may play that dreadful ragtime, but tell no one. The ladies’ club would have apoplexy!”

“Emily” winked back, grinning. Mozart could surely wait.

*

Rachel currently has only one completed story online, the SRU tale "A Box Full Of Dreams" (published under the name, Rachel Newstead), though an incomplete story, "The Christmas Ivy Bloomed," is currently on Big Closet.

Rachel has this to say about her writing: "My TG fiction protagonists are young, usually child to early teen range, because they represent the child I wish I could have been--one who could freely live as her true gender at a very young age. Many are also disabled as well, a subject area not usually covered in TG fiction. I do this because I myself am disabled, having had cerebral palsy from birth, and I take the adage "Write what you know" to heart."

The deepening shadow took on a three dimensional quality just before the Bloodknife stepped into the royal bedchamber. The assassin’s senses expanded until he KNEW the room. Then he attacked.

The silk bed-curtain parted as he drove his knife toward the recumbent form of the Princess. Impossibly fast, the princess rolled toward the assassin catching the descended knife in an x-block while driving the heel of a dainty foot into his ribs with explosive force. Bodyshields flared, red against blue, then the assassin flew into the far wall. Saved from a crushing impact by his bodyshield, the assassin looked up in time to see the princess move toward him. She held a naked glowing Gladius in her delicate right hand and it matched the impossible blue glow of a Knight’s Energy Shield on her left arm.

‘This cannot be,’ the assassin thought, and made his decision. In a move too fast to stop the Bloodknife drove his own blade into his eye. There was a flash of magic, the smell of burnt tissue, and the man’s body slumped to the floor.

The doors to Princess Aglarwen’s bedchamber flew open as an alarm sounded within the palace. The guards rushed to the princess, making sure she was safe, before looking at the body. Aglarwen waved them off and moved to a small couch where she sat down, legs spread in an unladylike fashion, sword resting over her knees. The Sergeant of the King’s Watch gulped at the display of creamy royal flesh, flesh clad only in a diaphanous gown and clingy undergarments.

In minutes the King reached his daughter’s chamber and ordered everyone out except the princess.

“Alright, Sir Garth, what happened?”

At this the ‘Princess’ stood up and saluted. “Your majesty was right. As you can see the Emperor didn’t take your refusal well. I’d say this attempt, on Princess Aglarwen’s life, amounts to a declaration of war.”

King Roderick nodded and then looked at Garth, “For god’s sake, man, cover yourself. That’s my daughter’s body you’re showing the entire court!”

Just then the doors to the chamber burst open and Sir Garth, Knight Captain of the King’s Watch sashayed into the chamber slamming the door shut. There was a wild look on his face, until he saw the princess, and then relief.

“Thank the Gods, you’re safe. I was told an Imperial Bloodknife had attacked!”

“Yes, Aglarwen, but Sir Garth took care of it.”

At this the big man grimaced, “So, father, you were right. But now that the assassin has been defeated, can we swap back? This body is very uncomfortable!”

“Your majesty, as much as I’d like to return to my body, I feel it is my DUTY to say, that the threat from the Empire has just begun.”

The King looked from his finest fighter, wearing his daughter’s flesh, to the rough skin housing the soul of his spoiled, indolent, heir.

“I’m sorry dear, but until this unpleasantness is concluded, Sir Garth must keep your body safe.”

*

Zapper started writing in December 2011 and has contributed a number of short and long stories to various websites, including Fictionmania and Big Closet Top Shelf. A few of his TG stories include: The Security Consultant Trilogy ("The Security Consultant," "The Consultant and the Mask," and "The Consultant and the Hounds of Heaven") the Bounty Hunters Trilogy ("Bounty Hunters," Bounty Hunters II: "Family Reunion," Bounty Hunters III: "Silas Revenge") "Conan and the Blade of Costa" and his first story, "A Favor for Anna."

I tucked my nightdress under me as I sat down in front of the dressing table, my eyes travelling across the familiar array of cosmetics and past the smoke drifting up lazily from the cigarette in the ashtray, before coming to rest on the wedding photo. I smiled wistfully. Had it really been six months since the wedding? It seemed like only yesterday. But then it also seemed like only yesterday that my husband Joe and I were standing in that office on an Earth facing imminent destruction, being briefed on our one chance of survival.

