DISCLAIMER: The authour makes no pretense of making a faithful representation of psychiatric medicine. Also, the ACS series is inspired by the SCP Foundation.
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world except for Lola
-The Kinks' "Lola"
Dr. James Cadecus was just starting his first cigarette when the nurse tracked him down.
"Doctor?" she said. "We have a new patient."
Cadecus stared wistfully at his freshly-lit Virginia Slim. "I'll be right in." He dropped the smoke in a plant pot on the balcony.
Once inside, the familiar urine and Lysol smell of the Psych Ward assaulted him. "So, who dares interrupt the smoke break of the mighty Cadecus?"
"Those things will kill you, y'know."
"What are you, my doctor?"
Betty smiled. "She got in a fight with some other woman on the street. There was a cop nearby, and the other lady wanted to press charges. Then 'Lola' started on about how she was actually a man named David, and she had been turned into a woman by magic. The cop brings her here."
"You a fan of The Kinks, Betty?"
"No, The Kinks."
"Nevermind." He stepped into the interview room, giving the blond on the far side of the table a once-over. She was fashionably dressed in an all-Lycra ensemble from the Bike Messenger '09 collection, and her hair was styled in an interesting manner that combined helmet-head and catfight. Still exceptionally pretty, even without makeup and smelling slightly of stale sweat.
He made sure to face the woman as he closed the door behind him and took the file from Betty. There wasn't anything to confirm it in the literature, but he didn't like to turn his back on his patients.
As he sat down, he said "You a fan of The Kinks, Lola?"
The woman looked up from the institutional-grade linoleum table, a faint smile on her face. "Not as much as you might think."
Cadecus wondered if what she had qualified as a rich brown voice. "Why not? Got tired of the song growing up?"
"Look, I know you think I'm crazy."
"Not yet. If you'd like me to, we can both save a lot of time."
Lola closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. She placed her hands flat on the table, and spread them wide, so they were pointed at the corners behind the doctor.
"My real name is David Brent Furler. I thought about using 'Brenda', but...y'know."
"I've heard of the case." The doctor flipped open the folder. "Caucasian female, mid-to-late twenties. Answers to 'Lola Furler', claims she was 'magically' turned into a woman."
"It's not a 'claim'. It's true." Brow creased, a faint edge on her voice.
"Physical exam detected no abnormal anything. Also, those boobs actually *are* real."
Lola snorted, but made no further comment.
"Oddly, no record was found for her name. Not in the DMV, nor the public school system, not even a speeding ticket. However, the guy she says she really is has been missing for a week, and she has his old job and is living in his house."
He set the folder aside. "Care to explain?"
Lola took a deep breath. "I'm actually a man."
Cadecus nodded. "Ah. You were born in the wrong body?"
"No. I literally used to be a man."
"So you're post-op."
Lola narrowed her eyes. "I think the doc who gave me the checkup would've noticed that. I can prove I have working ovaries in-actually, I don't know when my period is. Aren't you supposed to be recording this?"
"I have an excellent memory. Besides, this isn't an intake exam, just a little chat. So, how did you become a woman?"
The blonde took a deep breath. "Okay. There are these websites. And they have this stuff on th--"
"Transformation and transgender fetishism," Cadecus volunteered, cupping his cheeks in his hands. "It's more common than you think."
Lola blinked. "Why?"
"Human sexuality is a strange and many-splendored thing. I, for one, like stuffing raw macaroni in my ear." He paused. "Of course, I haven't done that since I was four, but the point stands."
"So why the increase all of a sudden?"
"--Is for porn?"
"In a nutshell? Yeah. The web is great for forming connections, for communication."
"So if someone really like it when Bugs Bunny cross-dresses, you can find a whole lot of other people who do too?"
"Right. It is theorized that the changing gender views in western society have led to a shifting of sexual mores. Hence the increasing subgroup of transformation fetishists interested in hermaphrodite or intersex transformation."
"Ew. Herms are gross. We never let those guys on the forum."
"Of course, that's just what I read on Wikipedia."
The woman giggled. "Okay, so you know about it. Have you read the stories?"
"No." He had, but he wanted the patient's take on it.
"In a lot of these stories, there's a store." She made gesture indicating an imaginary box. "You following me, doctor guy?"
"I'm with you so far."
"It's usually run by a mysterious old guy, and wasn't there yesterday. Best anyone can guess, these stores became a sort of meme after there was a buncha stories with them, back in the nineties. People buy things from these shops, and end up...changed."
