Chapter 1 of
A smiling woman walked with her son out through the gates.
"Momma! It's so much fun! Can we come back tomorrow?" The little boy asked.
She shook her head. "No sweetheart. We have to go home tomorrow. We have to get up early to drive home. We'll meet Daddy at the airport and bring him home with us."
"When can we come back?" The boy asked.
His mother sighed. "School starts week after next. Maybe for the Spring Break, but we'll probably have to wait until next summer."
When they got to their car and let the hot air out, he asked as he settled into the seat. "Next time can I dress up as a princess like that one girl we saw?"
"Don't you mean a Prince?" His Mother asked.
He shook his head. "No Momma. A princess! I'm going to be a girl."
"Why don't we talk about it some other time." The woman said.
By the time she drove up onto the highway, she looked over and found the six-year-old had fallen asleep. The rest of the drive back to the motel she felt slightly off. Where had such a request and statement come from?
Terry drove through the empty lot and stopped in front of the gates to park. Slowly he eased out of the brand new red 2017 Trans Am Outlaw. He stared past the gates and saw only devastation. The pictures online didn't really have the same impact as standing there and seeing it for one's self. Pavement was cracked everywhere, grass grew wild all over. Trees, weeds and all other manner of flora had overrun what had once been a place of fun and merriment. The noise and laughter of people was absent and now only the call of the birds could be heard.
Tears welled, he didn't see the point in stopping them. For several minutes he cried. Long ago Terry made a promise, to nobody but himself; one day he would return as a girl and be a princess. It didn't happen. A week after returning home, a tornado rampaged across that county. The city had been spared, but not the park. It had been ravaged. Damage so bad it couldn't be repaired, it would have to be rebuilt. The owner paid off everybody employed then filed for bankruptcy.
"Hey. Pretty obvious from your plates, you're not from here." A voice said from behind Terry. "I have to tell you, you're not supposed to be here."
Terry turned and saw a Deputy.
The Deputy was a bit surprised to see the tear-streaked face of the young man, practically no more than a kid. At first glance he believed to be looking at a woman. Platinum blonde hair on a man was rare to see. Even more so when it was long enough to be almost mid-back length. The condition of it look to be a point of pride for the person.
He had a feeling and went with it. "You been here before?"
Slowly Terry nodded. "Once."
The Deputy sighed and leaned back against the railing. "I grew up here. I'm Jimmy Sloan."
"Terry Frost." Terry said heavily. "For now."
"Huh? What do you mean 'for now'? You're not going to be Terry Frost anymore?" Deputy Sloan asked.
Terry shook his head. "No. Not much longer."
Sloan's eyes narrowed. "You want to elaborate on that a bit?"
Terry finally wiped away the tears then straightened up and said firmly. "First, I'm going to buy the park. Second, I'm going to transition from male to female while I rebuild it. I'll be Tessa, not Terry. The way I should have always been."
"You're joking." Sloan chuckled then stopped when Terry slowly shook his head with an intense look. "I mean about the park. You're serious? You're going to buy the park and re-do it?"
"Yes." Terry said. "It'll be better than it ever was."
Deputy Jimmy Sloan had heard many voice the dream of bringing back the park. "No bank around here will float a loan. No matter how good your credit is. There's been talk over the years of people fixing up the park. Nobody that wants to, can. Those that could, aren't interested."
Terry shook his head and walked back to his car. "I'm not them. Just watch. Not only am I going to rebuild the park, I'll be its queen."
Sloan chuckled and walked over to his cruiser. "Yeah? Well, if you do that, I'll turn in my badge and come work for you."
The Trans Am roared to life then the window rolled down. "Enjoy your last year as a Deputy, Deputy."
Sloan laughed as the car drove away and said to himself. "I needed that laugh. Nobody can do anything about the old park. It's a just a memory for us and a daydream for the kids."