"We can send you back in time," explained the Major, "but only your minds. You'll take over the bodies of people who were days away from dying in accidents, and live out the lives they never did."

"Do we get to choose our new lives?" I asked.

"I'm afraid not. The process is random."

"Can we at least stay together?" asked Joe. "Carol and I only just got married and the thought of never seeing each other again is unbearable."

He squeezed my hand and gave me a hopeful smile.

"That much we can do," said the Major. "It's not a lot, but we can arrange things so you arrive in the past together, so that you're still family. But remember, you must do nothing to change the past. You have to quietly live out your lives in whatever situation you find yourselves in."

Staring into the mirror, studying my pretty face, I remembered his words, how forceful he had been. We'd agreed, of course. The alternative was staying where we were and facing a fiery death alongside all those billions whose number hadn't come up in the lottery.

Joe had gone downstairs to let our visitor in. The sound of them climbing the stairs pulled me from my reverie. I turned on the stool as the door opened and there they were.

"Hello, Emily," said Kelly, coming over and lifting me off the stool, "and how's my favourite girl today?"

"Don't let her stay up past her bedtime," said my husband Joe, now my mother Alice, retrieving her cigarette and taking a final drag before stubbing it out, still as beautiful as in that wedding photo where she was the bride and I was the prettiest flower girl you ever saw.

"Come on, darling, we're going to be late!" came a man's voice from downstairs.

"Mommy has to go now, sweetie," said Alice, kissing me on the forehead.

She gave my baby sitter a quick smile, then swept out, looking amazing in her evening dress and five inch heels. This may not be the life together we'd hoped for, but we're alive, we love each other, and at least we're still family. That's got to count for something.

Right?

*

BobH has been writing TG fiction for over a decade. He has written over 80 shorts stories and novellas which you can find at Fictionmania. Many of these are connected. To find out where to start follow this link. Recently he has written several Star Trek fanfics riffing on the Original Series episode "Turnabout Intruder".

There had been a time when I'd thought magic was nothing more than a bunch of silly tricks, but that was before he had come into my life. He was just beginning his transformation and it would be over in a matter of minutes. It was the least he deserved for what he put me and so many others through. My only regret was that it wouldn’t last longer. I took consolation in the fact that while the changes would be brief, they’d also be excruciating.

I could feel it starting, the pure luminescent and elemental energy of the Earth wrapping around him like a cocoon. Lucian let out a scream as his body started to contort and twist. Breasts pushed out from his chest. A scar, which had disfigured one of his nipples smoothed out almost as if it had never existed. Muscles faded away and his tall frame, shrunk draining away like water from a broken vase.

Another scar, this one in his thigh, paled then disappeared and I let out a sigh of regret. I would have like for him to keep that one. I’d been the one to give it to him. His hips expanded just about the same time as a mass of brilliant red curls cascaded from the back of his once brunette head. He let out a scream and clenched his brown eyes shut and when he opened them again they were a brilliant blue. His chiseled jaw, softened and his nose, broken long ago, popped back into place and shortened to match the rest of his now beautiful feminine face. Hell, even his teeth, crooked and stained from years of smoking, straightened and whitened.

Hands shrunk, bunions disappeared, legs went on for miles, arms took on just the right amount of tone, they all changed to match his new body, but the final transformation was the most traumatic, at least for Lucian. He let out another scream and reached out to grab his crotch where his cock and balls, his pride and joy, became a perfectly formed vagina.

“Oh god,” he said with that high feminine voice and I slammed my fist into the new woman’s jaw as the rest of the spell took effect.

The fierce intelligence once mirrored in her eyes faded away replaced by a vacant withdrawn look. Lucian was still there, but he wasn’t exactly holding the reins to his body any more. Kitty however was, and Lucian would be forced to experience everything she did, a prostitute who had a taste for some particularly distasteful and painful things. Finally, he’d gotten what was coming to him. Karma was a bitch even if it occasionally needed a little push.

