FORWARD: This is the third of five episodes of the Dressed for Disaster saga, immediately preceding “Vendetta’s Diary.”
Patrick Summers wandered the streets of lower Manhattan in an aimless fog, the chaos surrounding him a lurid backdrop for the turmoil between his ears. He had just suffered two tremendous shocks: his narrow escape from the collapse of the World Trade Center, and his unmasking as a crossdresser on television.
As he moved north towards Greenwich Village, Pat desperately tried to think. The local station, which had filmed him fleeing the disaster in a woman's wig and earrings, would surely discard the footage as out of keeping with the enormity of the event. Even if they did show it, it was unlikely that any of the networks would pick it up and broadcast it in Chicago, he reasoned. As far as his family or co-workers knew, he might well be dead.
Had it not been for the twin shocks to his system, it is likely that Pat would have called his wife and secretary, assured them that he was alive, and gone about making arrangements to return to Chicago. Instead, as he turned down a narrow street into the heart of the Village, strange thoughts began to excite him. He could escape his humdrum existence, leave his family set for life with the insurance money, and establish a new identity in his alter ego. He could reinvent himself as Patricia Summers.
Pat's compulsion to dress as a woman had grown stronger over the past year, and perhaps it was inevitable that he would have been led to this path. In any event, his vulnerability following the trauma of the morning, and the unique opportunity presented by his brush with death, fueled his fixation and emboldened him to live out his fantasies.
As he moved down the quiet street, Pat took stock of his situation. He was dressed in a cheap sweat suit and sneakers, still clutching the wig, which he had torn off his head as he ran from the cameras. His earrings, and all of his other feminine paraphernalia, had been lost or destroyed. He had about ten dollars in his pocket. If he tried to access his bank accounts, any chance to fake his death would be foreclosed.
He found himself approaching an adult bookstore. Entering without hesitation, he picked up a newspaper filled with personal advertisements and started to leaf through it. The greasy cashier behind the high counter eyed him warily as he turned the pages, until one advertisement, in bolder type than the rest, caught his attention:
WANTED: SUBJECTS FOR ROLE REVERSAL EXPERIMENT. Must be heterosexual, under thirty, and in good health. Successful candidates will be required to live as a member of the opposite sex for a minimum of three months. All expenses and a generous stipend will be provided. Deadline for application is Sept. 15, 2001.
The advertisement ended with an email address. Pat memorized it and returned to the street, looking for an Internet café.
Dr. Vendetta Frankenwiener switched off the television and walked out onto her rooftop terrace, overlooking Washington Square park and the horror to the south. The air was thick with dust and debris, and she wondered if the wail of sirens would ever end.
To most New Yorkers, daily life had been eclipsed by the events of the morning, but such was not the case with Doctor Frankenwiener. Her bizarre compulsion to feminize unwilling men had long ago crowded out other, human emotions, and her principal reaction to the events of the day was frustration that her latest round of experiments might be delayed.
Returning to her small study, she switched on her computer and checked her emails. To her surprise, she read the following message:
Interested in your experiment. Please provide contact information. Must have response no later than five o'clock today.
That was odd. She had never been pressed by a subject for a response like that. Usually she had to cull through an assortment of pranksters and deviants, looking for a witless subject who would submit to her experiments. Rarely did they take the bait like this. Nevertheless, she decided to reel him in. She replied:
Come to 19865 Bleeker Street, Apt 4C, at six o'clock tonight.
When Pat returned to the café a half hour later, and logged on again with his dwindling supply of cash, he retrieved her message, and jotted down the address. He had been careful to use an Internet address, which he had set up for transgendered chat rooms, and thus unknown to his family or employers. He thought briefly of his wife and daughter, and of the rest of his family, who must be worried sick about him, and assuming the worst. They would be better off financially with the insurance money, he assured himself. Soon there would be no turning back.