"The 'old guy' is a trickster archetype. There are stories throughout history where accepting something from a trickster leads to great misfortune. More rarely, it's a situation that the protagonist can think their way out of--"
"Nowadays, these stores are online."
"Saves nerds the trouble of interacting with other human beings."
She closed her eyes, set her jaw, and he saw muscles work in her temples. It lasted a half-second, then she was back to normal. So, tight emotional control. What would it take to get her to snap?
"I got a link to this online store, I can't remember how. It said it could change you into a woman, into a man, into a muscular man, into a musclebound transsexual beaver fur-oh, sorry, you don't know what furry is--"
"Yes I do. I watch CSI." A smile, so she'd know he was joking.
She blinked. "Oh. Anyway, they offered a free sample. I was all 'sweet, free sample', and they were all 'send your address' and I was all 'sure why not' and I gave it to them."
"What did you think was going to happen?"
"I thought it was a joke. That I'd get junk mail or something. An offer for women's clothing in men's sizes."
"And if it wasn't a joke?"
"I'd turn into a woman."
"And then what?"
She looks confused. "Then...I'd be a woman."
"Okay. What did you *actually* do?"
"The first thing I tried to do was...y'know. It's not as easy as it sounds. Neither is makeup, really."
"Was it manually or with...mechanical aid?"
"The first one, then the second. I went out and bought some, uh, toys. The salesman was very nice. He said a lot people were insecure their first time, especially if they were bought up conservative."
"Not really. I mean, we were Catholic, but I never really felt any...connection. I stopped going in college."
"Did you tell your parents you had changed?"
Lola stared at him for two beats before bursting into laughter.
"No." She chuckled. "Mom wouldn't believed me. If I had said I was 'Lola', she would've thought I was her little Davey-poo's girlfriend."
"Do you think she was a negative presence in your childhood?"
"She used to lock me in the basement because I was a dirty, *dirty* little boy who touched himself at night," Lola said flatly. Then she grinned. Nice cheekbones on her. "She grounded me when I stayed out past curfew and didn't give me enough allowance to buy the hot new Linkin Park CD, Doc. Standard-issue mom."
"I should've set up a webcam or a video camera or something, and sold the tapes," Lola said wistfully. "I tried telling the guys on the forum, but they just gave me two choices."
"Tits or GTFO?" Cadecus guessed.
"Yep. That is, the ones who didn't call me crazy. So, after a week of watching every porno I own or could download and appreciating them from new and interesting perspectives, I got bored."
"What did you eat?"
"After I ran out of ramen, I ordered takeout. Even one day of greasy fast-food will 'play merry Hell' with your renal system, so eventually I was spending as much time on the toilet as I was...having fun."
"Point of order; who were you thinking about?"
"Men, women, both, or neuter?"
"I don't think I was thinking of anyone in particular, just of sex in general."
"Interesting. You were heterosexual before, right?"
Cadecus didn't correct her. "And you like men now?"
"Yeah-oh. Oh. Hmm."
"More specifically, me. Do you find me comely, maiden?"
Lola smiled. "Are you asking me out, doctor?"
"No, that would be unethical."
"Aww. Moving on; I had to go out. I had to buy some real food."
"Take out tends to be about as 'real' as it gets."
"But I was kinda tapped out after the sex toys. Turned out I couldn't use my credit cards, or get into my bank account for some security reason-both signers needed to be there in person, and I couldn't become a co-signer on 'David's' account if I didn't legally exist. I could write checks to myself, but sooner or later men in suits were gonna start asking questions."
"This is the part where you try to get a job at a strip club."
"I tried to get a job at a strip club."
"Not a very good idea. I've counselled women who worked there-"
Lola looked...haunted, he supposed. "I know."
"You didn't need ID to get in?"
"Not with Linka and Gi here."
"No, I mean 'who are they named after?'"
"Captain Planet? Nineties environmental cartoon? Dude with a green mullet?"
"Sorry. I watched GI Joe."
"Oh, so you're old."
"It's okay, a lot of people are old. There's nothing to be ashamed of."
"You-" The doctor took a deep breath. He saw the twitching of the woman's mouth, realized she was holding back a smile, and noted that she had pretty effectively diverted the conversation. "Let's get back to the club. Wouldn't they require an address?"
"You'd think so. But a lot of these clubs have a few girls on the stage and off the books. Couple of them are illegal immigrants. One more wasn't going to make much difference."