Out on the road, Terry had already turned the volume as loud as it would go and finally sang along with a change of certain lyrics. "I can't see today. I can't see tomorrow. You're burnin' out my head and in my brain they were ALWAYS WRONG! I will live today. I WILL LIVE TOMORROW! No matter what they said or done. EVEN WHEN THEY SAID I'M GOIN' WRONG!"
The sports-car faded into the slowly setting sun.
Monday morning Craig Stewart sat down. "Good morning Mister Frost. How can I help you?"
"I'd like to open a savings account and checking account. Later on I'll open business accounts. I have cash to open the two personal accounts and will transfer in the contents of my account electronically in a few days." Terry informed him.
Craig looked confused. "The bank will be happy to accommodate, but I'm a bit confused why you felt the need to see me personally."
Terry didn't blink. "I'll be transferring in 587 million dollars Thursday. I thought you'd like to know who it actually belongs to."
The bank president looked as if he were about melt into his chair, quickly he leaned forward. "Did you say FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS?"
"That's right." Terry replied then asked. "That's not a problem, is it?"
Craig Stewart shook his head fast. "NO! It'll be a PLEASURE to do business with you!"
"I'll be transitioning from male to female. That's not going to pose a problem at this bank, is it?" Terry glared.
"Absolutely not! Mister or Miss, a client is a client and we'll do all we can to make sure you're happy with our service! Anything you need; just let us know. In fact." Craig took his business card and wrote on it then handed it to Terry. "I've included my personal cellphone. You need anything, call me direct."
Terry began filling out the forms then handed over the cash deposit. "I just rented an apartment while I get ready to purchase some property. I'll return home and get everything ready to move. Thursday I'll transfer the funds."
"Certainly. I'll just set everything up and take your deposit." The banker was about to wet himself in excitement.
Quickly he entered all the information for the two accounts then rushed to the tellers with the deposit. Two-thousand dollars each for the accounts. This would be the biggest account in the bank's history. Actually, it would be the biggest account in the city's history. He had been a manager when the amusement park was open, but it had used a bank in another state. He rushed back to his office.
"Here you are Mister Frost. Welcome to Great National Bank, we look forward to your business with us." Craig Stewart smiled and shook hands with Terry.
Terry accepted the handshake. "Ok Mister Stewart. Put a seat belt on your office chair, you're going to need it."
"Feel free to call me Craig." Craig said. "Have a great day."
Terry nodded and left. Outside he pulled the cellphone from the clip at his hip and dialed.
"Hey." A voice on the other end answered. "I'm all set now. What's up with you?"
"I just opened personal accounts at the bank, Trent. I'm leaving now to come back there." Terry answered.
Trent Valens cautioned. "Take your time. No need to hurry."
Terry was easing into his car. "No big deal. I'll be in around midnight or so. I slept in. What's up with you?"
"Just got a letter from the Bar Association. Approved. I'm all set." Trent stated.
"That's good. I found a real estate agent. There's a few condos under the agency. I have an apartment rented for me." Terry replied. "Use Great National Bank."
Trent laughed. "I still have a million dollars, they should be thrilled to see me."
"When I told the Bank president how much I would be transferring in, I thought he was going to faint and after he came around, start humping my leg." Terry remarked starting the car.
Trent was laughing harder. "He's probably in the bathroom right now, stroking himself and screaming his own name!"
"I doubt that. He's either honest and called for his wife or just another ass and dragged his secretary in with him." Terry said with sarcasm.
Trent settled down. "Does it matter?"
Terry sighed. "Just as long as he isn't trying to fuck me, I don't care. What about everything else?"
"All the paperwork is ready. All you have to do is sign and date it, when the time is right." Trent assured.
Terry said. "Good. Later."
"Drive safe." Trent said and disconnected.
Trent Valens put his phone away and finished packing his things. He had been about to, as he put it, stoop to joining an injury attorney's office six months ago when his life changed. Out of the complete blue, his phone rang with a name on the ID that took him several moments to remember. Terry Frost; a name he hadn't heard since his senior year of high school. Twenty minutes later, he met Terry for coffee and the shock of his life. Not only did Terry want to hire him as his personal attorney, he would pay off all of Trent's loans, bills and any other expenses.