At precisely six o'clock, Pat was buzzed into a narrow brownstone building, and he walked up four flights of stairs to apartment 4C. The hallway outside the apartment was dark and musty, and he hesitated for a moment at the door. Before he could knock, he heard the deadbolts sliding back, three in all, and the door opened to reveal a woman in her mid thirties, dressed in a long white coat. She was attractive, with curly black hair and piercing brown eyes, and she waved him into the apartment without a word. After closing the door behind him, she carefully engaged the deadbolts, locking them with a key, which she replaced in her coat pocket.
Pat stood awkwardly in her small apartment. It was modestly furnished, with an oriental rug over a worn oak floor, a sofa with two unmatched chairs, and a few antique pieces.
“Please, sit down,” she told him, gesturing to the sofa as she sat herself in one of the chairs. She was wearing a short skirt under her laboratory coat, and as she crossed her legs, she noticed with approval Pat's interest.
“I came about the experiment,” Pat said finally.
“Yes, you are fortunate that I received your message and was able to respond before your deadline. Tell me, why the urgency?”
Pat had rehearsed the answer to this question. “I was concerned about your deadline of September 15th. If it weren't for them closing all the airports, I wouldn't even be in New York right now. Since I'm stuck here, I thought I'd try to learn more about your experiment, before deciding whether to leave. Are you a doctor?”
“Yes. Do you have a family?” she probed.
“No,” Pat lied. “I live alone, in Chicago. For a variety of reasons, I have time on my hands over the next several months, and your experiment intrigued me. Is this some kind of university study?”
“No,” she replied. “It is a privately funded program. I take it you read the qualifications in the advertisement?”
“Yes, I am a straight man under thirty, if that's what you mean.”
“Excellent. Let me get you something to drink.” She had already decided that he was a perfect subject, slender and relatively short, and his boyish face was too good to be true. She went into a small kitchen, and emerged a minute later with two glasses of ice tea. Pat drank as she observed him carefully, then she took a sip from her own glass and picked up a notepad from a small table beside her chair.
“What is your name, please?” she asked him.
“John Smith,” he replied.
She raised an eyebrow as she wrote it down. “Mr. Smith, the program for which you are a candidate requires your one hundred percent participation over a period of twelve weeks. Will that present any problems in terms of your family or employment?”
“I've already told you, I have no family, and I am an independent contractor, so there are no restrictions on my time.” He began to feel more at ease, and started to loosen up. “Tell me about the program.”
“Certainly. First, I have a few other questions. Should you be selected, and choose to enroll, we have to start immediately. Do you have any other commitments that you will have to disengage from in order to proceed?”
Pat took another sip of ice tea, and began to feel slightly light-headed. “No, I've already told you, I wasn't even expecting to be in New York tonight.”
“Does anybody know where you are right now?”
If Pat had not already been drugged, he might have been alarmed by this question, and possibly tried to save himself. Instead, he replied thickly, “No, why do you ask?”
She gave him a grim smile. “The reason for that question will soon become apparent, Mr. Smith. Congratulations, you have been accepted into the study. Please sign here,” she said as she produced a legal-looking document and handed him a pen.
Pat flipped through it and struggled to focus on the words. “What does it say?”
“Just formalities, Mr. Smith, don't worry your pretty head about them. Sign it. Now.”
With an effort, Pat started to scrawl his signature on the page, realizing too late that he had written his real name. As he started to cross it out, the mad doctor stood up and pulled it away from him. “Pat Summers,” she read aloud. “A lovely name. We are going to have such fun together!”
Pat tried to get to his feet, before he passed out onto the threadbare carpet.
Pat woke up in a cold sweat in a dark room. His head was throbbing and he was dying of thirst. When he tried to move his arms, he discovered that they had been strapped down. He seemed to be lying on some kind of gurney, under a white sheet. His legs were also immobilized, and his head was propped up on a hard pillow.