Eventually, Lucian might find a way to reverse the spell I’d put on his mind, but somehow I doubted he’d ever find a way to reverse the sex change. I know I hadn’t.

*

D.A.W. is a fan of science-fiction and fantasy who brings his love of the genres to TG fiction. He is the author of “Facades” (the first Meridian story) and the "Ragnarok Rising Trilogy" (“Incompatible: Birth of a Spellbinder”, “Transfigured: Ascension of a Spellbinder” and “Destiny: Legacy of a Spellbinder”). He has contributed to several shared universes including Enemyoffun's DarkRealms Universe (“Hunger Pangs”) and Morpheus' Twisted Universe (“Virtually Twisted”).

Elyot’s hand was shaking. He couldn’t pick up his coffee. Trisha was way out of his league. In truth any girl was; who’d be interested in a shambling, 17 year old nerd? But Trisha was special. Gorgeous honey-blonde hair; a heart-shaped face that was flawless yet full of character, with blue eyes that seemed to laugh and to dance; a gently curvaceous body; and legs up to her armpits. And he was having coffee with her!

She leaned towards him, and her human warmth was so intense he felt himself almost knocked over.

“Nervous? There’s no need to be. This is something I think you’re going to like.”

She smiled at him, and the whole café seemed doused in a heady, feminine perfume.

“Don’t you recognise me, Ellie?”

Elyot hated his name, but he hated being called ‘Ellie’ even more. Girls used it to tease, bullies to humiliate. Only one person could ever call him ‘Ellie’ and get away with it. Darren, his almost-friend, who’d shared his love of fantasy, who’d been killed in an accident two years ago. A month before Trisha had transferred into their school…

No, surely not…

No…

“D-darren?”

Trisha laughed. “Not anymore. Not since I signed the contract.”

“And that’s where I come in,”

The girl sitting beside her opened her folder. She was half Trisha’s height, with a pudding-basin haircut and glasses so thick Elyot could hardly make out her eyes behind them. She wore a faded gingham summer dress. Marcie. Only afterwards did he realise he’d never seen her before.

“I want you to have the same chance I had. It’s everything Marcie promised, and more. I’ve never regretted it.”

“It’s a standard contract,” said Marcie, “but customised to your own requirements. Here, have a look through the brochure.”

‘The Hottest Girl in the School’ was embossed in gold leaf on the cover. ‘A body to die for by Diabolique Designs. Because you’re worth it’.

There were pictures of girls in different poses, each in school uniform, swimsuit and prom dress, but all stunning enough to be models or idol singers.

“Of course they’ll move you to a new school and a new family. If you stay here you could only be my sidekick.”

“Don’t worry, our after-sales service is guaranteed,” Marcie added.

Elyot’s heart began to race. Could this really be true? Natasha, the dream he’d kept locked in the deepest and darkest recesses of his mind began to emerge into the sunlight.

“Um, customised?”

“Anything you like. Popularity is standard, naturally. How about a bimbo? That’s a frequent choice.”

“No thanks. Could you make me a few degrees more intelligent? And entry to an elite university with a first class degree?”

Beauty with brains had always been the killer for him.

“I’m not asking too much, am I?”

“Not at all.” Marcie was generous. “You only get what you pay for.”

“Where do I sign?”

“Ah, there’s a little ritual to go through first. Unzip your pants…”

*

Kandijayne has been reading transgender fiction for many years, but only recently began to write it, and has this year published her first stories on Fictionmania, BigCloset and TGStorytime. Most popular seems to be “You’ve been drafted, Girlie!”. In the ‘Real World’ ‘he’ retired at the end of 2013, so should in theory have plenty of time to write more.

I cursed under my breath as a knock on the door caused me to smear the ink across my parchment, I'd have to rewrite the whole letter now. “Enter!” I snapped.

Lord Roberts stepped into my chambers and bowed. As always he cut quite the dashing figure in his navy blue doublet and sky blue stockings. He was followed by a furious looking Lady Wilhelma. She wore an elegant and demure green flowing dress, her blonde hair covered by her two peaked bonnet. Despite her red face, she curtsied.