An hour later, and a complete summary of what Trent owed, Terry dropped two consecutive bombs on him. First was the plan to transition. The second was the plan to buy an old amusement park. Trent admitted to not being very knowledgeable about business and property law. Terry asked if six months was enough time to become knowledgeable. Trent said yes and the deal was made. A simple agreement on the page of a notepad was signed and a check for one and a half million dollars became Trent's. He still had over a million left, but earning it every day. He already knew that once Terry found out how much Trent's new home would cost, a check or electronic transfer would happen.
"All set. I'll head out in the morning." Trent said closing his briefcase. "Bayleston, I don't think you're ready for what's going to happen. I just hope Tessa Frost is."
Terry was driving back. Back to a place he would be glad to never see again. Only three last pieces of business to finish there. One, make the payment to keep up the graves of his parents for a hundred years, meet the moving truck at his little apartment for the loaders to get all his belongings and finally transfer all his money to the new bank. After that, Terry would say goodbye and leave the place he hated, forever.
No matter how much he had tried, his parents never accepted the fact he was transgender. In fact they reacted with hostility. First were time-outs, then spankings. When neither of those worked, television privileges were taken away, then playing with friends. When none of that worked, came the con-men. Priests, Reverends, Pastors, Evangelists and anybody else that claimed they could pray the problem away. By his thirteenth year; Terry summed it all up by stating all that was left were Buddhist monks, Shinto priests, Haitian voodoo cults and Amazon tribe shamans. Not that any of those would have better luck.
For that remark, his father's fist flew. Everyone had been shocked when the punch connected and the thirteen year old went down. A police officer had been in the prayer vigil, but now had 'a moment of clarity'. He moved, but it was too slow. The kid recovered from surprise and shock under the most effective motivation. Pure rage. The folding chair he had been sitting in, now on the floor, became an instrument of delivery for that rage. Terry had come up with chair arcing behind him to connect solidly at his stunned father's face. Terry tossed the chair aside and grabbed his father's shirt and pulled him up.
"Lay a hand on me again?" Terry hissed. "I'll kill you!"
Twenty minutes later he was being checked over in the Emergency Room. Two hours later, he was in foster care. It took five tries, before they found a place for him. A group home. The only good thing about it, all the kids there went to school with him anyway, so they weren't about to try anything rough. They knew he could and would fight back. That was how things were. At 14 Terry did odd jobs to start making money for himself. At 16 he was able to get a real job, part-time at a grocery store as a stocker-bagger. Two weeks after his 18th birthday, Terry graduated high school and left the home.
A small apartment four blocks from the grocery store became home. A co-worker helped out by letting Terry borrow her car to take the driver's test so he could get a license. For him, the only real friends became a list of names online. Carefully a collection of second-hand clothes and shoes were gathered, then a first nervous journey to the local LGBT bar. Eventually Terry found himself under the wing of an old Drag-Queen. Terry was taught how to walk, apply make-up, style his real hair and even improvised voice lessons.That was how life was until Terry was almost 20.
Only month before his 20th birthday a police officer knocked on the store's doors. The over-night stock crew manager let him in then called Terry to the office.
"Terry, your parents were in an accident. Your real parents. They were hit head-on. Your Dad didn't make it. Your Mom is on her way to the hospital. I can take you there." The officer said.
Terry realized it was the same cop from that night, when he went into foster care.
"Are you here because you remembered me, or I was asked for?" Terry asked.
"I remembered you. I'll be honest, since that night I kept up with you. I quit that church. I don't go to any church anymore." The officer admitted. "What happened to you was wrong."
"So you came on your own, Sergeant Owens. Did you know that they threatened to have me arrested if I ever came around?" Terry asked then took out his wallet and pulled from it an old envelope.
Daniel Owens read the single page letter and wanted to vomit. In only a dozen lines, there was enough hatred to last a lifetime. He was about to pocket it, but Terry stopped him.