A door opened, and lights were switched on to reveal what looked like an operating room. As he squinted in the painful light, the woman in the doctor's coat approached him. Everything seemed vaguely familiar, as if he were reliving a very bad dream.
“Water,” he croaked.
Without a word, she produced a glass of water, and he struggled to raise his head and drink it. Swallowing it all exhausted him, and he fell back onto the pillow.
“Where am I?”
“Where no one will ever find you.”
“What have you done to me?”
“Don't you remember the personal advertisement you responded to? Or coming to my apartment? Or the legal papers that you signed?”
It was all coming back to him, but there was something else. He struggled to put it together. “I feel like I've been here before…”
“Dear, sweet, innocent Pat. Did you really think those stories you read on the Internet weren't true?”
Oh my God! Vendetta Frankenwiener! Surely she was a figment of the imagination! This couldn't be happening!
“Your timing was unfortunate,” she told him. “I have been looking for the perfect subject for a little experiment.”
“What do you mean?”
“The liquid you just drank contained a mild sedative. While it is taking effect, let me show you my progress so far.” She tore back the sheet, and he gasped in horror. He had breasts, real woman's breasts, which rose magnificently as he heaved in exertion, pulling against his restraints.
“What have you done to me?”
She slid a mirror up to the side of the bed and tilted it so he could see. “The papers that you signed gave me your consent to perform surgery on you. Those are breast implants. A very simple procedure for a plastic surgeon, which I happen to be.” Lifting his head, he panicked as he tried to see his genitals.
“Don't worry, you are still intact below the waist – for the moment. You see, those breasts will be perfectly capable of nursing a baby, once we fill you up with female hormones.” She produced a hypodermic syringe, and stabbed it in one of his cheeks.
He struggled furiously against his restraints. “Why me?”
“I don't know why you came to me. From the lovely panties you are wearing, I have deduced that you are a closet crossdresser. Perhaps you found my role reversal experiment exciting. I doubt if you anticipated the full extent of what I have planned for you.”
“Let me out of here! I have a family!”
“Which you have already disavowed. You should have told me the truth about yourself before you signed those papers. Now it is much too late.”
“You crazy bitch! I'll kill you for this!”
“I don't think so. Soon, you will be docile as a lamb. Castration tends to do that to a man.”
“Oh my God! No!”
“If that was a prayer, it is not going to help you. But I am not without mercy. As I said, your new breasts will be fully functional. And I would not want to deprive you of the joys of motherhood. Although you will never be able to bear a child, you may want to suckle your genetic offspring.”
“You must be insane! Let me out of here. Please, let me go!”
She ignored the interruption. “You see, my little experiment requires that we preserve a quantity of your sperm in case you decide later to raise your own child. Prepare for your last male orgasm.”
Before Pat could react, she implanted a large tube on his penis. It was attached to wires and a rubber hose, and as she switched it on, he realized that it was some kind of milking device. It was the same nightmare scenario that he had masturbated to in his hotel room the night before. The horror story that had titillated him was coming true, only now there would be no escape.
Just like the hapless character in the Internet story, Pat began to harden as the machine sucked on him. Over and over, he was pulled and stroked, and through the horror of it, he became aroused as his body instinctively readied to ejaculate. As Pat knew she would, the mad surgeon produced a slender wand, which she greased and inserted in his ass. Probing for his prostate gland, she found it and the wand began to vibrate. The combined effect of milking his penis and massaging his prostate made him delirious, and he started to scream as he approached a devastating climax.
Three months later, Patricia Summers awoke in her cheap hotel room and prepared herself for the day ahead.
A light December snow was falling on the Chicago rooftops visible from her room. With a sigh, she removed her dressing gown and surveyed herself in the mirror. The removal of Pat's testicles by Dr. Frankenwiener a few moments after he ejaculated into the milking device had greatly accelerated the feminization process, and the hormone therapy had done the rest. Pat was now, anatomically, a complete female.