“My Lord, I must speak to you about a scandal before it becomes public knowledge,” Lord Roberts said.

From the lady's face I knew what the scandal was, yet appearances had to be kept. I allowed my eyes to widen slightly, “And what would this scandal be, might I ask?”

He thrust out his chest, “The Lady Wilhelma is a man!”

At this point the Lady drew herself up, raising her rather prominent chin, “My Lord I object to this slander. If I were a man I'd demand satisfaction. However since I am not I'm sure some of my admirers in court will be more than happy to step forward to protect my honour.”

I motioned for her to sit down. “What proof do you have that Lady Wilhelma is a man?”

“I have spoken to a former handmaiden of her's and she assures me that Lady Wilhelma is of the male sex,” he stated. “Once you look at her face, it is quite obvious, despite the soft skin, that that chin, those cheekbones and that nose, that she is truly a he.”

Well this rumour needed to be ended quickly. I stood up, setting my lips into a thin line and made my eyes hard. “Lord Roberts, I'm quite certain you've heard of some of my exploits in my youth, have you not?”

He nodded.

“Well then in strictest confidence, I have been intimately familiar with her Lady Wilhelma, and I assure you that if she is a man, then by all rights I must be a woman. And I would consider any suggestions in that regards to be a grave insult, which must be challenged in the field of honour,” I said, keeping my voice soft, yet hard as steel.

Roberts paled, apologized profusely to myself and the lady and almost ran out of the room.

As soon as I was sure he was out of earshot I turned to the 'lady'. “You must be more careful, my 'Lady'. You don't want anyone to discover what's under your skirts.”

She was trying hard not to laugh. “I loved how you put that sop in his place, my 'Lord'. Would you care to come to my chambers later this evening, to see who is the lady and who is the lord?”

I shivered as she reached into my specially padded tights and fondled my smooth crotch. “I'd be delighted.”

*

A_Kent is a professional writer, who has recently begun writing TG stories. He has several stories posted on TG Storytime ranging from the horror story "Virtual Girl, Virtual Nightmare", the YA fantasy "The Kings Sword", to a slightly futuristic slice of life "Switched". As well as the Kindle short story "Dating Amanda" on Amazon.

Thursday nights are guy nights. Just the four of us. Mario Kart in the machine, music blasting from the computer, some beers, some bros, just hanging out.

Not that it never goes off without a hitch. For example when Pandora decides to play some bubble gum pop on our metal station out of the blue and Jared shoves my arm and goes "Hey, you want to dance?" and I go "No, I'm not that kind of girl," and he goes "Then what kind of girl are you?" and the words sort of fly their way around the room, in front of the TV, past the blades of the ceiling fan, into the fish tank, over the sofa and straight into my skull.

What kind of girl am I?

Well, I'm not the kind of girl who wants to dance. That's pretty established. What does that mean, what do I like to do instead? I like to play Mario Kart. Am I a gamer girl? Do I like to play other games? I have a decent computer. It's got Assassin's Creed on it. Minecraft. Goat Simulator. Yeah, that sounds like me. Not too athletic, into games, likes computers.

And I hang out with three guys on Thursdays. Why would a girl hang out with three guys every week? Is one of them my boyfriend? Jared asked me to dance, didn't he? But I said I'm not that kind of girl, so I don't think he's my boyfriend. I'm wearing boys clothes, though. Where did I get them from if I'm a girl? Did I sleep with someone?

What if I slept with all three of them? I mean, not all at once, I'm not that kind of girl either, but what if they take turns. I'm not out of shape, so I must get my exercise somewhere. Jared, Anders, Wesley, they're all decent guys. I could see myself with any of them. Maybe I just haven't decided which one.

Or maybe I won't pick any of them. Have I ever thought about settling down before? About kids? Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean that I have to want a family. I'm my own woman, and I don't have to conform to the image society gives me. I keep my hair short but neat, I look after myself, I plan for my own future, but I'm okay with where I am. Just experiencing life for a while.

