A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2017 Karen Lockhart
As we were walking back to the office trailer with our coffees and donuts, Wendy said she had to show us something. I immediately became suspicious because of the little smirk on her face.
After she took her first bite of donut, Ellen said, “Alright, spit it out, I know it's killing you, what do you want to tell us that shows just how smart you are, honey?”
Wendy jumped up, ran over to her laptop, and set it in front of Ellen and me.
“Look at this Aunties, I said it was worth a lot, see on the page's bottom.”
Sure enough, there was that stitching pony thing she bought on Sunday. It was identical, right down to the legs that still had bark on them and that ratty looking seat! But here was the killer, the price shown was $3200!
Ellen sat back and said, “Did you make this up, where is this site young lady?”
Before Wendy could answer, I said to Ellen, “It's some kind of auction site, I can't make out the name, the print's too small.”
Wendy enlarged the page for us old-eyed people saying, “It's an auction company in Connecticut, er, in Hartford.”
She was beaming, looking from me to Ellen and back. “See, I told you I saw it in that magazine for thousands of dollars.”
“I want my $175 back then,” Ellen said.
“But Aunt Ellen, to give you your money back, I'd have to sell it.”
I gave Ellen a wink, and said “Let's put it on e-Bay, we'll set the reserve price at $200 to make sure we get our money back.”
With an outraged squeak, Wendy said, “Hey, it's mine, all you did was loan me the money; you know I don't have any, you guys won't let me get a job, and besides...”
She stopped right there, Ellen and I couldn't hold it in any longer, we broke out in a giggle fit. This of course got Wendy miffed.
“Not fair, I'm just a kid, stop picking on me you guys, I'm going to tell!”
That got us laughing harder, “Tell whom?” I choked out, “The 'Teen-aged Girl Labor Union' or the local fuzz? Ellen, what was that Swampscott cop's name that thought I was cute, Sargent Pepper?”
Ellen laughed, “Only if he worked for the Beatles, hun, his name was Salt.”
“Well I was close, Salt, Pepper, whatever, let's call him so Wendy can complain how we abuse her.”
After finishing our coffees, I gave Wendy a kiss on the cheek, “From now on when we go hunting for antiques, I'll make sure you are with us. Good job, but just think, you could change that 'pony' into a real pony, maybe a Mustang.”
Now her eyes lit up!
The rest of the day flew by, soon it was time to lock up, and head for home.
Of course, all day long Wendy surfed the used car sites looking at Mustangs. She even showed us a Carroll Shelby 350GT, the price was only $85,000 at that car auction place in Las Vegas.
I decided tonight was spaghetti and Italian sausage night. When we got home I asked Wendy to give me a hand with the dinner. She is really a good kid, she enthusiastically pitched in, milling two cans of “kitchen-ready” tomatoes with a can of tomato sauce.
After she was done, I added my spices and a couple of bay leaves to the pot, and set it heating. Without asking, Wendy got out the special salad knife that didn't cause the lettuce to brown on the edges, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, celery, cucumber, olives, and seasoned croutons.
With the sauce or gravy, depending on where in Italy you're from, happily bubbling, I made a French loaf of bread from the canister of refrigerated dough. When this was done, I sliced it in half and sprinkled it with melted butter, Romano cheese and fresh garlic. Then just before we ate, I put it back into the oven to toast. Presto, garlic bread as good as in any restaurant.
After the bread was done baking, in a small broiler pan I placed six sausages. At high broil, they were nicely browned in twelve minutes, perfect timing for the sliced loaf of bread.
I had Wendy open a bottle of Chianti and I got a bottle of Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing from the 'fridge.
Over dinner, we listened to Wendy talk about all the places where a great deal on a used Mustang could be found, even a place that would truck in a car from out of state for her to look at. Ellen finally reminded her that she would have $2000 to spend, that meant newspaper ads, and small corner car lots.
After dinner, Kevin called looking for instruction on his search on Tuesday.
When I asked if he found anyone to go with him, he said there was almost a fight over who would go. He picked a quiet guy who was built like a long distance runner to be his 'wing-man', figuring the more rugged types would forget why they were there,and just keep spending money on beer and lap-dances.
As you can imagine, that got a good laugh from Ellen and I, but a confused look from Wendy. Thank God! At this point, I took the phone off speaker.
I told Kevin, that from their websites, (Yes, even strip lounges have a web site) both of these seem to be straight. If he could get friendly with one of the girls, I was sure she would know the type of bar we were looking for.
Over his protests, I reassured him, that most of these girls were just going to work for a job, and a high-paying one at that, and they weren't off-duty prostitutes coming inside to get warm.
All the time I was talking to Kevin, Ellen was giving me the strangest looks, and shaking her head. After I hung up, I asked what her problem was.
“You must have a lot of faith in Kevin to encourage him to get friendly with one of the strippers.”
“Ellen, with these girls, it's a job. A lot of these kids are paying off student loans, or paying for advanced degrees. With the bouncers they are safer than if they worked in an office. Some places walk the girls to their cars to make sure they are safe.”
“If you say so, Ginny” Ellen conceded.
“Oh but I am, I considered this route myself to make enough money to pay for my surgeries. I know a place or two that employs only cross-dressers or transgendered girls. Once the surgery is successful, they want you to leave. You get a reference that's out of this world, if you want to stay in the clothing removal business.
Wendy looked like the entrance of a carnival ride her mouth was open so wide.
“Aunt Ginny, I know you were like me, but you thought of doing this to make money?”
“Don't act so surprised honey, do you know how much it costs for the transitional surgeries? Not counting hotel accommodations and air fare, it'll cost around $30,000.”
“$30,000? Doesn't your insurance pay for any of it?”
Ellen started to respond, but with a glance at me, she stopped.
“Wendy, this is considered to be cosmetic surgery. In the UK, after two years living as a woman, with the proper letters from doctors, it will be paid for by the National Health Service, but we don't live in England. Some insurance companies here are starting to pay for some of the procedures though, but you have to factor in the medications you will be on, and the amount of time you can't work. This is why so many T-girls don't have the SRS surgery.”
Wendy looked at me with new respect. ”Auntie, you had the full surgery? How did you ever pay for it?”
I heard a snort from Ellen, who said she'd explain it.
“Wendy, Ginny worked double shifts, and scrimped and saved until she had enough to not only pay for herself, but airfare for me also. Before working for Steve Brady, she drove a truck at union wages. That allowed her to pay for her trip to Thailand and her recuperation.”
“So young lady, depending on what Kevin comes up with, determines if I make a few phone calls to girls I know. I might just call them anyway, Sue in particular. I knew her when we were kids. Ellen, I don't think you ever knew her, her name was Andrew McCarty, a red head with a million freckles.
“After he was seen wearing his sister's clothes, the family moved to start afresh with two daughters, not a boy and a girl.”
Wendy looked interested, “How long ago was this Aunt Ginny?”
“Twenty years ago; back then transgendered children were considered mentally ill, sometimes committed for “correction”. This was recently made illegal, since there were quacks advertising their 'clinic' that could cure them.
“Just recently, a pre-surgery T-girl who had been arrested for prostitution in the past was tossed into men's prison on a minor drug possession charge; so, don't ever do something that would get you arrested and placed in a holding cell, you will be with men.”
By the shocked expression on Wendy's face, I think she was thinking of what would happen.
“Time for bed, I can't wait to hear Kevin's report tomorrow night. And Wendy, Billy will spend the night with us. That means you will bunk with me!
To be continued.
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