"No. It was the last thing they gave me. It's what meant the most to them." Terry said and put then letter back into his wallet.
A moment later a call came over the radio for Owens. He shook his head sadly. "She didn't make it. I'm sorry."
Two days later a lawyer came by the store and informed Terry of the funeral. He didn't plan to attend and said so. The lawyer also informed him that both his parents had disinherited him. He did however ask if there were any personal items that he would like to keep for himself. Terry shook his head. The lawyer informed him that the graves would be kept up for five years and all death expenses had been covered. The sale of the house and so on would cover any remaining debts they had. In short, there was no inheritance, but there was no debt either.
Terry lived day by day. Doing what he could to save money. He had a decent stash now in the bank. Then a bit of good luck hit. A raffle for air-fare and one week hotel stay in Las Vegas was won by Terry. The first vacation he had taken since he was six. He had a good time in Vegas, even able to go out en-femme twice. On the last day, four days after Terry's 21st birthday, he played his last twenty dollars of the thousand he had brought along. Like the song went, sometimes there's a hole in the pocket of miracles. One fell out in the form of that progressive machine. 425 million in miracle to be exact. The next day, Terry managed to add almost 250 more million to it.
After taxes and a few charitable donations, Terry went home in style. A chartered jet. An airline would have asked why he had two million in cash in his suitcase was why. Terry returned to the store and gave his two weeks notice. On the last day, after clocking out, he went around to each employee and gave them an envelope with five thousand dollars cash in it. The next day was a Saturday and he went back to the group home he had stayed at. He took all twelve kids there to the Mall and spent almost a thousand dollars on clothing for each of them, plus each one received an IPad and laptop. He also bought the couple running the home a new van and car, with insurance for five years and a check for a million dollars. On Monday he had all the kids come down to the nearest bank and had trust accounts set up for them with one hundred thousand dollar deposits in each. On Tuesday afternoon he found Trent Valens.
Terry walked into his old apartment just before one in the morning. He didn't bother with anything more than dropping his keys and phone on the rickety coffee table that had come from a curbside pile then dropped himself onto the old couch and fell asleep. In the morning he quickly took a shower, put on clean clothes and had a couple of poptarts with a bottle of juice for breakfast. The main room had boxes stacked neatly against one wall. Just after eleven, the men from the moving company showed up. They had a small truck and took only twenty minutes to load up the boxes. For an extra hundred dollars they took all the furniture out and set it by the curb. Not that there was much. The couch, coffee table, a desk and chair and a dresser.
After going through the apartment with a vacuum, Terry tossed it into the dumpster and went to the manager. He turned in the keys and didn't bother about the deposit. He just went to his car and left. At the funeral home that owned the cemetary where his parents were buried at, he paid in cash for the upkeep of their graves. His last act as next of kin. Many things had been tempting. Petty acts of revenge, such as buying the church that had been his parents final stand to stamp out his issue. He entertained the idea of buying it away then burning it to the ground. That idea was enjoyed for an hour then discarded. Those flames would have only ignited another fire, against him.
Instead Terry hired a private investigator. He dug enough dirt to smear the Pastor into being removed. Some carefully phrased rumors were started and it was soon out that it was revenge from an event eight years prior that brought down the church. Those were investigated and the whole truth came out. The church's pulpit was declared vacant, meaning the church was closed officially. Through Trent Valenz, the property was bought and redeveloped then sold again at a higher profit. A Super-Dollar now stood where a church used to be. That national retail chain had stores everywhere. The only reason Terry didn't like them was the fact that they wouldn't even let him fill out an application when he was looking for a job. He would take their money, but they would never have his.
Terry went to the bank and transferred the balance of his accounts into the new accounts then closed them down and left. He stopped at a laundrymat to wash the clothes in his suitcase. An hour later he was on the road again, heading back to Bayleston. He would stop along the way at a motel and finish the drive the next day.
A week later, Trent met Terry at Terry's apartment. An old duplex on the outskirts of town.
"Tess, you have like upteen-gillion dollars and you rent this place?" Trent remarked looking at it.