That's the kind of girl I am. I'm a girl who knows what she likes, knows what she doesn't, and is comfortable in her own skin. Maybe I don't know what the future holds, and maybe that's okay for now. I'm just hanging out with my guys on a Thursday night.

And Jared shoves my arm again and goes "start the next race," and I go "alright, alright," and I take a sip from my beer and press A on the controller and it's four guys playing Mario Kart on a Thursday night.

*

Lyodor Tolstoyevski is man of honor. Lyodor writes many short stories, and sometimes long stories too. Short pieces of Lyodor's include "Take Me Home," "Breadwinner," and "The Witch of Wallonia." Long pieces include "Allegra" and upcoming ebook for which all should keep eye out at Amazon Marketplace: "Inside the Girls' Room." Do not be hesitating to read all works of Lyodor Tolstoyevski!

Horace Livingstone was livid, cursing and stomping around the interior of his lab. “Frigging people can't recognize genius when it rears up and bites their noses.”

Once again, one of his inventions had been passed over in favor of something flashier at the IIAC (Inventors International Awards Ceremony). “My automated can opener would have revolutionized life in the kitchen all over the world! But nooo! So what if a little glitch caused it to try opening one of the judges? The idiot shouldn't have pulled out that pocket watch.”

The can opener had interpreted the flash of metal as a can just waiting to be opened so had tried getting the job done with commendable zeal, in Horace's opinion. But the judge in question, once the EMTs finished patching him up had disqualified the invention rather loudly before he was taken to the ambulance. The other judges, sheep that they were, vocally agreed with that decision. The judge who had received the rather impromptu appendectomy had been screaming about legal action as he was wheeled out on the gurney.

“He would probably had to have some kind of surgery done soon, anyway. You'd think he'd have appreciated the freebie.” Horace grumbled.

That had been a month ago and he'd already received a formal letter from The International Inventors Union telling him he was banned from further competition and could expect word from the organization's lawyers soon. Not to mention more than a few restraining orders and notifications from the court regarding several law suits.

“All because my can opener got away from the restraining fields and got into the audience,” he let out a put upon sigh, “as if anything is perfect.”

He patted a small black box with a cord ending in a headset. “This little beauty will fix it all, though. It'll put me back to before all these little annoyances so I can fix them and get the recognition I deserve.”

He took the headset attached to the machine and placed it on his head. “Here I come for the fame and fortune,” he grinned as he pressed the start button on his newest invention.

“Now things will be better!” he cackled, blissfully unaware of just how insane that laugh sounded, “I'll finally get recognition for things I've...

“Done!” he finished after a period of disorientation. But the voice that finished the declaration didn't sound right. He didn't feel right either as an amplified voice boomed out from beside him.

“And now I proudly present to all of you,” the voice announced, “1954's Mother of the Year, Natalie Hawkins!”

“Oh, shit,” Horace, now Natalie breathed as she became aware of the different sensations from body and clothing while slowly getting off the chair and moving towards the podium set center stage of the platform she was on.

*

Maggie Finson has been around for some time by now. Stories she’s done range from the comedic to very serious and dark depending on her mood and muse. She created the Heaven and Hell universe, is one of the original creators of the Whateley universe, and has diverse stand alone stories and series including Maiden by Decree.

Sashimi Queen closes at four, but half an hour before that the end of the day specials begin. Back when we were students, Lucile and Nina and the rest of Weston House’s Primary and Early Childhood majors, when they could make the ten minute window before all the Chicken Teriyakis, Tuna Salads and Salmon and Avos sold out, had practically lived on their five rolls for five dollars deal.

I should’ve gone there first. Instead I’m in Woolies, grabbing a pack of marked down Tim Tams, and dropping them into my basket next to a box of Weat-bix, a jar of instant coffee, an iceberg, a punnet of cherry-T’s, a block of feta, a red onion, a jar of olives and two lemons. All of that so I can feel OK about the next purchase.

I’d be going through the same rigmarole even if I were buying condoms.

Exit snacks. Shiver past the cheeses, yogurts and milk. Take a turn by leaning tower of dunny roll. Transfer handles of basket into crook of my arm.

