The young boy standing in the back corner of the women's restroom behind the Waldenbook's store shook his head and sighed. Every time his great-aunt Esther took him from home for the day, she would always cause some sort of trouble, this time she'd gone overboard.
Elwood shrugged his narrow, bony shoulders and reached deep into the above the knee pocket of his favourite pair of khaki cargo pants and pulled out a positively ancient cell phone, it had to be at least ten years old, more than two years older than Elwood himself.
Elwood had just been witness to his great-aunt being arrested. She was currently on the floor, under the knee of the big female police officer. That officer had arrested Esther a few minutes earlier, but did nothing with either of the two people Esther had been harassing at that point. Esther had flipped out and had accidentally struck the police officer, which was when the officer threw her down and cuffed her.
Elwood sighed again, his tongue sticking into one cheek as she slowly tapped in the numbers for the phone at home.
He pulled the ancient cell phone to his ear and listened to it ring a few times, then it was picked up by his mother. That was no surprise, unless his mother had something arranged that required her to go out, she would be found somewhere in the house, cleaning, cooking, etc.
Elwood didn't notice, but as he had brought the phone up to his ear, his thumb bumped a button, turning the phone's speaker on.
"Hello, this is the Fitzmark residence, Katerina Fitzmark speaking."
Elwood knew now that the speaker was on, but he realized that he really didn't care who heard this conversation, they were all involved.
"Mama, it's Elwood, I'm stuck in the Waldenbooks at the mall. Great-aunt Esther is in deep doo-doo, mama!"
"Elwood, what in heavens is going on? Why can't your great-aunt call me and explain about whatever is happening there?"
"Mama, she was being her usual self, god-botherin' people at the mall, you know, the "you're a pervert, you're going to hell" stuff. Mama, you know that you and dad taught us all to respect everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what race, sex, age, all that?"
"Yes, I do, Elwood. Now please explain what happened, and don't take all day doing it, I have a cake in the oven, hon."
"Well, Mama, Great-aunt sassed a trans woman who only wanted to use a stall in the bathroom, she as much as said the trans woman was a pervert wanting to do nasty things to children, Mama. The woman set her straight, then went and used a stall, which was all she wanted."
At this point, Ruth flushed the toilet in the stall beside the young lad, the noise startling both the boy and his mother. A moment later, the stall door opened and Ruth came out, walked across the room toward the sinks, stepping around Esther, then washed her hands.
"So, Mama, Great-aunt was just about steaming at that point when a guy walked into the washroom. She turned on the new person and lit into him like he was the nastiest evil thing ever, giving him hell for daring to enter a women's washroom and telling him to leave.
"It got even weirder, Mama, this new person was like the transgender woman, but the other way round, I guess he'd be a transgender man. I tell ya, Mama, he lit into great-auntie like I've never seen. By the time he finished, she was still steaming, and refused to let him use a stall.
Ruth finished washing her hands, turned around, moved to the wall beside the sinks and turned on one of the hand dryers. The noise from this machine was quite enough to force Elwood to stop and wait for it to finish before he could continue to tell him mother of the day's events.
"Well, he gave her more what-for, Mama, then he dropped his drawers, showing his privates, and peed in great-aunt's purse.
"Oh, my! She went off like a rocket, Mama, she started freaking out, then ended up screaming like the world was about to end."
Ruth chuckled, then stepped around Esther and walked over toward the young boy, stopping several feet away from him.
"Ma'am, my name is Ruth Baker-Smolinski, I believe you might know my daddy, Jeremiah Smolinski?"
Elwood's mother replied, "I do believe I know him, yes. So just how are you involved with all of this, Ruth?"
"Mrs. Fitzmark, I'm the transgender woman that your young lad's great-aunt was implying that I intended to harm children simply because I have the right, given by the state, to use the facilities of the gender by which I identify myself. I told her off as the boy told you."
"Well, Miss Baker-Smolinski, you have the right to live as you wish, I and the rest of my family have no issue with you," Elwood's mama stated.
"Thank you, Mrs. Fitzmark. I would prefer to avoid going to court over this, but if it is needed, I will be there. Good day."
Ruth nodded to the boy, turned and quietly talked to Patti saying she would go to the station later to give her statement, then left.
Elwood was about to continue when Bob spoke up, he had to raise his voice a bit to be clearly heard by Elwood's mama.
"Mrs. Fitzmark, I'm the other person that your lad's great-aunt harassed today, my name is Bob Jameson. I work for Alberof's Construction, I help that company with their construction projects, I'm doing general work for them and training for a plumber's certificate.
"Like Miss Ruth a moment ago, I am a transgender person, but in my case, I am female to male. I'd stopped in a bar next to the store here to have a couple of brews with two buddies from work, then on my way out, decided I needed to use the washroom first.
