TRANNY BROS—Karen Uffleman

TRANNY BROS

Vanessa nudged the pill bottled toward me across the kitchen island.

I picked up my cereal bowl and carried it to the sink. I resisted the urge to wash it out and set it on the drainboard, limp cereal flakes stuck to bottom of the bowl and the spoon.

“I told you, I don’t know how I feel about T. Maybe sometime I’ll want it – I’m not saying never – but right now I’m just not that interested.”

“Yeah, you’ve been saying that for months, Lee.” One of the spaghetti straps of Vanessa’s red tank top slipped down over her shoulder and she ran her well-manicured fingers back and forth across her collarbone, a mannerism that I’d never noticed before and found strangely irritating.

“I just think you’d want to be your best self. You could be amazing, Lee, and instead you choose to be this bookish in-between kind of person. I just want you to embrace your potential.”

“Uh huh.”

I picked up my backpack off the floor and started searching through the piles of coats and boas on the coat rack for my hoodie.

“Are you headed to the gym?”

“Uh, nope. Library.”

Vanessa arched an eyebrow at me, “Mmmmkay. We’re meeting at 4:00. Don’t forget and don’t be late.”

I pulled the hoodie I’d found under Vanessa’s silver puffy over my head and laced up my Timberlands.

“I’ll be there.”

“And take a shower if you go to the gym.”

“Are you suggesting that I go to the gym?”

“I don’t know, you just always seem in a better mood after you’ve pumped some iron,” Vanessa smiled in a way that I used to find alluring, but this morning seemed straight-up manipulative.

“If I have time.”

She looked sad, so sad.

I walked across the kitchen and put my arms around her. She pressed her stuffed tank top to my chest and I could feel her erection against my thigh. That, at least, still thrilled me a little. I had only been with men a couple of times before Vanessa; horrible adolescent experiments that had stilted my interest in the males generally. But I wasn’t usually drawn to people as outwardly feminine as Vanessa, either. Her eyelashes were at least an inch long, her ankles and wrists delicate, her hips (strangely) curvy, and she favored skin-tight dresses and four-inch heels. Her wild curly hair fell to the middle of her back.  My typical dates wore baseball caps and plaid shirts. And they were women.

I had been shocked that Vanessa was interested in me in the first place, then I thought it was joke, then I said what the hell and we humped liked bunnies for a couple of months. In the beginning it was incredible. But lately, it had gotten weird. I liked that we both looked one way on the outside but different with our clothes off. I liked her girliness in clothes, and her flat chest and big dick when the dress came off. I liked her five o’clock shadow and the way it contrasted with her carefully-applied lipstick.  I thought she liked that about me, too. Early on she was like a baby at my bosom and loved kissing my smooth cheeks. But in the last couple of months she’d been leaving articles around the apartment about breast reduction surgery and testosterone supplementation, and it was becoming abundantly clear that I was not man enough for her.

“Lee,” she whispered.

This was more physical than we had been in weeks, and I wasn’t that interested in going to the library so I bit her ear and reached down to the bulge that was pressing against my leg. Suddenly she was pushing away, though, and tensing up. She smiled at me, but I could sense the moment was gone.

“I think a little weight-lifting would do you a world of good, and that will give me time to get all of the signs and posters ready.”

“Whatever, Vanessa,” I shook my head and picked my backpack up off the linoleum.

“Don’t be late!” she chirped, “This election is the most important one of our lifetime! This is our chance at revolution!”

I let the screen door slam behind me.

Three hours later, after reading more than I cared to about concrete structures for my engineering exam, I packed up my backpack and headed to the student center for the rally. I had considered not going, just heading back to the apartment and drinking beer and doing laundry. I hate politics with a passion, and going to a political rally is on par for me with getting a root canal. But the thought of the scene that would ensue with Vanessa if I didn’t show up urged me on. She’d be mad enough that I spent the afternoon at the library and never made it to the gym.

As I was walking up the breezeway, I ran into Hector and Felicia.

“Hello, darling,” Felicia sang, wrapping the end of her boa around my neck. Felicia was one of my least favorite friends of Vanessa’s, but I was working up to best behavior and smiled back at her.

“All of the signs up and the crowd assembled?”

“OMG, darling, it’s packed! Snuggle room only!”

Hector was wearing a beautiful ballerina’s costume and had waxed his mustache to within an inch of its life.

“Nice,” I said, nodding in the direction of his tutu.

“Some people make an effort,” he said, rolling his eyes at Felicia. They both tittered.

I would have punched him, or at least come up with a clever come-back, but we were already being swallowed by the crowd, almost to the double doors with the giant rainbow LGBTQ FOR BERNIE banner above it. A team was organized outside handing out buttons and signs with slogans:

 

FEELING THE BERNING LOVE

 

BORN THIS WAY – BERN THIS WAY!

 

YOU DON’T NEED A GREAT WARDROBE TO BE A GREAT PRESIDENT

 

USE MY BATHROOM ANYTIME

 

CORPORATE CONTRIBUTIONS OUT OF OUR BEDROOMS

BOAS FOR BERNIE

Vanessa was sitting at a table with a bunch of her pals, bumper stickers and contribution cans mixed with peacock feathers and flowers. She was even more dolled-up than usual, and for a moment I had the strong physical memory of holding her earlier in the day.

I started to call out to her, but my shout was interrupted by a strapping…girl? boy? who threw their arms around her and gave her a big kiss on the neck. She smiled up at this person and reached up to caress a well-muscled bicep. So manly, I thought. So masculine.

“Pay attention, Lee! You’re stepping on my slippers!” Hector gave me a shove, and I tripped over my Timberlands. I couldn’t fall far, as the crowd was so dense, but I felt myself drifting away from Felicia and Hector, away from the double doors and towards the corner of the building.

Suddenly I was pushed up against another table, and there, in front of me, was a giant picture of Hillary Clinton on the wall. And in front of that picture was a short girl with a baseball cap that said LESBIANS 4 HILLARY.

“Hi there, I’m Li. Li Yan.”

She had round glasses and a plaid flannel shirt and her short black hair was tucked back behind her ears.

I’m sure I had the most ridiculous look on my face, and all I could think to say was, “Me, too! I mean, my name’s Lee, too!”

She smiled back at me and I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks.

“You escaping the tranny bros?” she asked, her eyes twinkling.

I nodded dumbly and, at that moment, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would be voting for Hillary Clinton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on May 26, 2016, in Fiction, Seattle, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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