Then, newly freed hand into pocket. A tight fit. My keys scrape my knuckles. Retrieve phone and punch in password – my date of birth backwards.

If I’m getting the references in Lucile’s twitter feed right, they’re on the last or second last episode of season 3. It’s going to be close. I might be able to make it, traffic willing, and depending on how long I have to spend digging around in our collection when I drop by the apartment. (Luce’s brother’s tyke put all the discs in the wrong cases to amuse herself when we were looking after her this weekend just past). Honestly, I can take or leave the trials and tribs of Lorelai and Rory. But The Binge, is a sacred rite, and must not be profaned by interruption (unless it’s of the bathroom break variety).

Down the aisle. Pinks, sky blues, forest greens, warm oranges, fluffy lamb white, the occasional defiant hard-core black.

The way the girls have been talking this up, it’s the menses to end all menses. Biblical proportions. It’ll flow for forty days and forty nights. Period-fucking-zilla. So I scan for something long lasting, with lots to a pack. I see a purple that, I think, I’m pretty sure, I’ve glimpsed ‘round at Nina’s and take it.

Needless to say I self-service checkout.

I arrive at Sashimi Queen too late. All that remains are a few Pickled Horse Radish, Super Spicy Super Combo, and Deep Fried rolls (and if any of those hit the spot for you, have at ‘em). Elsewhere in the food court, the staff at the Chinese place are take-away-containering what’s left in its bain-marie’s and the woman behind the counter of the bakery is bagging the cheese and bacon buns, croissants, and pastries that didn’t sell. My cheap meals of choice in those halcyon Uni days. Lucile’d told us about the court while she guided us around during O-week. Nina was Nino then.

*

PersnicketyBitch is the creator of the Mixed Tape Anthologies. She is Australian, but don't hold that against her. If you do she will sic her pet drop bear on you.

You can find out more about MtF gender reassignment surgery here.

Birgit Kappel’s boyfriend broke up with her the day after he proposed. He called it off over the phone to a mutual friend who passed the buck to someone who passed the buck to someone who passed the buck to someone else, and so on, etcetera, and as is the tragic, comic way of these things, Birgit was the last person in her social circle to find out.

She was, at first, a textbook broken heart. Look at her finger, see where she’s wound the phone cord tighter and tighter? And, phwoar, that breath, eh? Better hand over a coffee and steer clear. Albums rewound and replayed, repeat. And what was the one she returned to most you ask: Nena’s self-titled. A love/hate affair with old haunts? Of course.

The Wall was the hardest to keep away from. She walked by it almost every day. Looking for new works by the artists she knew, and revisiting the old ones. Say, that Dieter, he sure does a great Andropov, doesn’t he? But what’s this she’s written over it? Fick Dich. Fick Dick. Arschloch.

After spraying those words Birgit returned home subdued. Her minds ears filled her head with the pick-pocking synths of Nur geträumt. She stripped off and tied a length of twine around her waist, there was plenty left over and it trailed behind her as she made her way to the garage, to her car, and began to syphon. Ich bin so allein. Ich will bei dir sein. When the bucket was full, she took it out into her garden and upended it over her head. She held up an arm, and inspected the now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t rainbows in the oily wet film on her skin. Ich seh' deine Hand. Hab' sie gleich erkannt. She breathed in deeply the reek and the drops forming at the end of her nose. The fumes filled her, took the edge off her hangover, seemed to buoy a part of her up and out of her body. Mein Kopf tut weh, mach' die Augen zu. Ich lieg' im grünen Gras und erzähl' mir was. Then carefully, carefully, Birgit lit a match and held it to the frayed hemp fuse, stepped back, watched and waited, and then, screaming, blazed.

Mir ist schon ganz heiß

Ich geh' auf dich zu

Deine Blicke ärgern mich

Denken immer nur an dich

Fast forward thirty-one years. Chernenko comes and goes. Gorbachev presides over twilight of the Soviet Union. The Maastricht Treaty. Gorbachev sells his soul to Pizza Hut, Dieter Hahn skewers him in the last cartoon he draws for Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Euro. As the markets crash so does Deiter’s fourth marriage. Die Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft win the world cup.