"There was a tryout, right? How was it?"
"Okay, I guess." The woman leaned back in her seat, putting her hands in her laps. A gesture of retreat. "I rubbed the right girlparts against the right boyparts, and I got the job."
"Quit or fired?"
Lola pursed her lips, looking at a point above the doctor's shoulder. Then she looked him in the eye again, her brow furrowed. "Quit."
"I wasn't very good at it."
She stared at her hands. "I was at a Fourth picnic with when I was about...thirteen, I think. Old enough to like girls, but not enough to know what to do about it. Anyway, me and some of my cousins were playing softball. I was on second, and I looked over to where the menfolk were barbecuing. Cousin Jerry was there, he had this condition that meant he couldn't really exercise. Something about his metabolism.
"Anyway, they hadn't put anything on the grill yet, any Jerry was *really* hungry. I found out later that he had skipped breakfast, just so he could pack more away. I have never seen a look like that on a human being's face, that...ravenous *hunger*, that mindless *want*.
"Until I became a stripper."
There was an awkward silence.
"Can I get you something? Coffee, tea, cherry cola?"
She snorted, looked up at him. "Why did I feel that way?"
He reached for her, grasping her hands in his, running his thumb up and down the groove in the center of her hand. Because it was important for patients to have physical contact in times of stress.
"It takes a certain type of woman to get up on stage and dance like that. I know what the stories say, but it lowers those women, and it lowers you. Unless you have a really good reason, unless you have something to hold on to, it will eat you from the inside out."
He suddenly realized he might've compromised his objectivity.
"Of course, some might say that's not any worse from what would happen at your normal nine-to-five."
The woman gave him an odd look. "I've heard it made women feel like a piece of meat, but I didn't realize how literal it was."
Cadecus suddenly wanted a cigarette badly. He was late for his usual afternoon smoke, by, what, a half-hour now?
"You know how hard it is to look pretty?"
He couldn't even get his dog to pee outside, but his body just couldn't get by without ni-wait, what?
"Too much frakkin' maintenance. I had no idea. Shampoo, all these weird little shampoos. There was this one with 'infusions of rich, Far Eastern herbs'. If I wanted leaves in my hair I'd sleep in the park. And that's not even counting the price for the actual haircut. Of course it's ruined the second I put on a helmet-"
"About that. You got David's job back?"
"*My* job, yes. Luckily the shorts still fit. I had to buy a new top, though."
"Can't imagine why."
"Because my boobs are huge."
"That was sarcasm."
Cadecus sighed. Who was getting into whose head here?
"It was a lot more stressful than it was a week ago. I think it's because this body is made for the catwalk, not the crosswalk. To top it off, guys kept hitting on me. Cab drivers, the other bikers, men on the sidewalk, pretty much anyone with a Y chromosome. And a few with two Xs."
"So you were mad as hell, and you weren't gonna take it anymore?"
"Yeah. Un-fortunately, I snapped all over some woman who made the mistake of nearly throwing her latte on me."
"How do you know it was a latte?"
"Statistically speaking. There was a survey in GQ."
"So you dragged her out of her car, smacked her around a bit, and then a cop came and arrested you?"
"Yeah, that was pretty much it."
Cadecus thought, as the seconds ticked by.
"What would you do," he mused, "if we let you go?"
Lola looked thoughtful. "I could probably get a job at another messenger company--"
"Would you really be happy there?"
The woman opened her mouth, hesitated.
Cadecus decided to have mercy on her, and looked at his watch. "Whoops, it seems we're out of time. I'm sorry, but I'll have to admit you for observation until I can figure out what to do next." He signalled to the guard. "Goodbye, Lola."
She smiled at him, her head cocked slightly. "Goodbye."
The door clicked shut behind him.
He had the only copy of the paperwork, of course, but he went into the computer system and wrote in a transfer to the Aretha Coville-Smith psychiatric center, and changed the paperwork accordingly.
His balcony access code was 3125.
Once outside, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it. With his left hand, the one on the side away from the door, he drew his phone. Address book, "American Cleaning Services", green button. He had time to take one drag into his nicotine-starved lungs and blow it into the humid, mid-summer air before the person on the other end picked up.
"Hello?" said a crisp voice.
The doctor tried not to think of what would happen to Lola. "This is Cadecus, account number US40512.83. I have an Artifact I need you to take a look at."
by Eulalie "Nequ" Quentin
2009 Creative Commons By-NC-ND