When Valerie and Kent’s first baby arrived in this world they had trouble deciding on a name. Valerie wanted a transgender name such as Kim or Les; an accepted and known name but one that belonged to both females and males. Kent also wanted a transgender name but one with a bit of originality such as Oak or Marble or Peninsula. The child could decide once old enough what it wanted to be called. In the end Kent won out and they provisionally named the child Reverberation Mannequin Crenshaw-Maidstone.
The child was given a naming ceremony, but Valerie and Kent had trouble deciding where that should be held. A church, of course, was out, but the grounds of a park next to a lake with ducks and swans and weeping willows sounded good. In the end the park idea verged on Pantheism, so they invited a few friends around to their back yard and held the ceremony next to a tin fence. The child could decide once old enough what it really wanted to believe and from the beginning Valeria and Kent, by choice of venue, didn’t want to precondition the child into receiving and believing perceived hang-ups.
As the child grew and reached school age, Valerie and Kent decided against formal school education; they would home school Reverberation. A school would shove the child into stereotypical confinements. Although the government demanded certain topics to be covered in the curriculum, Valerie and Kent didn’t want to ram bigoted information down Reverberation’s throat. The child should be able to decide once old enough what interested it and what it should and shouldn’t know.
All this was years ago. These days Reverberation is a professional athlete and goes under the more practical name of Organic Fire. Organic is a lot easier to spell than Reverberation; and Organic’s partner, Zen Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Ng, doesn’t have to look up how to spell Organic’s name every time an application is made for psychiatric hospital visitation.
(WARNING! The characterisation in this story calls for the occasional swear word…)
Poodle Jerkin was a clown of questionable talent. He snorted cocaine. Who wouldn’t if you worked day in and day out for a circus that hardly paid for nothing? And his wife had left him and taken the kids. There was no hope, so he snorted cocaine and got the sack. Yeah, he wasn’t good enough even for a fuckin’ circus.
He got a job as a clown at a transgender nightclub, where he gyrated up and down on the bar top, dressed as a clown and wanking while patron stuffed dollar bills down the front of his jock strap. The smile was painted on his face, but underneath the makeup he was crying. Then at the end of each night, Jolie the manager or owner – he didn’t know which but who gives a shit? – would take all the bills out of his jock strap and finish off what he’d started on the bar top. He’d leave each night with a couple of bucks and somehow he was meant to have a life.
One night, on the way back to where he slept, he walked past an appliance store. On a big television screen a politician was spouting:
We’ve got to get rid of all these no hopers sleeping on the street. There are needles everywhere. There’s human excrement. We should round them up and do something about it.
Poodle Jerkin picked up a nearby laptop and threw it at the television screen. He’s in prison now. What the fuck? It’s survival.
Occasionally Noel would wake up in the morning and he was someone else. Different from the person who went to bed. The clothes were different. His body was different. His name was different, judging by what his family called him. They were different too. The house where he lived was different. The only thing that was the same was his mind. He knew he was Noel deep down inside.
This would happen about twice a year. Once he woke up as the boyfriend of Miss World. At first he thought that was great, but quickly realised that Miss World wasn’t allowed to “do it” for another twelve months.
Then he woke up as a dog, but that lasted only a couple of days.
He was so far down the track now from being Noel. He had been Trevor, David, Lance, Michael, Paul, Patch, Ewen, Jock, Neville and Dirk. He knew he would never make it back to being who he was when born.
Then it happened! He woke up as Noeline! For the first time in his life he felt at home. He felt at peace. His body had been trying to tell him something.