This is where I come in.

Where Birgit’s house was in 1983 there is an apartment block. Without it her Shade would’ve wasted away to nothing. As is, it’s emaciated. The block’s inhabitants aren’t leaving enough impressions. I find it drawing the memory of a fight between a father and son – only a year old, barely aged – from a mirror that reflected the worst of it.

I offer up a fraction of my past to it, and as it gorges itself I bind it.

Will it, with its new awareness, regard what I’ve done as a kindness, or like The Pilot, further punishment?

The Shade examines the receptacle I have given to it. It mashes buttons. Play, rewind, play, rewind, record, rewind, fast forward, play.

Es ist gebrochen, it says.

No, it is not broken, the, I suppose you’d think of it as a Tape, is blank, and this, I imprint a person, a place, and some enquiries into its consciousness, is what I want you to do.

*

Subject: Minikisa

For anyone who hasn’t read them, pitch us your stories.

That’s a tough one.

I have a number of short stories but, being short, I think they are encompassed well by their tagline. So here’s the pitch for my first story set in the Paragon Verse, Of Heroes And Villains:

When Shade, Vigilante With An Advanced Degree In Brooding, meets Dionaea, Aspiring Femme Fatale, he expects nothing more than an easy battle and a swift arrest. Unfortunately for him, she ends up discovering a secret that could ruin him. Yet Dionaea is far too intrigued by her newfound lacey leverage to use it against him and soon Shade finds his black and white world crumbling. No matter how hard he tries to fight the growing attraction between them, he cannot resist the allure of the secret identity she tempts him with: his own.

Your Paragon stories took off in a big way. Was there any particular moment when it just clicked and you realised that “Oh, wow, people are really responding to this.” What was that like for you?

I can actually pinpoint when the story really took off. Chapter 17 saw an influx of new reviewers, coinciding with my first serious cliffhanger as one of the main characters was put in mortal peril, and the audience grew with each following chapter. Thus my addiction to cliffhangers was born. Clearly, they get results! (I later found out that the story got linked on another site and reached a new audience that way.)

Back when I started writing my first Paragon story, there was only one story on all of TG storytime that had more than a hundred reviews. Even getting to twenty reviews was an accomplishment. The community has changed since then, growing bigger and more vocal – there’s now half a dozen stories with 100+ reviews – but when I passed that milestone, I couldn’t believe it. When people started talking about spin-offs inspired by my writing, I was ecstatic. And when I got fanart, I made a squealing sound so high-pitched it’s outside the range of human hearing.

I’ve always been a daydreamer, creating worlds and people and adventures in my head. My writing was the first time I shared those elaborate daydreams with others. I really can’t describe the joy it brought me to see that complete strangers genuinely cared for these people living in my imagination.

Fanart (By Ian C Sampson)

OHAV

Shade Diane

How did you juggle writing and RL while you’re were serializing Of Heroes and Villains and the Ties that Bind? You were writing like a motherfucker during that period.

I was fortunate in that I was on holiday, but looking back, I honestly don’t know how I wrote so much. I just sat down every day and forced myself to write 1000 words minimum, but often ended up with 2k-3k, if not more. The muse was good to me.

I know it sounds trite, but forcing yourself to write when you have the time is really all there is to it. Yes, even when the muse is being uncooperative and everything you write seems horrible. Editing a crappy piece of writing to perfection is much easier than starting with a blank page. Even if it turns out you have to rewrite the scene from scratch later on, at least the hurdle is cleared for now, and the next scene might lure your muse out of hiding.

One of the things that impressed me the most about OHAV is how believably Trans your protagonist is. Can you tell us a bit about Shade and how you approach topics like gender dysphoria in your work?

Shade was born out of my frustration with how poorly MtF characters in forced femme fiction were often written. So I envisioned a character who would not become a humiliated frilly caricature. She would be a badass whose submissive nature did not mean she was weak, and who had motivations and flaws unconnected to her femininity or lack thereof.

In short, I set out to create a rounded character. Who happened to be a transgender superhero.