Terry smiled at the use of the name for the future. "Hey I didn't build this. I'm just renting it. Besides, the owner is sympathetic to my needs. He's like the old Queen that helped me get my collective shit together."
Trent shook his head. "Well at least you have actual furniture here."
"I bought it from Rent-Central. When I move out, I'll probably donate it. All my kitchen stuff comes with me though." Terry remarked. "I even got one of those things."
Trent looked to the counter and the coffee machine. "Now THAT'S welcome!"
"Shut up and show me how the damn thing works!" Terry growled.
A few minutes later they both sat at the dinette table with cups of coffee as Trent went over documents. Terry signed where needed and dated them. Trent double-checked each page then nodded.
"Ok. Frost Entertainment Properties LLC is ready to become real. I just need to file these and then we can get started. Any Terry business left?" Trent asked.
Terry shook his head. "No. All that's left, is now and future. Here's the land-line here. My cellphone is being shut off tomorrow."
Trent nodded. "Ok. As soon as the company is up, we'll get new phones. I'll call you. Here's the address of my new office and the condo. You didn't have to buy them both."
"You work for me. I don't want you wondering where you do it from or if where you live is going to be there when you go to it." Terry remarked.
Trent frowned. "Hard to let that go, isn't it?"
Terry didn't reply, just sipped the coffee. He didn't want to admit either that it tasted better than pouring hot water through a sieve of grinds with a filter. He still debated if the damn thing was worth the four hundred dollars instead of a twenty dollar drip-maker from Discount City. At least Terry knew how those worked.
The following Monday Terry walked into Trent's new office and looked around. "Definitely a step up from that other place."
"The place you rent now is step up from that. Ok let's get to it." Trent remarked.
They sat down at a table and Trent brought out several files and explained each one. "This one is the business. You keep the originals and I have file copies. FEP is legit now and you are the owner, I'm your legal staff. Here's the Retainer Agreement for my services, you have the original, I have a file copy. Here's the paperwork from the bank for the business accounts, you have to turn them in and distribute the money. Don't forget to read, sign and date. Oh and here's your new cellphone and a handful off my cards."
Terry checked the phone, it was the same as he had so there was no need to ask about its operation. The cards went into a pocket. He read through the bank paperwork then signed and dated them.
"The woman that runs the agency for the park will be here after lunch. I already went over everything. No surprises. She's ready to sign. We file today and and you can get a check cut for her agency tomorrow and we close on the park by lunch tomorrow. Good?" Trent asked.
"Yeah. Works for me. I'll take this to the bank now. If they don't dick around, this will post by Two." Terry said.
At One that afternoon Terry sat across a table from an older African-American woman staring at a file with accompanying map.
"Everything meets with your approval?" Lorrette Johnson asked.
Terry gave a thumbs-up so Trent smiled. "It does Mrs. Johnson. You have a sale. Get the papers in order and tomorrow there will be a check for your agency by lunch."
Lorette smiled. "That's wonderful!"
Terry looked up. "I will ask you to keep details confidential. Only those that need to know, are to know. If you don't mind."
"Certainly. I understand. I don't know your plans, but I am hopeful. I remember going to the park many times before it was destroyed, I know all the kids around here daydream about it coming back." Lorette confided.
"Right this way Mrs. Johnson." Trent offered to walk her out. "We'll see you tomorrow."
The next day at noon, papers were finalized and check for 70 million dollars changed hands. At Five that afternoon Trent watched as Terry took particular pleasure in tearing down the sign for the real estate agency then used a maul to hammer in the uprights for a new sign, Now Owned by Frost Entertainment Properties, LLC.
"Friday I have five contractors coming to see me. I'll give them a week to come up with bids." Trent said as they stood back admiring the new sign.
Terry nodded. "I like it. Let's go."
They got into their cars and drove away. Tomorrow, Terry would come back and cut off the old locks and put on new ones. There had been only one key to give over, to the front gate. He now owned 240 acres of dream. Soon, it would all come true.
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