"The lad here has told you what happened, well, it happened because I felt safer using a woman's washroom at this time of the day. The lad's great-aunt came on to me like I was about to do something godawful, and I got angry, told her off, then did something I regret."
"That's not important, what is important is that your young lad was a perfect example of decency, he stayed out of everything that happened."
Elwood's mother sighed, then answered, "Several family members have tried to talk Esther out of doing her god-bothering as my boy described it, but she is a stubborn old woman and won't listen to anyone unless it coincides with her interests at the time. She refuses to cooperate."
Bob chuckled, replying, "I've met others like her, but thankfully, most folks around here treat me fairly well, which is nice. Have a good day."
He then turned around and spoke with Patti for a moment before exiting the bathroom to head home for the night.
Patti sighed, it looked like it was her turn now. She motioned to Elwood that he should move closer to her, hauled Esther up from the floor, forced her to stand, then passed Esther over to the big security guard, Philip Rosenwald. He nodded and kept a firm hold on Esther.
"Hello, Mrs. Fitzmark, my name is Patti McKinley, you know that I'm one of the police officers in town. Well, your boy's great-aunt and I have a bit of a history, she tried to have the captain remove me from duty a few months ago because I am rather butch in appearance. Thankfully, Captain VanZeit knows that I have an excellent record as an officer, both here and in the city where I worked for ten years before I moved here, so he told her quite bluntly that any further harassment of me would lead to her being arrested and a possible civil harassment lawsuit."
"Mrs. Fitzmark, that was the situation until today. About thirty minutes ago, I received a call from the station that there had been a 911 call from the bookstore here about a woman screaming in the area of the bathrooms behind the store, so I made my way to the scene.
"When I arrived at the store, two mall security guards, Philip Rosenwald and Allan O'Dale were also on the scene. From what they told me at that time, someone outside the store had alerted the security department and Philip and Allan had been sent to deal with it.
"As soon as Esther saw me enter the bathroom, she started yelling again, making nasty comments about the two people that you just finished talking to, as well as about myself. I was quickly informed of recent events by both of them, then I decided to place Esther under arrest.
"I was about to put the cuffs on Esther when she started yelling again, this time she also started moving around, not watching what she was doing or where her arms were moving and hit me in the breast. I then put her down on the floor and added an assaulting an officer charge.
"I hate to say this, Mrs. Fitzmark, but in my opinion, Esther here will likely end up in one of the state prisons. Her harassment of people over the last several months has been noted on many occasions, she has been warned numerous times, yet she has continued doing it.
"I assumed that her being charged with harassment might make her see sense, but I regret to say that was not the case," Patti concluded. "Her hitting me, while it likely was not a deliberate attack, was still an assault and gave me sufficient cause to use necessary force."
"I do hope that you are okay, Patti, I know what being hit there feels like," Elwood's mother replied.
"I'll be just fine, Mrs. Fitzmark, although I might have a bruise there, I'll have to check it later. Pattie turned to Allan, "Your turn now."
"Mrs. Fitzmark, my name is Allan O'Dale, I'm one of the security people here in the mall. Ms. Krumnagle's impromptu attack on Ms. McKinley was most likely my fault, as it happened within seconds of my stepping from behind Mr. Rosenwald into view of Ms. Krumnagle," Allan stated.
Elwood's mother asked, quite puzzled, "How can you be sure that you were the cause, Mr. O'Dale?"
"The truth of the matter, Mrs. Fitzmark," Allan responded, "Is that, although I am a male, my facial features are very much female. When I stepped out from behind Philip, the other security guard, Ms. Krumnagle saw me and immediately started yelling and being physical."
Patti added her two cents, "That is right, Esther saw Allan, then his name tag and refused to believe the tag was correct. She spazzed."
Elwood had been standing against the back wall, keeping quiet while the others spoke. "Great-auntie saw Mr. O'Dale when he stepped around the other officer. I can definitely tell you, Mama, that she was extremely confused by Mr. O'Dale's physical appearance."
"Mama, I been thinking about things for a while, but today... well, Mama, today was when I understood. Mama, I'm... I'm a girl."
"Excuse me, Elwood? I know for sure that you are a boy, I gave birth to you, I've watched you grow into a nice, healthy young man."
"Mama, I might be a boy body wise, but it ain't like that in my mind. Mama, I know I'm a girl, my name... my name is... Elinor, Mama."
The child slumped to the floor, tears rolling down the broad cheeks, the heartrending sobs were audible to everyone.
"Oh, love! Boy or girl, I love you, you are my child. I'll pull the cake from the oven, then I'll head down there to pick you up, Elinor."
The child was still crying, but the love from her mother was strong and clear, almost like a kiss from heaven. " I love you, Mama." A few hiccups made it so the child couldn't speak for a moment. "Mama," came the whisper, "Can I have some of Allison's old clothes? Sooo pretty."
"Anything you want, love, anything you want," her mother replied.
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