For the portrayal of her dysphoria I wanted to be both accurate and respectful, so I threw myself into research. I ended up drawing heavily on my own experiences with depression. I think looking into the mirror and not liking what you see is a very human experience. I also consulted with my lovely beta reader Andrea who has personal experience with dysphoria to make sure it all rang true. She patiently answered all my embarrassingly intrusive questions, and had the final say on whether a scene depicting dysphoria worked or not.

You write one seriously hot sex scene. Can you give us some dos and don’ts of smutwriting?

I think the key to writing a good sex scene is to not focus on the mechanics. If you just describe the act itself, you’ll end up with a generic sex scene. Who gets licked where is not that important. There’s only so many ways that Tab A fits into Slot B. What’s important is how it feels.

Your characters are the heart of the story, and they should be at the heart of a sex scene as well. If you write a sex scene where a character’s name could be swapped for someone else’s, then that’s not an intimate moment, that’s IKEA assembly instructions.

Are the characters involved the kind of people who laugh when something gets wedged where no things were meant to be wedged, or does it mortify them? Do they banter with each other in between their kisses? Is it casual sex that means nothing to either of them or is it an expression of love? All of that should be reflected in the narration.

The mechanics of sex do not vary much, but your characters and their relationship with each other do. They are the key to writing a memorable sex scene.

How do you think you’ve changed as a writer since you’ve been publishing stories?

This is a very difficult question for me to judge since I haven’t been writing for long and even my oldest work is less than a year old. It’s all still very near and dear to me, lacking the distance to impartially say what’s good and what’s bad.

However I do feel that I have improved in some small ways. I’ve started relying less on adverbs and superfluous adjectives, and my descriptions have grown to be more vivid and detailed. The pacing of my scenes has also improved.

Most useful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Exposition is a spice. Too much spoils the story.

I know it’s tempting to explain the setting you have created to your reader up front, to describe the character’s looks in detail and to summarize their personality and backstory. Resist this temptation. Let the readers discover your world for themselves, bit by tantalizing bit. Don’t tell them what your characters are like, let them experience it with word and deed. And if you simply must convey information to the reader, space it far apart and without breaking the narrative flow.

What book has influenced you the most as a writer?

I honestly can’t point to a singular book. My writing is a Smörgåsbord shaped by way too many books to list. I suppose if I really had to narrow it down, I’d point to the works of Terry Pratchett.

English isn’t your first language. Tell us a bit about that.

English is my third language, following my bilingual German/Russian upbringing. My parents like to travel a lot, so I spent most of my childhood and adolescence outside my home country – and thus removed from my native language. I loved to read, but books I could read were hard to come by, so I resorted to buying books in English, slowly improving what I had learned at school to the point that I was able to devour novels in a matter of days.

Consequently, I have a far better grasp on English prose – though it’s a different story when it comes to the spoken word – and it just seemed natural to start writing in English, especially in a very American genre like superhero fiction.

German doesn’t even have a word for superstrength. I mean, come on.

Afterword

I hope that you enjoyed reading this collection as much as I and my fellow contributors enjoyed putting it together. Please take the time leave a comment. We authors really appreciate them. They encourage us to write more, and write better. Which is a real win-win type deal, I’m sure you’ll agree. So tell us, what was your favourite story and why?

I’d like to extend a big thanks to all the authors who contributed. I’m looking forward to working with some of you again on future collections.

I’ll be putting a special Halloween collection together next month. If you want to be part of October’s Tape e-mail me at [email protected].

The guidelines are:

  • Write a short piece no longer than 1000 words.

  • The prompt for the month is Halloween. Just the one word. Interpret it however you want.

  • Write a short “Also by this author” blurb.

  • The finished anthology will be published on Big Closet, TG Storytime and Fictionmania. Make sure you have accounts set up on all three sites (all are free to join). I want to get as many authors credited on each site as possible.

Submissions are due by Sunday the 19th of October 2014. All contributors will be sent a copy of the collection before it's published. If you read it and decide that you don’t want your work to be represented in it then you may withdraw your contribution. Publication will (hopefully) occur on Sunday the 26th.

Until then, or until I hear from you.

Cheers

PersnicketyBitch



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