Emotionally and mentally, she was something else entirely. Neither male nor female, a lost soul, as surely as if she had died in her hotel room three months ago in New York. As far as the world was concerned, that is what had happened to Patrick Summers that day, and she intended to keep it that way. Better to be remembered as a dead hero than to be revealed as an unwilling transsexual.
After a quick shower in the grungy hotel tub, Pat went through the motions of dressing and putting on her makeup. When she was a man, this had always been exciting. Now it would be her daily routine for the rest of her life, and the prospect bored her. She slipped into a pair of cotton panties and strapped a bra around her fine breasts. After blow-drying her hair and combing it into an attractive shag, she sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on a pair of pantyhose. A slip and a white uniform dress followed, and she stepped into a pair of flats before standing at the dresser mirror and applying lipstick and mascara. A few final flourishes, and she was ready to face the world.
As she buttoned up her inexpensive overcoat, she surveyed herself again in the mirror. A handsome woman, people would say, not beautiful, but pretty. Not that it mattered. Pat was utterly unattracted to men, and incapable of sexual arousal in any case. Whether Dr. Frankenwiener had botched that aspect of Pat's operation, or whether she was wired differently from other transsexuals, orgasm was quite impossible. She still found women attractive, but her inability to do anything about it only added to her frustration.
She walked out onto State Street and turned north towards the Gold Coast. Her wife and daughter, flush with insurance money, had moved into a smart new townhouse, and Pat had a few minutes before her shift to try to catch a glimpse of them. Although she had fantasized about it many times, she had no intention of coming back from the dead. Better they remember Patrick Summers as he was.
Perhaps Pat's wife might have accepted Patricia, and they could have lived together as sisters. But then the insurance money would be gone, and they would have to live together in poverty. Pat's bus trip from New York to Chicago, and the three days it had taken her to land a job as a waitress, had been a rude enough shock, and she could not bring herself to subject her family to public humiliation and take away their financial security.
Pat got to the place a few minutes early, and brushed the light snow off a park bench before sitting down. Crossing her legs, she reached into her purse and removed a cigarette, a vice, which she had reacquired following her escape from Dr. Frankenwiener. As she inhaled and waited for the nicotine rush, she closed her eyes and thought back over the horror of the past three months: the agonizing recovery from castration and reconstructive surgery, the prolonged period of lethargy while her body adapted to the loss of testosterone and flood of female hormones, and the slow changes as the estrogen took hold, gradually weakening her muscles as it reshaped her body.
Weakened though she was, she had still had the strength to murder Dr. Frankenwiener, strangling her with a nylon stocking. Pat had managed to escape her restraints and surprise the doctor when she returned to the apartment from a shopping trip. A thorough search of the apartment had yielded slightly over one thousand dollars in cash, and the new identification documents, which the doctor had apparently intended to provide Patricia Summers at the conclusion of her experiment. All of the doctor's notes, and any trace of Patrick Summers, were now at the bottom of the East River.
Pat had scraped together a small wardrobe, replacing the sex kitten costumes and sissy maid outfits favored by the doctor, and bought a bus ticket for Chicago. By the time the police found Dr. Frankenwiener's body, Pat was long gone. With her remaining money, she had been able to rent a single room at a cheap hotel, and finally secure employment at a restaurant in Lincoln Park. It was going to be a dismal existence, but at least she was close to her wife and daughter, and would occasionally be able to see them from afar.
A black limousine pulled up to the curb, and Pat sat perfectly still as the occupants emerged onto the sidewalk in front of her daughter's new, exclusive preschool. There she was, Pat's lovely daughter, followed by her mother, looking extremely attractive in her full-length sable coat. Then a third person, a handsome man, followed them out of the limousine. Pat stared in shock as the man took the little girl's hand, and put his arm around her mother.
The three of them walked into the school as Pat Summers finished her cigarette. Then she got up from the bench, and walked slowly to her bus stop.
From the author of The Jessica Project.