An Excerpt from
Kevin Andrew Murphy
Thomas S. Roche
Copyright 1995 Kevin Andrew Murphy
& Thomas S. Roche, All Rights Reserved
Trona hated the bar, but it was somewhere she could go.
They'd laughed at her everywhere else, so this was the only
The Grey Mare was tacky and seedy, but she'd learned to
cope. The others in the bar could tell that Trona was not a
woman; in fact, she was exactly what she appeared to be: a
very poorly constructed transvestite. But it was protective
coloration-She wasn't the only one.
Trona looked at Valerie, across the bar. Valerie was
one of those ridiculous drag queens who resembled a woman
not so much as she resembled a mannequin. Her hair was
right, her dress was right, her makeup was perfect-but
altogether, it gave the impression of being fake.
And Trona hated her for it. Because as fake as Valerie
appeared, she was still more believable than Trona would
ever be. Trona looked down at her hands: large, hairy, and
ridiculous on the stem of the mimosa. She had tried shaving
them; she had tried depilatories; she had tried plucking the
thick red hairs off the backs one by one with tweezers. But
the lotion had irritated her skin; the hair grew back. She
didn't even know why she tried. Her face might have passed
on a different body; but on Trona's body, never. No one
would ever believe her.
Trona watched with contempt as Valerie threw her arms
around Mickey, the bartender. Mickey pushed Valerie away,
looking uncomfortable. He was a college kid who didn't
belong here any more than anyone else did; he was just
trying to make some money. Nobody fit here, and they hated
each other equally.
There was a sudden hush over the bar, and Trona followed
the stares of all the other outcasts. There, at the
entrance, kissing the doorman on the cheek, was a vision of
androgyny-beauty, even-and Trona recognized her. It was
Bobbi Rodriguez, the most beautiful Filipino drag queen who
ever existed. She was a San Francisco legend, the female
impersonator who had actually done what Trona and the others
didn't have the guts or the money to do. Bobbi had become a
And what a woman she was. Bobbi wore her trademark
scarf and a revealing minidress. Bobbi was thin, frail, but
with large enough breasts and enough curve in the hips to
pass without a hint of doubt in anyone's mind. And her face
Even back when Bobbi was pre-op, she had been a
headturner. Straight men had forgotten themselves when
she'd done her act at the Option Club. But now that she had
changed, she danced at the Mitchell Brothers' Theater. She
appeared nearly naked, and the straight men went crazy
stuffing twenty dollar bills into her G-string. None of
them ever doubted that Bobbi was a woman. And Bobbi
was a woman. A woman like the one Trona would
Operations and electrolysis could do their share, and
pills would help, but Trona would never be small and petite
like Bobbi. She had a man's frame and a man's muscle and a
man's voice that some men were stupid enough to envy.
She would trade it in a second. If she had Mickey's
body even, just a little surgery and a few pills would make
her a woman that men would admire. But no one would ever
love Trona, or want to be with her.
She lowered her head, staring into her cocktail and
trying very hard not to cry. She'd given up her marriage,
quit her financial-district job, and taken a position as an
underpaid clerk in a Tenderloin leather store, all in the
forlorn and ridiculous hope that she could somehow make
herself pass as a woman and recreate herself into something
she wouldn't be ashamed of. And it had all come to this:
sitting in a sleazy transvestite bar on Polk, crying into
her fucking mimosa.
What did it matter if she cried? No one would notice,
not for a fucking second. The people around the bar had
become used to Trona's repulsive presence, and they had
taken to ignoring her.
She felt a soft hand on the skin of her neck. Somehow
Trona wasn't startled; the touch seemed to meld with her
"You okay, honey?" The voice was soft and cool, like a
silk scarf, and Trona looked into the rich brown eyes of
Trona was shocked that anyone was even speaking to her
in the Mare-least of all Miss Bobbi.
Trona went to speak and found that her man's voice
caught in her throat. She shook her head.
"No," she finally said, in a hoarse whisper. "I'm
alright. . . ."
Bobbi laughed a little and looked at Trona. There was
something in those eyes that made Trona speak again.
Trona swallowed and felt the tears trickle down her
cheeks. "You're just so beautiful. . . ."
"You're not the first person to say so." Bobbi was
quiet, like a fawn, and a space cleared for her at the bar
immediately. She sat down next to Trona and placed her hand
on Trona's knee. "But you're very beautiful, too."
Trona didn't hear any mocking in the tone. "What's
beautiful about me?"
Bobbi reached up and patted the curls of Trona's hair.
"Your hair. It's lovely. Red is such a rare shade to get,
and I can tell that yours isn't dyed. I always wanted to
have hair like that."
Trona felt a soft blush steal over her cheeks. "Thank
you. But it isn't much good by itself."
"There are all sorts of beauty. I think the finest sort
of beauty is the beauty you find within yourself."
Trona felt her gut knot inside her. How dare a woman
like this tell her about inner beauty? It was fucking easy
for her to say.
Trona tried very hard not to start crying again. "What
if the beauty inside yourself is at odds with what's on the
outside?" She looked up at the lovely visage of Bobbi
Bobbi's face grew soft, gentle, and Trona felt as the
hand on her knee traveled up, from her thigh to her belly to
the curve of the falsies beneath her sequined top, finally
coming to rest on Trona's face. The fingertips were like a
"Do you honestly think I don't know what that's like? I
understand. You must know that I understand."
Trona bit her lip. How could she hate Bobbi like that?
She felt herself softening and collapsing against the other
woman's soft, real breasts. Bobbi put her arms around
Trona, hugging her tight. Trona knew Bobbi did understand.
But Bobbi had made the transformation-a transformation that
Trona couldn't make. The surgeons in the Philippines had
worked their magic for Bobbi, but her case had not been
beyond all hope. Trona's was. No matter how skilled the
doctors or radical their procedures, there was no way they
could turn an ox into a doe.
Trona began to cry again and looked down. She didn't
want Bobbi to see. She felt pathetic and miserable, and
abjectly unlovable. Certainly a real woman couldn't have
sympathy for Trona.
Bobbi's hand snaked its way through Trona's hair, and
Trona felt the warmth of Bobbi's body against her as Bobbi
got off her barstool. Then there was a kiss on her neck,
and Trona's hackles stood up. Something else stood up, deep
inside the padding and the lace panties, beneath the loose,
long skirt, and Trona felt a violent wave of self-hatred.
But she couldn't deny that this woman turned her on. She
felt a familiar desire, a desperate longing, and Bobbi's
hand was under her cheek, lifting Trona's head gently.
"It's too loud here," said Bobbi. "Would you like to go
Trona's eyes grew wide. "With . . . with you?"
Bobbi's lips broke into a smile and she nodded. "With
Trona closed her eyes, letting darkness swallow the bar
and all the ugliness of her life. "Yes, I'd like that very
And as Sheherezayd said, "Yet that is not the end of my tale...."